Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Okinawa Typhoon

Konnichiwa Kazoku!

So today is transfer call day and I still don't know if I will be transferring or not, but I feel like I might leave...mada wakaranai...
Our district really hasn't changed in the past two transfers so it will be sad not matter what. We have all gotten so close! Our awesome zone leader is going home and our district leader. :(

Happy Birthday to McKenna!! I hope you had a wonderful day!! I love you so much! You are so sweet and kind! I wish I could give you a big hug!

These past two transfers have been really fun working with the Elders in our ward. We occasionally run into them while we're out on the street. It always lifts our spirits to see others working with the same goal! One time this week we ran into them and realized we were going to the same place. We said, "Okay, you contact all the men and we will contact all the women!" So as we contacted down the road, they would stop and talk to someone and we would pass them on our bikes and then we would stop and contact someone and they would pass us! It went on like that back and forth for awhile! It was so fun!

This past week Japan celebrated the big holiday called Obon. Its a buddhist holiday but everyone celebrates it. It kind of like Thanksgiving. Families get together and everyone eats a ton. So many people were busy and it was difficult to schedule appointments.

Wednesday we had a TYPHOON!!! YAAAYY!! It was fun, but scary. As we rode our bikes the wind was so strong it would push us! We almost fell over a few times! It really cooled it down which was nice! 

On Friday evening after dinner we went out to do work like we always do, but we felt the strong impression our plans were not right. Not that they were not good things planned, but the Spirit was telling us we needed to change them. We stopped, prayed, and discussed what we should do. We decided to visit a potential investigator that has been too busy to meet with us lately. We went to her house and she said she was busy. We asked if we could just sing her a song. She loved that idea and invited us in to sing and play her piano. My companion played the piano and we sang, "Nearer My God to Thee" in Japanese for her. The spirit was so strong. She cried and said the Lord answered her prayer. God used us in his hands to be an answer to her prayer. We talked with her and showed our love for her. She is Buddhist and not ready to accept the gospel, but when we met with her last time we committed her to pray to Heavenly Father. She said she would pray to God first AND then her ancestors. But she said she knows God heard her prayer. It is so important to listen to the promptings of the spirit and be willing to stop what you're doing to be an answer to someone's prayer.

We are seeing miracles! A few weeks ago I talked about a girl we met who did home stay in Utah with a Mormon family 14 years ago. She now has a little family here in Naha. She came to church! Then we we able to teach her the first lesson and she is so prepared! Her faith is so strong. She know that this is the right path for her and her children. We a set a baptismal date with her and she asked about her children being baptized. We told her that they could be baptized when they turn 8. Her oldest son is 3 years old so she turned to him and said, "5 more years for you!" then she turned to the 2 yr old, "6 for you!" and then to her little baby girl, "and 7 years for you!" I love her! Her name is Akiko! I am grateful to the family in Salt Lake that took her to church every Sunday for a month and took her to temple square and shared the gospel with her. She has lost contact with them and they may not ever know what difference they made, but they truly were instruments in the Lord's hands in bringing one of His choice daughters, in His own timing, into the fold of God. 

Also our investigator is named Luna (its actually spelled Runa, but sounds like Luna and I like that name because its from Harry Potter) She went to EFY (its called SMYC in Japan) AND LOVED IT!! We met with her and set a baptismal date with her. All her friends are Mormon, so we has a great support group! We love LUNA!

This Sunday during sacrament meeting I was pondering my time here in Naha Higashi. I remember my first Sunday, my trainer Black Shimai translated the whole thing because I couldn't understand a word. This Sunday though, I was sitting by a Filipino lady in our ward who doesn't speak Japanese. She is a teacher at an English school here. I sat there and translated the meeting for her. It was NOWHERE near perfect and I didn't understand everything but I gave her the main ideas. I learning little by little each day with the help of the Lord! Thank your for your prayers. I need them; I feel them. 

God hears and answers prayers! He uses faithful people to answer them. Ask to be an answer to someones prayer. Pres Monson said "I can think of no sweeter feeling.... than being a answer to someones prayer."

I love you all! You'll just have to wait to hear about transfers next week!!

Capener Shimai

P.S. We rode by a Marine base on our bikes and I got a picture! Becca and Tyson, you should come here!! Its beautiful!

Monday, August 19, 2013

August in Okinawa

Konnichiwa Kazoku!!!

We started of the week with a little trip to sacred buddhist place, called Sefa Utaki, with our ward mission leader. It was beautiful right near the ocean. Rocks are placed in crazy ways and monks used to pray all day in that place. It is really fun to be so close to other missionaries that we can do fun things together! 

