Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Years! / Week #31

Ok so since I just emailed on Thursday I don't have too much to say. Things are going back to normal here, although New Years is pretty big here. People make a lot of mocchi and go to the shrines and do cleaning. Yeah I don't really know.

But we went to the aquarium today which was really cool! I took a lot of pictures and half of them are just of fish but they looked so cool I just had to! They also had a dolphin show. I forgot that I love dolphins. 

Other than that things are just going back to normal after Christmas. Getting back to our normal routine. Not that it changed that much...

So a quick happy birthday to people. Sorry its late! Happy Birthday Heidi, Kristee, and Candace! I hope you guys had a good birthday and don't worry about the fact that you guys are old now. Just kidding. 

I hope everyone has a great week! Remember even though its not Christmas anymore you can still have that same spirit year-round!

Malone Shimai

P.S. Thank you Aunt Barbara and Uncle Bob for the package! I definitely will enjoy all the sweets. Although maybe I shouldn't...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

We Wish You A Merry Christmas- From Okinawa This Year! / Week #30

Konnichiwa and Meri Kurisumasu! Trying to spell it like Japanese people say it is hard.

So it was good to talk to you guys today! I'm not going to lie it was kind of weird and surreal. I feel like that didn't actually happen. I walked out of the room at the end and I feel like I returned to normal life. I guess that's a good thing right? I'm glad to hear everyone is doing good though. Also I'm emotionally unstable since becoming a missionary. Just seeing my nephews and hearing them talk made me want to cry. Geez.

Sorry Dev, I forgot to congratulate you on graduating last time! We are all graduated! But not all of us are done with school. Me and Bri just had to pick professions that require more. We should really rethink that.

Also, a big thank you to the Terrys and the Seagers! I will never see the Nephite Christmas in the same way again. That was such a cool talk. Also I love my socks and scarf and chapstick, etc. I don't know how you knew exactly what to send. It must have been the Spirit! But a big thank you to everyone who has sent me anything. I can't believe all of the gifts I have received this year. I truly know that Heavenly Father blesses his missionaries.

So this week has been great! Lots of opportunities to serve at Christmastime. We decorated sugar cookies for Family Home Evening and took them to members houses to help recent converts and members get to know each other better. So me, Jeffery Shimai, Gibo Shimai, Minami, and Sakamoto Shimai all piled into Crosby Shimai's van and we went and delivered cookies. We could not have found some of those places without Gibo Shimai. Thank goodness! And it was totally worth it to have members open up their doors and sing Silent Night to them and hand them cookies. I don't think Japanese people get sugar cookies very often. They were so happy! And I think we all had a good time too.

Things are going good with Okamune shimai, Elina, and Sam and Jonathan. They are awesome and actually they are great examples to me of striving to come unto and follow Christ more each day. Please keep Karla in your prayers though.

On Christmas Eve we went with some American members to a hospital and sang carols for the patients there. It was a bunch of old Japanese obachans and ojichans. They were sitting there staring as we sang. One of the grandpas came up front so he could be a part of the choir too. They loved it when we sang Joy to the World. I don't know why but that is one of the few Christmas songs that Japanese people know. The coolest part was when a sister played some traditional Okinawan songs and suddenly they all started singing them. It was reverse caroling but it was so touching to hear them recognize the song and then join in. Then we passed out presents and chocolate to them all. They wouldn't open their presents though. They just hold on to them. And they love when the little kids hand them their presents. A lot of them would use English phrases too. Everyone here in Okinawa knows some English I swear. Even 99 year old obachans.

We also had the opportunity to go to a members house for Christmas Eve. There were a lot of members there but also they invited their nonmember neighbors and a Japanese friend. So it was cool to talk with them and get to know them. I think the Japanese lady was happy that we spoke Japanese. But props to people who form friendships despite the language difference. At the end they showed the Nativity and shared their testimonies of Jesus Christ. Way to be awesome member missionaries! Also we might start teaching their neighbors. We'll see!

Also I have some news for you all. I lost my alien registration card a while back so technically I'm illegal right now. But I'm working on getting a new one, it's just a complicated process. But I can now say that I have been to the police station in Okinawa. Yeah! Illegal for the holidays! (But really I'm trying to get it fixed. Don't worry).

This has been my first Christmas away from home, but I'm grateful that Heavenly Father has provided many many people to make us feel loved and feel like family here in Okinawa. It has made this time of year easier and a special Christmas that I won't forget. I only hope that we can return the favor in some small measure.

Merry Christmas everyone! Love you all!

Malone Shimai

Big Christmas Tree lit up in "Music Town"

                                                             It was actually cold!!

My Package arrived - Can't believe how much you sent!

Socks from Seagers - Wear them everyday now in the apartment!

12 Days of Christmas gift we made for Karla

Christmas Baskets from one of the Wards - They are so good to us!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

I can`t believe it`s almost Christmas! / Week #29

Merry Christmas minasan! Ok not quite yet. I`m just excited okay?

