Friday, July 20, 2012

Welcome Home

Missed You little Sista!

Help me! I'm getting squished!

Can't wait to hold Vivi Lu after she's released!

Good times with the family

The whole crew

Lucy's new companion

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Not Over Yet!

My dear family and friends,
It is hard to believe that this will be the last email I ever write home from the mission field. The past week has been incredibly emotional as I`ve been going through serious denials about leaving this amazing country and the life of a full-time missionary. I have loved it sooooo much and had the most fulfilling and rewarding experience that anyone could have ever asked for. Yes, there were some pretty rough times and some might say a few downsides to having served; I`m pretty sure I`ll have skin cancer someday from the six months I spent in Okinawa; I weigh probably about 15 pounds more than I did when I entered the MTC; The only people I`ll know at BYU when I get home are the Elders I served with... most of whom are about 4 years younger than me....creepy...; I`ve gone completely out of style (my companion has informed me that wearing socks on your head is a thing now...?); after using candy flavored toothpaste and toothbrushes made out of pig hair I`m not sure how much longer my teeth will stay in my head....
HOWEVER, all of those downsides DON`T EVEN BEGIN to compare to what I`ve gained on this amazing journey! I have come to know my Savior, and seen his loving hand guiding me and allowing me to do His work. I wouldn`t trade the past 11/2 years for anything.
This email is short, but I`m not sure what else to say. Through this blog I have been able to record just a few of my most memorable experiences, and my hope for these past 18 months has been that you who are reading felt excitement of this work, caught the fire, and blessed those around you through serving and sharing the gospel. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven who have allowed me to see so many miracles and witness the gospel changing the lives of those around me. Out of all of the people I taught and saw baptized, I know from the bottom of my heart that through it all I was really the one being converted and strengthened. Once again, thank you all for your amazing emails and support. It has meant the world to me.
I still have three wonderful days left to work as hard as I possibly can and find new people to teach! How cool is that?! You never know what might happen in three days. Oh yeah, there`s the airport, too! Yipeeee. I`ll see you soon!
Love, Tingey Shimai

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yamakasa Matsuri


can you tell how excited we were to get a picture with this guy?

We had the greatest week ever! Probably the best so far this
transfer!! We found three new investigators, one being a woman named
Tomoko san who is sooo prepared to receive the gospel! We stopped to
talk to her on the street last Tuesday, she came to Eikaiwa the next
day, came to the church on Friday for her English Class interview,
accepted hearing the lessons, camed again on Saturday so we could
teach her, and then we had another lesson with her yesterday! She's on
fire! She seems like she's had a really hard life so far and said that
until now she has always just believed only in herself and her ability
to make herself happy, but she finally recognizes that it's not enough
and she's ready to rely on Heavenly Father. It was so cool to hear
because I feel likee almost everyday we talk to people who say that
exact thing; "We experience success through our own efforts right? So
I just believe in and rely on myself. I don't need God. Only weak
people join Christianity, etc." It was so nice to meet one of those
people, AFTER having realized she was actually wrong and she does need
the healing power of the atonement of Christ.
Yamakasa Matsuri!
We also taught this 20 year old boy named Taguchi san, who is a
referral from a member. After Takabori Shimai told him the first
vision we paused for a second and asked him, "So how did you feel
hearing that?" and he said, "To be completely honest, the first thing
I thought was 'I want to ask, too!'" he then went on to say, "This is
really embarrassing, and I've never told anyone else this before...
but when I was little I went to a Christian church with my friend a
few times and the missionaries there taught me how to pray. It always
really stuck with me and every single night since then I always say a
prayer of thanks in my heart before I go to sleep..." We were so
amazed to see how Heavenly Father has been working with him for all
this time, and to see the spirit working in his member friend to
invite him to hear the lessons even though he had NO idea about that
secret he had! Isn't that awesome!?

Here's a fun story: When Takabori Shimai and I woke up on Tuesday
morning last week we didn't imagine we would be teaching the Plan of
Salvation to a bunch of people at a Buddhist funeral....haha! A
member's mom passed away suddenly on Monday night due to heart
problems. She was a woman who we had received as a referral a few
times from him in the past 6 months or so, so it was cool to see how
he had been prompted several times to reach out to her before her
death. Anyway, he called and asked us to attend the funeral and of
course we volunteered to come sing a hymn or do something to help. He
accepted our offer and we thought it was going to be just a small
gathering of his family for the service, but it ended up being a
full-on Buddhist ceremony with the chanting monk and everything! It
was suuuuper interesting. When it was our turn to get up at the end
they asked us to introduce ourselves. We were expecting the member who
sang with us to do it but she looked over at me and then suddenly I
was talking about how families can be together forever after death and
whatnot, haha. Also, there are special times and ways to bow during
the ceremony and Sister Takabori and I had no idea what was going on
so we kept messing up...haha. I hope we didn't offend anyone.

