Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week 26--Sendai, Japan

What is happening my people of America and....everywhere else!

Sooo....this week... I turned 20. It was ironically the MOST INSANE day of perhaps my entire mission (but the bar is kind of high at this point soo...not sure.) But it was Tuesday. And I woke up forgetting it was my birthday (because let's be real, when you're on a mission you just don't matter much- which is a good thing!) And then the other 4 shimai came in singing "Happy birthday", holding two yakiimo (yes I like sweet potatoes WAY more than cake). And that was nice! 
Yes, baked sweet potatoes
And got a little out of hand. We got a call from the chorotachi elders being grumps about random things and then Thompson choro yelled from the background, Happy birthday Orgill Shimai!! And then the rest of them realized that they had completely forgotten.
The apology onion, apparently a new method to say you're sorry!

 But THEN. We went down by the eki station to sing Christmas carols as a district and chirashi kubari hand out flyers, and we were standing up against a building singing when a blind man starts yelling at us for being in his way and not even speaking Japanese and being idiots, and we apologized. But apparently that was not enough for the bitter Scrooge. He called the police on us, and they took the choro's gaijin alien registration cards and we got in trouble (the policemen didn’t care; but the blind man did) so that was great. AND THEN when we headed into the church that night for a meeting (we were early), we found a homeless white man on the phone talking in rapid English- who spoke NO JAPANESE and is convinced he's possessed by the devil and wouldn't leave until he was given money. SO that was my birthday. Memorable!

At dinner at the Furukawa's, K-choro randomly turned to me and informed me that I have "exotic eyes", because when you first look at them they're blue, but then they're also gray and they're also green and they're also hazel...and then I told him there's actually a freckle in my right eye as well and completely blew his mind. He said me and this girl he had met in the MTC (she had legit silver eyes) had the most exotic eyes of anyone he'd met on his I guess I got that title..awk.

So, my favorite part of this week: A-san <3 He's an Eikaiwa English conversation student. He's 64. He whips out little snacks for me out of NOWHERE. And he reminds me exactly of my Grandpa Orgill. And what does he love? Celtic Woman and high soprano voices. So I guess you could say we get along well. Every week he comes to me with new songs he wants me to sing for him and as I sing them he just closes his eyes and smiles and sings along. He is very stereotypical Nihonjin in that religion is "dame" and it's scary to him. But then he always says after mentioning (again) that he's not interested in Mormon kei, he'll ask, so what do missionaries do anyway?? I told him that there is beautiful music at church and that he should come and sit by me and sing. He said, "No, no way, religion is just bad for me. So....when does it start?" He stayed all three hours. And then came caroling with us after. And he's now the chorotachi's elders investigator. And he is so wonderful!! I've never wanted other people's happiness as much as I do on my mission.

So as per usual, there were tricky things about this week (aside from being nearly arrested.)  After a mogi lesson with one of the members, she lectured me for 40 minutes on how we need to drop one of our investigators because she had met our investigator 2 years ago (not possible, she wasn't an investigator 2 years ago) and that she has no testimony and we're wasting our time and we should be more sympathetic to what we should be doing. I know my mission has changed me because there is NO WAY I would have been able to take that in silence before my mission. But you know what? I'll follow what Heavenly Father wants for His children through following the Spirit instead of hearkening to a woman who does not have the authority from Heavenly Father to see which of our investigators will accept the gospel. There are some people in this ward that are tricky people, but we deal with them with patience and humility. 

Aside: Did I ever tell you I was offered a job playing ukulele/violin at a bar by a woman in a kimono we randomly met when she flagged us down and jumped out of her car? Well, I was. Unfortunately it kind of conflicted with the whole being in the service of the Lord thing but who knows, I could have gone places! 

We sang at an old folk's home which was actually really hard for me because it just reminded me of my grandmother who passed away 2 weeks before I left on my mission. But it really brightened a lot of deadened eyes and the sweet little old people (one grandma was 101 and looking good!) thanked us sincerely for coming, and it was a great experience to partake of.

I love this Christmas season, and although my Christmas will be far from traditional, the sweet peace the gospel brings is year round, and that's good enough for me. I love the Savior and I love you all!! Merry Christmas!!!

Orgill Shimai

Week 25--Sendai, Japan

    What a great week! Training is so fun. We are so obedient! Training is just having a normal companion and then you have the 12 weeks program and they watch and mimic everything you do! B-shimai is a great missionary. Her faith is strong. She's a hard worker. She doesn't complain when we're freezing and hungry and tired and are still dendoing contacting. And I love her! This week we biked through the snow 90 minutes to some members' houses in the snow; then we biked 90 minutes back in the freezing rain. And then we went to go visit Spencer kyodai to give him a paper I had written for him to help his prayers sound more like a Japanese person. Right before we knocked we got a call from our strong investigator, the one I had fasted and prayed to find. She said she cannot meet with us anymore and hung up on us. I felt so discouraged. But then we knocked on Spencer's door and he talked with us for a few minutes (even though it was freezing and snowing and he was barefoot) and he could tell that we were a little downhearted. He offered to say a prayer for us. He prayed fervently that Heavenly Father would soften someone's heart enough to let us in. We thanked him for the prayer and began housing. We were trying to sing a Christmas carol for people to invite the Spirit, and everyone up until then had just flatly refused. I just wanted someone to listen to us. I turned to B-shimai.
        "I know you've only been here for 2 days, but is there any place or any direction you feel strongly that we should go? Right, left, north or south?" She thought for a moment. 
        "That light is on over there, let's try that apt." she replied. 
So we rung the bell and we met a kind 19 year old girl who let us sing and had interest in Eikaiwa English class. We had a great conversation with her. I already considered that an answer to my prayer, but the Lord had more blessings in store. A few doors later a woman answered from inside. I explained that we're missionaries and that we're singing Christmas hymns. She immediately said, "Mormon?" To which we replied, "Yes!" She immediately opened the door and said, "It is SO COLD out here!! Come in!" and ushered us into her genkan entryway. She is a wonderful woman who met with the missionaries 10 years ago and has been to church twice. She loves Mormons, is VERY interested in Eikaiwa for all of her extended family, and wants to come to the Christmas party! She is a great woman and we have high hopes for her. I have never, EVER been let into a genkan while housing on my entire mission to date. I know that when we work together with the faithful members of the church, that we will see success. They are faithful and strong and amazing and together we can build Zion as the Lord would have it built.
    SO you know what I realized? Tomorrow is my birthday. And this will be the FIRST TIME that I'll be celebrating my birthday in Japan since I was actually born here! Does it matter? Not at all; but I thought it was cool! 

