Friday, December 5, 2014

Well, This Is It!

Well, this is it.  (I`m sorry I don`t have anything better than a cliche to start this out with.  お許し下さい.)  It was a great second to last week!  We taught 10 lessons and found three new investigators!  Which is basically unheard of for me.

Monday - We went to Kasuga Taisha shrine with our investigator, A Shimai!  It was quite fun.  We did some good finding. :) 

Tuesday - We met with A, a Chinese referral from Tokyo.  Her husband lives there, and just got baptized, so she`s really interested!  We had lunch with her at her college campus and got to teach her about God.  Turns out, she already has a Book of Mormon (in Cantonese!) and knows how to pray.  The funny thing is, when they sent us the referral, it said, `Japanese is not her strongest language.  Use very simple Japanese and Chinese materials to help her understand.` ...  Her Japanese is BEAUTIFUL, and at least 17 and a half times better than mine. :)
We also had a lesson with A Shimai which...well...was a lesson with A Shimai!

Wednesday -  We had a lesson with Fsan, which went really well!

Thursday - We met with E, the woman we found a little while ago who is interested in who Jesus Christ is and what the difference between Christian churches is.  She was really excited about the Book of Mormon!   We also met with K Shimai and started teaching the first half of the Restoration.  She started out the lesson by telling us she would never join the church, but by the end, the Spirit was still incredibly strong.

Friday - District Meeting.  They made me give ANOTHER dying testimony.  How many of those do they want me to give?!  Haha.  And then indo Curry for the last time.   We had a great lesson at the church with Fsan and set a baptismal date with her!  She wants to be baptized and grow closer to God.  the only thing stopping her is her job, which is always on Sundays.  When we brought up that she needed to come to church to get baptized and stay strong, though, she said that this week, she had suddenly felt like she should change her job, and it going to try to switch jobs this month, and begin coming regularly to church by the end of December!  Talk about the Lord preparing people!

Saturday - We met with K, a cute little 18 year old we met streeting the other week.  She came all the way to the church, which she was so impressed with.  She wants to come to church so badly!  And she believes in God, and she loves the Book of Mormon.  She was so excited to get one, and said she would read it over and over again.  Then we had a lesson with Isan--the lady we mysteriously got to teach when we went to go visit O Shimai the other week.  We got to share about the role of the Savior, and her daughter listened in as well.  We then went to the N`s for a fun FHE and dinner!

Sunday - Church!  Surprised all the members by telling them it was my last Sunday.  Watched an adorable primary program composed of 5 kids. :) Attended the branch SYA lunch, got to teach a sudden lesson with K Shimai, and she surprised us by going in for hugs at the end.

And that was the end. :)

I have a few more days left to give my all to the Lord, but this is my email, so I figure I should share my wise thing now.

Before Zinke Kaicho left, he told us the phrase that he had written on his meishi (business cards you hand out like candy) when he was a missionary.  It said, `Man can`t change the truth, but truth can change the man.`  At the time, I just thought it sounded epic, but didn`t give it a whole lot of thought until a couple of weeks ago when I was reminiscing about my mission.

Every missionary is assigned to a mission, which each have a `mission within the mission,` something that the Lord specifically wants the individual missionary to accomplish on his or her mission.  Mine, it seems, has been largely about internal, rather than external change.

During this last year and a half, I have been dedicated entirely to the truth, to simply put it.  The truth that God is our Heavenly Father who loves us, and that Jesus Christ is His Son. The truth that through Jesus Christ, we can be saved, live happier lives, and be perfected in Him.  The truth that in 1820, a young boy named Joseph Smith saw both the Father and a Son in a quiet little grove of trees, and that through Him, Jesus Christ`s true gospel has been restored on the earth today.  I have tried to preach these truths from my heart every day, largely to people who don`t want to listen. (But granted, the elect--those who WILL listen--are there.) But I know that they are true.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ`s true church, and that it contains the fullness of the Lord`s gospel as revealed to us today.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior.  I`ve known these truths not just since before my mission, but for as long as I can remember.  But during this year and I half, I have become closer to them.  These truths are no longer just things that I know, but things that I feel, things that I cannot live without.

If we let it, I know we can all be changed by the truth, every day.  And it isn`t easy, but it`s worth it.

The church is true.
The book is blue.