Japanese bums!
Yesterday we spent Pday being dressed up in Yukatas (summer kimonos)
by a ward member named Matsuura Shimai and taking a stroll in downtown
Fukuoka to see the decorations for a festival called Yamakasa! I still
haven't quite figured out what the festival is celebrating but I do
know that a bunch of men wearing sumo wrestler-type diaper bottoms and
not much else run around holding a giant wooden float looking thing.
The actual festival is on the 15th, which is a Sunday so we can"t
go...which is a real bummer because Sister Mueller was hear last
summer for it and said it was hilarious.

Sarah- is your sister Nikki secretly a model in Japan!?

Other things...
1. Recently during finding and lessons when someone mentions anything
about cats Sister Takabori has been saying, "Oh really!? Sister Tingey
loves cats!!!" The problem is that they usually get really excited and
happy and I don't have the heart to tell them its actually a lie. I'm
not sure what the deal is but apparently she gets a kick out of it.
2. Had an unfortunate incident during ward council meeting this Sunday
when it slipped that I won't be around next transfer. Apparently
everyone, including the bishop, was under the impression I had another
transfer left, so they were all saying things like, "Oh, but we don't
have to worry because I don't think either of the sisters will
transfer, right? What do you think?" ...and then I started to cry,
haha. The bad news is that my secret is out and I won't be able to
duck out quietly like I had hoped. The worse news is that I thought I
had gotten away with giving a musical number my last Sunday but now I
have to give a talk! Haha. I guess that's fair.

Well, this next week is looking to be promising and we're hoping to
have several baptism dates what with Tomoko and Taguchi San
progressing so well. Can't wait to see what lies ahead! Love you all
so much!

Love, Tingey Shimai

P.S. Remember how it was the 4th of July last week? Yeah, well we didn't, haha.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I`m gonna miss this amazing Shimai


Earlier today we had a special conference with our new Mission
President and his wife, the Gustafsons, and I am feeling so overcome
with gratitude and love for them already, even though I met them for
the first time just a few hours ago. In his first testimony to the
missionaries he talked a lot about "Real Growth," which is something I
have actually been thinking about a lot lately. I read the conference
talk Elder Scott, I think, gave at this past conference and he also
discussed the ways we can see real growth in the wards and branches
we're in. Sister Takabori and I have been working a lot with less
active members, helping them regain and strengthen their testimonies
of the Book of Mormon, and also fasting for them to be able to come to
church. Bringing new members into the church is important but real
growth happens from the inside out, and I've come to realize that if
we want new converts to stay active we really need to strengthen the
ward first and foremost. I was so grateful to hear President Gustafson
bear his testimony of that today.

I also felt that these lessons will, of course, carry on after my
service as a full-time missionary as well. Just like the members here,
I'll have the duty and responsibility to fulfill my callings and help
build up the ward in whatever area I end up. This is just the
Me and Takabori Shimai

I want to tell you about this woman we recently met named Yasunaga
san!! We were searching for the address of a lady we met on the street
and we rode past this shop we've seen dozens of times but out of the
corner of my eye I saw a lady arranging stuff in the store window. She
kind of stuck in my mind but we kept riding, didn`t find the address,
so we decided to go into the shop and ask that lady for directions.
Her shop was full of a lot of weird stuff and we tried REALLY hard to
find something we wanted to buy...haha. Eventually we found some
necklaces and it ended up she is Catholic but not really going to
church and wants to come to church next week!!! It was so cool!

That same day we brought nine Book of Mormons with us to give away and
gave them ALL away in a matter of a few hours! We were kind of
wondering what to do because we still had an appointment to go to and
no Book of Mormon to give them, but then by a slightly unfortunate
incident we randomly ran into this girl we had given one of them to in
a completely different part of town, and she said her mom was making
her give it back to us. So when we went to our next appointment, even
though they didn;t answer the door the person living next door to them
ended up being amazingly awesome and we just happened to have that
extra Book of Mormon to give to him! The Lord works in mysterious

Her Dad

Another cool happening was running into a man on the street whose
cousin is the bishop in my last area! He told us he would tell him he
ran into us the next time he calls him up, so hopefully that will open
up some kind of gospel discussion. Also, we had companion exchanges
yesterday with the Sisters serving in Fukuoka and the member Sister
Takabori Shimai visited is a woman her Dad taught and baptized when he
served here in Fukuoka 27 years ago! They had no idea until she
introduced herself and the sister pulled out her photo album with all
of the missionary pictures in it and said, `Is this your Dad?!` It was
really amazing for Takabori Shimai.

