Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review - December 31, 2013

 Thanks to everyone for making my christmas so special!
 Does this mean that I was a good girl because Santa came? :)
 Christmas Meal #1
 Thank you everyone for making Christmas so special from so far away!
 Christmas Meal #2


 I absolutely loved the Idaho Potato!! Everyone got a laugh out of it. Suita Shimai nearly fell over...she couldn't believe it. :)


 Skyping with my girls!
 My new christmas outfit.
 
Here in Kasukabe, I've personally decided that the Christmas miracle isn't over yet. Actually, the Christmas miracle will never be over. Every day, I live because of the gift of the Plan of Salvation. In return for that gift I receive 24/7, I will must certainly continue to do all I can to bring Christ as many gifts as possible.
 
This past week's miracles:
  • Do you remember Muranaka-san that I told you about last week...or at least I think I did. She really wants to get baptized!! She has a friend back in Peru-his name is Jeffery-who is going on a mission soon. He has been telling her about our church and even told her she needed to stop drinking coffee! What an example to all of us Jeffery is! We are really excited to continue to teach Muranaka-san. Please pray for her to be able to be baptized! Please pray for her husband to open His heart to the idea of religion. That he too may know that there is a God.
  • Since I first got to Kasukabe, I have been meeting with Sayaka-chan, who is 11 years old. Her mother is a less active, but Sayaka-chan has been coming to church on a fairly consistent basis. My first couple of transfers, we weren't able to meet with her very much. She lives about an hour away from the church by car and she is super busy with schooling and other activities. However, recently we have been meeting with her a lot thanks to her good friends in this ward. Today we extended the baptismal invitation with a date and she accepted! She is really excited. It has made a huge difference to have members of the church that are her own age doseki(member present lesson) with us. Their influence has been crucial in her conversion process.
  • Both of these incredible stories happened because of the members!! Members are sooooo soooooo daiji (important) in this work! The Kasukabe ward has been changing-I can see it. As we have built strong relationships with them and invited them to help us take part in missionary work, they have changed their very nature. Today in our fifth-Sunday lesson, everyone was so excited to talk about dendo. The Lord has truly opened the hearts of the members here.
As we close 2013, what a wonderful time we have to reflect on our year. This year has certainly been one to remember. I have learned so much! I think one of the most important things I've learned as a missionary is love/charity.This transfer, I have been studying (just a little bit every day) how the Atonement and missionary work are related. It has been such an incredible, spiritual experience for me. John 15: 13 says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." It was love that allowed the Savior to perform the Atonement. So, too, is it love that is the motivating force behind missionary work. No matter how inadequate we may seem, the Lord trusts us with the work. He has said that out of the weak things of the earth will He fulfill His purposes. Do we love our friends enough to tell them the most glorious news of all? There are people all around us. I have no doubt that we knew most if not all of them in the zense (pre-earth life). I can imagine that they begged for you to help them here on earth. We can't disappoint them. Let's all try to be a little bit more like Jeffery. When we extend commitments to our friends out of love, anything is possible! It is the start of a new year! May we all take a step of faith into this new year and work hard to achieve our goals (hint, hint...member missionary work) that will help us out on the road to our full potential.
 
Wishing you all the very best 2014. I've got a feeling it's going to be the best year ever!!
 
Love,
山内姉妹
 
In PMG, we read that the two most important tools in missionary work is the Spirit and the Book of Mormon. So, as a mission on December 31, we will be cleaning our apartments from morning until evening. This will help us to have the Spirit in our apartments so that we can receive revelation for our investigators and our area. Then, on January 1,  we will be having a mission-wide Book of Mormon reading day! Dedicating this day too reading the Book of Mormon will help us to renew our testimonies and start a new year of dendo off right. I'm way excited for the way that I get to celebrate this New Year. It's going to be fabulous!
 
Love you the most,
Yamauchi Shimai

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's a miracle! - Dec 23, 2013


 MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Elder Healy as Santa Claus
 
 
Our biggest miracle of late has been Blanche. This week we taught her the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. Before we taught her about the Word of Wisdom, she knew about the normal things that are bad for our bodies, such as tobacco, alcohal, and other harmful substanes. However, she drank tea and coffee. She told us that she didn't know it was a commandment and that from that time forward she wouldn't drink tea or coffee. When we taught her about the Law of Chastity, she accepted it and said she wants to keep the Law of Chastity too. She is such a Christmas miracle to us!

We also received a referral from church headquarters this last week that wanted a Book of Mormon. She is a Phillipean and she wants to join our church! WAY COOL, deshou! She has three little children and her husband, but her husband is Japanese and doesn't believe in God. Her life is really hard right now. She got super emotional when talking to us and said that she was so glad that we came by. I love her so much. She is really excited to continue to meet with us and we hope and pray that her husband will soften his heart.

I am so grateful for this time of year and for the hope it gives to one and all.
Have a very, very Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have the best holiday season ever.
I LOVE YOU!
-山内姉妹

