Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Orgill shimai, sing for us!!" "But...we're in a car..."

Busy, BUSY week. We were in Kouriyama for THREE DAYS of the seven! I'll give you the brief rundown:

Picking up trash at the beach - Mormon Helping Hands t-shirt in her hands
Tues- Went up to the beach in Yotsukura and picked up trash and talked to everyone we saw! A car wasn't looking as they tried to make a speedy right turn, and almost hit me as I walked through the crosswalk. My companion jumped as if she had been electrocuted, but I just stood there, looking at the car, waiting for her to notice and pull the emergency brake so she wouldn't hit me. It was so weird. I didn't scream, I didn't jump, and internally I was less than mildly alarmed, even though I was very nearly hit. My companion was shocked at my reaction (the woman did finally notice me and panickedly pulled her emergency brake and stopped feet from me). I don't know why I wasn't scared-maybe I'm not as concerned about dying now that I feel pretty comfortable with where I'll go if I do die and how comfortable I'll be around Heavenly Father.... that or I'm just really weird.
   We ran into a man that Mc shimai had met before who seemed grateful to talk to us and will probably come to the Halloween party this week! I also had a great conversation with the man taking tickets at the train station. It was a good day for finding.
  We also did chirashi kubari as a district and I got creeped on by a bunch of teenage boys. I seriously wanted to turn around and yell at them, "SIR PLEASE. Do you think even though I just talked to you for TEN MINUTES in unhalting Japanese that the SECOND I turn around I stop understanding what you're saying and you can start talking about me?? NO." Blech. 
   We had a mogi (joint lesson) with a member- Sass shimai, and then participated as she taught seminary to the 3 boys- one who is not yet a member and has a baptism date for December! His name is Tom kun, and he reminds me of Wee man (my brother) and he's my favorite.
No table? No problem... Ironing board lunch table it is!

Wednesday- we started up the free family English Program- 30 minutes of English, 30 minutes of gospel. A lady called us last week and said she had found out about our program online! We asked where she lived- she said D'Restia (hilarious- I know. I'll take a gangster picture by it sometime.) But more wonderful than the funny name is that that is the apt complex between our apt. and the church! Seriously she couldn't be any closer!! She's going to Italy in a few days, so she wants to amp up her English..? You tell me. But she also brings her friend Akado san, who brings her son Gaku kun! So we're actually being blessed to share our beliefs with 3 new people! So far, so good.
  We also visited our favorite L.A. Mi shimai, and she was too busy to talk for too long, but she said she had read the "His Grace is Sufficient" talk we had given to her! Hooray for L.A.s that keep their commitments!

Friday we went to Kouriyama for interviews. Kaicho and I talked about many important things- what to do with Iwaki (my area), what I should prepare for my final interview in a few weeks, the works. Good stuff, good stuff. He's a good kaicho. He calls me "Alma shimai".
We randomly found this sign outside of our door, hung up next to the window we've never touched....#ourlandlordhatesus #we'renotevenallAmerican
  Then we took the bus home, and I struck up a conversation with the man next to me who was totally not interested in talking and then proceeded to half-fall asleep on me. Well played, man on bus, well played. 
   Even though we were exhausted from our long day, we changed and biked to the gym where we had rented out the basketball courts to play with our Eikaiwa (English) students! Atsa san came (Holy SNAP that 40-yr-old man is athletic) and he brought his daughter, Ri chan! Yay! We played volleyball, and I shocked everyone with my serving skills haha. Secret talents, secret talents. We went out to dinner and in was nice to get to talk to everyone who came. I'm sure lots of good things will come from our new friends- many have already expressed interest in hearing our message.
 Saturday we had our first day of District Conference in- you guessed it- Kouriyama. Wow that car ride is lengthy. Because I'm not accustomed to being in cars (always mtn bike, train, or walking), I get kind of car sick now. But nothing too terrible.
There were some great talks and the Spirit was so strong. Pres. Smith called on Inamori choro to come up and bear his testimony- and he gave a wonderful testimony on the power of obedience and the blessings it brings. He shared a scripture I LOVE. D&C 58: 28-30. Check it out. I agree with Inamori choro- The Lord blesses us abundantly as long as we are obedient. He is a God of miracles and a keeper of promises. How comforting it is to know that there is an invariable, omnipotent, and loving Heavenly Father interested in our absolute well-being.
Speaking of well-being, Natalie is in her happy place with this new baby goat friend!