Igen no tamamono- The gift of tongues. It is real. Like way real. We were visiting with M-shimai and we had a great totsuzen lesson about the Spirit and what members can do to help less-active members. She's hard of hearing and has a bit of a speech impediment AND is an obaachan grandma, so I had little expectation of knowing what she was saying; but it made perfect sense. I was about at a solid 98% understanding rate; and I'm gonna be real- I am NOT THAT good at Japanese. The Spirit guided that discussion in a way I never could, and my goodness we were grateful. The members here have such strong Spirits; and we're so lucky to have them.

The time when I was like "yikes, I'm too hard on this bean!"- In the mornings after personal study time, we have companion study during which we share what we learned from our own scripture study. B-shimai (on her first real day with me) shared from D&C where the Lord talks about how he calls upon the weak and powerless and strengthens them and makes their arm his arm. She then goes silent. I look up and she is silently crying. Like, a lot. And I think "oh dear what have I done?! I've blown it already as a trainer!!" But I just stayed silent. And after about 3 minutes she wipes her face and says, "I know that's true". Man she has such a powerful Spirit!! I think the language has come as a bit of a shock to her (I don't talk to her much in English and her MTC senseis teachers only taught her district how to pray and testify in the 9 weeks they were there), but she is a strong one! I feel a healthy amount of pressure now that I'm in charge of absolutely everything, but I'm grateful for an obedient, hard-working trainee to make my sekinin training easier!

The thank you's!! Allison- THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE!! Is that your new address?? Is that the one I write letters to??
Larsens- THANK YOU for the card!! It was so kind of you to remember me:) Your family looks lovely as always!

SNOW!!!! Holy momma of drifting mountain bikes; THERE IS SNOW. I actually nearly died biffing it this morning heading over to the church to email all y'all! Oh, and SPEAKING OF BIKES. For some reason, the hombu mission secretary didn't feel it requisite to order my bean a bike and so they haven't sent her one. Fortunately (and unfortunately), T-shimai left her little monkey mountain bike that SHE used her whole mission, and her COUSIN used HIS whole mission before her! And it is junk!! It's stuck in first gear and every time you put any pressure on the pedals (standing up and riding, going up hills/mtns, etc.) it panics and tries to change gears, nearly causing my falling down hills and ultimate demise!! Am I being dramatic about the bike? Maybe slightly. But I despise it. And that seat wouldn't fit the booty of a 5 YEAR OLD. Why am I not riding my bike and my bean is riding T-shimai's bike? Because I am nice, that's why. 

The epic F-shimai day. You should applaud me for biking that hill in the snow! So she's a great lady! She's 81. She lives in this giant house by herself, and when we visited she said "I’m so sorry you biked all the way here! I'm preparing for my son to get here right now, so I only have time for a prayer!" SO she lets us in, sits us down, talks our ear off for a half an hour (obaachan, remember) makes us drink hot rotten umeboshi plum vinegar (I gagged whilst attempting to down it) and then the most memorable part- we asked if we could sing a Christmas song for her (B- shimai has a rockin voice and we pull some sweet harmonies) and she said "Oh I love singing!!" I had forgotten about that. I made the mistake of choosing Angels We Have Heard on High. And boy does she love singing. Her "singing voice" sounds like a mix between a bellowing opera singer and someone being exorcised- I am so serious. And it was so. funny. As she went into the kitchen to prepare us the deadly umeboshi drink, she asked us to continue singing. And we just...couldn't. We were crying in silent laughter so after a while of silence, she decides to bust into her own solo of her favorite part: "GLOOOOoOOOooooooOOOooOOOooOOOOOOoooooOOoooOOoOoooriaaaaaaa" It took us a while to regain composure, but we managed before she came back into the room- the only evidence was our tear-streaked faces. And then we asked what we could do to help out to prep for her son to get there. She has one of those tiny vacuums that all the Nihonjins have and although it has wheels, she assigned B-shimai to vacuum and me to....hold the vacuum. The whole time. For all three floors of her house. And she supervised it. So all in all it was a 3-person vacuuming job. It was definitely one of my favorite member visits of all time.

SO Allison told me my letters weren't detailed enough; so here was my attempt at a beefier letter:) Have a great week, remember your dear friend turning twenty in Japan tomorrow, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I look forward to being able to Skype with you, and I'll bring the uke and show you I've learned more than just Japanese out here serving the Lord:)

Love you much!

Orgill Shimai

Week 24--Sendai, Japan

Yes, the inevitable. I, 4th transfer gaijin foreigner Orgill Shimai, am training a new bean- 99% sure that she's gaijin. But I'm way stoked! And if I learned anything from J-Shimai (and trust me; I did.) it was that I'm capable of being a trainer! Well, as far as the language goes at least. Buuut T-shimai and my phone is only in Japanese (no dual language setting) sooo....I'm learning kanji fast. I'm actually most worried about being bike leader every day (no joke, the map is legitimately the only thing that worries me.) But if I have learned anything thus far; it is that Heavenly Father ALWAYS answers my prayers and that He trusts me! (I've also learned He has a sense of humor, but that's another story.)
My selfish concern is that without a Nihonjin doryo Japanese companionship, I'm not learning Japanese as fast as I want. But heck; Whittle choro is 12th transfer and he's only ever had 2 nihojin Japanese and he's the most fluent guy out here other than Kim choro! But selfishly I don't want that to happen to me. I'm just like, "Noooooo! GIVE ME ALL THE NIHONJIN!!!" But, with the Lord's help, I'll learn either way. Now I translate one way or the other every single day and it's great practice.
Not much to say about this week- our investigators have been busy and we've done lots of housing. I've been giving a lot of thought to what kind of trainer I want to be. We had a lot of dinners with members saying goodbye to T-shimai and I've had a lot of chances to bear my testimony. In a mogi lesson with N-shimai, she told us about on her mission where her and her comp fasted for 4 DAYS STRAIGHT. Which is insane and now against the rules. BUT. Miracles came from it for them; including 3 or 4 immediate baptisms. No worries; I'm not about to get crazy. But what I've honestly learned is that the more we sacrifice, the greater the blessings. No wonder not one soul from the Martin and Willie handcart company fell away after they reached the Salt Lake Valley. Heavenly Father sees ALL of our sacrifices and ALL of our obedience, and He blesses us for it.
I love you all mucho!! Have a great week, and wish me luck as a trainer<3
Orgill Shimai

New coat

Week 23--Sendai, Japan

Happy December! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving; we ate delicious IndoCurry with the chorotachi elders and some of their investigators to "celebrate".

