Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week 39 - Sister Ori is baptized!!

First, some fun pictures from this week!!!

Sister O, Sister Sim, and Sister Ha
Purikura with the trio!
Tim Tam Slam with the district - you take a Tim Tam straw, bite off the ends, and suck up hot cocoa!
Elder pile! Elders in Sister Orgill's mission

   An amazing week. Sister Ori shimai's baptism was so moving, and was such a testimony builder for all of us! At least two P.I.s potential investigators, or people who are interested in taking lessons from the missionaries in the future that came have said they felt great things and would also like to get baptized eventually. Ori shimai is so happy, and she fits in so well with the members! We love her so much, and look forward to helping her further her spiritual progression from here:)

Sister O!
   We got a call from the Zone Leaders. "We have been asked to find missionaries who can speak Japanese and can sing to go to SMYC in the mountains....you are cordially invited!" We were all super excited until we realize they're only taking me and Ha shimai and making Sim shimai go on a split with our other 2 shimai sister missionaries :( It'll be weird to have just one companion again! We all love our little three so much! Like, we're housing and if a guy is like, "I'm interested. Please come in." Then we're just like, "Don't mind if we do!" Missionaries are only allowed to teach someone of the opposite gender if there is a third member of their own gender. Trios are the bomb.com.

   I know I already said it; but I LOVED this week! It was so busy with meetings and getting ready for Ori shimai's baptism!! 
Sister B was able to come back for the baptism!!

We had asked the choro elders to fill the font, and to MAKE SURE it was hot (because Ori shimai was really worried about getting a cold). And we show up 20 minutes before the baptism; the water is a foot and a half high and the water is shut off. They explain that the hot water just stopped coming so they turned off the water. I told them, " One and a half feet is NOT dunkable!!" So we prayed and found out the gas had been shut off by an earthquake so we were able to turn it back on, heat the water, and fill it up to a satisfying level before she got baptized!!! Elder Mc choro baptized her, it was so cute! 

Elder Mc and Sister O, ready for her baptism
When she climbed out of the water, I said, "How was it??" "I'm reborn," she replied. 

Sister O and Sister O!

     She bore her testimony after she was baptized, and we sang Nearer My God to Thee. The Spirit was so strong, and I'm so proud of her! And then, because it's Japan, we went to ramen afterwards. Best day EVER!

That's carmelized sugar! Not related to the baptism, but this is a gift from their friend Brother Y, and he gave it to them when he came from Akita to receive his Patriarchal blessing.
*Note: names are changed to protect the privacy of those mentioned.

Week 38 - Translation Practice!

Another great week! I LOVE our little trio! We have so much fun. We are just trying our best to be disciples of Christ and let the Spirit guide our actions.

We have realized that earlier morning lessons are much better for Ori shimai sister and so we have started going earlier. We showed up around 10, but she had just woken up and was not ready for the day, so we said we would come back in 30 minutes. Then we left her apartment, kind of wondering what to do. We wanted to follow up on a place where we had left flyers but it was a Saturday and was a little early so we didn't want to upset people. We meandered toward a little grocery store, just talking to people on the way. 

Ori Shimai, baptism next week!
We had a pleasant conversation with a little old lady as we waited for the grocery store to open and handed her a flyer. Then the doors finally opened. The store clerk opened the door wide and said "Thank you for waiting, welcome." And then turns to us and says in flawless English, "It's open!" We were surprised but awkwardly meandered inside. It was both of my companions' birthdays so I bought these anpan bread with sweet bean paste inside things and went up to the register. We didn't realize but the lady who had let us into the store was the woman ringing me up. She bagged the anpan and as she handed it to me, she said in her perfect English, "I know you. You are missionaries." We were taken aback. We asked how she knew. She said that she had lived in Ogden. She said, "I know I need to go to church, but I just can't because of this job...I'm so busy", she said, gesturing around her. She said, "Thank you so much for coming here today. It made my day. I really needed to see you today." Well Su san, we couldn't agree more!! We'll be frequenting that grocery store much more from now on:)

Lots of translation practice this week!! At church we had a Nepalese, Sri Lankan, 2 Americans and 3 German-speakers join us! Some visitors; some investigators! I was recruited to translate which was all fun and games until THIRD HOUR. I sat down next to my new friend Ren, visiting from Frankfurt. She doesn't speak English. I repeat; she DOES NOT speak English. So I translate the Japanese lesson into English for a woman who would respond to me in German. MY GOODNESS my brain was dead by the end of church! But we had a great discussion!! She told me about a dream she had before she became a convert about how she saw Christ and He explained that He was doing doing all this suffering for her. She was so cool, and her and her husband (who is Nihonjin Japanese) are coming again next week! The crazy ironic part was after the meetings her husband came over (he speaks no English either) and we talked in Japanese and he would translate it for his wife into German and then she would say something and he would translate it for me into Japanese. Way trippy. Like who would have thought we'd need the little Asian man to translate for the two white girls who look like relatives?!  It was a good time.
Sister Orgill - being sassy and wishing she spoke German too!

