Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just Amazing

Lucy and her ward members

This week has been insanely busy. Saturday was the craziest day of my life. Sister McIntyre jam-packed our schedule and visited about 20 people, which meant a lot of bike riding and strategic route mapping. It was really fun. We were able to catch some of our investigators just arriving home or just about to leave their houses and share a short message with them. We also met with a less active woman and her daughter who we have been trying to reach for months, so Saturday was full of miracles. Then that night there was a talent show for one of the wards we attend. Last week we basically told everyone we know to come to the talent show, but we hadnt heard back from anyone so we didnt think there would be any investigators there. However, when we walked into the church we were greeted by 5 of our investigators who showed up!! We were most excited about this cute little father and daughter named the Chinzei family. Meeting them was a miracle.
We were riding our bikes around finding a few weeks ago when Sister McIntyre suddenly stopped and looked over at this one little staircase leading to an apt complex. She said that she thought that staircase looked familiar and that she had maybe met someone who lived in that apartment before...so we decided to go check it out. We knocked on the door that she thought she had before, but nobody answered so we thought maybe the Lord had led us to that building and there was someone living there that we needed to talk to. So we housed the whole building and one of the last doors we knocked was the Chinzei family. The little girl Hikari-chan answered and stood there for 15 minutes listening to our message. She is this adorable 13-year-old Okinawan girl. She looks truly Okinawan, with kind of darker skin, and big, light brown eyes. When we asked her to pray, she just went right ahead and did it even though she had never prayed before. We eventually met her dad, mom and older brother during other visits, who are all really nice.
Lucy with some investigators maybe?
Eating Higa's vinegar soaked food.  The members really take care of Lucy.  Thank you!
 Anyway, we have been praying and praying that well be able to teach her whole family or have some sort of other contact with them besides just standing in their doorway teaching Hikari-chan. So on Saturday night we were pleasantly shocked to see Hikari and her dad walk into the church!! They stayed for the whole talent show and met a lot of members. It seemed liek they had a really good time, so we were so happy. Heavenly Father really answered our prayers so that we could get them to the church!
Japanese ward members doing the bells at the talent show.  So fun!
 Sister McIntyre and I sang `More than Words` with guitar and other funny performances included all of the old Ojiisans and Obaasans (grandmas and grandpas) doing Abide with Me Tis Eventide with handbells. It was the cutest thing Ive ever seen. There was also a karate portion and my favorite was this old couple in the ward who always get all gussed up in these really sparkly outfits and put on tons of make-up and sing this really old school Japanese song to a karaoke track. We saw it once before at the karate charity concert we went to a few weeks ago, but it was just as awesome this time around. The ward members are so hilarious.
Missionaries with a giant pineapple.  I wonder why those boys won't join in the folding arms fun?
Last night we traveled to Okinawa so that we could spend the first half of our Pday with the sisters there. One of their investigators drove us to this nail salon called `Kokos,` which is apparently all the rage for the people living on the military bases in Okinawa. They do these super crazy designs on your toes, so all of the sisters got together and got pedicures for Pday. I got an African safari. After that we spent some time on the base so that Sister McIntyre and Beazer could buy some gifts for their families. Their missions are ending next week, so theyll be returning to America next Thursday ;(. Im so sad to see my dear trainer Sister McIntyre leave! She has been so amazing and we have seen some amazing things together. She is a really amazing missionary and I have learned so much from her.
Sister McIntyre will be missed! I wonder who's next?
Natsumi-san (our investigator with a baptism date) is still doing really well. She came to church on Sunday and when we asked her how following the Word of Wisdom is going she said, `Well, usually at work I have to drink tons of coffee in order to just stay awake, but ever since I stopped drinking it I havent even felt tired at work!` So you can imagine how incredibly excited we were to have her bear her testimony of the WOW! We are seriously so excited for her.
Lucy and Sister McIntyre at the nail salon.  So spoiled!

Check out these intricate designs! Amazing!
The work here is great and I am loving working here in Naha on the Island of Okinawa. This place is just so amazing and has such an incredible culture! I learn so much everyday and my faith is strengthened everyday by the people who I serve with!!! Please talk to someone you dont know this week, even if its just to ask them how their day is. We need to share our light with the world! I love you all
Missionaries on the beach for PDay.  Don't you wish you could get in? Poor sweltering hot Lucy!
Love, Sister Tingey

