Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lessons from the Lord

This has to be one of my favorite photos of Lucy's mission.  Look how serious that guy is! haha!
Dear Famdamily,
Good morning! Sorry this is a day late. Yesterday for Pday we ended up going to the Aquarium last minute so we didn't have time to email. Yamada Shimai hadn't been yet so we decided it was a good idea to go. We were also able to go to the Planetarium, which was really cool. A few weeks ago I studied the first chapter of the Gospel Principles book for my language study, so I was really excited when during the Planetarium presentation I was actually able to recognize the words for "planet" "milky way" "galexy," ect. Way cool!
Lucy's new companion Yamada Shimai and Shuko maybe?
Thank you so much for the wonderful packages you sent for my Birthday! It was so fun to rip them open right when I woke up. I also received a lot of fun gifts from members and investigators, including two shirts (one with a picture of this Okinawan vegetable called a "goya" on it and another with a "sanshin" or Okinawan instrument), lots of Bananas (45 or so in total), a keychain and delicious beef jerky from Taiwan, and lots of pies and cakes. It was really great, but I also got a little homesick for probably the second time on my mission so far from opening the packages from home :(. I was forewarned that Mission Birthdays aren't the greatest thing in the world, so I can't say I was too surprised. Wednesday night for the Eikaiwa party a good portion of Naha ward showed up, though, so it was a great opportunity for the members to bond with our Eikaiwa students.

This week we had Ward Conference, as well as the Eikaiwa party, district meeting, ect, so it ended up being probably the most unproductive week I have had on my mission so far, and it didn't feel too good.  By about Thursday I was feeling really crummy, even though we had had a lot of activites and plans that week. I realized that we had been so busy preparing for the big events that we hadn't been able to do very much finding, and didn't teach very many lessons until near the end of the week. Once I understood what the difference was in the way I felt, I was able to really learn a good lesson from everything that happened. We learned that as full-time missionaries for the Lord at this time, doing anything besides pure missionary work doesn't end up being very fulfilling. Serving the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength is the only way that as a missionary we can do what we do every day. Luckily I have been extremely lucky on my mission so far to have had an amazing trainer who taught me what it means to be a good, hard-working missionary, and other companions who were also willing to work hard...so this week was the first time I felt like I wasn't fulfilling my purpose.  I'm so grateful for this experience because now I felt the difference, and it makes me want to work even harder to avoid having that feeling ever again.
Birthday Presents!
In the past 8 months or so I have had many difficult times, struggling with the language, teaching, being scared to talk to people, feeling inadequate for all that is required of me....but every time I have been able to overcome these feelings and push through with faith with the help of the Lord. I have come to realize that Heavenly Father is constantly sending me these difficulties to test me, and that when I rely on him I am ALWAYS able to overcome them, and actually am stronger and more resilient after the fact. I feel so grateful for the time I have had so far to discover that I can accomplish any difficult thing. My faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father has grown so much, and I expect that it will continue to grow in the coming months. 
Birthday Bananas
One bit of exciting news from this week: Even though it was a hard week, we had an amazing Sunday where our miracle investigators Kinjo Mariko and her daughter Shuko came to church for the first time. Shuko chan told us that she wants to become a missionary someday, that she LOVED Young Womens, and she wants to come to church again next week! This little 11 year old is the driving force in her and her mom hearing the lessons and coming to church. Isn't that amazing? If all goes well she will be baptized on the 24th of this month!
I have to go dendo now but I love you all so much and I want you to know that I know this gospel is true, and it just makes me so happy! I am loving every minute of life here. I'm also sorry I can't write to each of you individually very much, but know that I love you so much and think about you all the time!
Have an amazing week!
Love, Tingey Shimai

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