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Monday, May 19, 2014

…now, I love Him! Christ makes life beautiful!



To my Mama!  Hi Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day!  I love you!  I honestly think Mother’s Day is one of my top favorite holidays now!  Because I love my Mama so much.  From here on out we are going to CELEBRATE BIG on Mother’s Day because the fact that you are my mom forever is a really big deal!  I will always celebrate Mother’s Day with a completely changed, humble perspective that my mission has given me about my mom!  Thank you for being my Mama!  

I am thinking you will probably be getting this letter just a few days before we get to Skype on Mother’s Day.  I am so excited to see my family again!  

I am looking through the last letter I got from you (April 13th letter) and you asked me how I liked General Conference.  Loved it!  Everything was so clear and simple and good.  Just solid truth.  Everything was focused on Christ and love and being good and doing good.  Just a couple of days ago I was re-reading through my notes form conference and wrote these 6 words on a little piece of paper and glued it on my missionary daily planner to remind me of the main things I want to remember/become from what I learned at General Conference:

                “Remember Christ—Be Grateful—Love everyone.”

Another little side note about my thoughts on General Conference – not spiritually related but more of a practical observation after living in Japan for a while now…looking at the Tabernacle Choir it was like, “Whoa!  Everyone has got BIG hair in America!  Big bosoms too!  Japanese people for the most part are small and thin and don’t do the big hair thing.  It takes all kinds to make a world!

So you know how when we skyped on Christmas I asked about how I could come closer to Christ, like what did that mean, and how was I supposed to do that because I felt so far, so very far away from Christ.  But I was closer than I thought.  And that is the little miracle that I wanted to tell you about…now, I love Him!  Christ makes life beautiful!  

It’s like that hunger I felt back in December to feel closer to Christ, as I tried to do the things I knew how, like praying to feel more love for Him, and reading of Him in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, that emptiness inside started to get filled up!  But it’s like as I started feeding that hunger, I got hungrier and hungrier.  All I want to do is read and study and think about Christ!
These are some of the things I’ve written in my study journal as I’ve studied and just thought about Christ:

4/5/2014
I’m reading in 3 Nephi 5 about how the Nephites believed in the signs of Christ coming to earth and how they believed He had come.  They forsook all their sins and “did serve God diligently day and night.”  I wonder what it must have been like to be on the earth at the same time you knew Christ was living here too; knowing He was on the other side of the world.  Just knowing He was here.  How sweet it must have been to live every day and sleep every night knowing He was here; knowing He had come.

4/17/2014
Today is my half-way mark as a missionary!  Wow.  It has been quite the adventure…filled with so many feelings and moments and experiences.  I’ve experienced probably some of the deepest pain my soul has ever felt.  I’m learning that sometimes you just have to hold on.  Let it be.  Let it pass.  I’ve also experienced some of the sweetest feelings and moments of gratitude to my Heavenly Father, for my family, the tender, beautiful mercies from my Heavenly Father and of growing grace by grace in loving Jesus Christ, my Brother, my Savior.

4/23/2014
Yesterday and today for personal study I have read 3 Nephi 17.  I’ve read this story before but when I read it yesterday and again today, I loved it so much.  I read it slowly and tried to picture Christ talking to the people and looking at them and seeing their tears; of Christ laying His hands on them and healing them, of the emotion and excitement when Christ announced He was going to heal everyone with afflictions, of the people kissing His feet, of Christ kneeling and praying for the people and Him weeping and blessing the children.  He is so very real!  This story is so powerful because just a few days before He was performing the infinite Atonement and now here He is, resurrected, alive, and so, so full of love and mercy and compassion.

As I’ve read this story, I want so much to be there and feel and experience this sacred, pure moment.  When I read this account, my soul felt good, like this is true.  I believe this story with my whole heart and I feel in my heart that it is true.  It’s helped me grow in love and testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I will always love this story and Him so much the more now.

4/26/2014
Right now in personal study I am studying about Jesus Christ and the Atonement.  I was just thinking about Heavenly Father and how proud He is of His Son.  Just like and dad who is proud of their son when they stick something out and do something hard especially for someone else.  It must have been a very sacred, quiet moment in Heaven, a very hard time for Heavenly Father. I picture Him watching. I picture Him maybe closing His eyes and just weeping for His Son and in His heart thinking, “Hold on Son, hold on.  Remember who you are.”

4/27/2014
Today when I was taking the sacrament I thought as I watched the living brothers pass the sacrament and how Christ is living.  He actually took the captivity of sin and death captive. He is alive and because of that everything is actually going to be okay!  I thought about Dad.  It’s not the end.  It’s not over.  We are all eternal beings and because of the goodness of Christ life can be beautiful forever.  Dad is alive.  He will be resurrected and have his body again!  No more sickness, no more cancer.  Only triathlons and jumping on the trampoline and cross-stitching!  I felt so grateful as I took the sacrament.  Christ came! He overcame sin and death!  Life is sure.  Living is what it’s all about.  Beautiful, beautiful life!

Oh my family!  I love Christ.  I am so grateful for our Brother who loves us and takes care of us. 
“And now I would commend you to seek this Jesus…” and when you do, something beautiful will happen.  He will come.  He will come into your heart and life will become even more beautiful!  Thank you family for loving Christ and for teaching me and helping me to learn to love Him too.

I love each of you!  Forever and ever.

King Shimai

Love You



Dear Mama and my sisters, 

I loved skyping with you last week! The most powerful and beautiful thing you have ever and will ever do is love me! That is the number one thing I felt from you when we talked. I am loved. Walking away after our conversation, it was like, I am okay, I am loved! Everything is going to be okay! I am loved! And that's what my soul needed most. I love you family! 

