Monday, February 29, 2016

Forgiveness is for Everyone!

Naha week 14 - wk 44 in Japan, wk 53 total

Monday February 8, 2016

This week has been totally crazy! We went to Fukuoka last Monday (didn't really have Pday) then flew back to Okinawa on Tuesday night, walked home, had dinner, then Wednesday met with both sets of Zone Leaders to plan for the two different Zone Training Meetings then taught Eikaiwa (English lessons) and a lesson with Shimoji.  Then Thursday we trained one zone, Friday another, Saturday was our only normal day this week. It was so nice to get out and talk to people after being inside planning and training and being trained!

I was thinking about someone who mentioned to me recently that they didn't feel worthy to pray.  I remembered Alma the Younger in Alma 36 and how he was terrible! Trying to destroy Christ's Church and what not, yet as soon as he reached out in prayer, he was able to receive forgiveness and strength; he ended up being an awesome missionary, complete opposite of what he was before. I know that everyone and anyone can receive forgiveness and strength no matter how unworthy you might feel. Jesus Christ knows and loves each of us individually and because of that I know He will help you!

P.S. I hit my 1 year mark last Thursday!

Lowe Shimai

Really gooey mochi (pounded rice) 
that tasted kind of like Chapstick,
wrapped in a big leaf.

Put your Trust in the Lord

Naha week 13 - wk 43 in Japan, wk 52 total

Monday February 1, 2016
This week Cox Shimai and I have been really focusing on strengthening and uplifting the members. There is an awesome talk that we read about how important it is as members to share our testimony and beliefs with those we love! This isn't just a message for Latter-Day Saints, it's a message that everyone needs to know. That through God's prophet Joseph Smith, The Church of Jesus Christ and His authority have been brought back, restored. And it is only through following the principles of His gospel that we can find true peace and happiness in this life and never-ending joy with our families in the life to come. I would definitely recommend this talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard `Put your Trust in the Lord` from October 2013 General Conference. It's wonderful!
Lowe Shimai

Beautiful Naha on our morning run (:

Bundled for the week of winter
Bearman Shimai & me with Shomoji Michiko
 The day Bearman Shimai left me


Christ changes lives!

Naha week 12 - wk 42

Monday January 25, 2016
A midst 3 separate companionship exchanges this week, we still managed to prepare our friend Shimoji Riyoko to be baptized yesterday! It took some coordination and some late lessons at times but we taught her everyday and she was baptized on Sunday!!! She has changed so much from the first time we met her just a month ago. She has had so many difficult things in her life and before she met us she rarely left her apartment besides going to work. She was sad and lonely. But then she met Shimoji Michiko on the metra and after a while was introduced to us and started taking the lessons. There is a hope and happiness that has come into her life that is visible! She knows she can be forgiven of her mistakes and that Jesus Christ is her savior and that she has a Heavenly Father that loves her. And she's smiling so much now!! It was a wonderful miracle to end a crazy week. 

Also I was able to go on companionship exchanges with Cox Shimai (who lives in the same apartment as me) and she is absolutely wonderful. We got to talking about things we have learned about our missions. And I expressed how much I've come to understand that truly the best healing, the best light comes into our lives as we give ourselves freely to serving others. A lot of the time before my mission, when I would be stressed, I would turn in and say I need time to myself. But I have come to experience on my mission that when I have those moments of stress, and turn outward instead of in, it's so much better! I have not been as happy as I have been on my mission. It's because essentially every moment of everyday is devoted to uplifting and encouraging those around me. I know that as we follow Christ's example and Turn Out instead of In, whatever stress, sadness, guilt can disappear and you will be enveloped with the pure love of Jesus Christ. for my and Sister Bearman's transfer calls...President called us this morning before studies....Bearman Shimai will tranfer to Fukuoka Chukushino and will have a Japanese companion who is a pretty old missionary. I am really sad that she will be leaving me. I really love her a lot. Like alot. But I know she will do great things in Fukuoka!
My new companion and STL companion (apparently it's a new rule STL Companions have to be real companions too) will be Cox Shimai! Shes been in our apartment for this last transfer, working in a separate area (Naha East) but now she'll be working with me in my area! So crazy. Definitely didn't see this coming!!

With Love, 
Lowe Shimai 

Just before Shimoji Riyoko's baptism!
 Left to right: Lowe Shimai, Shimoji Michiko, Shimoji Riyoko, Bearman Shimai

Buttoned up because it's finally winter in Okinawa!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Baptism coming soon!

Naha week 11 - wk 41

Monday January 18, 2016

This has been a really super awesome week! The woman Shimoji Riyoko I mentioned who met Shimoji Michiko on the train 3 weeks ago set a baptism date for January 24th!  So we have been teaching her everyday and will continue up until her baptism! It's been so much fun to teach someone who is as excited about being baptized as we are!