So I was talking to Kirby Shimai and I asked, "why is it that I've gained NO WEIGHT in Japan and yet my face looks so fat??" She turned to me and said, "Uh, you have rice cheeks." Ahem I have WHAT. So apparently when gaijin switch their diet to their main carb being just straight white rice, the fat cells particularly in the cheeks start getting used. Soooo I'm not gaining any weight and yet I'm the newest recruited member for Alvin and the chipmunks?!!! Someone PLEASE snopes this for me right quick. But either way; I have given up rice. I DON'T EVEN LIKE IT ANYWAY. So slightly bitter that I hadn't known about that. ANYWAY.

So aside from my vanity ranting, this week was really great. I learned that when a door shuts, the Lord opens a window of opportunity! My bestie the less-active K-shimai forgot about our appointment, so we had an open hour and decided to visit M-shimai. She had a friend over and we sang Christmas hymns for them and were able to have a lesson with her friend Miura-san about Christ! It was such a blessing! Member joint lessons are so much more powerful. It's just like having a normal person who's like "Hey, I'm your friend and I'm normal and I know these things are true as well!" There is a power in members that missionaries cannot have just relying on ourselves.

SO on the dramatic side, we had a missionary in our district just kind of "had a lot on their mind" and just slipped out during language study and ran to the eki train station and was gone all day...their companion found them that night just sitting on a bench. SO not only a day that we searched for them, but also it was a really natural finding opportunity! "Have you seen a missionary with this badge just by themselves?" But anyway they're safe and sound now. It was just...strange. You don't just leave...odd.

This week I really discovered the power of fasting and prayer. I truly want to find a new kyudosha investigator every week. This transfer we haven't found one. So I fasted and prayed fervently that through our faith and hard work, that someone would be put in our path that would receive our message. On Sunday as I was still fasting, we were housing. It was time to head back and eat dinner, and Takatsuka shimai turned to me and said "Should we head back or house another half an hour?" I thought for a moment. If the Lord was going to bless us with someone who would listen, I knew were gonna have to show our faith. "Let's just finish this row," I said. Two doors later we met Chieko san. She has cancer and is currently doing chemo and subsequently has no hair. She's prayed to God before when her cancer was really bad to spare her life; and He did. She wonders about where we go after this life and what role God has in it. We asked if we could visit next week. She immediately said, "Sure! I'm kind of busy with chemotherapy but anytime I'm not at the hospital should be fine!" She readily gave us her number and we're meeting her this week. I know the Lord answered my prayers and that through faith, that we can find those who will receive us.

We've had a lot of fun recently using our talents and singing Christmas songs for members! They love it and Y-shimai is having me teach her how to play the ukulele! After I played it for her, she asked me if I would teach her and then went out and bought one! So fun. What an amazing ward to be in.

I love life, I'm a third of the way done with my mission, and next email I'll know who my new companion is! Keep it classy, keep it real.

Love you!

Orgill Shimai

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 2013 -- One more picture from Sendai

So Natalie and her companion had lunch with some people on the 18th floor of a government building.
Our favorite Sister Missionary in Japan -- skyline of the city of Sendai in the background.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 2013 - Pictures from Sendai

Natalie is still puzzled how a cookie can be crisp and "moist".  Apparently "moist" is the popular adjective in Japan this year!

Enjoying some noodles with her companion, Sister Takatsuka who will end her mission on December 13th.

Natalie has found a new favorite bakery a few blocks from her apartment.  I think they see her often.

Roommates enjoying Indian curry on their day off.

Natalie surrounded by fellow missionaries

Natalie doing a famous "selfie"

Someone is very happy.  She found where they hide the chickens in Japan.  I think she wanted to pet and talk to each one.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 2013 - Pictures from Matsushima

Natalie is now in the heart of the main mission city of Sendai.  Much larger, much busier, and warmer than Aomori.  On her first preparation day, she and her companion went to Matsushima which is nearby.

Sister Orgill and her new companion, Sister Takatsuka

New companions on bridge with ocean and pine-covered islands in the background

Someone is very happy in Japan; standing in front of shrines carved out of a cliff

Week 22--Sendai, Japan

Well, you couldn’t find a place in the mission more opposite than Aomori. I hear crosswalks beeping and taxis driving all night long, I sleep on a bed (well, a bunk with a futon on it), and the accent is entirely different (as in, they speak like normal Japanese people!) My companion, T-Shimai, is the BOMB. Oh my goodness I’m so lucky. She's from Kanagawa-ken, she's 23, this is her LAST TRANSFER, she's already been in Kamisugi for 6 months, and SHE IS THE NICEST PERSON OF ALL TIME. She also doesn't speak English. Let me give you the low-down on my situation right quick. 6 shimai tachi sisters in one smallll apt. How do we do it? Magic. Anddddd 4 of them are Nihonjin. And K-Shimai is insanely jozu skilled speaker (also from my doki training group) and I'm so glad to have her!! Sometimes a little English is nice after you've been babbled at for 4 hours by obaachans grandmas...which has happened to me 3 times so far. The Ward (yes WARD) is HUGE and they’re SO NICE and fam, if M-kyodai adds me on Facebook and you accept, I'm sure you'll see at least 5 THOUSAND pictures and videos of me. He's not active but he LOVES the missionaries. The members are so amazing. And I CAN FINALLY SEND PICTURES YAYYYY!!!! I wanna tell you about everyone in my district but I also wanna send pictures!! T-shimai is a bad-booty. She rides her (MOUNTAIN) bike with no hands and is absolutely the kindest sister in the mission.
  So holy 5 months that I’ve been out!! Unreal. Missions go by too fast. We went to Matsushima for P Day and went on a ferry to see all the little islands. So much fun! It was technically in Tagajo's area! Kamisugi is geographically SUCH a small area compared to Aomori! If I trip, I'm out of boundaries!! But HOLY MOMMA OF INCLINE. We biked for a straight hour to our investigator's house today- up a MOUNTAIN. But man was it fun coming back, and my goodness was she worth it. The spirit was so strong. She just miscarried what would have been her first child and she is so heartbroken. We're helping her to realize that through the gospel that things will be alright and that with an eternal perspective, the hard things in life are handled with more ease. We have so many great investigators here that WANT to believe, and goodness knows that as Alma taught if you only have a desire to believe; it can work into a sure knowledge of the truths of Heavenly Father' s restored church. I told her that's how my testimony came. It wasn't until I realized that I wanted to believe and wanted to know that these things were true and was willing to put in the effort if they were that my answer came. This gospel changes lives; and I wouldn't be in Japan working my hardest if it didn't. Love you much!!