See you soon--

Harris Shimai

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Would I REALLY Rather Play Ping Pong Than Do That? No Way!


We got some winter boots for Croft Shimai (who needed them badly), and I bought some presents for the family. :)  And we went finding!


We had a lesson with A Shimai on Tuesday, which was pretty good.  It had been a little while since we`d met with her, but she texted us a couple of nights before telling us that she`s been feeling farther away from God lately, which she didn`t like.  So we met with her and talked about our mission theme and Walking with Jesus Christ.  She loved that, and said in her prayer afterwards that she didn`t feel quite so far away anymore.  She`s been making some reaaaally good progress this week.  Then we went to go visit a less active named I Shimai and shared a little message with her.  Her daughter is coming to visit from the states next week, and she said that she`ll come to church when they`re here!  Which is great!  Also, on the way, I had my first really good success with streeting!  So mostly, I`m just really bad at streeting--especially stopping people without being awkward.  But, we met a college student on a walk with her younger sister, talked about what happens after we die, shared Alma 40:12 with her there on the sidewalk.  She thought it was so cool that we exchanged numbers, and will hopefully be able to meet with her again this week. :~

ALMA 40:12:   12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

That night we had Eikaiwa, and after Eikaiwa, we usually have ping pong.  But I learned a lesson far more important than how to speak English or hit a plastic ball with a paddle.  It was my turn for pingpong when Tsan motioned me over to his laptop to show me the recipe book he`s making, which I knew was going to take a little bit of time.  For a moment or so, I wasn`t terribly excited about it, just halfheartedly saying, `Wow, that`s cool.  Looks delicious,` because I`m a punk who was just thinking about how I would rather play ping pong.  But then I looked at Tsan and how excited he was about his cookbook and I had another thought, `What do I want to do right now?  I could play ping pong, or I could show this man, my brother, some attention and care about him and make him feel good.  Would I REALLY rather play ping pong than do that?`  And I realized, no way!  It was just a silly little thing, but it made me think about putting my desires in perspective.  When I realized that, I didn`t care or think about ping pong at all, but was just grateful for the opportunity to talk to Tsan and praise him about his book.  If we can fix our desires to be in Alignment with the Lord`s, I know he can work INCREDIBLE miracles through us! And plenty of small ones that bring our spirit siblings joy and help them come closer unto Christ.


WENDESDAY was crazy.  We were bummed a little at the start, because we faced nothing but about 8 straight hours of finding.  Yuck.  But we made goals to pray at every decision point and seek the Lord`s direction in every decision we made, and we set off to work.  

At the beginning (for the first hour or so), we were housing.  (We like to switch things up to stay effective.)  And I was NOT doing a good job.  I was tired.  I didn`t want to be finding.  So we stopped, and I said a little prayer by myself, telling him how I was feeling, but then applying the lesson I learned about desire the night before.  I said, `Heavenly Father, I want to sleep right now.  Really badly.  But I promise that`s not really what I want.  I want to serve thee!  More than anything.  I know that I have so little time left to serve with all my heart and time.  Please, help me to FEEL this desire to serve and to find those of Thy children who will listen!  Strengthen me to do this work!`  The very next door became a PI.  And we just kept on finding, the rest of the day, 7 pi`s in total.  We found a Mom with a couple of kids, who wanted to know how Christianity helps family relationships, two teenage Sisters who want to learn English, but also think Jesus is cool (which is is), and old obaachan who is very devout Buddhist, but we hugged her, and she said she hadn`t been hugged in years, since her husband died; and another Mom who wanted us to come back in a couple days.  The Lord is leading this work!


Weekly planning, and a good lesson with K Shimai about prayer.  O Kyoudai came this time, and was a fantstic doseki with a strong testimony!  And after the lesson was over, he brought over pictures from when he was baptized, with the missionary who taught him--my molecular biology professor--Professor Nielsen--from BYU!  We`d talked about this before.  Semai sekai, as they say.  It`s a small world.

