Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 56 - Brunettes just wanna have fuuun......

Here are the highlights from this week: 
 
Monday: Ward party at the Relief Society president Sister Sa shimai's house to barbeque and watch the fireflies! It was awesome!
 
Mi chan (left) before fireflies later that night
Wednesday- A split with Osh shimai where I took us up the BIGGEST HILL IN ALL OF TAGAJO. And THAT is saying something. My legs are gonna be SO ripped whenever I leave here: I'm serious! Then, to add to my insane workout, as we were going up this huge hill, I tried to downshift my gears and BAM! My gear shift broke completely off my bike and clattered to the ground in the darkness, leaving me in the highest gear to climb the hill (and forever til I get it fixed!) It was an adventure! 
Friday- A ROUSING and very competitive game of Uno with members and non-members at the church (Called Open House- we do it twice a week every week! One night is Uno, one is ping pong!) 
Saturday: Very reminiscient of housing as a bean new missionary, we came face-to-face with another shirtless-wonder man while housing. Keeps you on your toes;)
   
You wanted a mountain bike picture? YOU GOT IT.
We tried a lot of different dendo this week, but we haven't found a new investigator yet. But we've set a goal this week to talk to 100 people (I got the idea from my split with Osh shimai!), and I hope the Lord will bless us for our efforts:) 

    We've had a great opportunity to do service at the temporary homes for victims of the tsunami recently. We saw a picture on the office wall of someone playing a ukulele and we mentioned that we love playing the ukulele! They then produced a ukulele out of nowhere and had me sing and play for them! And now they're having a big Hawaiian-themed event next month where all of the missionaries will go to talk with people and play the ukulele! I'm glad the Lord wants us to use our talents in dendo!

Beautiful sunset in the hills of Shiogama (no, my hair is not red.)
     We had a lesson with Osa san this week, but she seems to be hardening her heart to whatever we teach. She's happy to listen; as long as she can debate about it. But we are showing her love and praying the Spirit will soften her heart!

    On splits with Osh shimai, we got to hear the wonderful miraculous story of Sai shimai's son's conversion to the gospel; even though he had many physical obstacles in this life. It was so inspiring, and we're so lucky to have such great members here! 

   Mi chan has SO much faith, and I love getting to teach her recent convert lessons with Schmidt shimai! She loves the master scriptures; she's working on memorizing them! What a stud!

At the hotaru! (fireflies) with Mi chan and Sister Schmidt
Instead of Word of the Week, here's Home-Spun Wisdom of the Week- Osa san absolutely insists the best way to get pretty is by cleaning the toilet. Her reasoning? "Because you're down there....cleaning the toilet". Ahhh, I see. (nope, that doesn't make sense)
 
We party hard watching fireflies!

So I am DETERMINED to finish the BoM in Japanese before I head home, because Gordon B. Hinckley has promised that those who read it in their mission language will gain a perfect understanding....along those lines. So I'm in Alma 17, and I was reading a few chapters ago this morning about how Alma and Amulek are in the prison and the wals come down and everyone flees like goats from two lions....and I thought, "Yeah! I want to be a lion of the Lord!!"

Well, that's it for this week! Love you all mucho! As they say in Japanese, "Be careful to not be affected by heat exhaustion!"

Love,
Orgill Shimai

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Well...

New yukata and new hair!
I had a 24-hour flu this week, but received a wonderful priesthood blessing from our elders and am back on my mountain bike, climbing the crazy hills of Tagajo! We tried to focus a lot of finding this week! Through the scenery, umbrella colors, and pets, we are trying to find natural ways to talk with people and show interest in them. Peple have responded so positively! The people of Tagajo are very kind, and it's a pleasure to get to serve them!
Chicken Ship!!
Although it wasn't scheduled, we were blessed to get a lesson with Osa san She told us that she believes that we as missionaries have a special power from  God after we explained the priesthood. She's a little rough around the edges, but Heavenly Father is preparing her to be polished and beautiful! She reminds me much of Ori shimai when I was in Kamisugi, who was difficult at first, but the Spirit softened her heart and she was baptized. Heavenly Father is working with Osa san as well! Oh AND. We showed up to her house in a rainstorm, and despite our best efforts we were SOAKING WET. So, instead of skirts; we taught her in towels she lent us. Casual.

