Monday, August 25, 2014

Transfer week!

A great week of different kinds of dendo! Ste shimai and I had so much fun! We really learned to love each other over this transfer. I'm sure what I have learned with companions will help greatly with future relationships. We set and made our goal of 3 P.I.s! And we found them in very different ways:
One woman talked to us in her genkan for half an hour about her thoughts on where we go after this life. She has actually read the Bible before. She is busy right now visiting her grandfather in the hospital; but in a few months she expects to be less busy then, and we hope to meet with her!

Another man we found in Shiogama at marine Gate. He speaks great English and was asking us questions about his limited knowledge of our church. He's going to try to come to Eikaiwa English class soon, and talk to us from there!

One of their potential investigators!

The final man was a blessing of using our talents and playing the ukulele. He is learning to play the ukulele, and we got to talk to him for several minutes about the Book of Mormon! He took it and said he wanted to read it. he has a great interest in Christian churches, and it was such a cool experience to see the Lord drop him right in our lap!
Something I learned this week is that when we set goals, pray for the spirit, and strive to know what God wants us to do, He helps us achieve those goals! I'm excited to work with Sister O because i know what a great goal-setter and hard-worker she is! 

    Now time for Word of the Week! Nusumigiki!! It means: EAVESDROPPING. Well, it actually means "steal hearing". Pretty accurate, right?
The package says, "I have acquired sweets"

Anything written in English is apparently more appealing to the Japanese consumers!

   We also got to do some cool matsuri dendo as a district on Monday! Nothing better than getting out among the (slightly lubricated) people and talk to them! Love it.

This week was mostly dendo, dendo, dendo- but those are the best weeks anyway! SO transfer calls came and Ste shimai is transferring to Aomori!! IT's crazy that her (and my) trainer, Yosh and her will have served in EXACTLY the same areas for their whole missions. Crazy! Speaking of transfers, not only am I getting a gaijin companion, but I am getting a gaijin DISTRICT. Like 6/6 white people.. Bummer. I guess it's something other than Japanese that the Lord wants me to learn in these last 3 transfers..

So the Saka family had another barbeque this week, and it was a great chance to meet with LAs and investigators! (And pet cats, talk to my 94-year -old best friend Fu-san, and eat super weird foods.) I ate an entire, live, ENORMOUS oyster. It was SO nasty. It was like snot and sea water. Yum. Also I ate an enormous scallop straight from the shell. Schmidt shimai and I always do the crazy food challenges together (recall the chicken gizzard?) just for the experience! A mission has changed my perspective on what "opportunity" truly is!!  Ah, that reminds me, I also ate an entire squid head this week. And from it we were able to chat with the store owner about what we do as missionaries. Not bad, not bad.

Squid head!!

  Well, there was a lot of rain this week, and it was a lot of very wet, sweaty biking. I still love biking despite it! I will persevere through the heat and wet!!

We had a GREAT visit with a wonderful member, Ono shimai! And she brings me to the Funny Moment for the week. For some reason, Om shimai just loves me. This 60-year old woman hugs my arm and hangs off of me like I'm a human jungle gym...I just assumed she was a character and let it go. But the other day, she came up to me and said, "I hope you don't think I'm weird. You're just so...soft and cuddly! And you're so big and strong, I always loved having friends like you in school!" ....ummmmm. thanks. But I really love Om shimai:) We went to visit her, and on a strike of good fortune her husband randomly had the day off of work and we got to chat with them for so long! We sang them a hymn and talked about because he doesn't drink and doesn't smoke he could join the church easy;) He seemed to really open up to us! We bonded over our love for animals- he has befriended the neighborhood tanuki- like a raccoon, but nicer and way cuter. He feeds it at 4 o'clock every day! He affectionately named the raccoon "Ponta", and Ponta apparently got the memo that we had stopped in for a visit because he came around early to check it out! Super cute to see Om san go out into the rain to talk to his little friend. We're going to try to invite him to listen to what his wife believes so steadfastly! Love that family, and love the members here!

Love you much, and have a great week!
Orgill Shimai

Well... this week was something!

   This week....was...AWESOME!! Being companions with O shimai is like the best thing that has ever happened to either of us. She's such a stud missionary, and she's just so ready to work hard!! We've been really really blessed this week! 

Indo curry :)
   So this week was HOT. I mean, REALLY HOT. With occasional insane rain. But I'll tell you about that later.