We can't wait for Ori shimai's baptism; and neither can she! She tried on her baptismal dress on Sunday to make sure it fit and when she looked at herself in the mirror her face lit up like a little child and swayed in front of the mirror. "You look like a princess!" I told her. And she did! She is a child of the King of all Kings, and she has accepted his invitation to come unto Him!

Orgill Shimai 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 37--Same area, 2 new companions!

Awesome week with awesome new companions! I am SO blessed to have received such obedient companions throughout my mission!! Ori shimai is doing excellent; we have set the 22nd at 10 am as her date, and her mensetsu baptism interview is tomorrow! OH HAPPY DAY!! She is growing so much in faith and testimony, and she is getting so much more sensitive to the spirit!! My favorite things she said in lessons this week:

"I feel that God is telling me, 'You need to learn more about the Mormon faith.'"
"Did you listen to the BoM yesterday?"   "Yes, the first 3 CDs." "What?! But that's....2 and a half hours!!!" ".....Yes?"
"I just feel that I'm changing and I want to help other people and serve them and be a better person."
(in a prayer) "Heavenly Father, there are lots of awful things in the world like nuclear power plant disasters, but I came to church today and learned about the teachings of Jesus Christ and felt so much better."

When I first met Ha (one of Natalie's new companions) shimai, I was telling her about our investigators and said, "And Ori shimai is getting baptized in 2 weeks!"
And she turned to me with her eyes really wide and said in English, "I've...never seen a baptism before." It touched my heart and humbled me that the Lord has allowed us the privelege of teaching such wonderful people.

Ori shimai misses B shimai (Natalie's old companion that just got transferred to a new area)!

Companions picture with Ori Shimai

She asks about her every day, and pets her face in pictures. We're trying to push for having B shimai and I singing at her baptism so she HAS to come down here ;). I miss my B chan
(chan is an endearing term, like "cute little friend") too, but my goodness I got lucky with my 2 new companions as well!! Love them!!!

B Shimai and Orgill Shimai matching their cheez-it personalities
Ha shimai is the CUTEST THING EVER and is COMPLETELY FLUENT in English and is SO GOOD at helping Sim shimai and I with our Japanese! We're gonna be pretty fly by the end of this transfer!! She's from Higashi Kurume in Tokyo! Talk about INAKA (out in the countryside, not part of the big city)! She's 5th transfer and this is her 2nd area, formerly serving in Nagamachi!

Natalie and her new companion, Ha Shimai (from Japan, name changed for privacy)

Sim shimai is 3rd transfer, B shimai's good friend from the MTC, coming from Akita!!! She's from Highland Utah and she's a party!! Her Jaoanese is WAY GOOD!!! We can talk in all Japanese and no one gets left out and it's AWESOME!!! We're having a WAY good time!! I love my 2 new companions already!!!

Natalie's other new companion Sim Shimai (name changed for privacy)

Lots of good things this week; we taught like a million lessons and are just doing our best with our LAs and investigators!!
Best part of being a missionary? How much you can LOVE the people!! I feel the love of Heavenly Father so prominantly for His beloved children here in Japan!! I feel so priveleged to serve here. Missions are ALL KINDS OF HARD, but they're also ALL KINDS OF WORTH IT.

Reclining, reading the Book of Mormon in personal study
Dinner last week with SO MUCH FOOD!
This amazing dessert... Natalie says they get fed so well in Kamisugi, everyone gains weight!

I'm so grateful to help people along the path that brings true joy and eternal happiness.

Last few pictures of B Shimai...

Thank you for your love and support and especially your sweet emails!!
Orgill Shimai

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Week 36--A Week of Miracles

WE LOVE ORI SHIMAI. She is so prepared. The gospel is lighting her eyes and changing her and it's such a blessing to get to see!! We're planning to have her baptism next week.
Nothing in particular stood out to me this week as far as why my testimony was so deepened; but just like sometimes how God tests our faith; sometimes he gives us more knowledge for showing our faith:) I went from believing that Christ love me to knowing it. I feel like I know Him so much better. I could have never anticipated how much the Lord would bless me for serving Him. I love this gospel. I had an experience very sacred to me that I shared with Aoyagi choro (Elder Aoyagi of the seventy visited her mission) this week.  Through giving of myself and desisting in mentally counting the cost of my mission and just trying to forget about all but the Lord, He has blessed me in innumerable ways. I love being a part of the building of Zion! I look forward to working with Sister H and Sister S shimai (her two new companions. B shimai was transferred to Izumi)!