Also, Croft Shimai felt prompted to go visit a week PI we`d had from the week before, a Philipina woman named E who said her daughter had interest in Eikwaia.  We went over and told her we wanted to share a scripture with her from the Book of Mormon.  She said that she believes in one God, but lately she`s been wondering about who Jesus Christ is.  We testified of him to her, read Mosiah 16:7-9 with her, and she is so excited to study with us now!  We are so excited to meet with her.  She`s a kinjin!  A golden person. :)

Mosiah 16:7-9:  
And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

Also, we made dinner at the church with N Kyoudai, a member.  And he brought bread bowls and clam chowder.  DELICIOUS!


Zone conference.  Gave my dying testimony.  Saw Broadhead Shimai and Derksen Shimai and gave them both big hugs.  ALSO, watched "Meet the Mormons" during lunch.  The missionary mom at the end was the best.

Then we went and dosekied for P`s lesson for the Elders.  It was cool.  He wants to know if God`s there, because he realizes that if He is, he`s going to have to make some big changes in his life.


Had lunch with O Shimai and her inactive daughter, then had another great lesson with A Shimai in which she basically just shared all of the things she`s been learning from reading the  New Testament.  She is doing SOOO well.

Then we tried to find our way to the Stake President`s house with the elders to have dinner took us two hours.  ... we were late.  It was tricky.  They forgave us!  And it was DELICIOUS!  Then we sprinted home to make it back in time for planning.


CHURCH!  Talked to the older guy who lives close to us, and he said we can come back and share a message with him and his wife.

Then we went to go visit a member with the Elders and shared a message with her and her less active son.

I love the work!
The church is true!
The book is blue!

Love, Harris Shimai

Me at the Buddhist temple today!

Hōryū-ji (法隆寺?, lit. Temple of the Flourishing Law) is a Buddhist temple that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, in Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture, Japan. Its full name is Hōryū Gakumonji (法隆学問寺), or Learning Temple of the Flourishing Law, the complex serving as both a seminary and monastery.
The temple's pagoda is widely acknowledged to be one of the oldest wooden buildings existing in the world, underscoring Hōryū-ji's place as one of the most celebrated temples in Japan.[1][2] In 1993, Hōryū-ji was inscribed together with Hokki-ji as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area. The Japanese government lists several of its structures, sculptures and artifacts as National Treasures. A study of its shinbashira, the central wooden column almost suspended inside the in 2001 led to a conclusion about the structure being older than previously thought by a century.

The five-storey pagoda, located in Sai-in area, stands at 32.45 meters in height (122 feet) and is approximately 20X20 in width and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. The wood used in the center pillar of the pagoda is estimated through a dendrochronological analysis to have been felled in 594.[4] The central pillar rests three meters below the surface of the massive foundation stone, stretching into the ground. At its base is enshrined what is believed to be a fragment of one of Buddha's bones. Around it, four sculpted scenes from the life of the Buddha face north, east, south and west.[9] Although the pagoda is five-storied, it does not allow one to climb up inside, but it is rather designed to inspire people with its external view.[10]

    It was beautiful with all the trees.  You`ll just have to wait a couple of weeks to see the rest of the pictures!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Members are the Most Powerful Missionaries of Us All!


ONE OF THE GREATEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!  WE SAW SO MANY DEER THAT MY HEART WAS CLOSE TO BURSTING WITH JOYFULLNESS!  I sent lots of pictures, and each of those is a thousand words, so probably if I said anything else it would just be redundant.

Then we did some finding and taught a lesson to Fsan about why we need Jesus Christ.  And it was good. :)


Miracle.  We were a little bit discouraged this day because ... because.  But while we were attempting streeting, we saw the O`s from church driving by in their car, and they pulled over to talk to us for a little bit.  Later that day, O Shimai called us and asked us if we would come over and share a message with her.  We of course said that we would.  And we were excited.  O Shimai is the sweetest little lady ever.  She`s only 57, but is very very small and very very frail.  She has to use a walker in her home, and if she`s ever outside of her home (like at church) members of her family have to help her move. It`s like a slow dance with O Kyodai every time to get her from the car into the sacrament room. It`s heart breaking and precious at the same time.  Because she`s sick like this, she doesn`t really get to leave the house much, and I hear she just studies the scriptures  So she can out scripture bash anyone. She is soooo wise and if you tell her `Ai shite imasu!` (I love you), in Japanese, then she`ll say it back to you in her cute little voice in English.

