Thursday, August 29, 2013


Dearest Mumsy and PopSicle,

I MADE IT TO JAPAN! KOBE IS THE BEST MISSION EVER, PRESIDENT ZINKE IS INCREDIBLE!   Right now, in the boundaries of the Kobe, Japan mission, at this MOMENT, there are people who are ready to hear the gospel. When I meet my companion and find out which area I'm going to tomorrow, I get to find out how many people there are in my AREA who are ready to hear the gospel.  I just want to get started right now!  haha!

Japan is really like another planet.  And it's so humid, it's like breathing underwater.  But it's truly incredible.  The Spirit hasn't stopped whispering that this is EXACTLY where I'm supposed to be!  P-Day is Monday, so I'll get to email again then.  This is just to let you know I'm okay.  

Well, I love you!
I'm so excited to FINALLY be here!

The church is true, the book is blue!

Sister Whitney Harris

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Off to Japan, She Goes!

From Idaho to Japan!
We were able to talk to Sister Harris today at the Salt Lake City and Seattle Airports.  She is so excited to be on her way to Japan!  She has such a great love for the Japanese people and is looking forward to serving them.  We can't wait to hear about her adventures as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Japan!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Mazu, Anzen ga arimasen! Kesshite!" First of all, you are never safe! NEVER!

This is most of our district, with most of the Nihonjin. One. Week. LEFT.

"Mazu, Anzen ga arimasen!  Kesshite!"  First of all, you are never safe!  NEVER! 
And THAT is how I started my talk on Sunday.

So as you can probably infer from last Sunday's entry, I was DEAD SURE I was safe.  They called Donnelly Shimai last week; they sure weren't going to call me.  Dead wrong.  I wrote my talk out of sheer obedience alone, never expecting to get called for a second.  So I wrote it, and it wasn't bad, but I also didn't worry too much about any grammar issues, and I didn't rewrite my talk so I could actually read it.  Because, you know, I was CONFIDENT I wasn't going to get called on.  Until about 2 seconds before they announced the names, and I had an epiphany. "Aww, man.  It's me."

"Our first talk will be given by Sister Harris, followed by..."  Dang it.  So I did they only thing I could do.  I gave my talk.  I read it straight from the paper, hands shaking as I tried not to stumble through my poor handwriting.  Not humiliating, but not as well as I would have liked to have done either.  I think God taught me a couple of lessons from this humbling experience.

First: obedience.  It's easy to see a rule and say, "That doesn't apply to me.  It doesn't matter if I don't do it."  To repeat, I was absolutely certain I wasn't going to give a talk.  God, however, knew otherwise.  Isaiah 55:8-9.  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."  We were all asked to prepare a talk, and, due to obedience to something I didn't see a need for and to prepare for something I didn't see coming, I was able to make it through."

Second: Preparation.  This one kind of goes along with the first one.  We never know what things God may call us to do.  We need to prepare wholeheartedly to be ready.  One of the MTC presidents was in our sacrament meeting last week and said, "This is the day for which you have been raised up."  What a pity it would be to not be ready when God had a golden opportunity knock on the door.  I kind of prepared, but not with everything I had.  As a result, I didn't do the best I could have and quite possibly embarrassed myself in front of the Nihonjin senkyoushi who arrived last week.  What could have been a strengthening and exciting experience was instead turned into a scary and mediocre one.

Moving on.  ELDER RICHARD G. SCOTT gave our devotional last Tuesday!  It was AWESOME!  And Scheffler Shimai and I (diligently not going to choir) actually had really good seats!  He talked about the different means in which we get answer to prayer, and why so often it seems our prayers go unanswered.  There were many answers to this, but one of my favorite was that God requires faith on our part, faith to act on answers and truth we have already received and to move forward, confident that God will not let us go astray.  If you're not getting an answer, that may be an answer in itself for the moment.

Powell Sensei, one of our teachers, finished his last final on Wednesday.  Because we're hilarious, we bought him a card and all signed it: a sympathy card.  "With deepest sympathies.  Sometimes, trials are so difficult, that only God knows how we feel."  Or something like that.  Then I wrote underneath" such is the experience of finals.  Congratulations on making it through!"  We're really funny.  Also, Powell Sensei told me that I was learning Japanese quickly, honto ni, he said, which was good to hear because I have been feeling a little discouraged about the language, seeing as I now leave in ONE WEEK.

Speaking of which, we got our TRAVEL PLANS!  We leave on Tuesday, reporting to the Travel Office at 4:30 am for our 8:30 flight to Seattle, and then on to the OSAKA airport!  I CAN'T WAIT TO GET TO JAPAN!  I'm also terrified, because I can't speak to or understand anyone, but still!  The Lord will provide!  I also got a package from my wonderful Peterson cousins and Aunt Holly and Uncle David!  I LOVED getting it, reading all their letters, using the cute notebook they sent, using the lotion, and handing out the Jesus stickers.  I'm kind of the sticker dealer of my district.

We did a companion swap for a little while this week, just for TRC, and Sister Scheffler is PSYCHIC!  She correctly predicted all of Powell Sensei's swaps for the shimaitachi and 2 of the swaps for the chorotachi.  The Shimai reasoning: "Sister Donnelly and Sister Harris, because you both like to talk, and you'll have to fight to speak over eachother.  Sister Tenney and Sister Broadhead, because then they'll both HAVE to talk.  And Me and Sister Colter, because she doesn't like to talk, but knows how to say a lot of things, and I LOVE to talk but don't know how to say things!"  Right. On. The Money.  Teaching with Donnelly Shimai was a wonderful experience.  She is strong in most of the areas I need the most help in.  She's really good at making natural transitions between points and ideas, and at asking good question sto be able to discern peoples' needs.  Even just in planning the lesson, she was really good at asking questions to get my input without it feeling forced or anything.  I would LOVE to develop both of these abilities, and am working on applying what I observed.  Sister Donnelly's going to be an AMAZING missionary.  Plus, we do our hundred challenge on MONDAY, the day before we leave.  Let's see how many we can do!  Right now, our final set after the workout is 78. 

And Sasaki-san is learning to feel God's love, Kimura san is learning to recognize the spirit, and Suzuki Kyoudai has a testimony and is going to be baptized!  I can't wait until we're actually teaching real investigators! 

I am seriously SO EXCITED TO GO TO JAPAN!  I don't know a whole lot, but I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Without the Spirit, I cannot succeed, but with the Spirit, I cannot fail!  There are Japanese brothers and sisters who are kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it, and I intend to be an instrument in the hand of the Lord in bringing it to them.  I couldn't be happier, and I couldn't be doing anything better with my life right now.  I LOVE this gospel and know that it is true with my whole soul! 

I won't be able to email again before I leave, so for the last time in America,

The church is true.
The Book is blue.
Tell you friends!
Ga dai suki desu!

-Sister Whitney

I LOVED the photo book!  I've been showing it to EVERYONE, and Sister Mack (the branch president's wife) came in to say goodnight to us, and ended up looking at the whole thing.  She almost got choked up a little bit and said, "You...have such a GREAT family."  My response?  "I know I do." :)  It is now my most prized posession.  :)

 In front of our temple with all of our Shimai, and our Nihonjin Murakami and Komai Shimai!

This is what the MTC laundry room looks like at 4:00 A.M. 

Taking lovely, ironic pictures on our last p-day at the MTC. We will miss these washers. Or not. 
Anyways...We were the only ones crazy enough to be here at 4.


Behold the new nametag! The JAPANESE nametag! And THAT is what Harisu Shimai looks like in
Japanese. :) It was a good moment when we walked into class to find these bad boys on our desks.