Sunday, July 28, 2013

July Block Party

Konnichiwa Kazoku!

This week started off pretty crazy. My trainer had one of her first responsibilities as Sister Training leader and had to go to splits in another zone. That left me and Kuroki Shimai alone! I am technically senior even though she is Japanese. I had to step up to the responsibility and lead! I have so much more respect for my trainer after that day. JAPANESE ADDRESSES ARE IMPOSSIBLE!! Locating addresses on a Japanese map (all in Kanji) and then getting there by bike, riding up and down hills, sweating profusely, and trying to contact people along the way is quite a journey! Leading all the planning was a bit nerve racking because you want to use all your time effectively. We were very effective that day visiting members, contacting, giving out Book of Mormons, and even teaching a lesson! I learned a lot about being a leader as a missionary! Its scary to think I could become a trainer in the next few months because soooo many new sisters are coming in! Just pray that I will learn how to speak the language. That is seriously the hardest thing. BUT I have found that when I just try to talk to members and just ask questions it gets easier. If I dont understand them, they simplify it, and if I dont understand that either they use hand motions as well. haha They are so kind a patient with me. I have to just loose all my pride and just admit that I need help!

Kuroki Shimai has been so helpful in my language study. On a few occasions she has spent nearly her whole time just helping me. She is an incredible missionary. She came into the field running, ready to testify. I just love her so much.

We live in the same apartment as the Naha Sisters, Clingo Shimai and Kwak Shimai (we are Naha East) and they had a baptism this last weekend. Megumi San is her name. She was found two months ago street contacting. She is a single mother with a young daughter.  What a happy day!

We had a ward party this weekend and they asked the missionaries to sing. The zone leaders are in our ward so the ward has 5 missionaries now! The elders did a musical number with the guitar, then we, the sisters, sang, then I SANG A SOLO!! I sang a beautiful version of Love at Home and my comp Black Shimai played the beautiful accompaniment. I just went for it and belted the song. It was so fun! Then we all sang together Come Thou Fount. We started all singing in English and then there came a time where we sang acapella. We then started singing in Japanese. The spirit was soooo strong. There is something special about hearing your native language. I have come to appreciate that while serving here. 

D&C 90:11 "For it shall come to pass that in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ." 

I am grateful to be serving here on the beautiful island of Okinawa. A piece of my heart will forever be here. The Lord has opened my heart and filled it with love for these people. Some days can be difficult and exhausting but I want to share something I say in my morning prayers:

"I dedicate this day unto thee. I will do all that I can to serve thee today. I will do everything I can tomorrow too...but...I'll think about that tomorrow."

Take one day at a time, this time is a precious gift from our Father in Heaven. I love you all and feel of your love and prayers. Pray for Okinawa. 


Capener Shimai

Monday, July 22, 2013

Two Sister Blacks


What a wonderful week!! We got our new companion.........KUROKI SHIMAI!! (黒木 This is the Kanji for her name and it means Black Tree (kuroi means black) so one of my companions is Sister Black the other is Sister Black Tree haha) Yep!!! She is Japanese! She is from Ibaraki-ken which is near Tokyo (ish). She went to BYU-Hawaii so she actually speaks English very well! She plays basketball too! We are planning on playing basketball with a young woman in our ward and her non-member friends! We are also going to play basketball in the mornings occasionally for exercise! YAAYY!! Street contacting with 3 can be a little awkward but having a Nihonjin is AWESOME! We speak WAYY more Japanese now just around the apartment and I can already feel my Japanese getting better! She is so sweet and an incredible missionary! 

KAMIZATO SHIMAI WAS BAPTIZED!! I just love her so much!! I am grateful for the opportunity I had to teach her and be a small part of this, guiding her to the truth. She bore her testimony too!! She said that she is going to read her scriptures, pray, obey the commandments because of the difference it makes in her life. She said she knew her sins are forgiven. Then at the close of the meeting her 5 year old daughter said the closing prayer!!! (with help from Kinjo Shimai her friend in the ward) I could tell Kamizato Shimai was really touched by that. At the end of the meeting I went to thank Kinjo Shimai. She has done SOOOO much for us to help Kamizato Shimai. She has jointed lessons, given rides, hosted FHEs, sat by her in Church, led her to classes, helped with her children, given her scriptures, and her husband performed the baptism AND the list goes on. So I started to thank her and began to tear up, my language is still not very good so I couldnt really express how grateful I really was, but as I thanked her the spirit was so strong, she started to tear up too. I hugged her and said Thank You in English. She knew that was really coming from my heart. I love KINJO SHIMAI!! She is in the picture with her family! (Kamizato Shimai was looking down!! Ahhh!!)
Its amazing how important morning study is and the Lord will provide a way for you to use what you learned that VERY same day!! So on Saturday morning during companionship study we were role playing introducing the モルモン書(Book of Mormon)and asking the investigator to read the last two paragraphs of the intro and inviting them to read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon. So I bet you see where this is going...haha...........I DID IT ON THE STREET LIKE AN HOUR LATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so grateful for that practice! I had confidence as I spoke and knew what I was going to say!!!

