Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 51 - "Welcome to Inaka!"

The 400 ft slide!!

Firstly, I AM GONNA MISS PRESIDENT AND SISTER RASMUSSEN SO MUCH!!!!! They were my mission parents and always have been such a superb example to me this last year. I'm so grateful I got to serve with two of the Lord's most valiant servants. They board a plane home this Thursday- and then it's Smith Kaicho (President) and Shimai (Sister)! I had a dream that he was black....and like 112 pounds...weird. I'm pretty sure my subconscious is excited to meet him. We'll do our best to help Smith Kaicho feel our love! He's got big shoes to fill.

President Rasmussen!

I can't believe my mission has gone so fast. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to grow spiritually and try to help the Lord's children.

We celebrated Brother Hass kyoudai's 74th birthday at udon (Japanese noodles) this week! Oh yeah, and Ko shimai and I stumbled on a 400 foot slide. I took a sweet video, I'll show it to you after the mission!!
Aomori Zone!
This week I got to go on a split with my best friend of the mission; KISH!!! I remember when I was a third transfer in Kamisugi and I told her as she got transferred, "It's okay, because you'll get made STL and I'll get transferred back to Aomori and go on splits!" And then it actually happened. 

We went to visit a P.I. (potential investigator) (the drunk guy who couldn't decide whether I was Russian or Brazilian- yeah we went with the elders.) on the SKETCHIEST ROAD I HAVE EVER WRITTEN. It was a MIRACLE none of us got a punctured tire! There was this one point where the road just dropped off into rice fields, and we had to carry our bikes across the rice fields. And then there was a "bridge" where the wood was half rotted off and so we balanced on the rusted beams as we carried our bikes over the river. The craziest part? I wasn't lost; that was the correct "road". At one point, Kish said, "Are you sure you know where we are?!" I turned around and said, "Welcome to inaka(the country)!" It was a party.
Ko Shimai and Orgill Shimai
This week Sister Mi san was unable to come to District Conference, but she really wanted to come and all of the missionaries missed her! I gave a talk and encouraged the members to pick a date, not a person to introduce the gospel to someone, and how setting goals and allowing the Lord to bless me has blessed my mission and my life. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have been able to give a talk. I certainly learned a lot from pondering what to share with the members of Aomori.

We are finding some great P.I.s who are showing great interest in the gospel. We hope good things will come of it in the Lord's timing.

This week was BUSY. We went to Aomori on Tuesday for Zone Conference (our last time seeing the Rasmussens! We sang for them and EVERYONE cried.) and on the train home that night I went crazy doing dendo contacting! Sometimes you just feel like, "Yes, I'm aware that you have headphones in/ you eyes are closed. But Heavenly Father loves you mucho!" I didn't get blocked by the headphones a SINGLE TIME. I felt like I had an invincible shield of gaijin foreign person power. It was super sweet.
Elder No and Elder Ne, my two favorite AP's Assistants to the President of all time!

Do Choro from Australia!
We went BACK to Aomori on Saturday morning for District (Stake) Conference for Saturday and Sunday (we stayed at the Aomori sisters' apt- my first apartment!). I gave a talk Saturday night- two weeks ago the Stake President told me I'd been asked to talk- "from the mission". Ohh, I see you Rasmussen Kaicho. I was the ONLY WHITE PERSON who had to (GOT to) give a talk! Ask my companion, I was a nervous wreck. I had enough adrenaline to lift a Prius off the ground and then fight my way past a mama bear. You could say I was pretty exhausted after. But I think it went really well! And the hugest pluses for getting to see all of the Aomori members and give a talk in from of them were:
1. Japanese confidence! I've never gotten as many compliments on my Japanese in my whole life. The most common one was people just coming up to me with rounded eyes, saying, "I thought you were Japanese." or "Your pronunciation is prettier than mine!" 
2. A feeling of great satisfaction that my 3 months in Aomori made a difference.
Getting to see the members again was so joyous! One family just hovered around me the whole time, telling me how glad they were that they could see me again. One member, 84-year-old Mak shimai came up and start talking to me and Ko shimai. She told me, "That time when you came over and talked to me was the strongest I've felt the Spirit in my entire life. I cannot forget it. You are a powerful missionary." I don't know about that; but I was so grateful to feel like I had made a difference even though I was a very flawed bean (meaning green bean, or new missionary) who couldn't speak the language. I love the members of Aomori!

