Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crystal by crystal

Hello Dear Family!

The most important thing I have to say is that I love you! I love you all so much! Thank you, THANK YOU, for your letters. You have no idea how wonderful it is to have a letter from you. Every letter is a tender mercy! They strengthen me to know that you are praying for me.

The pictures are of my companion and I on our first day at the MTC; my district on our Temple walk last Sunday; our French, Japanese, and English "Preach My Gospel" manuals; us practicing writing "We are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in Romaji and Hiragana in our classroom.
(This is the only photo that arrived)

Mom thanks for sending me pictures! I loved loved loved seeing little Bella. She looks even more beautiful! I love hearing about your trip to Jenny Lake and your missionary experience!

Chels and Spence and Bella, have you moved yet? How is that coming along? Are you packing boxes yet?

Good news is that my slip is staying up pretty good, I haven't had to pick it up from around my ankles yet...so that's
good. So you don't have to send my other one if you don't want.

Well, these days we are praying and singing and testifying and teaching in Japanese! I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to learn a new language :) But the other night our district practiced teaching the first lesson about the Restoration in English to each other. I taught one of the Elders in my district and it felt so good to teach and bear my testimony from my heart. It was so good, because it made me realize that I want to be able to do that in Japanese.

I got my first package this last week! From the Jerman Crew! Homemade sugar cookies! It was so wonderful to have some good home baked cookies!

Janni pants! How was your birthday? Nate I hope you are still being safe up on the mountain!

Today my district had the coolest opportunity of a lifetime! Normally on P-days we will get to go to the Provo Temple and do a session. But right now its closed. So today we got to go and help clean it. While the Elders scrubbed baseboards and cleaned lockers, guess what me and the other sisters in my district got to do?! Oh, we just got to put together/clean crystal chandeliers in the Celestial room :) It was so beautiful and we were coming up with a thousand analogies. We literally put together one of the chandeliers crystal by crystal and it was so special! We loved it. It was so nice and peaceful there.

I have seen miracles happening these last couple of weeks with my companion and I. Heavenly Father really answers prayers.

My computer time is just about up, so I will try and write a hand written letter soon.
I love you!!!
King Shimai

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This mission is NOT about me

Hello dear family!!!
How are you all? I knew I loved you all before I left on my mission, but now I REALLY KNOW IT. Oh I just love you all and pray for you!  This week has been so  so eye opening. Wow. Talk about an interesting, difficult,  beautiful week. Moments after saying goodbye I had a name tag on, I was shown my room, received about 50  pounds of books, and was seated with my district in a cozy little classroom with my Nihonjin (Japanese) instructor! It didn't seem real.  Within my first hour of being at the MTC I saw Uncle Levi which was so great! 
I sent you a letter on my first day about my companion, but I will tell you again...She is from Tahiti!!  I will just say that the first few days of life here at the MTC were pretty rough. I didn't really love it. But I told myself that I didn't have to love it, because  I remember Micail saying that she didn't like the first few days here at the MTC either. It was hard because my companion speaks French. I speak English. We are trying to learn Japanese together and plan lessons to teach our "investigator." The language barrier, the cultural difference, the personality difference was very hard.

But then I learned something...

Sunday came. During Relief Society we listened to Music and the Spoken word. The choir sang "Come, come ye saints, no toil nor labor fear. But with joy, wend your way. Though hard to you, this journey may appear, grace shall be as your day. Tis better far for us to strive our useless cares from us to drive. Do this and  joy, your hearts will swell. All is well, all is well."
Later during the Sunday Night devotional, the speaker was talking about perseverance. And I remembered about the Moab trip when we were almost done, but there was one more huge hill to get up. It wasn't too steep, but it was long, and it was up. I didn't know if I would be able to ride my bike up all the switchbacks, but I decided to just start and see how far I could go. I kept picking one small rock a little ways in front of me and I would tell myself "I can at least go to that little rock." And when I reached it, I would pick another rock a little ways ahead of where I was then and say "I  can at least go to that next little rock." And you know what? I rode my bike all the way up the hill. Christ helped me keep going. Christ helped me to persevere.
After Sunday Night devotional we listened to a talk by Elder Bednar called "The Character of Christ." I think I remember Tel writing home about this talk and now I know why. It was the most beautiful, profound truth. He taught about how without Christ's character there would have been no Atonement. And then he taught us about what character is: moral qualities strongly developed, strikingly displayed,  and consistently lived. He taught about how the natural man is like the cookie monster "I want cookie now!" He taught about our Savior, and how whenever He was tempted or tried or betrayed and even in the midst of performing the Atonement, He ALWAYS turns out in love and compassion to others. In the midst of bearing the weight of our sins, He cared enough to heal the ear of the man who was there with Judas Iscariot.

