Sunday, July 27, 2014


Party party in my area!  I sent too many pictures, so this is going to have to be short!

Monday!  Fantasticness.  We visited a castle (see attached pictures and descriptions) and a flower park!  We then taught D******** at O*** Shimai`s house for FHE.

Tuesday: Got our apartment cleaning checked, got stinted for a lunch appointment by an investigator, but the member (O*** Shimai) still fed us lunch, did some service, got fed dinner, and had a lesson with H******** Shimai, who`s in a little bit of a rough spot right now.  Apparently while she was praying, she kept thinking about Buddhism, so she thinks that there has to be more than just God and Jesus, though she `trusts them too.`  This is not supposed to happen when you pray!  *sigh*  That`s okay.  We keep trying.

Wednesday - Interviews!  I think Welch Kaicho is fantastic!  For real!  I love him!  In my interview, I asked him about receiving revelation because I didn`t feel like I was very good at it, and he asked why, and I said a little part of it was that I hadn`t really seen much `success` on my mission, even though I know that`s not the only indicator of success, and he just jumped and started telling me stories about how a missionary who tries is never unsucessful and about all sorts of missionaries who thought that they had failed and then found out years later that they had helped someone. Needless to say my interview went way over.  He didn`t actually say anything new, but I`ve felt just about as much at peace during this week than I have during my entire mission.

And that took all day.  Actually, I have an experience about not delaying promptings that happened on the way home, but that might have to wait until next week.

Thursday - Got to teach a lesson to a PI, had a good lesson with LA O*** Shimai, who is now reading from the Book of Mormon every day by herself, and did SKK.

Friday - visited a PI the Elders found for us and she became a new investigator!  Y**** Shimai is great and already believes in God, but has always felt like he`s been more of a distant present in her life.  But she`s great! And then we went to O*** Shimai`s (yep, she does a lot for us) to have Okinawa tacos with an investigator.

Saturday did some housing and various missionary like things.  Then that night we got to go to an activity at the church and watch It`s a Wonderful Life! because Welch Kaicho gave us permission, because he`s awesome. Eddy Shimai and I were cracking up the entire time, and we`re not sure if it`s because the movie was that funny or just that it`s the first movie we`ve seen besides The Testaments and the Restoration movie in over year. Maybe the second one.  Our investigator enjoyed himself too.

Sunday - Church, and a temple fireside given by people from the temple presidency in Fukuoka; which was good. Then we taught a lesson to a less active named M***.  She breaks my heart.  She`s the sweetest thing and the president of two companies, so she`s always traveling, and always busy. And she knows the church is true. But many years ago, she was offended and left.  She realizes that people aren`t perfect and that everything we teach is true, but refuses to come back because she was offended.  And there is such an emptiness in her life because of it.  There is such a lack of love in her family and a lack of fulfillment besides everything she`s done.  It made me realize a little more how important it is just to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to be acted upon and let other people control us, even if it`s just someone who says something rude and not allowing our day to be ruined.  

Love you!

The Church is true!
The Book is blue!

Sister Whitney

This random lady came up to us at the flower park and asked to take a picture with us because we`re gaijin.  We gave her an eikaiwa chirashi.

Many fun pictures coming up!  Last preparation day we went to the castle and to a flower park!  Which didn`t actually have too many flowers this time of year but did have some mysterious slide things!  And some cool jungle ness.  

Also, we stopped on the way to take pictures with this fantastic cat car! I dedicate this car to Kathryn.  I think it`s a preschool bus.


Statue in front of the castle.

The road leading up to the castle.

Sister Eddy on that road.

The castle!

A cool tree!

The castle was super cool in person. I have more pictures!

Cool stairs!

 A demon face.  (Don't be scared; it's just a statue.)

I`m not sure what this is, but it`s cool.

Me on the other end of it.

 It looks like ANUBIS or something, but it`s just another cool statue.

Cool shrine.

An area of cool statue things.

The view from the top of the castle.

More from the top!  The castle was 6 floors high, with all sorts of cool exhibits inside, including lots of mesmerizing Samurai uniforms and helmets and pottery and art and a disturbingly large amount of taxedermied animals, but we weren`t allowed to take pictures inside. :(

Me and Sister Eddy at the top!

Random canary cage?

A chair.  Or a large telephone?  Possibly both.


We had to go from station to station (there were 4, collecting stamps.  Then, when we turned them all in, we got a postcard!  And got to keep the stamps!   Bye Bye, Castle!

This area looks more city-ish than the other areas I`ve been in, but there`s still absolutely no people out on the streets.  Probably fewer than in my other places.  There are definitely a lot more things to do on preparation days though!  And that`s wonderful.  Apparently it used to be a little bit busier, but a big factory shut down and a lot of people lost their jobs and moved away.

A random street.

