Thursday, January 28, 2016

Week 13 in Nagamine

Something really amazing happened this week!! I found out that I can
speak Japanese!! I don't know what happened but the past couple days
it's like a flip switched and I'm understanding and speaking so much
better now! I'm definitely still not fluent, but I can communicate
which is something I've been struggling to do since I've been here. We
were in a lesson yesterday and usually if I don't understand, instead
of translating it for me, my companion will repeat back to them what
they said (because I can usually always understand her Japanese) and
so this way we can really clarify that we are understanding them, and
then I can understand too. But during yesterday's lesson I didn't even
need her to repeat it back because I understood!! I still have so far
to go haha, but I feel like it's coming which I have been struggling
to see so far. The gift of tongues is so real. On Sunday during relief
society, we broke up into little groups, and somehow we got on the
topic of missionaries learning Japanese. Japanese people will always
compliment your Japanese no matter how bad you are at it, but members
are actually usually very honest if you aren't all that great. But
they were talking about how compared to anyone else they've seen learn
Japanese compared to missionaries learning Japanese, missionaries who
have been out 6 months compared to someone who has been studying and
living in Japan for a year are so much better at the language. We
definitely have the Lord helping us!
This week was a way fun week! Last Monday we went to the Kumamoto
castle again! But this time with 2 other elders that weren't able to
go last time. It was way fun, but it is getting really cold!! It
snowed like crazy on Sunday. For some reason I wasn't expecting to see
snow in the southern part of Japan, but we got it! Apparently it's
rare to have so much snow in Kumamoto. I thought dendoing in snow
would be miserable, but it's actually really fun haha! The first time
it got really cold, we weren't prepared and I was so cold!! But after
that we haven't gone outside without being super prepared, so it's
been way good. And everyone makes a mini snowman and puts it on their
front porch. Like everyone! It's way cute! I haven't seen a big
snowman anywhere yet though.
Tuesday we went out to to shabushabu which is basically where you
throw raw meat and veggies and whatever kind of food into a lot of
boiling sauce, and you eat it out of the pot. It was sooo good! We
went with one of the kumamoto sisters investigators who comes to
eikaiwa. She is the cutest thing ever, but left to Fukuoka for a
couple of weeks to receive a promotion for her job. Haha she left on
Sunday and she came to Nagamine ward in the middle of sacrament
meeting to say goodbye to us because she couldn't come to the Kumamoto
sacrament meeting because she had to catch a train. Anyway in the
middle of sacrament meeting a member comes up to me and tells me that
there is someone outside that needs to talk to me, and my companion
was on the stand because she was giving a talk, and you can't just
leave the chapel without your companion, so I was like super flustered
and kind of stayed half in the chapel and half in the foyer.  Until
the elders ran to my rescue and my companion left the stand to come
see what was going on haha. So all the missionaries left in the middle
of sacrament meeting just so someone could say bye to us.
Anyway, all 3 of our investigators are doing so well! We have two with
baptismal dates and one who is just the sweetest lady ever and I love
her so much.
Parmley Shimai and I have been really trying to focus on our
investigators needs as we teach and we have seen some amazing miracles
from it. We had a special missionary broadcast this week with members
of the missionary council teaching us and it was so good. One thing I
really got out of it is that we are only the Lords tools and we can
only bring the gospel to them. They have to be willing to bring it
into their hearts, and that only works through the spirit. As we've
been focusing on the needs of our investigators, we do our best to
bring the gospel to their lives, but they have to be willing to open
their hearts to the spirit that will testify to them. It is with
investigators, and the same with members. It is so easy to close your
heart to the spirit. Sometimes you don't even realizing your doing it.
My companion gave her talk on Sunday about the basics of the gospel.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the in depth facts of the gospel,
that we forget about the basics. Praying. Praying is a basic, but when
was the last time that you really prayed to Heavenly Father? Not a
repetitious blessing on the food or cry out for help when you get
stuck, but a real heartfelt conversation? When was the last time you
read the scriptures and compared it to your life? Putting your name in
place of Nephi, or Alma or maybe even Corianton? And when was the last
time you went to church, not because it's something you do every week
but for the sole purpose that you get to take the sacrament and to
think about Jesus Christ? I know I didn't do it too often before my
mission, and sometimes even now I forget. But the basics are what
brings the spirit into your heart. The basics are what slowly and
surely change your life. I recently watched the Mormon message "The
Hope of Gods light" I wish it was in Japanese because I would show
that video to everyone! It doesn't happen at once. It happens over
time until one day you look back at your experience and realize that
God has been leading you and guiding you the entire time. I love the
gospel so much. Every single day I learn more and more. I love reading
the scriptures every day and sharing my testimony! I love our
Priesthood leaders and that we can use Gods power whenever we need it.
I love the temples and the joy and peace I feel every time I even
think about going. I honestly could go on much longer, but I just
really love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to be a
member and to be able to learn so much from the tools God has given us
to learn from. Life is so good!!
Haha anyway, transfer calls are today and I am really really really
hoping me and Parmley Shimai are staying! But they always come way
after email time, so I will let you know next week what happens :)