Anyways.  We went over to her house, and her nurse, Isan is there.  Which is cool, and not unexpected.  Until Isan gets out her Book of Mormon.  And O Shimai tells us that she`s been teaching her since August, and  Isan says she believes in Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith.  WHOA.  Suffice it to say that she is our new investigator, and members are the most powerful missionaries of us all!

After Isan left, the O's fed us dinner and O Shimai told us about how she fasted for 9 days to get O Kyodai to like her after they got back from her missions.  She would pray every day, `Dear Heavenly Father, please bestow unto me O KYOUDAI!`  Bahaha, apparently, it worked.

And then Eikaiwa!


Lots of finding!  And then we found an older guy while streeting who`s a Christian.  He got out his bible and started reading to us (we didn`t quite understand, because Bible Japanese is HARD, especially when we can`t look at the writing to read it) and started telling us about how Maria is the true goddess.  Or something. We got to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon, and that was pretty cool.

Then we had exchanges with the STL`s in Habikino.  E Shimai came to our city to spend a day with Croft Shimai and I went to Habikino to learn wisdom from H Shimai from my doki.  It started to rain on our way home from the train station, and we were both without rain jackets or umbrellas.  And we were okay, having a good time, but a wonderful man insisted on giving us his umbrella before walking away.  Because people are good. :)


Lots of finding in Habikino!  It was a lot of fun to be with H Shimai, and she shared a LOT of deep stuff about the Atonement.  We thought about ways that I could street but still use my personality, and that was really helpful.  

When we got back and switched companionships again, we had dinner at the church (chocolate chip pancakes and ice cream) with the Elders, N Kyoudai, and P!


District meeting (we did a mogi), indo curry (delicious), weekly planning, and some finding.  Also, taught Fsan again, reviewing prayer.

Lots of finding and then volunteering at the Pan-ya!  It was cool, though.  On the way there, we met this girl on the train who believes in God and prays, and we gave her a book of Mormon!


Church!  Some finding!  Visiting PI`s!  And the like.

And we saw that the week was good. :)

Sorry, the Elders are here waiting to email, so I must go.

But, the church is true!
The book is blue!

Love, Sister Whitney

Moral of the day `Man can`t change the truth, but truth can change the man.` 

More on that next week.

The black bike I`m supposed to be riding.  I haven`t ridden him yet, because when I got here, he had a flat tire.  I can`t decide whether to call him Brigham or Boomer.  I WANT to call him Boomer, but I feel in my heart like he`s probably more of a Brigham.

This is the bike I DOOO ride.  Whoever bought him was a tiny human.  I call him Cream Soda White Bear.  Don`t ask why; it just fits.  Sometimes I just call him Bear (and sometimes Tomo-kun).

A picture of me getting my BIRTHDAY package full of delicious goods and wonderful cards that filled my soul with glee!

Me and Croft Shimai and the big BUDDHA shirts we bought.

Monday, November 10, 2014

God Guides Our Paths, Even When the Road Seems Dark and Uncertain.

Gomen, ne!  That means I`m sorry.

I spend a lot of time sending pictures, because deer are cool, but that results in the unfortunate consequence of not having lots of time to write.  Time for hyperspeed mode!


We were going to see the deer, almost there on our bikes WHEN we see this guy riding his bike next to us who says, `Morumon kyo?`  `Mormons?` and then says something about Joseph Smith?  Preparation day though it was, you don`t just pass up an opportunity like that, so we went to go talk to him in a coffee shop or something and got smoothies and taught him a lesson. He`s met the missionaries before, and read the book of Mormon. He`s an interesting guy, already a Christian (a member of the Society of Friends? or something like that), and looooves American history.  He introduced himself as J.  And he called us last night to set up another appointment and said that he`s spending all of his time lately looking up stuff about the Mormon trail and how Joseph Smith believes Native Americans were descended from Lamanites.  We`re meeting with him again on Thursday to give him to the Elders!

Then we had a lesson that night with H Kyodai.  He`s having a problem believing the Sabbath day is on Sunday and not Saturday, since it was on Saturday in the Old Testament.  This is tricky, but, hey, questions are good, because the answers are here!


We went and had a special missionary coordination meeting at the F`s house, and then had a Halloween party for Eikaiwa!  We played bingo and did trick or treat, and it was okay.  P,  our PI we found on the train last week, came and brought his Japanese friend, who ended up taking one of each of the pamphlets and a Book of Mormon before leaving the church.  Which was awesome!


