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)