Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas

Meri Kurisumasu Minasan! I love you so much family!
We get to SEE each other in just a few days now! And I am SUPER thankful about that!
I got your and Grandma Kerrs Christmas packages this week and am so excited to open them on Christmas! Thank you so much!
This week we had our ward Christmas party. First off, I want to say that the members in Japan....are. SO. GOOD. They are just full of goodness and love. At the Christmas party they did a little nativity skit, and it was so wonderful to sit and watch these beautiful, humble people acting as Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and wisemen coming to see Christ, and to watch some of them bow as they walk away after coming to see Christ. 

I love that we bow here in Japan. It just seems good and so humble and respectful. It makes me think of that quote that Micail loves about how any person you see is holy, because they are a child of God. So I love that here in Japan we bow to each other.
Last night we went caroling with the Takahashi family. It was a four hour event and we drove all over visiting people and singing them Christmas hymns....which brings me to another wonderful JAPANESE. I used to not be able to do that. But now, I can!
Well I have to go now, but I will talk to you soon! I love you with my whole heart! Merry Christmas!
Love Kingu Shimai

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

To my wonderful family!

Dearest Family I love you so! Konnichiwa from Yamagata! Yamagata is nice and cold and snowy! A bit of a change from Izumi! I live in an apartment on the 5th floor, (and yes Janni...I still sleep on the floor!) But we all sleep on 2 futons instead of 1, and I have the softest blankets, and the heater blows right on me at night, so I am a very happy camper.

Our apartment is right by a beautiful little mountain here in Yamagata! I was so excited to get to live by a mountain! Its so lovely and covered in snow right now.
My new companion is George Shimai from Idaho! She has been out just 3 more months than I have, so we are going to have lots of fun adventures together doing the 2 Americans in Japan thing. She is actually REALLY good at Japanese, but we still have moments where we don:t quite know whats going on. She is really calm and happy and likes ice cream as much as I do, so thats good. Her dad also passed away from cancer when she was 13, so that was a neat connection to make.
Here is some info about Christmas day...we get to SKYPE!! We will probably Skype you from a members house. I don:t quite know how it do I "call" you via skype or what? What number do I "call"?  I am planning on Skyping you on YOUR Christmas day, so it will be the 26th for me here in Japan. It will be 11:00 am my time and 7:00 pm your time on Christmas evening. Is that okay?
It will be so GOOD to see you and talk to you soon! We will have about 40 minutes to talk!

So far I am liking Yamagata. It has a little bit of a different feel to it than Izumi, it feels a little smaller, no hills, and more Japanesy! We have 3 investigators, and I will meet them later this week. One of them is from the Phillipines.

Here are a couple mission moments from this week:
- Doing service with George Shimai on my second day in Yamagata. Picking up trash in the pouring snow, along one of the roads. It was crazy weather but fun!
- We went housing at some apartment buildings and at one of the doors, it was my turn to start talking when they answered...a lady came to the door and I started saying how we are the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints and we are teaching a message about familys happiness and the purpose of life. I smiled as I spoke in Japanese, but I could tell she was not interested...all she said was "Sayonara." And closed the door. But at least I tried!
- Yesterday George Shimai and I went to Fukushima to the ward there for church. Right now there arent missionaries serving in the area, because its a little dangerous with earthquakes right now, so we just rotate with the other missionaries in Yamagata to go there on Sundays to church. We got to share our testimonies in Sacrament meeting. 

As we came back on the bus, I was sitting next to a man probably in his 50s. After awhile I started talking to him about the snow and the cold weather. We had a simple little conversation. Eventually I pulled out a passalong card told him to please take a look. Then I gave him the watered down version of Christ coming to earth and organizing the church, Joseph Smith and the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon! He sat there quietly and listened so nice. I tried offering him the Book of Mormon and told him it was free and a present, but it was a no go. But at least I tried!

- This week we went and tried to visit some less active members who live a little ways away. We took the train (which was magical...standing in Japan at a legit train station, with beautiful snow falling softly!) and went to the area where these less active members live. In Japanese they are called "oyasumikaiin" which means "sleeping members". We didn:t have much luck with the first 2, but the last brother we visited was so nice and let us make a specific return appointment!

I love you all so much! Thank you for praying for me. I know your prayers are real and they blessing me.
Bella! 6 months! I love you so much!

Love Kingu Shimai

Monday, December 9, 2013

Adventure is out there!!

My dear Family! I love you!
Well, yesterday marked the end of my second transfer in Japan, and this morning our apartment got a call from President Rasmussen bringing some changes....I am being TRANSFERRED! I am heading to a new area...Yamagata! Its more west of Izumi when you look on a map. I will go tomorrow and meet my new companion who is George Shimai! I don:t know anything about her, other than she is not Japanese, so I am off to new places and new adventures!
This week when me and Kubota Shimai were doing some housing at some apartment buildings, one lady opened her door and inside her house I saw the exact same picture that is in the Manns house! The one of the proper young lady in a yellow dress sitting up all straight in a chair reading a book or something. It was kind of weird, but a nice little moment to see that familiar picture here in Japan!

