Monday, April 20, 2015

Spiders and missionary work / Week #47

Konnichiwa minasan!

Well there`s been a lot more rain lately. You just get used to wearing your rain suit everywhere you go. Do I feel weird about it? No not really. Because Nihonjins wear them too! I love Japanese people. They take something that would be unfashionable in other places, but is necessary and make it socially acceptable. So wearing sick masks, or wearing sun visors that cover your entire face, or guys carrying purses...ok so maybe that last one is a little different. But it`s great! But as missionaries we still tend to stand out. Curse us and our white helmets. That`s one thing that Nihonjin have not really followed along with.

With the warmer weather me and Hilke shimai have also noticed the return of spiders. And both of us are terrified. We have already had one close encounter with a BIG spider where Hilke shimai almost lost her life. Okay maybe I exaggerate a little. But I`m not exaggerating when I say that we went up 5 flights of stairs of this old apartment and at the top in the corner was a bat. And it totally flew at Hilke shimai`s face. So we ran for our lives. And shortly after that we had the encounter with the spider. Let`s just say that nature is not on the side of missionary work. But we will not give up! (Unless there is a huge spider in the way, we might be deterred.)

So we were able to meet with Yuri chan and Tsurunaga san this week! We taught Yuri chan about the priesthood, and were helped by Fukino kyodai who is a convert of about 2 years I think. He`s awesome and I always love hearing his perspective on the gospel because he always sees things differently than someone who has been a member for a long time. We have pretty much finished any lessons Yuri chan may have not heard before. So this coming week we want to extend a baptismal invitation to her and help her take that next step, even if she may still have questions and doubts.

We met with Tsurunaga san and read from Alma 32 and challenged her to read from the Book of Mormon a little bit everyday. When we were reading from Alma 32 she totally felt the Spirit. Her brother was a member and he passed away from cancer but he was holding the Book of Mormon when he passed, so I know she knows there is something important about it. But it`s just a matter of her seeing how the Book of Mormon can personally help her. 

We also had Zone Training Meeting this week. The zone leaders did a really great job of reminding us of our purpose for being here. Sometimes when you get out on your mission and things get difficult you forget why you wanted to serve a mission and what kind of missionary you wanted to be. So we all shared why we are out here and hearing everyone`s testimonies really helped all of us remember why we are here and what we want to become. It was a good reminder for me. I get bogged down with the everyday rigors of missionary work and forget about what kind of missionary I want to be and how I ultimately am trying to be more like my Savior. So just remember in your everyday busy lives to look at the bigger picture and make goals to stretch yourself, to become more like the Savior little by little everyday. Like L. Whitney Clayton talked about the little girl Sailor who saw the light and followed it to reach safety. Sometimes that light was out of sight and she had to keep going even when she couldn`t see it. So even if we may feel like we don`t see or feel the Savior`s light, just keep pushing through and you will find Him again. 

Also because I know all of you are dying to know, I still don`t have an ipad. But our zone leaders do. And they like to pull them out at any opportunity:) Just ask them and they will show you. 

Until next week!

Malone Shimai

Sometimes the winds are very strong here!  
The struggles of missionary life!

You won't believe what Japanese people put in their yards or on their porches. 
Statues of dogs, cats, gnomes & apparently jaguars!

Sometimes we're just silly...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The end of one transfer, the beginning of another, and more importantly General Conference! Is this subject line too long? / Week #46

Konnichiwa minasan!

Well another transfer has ended! I hesitate to say that I`m a transfer 7 missionary now because some people might get confused and think that I know what I`m doing. Which is false!  