I can't believe my year mark is coming up. What does that even mean! It's going too fast! I still feel like a new missionary!

With Love, 
Lowe Shimai
 Eikaiwa (English classes we teach): left to right
 Maeda, Teruya (return missionary who is awesome), her friend, missionaries!
Cute boy asleep at Eikaiwa
Relief Society activities in Japan: Staple- large rice cooker!
It's probably half my size!

Beautiful scene and matching scarves
  The only time we are separated; if I cross and then the light turns red!
This is the elevator to our apartment- it has a home phone 
and a random picture, it's pretty homey ;)
 We made Laura's cinnamon rolls!

Restoration of the Gospel

Naha week 10 - wk 40

Monday January 11, 2016

This has been a really great week! On Wednesday we had a Restoration Movie night, after much searching we were able to find it in Japanese! (watch a video of the restoration here) And all of the people we are teaching came and were really touched by the sacrifices the early members of the church made. It was such a good reminder and testimony builder that Joseph Smith truly is a prophet of God. There's no way he could have done it on his own.

Then on Friday and Saturday Packard Shimai and I went to Futenma and Okinawa so that we could go on companion exchanges with the other sisters. It was a really neat opportunity to serve others and teach them some of the things I've been able to learn on the mission. I still have a lot to learn but it's fun to share what I have (:

I was really proud of Bearman Shimai, while I was gone she and another new missionary who came at the same time proselyted together! For 2 days! I knew she could do it and it has helped her realize that she can too!

I mentioned last week that a lady who was just baptized on Halloween, Shimoji Michiko, met a lady
on the train and talked to her about baptism, well now she wants to get baptized! So now we are teaching her and it's so great because she has a friend that is super excited about the Gospel and helps her out and explains stuff, it's wonderful! And we are working with a really cute college student from the Philippines who totally accepts everything we teach and is super awesome (:

With Love,

Lowe Shimai

On Jan 10, everyone that turned 20 during the last year dresses up in kimonos and goes to a big party! We walked by these girls on the street and asked if we could take a picture together!

A restaurant the senior missionary couple treated us to right off of the ocean! So beautiful!

 Random guy playing accordion

 Shimoji Shimai's mom, she's 78 and so Awesome!
 Found these Tangled bottles in the store this morning (:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

Monday January 4, 2016

Two awesome things happened this week:
1) a lady who just joined the church, Shimoji,  met a lady on the train and started talking to her about Christ and the blessings she's received through following and learning about Him. Well the lady she talked to had interest in learning more and so we started teaching her! She is a really sweet lady and I am so excited to be teaching her!

2) when I was in Fukuoka 2 weeks ago for training, Sister Bearman went out with the other Sisters in our apartment and found a really awesome guy from New York. He's never really been interested in learning about religion but as he talked to the sisters he said he felt a peace that he only finds when he goes on long walks at night by himself. So he said he wanted to meet again! And we were able to meet with him this last Saturday afternoon. It was an awesome lesson! We taught about how God is our Heavenly Father and we can strengthen our relationship with Him through Prayer. It was so simple, yet after we would teach a principle he would say something like, that's exactly what my question was, or that's what I was about to ask! We watched Earthly Father, Heavenly Father on and afterwards he was like, where can I find that, I want to watch it again! At the end of the
lesson he was like, I definitely want to learn more about this, and everything you're saying, just makes sense. It was amazing.

I really do love Japan and the Japanese people! I am so blessed to be able to be around them!

 New Year's Dinner!

The Lord has a plan for us! (Naha week 8 - wk 38)

Friday January 1, 2016

This has been a really good week. Last week was really stressful, but Christmas was a much needed revamp! We relaxed and watched Frozen as a district! It was so fun!

We are working right now with a woman named Kanako, she's actually my mom's age! Which is kind of cool. She and her mom really love the Church. They are coming almost every Sunday and they read the Book of Mormon together when they need to feel peace. It may take some time, but we are doing our best to help her prepare for baptism.

A cool experience we had this week: we were teaching Shimoji, who was just baptized in October, about Patriarchal Blessings. The member who was there shared a really cool personal experience regarding the promises in her Patriarchal Blessing being fulfilled when she returned to the Church and attended the Temple.  Hardships she has faced since then, that could have been devastating, have been lightened because of her knowledge of God's Plan and her understanding of ordinances performed in the Temple.  She is such a solid member and I am so grateful for her example of faith and endurance. I cried when she told her story.  I know that the Plan of Salvation is real and that Heavenly Father really did make a way for us to live again after we die with our families forever, through following Jesus Christ; it is because of Him that we can have this hope.