Best friend Elder Ma!
The Word of the Week! Tougoushicchoushou. It took me a little while to get this one down; it's a bit of a mouthful. But it's none too easy of a word in English either; Schizophrenia! I will pay in large amounts of ika squid? the first person that can say this to me when I get home! MAN I'd be impressed.

Embarrassing moment- Let's be real; I have them almost every week whether I'm willing to admit them or not. This morning I kept trying to shut the fridge without realizing my shirt was caught in the handle which was preventing me from closing it. In a moment of great effort, I attempted to slam the fridge door closed, effectively closing it while slamming myself into the fridge. Win.

Sister Natalie Orgill

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 50 - My year is UP!

And now suddenly I'm an old missionary. How did that happen. 

A great week! We had a Zone Training Meeting in Aomori which was so great! The STLs urged us to remember the excitement we felt when we opened our mission calls and to continue to feel that excitement and vigor towards missionary work.

I realized there is a GREAT Odate-special I need to share. So, this is the Word of the Week; but it is exclusive to Odate! (and other middle-of-nowhere areas of Japan, I'd reckon). It is: Nda!  No, that is not a typing error. Nda. Or, if being formally said, it's more like, "Nnda". It is the equivalent of "Oh yeah. I gotcha. Forreal! Oh definitely." along those lines!  WAY useful in conversation, Nnda!
Another documentation by Kodama...#trainthuglyfe #notquiteBARTstatus

Funny moment: 
You remember the awkward ward clerk that paraded me with his suitcoat one of my first weeks in Japan, in an attempted to hide the fact that I had unknowingly tucked my skirt into my britches? Well, I was grateful that when I got transferred from Aomori at least I wouldn't have to run into him anymore and have him say, "Sorry." and then awkwardly run away. But ah, what was yesterday, you ask? Odate Branch conference. And who came? Awkward ward clerk man. (and all my Aomori homies, it was a blast!)
   Also, a very flavorful man who comes to Eikaiwa English class named "Jamie" decided to show off his hula moves this last Wednesday. Remind me to show you THAT video after the mission.

Creative dendo contacting! This is what Odate is ALL ABOUTright now. The most recent new investigators in the district have been found by playing basketball, teaching English, and sketchily jumping over someone's fence (that one was ALLLLL the elders.) Although we try to keep it legally in-bounds these days, were going to Akashiya Matsuri up North and Ishida Rose Gardens and doing natural dendo contacting! It is the most fun and easily the most effective dendo here! Ko shimai and I have been going to Old Folk's Homes and talking with people and singing for them! My new friend To is 99, and still way genki! And no one can forget my new friend, 90-year-old Mika san who hits on me every time (he has a really hard-to-understand Odate accent so I can't understand him anyway, now worries:) 
My planners!!

Spiritual thought: I finished all of the D&C this morning! A scripture I really loved was D&C132:49. I think it reflects the deep love our Father in Heaven has for each of us individually! He will be with us ETERNALLY.

The Lord continues to bless Odate. I wake up every morning so full of thanks to get to serve here. Our new Family Japanese Program friend, Bis and us had a great lesson with the Elders at the church last Monday evening. He wants to hear our message, and for some reason he says, recently he's felt like he should start studying the Bible even though he has no Christian history. He became and investigator and is meeting the Elders again tonight. 

We also taught our first lesson to Mi san as a full lesson, and not as a part of Family English Program! President Do was an excellent joint, and we had a great lesson where we talked about why Jesus Christ did the Atonement, how it affects us, and how we can access it through faith and repentance. It was a great lesson, she had such incredibly well-thought out questions! She's really progressing in her desires to come closer to God and become a better person. She's a different, brighter, more smiley Mi san than who we first met 7 weeks ago!  She's going to start practicing the hymns during the week and play at least one of the sacrament meeting hymns every week from here on out. We're so grateful to the members for helping her feel loved and needed at church. More than anything, her attendance at church is helping her progress more than anything. She's coming to District conference as well, even though it is far; not because we asked her to, but because she WANTS to. We're so lucky to get to work with her!

We're continuing to do great volunteer dendo and just get ourselves out there and known to the community! I strongly believe that there will be great long-lasting effects of the foundation we are laying now. 