  We did some MATSURI DENDO this week! There was a matsuri at the army base here in Tagajo, so we went and talked to around a hundred or more people. It was so awesome! SO much dendo. O shimai and I are a little dendo fire crazy. The unfortunate thing was that although we found a few P.I.s, apparently a few were creepers and WE were THEIR P.I.s. SO I was chatting with this guy from Bangladesh who was making food at one of the booths and he told me about how he'd come to Japan about 4 years ago and nw has his own bsiness, etc. I asked, "So are you living with your famiy here?" And he replies, "Sure, you can have my number." I was giddy This man had just seen my nametag, and that was enough for him to be intrested in what we were talking about?? Awesome!! Oh wait...not awesome. We exchanged numbers and we walked away to go talk to other people. We got a missed call from a random number yesterday. And then the random number called again. "Hello?" I picked up. "Hey it's the Bangladesh guy from yesterday. I was glad to meet you yesterday." I looked at my companion. We knew that tone of voice- it was the creeper tone. "Ah, hello," I said. "So I want to meet you sometime. What do you like? Baseball games? Sushi? Exotic food?" I awkwardly expained that missionaries share a message about God, and that we don't date, but I was sure th elders would like to meet him. He was pretty put off. Sorry creeper Bangladesh man, I'm a dendoing missionary!

So let me just brag about my companion for a second. O shimai has SUPER FLY Japanese. So we can talk to each other in japanese and keep up our language skills! It's awesome! EVen though we're both white, we still read the white handbook every morning in Japanese! Hallelujah!
New companion O shimai!

    We volunteer every week in Shichigahama by the beach, and the director of the volunteer center, Take san asked us to come for like a "massage volunteer" thing. e thought we'd be like massaging the hands of people that were victims of the tsunami (like every other massage volunteer.). But when we walked into the center, OH BOY were we surprised when it would not be us giving the massages; but rather we were expected to RECEIVE the massages, from a group traveling fro Tokyo (and that consisted half of hippy-looking men). I looked at the 3 other sisters. Most of them looked like they'd just gotten slapped in the face or eaten an entire lemon. It was rich. I tentatively told Take san that we have a strict no-contact rle with members of the opposite sex, so the men just kind of sat on the side for the rest of the time....awkward. But it actually turned out to be wonderful dendo!! Ahh, dendo. Nothing like it;)

    Okay so can I just say that being in an apartment with 4 gaijin foreigners is SO FUN. Like SO fun. And on top of that, let's take a look at my apartmates:
Schmidt shimai- my best friend!
Clean shimai- my MTC companion!!
O shimai- my companion and homie!
You could say we have good fun.
We did a LOT of dendo outdoors this week, which is kind of difficult because of the heat. I'm drinking like 6 waterbottles a day to stay hydrated. Clean shimai got WAy burned at the Matsuri.

We had a ward Matsuri this week, and they hired a fire dancer (I don't know where they got the money either.) but it was way fun and I've got lots of videos to show you when I get back from my mission!
Very very sour plums that a member fed us!!

So the funny experience the week was not funny at the time- not at ALL. It's the kind of experience that you look back 10 years from now and say, "Ah, those were the days." But at the moment it was just ridiculous.

    SO the other day we went to visit Mu shimai, a less active. We wanted to give her brownies and invite her to the Ward Matsuri. We had been warned that her husband does not like the missionaries. When we walked u to the front gate, he was tending to his garden,his back to us. We called out to him, and he eventually walked over with a sour look on his face. "I told you missionaries to never come back. Leave." I apologized and told him we had never been informed to never visit again. "Can you just give these brownies and this flier to your wife when she gets h-" "No." "Oh." I started scrambling. "You have a lovely garden!" "Really?" He looked rather charmed. "Yes!" we emphasized. We then proceeded to compliment him on his trees, his dog, his young-looking skin, you name it! We were really starting to crack this crabby man's heart open!

    And then I heard it from behind me. a loud, steadily closer-growing sound that sounded like a mix between a rushing wind and an 18-wheeler carrying a load of gravel on the freeway. As the noise became deafening, I turned around-and it hit me-literally. A WAVE of water sent down from a cloud that had appeared out of NOWHERE. The water pelted down on us in drops so large it looked as if we were getting attacked by hail. He runs back to the safety of his veranda as we stand there for a moment in shock, getting completely drenched "Get out of here!" he yells, gesturing his hands wildly. Well, perhaps that was Heavenly Father sending us a little memo that this man, although nice, was not having it. We ran away and hid under the neighbor's side roof. So...I'm sure it'll be funny someday.

  Lots of good things this week, and we get to go to Honbu FHE tonight with Mi chan! We also had a GREAT lesson with Osa san. The secret to getting her to stop trying to argue with her? Show her that we LOVE her. I was a great lesson to learn.