Begin flower park pictures!  A beautiful bridge entering into the flower park.

The view over the side of the bridge.

The rest of the pictures are going to have to wait until next week!  O*** Shimai is taking us to see the towel factory today and this area is FAMOUS for towels, so this should be fun.  

A jo is a castle.  I still want to go bike the big bridge, go see little horses, see other castles, etc.  We got an recreation ENGLISH yes!  I have no idea bout the people question.  Because there are big cities with people all over!  That`s how it is whenever I go to conferences, because they always put the leaders in the cities.  Who knows?  There`s a decent amount of people riding bikes, but we can`t exactly force them to stop. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

God Loves All Of His Children.

was busy.  We had two lessons, which cut into preparation day considerably, but what do you do?  We`re not here to prepare; we`re here to do missionary work!  We first met with the lady that H***** Shimai and Eddy Shimai taught a lesson to during koukan`s (exchanges) last week, K********* Shimai, and talked about God. She loved it. Unfortunately, however, she`s travelling with her husband to Kyoto until August, so we`ve got a little bit of time until we can meet with her again.  But she`s a good one, I tell you!

Then we had a lesson with D******** at FHE at O*** Shimai`s house.  This poor man is just a slightly odd duck who kind of scared me when I got here, but he`s taught me a grand lesson about charity.  When I left the MTC, I got a priesthood blessing that said, `God loves all of his children.` Which puzzled me when I heard it, but has become more meaningful throughout my mission as I have encountered more and more people the world has just thrown away.  As I`ve met with D********** more and really come to understand that he just truly wants friends and does truly want to be a better person, I have come to feel God`s love for him more strongly than I could ever have imagined and been able to interact with him as a friend to give him some of the love he needs.  And, he`s come to church three times in a row now! 

We had a lesson an investigator.   I`m not proud to admit it, but I got mad. I get mad when people disrespect this Gospel which is so sacred to me and make light of the answers and testimony I am trying to return back to them.  And I get frustrated when people are too hard-hearted to have any desire to know, even when we`re giving them every reason to want to know.  And obviously this is bad.  Anger and frustration are bad. But I`m working on it.  So I testified that the things we were talking about are true, and that we are here not just to teach but to bless, to bring these blessings and these truth to those who truly want to know, and that it would help neither us nor him to continue in such a way as we had during this lesson.  And then Eddy Shimai stepped in and shared a sweet testimony about something or other.  And during his prayer at the end, he mostly just said he wanted to continue meeting with us.  So we`ll see where this goes.  Any ideas on how to help someone want to believe in God?

Taught a half of a lesson to a lady we found on Tuesday, who said she had a lot of interest in our message, but then when we actually began teaching interrupted every sentence with `Muri! (Impossible)`  `Chigaimasu! (You`re wrong!)`  I tried to say a few times, `We`re just sharing the things we believe, Ma`am, like you asked us to, because we`re seen the blessings from this message in our lives,` but after continuing for about 5 or 10 minutes, we realized this was not an atmosphere that the Spirit could dwell in, so we ended the lesson early and headed out to try to find someone who really would listen.  And we continue the search. Because we`re missionaries. And that`s what we do.  (And so do members.  Members do that too.)  Then we taught Eikaiwa.

We played ping pong with D**********, and then taught a lesson to O*** Shimai, a less active. We went in with a lesson about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and then immediately realized that was not the lesson she needed with she told us she was going to start opening her shop on Sundays so she wouldn`t be able to come to church.  I was right in the middle of testifying when a customer came in that she had to tend to (grr), but it gave us a chance to scrounge up a scripture story lesson.  We read from the scriptures about Lehi getting the commandment to take his family into the wilderness.  What an impossible seeming commandment, right? But then we reviewed the blessings they received in 1 Nephi 17:2 and 3 (I think) and discussed how obedience ALWAYS brings blessings.  She then prayed at the end, thanking the Lord for us guiding her way of thinking to be more like His.  And she came to church on Sunday!  For the first time in months!  She got there after the sacrament had been passed, and left right after to open her store, but still.  Baby steps, baby steps.

District meeting in Niihama!  The senior missionary couple brought us all lunch!  Spam onigiri rice balls and watermelon.  What wonderful humans. The N******`s are wonderful.
And then some housing.

Visited a PI, tried to share a message, but then went housing after she didn`t want us to because she had no interest.  We`re just knocking all of these no-interest folks out of the park!  Soon, there will be no one left we haven`t tried but those who are ready to be baptized!

Church!  D****** came again as well.  What a champ. And then we visited less actives with Active member O*** Shimai (there`s about 5 O***`s that we deal with regularly here.  It`s confusing.) for the rest of the day!

And that was the week.

The church is true!
The book is blue!

Sister Whitney

Yay!  Me and my package (which I loved) from Nana Rose (whom I love!)

