Monday, November 11, 2013

And then there was three.....Welcome Coles Shimai

How are ya'll??? Guess what? That Texas t'wang didn't come outta no where! AND THEN THERE WAS 3!!! Yep, you heard me right. 3 blonds riding the streets o

f Okinawa. Due to an emergency transfer, Coles Shimai (from Texas, thats where the t'wang came from) has joined the ranks! It has been so much fun!
Last Monday we went to an ancient castle ruins place. Its crazy to go somewhere and see walls that were built over 500 years ago! We went with a great family in the Military branch! I love these branches!
On Wednesday we taught our investigator Naoko. She loves the happiness that we have and she wants it for herself. She says that the people at our church are kind and loving whereas the people at hers hardly even talk to each other. In Japanese respecting your elders is SOOO huge. It deeply ingrained into their culture. She is nervous to join the church because of her older sister. Her parents have passed away so she looks up to her sister. Even though she believes its true, she can't move forward because of her. She is 40 years old but it is soo important in their culture. Its hard for me to wrap my head around it.
We taught our American investigator, Jackie, for the second time this week. She has been reading and loving the book of Mormon. She calls us her angels because we found her on her birthday and gave her a gift from God, the Book Of Mormon. Even though she was raised Catholic and her father and many family members are Catholic priests, she told us that she wants to "be Mormon". She was interested as we taught her about prophets, dispensations, the apostasy, and especially the restoration. She is moving back to the states to help her daughter who recently had a baby so we are very sad to see her go. She will be gone for like 8 months, but we are going to send all her info to the mission in the states and send other "anglels" to her. As I was pondering that and reading my scriptures I came across a cool scriptures Alma 13:22-23:
"Yea, and the voice of the Lord, by the amouth of angels, doth declare it unto all nations; yea, doth declare it, that they may have glad tidings of great joy; yea, and he doth sound these glad tidings among all his people, yea, even to them that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth; wherefore they have come unto us. And they are made known unto us in aplain terms, that we may understand, that we cannot err; and this because of our being bwanderers in a strange land; therefore, we are thus highly favored, for we have these glad tidings declared unto us in all parts of our vineyard."
Cool huh?!
So we found an AWESOME investigator last week who is 15 years old. Her name is YUKI!! So cute huh? Anyways, she came to Eikaiwa and wanted extra English practice because she was preparing for an English interview to apply for an American Exchange program. We met with her a few days later and helped her practice English then after we shared a short, simple, sweet message about prayer. We testified how the Lord would bless her and help her learn English. We committed her to pray. Then a few days later at Eikaiwa, the very first thing she said to me was, "I prayed!" I asked her how it went and she said that she prayed half believing and half unsure, but her next day went so well and she was happy. She knew it was an answer to her prayer! We gave her a Book of Mormon and set another time to meet. She has a desire to learn more. There is something really special about her. I already love her. Her face is so familiar to me. I feel like I know her. I know the God is all knowing and sets people in our paths, everything has a purpose. I love Yuki.
First of all Coles Shimai is awesome! She is the same "mission age" as Hawkins Shimai. So technically I am the senior but we just have so much fun together! In her last area, she really focused on working with Less Actives. There are so many! Hundreds! We don't even have all the information. There is SOOO much work that can be done in this area. We decided to put an extra focus on less actives. As we were doing this and going through records we came across a family that was all baptized in 2003, but all soon became inactive. We had the address (which doesn't mean a lot here because things are ridiculous to find) but we went forward with faith. We didnt have a lot of time at the end of the day but we were determined to find this family. Up until this point in my life, I have never felt so guided and directed by the Lord. We conitued down and road that I was sure was even right but we kept moving then before I knew it I felt I should turn. We turned into a tiny neighborhood and parked our bikes. None of the houses were labeled so we knocked on someones door. It was a nice man and he told us his houses number! It was only a few off from the one we were searching for!! MIRACLE!!! We told if he knew the family and he said he think he knew and told us where. We had to knock on a few doors and almost gave us hope, but.............we knocked on door that was kind of hidden and guess what!!!!!!!! WE FOUND THEM!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE FOUND THE SAKAJIMA family!! We didn't want to scare them so we just talked to them trying to get to know them.
I know the Lord guides us. We prayed to be instruments in the hands of the Lord that day and He did. He is involved in the details of our lives. He loves his children and He is sending us to find His lost sheep. I testify that as we pray for opportunities to serve, and ACT, we will feel God's love more in our lives. This church is true!!! I love Okinawa! I am grateful to be serving here! 

I love you and I am grateful for your prayers!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Okinawa is da bomb


O genki desu ka?? How is everyone doing? Whats fall like? It was hot again this week but also a little rainy. We still don't have to wear sweaters yet though. A few times throughout the week we used the AC but it was nice during the other days just to open the windows and enjoy Okinawa in October/November. 

