Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving! But not yet / Week #26

Konnichiwa kyodai shimai!

So the weather here is still ridiculously nice. So nice that all of the winter clothes I just received (thanks mom!) will probably not be used unless I leave Okinawa. I have to make up excuses to wear sweaters. Usually it's indoors because that's the only time it's cold. Anyways...

So we may not have 2 baptismal dates like we've been challenged to, but we are accomplishing one of our other goals. Finding Peruvians (or anyone who speaks Spanish really)! And mainly it`s the other missionaries who have been finding them. Usually the people aren`t that interested but when they find out Pinzon Shimai speaks Spanish and is Columbian they totally open up and want us to come back. It`s funny. And then I stand there and nod while they speak Spanish. Although actually a lot of times I understand whats going on even though I have never taken Spanish in my life. Maybe I should have gone on a Spanish speaking mission...

So one cool story that happened this week. We went and saw Higa san. She's a lady we found housing like a month ago. She's part Filipino and Catholic. We've met with her a few times before but only for short times. Last time we told her that her Heavenly Father loved her and she was a child of God she started crying. It was so sweet. This time we wanted to try talking about family history. But she wasn't interested. She said she didn't want to do it. So we were kind of at a loss as to what to say. So Pinzon Shimai, like the genius she is, pulled out the Book of Mormon to share a scripture. 

The first time we met Higa san we learned that she had been given a Book of Mormon before but she had no idea where it was. We offered to give her another one but she said she was fine. So this time when Pinzon Shimai pulled it out to share a scripture she said "Can I have that?" We were like "Of course you can have it!" So we shared like 3 different scriptures with her and marked them with sticky notes so she could read them again. I've never seen that happen before. Somebody actually asked us if they could have a Book of Mormon? Miracle!

We also met with Tomoko san this week. Our joint, Gibo shimai, was awesome! Right off the bat she told Tomoko san she should be baptized. Of course Tomoko san doesn't really know what that is yet, but that's not the point. So we talked about God a lot and about good and evil. Actually Tomoko san did most of the talking, we're trying to work on getting in a word or two. We also talked about prayer again and Gibo shimai challenged her to pray to Heavenly Father. Because before I think she's always been praying to her mom. But by the end of the lesson I think Tomoko san was willing to try it, thanks to Gibo shimai's testimony. Members are great!

We also found this super cute family that we really want to become investigators. We talked to the wife the first time. Her name is Chiaki. She was totally willing to listen to our message about family history. And when we went back the second time her husband was there. He listened to us too, we just shared a short message about families. Mostly he just asked us where we were from but he was really nice which was surprising. A lot of times the husbands aren't so enthusiastic about us visiting. So we invited them to church. They didn't end up coming, but Chiaki actually responded to our text and said they went to visit her grandma or the kids grandma and that's why they couldn't come. So we definitely will go visit them again!

Lastly, one night we went down to this area called Awase to visit a less active family. We don't usually go down there so we followed the other sisters down this HUGE hill. The family fed us a heavenly dinner of eggs, potatoes, apple pie pancakes, pumpkin spice waffles, and candy bacon. It was amazing. Bacon with brown sugar on it? Yes. It literally was candy. Anyways, the other sisters had to go to another appointment so we had to figure out how to get back to our apartment. We had gps on our phone but it was late and we were trying to figure out how to get back on a main road and get back up the huge hill. Then our phone rang. It was Sister Crosby saying she had the feeling she was supposed to call us. They even went to the church to look for us but we weren't there. The Spirit it awesome! Heavenly Father cares even when it's just small things like not knowing how to get back home when it's late. Miracles!

So as far as having 2 investigators with baptismal dates, I don't really know who it's going to be. We have some people in mind we want to invite, but I don't know that any of them would be ready by next month. But Heavenly Father has been blessing us in other ways such as finding cool people to teach or inspiring Sister Crosby to call us when we really needed a ride home. It really makes me grateful when I look for the small miracles everyday. 

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! We will be eating at the church. The district is doing a dinner for missionaries, YSAs, and deployed spouse families. We will be well fed for sure. 

Love you!

Malone Shimai

                                         Dinner with Gibo Shimai - The bananas were so small!

Wells Shimai 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's finally getting chilly! / Week #25

Guess what? It's finally getting a little cold in Okinawa. At night now we actually put on sweaters. Ooooh. I can't even imagine being really cold right now. Watch I'll probably get sent to mainland and then I'll actually be cold.

