Monday, August 26, 2013

Submitting Your Will to the Lord's‏ - August 26, 2013

While America sleeps, Japan is up and going, just waiting to hear the happy message that we have to share.
This week we have more than doubled our potential investigator pool!! Sister Lowry and I are way excited about that.

Yesterday, we were going to meet with a Phillipean lady named Julie. However, she didn't show up to our appointment at the designated time. I reminded Sister Lowry that I had prayed to see a miracle today and asked her if we could pray. We prayed, and waited for Julie for another 15 minutes, but she never did show up. The miracle may have not occurred with Julie, but the Lord had a different miracle in mind for the day. A couple of days ago, I found a man in a really old area book who was taught several years ago. I called him tonight and was able to set up an appointment with him. We had a really good conversation over the phone (which is really unusual for a Japanese phone conversation. Typically they try to get straight to the point and then be done). He told me about what he thought the purpose of life was. He said our purpose is to make the most out of life. We are to rejoice and be "genki" all the time. We talked about the importance of respecting yourself. When you respect yourself, others will respect you. I told him that our purpose in life is to do God's will, and he agreed. This is the miracle we witnessed today. The miracle wasn't one we were expecting, but it came. I believe in miracles...always.日本はきせきの地ですよ。 (Japan is a land of miracles.)

Next Sunday we have a baptism in our area. The Elders have been teaching him for quite a while and you will never meet anyone so golden!! Ogaki-san is one of the coolest men I've ever met. It has been so much fun to watch him learn and grow, especially during our Sunday School class. He studies so hard and always wants to do good. What an incredible example to everyone, especially the ward. Sister Lowry and I are going to be singing at his baptism and we are really excited. We are hoping to get some of our investigators to come as well. I'm so incredibly excited for Ogaki-san and for those angels who are rejoicing with us on the other side of the veil.

This week I have developed a deeper commitment to do what the Lord wants me to do. Here's some of the notes I have taken during my early morning study that I hope will help each of us develop a greater desire to "surrender ourselves" to the Lord. You can choose the kind of person you become. Your greatest creation is you. We each live in a house that was built from a plan. Someone first envisioned the house and then put in to paper. You not only can change, but do change all the time. You are responsible for who you are and you are responsible for who you will become. This life is a path upon which you never stand still. Integrity, being honest, is huge. The purpose and central blessing of life is change. You must surrender your will to the Lord. If your works are good and your heart is good, you will be restored to that which is good. He cannot work with what He doesn't have and He cannot have you unless you give yourself to Him. The desires of your heart are soooo important. Get your head right and your heart will follow. Become a cheerful giver. You cannot be changed to become like Him against your will. The Lord says, "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want you. Say to the Lord: I give up. I surrender. One of the best swimmers once said, "I kick when I don't want to kick, and I stroke when I don't want to stroke." In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have. If you give your time and your strength, you give only that which He grants to you with each beat of your heart and each breath that you draw. If you dedicate your gifts and talents, you only return to Him what He already has given to you. If you pay tithing, you only return to Him a tenth of what he has already given to you. Everything that you have to give to the Lord, has its origin in Him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to Him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. And so when you give yourself, you truly give everything to Him. The only really intelligent thing to do is to completely surrender yourself to the Lord. When you understand that, then you will forget about yourself, and your will, and your only desire will be to do the Lord's will. There is really only one intelligent way to serve, to live, and to be. That way is through Christ himself. However merciful He is to give us one way to go that is clearly laid out for us to follow.
This past week I asked President Budge what he thought needed to happen in the Kasukabe area. He said that he envisioned letting university age students hear our message. I told Sister Lowry this and we think it will be effective to visit a Daigakku (college) this week and talking with people who are more our age. We have received several member referrals over the past couple of weeks for which I am so grateful. The ward means everything to me. When we work together, we are unstoppable!!
I know that this gospel is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God. I know that. I know families are forever. I know where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. I know that this church is run through continuous revelation. Without revelation and inspiration, our church cannot survive. With revelation and Divine inspiration, our church cannot fail.
Well, my times just about up. I hope you all have another wonderful week!! You are always in my heart and prayers.
Love you all!
きよつけて (Take Care),

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


We share the Kasukabe area with the Elders. Back (from left
to right): Elder Healy and Elder Hutchings. Front: Yumi (our potential
investigator), Sister Lowry, and Sister Yamauchi. I am wearing a
Yukata that I borrowed from one of the ward members.
A まつり is a festival. Yumi, one of our potential investigators, asked us to come.
1. They have hardly any garbage cans around here. If you need to throw something away, you've got to stick it in your bag and wait till you get home. Even in the church, they only have 1 trash can (and it's in the bathroom).
2. They have amazing peach water!!

