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

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