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Minasan Genki??
I sure am genki today!!!!!! We had the most amazing experience yesterday that I want to share with all of you. I think I have talked a little bit about a woman we've been teaching in my past emails. Her name is Natsumi Oohama. We found her one day when we were visiting someone in an apartment complex. We were standing in the hallway of the apartment complex and using Oohama-san's door as a place to write a note to the other person we were trying to visit, when she walked up with her friend and her little 4-year-old son Kotaro-kun. They started cracking up because I guess they were surprised that three Americans (this happened when we were in a three-some with Sister Lynch) were just randomly standing in front of her door. She and her friend were really giggly and were basically just making fun of us as we tried to teach them a little bit about Heavenly Father and our message. This was maybe my second week in the mission field and I remember thinking, 'This is so pointless, they're just laughing at us.' We stood there talking to them for a while, and then we always ask something like, "do you think you have interest in learning more about our message?" We asked that and in the midst of the laughter Oohama-san said, "kyomi ga arimasu" which means "yes, I have interest." I remember being really surprised but happy of course. Anyway, for a few weeks we tried to meet with her but she kept bailing on us. Eventually last transfer we were able to teach her for the first time, and ever since then we have been meeting with her once or twice a week. We also found out a few weeks after meeting her that she has an old record from 2007 when she used to be married. She went to English class at the church with her family but then never really took the lessons. We were really shocked to find her ancient record in the book but when we did we knew it was no coincidence that we had found her that day. We have been able to get to know her really well. She was raised as a Jehova's Witness but doesn't really belived or go to church anymore. She has also since been divorced and now lives alone with Kotaro-kun. She is incredibly kind and is really seeking for knowledge and happiness. She loves studying the Book of Mormon and has a really strong testimony of Christ and Heavenly Father. Gah, shes just so amazing. But anyway, up until now she has been keepign the sabbath day holy, and is now keeping the word of wisdom. She comes to church every Sunday and we have asked her to get baptized since the second time we met with her but she always says she's not ready. 
So yesterday she came to church but was acting kind of weird, and then she left early with Kotaro-kun. We didn't really think anything of it, but then at about 5 pm we got a call from her and she sounded really upset. We immediately jumped on our bikes and booked it over to her house (we had never been in her house before or been invited there before). On the bike ride over I had this feeling that something important was going to happen that night. I was just praying the whole way over there that whatever it was, it would somehow help her to accept the gospel. We arrived and ended up staying at her house for two hours just talking to her. She was having a rough day with just life problems (which we honestly couldn't really help her with), but the atonement of Jesus Christ can fix any problem so we just focused on that. We read DC 58:4 and 121:7-8 with her, and then read Mosiah 18 about the people of Alma being baptized. She really liked verses 10 and 11. The spirit was so strong! We shared some personal experiences and bore testimony that this IS the true gospel on the earth, restored by Joseph Smith, and that through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost she and Kotaro-kun would receive blessings that she couldn't imagine. We asked her to get baptized on July 23, and there was silence for about one minute as she just stared at Mosiah 18 mouthing the word "baptism" and nodding her head over and over. Then she finally looked up and said, "wakarimashita" which means, "Ok, yes" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Best day of my life probably. We are so excited for her!!!! I know that the gospel will bless her life SO much!
Other news....we had zone conference last Tuesday. Our transfer theme is Alma 57:27. We need to put all of our trust in God and never doubt! After zone conference we attended a funeral service for a member's mom who died. We sang during the service (mostly because the member whose mom died's relatives were all coming, and they're not members so she wanted them to hear us sing and meet us) haha. I love the member here. They even have dendo fire at a funeral. Anyway, it was really cool to attend the funeral just to see the traditions. You have to walk into this room all by yourself where all of the relatives of the person who died are sitting and do this special bow. first you turn to the right, bow, turn left, bow, then bow straight ahead to the huge flower shrine with the persons picture and pot filled with the ashes (bleh), and then place a flower on the table, back up, do the bowing thing again, and walk out. We didn't really know what was going on until they just shoved us into the room and made us do it. I was so nervous! I probably did everything wrong and offended everyone. But that was a cool experience.
Other than that it has just been boiling hot outside. Sometimes Sister McIntyre and I each have to take three showers every day just because we're so sweaty, haha. Today we are going with the zone leaders to this "cat cafe" or something. Elder Maeda is obsessed with cats....so im pretty excited to see what this cate cafe is all about, haha. If you know me at all you'll know that i think cats are the most detestable creatures on the earth. I'm hoping its called the cat cafe because that's whats on the menu :)
I love you all and hope you have an amazing week! Thank you for all of your prayers and help. You're all so amazing! Remember to have a prayer in your heart all day long so that Heavenly Father can lead you where you need to go! Love you!
Love, Sister Tingey

