Sunday, August 30, 2015

Week 3 in Japan

Hi everyone! 
What a crazy week! Oh my goodness. This last Monday (all the crazy things on my mission happen on Monday after I email haha) we had a typhoon come to the Kagoshima zone. So everyone was in lock down all Tuesday until about 6. Monday night was crazy! I didn't sleep because of how crazy the wind was, I actually thought our windows might break! There was so much crashing and banging going on everywhere, it was nuts! But then by Tuesday morning it was all pretty calm. It was very exciting haha But we still stayed inside just to be safe so I got a lot of studying done (woohoo!) after we were able to go outside we were going to go house in this certain area but things kept happening like.. My bikes basket broke so we had to go order me a new one and my companions basket cover tore and just a lot of things that kept us from getting to the area we wanted to be, so finally we started heading over there and we both felt that the area was too far and we didn't have a ton of time before we had to go back, so we decided to house some apartments that were right next to where we were at, and as we were walking we saw this super blonde super Caucasian lady talking English to this Japanese guy. So my companion yelled over to them "are you gaijin!?" And we started talking with them (and this time I was able to actually participate!!) apparently they were going to open this cafe soon but the typhoon completely destroyed it! So we offered to help fix it up with them! So we've gone over a couple times to play with their little girls so they can have their hands free to work.  Oh! Also on Wednesday morning there was a baby earthquake! It was so small my companion who was in the shower at the time didn't even feel it. But I asked other people and they felt it too so I promise I'm not making it up. So, my companion showed me super old Mormon messages last night. Everyone needs to go see them. They are about the cheesiest things I've ever seen and they made me so happy! They are called home fronts. Most of them end with "family, isn't it about.... Time?" Oh man. I'm so glad they got better.  Speaking of, I have to give the spiritual thought tonight at our volleyball activity and because I still can't speak in coherent sentences in Japanese yet.. haha I'm sharing a Mormon message!  I'm super excited. I've basically watched all of them. I think I've watched "because of Him" one a million times and it still makes me tear up every time. It's so cool. If you haven't seen it in a while to watch it. Most everyone here we talk to barely knows about Jesus Christ. Most are Buddhist and worship their ancestors or Shinto and believe that everything has a different God. It's really fun to talk to people about who Jesus Christ is thought. Japanese people are just so funny. I love talking to them. I tell them I've been in Japan for 2 weeks and they just freak out. "ほんと?? じょうすですね." They like to tell me I am very skilled at Japanese. But I've heard they just say that to people who can't speak Japanese very well to make them feel better. But ha, I say it back at them when they try to speak English, so I always speak English to them to see if they understand. I'll say  "do you speak English?" And they always say no haha but then I'm like, "ah you understand! So skilled!" わかります! じょうず 素晴らしい! But I wish I had more exciting things happen! We just ride our bikes a lot and talk to people :) this week we do get to go to a conference type thing and I'm pretty excited about that! I hope everyone is doing well! Until next week! 
ホワイト 姉妹

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week two in Japan

Hey everyone!