Our Ward Christmas party turned out so wonderful! Fun games, beautiful violin music, wonderful food for everyone, children singing, and one of my favorite parts: a beautifully put together video about Christ and his life that opened everyone's heart a little bit more to the true meaning of Christmas. I think, however, that my favorite thing about the whole event was seeing so many less actives who we've been working with for what seems like forever. That night, I came to recognize to an even greater degree how much the Savior loves each one of us...individually. Every time we serve someone, our love for that person grows so much deeper. This is a picture of some of our less active members (Iwakiri Shimai and her two kids). Since I first came to Kasukabe in August, we been working with her. Her house is about a 13-20 minute bike ride from our church and I can't even begin trying to count how much time we have spent trying to help her. We have shared sooo many messages with her at her house. Most of the time, she doesn't answer her phone, and so sometimes we decide to surprise visit her and to give her support. A lot of times, she isn't home, so we leave her a note with a message and encouragement. When I saw her at the Christmas party, my heart was literally sobbing for joy. These feelings can't be described...I think it could be similar to the feelings our Savior has when one of His children comes back to Him. Eto Shimai is another less active member who works on Sunday's, but-if you remember from one of my earlier letters-she has really been feeling God's love lately. We have been teaching Eto Shimai's daughter, Sayaka-chan, the missionary lessons. Sayaka-chan is on and off with church. Every time she does come, my heart breaks because she doesn't have any family with her (although luckily she does have some really good church friends). Eto Shimai didn't have work on Saturday night (the night of our Christmas party), and so she was able to come. Sayaka-chan sang Christmas songs with the Primary children and she looked so happy. I couldn't help but think about her Mom and how proud of her daughter she must be. I could list a whole lot more, but for the sake of time, I better just talk about one more special less-active experience. Yamamoto Kyoudai went on a mission, but became less active. He has two twin boys who are serving missions right now and an 18 year old daugher. The wife also served a mission. Sister Yamamoto and the daughter come to church ever week, but Brother Yamamoto hasn't-that was the first time that I had ever seen him. I ended up talking to him for about 40 minutes. I asked him questions about his mission and the many miracles that he had seen. He told me about an experience that he had when he went to the temple in the US one time. He saw the prophet and got to shake his hand. Then, outside of the temple, he saw the prophet again. He didn't think that the prophet would recognize him and decided that he wanted to shake his hand again. After the hand shake, the prophet said, you tried again. We laughed about it and then talked about how prophets sure are amazing. I then told Brother Yamamoto about how precious I thought this experience was. Sometimes, when we have experiences, we tend to think about it only that context, but I told him how it applies now. We can always try again...no matter what's happened in the past. The Lord welcomes all with outstretched hands to try again. The Atonement is everything...it truly is!
I am so thankful for the may wonderful experiences that I had that night. Those experiences changed hearts that night...mine included.

Monday, December 16, 2013

CAN YOU FEEL IT? IT'S EVERYWHERE!‏ - December 16, 2013




 
 
 My new companion's name is Sister Miyaki! She was born and raised in Hawaii. Both of her parents are Japanese, but they don't speak any Japanese, so she is learning right now. I'm really looking forward to working hard with her this transfer as we bring souls until Christ!


 


KID'S EIKAIWA
 Package from Yayoi Takogawa, a lady that my dad baptized

  Morimoto Shimai, her daughter, and Yoshioka Shimai. They are both members that come to Kid's Eikaiwa. It has been great for them to mingle with those who are not members.These two are the greatest and some of my best friends.

 A few of the parents who are faithful Kid's Eikaiwa attendees. They are the cutest.


I cannot believe how many miracles we have seen this week! There's no way that I'll be able to tell you all the wonderful things that have happened, but I want to mention a few.

1. Sister Suita and I were able to have some really good less-active members. They really loved our message. As we asked them questions that allowed them to share their testimony with us, they were able to rekindle the fire of faith within them. Less-actives are so important!! I love them so much. We were able to set up another time to meet with them and we're also able to commit them to come to church. Remember what it says in PMG...every member of the church needs three things: 1. A friend in the church whom they can rely on. 2. A calling. 3. They must be nourished by the good word of God. It's a pretty simple reciepe, and we as members are so crucial in fulfilling all three of these points. Most less actives become less active because they didn't have one or more of these three things.

2. On Wedesday after Eikaiwa, we had a lesson with the lady that I found during splits in Okegawa last transfer...Reina-san. I love her so very much. It is so powerful to dendo with those who are the same age as you because you have so much in common. She understands the importance of baptism and we were able to commit her to be baptized in January. We are so excited for her decision and she is really excited too!

3. Japanese class has been an excellent opportunity for us to find those who are prepared to hear the gospel. My Japanese teacher has been with me for about three months now. Her name is Tanabe-san, which (for those of you who haven't read my letters thus far) is the maiden name of my Great-Grandma Okamura. We have done some family history together. When she first became my Japanese teacher, she asked me what I wanted to learn about. I told her my purpose and told her I need to be able to share God's message well in Japanese. On the first Japanese lesson several months ago, I was able to share the Plan of Salvation with her. Over the last couple of months, we have become very close friends. This last week during Japanese class, we read from the Book of Mormon (I told her I needed practice reading in Japanese...I'm telling you, Japanese class is such a fabulous tool to spread the gospel). We read 3 Nephi 11. After we finished reading the chapter, we talked for a little while. She said that when she first met with me, she didn't know whether or not she believed in God. However, this last time, she said that she now believes in God and that she thinks about the Plan of Salvation all the time!! She can't wait to get a copy of my paper with the picture of the Plan of Salvation.

4. We were able to meet with one of the Japanese class students on Saturday. Her name is Blanche. She is the sweetest and has a very strong desire to do what is right. She was so excited to meet with us and to visit the church. She wants to become a missionary like us and is taking us next week to meet her friends so that we can talk to them about our message. We were also able to set a baptismal date for her in January. She has a strong desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ!

5. This week I have gained a strong testimony of the power of a trainer. It has been so much fun to watch Suita Shimai with a new missionary. She does things almost exactly like I did them. Her and I always have pillow talk at night. We miss being companions, but are so thankful that we are still in the same apartment. She still tells me that I'm training her. ;) P.S. The new sister in our apartment is from St. George and her name is Sister Davis. She is 23 and had a job as an engineer before she decided to come on a mission. Four people in our apartment is quite the adjustment, but we love each other and are grateful to get to know each other.

6. President Dorff came to our ward this Sunday. He also attended our ward council meeting. He has a lot of dendo fire and I am so thankful for all his love and support. He loves the missionaries and is so passionate about helping others come to Christ. I think he helped our ward out a lot.

These are only a few of the many miracles this week. It has definitely been a week to remember. It has changed others lives as well as my own.
I hope you are all feeling the Savior's love this season and always. It doesn't matter where we are, what time of day it is, or what season of your life it is. Can you feel it? His love is everywhere!
I love the scripture that says. We know that President Monson has called each and every one of us to the great cause of saving souls. a.k.a. God has called us too! He has been calling for this from the beginning, but He is now calling for it more than ever before. Members...our duty in the church is missionary work...that's what being a member of the church is. That's what this church does...missionary work. That is our calling...how great is our calling! I hope you've all remembered the challenge I gave a couple weeks ago. If you haven't quite done it...don't worry, there's still time before Christmas!
Love you!
-山内姉妹

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Transfer #4 - December 10, 2013

 
 
About 1/2 mile away from our apartment, we have a pretty good sized mall. The have this sweet Christmas tree set up. It's so BIG. They had this beauty set up before Thanksgiving!! I love looking at a Christmas tree. It reminds me of my purpose as a missionary-to devote my life to giving special gifts to God.
 