Monday, June 6, 2011


Lucy on her bike.  I hope she can bring that home! It's so sweet!
Hello my beloved family! So guess what? Everyone in the computer room is jealous right now because I have 25 emails in my inbox today! Bahaha. Almost all of them are picture Emails from Annie and Mom but I they said I set a new record. So thank you! Hehe.
Lucy and a cute lady
This week was super busy and amazing! Because its the start of a new transfer Sister McIntyre and I decided to kick it up a notch and make some new goals. One of the apostles said that missionaries should be able to teach at least 20 lessons every week...but lately we definitely havent been hitting that. So at the start of this last week we made some new goals to help us reach that number, and some other goals. And because of those goals we had a seriously amazing week! Two days this week we were miraculously able to teach 6 lessons each day, and we got two new investigators! And one of the women who became an investigator actually let us into her house when we came by to each her, which is a first (haha, yep). I also sat next to this girl on the train the other day when we were going to Shuri to look for that one referral, and we hit it off right away and were just chatting away on the train when all of a sudden it was her stop. I just quickly handed her a Book of Mormon and a flyer with our phone number on it and called out, `call us!` before she jumped off. And then that night she actually called!!!!! That is also a first, haha. her name is Marine and she also became an investigator this week. She is this adorable 20 year old kindergarten teacher. So we saw a lot of miracles this week.
Lucy looking miserable in her rain jacket
We were also able to find that woman who works at Shuri Castle that we were looking for last week. And remember the man who works as a guard at Shuri Castle who said he ran into the missionaries 30 years ago?? He had a lessons from the Shuri Elders this week and they scheduled a return appointment!!! Im seriously so happy about that. I dont know why, but Heavenly Father is just pouring down blessings on us. Sister McIntyre said she has never had so many investigators before on her mission, and this is her last transfer. I am going to take full advantage of this time!
Lucy with her new investigator
I love teaching because a lot of the time I dont really know exactly what the person is saying (whether is a less active member, investigator, person on the street, etc), but then I will catch a phrase or a word that will trigger something I studied that day in the scriptures, or a personal experience I have, and the spirit will prompt me to share that with the person. Sometimes I walk away thinking, `Ok, I had no idea what they were babbling on about, but I hope I said the right thing`. Heavenly Father knows I cant understand or communicate as well as I want, but he cares about his children and the people we`re teaching, so I just need to let him use me any way he can. It is very hard trying to be humble and ready to follow the promptings of the spirit. Im learning very slowly how to do it.
Lucy with some members and some really weird Elders.  C'mon guys. what are you doing?
Yesterday we had Zone Conference!!! It was my first real zone conference with President and Sister Margetts and everyone from the zone coming to our area. It was so awesome! Elder Aoyagi from the Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke to us all day! I learned so much from him. One thing that stuck out the most was he gave an analogy about a box and a pearl. He said the box represents the church-the organization, callings, people, activites, Sunday meetings, and even the doctrine and ordinances. Our lessons we give as missionaries also represent the box. But the pearl-the item of real value, is Jesus Christ and his atonement. He said sometimes we all focus only on the box and how pretty and decorated it is. We carry it around and never open it to look inside. But the box is only there so that we can have a place to put the pearl, so that we can see it and not lose it. In the exact same way the church organization and even the doctrine, principles, and ordinances (which surprised me, honestly), are only there to help us grow closer to Jesus Christ. That talk really put everything in perspective for me. Lets all remember what the true focus of the gospel is and not get lost in all of the other various activities and duties we have in the church.
Sister Tingey and Sister McIntyre
Ok time for funny stories. Fast Sunday is always an exciting day because we get `fruit basket.` Its just a giant bin in the hallway of the church that the members fill up for us on fast Sunday. We honestly dont need it that much because we have plenty of money for food each week, so I always feel bad seeing the members walk in and drop a giant sack of food in there (however, a lot of the time I think they just empty out their cupboards of old canned food). Its pretty hilarious going through it after church with the Elders because its all canned corn and spaghetti sauce. But the best is this old man named Brother Uehara. Every month he comes up to us and hands us a sack of food, and without fail it is a bunch of cans of V8 and packages of pancake mix. I hope he doesnt go out and buy that every week for us because we literally have our cupboards overflowing with V8 and pancake mix. The funny thing about Japanese people is they think that Americans only eat pancakes and french toast and toast and stuff for breakfast. Its so funny but Im so grateful for the members and that they give us so much food every month!
I think that is it for my email this week. I love all of you!!!! Thank you for your love and prayers and support. Even though im far away I can feel your love and prayers helping me. I really need it so thank you! The church is true. Doctrine and Covenants 68;6 is my new favorite scripture. No fear! Love you
Love, Tingey shimai