So just a heads up for next week. Since it's Thanksgiving next week we might have Thursday be our P-day. But it could also be a good dendo opportunity so it might not be P-day. Either way just know if I don't write next Monday it means P-day is on Thursday. Otherwise, I'll write like normal.

So we did a lot of housing this week. Which is good. I think I'm getting more comfortable with it. I used to dread having to do housing for several hours and now I think I'm okay with it. Of course if there's somebody to teach I still would rather do that...

But me and Pinzon Shimai have been trying to use the My Family pamphlets in our housing. She's really good at it. We talk about how everyone has a family and the importance of family. Then we give them the pamphlet and Pinzon Shimai shows hers so they can see what one looks like when it's done, (or mostly done). Then we share how we believe families can be together forever. At the end we ask if we can come back another day to talk more about the pamphlet and see how they're doing with it. Everyone is pretty accepting of it. I think everyone can relate to family so people are more open to us coming back again. We still need to go back and visit them this week so we will see how it turns out. 

Some exciting news! We were finally able to meet Vanessa. I don't know how much I've mentioned her. Probably not at all. But we met her when we were signing onto base like a month and a half ago and found out she had been to our church before in mainland. (Also her best friend is a return missionary she met while in mainland. What?!). She's half Okinawan, half Peruvian. She's really nice. We got her number from a member and have been trying to set something up for several weeks now but she's really busy with work. But we went to a member's house for dinner and invited Vanessa. We're still not 100% sure about her interest level so we want to meet her again in a setting where we can talk more. But at least we finally met her!

The military branches had district conference this weekend. I don't know what it is but ever since I've been on my mission I absolutely LOVE conferences now. General conference, district conference, sometimes zone conference. The speakers were really good. The theme of the conference was spiritual growth. But each talk was always about spiritual growth through prayer, or fasting, or repentance. It was really good. I realized I need to make my prayers more sincere and really wanting what I'm asking for. Also fasting. Fasting is so powerful. If you really want something you have to be willing to sacrifice. Our effort and desire has to match the thing we want. Or something like that. They said it better than I can.

Anyways, I hope everyone has an awesome week! If you didn't write me, repent. If I haven't written you back, I'm sorry. I'm a busy missionary? Is that a good enough excuse?
Love you all! 

Malone Shimai

                                         Me & my bike with the church in the background - Okinawa

Okinawa City

November 2014 - Things are still growing here!

Watching "Ephraim's Rescue" at the movies - Pday

Jeffery Shimai, Wells Shimai & French Choro being silly!

Service at a less actives place - We love moving grass!

Korean Food - Bibimbap

Japanese people write things in English that don't make "sence"

Monday, November 10, 2014

What even happened this week? / Week #24

Guys this is serious. I`m starting to forget things. I think I`m going senile. Or I`m just a missionary and my brain can only hold important information like Japanese, scriptures, and members` or investigators names. Actors, song names, etc... are no longer important apparently.

This week was really good. I feel like we had a couple of slow weeks and now we`re back to our normal busy level. Rushing from one appointment to the next is how we like it.

Tuesday night there was a Relief Society activity that was so good! And the main reason it was so good is because Yuliya, Emi and her friend Midori, Karla, and Sam were all there! I think they all had a really good time. And Yuliya told us on Wednesday during the meeting she got goosebumps and felt warm inside. She totally felt the Spirit! And she came to church on Sunday! She is totally progressing. It`s in small ways but she is progressing. We showed her President Uchtdorf`s talk from general conference and talked about faith when we met with her on Wednesday.

Sam and Jonathan are doing solid. They came to church on Sunday and sat in their own little pew and looked like such a cute LDS family! Karla came to church too. I think coming to church has helped her because she seems to be doing better spiritually. She knows people will have questions and will tell her things about the church but she`s decided that`s okay. I think it also helped that the ward gave her visiting teachers and asked her to be a visiting teacher!

We received a couple referrals from the choro-tachi. We met with one of them, Tomoko-san. She`s 60. She has a husband and takes care of his parents who are in their 90s. Elder Wynn and Elder Jolly found her. She`s really funny but she has a difficult life. We taught her about prayer when we met with her. She wasn`t able to come to church but we hope to keep meeting with her.