December 10, 2013
 
おはいようございます。 Ohaiyou gozaimasu. Good Morning.
 
I hope you are all enjoying the cheery atmosphere that December brings. We sure have been.
 
Miracles of the week:
1. I went on splits with Kelson Shimai to Okegawa (which is about an hour train ride away from Kasukabe). While in Okegawa, they had their district meeting. As a result, we had to travel by train (and had quite a few norikais-train transfers). When we first got on the train early in the morning, the train was packed and we didn't really have any space to move. The lady next to me was reading a book and I asked her if she liked reading. She said she did and we talked for quite a while about what type of books we like. I then told her that I came to Japan to share my favorite boook. She was so intrigued by the Book of Mormon and I gave her an introdution to the book. The Book of Mormon in Japanese is a little different from the Book of Mormon in English. The Japanese Book of Mormon uses lots of old words and grammer, so its hard for a lot of people to understand. However, there is a little dictionary at the back of the Book of Mormon that explains what certain words mean in simpler terms. When I testified of the power that it has brought into my life, she asked if she could look at it. She was completely shocked when I said I wanted to give it to her and was so honored to take it. She said she knew that it was an important book. I honestly probably won't ever talk to this lady again until after this life, but I hope and pray that the Book of Mormon will change her life forever. I think that's how it is with a lot of the things we do in life. Sometimes we don't know what our efforts will do, but I testify that our efforts do change people's lives. The Lord uses the small and simple things of the world to bring about HIs greatness. I know that!
2. On the next norikai on our way to Okegawa's district meeting, I talked to a 19 year old girl who is studying Chinese and English in college. The cool thing about it...she is from the Kasukabe area! She has interest in church and in getting help with her English. Last night, we had a lesson with her and some members. The young people of the world are soooo amazing. This Reina-san told us that she has always believed in God. Another testimony to me that God truly does prepare his people. She was willing to pray the very first time we asked her (even though she's never prayed before in her life). I just talked to her a couple hours ago and set up an appointment to meet tonight. She is honestly the most adorable person ever. It's fun to teach someone who is your own age. We are the best of friends and I would do anything for her. I am forever thankful for the people the Lord has allowed me to meet.
3. Our kid's eikaiwa class that we started last transfer is doing well. At first, it was a little slow starting However, as we have gotten the members involved in telling their friends about it, it has turned out to be quite the success.
4. We went to a less-active members house with a member on Saturday. She has said that she has been feeling God's love in a very real way recently. She has had dreams that convince her that God loves her. As we shared with her a message that we thought was fitting with her, tears ran down her cheeks. The Spirit was truly incredible in that lesson. She wants to go to church really bad, but she can't because of her job. However, in the past she hasn't had any desire to go to church. Now that she does, I know that the Lord will provide a way for her!
5. The less-active member (Sister Eto) has an 11 year old daughter who is really hard to. Unlike America (or I should say mainly Idaho and Utah) the wards are so spread out in Japan. The Kasukabe area is quite big. By car, they live about an hour away, so it is really really hard to set up appointments to meet her. In the 4 months that I have been in Kasukabe, we have been able to meet with her twice. This last weekend was one of those times-with her Mom, Eto Shimai. We told her our desires for Sayaka-chan to be baptized. Eto Shimai doesn't really want to set any specific goal for that right now, but she always says that it will happen eventually. We asked Eto Shimai if she would say the closing prayer and she agreed. She prayed for the ability to be able to go to church and also prayed that Sayaka-chan (her 11 year old daughter) would receive baptism once she understood the church a little more. Sister Hosoya (her visiting teacher of about 3 years) told us after the lesson that it was the first time she had ever heard Sister Eto pray before. What a huge miracle!
This morning we received transfer calls from the honbu (mission office). Sister Suita and I will be spending our Christmas season and New Year in............Kasukabe, in the same aparment, but we won't be companions any more. I am going to meet Sister Miaki (I'm not sure if that's spelled right) on Thursday. She is a second transfer missionary, so she I will be her 2nd trainner. Her first area was in the Tokyo 2nd ward (which is an English speaking and English teaching ward, so the mission office has asked that I really help her out with Nihongo (Japanese).
 
Speaking of Japanese, I got to translate at the Okegawa district meeting for Sister Ono. Despite the fact that we are in Japan, all of our meetings are in English. I wish they were in Japanese, but I guess because most of the missionaries are gaijin (foreigners), they do it in English. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE translating. It is one of the most rewarding jobs/responsibility ever (and good language study time).  :)
 
One last thought of the week:
Recently, we have been visiting with lots of less-active members of the church. If there's one thing that breaks my heart about missionary work, it's the less actives. It reminds me of the quote in PMG that says there is no point in doing missionary work if we do not hold on to the fruit of our efforts. As we have talked with less-active members, we have asked them if they have been praying lately. Without fail, almost every single less-active has not been praying. I have come to realize that when a member of the church stops praying (either personally, as a family, or both), that is the start of a slippery slope into inactivity. We must do the little things right. It doesn't seem like a big deal. Remember last General Coference when one of the speakers talked about skipping Sacrament Meeting once for a nice drive with the family. Those simple little things allow Satan to put a foot in the door of our spiritual house. Don't let him do this to you! It is by our small efforts that great things our brought to pass. Keep doing the small things and trusting that the Lord will never fail you!
 
I love Him and I love this great work!! Keep up the great missionary work everyone!
 
United as ONE,
山内姉妹

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Faith IN JESUS CHRIST - December 3, 2013


  We went to a Christmas Concert put on by some of the Japan Tokyo Mission missionaries in Matsudo (they have the biggest church in all of Asia...it's seven stories high). Kent Derriott (who is quite famous in Japan), was the narrator of the concert. We brought my Japanese teacher, Tanabe-san. What a great time of the season to help the people of Japan know the true meaning of Christmas.

 
  Outside of the Japan Tokyo temple at this time of season is this beautiful statue. I LOVE IT!!!
 
 
 While I teach Suita Shimai some of the American dishes, she has taught me how to make some Japanese dishes. Japanese food is the BEST!
 
 
Ho Ho Ho and a Happy December-can you believe it's already December!!
 
Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers, letters, and support. I love you all so much. I hope you are enjoying this holiday season-what a wonderful time of the year it is.
 
