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

Fujisaki Horror story....and some other spiritual stuff.

Dear family and friends,

It was a wonderful week! Since I just talked to you on the phone here are some highlights from this week....
Looks like I got to attend Komeda san`s baptism after all!!!
 Brother Araki was baptized on Wednesday!! Wahoooo. Sister Kaneko and I sang a song together and the spirit was just really strong throughout the entire service. In his testimony he shared an experience from when he was younger and almost drowned when he was trapped in the ocean tides with his brother, but somehow they were able to stay afloat for about 5 hours until they were rescued. He said he feels like he was saved then in order to be able to accept the gospel now in his life. It was an amazing story. Araki san seemed sooo happy the whole time and was even invited over for a big dinner celebration with his new Home Teachers and Home teaching companion! Couldn`t have asked for anything else from the ward. Welcome to the Church Brother Araki!
I received a package from Hattori Shimai containing a picture of Komeda San`s baptism. When I left Ube a couple of days before she was baptized I jokingly told Hattori Shimai to print out my head and hold it in the pictures. I didn`t think she would actually do it....
Talking to my family on Mother`s day was amazing!!! It didn`t seem like it had really been that long since talking on Christmas but was nice to hear everyone`s voices (besides my two long lost brothers who I never hear from!!!! eh hemmm!). I especially loved talking to my mom and Teri, both of whom are fantastic role models for me and are constantly encouraging and inspiring me to be better. I love you ;)

Us with brother Araki and the bishop who performed the ordinance.
I learned a TON this week in personal study. I`m not sure what it was but I just couldn`t get enough of reading the BOM, cross-referencing, reading the Bible Dictionary and True to the Faith. It was awesome. One thing I learned was about how the Christian Jews in Palestine, after Christ died had a super hard time doing away with the Law of Moses because they had corrupted the original law so much and were being super obsessive and weird about it, whereas the Nephites in the Americas, who hadn`t changed the law were easily able to accept the higher law when Christ appeared to them. I thought that was so interesting!! Sister Kaneko and I have been sharing one thing each day during personal study about humility. I feel like every bad thing that usually happens in the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, as well as in our own lives is largely due to pride. Humility is key!
Sorry this is short but I gotta run! Can`t wait for another day of hard work and bringing in the harvest for the Lord. I feel all of your prayers and also pray for you daily. Keep it up!
Love, Tingey Shimai
Finally a picture with my companion!

Weeds our ward mission leader fed us for dinner. Apparently its the rage around here to pick the weeds around your house and fry them up to feed to the missionaries. Thats not a joke.

So Saturday was the most hilarious day of my mission. First off, we decided to visit this grandma we met a couple of weeks ago. As we were praying in front of her glass doors before ringing the doorbell there were a lot of creepy tinkling and wind-blowing noises and I kept opening my eyes to see if someone was coming. We were already a little freaked out but we closed our eyes and finished the prayer and as soon as we opened our eyes and looked up the grandma was standing behind the glass doors staring at us with this insanely creepy, emotionless expression on her face, looking like an ax-murderer. It was horrifying, you guys! She stepped through the doors and said, still with that same face, `I`m sorry. I can`t listen to your lessons.` We both really think she was posessed or something. I cannot get that image out of my head. So we were half traumatized/ half cracking up all day about that, had a few more interesting encounters...and then after finding all day we ran into this cool looking Indo curry restaraunt so decided to stop there for dinner. We sat down at our table and to our complete astonishment there was a super intense Indian horror movie playing on the TV right above our table behind Sister Kaneko`s head!! It wasthe most hilarious coincidence ever. I mean, what are the chances! Anyway, I took this picture. If you get the chance, be sure to zoom in on the screen and see the scary dead lady.

Cleaning the baptismal font!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm a friend of the Bees

Dear family and friends,
The Bees
Its hard to believe that I`ve only been in Fujisaki for about two weeks! I still haven`t had the chance to tell you about my first week here and it seems like already ages ago!
Here are a few highlights from last week...
We received about a billion referrals from the Ward Mission Leader Brother Shiki. He is a big bee enthusiast and has a lot of fellow bee keeper friends, so he gave us a referral for one named Aoyagi san. I was really confused about how we were supposed to approach him because he said, `Just go to the gas station where he works and say, `I`m a friend of the bees``. Thats it. I was like...uhhh...haha. Kaneko Shimai didn`t seem to think it was weird so we went, did exactly that....and somehow in the midst of being taken behind the gas station and seeing his bee hives he accepted a Book of Mormon and said he wanted to hear our lessons. Haha! Another referral was for Brother Shiki`s chiropractor friend who used to attend BYU as an exchange student. We went and did a really sketchy lesson in his chiropracting room and he told us both our necks are crooked because when we were born we were yanked out. Is that true? Anyway, we also accepted the lessons. Some of the most interesting ways I`ve ever found new investigators.
Man on a funny bike
This ward is INSANELY awesome you guys. There are numeruous activities each week including cooking classes, Eikaiwa, BBQ`s, talent shows, etc. So many great opportunities to meet new people and have new friends come to the church. We`re planning a soap-making activity with a member to do with our friend Marie who is from the Philippines!
The senior couple who works here in Fukuoka. I love them SO much!
We saw a huge miracle this week! We were teaching a lesson at about 7:30 at the church with Araki San, which is kind of rare because we usually meet him in the afternoon. After the lesson was over I looked over and this woman was standing in the doorway all shaky like she was about to pass out from dehidration. We sat her down and it ends up that she is a less active member who said that she had walked for about 6 hours from a different area all the way to the church. We were all pretty confused but it just so happened that the member who jointed for our lesson with Araki san had brought a picnic for us to eat so we were able to feed her. After a while she finally told us she had run away from a hospital, and Araki san just happened to have the phone number on him so he called and her parents came to get her.Turns out that she ran away from a place she was being hospitalized that afternoon an her parents and all sorts of people were searching for her for hours! It was really just a miracle that we were in the church at all that night! I learned a lesson then about what Elder Bednar said in a talk once about how a lot of the time we`re being led by the spirit even when we don`t notice.
With Bishop Miyake and his family after FHE
Did I tell you that Araki San is going to be baptized this Saturday? We finished all of his lessons and he had his interview so he`s all set to go. We`re so excited for him! More to come about that next week! Sorry it took so long for me to email this week. From now on I`ll only be emailing on Tuesdays. Today we had zone conference so I decided to just email today so we wouldn`t have to make the extra trip to Fukuoka.
I love the gospel so much and I`m so grateful for all of my blessings. Especially for my family and friends. I can`t wait to talk to you on Mothers Day!
Love, Tingey Shimai