from B shimai!!!!!!!!!!!!! (B shimai is more detailed than Natalie, so she just copied and pasted some of  B's email from this week)
Incredible week! Our investigators are making such progress!
Wednesday, we had a Nihongo Japanese lesson with Sister N shimai and some of her non-member friends, but the funny part was when it turned into a Orgill-shimai-turns-into-an-iPod session and she sings whatever anyone requests session. Then we had lunch at a Sushiya Sushi shop with Sister S shimai (Eikaiwa English classes coordinator) and then Eikaiwa--but in the chapel because the carpet in the hall by the Relief Society room was getting redone. We had a new student in our class too so that was fun. She was super cute.
Thursday after study we bused over to "Stamina" an all-you-can eat place for N choro's last District Lunch. It was super fun! Orgill shimai told the story of B shimai and B told the story of Orgill shimai. :) Then we went to Ori shimai's and watched the Testaments with her and afterwards she said "Oh, the Book of Mormon is definitely true." :) We made a Book of Mormon reading plan with her and a prayer idea poster and Orgill shimai said "Oh, do you want to write on there 'please help me prepare for my baptism?'" And Ori shimai said "Oh, definitely!" and wrote it down. :) Then we went over to the church for our trio practice for Zone Conference and J shimai and L shimai stayed at our apartment that night, so Orgill shimai said to L shimai "Watashitachi no casa wa anatatachi no casa." My casa is your casa, Spanish casa is house, but..."Kasa" in Japanese is "umbrella." Soooo mixing Spanish and Japanese is not very recommendable....
B and Orgill Shimai!
Friday, we went over to the church early for Orgill shimai's interview with Aoyagi choro and ran through a couple parts in our piece. When Aoyagi choro arrived he shook hands with everyone in the hallway and then went straight into his interviews.

Orgill Shimai insert- My intervies was supposed to be 10 minutes...I'm told it was 20. Oops! We had a great time, I felt very lucky to have an interview with him. He asked me if there was anything I was having a hard time with. I said "Nothing; but I do sometimes feel like I'm not doing enough or giving enough or being enough." He smiled and said, "I think we all feel a lot like that sometimes. What I learned about a year out on my mission is that just through exactly being obedient to the Lord and my mission president, the Atonement granted me power. Seek that power." That I shall, Elder.

Back to the B shimai email:
 At 10:30 the conference began! Highlights:
President R:
  • "I don't know a a better way to put it but I love sacrificing for the Lord because it doesn't feel like a sacrifice anymore."
  • There is not one type of dendo that leads to baptisms; only faith and effort
  • This year's world-wide church theme is spiritual self-reliance
  • This is just the beginning of your service for the rest of your life. So do it well so that you'll be prepared for the rest of your life.
  • Why did God send you here?
  • (quote from the First Presidency) "The most important part of your service will be your own daily spiritual preparation, including prayer, scripture study, and obedience to the commandments. We encourage you to dedicate yourself to living the gospel with greater purpose than ever before. The Holy Ghost will help you know what to do. Your own testimony will grow, your conversion will be deepened, and you will be strengthened to meet the challenges of life."
Aoyagi Choro:
  • How does the Spirit work?
  • Have you ever experienced revelation through a dream?
  • When we feel the Holy Ghost we'll feel peace
  • This is the power of the Atonement
  • To achieve this state we must keep our covenants
  • Priesthood = powers of heaven
  • Powers of Heaven = Holy Ghost
  • The first of the 10 commandments is no other Gods before me. Why? Because we need to rely on God
  • The natural man is very good at loving himself
  • If we don't love we can't dendo
  • We can work with anyone and do anything through repentence
The mission!