This week, I have been studying faith in Jesus Christ. I think that faith is one of the most under-studied topics, but yet it is the first principle of our church. Why is it so important? We are told that faith is a principle of power and that God works according to the faith of men. In particular, I have been studying Elder Jeffery R. Holland's talk: Lord, I Believe. I then read the scriptural account of this story. I think when most people read it, they stop once the boy is healed. However, I find great power in the verses that follow it. After the healing, the disciples ask the Lord why they couldn't heal the boy. The Lord said it was because they were lacking in faith. But with much prayer and fasting, all things are possible.
 
I also love faith tatoebanashis (object lessons). I try to come up with tatoebanashis all the time because it makes it so much easier to understand a gospel principle. Here's a good one for faith. It's called the trust fall. I think everyone knows what the trust fall is. If you don't, go Google it. Personally, I can't do the trust fall, but that's beside the point. For those who can do the trust fall, they do it super fast and completely trust the other person to catch them. However, even for those who are really good at the trust fall, if they think about it for too long or wait and wonder if they person will really catch them, they become scared and have a much more difficult time with this task. So too is this true with our reliance on the Lord. Just rely on Him now. There is no reason to wait.
 
As Sister Suita and I were doing weekly planning, we came to the conclusion that this week was going to be huge in the making of our White Christmas. We are not only teaching, but we are working on finding those who will receive us. During personal study, I have been studying finding. After much study and prayer, I took what I thought to be an answer to prayer into our companion study. I told Sister Suita that I saw a park on our mission map that I had never been to and asked her what she thought. We prayed together and decided that we ought to go. It was about a 40 minute bike ride (longer than we had expected) and when we got to the park, there weren't a whole lot of people there. Quite a few children playing soccer or playing on the play ground, but really no parents or grandparents. It was about dinner time, so grabbed a quick meal at Makudonarudo (McDonalds). I told Suita Shimai that we ought to try dendoing (proselyting) around the general area. The Lord needed us here for something, we just had to find out what it was. We chose to go housing at an apartment complex. I don't know if you know this or not, but unlike in America, most Japan houses have speakers by the doorbell. So, you have to try to get them interested by just talking to them over an intercom. I prayed like crazy for the faith to find a kinjin (golden investigator). That was the most successful housing experience I have ever had! One of the first doors we tried, a man came and talked to us for about 10 minutes. Although he already had his religion, he allowed us to share the Restoration of the Gospel with him. About half way through the process, I got some children to open the door. A few seconds later, a man came to the door. We shared the entire Plan of Salvation with him. We talked for about 30 minutes and then his wife came home and we talked with both of them for another 15 minutes. I asked him if I could give him our cell phone number and he wrote it down. Then, he asked me if I was ready for his number!! Incredible! We are going to meet with him again this week. He is interested in learning about our religion. This sweet and humbling experience strengthened my personal testimony of faith. Most of the time, the Lord isn't just going to place miracles right in our path. He has to see that we are going to work for the miracle first.
 
I know that through faith, miracles are wrought. I love Ether 12. It repeats over and over again that first is faith and then second to it is the miracle. This order is so crucial. The Lord expects us to exercises what faith we do have in order to perform the miracles that He wants so badly to give us.
 
I love the Savior. I know that He lives and He is very aware of us. Let's continue to go on in the greatest cause-the hastening of God's work. Members are so powerful in missionary work. I have a challenge for all those who read this letter (and don't stop reading even though some of you might want to...). Before Christmas is over, invite some of your friends to learn about the true meaning of Christmas through family home evening, a church Christmas party, or some other creative idea. I know that if you will do this, the Lord will bless you.
 
All you have to do is Be Strong And Do It (BSADI) :)
 
One Faith, One Prayer, One Heart, One Baptism...before Christmas,
Yamauchi Shimai
 
 

Monday, November 25, 2013

HOPE - November 25, 2013

 
 One of the ways we show love for those who we visit and associate with is by heart-attacking their door. This is one of the members houses-it was their anniversary this last week, and so we wanted to leave them a little surprise.

 Thanksgiving Dinner

Beautiful View from the Front of our Church‏

 All-Mission Christmas Get-Together‏
 We had a Relief Society activity last weekend at our church. Activities are the best because we can bring our investigators to them! It took us a couple hours to prepare, but it was soooo incredibly delicious!



The Kasukabe missionaries had an early Thanksgiving feast with the Morishita family this last week. Sister Morishita is quite the cook and she's from America!! Her husband and daughter speak English as well. We had such a wonderful time!! I'm so thankful for everything that I have been given. God is good. So good.
DSC05967: Sister Morishita asked each of the missionaries what pie the liked the most. I said Banana Cream! The other missionaries chose cheesecake, apple pie, and strawberry pie. Soooo yummy!!
  

Hey All!
Miracle of the week: Going away from our All-Mission Christmas Conference this past week, I went away with a sure hope with an even stronger testimony that God is preparing His people to hear the mesage of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that God leads us to his prepared people or He leads them to us. The night of the Conference, we were riding our bikes back to our apartment and got stopped at a stop light. Someone had just emailed our phone and so I was reading it. All of the sudden, I hear someone say, "Hello." I look up and there's an American lady a few yards away. Her name is Michelle. She has been in Japan for about five years now and is teaching English to Japanese high school students. We told her that we were church volenteers and she asked us which denomination. I told her that we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and she said, "Oh, LDS." She wants to meet again! She is very busy, but we are meeting with her tonight and are very excited to
When many people think of the word "hope," they think of a little bit of belief, but a lot of uncertainty in that belief. In the church, the word hope means a whole lot more than that. Hope is unwavering and certain.
May we all hope in good things to come.
My times up.
Good night from Japan!
XOXO,
Yamauchi Shimai

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's the Climb that Counts - November 18, 2013