We had a lesson with O Shimai, who has been reading from the Book of Mormon every day this week and says she`s seen a difference in her temperament this week, and is better able to deal with small challenges that come up.  That`s some of the power of the Book of Mormon right there!  We then had a lesson with H Kyodai that night, which went alright.  We testified about the Restoration and how prophets have the right to receive revelation for us (including regarding the Sabbath day).


We met with A Shimai and testified to her about how God guides our paths, even when the road seems dark and uncertain.  She said by the end, she didn`t feel scared of that anymore.  We also met with K Shimai and taught her about the chart by reading together from the Book of Mormon.  She sells vegetables on Thursdays, so we also bought what is apparently the most delicious spinach in here, completely untainted by pesticides. ;) Later that night, we ate Tacos with N Kyodai and the Elders!


My very last Zone Training Meeting, in Abeno in Osaka, which was really good.  Welch Kaicho is making a big push on personal conversion to the Book of Mormon and using it more effectively in our lessons now, so now everyone is supposed to read the Book of Mormon together by the end of February!  Which is awesome!  I`ve had a goal since August or so to read the Book of Mormon once more by the end of my mission, and I`m in Alma 42 right now...can I do it?  

We also talked about what recently became our new mission theme, `Walk with Me` from Moses 6:33-34 I think, about walking with the Savior.  At first, I was a little bit bummed, because our Zinke Kaicho theme `True Disciples, One and All` is the coolest thing ever.  But, we talked about the reasoning behind it.  According to Welch Kaicho, there are different levels in our relationship with God, made evident by the way the Lord addresses Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants, beginning first with `Joseph, my servant,` then progressing to, `Joseph, my disciple,` and finally, `Joseph, my friend.`  A disciple is someone who FOLLOWS Christ.  A friend is someone who walks BESIDE Him.  And that`s the level we want to achieve.  I LOVE this idea, and while `Walk with Me` may not yet sound quite as catchy in my ears, I love the idea behind it!

We went out to Indian Curry with some zone members afterwards, which was DELICIOUS!  Then, we went to go visit a less active I haven`t met yet called K Kyodai with two brothers from the ward, and it was the first time that we`ve brought members to his house apparently.  It went really well, and he was able to reestablish some ward relationships, and he says he`s going to come to church next Sunday!  Apparently, he`s very well known for keeping his word.

Then we went to go teach our neighbor in our apartment, FSan.  She`s so cool!  We taught about prayer last time, and she`s been praying every night!  She wants to grow closer to God, and is super cool.


MY BIRTHDAY!  Croft Shimai woke up early and made me pancakes because she`s a sweetheart, and then we went to go volunteer at the members` bread shop!  Finally, we came back and taught FSan again, which was awesome.  She says, `Of CourSE we need Christ`s help to get back to God!`  I like her a lot.


AWESOMENESS!  P and his friend Tsan came to church early, and we taught them about what would happen at church!  And apparently, P was reading the Book of Mormon throughout all of Sacrament meeting.  Then, our referral from last week, NSan, a 31 year old engineer came and we met with him as well!  He was a little bit trickier.  His Japanese is CRAZY hard, and has responses to questions like, `I don`t think eternal life sounds desirable at all.  If you`re happy all the time, you build up a tolerance to it, and then you`re not happy anymore. `  .... do you see my dilemma?  He`s cool though, and coming again next week!  Then, P and TSan invited us and MChan, a member, out to dinner, but we explained a little bit about the Sabbath and instead all made Yakisoba at the church!  Which was fun.

And that`s all.

The church is true!
The book is blue!

Love, Sister Whitney

This is where we go running in the mornings.  And this city loves deer so much, they`re even on the little bridge by where we go running.

Also by where we go running.

I'm feeding a deer!

"Come here, come here! I love you!"

The deer park is pretty. :)

Me and a deer and Sister Croft are the perfect companions!


Big Beautiful Shrine!

The biggest freestanding Buddha in the world.  He's big.

A little stuffed deer I bought for me.

Really fun socks (Buddha holding hello kitty).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

There Are So Many People Here.