This might be a shorter email :( sorry! It's my first time on my iPad
and it's a little difficult. I've always known I was technologically
challenged! Anyway! This week was so good! It was also pretty busy!
(As it should be eh?) so Monday after emailing we went to this
beautiful waterfall near Miyakonojo and it was so amazing!! It's the
only pictures I got this week so I'll send them with this email haha
but it was so green! You don't see anything like it in Utah. Nothin
crazy exciting happened this week! Just me trying to learn the
language as best and as fast as I can! It's hard to find anyone here
because it's so country. Everything is spread out pretty far. Lots and
lots of houses to knock on though :) I'm getting really used to
housing. At first I really really didn't like it, but now I get really
excited to go out! I get to practice my Japanese a lot that way.
Yesterday we had church, and I just do a lot of listening and trying
to figure out what's going on. It's really good practice for my
understanding, and then after I get to practice it when I house! It
really helps to just listen. After listening for 5 hours yesterday (2
extra meetings) I went out and I actually could participate so much
more than before! It was so awesome. Japanese people are so amazing. I
don't know if I could say it enough! They are so unbelievably kind and
understanding! Even if they aren't interested in what they have to say
they will still talk to us and be so nice. There was this one lady we
talked to yesterday as we were talking to her she pulled out this
spray and started spraying us! I was so confused what she was doing
until I realized it was bug spray and she did it so we wouldn't get
bit! Haha a lot of Japanese lady's like to tell me that I'm really
cute. I think they think I'm shy because I don't say anything and so
they try to encourage me. I'm not shy! I just don't know what's going
on! So we will be traveling a lot soon. Last week we travel to
Kagoshima for a zone training meeting and tomorrow we are going to
Miyazaki for District meeting haha and then Saturday we get to go to
the temple!! So we are going to take a bus to Fukuoka then. Lots of
traveling. On Sept 2. we are also going somewhere TBA for a member of
the 70 to come speak to us! Yay! Anyway, it's been really fun and I'm
getting used to being out in all sorts of weather haha. I've just
noticed so much that Heavenly Father is so aware of us. It has been so
hot to the point I am just dripping sweat and I barely feel the heat (
I just notice the sweat dripping down my face haha) or it's been so
rainy that I am absolutely drenched with water but it doesn't bother
me in the slightest. I just love it all! The food has been good! I've
been avoiding weird stuff and think my companion realized that I don't
do well with super crazy stuff so we eat cereal for breakfast, a lot
of curry and rice and veggies and I am so good with it! Also they have
THE best crackers here I've ever tasted. I'm obsessed. Also their
bread is way better than any kind I've ever had in America. It's
unreal. Also I haven't seen any super crazy bugs besides the one I saw
last week so I'm also very grateful for that. Okay sorry I don't have
anymore time but really quick I was reading the conference talk
"therefore they hushed their fears" by David A. Bednar. It's so good!
It talks about overcoming fears and it even quotes Peter walking on
the water which I've already mentioned is my favorite. We just need to
trust and have faith in God and everything will work out. Everyone go
read that talk! It's amazing :)

Love you!

White Shimai

P.s. I have never loved my last name and also been so afraid of it
more than I have in Japan. I love it because when someone says
"Howaito Shimai" it means someone wants to talk to me and I love that!
It scares me because when I hear it.... It means someone wants to talk
to me and I won't understand anything they are saying haha.

 The waterfall is in the background! This is my companion Sister Mills!
 This is my companion haha I don't know what she is doing. But look how green everything is!!!
These are the elders: Suares Churo and Knighton Churo and also our wonderful member who we spend most of our time with Shinko Shimai (shinko=faith) she is literally one of the best people ever. Also she speaks English. I love her!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