Alrighty, gotta run! Love this work and I`m having more fun than ever!

Love, Tingey Shimai

Me and Takabori Shimai
Her Dad
I`m gonna miss this amazing Shimai

Kiseki bakari (Nothing but miracles)!

My dearest family and friends,
The amazing kidlets!
The weeks are flying by so quickly, but at the same time every single day seems pretty lenghty with a lot going on. Working with my little bean, Takabori Shimai is so much fun. She is definitely way more prepared, wise, amazing and spiritual than I was as a new missionary, and even now, so it is a huge blessing to be working with her. She is always challenging us to find new ways to find and teach and mixing things up, which is very refreshing and fun. I love her to death!
Too many hilarious and awesome things happened this week to be able to tell you in this email so I`ll just tell you about a few.
Holding a gigantic butterfly. Its wings weren`t dry yet from coming out of the cacoon so it couldn`t fly away!
I think it was Friday when we visitited a less active member and were able to meet her son for the first time who hasn`t been to church since he was really young. We were first just helping him with his English homework but then he brought up how he has recently been learning about Moses and the Ten Commandments in school. From that we were able to teach an unexpected lesson about that and prayer, and then he prayed for the first time with us and his mom kneeling on the living room floor! It was so cool to witness that! I think it made the member really happy because she told us she would attend a cookie-making class at the church next week and also asked if after the class she could take us in her car back to her house so we could help her son again with English!
Fukuoka zone!
Right after that lesson we left their apartment and stopped in this playground to hand out English flyers to a bunch of 9-12 year old girls and we ended up standing there for an hour or so talking to them about Christ, the Restoration, etc. They were all begging us for pamphlets and Book of Mormons and event though we had about five with us that we handed out we needed about twice that many! I`ll say it again....I love Japanese children! They`re so humble and pure and seriously craving the goodness that comes from religion and talking about Jesus Christ. I can`t really imagine how it might have  been to grow up in a country where Christianity isn`t really imbedded into everyday life but from what I`ve experienced as a missionary there is a natural yearning for that, and it is especially evident in the young people here. Its so sad to see how the older people get the more callous and uninterested they are in our message, but even when we`re bluntly and harshly rejected we always try to sneak in a testimony and tell them as much as we can about how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love them. Someday when they have a hard trial or are searching for the truth, I know they will remember that testimony and be given another chance to accept the gospel!
 Me and Takabori Shimai
On Sunday we had Stake Conference which was AMAZING because since I`m serving in Fujisaki, right next to Fukuoka, I got to see tons of Fukuoka members who I haven`t seen since I transfered out of there in February! It was such a joyous reunion! We stood in the doorway with a bunch of other missionaries and greeted everyone coming in, and I couldn`t have been happier with life. I love seeing all of these faithful Japanese Latter-day Saints gather together! They are all sacrificing so much to be so dedicated to the gospel despite their time-consuming jobs, school schedules, etc. I honestly don`t know how people survive here sometimes. At Stake Conference we watched a broadcast from Salt Lake City where President Uchtdorf spoke exclusively to the Japanese saints for the first time! Afterward President and Sister Margetts gave their farewell talks and I could feel so strongly how much they have grown to love the members here and how much they`re going to miss them. Other highlights were finding out a boy who attended my English class way back when is planning on being baptized soon, and also being told that my two favorite OYAMA boys, Shintaro and Yuto attended scout camp last week! I hope they, like their Dad, accept the gospel soon and are baptized!
With Sis. Takabori at zone conference
  After the conference Bishop Miyake took us all over the place in his car, visiting all sorts of people who needed some upfliting. He even took us to meet his neighbor, Hara San, who is an old woman running a buddhist temple. We talked to her a lot about family history and told her about how we have the largest database in the world for researching her ancestors. Hopefully it caught her interest and she`ll want to come to church! She is a professional Shamisen and Koto player (traditional Japanese instruments) so she took out her Koto, played a song for us and let us fiddle around on it for a while! That was something I`ve been wanting to do ever since I wrote a report on traditional Japanese instruments a few years ago when i was on Study abroad with BYU!
Eating a quick lunch on the riverside with my bean
President and Sister Margetts will be making the flight back to Utah this Saturday so please pray that they can return home safely. It will be weird writing my last two weekly president letters to President Gufstoffson who is replacing the Margetts this week.
 making gyoza
Well, that is my week in a nutshell. We are teaching a lot of amazing people as well but don`t have anyone who is progressing very well so please pray that the people we meet with this week will follow their commitments and progress towards making covenants with their Father in Heaven. I want you all to know that I know that Jesus Christ is my older brother and advocate, and that when we exercise faith in him we can feel his atonement in our lives each day. I love the gospel, and love being a missionary! Until next week!
Love, Tingey Shimai