There was a fair amount of rain this week. Now I understand why everyone gets manly calves when they come to Tagajo (I already have them;problem solved) ; the hills are BEASTLY. Like seriously. Just straight climbing. And then you think you're done....and then there's another incline. I'm loving it so far! And I'm SO GLAD I have a mountain bike. HALLELUJAH. The rain is nice though because it keeps you cool(er) during the long climbs! Steve shimai has this pink rain jacket, and it always puffs up in the wind for some reason; and so I get to ride behind the pink Michelin Man. It's pretty hilarious.

Wearing our yukatas for the fireworks show!
Side note: I'll just give you the short version. There is a member family here that does all of the missionaries' hair. I went with my companion, and asked them if they could color my hair a little bit darker. I'm not sure whether it was purposeful or not; but my hair is black. Soo....that happened.

Word of the week! Mizubukure- BLISTER. Last night was about a 5 km walk home from the fireworks show- while wearing a yuukata. Fun fun;)

Yoshi shimai's three beans, all in the same zone together! (They all had the same trainer/first companion)
Just another great week of dendo! I love this area, district, and apartment! We're going to the RS president's house tonight (you guessed it-on top of a giant hill) to watch the fireflies! I'll prob have 30 mins to email tomorrow (other than email, our PDay is tomorrow this week), but have a wonderful week!
My replacement for the Akita dogs :)

Love you!
Orgill Shimai

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Week 54 - Mountain Bike... Booyah

The dynamics of Tagajo missionaries changed a fair amount with this transfer; from 4 elders to 2 and from 2 shimai to 4. Because of the recent change in elder's bike shipping policy, the elders that transferred left their mountain bikes. And who but poor Orgill shimai "had to" ride the mountain bike while the mama chari's were on order? Mamachari is the type of bike that older people usually ride around town. The same person that just offered to keep the bike instead of making the church buy a new one. BOOYAH. I'm on a mountain bike, in a skirt, and it is SWEET. I couldn't be happier!! The members get a pretty big kick out of it.

    And why am I so glad to be on this mountain bike, you ask? Well several reasons, but the biggest is the HILLS. My oh my the HILLS. I think I've sweat more in the last week than I have on my entire mission combined. Okay. Too much info. You're welcome. But Steve shimai and I are doing some beastly cardio and I'm loving it! Speaking of Steve shimai, I'll give you a little background on her...

Ste Shimai is on her 11th transfer. Her trainer was also Yo shimai, in Akita! She is half Japanese, and is such a good time! She understands English pretty well, but she doesn't speak it. Her dad is crazy fluent in Japanese, and works as a translator. She is the 3rd oldest of 7 kids! Her two younger just left on their missions to Fukuoka and Kobe. She's a lot of fun and we're working hard!

Word of the week! Ganko- stubborn. I think it just SOUNDS like stubborn. "Nande sonna ni ganko na no??" "Yo, why are you being so stubborn?" No, I have never used it in this context...but just in case YOU ever wanted to say it!

The dramatic moment of this week- not funny. Not even a little bit. So it's 4:15 am, and for some reason Ste shimai and Su shimai wake up all of the sudden. And then the ground starts shaking- big time. Earthquakes are pretty normal here, so we all thought nothing of it. Until the alarm sounded. We hear a distant but VERY loud alarm saying "emergency....emergency. please flee away from the ocean to higher ground." And it gets louder and louder. Then the siren for tsunami warnings that haunts me from videos I've seen of the tsunami destroying this very area sounds. We put on our tags and bike to higher ground to an emergency evacuation center- and we were the only ones. The tsunami was apparently just a couple of feet high, nothing to worry about. But that was a LONG long day.

I enjoyed my last area so much that I was truly concerned that I would be able to truly love the members of Tagajo. It was weighing on my heart before I had even met more than 4 of them, so I began praying to feel Christ's love for them and be able to love them in turn. The Lord answered my prayers. Yesterday as we entered the church building, I felt a profound sense of love for these wonderful saints in Tagajo. I am so excited to work with them to lift and encourage them as they endure to the end and share the precious gem of the gospel with those around them!

Saying goodbye to Mi san and Ko shimai
  This week we had three lessons with May chan, the cute 16-year-old that got baptized last month. In our lesson yesterday, we were talking about the principle of teaching an learning in the church, and I was about to start in on just explaining everything, but then I stopped. "What did you learn in Young Women's today?" I asked instead. She elaborated with enthusiasm on what she had learned about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, what she thought about it, and how it applied to her. After she had finished teaching US, we sat in silence for a moment, overwhelmed by how well she had just taught us. She understands teaching and learning in the church better than I do, I think:) We plan to move forward with her recent convert lessons by having HER teach US what she will be learning in seminary, etc. She's such a great young woman! We're going to try to meet her mother more; the ward has asked us to focus on her family and we are trying to get into contact! Her family likes the missionaries; we hope it will help us to share with May about our beliefs!