Have a wonderful, August-shower-free week!
Love you!!
Orgill shimai

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


We were blessed to have a lot of activities with members this week, and it's been so great to see how the gospel has blessed their lives! It's such a testimony builder to me!

Beach Day with the district!
    We taught on lesson to O san this week. It was...difficult. We tried to teach her about faith. She says she 50% believes in Jesus Christ and 50% doesn't. We explained the 50% is her faith! She got really argumentative and pushy about how every religion is worshiping the same God, and everyone just needs to keep their personal beliefs to themselves. She's pretty difficult to teach; it often feels like she is TRYING to look for points where she disagrees and then tries to argue about them. In our upcoming lesson we're going to ask her what she expects in meeting with us, and see if we should drop her in the near future. Pray for us.

This email will be short, because OH BOY I have a lot of pictures to send you!! This week was one of the most fun-filled weeks of my WHOLE MISSION. Here's the run-down:
Monday- District P Day at the beach!!! So relaxing to just get to know everyone and pick up the garbage strewn everywhere! (I just realized how that must sound....missionary perspective I guess.)

Beach day!!

Tuesday- Fireworks in Sendai to kickoff Tanabata!! We went with Mi and one of the members! You BET  ate Beard Papa's (a cream puff store - they have one in San Francisco as well)!!

Wednesday: Tanabata! We talked to some really nice people travelling from all around the world! And the streamers were exquisite!!

Thursday: Zone training meeting in Sendai! Learned lots of good things, and lots of rules tht we didn't know were rules (oops!) so we repented (I'm talking the whole zone....Smith Kaicho's a pretty strict mission pres, it would seem.) We went to Matsushima with Mo chan, a 12-year-old that we teach English to and her mother and some members! There was supposed to be fireworks and a TON of sparklers, but it got rained out ;( We had fun anyway, and I got to talk to a wonderful lady on the train!

Soaking wet!!

 Friday- LOTS of biking to visit LAs in the hills of Shiogama in the POURING RAIN. My goodness we were so wet. We also had a great mogi (lesson) with A shimai a wonderful member (the one who gives us so much food that we call her house Costco...)

Elevator party!!

Saturday- Finishing up making the zori slippers, and teaching lessons to O, Mo chan, etc!
Sunday was lots of meetings and planning!

We got to participate in Mi's seminary class, and it was so spiritually edifying! My comp and I both learned a ton!

Natalie and her companion, Kurokawaaaa!!!

Funny moment: So anyone who has been wih me for more than 2 hours knows that I have a talent for getting food on my face. I'm also terribly humble; so I hate being praised for this talent when people tell me, "Hey, you've got food on your face." I usually respond with, "I know!! It's a snack for (email time, a lesson later today, etc.)" So now instead of telling me I have food on my face, my companion smiles wryly and asks, "so what are you saving your snack for this time?" Punk ;)
Love you! Have a great week.

Orgill Shimai

Tanbo art on the way to Shichigahama beach!

Monday, August 4, 2014

And the food horrow stories continue...

This week had some interesting adventures. Let me just take you through a few of them:

Monday evening. We go to the Tagajo eki (train station) to do chirashi kubari, and we're still just going crazy doin' our thing talking to everyone. I see these two sketchy-looking guys staring at me a distance away, smoking cigarettes. Well, I did promise the Lord I would talk to EVERYONE....I walked over to them and had a seat next to one man in a pinnk button-down shirt and white crocodile shoes. "You've been here for a while! Are you waiting for someone?" "Yeah, uh, a girl." "Oh, is she your friend?" "No, I don't know her yet. We're looking for her. It's our job." Suddenly the crocodile shoes, uncannily straightened hair, lengthened waiting period at the eki, and uncomfortably long stares all click; I have accidentally street contacted two pimps. I look at him skeptically. "What are you looking for them for?" "To come work at our place. Only young girls can work there so...we have to find them." And then (because I'm me) the words just spilled out before I could stop them. "Is that legal?" I asked. He looked suprised. "Well, it's not ILlegal," he replied. 

