Tuesday, April 29, 2014

To the coolest kids on earth...my family!

Oh my dearest FAMILY! I LOVE YOU SO! 

I have a thousand things I want to say, so its maybe going to all be a little random, but here we go! 

Yesterday we were sitting in church, and this really funny guy from the stake was up there talking and speaking SO fast, but making everyone laugh and being so funny. I didn:t quite know what was being talked about, but I just sat there, looking around at everyone laughing and realized how much I was growing to love my people here! It was such a sweet happy moment!

This week I went to Aizuwakamatsu on a split with Tuttle Shimai! Tuttle Shimai is special because she is Brother and Sister Hyer`s niece. Before my mission, Sister Hyer was so excited for me to serve in Sendai, because that is where her niece had been called too. I met Tuttle Shimai when I first came to Japan, but this week I got to be her companion and it was so wonderful! We walked from the apartment in Aizuwakamatsu to the castle to dendo. While we walked we stopped and talked to a couple girls in a park sitting on a bench. We went over and started talking to them and invited them to look at Mormon.org. 

Eatin a big ole pile of curry on the table. No plates. Just curry! 

Then we went on our way and when we were almost to the castle, we met these 2 older ladies who were also on their way to the castle to see the cherry blossoms. We started walking together, and talking, we looked at the cherry blossoms together, and then they fed us their picnic, and then we went and climbed the stairs in the castle up to the very top and looked out over Aizuwakamatsu, and then they bought us ice cream! They weren:t too interested in the Gospel, but they sure had fun pampering the two of us missionaries! 

Another miracle is happening over here! Tess Shimai`s granddaughter, wants to hear the lessons! She is only 10 years old but is so brave and has come to some activities at the church all by herself! We have our first lesson with her this Saturday! 

I never told you about a really weird experience us missionaries had. Last transfer, there was a family in the Fukushima ward who had 2 of their sons get baptized. One of them was about 10 years old, but had never been baptized, and the younger one was 8 years old. All of us missionaries went to Fukushima for the event. Fukushima is one of the areas that was hit by the tsunami 3 years ago, and because of that, the oldest boy is really scared of water. After his 8 year old brother got baptized (who loved the water, and loved all the attention, and was kinda swimming around in the font...) it was the older brothers turn to be baptized. He did NOT want to be baptized. I don:t think it was so much that he was against the principle of being baptized, it was that he is so so scared of the water. 

He and his dad stood in the font for quite awhile. He kept crying and saying it was so scary. His dad tried to baptize him, but his son resisted. After trying to calm the boy and trying to help him get baptized, but to no avail, the dad talked with some of the other men in the ward, and they came to a conclusion. The boy must get baptized! So, the dad once more said the baptism prayer and then pretty much held his son and body tackled him into the waters of baptism!    ....I don:t know if that:s allowed. But that's what happened. So hopefully it counts! 

Mom, I loved the talk about first person faith you sent me a couple of letters ago! Thank you so much! I also loved your last letter, hearing about sweet Bella waving and waving to know one in particular, and holding out her arms for Grammie. I:m going to play with that little sweetheart everyday when I get home! Oh I love her! 

Last night in our apartment we had a funny little experience, called a GIGANTIC bee buzzing around our apartment. We were running around, my companion with a towel draped over her head for protection, me with a blue plastic strainer in hand to catch the lil` devil, and all of us just kind ducking and screaming and running around turning lights on and off, sliding doors closed, trying coax the beast out of our apartment! ...Then it disappeared. It suddenly vanished, so we just gave up the fight and figured it had gone out the door. But this morning and 6:00 am, what do we hear? Buzzing! It was still in our apartment just hanging out in the curtains! We finally found it and sent it on its way outside. Kind of a random, not missionaryish story, but know you like hearing all the parts of my life, so there you go! 

Oh, my dear family, a little miracle is happening in my heart that I want to tell you all about. But I want to write it in a letter, and I don:t have much time to write it in this email. So I will write you a letter about it later today. 