We didn`t actually do anything too exciting last Monday, despite this being a tokai (city) area with things to do in it!  We went shopping with an investigator to get her a skirt to come to church.  And Croft Shimai got some striped heat tech sweat pants that she is loving to death.  And we wrote some letters and ate some food.  AND.  I bought a big bag of delicious MOCHI filled with ANKO (sweet bean paste) and I ate them all myself like an old greedy gobble gannet.  But they were delicious.

After that, we did some good housing and had a lesson with H Kyodai, this cool African guy that Croft Shimai baptized last transfer.  He wears fantastic sweaters and likes to `Talk about the faith.`


We had a lot of finding time, but saw a lot of miracles.  We started out attempting to street (which is still kind of a disaster for me. They took a country mouse and put her in the city!), and I had no idea what I was doing.  But eventually we stopped this older lady and started talking to her.  She said she had started reading the Bible and loved God and all of these wonderful things.  She didn`t have interest in us meeting with her, but we were able to give her a Book of Mormon, and she was really excited to read from it!

Then later, we went to go visit a PI from the area book, but they weren`t home.  I ended up getting stuck behind a light on the way back, and while she was waiting for me, Sister Croft started talking to this lady outside of her house.  By the time I got to the other side of the road, this lady invited us into her abandoned Okonomiyaki shop and we got to teach her!  She believes in God and doesn`t know much about Jesus, but she wants to know more and believes in him.  Her name is K Shimai, and she`s our new investigator of the week. :)

Then we had Eikaiwa.  THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE HERE. Like 30.  And all of the missionaries teach a different class. I taught the advanced class.  And did I tell you about Ksan last week?  We went to go visit a less active, but apparently they moved and we talked to an older man behind a pingpong box (the doorbell with speakers).  He came and was in the advanced class.  He says he`s not interested in religion, but I could hardly get him to talk about anything else!


We had a lesson with a less active named O Shimai.  She`s so sweet, but her situation is so sad.  She wants to come back to church, but her husband and mother in law are very, very against it. We asked her what her number one desire in life is, and she said it`s to return to church.  For now, we`re just helping her to feel the spirit and strengthening her testimony until something can be done about this strong family opposition.

We met with A Shimai again later as well.


We did a lot of finding, and then had dinner with the Elders and a member named N Kyodai.  He`s one of the 50 billion people here who are fluent in English because he lived in America for a long time.  I Kyodai also joined us for dinner, and we ate burritos and tacos!  Which was yummy.  I was glad.FRIDAY

District meeting!  It was good.  Also, I taught J-Kaiwa.  That was intimidating.  Every district meeting, the hour before the meeting we have J-Kaiwa, like Eikaiwa but for teaching Japanese to the foreign missionaries.  Usually a Nihonjin teaches it, but our district is unfortunately lacking in one.  And except for Sister Croft and one other missionary, everyone has as many transfers as I do or more.  But Elder Sorenson (our district leader) asked me to teach it, so I said yes.  Kind of intimidating, but I think it went alright!  And afterwards, we went out as a district for Indo Curry.  Which was, as always, delicious.

More streeting! And a cool miracle when we went on the train.  Sometimes, you can tell when people speak English because they look at you like they just want to talk to you.  One of such people started speaking us to the train, and his name is P.  Turns out, he`s from Taiwan, but lived in New Zealand since he was 10 (he`s 30 now), so his English is beautiful and has a cool accent.  We invited him to Eikaiwa to give him an opportunity to speak English with people, and he was excited. He`s a cool guy. 


We might have struggled with finding and realized that we have no idea what to do with streeting.  Haha.  But, we`re working on it!  And that night, we went to go volunteer at the I ( a member family) `s panya (bakery), which apprently we do every Saturday.  It was fun, and we got a LOOOT of bread afterwards, which is really bad for a girl who`s trying to be healthy.


And then we had a lesson with A, which was really good!  She`s a funny gal.  She`s read the Book of Mormon through twice and believes it, but doesn`t believe in eternal life and doesn`t want to be baptized.  She`s a tough cookie.  We watched a talk from general conference with her and it went really well!

Then we had a lesson with our neighbor, Fsan, about prayer.  She`s really sweet and has a strong desire to grow closer to God.

ALSO, we got an AWESOME referral from the Fukuoka mission about a man who was from here who was traveling there that they talked to about baptism, and was disappointed when they found out that he had to wait an entire month to be baptized.  WHAAAT?  We`re visiting him tonight!  the Lord works miracles!