Love you! I pray for you and think of you often. Thank you for your supposrt and prayers, they mean the world to me!
Orgill Shimai

P.S.- The pictures are the rose garden by the church and a lovely area by Rosai Hospital to the South, where we go to visit the former branch president in the hospital! He's doing way well and is super sassy, by the way.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 49 - Noo transfers for mee!!

  Transfer week! Not shockingly, neither Sister Ko nor myself are being transferred! Neither is anyone in my district (first time on my mission!) We think that President had a lot invested in this area;) We're all so glad not to be transferred!!
Natalie says, "My district is a group of .... individuals"

 Oh, and before I forget:
Word of the week! Tomawashini iu-To drop a hint! This is the "Would you like a mint?" as opposed to "Yo breath STANK" approach. VERY useful!

Funny moment: Okay. It's not funny. But as we were helping a member DEEP clean her house this week, I was attacked by a cockroach. Okay, attacked is perhaps a little violent concerning what happened, but those who know me know that I never exaggerate things. Never. But anyway, I'm wiping the legitimate three centimeter thick-fuzzy dust from a high shelf, and I move aside a stack of bowls and BAM! Giant cockroach in my face. NOT pleased. Additionally, (speaking of home teaching) I ate seaweed in vinegar for breakfast. Mm, Japan.

And a lovely sunset on the way back from an L.A. visit about an hour out of town!

    Some great things went on the week and some great people were found! Elder S and D found THREE NEW INVESTIGATORS this week!!! The Lord is blessing this area in amazing ways!  Ko shimai and I met some really great guys housing this last week, and we hope good things come from them! Mi san is taking the lessons great and really progressing! She asks hard questions, and it pushes us to be better!  I'm teaching my FIRST gospel lesson in ENGLISH tonight to our new Nepalese friend! Thank goodness my companion is fluent at English:) 

Elder No and Sister Orgill - P Day with the district
  This week was such a testimony builder that as Gordon B. Hinckley once said, as long as we are living in the right way and doing the right thing then we will be guided by the Spirit. There were two things that particularly strengthened mine and Ko shimai's testimonies this week:

         We had a list of shops that had agreed to hang up our Eikaiwa English lesson poster about 6 months ago. We started to go around to the different shops to ask to exchange the photo of the missionaries, as the missionaries had since changed (we're hoping that by going to these shops with a specific reason that they will come to get to know the missionaries better). I noticed "Mama Tandoori", an IndoCurry restaurant that we had passed before and the location I knew. We went there, and although they couldn't find out Eikaiwa English lesson poster, we got the chance to start talking with the host. He told us how he'd only been in Japan for 6 months and really wanted to learn the language, but just didn't have time. We told him we could do a Family JAPANESE Program for him, and explained about how it works. He seemed really interested, and we're teaching him tonight with the elders.
The pictures are from district P Day the other week!
       The second was last night. We had an hour before our call-in report, and we had planned to do park dendo contacting. Picking a park at random, we headed off, got lost, got lost once more, and then arrived at the park: completely empty with not a soul there. I thought about your advise to look for the miracle. There was a reason Heavenly Father wanted us there at that time; and it wasn't to give up and go back to start hokoku calling just yet. I looked at the house to the side of the park. There was a man tending to his garden. "You have a lovely garden!" we said, walking over to where the man was. We asked him to give us a tour (it truly was a GORGEOUS garden), and he proudly showed us the bonsai trees and flowers. Just then his wife walked around the back to the garden as well. We started talking to her. "So you're...religious people?" she asked. We explained that we were volunteer missionaries.  "I only know one religious person," she responds. Do you know, Ko san?" We told her in shock that Ko shimai is INDEED a member of the very same church we are volunteering for. Her face lit up. "I love Ko san! She's my best friend. She's such a good person..." and goes on to tell us about how much she respects Ko shimai. We called her and had our new friend (Saki san) talk to Ko shimai on the phone. It was so great, and they asked us to stop by anytime.

I know it's not by chance that we talk to who we talk to and meet who we meet. The Lord is the head of this work, and He is not passive in leading us in the salvation of souls! It's such a priveledge to serve in Odate! Great things are happening here.

Love you! 
Orgill Shimai
The district!