Monday, December 1, 2014

Last Letter! I can't believe I'm at the end of my mission!

But this week on Friday, Bowman shimai and I ended up going to Uwajima for district meeting because the zone leaders were on kokkans.  And so it was fun to see the same sights that three previous companions have seen.  To be in the same church that Archbold shimai, Hamilton shimai and Bowman shimai have worked in.  Fun stuff.  Our district leader is yanada choro.  He's got a good heart, but sometimes he's just a grump.  

Then yesterday was zone conference.  We went up to takamatsu on sunday night.  Stayed the night with stephenson shimai and nara shimai. Stevenson shimai is half but speaks no english at all.  And nara shimai is well nihonjin.  It was fun to be with them. Both of them are 5 transfer. 

Yesterday, Welch shimai and kaicho talked in the morning about the Book of Mormon challenge.  This challenge was introduced by the zone leaders at zone training meeting.  It was to read the book of mormon with a focus.  There are three focuses: References to the Godhead, their attributes, and their words.  So far it's been really good. I've already read 2 copies of the book of mormon with different focuses.  The first with a PMG focus and the second is a gospel of Jesus Christ focus.  Both times I have seen new perspective and gained a deeper understanding of the Book of mormon. 

Then in the afternoon we talked about training from the AP's about using the Book of Mormon more in our contacts and in teaching.  Also to follow up better in lessons and to show our investigators how important our invitations are because, well, they are!  

Then at the very end, it was time to bear testimony.  It was strange. At all the previous zone conferences I always looked at the returning missionaries and enjoyed their testimony, never even thinking that I would be the one to testify. Well, it happened. 

It was funny because the AP's were Stirling choro and Hoshino choro.  And I was just a first transfer when we were all together in Kobe.  Hoshino choro was training Stirling choro and district leader.  I mentioned this in my testimony mostly to demonstrate how fast time goes by.  Now both were APs.  Strange.  I admired them then and I still do. They are fantastic missionaries. 

As time has been quickly wrapping up, I've been reflecting a lot on my mission.  And the first feeling I have is of gratitude. I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father that He called me on a mission.  To have all of these learning opportunities.  To learn, grow, and become stronger. A better person even.  

Thanks again. 

Love, Bevan shimai

Sarah with her companion and District Leaders at Matsuyama jo

Japanese Maples starting to turn

Sunday, November 16, 2014



Once more another week has passed.  I'm not sure if I really like this whole "time flying" thing. Not a fan.  But I guess life moves on and so should you.  Nor am I really looking forward to life post mission.  School.  Life.  Having to live with distractions from the Spirit.  Do I have to?  I like this too much.  

So a few weeks ago, while we were out and about visiting less actives. I had the thought to go and visit a part member family. The father, a member, died within the last few years.  So we visited and the daughter was home.  We talked with her for a little bit and she expressed a little interest so we exchanged numbers.  She also asked if she could invite her older brother, she said that he also might have interest. SURE.  Invite the whole neighborhood too.  We'll start a new branch in the port area.  :)  

We visited again a week later and we meet the older brother.  We talk for a little bit and end up scheduling a meeting for this past week.  He wanted to know more about where his father went.  He wanted to know more about eternal families and it's possible to do so.  So we talked about the Plan of Salvation.  We just gave a simple overview.  It seemed to go a little bit over his head, so I know we'll have to take it step by step.  But he really seemed to like it.  However, the question came up of, "well, there are so many different churches.  What's different about yours?" Well... Let me tell you. So the next lesson, we just gave a simple lesson on God, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon.  How a boy, who desired to know the truth for himself, wanted to know which church was God's church. Only to find out that all the churches have strayed from the heart of God.  Amazing, isn't it?

We are going to meet again this week.  I am excited, he said that he's going to try and come to church this next week. 

On Bowman shimai's ipod, she has a bunch of talks by the apostles and by some various youth speakers. One of the speakers is John Bytheway, he is really good.  One of his talks is about how to get more out of our sunday worship.  I really liked it because it's so true and was really helpful.  First of all, how many of you would like to get more spiritually fed at church?  How many times have we sat through a meeting wishing it could just be over?  Or slept through one??? Hmmm?  How many times have you had the nice little red line on your forehead from sleeping on the pew.  So I will ask you, do you want to change that?

