Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Okinawa: Tropical Storms, Humidity, and so much English! / Week #10

Konnichiwa minisan! Or ohayo gozaimasu! I don't know what time it is there. Also it's Monday here. Is it still Sunday there? So many things I don't know. So I'm in Japan. It's for real. But it still feels unreal sometimes. Also from now on I won't have much time so sorry if I don't answer your emails individually. I'm going to try and answer everyone's questions in this email. 

So just a quick recap. I flew from Salt Lake to Portland *shout out to Jill!* and from Portland to Tokyo which was about a 10 hour flight. I sat next to a girl who was on her way home to Tokyo to see her family. I totally gave her a pass along card and a Book of Mormon. Woohoo! I was so nervous but we had 10 hours next to each other so taking like 30 minutes to talk wasn't that bad. Then the 10 sisters who were going to Fukuoka had a 2 hour layover and that's when jet lag hit. I have never been so tired. I was trying not to fall asleep until the plane got there and I succeeded. But as soon as I sat in my seat next to Peterson Shimai and Ketch Shimai I was out. I didn't even get to see the safety video. So we landed in Fukuoka at 9:15 and President and Sister Gustafson were there to pick us up along with the APs. So we piled into two vans and drove to the mission home which is under the temple. We didn't get to go inside the temple but we slept right underneath it. 

The next morning we had orientation about our mission for about 3 hours. It made me feel better and at the same time it didn't. I'm somebody who gets nervous before I do things but once I can act I feel better. So I guess just hearing about everything kind of overwhelmed me because I hadn't experienced it yet. But it's all good. Then we interviewed with President and each of us paired up with a Sister serving in the Fukuoka area and went out. Me and Magalogo Shimai were actually with two sisters who were companions so we all went to the church and it took a long time because we were on foot. We practiced the first lesson at the church and then we were going out to dendo (missionary work) when it started raining. Me and Magalogo Shimai didn't have umbrellas so they bought us some and then it started pouring. So even though we had umbrellas my shoes were soaked and the bottom of my skirt. But somehow it was still fun. I was in Japan in a downpour. How cool is that? Then the new sisters who were all soaked went out to dinner with President and I had some Japanese food that I don't know the name of. It was good though. Then we went back to the mission home and watched videos on bicycle safety while I tried not to fall asleep because of jet lag. Then finally we went into the office to find out where we were going. It's on this large board and they pulled up the cover and we all got to see. And I found out I was going to Okinawa. So just know right now that I love where I'm at right now. But when I first saw that I was surprised and a little disappointed. But this is how Heavenly Father works with me. I had said I didn't want to go to Okinawa in the summer because it's so hot there. So of course Heavenly Father sends me there. The hardest part was I had to pack two of my suitcases and leave a third one behind because they only let you check one bag for the flight. And I had to be ready at six in the morning to go. So I was a little stressed out. But I got my two bags packed and stuffed all the extra in my big suitcase which would be sent in a few days. I found out me and Cox Shimai were both going to Okinawa but in different zones so it was a relief to have her with me on the flight. 

On the flight I fell asleep again and woke up to realize I couldn't see out of the window because of the clouds. The ocean was not very happy. But there wasn't too much turbulence and we landed in Okinawa. Yay for my last plane flight for hopefully quite some time! My companion and a senior couple were there to pick me up at the airport. My companion is Sister Pinzon. She is from Tennesee although originally from Colombia. She speaks Spanish and her English is perfect. She is the nicest person ever. She is so patient with me and all my mistakes. She's a great trainer. She has been out for about 9 months so she's halfway.

This first week was kind of hectic. But I was able to buy a bike. Yay! And it was on sale so I got it for like $400! Yay! Now I just need a basket put on. For now Pinzon Shimai is nice enough to stick my bag in her basket. My first day there we went and taught a lesson to a new investigator. This was on the military base so it was in English. She had a lot of questions and actually the members were really good at answering her questions so we didn't say too much. But Pinzon Shimai told me I should extend the baptismal invitation to her...so I did. It was weird to ask a real investigator to be baptized but I did. And she said yes! She felt like this Church was the right answer for her and we just need to teach her the rest of the lessons. And hopefully set a baptismal date next time. 

So here in Okinawa we serve 3 branches. Two military branches and a Japanese branch. So I've been speaking a lot of English. I'm not going to lie I'm nervous about my Japanese. I know I'll use it enough that I won't lose it, but I really want to improve it so that when I go to my next area in however many months I'm not behind. So I'm trying to speak a lot with Pinzon Shimai.

On Friday we had a tropical storm so we had to stay inside most of the day but luckily we had to finish up weekly planning which takes way longer when you don't know who any of your investigators are. But I'm learning. 

Saturday we played soccer on base and I'm still sore. The missionaries play with people who are actually good at soccer so I did a lot of running and tried to act like I knew what I was doing. But it was still fun. Saturday night the Japanese ward had a karaoke activity. They love karaoke! And they're pretty good at it. It was fun to meet people and practice my Japanese. 

Sunday we went to all three wards. Luckily its in one building which is nice. I bore my testimony in all three branches. Including in Japanese. It was the simplest testimony ever but everybody said I did a good job after. 

This place is different from what I expected. A mission is different from what I expected. It's hard and yet not hard at the same time. My main goal right now is to practice talking to people on the street. I'm so nervous to do it because I probably won't understand what they're saying back to me but I just need to get over it!

Well I am completely out of time! Sorry! I will send pictures next week and try to be faster about emailing everyone! Love you!

Malone Shimai

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