ABC - August 20, 2013

We got some more investigators this week!! Hurray. Sister Lowry and I managed to get three member referrals on Sunday. The Area Book has been a huge blessing. It is one of my favorite tools to use for finding people. So far, my favorite way to find people has been on the densha (train). I love going up to people and striking up a conversation to build their trust. I love having a Japanese last name because it is such a good conversation starter. Then, I love to share a brief message and my testimony of the gospel. Sharing the gospel is a blast!!
In Moses 7:62, it says, "And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, ..." "Righteousness" in this scripture can be interpreted as missionaries. "Truth" in this scripture can be interpreted as the Book of Mormon. Right now, I am focusing on using the Book of Mormon as much as possible when I talk to someone about our church. The Book of Mormon is incredible. If you don't have a testimony of this divine book, today is a good day to get one. If you do have a testimony of it, today is a good day to strengthen it. Is the Book of Mormon true? Well, it is either true or it is not. If this book is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, our Heavenly Father and Savior live, revelation is real, and our church is true. Our entire religion hinges on whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. I know it is true!! I love the wording in Moroni's promise (Moroni 10:3-5). I think it is interesting that it says to ask with a sincere heart and real intent "if these things are not true." I know this is the Lord's work. He is at the head of it. He prepares people in His own time, and in His own way. When we true understand the importance of aligning our will with His, we will see miracles!!
Remember, it's as easy as ABC: Always Be Consecrated.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pictures of first week in Japan - August 12,2013

Me with President and Sister Budge
Sister Lowry, my trainer.

The View from my Apartment in Kasukabe
My names finally on the Tokyo quilt, knit together in unity
for this great cause!!

Bring on the bike!

12 Apostles with a BIG “A.” And me with a little “a.”

Here's a few interesting things I've learned about Japan and their
incredible culture.
 1.Americans are pretty lazy. Everyone rides a bike here. Little ones
that look like they are about 5 years old to those who look like
they're 80. I love it!!!
2.Remember how the missionary rules say that you can't go swimming.
Well, I go swimming every day, but in a very different way. I call it
humidity. The humidity is absolutely crazy, but I love it. There's not
such thing as a bad weather, especially when your a missionary!
3.I wish I could record a Japanese phone conversation for you. You
never just say goodbye and hang up. You slowly hang up saying, "Hai,
hai, sumi masen, shitsura shi masu, hai, bye bye."