November 2013 - Pictures from Aomori

Natalie just transferred to Sendai and now has the ability to send pictures.  Here are a few from her last area:

Heading out on the bikes -- the yellow one, not the little pink one.

Four sisters from the same group in the MTC with their Japanese trainers

Fearless Aomori threesome heading out on their bikes in a typhoon ... that is a road behind them -- just temporarily a river!

Aomori Missionaries hamming it up.  Looks like Sister Yoshikawa has sprouted one of Sister Orgill's legs.

Aomori missionaries enjoying a meal together.

Sister Johnson and Sister Orgill heading out on another epic biking trek.

Companions Sister Johnson and Sister Orgill somewhere near the tippy-top of the main island of Honshu.

Aomori sister missionaries

Aomori missionaries

Aomori sister missionaries down by the harbor ... Morgan, Johnson, Yoshikawa and Orgill

Chillin ... Aomori-style.
Sister Orgill shopping in a local Aomori market (hint: she's the blonde)

Week 21--Aomori, Japan

Well, it looks like I'm leaving behind apples, 18 feet of snow, and my 68-year-old "boyfriend" because I'm being transferred to Kamisugi!! My companion is a Nihonjin on her final transfer- Taka-something or other! It will be a great experience. I already miss Aomori- but there are things to love in every area.  This transfer was a hard one (probably not the last, I would bet). We worked our tails off and saw very little success as far as numbers. We experienced a lot of disappointments, stress, and hard times. But I have grown from it; I know I have. It is certainly in times of opposition and hardship that we grow the most. At the end of our ropes when we had done all we could do, the Lord gave us the miracle of Y-san. Sometimes we just have to hold out faithful a littleeeee bit longer, and the Lord will bless us abundantly for our perseverance. I know that God answers our prayers. He is continual answering mine. We are not alone in the trials of this life. In the words of Jeffrey R. Holland, "Some blessings come soon, some blessings come late, and others don’t come until Heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ; they come." And come they do. We have been teaching N-shimai as if she is an investigator because she went inactive as soon as she was baptized, and watching her faith slowly progress as she trusts us more has been a blessing to watch. And the fact that Y-san just happened to walk into Eikaiwa English class after it was done when we could all chat with her, and she just happens to be around our age (24) and speaks English fluently and lived for 4 years DOWN THE STREET from J- Shimai in Rocklin CA and that she wants to be a Christian and that her parents let her do what she wants as far as religion is all a MIRACLE. I don't have much else to tell you this week; I love my district, the branch, and our investigators.
   I know Kamisugi will bring great things as well- and I look forward to it! Time to peace out of the freezing north and say hellooooo to Sendai!
Love you all; you're in my prayers.
Keep it classy, and remember that the Lord watches over you always!

Orgill Shimai

Week 20--Aomori, Japan

Hello hello! Well now I understand why people can't fully explain WHY missions are so difficult; yet so rewarding. Sometimes it is just SO DIFFICULT. There are a lot of heartbreaks with investigators and hills on a bike (and really, REALLY cold weather) and overall, for me just sometimes feeling so inadequate to be in such a marvelous work. But the Lord only has imperfect people to work with, which must be terribly frustrating to Him! But He deals with it; and so should we. So I want to tell you about the biggest miracle of the week.
N-shimai met the missionaries when she was 19 and got baptized about a month later. She then went immediately inactive, and no one had visited her since 2007. So OF COURSE J Shimai and I went. She came to the door. She's now 28, has been married for a year, and has a little baby. We asked her if she believed in God. She said no. We asked her if she would pray every night. No. If she would pray just that night. No. And then we bore our testimonies to her, and asked her to pray at the end. She reluctantly said yes. As she prayed, she thanked Heavenly Father for giving her her child and that we came to see her. When the prayer ended, she was crying. I said quietly, "I know that God lives." And she said "Yes, He does." She's way great, and we've been able to go back and teach her again. The Spirit is so strong when we teach her. Those are the times when I just walk away thinking, "and THIS is why I'm on a mission."
   I'm mentally steeling myself for the prospect of training so early in my mission (next week we'll get our transfer calls and find out) and so I lead EVERYTHING for this last week of my training. I plan, schedule, find people's houses, take every phone call and text, etc. But I'm finally getting good at the Japanese map systems!! Thank goodness. Learning the kanji helps out a TON! So it's getting COLD. Like WAY COLD. Like hurts your lungs cold. And I'm sick right now. But still genki well!! Mom and Dad, perhaps sending my purple snow coat would be good (mom has the black version I took to Spain) in my winter package. Just a thought! So far so good, though.
   All of our investigators were too busy for us this week, so we continue to pray for and try with them. But I had kind of a funny experience housing. This woman answered the door and I was introducing who we were when her eyes got really big and she just started smiling super wide. Kind of alarmed at that reaction, I asked her, "Are you alright?!" She said, "Oh no I'm fine it's just're really pretty." Haha well THAT'S not a usual Nihonjin reaction when they answer the door! But I thought it was funny.
This week has just been another steady week of endurance. Sometimes it was difficult. It's difficult being with the same person 24/7, no matter who the person is, and especially if they're just opposite. But we work well together! This is not our work; it's His. And thank goodness for that.
Love you all, thank you for your prayers.
気を付けて!! Take care,

