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