Japans weather is not like Utah, like I thought. Right now, its getting colder, yes, but there are still beautiful flowers in full bloom over here right now! Some trees change and lose their leaves, but lots of trees are still just green as ever. It hasn:t really snowed...just a tiny tiny bit, but its hardly worth talking about. President Rasmussen says it snows more in Yamagata!
I forgot to tell you about my Thanksgiving here in Japan. On Thanksgiving day me and Moon Shimai in my apartment made a little Thanksgiving dinner with mashed potatoes, corn soup, rolls, and chicken! Then the next day, the Browne family from America invited all of us missionaries over for a real Thanksgiving dinner with stuffing, and gravy, and pumpkin pie, and turkey! It was fabulous!
This week we had Christmas Zone Conference. At the end of the conference, the Rasmussens said they had a special present for all of us and then pulled out packages of letters from our families! Thank you for your wonderful letters! They filled me up!
I actually haven:t heard much about what happened in the Phillipines, its so sad to hear about that. You asked if I have seen any of the damage from the Tsunami a couple years ago. Izumi wasn:t affected by the actual tsunami, and so far I haven:t seen any of the areas that were affected. I think I have been near them when I have gone on splits to different cities, but I haven:t seen it.I think its pretty well cleaned up, but not necessarily rebuilt. But people talk about the earthquake and the tsunami still.
Mom in your letter you said that you miss me but that you are not sure if you should say that...I am so grateful you are trying so much to help me and pray for me through this time. Your love is a great strength and constancy for me and I need it. Saying you miss me was actually good for me to hear, because I am still just me, and I need to know I am missed. Its not like when you become a missionary you are a different person. I am still Courtney Elise King. You are still my family. It good to know I am missed, because it means I am loved.
The investigator (young man) who we took on a church tour and taught a couple of times, we passed to the elders. We didn:t want things to get sticky with him having a crush on us sister missionaries :) So I think right now the elders are still working with him, but I don:t think he has a ton of interest in the Gospel.
Me and Kubota Shimai have had one investigator for awhile now. We had more, but had to drop them as well because they wouldnt let us make an appointment with them to teach them or come to any activities, so there wasn:t much more we could do, so we had to drop them.

But we have been teaching Kotake san, who is a middle aged mom and a friend to Browne Shimai in our ward. She is actually a referral from Browne Shimai.  She has been taught by other missionaries before us too, so she knows about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation and such. Lately we have been teaching her the Gospel of Jesus Christ, about faith and repentance and baptism. 

We asked her if she will get baptized and she said that if she receives a strong answer from the Holy Ghost that this is true, then she will! So, we have been praying for her to receive this answer.
I had a Japanese lady tell me this week that I look French. That was a new one!

I AM LEARNING JAPANESE!! Just recently, I have started making little tiny baby steps in understanding this language a little tiny bit more! YAY! I still have a LOOONG way to go...but look at how far I have come!
I love you all! Keep praying!
Kingu Shimai! 

Posted by Cami:

Click on this link to see the Facebook page with the videos explained by Sister Rasmussen below:

Courtney is in the 2nd video labeled Morioka Zone.  She is at 6 minutes 20 seconds and again at 7 minutes 5 seconds.  I am guessing they were invited to be creative with the theme "bicycles and The Book of Mormon."

Sister Rasmussen, Mission Mom:
For Christmas we presented each missionary with a copy of the mission video for 2013 as a gift from my husband and me.  We have posted the video on the Mission Facebook page where you will be able to view it if you have a FB account.  This page is a place Returned Missionaries can keep up with the "happenings" in the mission.  Only RM's from our mission can be members of the group but anyone can view the group page.  I would invite you to go to this group page and view the video of all the missionaries in the Japan Sendai Mission at this time.  The video is quite long and we had to post it in two parts so be sure you see Part 1 and Part 2.  The group page name is:  Pres Rasmussen Sendai Japan Mission 2011-2014.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving minasan! I love you! I was talking with another sister missionary this week about how much we have grown to love our families from coming on our missions. She said that she feels like she doesn:t really have the words to say how she REALLY feels about how much she loves them. I feel the exact same way. Like, I can say "I love you!" But want to make sure you get it. Its SO REAL and so I want you to know that it is hard to say in words how much my love for our family has grown. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
Being an American in Japan is so funny! Its not like they:ve never seen Americans before or anything...but its just not super common to have foreigners here... This week when me and Syuto Shimai (on a split) were out giving out Eikaiwa pamphlets we passed a girl and she saw me and as we passed she turned around and was just like "Gaikakujin!" Which is like "foreigner!" Or later this week on another split with Luk Shimai, we were on our bikes, waiting at a stop light and there was a little group of young teenage girls and they saw me and just came over and started talking to me in English and being so giggly and excited!
This week is Thanksgiving! They don:t really celebrate that here in Japan, but lucky for us missionaries, we have the Browne family in our ward who is having us over for Thanksgiving dinner!
This week I went to my first funeral here in Japan. It was like the movies where everyone wears black. It was different, because there was no casket, because they don:t bury their bodies here. After the funeral, everyone lines up and we are handed a flower and you go and put it on the memorial table and then bow to the picture of the person, and then turn around and bow to the family. Us missionaries sang Families can be together forever.
I am so thankful that our family is sealed together forever! I am thankful for prayer. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and Bible. I am thankful for Jesus Christ. I am thankful for Heavenly Father:s tender mercies!
I love you so much!
Love Kingu Shimai

splits with Tui shimai and Kodama Shimai