Orgill Shimai

Week 19-- Aomori, Japan

I so wish I could send pictures! I made a pigeon friend today that hopped right into my lap. We went to the ocean as a district and took some splendid pictures. I'm glad you saw M’s pimpin’ pictures of us! Our district is awesome, are we not?! Unfortunately, with this next transfer there is much that will probably be changed in the district and many of us will have to leave. But change is the reason we have come to this Earth; to change our lives, to align them to the will of God, and to allow Him to change our hearts. I've been working on that a lot recently. As much as I have been humbled, I still have this punk barrier of pride. Allow me to testify to you that there is a reason the Lord gives his commandments INCLUDING preaching the gospel two-by-two. And when I ignored that reason, I could not have the spirit. I was so exhausted. And it was all because I was trying to do His work without Him. Insanely stupid, I know. I just feel ashamed for wasting ANY of the precious time the Lord has given me in these 18 months to share the Gospel with His children. It has been a changing week indeed.  And not just a week; but a process of getting out of the way and letting the Spirit work on people's hearts. We both have weaknesses for sure, but it is only together with the Spirit that we can teach.
So as you know, General Conference was the BOMB. I listened to it for the first time yesterday because they had to translate it into Japanese (but I got to listen in English :) and I LOVED IT. So many amazing talks where I felt the Spirit and felt motivated to change. At the MTC, I didn't understand the Atonement as well as I am learning to now. I once asked R Shimai, "Do you ever feel confused about what to repent for because we're not really doing anything wrong?" The atonement is not about avoiding punishment for breaking God's commandments; it enables us to develop a saintly character. When we stop doing wrong we are not done; there's more we should be doing right. The Atonement changes our CHARACTER. It doesn't matter how long we've had these habits or how defeated we feel; it can change us. I feel it changing me.
  We taught a genkan doorway lesson to a less active this week who hasn’t been to church (nor her family) in about 20 years. We asked her to pray that night to feel a renewal that God was there and loved her. She said "Yeah, I'll pray, but we can't just start coming to church. We're so busy and blah blah excuses." I finally said, "Our purpose as missionaries isn't to just get you and your family to come back to church. You're not a number to us. Our purpose is to help you come closer to the Savior and to God and feel their love. We want to help you, and that is why we're here." I don't know why I felt so prompted to say it to her- but I did and so I said it. She looked a little surprised. She agreed to pray. But I was just reminded of our true purpose as missionaries- it is just to help people have the happiness that we have by knowing that we are children of a living God and that this life has a specific purpose and there is a specific plan set up for all of us to return to Him. It's not about number of baptisms or people at church; it is helping people towards happiness they didn't know was available.
So investigators. They're difficult. K-san is great (He came to General Conference!!!) But he just really likes learning about THINGS; we're trying to help him grow his FAITH.
O-san is a bit of a punk;) His poor wife was hit by a 4 ton truck 4 years ago and now her brain is tilted, which causes serious problems for her. We try to help in every way we can. She feels no need for God; she is at peace with her suffering. And he chewed me out for calling him at 8 pm (my companion asked me to against my better judgment...) and he's so busy being so smart it's hard for him to find time to find faith. But we pray for all of our kyudosha investigators and their progress. The hardest things about Nihonjins Japanese is that they're SO BUSY. They can't find time to meet with us; every minute of every day is already scheduled. So our appointments are soooo barabara scattered- it requires a lot of patience. I wish I had stories for you- But this week was just a whole lot more hilarious comments on our gaijin-ness foreign-ness and how tall and blonde and pretty and white and......we are. Some funny reactions though;) Including near- traffic accidents at intersections especially! But life is classy, I LOVE it in Aomori, the weather is PERFECT, and the countryside is amazing (and so is my biking stamina through hills baha). I love the work and I'm always reminding myself whose it is. Never forget that your Heavenly Father loves you, and can make something better of yourself than you can.
Love ya much!

Orgill Shimai

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 2013 - Aomori missionaries meeting to watch General Conference

Because of the time and dateline differences, the missionaries in Japan get together a week later to watch recorded sessions of General Conference.  Replays are available in both Japanese and English so they can watch/listen in their native languages.  This is a picture that one of the local members posted.  The Japanese characters they are holding say in Japanese "Welcome to General Conference".  They are standing on the front steps of the chapel in Aomori.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 2013 - Pictures from Aomori

Note on the new blog header picture -- Aomori has some of the most delicious apples in the world.  Some of the high-end apples ($10+ each!) are wrapped in individual bags while the grow.  They look and taste perfect.

Here is a batch of photos we received in the mail this week from Sister Orgill.

Sister Orgill at the Aomori harbor near the train station.

In her words: "Most beautiful place on earth; our balcony"

Singing a duet with Elder Tsushima at Zone Conference

Enjoying some sticky fermented soy beans "natto" ... an acquired taste

Out preaching the word with her companion, Sister Johnson, even on their "day off"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 18 -- Aomori, Japan

Another week doing the most important work on this Earth. Something I've have realized more fully this week is just how much I LOVE my mission. I LOVE the people. I LOVE the gospel. I LOVE Aomori and LOVE Japan. And Heavenly Father has blessed me richly. First off- THANK YOU for the package!! The Rasmussens thank you for the truffles they received;) And I thank you for all of it! WE BAKING COOKIES TONIGHT!!! (I sent a package with chocolate chips and oatmeal, plus other items, so that Natalie can make cookies just like home).
This week hasn't been anything crazy, just filled with blessings from our faith, prayers, and more than anything WORK.  J Shimai are learning to love each other! Man is she a fabulous missionary. She can't speak Nihongo and she doesn't care! It's not the Japanese that converts people; it is the feeling they get when the Spirit that they feel when we testify to them without beauty and without eloquence in Japanese that I know that these things are true by the power of the Holy Ghost. I prayed to find out if these were true, I testify that I received the answer that you too can have that these things are true. It's really that simple. We do WORK. LOTS of biking in the mountains on the far southern outskirts of Aomori this week (and some GORGEOUS pictures to come).
And I got even MORE exercise than usual when I lost my companion....yes really. I was bike leader to the far reaches of the city where we were meeting with a member. I'm a....very speedy bike leader. Gotta use every minute we have in such a short 18 months!! So I was ripping along singing "We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet" when I turned off the highway into K Shimai's neighborhood. It's a tricky place to find, so I turned back to see if J Shimai had seen me make the turn. She hadn't. She was gone. Anyone who knows anything about mission rules knows that this is like LEVEL 10 DAME BAD. So I rode back out to the main highway, where I could see about 1 km in both directions. Nowhere. I biked FASTER THEN I EVER HAVE ON THIS BIKE, stopping every (VERY surprised) person, asking them, "Have you seen the gaijin?!?!" I biked about 5 km trying to find her. NOT good times. But we were STILL on time for our appointment, and I got some CRAZY exercise that day when we had some serious mountain climbing after (my legs were absolute NOODLES).
Well, as you would expect for Aomori, I'm FINALLY biking LOTS of mountains and eating LOTS of delicious apples!! Best in the world, they weren't lying. So when my comp and I started again fresh here 3 weeks ago, we had 1 investigator (who dropped us.) We now have 4 official and 3 more unofficial investigators to date. We are being so blessed for our work. We talk with EVERYONE. This week we had chihobu taikai (Zone conference?) down in Misawa, and on the train we missionaries engaged about 12 people in discussions about the gospel. Met some amazing people. A less active member that we were already planning on contacting this week sat down next to M Shimai without us even knowing it! And she's also 19 and we made friends with her so now it won't be hard to bridge the gap between us and try to strengthen her:) 
Something that my testimony has truly been strengthened of recently is the blessings of living worthy of the Spirit. It is the best gift to ourselves we could ever give. It allows us to be filled with our Heavenly Father's love and always have his companionship and guidance! The Law of Obedience is given ONLY for our benefit so that we can return to live with God and so that He can bless and direct our lives. I have become SO HAPPY from it!!!
I sang "Abide With Me; Tis Eventide" for the conference, one of my favorite songs! J Shimai and I often sing hymns for people to just open a little window for them to be reminded of the love of their Savior. Music is such a blessing!
That's it for this week! Thank you for your prayers, Grandma I'm praying for you!!!
Peace, love, and oatmeal chocolate chips cookies y'all!