And that`s actually all of my pictures this week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Aw Man, I Just Love Teaching About The Atonement!

I almost got to go on a real run this week!  I had a dream that I did.  It was Tuesday night, and I knew that we would be kokan-ing (going on exchanges) with the Sister Training leaders in a couple of days.  I also knew that just two weeks before Ochoa Shimai were in the same travel group to transfer to the new area and we talked extensively about how much we love running.  So Tuesday night`s dream involved us going on a big long run through Imabari as fast as we wanted!  I WAS right about kokan-ing with Ochoa Shimai, but she unfortunately didn`t bring her tennis shoes, so there went that dream.  The kokan was still great though.  But that`s wasn`t until Thursday.

WE CLEANED MOLD!  YES!  We got a call from the mission office telling us we needed to deep clean the mold from a lot of things in our apartment. But then the air conditioner was really moldy, and we didn`t know how to take it apart to clean it, so we were forbidden to use our air conditioner until someone came to fix it.  (If you`be ever been on this island in the middle of the summer, then you know this is a death sentence.) However, we were strong little soldiers and marched on for the week!  Also, we had Family Home Evening at O*** Shimai`s house. We were going to teach a lesson to our investigator that came until O*** Shimai decided she was doing a lesson on family history instead. The food was delicious, however, Okinawa Tacos (Rice with taco stuff on top).  Some of the yummiest food I`ve had in Japan!

We did some housing, and visited a PI the elders passed to us who set up an appointment.  YES!  We also had a lesson with H******* Shimai (whom we love) about the beginning of the plan of salvation.  We also got notice that we were going to go on Kokans with Sister Training Leaders on Thursday after the Meet the President Conference.  Which meant, make sure the apartment is really clean before you leave so they don`t judge you when they come. Haha.

To be honest, not a whole lot happened on Wednesday.  We decided to go to the more `city` area and try...wait for it...streeting!  It`s a completely foreign experience to me!  So we rode our bikes there, and looked for place with a couple of people around so we could try out our streeting skills...and kept riding...and kept riding...for about a half an hour around this place and found one person.  So then we decided housing was probably a better use of our time.  Haha, alas, I am the forever inaka missionary!

(Thing for mom--you wrote in my letter about most missionaries not being in the city.  I really am okay with that. I think I like the inaka better.  Having a million people around is really overwhelming. The only reason I wanted to go to the city is because it`s something different, and I just wanted to try it, just once, to see if I was any better at being a city missionary than I am at being an inaka missionary, which I`m just not very good at.  But it doesn`t look like that`s going to happen.  Which is okay.)

Then we had Kodomo Eikaiwa (kids English class) taught by an American and his Japanese wife from the branch, and we headed off to Okayama to spend the night before the conference the next day.

We met the new mission president!  President Phillip Welch and his wife.  I like them a lot.  They clearly really love Kobe and and us and the work. I`m excited to spend these next 5 months with them.  And apparently, there are some worldwide mission changes.  Now before being baptized, investigators must also hear lesson 5 (about laws and ordinances).  Until now, that was an after baptism thing.  And the world is now supposed to be focusing more on less actives.  

And during the conference, for some reason, I just felt good.  Which was then added on by the fabulous copy of the Ensign I read on the 4 hour long train/bus ride back, and then on our great kokan with the STL`s. I kokan`ed with Ochoa Shimai.  She`s from Mexico, but because she lived in Utah for so long, her English is perfect.  I absolutely loved kokan`ing with her, and asked her probably every question humanly possible.  Poor girl.  It was so fun, though!  We went and taught H******* san about the fall and the Atonement, and it was so powerful!  One of the most powerful lessons I`ve ever taught.  Aw man, I just LOVE teaching about the Atonement.  Just give me a couple miles worth of people who want to hear about the Atonement, and I`d teach that for the rest of my life!  The entire day was just a wonderful experience in general.

Mostly what I got from that day was the impression, `Try again.`  Yes, I`ve tried for a year, and it hasn`t been a perfect year, but I can try again.  I`ve got 5 months to do something right now.  Something from that article also fit with something Ochoa Shimai said during our kokans that really helped me.  She said that when we make mistakes, we don`t need to beat ourselves up and rerun it through our minds over and over again.  She said that instead we should thank God for our mistakes as an opportunity to teach us how to do better next time.  I hadn`t really thought of that before.  It helped a a lot, especially when I sometimes feel like I haven`t done anything on my mission BUT make mistakes.  I must be learning SO MUCH!  :)  I also got a lot about trying to receive personal revelation and working with members.

More kokan stuff and weekly planning.  But Eddy Shimai and Hayashi Shimai went to go teach the PI from the referrals, and she became a new investigator!  Yay!

We taught lessons to a couple of people named O***.

