Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 35--BAPTISMAL DATE

No one panic. I'm not kidding. We invited Ori san to be baptized this week. Her date is March 21st. And we are SO EXCITED.
(Note to readers: names have been omitted or changed to protect the privacy of those Sister Orgill has written about. Any names in blue are changed, any names in black are included are with permission.)

This last week FLEW by. We have been so busy!!! The Lord is blessing us SO MUCH!! I couldn't ask for anything more of my mission. I love my fun, chill, hardworking district, I love Sendai, the members help us SO MUCH. I love my companion because she works hard and helps me to learn and grow and we have fun every day, and we are seeing plentiful amounts of miracles! Busy=best.

Sister B and Sister Oni!!

We have Zone Taikai Conference this next week and the Seventy Aoyagi choro (the LDS church has leadership designated as "area seventy" that oversee the church in different parts of the world, who then report back to headquarters in Salt Lake City) selected me to be interviewed by him. Also I'm singing in a trio for the conference- a song that Elder N choro mixed and composed! SO excited. N choro is SO talented! Can't believe he goes home next week! 

Because the church wants to be able to start having times available to people to be able to take tours of the church buildings, the Kamisugi area is test-running having missionaries do their studying at the church in the mornings--thus being available to give tours--to see if it's effective. Therefore, Tuesday morning we had our first study block at the church. We these giant shopping bags full of books into our bike baskets and bike/skated to the church. We settled into the Primary room for personal study while Sister K shimai set up the "Visitors Welcome"/tour sign up out front. (About 30 minutes into study time Sister K shimai came into our room holding the sign and said "It blew off and ten cars ran over it, but it's okay we washed it off but we think we'll wait until we get a better sign before putting it up again." ) 

After that we totsuzen suddenly visited one of our investigators who's been too busy to meet with us lately (S san) and she actually let us in! She's a practicing Buddhist so she told us lots about the recent Buddhist holiday and we were able to share a message about prayer with her. She said her heart was touched by the missionaries and she needs their words because of her marriage problems. She just wants to be happy and have a lasting marriage. We think if she can see that how we can help is through the gospel message she will progress. 
From there we hurried over to M shimai's house for our mogi practice lesson and she fed us this GIANT delicious dinner. From there we biked over to the church for DCS District Council (?) during which Brother I kyodai shared a message about teaching to people's needs. He said: "Take really good care of your (new) investigators. You could be their first and last missionaries. What are they looking for? What are they searching for? What are THEIR needs? What are they hungry for?  How can you relate the gospel to them? Find out what they like, what they want and apply the gospel principles they're hungry for. Calling out and talking to every person is very important." We are SO blessed with Brother I kyoudai.
Wednesday, we mogied did the practice lesson "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" with Sister A shimai and she gave us some really helpful advice and then asked us "So are you excited for Aoyagi choro (the Seventy) to come?" Of course! "I'm nervous!" And then she told us stories about times when Seventies have come with great power and the Spirit of Prophecy. Let's just say you know that these people really are the judges of Israel. :) Then we went over to Sister Ori (the one that has a baptismal date!) shimai's house and talked about which types of tea are and aren't dame bad and she wrote them down on a piece of paper and taped it on her wall. :)

At Sister Ori's house! And don't forget the cute bunny, Natalie's new best friend.

After District Meeting we all decided to get Indian food, so we went on this crazy path down to the Eki train station and then took a bike elevator all the way up to park on the roof of this 9 floor building. It was beautiful!


Bikes for days...

On the 9th floor!!
Then we went to visit Ori shimai but she wasn't home so we housed her apartment building (9 floors) and found 2 PIs potential investigators and then went back to see if she was home and she was! So we watched the Restoration video with her... and she said she'd be baptized on March 21st if she knows it's true!
Friday we studied at the church again and then visited a bunch of PIs potential investigators and LAs less actives (people who no longer come to church) but none of them were home so we started weekly planning and Terry san called us and said she could meet so we met her at the church and talked a long time (teaching/listening). She has a lot of barriers for baptism. She said "In Japan you belong to your family and accept whatever beliefs they have." So when she married into the Terry family she adopted their religion of Shinto and departing from that would mean leaving her family. She thinks all Christian religions teach the same doctrines and that there are good things written in the Book of Mormon, but she's "a Terry and Terrys aren't Christian." :( We invited her to church but she says she's busy until she moves to Tokyo next month. 
After that we had a Fireside Planning Meeting with the ward Missionaries and Brother I kyodai shared a spiritual message about how we need God's power to do His work. He said: "Keep your spiritual ears open. With all your own power you cannot succeed. It is HIs work. You need His power. You get it through finding out what he wants you to do. There is success in the work when you have God's power. Pray to know how you are supposed to help these people and to find out why you're supposed to be here with your companion. God put you two together for a reason--find it out!" It was way good.
Elder N (assistant to the mission president) and Natalie at District meeting.