First Week In Japan! Miyakonojo

Okay to start off, I cannot figure out this keyboard, its killing me. the punctuation is all in different areas. Anyway oh my goodness! Im in Japan!! So traveling here was a little crazy. Our flight to colorado was 2 hours late which meant we missed our flight to tokyo and had to spend the night in colorado. It was pretty stressful but thankfully we were able to get it figured out for the 25 people we had in our group and we all made it! Finally! We flew out to Tokyo the next afternoon and I was told to help jet lag not to sleep the entire plane ride and just to sleep when I got there. So that is what I did, I didnt sleep at all the entire flight (two flights one to tokyo and one to fukuoka) and then we finally got there and I was so excited to sleep! And then President Egan told us that since we missed an entire day that we had to do training until about 1-2 in the morning!! I was soooooo tired! So we ended up staying up until about 230 am and then we got up at 530 the next morning to go to our area! My first area is Miyakonojo! (Ill talk more about that in a second) anyway so it was a 4 hour bus ride, and thankfully there was another elder that was being transferred to my district also so he helped me out a lot. I sat next to this sweet Japanese lady the whole ride and I tried to have a couple conversations with her that ended up being like: `Nihon is very pretty.` then she would say something and I would just say `i:m sorry my japanese is very bad i don`t understand` haha and then I would try again. It was really sad haha but I tried! Then I finally got the Miyakonojo and met my new companion! Her name is Sister Mills and she is super cute. This is her first time training and she is really excited to train. She has been so great and so helpful. Also very encouraging of my japanese which is just horrible haha. I don`t understand anything! Japanese people speak so fast! That first day we went to get my bike and we did a lot of planning. We met someone named Kimura at the bike store and he was the sweetest! He saw that we were American and so he tried to speak english to us (He didnt speak english at all haha) but he tried so hard! I was so grateful. People in America just expect everyone to speak English in america but everywhere else everyone tries to help you out! Especially Japanese people. Everyone comes up to me when they find out that I dont know any Japanese and will say any words they know in English and then try to help me with my Japanese. I love them! So that night we got my bike and then we did some planning which took a while.. and I didn`t go to bed until 10:30 so if you want to count that up, I only slept about 3 hours in 50 hours. (I wrote in my journal that night `I am so tired right now I think I might die.`)  So this area is very country side. Not a lot of people outside so we have to house (door contacting) to find anyone. Right now we only have a couple of investigators. One is Kodama San! He is like super legit. He used to be in the Yakuza!! (Japanese Mafia) haha so he is pretty hardcore. but he is also like 65 years old so he`s just super funny. Japanese people.. man they are so interesting. They keep to themselves and are very quiet. When you talk to them they don`t say anything unless you ask them a question and then they just say oh i don`t know haha you really have to pry to get them to talk. I`ve only met a couple that were super genki (like.. outgoing?) and even then they weren`t like americans are. I just feel like these people need to be loved SO much. I want to love them so badly but I dont know how to say anything to them! So I literally just smile at them. When my companion is talking I just smile like so big at them and hope that they can feel how much I want to love them haha. It sounds cheesy but it`s the only thing I can do right now! Yesterday it rained like crazy!! We were out housing and we got soaked. It was actually so much fun haha. Japanese people think we are crazy Americans. I absolutely love it. OH! So I said we went housing yesterday and we knocked on so many doors and nobody was interested and then we knocked on a door and this cute adorable little girl answered and we asked if her parents were home and her grandma came out. Her grandma talked to us for like 45 minutes about so many things! I didnt get most of it but they were talking about dancing and how we dont drink alcohol and just a ton of different things it was super funny! and APPARENTLY her son is serving a mission (!!!!!!) in Kobe! But she isn`t a member and doesnt really know anything about our church (WHAT!!!) It was crazy and so she told us that she wasn`t super interested in the church but that she loved us and so she would come to eikaiwa class! woohoo! So I hope she will come. Anyway, so something I thought a lot about yesterday and today that I want to share really quick. I had a moment yesterday where I was thinking about everything that happened that day and i felt so overwhelmed and just didnt know if I could do it. This was after church and before we went housing. I was so overwhelmed but then when we went housing, it starting raining so hard on us and I just had an even better feeling of peace and happiness. It was so amazing. It just helped me remember that we gain blessings after the trial of our faith. No matter what hard thing we are going through as long as we push through it and keep going we will see those blessings that God has in store for us. He will bless us! We just have to keep fighting to get them!! Okay I should go but I love you all!!! I`ll try to figure out how to send pictures :)


White Shimai
 EW. These bugs make this crazy sound. But thank you little bug for dying on our steps so i could take a picture of how disgusting you are!
 Okay, this was so gross. I thought that brown stuff was going to be like sweet and the balls were going to be like jello.. but nooo. The brown stuff was like.. I dont even know, tart? almost like sand. and the balls were like those small squishy bouncy balls that are made of rubber. Thats what it tasted like anyway. Apparently a lot of people eat this haha
Right before I tried it.
 This is my bed. you think it would be uncomfortable but after working all day and biking all day it is seriously the most exciting thing all day to get into bed. 
 This is our kitchen table haha
Okay I`m sorry for how bad I look. This picture is a lot of things in 1: first, this is right after I got home from housing all day in the rain, second this is how I eat at the table, third I am using chopsticks (not even japanese chopsticks.. korean chopsticks cuz theyre pretty legit) and the last thing- that bottle on the table is what everyone drinks here. Its super good actually. Its like water and lemonade combined but it doesn`t taste like watered down lemonade haha. 
 pictures from before we left the MTC. I love this people!!