I love you all so so much! 
Have a beautiful day!
Love Kingu Shimai

Happy Easter

Oh my FAMILY! I love MY family so so much! Happy Easter everyone!
Japan is absolutely lovely right now. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom and they are everywhere! 
Japanese Cherry Blossoms! They are so beautiful! 
My first week with my new companion, Nishikawa Shimai went pretty good! Its been a little scary being the one to show her around Yamagata and just having a new person to live with. She doesn't really speak very much English like my trainer did...so there is a lot of Japanese going on in my world now. But I love it! Its so fun! She is funny and easy going. But my Japanese is still coming along, so sometimes we don't quite understand each other.

The other day in the kitchen after lunch, we had a funny little conversation...like a big miscommunication....It started with her trying to tell me about some curry that she'd eaten. I was trying to go along with it and understand her, so I was trying to ask her if it was similar to some curry I'd eaten at a restaurant called "Gorilla Curry". That turned into Nishikawa Shimai thinking that I'd eaten curry with gorilla in it....finally I went and got my little electronic dictionary and typed in the word I thought she was saying, trying to explain to me about this curry that she'd eaten....which then turned into me thinking that she'd eaten curry with llama in it! What? I freaked out and was like "You ate curry with LLAMA in it?" Finally...we figured it all out. Turns out it was just some curry with lamb in it. But apparently it was gross, or something! 
Happy Easter! Me and Nishikawa Shimai decorating eggs at the Easter Activity at the church!

Here is part of what I wrote to Tel (Micail Mann) today that I wanted to tell you too:

{Okay first. I love what you said about Easter and what your dad said about the Resurrection. And especially about my dad! I will always always love it when people talk about my dad. Tel, I just want you to know how it is very very sweet for me right now to be in Japan. My dad was actually here. Its amazing. I think about him a lot. Sometimes I miss him so much Tel. 

You know how in the church we always talk about "Eternal Life" and for some reason in my mind, maybe just from hearing it so much, you kinda don't think about what that really is. Its not going to be like some weird unfamiliar thing. Heaven is going to be so familiar. And its going to be us and everyone we love! Its going to be our sweet, beautiful life that we love, for forever! I will be with my Dad again and I will be so, so grateful for that. Halellujah! 

The other day me and my companion George Shimai went to visit one of our investigators. After we visited, my companion and I went back outside to where our bikes were. My companion got a phone call, so while she talked on the phone, I just waited by my bike. It was nighttime, so I stood still and looked up into the heavens. I felt a little sad and homesick, but then I realized how familiar the sky looked. Even though my surroundings here in Japan are different, it felt so familiar looking up at the same stars and moon that I see at home. It was a good moment. Looking at heaven. Feeling close to home.}

My Easter was good! It was a beautiful sunny cherry blossumy day! After church, me and White Shimai made chicken and potatoes and rice and guacamole for dinner! It was so yummy! Then for dessert she made a crumb cake from a box that her Grandma sent her. It was like a real deal Easter feast! 

I am so excited for May 11th! Mama's Day! Its going to be a beautiful day cause I will see my family again! It will be my Monday and your Sunday. I don't know times yet, cause we haven't really planned that yet. But for now lets plan on 11:00 am my time, 8:00 pm on Sunday for you. I will let you know if it changes. Please invite my canyon boys too! 

I love you!  Love Kingu Shimai

Hi Mama! My package came this week! Thank you so much for sending whole wheat! It tastes so good! And for sending the ear drops! This morning my ear could hear again!!! It still feels a little weird after being plugged for so long. Its glorious! 

I just was looking back at your email you sent me last week with the journal entries from the last 2 years. I love them! Thank you for being my Mom. Thank you for taking me shopping for my Temple dress and robes and garments. Thanks for being SO patient while I tried on dresses for so long. But now I have my Temple dress that I LOVE. Mom, I really miss the Temple. I want to go so much! I love it! 

I love you Mama! Your prayers and love mean everything to me! Thank you for telling me so much in your letters about your heart and all the hills and valleys of this beautiful life. I love you. 

Love your daughter for forever and ever, Courtney Elise, Kingu Shimai