As a result of District Meeting on Thursday we set a goal to achieve the mission Standards of Excellence by having 1 new baptismal date and 6 LA less active rescue points. We'd been trying super hard to get into contact with our LAs less actives all week but none of them had returned our calls. So Saturday we decided to try a different tactic. We found scriptures for each of them, copied them at the church and taped them to cute notes, and took the notes and Ishiiya goodies to each of their doorsteps. It was super good dendo contacting! They loved it!
Sunday morning we went over to pick up Ori shimai for church but she said she was sick so we went to the church and practiced the District Musical Number (Be Still My Soul) with everyone, which we then performed in Sacrament Meeting.  After church we had a potluck/fireside about our ward goal of making our ward friendly to new people who come. Then we tried visiting Ori shimai and calling some other people but none of them answered. (Turns out Ori shimai tried to come to church but got lost again! Remember last week??)
Yesterday we biked up the mountain and taught Isha-san about prophets and gave her a General Conference talk. She says she wants to learn about the Word of Wisdom again!. Then we subwayed to the Eki train station for district Chirashi kubari flyer distributing (?) and then biked to the church and carpooled over to Ori shimai's and picked her up for FHE Family Home Evening (the church sets aside Monday nights as a night to spend home with family to share time and a spiritual message with each other), had FHE at the honbu mission headquarters (Ori shimai fell asleep during the spiritual message but loved the dessert ;).

Beautiful sunset in Sendai!
Another great week in the service of the Lord!! I love the people of Sendai SO MUCH. What a blessing it is to get to learn so many things and feel the power of God in His own work. I hope you all have a fantastic week. I'll let you know about transfers!

Love you!
Orgill Shimai

P.S. K shimai's English lesson that bashed the silly choro elders in a very classy manner!

Sister K teaching Japanese slang...
She was assigned the English lesson in Zone meeting a few weeks ago, and she taught on the English meanings for the word "Yada". Among the translations she came up with were:

No-go (used in: "That's a no-go, bro.")
Oh, sick!!
and finally, "Now that's just NASTY."

She taught it in Japanese and it was a way fun "lesson". Everyone was laughing so hard they were crying!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 34-- ...I have never run so much in my LIFE...

 This week was great. We're so busy! And busy is amazing on a mission. We had a split with Mor and Mo shimai sister this week, and it was way fun! Mor shimai and I were housing when we found Shi, a 20 year old in baking school. We taught her about God and prayer and she became a new investigator!! The Lord is SHOWERING blessings on Kamisugi right now!! SO grateful to be able to participate in this great work. B shimai continues to impress me as such a fantastic, prepared missionary.  The other shimai found a kinjin golden person/investigator this week on splits as well (He's from Nepal!) ans he has a baptismal date! So we're looking at 3 people that will prospectively receive baptism in Kamisugi...crazy!!

        In my feedback/interview with Mor shimai, she asked me, "So you've been here 3 transfers. Do you want to transfer?" I told her I did; but if I don't transfer I still desperately want a Nihonjin Japanese companion. She asked me if I had mentioned it to R kaicho President, and I realized I hadn't because he seems pretty stressed out right now, and I'll go where the Lord wants me; whether that's transferring or staying here. And it is such a blessing to see Kamisugi becoming so fruitful!

We are concerned about O san; because she is 70 she forgets things like our appointments and people she's met once before. But she has strong faith and really enjoyed the Nagaoka baptism (8 year old), and believes that the Plan of Salvation is true and she wants to go to the Celestial Kingdom; but some of the Relief Society members think she has dementia and doesn't need baptism. We'll pray and talk to Brother I kyoudai and act accordingly.


Now to the running. Allow me to say that I have NEVER run so much in one week in my ENTIRE LIFE. (And that includes the brief period where I ran a few miles every day before realizing that oh yes...I hate running) And it's not just running, it's...Football bootcamp-style high knees and wading through slush, snow and ice. The high knees help magnificently though. And you had BETTER BELIEVE I've never been so little concerned about being cold on my mission; the blood's flowing all the time! Saturday was especially crazy. We woke up and realized we had to go to our emergency evacuation area like we do every month. B shimai and I hiked on the snow boots, went outside, and realized that it was BLIZZARDING. BAD. So we ran to the hinanbasho. Then we ran back. Then later we ran to the church. Then we ran to the apt. Then we ran to O's; she was gone so we ran back. Then we ran later BACK to O's; and she was there and we had a great lesson! And then it was 9 and we had to be back at 9:30 so we ran speeeeeeedily. My legs are not pleased; but they're gonna have to get over it because there's more running to come! I think every one of the shimai lost some weight this week from all the on-foot exercise! Our bodies just got acclimated to the bikes I guess....
 