So this last week has been very busy. Jeffery Shimai and I had Elina`s baptism to get ready and luckily we did most of it before hand because on Friday all the missionaries` phones got turned off. The only problem is in Okinawa we haven`t received our new phones so we have been going without phones for 4 days now. Pretty fun stuff. Also really inconvenient when you can`t set up appointments or ask people things. But it`s made us all really grateful for our phones. Missionary work is a lot better off with them. Also Jeffery shimai has been sick for quite some time. She is doing better but still has a nasty cough so keep her in your prayers!

So Elina`s baptism went amazingly well. I think that is the strongest I have ever felt the Spirit at a baptism. Her family came too which is really cool! Her dad is a less active and her mom and brother aren`t members. When Elina bore her testimony I know her family felt the Spirit. She talked about how lost she had been before she started praying and reading the scriptures. And now she`s so much happier and she knows what to teach her son and how to bring him up so he will become a good person.  She`s a crier and it totally made everyone else cry, including me. She wants to be the one to bring her family into the church and I know she can do it.

Sister Jeffery also gave a talk on the Spirit at the baptism. One thing she shared that her mom told her was really cool. She said some people think that a mission changes us into a different person. But I think a mission changes us into the person we were before when we lived with Heavenly Father. The person we are meant to be. It`s a cool thought.

One other cool thing we did this week is the 12 days of Christmas. We are supposed to pick someone and then do something for them every day until Christmas whether it`s a treat or message or text, etc. We really wanted to do it for Karla but we were nervous about overwhelming her by visiting her everyday, plus she lives on base so it`s difficult to get on. But we came up with the idea to make 12 cranes (I`ve been making cranes a lot lately) and then we divided up the talk Lord I Will Follow Thee by Elder Gavarret from General Conference into 12 parts and we included a scripture to look up each day with it. Then we put it in 12 little containers and put that in a Christmas box. (Daiso seriously is so amazing - it's a store here). Then we wrote that it is said that if you make a 1,000 cranes it is said you will never die (or something close to that), but we hope with these 12 cranes of Christmas that you will come unto Christ who is the true giver of everlasting life. So we gave her all 12 days in one box and dropped it off. I hope she does it because it`s really cool and hopefully will bring the Spirit each day until Christmas. We also told her to watch Because of Him and He Is the Gift, two really great Mormon messages. It`s a really awesome opportunity and we put a lot of work into it. I wish we could give one of those to everyone though and switch up what talk we include. How cool would that be?

We also had the Okinawa ward Christmas party. I don`t think there`s anything much cuter than a Japanese nativity or a line of little Japanese kids waiting to see Santa (a.k.a. Elder Clinger in a santa suit). I`ll send some pictures. Also I`m still always amazed at how much food there is at these things. They made homemade pizza, taco rice, chicken, and a whole bunch of salads and desserts and a huge cake. The Japanese know how to do it, let me tell you.

That being said I just want everyone to remember the true meaning of Christmas during this time. Go watch He Is the Gift on lds.org if you need a reminder. Even as a missionary I sometimes find myself forgetting why I am out here and focusing on the planning and scheduling and all the little details instead of remembering my Savior and how grateful I am to celebrate his birth this time of year and to share that with others. So please remember to share that joyful message with others you meet!

Have a merry Christmas everyone!

Malone Shimai

The Nativity at the Japanese Ward - So Cute!!

                                          Elder Clinger as Santa at the Ward Party
Elder Henrie had to sit on Santa's lap too!

Minami, Jueri and Jeffery Shimai

Elina's baptism - Nov 13, 2014

Elina's little boy Cameron

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

This week is crazy! / Week #28

Konnichiwa minisan!

Okay so as you all know transfers were last week and my new companion is Jeffery shimai. No big shocker since we already lived together. However, we are a 2 sister apartment now which is kind of lonely. I miss Wells shimai and Pinzon shimai! But it also has perks like more room in the fridge, and only one person showering in the morning and at night. So yeah. 

So we had to say goodbye to Wells shimai and Dolbin choro because they went home. Weird. Missionaries go home? I thought that was a myth. And then we had to say goodbye to Pinzon shimai and Ho choro because they transferred to Kumamoto area.

It was weird right at first though because Pinzon shimai was my mom (missionary term). I've never had any other companion besides her out in the field. So I kind of felt like a high school kid going to college again. I can do things for myself?! Scary! But also cool. But I got used to it really fast.

So for those of you who don't remember what I said about Jeffery shimai when she first came to the island (I don't really remember either), I will tell you about her again. She is from Provo, Utah so we are a classic companionship let me tell you. From Orem and Provo Utah. So original. Anyways, but she's cooler than I am because she's half Japanese whereas I am 100% white. Like as white as it gets. But we joke that we had to come halfway across the world to find someone who lives 15 minutes away. She's really cool and outgoing so that's good. The two of us together should be exciting. It already has been. 

So the thing about going from 4 sisters to 2 is we have to combine all of our investigators. We're still in the process of planning and working that out because we had no time this weekend. Why is that you ask? Well because Wells shimai and Jeffery shimai had two investigators with baptismal dates and one of those baptisms was on Sunday. So we basically only had time to plan for that and the other baptism happening this Saturday. It's been kind of crazy. But really great. Did I mention I love baptisms?

