Monday, May 26, 2014

Week 48 - Service takes many being a translator from Japan to the Netherlands..?

Sister Orgill's favorite cow!
YES, I WENT THERE. I feel like I should give some background for my international tidbit this week! Our friends the To family own a cow farm, and we go volunteer to help once maybe every two weeks feeding cows, etc. So we went this week and Mr. To san says, "Orgill chan, I have something I've been wanting to ask you." "Yes?" "Hold on." He then produces a letter written in English from the Netherlands regarding his lack of payment for his subscription to Holstein International- yes, a cow magazine. He explained to me his quandary of how he had paid with his wife's card and he was afrad it hadn't gone through, etc (ah this was AFTER Sister Ko and I translated the letter to Japanese) and then he just asks me to call customer service directly to the Netherlands. So...I did!
Mr. To!!!
This week we focused much of our efforts on LAs less active members and straightening out all of the records we have to work with here so that we can get the work rolling here! And the Lord blessed us GREATLY. There is a wonderful LA woman, Sister Iz shimai who has a great family and used to be welcoming to missionaries; but a few years back had a bad experience and asked that from then on out that missionaries never visit her unless she had given them permission first. We had talked to her on the phone many times, and she said that her family was just so impossibly busy that she couldn't possibly meet us at this point in time. We decided to make her cookies and write a kind note, and just drop it off at the house and quickly leave so that she wouldn't be upset at us coming. Unfortunately (but what turned out to be QUITE fortunate) is that as we pulled up into their loooong driveway, there was a woman out front, a man behind her, and a woman sleeping in the car in front of the house. We were so concerned it was going to be awkward; we couldn't leave because we were sure they had seen us; and leaving would just make it worse. We walked quickly to the front of the house, dropped off the cookies, and as we retreated silently to out bikes, the woman in the car woke up and got out of the car. We recognized her as Iz shimai. She was beaming. She thanked us warmly for the cookies, and we were able to build relationships with her and her daughter for the following 20 minutes! Had we not showed up at that exact timing, we would have never been able to have a chance to start working with Iz shimai!

More farm pictures:

     It is great to work with Ko shimai, because we are both just trying to be the best missionaries we can be. She inspires me to repent more and be better! We have improved so well in teaching in unity! It is so fun to have complete trust in your companion; knowing that they teach with the Spirit and care about our investigators.

 SPEAKING of investigators, Mi san's 23rd birthday is today, so we wanted to do something special yesterday at church as a branch so that she would feel loved and welcomed and want to keep coming to church. We threw her a little surprise party, and Ko shimai and I baked her a cake! She was so surprised and so grateful! She thanked everyone and said that he's really enjoying learning the gospel, and looks forward to continuing to come to church. Her desires and her heart are in such a good place for one seeking the truth. She is praying and studying the Book of Mormon, and recognizing the answers written in the Book of Mormon to her questions! We're very priveledged to get to work with her.
Mi san's birthday party with the Sister's awesome carrot cake!
   I have felt SUCH an outpouring of the Spirit and the Lord's love this week. I feel like someone (or many someones'!) are praying extra hard for me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Funny moment- My companion TOTALLY ran over bear poop on her bike this week. She didn't believe me until she saw me dodge another ripe pile... Ah, Odate.

WORD OF THE WEEK! Boutoku! It means, "Blasphemy!" They say it in the movie "The Testaments"...yeah. I guess you could say it's a word that gets tossed around a lot. ;)
The district (on the day Sister Orgill had to eat intestines, which is why she says she looks a little pale)

My favorite scripture this week was D&C 90:24!! "Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another." I love that when the Lord instructs us, He always, ALWAYS promises blessings! And I have tested His promises and He does indeed follow through- every time.

"Some blessings come early, some blessings come late, and some don't come till Heaven, but to those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." -Jeffrey R. Holland

Love you!
Sister Orgill Shimai 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Week 47 - Hiked the "DAI" Mountain Today!

District at lunch, eating sashimi
Dearest family!

I had my last interview with R Kaicho President before he finishes his mission this past week. It was the highlight of my week. I will sure miss Kaicho and shimai when they go home. They've been like parents to me!

We did some good work with LAs Less Active members this week. We will be doing something similar to a Family English Program (FEP) with a kind LA Fu shimai that we met the other day! She was so kind when we visited her, and Ko shimai and I both strongly believe that she could become a very strong member! Then we went to visit another LA, and there was a sign in front of his house. The miracle was that it was going to be the elders that were gonna try and visit him; and the elders are all white and can't read kanji Japanese characters - each character has a different meaning, and it takes a long time to learn the system.. But Ko and I went and she explained that the sign entailed in VERY polite wording that the man had died less than a month ago, and that his funeral had been the next day. We're really trying to sort out all of the LA information; and it was a miracle that we were the ones to go so that we knew what had happened to the poor man.
Natalie and her companion, Ko Shimai

Ko shimai and I sang, "A Child's Prayer" in church on Sunday, and none other than our amazing investigator Mi san played the piano! The Spirit was SO strong, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. Mi san is so talented, and the members love her! She fits in so well at church, and we feel that she really likes coming (she's already told us she's planning on coming next week!)