Orgill Shimai

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 17 -- Aomori, Japan


So obaachan means grandma, or old lady. And they LOVE me. But this week it got a LITTLE uncomfy. They think that J and I are WAY PRETTY because we're both super tall (to them at least) blondes. And their accent (we call it obaachan-ben) is REALLY difficult to understand. So we were talking to these two cute old ladies (72 and 80) and one starts complimenting me, gesturing wildly at me while the other grandma just laughed. I asked for clarification and she made hand motions at my chest and continued to speak in emphatic, rapid obaachan-ben. Ummm thanks lady. We left REAL quick. And then we were chatting with these 4 really sweet 10-year old girls who just LOVED us and their neighborhood obaachan, who gave me a love tap on the booty before we left...WHAT ON EARTH?! THIS IS NOT USUAL. But you know what? It's okay. Winter is soon upon us and I'll be bundled up like a marshmallow ALL THE TIME and there will be nothing to tap but layers of coats!
  So now on to the good stuff. We visited a less-active member this week who has not been to the church in many, many years. Apparently it's impossible to get a lesson with her. Well no one told J shimai and I this (and we often just pretend we don’t know things about the language, culture, etc. to get more teaching opportunities;) so we went anyway and visited her totsuzen subtly. We chatted with her and I asked her why she didn’t go to church. She said it was complicated and that she didn’t want a divorce (her husband is a Melchizedek priesthood holder and has apparently turned kind of hantai against the church). We asked her to pray after we had taught about the importance of prayer. She said "I...forgot how. Can you say it first and then I'll repeat it?" So I did. It was just like little kids when the mom whispers in their ear what to say. It was so simple, but the spirit was so strong. As Gordon B. Hinckley said, there is no point in missionary work if we do not retain the fruit of our effort. I know that bringing sheep back into the fold is as important as those that are newly introduced into the gospel. J Shimai and I are working hard to try and strengthen the members in their testimonies so that they can become truly converted unto the Lord. From my own life I've learned that it is then that we obtain true happiness and direction.
  Japanese maps are impossible; and Aomori's "map" is the most difficult that Y Shimai has EVER encountered- so it's hard getting used to. Goodness knows I still struggle with it. Admittedly it's hard to find a specific house when they're not in any order and when THEY HAVE NO NUMBER on them. Tricky stuff. Once we were coming back from a house and it was POURING rain (shocking, I know.) and we really, really needed to get back for Eikaiwa English Conversation Class. So I eventually offered to take us the "other way" back, which was difficult because we were fairly in the middle of who knows where and it was pouring so hard it was difficult to see where we were. I started praying really, really hard that we would be guided back to the church. We got there without a misstep- a pretty rare feat for me. Heavenly Father is certainly watching out for us, and certainly listening to our prayers.
    And Heavenly Father has certainly answered my prayers this week. J Shimai and I have been praying HARD to find someone to teach. Our formerly strong kyudosha investigator Abe-san has near dropped off the face of the Earth and we were left investigator-less. So we prayed and sacrificed things for this 4th quarter, and EXPECTED to see miracles because the Lord promises them to those that have kept themselves worthy. And then the Lord sent us Kamada san. And the Ohta family. And Shiba san. And perhaps Kamada san's wife. And it is a MIRACLE. Once when we were lost (typical...) we stopped off on a random street. There was a house at the end that we felt we needed to go to. We parked our bikes and walked up to the house. The man who answered asked about prophets and invited us in, but we couldn't go in because there was no woman home. We gave him the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and he told us to come back. When we went back on Sunday, he had read the whole pamphlet and gone to the homepage and learned about Joseph Smith, God, the gold plates, and the Kingdoms of Glory. This guy's a stud! And then on Sunday since his wife was home, we were allowed to go inside and talk to them! And then she brought us coffee, which gave us an awesome opportunity to teach about the Word of Wisdom! The wife is "Bukkyo" Buddist and initially had no interest. She wasn't paying attention and was making food or something. Then she said she was listening from the kitchen. And then she finally just came in and joined the discussion, asking as many questions as her husband!  They agreed that the Word of Wisdom was way difficult (he likes sake, tobacco, coffee, tea...) but that it was sure healthy. I bore testimony to them of the blessings that have come to my life from living it, and they told us we could come again. We have such high hopes for those that we are teaching right now. The Lord is blessing and prospering us and absolutely protecting us in all that we do.
   SO I think a certain trend in my weekly emails is my fail of the week (it's embarrassing that there is always CERTAINLY at least one every week). So this one was the incident of the natto fermented beans. If you don’t know what natto is, count your many blessings, name them one by one. It is foul. And I ate a container of it...5 days after I had opened it (because I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it). And it made me straight-up ILL. Gross.

But I love you all, I usually eat normal food, and Heavenly Father blesses us.
Love you all.