So Okamune san was baptized on Sunday! She is golden. Like really. She prayed and came up with her own baptismal date. When that happens you know the person is solid. I kind of feel like an intruder in the baptism pictures though because I never actually taught her. I just got to take over for Wells shimai. So in one of the pictures I held up a sign with her name on it so she could be represented.

The other baptismal date is Elina. She is half Japanese and is a referral from the awesome Wykles. She is really golden too. She has a lot of family members who are LDS and she even went to church when she was really young but was never baptized.  She has a son named Cameron and he is 5 and so cute! She has a really strong testimony. I like wanted to tear up when she shared it. Heavenly Father really does prepare people.

Also on Saturday was the Handel's Messiah Christmas concert at the church. Tons of people came and brought their friends. It was a really cool experience. There was this amazing trio-a violin, cello, and piano-that rocked some classical music as well as Let It Go from Frozen. Have I ever mentioned that Japan is obsessed with that song? Like more than America. I don't understand it. It's everywhere. Then for the Messiah part we had legitimate opera singers from Okinawa perform. It was so cool! And the coolest thing too was the choir that backed them up was made up mainly of members from the Okinawa ward. The last song they sang was O Holy Night. If people in that room weren't feeling the spirit, then something is seriously wrong with them. I think it was a really good experience for nonmembers to have as an introduction to our church.

Also, I finally saw Elder Robinson (Heidi's little brother) at the concert! I was wondering if I would ever see him before he went home.  I feel so bad I didn't get a picture with him. But he took one. So maybe it will end up on Facebook somewhere. I don't know. He just transferred into an area called Itoman. That's in a different zone so I won't really see him unless there's a big event again. But it was cool to see him.

Last of all Happy Birthday Devin (Dec. 7) and Jill (Dec. 10)!!! Sorry I'm not there to celebrate with you guys! Have lots of fun for me!

Malone Shimai

                                                    Me & Gibo shimai

District Meeting - Chicken n Dumplings

District Meeting

District Meeting

District Meeting

Okamune san's Baptism - Me & Jeffery shimai

Okamune san's Baptism

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Guess who has been out for 6 months? / This is it... / Week #27

Konnichiwa minisan!

So I realized that on November 28 I had officially reached my six month mark. How crazy is that? But that's not really important right? You know what is important? Food. Lots of it. I have eaten so much food this week I really just want to eat a normal meal at my apartment with normal portions. I know I know I shouldn't be complaining about the fact that people feed me. But it's just the AMOUNT that's killing me.

So my Thanksgiving was really fun. All of the missionaries on the island came to our church for lunch/dinner. It was cool to see some people I hadn't seen in a while and some I've never seen in my life. It wasn't just us missionaries though. It was families from Kadena, Gushikawa, and Futenma branches so there was a TON of food. I've never seen so many pies in my life. And I only had two pieces thank you very much. They also let us take the leftovers home. We're set for a while.

Basically this week has been a lot of contacting people who aren't home or calling people who don't call back but such is the life of a missionary. I've found that really small things can make my day now such as one person on the street who will stop and actually listen to us rather than rushing away, or one person who listens at their door instead of saying "sumimasen, choto isogashii" Or finding a joint for your lesson at the last minute when everybody else couldn't make it. Little tender mercies from Heavenly Father.

Our district is doing really good right now though. I think we have about 8 investigators with baptismal dates right now. We've all been praying really hard for people to be ready for baptism and it's been really cool how many miracles have happened. Of course Pinzon shimai and I are still searching for that investigator, but I'm sure they are out there!

We also have a goal next Sunday to have 250 nonmembers come to church. That's mission wide. Last time we met the goal of 200 so we should be able to make 250 right? So we've been challenging the members to invite someone to church for this next week. It will be exciting to see how many people show up!

I do have a special announcement: I put on tights for the first time last night! Yes that's right. Tights. But of course by the time we got to the church I kind of wished I hadn't put them on. But it's still exciting to think I can wear tights and jackets even in Okinawa!

So I still don't know about transfers. Hopefully I can email that today. We'll see. But I'm so glad to be in Okinawa and so grateful for the awesome missionaries in my area! Whatever the future brings, it's in Heavenly Father's hands.

Malone Shimai


So this is the moment you've been waiting for!

I'm staying in Okinawa! Surprise! Not really. I had a feeling I would stay. But the crazy thing is Pinzon shimai is leaving to go be an STL in Kumamoto. Wells shimai is going home, and Jeffery shimai is my new companion! So there will only be 2 sisters now in the Okinawa area. It's kind of sad but also I feel really good about everything. I was kind of freaking out at the thought of training but luckily Heavenly Father decided to have mercy on me and not make me a trainer yet. 
Hope everyone has a good week!

Malone Shimai

                           Thanksgiving Celebration at the church - Fun seeing everyone!

Thanksgiving - Nov. 2014

Yakiniku - This is probably the last pic of all of us...

Jeffery shimai and Wells shimai being weird!

Our District - Okinawa 2014

Our Christmas Pic!