Saturday, March 28, 2015

Technology and missionaries, yes they actually do go together! / Week #43

Konnichiwa minasan!

First of all I need to wish my wonderful mother a Happy Birthday as of yesterday! You`re like almost 40 now right? Sorry I meant to do it last week but...I`m slowly losing it. Sorry I don`t have a legitimate excuse except to say that I think I understand how it feels to have pregnancy brain a little bit now. Having children does that to you.

But my bean-chan is doing great! She is really good at stopping people. Like she yells Konnichiwa! at people and they totally stop. Then I talk to them. I like it this way because I`m not always good a stopping people in a loud, bold voice. Which I`m trying to work on. But it`s easier to have your fresh, new, excited companion do it sometimes.

So this week we had a lesson with Yuri chan about the roles of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. But the coolest part is when we followed up on out commitment from last time to pray and ask Heavenly Father where she should go from this point. So she comes back and tells us that she has decided to read the entire Book of Mormon! How cool is that? She`s read from it before in scattered spots, but now she wants to start from the beginning and read the entire thing. I guess prayer really does help. We also talked about what is holding her back from baptism finally. She still has some doubts, but the main thing is her parents. Her mother knows a little about the church but her father doesn`t know anything and he would probably be opposed if he did. But at least we know now. We just need to work on from there.

We also had a lesson with Tsurunaga san who we found through the area book. We learned that she likes to talk A LOT. We talked for like 55 minutes and then gave like a 5 minute lesson. But at least we know now so we will go right into the lesson next time and focus on gospel topics. Haha but she`s great. She speaks really good English and she told us some hilarious stories about when she lived in America.

Okay okay I`ll get to the good stuff. So this week was kind of crazy because on Friday I went up to Fukuoka and left Hilke shimai with the Nagamine sisters. Don`t worry she had a good time.
But I ended up taking a 2 hour bus to Fukuoka by myself. Why? Because Magalogo shimai and Madsen choro missed the bus at their stop. And so I got on and discovered they weren`t on it, but it was too late. It was weird to be completely by myself. But don`t worry I didn`t do anything womp. I just took a nap while the man next to me probably wondered if I was going to end up falling asleep on his shoulder because my head kept nodding. 

Then I waited for Magalogo shimai`s and Madsen choro`s bus to come and we caught another bus and got off at what we thought was the right stop. Then we realized none of us knew how to get to the Fukuoka church from there. So I called my handy-dandy zone leader and asked him for directions because he knows Fukuoka like the back of his hand. (He used to be a zone leader there.) So we only arrived to choir practice like...an hour late. Everyone else was there already. Awkward!

But we had a good practice. Good enough to sing for an apostle of the Lord I guess. Then we went and ate indo curry (which was heavenly) and me and Magalogo shimai had to take 2 subways to a sisters apartment in Fujisaki. We learned a lot about the subway let me tell you. We received a lot of help from random Nihonjins because we had no idea where we were going. Luckily Japanese people are the nicest when it comes to lost people! But we made it! 

The next morning we got up at 5:00 in order to be at the church by 7:00 in order to practice again. Then all the missionaries in the mission started filing in (except for Okinawa obviously) and it was so cool to see people again! I finally saw Peterson shimai again!!! I haven`t seen her since I left honbu back in July! We also had an Okinawan reunion. Don`t worry I took a picture. I discovered to my utter dismay that all of my zone got to take the shinkanzen to Fukuoka that morning!! What?! My one chance to take the shink and I miss it because I`m in the choir! I was devastated.

But anyways, on to the important part. Elder Nelson came and spoke to us about ipads and using technology wisely. So yes, we are getting ipads soon. But there will be lots of training for them. Mainly Elder Nelson stressed to us to use our ipads worthily and righteously, not just for now, but for the rest of our lives. If we can learn to control ourselves on our mission, then we can do it for the rest of our lives. And teach our children too. He told us that the Brethren are giving ipads because they know that they can trust us. And most of all to remember our purpose as missionaries and remember the Saviors love for us. He said "The Savior is not disappointed in anyone with the desire and intent to repent." He spent the last 20 minutes of the taikai just teaching us about Jesus Christ and the meaning of his many titles. And of course of all times, my pen died and I couldn`t write his amazing words down. This would happen to me. 

We are to remember that we are not becoming an ipad mission. We are becoming full purpose missionaries. I know the ipads are really going to help us in our work. It`s going to move the work forward even more. And when we get Facebook at some point you all can follow me! You just can`t message me. Sorry!

I hope everyone has a good week! 

Malone Shimai

Kumamoto Chapel

Another pic of the Kumamoto Chapel

Okinawa Reunion - So fun to see everyone!!

Me & Peterson Shimai!!

Layton Shimai's Birthday

Me and Hilke shimai made this cake. This is why we don`t cook. 
There may have been smoke, and burnt bread.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Kumamoto I choose you! / Week #42

Konnichiwa minasan!!