Anyway here are more pictures of Kumamoto castle and other random
things :) love you all!!
White Shimai


Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 12 in Nagamine

Hello Everyone!

This week was amazing! I really don't think I have much to say though.
We had some really awesome lessons with our investigators. We were
able to meet with all of our investigators this week and they are all
progressing so well! I can't wait to see what else happens with them!
Me and Sister Parmley are doing so well together! We have so much fun
and we talk a lot! Last night we knocked on a house with 2 old
obaachans (grandmas) and they were so excited and surprised to see us
they asked us to come in and they fed us treats and we talked for a
long time. They were just hilarious old lady's! I loved them so much.
We took a picture together so I will attach it. Also, this doesn't
have to do with me, but some of the elders in the Kumamoto area had
police come and take them to the police station and so they ended up
almost missing church because of it. Haha apparently they thought that
one of the elders had stolen a bike. But I guess the police officer
and the elders became really good friends. The police officer asked
them that if he saw them on the street if he could come say hi and
talk to them haha. Japanese people. Speaking of, we had a guy
following us the other day, and we got a little worried but it just
turned out that he wanted to take our picture. Seriously, I've never
been asked by so many random strangers if they could take a picture
with me.
Today in personal study I came across this quote by Dallin H Oaks in
the institute manual for Romans:
“In the second chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul teaches that God
will ‘judge the secrets of men’ (Romans 2:16). His judgment will be
‘according to truth’ (Romans 2:2). In describing that judgment, Paul
contrasted the position of those Jews who preached the law and then
did not practice it with Gentiles who did not have the law but whose
actions ‘shew the work of the law written in their hearts’ (Romans
2:15). He concluded his example with this teaching:
“‘For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that
circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
“‘But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of
the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not
of men, but of God.’ (Romans 2:28–29.)
“To paraphrase, a person is a true Latter-day Saint if he (or she) is
so inwardly, if his conversion is that of the heart, in the spirit,
whose praise is not from men for outward acts but from God for the
inward desires of his heart.
“… The issue is not what we have done but what we have become. And
what we have become is the result of more than our actions. It is also
the result of our attitudes, our motives, and our desires”

I love the last two paragraphs. It doesn't matter what we have done
but who we have become. Our actions lead us to the person that we are
going to become, so we must choose good works and actions, but the
actions in and of themselves don't mean anything. It is how we change
and who we become because of those actions. If we choose to follow
Gods commandments we will naturally become more like God, if we choose
to be lazy in our actions, we will become lazy. As long as we have a
conversion of heart, and our actions come from real intent, that is
all that matters. We just have to try our hardest and do our best in
order for us to become the person that God wants us to become. God
won't make us become someone we don't want to or care to become. It is
a personal, inward choice. I just love how much trust God gives to us.
Anyway, love you guys!! Hope you have a fantastic week!