Orgill Shimai

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week 16 -- Aomori, Japan

Hello hello!
Another week in paradise- if paradise is typhoons, stares, delicious apples and dendo prospecting!
This week has been...interesting. I wrote everything out that I wanted to say and then I left it at the Well, a lot of it was pretty dang memorable so you'll get most of it.
First and foremost: Brother H-- THANK YOU for your referral. It was the first referral I've had my entire time here, and O-san is the BOMB. He wants all your info so he can drop you a note! He's a brilliant man (and his English is WAY GOOD!) We asked him about what he remembered about what "Rick" had taught him 20 years ago (and by the way he is SUCH a tattletale!! Brother H you were CRAZY wanpaku naughty, mischievous!!:) And so he went inside and brought out his Morumon Sho Book of Mormon!! The best thing he said in the whole hour and a half that we talked to him was this: "If I didn't think this book was important, if I didn't think it had value, I would have thrown it away all those years ago. But I didn't. I think this book is important. I turn to it every so often for advice." DING DING. Sir, are you aware that that is a perfect answer? Because it absolutely is. We're following up this week and we're well on our way to being good friends with him!
Something that really strengthened my testimony this week is using EVERY MINUTE of the very short time we are given to be missionaries. Sister J and I sped-walked to the church, and so we were there 7 minutes early. It's not close to any super populous areas, and we've housed knocked doors everywhere around it, but we took off walking. Out of the 4 people we met in those seven minutes, 3 were open to the message, 2 are potential investigators, and one now has a Book of Mormon. I hope you understand that by Japan's standards, THAT IS NOT NORMAL. The Lord was blessing us insanely for using His time to the best of our ability. This is something I'm learning with J Shimai- we KILL ourselves working and we waste NO time. She's hardcore in a very, very different way from Y Shimai. She's way bomb at streeting, which is probably my weakest point. The language is hard for her, so I’m learning how to speak as fast as I can to set up appointments with people and get their info without creeping them out or insulting them, etc... But we're all just trying our best and relying on the Lord.
   The really strange thing that happened was on Saturday when we went to visit a less-active member. He wasn't home, but his sister was. She's 47 and very, very mentally sick as we later learned from her (also crazy) mother. She was incredibly anorexic and cold, and then she like put out her hands towards me and collapsed on me, holding me like a child holds their mother...she is grabbing onto me, resting her head on my chest and is about to faint. Oh My Awkward!  That's when the mom came out and said "She's insane. She is depressed. She's anorexic. Look how skinny and cold she is. She's gonna die soon, but we don't know when, so we all just joke about it."  It left us feeling terrible! After that incident, we went back to our apartment and prayed for comfort. Then we got a call from President Rasmussen. He was calling for J Shimai, who left Morioka 4 days before her investigator was baptized. She picked up the phone. It was Hi-chan, her newly-baptized friend. She cried she was so happy! It just reminded me that there is always a light at the end of our dark tunnels, no matter how brief my tunnel was. The Lord cares about us so individually, and He will always answer our prayers if we but ask Him! 
Also it's a new rule about music that I can’t practice my ukulele except on P Day Preparation Day (even though I bought it for the work) which is pretty heartbreaking to me. But perfect obedience brings miracles and we CERTAINLY need miracles right now. Whitewashing again finding people in a new area... Dad, there’s no opportunity that we've found to help pick apples, but they’re DELICIOUS. Ah I’m dying!
            So the work keeps on keeping on, I’m KILLING myself working so hard, my new companion is VERY DIFFERENT from my last companions and we have a lot we need to work on, and when we are obedient and worthy, God truly gives us miracles.
Peace and love y'all
Orgill Shimai

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 2013 - More pictures from Aomori

Sister Orgill in front of a beautiful sunset over Aomori

Sisters Kirby, Butler, Morgan, and Orgill (all in the same MTC group) out for sushi in Akita

Sisters Nakamima, Morgan, and Orgill enjoying some fresh strawberry shaved ice after stopping to help an elderly woman pull weeds in her yard
Sister Orgill rockin' the bowling shoes during a little recreation break on their P-day (preparation day)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 15 -- Aomori, Japan

This week is transfers. I thought I wouldn’t be affected. I was WRONG. Aomori will now have 4 sisters, us 3 and my new trainer the 6'2 Johnson shimai who has been out exactly ONE TRANSFER ahead of me-- Reaadyyy...set....PRAY FOR US.  I’m pretty terrified. This is my 2nd transfer and her 3rd- so we have no native Japanese speaking ability between us.

I thought the monsoon was bad last time? INCORRECT. Today the streets are SO FLOODED you can’t even walk, let alone bike anywhere!!! And I have to go at 3 today to catch a ride to the store so this is gonna be short!! Sorry!!

So I don’t know why I keep being surprised at the humbling experiences the Lord gives me; it’s not like I can ask for the ones I think I can handle and He'll act accordingly...This next transfer is going to be really difficult. And incredibly humbling for both of us, I think. Also this week, the culture clash has really humbled me. There are very proud people who take pride in the Japanese way of things, and I received a public lecture on how if we American missionaries want to become good missionaries, it is through acting Japanese. There have been several occurrences with this same member. But what I’ve learned is just submit to their criticism meekly and do my best to improve. And that has truly diffused the tension between the member and us. Things are still difficult when they do things that for missionaries is completely dame inappropriate, but I’m working hard to respect her pride while respecting the conduct we must maintain. Sorry that all sounds so vague, but I really just don’t have time to explain today. Just know that accidentally insulting people without knowing it has left me quite humbled.

This computer hates me. To end on a light note- THE GRASSHOPPER INCIDENT.
This past week we were doing dendo and then we were at the koen (park) and I had to tinkle. So I walked into the bathroom. Floor-squatty toilets only. Joy. So I’m doing my whole skillful toilet thing and then I reach for paper and I tell you, had I not peed already I would have peed my pants!!! This ENORMOUS GRASSHOPPER emerges, jumping MIGHTILY CLOSE to where I would prefer him NOT to be. My scream just about scared him as bad as he had scared me!! Oh, the panic!! Morgan Shimai didn’t believe it was me, because she’s never EVER heard me scream. And to be honest- I have NEVER screamed like that (and hopefully will never have the same sort of occurrence where that kind of sound will emit again!!) My goodness I’m so proud of the skill that while squatting and screaming that I didn’t just completely fail. SPEAKING of fails and biffing it- Morgan Shimai’s had some hardcore fails on her bike this week (bruises to prove it!) Just ask her family about them! Pretty great.
But life is great, I love being a missionary, and the Lord is blessing me more than I have room to receive!
Love you all mucho, keep it real, keep it classy, and watch out when there are grasshoppers about.
Peace, love, and a bug-free world.

Orgill Shimai

Thanks to Facebook, Sister Morgan's mother has posted some of her daughter's letter home.  She is Natalie's companion, so what one does, the other does also.  Here is her excerpt:
"Today is a started yesterday and from the rain then I was like: `Oh this isn`t so bad...we can work in this` and now it is pouring so hard and the wind blows the rain every direction so you aren`t safe no matter where you are. There has been so much rain that the streets are literally rivers you could swim in, the water is up to the houses in some places. But because of the wonderful souls of the members here in 青森(Aomori) they drove us to the eki (train station) to do our emailing. And another volunteered to drive us to do our shopping so she will pick us up from the eki and take us to the super.
The people here are so strong and I am incredibly grateful for the faith and willingness of the members.