So as you may have heard we went to Kumamoto castle this week with our investigator Yuri chan!! And it was great! Mainly because it meant going back to my old area Tsuboi. Man I love that place. But also because the cherry blossoms are coming out! I should`ve taken more pictures but we didn`t have a lot of time. So we went up many stairs to get to the main castle part. There we sat and watched three samurais use their best samurai voices to welcome us to Kumamoto castle and do an awesome dance/fight sequence. Someday you will see the video. It`s epic. Then we went inside and looked at all the relics and history of the castle until we reached the top! So many stairs. So steep. So narrow. I don't know how samurais walked up those stairs in the old days. No wonder they were fit. 

So things are starting to move along in our area. The biggest thing is that on Friday we actually had a training from our zone leaders. And this is the training I wish I had received when I first came into the mission. Basically they covered how we plan effectively, how we contact people, what we say, and how we follow up. Then we went and practiced it on the streets of Tsuboi because there are lots of people there. Also we did something that was really strange, and some of you may freak out at this, but my companion was an elder. That`s right. I did dendo with an elder. How? Because another elder and sister were across the street also dendoing. So technically we were within sight and hearing of each other. It was kind of weird, but also really cool to see how elders contact people. I really learned a lot and I think this is going to help us in our finding A LOT. Basically this training was an answer to my prayers because I knew that I needed to be doing things better, but I wasn`t sure how. 

On Saturday we went and tried out the things we learned and we met this girl Asami who lived in America (in Nebraska of all places) and went to church with her host family. So I showed her our flyer and started talking about church. Then she saw that we teach Ekaiwa and was really excited to learn more English. So we got her number and email and hopefully she will come to Ekaiwa this week, and then from there hopefully she will become a new investigator!

Also miracle for the week. Our zone leaders have asked us to call 2 people from our area book each day. Before this transfer I have not really done area book dendo. Basically you call former investigators and ask them if they would be interesting in taking lessons again. So I called this one lady and she didn`t answer. But 2 seconds later she called back. I introduced myself and she totally remembered meeting with the sister missionaries before. She also started speaking English which threw me off. But then she said "You have church tomorrow right? I can come at one. Is that okay?" Um yes. That is okay. So she came on Sunday. She actually couldn`t stay for church but we set up an appointment to meet on Wednesday! Yay for miracles when you are obedient and do what your zone leaders ask.

Thanks for everyone`s prayers. I`ve really felt better this week and I can see things starting to look up. Stay tuned for next week when I tell you all about the Elder Nelson conference!

Malone Shimai

Kumamoto Castle

                          Real Samurai! jk...but I have a video of them that is pretty epic!

Cherry Blossoms - Oh yeah, it's sakura time!!

We're at the top of the Castle!  So many stairs!!

View from the Castle - Mount Aso in the distance

Monday, March 9, 2015

Guess who`s coming to Fukuoka? / Week #41

Konnichiwa minasan!

So this week seems like a blur. I really can`t remember a lot that happened, but me and Hilke shimai have been doing our fair share of finding. No new investigators yet, but definitely lots of handing out chirashis and inviting people to church and telling them that there is a God and He loves them!

We went to Eikaiwa for the first time here and it`s definitely different than what I`m used to. They have all 3 classes in one big room so it`s really noisy. I`m back to teaching advanced class, which I`m a little sad about. I loved teaching the beginners class in Tsuboi! But now I teach with Parker choro and its great because the students just ask him questions about his life in Hawaii. And then I may have accidentally mentioned that he has a beautiful singing voice (he sang at the PCC in Hawaii) and now all the students want to hear him sing. Ooops.

We had Zone Conference yesterday so Kaicho and shimai and the APs came and gave us a great training about remembering "Christ is the Reason." The reason we do this work is because we love Christ and want to share his love and his gospel with others. And the only possible way we can accomplish this work is because of Christ`s Atonement. We talked about the enabling power of the Atonement and it`s something I needed to be reminded of since I`ve become a trainer and reopened an area. I`ve been feeling a little overwhelmed, but I need to remember to rely on the Lord`s help and humbly acknowledge that I most definitely cannot do this on my own.

Then we talked about breaking barriers with our investigators by asking inspired questions and using the teaching and commitment cycle. This was a great reminder for what we need to do with Yuri chan to find out what exactly is holding her back from baptism. We will let you know by next week how it goes! 

Also the coolest news by far is that Elder Nelson is coming to our mission!! He`s coming next Saturday on the 21st. And part of the big reason he is coming is to give a training on ipads. Yes we are getting ipads in April. It`s going to be way cool, it`s also going to cause a lot of problems. The other thing I found out yesterday is that they are organizing a choir to sing for Elder Nelson at the conference. And somehow they know who has a musical background and chose all of the people already and yes I am one of them. How do they know this stuff?! But the best part is that Magalogo shimai and Cox shimai are both in the choir too!! So we have a rehearsal the day before in Fukuoka and then we will perform the next day. So they emailed the music to us and we are supposed to practice on our own. I`m excited but also wondering how this is all going to turn out...