The morning in the Hombu (mission home in Fukuoka) this was at like 6 am haha super tired!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Last Week In The MTC!

Hey Everyone!

Okay, so this will probably be a super short letter. I've been up since 5:30 this morning just to get things done! So I still have so much to do :) I didn't realize how crazy busy this last week would be in the MTC. Haha I feel like I haven't spoken Japanese in forever, and in a few days I'll be immersed in it! I'm freaking out a little bit. I feel like I don't know anything! I know I always only talk about the devotionals here.. but this week I HAVE to talk about them. We had Sheri Dew... AND the newly appointed President Russell M. Nelson come speak to us! It was seriously the best last Tuesday night devotional ever! I'm going to write straight out of my journal some of the things that I felt. "When Russell M Nelson walked into the room, we were in the middle of singing prelude music. The song that we happened to be singing at that moment was 'Our Savior's Love' and as he walked into the room, we all stood up and sang this song to him. I immediately had this overwhelming feeling of how much God loves His apostles and how much His apostles sacrifice for Him." I later talked to a couple of the sisters and they said they felt the exact same thing. I felt so grateful to be in the same room with him! Even if there were 2,500 other missionaries in the same room haha. President Nelson's talk focused on missionary work obviously, but he compared us to the stripling warriors (also an obvious statement haha) but then he said something that I had never thought about the strippling warriors. He said something around this (according to my journal.. or maybe it's just what I got from what he had said...) "As we go through life we will be wounded in battle, just as the Strippling Warriors were. In Alma 57 vs 25 it says that "there was not one soul of them who did perish.." Which is amazing considering the numbers they were fighting but then it says ".. yea and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds...Because of their exceeding faith in what they had been taught to believe- that there was a just God and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power." We will all be wounded so many times." (ending my journal entry) We aren't here on earth to be stagnant, to have a perfect life with no scars. We are meant to have battle wounds and to show them proudly! God will and has preserved us! I just loved that so much! And then something really quickly from Sheri Dew. She talked about personal revelation. She touched on how we should always be asking questions. Never not ask questions. We grow the most spiritually when we "spiritually wrestle with the Lord" She said asking questions leads to knowledge, greater faith, peace and often.. they lead to answers. And then she talked about how we personally receive revelation from the Lord. She talked about a sister who had been talking about how she just didn't feel like she understood how the Lord talked to her. and Sheri Dew told her "Have you ever asked the Lord to teach you?" The Lord can teach us how He will give us revelation. We just have to ask. Most of the things that we worry about or stress about with the gospel, we just have to ask the Lord! He will tell you. 

I'm so sorry if this is all over the place! I hope the stories made sense. The next time I will be e-mailing will be from somewhere in Japan!! 

White Shimai

Saturday, August 1, 2015

One More Week!

Hey Everyone :) 

This week nothing all that exciting happened.. but we had a lot of just amazing devotionals. My notebook is just filled with pages from each devotional and I just love it. I'll share some of my favorite things. Sunday's devotional was by Stephen Allen. I think he work here at the MTC, but we've heard him speak before (being here almost 8 weeks we get repeat speakers haha) Anyway, he is very energetic and a lot of fun to listen to! One of my favorite things he said was while he was quoting Alma 26:28 where it talks about being patient in our afflictions. He said "When your heart aches, it stretches and makes room for greater things." I absolutely loved that. As missionaries even just in the MTC we are stretched and pushed sometimes far beyond what we think we can do. But somehow we end up being able to do those hard frustrating things that we didn't think we could do. It's the same in day to day lives. We have to stretch ourselves, because if we don't we will miss out on amazing things. Push ourselves to do something that we don't think we can do. There will be heart aches a long the way, and frustrations, especially with yourself and with others. But if we keep going and doing our best we will be filled with such great experiences. Another thing Brother Allen said that I thought is something that everyone should be reminded is that Satan KNOWS us. He knows us personally.. just like Jesus Christ. And just like Jesus Christ he knows our weaknesses. He knows how to push our buttons and dangle your weaknesses and insecurities in front of you. Don't let him do it! This may sound so silly as a 24 year old to say but sometimes when I am feeling insecure or annoyed at myself I will out loud tell Satan to just go away. Recognizing that it is Satan helps so much. One thing I have learned especially while I have been here that joy overrules sadness. If I go a day where I am so frustrated all morning, and I don't feel adequate and I can't do anything right, and then have one hour of happiness and a tender mercy from Heavenly Father saying "you can do this" then that frustrating morning doesn't even matter because in that moment I realize that I'm not doing this for myself, or (and especially) on my own. The joy of that one moment makes that morning of frustration worth it. Trials and frustrations and feeling inadequate, and those times where you have no idea what you're doing in life. Those things are in our lives for a reason. It's so that when we do realize the blessings we have, they will be so much more noticeable in our lives. I just love that I know that. I feel so blessed constantly to know that no matter what, after any trial I will be blessed if I just can hold on and make it through it. (Ketsui ga arimasu ;) I have a commitement for you! Read Alma 26 and think about how it can apply to your life, right now. Brother Allen said that it was Ammon's homecoming talk :) 