Last week and the beginning of this week we were COMPLETELY out of Book of Mormons. That can make dendouing difficult to say the least! We had one left to give out in case we ran into a golden person. 

Monday evening we taught the Miura family I mentioned last week. We found them housing and she speaks English. The WHOLE family came into the room to listen. THE MOM, THE DAD, TWO SONS AND A DAUGHTER!! I felt like I was on the district! The boys are 13 and 9 and the girl is 15. They had so many questions about God and Jesus Christ. The mother is also so open and was taking everything in. As we taught, she would simplfy and re-word what we were saying for her 9 year old. I sure that really helped HER understand. We went along with the pamphlet and she showed the pictures to her children. I love this family so much!! We prayed together with their entire family. The mother said that she loved the feeling she had while they prayed. I know Heavenly Father loves this family and is watching over them. We gave her an English Book of Mormon last time and she kept her commitment and read the introduction. We promised to get her a Japanese one as soon as we could. We couldn’t schedule another appointment because they are going to be busy with a buddhist holiday called Obon. But we stop occasionally and teach quick lessons. She gave us a referral too! Her mother! So we are going to teach her too! Since Miura san taught school in Canada her English is wonderful. She gave us big hugs at the end of the lesson and I felt at home! I LOVE THIS FAMILY. Later in the week we helped her translate some English mail for her friend and at that time we gave her our very last Japanese Book of Mormon. She was so grateful! 

Random: As we were riding our bikes like we always do we stopped at a red light and there is a radio playing. I listened in and guess who is was! RUSH LIMBAUGH!! Why they were playing a American, conservative, ENGLISH speaking, political analyst on the radio in Okinawa Japan I have no idea. Haha It made me think you mom! I miss you! Thanks for the talk you sent me a few weeks ago! I read it and loved it. 

This week we visited this old man in our ward that I love. His name is Brother Yoza and he was born in 1929! When he was just 16 he fought in World War 2 in the battles of Okinawa. He said 60 of his classmates died and he wasnt sure why he got to live. He later went to America for college and learned English. When he was 47 he was baptized. I told him that he survived so he could be baptized! I love learning from our elders! I learned to listen to their stories from your example Mom!!

This week we tried morning dendou! So instead of studying until lunch then going to dendou, get ready for the day then go out and contact! Then we come back and finish study and then go back out for the rest of the day. It was nice because it was cool weather. We were sure where we wanted to go but Black Shimai and I both felt very prompted to go to a very specific street. We went to that street and stopped a young high school aged girl. We talked to here about the church and she had some interest. We testified to her and gave her a Book of Mormon. She said she is too busy to meet with us again but I have a special feeling about her. I think someday she will find her way into the church.

Miracle of the week: On Tuesday it was a very raining day so I decided to put a rain jacket it my basket in case it started to pour. As I thought about that for some reason the thought came to put a Korean Book of Mormon in my bag. I have carried around different languages before but never have I given out a Korean one. I listened to that still, small voice, put it in my bag and quickly forgot about it and went out to dendo. At that time we still didnt have any Japanese Book of Mormons. As we were street contacting we meet a nice girl who was very interested. First she seemed like she was just interested in English Class but as we started talking she seemed interested in the church. She wanted to know more and said she had time that coming Friday. We quickly set up the appointment and got her information. She told us her name, Poku san. Thats not Japanese so we asked her about it. She is half Korean and speaks both Japanese and Korean fluently. I quickly new why the Lord guided me to put that Korean Book of Mormon in my bag just a few hours before. I grabbed it and started testifying of the Book of Mormon. (You should have seen my companions face! She was so shocked I had a Korean one!) I gave it to her and asked her to begin reading. She said she would. The Lord will use us as instruments in His hands if we pray for experiences and act on the promptings on the Holy Spirit.

Yesterday we had Stake Conference. Okinawa is divided into two different stakes so half of all the members in Okinawa came to our church building! The missionaries in our zone were given the opportunity to sing! We sang the primary hymn, "We'll Bring the World His Truth". As I walked up to the front and looked out on the worthy, righteous members of Okinawa my heart was filled with love for them. The spirit bore witness of the words we sang. I love these people and the Lord loves these people. 

I am grateful to be a missionary in these the latter days! "We are as the Army of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth. And we are NOW the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth."

This is His work. I testify that God lives and Jesus is the Christ. Through Christ, we can find happiness and peace in this life and eternal salvation in the world to come.