Probably to no one`s surprise I am still in Kumamoto with Hilke shimai! Thank goodness. But there were lots of changes in our district. Since Parker choro went home we got a new zone leader-Boyden choro. And turns out he is my kohai from the MTC. So he is a zone leader at transfer 6. He gets to be the lucky elder to kill McClane choro. (Not literally, this is a missionary term, don`t want to alarm anyone).  Layton shimai also transferred out so the new sister is from Fiji and her name is Taufaga shimai! She`s way cool. And last but not least, we have a new district leader! And he`s a Nihonjin! Keikyu choro! He`s kind of quiet, but don`t worry, by the end of this transfer me and Hilke shimai will have changed that:)

We watched General Conference this weekend with all the Tsuboi and Shimizu missionaries. I always love seeing them again. But back to General Conference, all of the talks were so good! I just want to watch all of them again. But I took pretty good notes so at least I can go back and read over my notes again. There was a big focus on family and marriage, but I also noticed that a lot of the talks focused on finding peace amid troubling circumstances. I think that is going to become more and more important in today`s world. Even as a missionary, that`s important. If we can just keep our focus on Christ, even if we are unsure of everything else, even if everything else seems to be against us, He will not desert us. I feel like that was the message in several of the talks and it is what stood out most to me. I hope the gospel is still wonderful to all of you. It was something I needed to be reminded of. 

So we didn`t get to meet with Tomomi or Tsurunaga san this week. But we did meet with Yuri chan. And she came to General Conference! She`s the best! She liked how some of the talks spoke on people who have doubts and questions about the gospel, since that is something she also struggles with. I hope that she was able to find answers to some of her questions through watching conference. I know I found answers to mine! 

Well that`s pretty much it for this week! Thank you for all of your prayers. It really helps. We will keep on ganbaruing in the Lord`s work and do our best to be instruments in his hand. Have a great week!

Malone Shimai

Pretty flowers are coming out!

Eikaiwa!  Parker Choro's last time

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter in Japan! Nobody knows what you`re talking about! / Week #45

Konnichiwa minasan!

Thanks for all your emails about General Conference that are making me jealous. Now I have another thing I need to repent of. Coveting other people`s ability to watch General Conference.
But I`m excited to watch it this weekend!

Even though we didn`t get to watch General Conference, we still celebrated Easter! The mission sent everyone these little cards that have the link to watch the new video "Because He Lives" so we spent a lot of this week handing those out and inviting everyone to our special Easter program. The funny thing though is in Japan they don`t celebrate Easter so you kind of have to explain it to them first, and then invite them to come! In Japanese it is called fukkatsusai, or resurrection day. 

We did an Easter Eikaiwa activty and I think the students loved it because they`ve never done a Easter Egg Hunt or dyed eggs before. All of them thought the coloring eggs part was so cool. Although it did make me wonder how this even got started? Who decided coloring eggs was the thing to do on Easter?

On Saturday we met Tomomi san for dinner again with Tsukano shimai. Afterwards we went to the church and gave her a tour so she would be comfortable coming in the next day. We stopped at the baptismal font and talked about baptism. Tsukano shimai shared her testimony and it was cool because Kametani shimai was in there and she was baptized 3 years ago so it was good for her to share her testimony of baptism since it wasn`t that long ago. It`s all new stuff for Tomomi san but hopefully she felt the Spirit!

But the program on Sunday was so good in the Kumamoto ward! And the best news ever! Tomomi san came! This was her first time so she probably heard a lot of things she didn`t understand but hopefully she just felt the overall spirit of the meeting too because it was awesome. It was Fast Sunday and there was a line to share testimonies. I love this ward. They even had to cut it short so that we had time to watch the video. But everyone shared their testimonies of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. I love Easter Sunday because everyone is always filled with such hope and looking to the future with faith. At the end we watched the video on the big projector screen and I hope I wasn`t the only one who was wanting them to play it like 5 more times. But they didn`t. Overall we had 12 nonmembers come to church. Mainly thanks to Elder Parker and McClane. Elder Parker is dying this week and so he gave a last testimony and sang Abide with Me in his lovely Hawaiian voice. So several people came to see him for the last time.

I can`t believe another transfer has gone by. I`m going on transfer 7! Holy cow! I`m not really too worried about what`s going to happen. I`m 99% sure me and Hilke shimai will stay here for one more transfer. I`ve definitely learned a lot and this transfer has really shown me a lot of my weaknesses, but I hope to keep moving ahead and make next transfer a good one! Until next week!