For service on Saturday we got to help out with the Kadena Special Olympics. All of the Japanese special athletes come on base for the day to do events. We had to get up at 5:00 am to get on base and get registered. It rained the entire morning. But luckily a little after the athletes arrived the weather cleared up and it was so fun! Each of the companionships got a buddy and we take them to their events and help their families. Our buddy`s name was Kurama san. He is 17 and he did the 100 meter dash. He was so great. He would go around and talk to all his friends and talk about how fast he was going to run. He did so great! He didn`t medal, but he got like 4th place!

On Sunday Pinzon Shimai and I spoke in the Gushikawa branch. Speaking in English is so much easier than speaking in Japanese. Who knew? Our topic was Fully Committed to the Gospel and our remarks were based on President Uchtdorf`s talk Are You Sleeping through the Restoration? It`s so good. Everyone go read it right now. Don`t let yourself become sleepy in the Gospel!

Random notes:

Happy Birthday Allison!!!! November 11! You`re the best sister I`ve ever had! You`re turning 30  right? And next year will still be 30 right?

Thank you to Aunt Barbara and Uncle Bob for the package! How did you know all the things I needed? You guys are the best!

For zone P-day today we went on base and ate at Chili`s then reserved a movie theater at the USO and watched Ephraim`s Rescue! I had never seen it before but it was really good. Of course I was hoping it would be Meet the Mormons but that was never actually going to happen...

I hope everyone has a great week! Keep going strong! Or semi-strong! Or barely strong! Just keep going! Heavenly Father loves you, that much I know. Love you!

Malone Shimai

The Sea Wall - Okinawa                    

Our District - Okinawa

Eisa Performance by the American Kids      

Kadena Air Base Special Olympics
(Our buddy Kurama san)

Halloween Treats we made!             

Eating bulgarian food with members from the Japanese Ward



Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Halloween! Also it`s November! When did this happen?! / Week #23

So it sounds like everyone had a fun Halloween. Much colder than ours. The weather here is finally starting to cool down a little. But then I`ve said that before and it goes back to being hot. But I think this time it is real. We might be having another typhoon this weekend. We`ll see. I never believe it until I see it because people are always saying there`s a typhoon coming.

So we had a trunk or treat on Halloween and it was combined so there were a TON of people there. There were some awesome costumes too. Unfortunately I was too busy talking to people to think to take pictures of them. Bummer. We were really excited too because one of our potential investigators, Vanessa, said she was going to come but then she had to go into work at the last minute. We were so disappointed because we have been trying to meet with her for a while now and we thought it was finally going to happen. I guess we need to learn more patience still.

We went out so see a less active, Nakasone shimai this week. She said she was busy but her daughter let us in. She`s a former investigator I guess. She said she still prays and she remembered the last time Pinzon shimai was there. So it was a blessing in disguise. We may not have been able to see the less active, but we taught a lesson to her daughter. 

We met with Karla this week and I`m really glad we did because she was having a hard time again. Her husband looked up a lot of stuff online about the church and has been questioning everything and I think it was starting to plant some doubts in her mind. But Sister Nielsen, our joint, did a really good job of encouraging her and telling her to keep doing things like praying, reading, and attending church to spiritually strengthen herself.  By the end she was feeling a lot better. She also came to church on Sunday! She hadn`t been in a few weeks because her son was sick.

We also had Sam and Jonathan be joints for Emi`s lesson this week and it went really well! We taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy and Sam and Jonathan shared what they do on Sundays but then it just turned into them sharing their testimonies about the church and Heavenly Father and prayer and baptism. It was amazing. I felt the Spirit so strong. I`m sure Emi must have felt it too. She had a big smile on her face when they were testifying. They have what we call dendo fire!

Random points:

This week was Wells shimai`s birthday. We have had so much cake this week. Once people find out it`s your birthday they all want to give you cake. I never want to eat cake again! Or at least for like 3 weeks.

Crosby Shimai made the cutest snacks for our Eikaiwa Halloween activity. I will try to get pictures to you of them.

We had Bulgarian food last night. In the Japanese ward there`s a member who is half Okinawan, half Bulgarian and she invited us to her place and grilled a lot of meat Bulgarian style. 

Also all my notes have to do with food I`ve noticed.

Lastly, Happy Birthday to Megan! You`re now the big 23! Sorry it`s two days late, or I guess with the time zone difference it`s only one day late! 

I hope everyone has an awesome week and just know it is now okay to sing Christmas songs since it is after Halloween. That`s our policy here at least. It`s never too soon to start talking about Jesus Christ`s birth! Love you all!

Malone Shimai