Church and visiting LA`s and stuff, and I have to go!

Love you!

The church is true,
The book is blue!

Sister Whitney

A fancy Japanese hair clip thing I bought .
 (It was, like, $13 bucks, though!)

We went to Okayama on Wednesday night for the Meet the President conference in the morning.  And this is what the manhole covers there look like!  It was awesome!

Hayashi Shimai and Ochoa Shimai (our Sister Training Leaders) and Sister Eddy with the yummy meal we made (Hayashi pasta and a yummy salad with mysterious calorieless salad noodles).  It was really yummy!  (We went on exchanges with them this week.)

Me and Ochoa Shimai (I went on exchanges with her.  By the way, her dad gave a great talk in general conference last year.)

All four of us dropping them off at the eki.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Here's A Quick Little Summary.

Sorry, I allocated my email time poorly this week, so here`s a quick little summary!

Monday - Family home evening at O*** Shimai`s.  Our investigator D****** san and his mother, who is a member  always come. We taught a lesson on loving each other.

Tuesday - We visited lots of less actives, and then had a lesson with H******* san, a really sweet investigator who is Buddhist but really wants to know if the church is true.  Also, she wants to introduce us to her boyfriend. And she`s fluent in English.

Wednesday - We visited a less active guy who was really nice.  We taught a lesson about God, gave him another Book of Mormon, and committed him to read a few verses about God.  He was very willing to let us come back.  We helped the S****** teach Children`s eikaiwa (which involves cards with animals, singing songs about walking in the jungle, and passing balls around) and met a cute less active family who came to visit the S***** from Utah. The family who came to visit the S****  have two daughters, ages around 6 and 12. They came too. They were really sweet and we enjoyed talking to them about Pokemon and candy, and how much we missed American candy!  They then showed up a few hours later at normal Eikaiwa with all of the candy they had brought with them on the plane to give to us.  We were thrilled, and they were really sweet.  We were also glad to hear that the missionaries were visiting them back in Utah too. Then we taught normal Eikaiwa later that night.  

Thursday - We had a lesson with a less active named O*** Shimai (there are millions of O***`s around here) about faith.  Then we went with a member named N****** Shimai to go share a little message with a very uninterested less active, but sometimes it`s the thought that counts.  Then she took us to a Chinese restaurant called Osho`s.  I ate Marbledorf and Gyoza, which was delicious.

Friday - District Meeting..which is like 2 hours away!  Alas.  However, there are FOUR Nihonjin in our district. (Ours is the only companion ship without one) so during J-Kaiwa (the hour where we all study Japanese together) all of us gaijin (foreigners) got one on one time with a Nihonjin!  Which was beautiful!  Aaaah, I want one so bad! We came back, did some housing, etc.

Saturday-- had a lesson with a less active at the church and talked about the temple.  Later that night we had branch family home evening!  There were pictures of all the missionaries families, so we got to introduce them, and then S****  Kyodai showed us his genealogy all the way back to Adam. We played a fun little game, and then ate curry and homemade pizza.  And D****** san and his mom came.  Which was good. :)

Sunday - church!  Sister Eddy spoke (so D****** san came to church--which is good!  Apparently this is the first time in forever that he`s come).  We also had a less active Filipina woman come who was very sweet and lives very far away, so it was a big deal that she came.  Church here is only two hours long because there`s so few people.  (There were only half as many people, but all three hours in Maizuru, so who knows. :)  There was also a random half hour at the end about properly cleaning the church.  The poor less active was just dying to get out of there, poor thing.  Then we did some finding.  

And that was the week.

And Welch Kaicho is officially our new president.  A moment of respectful silence for the Zinkes....  They done good.  They done good. And I love them! But I`m sure the Welches will be great too.

The church is true, 
The book is blue.

Sister Whitney!


Me and Sister Eddy on Thursday, June 26th, which is our one year as missionaries mark!

Just me with the 1 sign. :)

Another one of those funny train signs that is at the eki (train station) here.

This is the church.  It`s easily the nicest church I`ve ever had as a missionary.  And it`s really nice on the inside.  It`s an actual building!

There`s between 25 and 30 active members who come each week.

Also, the church used to be a video game store, that has since been converted (obviously) into a church.  The doors are automatic.  The sign in the second one says, `Matsu Jitsu Seito Iesu Kirisuto Kyoukai`, which means, `The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.`  The third picture says, `Go-jiyuu ni o hairi kudasai,` or `Please enter according to your honorific free will` or something like that.  Enter as you please. 

Inside of the church.

My bike now.  His name is Blazer.  I don`t like him.  He`s a mountain bike, which is really inconvenient for riding a bike with skirts, so either I have to wear my shorter skirts or tie them up in some crazy contorted way to keep from getting sucked into the tires/brakes and dying.