Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 11 in Miyakonojo

Hi friends!

This week was SO good! Oh my goodness. I loved this week. I don't know why to be 100% honest, but looking back it just was such a good week. My companion and I just worked so hard and we went out and talked to people all week. It's interesting because we don't get a lot of people that are interested, but just the fact that I get to talk to these people and get to know them, is so much fun. We had a funny moment this week. So last week we were dendo'ing in an area and it was pretty dark outside right? So we were walking down this dark road and we look to our left and there are these super old Japanese people just sitting on these crates not really moving and staring at the floor. In the moment it really freaked us out. It was like super creepy and so like got out of that area fast right? Well this week we ended up going to that same area and we were walking down that same road (but it was during the day so it was light outside) and we saw those same 'people' sitting on the crates, bent over staring at the ground. It freaked me out again even though it was light outside, until we realized that they were scarecrows! They were sooooo life like though! I honestly thought they were just old Japanese people that had died sitting on the crates on the side of the road haha. Anyway, it was funny after we figured it out!

Sorry that my e-mails are so short and all over the place. Time flies by when I'm e-mailing. It's just crazy. I don't have anymore time, but know that I love it here! It's hard and frustrating, and sometimes I freak out that I'm in Japan instead of in school or working, but I know with all my heart that for some reason I am supposed to be here right now. I love it here. God is so aware of us. He knows what we need and He will give us the tools to succeed if we allow Him into our lives! Love you all! Have a great week! And keep me updated on your lives!
White Shimai

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Week 10 in Miyakonojo

Hey everyone!

This week we had interviews with my mission president! Oh my goodness it was the best thing ever. President Egan is such an inspired person. He said so many things that I needed to hear and just being with him made me feel so much better. He is such a good person! You can feel the love he has for his missionaries. Other than that, this week was good! I actually got pretty sick this weekend, so Saturday and Sunday were spent inside my apartment which was so crazy boring. I can't even begin to describe how boring it was, and on top of being sick it just made it worst. But! It's okay, because I feel a lot better today and I'm determined to make up for the weekend that we lost. Also, this week was so awesome because we got so many return appointments! So I am really excited for this week because we actually get to teach! (which is uncommon for us.. right now.) Haha one of my favorite things to do here is to talk to old ladies. They think we are just the cutest things ever. We knocked on this one house, and an older lady answered and saw us and immediately yelled into the house and said everyone come here! There are cute gaijin at the door! And 3 other old ladies came out and they all just pointed at us and said how cute we were and when we tried to talk about the church they just kept saying over and over again how cute we were. It was funny and frustrating, but more funny. Ah, Japanese people haha. 
Anyway, sorry that I don't have a ton of time to write (like every week..) but just know that I love the church, and I'm grateful to be learning so much about my savior each and every day here! I read this quote from an ensign article this week. "when the Lord wants to mold a person to play the noblest part, He makes him lonely so that only God's high messages shall reach him." Whenever we are feeling lonely and don't know what to do, it might be that the Lord is trying to tell us something and that we need to pray and search for what He is trying to tell us. We should always be striving to find those answers from the Lord, because He always has guidance that will help us and that He wants to give us!

Love you all! Have a good week!
White Shimai

Week 9 in Miyakonojo

Okay, I literally have no time to e-mail today. Sorry this is so short! GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THE BEST THING EVER! Oh my goodness. I loved it! Saturday was so great! Sunday was a little weird.. because we ended up having our investigator (our only one..) drop us in the middle of it. It was pretty sad to say the least. She told us that she was Buddhist and she just didn't think she could change. So conference was a little solemn after that. But besides that I noticed the theme of this conference was to just trust in the Lord. We don't know what things will lay ahead, but if we trust in the Lord and know that He will direct our lives, we can know, even in the midst of hard trials and times that everything will work out. I loved the motto that Sister Niell F Marriot had. "It will all work out." It really is an eternal motto that we can apply in all of our lives! Also, I loved the talk right after her that was talked about how we just need to ask the Lord what we need to change, and he will tell us. It might be just the smallest thing, but the Lord will tell us what we need to do to help us to progress and be better. Sorry if this is all over the place haha I love you all! Trust in the Lord! 

Have a good week! 
White Shimai

We went on splits this week! This is me and Wilkinson Shimai! And I
gorgeous sunset!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 8 in Miyakonojo

Hi everyone!