So this week we had so many miracles!! Thank you for all your prayers going out for our investigators. We met with two new investigators we found last week and had great lessons. One of them is named Naoko. She is Christian and met the missionaries 5 years ago and had interest but one thing lead to another and she stop investigating. We had a lesson scheduled with her on last Saturday and planned to teach the Restoration but she called us and had to reschedule because her uncle passed away. We felt we needed to teach her about the Plan of Salvation. So on Tuesday we met with her and found out that 5 years ago her parents also passed away and the only family she has left was her older sister. We taught her the plan of salvation and told her that she could be with her family again someday. She was so happy and shared her desire to see her family again. We told her how we all are God's children so we are sisters! She loved that and loves to be called Naoko Shimai. At the end of the lesson we invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. She had some concerns and said she couldn't commit to a date but we promised blessing and reassured her and invited her again. After the third round of testifying, promising and committing, we commited to be baptized on a specific date! Please pray for her. There may be some really hard things she will have to go through in order to be converted but we will be with her and I know this is what Heavenly Father wants for her so He will provide a way. (Naoko came to church!)

We also taught a new investigator Kanae. We found her streeting one day and set a return appointment because she wanted to learn more about Christ. She has been going to a 7th day church but has never been baptized. We taught her the restoration of the gospel and she seemed to take in it! She is excited to learn more! We committed her to be baptized on a specific date as well! Since, we have taught her the plan of salvation and she has attended a ward/eikaiwa party and loves church!


We taught another new investigator who is AMERICAN! We found her on the street and my companion said, "We have a present for you!" She said, "Really? Because it's my Birthday!" We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said that she thinks its a gift from God! Her dad and all her brothers are Catholic. She was raised in the Philippines. When we went to our follow-up appointment she had laminated the cover to her Book of Mormon and read from the very first page all through the witnesses through 1 Nephi. She had highlighted it all and had a page of questions for us. We taught about the promise of the Book of Mormon that if you read, ponder and pray then the Lord with answer your prayer. She was more accepting that I thought she would be but appreciated my testimony when I told her about Catholic school and building my testimony of Jesus Christ there. She is one of the sweetest women I have ever met and I cant wait to teach her again. 

Also, when I was in my first area, Naha, one day a cute pair of 20 year old girls came to Eikaiwa (English Class)! I remember it was June 26, a day before my birthday. Their names are Mako and Akiho. We talked to them after about our church and gave them a little church tour. We ended in the baptismal font room and told them about baptism and invited them to be baptized. They accepted! We began to teach them but it was a very long process because they were young and still liked to party and their desire to read the Book of Mormon at that time wasnt very strong. But we loved them and they continued to come to Eikaiwa. As we taught them their desire increased. I remember asking Mako about the Book of Mormon and she told me she prayed about it and thought it was true! But before I knew it I was transferred out of there and didn't here much about them! But a few weeks ago I heard they were being baptized! And it just happened to be on the day we had to go down to Naha for zone conference so guess what?!?!? I GOT TO GO TO THEIR BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have progressed so much! They are incredible girls and I love them!

Zone Conference was incredible and the baptism just made it the best day ever! I sang at their baptism and they were grateful I was able to be there as well :) I love our mission president so much. He really care and loves us. He wants to make sure we are converted and strong and that we understand our purpose as missionaries not just numbers. Mission presidents wife told us that they save the Okinawa zone conference for last. She told us how they put a lot of trust in us because we are far far away 1000 plus miles to be exact! The bus ride there and back was an adventure. Its crazy that the loud intercom on the busses are starting to make sense to me, not just meaningless noise anymore.

We have an English Class Halloween party and so many people came!! We found a young high school girl who wants to learn more about the gospel!!

One more mini miracle. We have been visiting this less active old lady for a long time. We always invite her to church and she lives SOO CLOSE but she has bad knees so she always says she cant come. We have been praying about her and trying to help her come to church for soo long. But THIS WEEK we told her I was going to sing in sacrament meeting. She said she wanted to go! So in the morning we got the wheelchair from the church and walked to her house. She brought her in on her wheel chair and ward members were so happy to her again. Afterwards she said it was so fun and wanted to come again next week!!!

Anyway, my time is out. I love you all. I love being a missionary. I know God is aware of our wants and needs. She spent us to this Earth to learn and grow. I know families can be together for eternity. I am grateful for the Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. He lives and He is at the head of this church!

I love you!!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Konnichiwa Kazoku!!

Aishitemasu!!!!! I love you! How are things going? I wanna hear from you all! If you want a super cute handwritten letter on Japanese stationary, send me a letter!! Email is fine!! It finally doesn't feel like summer anymore! But we still blasting the AC! We have had from tropical storms that have really cooled down the weather!

