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!
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!

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!