Sunday we went back to Kouriyama. A wonderful member Kilo shimai drove us. Her and Isha sat in the front, with the sister missionaries and their investigator (who's getting baptized this weekend!) Rima chan. Randomly, Isha shimai calls from the front, "Orgill shimai, sing for us!!" "But...we're in a car..." I responded. Well, long story short I became the human  iPod for about an hour of the ride. Another great meeting ensued. I was the translator for Sister Smith, the President's wife. It was a great conference!

 The Word of the Week is MASUI. It means Anesthesia! So I kind of despise using my dictionary at times, so I just get creative in explaining what I mean! When talking with Iwa shimai about Lasik eye surgery, she said, "but they knock you out, right??" "No," I responded. "You're awake, but they inject a medicine that...paralyzes the nerve so that you can't feel it." "Ahhhhh, masui," she said. Well there you have it. Masui.

Seriously NONE of our investigators could meet this last week, but that means good this for this week! UPCOMING are: the Halloween party and more dramatically TRANSFER CALLS. Also, a day trip to visit the doctor in Aizuwakamatsu this week. I'll let you know how everything goes next week!
Beautiful vista!!

Love you millions!! Have a great week!!

Orgill shimai

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"You have a very pretty face. But you don't actually look Japanese..." At long last, I have duped a Japanese person that I am indeed Japanese. YES.