Malone Shimai

More Flowers!  Love it!

Tomomi san & Tsukano shimai

Us eating at the Dome Place- 
Don't know the real name but it's shaped like a dome

My food at the Dome Place!

Our District - Kumamoto

Here we are again...

We ate at the coolest place with our Eikaiwa students - 
It's at an onsen (hot springs) & no we didn't do that part!
It's a buffet and it was delicious!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sakura, sakura, sakura / Week #44

Konnichiwa minasan!

So this week in Kumamoto all of the cherry trees blossomed and it`s so beautiful because there is this one street that is lined with cherry trees so everyone comes out to look at them and have picnics underneath them, which is called a hanami (hana-flower, mi-look or see).

So this week has been a lot better as far as finding goes. We`ve been able to meet our goals and are still trying to apply the techniques we learned from our training a couple weeks ago. It`s really helped. We only had one lesson this week so we had a LOT of time for finding, so both of us have been pretty tired. We also had junkai this week. Or in eigo, exchanges! So Hilke shimai went with Pinzon shimai (oh grandma and granddaughter, how cute) and I went with Chun shimai! Former companions at it again! It was nice to dendo with another missionary and see how they do things. It`s also nice to know that other missionaries have some of the same weaknesses or things we want to improve on.

So we had a lesson with Yuri chan again. And we asked her where she was at in the Book of Mormon since she made the goal to read all of it. So it`s been a week so we`re expecting her to say she`s in 1 Nephi 8 or something. But no, she`s in 1 Nephi 19! Holy cow! We were happily surprised! So we talked about Moroni`s promise and read from Lehi`s dream about the iron rod and how we need to hold on to the rod (the word of God) but we can`t just read it. We need to apply it to ourselves, to "liken" them to ourselves. We also challenged her to pray about the Book of Mormon every time she reads it to ask whether it is true or not. 

So the biggest miracle that happened this week is going to take some explaining. I hope I can do it without confusing everyone. We got a call from Tsukano shimai on Thursday saying that her friend Hori san has a referral for us, kind of. So Hori san was a former investigator. He`s not a member. But he knows Tsukano shimai and he trusts her. So basically he wants to introduce his co-worker (actually he`s technically her boss) Tomomi to Tsukano shimai so that she can befriend her and help her. Tomomi san is 24 years old. He wants Tomomi to meet members and go to Eikaiwa and church and experience some new things to help her because she`s kind of shy and she`s having a hard time right now finding balance in her life. So on Saturday we went to dinner with Tsukano shimai and met Hori san and Tomomi san. And they are both awesome (he should be an investigator again!) Basically we are getting handed this referral from a nonmember who is ordering that we befriend and teach Tomomi san. Why can`t all referrals be like this? Tomomi san is a little quiet but she is super nice and sweet! I can`t wait to get to know her better. She`s coming to church next week for the Easter program and she will most likely come to Eikaiwa too! Miracle? I would say so.

Last of all, we`ve been going through our area book and visiting former investigators houses. Most of the time they don`t live there anymore or they aren`t interested. But we went and visited this family. We met the dad and the two kids because the mom wasn`t home. It`s been like 6 years since they were taught but he totally knew who we were. He said they were busy eating dinner but we could come back another time to visit if it`s earlier. Then he straight up asked for a pamphlet. I was so surprised. He was like "Don`t you have a pamphlet or something to give us?" Yeah we do! So this week has been cool.

Well I`m jealous that all of you get to watch General Conference a week before I do but I hope you enjoy it! And don`t give any spoilers and ruin it for me! Just kidding. You can give me all the spoilers you want! Have a great Easter and make sure to show all your friends the new video "Because He Lives." It`s awesome! Go watch it right now!

Malone Shimai

                                 It's beautiful here right now!  Cherry blossoms lining the streets.

Sakura Blossoms - So pretty!

So many people are out walking on the streets to see the sakura blossoms

Hilke Shimai and I in front of Sakura

Us again...we're kind of weird!

Chun Shimai and I went on junkais

Lovin the blossoms!!

Partying with Yuri chan