It's been snowing for 2 weeks straight here! It's crazy! I'm told it's NOT normal for Sendai, but  thankfully it's wet and slushy so there's only a little ice so we can walk just fine and then we put our boots by the heater when we eat so they're warm before we go out again. It's been so fun!
 
The muffler life...
Tuesday we taught I-san (took the bus because the roads are still bad). It was a really cool lesson! We had planned to teach about the sacrament but she really wanted to talk about forgiveness. She uses WAY HARD Japanese and she thinks I understand it all...SO FALSE but an EXCELLENT WAY to learn new words like discrimination and miscarriage! (And also more positive words...I just can't think of them right now)
 
Wednesday we had lunch with K shimai (she's SUPER cute--has 3 kids, in her 40's). She went on a mission in Kobe. She's SO kind. I love hearing her testimony every time we see her!
 
We had a fabulous Mexican feast, compliments of the O-giru ke my parents!! The shimai sisters all thank you!!
Me with the Mexican feast!
Friday, we had another trio practice for Zone Training (to which there's going to be an Area 70 coming, Aoyagi choro) and since we were still on our split the STLs came and studied at the church with L shimai (from Hong Kong) (J shimai's companion) while we practiced. It's such a cool song! After a very dramatic evening, a lost glove, and running around like crazies in the blizzard with our 45 kilo about 100 lbs 70-year-old-investigator, we rode with O-san and S kaicho President to the church for the N family's 8-year-old son's baptism. It was a miracle we were able to get O-san there because it was snowing like crazy and we almost weren't able to find a ride for her! She loved it. She said she realized that the water isn't cold and that she probably has as much faith as the boy that got baptized and she talks about it all the time now. :)
 
Saturday, the 4 choro Elders called us and asked if we could come to lunch with them and a PI Potential investigator. They found her information on the wall in the International Center and it said she is really good at English and wants to meet lots of gaijin foreigners/non-Japanese people. So we subway-ed down to the Eki train and went to Indian food with her. She was super cool and cute and kind and had AWESOME English. She actually did a 8 month home stay in California and has interest in Eikaiwai English class and church and she's studying Japanese law. 
 
O Shimai!!
Sunday, we'd set up for O shimai (we're starting to call her shimai now!) to come to church with D shimai but when D shimai called her, O shimai said she couldn't come because she was too busy! Everyone else's kyudoshas investigators also bailed on church too (maybe everyone was afraid of going out in the snow) but we were able to joint with K shimai and I shimai's new Nepaljin kyudosha Nepalese brother and he is amazing! He was so sincere,so earnest, such a kinjin golden investigator! He REALLY wants to know the message of the gospel. And they'd only given him a Book of Mormon the night before but he'd already read all the introductionary pages and the first 20 pages plus a ton of other stuff in his Hindi Book of Mormon. Amazing! And he isn't even fluent in Japanese but he wants them to teach him in Japanese/English. Way admirable.
 
 
This morning I-san called to say she's sick so we can't visit her today, but we'll try and visit her later this week.
It is a blessing to get to see all of these miracles; and I love being a missionary!
Love, 
Orgill Shimai
Sister B!


Brother T is a chef!! Jealous? It's Japanese pizza!

Week 33---The most snow in 30...40...50 years!!

Oh my goodness we are skating everywhere! AMAZING WEEK. Amazing week, people. B shimai and I are spending every moment thinking about, planning for and praying for our investigators. And MY GOODNESS is the Lord showering blessings on us! O san has gone form a hollow-eyed woman, half-starving because she couldn't afford food who seemed to not have too much interest in our message but just didn't have anything better to do than to meet with us. BUT NOW. That has changed. The biggest miracle of being on a mission? Watching the gorspel BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES. It's SO incredible!!  She has gone from all of that to a warm, smiley woman who has a new best friend (M shimai, the best member EVER) and who loves coming to church and has gotten so good at praying and treasures her Book of Mormon (her favorite is Alma:) best friend M shimai (who can do the reading with her so that she doesn't forget!) we love her so