And that`s all the time I have, because the elders are here.

The church is true!
The book is blue!

Sister Whitney

Me and Sister Croft on transfer day, by the tallest building in Japan!  True story. :)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We got free yakitori from some people we contacted in front of their yakitori (grilled chicken shop).

Us and the tsubumi (Howard Shimai`s favorite drink)

Me and a tree in front of world plaza.  This is what trees in Japan are like.

Me and our dear friend and a carebear costume Howard Shimai is going to wear!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Everything is Different Here! It's the City!


Monday was CRAZY.  Let`s just say that I was not expecting to transfer, so we didn`t actually go to email until, like 2.  Then, Howard Shimai insisted on us going shopping, so I bought a skirt with her.  Maybe I`ll send a picture sometime. :)  We went to FHE at O Shimai`s house with the Elders and Dsan, but then had to cut out early to come back home to teach our neighbors, TR and Mchan!  We started teaching them doing the Family English/Gospel program with them last week.  When they found out I was transferring, Mchan insisted on giving me her old Kanji book to practice from!  Unfortunately, 5th grade kanji is WAAAY above my level, so that will have to be put on hold for a little while.  I did get both of them to sign it, though!


WE KILLED OFF A MISSIONARY!  B Shimai and H Shimai came in from Matsuyama, prepared to send H Shimai back to the States.  We said some tender farewells, I took a picture next to a statue of a waterbender, and we were off into what we called san-nin (three people) week!  B Shimai`s a party.  At 11:30, we went to lunch with some of the practically fluent people from Eikaiwa and with the Elders.  And it was at the Kokusai hotel again (remember the unfortunate incident with all of the gross sushi and shrimp faces with Eddy Shimai?), but luckily this time we ate Chinese food instead, and it was actually delicious. :)

Later, we went to go teach Y Shimai with M Shimai (a member) and we taught her about Jesus Christ.  It went super well!  At first, she just kept saying, `I`m BUKKYO!` (Buddhist), but after M Shimai bore her testimony, Y Shimai said, `That would be cool.  I would love to become like M Shimai!`  She just said it`s going to take her a little bit of time to gain a testimony, is all, because she`s been raised bukkyo her whole life.  And that`s okay.  But she`s open to it, and she`s coming unto Christ already.  I told her at the end I was going to transfer, and she shot up straight away and said, `Do shiyou?!  DO SHIYOU?!?`  (What will we do?  What do we do?)  And then she was like, `Look into my eyes!` and put her face really really close to mine and stared for about 20 seconds really intensely.  And then she laughed and said she would remember me.  She`s a character, that obaachan. 

We also got to teach my beloved O Shimai and followed up with her about how wonderful it was she came to Sacrament meeting on Sunday!  She also showed us a fantastic Carebear costume that she`s going to let Howard Shimai wear for Halloween. :)  We told her we`d be back on Thursday.

Finally, we got to meet with H Shimai for an emergency goodbye lesson. I shared Mosiah 3:17 with her, and bore my testimony of the Savior.  She said that through her time meeting with the missionaries so far, that that verse is a really good summary of it all.  It ended up being a really good lesson, and we talked about how the gospel is simple...but complicated...but worth it.  `Kachi ga arimasu, yo.`  And then, she gave me a cute little Totoro keychain and the most delightful stickers I` ve ever seen.


We got to go visit Y Shimai (remember her?) and give her a Book of Mormon!  She also said that she might be able to meet with Sister Howard and her new trainee sometime soon, which would be so awesome.  It was great to see her and little Rchan looking so genki. :)

We tried visiting some other people who weren`t home, but then we got to go teach A Kyodai!  And we got to go in his house, because when you`re a san-nin, the third person acts like a doseki (member who comes with you to the lesson!).  It doesn`t count as a doseki lesson, but you can go into a man`s house without another woman, and it was such a powerful lesson!  A Kyodai is a rockstar, I tell you.  He read all of Mosiah 3 and came prepared with such deep and beautiful questions about how to recognize the Holy Ghost and why Jesus Christ performed the Atonement. He said verse 7 was his favorite, because he was `moved.`   And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.   I know this is true!  The Savior did this for us.  When we asked Him why he said, `Because he loves me.  Just like you taught me; he feels about me the same way I feel about my children.`  That`s true bits, A Kyodai.

