Tuesday, January 28, 2014

To the souls that I LOVE!

Dear family, 
First things always first...I love you!

Here is how my heart is doing...after what were probably some of the hardest 6 months of my life....I am going to be okay. Yes, I am going to be okay! Is it still hard? Yes. Am I still homesick? Yes. Will I probably always be a little homesick as long as I am away from home? Yes. But I have been thinking about how I can be a missionary and constantly be pitying myself and be miserable, or I can be a missionary and make it marvelous! Maybe easier said than done, but I want you to know that I am going to try! 

I love love Micail's story about the crabs. Because I believe it is so true. Leaving the trash behind takes two choices on our part. First we have to choose to use the gift of our agency to try and try and try. And then we also have to choose to be humble and let Christ love us and heal us. I remember my institute teacher teaching us that "more grit and determination in yourself to change will only last for so long. We truly need our Savior to change us." I believe Heavenly Father and Christ love us so much and they want to help us reach our potential, but first they want to see if we really want it too, and if we are willing to try. 

Here is a quick update for the week:
- We found 2 new investigators! Its a mom and her daughter, who used to be old investigators. We visited them and taught them a little lesson about God and made a next appointment for tonight! 

-At the old folks home this week we went and cleaned wheelchairs for our service. 

-I had one of those missionary moments where you are at a lesson and they are giving you food to eat, but the oranges they give you are just TOO gross to choke down. Oranges don:t sound to bad to eat, right? Wrong. Too much pulp. Too dry. Too sour. We had to sneak our unfinished oranges into my bag, while our investigator went to get us more mugicha to drink! 

- I have really been wishing to look at the stars. So this week, when me and George Shimai were about to go take a present to one of our investigators, we stood outside her apartment and looked at the stars. I loved that moment. I just stood still. I looked at the stars. I loved it so much I almost cried. It felt so good to just be still and look up to heaven. 

- We live on the 5th floor of our apartment, and the other night as me and George Shimai were headed down to the 1st floor, we boarded the elevator, the door shut and George Shimai pushed "Level 1"...then to change things up a bit, I pushed all the buttons in between...just like Buddy on the movie Elf...for some reason this just tickled my funny bone and I laughed so hard! 

- This week we did a practice lesson called a "mogi" with a member in our ward. A lot of times here in Japan, when you go to someone:s home, you kneel/sit on the floor around a little table. I sat in "saiza" for 1 HOUR. Which basically is kneeling/sitting on your feet for an hour. Whoa Nelly. Couldn:t really walk too good after that! :) ouch. But at least it was very polite! 

- Our ward had a baptism yesterday! The other sisters investigator was baptized yesterday! It was beautiful to watch him and his expression on his face as the baptismal prayer was being said and as he laid back into the water. 

Well, its time for me to go now...

I. Love. You. Always.

Love Kingu Shimai

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Is this what its like to be a missionary!?

Hello Mama! 

This week has been a pretty good week! On Monday our ward had a New Years Party where we made mochi, which is pretty much just smashed up rice. Its a special kind of rice, and it turns into this kind of dough stuff and then you eat it. One of my favorite things to eat actually is these little icecream balls with mochi around it. I also tried nato for the first time this week. Nato is the fermented soybeans, and it has the most horrible texture. I dished myself up a hearty helping of one bean. I ate it. One bean was good for me.

We also are going to start volunteering at an old folks home, which I am so excited for! It will be quite funny, because old folks Japanese is uber hard to understand...like 2% comprehend...98% no idea. But I am happy to just help clean and give them coffee and I hope I can play the piano for them!

Me and George Shimai did some housing this week and we met a potential investigator! She accepted a Book of Mormon and we are going to visit her again this week! 

We also went and visited an previous investigator. Usually when we go to visit previous investigators or less active members, no one is home, or we get turned down. But this day, was different...she was home, and then she was actually happy to see us!...and then she invited us into her home!...we got to talk to her for a bit and I shared my favorite scripture about God. She read it and was a little confused, but reread it and George Shimai explained it a bit, and we both testified of God:s love. Then the lady said the closing prayer and we committed her to pray again that night. We are going to teach her again this week! 

That night after finding a PI and our success with visiting the previous investigator, me and George Shimai were updating the record book, and we were like `Wow! Is this what its like to be a missionary!? We actually have something to update in the record book!" We felt so blessed! 

This week I reached my 6 month mark as a missionary! As I look back on the last 6 months, this is the scripture that I want to share: 1 Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ; Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory..." 
As I prayed, I felt grateful. 

