I love you! I love you so very much! I love each of you and pray for everyone everyday. I didn't realize how important & meaningful our family's love is until coming here. It is the most important thing to me now. This has been one of the big lessons that I've learned so far on my mission: that I will never ever take our family for granted again! Our family is everything! I love you!
Guess who came & spoke to us for our Tuesday night devotional last week? Richard G. Scott! It was so great! What a powerful but gentle soul he has. He spoke about prayer, and about how we shouldn't rush through such a privilege. At the beginning & end of his talk, he said that with his authority he blessed those of us missionaries who have been called to learn a new language with the gift of tongues, according to our faith and work and diligence. How neat!
The other morning I realized that my thighs were sore...Hmmm....how strange. Did I work out the day before? Nope. But we'd cleaned the glass doors here at the MTC for service...so...I guess going up and down cleaning the glass doors gave my thighs a lil' wake-up call!
One of the sweetest things I've experienced so far is peoples' kindness. I'm also learning again to appreciate the simple things, like the delicious, crunchy sugar crystals on top of my lemon poppy seed muffin yesterday morning, or the chubby little birds that live in the gardens here at the MTC...I always get so excited when one comes over by me when we are studying/eating outside, or the beautiful mornings and the sunrise over the Provo mountains!
I remember on the 2nd or 3rd day here, learning to pray in Japanese. Our teacher, Kosaka Sensei, would say the words or a phrase from our "Japanese Language Guide"and we would stutter through these new, strange sounding words. After we'd gone over it for awhile, it was time to end class and Kosaka Sensei asked for a volunteer to say the prayer...I raised my hand...I fumbled through it, reading the words from the page. Now, yesterday as I listened to Anderson Choro in my district say a prayer, I realized how far we've come...I remember practicing how to say "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." And now it just rolls off our tongues and you hardly have to think about it! One foot in front of the other. That's how we do hard things.
Janni and Cheltz, thank you so much for the package! I love it! I loved the nail palish and the headband and the candy...but by far, your letters were the BEST part. They always are. Even if you don't feel like you have much to say or any big updates. I love just hearing from you. It means so much. I love my sisters and your love strengthens me a lot! Heck, tell me anything you want: what you bought at the grocery store, or what you're making for dinner, or about a good scripture you read, tell me about book club, and Jack and Dajia adventures. Tell me about painting, tell me what important thoughts and feelings you have been thinking and feeling lately! Jan, your letter brought tears to my eyes, I loved it so much. You nailed it. I love you Jan. I love you Cheltz.
How are you dear mother? I love you so much! I know you are being strong and brave. I believe that Heavenly Father is watching carefully over you and sending angels to be with you. Thank you for everything you are. I'm so grateful you are my mom! I love you.
I already love the Japanese people! I've had some really sweet experiences already with a couple Japanese people here at the MTC. A few weeks ago during class in the evening, I was having a difficult time with my companion. My teacher, Oshima Sensei saw I needed help and asked me to come with him for an interview. We went to a little room, sat down, and as I began pouring out my frustration, he stopped me and asked if we could pray first. After we prayed, he listened to me, talked with me, and shared Isaiah 41:9,10, 13 with me.
"Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou are my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away."
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am they God" I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
"For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, fear not; I will help thee."Oshima Sensei was so sincere and genuine and kind. He asked me to bear my testimony and then we knelt in prayer together. It felt so good to just talk to Heavenly Father and feel of Oshima Sensei's love and support. After the prayer, we stood up and he held out both his hands. I gave him my right hand to shake and as he took my right hand, he also gently put his left hand over my hand and shook my hand and he bowed. They were such simple gestures but they were so kind and heartfelt.
The other experience was last Saturday when Mataoa Shimai and I practiced teaching Willard Sensei's wife (who is Japanese) and also a member of the church. She was so sweet as she listened to our lesson about God and prayer. She bore her testimony/ shared some experiences first in Japanese and then in English. The Spirit was so strong as she told us that the Book of Mormon has changed her life and as she comforted us to not stress too much about the language...that the Spirit and love is the most important thing. She gave us little caramels and hugs and we felt SO LOVED!
I am so excited to to to Japan and serve and be with and learn from my Ninonjin brothers and sisters! They are good people with good souls!
I've been thinking about Dad lately. He is still very much alive. This experience of Dad going Home earlier than the rest of us, I wonder if its a whole lot bigger and more important than I've thought before. The Earth thing is so much bigger and more beautiful because everyone and everything is connected.
Heavenly Father has asked us to be physically apart from Dad for a little while...I think to refine our souls in a way that only this experience can. But I've been thinking about this work that I've been blessed to serve Heavenly Father and my brothers and sisters in Japan... and how Dad is serving them too.
Before coming on my mission, the fire of family history work was sparked in my spirit. I feel so much love for the saints and our ancestors. My testimony and faith is stronger because of their example and faith. Mom, I remember you telling me, "Don't forget" when I told you I want to do family history work. I love that. I won't forget.
I've been thinking about Dad in Heaven doing missionary work and that he could be teaching and serving the ancestors of the people I will teach in Japan. Our family is helping other families. We are working together.
I love thinking that I am learning the same words that Dad is speaking. I want to love others the way Dad loves others. I bet there is a pretty big party going on where ever he is in Heaven. I want to make him proud. I'm so grateful for the blessing of wearing our savior Jesus Christ's name and our family name every day.
I'm thankful that experiences and missions aren't easy. I'm grateful they are hard...because hard things are worth it! Sacrifice is worth it. Eternal families are worth everything. I love you all so much. I will always love you!
I know Heavenly Father lives. I know he answers prayers. I know Jesus Christ loves us. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I will never deny it!
I love you family! Be brave.
Love, King Shimai