much! Her only qualm with baptism is that it "looks cold", but M shimai assured her that it's oyu hot water :) We just want to make sure she has a strong testimony of the truths of the gospel before she receives baptism, but we're so grateful for the fellowshipping and incredible love of the members here in Kamisugi so that she fits right in!
 Everyone says that winter is hard because it's dark and cold and people don't go out; but the Lord is not about to let that stop or even hinder His work going forward.
  B shimai has done some very serious thinking as to what activities we could be more productive, and how to use every moment to the fullest to allow the Lord to bless us; and although we've just begun the Lord is already blessing us so much. I'm so glad to be working with her! She is ALWAYS thinking about what our investigators need; she forgets none of their needs and I'm so lucky to get to work with her!
We go HARD on the paint when it comes to planner decorating!
  We had a great lesson with our investigator I san this last week! Something we learned just from actively LISTENING with the Spirit; she WANTS faith. And she WANTS to change. We testified with all of our heart that that is the central message of this gospel; that ANYONE can change. I told her about the person I was even 2 years ago; and how I was able to change and now I'm here and I know these truths for myself. When we left there was so much more hope in her eyes. As we were leaving, she said, "It's hard, but I'm changing...little by little." YOU BET YOUR BOOTY YOU ARE.
  SO I was going to mention my halfway mark was next month...but it would appear my dear father is already aware. Well.
   There's so much snow R Kaicho President says we can't climb Yamadera next Monday:( Bummed! But The snow has been INSANE!! And we've felt about 8 earthquakes this week; one was so bad it woke all of us up and the bunk beds started squeaking like crazy and I was legitimately concerned that I was going to get squashed by B shimai's top bunk falling on me...but still alive!
   The HUGE amount of snow provided some great service opportunities!! I started chatting with this obachan grandma and then she almost fell and I said, "Do you need help?!" and she said, "Well, it's probably a little safer with two...grumblegrumblegrumble...." And so I gladly linked arms with her and we walked her all the way home:)  We got to learn about her (she was 85, like HOLY COW WHY ARE YOU OUT GETTING GROCERIES IN THIS STORM) and it was so great:)
   I have been learning some CRAZY words this week from Fu bishop and his family this week! FOr some reason, they all just assume I'm Japanese and drop words like mahi (paralysis) and menekiryoki (an immunodeficiency syndrome) like they're nothing! Well, at least I'm learning something! I got a call from a very panicked-sound Fu Bishop Sunday morning who said, "Everyone who was supposed to talk in sacrament can't get here because of the snow. Will you and B shimai sing?" "SUre! And recommendatio-" "-Anything is fine. Yoroshiku!" Best regards!
   SO we sang Nearer My God to Thee, and it went really well! I'm way blessed to have such a musically talented companion! Speaking of which, N choro (a maestro GENIUS) has composed 3-part version of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief and it is BEAUTIFUL and he goes home in 3 weeks and I'll make him send a recording to you!! We're (Me, B, JS. shimai) are singing it at Zone Taikai Conference in 2 weeks. Stoked!
   I finished the Book of Mormon this past week, and I know as sure as ever that it is the word of God and that through it we can draw closer to our Savior. I'm now reading it in Japanese, which is way fun! Love it!!
   Have a great, and remember to find joy in the gospel; it is for any person in any state of life because our Heavenly Father wants EVERY ONE of His children to have this happiness!!

Love you all!
Orgill Shimai

Some pictures stolen from H choro at Zone Conference - back when I was in Aomori!

Looking VERY nervous to go out in the typhoon!

Ishiiya with M chan! She was baptized in 2011

Beautiful sunset while housing

One of the sisters had a birthday, so I made her a kimchi "cake"! We eat kimchi almost every day now.

FINALLY SAW MY BEST FRIEND IN THE MISSION FIELD!!King choro was the last person in my MTC district I hadn't seen in the field!!


Week 32-- "I...lost my way!"

 What a blessed week! Our new investigator from last week O san had a great experience at church (2nd time an investigator has come to church on MY ENTIRE MISSION!!) and when we prayed with her later she told Heavenly Father that she would like to keep coming to church! I was actually ill (VERY ill) when I woke up Sunday morning at 3 am. At 8 it hadn't gotten any better, and I was unable able to leave the apartment, but I kept thinking about O san and how badly I wanted her to be there and have a good experience so I prayed A LOT. Even though I was in a lot of pain I felt a really bright, buoyant positive voice in my heart that it was gonna be okay and I'd be there at church. I was still in pain when we left for the church.
   And then we got there and I just....forgot about it. The pain and illness was completely gone. We went to church, then biked to O san's house (she had gotten lost walking there), walked there with her, enjoyed the rest of church and then walked her back to her apartment. And as we walked out of her apartment the pain and the nausea returned instantly- but I couldn't have been happier. I had asked Heavenly Father to just help me get through church; and He did that AND allowed me to be able to walk 3 miles to and from O san's apartment.  I KNOW Heavenly Father listens to me and answers our prayers!!!
   But getting Oikawa to church was a story in ITSELF. I called her the night before. "Are you coming to church??" "Yes." "Do you promise??" "Yes." "I'm bringing Ishiiya bread for you." "Oh! I'll be there!" "Alrighty I'll call you in the morning!" Morning: "Hey O san! We-" "I'm leaving by 9." "Oh, okay! Can we walk toge-" "I'm coming by myself." "Okay! See you there!"
      And then we wait. We're standing in the foyer; Sacrament meeting is ticking closer. 9:459:50.9:59; she's not here. Disappointed, we walk inside. We take the sacrament and then take a "bathroom break" to check for her; nothing. We call (her phone is a home phone so she hadn't been picking up our calls before then) And she picks up. Before I say anything, she says in perfect English, "I lost...my way!" Long story short we went on the O rescue and walked with her all the way back to church for the last two hours:) I love that little woman! We're best friends. Every time I stand up she goes, "woah, you're SO TALL!" I finally patted her head the other day and said, "No my friend, you're just short!" "Fair enough," she replied. Now I understand what they mean by loving your investigators so much; when they progress and make changes and you see how much the gospel can bless their lives! I just want every good thing for her and everyone that we're working with. 
   We randomly visited I san (it wasn't random for us; she lives on the MOUNTAIN and we are on STREET BIKES) and we were able to teach a lesson!! We had to drop her a transfer ago because it seems that she was refusing to progress spiritually; but we had an amazing lesson where she talked about when she had felt the Spirit and that she DOES want to know that this is the truth!! We're teaching her again tomorrow:)
   Also the choro they just found a 金人 golden person who is fluent in English and they want us to teach her with them! So excited :) Heavenly Father is belling us and the work is picking UP here!!