Last Zone Conference

Back in the days of the threesome
Happy late Father's Day!

Because I forgot my planner last week emailing I didn't tell you about
one of the most awesome parts of our week! We ended up running into
this couple from Nepal (the husband was actually Japanese but lived in
Nepal forever) and they eneded up being Jehovas Witness missionaries!
I was suuuuuper excited because I have been DYING my whole mission to
listen to what their lessons are. We always see them tracting and I'm
pretty sure my companion and I were potential investigators for them
when I was in Naha and Fukuoka because they always came knocking on
our door....but we just never seemed to have time to really talk to
them (...or more like my companion wouldn't allow it, haha).

In front of the church with some of the little girls we're teaching!

Anyway, I have been so incredibly curious about what their beliefs are, and how
their teaching styles are diff/the same as ours. We stood there and
talked for about an hour with them and got to hear all about what they
believe about the afterlife, etc. It was SO interesting. Pretty
similar to what we know but it actually really strengthened my
testimony of living prophets and the Book of Mormon. We had the
opportunity to share with them about Joseph Smith and the Restoration
of the gospel of Jesus Christ and they listened very nicely and
intently. We exchanged cars and whatnot. It was such an awesome
The sisters and Sis. Margetts at Shimai taikai
Watanabe family's house

This week I had my LAST ZONE CONFERENCE as a full-time missionary! It
hadn't really hit me yet during the conference, or even when I got up
to bear my testimony like everyone always does during their last
transfer. It felt like just a normal ZC. However, what did feel weird
was that it was also President and Sister Margett's last conference,
too! Their mission is also ending and they are heading home to Utah in
just a couple of weeks! The most exciting part of the day was getting
a forbidden hug with President Margetts! I feel so incredibly blessed
that I had President Margetts as my mission president. I couldn't have
asked for a better Mission President or Mission Mom! They were so
amazing and we all learned a lot from them.

During the conference we had a lot of interesting new
announcements/changes that will happen in the near future in the
mission. One of them being that all missionaries are required to
create a profile on, with a picture from everyday life, not
wearing our nametags! Isn't that awesome! We're also supposed to use
the site regularly in proselying by referring people to look at our
profiles as well as use videos to teach important principles. They
also talked about us encouraging members to use facebook to spread the
gospel, etc. Everyting is going online! Its crazy! I feel like such an
oldie.  Needleess to say, Sister Takabori's mission is going to be a
lot different than mine, haha.
Battling Sister Takabori in Tango Bang bang at Eikaiwa

OK, so you know how I said earlier that it hadn't really hit me during
zone conference that I was going home soon? Well yesterday we were
teaching this new friend we have named Murakami san. She has two super
adorable, roudy kids so while Takabori Shimai was teaching her about
the Restoration (the lesson she has been so diligently practicing all
week! She's so awesome!) I was trying to keep her kids busy with
stickers and anything I could find in my bag. I stood back up after a
while and Sister Takabori whispered to me, "lets ask her to get
baptized! do it!" Haha. So I asked her, "when you find out for
herself that everything Takabori told you today is true, will you be
baptized in August?" She said yes!! I was super happy, and then I felt
this ultra shockwave go through my body when I realized, "Hey, wait a
minute...I'm not even going to be here in August!...Nooooooo!" I can't
believe it.

Anyway, enough of that. This week we got screamed at by a really mean
old man, which costed us a contact when the lady we were talking to
ran away from us because of him. However, that was probably the 2nd or
3rd unpleasant encounter I've had in the past year and a half. Not bad
eh? Also found out that this Chinese lady named Horibe san who I
taught in Fukuoka was baptized last Sunday! And also that this
suuuuper sketchy lady Sister Uchida and I found housing way back in
October in Fukuoka is actually a legitimate investigator right now!
Hip hip, Hooray! Every effort counts! We've also been finding a lot of
 new, interested people from Eikaiwa lately and have a lot of
appointments lined up in the next couple of weeks.