   We also had a mogi member comes with the missionaries lesson with one of our 83 year old members! Ko shimai had told me there was a member whose house they had always called, "Costco". And I found out why, ans we left the mogi  laden with about 20 pounds of fruit jelly, drinks, ice cream, and snacks. I will not get fat here. I WILL NOT get fat here.

There's this fun thing called "Open Space" here on Thursday and Friday nights, where the church is open for ping-pong and Uno and games! It's a way for people to come hang out at the church in a non-threatening environment where they can just come and have fun! The dendo here is through a lot of activities; it's a super fun way to work!

We've got Zone Meeting this week, so back to Kamisugi! I look forward to hearing about all of your weeks!

Love you!
Orgill Shimai

My favorite car in Odate;) Couldn't have said it better myself.
 The car says "Love and Hustle for all"

Week 53 - Transfers...

Yakiniku!
Goodbye to the green mountains and Akita dogs, I'm heading back to Sendai to Tagajo! Pretty mixed feelings, but I think the Lord is giving me a great chance to grow by transferring me to Tagajo. My companion with be Ste shimai- she's half Japanese (but has spent her entire life in Japan.) Should be a party! (Let's be real, I refuse to let it be anything OTHER than a party.)

This letter's probably gonna be kind of short, sorry! But I'll give you the basic run-down on this week.

We had a good lesson with Mi this week. I think that as she starts to live the commandments she will show her faith and her answer that this is the true restored church of Jesus Christ will come! I know that Gall shimai and Ko shimai will be so great for her!

Fun on the slide last P Day with the district

Funny moment: Okay, so we all remember the infamous too-friendly R san, right? Well, there's a part two. SO we went to do volleyball dendo contacting Tuesday night. And he was complaining about how every time we scored a point, he wanted to hug me and Ko shimai, but he couldn't. From a far off distance, I held out me hands and said in Japanese, "air hug!" He held out his hands to receive the air hug, then kept walking towards me, his hands outstretched. Umm I think NOT small sir. I escaped crawdad-style, leading with my rear away from Ryo with his arms outstretched. I then accidentally "Moon Landed" (as D choro calls it) with elder Schmidt. Meh, better than getting hugged by R. Schmidt and I are homies, so no awkwardness whatsoever!

Word of the Week: I learned this one from my dear father! Yodare. Drool. I knew the word for spit; but I didn't know there was a seperate word for drool!

The district

So we went to Aomori to meet Smith Kaicho and Shimai this week the new mission president and his wife! They are super spiritual; I'm excited to get to work with them for the next few months! One downside; Smith Kaicho has pretty good Japanese, but he talked in English. I (as I am every time...) was the translator, so when he immediately switched to English at the beginning, I had to immediately switch to Japanese. For the whole half an hour. I wanted to die. My brain was bleeding. That man uses high caliber English; I'm gaijin foreign, native English speaking and I could barely understand it. He said he wants the Japanese missionaries to become fluent in English, so here on out he will only give trainings in English. I better amp up my Japanese; because this joint-replacement specialist surgeon makes a LOT of medical analogies. Buckle up, Orgill shimai.  It's about to be a bumpy ride.

We ate yakiniku literally cooked meat last night at Ta shimai's house (the one who owns the butcher shop) That family goes HAM (no pun intended) when it comes to meat. Oh and by the way, I spent Saturday night service cutting up cow intestine into small pieces to be packaged and sold. yum.

This week, our friends the To's (cow farmers) took us out to lunch. What we didn't anticipate was that it was going to be a 12 course meal at a castle-like building that's a hundred years old. Nice; but too nice for missionaries. 
The model district
Additionally, to get an idea of what life is like at the Odate sisters' apartment, I will tell you of the happenings this week. Ko shimai did Judo for several years, so she's a bad-booty. I told her, "I bet you can't pin me". So she put me in her best hold, and I just reached up with one finger and gave her a strong poke to the armpit. Her arm swung back in shock, accidentally clawing me in the face. I now have a cut on my inner lip. She's bitter; probably because I won. ;) Man I'm gonna miss being companions with Ko.

Have a great week, and I apologize in advance for the very short emails which will come from here on out from the single computer in Tagajo! 
Love you!