I love you all! Thanks for you support!

Capener Shimai

P.S. Dendou:missionary work

Monday, August 12, 2013

Buddy the Elf

Long time, no see! It feels weird e-mailing now since I just did on Thursday! Not a lot has happened since my last e-mail so this might be short. Just after e-mails last Thursday we went on a 2 hour drive through Okinawa to the aquarium. OKINAWA is SO BEAUTIFUL!!! I JUST CANT BELIEVE IT!!!! Driving along the turquoise ocean was so fun! The aquarium was really fun too. The whale sharks we enormous! But my favorite part was probably the manatees! I don't know why I love them so much. I remember Gavin and Chase saying that Manatees were like their favorite animals or something. It was a great day! Very exhausting but once in a lifetime!

Friday we had zone conference! It was my first zone conference on the mission! There are two zones in Okinawa so we all got together for the occasion! Literally right before it was about to start our zone leader, who works in the same ward as us, asked me to sing a solo. I accepeted, anything for Kaicho (president). Luckily, my companion and I had a song prepared that was originally for a choir, but could work as a solo. I began praying as soon as possible. Praying that the Lord could use me as an instrument in His hands..literally. That through this music, I could touch someones heart and be an answer to someone's prayer. When the meeting began we sang an opening hymn, had the opening prayer, then it was my turn to sing. I went up to the pulpit looking out at all the wonderful missionaries who are out working everyday, like me, for these people in Okinawa. I was filled with love before I even began singing. Then as I sang a beautiful rendition on "Come Thou Fount" the words really sunk into my heart. I started to get a little emotional but I pulled it together and gave it my all. I tried to really look at missionaries individually as I sang. Some of their eyes were filled with tears as well. Afterwards a hand full of missionaries thanked me for singing. I am grateful to serve that Lord in whatever way He needs me.
President and Sister Gustafson gave great talks. I just love them so much! We are really making a push to work more with members I know we will be blessed if we all work together!

The Elder who work in our ward with us had a baptism yesterday! They asked me to sing a few songs for that as well. That had kind of become my role now. I lead the music at baptism services and sing solos. My companion can play the piano so this is a team effort. I sang the primary song "Baptism" and then I sang "I know that my redeemer lives" in Japanese. Its nerve racking singing in a different language that is the audiences native, but hopefully they can forgive the accent. 

I wanted to talk about one funny thing about being here in Japan. So I am 5'9", blonde, tall, and have big blue eyes, that's very strange for Japan. I am HUGE! I feel like Buddy the Elf. Everything here is smaller. I tower over most people and have to bend and crouch down to get through some doors. I think Japanese people just get smaller as the age. Next to some obaachans (grandmas) I really feel like Buddy the Elf. So I have just decided the own it. Here are some pictures to demonstrate my largeness. Enjoy.

"The best way to spread MISSIONARY cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!" 

Just call me Buddy the Elf.

I love you all!

Capener Shimai!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Whale Sharks

First of all I wanted to give a big shout out to my sister Becca who just had a birthday on the 5th! I love you so much and really look up to you! As I am riding my bike around Okinawa I sometimes think of fun times we have had together like screaming like even stevens on space mountain or convincing Kaitlyn that we wrote the song By By Miss American Pie. That was HILARious!! I love you so much! Cant wait to hug you again!!!

On August 3 I hit my 4 month mark! Its crazy how time flies! DADDY THANKS FOR YOU PACKAGE!!!! IT CAME AT THE PERFECT TIME!! The Lord loves us and knows us personally. The timing of the package delivery was a sweet tender mercy of the Lord. I challenge everyone to look for and recognize the tender mercies in your own life.

So Dad, you were asking how a Trio works. Its just the same as any other companionship just with an extra person. Street contacting can be a little strange when three random people with helmets on start talking to you about God, but its AWESOME to have another witness! Another person testifying of what we are teaching. We all get along really well. Kuroki Shimai has wonderful English but we do try to speak Japanese as much as we can.

I wanted to talk a little about our Eikaiwa class! Every Wednesday we teach English! There are 7 missionaries who teach and 5 of them are Americans! We have around 20 people come each week. We teach from an English manual which can sometimes get boring. So being the character I am, I like to act out what I am saying in English and like practically put on a show! It makes Eikaiwa so much more fun if you get into it! If we are excited about what we are teaching the students will get excited too! When we street contact and the person isnt interested in the gospel we give the a Eikaiwa chidashi (English Conversation flyer). I always look forward to Wednesdays because I love EIKAIWA!