 
 The missionaries with the dendo shunin (ward mission leader) and his wife-Usui Kyoudai and Shimai. Sorry no new pictures this week. This is one with my former companion.
 Hello "Amerika!!"
It's miracle mail time once again. I know that the Lord will always give us the chance to see miracles if we believe in them. Enjoy :)
1. This last Sunday we decided that we were going to street near by our church with the intent to give church tours to those who wanted one. We ended up doing one church tour in our scheduled finding time. Then, we were about to leave the church because we had dinner scheduled next in our daily planners; however, there was a Mom and two boys playing in the church parking lot. We went over and started talking to the Mom. She lives right next to the church. We asked if they wanted to see the inside of our beautiful building and one of the little boys said, "Mitai, mitai!" (that means, "I want to see, I want to see.") While giving the church tour, we walked by the Bishop's door and he opened it. He just happened to be in a meeting with five other church leaders. He invited us in and was able to get to know the mother and the two boys a little more and invite them to the ward Christmas party. We also told them about Kids Eikaiwa. The mother was very excited about that. Then we asked if we could set up another appointment. She said she would like to come to church next Sunday and get a lesson. kiseki, deshou?! 
2. We just finished visiting with my Japanese teacher. She wanted us to visit her home and feed us. Her name is Tanabe-san. She is one of my best friends. Today I told them that My Great-Grandma Okamura's maiden name is Tanabe. Her and her husband were shocked. They said that Tanabe is a very rare Japanese name. We are going to meet up soon and do family history with them. Maybe we're related!! Tying family history work into missionary work can be one of the most spiritually enriching experiences ever. Tanabe-san definitely reminds me of Grandma Okamura so much and I sure do hope that Grandma Okamura is helping us out on the other side of the veil. We're going to need lots of help.
While sitting in sacrament meeting with our investigators, I can't help but wonder how they must feel. I don't know how to put this in words, but I'm going to try. Our church is awesomely different.  We do lots of awesomely different things like have a three hour meeting each week (that's a long meeting for those who haven't grown up in the church and even for some who have grown up in the church), ask people to give freely of their time and be happy about it, we don't drink wine or coffee, and the list goes on. Why do we do these things? The answer is so incredible simple, but profound. We do these things because the church is true! If it weren't true, I wouldn't be a member of this church, nor would I be on a mission right now. My favorite message to share with others is their personal relationship with God. We are children of God and He is literally our Heavenly Father. Love is so incredibly powerful. Knowing that God loves us, we will do anything to follow Him.
We have been so busy here in Kasukabe, so I don't really have any new pictures to send you. This picture is old (during my first transfer). The missionaries with the dendo shunin (ward mission leader) and his wife-Usui Kyoudai and Shimai. They are the cutest and I feel so blessed that they are a part of my life!!
Before I leave, I better explain the subject of this email-It's the climb that counts. I think too many people get focused on the end goal that we forget to enjoy the little moments in life. God definitely has an end goal/vision: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men. We too ought to have goals. However, this vision of our Heavenly Father's has the word "eternal." There really is no end to eternity is there? Therefore, we are never really going to get to the end of anything. Don't wish away your days. It is so important to enjoy the journey-each and every moment counts!
Please keep praying for our investigators, especially Tanabe-san, Maria-san, Yukiko-san, and Yukari-san.
Bye bye from Japan,
-Yamauchi Shimai

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

REMEMBER - November 12, 2013

Welcome to Yamauchi Shimai's weekly email. Are you feeling the joy of the holiday season? It's getting pretty chilly weather wise here in Saitama, but the dendo work is getting hot!
 
I've been thinking a lot about the word ,"remember" this week. It's probably one of the most important words in our vocabulary. As we have visited several oyasumikaiin (less-active members), investigators, and members, I have gained a greater appreciation for this word. Life is simple. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. There's only 5 steps to being happy forever and ever (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). In church we learn the same things over and over again. As a missionary, we teach the same things over and over again. Why is that? Here's what I believe to be the best answer: The most important things in life don't need to be learned, they just need to be remembered. Before this life, we were taught all that we needed to help us through our mortal existence. Yet Satan tries to tell us that we need to know more. Oh that cunning plan of the evil one. Oh the vainness and frailty and foolishness of men. When they are learned they think they are wise. And they harken not unto the council of God for they set it aside supposing they know of themselves. Wherefore their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not and they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they harken unto the counsel of God.
 
Sorry, I don't have a lot more time to write. Thanks to each and every one of you for all the prayers in behalf of missionaries everywhere. We appreciate and love you for it. More important than us missionaries are our investigators. Please keep them in your prayers always. I wanted to provide you with a list of specific names of people who we will teach this week. I know that as we unite in prayer for those who are being taught, we will see miracles.
  1. Maria-san
  2. Karen-chan
  3. Yumiko-san
  4. Yukiko-san
  5. Yukari-san
  6. Yamazaki-san
  7. Suzuki-san
 
 I really like this quote, "How can we know their heart when we don't even know their name."
 
We are working our best in Kasukabe to make this Christmas a WHITE one (with people in white entering the waters of baptism). I can think of no better gift to give to Christ this Christmas than a baptism!
 
Love you all the most!
山内姉妹

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blessings from Heaven - November 4, 2013

 
 I am soooooooooooo incredibly grateful for my new Japanese companion-Sister Suita!! Of the 36 new missionaries that entered the field this week, there were only two Nihonjin sisters. I'm one lucky duck.
 The MTC name badges are different from the name badges we can order out in the field. In the MTC, the default alphabet for the name badge is Katakana. But, of course, since my name is Japanese, I wanted Kanji. It took a little longer than expected, but it finally came this week!! Hurray.

 BaBaBaBaBa, I'm lovin' it!

My First Experience with the Japanese version of McDonalds (which I think is better than the American McDonalds)‏

 
 
