Thursday, February 26, 2015

Court's return!

Is that her?  Is that really her?  What a beautiful sight!

Courtney and Micail have not seen each other for 2 and a half years!

Janessa was too sick with the flu to join us.  A phone call was the first order of business.

Monday, February 2, 2015

It is well, It is well, It is well with my soul.

My Dearest Family, 

As always, I love you. 

I remember the first picture I ever took on my whole mission, was my first day in the MTC with my new companion from Tahiti, Mataoa Shimai. Throughout my mission, I would look back at that picture, I would think to myself, "If I only knew what I was getting myself into. I had no idea how hard this was going to be. ...Oh, if I only knew."    
And now, I look back at that exact same picture and I still think the same words, "If I only knew..." except that now, those words mean something different to me. Now, as I look back at my mission I feel, "If I only knew then, how good my Heavenly Father was going to be to me. If I only knew then the miracles and blessings He had waiting for me!....Oh, if I only knew." 

"...I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that He hath heard my prayer; yea, ...I remember His merciful arm which He extended towards me." (Alma 29:10)

I am SO grateful for my mission to Sendai, Japan!  

The last year and a half of my life has been, hands down, the hardest year and a half of my life. But, thank Heaven it was hard. Because it was hard, the last year and a half of my life has also been, hands down, the sweetest year and a half of my life. 

I have no idea how to try and put what is in my heart, into this little email.

Looking back at who I was as a bean, and looking at who I am now. I:m still the same ole me in a lot of ways; but there is this new part of me too, this changed part of me, that I think I could:ve only become by living this last year and a half in Japan. 

More than I will ever be able to express, I am just deeply, truly, completely grateful! 
Grateful for the days, for the many humble prayers, for the tears, for the beautiful people, for the peaceful perspective, for the heartache, for the sweet relief, for the experience and blessing of serving my Savior and Heavenly Father. 

I have come to know my Heavenly Father and Savior in a very real, and sweet and humbling way. I know they are Merciful. I absolutely know that. I know that Jesus Christ is our Gentle Savior. I know He can heal us. I am indebted to Him forever, for the light and life He freely gives me. I truly feel "joy because of the light of Christ unto life." (Alma 28:14) 

I know that the cause I:ve been sacrificing for, for the last year and a half, is true! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. And living it and sharing it = pure happiness. 

In a few days I will step onto a plane and fly home to you family. I know it will be bittersweet. I have grown to love the Land of the Rising Sun, so very much! I love the people, I love the language, I love the smells and the sounds and the little things that make Japan what it is. And, I love it because I know that Dad loves it. I believe Dad has been my number one helper over here. What a sacred and sweet experience to serve my mission in Japan. It's a part of me forever now. And my soul feels complete.  

I love you, so much.
Subete wa yoshi! 
Love King Shimai

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Faith and Testimony are Simple

Me and the world's two quietest dogs! We went and visited Ishikawa Shimai's grandma this week, because her grandma lives in Izumi, and she has these 2 cute dogs, but they were so mellow, and just walked up all quiet and never ever barked! What nice little souls! 
My Dear Family!

 This week me and Kanno Shimai did a split with the sisters in Ishinomaki. I worked with Ishikawa Shimai. As me and her were riding the bus back from Ishinomaki to Izumi to dendo for the day, I had a great experience! The bus ride is about one hour, and towards the end of the bus ride I decided to try talking to the woman sitting next to me. I pointed out the window and asked if the tsunami had come to this part of Sendai. 

That got our conversation started and we talked about the tsunami and she shared with me that both of her parents had been killed in it. I shared with her simply our belief that our families can be together forever, and I gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and told her how much peace and hope its given me in my life. I was so grateful that I could share my testimony with her! 

We finally started teaching our investigator Obara san again, after about a month of her being gone during the holidays! She is wonderful! This week we had a great lesson with her talking about the power Christ has to heal our spirits. We sang her "I Stand All Amazed" and she really liked it. 

On Friday we went over to a members house and had a gyoza party. (Gyoza is kind of like wan-tans). We made like 200 gyoza! The member invited one of her friends over and so we got to talk with her. She has lots of different religions in her background, and has attended our church once. She has lots of questions, and opinions, and has been exposed to some anti-mormon stuff, which is too bad, but it was really interesting to talk to her. 

It makes me realize how simple my testimony is. I haven:t ever looked into any other churches, trying to find the true church. I:ve just always believed that THIS church is true. I:ve felt the Spirit confirm to me through so many experiences and feelings, a sweet and steady assurance that what I:ve been taught to believe is true, actually IS the truth. And so even though my faith and testimony are simple, I know that what I know, is real. 

All my love! 
Love King Shimai

Hi Mama, I just wanted to tell you something cool! I hit my 18 month mark about a week ago, and on that day I finished reading the entire October General Conference Liahona! It was a fun accomplishment! 


Monday, January 19, 2015

How much I have to be grateful for in this life!

My Dear Family! 

- This week we had a Hula Night! It was actually a really big activity in one of the different areas, but we got to go and hula! There was a huge turnout and it was a lot of fun! 

- We got to teach a couple of our investigators this week! We invited one of them to be baptized. She has a desire to be baptized, but because of the strong Japanese traditions/culture in her husbands family, it makes it hard for her to commit to be baptized. 

- We went to a festival this week called Dontosai. There are so many festivals in Japan! So New Years is the biggest holiday in Japan, and everyone has these decorations that they hang on their doors during the New Years holidays. Then during Dontosai, everyone brings their decorations to a jinja and throws them into a giant bonfire. We went with our investigator and had a great time! 

- We had 2 splits this week! On Thursday I did a split with my dear Robertson Shimai! We entered the MTC together and we:ve been friends all throughout our mission. During our split we went out and went streeting and housing. It was so amazing to look at how far we:ve come! From entering the MTC not knowing a lick of Japanese, to walking the streets of Izumi, trying to share our message in the Japanese language. Of course our Japanese wasn:t perfect, and we had some funny moments trying to talk with people and get them to understand what we were saying. But I was so grateful to have that experience, to just remember how far Heavenly Father has brought us. 

- Then on Friday I was in a different area, in Tagajo doing splits with a sister there. We got to visit a couple of less actives. Visiting them just reminded me how much I have to be grateful for in this life. Truly, everything I have is a gift and blessing from Heavenly Father

On Saturday me and my companion rode out to a pretty far area to visit some less actives out there. We had success meeting with a couple of them! The weather also turned into a mini blizzard, so that was exciting! 

I:m grateful to be serving my mission! I:m grateful for my family praying for me! I love you each so very very much!

Love King Shimai