We had a great lesson with her this week. Because she is still doing the FEP right now, the standard is 30 minutes English, 30 minutes gospel. But she really got into the lesson and we hadn't even taught her half of what we really felt she needed to hear when the 30 minutes were up. Ko shimai threw me a slightly panicked look, and out of nowhere she says, "We can totally keep going!" We love teaching her, and she is doing so amazing at reading from the Book of Mormon. She is SO intelligent and she would make an amazing member:)

One of the most fun parts of this week was cleaning Sa shimai's (member) house!! It wasn't even that messy! But we cleaned it as all 6 missionaries and she had Abba playing in the background the whole time! I may or may not have broken it down to "Dancing Queen"....haters gonna hate.

I am finally TOTALLY BETTER from being sick!! I feel amazing!! I thank Heavenly Father for my genki every single day now!!
Sashimi - yes, it's mostly all raw fish.

WORD OF THE WEEK: Well, more like a phrase but "Kaze no taiyori de" (literally "wind from Thailand") When you say some information that few people know (like rumors) and people say, "Where did you hear that?!" And in English we can say "Whispers in the wind!"? Well, they say it in Japanese too! "Kaze no taiyori de!"

P.S.- Cultural Experience of the Week- I accidentally ate pig intestines last week. I thought it was really fatty chicken. As I was eating it Mi san said, "I'm really surprised you can eat Horumon!" I dropped my chopsticks. I'm....eating...INTESTINES?! No wonder it tasted like garbage. 

Welcome to Japan, people.

Love you mucho!
Have a great week.
Orgill Shimai
On top of the Dai mountain, their hike on Monday

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Week 46 - Skype was awesome!

Dear family,

VERY short email this week! Skype was awesome!! (Missionaries are allowed to Skype with their families on mother's day and Christmas day, so that was a special treat on Sunday!)

This week was difficult for me; my body just wasn't cooperating with what I wanted it to do. But I received a beautiful blessing from Elder No and hope to be getting back to great dendo (contacting people)! One blessing about being sick is it makes me realize how very much I love dendo; because when I'm sick I miss it so much! It makes me worried about having to go home some day!
  We got to go to Aomori for a Zone Training and it was so cool to get to go back to my bean area! (A new missionary is "green", or a green bean, so Natalie is referring to where she first started her mission) I'll be back up there this week for my final interview with president before he goes home!
Have a great week!
Love you!
Orgill Shimai

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 45 - INU DENDO!

This is a pond, but the sakura fall so heavily it looks like you can walk on the water!

This week was one of the most fun, effective weeks of dendo contacting I've had on my whole mission! The sakura Japanese cherry blossoms came out and everyone's hearts opened with it! We've been able to have some great spiritual discussions with the people we've met!

On Monday we were streeting at Keijou park close to the church, and there was a sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival and lots of people were gathered there! We met Jo and Je, our new friends. They are originally from the Philippines and are sisters! They have been going to the Catholic church, but they want to come to church with us soon! I was thinking what a bummer it is that we don't have any Filipino people to joint for lessons; and then I remembered that not one, but TWO less-active families here are Filipino and could provide excellent joint lessons! I certainly believe that there's no better way to bring people back to the light of the gospel than through having them express their own testimony and faith to another!

   When we went to Hirosaki this week, we met a man named Igor from Bulgaria, a 36 year old man who enjoys traveling the world but has no one to go with. I was able to bear my testimony about the Word of Wisdom, and many other missionaries shared their testimonies of prayer, the reality of God, the law of Chastity, etc throughout the day! Towards the end of the day as we were walking him back to his bus, he said to me, "You know, I just know that there has to be something more than just this life. Do you believe that there is like..a life before this life?" I explained to him about the Spirit world and why we are here; and where we go after we die. He was interested and had so many questions! He had to leave on the bus so he wouldn't miss the shinkansen train; but we got his email address and I promised him Elder No would teach him about God's plan of Happiness by email today:) I know that he was one of the reasons that the Odate missionaries went to Hirosaki! 

Elder No!
While we were going to Hirosaki, we were on a split; and I had the opportunity to work with Sister Les shimai. She is such a wonderful missionary and it was great to get the opportunity to go on a split with her. She is so kind and loving to everyone, and I hope that I can exemplify that kind of love in my dendo. On the train back to Odate, this girl came up to us and gave us mochi rice cake dessert with a translation of what mochi was into English on her phone for us. It was so kind! We gave her our contact information and hope to get to meet with her again!
Being sakura models?