 
I can hardly believe that it's already November! Wowza. As everyone knows (or I guess at least Americans know) November is a special time to express our thanks.This week, I have been increasingly aware of the fact that my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, know me personally. They knows my desires, my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my everything. They are truly my best friends and I will be forever in debt to them. I have felt their love in a very real way this week and am so very thankful for that. Here are some of the specific things I am grateful for this week.
  1. I am soooooooooooo incredibly grateful for my new Japanese companion-Sister Suita!! Of the 36 new missionaries that entered the field this week, there were only two Nihonjin sisters. I'm one lucky duck. She is my little angel and I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to train a new missionary. My trainee (Sister Suita) is kind of like my investigators. I've got to put all my focus on them. She is the most important person and I'm second to her. One of my missions right now is Sister Suita. Everything that I do will impact her entire mission, and I want to help her be the best missionary EVER. Here's a fun little jilkoshokai (introduction) of Sister Suita. Sister Suita hails from Nara, which is next to Kyoto. She is in the Osaka stake and her Dad is the Stake President in Osaka right now. We have a lot of similarities. She has 7 people in her family and loves volleyball. She went to Hawaii for a little while before coming on a mission and knows a little bit of English. She wants to know more English and I want to know more Japanese, so we are teaching each other. She loves missionary work. When we had our first companion study, I asked the question, "Do you know what we're going to do?" I think said, "Well, my friend, we're going to hit the pavement. We're going to find, we're going to teach, and we're going to baptize!" I am looking forward to working with her this transfer!!
  2. Every night, our district leader calls us. While talking to him and telling him about the lessons we had that day, I forgot the English words for "son" and "sacrament meeting." A.k.a. I could only say them in Japanese. This might seem like a really weird thing to be thankful for, but I am thankful that I am losing my English skills (or at least I hope that is what's happening). I have truly witnessed the miracle of the gift of tongues. I think most people, when they think the gift of tongues, think of just being able to all of a sudden speak a new language. It is so much more than that. It requires a great deal of effort on our part and then lots of faith. I have also come to find that the gift of tongues doesn't always mean speaking the language perfectly. During lessons, I am ever aware of the fact that I don't know as much Japanese as I wish I did. However, I think that part of the gift of tongues is when, during the lessons, your investigator can understand you and you can understand your investigator despite the differences.
  3. We have a new progressing investigator!! Her name is Sato Yukari. She is 25 years old and is the cutest! I am so thankful for her willingness to meet with us and learn about our church. Yesterday, she came to all 3 hours of church. AMAZING!! We were also able to eat dinner with a couple member families Sunday night so that she can have church friends.
  4. This week, I got dendoed to from another church volunteer. She says she thinks the Book of Mormon is a deception and invited me to pray about it again to really know if it's true. I told her I would do it. As I followed the steps in Moroni's promise during personal study, I just felt a nice, warm feeling. It didn't need to be something big, but just enough to reassure me that it was true (the Lord shouldn't have to use a flood light when a flashlight is sufficient). How can this book not be true? I am so thankful that my Heavenly Father gave me another chance to strengthen my own testimony of this marvelous book. At a Southern Baptist Church in America, there is a billboard outside the church that says, "Don't pray about the book of Mormon. That's how they get you." This is powerful evidence of the truth of Moroni's promise. It works. It's not called Moroni's "promise" for nothing.
I'm so excited for another week as a missionary. What a wonderful season of life it is. All day, every day, having the opportunity to focus on helping others draw closer to Christ. As taught in D&C 138:56, every person on this earth was taught the "first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord..." All we have to do is help them REMEMBER!

Thanks for all your hard work as we continue to hasten the work of salvation!! Love you all!
-山内姉妹

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In His Hands - October 28, 2013

 HALLOWEEN 2013

 Sister Lowry and I all dressed up.

  Morishita Shimai as Minney Mouse, Yamauchi Shimai as a cat, and Healy Chourou as Aladdin.
  Ikezawa Shimai's costume is superb isn't it? 

 Haruka-chan and her Mom and Dad

Haruka-chan, the most adorable girl ever. I love her and her family so much. They are part of our Eikaiwa program.


HOW ABOUT THE SIZE OF POTATOES IN JAPAN!

Most Nihonjin, when I tell them I'm from Idaho, know it to be the potato state. Coming from Idaho, it's really weird to see such small potatoes. When I tell Nihonjin how big the potatoes are in Idaho, they can't believe it.
DISTRICT LUNCH






Alooooha family and friends!!
What a gorgeous day it is here in Kasukabe, Japan. The sun is shining with a light breeze and people are smiling. What a beautiful world we live in.
Guess what?!?! Another 6 weeks has past, and you know what that means. This morning during our companion study, we received transfer calls!! Sister Lowry will be going to Yachio. Her companion is Sister Day, who is in my doki (a.k.a. transfer #3). As for myself, I will be staying in Kasukabe. AND...I have been called to train a brand new missionary (don't know her name yet) who will fly into Japan in a couple more days!! I'm really, really excited. I will go to the Honbu (Misison Office) on Thursday to get trained on being a trainer and meet her! Can't wait to tell you about her in next weeks letter. :)
Okay, it's time to tell you this weeks miracle. If there is one skill that should be stressed in missionary work, it is the skill to listen. This past week, we went dropped by Maria Asano's house to teach her. We spent most of the time just listening to her. People want to be heard. When people get to talk about themselves and really notice that someone cares enough about them to listen, your relationship can become so incredibly strong. She started talking about her family, the most precious thing in her life. Sometimes, family life is hard. As she began to tell us some of the things that were closest to her heart, the Spirit filled the room. She started to weep and we about wept with her. She is one of the most incredible people I have ever met in my entire life. I would do anything for her and her family...anything. It is the character of love that is at the heart of missionary work.  She also told us that she knows the Book of Mormon to be true...100% true. What a miracle, desho (right)!?
This week, I have been intrigued with the concept of hands. I have been listening to and learning much for a song called "His Hands." If you haven't heard it, you ought to go listen to it right now if you've got time. Hands do so much. Certain objects in certain people's hands are of different value. A few nails in my hands can make a bird house, but nails in Christ's hands can offer salvation to all mankind, it depends on who's hands it's in. So, but your hands in His hands, because your salvation depends on who's hands it's in. We are in a marathon, running a race blind. We will never be able to finish if we don't put our hands in His. I am His. He gave His life for us and now we ought to be giving our life for Him. I love the scripture found in James 4:10-reach up...let Him lift you. I know that to be true.
I love dendo work!! I don't think I knew that I could love anything so much. My heart has been stretched in ways that I did not know it could stretch. I love my Savior. I love His work. I can't say that enough.
Have a wonderful week everyone and remember how much I love you!
-Yamauchi Shiimai

Monday, October 28, 2013

MIRACLE MAIL - October 21, 2013

Douryogumi

 WARD ACTIVITY

KASUKABE STAKE SPORTS DAY - OCTOBER 14, 2013






Konnichiwa minasan!!
 
From the title of this letter, I hope your ready and excited to read about my wonderful experiences this past week.
 