Sunday we had another miracle! Kamizato Shimai was confirmed and we had another investigator there. Then after sacrament meeting a lady came into the church. She had a lot of interest so we started talking to her. We gave her a little church tour and ended in the sacrament meeting room. There we listened to her story, and taught her part of the first lesson. She has had a very hard life, suffering with an abusive husband. She loved the fact that we were volunteers and she said she wants to do the same! She gladly accepted our message. Following the promptings of the spirit, we invited her to be baptized. Her eyes started to shine and she accepted! We set a date for the end of August. Her name is Uemura San. 

Things are going well in Naha! I think its getting even hotter! For the first time in my life I could see a purpose using those sweat head band things. Sweat mixed with sunscreen in your eyes is not fun. But I love it! I love Okinawa! I never want to transfer! Thank you for all your prayers! Keep praying to have missionary experiences your self! If you dont know how, contact the missionaries in your area and tell them you want to help! They would LOVE THAT!! 
I know that the God hears and answers our prayers. He knows each of us individually and loves us!He is our Heavenly Father, He wants to hear from us. And I want to hear from you too!! hehe I love letters :)

Until Next Week!!

Capener Shimai

Monday, July 15, 2013

Celebrating the 4th in Japan

Minasan Konnichiwa みなさんこんにちわ! 
As I have been serving I realized how little I actually know about your missions, mom and dad. I want to hear stories and see pictures! Mom, if you have the chance, I would love some actual pictures from your mission like snail mail ones I can have a show people. 
It is HOT in Okinawa! People here say the UV rays are really strong...Would you mind looking that up online and letting me know? Everyone wears long sleeves and hats and when they see me in short sleeves the tap my arms tell me to be careful (and a bunch of other stuff i cant understand). But on Monday after our p-day at the beach I was very burnt. Our whole ZONE had a hard time recovering. Everyone got burnt, one elder got heat stroke, and one elder actually broke his arm when he got hit by a car on his bike on the way to the beach. My companion stepped on glass at the beach! So we had to go to the doctors and get it out! We were very physically exhausted! Unrelated to the beach, a companionship of sisters got their bikes stolen :( its been rough, but the works goes on!!
かみざと姉妹 (Kamizato Shimai) is progressing towards her baptismal date which was moved to the July 19th. The gospel is changing her. We can see it in her eyes. She loves the primary program and how her children are responding to the gospel. I just love her so much. She understands everything so well! 
We had an awesome Sunday yesterday. Along with Kamizato Shimai coming on time dressed up with her children, a nonmember woman just showed up to Sacrament meeting. Awhile back she got an English Class flyer with church times and information on it. We briefly talked to her and then we were able to sit by her in Sacrament meeting. Our ward is so loving and welcoming! Kamizato Shimai was able to sit by a family that has been fellowshipping her so we could sit by this new lady, Kaneda San かねださん。Another member sat on her other side and whispered explainations throughout sacrament meeting. After sacrament we lead Kamizato Shimai and her children to where they needed to go then we taught Kaneda San the first lesson!! She loved it, as we testified of the Book of Mormon, モロモン書 she quickly asked, "Can I have one?" AHHHHH!! OF COURSE!!!! It was so great to see someone so prepared! We will be meeting with her again this week!
This week was the Fourth of July! In Japan its just like any another day :( But we all wore red, white and blue in celebration of our native land! God bless America!! 
We did splits this week and I was pared with Clingo Shimai from Springville, Utah. We all live in the same apartment so it was funny just switching places with Kwak Shimai. Kwak Shimai went with my trainer and I went with hers. My area is Naha Higashi, but on Friday I worked in Naha area. Naha area is bigger with more tourists and shopping! It was cool so see that area of Naha and learn from Clingo Shimai. She is an awesome missionary! Together we were able to testify to some in English and give out an English Book of Mormon (always be prepared) It is so nice to testify in my native tongue! Then we found a new investigator! I am sad I wont be able to teach her but she seems really awesome. She is Christian already and committed to praying about the Book Of Mormon!
The weeks fly by here! I can promise you that when you lose yourself in the service of bring souls unto Christ, you will find joy!! Many reject us and slam the doors when they see our gaijin (foreign) faces, but I know that I am offering them to partake of the greatest gift of all, eternal life! A missionary once related it to offering everyone we see $100 bills! The funny thing is its worth SO much more than that! I know more than ever that God is in reality the father of our spirits. He knows us and loves each of us individually. He has prepared a plan for us to return to live with Him and our families for eternity. I know its in and through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we had find a happiness in this life! I have grown to love my earthly family so much more than I ever thought was possible. I pray for you. I love you.
Pray for opportunities to be a missionary. Invite nonmembers to your house and invite the missionaries. Carry around an extra copy of the Book of Mormon and read it in public. When people ask you about it, give them one! Always be prepared to stand as a witness of Christ. Think about the families you know who have recently moved, just had a baby, or experienced a death in the family. President Monson has said that people in those situations often have many questions about life. We have those answers!  Share what you know! 
I love you all! 
Capener Shimai