We're always working!

Tsuyu or Rainy season has officially started and there is supposed to
be a typhoo coming in this week, but Sister Takabori and I both love
working in the rain so I'm sure we'll be out and about. Can't wait!
with our friend Kuroki san

Love you so much! Have a great week!

Love, Tingey Shimai

Pics: Last night we were out all day riding around in the rain, we
didn't get a chance to eat dinner in between appointments and as we
were parking our bikes at 9PM I said to Takabori Shimai, "Wouldn't it
just be the best thing ever if someone made a delicious dinner for us
and delivered it to our door?" And then...wouldn't you know it, there
it was!!! Not even making that one up! A member who lives a couple of
apartment complexes down from us received revelation and brought it to
us! Love her!

Today during district meeting we had this object lesson where two
Elders had to draw a super hard kanji ten times in one minute while
all of us hit them with toys and stuff. I don't remember what the
object lesson was but it was really funny! Haha

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Saigo made Taeshinobu (Endure to the End)

Hello everyone! It was a wonderful week!
Cooking class.  We made tempura!
First off, we had transfers and Sister Kaneko transfered to none other than my bean area...NAHA!!!! Which is seriously a miracle and HUGE blessing because she can help Oohama Shimai, who is the sister I saw baptized in Naha last July, get to the temple!!
So Sister Mueller, who is going home with me at the end of this transfer and also served in Naha, and I have had this master plan for a while to go through the temple with Oohama Shimai our last day in the field because it will be almost exactly one year to the day since she was baptized. I wrote Oohama Shimai a letter a while back asking her what she thought and she finally wrote me back this week! She said she has been thinking about when to go, but was planning on going to the Tokyo temple instead of Fukuoka since she has friends there. However, she said because of our pleas she might reconsider and get back to us before July 20th! Which means, if a miracle happens, I`ll be able to help the very first woman I saw baptized go through the temple! Doesn`t that sound amazing? I don`t want to get my hopes up too high...but....
My amazing area of Fujisaki
From here on out its just me and my green bean Takabori Shimai. We are having fun doing a special 12 week training and taking extra time to practice teaching everyday, which is really helping her and especially me to improv teaching ability. We are missing Kaneko Shimai but this transfer is going to be amazing! We had a special meeting with the bishop where we heard about what his vision is for the ward, and then took the next day to fast and pray together to know what we should do. The result was that we all felt like concentrating on the area right around the church for finding, etc. will be really effective. We`re planning all sorts of fun activities to get the ward members involved in going finding after church on Sundays, too! We also want to throw some kind of carnival or fair in the church parking lot to get the people living right around the church over to meet the members.  
We also found FOUR new investigators this week. Two of them, Hirata and Kyoko, are long-time Eikaiwa students. The other two are these 11 year old girls, Rika and Marina, who keep coming to hang out at the church whenever they see our bikes in the parking lot. They are so incredibly cute. They came by after church the other day and asked if they could help us hand out flyers, so we took them with us finding! After that we gave them a tour of the church and read about the creation of the Earth from that Bible children`s story book and they loved it all! We even made baptism dates for July 14th with both of them. We still need to meet their parents and get permission to actually teach them so cross your fingers!
Hisada San`s bedroom.....the place where I`m sitting is where she is apparently sleeping at night. I have no idea how she even breathes in there!