This week was INDESCRIBABLY AMAZING. But I'll do my best to describe it to you!
Brief summary of the week:
Monday- We accidentally killed ourselves as a district by having a naan-eating contest at Indian Curry. Nothing says district bonding like shoving your face with greasy chunks of all-you-can-eat bread. So long story short, Gree choro ate 5.5 (we don't know how he didn't die), and I from sheer willpower managed 3.5. Holy snap I thought I was gonna die. We all suffered stomach pains the entire day. Yes; we are fools.
  Also Mc shimai and I got solicited to look at these craft hand-painted models...of WW2 ships and kamikaze planes. OH BOY YOU BET it was awkward. Well, at least we got to to dendo them (they had yelled us down off our bikes) and get a free donut! Good experience...?
Tuesday: BEST DAY EVER. In the morning, we had a wonderful lesson with a member. We were planning on teaching her a practice lesson, but we felt inspired to ask her if there was anything we as missionaries could help her with in regards to her faith, her scripture study, anything. She told us about recent struggles of faith she's had (she's semi-LA) and how she just couldn't get past them. We opened the scriptures together, and shared our own personal experiences and testimonies of the matter (which fortunately; on that topic Mc and I had a wealth of experiences). It turned out to be a wonderful lesson. We were able to address all of her concerns- simply by opening the scriptures and saying "Jesus did this and he commands us to do the same." She said she really was able to reflect on herself and what she had had a problem with, and repent. Then she said that she just felt the Spirit really strong, and began to cry. You have to understand; this is NOT the kind of woman you expect to cry. She's a tough lady. But it was wonderful, and now we're best friends with her!
   Then Naka and Butte shimai came from Aizu from splits. I was with Butte shimai. She's from my doki I think this means original group that went out into the mission at the same time, but I'd never gotten a chance to work with her! She's an INCREDIBLE missionary. We went housing, and were able to teach two first lessons in like an hour!! The second woman we taught was especially miraculous.
  She opened the door (in her PJs), and we introduced ourselves. She was Filipino, but she spoke to us in fluent Japanese. After we had briefly introduced ourselves, she said, "I have a friend that's Mormon." "Oh, really? Is it Julie?" "Yes." And then I got this crazy idea. "What's...your name?" "Eve," she replied.
     Wait, Eve? EVE? Like, The Eve that Julie shimai was about to introduce to us as a referral? Indeed, the same Eve. It was a miracle. We had just accidentally housed into the woman that was already being prepared by her friend (and the Lord) to hear our message. She invited us in, and we taught her. The we knelt on her mattress together and prayed. After the prayer, she smiled. "I have goosebumps," she said, lifting up her sleeve to show us. "This rarely happens to me. Let's meet on Thursday."
    It was THE BOMB.
Wed- We fasted as a district so that the other sisters' investigator, Rika chan, could get baptized. And we found this awesome pet store with my new best friend, a super sweet parrot and a baby GOAT! And, at long last, chickens. We got to dendo the store owners and it was a great time.
Thursday- Eve's second lesson with Mc shimai there! It went really well. She really wants to read the BoM, and we gave it to her in Tagalog. We also got to do some great work with LAs!
Friday- We taught Sach san the Law of Tithing, and she TOTALLY ACCEPTED IT. She understood perfectly how it is an act of faith and a way for Heavenly Father to bless us. We'll be talking about any of the obstacles in between her and baptism this comin week. Pray for us!
Then, at night we had FHE- and we did THE MOST INTENSE game of extreme spoons I've ever played. It was AWESOME! Then we played ninja, and Gree choro won (I'm telling you; the only people who can beat me at ninja are the gaijin foreign, ie white choro. That or they accidentally punch me in the face....White choro.)
Then after almost everyone had left, my good friend Ashi san from Eikaiwa came up to me and started talking to me about his family. He told me they'd been having a lot of problems, but he thinks that through him coming to our church from a few weeks back, it's helping him change to be a better husband and father. He's been trying to get his wife and daughter to come to activities with him, he said. He wants them to feel the warm feeling he gets when he's in the church and talking to everyone. He says the more he comes to the church, the more he WANTS to come. Okay okay you kinjin golden investigator, I GUESS you can get baptized. The elders are going to invite him to hear the lessons! Yay!
Saturday- A BOMB lesson with Mary!! We might have Mc shimai's mom joint with us (she's fluent in Spanish, and we CANNOT keep teaching this woman in Spapanese.) She agreed to take Moroni's promise!! Yayy! I'm so grateful we get to teach a woman with such a pure desire to serve god!
Sunday- Church. Holy smokes remind me to tell you about the music program here in Iwaki after my mission. It's my favorite thing EVER.
So that was the not-so-brief summary!!!
So now here is the Word of the Week! It is: damare kono yaro de gozaimasu! Actually, you should probably never, EVER say this. BUT. It's hilarious. "damare kono yaro" by itself means "Shut up you idiot", BUT. "de gozaimasu" makes phrases IMPOSSIBLY polite. AND SO. Ashi san, thinking I didn't know these words, told me that it is the politest, and highest form of praise, and that I should definitely say it to people older than me. Nice try, de gozaimasu.
The Funny Quote of the Week Is actually ALSO from Atsushi san. He was explaining his family problems to us, and then he turns to me suddenly. "Orgill shimai, when you get married, you absolutely MUST NOT WORK." I laugh. "No, I'm serious. Promise me." "Ummm why??"
  "Because you're powerful and you can do anything, so if you have a job then you'll have money so you'll have no need for a husband and you'll just leave him!" Sir, allow me to tell you someting I believe in called ETERNAL families. I'm going in for the long run, job or no job haha.
And that was this week!! I'd send pictures, but the computers we have to use this week are a leeeetle janky, so raincheck (you'll see why this is punny NEXT week).
Love you!!
Orgill shimai

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Sorry, I'm Christian." *click* .....what?

So THIS WEEK was hilarious. Man I love the Iwaki branch. These members are a hoot and a half!  

