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

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