Sunday, August 14, 2011

EFY in Japan

Hello Hello!
Its a beautiful, breezy morning here in Okinawa. I think youll be glad to hear that the weather is finally cooling down. No more scorching hot afternoons, collapsing after a long, hot day of dendo. No more three-showers-a-day days. No sir. Goodbye miserable heat and humidity! Yayyy.
This week was awesome, like most weeks. Three of our investigators recently returned to China and Taiwan for summer vacation. They will be coming back in a few weeks, but this week is transfers so I might not be here when they get back. We were able to take Gopeipei to the airport and see her off. I am going to miss her so much! She is one of the first people I contacted and taught in the mission field, and I have seen her multiple times a week for the last 4 months or so, so she has a really special place in my heart! So cheesy, but true.
We had a really amazing experience this week with being led by the spirit. On Tuesday morning we were thinking and praying about what we should do that day, when I suddenly had the idea that we should go visit a member who lives pretty far away. Last transfer she surprised Sister McIntyre and I by luring us to the church and having a little dessert picnic, just because she wanted to do something nice for us. Ever since that day I have really wanted to do something nice for her, so I felt like we should go to her house that day. We whipped up a little pineapple cake and that night we headed in that direction. We searched and searched for the address we had for where she lived but we really could not find it. Luckily we have had past experiences where we were led in a certain direction, or gotten lost, and ended up meeting some amazing new person, so we figured there had to be some reason that Heavenly Father wanted us to go in that direction that day. We were sitting there thinking when I suddenly realized we were just one block away from an old referrals house we had received when Sis. McIntyre was here. We had gone to visit that referral numerous times and called her countless times, but with no luck. The times we had visited it seemed like nobody was living in that apartment, so we dropped the referral because she lived pretty far away and it was taihen to go all the way out there. Suddenly I KNEW that she was the reason we were supposed to go there that night. I had a feeling that she would be home this time. Sure enough, we knocked on the door, and her mom answered the door! She wasnt home, but she told us to come back at a different time when her daughter would be home.We were also able to give her the little cake we made. I am SO incredibly grateful for Heavenly Fathers guidance!! We would have never contacted her or thought to go back there without him leading us in that direction that day! Now we may have the chance to share the gospel with her and this time around maybe she will accept our message.
We visited a lot of members this week, and the ward mission leader and his wife gave us a bunch of Dragonfruits, which are Chyo incredibly delicious. A new bishop was called in Higashi ward, so this week we had dinner with him and his family. It was really fun to discuss the needs of the ward with him and create a new dendo plan!
This past Sunday was one of the most memorable sacrament meeting experiences I have ever had. This week Japan held its first EFY. All summer long the youth and counselors in our wards have been preparing for it. As you can imagine, it takes a ton of planning and coordination. This Sunday they all returned and each of the youth bore their testimonies about their experiences. It felt the spirit SO strongly as I saw how the spirit had worked in the youth here. I remembered back to my own experiences attending EFY, and how the feelings I felt there really set a foundation for the testimony that I now have. I feel so much gratitude that I had the opportunity to attend every year, and I am so excited for the youth here that they now have the same opportunity. One young mans testimony in particular really touched me. I have been observing him and watching him this summer through various activities and at church. He is getting close to the time when he should fill out his mission papers, but it didn:t seem like he really had the desire or motivation. The Elders have been meeting with him every so often, and we have all been encouraging him to get ready to go, but we have all been a little worried. However, he attended EFY this past week, and hearing his testimony in sacrament meeting was so powerful. He now knows that he needs to prepare to serve a mission, and he said that he gained a much needed testimony that week. I know its a little silly to have a testimony of EFY, but I really do! I felt the spirit so strongly when I attended as a youth and I have never forgotten the four weeks that I spent there. I am just so happy that they had that same experience that I did. I know that they will be able to think back on that experience always and gain motivation to make good choices because of how they felt there.
Another highlight from this week was having Natsumi shimai joint for our lesson with Nariko san. She bore her testimony of the Word of Widsom and of how the gospel has changed her life. She just makes me so happy! Nariko san said that Oohama shimai has `atatakai shinko` or burning faith. I just feel so much gratitude that I have had the amazing chance to come to Japan and witness the miracle of the gospel working in peoples lives. Its so amazing!!
Can anyone read this?
I am also so grateful for my AMAZING family who always supports me in everything I do. Thank you for your wonderful letters of encouragement and for sharing your spiritual experiences with me. Nothing makes me happier. I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with opportunities to share the gospel! Recently I read a quote in Preach My Gospel that says, `Surely taking the gospel to every kindred, tongue, and peole is the single greatest responsiblity we have in mortality...We have been privelaged to be born in these last days, as opposed to some earlier dispensation, to help take the gospel to all the earth.` We are so blessed to have the tools and resources that we have to share the gospel. Dont be afraid to share your faith in any way that you feel comfortable, even if its by sharing your testimony on Fbook, your blog, creating a profile or sending a letter to a friend. There are so many different ways to dendo! Ganbatte! I cant wait to hear about it!
I love you!!!!
Love, Tingey Shimai

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