Another thing that I have started doing this week is starting in the very beginning of the Bible (old and new testament) and the Book of Mormon at the same time. I'm reading them next to each other and it is just amazing. Reading 3 different books (a long with all my study books ..I have a language book that is like 700 pages that I want to try to read a couple times that is all about grammer. ehh) felt like it would be a little bit of a chore, but it has been the biggest spiritual blessing. It's just true. All of it. Seeing the similarities and the insights I gain from all three of them. It is so amazing and I am so excited to continue to do it. I am so grateful for scriptures! I have totally become a scripture snob and if I have any spare time I am reading one or the other.. or the other. Sometimes I'll spend too much time in one and then I have to get myself to read the other, and then I end up spending too much time in that one haha, and its a vicious circle. its a rough life ;) It's just the best. Being a missionary is the best. What other time can I just completely dive into the gospel of Jesus Christ all day every day?! 

Okay one more devotional story and then I'll be done. I promise. on Tuesday night for our devotional we had someone named L. Lionel Kendrick (usually are speakers are former mission presidents) speak to us. And the coolest thing happened. So our Elders were sitting up in the very top of the balcony, and they could see that Brother Kendrick was using a teleprompter so that he could give his talk without looking down (like they do in General conference) Anyway, at the very end of his talk, he gave us all a priesthood blessing, every missionary in the MTC (I don't know how that works but it was super legit) and he blessed us with the following: That we will be willingly obedient and teachable, we will be receptive to the spirit, we will have joy and success in our missions, that we will have an added measure of the spirit of discernment and that we will have the special ability to dispel darkness including doubt, discouragement and depression. The spirit was so strong in the room. And the reason why I told you about the teleprompter was because the churotachi said that as he gave that blessing, they noticed on the teleprompter that he was supposed to just close and end his talk, but instead he went off script and felt prompted to give this blessing to all of the missionaries. 

Being in the MTC is one of the most amazing things that I have ever been able to do in my life. The spirit here is constant. Everyone loves each other so much, even when we may not really like each other (haha clique) I get to go to Japan in 11 days and I will miss being here so much. My district have become my family, and I will miss them so much when we are split up (but thankfully we are all going to the same mission so I will still see them!) We get our flight plans tomorrow so it's actually happening! I'm so so excited for Japan. I am nervous because I know that there will be heartaches and trials that I can't begin to understand, but I know it is going to be the best thing, and that I will be so grateful the rest of my life. It's already become the best thing of my life. I was talking to a sister in my district and she said that if she had to go home right now, she wouldn't ever want to be the same. The gospel of Jesus Christ changes people. It has changed me. We just have to allow ourselves to be changed. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has restored his true gospel on the earth with his true priesthood power and ordinances. If you are struggling to find reasons to go on, or if you are struggling to have faith, or humility, or charity, if you are struggling with anything. Give it to the Lord. He knows. He loves you. He wants you to be so happy!

I love you all!! If there is anything I can ever do for any of you please let me know!!


White Shimai

18 days left in the MTC

Hey everyone!