I'm here, I'm here, I'm here!! - August 12, 2013

Ahhhhhhh!!! I'm here, I'm here, I'm here!! Wow, Japan is THE BEST!!
My companion's name is Sister Lowry and she is so beautiful. I really love her. We are working hard together and continue to strengthen our relationship every day. We are white washing into Kasukabe, which means that we pretty much opening a new area. It's definitely been a little tougher to get started, but I am completely confident that we can get the Lord's work booming here!
When we got to Kasukabe by train, we had an hour to prepare for a lesson that had previously been set up by a member. Her name is Yamazaki Shimai and she is so amazing. She is 60 years old has two adorable children who she loves so much. Her husband is a scuba diver. I don't really know the details, but some how two of his scuba diving friends died and her husband was responsible for their death. He had to pay a lot of money and so she lives in a very little apartment now. She is still married to her husband, but she doesn't know where he is and doesn't communicate with him. Yamazaki Shimai said her husband took her son with him, so she doesn't know where her son is either. She loves her daughter and likes the idea of being together, forever with her. She knows that what we teach is true because she has prayed about it, however, she doesn't want to be baptized. She also works at a zoo on Sunday, so getting her to commit to church has been a struggle. We are going to visit her in another hour as a surprise visit. Apparently she loves surprise visits.
Church this week was incredible. For the most part, I had a difficult time picking out what they were talking about, but I really felt the Spirit.  The Elders that are in the area with us had a man come to church with them. In our Sunday School lesson, the teacher talked about the steps of repentance and why it is such a crucial part of this gospel. I loved watching how this investigator reacted. He was so mentally involved in the lesson and really brought the spirit into our meeting by participating. At the end of the lesson, he made some comments and asked if he could say the prayer. Wowza! I felt so much power as he said that he really felt something good and he knew that he needed to repent, even though he had a lot to repent of and that it was going to be hard. He really wants to get baptized and asked God to help him in his prayer. What a tender mercy of the Lord. Going to church is a revelatory experience. We have an incredible bishop. His name is Abbe Bishopu. We also have an incredible ward mission leader (Dendo Shunin). His name is Ushi Kyodai. They have been helping us find less active members to teach and helping us set up mogi's with the ward members. There are a lot of couples in our ward who have gone on missions. I'm really excited to get to know them and work with them more.
This week I have come to realize the significance of goal setting.
  1. Where there is no vision, the people perish.
  2. No dream, no goal. No goal, no plans. No plans, no actions. No actions, no results. No results, no growth. No growth, no happiness.
  3. When you don't set goals, you live far below your privileges.
  4. A goal not written is only a dream.
  5. Setting goals is an incredible act of faith. You cannot visible see it, but you know that you can achieve it.
  6. "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principle of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life." -Elder M. Russell Ballard
  7. Without goals, we really can't reach our full potential.
Thank you all soooo much for your love and support. Missionaries really cannot do near as much without the members help. Please help the missionaries in your area. Trust me, they need help! I love being a missionary. I love it, I love it, I love it!! I know that God lives and loves us. I know that He calls us to be in certain areas at specific times in our lives to touch the lives of those we meet. Every day, we ought to believe that. There are no accidents. I still remember the last video I watched before going to the MTC. It was the Lorax. The eternal significance I took from that video has affected my missionary life every day. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole lot, things aren't going to get better, they're just not.
Ai Shiteru,
Yamauchi Shimai

Thursday, August 1, 2013

That Famous Missionary Picture


                                                                                                     Japan, here I come!!! Ü

                                                                            Don't worry Mom, I'm eating my veggies here at the MTC

This is me and Nagamine Shimai. She is going to Sapporo and is a solo missionary here at the MTC. She came in last week along with four Elders from Japan. We will all be leaving at the same time; therefore, we get to spend quite a bit of time with them. I love each of them so very much. The people of Japan are the best people in the world...handsdown!!

                                                              Our last P-Day picnic party as a district. I sure do love al of them!!

Geographically Divided, But Spiritually United‏- July 31, 2013

I can hardly believe this is my last P-Day here at the MTC?! What an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience, it has been.
I have a few sayings that I have acquired while at the MTC that I hope will help those who read:
  1. When everything says you can't, believe in the part that says you can.
  2. It's not who you aren't, it's who you are-and being yourself is being great.
  3. Don't be your own worst friend, be your own best friend.
  4. Sometimes the most important thing you can give is yourself.
  5. Your family is everything-give them your time.
  6. It's often life's small moments that bring the greatest memories. Don't let the magic pass you by.
  7. The people in your heart can't hear what's in your heart. Let them hear what's in your heart.
  8. There are two types of people in this world: Those who are acted upon and those who act.
  9. Never make excuses in any church calling. It is your calling. And callings are seldomly convenient.
This is one of my favorite scriptures. Exodus 4:10-12: "And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto they servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with they mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." I think, too often, we underestimate our own abilities. The Lord trusts us when we continually try to do our very best. Believe that!
Every day, I ask the Lord to do whatever He needs to in order to use me as an effective tool to build His kingdom. May we all try a little harder to do what the Lord wants us to do. To say what the Lord wants us to say. And to be who the Lord wants us to be. I know that God lives. I know it. I know that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw. I know that, by the power of God, he translated the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon. It is true. There is no way that Joseph Smith would give his life and the life of others away for any old book. He would not do that! The Book of Mormon answers the questions of the soul. This book is power!! I know that the Atonement is at the center of our religion. I love the Atonement more and more each day. I have not seen, but I believe. I know it! I live it! I love it! May we all continually focus on our responsibility to build the Lord's kingdom. We cannot do it without the members help. Please help the missionaries who serve in your area. Trust me, they need your help.
I love you all sooooo very much.
Keep smiling Ü
Yamauchi Shimai