This week was so good here in Japan! The only sad thing is that I haven't been able to watch conference yet! But I get to next week so it is okay. This week on Thursday we had Zone Training Meeting up in Kagoshima, so I got to go up there and be around a whole bunch of missionaries and that was really awesome! I love being around other missionaries. They are so much fun and I get to hear all of their experiences and it's a blast. Although I don't get to see anyone from my doki and that makes me a little sad, but hopefully in the next couple transfers I will! We apparently have a very 'young' zone. A lot of the missionaries that are in our zone have only been out like 7 transfers ( a little less than a year) so that's pretty cool... I guess. I don't really know haha. And then on Friday we wanted to go visit one of our members who lives super far away and go dendo in her area and so we left around 2 to get to her area and got lost.. of course haha. We ended up biking about 25 miles that day just trying to get there and find our way back. (and there are a lot of hills in Miyakonojo haha) But it was so much fun! It was raining all week, and as we had planned to do this last week we were pretty nervous about riding our bikes in the rain all day, but Thursday came and it was the most perfect weather ever. It didn't rain once the whole day! I was definitely grateful for that! I really love biking here. There are so many rice fields that we pass by and it is so peaceful. When we got lost, we somehow ended up in between two rice fields where some people were working, and they saw us and just stared at us. Haha I wish I could have known what they were thinking. 

I am going to send another e-mail from my ipad really quick because the spiritual stuff is all on there :) and all the cool pictures haha.

White Shimai

Okay, so something I really like to do as I read the Book of Mormon is read the institute manual along with it to see insights from apostles and our leaders on those specific chapters. I was reading in Alma 26 and after I read this in the institute manual. Sorry it's kind of long but I love it!

Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy shared how his reading Alma 26 as a young missionary impacted his testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon:

“I was reading again the twenty-sixth chapter of Alma and the story of Ammon’s mission. I read out loud, as I sometimes do, trying to put myself in the position of the characters in the book, imagining that I was saying or hearing the words, that I was there. Once more I went over the report, and, with a clarity which cannot be described and which would be difficult to comprehend by one who has not experienced it, the Spirit spoke to my soul, saying, Did you notice? Everything that happened to Ammon happened to you?

“It was a totally unexpected sentiment. It was startling in its scope; it was a thought that had never occurred to me before. I quickly reread the story. Yes, there were times when my heart had been depressed and I had thought about going home. I too had gone to a foreign land to teach the gospel to the Lamanites. I had gone forth among them, had suffered hardships, had slept on the floor, endured the cold, gone without eating. I too had traveled from house to house, knocking on doors for months at a time without being invited in, relying on the mercies of God.

“There had been other times when we had entered houses and talked to people. We had taught them on their streets and on their hills. We had even preached in other churches. I remembered the time I had been spit upon. I remembered the time when I, as a young district leader assigned by the mission president to open up a new town, had entered, with three other elders, the main square of a city that had never had missionaries before. We went into the park, sang a hymn, and a crowd gathered.

“Then the lot fell on me, as district leader, to preach. I stood upon a stone bench and spoke to the people. I told the story of the restoration of the gospel, of the boy Joseph going in to the grove and the appearance of the Father and the Son to him. I remembered well a group of teenage boys, in the evening shadows, throwing rocks at us. I remembered the concern about being hit or injured by those who did not want to hear the message.

“I remembered spending time in jail while my legal right to be a missionary in a certain country was decided by the police authorities. I didn’t spend enough time in prison to compare myself to Ammon, but I still remember the feeling I had when the door was closed and I was far away from home, alone, with only the mercies of the Lord to rely on for deliverance. I remembered enduring these things with the hope that ‘we might be the means of saving some soul’ (Alma 26:30).

“And then on that day as I read, the Spirit testified to me again, and the words remain with me even today: No one but a missionary could have written this story. Joseph Smith could never have known what it was like to be a missionary to the Lamanites, for no one he knew had ever done such a thing before” (“Ammon: Reflections on Faith and Testimony,” in Heroes from the Book of Mormon [1995], 124–25).

As a missionary (so far haha) I haven't had people throw things at me or spit on me, and we are pretty well taken care of here. But there is a difference. As most of you who have been on missions know, when someone refuses to listen and stay in their misery it's heartbreaking. It's depressing, and it hurts. We talked to a lady who after we told her we taught about God and Jesus Christ told us that God doesn't love her. That if God loved her then her son wouldn't have died, that she wouldn't be alone, that she wouldn't have gone through the trials she had been through. We tried to tell her that He really does love her but she wouldn't listen, she told us to leave and not come back. It's something I've never experienced before. And the fact that we weren't able to help her because she wouldn't let us was even harder. 

I am so grateful that I know the God loves us, even those who may doubt it. Just because someone doesn't believe in something doesn't make it not true for them. And I know even though that lady didn't believe that God loves her, He does. Truth will always be truth, and the only way we can know for sure what is truth is to ask God for ourselves. I'm grateful to grow so much and learn so much while I'm here! Thanks for all of your support! 

Here are some pictures of a sunset we saw the other night!
(this is a different day, but still a pretty sunset!)