Also today we are planning on finally going to Kumamoto castle!! Duane I hope you`re proud of me for finally going! But it`s super cold today and maybe there was even some snow falling...I think that was a trick of my eyes though. Obviously it can`t be snowing here.

Thanks for all the prayers and support! I really do appreciate it! Have a great week!

Malone Shimai

Zone Conference - Me with 3 out of 4 companions!
It's impossible to take a picture without missionaries photobombing...
If you think missionaries are mature, you're dead wrong!!

And the 4th - Jeffery Shimai

Went to the Tojo's for dinner with our investigator Yuri chan.
So much fun!!  It was a hilarious mix of English and Japanese.
Love this family already!!

This is Kumamoto! / Week #40

Konnichiwa minasan!

So I`m in Kumamoto area now which is like 20 minutes away from Tsuboi. Probably the smoothest transfer I`ve ever had in terms of transportation. And packing wasn`t bad because I didn`t have to worry about a weight limit this time! Luckily Carvalho shimai transferred to Nagamine so we still live together, just in a different apartment.

So I know what you all really care about. And it`s not me. You want to hear about my bean chan! So her name is Sister Hilke. She is from Minnesota. She`s 19. And she likes reading and Lord of the Rings so we are going to be awesome companions obviously. But really she`s such a better bean than I was. I don`t deserve her. She is way braver than I was. But it`s interesting to watch her and remember when I used to be a bean and how I felt. Like not understanding any Japanese. At all.

But have no fear I`m taking care of my bean. We went and bought her a bike and got her all the essential things that beans need. Like rain suits and bike basket covers. Oh and food. We went out finding for the first time on Saturday and she did great. She already introduces us when people answer the door. I don`t think I said anything my whole first transfer. Man, how did Pinzon shimai put up with me?

If there is one blessing I`ve noticed already it`s that I`m able to understand more Japanese and use more Japanese than I thought I could. Maybe it`s just because it all depends on me now. Before with Pinzon shimai if I didn`t understand I didn`t worry about it too much because I figured she would. But now I`m the one who has to understand so I pay a lot more attention I think. I am by no means understanding everything that people say but enough to communicate. Yay for communication! 

So white washing into a new area (well a reopening area) is not my favorite thing. I`m hoping this is the only time on my mission I have to do this ( I probably just jinxed myself by saying that). Luckily I can ask Layton shimai about members and investigators because she was here last transfer and covered both Kumamoto and Nagamine areas. So we aren`t starting from scratch. But it`s definitely different when you don`t have a companion who has been in the area and can introduce you to everyone and tell you the state of investigators, less actives, etc. But I`m trying to do my best and learn quickly. 

Also I just have to make a comment about my new ward mission leader. I think my ward mission leaders are getting progressively outside the box of your typical ward mission leader. In Okinawa it was Tumori kyodai and he was a dad with like 4 kids so he was pretty normal. Then in Tsuboi it was a 19 year old who is preparing for his mission. And now my dendo shunin is a 31 year old artist who paints these awesome contemporary pieces of Christ and other people. It`s way interesting. I wonder what my next ward mission leader will be like...

Anyways, we went to church yesterday and met the members and they are way awesome! It`s a pretty good sized ward. Definitely a lot of people to get to know. But I`m excited for that. 
We also had a lesson with our investigator Yuri chan. She has been an investigator for a while. She`s received all the lessons so she knows pretty much everything she needs to in order to be baptized. I think she even had a baptismal date at one point. So our goal with her this transfer is to do a lot of BRT (build a relationship of trust) and get to the heart of why she`s holding back from baptism. But she`s super sweet. She`s in college studying English! (She reminds me of our investigator Emi in Tsuboi). 

We also had an appointment with a potential investigator Noguchi san (this is not the old couple in Tsuboi in case you are confused). But she had to cancel at the last minute so we are hoping to meet her this week instead.

We are doing a lot of finding, hoping to find some new investigators and get things rolling here in Kumamoto! I`m looking forward to the exciting things that will happen this transfer. This will definitely be an interesting transfer. Until next week!

Malone Shimai

Last time at Eikaiwa (English class)...  :(

Oshima Choro's farewell party - He's dead (going home) - I can't believe it!!

Oshima Choro and the swag team! (We made them hold this pose forever)

We are definitely an interesting bunch!!

The swag team is awesome!!  
They gave us t-shirts with a pic of us on the front and our kanji on the back.
(Those of us who are transferring)

I love my gift!!

I had no idea they were making those faces!

The Bishop and his wife took us to sushi.

My sushi!