Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Once again from mainland Japan... / Week #35

Konnichiwa minisan!
So this week went by super fast. I feel like I just barely emailed. Which I guess technically a week isn`t that long anyways.
So I`ve decided my new district is pretty awesome. There`s eight of us. The four sisters, and then the Tsuboi elders, and the Shimizu elders. The Tsuboi elders are both Nihonjin, Elder Oshima and Elder Yanagida. They`re hilarious. They`re so Nihonjin it kills me. Just one example: Elder Oshima is our district leader. During district meeting he writes chirashi kubari on the board (basically sticking flyers in everyones mail boxes) and circles it and tells us that we should all be doing this because it`s way effective. Then he hugged the white board. Yeah it`s inspiring. Now all I want to do is chirashi kubari.
The shimizu elders are Elder Madsen and Elder Stump. I found out Elder Stump is somehow related to the Reynolds in our stake. So Shannon if you ever see this I know your cousin!
Anyways, so we had a lesson with the Noguchi couple on Tuesday. We reviewed the first lesson with them because it had been a while. The Noguchis are a cute old couple in their 70s. They were investigators before but then they stopped taking lessons for a while. He actually read the entire Book of Mormon though and then they started taking lessons again. They are such a sweet couple and I truly think that they are looking for the truth because his health is not so good right now. We challenged them to pray together as a couple and to pray whether the Book of Mormon is true.
Also one night when we were streeting on the way back, Pinzon shimai stopped this lady. And she actually listened. Pinzon shimai asked if she had been to a church before. She said that she had been to several churches. So then we started talking about baptism and how we can have our sins wiped away. So she said she was open to coming to our church and she even gave us her phone number! That`s really rare. Usually people don`t want to give us their information (technically I understand why). So she called us on Saturday to ask when church was and we told her. She didn`t actually make it to church because she thought it was on Monday. But she wants to come still and is open to meeting with us to learn more. How cool is that?
Also I love our Eikaiwa class. I teach beginners with Pinzon shimai. But our students are so fun and they come to any church activities we invite them to. I feel like in Okinawa it was hard to get students to come out to church things, but there was a ward party this weekend and we had 6-7 students show up. We even have a few Eikaiwa students that we are teaching the lessons to. I`ve also decided that talking to and teaching young people is fun. Before I was kind of afraid to talk to people my age, but turns out it`s fun. Who knew?
We had interviews and training with kaicho this week and basically we came away with the message that we need to involve the Spirit more in our planning and finding and teaching! So that is our goal from now on. We need to pray at decision points when it comes to finding people, and we need to mogi (roleplay) a lot more! This way we will find those who Heavenly Father has truly prepared.
I hope everyone has a great week! Don`t freeze in Utah!

Malone Shimai

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tsuboi is Tsugoi! / Week #34