This week we watched the John Tanner story and we loved it so much we watched it again a second time later that day. The quote at the beginning says "Consecration is the only surrender, that is also a victory." I love it especially because my name Elise means "consecrated to God." I have been thinking about how Tel said that her new companion lives true to her name, which I think means something like "talk a lot" and she talks A LOT. I loved that idea of living true to my name. I think sometimes I am a little scared of consecration, because all I see is the surrender, but I want to trust God, because with Him, it will be a victory. I have been a missionary now for 6 months, and I have one more year to live well and love true my opportunity and privilege to serve as a missionary for my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. I want to trust and try and serve from my heart. "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Col. 3:23

This week is the beginning of my 4th transfer, and me and George Shimai will be working together in Yamagata still. Chels asked how things are with my companion...and they are pretty good! Of course its not always easy and lovely to be with the same person everyday, but for the most part, things are going well. Sakuma Shimai (who was in Izumi with me) will be transferring here to Yamagata which I am really excited about! 

I love you so much! 
Love Kingu Shimai

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Biking and ice don't mix

Here is a quick update for this week: After almost 6 weeks of being in Yamagata, this week we finally were able to teach all three of our investigators this week! All 3 are middle aged women, and one of them is from the Phillippines. She is wonderful. We taught her about the plan of salvation and tried to commit her to be baptized, but she says she needs more time to prepare herself. She has a smoking problem, so we set a goal for her to try to quit smoking by the end of January. She has been smoking 10 cigarettes a day, but the next day after the lesson she texted us and said she'd only smoked 3 cigarettes that day! We were so excited! 

On Sunday as me and my companion were riding our bikes to church we both took a spill together on the ice....me first and George Shimai right behind me. Haha biking and ice don't mix so well, but we both went down pretty smoothly and didn't get hurt! 

I love you so much!
Love Kingu Shimai

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year 2014

Dear Mama, 

Thank you for writing little emails to me and sending me pictures! I love that! I also love hearing about the sister missionaries, your primary class and the funny things they all say. What sweeties. And of course, most of all I love hearing about how you heart is doing!

Thanks for sending a picture of you new beautiful ring. I have been thinking and wondering about that this week. Did you get it when you went to North Carolina? I'm excited to hear how everything went and also about your missionary experiences. 

Is it okay if I tell Micail you are getting married? 

This week was a little different because it was New Years, and dendoing is a little hard. So on New Years Eve it was a big cleaning day, where all the missionaries deep clean their apartments all day! It was fun to just listen to music and organize and clean stuff! It was funny though, because I still went to bed at 10:30, but earlier in the day I had messed with my alarm, checking some old batteries to see if they worked, so I forgot to reset my alarm, so it automatically went off at midnight. I was still half asleep and SO confused, and it kept going off and I kept hitting the snooze button. Finally I woke up enough to figure out what was going on. So I guess I got to be up at midnight at celebrate the new year! 

Then on New Years day we all went to a shrine with a bunch of members in our ward! New Years is a bigger holiday in Japan than Christmas...and eveyone in Japan goes to shrines on the New Year. it was a rainy day, so everyone was lined up under their umbrellas. You wait in line and when its your turn up at the shrine you toss some money into this big bin and people pray and clap their hands together. And then you buy your fortune for the year. It was all really interesting and fun! 

On thursday we had 3 meal appointments. I repeat. THREE MEAL APPOINTMENTS. Whoa Nelly. All we did on Thursday was eat. Literally. The members are so nice and feed us so much...too much. 

One of our investigators came to church yesterday! And we have an appointment to teach her later this week! 

Its time for me to go now, sorry, we don't have as much time to email today, because we are having a district p-day and going to see these really cool trees all covered in snow today! 

I want to tell you what my New Years resolutions are: To have a gratitude prayer everyday, in addition to my morning and evening prayers. To read my Patriarchal blessing, mission call letter, and letter from dad every month, and to enjoy the beauties of nature. 

I love you with my whole heart Mama! Your love for me is real and your faith is true, and for that I am perfectly grateful.
Love Kingu Shimai

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Purely loved

Hi Mama!
I love you with all of my heart! Thank you for loving me so much. After we talked on Christmas, what I felt was a feeling of being purely loved. I didn't want it to end and I have been praying that I can remember and feel that love still.

I hear you are in North Carolina! Is it warmer there right now? I though Dave lived in Missouri? Be safe. 

The rest of my week has been pretty good. Things are going pretty well with my companion. I am noticing that I wake up feeling more peaceful and not so anxious.

I haven't had the opportunity to teach any of our 3 investigators yet, but I have met them all at least once when we have taken them Christmas presents.  Its been snowing more in Yamagata and it is beautiful! I didn:t realize how much I love winter...but I think I love it! I love the snow and the quiet serenity of winter. Last night as we were riding our bikes home after unsuccessfully trying to find a less active members house, we saw these beautiful white birds flying in the night sky. It was a good moment. It was simple, but its usually noticing the simple things right now that bring me happiness, like watching a mom and her little boy take a moment to stomp on some ice in their boots the other morning.

I love you Mama. Keep praying for me. "The prayers of the righteous availeth much good."
Love Sister King