This week was the Akita dog show of all Japan in- you guessed it- the inaka countryside town of ODATE! I was in HEAVEN. Akita dogs look much like fluffy bears. They're way cute and ENORMOUS.

Kawaii inu!!
Our new investigator Mi san from the other week is responding so well to lessons. She is someone who is earnestly seeking eternal truths. She said a beautiful first prayer in our lesson this week, and she came to church and seemed to enjoy it this week! She is a privilege to teach, and we are praying for her to feel the Spirit and answers to her prayers.

I love you all a ton, and I thank you so much for your emails! They make my whole week and provide a great spiritual uplift for me! 

It is an honor to serve here and be blessed so abundantly by the Lord.
Orgill Shimai

P.S.- Word of the week!: Juujitsu- full and enriching, like DENDO right now! :)
Ah, and Hakkekkyuu, white blood cell count!

*names have been changed to protect privacy

A hen and her chick, and their awesome Japanese rain suits!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Week 44 - What's that saying about lemons and lemonade? You send Orgill shimai to inaka(countryside) and she does chicken dendo? Ah yes.

   Another great week with Sister Ko shimai. It is interesting to see how the Lord works through us to help others. I've come to realize it's almost always not eve close to what I expect! This last week Ko shimai and I were way out in inaka the countryside in the South, visiting LAs Less Active members of the church. We passed a farm with lots of cows, and I (loving animals) said to Ko shimai ,"We should try to service there!" 

The view out of my apartment window... FIELD. Welcome to Inaka!
No one was there, but when we were back in the area a few days ago, we stopped by once more. We talked to a woman who stopped her tractor to talk to us. It turns out that we showed up at the 3 employees' only break time in the entire day. There was the woman and her husband who owned the milk farm, and then their "employee" who they said was around 60 years old. He walked up and Ko shimai and I both felt so powerfully, "This man is what we're looking for!" He was the most stake president-ppoi president-like non-LDS person I think we had both ever seen. He informed us he actually sells animal feed to other places around Tohoku, and that day was the only day that he would be at the farm the entire month. We talked to the 3 about their philosophies of life and the nature of man. They were so kind to us, and we're going to try to go help them prepare for little kids to come for a field trip by helping them clean as a district! And my GOODNESS that 60 year old man needs to get his hands on a Book of Mormon! I hope we can meet with him in the future!

So, I'm gonna be totally real with you. One of my big motivators for wanting to go to that farm? CHICKENS. I miss seeing chickens!!! And we got to pet baby cows who kept trying to suck on my fingers (they were only 10 days old :3 )  And our new friends gave us fresh eggs from the chickens and honey tes from their beehive! I LOVE being in inaka!!

Oh, we also happened upon a 700-year-old tree this week. The treasure troves of the rice fields...

     What Ko shimai and I have found recently is much like the quote of President Hinckley that talks about when most of us think of missionary work, we simply think of tracting, but those who are acquainted with the work know that there is a better way. We have come to truly feel that with Domon Kaicho's vision for Odate. The branch needs to become a family! We are working on loving the members better! They are such wonderful people. We are so lucky to get to be led by President Do Kaicho. All of the people we have begun teaching this week haven't been just through standard knocking on doors (except for one--Oo san- we have big hopes for her!); they've been through seeking the Lord's will for this area and trying to do His work as more consecrated missionaries!
Doggie dendo in the park!
     We have begun teaching M and Y san separate family English Program lessons, and especially M is taking the lessons so well! They both just walked right into the church with interest in learning English! M has read the Bible before and seemed so interested when we introduced the BoM to her! She said, "I had no idea there was anything more than the Bible! I actually asked my parents to ship mine to me just this last week!" It was a great first lesson.

   I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve here. The sakura is beautiful. We get to go to Hirosaki, the most famous place in all of Japan for sakura! I hope that I can learn and become everything I hope to be as a missionary before I return. Truly the time goes too fast.
Sister Orgill
A view of the life of Orgill Shimai!

Week 43 - Odate!

*Names have been changed to protect others' privacy

A fast first week in Odate. Sister Ko shimai is feeling much better now! We had our first Family Eikaiwa English lesson today with our new friend Y chan, who is 18. She has excellent desires to help people and we hope to tie those in well to how the gospel can help people as well.

   While at the locals' market that we stumbled upon our first full day here, we met Sass san who was very kind and we were able t talk t her for a while. She gave us free miso (classic Japanese soup) and mochi (rice dessert), ad told us she'd keep an eye out for us since we're new to Odate. We visited her the other day and found out that she has a wonderful kind family, AND they know (Brother and Sister) Do kaicho and shimai, AND they went together with the Dos to Utah some years back! We look forward to trying to work with them in the future.