Konnichiwa minasan!
Well this has definitely been one of the most interesting weeks of my life. So we got transfer calls on Tuesday but ours didn`t come in until 6:00 pm. So of course that meant that I couldn`t write you to say where I was going. But since I was in Little America I figured the news would make it to you guys somehow. Thanks to Sister Ashby and Crosby shimai.
So I really wanted one more transfer in Okinawa. I love that place. I love the people there and the missionaries there and just how everything works there. And I thought I was going to get it. But I think Heavenly Father knew that and decided to throw me a curve ball. Because he likes to do that. But he`s also merciful. So I got on the phone and was told that I`m being transferred. Okay. Where I am going? To Tsuboi. That`s funny that`s where Pinzon shimai went. And your new companion is...Pinzon shimai. What?! Are you serious? You know I`ve only been away from her for one transfer right? Of course I was only thinking these things in my head. Out loud I just said WOW. So I`m finally going to mainland but luckily when I get there I already know my companion.
Then I started stressing about packing. To go to and leave from Okinawa your suitcases have to be under a certain weight otherwise you get charged an arm and a leg. Packing is not really my favorite thing. But I did it! And I did it pretty fast too. Mainly because I`m sending a huge box back home. Sorry...
So on Wednesday I got to say goodbye to a few people some in person, some over the phone. I was sad because I didn`t get to say bye to Karla but it`s okay. She has Facebook! So someday we will talk again.
Leaving Okinawa was hard. I was sad that I only got one transfer with Jeffery shimai. We got along really well and we were just starting to figure things out. But they need new missionaries in there to spice things up again.
On Thursday I got in the Crosby`s van along with Jeffery shimai and  Elder French and Elder Jolly. Elder Jolly went home! I can`t believe it. He`s like an Okinawan legend. I`m pretty sure he`s been there since the first convert got baptized. Okay maybe not. But a year is still a long time to be in one area.
Elder French transferred to Yamaguchi ken. Ha it`s cold up there. But it`s okay he`s Canadian so he can handle it. But the sad part is we didn`t even get to go on the same flight! I was on another flight with some missionaries going to Kumamoto. One was my future STL and the other was my future Zone leader. And I`m just a normal missionary. So even though Pinzon shimai is STL, the other STL lives in a different area called Nagamine. Thank goodness I don`t have to be STL. That would be a disaster ha. But the greatest news is we live with two sisters who are in the area right next to us called Shimizu. And one of my new roommates is none other than Magalogo Shimai!! We were in the MTC together! So I`m so happy we get to be roommates! It`s gonna be a blast.
So we took a flight to Fukuoka, then a subway, and finally a bus to Kumamoto. My area is Tsuboi. It`s a city. Like a big city. Totally different from what I`m used to. Okinawa City is like Provo/Orem scale. This is like Chicago. But with way less crime. But there`s totally a river and everything. So my apartment is on the 8th floor of a building and we are literally across from the church. It`s super convenient. The church also happens to be right behind a huge pachinko (slots) building. There truly is opposition in all things.
 It`s also way colder here. I`m such a baby. I`m used to beautiful Okinawa weather and now it`s like I`m back in Utah. But hopefully there won`t be any snow. I pray daily that it won`t snow. 
Things are totally different here but I`m excited to experience a different area. Like for instance right now instead of emailing from the church I`m in a library emailing and I can`t send pictures here so you probably will only get pictures like once a transfer. Sorry!! It will just make it more exciting right? But they have trains here! I want to ride the bullet train so bad! Hopefully I will get to.
We are already seeing miracles here and we are going to try really hard to build this area up and help the members because they are so cute and nice! And they have shokuji kai`s (meals) here after church so that`s awesome. But it`s definitely a chance for me to grow and learn and exercise some (A LOT) faith. I hope everyone has a great week! Whatever hard things you have coming your way just remember that Heavenly Father is there for you! You just have to talk to him.
Ja ne!
Malone Shimai

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Transfer week! / Week #33

Konnichiwa minisan! 

So it's transfer week once again. I can't believe I'm going to be on my 5th transfer. People are going to start thinking I know stuff or something. I honestly thought that I was staying in Okinawa for one more transfer but because of recent things I can't be sure anymore. Don't worry I'll be sure to email later when I find out!

But other than that this week has been good! I just want everyone to know that I am legal again! We had to go to Naha to get me a new registration card. It took about 2 and a half hours, but thanks to the member who works there I was able to get a new one!  He really helped a lot. So now if I do transfer I won't have to explain to Kaicho why I can't leave Okinawa. Yay for miracles!

We're still working with our recent converts. Elina is still awesome as always. I think maybe she should just come along with us for our other lessons because I think people will be converted after hearing her share her testimony. 

We also had two AB lessons with Okamune shimai this week. I think it's been a lot of information for her to absorb this week so she asked us a lot of questions. She said she's a little confused but she's still okay. We told her to just take it little by little. But she's still doing awesome.

We had a lesson with Sam and Jonathan too. Jonathan hasn't been able to come to church for the past few weeks because of his new job but he's pretty sure he can come this next Sunday. He feels so bad about it. We told him it's okay that we know he's trying his hardest. So we'll be praying that he can come to church on Sunday!

Also we met with Emi yesterday and kind of talked about whether she still wants to meet with us because it's been a while and she hasn't really been progressing. She still didn't give us a straight up answer but I think she's leaning towards no. But she said if she gets this new job she interviewed for she will be able to come to church on Sundays. So at the end we prayed that Emi would find a new job and that everything would work out. Then later that night she texted us and said she got the job! Prayer really does work!

Also I haven't talked about Minami in a really long time. Minami wasn't taking the lessons when I got here, although she had had them before. She still came to Eikaiwa though and on P-days we would go shopping or go out to do fun things. Before Pinzon shimai left we started doing lessons again. Mainly to practice our Japanese and to go over Lesson 5 which she never received before. But this transfer Minami has started coming to church every week. And at a Relief Society activity she told everyone her goal for this year is to start reading the Book of Mormon again. So we don't really know where this is coming from or what is motivating it but it's really cool!