Miracle Number 1. Every week we try to go to a Japanese class at the Kasukabe Community Center. There are lots of volunteers who help foreigners learn Japanese. It is one of my favorite ways to find. At the beginning of the class, they ask us what we want to learn about. I love to say that I teach about our church every day, and so it would be helpful if I could teach them about our church and have them correct me or help me improve. Through Japanese class, I have been able to commit my teachers to come to Eikaiwa class, come to church, and meet with us to learn about our church. It is also super fun to be able to talk to the students (there are some who come that came to Japan from America...aka...they speak English). After class, I went up to a girl and introduced myself. Her name is Anna. We just met with her for lunch today at Jonnathans (name of restaurant). Right now, she is in Japan working for a church by teaching English classes. She knows the Bible really well. We gave her a Book of Mormon. I love the scripture found in Ezekial 37:15-17-it explains so well the need for the Book of Mormon and the Bible. We then gave her a church tour and set up another appointment for Wednesday. I'm way WAY excited to meet with her again. She is the sweetest girl. She said that she didn't have any intention of ever going to Japan, but that she felt like God wanted her to come here. I wanted to say, "you know why God told her to come to Japan? Because He wanted you to find us." :) I'll save that for some time in the future.
 
Miracle Number 2. Last Friday, we went on splits. Sister Moss, who is in my doki (a.k.a. We are both on our 2nd transfer) came to Kasukabe with me. That night, we had an appointment with Maria Asano. It is so important that, when we prepare for lessons, we begin with the end in mind. I told Sister Moss that our goal should be to commit her to baptism by the end of the lesson. As we focused on that goal, our entire lesson plans were focused on how we could prepare her to receive this commitment. Maria was baptized when she was a baby, but through the lesson, Sister Moss and I were able to teach her some basic gospel principles that changed her heart:

1. When Chirst was baptized, He was baptized by immersion. If we want to follow Christ, we must follow is example by being baptized by immersion.
2. Christ only claims one proper authority. Our church has the proper authority to baptize.
3. When she was baptized as a baby, she didn't necessarily get to choose. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we can get baptized at the age of eight. Individuals get to make their own choice to follow God.
 
We also taught her about the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I did a tatoeba to help her understand. Here's how it goes. First, I have her put her hand out in front of her. Before we our baptized, we can sometimes feel the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost teaches us truthes. When we feel the Holy Ghost, we know what we are learning is true. I would then occasionally brush her hand (for example, she can feel the Holy Ghost when we teach her). She then said, wow, I could feel the Spirit go through my arm when you touched me. We took a moment to let her express her feelings. Then, I continued on with the tatoeba...when we have the Gift of the Holy Ghost (we then grab hands) the Holy Ghost is always with us and will guide us. She then said, that she felt the Holy Ghost throughout her whole body. Words can't really express what a wonderful Spirit we felt that night.  We invited her to be baptized at the end of the lesson and she accepted. We are so very thrilled! The date is set. Now we follow up with her every day and continue to love her as Christ would. I like to call her my Kasukabe Mom. She said that if we come back to Japan in the future, she wants us to know that she has a place where we can stay. What a tender mercy from the Lord to have her in my life. I love her with all of my heart.
 
Well, I'm about out of time. I hope you have enjoyed reading. P.S. This weeks miracles are certainly not limited to 2. Miracles happen every single day. I love the scripture found in D&C 58:3, "Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter..." As I have prayed fervantly to see miracles every day, done my very best, and asked God to help me see the miracles that He sees, my eyes have truly been opeend. I love this work. I know my purpose as a missionary. I hope all of you are learning what your purpose is as a member missionary. Did you know that out of all the sentences written in Preach My Gospel, the sentence that took the longest amount of time to formulate was, "Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." How great is our calling! 
 
Lots of love to one all all (and to all a good night...Sister Lowry set up a Christmas tree in our apartment this week),
Yamauchi Shimai

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Are you ready? - October 15, 2013

 
 
Oba-san is one of our Eikaiwa students. Her daughter, Haruka-chan, had an undokai (exerise event) at her school this past week and we went to support her.
 
Maria Asano is a Phillipean woman who married a Japanese man. She is very religious! We are taking her daughter, Karen, to church with us next week. We are so excited!!
This week has been incredible. I have learned a lot about the importance of applying what I learn to my life. Robert D. Hales put it well in this last General Conference. If you listen, the Lord will tell you what he wants you to do in your life...the greatest benefits of General Conference come after conference is over if you are willing to act. This not only applies to General Conference. Anything that we are taught in life, if it is not applied, will be lost and will amount to about zero. We will be truly converted when we consistently act on what we learn.
 
This week, I had an incredible experience which strengthened my testimony on the power the Atonement can have in our lives as long as we are willing to act on it. Sister Lowry and I have been teaching Yamazaki Shimai for quite some time. We have had to teach her at a slow pace. She has been willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray, but some commitments she hasn't really wanted to make. Yesterday, we discussed the Savior's Atonement and reviewed the steps of repentance with her. We did a really fun repentance tatoebanashi (ah, I can't think of what this is called in English...sorry, my English skills are leaving me) that helped her understand that she could become clean from all her mistakes. She said she wanted to try the steps of repentance and that she wanted to feel like Alma did in the Book of Mormon (Alma 26). What a miracle! I know that the power of the Atonement is real. It truly changes hearts and changes lives. The church is true. 
 
I love the council given by our prophet, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you." Are you ready to respond? Are you prepared to work? Japanese is the greatest language in the world. There is so much meaning behind the words. Missionaries in Japan are called "Senkyoushi." Sen means proclaim. Kyou means teachings. Shi means master. So as missionaries, we are proclaiming the masters teachings and, therefore, are masters that proclaim His teachings. May we all try a little bit harder, every single day, to become a better "Senkyoushi." Are you ready? As you prepare to help hasten the work of salvation, always remember:
  1. We are the happiest when we aren't thinking about ourselves.
  2. Try what no one has tried before. Reach what no one as reached before. Achieve what no one has achieved before.
  3. Don't work for God. Work with God.
     