He taught us that this mission is NOT about me. It not about what I want. Its about turning out in compassion and love to others when the natural man would want to turn in.  Only through the Atonement can we do that. Its about faith.
It may not sound too profound how I put it. But I am so thankful for what I learned Sunday night.  

Monday was a miracle. Heavenly Father helped my companion and I to communicate better. We were able to plan a better lesson for our investigator. We've been laughing more as we are trying to talk to each other and its just not quite working out. We just keep pluggin' along and I'm learning that Heavenly  Father didn't send me here to the MTC to learn Nihongo (Japanese). I think He sent me here, with one of my Tahitian sisters to learn about love and to learn about faith and trust and the  enabling power of the Atonement.

Hopefully you can understand what I am trying to say. I have already learned so much. I am happier now and learning to love this change! 

The MTC is great because I can have root beer and coke mixed together at any meal I want! I love it! My companion LOVES to eat ice, just like me :)
I played 4-square at gym with bunch of elders and a few sisters! It was fun, but I'm no good at it :) Maybe after 8 weeks though...
Sorry no pictures this time. I tried, but the bookstore was out of the thing I needed.
I love you so much
love King  Shimai

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hello from the MTC! Whoa

July 17, 2013

Dear Family,

Hello from the MTC!  Whoa.  Talk about an overwhelming day!  It's been exciting & good though.  It's about 10:00 pm on my 1st day at the MTC.  We've just been getting settled in, unpacked and ready for bed.

Here is the most amazing news of all...my companion, Mataoa Shimai, is from TAHITI!!! Isn't that amazing!?  Definitely not a coincidence.  She is lovely.  She speaks some Korean, Japanese, a little Tahitian, her native language is French, and she speaks broken English.  She gave us lovely shell necklaces from Tahiti!  I've go to go get ready for bed now, so goodnight and I love you all so much.

Love, King Shimai

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pre Mission Photos

Earning $$: Early morning newspaper route, cashier at Lee's Market place; house cleaning & companion for older woman; donating plasma.

Last Day of paper route!  Items being organized for mission in background
Studying Preach My Gospel at Manti Inn

Kerr cousins at mission farewell.

King relatives at mission farewell.

Katie, Jamie, Courtney

Court's farewell gathering included a nice lunch ...thanks to everyone! Later, those gathered shared The First Vision in the language of their mission.  We heard Norwegian, French, Spanish, Italian, a little Fijian, Korean, and German.   Court gave us one sentence in Japanese.  We also played "reverse charades" and "what if."  The day was topped off with several friends and family taking a turn on the piano or singing. 
This lovely quartet did a couple of impromptu vocal renditions:  Sisters and The Three Bears

Zachary and Bellamy

 7/16/13: Courtney noting the blessing given to her by Pres. Durrant, as well as everyone's last minute advice. On the drive home she yelled,  "I am a MISSIONARY!"

Date of Departure 7/17/13: Saying good-bye to her pet salamander, Hedith.

Katie made this beautiful dress for Court's mission.  Thanks Kate!

Courtney and Bellamy

Last meal...Cafe Zuppas.

Sisters: Janessa, Courtney, Chelsea

The drop-off team: Cade, Katie, Janessa, Chelsea, Courtney, Bellamy, Cami

Good-bye for now sweet Courtney!