Ok, if you don`t want to read about another incredibly dirty house I`m cleaning then please skip this paragraph. We met this lady on the street the other day who was limping and carrying some heavy groceries, so we offered to help and she let us into her apartment. I know this is the third or fourth time I`ve talked about cleaning a hoarder`s house, but this one was like no other I`ve been to. It wasn`t so much filthy as there were just piles and piles and piles and piles and piles of papers, receipts, wrappers, etc. This woman is literally a a pack-rat in every sense of the word. She basically begged us to come in and help her organize. We were a little hesitant because we were on the way to visit a member but when we looked into her bedroom and saw that she had literally 5 ft. of space on her floor, in her entire house, where she had a little blanket and was sleeping we decided to stay and maybe widen that space a little. She has some sort of sickness where she can`t move her arm which is her excuse for not having organized for 7 YEARS but after oranizing a while and having her hover over me, not letting me throw away anything but old tissues, I realized the real problem, haha. It is so sad. I convinced her to throw away a bunch of wrappers and stuff and we put them next to her front door so she could take them out for garbage day the next day...but when we went back a few days later to help out again she had emptied out the bags I had sorted and put everything back exactly where it had been before!!!!!!!! I was literally in shock, haha. Anyway, I don`t think there is anything we can do to help this lady clean her house but we gave her a Book of Mormon and taught her how to pray. Hopefully once she starts learning and living the gospel she will realize she needs to throw stuff away...or something. Haha.
There was a lot more I wanted to write in this email but I forgot my planner today where I wrote everything down! Oh well. I`m sure we will have another great week ahead with more adventures and interesting stories to tell. The gospel is SO true and I am so happy that I get to go out with my companion everyday, testifying and talking to dozens of people! It is seriously so much fun! Having a companion who just came straight from America and is obsessed with pop culture has been an interesting change...haha. I`ve been in a little shock hearing about recent movies, books, music, etc. but it is probably all helping me come back to reality so I`m not a total weirdo when I get home!
Love you all!
Love, Tingey Shimai

Monday, June 4, 2012

Because I have been given much

Yesterday we were surprised when our ward mission leader, Brother
Shiki told us he was driving us up the mountain to eat at this super
delicous restaraunt. He eended up taking the kids on a hike while we
got to bond with his daughter. It was realllly fun. That's his car,
Jasmine behind us.


Well, this week was fun/interesting on many levels. I hope you're
getting each week a little feel of what life is like out here in
Fukuoka, but I doubt my penmanship really conveys what its like here.

Well, lets see...we have been doing a LOT of finding recently because
we don't really have any investigators. With that comes suuuper long
days and tiredness but the plus is that we have many new friends and
contacts who might possibly become people we can start teaching.
Yesterday we were really excited to meet a woman named Ginger who is a
teacher at the International school here. We've been biking around
that area a lot where the foreigners are living so we've had more
opportunities to meet people from all over the world.
View of Fukuoka tower from my favorite spot in our area. <3

This week we started talking to this obaasan(grandma) and out of
nowhere she started singing at the top of her lungs! So, of course,
Sister Takabori and Kaneko and I whipped out our hymn books and sang
'Because I have been given much' for her. She loved it and said she
really wanted to come to church to sing with us! We also met two other
older women who immediately jumped at the invitation to come to
church, which is pretty unusual in my experience. Only one of them
ended up coming but it was really a miracle to have that all happen in
the span of just two days!
Driving around on Sunday with the Reelief Society president, Sakata
Shimai to visit all sorts of members and friends.

One really fun thing this week is that we went housing with this 10
year old named Yuai-chan who is the member of an inactive family. She
took us to the doors of some of her school friends and even went with
us to knock some random doors. It was so cute! I wish I would have
done that when I was ten (Not that I really would have gone...haha).
We made these at a member's house. There is a TV character here
named Anpanman, who is basically a superhero bread roll who fights
evil characters like bacteria and whatnot and the only way you can
kill him is by getting him wet, haha. I've never seen it but its super
popular here and sounds soooo weird and Japanes-y.

A cool experience I had while finding this week was I had marked a
copy of a Book of Mormon to give away with some scriptures I liked. I
ended up marking some verses in 3 Nephi about becoming as a little
child, and some others on that same topic and we just so happened to
run into this lady named Mitoma san who was a teacher for disabled
children and the scriptures I had marked were just what she needed to
read! I was so excited to give it to her and she was the one who
showed up for church on Sunday! The gospel is true!

Sorry this email is brief, but I gotta run. I love you all so much and
I really really feel your prayers out here. Sometimes at the end of a
long, hard day I think to myself, 'How in the world have I done this
every single day for the past 16 months!? I really can't comprehend
it, but I know it is because of all of your help, emails, prayers,
support, and mostly through the atonement of Christ. I love this
gospel and this work and I hope you all have a fabulous week!

Love, Tingey Shimai

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Joys of being a Bean

1.Me, Sister Kaneko and Takabori with our special Gokuri drinks we
bought for zone pday at the beach
Hello everyone,

Yet another week has passed and again I'm going to write you an email,
like I do every week, about how incredibly awesome life is!

