Monday, March 24, 2014

TWO MIRACLES this week!

Dearest Mama,
Heavenly Father is so good to us. Like, SO good to us! 

- This week you finished working! I thought of you on my Saturday and your Friday, and that you were finishing up your LAST day of work, ever. Here is my little journal entry I wrote on my Saturday morning: Today for me is Saturday morning here in Japan, which means it is about 5:30 pm on Friday evening at home. And today my soul is so grateful! Today is the last day that Mama ever has to work at her job! She is going home now. Home. Home. HOME. This morning I prayed and told Heavenly Father I am so grateful for giving our family so much goodness, so many tender mercies. Hallelujah! It is well, it is well, with my soul! 

- We had TWO MIRACLES this week! The first is that we celebrated on Saturday with a Victory Party for our dear Tess shimai! She quit smoking!!!!!!!!!!  She basically had quit before we did the Smoking workshop. (Its a program we got typed up on paper when we came to our missions. It's a 15 step program). 

At our Victory Party for Tess Shimai (on my left in the red shirt) who stopped smoking!!!

- The second miracle is that Tess shimai got April 6th off of work, so she can be BAPTIZED!!! Happy day! All is well! Up until yesterday we weren:t sure what Sunday in April she would have off of work, because she only gets one Sunday off a month. I remember a few months ago, when me and George Shimai were first looking at these hurdles of Tess Shimai working every Sunday, and the fact that she smoked, and feeling a little hopeless. But Heavenly Father has a way of helping things work out. We are in His beautiful hands! 

- So basically I don:t think I could be more excited for the first 2 weeks of April! Tess shimai:s baptism, President and Sister Rasmussen will be coming too! I think that day is Easter? And we will get to watch General Conference the following week on April 12 and 13! And its Spring!
This week we went and did a mogi lesson (like a fake practice lesson) with a member in our ward. She lives in a tiny little apartment, and she talks a lot! I don:t understand her Japanese really. She started singing all these Japanese songs to us and it sounded SO much like I was sitting at a powwow listening to a Native American grandmother singing tribal songs! It was awesome! She also poured us some lukewarm drink out of a thermos. I tried it while she was out of the room. I took a little sip and turned to George Shimai and said that we could NOT drink that. I didn:t know what it was, but I didn:t want to have to drink it! So we secretly poured it back into the thermos. Sometimes you just gotta to what you gotta do. Hopefully I:m not a bad missionary for not eating and drinking all the weird stuff!
The view from my apartment today.
On Thursday here it rained/snowed way hard all day long. We were out and about a lot of the day, riding our bikes to our mogi lesson, to go "heart attack" some members' homes, and to teach Tess shimai about the 10 commandments and the Law of chastity. By the time we made it to Tess shimais house, I was soaked to the skin. I guess waterproof coats can only take so much water. But it felt fun and happy!

This week is Chelsea Lyn:s Happy Birthday!!!!! I love you so much big sister! Here are some of my favorite memories with you Chelsea:
- I remember you came to pick me up at Sky View after a summer morning Cross Country practice. Afterwards, instead of going straight home, you drove us to Lees Marketplace in Smithfield and we bought Coke and donuts. Then we went to Mack park and sat on a bench and had Coke and donuts together for breakfast!
- I remember you would come visit me when I worked at the snow cone shack in front of the mall, when you would go on your break when you worked as a CNA at Legacy house. Pink Champagne and creme soda is our favorite flavor!
- I remember one night, I think I had to go to bed in good time for school the next day or something, but you came down and got in bed with me and we were talking and giggling and Mama came downstairs (not mad, because Mama doesn:t get mad) but a little wearied by us not being obedient children. You were supposed to leave me alone and go to bed, but you kept staying and we kept giggling and having a marvelous time!
- I remember watching part of a scary Audrey Hepburn movie with you and your friends and seeing a really scary part that made me feel really scared and bad. Later that night you laid down and my bed with me and turned on quiet peaceful music to help me be calm and not scared. 

- (Editor's note: Court's last memory has been deleted to protect the not-so-innocent)
  - I love you Chelsea!! I am happy we are sisters forever!

I love you my dear family!
Love Kingu Shimai

Monday, March 17, 2014

3.11 in memory of the tsunami.

Dear Mama, 

You know when its March and the end of a long winter, and your soul is ready for some sunshine and birds chirping? Well, last night in my prayer I asked that today could be sunny. And oh how happy I was when I opened the curtains this morning and saw the sun! And as we rode our bikes to the church to email today, I heard birds chirping! 

This week marked the 3 year anniversary in Japan of the tsunami. Me and George Shimai were riding by the big city hall on our bikes and saw sort of a gathering and cameras and a speaker, and then George Shimai also said that she'd seen the Japanese flags flying at half mast. We thought for a minute and then remembered that it was 3 years to the day of the tsunami. Then later in the week at zone training meeting, they showed a video called 3.11 in memory of the tsunami. Before my mission when I watched some of the videos of the tsunami on youtube, I remember being blown away at how fast and powerful it was, but it didn't make me cry. But this time as I watched 3.11 and watched the tsunami, heard the stories, watched the aftermath and the reconstruction, and then watched as these sweet people bowed and told the world thank you for the help they received...this time, I cried. 

Yesterday, me and George Shimai went to Fukushima for church, and then rode the bullet train back to Yamagata! That was my first time to ride a bullet train! Then last night our ward had a going away party for a family in our ward who is moving. We had dinner and made cotton candy on our chopsticks. I think I am starting to love these people! 

Last night a sister in our ward, Niwa Shimai, out of the blue, told me that my Japanese is beautiful!! And that when I talk it doesn't even sound like I have an accent!! YEEEESSSSSS!!!! It made me feel so so good! Its nice to get a compliment from someone! 

We went to a doll festival this week, to see really old Japanese dolls! 
Well, today is my 8 month mark as a missionary. I don't know if its bad to be keeping track...some folks might not think that is good. But Spencer told me in a letter awhile back that its okay to keep track, on the good days and on the bad days, because it can motivate and give me hope too. I don't know if its going by fast or slow. A little of both, I guess. My homesickness is getting better! I still sometimes have some rough homesick moments, but thank heaven, my soul is getting stitched back up! I love the words in the song Amazing Grace, because this is how I feel: His grace hath brought me safe thus far, His grace will bring me home.

Here's a photo of my desk!
This week we taught our investigator Shindo san with a sister from our ward. We walked to her house from the church with the sister from our ward. It was raining and I loved that moment because it felt very missionary-ish, walking with my companion and a ward member in the rain with our umbrellas in Japan to go teach Shindo san! She doesn't really believe in God, because she feels like when she's asked for help in her trials, He hasn't helped her, and so she doesn't believe in Him. After being at her little apartment for awhile, me and George Shimai were back at the church, and we both smelled like her cigarette smoke. We were talking about how now we smelled like smoke, but then I said how if you smell like smoke, it means you've been trying to do good things, trying to help someone. 

We had a stop smoking workshop this week for Tess san (the sister with the baptismal date) and a less active sister who smokes came too and brought her nonmember brother and mother. It went really well and all of us missionaries taught it. Tess san is so good! After wards, Tess san gave us a ride and I felt so much like she is becoming like family. As we drove and were kind of getting lost in all the little streets in Japan, she would just kind of sing the words "Chotto matte" which is like "just a minute!" as she tried  to find our way back to her house. It felt so safe and comfortable and fun to be driving around with Tess san and have her being funny and singing to us. 

I love you all!!!

Love Kingu Shimai