The random Adventures from this week:
I got an amusing bout of illnesses which took me out pretty hard a couple of days!
B Shimai finally had a battle with gravity as well today and biffed it on her bike (but she's fine - she's tough - makes a trainer proud!
After we emailed last week we did kaimono (shopping) and came home and... the apartment door wouldn't unlock. It's a digital combination lock. We'd type in the code, and it'd beep but then it'd start flashing and wouldn't unlock. So we called District Leader Captain Mc
 Choro. He had no idea. So we called the Honbu headquarters. I talked to a very suprised K shimai (sister) who handed the phone to a very suprised K choro (elder) who connected us with a likewise--suprised--Y choro elder. We called other suprised Nihonjin Japanese people who called US back, calling themselves the Kagi Kyukyusha--literally: The Key/Lock Ambulance. Then we went downstairs to wait for the Key/Lock Ambulance and sat in the flowerbed--eating bread, writing letters and looking completely homeless. Then up pulls a little white car 3 little Japanese men in blue jackets pop out (calling themselves the Kagi Kyukyusha) and annouced they were there to rescue us--which they did and fixed our door for no charge. It was a twist to the usual Preparation day for sure.
I haven't slept for about a transfer so I got a new pillow and the Honbu headquarters ordered me real blankets so now I'm warm :)
But that was about how our week was! Heavenly Father has blessed us SO greatly!! Keep looking and praying for opportunities to help the work; I promise Heavenly Father will answer your prayers!
Love love LOVE,

Orgill Shimai
P.S. -- Attached are my NEW PILLOW and I, and we FINALLY got permission to get rid of the filthy rug in our study room. Underneath it was.... SAND. Like LOTS OF SAND.

Week 31--"How did her bike even slip? It's not even ic---".....Biffed it again this week

Last Monday! Got a new investigator!!! O san is a very forgetful 60 year old with great faith in God. She loves sumo and baseball. Her apartment has no heating. She said she'd come to church and then she forgot. But we LOVE her and are ready to help her come unto Christ:)
   Today! We had to drop I san about a transfer ago because it seems like she wasn't progressing in her faith and she was busy but we visited her today and shared the inspired-messages from mine and B Shimai's personal studies today and from our companionship study yesterday about the importance of prayer and the Holy Ghost! It was miraculous that the Spirit had prepared us to share what she needed to hear.  I learned the importance of studying and strengthening our OWN doctrinal knowledge and testimony so we are prepared to go out and help others do the same. We have an appointment to meet her next week, and she has committed to read 3 Ne 13 and start praying again. It is so great to be a part of this great work!
   We got to do a split with H shimai on her last day of dendo contacting before she went home, and it was fun (we finally got to split in Kamisugi!) She served here for a while so we got to talk to mutual investigators, LAs, and friends. She's an incredible missionary. With that came TRANSFERS! K shimai became a trainer too! I shimai is her new bean- and she is a CHEF. Seriously her food is fabulous. I'm glad we didn't lose that with N shimai being transferred up to Hirosaki! The apartment is a little lonelier now, and a lot more quiet. But we still have fun:)
   We went to (insanely overpriced) Italian pizza with A san and the zone leaders this week- he basically just talked the whole time about cheese and the year of the horse and his "diet" (apparently it includes drinking the cheese sauce out of a dish)- but it was interesting.
   I got a call this week from a less active we visited once with ward member S san and sang for her. Apparently she likes me a lot. She called me to tell me (in DETAIL) about her family situation (DV) and her depression. And then she said, "オーギル姉妹、あなたを愛してます。Orgill Shimai, I love you" Like just straight up I love you- something that Japanese people DO NOT say. But we'll do our best to help her- she really, really likes gaijin foreign/white sisters. We're doing our best to help her and help those whose heads are hanging down...but it's hard to see sometimes.
   Another Orgill Shimai fail- I saw B shimai's bike swing all crazy and her stop looking shocked and I giggled, thinking that at least it wasn't me to fall this time and now at least we both had one and BAM!! I hit the same patch of ice and went DOWN. Talk about FAIL.
  M CHORO!!! After going my whole mission without seeing my homie from the MTC, M choro and his temporary companion bought the wrong bus ticket to Misawa and came to Sendai instead!! And I could not have been more stoked!!! He's such a great missionary!
  There's a great picture of me and T kyoudai brother coming your way. I asked him where he got his hat. He said it was a Christmas gift. Whoever gave it to him has EXCELLENT TASTE.
  My dear friend C (Chinese), our new LA friend who has become reactivated has to go back to China because her VISA is expiring:( Sad day, sad day!