Lots of hugs and loves, 
ー山内姉妹

Monday, October 7, 2013

One Year Ago - October 7, 2013


 
おはいおございます皆さん、
What a wonderful week we have had in Kasukabe. Here are a couple of the highlights.
  1. This past Saturday, Yamazaki-san was able to go to a baptizimal service with us. Here's a picture for you! She has really warmed up to us over the past couple of weeks and we will continue to help her continue moving closer to Christ. She knows her next step is baptism and wants to follow Jesus Christ, but we haven't been able to commit her to a baptismal date yet.
  2. Last Wednesday, we were able to find an investigators house that we couldn't find for the longest time. Japanese addresses are way messed up. If you type an address in to Google maps, it sometimes gives you 5 different possible destinations. As we visited with her, she said we were an answer to her prayers. She is very religious. Her and her daughter, Karen, are Christian and her husband is Buddist. When we gave her a Book of Mormon, she was way excited and said she would read it with her daughter every day. Wow! What a tender mercy from the Lord. Right now, she seems to like a lot of different religions. We can't wait to teach her about the Restoration this upcoming week. Tomorrow, we are going out to eat with their family. I love them so much.
As the first session of General Conference started, memories flooded my mind. One year ago, a new gate was opened and I took it!! Missionary work is everything to me. I love it (exlamation point)! And I can think of no better place to serve the Lord than among the Japanese people. I absolutely loved S. Gillard Nelsen's General Conference talk this past weekend. He was so full of energy. Why? 1) He knows he is a son of a Heavenly Father. 2) He has caught the vision of missionary work and recognizes how truly incredible this work is. 3) I think he was so full of energy because he had 80,333 full-time missionaries rooting him on as he spoke. :) I encourage each family to make a missionary plan. In the Kasukabe ward, I have noticed that the children who want to serve a mission the most are those who's parents are full of dendo missionary fire. Regardless of our situation, let us all unite and continue to move forward in the gathering of God's precious souls. He lives...double EXCLAMATION POINT!! Therefore, shall we not go on in so great a cause?
XOXO,
山内姉妹 (Yamauchi Shimai)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Progress - September 30, 2013

 
 
 
 
Yakiniku party with some of the ward members at Gen Kyoudai's house

Zone P-Day in Naka-Urawa's koen (park)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For P-Day today we went to Naka-Urawa for Zone P-Day, so I don't have much time to email, but I thought I'd send a few pictures and little food for thought.
 
DSCN0427: Zone P-Day in Naka-Urawa's koen (park)
 
DSCN0426: Yakiniku party with some of the ward members at Gen Kyoudai's house.
 
Every week, our area continues to become better. We meet new people, we recognize more miracles, we teach more lessons, we become better tools in the hands of the Lord, and the list goes on. I think that's what life is all about, right? Progress. I promise that as we do our personal best, the Lord does the rest. I know that He is ever aware of each of us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. How precious we are in the sight of God. We are children of God. He is our Heavenly Father. When we truly understand this relationship, nothing can stop us from following in the Savior's footsteps.
 
I love you all so much.
 
よいいちにちを。
山内姉妹

この教会は真実だとしています。‏ - September 23, 2013



P-Day has rolled around once again. I can hardly believe it. Where has the time gone? I know I'm still rather new to the mission, but I already feel like time is passing WAY too fast. I want to be a missionary forever!!! Missionary life is real life, and it's the closest anyone will ever get to know what real life is all about.

So, apparently everyone is curious to know how the language is coming. That's a rather difficult question to answer, but I'll try my best. Speaking a different language has been such a blessing. I think the Japanese people get a kick out of watching a gaijin (foreigner) speak Japanese. This week, while I was talking to a lady on the train, EVERYONE was listening to our conversation. The Japanese people really appreciate those who try to learn their language. They always say, Wow, you are "jouzu" (skilled). The hour of language study I get in the morning never feels like enough. I am always seeking to learn more and be better. I love the promise in the scriptures that says whom the Lord calls, He qualifies.The Lord has given me an hour to study language every morning. He has also surrounded me with Japanese people who help me learn the language. The key to learning another language is speaking it. Just open your mouth and have confidence in yourself. You've also got to put your trust in the Lord. When we do our very best, I know that He will do the rest!

Here are a few of our progressing investigators stories that I thought you might be interested in.

1.Tamura-san has been taught be 6 different sets of missionaries. She has finished the Book of Mormon and is almost done with D&C! However, the previous missionaries have not been able to get her to pray. We had our first lesson with her a couple of weeks ago. We invited her to pray at the end of the lesson. Although Tamura-san was a little hesitant, she prayed. One of her member friends called us a couple of days ago and said that Tamura-san has been praying!! When missionaries give a commitment, there is so much power in helping them start the commitment while you are with them. If you can get them to start the commitment while they are with you, they are much more likely to continue keeping the commitment in between visits.
2. Yesterday, before church, we were able to meet with an 11 year old girl. Her name is Sayaka. She is super shy. Her Mom is a less active member, but we have been able to get her to come to church for a couple of weeks now. We extended the baptismal invitation and she said that she wanted to be baptized!!! We are so excited! 
Yesterday, I also spoke in church. I talked about "Catching the Wave" of missionary work. It was so much fun!

I love missionary work. I've never loved something so much in my life. Missionary work isn't necessarily what I expected it to be. I don't know that I ever had a vision of what it was going to be like, but no one can ever really know what missionary work is like until they serve one for themselves. The mission is all about others. I love the song, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." "Here's my heart, oh take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above." When we give our hearts to the Lord, He truly changes us. The church is true!!

Here are a few important concepts that I have learned as a missionary. Although these apply specifically to my mission, but the principles can be applied to everyone.

1. Choose to be happy everyday. You can be happy no matter what the circumstances
2. Love The Lord and follow his spirit.
3. Love those Japanese people with all your heart, I promise that as you do so that your heart will expand and you will be amazed at how much you more you can come to love them. Love them with all you have got.
4. Never forget how much The Lord loves you, and how much I love you.

Safe travels this week and always.

愛しています。
-
山内姉妹

FUN FACTS ABOUT JAPAN

In Japan, it is normal to ask someone how old they are. Unlike older Americans, the older Japanese people aren't ever embarrassed to tell you how old they are. Also, Japanese people all look super young. As a result, I always think Japanese people are younger than they actually are. They always think Americans are older than they actually are.

Okay, you've got to try these cookies!!! They are the best!!

Cowboy Cookies

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
 1 tablespoon baking powder
 1 tablespoon baking soda
 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
 1 teaspoon salt
 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
 1-1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
 3 large eggs
 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
 2 cups sweetened flake coconut
 2 cups chopped pecans

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl. In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Place cookies on cooling rack. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

NOTE: For 6 dozen (72) smaller cookies, use 2 tablespoons dough for each. Bake at 350 F for 15 to 18 minutes.

Happy Eating!!

Yamauchi Shimai