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 works...like 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 Mormon.org 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

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