   In my reading recently, I came across 4 Ne 1:16. "And there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God" after describing how everyone was righteous! When we obey the commandments and love God, we are happier than we could ever try to be on our own.
  
It's such a privilege to serve in this work. Whenever I think that this work is hard; I remember 2 Kings 6:16. Check it out!

Love you mucho, stay classy!:)

Love,

Orgill Shimai
Elders and Sisters, with investigators

Winter selfie

Sponge cake
Brother T's excellent hat


Elder M!!!!

Week 30--"So when I read the Book of Mormon and I feel an answer to my prayers even though it's not written, that's the Spirit?"

Yes it is you 金人 (golden person, meaning a perfect investigator)!! T is such an incredible investigator. This week Heavenly Father blessed us a TON. Truly.

     "The 4th Missionary" talk by Lawrence C. Corbridge is one that you- ALL OF YOU- should read. It answered my prayers. This week was a turning point in my mission. In District meeting K choro elder gave us that talk. Although up til now I've been working hard on my mission, I didn't understand why I sometimes felt so conflicted and unhappy; on paper I was doing everything right. But I realized that I had many of the attributes of the 3rd missionary (read it and you'll know!); I was holding my head out of the work, and my heart from the Lord. I don't just want to do what is right; I want to do so joyfully! I have promised the Lord that I will consecrate myself to His purposes, and I feel so happy! The Spirit flows more freely and I can enjoy more of its presence. I now ask myself every hour of every day if what I'm doing or thinking is what Christ would do; and it has shifted my whole perspective:) 
   I am grateful to K choro and his inspired guidance over this district that I have enjoyed these past 2 transfers. He is a fantastic missionary! Can't believe he's going home on Friday...our district has gotten some serious changes with yesterday's transfer calls! H to the distant land of Izumi, N shimai to join her trainer and my BEST FRIEND K in Hirosaki, and K shimai is training the ONE INCOMING MISSIONARY- a Nihonjin shimai Japanese sister missionary. WHY HAS SHE ONLY HAD NIHONJIN Japanese COMPANIONS. 不公平 Injusticeーーーー。But I'll stop complaining now; I'm so happy to have B shimai! Here's one of many reasons why:

    My companion wanted to ring one random doorbell as we were walking down a street (last time that happened he turned into an investigator) and she was a wonderful woman who talked to us for 20 minutes and is now a potential investigator (PI)! And as we were talking to her, the other PI who had just pretended like they weren't home came walking out with her dogs (awkward) and so we learned in a fast effective way that she actually had no interest! Small blessing actually.

We did a split in Morioka!! And by the grace of Heavenly Father (and the kind Morioka 人 people) We were able to find our way there! The bus system? INSANE. It was SO FUN to be able to do a split with M SHimai from my MTC district who is STL now!! We had some great streeting opportunities.

How we found Y san- Referrals= THE BEST. Second one I've gotten on my mission- and they make a WOLRD of difference! We started out only being able to have lunch with Na shimai's friend Y-san (to my companion's relief they're both essentially fluent in English). And at first she was very closed and just said that we see things differently because we're American and so that's why religion is normal to us, but over time the Spirit was working on her- and we ended up having a 3.5 hour discussion where she shared a Spiritual experience that she had had a few years back and that she certainly believes that there is a Spirit world and forces from the other side that protect us. Now just getting her to understand that that protection is from our loving Heavenly Father is he next step:) She really likes us and we're already planning the next time we can meet- and who made this all happen and prompted the conversation in the right direction?? Na shimai. Not just because she is a saint; but because with members is how the Lord intends us to build Zion.