Then we had children`s eikaiwa and I recorded a video on my camera of all of the kids (especially little Kchan) screaming the ABC`S at the top of their lungs and had a right good time doing so. :)

In between that and normal Eikaiwa, we went over for a farewell dinner at the W`s house for...BAKED ENCHILADAS.  HOLY DELICIOUS.  They make me so hungry just thinking about them!  AAAAH.  But they were delicious, as well that the raspberry pretzel pudding pastry thing Sister W made for desert.  I love the W`s so much, and I`m so sad to leave them!  They are doing sooo much good for Imabari and the branch and even the investigators though, and I`m so grateful to God for putting them there. I feel like they`re another set of grandparents, so I`m hoping I make it on their family tree!


We had plans to visit a lot of people, including teaching O Shimai, but then we got word that instead of leaving for transfers at 5:30 like we had planned, we would have to leave at 11:30 (long story).  We did get to go visit Esan one last time with the Scotts, her English teachers from 20 years ago!  It went so well and she made us delicious apple pie!  And then we transferred, picked up B Shimai and dropped off B Shimai in Matsuyama, and went to Okayama, where we had some delicious cheese bread and  a drink called Boba?  All I really know is that it was yummy.  Then Howard Shimai met up with her other humans going to train and left us behind.  We picked up W Shimai, though, and she`s a sweetheart.  We stayed the night in Okayama.


MORE TRANSFERRING!  I went to all three transfer points across the mission in one day!  From Okayama to San no Miya in Kobe, traveled from there with Derksen Shimai and some other missionaries to Tenouji in Abeno, where I met Croft Shimai!  She`s a 4th transfer.  She`s been here the whole time, and loves it to death.   She is always doing her best to give the Lord her all!  She`s also a sweetheart, and secretly serves.  She`s been laying out my futon for me every night and cooks delicious Japanese food.  I need to get her to stop cooking for me, though, or I`ll get fat!  At Tenouji, we took a picture together by the tallest building in Japan!  And then she took me home and filled me in on my new area.


Everything is DIFFERENT here!  For one, It is the CITY.  (What in the world?  An old dog can`t learn new tricks!  ganbarimasu!)  I`m doing my best to learn streeting, and it hasn`t been toooooo awkward so far. haha.  We had a lesson with A Shimai (who speaks English.  Unfortunately, almost every one here speaks English--my Japanese is going to get soooo bad!).  She told me that I have a shy personality and to stop being nervous.  I like her, though! We visited some people, did some streeting, and had Family Home Evening at the H family`s house, which was really fun!


OH MY GOODNESS THE CHURCH BUILDING IS HUGE AND HAS THREE STORIES AND REAL PEWS IN THE SACRAMENT ROOM, AND THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT I DON`T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF, AND I`M JUST TRYING TO MEMORIZE NAMES, AND THERE`S LIKE 70 OR 80 PEOPLE WHO COME EVERY WEEK.  DOES THIS EVEN EXIST IN JAPAN?!?  Apparently yes.  Yet somehow, they`re still a branch?  Don`t quite understand that.  But anyways.  It completely blew my mind.  I`m trying to learn all of their names, though!  And I gave a self-introduction/testimony during sacrament meeting (at a real PULPIT!) that made everyone laugh  by telling them, honestly, that I`d wanted to come to here since the beginning of my mission, ever since I heard a missionary in the MTC say that some area had a park with lots of tiny little deer that you can pet.

On a related note, one thing that I have learned from the people ion Japan is not to compare--yourself with others, or other people to other people.  So many people came up to me afterwards and said what seemed quite honestly how impressed they were with my Japanese.  The thing is, I know that the missionary who was here before me, M Shimai, was a LOT better at Japanese than I am.  And had been in Japan for quite a bit less time.  (She`s part Japanese and studied before her mission.)  But the people here didn`t even seem to think about that for a second.  They just saw me for who I am and my Japanese level for what it is and complimented sweetly.  That`s one of my goals for this transfer is not to compare.  People are at the level that they are at, and everyone is just doing their best.

Anyways, that was the just of my week.

I know that the church is true!
The book is blue!

Love, Sister Whitney