Hellooo! Its a beautiful Pday! Spring is in the air and it looks to be an exciting week ahead.
I feel so happy and blessed (especially now that the weather has warmed up :) ).
On Thursay and Friday of this week we made a special trip to the Mission Home in Fukuoka for a 2 day conference with all of the Sisters from the mission. I can`t even tell you how happy I was to see my long-lost companion Sister Yamada, who I haven`t seen since September since she has been stuck on Okinawa for the past 7 months. Those two days might have been the most fun I have ever had on my mission. I love all of the Sisters so much! There were 21 of us in all; 16 Japanese and 5 American. Oh my goodness it was a blast.
On Thursday we all arrived and went right into the Conference, receiving training from Sisters Kaneko, Miyagawa, Uchida and I went last. The best part of training is always `mogi` or roll plays where we can practice our teaching on the other missionaries. I received a lot of insight and had fun practicing teaching with Caroll Shimai who is a Sister I took out on her first day in the field to go finding. It was so incredibly fun to see and talk to everyone. Thursday night was insanely fun. Sister Margetts bought a bunch of pizza from Costco and we had a pizza party in the Mission home and just sat around talking forever. President Margetts gave us special permission to stay up until midnight, too! Once it turned about 10:00 all of the Sisters who were still awake (about 15 of us) played a bunch of different games for about 2 hours. Sister Mueller taught us this one game called `Clumps` where you bounce around in a huddle saying `clumps clumps clumps clumps` and then when a person on the outside calls out a number you have to get into a group with that number of people by grabbing onto anyone close to you for dear life. If there`s one too many people in the group you all try to shove someone out. It was so hilarious because most of the Japanese Sisters are pretty timid so they all would just scream as us Americans were like jumping on top of them and being super agressive. I don`t think we stopped cracking up for about 30 minutes.
The next day we had more trainging from Sisters Kobayashi, Tagawa and Hinode, Yamada and Hattanda, and the APs. We were all beat from the night before but luckily I was able to stay awake through all of it. The testimony meeting at the end of the Conference was the best of all. I just felt such an overwhelming love for the Sisters, President and Sister Margetts, and the Fukuoka Mission. I was bawling my eyes out knowing that I wouldn`t have another opportunity to gather in that way again during my mission.
Well, I have to admit that I partied too hard during those two days because ever since then I have had a cold and been dead tired. However, I tried not to let that stop us from going out and working like normal, and I`m convinced that the miracles we`ve been seeing for the past few days are in large part due to the fact that I dudn`t wimp out and take a sick break. We ran into several people these last two days who seem really prepared to receive the gospel. They always seem to be the VERY LAST person we talk to out of about 30 each day, which makes me want to work harder and talk to more people every day because I know that if we show our faith and put in every ounce of effort that we have Heavenly Father will eventually lead us to someone waiting. We met a woman who happens to be a friend of our Relief Society President and wants us to teach her, as well as this lady yesterday named Maki san. At first she had zero interest. She said she has almost died before and has never ever felt the presence of God in her life. However, after bearing confident testimony to her that Heavenly Father is real, he is there, loves her and WILL answer her if she sincerely prays, she agreed to take a Book of Mormon, read from it and pray to know if its true. It was a really cool experience for both Hattori Shimai and I to see her attitude chance half way through talking to her. We have an appointment to follow up with that next week. Wahhooo!
Besides all of that, the good news lately is that we both feel like the branch members really trust us and have been getting more excited about missionary work. We have been receiving many referrals and members are actually volunteering, without us asking, to joint for our lessons with Komeda san and others! That is definitely a first on my mission. I couldn`t ask for anything more!
This week once at a members house for Family home evening, and once at church we were able to watch the Easter video from the new New Testament clips. They are soooo incredible! I wish I had time to just sit here and watch them all day online.
I love this gospel you guys! Its so true! I`m so glad that my vision has finally opened up and I understand the importance of this work, the miracle of the Restoration, and how everything connects. I love my Heavenly Father so much and just want to do anything he asks of me. Ok I love you and hope you have a great week!
Love, Tingey Shimai
P.S. I havent been sending any pictures lately because it seems like most of you aren`t even able to see them but I`ll try sending some today.
1. Me and all of my companions so far besides my trainer Sister McIntyre (who`s wedding announcement I just received in the mail! CONGRATULATIONS to my amazing trainer!! Yipeee!). From Left to right: Yamada, Ito, Hattori, Tagawa, Uchida
2. All of the Sisters partying in the Mission home with Sister Margetts.
3. One of my fav. comps of all time: Sister Yamada
5. Me and Sister Uchida wearing our matching Afghani pants we bought in Fukuoka
6. A prayer of thanks after meeting Maki san
1. A really scary picture of me. Look how cute my comp`s fish face is! What is wrong with me?
2. Heading to zone conference a few weeks ago with Hattori Shimai. Isn`t she adorable?
3. This is Taro, our pet cacoon. He lives on the wall where we park our bikes at our apartment. Sister Ito was convinced he was just some bug larvae but I`m pretty sure one of these days he`ll hatch and be a butterfly. What do you think?
4. A flower from my favorite branch member Brother Fujitake
5. First Vision pose on Mt. Shimofuri
6. Taking a stroll in Tokiwa park