Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fat & Happy

How's it going!!! Fill me in on your lives! Things are going great here in Okinawa! It cooled down for a few days and we had to wear tights and like a sweater AND a jacket! Wooh..it was cold...haha but now its back to 3 quarter sleeve cardigans! I don't think I've ever experienced such a warm December in my life! But my comp and i decided it would be a good idea to prepare and by some gloves and a hat for if it gets cold again. I hit a crazy landmark this week....EXACTLY ONE YEAR SINCE I GOT MY MISSION CALL!!! Crazy right??? That year went by very quickly! It seems like just a few months ago I opened my call and at the sight of the word, "Japan" I burst into tears. (my very first post of the blog has the video..feel free to watch again) I know the Lord is aware of our wants and desires. He heard the silent prayers of my heart expressing my love for the people of Japan. He sent me here, and how grateful I am to be here. It has been more than I could ever dream of, harder than I expected, but rewarding. I have been stretched and pushed, but I know now more than ever that God is our loving father in Heaven that has a perfect plan of happiness for us.
This week I wanted to tell you a little about a woman named Silvia in our Japanese branch. She moved to Okinawa from the Philippines more than 20 years ago. She doesn't speak Japanese and only speaks a little English. A little more than a year ago she met Victoria, and woman in our Japanese ward who is Filipino but she has lived in Japan so long she is fluent. Silvia started coming to church with Victoria and decided to hear the missionary lessons. The Lord was very aware of Silvia and sent a missionary from the Philippines (one of the first ever I believe) to Japan. Not only was this missionary in Japan but she was assigned to serve in Okinawa. This awesome missionary was able to share the gospel with this woman in her native language. She was baptized almost a year ago. We have the opportunity to continue helping her progress as a recent convert. Her friend Victoria always translates for us. In our past few lessons we taught her the first lesson and missionary work! We committed her to bear her testimony in Sacrament meeting for the very first time! We sat teary eyed in our seats as she stood and bore her testimony in Tagalog. We were able to teach her the plan of salvation and teaching about eternal marriage and temples! We have committed her to getting a temple recommend. Although there is no temple on Okinawa, we know blessing will come by simple holding a temple recommend. Keep Silvia in your prayers we love her!
This week was THANKSGIVING!! Our Military branches are all so kind, we got about 10 invites for dinner but then they announced that they would be having a big dinner where families would sign up and bring different things! All the missionaries on Okinawa were invited to attend! So thats 35 missionaries, or 2 zones! It was so fun to have all the missionaries in one place! We also got permission from President to stay and play games! Thanks for the wonderful military members in our area, all the missionaries left that place fat and happy.
There is one other military branch we are not assigned to that other elders are over. The missionaries in that area had the great idea to have an activity that brought both the Japanese speaking wards and the military wards together. They put on a talent show! A japanese member asked me to sing as she played the piano! So at the talent show I sang "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. I am pretty sure I sang that as a little girl in a talent show before. Haha anyway, it was so fun! So many members brought non-member friends! We found a few great potential investigators by being there and mingling with members and there friends! IF YOU EVER HAVE A WARD ACTIVITY, INVITE A NON-MEMBER FRIEND!!! JUST DO IT!!! Its a less-aggressive approach to sharing the gospel and super easy. The missionaries can do all the work, just introduce your friend to the missionaries at the party!!

We met with a new investigator this week who is awesome! Her name is Mizue. We meet her a few weeks ago outside of a local restaurant. We  only had a few minutes so we talked with her and asked her about the restaurant! It was packed and it looked like a hole in the wall! She told us it was very good and practiced her English with us. About a minute before we had to go we asked for her number to call and eat there sometime and tell her more about what we do as missionaries. She said yes so we exchanged numbers, and gave her a chidashi (a flyer). I know the Lord placed her in our path. After about a week or so we were able to get a hold of her and schedule an appointment. She came and it was wonderful. She said to us, "your chidashi said you could answer the question about what happens when we die, I want to know." IT WAS SO COOL! Her grandma recently died and her and her mother wanted to know what happens! We were able to teach her and give her a Book of Mormon. First of all someone ACTUALLY READ the flyer and second of all....SHE'S SO PREPARED!!!! She recently tore her ACL so she is really busy with work and rehab but we have another lesson planned for next week!!
This week we had our zone training meeting. They really focused on how we need to get better at the language and become better teachers. Learning this language is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It is incredibly hard for me to do! But I feel that pressure of becoming a better teaching as well! How can you teach well if you can't express you thoughts! I'm sure everyone in this mission would appreciate your prayers to specifically help us learn the Japanese language. I pray for help and the gift of tongue everyday but man, its still tough! These people are important to Heavenly Father and I know He won't let us fail. I really have to rely on that testimony sometimes.
Even though it's warm and doesnt really feel like Christmas time, I am grateful for this time of the year. We get to focus our thoughts of the Savior. I had a sweet impression yesterday in church that I would like to share. I was thinking about a convert in the Japanese ward who was an older woman, she had found so much joy in the gospel at her older age. Her children haven't accepted and she is no longer married. As of right now it appears as if her conversion hasn't changed many people lives besides her own. I was thinking about how we try to teach families so generations upon generations came be changed. But then a distinct impression came upon my mind as I looked at that woman, "I would have done it all for only her."
I know that God lives and loves us so much more than we can comprehend. I love you all!
Capener Shimai

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