Okay, so apparently I overreacted just a teeny bit. They were scouting for girls to work at like a bar-ish place, NOT a hostel. My bad. But they were pretty cool guys (minus the cigarettes) and pink button-down-pimp-shoes-man likes the English language! He promised he'd come to English class. Woohoo! All's well that....ends well..?
New friend who's husband is apparently a pro surfer!
We got some SERIOUS workouts in this week. We bike rode (the 4 shimai(sisters)) an hour up the MOUNTAIN of Shiogama, to pull an AMUSING amount of weeds and potatoes at Minny shimai's house! It was SO sweaty and hot, and SO fun!!! There were suprise potatoes in the weed patch, and it felt just like dendo!! You spend all this time weeding through the "kekko's" and "Kyoumi ga nai's" and BOOM. A plump, golden kinjin golden person potato just sitting, waiting to be harvested! Definitely there were way more weeds than potatoes; but the potatoes made it SO worth it! Same with awesome investigators- they just make it all worth it!

GROSS FOOD EXPERIENCE. So to show her gratitude, Minny shimai made us a BOMB lunch. Then she whipped out these kind of creepy-looking things toward the end of the meal that looked like the inside of a clam. I was convinced they were clams; until she tried to cut them in half and the peculiar food DIDN'T GIVE. With some visible effort she was able to cut them in half and said, "they're kind of gross-seeming, but they're really good! They're (directly translated) sand-cartilage!" Um, what? Schmidt shimai looks at me. "Can I borrow your dictionary?" I asked. She whips it out and searches the word, and nothing comes up. Minny shimai says, "Well, its part of a chicken..." And then it clicked. "Schmidt shimai," I said in a low voice, "That's chicken gizzard." 

For those of you who have not spent as much time as I have around chickens (oh gosh I sound insane), the gizzard is the internal organ of birds that kind of acts as their teeth- since they have no teeth and just swallow things whole. It is NOT edible to the Western countries of the world.

But this isn't the Western world; this is Japan. And chicken gizzard is a delicacy.

YOU BET WE ATE IT. It was like eating straight fried, thick cartilage (which, by the way, is also a delicacy here). Not bad, not bad.
Visiting with a friend from college!
We volunteered all-day at this kids-center Summer party! The kids were a little older (8ish), but they were so cute!! We became instant best friends. They LOVED my ukulele. I thought it was gonna get broken in half because so many kids were fighting over it haha:) My favorite quotes from the day? "Why are you so tall?" (I got this one about 5 times) "Why are your eyes blue? Will they turn brown eventually?" I proceeded to shock that child by telling him that my hair is actually blonde; not brown. His mind was blown.

We also got SUPER drenched by a flash-thunderstorm this week on our bikes. Ahh, summer.
District at lunch
Ahhh and the Word of the Week! Shibui! I LOVE this word. It means like, "Super-classy", or as I would say in English, "PIMPIN'!" Yes, I used this on the pimp man in complimenting him on his pimp shoes. I thought it was necessary.

I had a great interview with President Smith this week! We just chatted about deep doctrine questions our apartment had been discussing about the plan of Salvation. It was very instructive:) Also, President Smith sent us a few quotes and encouraging messages by email to our missionaries these last two weeks. Truly they were inspired, and helped me through difficult times this week. Some things this week felt so difficult that I almost asked the Lord to be delivered, but I looked back on the picture I had of last week's quote by Elisabeth Gessel, and instead asked Heavenly Father for the power to endure. I've been blessed by a powerful feeling of love and optimism from Heavenly Father. I know He loves me, and that is all that matters! As long as I have His help; I'll be able to endure any trial for as long as the Lord sees fit to give it to me.

I had the opportunity to bear my testimony yesterday. I told the members about through the small act of reading the Book of Mormon just a few minutes every day in college, I was able to gain a sure testimony of the Book of Mormon's truthfulness, and the truthfulness of all the doctrines it contains. Through sharing my testimony, I was able to feel the Spirit confirm to ME that what I was saying was indeed true. I will treasure and continue to grow my testimony as long as I live!
Playing uno!

We had a good lesson with Osa san this week- she was less outwardly stubborn as we taught her about the second half of the Plan of Salvation. At the end, we asked her, "So where do you want to go?" And she pointed to the Celestial Kingdom and said, "This one, because it shines the brightest." We explained that baptism was a requirement to enter the celestial kingdom, and my companion was inspired to ask her to be baptized. She said yes. We were shocked! She's got some obstacles to overcome with the Word of Wisdom, but the Spirit is certainly working with her! It was such a miracle.

We've got a busy week of dendoing at Maths and talking to the locals this next week! We talked to SO MANY people this week. Just ANYONE and EVERYONE. Oh it was so fun:) I feel the Lord pouring out His love to His children through us when we smile warmly at them and strike up a conversation! This week of Tanabata (a festival in her area) dendo is gonna be the BOMB!

Have a great week, Love you all!
Orgill Shimai