Orgill Shimai

Week 52 - "Natalie, if I hug you, will you be mad at me?"

Yes I will, 30-some-year-old married, flirtatious man named R. And that's Sister Orgill to you.This week was...an adventure to say the least.
I love Odate!!
 
Word of the Week: Bikkurishita! It means, "I'm suprised!" But when you jump out from behind a corner as your companion is walking through the apartment at 6:33 am, and if that companion happens to be Japanese, this is what you will hear. Not, "Ahhhh!!" or "Woah!!" or "Yikes!!" Just a VERY rappid, "BIKKURISHITA!" I'm honestly impressed they can get it out so fast in a moment of cold fear!

Left and below: We're obsessed with sudoku! We play it every lunch time.

Funny moment- Ahh, and FINALLY I can share a language fail, and it is finally not my own! My companion is EXCELLENT at English. Like truly phenomenal. She used the word "sadist" last night. I'm impressed on the daily. BUT. She is a sister; not an elder; so she does not use certain words often identified as "potty language". She was trying to say something to me the other day, but she couldn't remember the English. She took a wild guess. "Accidentally I pooped!" I stared at her in silent shock for a moment. "What...is poop?" I explained. Then we both just stared at each other in shock for a moment and then busted up laughing. I seriously need to start making a Ko English quote book. It is RICH.

So Elder No and Elder Si go every Tuesday night to play volleyball with some of the more intense Odate civilians, and they've had a great time doing some natural dendo there! Because Nor goes home this coming week, they threw this huge party for the whole team, and invited all of us missionaries (they've met all of us at least once!) So we went on Saturday night! As we were biking there, we were stopped at a stoplight. A beautiful Akita dog was tethered to a post and came up and licked Ko. "He's so cute!" No and Ko started petting him. A man sittineg inside the neighboring shop sat watching them. "You want him? He's free. You can take him," he called. OHHHHH the temptation. He was dead serious! Do you know how PRICEY these pure-bred dogs are?? I was so sad that we had to say no thank you and carry on:(
The party!
 We showed up to the party. A huuuuge table stretched across two rooms, and around it were sat maybe 25 people including us (and also including the aforementioned R.) We ate dinner and had a great time talking to them all! Then at around 8 pm, the most muscular Asian man I've seen in my entire life walks in and goes, "So when are we gonna start drinking?" That would be right after the missionaries leave, sir. This bald man started arm wrestling all the elders! Dra and Schwarz almost had him- but then he took even them down. Dra choro was pretty bitter. "That's the first time in my life I've been beaten at arm wrestling."

Spiritual thought- I read and LOVED Moroni 9:6 this week! Check it out:)

So, we had a lesson yesterday with Mi san! And it was....AWKWARD> SO AWKWARD. We taught her about Baptism the gift of the HG, and enduring to the end. I asked her, "When you come to know these things are true, will you be baptized?" "Yes." I continued. "We know that this message is true, and that you can come to a knowledge of it buy early August. Will you prepare to be baptized at that time as you continue studying and praying about our message?"  She quailed. It was dead silent. Our joint (a member from the ward who joined them in the lesson) eventually checked her phone. "I've gotta go, sorry,"said the joint. It was probably for the best. We thanked her and she left. The room fell again into silence. "Do I have to answer right now?" Mi-san asked. We told her that she didn't; and that once she knows these things are true that she'll WANT to be baptized. We told her our friendship was not precedented on whether or not she received baptism. She continued to protest, "But, won't I have to give up tea or something?!" "That's next lesson!" we told her. We love her so much, but please PRAY FOR HER for her heart to be in the right place so she can focus on coming closer to God instead of focusing on "keeping rules!" We love her a whole lot.

The elders passed us our friend Missy san this week! She's 26, super cute, and is doing a great job of keeping her commitments, and she loves the Book of Mormon! She's being a champ and is trying to quit smoking. We're so excited to get to work with her. 

This week is gonna be BUSY! Tomorrow we're heading up to Aomori to meet President Smith and his wife! Elder No and I will be the translators for the meeting. Then we have volleyball. And then we're going to teach a bunch of young families English in one of the bordering cities that hasn't had a lot of missionary work before! Exciting!! Then we have lunch with the To's (our cow farmer friends), an appointment with a woman that wants to hear our message, Elder No's last supper, and lots of fun stuff and lessons in between!

Odate's a happening place, people! I'll let you know about transfer calls next week!
Much love,
Orgill shimai