Well this week was uhhhhmazing, mostly due to our super baby bean,
Takabori Shimai, who arrived last Wednesday. She is full Japanese but
moved to New Jersey at age 2 and graduated from BYU so she is
American. She understands most Japanese because her parents always
spoke in in their home but she always answered them in English so
she's just getting her language ability back. When I first met her I
was SHOCKED because she is basically a twin of my trainer, Sister
McIntyre, in looks and her mannerisms and whatnot! It was actually
really weird for the first couple of days but now I don't really
notice anymore. It has been SO incredibly fun though because she has
definitely brought that new missionary/MTC fire with her to the field
and we have been just tearing it up here in Fujisaki this week. I
literally feel like I've traveled right back in time to my bean
transfer, tromping around in a threesome just like when I was with my
trainer and those two Sisters (Hooker and Lynch) who came down from
Tokyo due to the earthquake. It has been amazing. Sister Kaneko and I
are both Dendo Grandmas by now so putting a new missionary in this
companionship has done wonders. Looks like I am going to be her
trainer, too so I became a proud parent this week! I couldn't have
asked for a better bean.
District meeting

So...I decided when she came that it would be best to keep everything
Japanese so that she could pick up the language better right from the
beginning, atleast until Kaneko Shimai leaves. I remember as a bean
wanting to learn Japanese SO BADLY but all of my companions were
American and that was way frustrating for me. It went well for a
couple of days but things have been getting more and more English-y
everyday, haha. HOWEVER, for the first time in almost a year (after
having had all Japanese companions for the last 11 months) I have been
feeling the joys of speaking my native language!!! And not only
speaking around the houst and whatnot, but sharing the gospel!
Yesterday while leaving the beach after Zone Pday we ran into this
Korean girl who is attending the international high school. At first
we were speaking with her in Japanese but as soon as we figured out
she was fluent in English we switched languages and I'm pretty sure it
was the first time I have ever shared about the Restoration of the
gospel in English while finding, with a companion next to me also
supporting my testimony. It was so weird and so amazing being able to
say so many more things, and express myself more freely. I even cried
afterward because I was so happy to be sharing the gospel in English.

nin douryou is the best!

It has been especially fun re-experiencing all of the 'mission firsts'
with Sister Takabori. She has cuts and bruises all over her legs from
crashing into things and falling off her bike, which is hilarious and
adorable, and it was so fun to see her give out her first Book of
Mormon! She was so excited and cute! Unfortunately, that same girl who
she gave it to came back a couple of minutes later and gave it back,
saying her parents would get mad if she took it home with her. When I
saw the devastation and disbelief on Takabori Shimai's face I
remembered back to similar experiences I had as a bean, when I was
devastated by every little rejection and was in disbelief that such a
thing could happen after being so sheltered in the MTC where everyone
accepts your message and takes what you give them. It was also fun to
see this week when she had her first experience finding a new
investigator named the Sakuma family. She could not stop talking about
them after we got home and I know they will have a special place in
her heart for her whole mission, just like my first investigator,
Linseika (from Taiwan) has in mine!

To say the least, since Takabori Shimai has arrived I've just thanked
Heavenly Father everyday for sending us such an amazing bean who loves
the gospel, has a sincere desire to find and teach people, and wants
to work hard every second of the day. It has really amped me up and
even though I've been on my mission for 16 months I feel like a fiery
new missionary all over again!! What an incredible blessing!

I love Jesus Christ and everything he has done for me. I feel the
atonement in my life daily as we, as a companionship, strive to be
humble and follow the spirit. Being on a mission is such a huge
blessing and I have not regretted one second of it! I refuse to waste
a minute so...I'm gonna log off now so we can get back to work! I love
you all!

Love, Tingey Shimai

P.S. One fun story from this week is that yesterday during Pday we
took a minute to stop and talk to this lady at a stoplight. She was
carrying a bunch of bags and on her way to the thrift store to sell
her clothes. We told her we were missionaries teaching about Jesus
Christ but she said she wasn't interested and walked away, but then a
few minutes later I saw her running back down the street toward us
with her giant fake blonde hair and huge sunglasses, carrying all her
bags. She said ' Umm when I was talking to you before I was carrying
another bag and now I can't find it...did you take it?' We were
like..uhhh no..haha. But she insisted on searching all of our bags and
bike baskets to make sure we didnt rob her. Isn't that hilarious?
Definitely the first time I've been accused of robbing someone on my
mission. Anyway, we were almost able to give her a Book of Mormon but
she said it was too heavy. Hope she finds her missing bag :/

