Monday, October 26, 2015

Another week gone by - Week #74

Konnichiwa minasan!

So we went to Miyajima for Pday again. It's my 3rd time going so it's safe to say I know my way around the island now. We didn't hike this time though, thank goodness. My legs don't need to feel like jelly yet again. But I actually bought souvenirs this time! I didn't buy a samurai sword though. Sorry family. I just wasn't sure how I was going to get it home. But just know that I did think about it. I bought smaller more transportable things.

So this week has been good. We are still working with Dustin on his after baptism lessons and he is still SO solid. Which is why we are thinking of having him teach us the lessons from now on. This should be good.

We also have a new investigator Andrew. He's a marine. Shocker, I know. He is also friends with the Carters and Mitchell. So this party is just getting bigger. But he's way cool. He's studied a lot of religions so he knows a lot of stuff. So we always have to be prepared to answer SUPER deep questions. This is not like teaching Japanese people at all. But we taught him about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and he agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

We are still teaching Mitchell, Tsugumi, and Ayumi so have no fear. But there's not so much to update on them. So be prepared for next week! It's going to be exciting. You'll get to hear about transfer calls and our Halloween party that we are throwing for our Eikaiwa students. There will be singing and dancing featured so it should be entertaining. 

We had stake conference this week and our branch presidency got rearranged so Brother Mann, who was our ward mission leader, is now in the branch presidency. So we will be getting a new ward mission leader. We're a little sad but also looking forward to finding out who the new one will be. 

In stake conference there was a focus on patriarchal blessings and also the fact that we are where we are right now for a reason. We have a specific mission to fulfill. I don't necessarily know why I'm in Iwakuni, but I know that all of the members who are here and all of the people I have met have blessed my life. They have made me want to be a better person and have cheered me up whenever I have felt down. So never doubt the influence you have on other people, and never doubt that you are where you are right now for a reason!

Hope everyone has a good week! Happy Halloween!

Malone Shimai

My 3rd and probably final time to Miyajima Island 
I know the Island very well now!

On the ferry to Miyajima

Me & Willson Shimai

There is Miyajima Island!!

There are so many deer on the Island!

It was a great day

Me & Salmon Shimai

Ring that bell!!

Willson Shimai taking a selfie of the two of us

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oh where oh where did October go? - Week #73

Konnichiwa minasan!

The rate at which time flows now is scaring me. I can't believe it's already getting to the end of October. It's going to be scary! (See what I did there?)

So this week we had interviews with our mission president. This is the first interview I've had with President Egan as my mission president. Technically, he interviewed all of us when they first arrived in Japan, but it was more a get to know you interview. This was my first actual missionary worthiness interview with him. And it was really good. Turns out he knew exactly what I needed to hear and what I was struggling with. Turns out mission presidents receive revelation. Who knew? So since my interview I've been feeling a lot better and I hope I can keep it that way until...you know, a long time. Kaicho just talked about love and how if we truly love God with all our heart, mind, and soul then we can do anything. When we feel that love for God, it will extend to everyone we meet and show in everything we do. So turns out love is important. Who knew?

So we are doing after baptism lessons with Dustin and he is still WAY solid. In fact we are thinking maybe he should start teaching US the lessons to make it more fun. It's good preparation for a mission:) He also already has his interview scheduled in order to receive the Aaronic priesthood. We are so excited for him!

We also met with Ayumi san again this week. Her lessons are so great. She always asks the best questions. It shows that she really thinks about these things and that she wants to learn. She asked about what happens after this life, and she also asked about a Heavenly Mother (which was kind of shocking). So we talked to her about the temple and about baptism. We invited her to be baptized but we haven't set a specific date yet, so please pray for Ayumi san this week.

And we received yet another referral from one of the YSAs in the ward (there's like 2, well now 3 with Dustin). So we are going to be teaching another marine this week. Except apparently he knows a lot about different religions so we have to be on our A game. We'll see how it goes!

I hope everyone has a great week! Ganbatte kudasai!

Malone Shimai

Sometimes we do random things!!

This is a ditch full of little lobsters and
this Japanese boy is telling me all about them.

Welte Shimai & I had lunch with Kazumi

Me & Kazumi

Junkais - also known as exchanges!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What even happened this week? - Week #72

Konnichiwa minasan!

Sorry I'm emailing so late. We went with an investigator up to Hiroshima. And guess where we went? Costco. That's right. They have a Costco here. It was kind of like the Twilight Zone for me, but overall I loved it! Pumpkin pie, muffins, and dried mangoes here we come!

This week was full of planning and miracles. And General Conference!!!! Seriously I think Sunday may have been the best day of my mission, if not my life.

Us four sister missionaries, the Yanai Elders, Dustin, Bryan, and Mitchell all came to the Mann's house to watch General Conference. And we made breakfast. And sat on their comfy couch. It was so wonderful. And holy cow was it just me or was this conference especially good? Maybe it's a missionary thing. There were so many talks that I felt like were just what I needed to hear. I definitely need to ponderize some more about it, but at least I know the gospel works! (See what I did there?) 
After both sessions of General Conference we headed over to the beach and pretty much everyone in the branch showed up. Then Dustin and Brother Mann walked out into the water and he was baptized. I love baptisms so much. The Spirit is so strong every time. It never gets old. Sunday was definitely a spiritual high. I don't really have words to express how I felt, but I think you all can understand.