White Shimai

The two obaachans
6 am volleyball

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Week 11 in Nagamine

こんにちわ皆さん🤓 (new emoji's on the iPad whaaa)
Hi everyone :)
Basically so many of my favorite people emailed me today and I just
want to shout out to them and tell them that I absolutely adore you
guys. (You know who you all are!!) I love you!!!!
This week went well! We taught so many lessons and talked to so many
people. It was a very good week. Wednesday we taught two of our
investigators and both lessons went really awesome. I just know that
the Lord is helping us do His work. Sometimes I look back on a lesson
and wonder how it went well with our ばらばら Japanese, but if the spirit
is there, we could be saying whatever and it would still turn out to
be an awesome lesson. The spirit is so important!! せいれいは大事ですね。
We also had interviews with Egan Kaicho this week on Thursday! It was
fun to see him and Egan Shimai, they are just the best. I also got to
see some people from my doki too!
On Friday we went with a member to visit her friend who she's been
wanting to meet with the missionaries forever (they've been friends
for 10 years and she's been waiting until she felt it was right..) so
finally it's right I guess! And it went really well! Her friend was
the cutest, and her mom was even cuter. She's an 88 year old おばちゃん
(Grandma) and everything we said she would just say ですね ですね (isn't
that so?) I love how there are so many ways to agree with someone in
Japanese haha. It was so great!
We woke up at 6 on Saturday to go play volleyball at the church with
the Elders, and that was way fun too. We don't actually have a
volleyball net, so we used a badminton net, and hoisted it up on some
chairs. It was effective... かな。。。haha but it was definitely fun which
is always a good way to start the day! We want to do it more often.
Also Saturday we went to the Kumamoto ward's activity where they made
mochi which is basically mashed up rice that Japanese people love so
much. It was so fun to watch them make it haha. They take rice and
literally mash it in this stone basin, and then they take these huge
mallets and pound it. Haha it was so funny. I'll send a video. After
they made the actual mochi, they made all these different kinds of
treats and food with it. It was way fun, but I am personally not a big
fan of the stuff. It kind of feels like you're eating a big wad of
gum. But Japanese people love it!
Today is Elder Ishizu and Elder Agnew's birthday (also my brothers and
my little sisters.. January 11th is just a birthday day I guess!)
anyway, so we woke up this morning at 5:30 to get stuff to make
breakfast for them, and then we went and doorbell ditched the
breakfast at 6:30 so haha it's already been a long day! But way fun!
Like always! 🤗
Oh also, yesterday as we were dendoing in a super far away place, we
bumped into one of our old investigators! It was way far away from
where he lives and just super random! Haha so we talked to him for a
bit and went to lunch with him today. He told us how he was so
impressed with how happy we were after he realized how far we had
biked to that area. I know he can sense a difference about us. He kept
asking what the differences were between Americans and Japanese
people. I tried to tell him it wasn't just the culture, but it was
because of our religion too! He said he loved our conversation and I
really hope we get to start teaching him again.
Anyway, that's all for now. Summarizing a week as a missionary is just
difficult. Hopefully I said something that is actually interesting! Oh
also I hit my 7 month mark yesterday. Pretty sure I just left for the
MTC like 2 weeks ago. #timeflies (are hashtags still a thing??)
ホワイト 姉妹

Someone yelled "Grandma, Peace!" and she threw up a peace sign. Oh man it was so funny.

6 am volleyball!
Loving my doki people <3

Everything Kumamon for 8 dollars!

making mochi!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Week 10 in Nagamine

I am a little excited that the holidays are over so that we can
finally have normal p-days. They've been all over the place with the
holidays so now it's going to be back to normal every Monday :)
anyway, this last week on Friday for p-day we went to the Kumamoto
castle which was so amazing! I have lots of pictures I will be
sending. Other than that, I just a really long email on Friday so I
don't have much to say. We did set a baptismal date with one of our
investigators so I'm really excited about that! He came to church and
had a really good lesson with him. Other than that though, my
companion has been really sick so we have been staying inside and
going really slow. It hasn't been too bad, but last night another
sister in our apartment was also feeling sick so I went on splits with
her companion so they could stay at the apartment together and get
rest. Anyway, Sister Burnside is only transfer two so I was in charge
again. When we were knocking on doors this one lady came out and
started talking to us for a super long time. And since it was up to me
to understand hahaha I just nodded and said a lot of 'so desu ne's and
'honto desuka?'s and even though I didn't understand probably 75% of
what she said, at the end she told me that she didn't expect me to
understand her Japanese but she was surprised that I understood all of
it. Haha it made me so happy. And she was so happy to talk to us and
asked us to come back and visit her again. Japanese people are the
best! Anyway, I think that is all for now. I love being out here, I
love my mission. I'm so grateful for my Savior and that I get to talk
and read about Him everyday. Love you guys!!
White 姉妹