He gave a nice little acronym to help remember.  It's CHURCH.

C- Choice.  You can chose now to change.  You can chose to have a great time at church or you can make it one of the most tiring experiences.  You can choose to be edified or not.  You can choose to be happy or not.  Choose to get enough sleep on Saturday night so that you don't sleep through the Sunday mornings.  Does the Saviour not deserve our attention? Or love?  

H- Holy Day.  The Sabbath.  Are you keeping it? Do you remember it?  I really liked a quote he used.  "An ox in the mire is ok on Sunday. Just be sure you didn't shove it into the mire on Saturday"  I know that as we keep the Lord's day holy and revere it.  Our Sunday meetings will have that much more meaning and not just going through the motions. 

This gospel is not a going through the motions gospel.  It is a gospel of CHANGE.

U- Unity.  Kindness.  Love.  Greeting and loving everyone who walks through that door. You are friends with that person who walked off the street, desiring to be closer to their heavenly father.  Can you imagine the effect it would have on a person if 350 people went and greeted and warmly welcomed a newcomer.  Think they'll come again?  Yes, I think so!

R- Respect.  Respect others. Respect your leaders. Our leaders spend time, tears and sleepless nights worrying about you. The least you can do is stay awake and listen.  Not only that but support them, help them. love them. 

C- Church journal.  Take a journal.  Write down your thoughts. Things you liked.  You can make a every church meeting good, if you chose to.  I liked an experience he shared from Elder Eyring.  A particularly boring speaker was talking and Elder Eyring was watching his father. His father was smiling and practically laughing to himself. He later asked why and his father replied "Every speaker I listen to, I teach myself. I learn something new every time."  When was the last time you came prepared to church with questions?  When was the last time you wrote down thoughts during church?  Promise you it will help.  I am also going to repent and try these out because I want to have a better time at church.

H- Holy Ghost.  The sacrament.  Do we fully understand the meaning and significance of the sacrament? I don't have time to go into it but I would love to discuss it.  We need the sacrament. We need that guidance of the Holy Ghost in our lives, otherwise we can be easily distracted and lose our way off the path. Not good.     We don't come to church for us.  We come to worship the Savior.  Church is for Christ.  Not for us to be entertained.  Do we show our love and respect for Christ and His sacrifice?

Anyway, that's something I learned this week. Dendo is good!

Bevan shimai. 

I love my name tag :))

Taking photos in a dry river bed!

Bowman Shimai

Zone photo with Sister Welch! 

This week I tried shika - Japanese deer meat with raw egg, cow intestines, boiled fish paste and fish eyes! Delicious!!


Well, this week...

I definitely have been having a good time with Bowman shimai.  The weeks are going to fly by. I feel as if the more I don't want to go home the faster time goes by.  :(  That's unfortunate.  I am exhausted.  But I love this work so much. I love to make people smile. I love to see the recognition in their eyes that they are a child of God. That there will always be someone who loves them.  That there is a way that our burdens can be lifted and we can obtain the desires in this life and the next. All we need to do is just merely humble ourselves, drop whatever is holding us back, and grasp onto that rod.  The rod of God. Which will never lead us astray.  Christ is the reason. The way. The light.  I love Him.  

I definitely am in awe of Bowman shimai.  She has no fear.  She is lovingly bold.  She just goes and gets things done.  A little different than how Hamilton shimai and I did things.  But the work carries on. While we were driving over to the port I felt like we needed to visit a family a member told us about.The father, a member, died a few years back.   So we drive over and end up talking to the daughter and we switch numbers.  I am just kind of in shock of the things that are happening.  We are getting phone numbers. We then visit again this week and we meet the brother.  We talk for a little bit and he's never thought about where we were before this life or where we go.  You can tell that he's still unsure about his father's death.  But we were able to set up an appointment for this week.  We'll see what happens :)

I don't really have anything else to say.  Nothing has happened yet.  But I do know that the work we do with Less Actives and the finding that we are doing will have an effect into the eternities.  I'm just so impressed with how Bowman shimai is able to relate to young people so quickly. I've always felt that I've never had a lot to relate to them.  Even when I was a teenager.  But Bowman shimai just told me, "they want to talk to you. They're just shy. Now, they may not want to talk about God. But they want to talk to you."  Also I expressed some of my concerns with her because I didn't feel as if I was participating as much as I wanted to in streeting.  And it ends up with the discussion of how sometimes we feel that we are just in people's way when we stop them.  But if we think of it in a bigger picture.  There is nothing more important to listen to than this message.  Nothing.  Not work. Not school. Not lunch. Just like elder scott said.  And so it's our job to give them that chance.  We'll see if I can improve my streeting this week.  I'm not being rude.  Just saving souls. 