First off, we had some really cool lessons. Our investigator Sachi san accepted to live the Law of Chastity (I hadn't taught THAT one since like February!) and she is progressing so well! Our joint lesson Ito shimai was wonderful. After we teach her the Law of Tithing, we're planning on inviting her again to baptism! (before she said yes, but that she just wanted to learn more first) She has wonderful faith, believes the Book of Mormon is true, and has a great relationship with God! Now we have to just mount the obstacle of her inability to come to church because of work and we'll be fine!

    We also taught an L.A. less active member, Ma shimai- and the miracle of the lesson was that although she frequently denies it, my companon and I could both see the flickering flame of a testimony long-forgotten in her! We're praying that the Spirit will continue to touch her heart and that she will be brought to a remembrance of the truths she has forgotten! I LOVE working with L.A.s. I think it's probably because in one way or another, I can relate to them with times in my life where I was burdened with doubts, feeling distanced from God and an irrevocable feeling of guilt. I love testifying to them that there are times when all of us have had weaker faith; but that the Lord WILL listen to us and answer our prayers!

The district!!

Here are the quotable quotes this week:
A member mentions to another member that i have a beautiful singing voice. This colorful man has a passion for music, and says, "Ahhh, I could see that! She is shaped like a beautiful instrument!" The other member and I look at each other, slightly confused. "What instrument?" I probed. "If it's not a flute; we might have some problems," I warned. "No no no. You're shaped like..a violin!" And starts making crazy gestures with his hands, trying to explain his viewpoint to the other member. Umm. I'm just gonna walk away now...

  We went to Kouriyama for Zone Training meeting this week, and got to see their BEAUTIFUL church (the radiation is too bad there so missionaries aren't allowed to go). A few days later the president of the Kouriyama branch came to Iwaki for a funeral of one of the members. He came up to me and said, "My prophecy was fulfilled!" "What?" I asked. "Do you remember at the Whiting choro 3 Zone Conferences ago where you translated the English into Japanese for me and I asked you to transfer to Kouriyama?" "Ah yes, I do remember that!" "Well, from that time on I prayed to the Lord that Orgill shimai would come to Kouriyama- and look!! You came yesterday!! My prayers were answered!!" Haha I love that faithful branch president! It really would be great if we could get missionaries into Kouriyama- but it seems a little to late for me;) (if you want to know how many days I have left, I'm sure my father can tell you--down to the minute...) Natalie comes home December 18th, the day after her 21st birthday!

The funny moment was basically just an amusing realization that Japanese people are HORRIBLY gullible. Like seriously. As we were shaking hands with the Aizu elders at ZTM, Mc shimai says to Ina choro, "Orgill shimai's half, you know." And he goes, "What?! No way! You're half??" and then the bean newbie Suz choro overhears "Woah, you're half?! Awesome!! Is THAT why you can speak Japanese??" We also convinced them that Butler shimai is 38...

   I also accidentally confused a new investigator on the phone the other day. After talking to her for about five minutes, she goes, "Wait...O-giru (this is how you pronounce "Orgill" in Japanese). That's a rare name. Where are you from?" "America." "But...but you're Japanese." "No I'm not.." PHAIL.

A brief summary of the adventures of Mc and Orgill shimai this week-
Surprise birthday party for Mako- who's basically the missionaries' go-to guy. Amazzing member who just celebrated his 25th with a chocolate pudding cake and ice cream:)

We climbed a nearby mountain (it sounds more bad-booty than it was- but the view was GORGEOUS) with the Relief Society, then ate lunch after and they asked me to sing for them on the spot. I sang Ave Maria, Amazing Grace, and a hymn of two. It was fun! Moon shimai is a wonderful accompanist, so they're trying to get us to perform in church sometime. Sounds like it's gonna be Tagajo round two! Ma, iinjanai. But not the same.

On top of the world!!

We passed out Eikaiwa English flyers at the train station and met some nice people! It's a good place to do it becauseeven at night it's well lit so we don't look like creepers! Yay!

And then some lessons and lots of dendo in between! Ah, which reminds me of one more quote this week:
*knock knock knock* "Yes?" "Hi, we're missionaries sharing a message about God and how He loves you-"
"Oh sorry, I'm Christian." *click*
"Ummm... what?"