Sister R (President's wife):
  • People pray for us every day--the Temple workers, our families, the General Authorities
  • We cannot fail with that kind of support behind us
  • We took a survey in prep for Zone Conference and that servey asked 2 types of questions: How obedient are you to the White Handbook? How well do you follow Preach My Gospel?
  • This was so they could see the mission's strengths and weaknesses as a whole
  • Obedience builds us an armour of protection
Sister Aoyagi (Elder Aoyagi's wife):
  • Even though you're young you can develop the skills you need to be a senpai
  • You are called and will be qualified
  • Fundamentals: Smile, Don't stop at 'hello', Work a lot
Elder Aoyagi again:
  • We are to spread the love of Christ
  • We must be overflowing with it
  • When they feel it their hearts will be softened
  • Moroni 8:16
  • Hope is trust in the Atonement
  • It is our responsibility to gather the House of Israel and build up Zion
  • Find out from God how many people are ready to be taught and baptized in your area
President R:
  • Heavenly Father loves us so he gave us the Holy Ghost to be our companion for our entire lives, and the Atonement to allow us to return to and become like Him
The Spirit was powerful. I felt the reality of Aoyagi Choro's calling. We sang right before Aoyagi Choro spoke the 2nd time. When we sang, God blessed us to be able to sing beautifully and the Spirit filled the room. It was incredible. It was what I'd prayed for. I felt so grateful. Aoyagi Choro was humble, kind, greeted and talked to everyone, expressed love, and used incredibly difficult Japanese. He was a wonderful example.
Oh, and Orgill shimai translated into English during the Conference. Casually being amazing. You know. :D
After the Conference we had DCS. Brother I encouraged us to do as Aoyagi choro counseled and promised blessings. He also said he dendoed contacted all the way home from his mission--and went streeting when he had a layover in Tokyo! :)
Saturday was AWESOME! After lunch we had a mogi practice lesson with W shimai about the Word of Wisdom (practice for Isha-san) and she had some really great suggestions. Then we started weekly and Orgill shimai translated an entire Mormon Message video about Falconry into Japanese for our lesson. Then we had a lesson with K shimai (LA). We started off with everyone writing down their #3 most important down. Mine were: Family, Relationship with God, Becoming Better. K shimai's were: Family, Money, and Sleep. Then we talked about the Atonement (she didn't remember what it was) and how through ti we can become better peopel and then watched the "Saved by Christ" Mormon Message (with Orgill shimai translating). Miracle: the room we needed to use for the video had previously been occupied with 3 little kids playing nintendo but when we went in there to watch the video it was empty and quiet--amazing! K shimai seemed to like the video and told us she'd read Mosiah 4 (ketsui more determined than last time) and said she'd read Henry B. Eyring's April 2013 Talk "Come Unto Me" and 3 Nephi 17. It was pretty good--and a miracle it came together since we'd been struggling with what to teach her.
Then we biked to Ori shimai's, bought her corn soup and elevatored up to the 9th floor. We ran the doorbell. She opened the door, saw the corn soup, and let us in. :D We prayed to open the lesson and she sat there after the prayer looking all sad so we said "What's wrong?" and she said "I didn't read [the commitment we'd given her]." She felt so bad--which is good, she's changing! So we encouraged her and told her we wanted to talk about baptism and she got super focused. We asked her all the interview questions and she has a super strong testimony! She needed to learn more about prophets, and a couple commandments we hadn't explained yet, but she was fine on everything else. She was so excited about her baptism; she kept on asking "What do I need to bring?" and "What should I wear?" and all these other questions. It was soooo cute. :) Then, since she's been struggling with reading the Book of Mormon we gave her the audio CDs and popped one in her player and turned it on...
11 and a half minutes of her reading the first chapter of 3 Nephi in DEAD SILENCE along with the audio.
It was AWESOME!!!
I have never seen her so focused!! It was exactly what she needed. It was so cute!
Then she said the closing prayer and she asked Heaven Father to help her prepare for baptism and to be able to draw closer to Him.
Sunday we went to Church with Ori shimai. And it was super cool because during Sunday School I was able to explain things to her in Japanese. Miracle! So cool! Then after church we had a joint lesson (for Ori shimai) with F Bishop and M shimai and taught about prophets and tithing. It was amazing! She was so focused and loved the way Bishop explained things to her. She really liked him.

The Feast

Then we came back and finished 12 weeks (my training is over!) and did weekly and then had hokoku (reporting our numbers to the District Leader--I don't know what it's called in English). Then we had the yabai dangerous (because they feed them lots of food) F feast. :) K shimaitachi's investigator D and her husband T (who was F shimai's high school English teacher) came. They were super interesting and interested in missionaries and what we do and asked lots of questions. They raised their family in Japan (even though they're American, from Illinois and Pennsylvania) and talked about how hard it was to raise bilingual kids (for some of their kids their first langauge was Japanese, not English even though they're 100% American). Then we came back to the apartment and transfer calls came!!!!!!!!

B shimai is transferring to Izumi. I get 2 new companions. N choro is done and will be going home. MC choro will have a new companion. Crazy!
B shimai doesn't want to leave, but she's choosing to be happy about it.
B shimai, " I'm so grateful for the time I've been able to have in Kamisugi with Orgill shimai as my trainer! I've been SO blessed and learned SO much! I will always be grateful!"
I'm trying to take her outlook and be positive too. 
I also wanted to share my own personal conversion that has taken place this week!

Through a couple of events and prayer, I have come to not just believe that Christ loves me, but I KNOW it. I've never been so sure of anything. I testify that He loves you and He is there for anyone who wants him. Through His Atonement we don't just receive a remission of our sins; we can become TRANSFORMED and PERFECTED. I know the central cause for which we were sent to this Earth is change, and I KNOW that it is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Call on Him; He will never abandon you nor forget you; and through His sacrifice you can feel true peace!

I love you all!!

Orgill Shimai