This week was great! In our mission we have this thing called Lesson Mastery. Its kind of like Young Women's personal progress, or scripture mastery. But we have to pass off PMG lesson 1-5 in Japanese. You have to pass them off 3 times, a short, medium, then long lesson for each. You have to get them in a certain time, hit all the points, and have close to perfect Japanese. When you finish you lesson mastery you get a Japan Fukuoka Mission pin. So since I have been so new and my Japanese is so fresh I wasn't really focusing too much on lesson mastery but this week I passed off another lesson! So I have 3 of the short lessons done and like a million more to go but getting closer. Dad you once told me an old Chinese proverb that I find myself saying all the time, "The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step." I don't know if that's exactly right, but I say it all the time! We always have a lot of growing to do and sometimes it can seem overwhelming, but we just need to take one step at a time and rely on the Lord!

We have a super cool miracle at the beginning of the week. We had a plan to do some service but it got cancelled last minute due to a storm so we had a huge chunk of time open. We went out and did housing/tracting for like an hour and we weren't having much success. It was storming like crazy so we decided to run back to the apartment to get our rain suits. When we got back we decided to look through our area book and try to go find an former investigator. We called a lady who took the lessons from the sisters 2 years ago and had a baptismal date and like all the lessons. She answered and we asked if we could come over in 30 minutes. She invited us over. A series of miracles followed. First of all, we were safe in the crazy storms on our bikes. Then we got to the area where her house would be but the streets here aren't labeled and none of the houses in this area had numbers. So we were pretty stuck, but we asked a lady for help. She had GPS on her phone and helped us out. Then she was so nice and got in her car and we followed her on our bikes to the house. Then we started talking to her about who we are and what we do. She was super interested in our Free English class and said she would come. Then we called the Former Investigator because we still weren't sure where exactly she lived. She came out and got us. She invited us in and we started to get to know her. I don't have time to explain everything but, it turns our she is our zone leader's older brothers mother-in-law!!! And they have been teaching her recently. She was shocked that we hadn't talked to the elders about her. We just testified that Heavenly Father loved her so much that he sent us to her door to tell her. There must be so many prayers going up to heaven in her behalf to send us there as well. We taught her about eternal families and temples. Since her daughter is a member, she has heard a little about temples. After we finished she asked how we can go into the temple. We talked and testified of baptism. IT WAS SUCH A MIRACLE!! I love moments where you cannot doubt that you are being used as an instrument in the Lord's hands. When we told the elders they were shocked and so happy! Keep this woman in your prayers as she now has a baptismal date :)

Also this week we had splits with the sister training leaders who are incredible!!! Its my trainer Black Shimai and Latu Shimai. Who are both incredible missionaries.  I was pared with Black Shimai who I love so much. Her testimony strengthens mine! We started out the day with great benkyo (study) then we went out to work even though it was raining and windy! We taught a lesson, followed up with a referral and contacting so many people. Black Shimai asks almost every person that will listen to be baptized. I asked her why and she said that when you have an understanding of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, why wouldn't you ask everyone! In our contacts she would talk to people about heaven and what kind of people they thought would go to heaven. It really got people thinking. At one point during the day the weather was getting bad and a car didnt see Black Shimai and hit her while she was on her bike. It was just a bump and everything was okay, but the lady got out of the car to see if everything was okay and Black Shimai assured her she was fine and then immediately started asking her about God and her beliefs. BLACK SHIMAI IS SO AWESOME!! SO anyways after all that and another scary contact, I was feeling a little anxiety. I was happy to be out talking to people but I was just feeling a little tense. I told that to Black Shimai. She said, "Lets say a prayer" we pulled our bikes over and said a quick prayer. Afterward we just started working again and before I knew it, I felt peace. Then soon after, we stopped a lady and I was teaching her how to pray. I testified that when you pray, you feel peace. I felt the spirit SO strong because I had JUST had an experience that made my testimony of that stronger. Tears started to swell in my eyes as I testified to that lady on the street that through prayer we can feel God's love. This junkai (splits) was incredible. Just me and Black Shimai alone found 3 new investigators and filled our schedules with appointments! 

One last experience happened on Saturday. Hawkins Shimai and I stopped a girl on the street. We started talking about the purpose of life. I pulled out a Book Of Mormon and turned to 2 Nephi 2:25. " are that they might have joy." we testified that through the Book of Mormon you could find answers to lifes questions and find direction in your life. She loved that! When we told her we wanted to give her the Book of Mormon her eyes lite up. She wants to meet with us again and she said she would start reading the Book of Mormon! 

OH and a lady we met last week and gave a Book of Mormon came to church with her husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are teaching her this week!!!!! She HAS BEEN READING THE BOOK OF MORMON EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The church is true. People aren't perfect, but the gospel is. I love being a missionary!!

I love you all and appreciate your love and prayers,