Friday, January 1, 2016

Week 9 in Nagamine

Hi Everyone!
So I feel like I haven't written a solid email in a while. It's been a
crazy couple of weeks! We had transfers and ever since transfers it's
been a little crazy. My new companions name is Parmley Shimai and she
is seriously the best. I just love her. We get along so well and she's
so much fun. She has been out about 9 months and I'm at 6 months so
our Japanese separately isn't that great but together we get a lot of
things done which has been really cool. I've been able to realize that
I know a lot more then I ever gave myself credit for for having a
Japanese companion who spoke the language fluently. But the week after
transfers was a little nuts. I got sick 2 days after transfers,
Parmley Shimai got into 2 separate bike accidents (not bad ones, but
bad enough we had to take her bike to get fixed, she was totally fine)
and then we had Christmas and we've had a lot of Christmas parties.
It's just been crazy. This last week also has been a whole bunch of
New Years things going on. The holidays are just a little crazy as a
missionary haha. It's been way fun though. Christmas Day was so
amazing. I got to Skype my family and meet my new nephew which was so
amazing, and then we had zone p-day and we got to watch Big Hero 6!
I'm glad I didn't watch it before my mission because I never would
have appreciated the little Japanese quirks in it. It was so much fun!
And then we went to a members house for dinner that night. The best
part of the night was as we (the missionaries) were singing a hymn,
the 89 year old grandma and the 60ish year old husband got into a
literal cat fight over the husbands brother in law. Imagine a really
old Japanese grandma and this short white hair'd guy slapping each
other as another 60 year old tried to push them away from each other.
And the wife had her eyes closed listening to us sing. We could barely
hold it in as we were singing. It was the funniest thing I've ever
seen! Saturday and Sunday were just normal days (although I did give
another talk in church so that was exciting!) Monday was also just
normal. Then on Tuesday I had splits with Sato Shimai! She's from my
doki (my MTC group) so it was so fun dendoing with her!! She is the
cutest and doesn't speak any English haha. But it was way fun, and she
is so much fun to dendo with. I love going on splits! I just love
other missionaries so much. I'm always so impressed with them and what
each of them want to become. I've realized that the people that come
on missions, just want to be better. That's something (among a million
other things) I love about our church. We know that we are all
imperfect but we all just keep trying. And especially on your mission
where all of your weaknesses are shown to you, everyone here is so
uplifting and understanding. There are difficult people to get along
with like always, but there is always so many things to learn.
Wednesday was just a futsu dendo day and yesterday my companion got
sick so we had to cancel a dinner appointment. (although we did eat at
a lunch appointment before she got sick and ate so much squid... i
don't blame her for being a little sick haha) Today we are going to
try to go to the Kumamoto Castle. I'm super excited about it! I've
been wanting to go since I've been here!
This week we have been focusing on the New Years and asking people
that if they could choose one kanji for last year what would it be,
and one kanji for next year what it would be. We have gotten some
really really cool answers! Many people choose things like 幸  Shia
from shiawase meaning happy, or blessed. Others chose 感 kan from
kansha 感謝 meaning grateful. When we asked what they would choose for
this next year we got a lot of answers like love 愛, or to go forward
進. And we just tell them that we know through Christ all things are
possible. No matter what thing we want to accomplish this year, as
long as we us the strength that we receive from Christ we can do
anything. So I challenge you all to think of a word that you want to
make this next year! Mine is 成 from seicho meaning to grow or become.
There are so many things that I want to learn and I know that
especially through the hard times and the bad times that I will learn
so much and grow and become the person that I truly want to be.
Anyway, holidays out here are the best! We got some really cool return
appointments that we're really excited about and it's going to be an
amazing next year!! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New
Years! Love you all!!

White Shimai

Zone conference :)

Me and Parmley Shimai on Christmas!

District meeting lunch!
Junkai with Sato Shimai!!