This week was so amazing. Yesterday was my birthday, and I'm not going to lie, I wasn't expecting much out of an MTC birthday but I think it was the best birthday I have ever had! When you don't expect much and you get a lot, it really makes it a million times better! I'll recap it really quickly, but just know my writing will not do it justice. It was seriously amazing!! My district are all so selfless and they all went out of their way to try and make me have a good day. I first walked into my classroom at 8:30 in the morning and saw that the whole classroom was decked out in streamers and balloons (i'll send pictures!) and some of the churotachi were hiding inside the classroom to surprise me. Some of the other sisters gave up their gym time to go decorate the classroom. It was so sweet! Then right after we got to host new missionaries coming into the MTC! It was so much fun seeing the missionaries and their families say goodbye! I was able to take pictures for so many of them and I was so happy to be able to be apart of it. There were so many little sisters crying as their older brothers left and it just made me love families so much. Families are such a blessing and I'm so grateful for mine!! Then later that night after our regular class we got to do Skype TRC where we taught church members in JAPAN. So we were teaching legit Japanese members and it was such a cool experience. The brother we got was so kind and so encouraging of our broken Japanese. Most of these people didn't speak English at all and they were still able to understand what we were trying to say! It was so amazing. My companion and I came back from TRC a little later than the rest of my class and I saw on my desk were actual presents! My district bought cute gifts from the bookstore like extra flash cards and cute pens for me. My companion also asked her mom to send her some earrings that she could give to me. As missionaries in the MTC we don't have a ton of resources for birthday gifts, but they all went out of their way to give me such amazing gifts. Every one meant so much to me. One of the best ones that made me cry was a drawing Sister Elena Smith did for me. I had told my district previously that Peter and Jesus walking on the water was one of my favorite scripture stories, and I had bought a picture book at the bookstore that didn't have a picture of it in it! So she drew it for me, and she is so talented. I feel so unbelievable blessed to be around these elders and sisters. Not only is their ability to love so great, but their testimonies and strength lifts me up every day. It's impossible to be sad around them. Not only the things that my district did for me but all the dear elders and packages I got also were so wonderful! I made the record of dear elders and packages 1 person got in one day in our district ;) so thank you for helping me with that! I love you all so much!

While we were hosting this older brother (Elder Morgan) who is in charge of the hosting at the MTC told us a couple stories of Elders and sisters being dropped off. There was one that stuck out to me so much and I want to share it with you! He said that he was working at the front gate at the time and this rusty old old old truck puttered up to the window. He saw that it was a father and an Elder eager to be dropped off. He got past the front gate and to the curb and immediately this old rusty truck completely died. The elder was sent off with the hosting missionary to begin his mission and the father stayed back with the dead truck. Elder Morgan asked him what he wanted to do with the truck and the father told him that he would get someone to come tow the truck, but he didn't care because he had bought the truck for $600 just to drive his son from Ephraim to the MTC. This family was so poor and without means that they didn't own a car, and they had the faith of buying this truck that didn't work very well and without really knowing if it would even make it to Provo just so that the father could see his son off on his mission. It was a miracle that it made it to the MTC and to have it die the moment he pulled up to the curb of the MTC is just amazing. I'm so grateful to be able to be around those miracles every day and to hear so many other experiences from others! God truly looks out for his servants. 

Scripture of the day is Alma 37:34. I loooooove this scripture. "Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls" We should always be looking to do good works. We are put on the earth to uplift others, to serve and love one another. To humble ourselves to the Lord and put him first. My friend Madeline Vance sent me a poem yesterday that was written from a father to a daughter and one of my favorite lines is "Put the Savior first and your companion second. Do that, and you'll never be forgot nor left behind by either one" And I know that could be applied to anyone of your lives! Put the Savior first and your friends, your family, anyone you come in contact second, and you will see so many blessings! 

オワ ヒト Shimai
These are the sisters that decorated the entire room in streamers and balloons!
The drawing of Peter and Jesus walking on water that Sister Elena Smith drew for me!Absolutely beautiful!
My little gifts. I love them! The jornal had little notes from everyone saying the sweetest things. These missionaries are the best of the best, I am so lucky!