Then today we ended up going to a kenko taikai.  We met some teenaged girls who were on the kendo team in high school.  Cool. They told us about a taikai they had on monday.  So we went today.  We saw some kendo. Which is like Japanese fencing.  really cool. We saw our friends however, I don't think they saw us.  We tried to say hello, but they either didn't see us or were ignoring us.  Oh well.  

And then we came to the church for yakiniku with some of the members. Really fun.  It was mostly just the young couples in the branch and friends. It was great.  Delicious. We had shika... or Japanese deer meat. Check that one off my list.  Add it to raw egg, cow intestines, boiled fish paste, and fish eyes.  Delicious.  

Till next time. 

Bevan Shimai

Bevan and Bowman Shimai

Zone Meeting

Almost there, can't quite reach it . . .

Kenko taikai - Japanese fencing meet

Ward dinner!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Hey sashiburi" - long time no see!

This week:

Consisted of three phases

1. Hamilton shimai's last day in Japan.  
2. Imabari
3. Bowman shimai!

On Monday. It was crazy.  We didn't even have time to go shopping for food.  We just did our dendo in the morning because a member wanted to spend the whole day with us.  Afterwards we had indo curry with the choro as a last good bye.  It was kind of sad since Sorenson choro was also transferring and we had worked together for 4 transfers. Became really good friends.  It's amazing how many friends one makes on the mission.  I can't wait to go to their homecomings next year.  Then we met up with our wonderful member friend, the daughter of our 86 year old investigator.  She told us the day before "If you want to go anywhere, PLEASE let me know".  She was very much so hinting in a very japanese way that she wanted to be with us.  So we called her and we went up to Dogo Onsen to get a souvenir for Hamilton shimai.  She bought one of the door covers for her dad.  It was pretty cool.  Then we went off to the Ferris wheel.. Or the Ferrous wheel.  Buh dump chu.  We got to see the sunset from one of the highest points in japan.  Beautiful.  

Then our member friend found out that we hadn't been to a certain shopping center in masaki cho.  It was HUGE.  American poi.  Litterally there was an American Eagle and I was just like "Hey, Sashiburi"  The mall just went on forever.  I'm not quite used to that.  But we went to a 300 yen store which has much better quality stuff than the 100 en store. It's amazing what a difference it makes.   Back home.. exhausted.  As Hamilton shimai tries to stuff all of her presents into a carry on.  

Then as we are trying to pack for me to go to Imabari and Hamilton shimai for home, our ping pong goes off and I look at the screen to see who it is (because in Japan, the crime rate is so "high" that everyone has a camera at their door) and I see the chorotachi trying to duck away and hide.  We run down and say hello to them.  They tried to ding dong ditch us.. Silly.  Can't work in japan.  

They gave Hamilton shimai a farewell gift of food and candy. So nice of them.  

Then the next morning as we were off to the eki to catch the bus to Imabari, Hamilton shimai's bike broke... again.  And then we see the imabari bus pass by us... Oh no!  Hamilton shimai's bike at the time, her bike tire was sticking to the side of the bike.  The tire wasn't tightened enough.  Oh no... So it couldn't even roll along side.  Hamilton shimai kicked her bike so hard and it starts to roll again. She rolls her bike and starts to run.  5 min.  We are still a few short minutes away.. She ran and I slowly rode my bike alongside.  I carried a few of her items.  

We made it.  The branch kaicho, his wife and our member friend were there to say goodbye.  It was very kind of them.  A  nice farewell.  Off to Imabari.  