That has really got me thinking about how important it is to always be trying to become more like Christ, and seeking what He wants us to do.  I really like the talk The Lord has a plan for us!  by Elder Carlos A. Godoy, Oct 2014 General Conference. He poses a piercing question "If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessings be fulfilled?"

With Love,

Lowe Shimai

 We got scarves from the mission president's wife for Christmas!

Friday, February 5, 2016

It's Christmas! Naha week 7 (wk 37)

Friday December 25, 2015

I can't believe it's Friday, much less Christmas already!!

This Transfer me and my last companion Packard Shimai were assigned by our Mission President as Sister Training Leaders or STLs. This means that we will go on splits - or companion exchanges - with each of the sisters that are in Okinawa right now. It also means that we get to go to extra training to learn how to train others! So Monday afternoon we flew to Fukuoka together, and stayed overnight with the Fukuoka Sisters who are now Maglebee Shimai (who was in my apartment in Maebaru) and Carey Shimai (who was another new missionary my trainer trained) it was fun to see them again! Then we had training from 10am to 4pm on Tuesday from the Mission President and his assistants. One of my previous companions, Clements Shimai, was there. She's still in Nagasaki! I am kind of jealous! 
It was a great training. We talked a lot about how we can become more like Christ. I shared a short talk on Charity and how when we push out negative thoughts about others and ourselves, we are more able to love those around us, even complete strangers. After the training we flew home and I got back to Naha around 8 pm. Then on Wednesday we planned for the training we'd give to the Okinawa Zone on Thursday. We went up to Okinawa on Thursday and came home and planned the training for the Naha Zone training on Saturday. Needless to say, it's been a little crazy. But I am so glad I don't have to do this alone. I have an awesome companion who helps me always think positively and also my Savior who helps me when I am weak. 

I am so grateful for all the love I got in the Christmas Packages from the Wheaton Ward and family members! Thank you! Thank you! 
Lowe Shimai
 Our Christmas Lunch came from KFC. KFC is what they eat in Japan, it's super busy!

We sang with Colonel Sanders!

 *disclaimer - that's sparkling apple cider, in case anyone was wondering
The best gift of all was getting to Skype with my family and 
to hear Emily read me a book for the first time!

 A really nice lady ran back out after going inside and gave us butterfingers!
On the right, a return missionary who is awesome and has been helping out a lot! 
Her name is Kanako
 At shuri castle a couple weeks ago
 High school boys photo bombed my picture (:
 I came to Japan with these guys! We were in the MTC together!
 I taught Bearman Shimai how to make okonomiyaki! She made it herself!
 This is what a skirt jammed in disc brakes looks like...
 This is what me trying to fix it looks like...
 Random people from Nagasaki offered to take our picture
 A healthy apartment is a happy apartment!
 Our investigator Kanako
 Hot cocoa

Friends, Food & Fun! Naha week 6 (wk 36)

Tuesday December 15, 2015
This last week Bearman Shimai got a weird virus. The rest of her was fine but she just felt super nauseous and couldn't eat very much, if anything at all. It went on for a couple of days, I made applesauce and eggs and spinach tortillas to try to get some nutrients into her body but after just a little bit of food, her stomach just didn't feel good. It's been getting better the past couple of days and she's been eating more so that's been good.

We've been focusing on strengthening the members in our ward by visiting them and sharing messages with them. It's so awesome the power that missionaries have to brighten people's days and strengthen their faith just by the small acts of service that we do. I love it. I think of it like I am a way to bring sunshine into other people's lives. This is just such a neat, unique opportunity that I have to spend this time where I can literally walk up to anyone and everyone and just become their friend, and share with them a message of hope and happiness through Jesus Christ.

We got transfer calls, we are both staying here and I will be a Sister Training Leader next transfer with Packard Shimai. I am excited! It will be a neat opportunity to get to know all the sisters because I will be going on splits with them, but it's also kind of scary because I'll be training during zone conferences!

Shuri castle from when China owned Okinawa 

            They have you take your shoes off at the castle! I didn't mind!

 Where the king sat

Okinawa shirts

 Cool cake shape that's delicious

 We met a really skilled sculptor, he let us chat for a few minutes. He
just does this all day! So cool!

  The Naha building was the first church in Okinawa!
 Kinjiou Shimai she was baptized in 1964!
 Shimoji's first FHE! [Family Home Evening]
Our district. Minus two elders that weren't there, oops.

At a members house, snack equals plain sweet potato, pinneapple jello and hot chocolate. Exactly three things I would put together! Haha!
 We sang at the ward Christmas party
 Food at the ward Christmas party
Awesome Teruya family

At a Relief Society activity we had a contest for who could make their sushi the prettiest! (Top left: me & my sushi; Top right: Awesome Murayama Shimai & her sushi; Bottom left Bearman Shimai's sushi; Bottom right: #8 is the one that won)