Monday, May 21, 2012

A New Baby and Hunting Clam Hunters

My dear family,

A man walking his pet ferrett BiBichan
Good news! Brother Araki was confirmed on Sunday! He looked so happy,
especially when Bishop Miyake welcomed him to Fujisaki ward. When
Brother Shiki was performing the ordinance and said, 'Receive the Holy
Ghost' Brother Araki said, 'Hai!" or 'OK!' outloud Hahah. It was
really cute. We also took him to Institute for the first time on
Thursday. The first question the teacher asked was, 'Think about
important decisions you have made in your life' and then asked for
volunteers to share what they thought. Brother Araki was the first to
raise his hand, stand up and say, 'This past Saturday I was baptized,
and that is the most important decision I have ever made!' He's
generally a really quiet guy so we were both surprised he was so
confident in front of a bunch of people to do that. He will be a
really strong member for this ward.

pic; singing with Kaneko shimai at the talent show
Among many other things we had a really fun week finding and handing
out a lot of Book of Mormons. On Sunday we were both really tired and
ready to collapse and take forbidden naps in the church but we went
out the door and decided to go to a fun place in our area for a little
adventure. Remember when I went to the top of Fukuoka tower for
District meeting in January? That tower is in our area and right next
to the ocean. I remember during that district meeting Elder Stratford
had us look out on Fukuoka from the tower and reflect about the past
transfer and transfers ahead. At that time I didn't realize I was
actually looking directly at my future area! Anyway, we went to the
area where that tower is and there were hundreds of people out clam
hunting in the giant river leading out to the ocean! It was awesome.
We rode our bikes around that area for a while and talked to three
awesome families in a row and gave them all a copy of the Book of
Mormon! It was definitely a blessing and I totally forgot how tired I
had been earlier that day.
Watanabe family. Honoko chan, the one who shared her testimony is the bottom left. Aren`t they cute!?

We had our big talent show on Saturday and lots of people showed up! A
lot of people dressed up in Kimonos and did weird samurai skits and
whatnot, and we also learned about Okinawan dialect from a native
Okinawaan, heard a duet of 'Somewhere over the rainbow' from a father
and daughter, and I performed a song I wrote on the guitar for the
first time ever I think. Luckily nobody could understand the lyrics so
I wasnt't as nervous, haha. It was a song I wrote after watching
General Conference when i was in Ube.


Ok, last night we visited the cutest family of all time. They live on
an island  called Nokonoshima that is about a 10 minute boat ride from
Fujisaki. The dad isn't a member but every morning he takes his
daughter to the church to attend seminary at 5:30 and he comes to
church every single week! We"re working on helping him understand the
importance of baptism. Apparently he has some problem with joining an
organization but I think if he understands a little better and also
gains his own testimony by reading the book of Mormon on his own he
will be baptized soon. Anyway, they are seriously the most adorable
family ever. They have five girls named: Nanoko, Kanoko, Honoko,
Nonoko, Konoko. Yeah, I still haven't quite gotten them all down but
I'm working on it! Well, we had FHE with them last night and talked
about the Book of Mormon and how in 2Nephi 31 it says that the words
written are plain and easy to understand. Then we asked Honoko chan,
who is about 10 years old if she feels like she has ever learned
anything from reading it and she told about how she's been learning in
Primary about Alma the younger and the Sons of Mosiah and how even
though they did lots of bad stuff they repented. Then she said that we
also need to do that. I was basically stunned at this little girl's
answer and when I looked at her parents I could tell that before then
they had no idea their children were absorbing the gospel so much. I
think it was a really good opportunity for the Dad to see the
influence the Book of Mormon is having on his kids. Hopefully it gave
him a little push.

With the Watanabe kids playing on their island
Ok lastly, I have some big news. We got a surprise call yesterday from
the APs telling us that a BEAN is coming tomorrow to join our
companionship and make us into a threesome! Its super random because
there are still two weeks left in this transfer...and they haven't
decided who is going to be her its kind of just like
she's coming and hanging out for two weeks and dendo-ing with us.
Apparently she had something with her Visa and so she had to come
early from the MTC? Not really sure. Anyway, it should be interesting.
Her name is Takabori Shimai and I think shes Japanese but also lived
in New we'll see if shes more Japanese or American. Please
pray for us that things will go smoothly with our new addition!
Yesterday we went grocery shopping and it was like we were getting
ready to have a baby. "...Well what kind of milk do you think she'll
like? Skim or whole? What cereal should we get? Does she like
Bananas?" All for our new baby!

Love you all! This work is the best!!!
Lots of people hunting for clams

Love Tingey Shimai
Some delicious looking fish a member gave us

5. With the Watanabe kids playing on their island