Monday, July 1, 2013

My 21st Birthday Celebration

June 30, 2013
Konnichiwa Kazoku!

This week has been so full of adventures! I wanted to start off my saying I have the best 21st Birthday ever here in Naha! My companion and roommates woke me up by singing happy birthday and made me crepes with bananas and Nutella. They gave me a bow for my hair and a little basketball! Dad, you wrote in one of your letters that on your mission a sports store owner gave you a basketball. Haha now I have My mini basketball! I love it! We also went out for sushi!!! First time having sushi since Ive been on my mission!! It was delicious. I tried the okinawan stuff called Natto, yep it was gross. But we had interviews with president and training more the APs! I love President Gustafson! He really loves and cares for his missionaries! My birthday was great! I just cant believe how fast July came!
So I wanted to talk first a little more about Kamizato Shimai. This week she accepted a date to be baptized!!!! July 20th is the date! At church on Sunday she was able to meet more of the ward and really interact because her little 1 year old baby was sleeping in the stroller!! (blessing!) There is a ward member mother who is really working with us to fellowship her. We had FHE at their house with Kamizato Shimai there! Kamizato Shimai is very very shy and does not really have a lot to say, but I can see she is slowly getting more comfortable with church! 
This week we ate a members house who is Philipino but raised their family in Okinawa. They all speak English!! Yaay!! But to our surprise they brought a non member friend who was also Philipino to the dinner. She was Catholic and her Mormon friend has been inviting her for the past 20 years to church. She has a Book of Mormon but hasnt read it. She has a strong relationship with God. It felt so good to teach a testify in a language I could understand. I felt inspired to share my experience of going to Catholic school and there learning truths about Jesus Christ and developing my love for my Savior. Then I testified that with the Book of Mormon we have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I read the Book of Mormon my love for my Savior grew so much more. We then invited to family to pray with us for our investigators. The non-member told us that she would pray for them. She is such a sweet woman. 
I had another English experience with contacting. We started contacting with a girl in Japanese but seeing as my companion and I are both blonde she quickly said, "Im from Austrialia, going to school here in Okinawa" We began talking to her in English. I stumbled so much and felt a little lost! But I reached in my bag and gave her my mini Book of Mormon I carry with me everywhere. I knew that it could be replaced and it meant even more to me because of my mini sacrifice. I felt so happy afterwards!
We had a double zone P-day! Which was super fun! All the missionaries on Okinawa got together and had a BBQ on the beach. We played volleyball and soccer on the beach! We then had hot dogs and burgers! I felt like it was our fourth of July party! We were near a base so there were foreigners everywhere! It was so weird!! Okinawa is SOOOO beautiful! 
A miracle happened this week! The zone leaders are in the same ward as we are and they have had this investigator named Makinaka san since about February. Makinaka san is a chef at a restaurant and always cooks for us! He is very playful and always plays jokes on the Elders. Makinaka san has had a hard life, smoking, drinking, prison, divorce, you name it. He met the missionaries on the street and agreed to come to church simply to make fun of it. Yet, the gospel of Jesus Christ began to soften his heart. There were many bumps along the way, but through the power of the atonement he was able to quit his bad habits, repent of his sins, and be baptized into the church last Saturday. He is strong and dedicated to the church. He desires to be a better person each day! The gospel really changes lives.
I love the people of Okinawa and I know the Lord does too. In 2 Nephi 29:7 it says, 
"Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth benaeath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?"
The Lord is aware of these people. He loves them with a perfect love. He is remembers his missionaries upon the island of Okinawa and loves them too. I am so thankful to be serving here and for my  small part in bringing forth the word of God unto the children of men. Thank you for your prayers and support! Pray for Okinawa!


Capener Shimai