So there's been lots of little miracles happening this transfer. Sometimes it's hard to see because here in Okinawa there's always baptisms happening, but if you don't have a baptism sometimes you feel like you're not doing enough. And we deal with 2 military branches and 1 ward and it's hard to know where to put our focus sometimes. But I've been reminded that Heavenly Father works miracles everyday whether it's a baptism or whether it's somebody on the street actually listening to you!

Transfers always bring changes, and I'm trying to be ready and willing for whatever Heavenly Father has in store for me. But I love Okinawa and I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had here. I hope everyone has a great week!

Malone Shimai

***Just found out tonight, Jan. 13th that Sister Malone is being transferred to mainland.  She will serve in Kumamoto with her first companion Sister Pinzon!!

Me hitting mocchi!

Getting ready to hit again!

Everything is cooler in Okinawa

Sam & I love photobombing

                                                 Me & Jeffery Shimai at the Aquarium

                                                        Before we were companions

I look like a flight attendant

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Years!!! / Week #32

Konnichiwa minisan!

I don't know how your New Years went but mine was pretty awesome! On New Years Eve we heard there were going to be fireworks shot up over the ocean...and that the show started at midnight. So, needless to say we went to bed at 10:30 pm and had a wonderful nights sleep and did not see or hear any fireworks. I bet none of you can beat that!

So first and foremost I want to wish my dad a Happy Birthday! I can't believe how old you are (or will be on the 7th)! But since this is public for all to see I will wish you a happy 51st birthday! After all age is just a number, sometimes a false one! Thank you for all you have done for me and for giving me such a wonderful sense of sarcasm...I mean humor.

So I know you've asked about my investigators and how they are doing. Truthfully right now we don't have too many investigators. I feel like for this transfer our focus has been on our recent converts. We counted it up and our district alone (so not even the whole island) has had 18 converts this year. So we are trying to focus on retaining and strengthening our recent converts. Have no fear though we are still doing our fair share of finding!

So we were able to teach Sam and Jonathan this week. We went over the Plan of Salvation again. I was surprised how much Jonathan remembered. Everytime we would ask him to explain something he always remembered. He always has really good questions too. He asked one that had us stumped actually. It had to do with the Millenium and the resurrection. I didn't even know he knew about that. And of course Sam just listens and tells him he doesn't need to ask so many questions that what he knows right now is fine. I love how different they are in their approaches, but both ways totally work.

We also got to teach Elina at the Connellys house. Brother Connelly is the ward mission leader for Futenma branch. So it was me and Jeffery Shimai, Mori and Kimura Shimai (the Futenma sisters), and Brother Connelly all teaching. You would think the lesson would be crazy and not flow very well. But it was awesome. Mainly because Elina just gets it. You can tell she has really thought about these things and prayed about them so that she has the answer for herself. We are there just to remind her. Then we ate homemade chicken noodle soup and homemade bread and I thought I was going to die and go to heaven...but I didn't.

We also went over to Yuliya's house to visit and share a message and Brother Kelley was there too! Yay! Brother Kelley is less active but the lessons always go really well when he is there. It's great to teach them as a family and I wish it could happen every time, but his schedule is really crazy. Marines, man. So we talked about remember Christ all through the year and not just at Christmastime. Then we watched He is the Gift, but turns out they had already seen it at the Wedekind's house. Way to go member missionaries!

One cool note: on Sunday it was fast and testimony meeting obviously. So we meet with a couple named Jack and Yoneko. Jack is a recent convert. But before he wasn't really sure what it meant to have a testimony and was reluctant to share his because of that. So Sister Jeffery and Sister Wells talked to him about it one time when they went to see them. And me and Sister Jeffery talked a little more about it this last time. And he totally went up there and shared his testimony! It was so good! We were so proud of him!

I can't believe it's 2015! Here's to a new year! I hope everyone has a good one!

Malone Shimai

                                    Aquarium on Okinawa - It was windy but great!

Whale Shark at the Aquarium

Jelly Fish

Dolphin show

Different breed of Dolphin

Some of the family at the Aquarium

Okinawan Sunset - Beautiful!!

Me & Jeffery Shimai at Futenma Shrine - You put your fortune up high for good luck.
We kept ours because we liked them!

                             Shrine - We threw 5 yen in and prayed - (to Heavenly Father)

Mocchi tsuki taikai or mocchi making party - Kids roll up mocchi to put in soup.

Selling local wares on the streets of Okinawa

Every time we go to Kadena Air Base we have to check in...we take it seriously!

                                 Visiting at a members house - Yoshi & Aiko Omine

Here we are again!