And that's it! Enjoy the pictures! Love you tons!
Orgill Shimai

"Dear Padre e celestial.​...oh wait." Learning Spanish in Japan? Ohh consider it done.

HEY! After a 4 hour bus ride, I got to Iwaki and Mc shimai and I are going crazy!

       Mc shimai and I had a really good first week. We were able to teach a first lesson to a woman named Maya from Costa Rica! We teach her in an odd mix of Spanish and Japanese. Mc shimai and I are learning from Mo shimai how to testify in Spanish- her native tongue touches her heart in a way that Japanese does not. SPEAKING of which, my dear friend Sister Folk is serving in Malaga Spain and speaks fantastic Spanish. Maya  has a large computer in the room we meet with her in that she uses to Skype her family in Costa Rica. We would love to have a Skype joint lesson with missionaries from any Spanish-speaking country-and if possible, we would love to see if my friend could do it. How do we go about doing this, and is there a policy or a certain set of missionaries we should Skype with? Please let us know. We're so excited to teach this Hermana! Her knowledge of the Bible and her faith are wonderful! We have another lesson scheduled next week.

Some of the sisters right before transfers
   We had a great L.A. visit with a woman Miso shimai, who has been a member for a long time. After asking some questions and being friendly, she really started opening up to us! She has very strong faith; but she is a perfectionist and she is STUBBORN, so she refuses to accept Christ's Atonement fully by forgiving herself. I didn't know what to study for her that morning, but I haphazardly chose Mosiah 7:33, which answered her questions so perfectly! I'm so grateful that although we can do nothing of our own power; the Lord will guide us and strengthen us as we live worthy of the promptings of the Spirit and try our best. She said we could come back, and that she would re-read that passage again when she was alone. I already love Iwaki!

    Word of the Week! Jibaku suru! So I'm gonna break this down. "Ji" means like "self", or "one's own", and "baku" means "explode.explosion" "Jibaku suru" Translates to blowing up your own ship- doing something that just ends negatively for you! It's good for when people are saying something that will totally bite them in the butt (yep, that's about how it translates), you can say that they are jibaku-shiteiru!

     I love Iwaki so far, it's a magical area! MINUS the spiders. HOLY SNAP THEY'RE SO BIG. And that leads me to my embarassing moment of the week!

     We biked over an hour away to visit the only full family (like with kids) in our branch, to give Hana chan a birthday cake and talk to the L.A. daughter. The ride there was hilly. But no problem, right? I just transferred from the hills of Sendai, I'm chillin'! BUT. There are giant spiders hanging from the palm trees on either side of you nearly the entire way there! But I kept my cool, kept my eyes on the road, and kept FAR AWAY from the sides of the sidewalk. We got to their house and had a nice visit, then we walked out to get on our bikes which we had parked on the SIDE of the road (notice: first mistake.) The family walks out to wave us off. I walk over to my bike (my MOUNTAIN BIKE, by the way; because the senior couple the Anders like me best so they sent my bike with me!!!! Hallelujah!!) And so I bend down to tie my skirt. Then I notice something on my shoe. It's a whole lot of spiderweb. Oh no. The web continues from my my foot...up my leg.....and on my skirt. "I'm doomed," I think. "There is absolutely NO WAY I managed to get SO MUCH web on me, and no spider."

     Just then the mom says, "ummm, that's a bug. Igi, get it!" Well crap. Woman, that ain't no bug. That is a POISONOUS GIANT SPIDER CRAWLING UP MY BACK. Her husband walked forward and smacked it off my back....and it bailed itself onto my hip, where I first saw the evil creature's true size. It wasn't as bad as i had imagined; it was worse. I yelped (in a very dignified way) and the husband smacked it again to the ground. NOT FUN. You win this round, enormous sneaky spider. I'm traumatized forever.

A view from Sister Orgill's perspective
I hope you have a WONDERFUL, spider, typhoon, and radiation-free week. The secret is to drink bottled water and stay far away from the mushrooms and fish;)

Orgill shimai