We also met with Ayumi san this week. We met her streeting and she ended up coming to Eikaiwa. She is so nice and really has a sincere interest in learning about God. We had a lesson with her on Saturday and when we taught her about prayer and Sister Welte prayed at the end she started crying. I've never had that happen but it was definitely a cool experience.

I definitely don't deserve the blessings that Heavenly Father has given me this past week. But I know that he is always ready and waiting to give us those blessings if we show forth our faith. Thanks to everyone's prayers and words of encouragement I've made it this far. So I guess I'll keep trucking along. Ganbarimasu!

Malone Shimai

Me & Welte Shimai before the baptism

Me, Dustin & Welte Shimai

Me, Dustin, Bro. Mann & Welte Shimai

Dustin's Baptism

Dustin in baptized!

                                    Before the baptism, we met at the Mann's
for breakfast and General Conference

So thankful for the many good people in the branch,
 like the Manns!

                                An American Breakfast!! - Can't wait!!

                              Dustin, Bryan and Mitchell with the Yanai Elders

I couldn't have asked for a better day!!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

There can be miracles when you believe! - Week #71

Konnichiwa minasan! 

So we have some awesome news for you all. You may recall that last week at the end of my email (or somewhere in it, I don't really remember) I talked about a lesson we were teaching that night to a referral from one of the members in our Iwakuni branch. Well his name is Dustin. And it turns out that we taught him the first lesson, invited him to be baptized, and he said yes! So when we asked him when he wanted to be baptized he said October 5 and we were like "Awesome!" Wait a second, that's in one week. That means we would have to teach you everything and get a baptism ready all in one week. Ok hold up. How about the next weekend so we have a LITTLE more time. He said okay. So yeah, Dustin is getting baptized this coming Sunday. Right after General Conference finishes. Is this going to be the best weekend of my life? Maybe. 

Dustin is a marine, and he is from Alabama. He is way awesome and he grew up in the Baptist church, but he started searching for answers that his church couldn't give him and eventually that has led him to this point. I wish I could tell you the entire story, but I don't have time. You'll have to hear him tell it. It's amazing. 

His friend Bryan who introduced him to the church is also such a good example of member missionary work. I feel like maybe Bryan should start coming with us when we go tracting, but he doesn't speak Japanese unfortunately. But when you have the Spirit, who needs language? (I still do, but I'm a special case). 

We are still teaching Tsugumi san and she is doing great. She is the sweetest person you will ever meet. Everything we teach her she gets excited about. Because of work though she hasn't been able to attend church yet. So if you could pray for her to have an opportunity to attend church that would be great!

Honestly, I don't know why we have been meeting so many cool people this transfer and why so many miracles are happening. I feel like I don't deserve it. But I am happy to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help any of his children who want to come closer to Him. It's the most wonderful feeling in the world! So because I'm a missionary, I'm going to step up on my soap box and encourage everyone to think about someone they can reach out to and help them come closer to Christ in whatever way possible. (Sometimes this includes meeting the missionaries, but other times it may just be a listening ear, or delivering some delicious brownies-I KNOW that helps:)

Ok stepping off soap box now. No I still haven't seen General Conference. Don't rub it in!
Hope everyone has a great week!

Malone Shimai

Our English class is free!!

             We love our time at Eikaiwa class - 4 of us with Tsugumi & Ayumi san

                               Jumping on the beach!  - Branch picnic last week

Me & Welte Shimai with Dustin

Me, Willson, Welte & Salmon Shimai - It was a fun day!!

Me, Willson & Welte Shimai 

Me & Smith Shimai - She is my doki
(We came into the mission at the same time)

Zone Conference 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Konnichiwa! - Week #70

Konnichiwa minasan!
Another week has come and gone! Luckily I am still in Iwakuni so that week was really awesome! As for news, we are still working with Tsugumi San to prepare her for baptism. So we had taught her about Joseph Smith's experience and then we asked her what she thought. Like if she could believe it and she was like yeah I totally think that's possible. Well...ok that settles that. We really focused on Jesus Christ this week because she doesn't really know much about him so we want to develop her faith in him. But she is totally open to it too. She wants to read the scriptures in order to learn more about Him. So cool!

Anyways, right before this lesson Elder Spencer walks in with Bryan, a young single adult, and his friend Dustin. Bryan had an interview with the stake president so we got to talk to Dustin while he waited. And basically now we have an appointment with him tonight to teach him some more! Yay! This is out of nowhere so we were totally surprised. But we are definitely happy about it.

I can't believe how the time is going by. I simultaneously get nervous that I'm not doing enough and that I won't be able to do everything I'm supposed to do. But such is missionary life. So as long as I have the Spirit and some food in my stomach I'm pretty set to go:) Yes, these are the words of wisdom from Sister Malone. If you want actual spiritual upliftment I can send you some of my friends emails, or you can go read some general conference talks!

Sister Malone
P.S. I'm so excited for General Conference it's not even funny! It's just like Christmas!

Branch Picnic at the Beach. So Fun!

Thank you Sis. White for taking these pics 
of us on the beach!

Me & Tsugumi san

Eikaiwa class

All of us with Midori & Tsugumi san 

A pretty view of Iwakuni

Eating lunch near Kintai Bridge

Crossing Kintai Bridge once again!

Of course we have to pose...

                                                                     Enjoying P-day!