Zone Conference was really good! Most of the conference was done in English but for the parts in Japanese we had translators so we could understand everything. We learned a lot about planning ahead so we can have an idea of when we are going to teach what to an investigator and when we are going to challenge them to come to church and baptism. We also have received a challenge from Rasmussen Kaicho and that is, have something that we don`t need as a missionary and give it up for the last quarter of the year and also (this is the more important one) find one new investigator a week. It will be tough, we don`t find investigators very fast but we are working on our faith and will work hard to accomplish the goal."

Week 14 -- Aomori, Japan

Hello hello!!!! Just another wonderful day in the suzushii cool weather Aomori! My goodness I love it here.

So you know what I've realized?? Missions go by too too fast. Yoneda Choro (my Nihonjin Zone Leader bestie) goes home next week. We're all pretty bummed about it; I think he could stay on a mission forever. SO I wanna tell you about my split to Morioka this week!
Every month, the 3 STLs in the mission have to go to Sendai for training, so Morgan Shimai and I got dropped off in Morioka with the other STL's 2 bean chans: Gass Shimai (Nihonjin haffu half-Japanese) and Johnson Shimai (6'2 blonde). So it was basically A PARTY. We did chirashi kubari leaflet distribution all together with Gass Shimai (Music major at BYU-violin) on ukulele and her and me on vocals making up some sweet harmonies. And boy did we JAM. Best thing? We would make up songs about the people around us with them having absolutely no clue of it. "Ma’am I really like your dress, its super cute but there’s no way I could wear that on my missioooooooon". And the greatest part? It was SO EFFECTIVE. Everyone's all like, oh English, what? Or That’s soo cool!!! And so they actually want to come to Eikaiwa English class and talk to us!! Great missionary opportunities. Which is why I’m bringing ONGAKU CHIRASHI KUBARI musical leaflet distribution to Aomori!!! Wooohooo! Buying a ukulele TODAY and learning to play it TODAY.  So excited for the opportunities this holds!! Okay so on with the Morioka experience. We decided I would be doryos companions with Johnson Shimai (6'2, mind you..). Can you say GAIJIN Foreigner POWER?! People would literally stop their cars in the middle of the street to stare at us. And moreover, one of the creepiest things that has happened to me YET happened. We were doing dendo street contacting and I hear someone running behind me. Then this man comes up, out of breath and says "Please...mail me? OK?" I panicked and said "Come to Eikaiwa! English class" And handed him a pamphlet before he ran away. I looked down at the business card. He had written "Please mail me?" and highlighted his email address. Johnson Shimai DIED laughing. Yep, better believe that that sir will NOT be getting mailed by a certain Orgill Shimai. But, his meishi business card is taped in my journal to recall the creepers of Morioka! With our gaijin power we also had some serious miracles.
So as bean chans new missionaries it was kind of scary doing dendo street contacting, but the Lord was certainly on our side. We only had about an hour and a half to do housing dendo. In that time we found 2 strong Potential Investigators. With no Nihonjin native Japanese, with no help but the Lord's. At one point one of the PIs and ojiichan grandpa (of course, always the ojiichans) gets all close in my face and says "Why are you laughing??" And I replied, "Because I have no clue what you just said!!" But it was a great time and I’ll get a chance to go back to Morioka next month and hopefully visit both of them. For both of the PIs I was able to do all of the talking and setting up of appointments and everything (with the help of the Lord, my goodness!!) and it made me feel much less nervous if I do end up having to become a trainer at the end of my training. With the Lord's help, we can do anything because 'all things are possible to them that believe'.  And Allison, I LOVED Johnson shimai!! Why?? Because she reminded me SO MUCH OF YOU!! We got along smashingly and she was just so cute and funny!! Which reminds me- will you watch August Rush for me? Morgan Shimai has that music and we listen to it almost every day and it reminds me of you because I remember you teaching me about the motif throughout the movie from when you were taking AP Music Theory! Little things remind me every day of my beloved friends and family!
So I mentioned I loved serving here. I DO! But we volunteered to clean out the chorotachis elders apartment after they moved somewhere else this week, and HOLY MAMA OF MESSY. I legitimately discovered a cockroach. NOT a fan. But that apt has been a choro apt for a long time so can’t blame our senkyoshi brothers entirely I guess!

So some questions! Jonathan, how are classes??? Study hard for Japanese;) But seriously hahaha! John Shumway- how were your first exams?? Mom- did you get the bear situation figured out??

OK, a couple of QUICK THINGS before anyone falls asleep!!
Do you know our famous oatmeal cookie recipe by heart?? Please send me the amounts of ingredients so I’m sure I’m doing it right!!
I’m buying a ukulele for passing out English flyers and I would love to get some easy chord music (for the ukulele) but I can’t look them up as a missionary! If by next week you can send me some easy, 4 or 5 chord popular current music songs that would be great! I’ll find SOME WAY to print them. I’ll send ideas for the songs later! Thank you much!
And Mom, I’m so glad your ride went so well, I was praying hard for your safety!!!

And we have 3 PIs I wanted to tell you about! Well, "PIs" They’re 3 guys, 20, 20 and 18 and we think they’re a bit more interested in shimaitachi sister missionaries than in the gospel. But the really nice 18 year old tried to HUG me. I about died and panicked haha. But we hope they’ll have some more interest in the gospel and that my 18 yr old friend Yuuki’s parents will be less hantai opposed because he actually has interest in our message! I don’t have time for the Makino Shimai death scare story or the SUPER awkward massage mogi practice lesson, but I’ll write to the parents this week and hopefully they can add it in once they get the letter!!

And finally, something I’ve realized is so great is NATural finding (see what I did there?) Missionary work isn’t about running up to people and getting in their face saying "I have a message about Jesus Christ"; rather it is loving people and showing them through our own lives the fruits of living the gospel. And how do we share the gospel? We invite. Whether it be to a temple open house or seminary or an ice blacking ward activity. We share it with our friends and family because it is precious to us and we love them and want them to have that selfsame happiness. Sharing the gospel doesn’t have to be hard or scary- show people through your kindness and your actions how the knowledge that a Heavenly Father loves you and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world has impacted your life. As a missionary, I’m clearly much more straightforward about the message, but still just showing your kindness and happiness to people and offering to help is the ideal way to become like the Savior and better preach his gospel.  It’s sure a good thing that I love the people here so much then!

Peace and blessings until next week,
The pantsless wonder,

Orgill Shimai