    Something that Ko shimai and I thought about this week (and really, the district as a whole) was receiving revelation and being guided to know what goals to set for this transfer and what to do and how to dendo contact people to teach. We were doing our goal setting for numbers for this transfer. We started at baptism We looked at each other. Nothing. We prayed. Still not sure. We fasted the next day. Still no clear answer on how many baptisms we'll see this transfer. We've thought a lot personally, in companionships, and as a district as to how the Lord is working with the missionaries in Odate, and how we will be able to do what we need to do. During hokoku District meeting, Elder S choro talked about how he had been thinking about the story of the brother of Jared and how the Lord hadn't just told him to make the stones and go up into the mountain, but rather had him use his own quantitative abilities, look to the scriptures to likely see what Noah had done, and then seek the Lord's approval if it was right.

     We all feel similarly about Odate. Once Brother Ish kyoudai instructed us, "Seek to know the Lord's will for why you are in this area with this companion at this time. But while you seek, don't just sit around waiting for answer; get up and give our all while you wait for confirmation from on high."   It has been such a comfort to Ko shimai and I to just rely on the Lord fulfilling His promises and just doing our best and living worthy of the Spirit. She is a wonderful missionary.

    This morning I opened my BoM and It fell open to Alma 34. My eyes instantly locked on verse 3. Applying it to our companionship, we can't just wait to be instructed every whit what to do. We need to bear with patience and faith, and just work as hard as we can; and that we plan on doing! See Alma 34 and see what she's talking about!

Doing some local service at the meat factory
A funny blip from this week: Our new apt is GORGEOUS. So gorgeous! But...It's one of those ones where someone lives RIGHT next to you and RIGHT above you, and yesterday when Ko shimai had the stomach flu (she's better now!) I realized that's really, really close...

   I am back in the North for sure. I hadn't missed people talking excitedly about me while I'm RIGHT NEXT TO THEM and them having NO IDEA that I understand everything they're saying.

   There are some beautiful parks here, and the sakura Japanese cherry blossoms that bloom every spring is supposed to come out in a week (yes, it's still that cold in the North.) and we'll do some excellent dendo here!! Definitely the best dendo of the week was asking the locals where the grocery store was, and having them tell us to go to the ichibi (the "once every 10 days local marketplace") instead!! It was so awesome! Everyone's all like, "Oh, you're white? Take all this free fresh fruit/nuts/yakiimo potato they sell on the streets/mochi/miso/snacks! I guess gaijin foreign power does have great perks.

I love working with Ko shimai and I love being in Odate! We've got some serious work to do here.

Love you!
Orgill Shimai

P.S. Enjoy the picture of my companion flying a cabbage.

Week 42 - TRANSFERS!!

We got the call last night, and I'm being transferred to ODATE. And I'm WHITEWASHING meaning both she and her companion are new to the area, and no missionaries have been there before with Sister Ko shimai. Our mission is to find the new shibu kaicho branch president? to lead the 8 or so active members. And start your praying.....NOW!!
Sunset before writing her last letter from Kamisugi!

Great week for the most part. We can't believe this 6 weeks is already over. The trio had SO much fun;)

We found a new investigator, and the choro Elders are passing this cute obachan kinjin literally "golden grandma", meaning she is a great investigator Oo san so things are going well in Kamisugi! I feel satisfied with how I am leaving here. I put my heart into Kamisugi, and in a lot of ways it's pretty hard to leave (much because I didn't think this day would actually come.) I head to Odate with Sister Ko on Wednesday. I love her bunches, and I hope she teaches me tons of great Japanese:) Gah love her already. Ah yes and Elder N choro and I are heading up out of Sendai to Odate together; he'll die there in 2 as well. Ready to see some miracles.

This week, I asked Ori shimai, "If I transfer, what will you do?" She looked at me hopefully. "Tsuite iku?"  Aka "Come with you?" I'm gonna cry when I have to say bye to her. We'll chill in Heaven though:) And goodness knows; if she's like her mom she'll still be genki healthy at 103 so we'll hang out:)

Lots to do but the work is going well here! My thoughts and prayers are with you Mom. The Lord remembers you and will help you every step of recovery:) Natalie's mom had a bike crash this week and broke a couple of bones - she's on the mend and doing fine.

Love you a million, I apologize in advance for the dinky one (at this point) computer in Odate I will be emailing on kore kara now. Wish me luck! Off to build Zion back in the North. Hurrah for Israel!!

Orgill Shimai
Saying goodbye for now

The Elders borrowed the Sisters' bikes...