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!

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