The work is picking up here. Mc choro elder shared with us this week what R kaicho president had told him as he was being transferred here- "Kamisugi hasn't had a baptism in a long while. I've sent some of this mission's strongest missionaries there to change that." He meant Mc choro. He also meant K shimai and K choro and me and the rest of us! And great things are happening. We're teaching lessons. We're finding investigators. M has agreed to be baptized, and he says once his family comes they will too. T has great faith and is praying to know if God wants her to be baptized. Please pray for her and pray for us as we try to follow the Spirit.

Exciting times, people! Remember the Lord sees every little thing we do to aid in building Zion, and he loves us no matter what!!

Love you! 

Orgill Shimai
Pictures from Hatachi from last week







Week 29--I'm gonna throw up... I already did...

This week was SOMETHING. I just...I can't even...I'll just tell you what happened.

The yabai (dangerous) S dinner- On Thursday we had Zone Training, which pushed back our lunch til way later than usual (we usually eat at 11, we ate at 2:30 or 3). So we went to Ishiiya and bought and scarfed down $13 of bread each (pretty impressive for shimai.) And then we went to discuss some dendo (contacting) with Y shimai (sister) who...fed us. So we were in a little pain. But we thought, "Hey, we've got and hour and a half til our dinner appointment. We'll be fine." Umm....WRONG. As S shimai brought out plates and plates and plates of food for just the two of us, my heart broke a little as I realized there was no way in Heaven or jigoku (Hell) that I would be able to down even half of this food. But culture is culture; and you eat what you are given. So we tried. We tried really, really hard. 
   But S shimai noticed us slowing down. My companion asked to used the bathroom (NOT okay to do if something's not horribly wrong) And then she asks us if we're okay and we insist we're fine. She goes into the other room to grab something (more food; as it would happen) and I grab tissues and started sneakily stuffing food from my plate into the tissues and then stuffing those tissues into my bag (when I pulled them out later that night; I realized I'd stuffed about 10 in my bag in the space of a few minutes-a proud moment). But we were fine, really. Then she brought out the dessert; the famous S jelly.  I'm working on mine. B shimai has one more bite. I finish and start introducing the spiritual message. I turn to pass it to B shimai. Her plate is empty; and her face is alarmed. "I need to go to the bathroom," she says.
    While she's going (AGAIN) they ask me, "Is she okay??" Yes, she's fine, I assure them. She comes out looking much less alarmed. We share the spiritual message, say our goodbyes, and get on our bikes. I turn to her. "I'm gonna throw up," I say. "I already did," she replies.
   So long story short we bike home (the PAIN) and I say"Okay, let's plan. Hold that thought; we're planning in 5 minutes. I'll be right back." So I go and up comes the jelly. I come back out, "Let's plan," I say. "Nope, round two...!!!!" she says.
It was a memorable experience.

And who was it that took us to visit LAs the next day, and took us to a BUFFET when we could barely even LOOK at food? Yep, S shimai.
But all in all going out with S shimai the next day was an excellent experience. We visited the LA (less active, meaning they haven't been to church in a while) H shimai, who as a result of her husband's DV (domestic violence) had a bit of a seishinteki na byouki (mental illness). She hugged me the first time she met me- I'm NOT accustomed to that. We sang for her and the Spirit was so strong and she cried. It was so nice to get to visit with her, it did so much good for her and her son (also a victim of DV). Have I ever mentioned that Japan has made me passionate about a few things? Proper diagnosis (and TREATMENT) of mental illness and governmental punishment for DV. Because those are the kinds of things we as missionaries have to deal with a LOT.

Ah, mission life.

The hatachi party- SO 20 in Japan is a big age- it's when you become an adult and there is a HUGE ceremony (like prom but more boring) where the guys are in suits and the girls in kimonos (and us in our awkward missionary getup- R kaicho (president) nixed the kimono wearing) and we were invited as well (well, me and K shimai." So we went on a split with N and W choro elder to the Tomizawa station where there were HUNDREDS of 20 year old's standing in their little groups of friends screaming in high pitch voices or being tools and creeping on me and K shimai. I won't go into detail on that part; but let's just say that a certain white 5'9 shimai almost did some damage on some punk tool sheds. You didn't need to be a Nihonjin Japanese to know what they were saying...directly to our faces. I about slapped someone. But my best friend the mother hen N choro (AP) body blocked them and sheperded us to safer areas....blech some of the guys here are filthy gross (and they have the shaved-side, orange-dyed, clown-topped hair that only Mexicans can rock. Like SIR I HATE TO INFORM YOU BUT YOU ARE JAPANESE AND THAT DOES NOT WORK.)
   But anyway the speeches were not too kando sareru (enlightening?) but I got to chat with N choro the whole time which was the BEST. One of my best friends has dated his best friend and we're both pretty real-talking people. It was a good time. 
   We found K! He's 21 and he loves hymns and is studying Christianity and wanted to come to church with us! Then when we pulled out an Eikaiwa chirashi (English class flyer) to show him the map of where it was and he said "YOU TEACH ENGLISH TOO?! Oh I REALLY want to go!!!" So all in all even thought that day was conclusively the MOST CREEPED OUT I'VE BEEN, it was worth it! Ah the sacrifices we make for dendo (contacting). My father sacrificed his hair by getting a perm; and well...I don't sacrifice my hair but I sacrifice!