Happy week! I hope everything is beautiful and bright for our family this week! I will be thinking of you! I hope you just take time to enjoy everything and soak in the wonderful moment for our family! 

My week was good and included meeting with Tess Shimai a few times (going to institute with her at our church, and helping her start creating an lds.org account, and just talking with her) It was fun! I love her tons! My companion got a fever on Tuesday so we just had a day at the apartment, which was kind of nice to just be able to rest and organize my stuff. We taught a couple of our investigators and also a couple of less active members too. Nothing too crazy to report there, but ya. On Saturday we had a sports taikai, where we went to this gym and played volleyball and basketball and did hoola hoop and stuff for 3 hours! It was so fun! I was running around all hot and sweaty with the elders and it felt so good to run around and be sore the next day! Today we had district p-day and we went to a park by the river and had a picnic and played a ball game and made smores! I smell like smoke and sunscreen! Its been a happy summery p-day! 


This is how I feel!

`O how you ought to thank your Heavenly King! I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another - I say unto you that if ye should serve Him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another - I say, if you should serve Him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants...He hath created you...He doth immediately bless you...and ye are still indebted unto Him, and are, and will be, forever and ever...`
 


Love you so so much!
Love Kingu Shimai

Monday, May 5, 2014

HOPE



Oh Dearest Family! Hello! I love you! 

My world in Yamagata is so beautiful right now! Everything is bright apple green! 

On Saturday we had our first lesson with Tess Shimai:s granddaughters! They are 11 and 8 years old. We knew that we would be teaching the 11 year old, but it was a surprise that the 8 year old came too! We were so excited and had practiced and prepared really good for this lesson, so I felt completely calm. It was probably my favorite/best lesson in my whole mission so far. The 11 year old, Koko chan, WANTS to hear the Gospel, so it was so much more fun to teach someone who really wants to hear this glorious message, instead of just kinda half heartedly meeting with the missionaries.

We started at the very beginning. Heavenly Father. We taught them that He lives in Heaven, that He is a Being like us, that we are His children, and that He loves us. 

We taught how we used to live with Him, but now we are on Earth learning, so that one day we can go back Home and live with Him again. We taught them that we can talk to Him by praying. We taught them to fold their arms, close their eyes, and bow their heads. We taught them how to pray, and they took notes in their little notebooks, and asked questions like: if you always pray outloud?, or if you can pray in your heart; and if you pray in your heart, are you still supposed to close your eyes and fold your arms?

We read Alma 37:37 together, and taught them how to write down a scripture reference...the book, the chapter, dot-dot, then the verse. 
We committed them to pray that night, and then taught them `I Am a Child of God.` And then Tess Shimai said the sweetest closing prayer, being so grateful that her granddaughters were here, wanting to learn. 

Everything was so simple. There is sweetness and clarity in simplicity. Believing that you are a child of God. Then learning how to close your eyes and fold your arms, and then believing that you can just talk from you heart and pray and actually talk with your Heavenly Father, and that He`ll listen.

During my personal study, every month I pick one Christlike Attribute from PMG and study it throughout the month. In March I studied Humility, in April I studied Charity, and now for May I decided to study Hope. I feel like hope is going to be a wonderful thing to study this month! Here are some of my thoughts that I wrote down this morning as I thought about hope:

- This month is a big month for our family! This month Mama will get re-married, a tender mercy to our prayers and hope for sweet Mama.
- To be hopeful, in a way, really, is to be vulnerable. But its good to be vulnerable, because if you don:t hope for anything, then your heart becomes a little tired I think. I don:t think being hopeful means always wishing that the current moment/circumstance would change and become better...because I believe in just being, just loving each glorious moment for what it is, being tickled pink by the simple goodness or just being alive and doing the Earth thing. This is something Micail wrote to me a couple weeks ago about this idea of being content:

"Mamma J says hi to you!  And she just showed me the loveliest scripture, oh my heck, it's so good.  So we're going to tell you about it right now:
1 Timothy 6:6-8- "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." 
Isn't that beautiful?  I loved that- we brought nothing in, and we're taking nothing out.  It's like when you came up to work without your purse.  So free. We just showed up on the earth, just a naked sweet little soul, and then we're going to die, not taking even ONE thing with us.  Oh, that's so free!  And everything we have here is just a gift, but it's just a gift for a while to enjoy, then..ta ta!  Off to heaven!  Be content in life cuz it's just a temporary thing, and it's all a gift."

I love that we are so free! Free to live and love life and do the Earth thing! 
But I know that sometimes life is plain old hard, sometimes its monotonous, sometimes we struggle to feel like life is meaningful and spiritual, and sometimes we are tested and given trials and are called to walk through the Refiner`s fire. 

So I think that:s where hope comes in. I don:t quite understand hope, so thats why I want to study it more this month. But I think what I:m trying to say is that life is beautiful, we should just soak it in and be content and love the simple moments more. Love praying, love waking up in the morning and opening your eyes and seeing the world, love breathing and feeling your heart beating inside of you, love eating food, love being a human being, and love loving people. And when Heavenly Father calls you to walk through a test of your faith,.....keep walking. Keep believing. Remember that Christ is real. He is awake and alive. He is going to take care of you. Believe in that. Trust in that. Find the goodness in life for where you are right now, and be perfectly grateful, and believe in good things to come. I think that:s hope. 

My family! I love you I love you I love you! I don:t know if I will every be able to tell you how much I love you! I can:t wait to see you in ONE WEEK! Yes, I think we are still good to skype Sunday at 8:00 pm your time, and Monday 11:00 am my time. See you then! Please invite Micail and Katie to come! 

Love you!
Love Kingu Shimai