|Sweet collage of Lucy at the ward beach party|
Transfer calls are on Wednesday!!!! Can you believe I have already been with Yamada Shimai for a whole transfer? Time is just flying by so fast! I had a lot of fun with my new camera this week so I'll be sending a lot of pictures this week. Unfortunately I can only send six at a time so it might take a few emails to get them all in.
We had such a great week! One of the biggest contributors to our amazing week was a challenge that our district leader, Elder Strother, gave to use in district meeting on Tuesday. As a district we came up with 7 things to do everyday in our companionships to see miracles during the last week of the transfer. Here they are:
1. Say "goodmorning" to the morning (Elder Campbell, the biggest class clown I've ever met came up with that one)
2. Tell your companion one reason why you love them everyday
3. Contact a less active member everyday
4. Call and express gratitude to at least one member everyday
5. Contact at least 15 people everyday (which means you talk to someone streeting our housing and they take something from you like a Book of Mormon or pamphlet).
6. Do a random act of service everyday
7. Support your companion's testimony
At the end of that district meeting Elder Strother told us that the lesson for that day had really been inspired by Heavenly Father and he promised us that if we did those seven things in our companionship each day we would see amazing miracles. We took his challenge very seriously, especially the contacting 15 people each day, which was probably the hardest to accomplish. This transfer we had a lot of investigators and taught a lot of lessons, so compared to the past three transfers we weren't able to do as much finding as I would have liked. However, this week we basically planned each day around being able to do at least two or three hours of finding each day. Some of the miracles we saw include:
1. Yamada Shimai found an opportunity to help this woman carry her oxygen machine (??) up the stairs and that women ended up being really interested in what we had to say and invited us to come over and teach her!!! Plus, her name is Ruri, which is pronounced like "Loody", which is a nickname my Mom has called me since I was little, so I immediately felt a bond with this woman. Just pray that I don't get transferred so I can teach her! Haha.
One of our wards threw a beach party on Friday because it was a holiday and you wouldn't believe the amount of food they dished out! They brought out these two giant yakisoba grills and grilled up loads of meat and yakisoba. It was so much fun! The best part was that our Taiwanese investigator Linseika came and brought her cute friend. She was such a stylish little Taiwanese girl! She reminded me of my friend Louise from Denmark, but Asian style. I thought she was a boy at first because she has this wicked short boy haircut, haha. We played bingo and a bunch of weird Japanese games, volleyball, and I was able to talk for a long time with this amazing 19 year old member named Nami Shimai. She is this AMAZING singer/songwriter. I heard her play at the talent show we had a while back, and another time at the karate tournament when I first arrived in Naha, but apparently she traveled to Kyoto to perform for the EFY kids a few weeks ago and now she has a pretty big fan base. She is SO good. Last Fast Sunday while she was bearing her testimony she randomly busted out "I know that my redeember lives" a capella and made basically the whole congregation cry. I am not a big fan of Japanese singers, but her voice is oh so good. Anyway, we really bonded at the beach party talking about music and the potential influence that she could have on the rising generation in Japan with her music and amazing talents. Plus she is absolutely gorgeous. I really think she is going to have a profound influence on the members and non-members here in Japan.
On Saturday Mariko and Shuko were baptized!!!! It was a really beautiful and spiritual service. The ward members really stepped in and I really felt them welcome Shuko and Mariko into the ward, which is all we could ever ask for as missionaries. They were so happy and the highlight was probably when Shuko chan bore her testimony after she was baptized. She just marched right up to the pulpit without any hesitation and talked about the influence the missionaries had on her as a six year old. She said at that time her dream was to become a missionary like those who taught her, and only just recently as we have started teaching her again has that desire resurfaced. I really learned a lot from this little 11 year old this transfer about the amazing capacity that tiny children and young people have to feel and respond to the spirit. I think I will be a better mother someday because of my experience with her.
|Everyone enjoying the cake together. Lucy is so nice to share. I would have saved it all for myself.|
After the baptism service Nami Shimai (the amazing singer/songwriter) came up to me and gave me a late Birthday present, and asked me to wait to open it until I got home. When I opened it I almost started crying! She wrote a really thoughtful note about how she's not really prone to becoming friends with or getting to know the missionaries, and she has never written that kind of a note or anything to a missionary before, but that she was really grateful that I had come to Naha. It was so sweet. Then, carefully wrapped in a little package was a tiny little antique harmonica. Wow. After receiving that present from Nami Shimai I thought long and hard about something I could give her, and decided to give her probably the second most valuable thing that I have, which is a leaf from the Sacred Grove that my friend Morgon Stoker sent me when she was serving her mission at the visitors center there. I probably won't see her again if I end up getting transferred, but I'm so grateful we finally created such a great friendship this past week. At the baptism on Saturday I sang my favorite "Abide with me tis' Eventide" and afterward the bishop asked if Nami Shimai and I could sing it as a duet in sacrament meeting the next day. It was so fun to sing with her for the first time, especially since we had really bonded the day before. Times like that, when I just feel so much love for and from the members is what strengthens my testimony that Heavenly Father called me to the Fukuoka mission for a reason. I have made amazing friendships with ward members and others I have met here that I know I will cherish forever, and my heart and soul has been changed through my experience here the past six months. I'm just so happy to have served here in Naha for the past four transfers!! I feel like the luckiest missionary in the world.
Not only have I grown to appreciate the people here in Okinawa, but because of the many experiences I have had here I have really grown to love my own family more. Even though I haven't seen you all in a long time, I think about you everyday and just feel so grateful for all of the support and love I feel from you. Thank you thank you!!! I miss you all so much but I know that this is where I am supposed to be and I am going to take advantage of every minute that I can.
Be sure to read the new Liahona, which is dedicated completely to the Book of Mormon....and especially remember to read and cherish your own scriptures everyday! The Book of Mormon is true! I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and I'm so happy :)
Have a great week!
Love, Tingey Shimai