But sacrifices truly bring miracles; whether they be sacrifices of time or sacrifices of self, the Lord sees every little thing we do for the benefit of others and He blesses us! The blessings of this gospel outweigh any seeming cost. Through it we know where we came from, for what purpose are we here, how to better thrive in harmony with God through this life, and that our families can be together forever. And that knowledge is priceless.

The work is hard here- at this point T san is our only real investigator (and she's incredibly busy and her husband is hantai (against the church)) and so my poor companion has actually never taught a real lesson to an investigator in all these 6 weeks. Member referrals are essential and they are precious. Please, work with your ward missionaries; they need your help.

Love you all, have a great week! I'll let you know about transfer calls next week (but chances are I'll still be here training!)

Orgill Shimai
"Whale naan"

Sister Orgill and Sister B

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 28--Happy New Year!

I made a new friend this week! The shimaitachi sister missionaries went together to this Bangladesh food place  and they were playing this BOMB Bollywood music and so I started doing some subtle Indian dancing at our table and look up to see the waiter and the cook CRACKING UP. They said I was spot on! (Lies, I'm sure.) But then we became best friends and the server would bring me delicious yogurt dessert and tea (it was Chai, couldn't drink it :'( ) because he like me best! He's Hindu as all get-out but maybe in the next life he'll remember the Mormon Bollywood dancing missionary from his restaurant! Well that's the hope anyway...
 
  So Christmas in Japan was anticlimactic; but they LOVE New Year's so I thought it would be super sweet. And then it turns out the way they celebrate is by hermiting in their house and refusing to talk to the missionaries; this included members, less-actives, and investigators. As far as numbers go this week was less than ideal.

  SO what did we do on shogatsu New Year's?? We went to Hachiman shrine with K shimai sister and 2 of her friends that we are trying to introduce the gospel lessons to. And one of them brought HER to friends from the Misawa base (that were gaijin foreign) that came with us. And it was...awkward. But the shrine was culturally, and we got a great opportunity to talk to one of our new friends S chan. She turned to me and asked, "So what IS the true meaning of life?" Well, lemme tell ya sister.  But talking to (the five million) people at the shrine was great natural dendo street contacting!
    I'm so glad shogatsu New Year's is over! We're ready to get to work and power through the winter. I'm so lucky to have B shimai as my companion! She's super great to work with and we CRACK each other up. I am learning the importance of using every second of time effectively. This week was disappointing as far as numbers; it was difficult to contact a single investigator, less active, or member. But things are looking up and the Lord is blessing us! A couple of members walked up to us at church and asked if they could mogi teach with us. How lucky we are to be in an area with such strong members. 

   The best part of this week was Saturday. We took the bus to the H's who live in Nagamachi ward boundaries. It was a long bus ride and I was able to talk to the girl next to me the whole time. She said after her college entrance exam she'll come to Eikaiwa English class. And then at dinner we were blessed to have a great discussion with H san (H shimai's husband who is not a member) and the Spirit was super strong! We talked so long that we didn't have time to share the whole spiritual message we had prepared, but he asked me to bear my testimony. I shared Alma 32:27 (one of my FAVORITE scriptures) and shared how I realized that I was enough for the Lord when I felt like I didn't have faith, because I DID desire it was true and I DID have real intent. He has trouble with tobacco so I also shared my testimony of the Word of Wisdom and how although giving up those things is hard, it has infinite worth. And then I bore my testimony to him of the Savior and the infinite and individual sacrifice he would have made if it were only for him or for me or for anyone.
 
   His face changed a little. His eyes lit up and he sat a little straighter. He thanked me sincerely and asked us to come over again soon because he'd like to talk to us about the gospel some more. He is an amazing, spiritually sensitive man who is SO prepared. I feel so much love for the H family and know that his heart is being softened as a result of his own daughter serving a mission right now! 

  Yesterday we were also able to come into contact with an old investigator, E san. T shimai and I tried many times to reach her but had been thus unsuccessful, but when we visited her yesterday, she expressed a desire to meet with us again next month and come to church with us soon if her leg permits.

  The Lord is requiring patience to be learned for us, but the blessings are worth it! I know He's preparing His children!

Love,
Orgill Shimai