Imabari is a happening place.  We were hopping from place to place and lesson to lesson.  I was very impressed.  The days went by quickly. I was grateful mostly because I don't like being not in my area.  It was fun to see different ways of dendo'ing.  And we prayed A LOT. Holy cow.  I've never prayed so much in my life.  We prayed when we came in and out of the apartment.  Before we did anything.  I'm fine with prayer and such.  But I also like doing things and having a prayer in my heart.  Maybe this is why I'm not training and Howard shimai is.  I have something to learn from her.  

Back home in Matsuyama.  I met Bowman shimai as she was coming up from Uwajima.  She was very sad that Uwajima was closing.  It was doing really well.  Then we said goodbye to the Imabari shimai and Beane shimai as they left to go to Okayama.  

The past few days we've been just doing finding.  It's been great.  I love working with Bowman shimai.  Yes, it's a little different than with Hamilton shimai.  Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.  I was definitely used to a way of dendo'ing for 5 months.  But it's been fun. We've been talking to a lot of different people.  Bowman shimai is so willing to talk to anyone and everyone.  I've got a lot to learn from her.  I'm not so good at that.  I'm good at conversation and such but not at stopping people.  It can be difficult.  But I'm going to try and change it.  I want to be better.  

Nothing too interesting happening right now.  But I've enjoyed talking with various people.  One person we keep running into at the eki is this man named Lenny.  He's a Nihonjin who likes to go to the ski-market- and talk with gaijin and practice his english.  We tried to invite him to eikaiwa - english class- but he has no interest.  He's met various missionaries and has come to eikaiwa in the past.... Like back in the 80s.  But it's so funny that he tries to translate for us even though we already understand japanese just fine.  :)
 He somewhat tries Bowman shimai's patience because he doesn't have really any interest and prevents her from talking to other people.  But other than that I just try to be kind, caring, and show interest in his life.  I know quite a bit about him even though he's not studying the church.  Good stuff.  

Still working on record keeping.  We are trying to make sure that all of the less actives are accounted for and documented to ensure that they are visited by the ward.  We have gone from 65 missing records down to 24!  This is really great - so hopefully, we can get more dendo time in the next few weeks.

I am doing my best to treasure each of the last days of my mission, I want to make the most of them.  I am excited to be a senior shimai.  It was sad to see so many of my friends and beloved companions leaving this week, I will miss them all and can't wait to see them again after my mission.  Hard to believe I am now one of the most "senior" sisters in the mission!  

Have a great week, don't forget to take time to study the general conference messages and decide what changes you want to make in your lives.  What's the point of watching 9 hours of conference without setting a few goals - lol :))

Love you always, 

Bevan Shimai

Saturday, October 18, 2014

49 days left!! O mochiro, Zone training, and General Conference!

This week has been good.  Like all of the other weeks in the Japan Kobe Mission.  

So that moment when you look at the calendar and you realize that you only have 49 days left O.o.  What?! When did that happen?  Wasn't it only yesterday that I was in Shimogamo with Tojo Shimai? Now she's going home next week with all of my other beloved companions: Pettit shimai, Archbold Shimai, Hamilton shimai.  Beane shimai is going to stick around for a few transfers after me.  We'll see what new companion I'll get next week. :[  

This past week, our lovely less active friend invited us to go out in the inaka of Matsuyama and go see a Matsuri.  Hilarious to say the least.  Ok, I swear that the Japanese are apart of the tribe of Levi.  I say that because I saw a lot of "Arc of the Covenant" mitai items this week.  Then at the Matsuri they slam the arcs into each other. Great stuff.  I took a video.  It might be too big to send, so we'll laugh together when we see each other again.  :) 

But what happens is that a bunch of guys get together and lift up this arc called "O mochiro" I think.  You'll have to double check it for me.  I only heard the word once and I forgot to write it down.  

But then we went to go see these dragon puppet suit things they do for the kids.  A couple of 12-13 year old kids go and get in this dragon suit.  It's hilarious.  And all the kids were so confused as to why we were there.  They asked us "You're from Christ's church? (キリスト教kyo)"  As if to say "What the heck are you doing here?"  Well, I'll have you know that we do partcipate in cultural things, even if they are Bhuddist or Shinto.  I believe Matsuri's have a shinto background because I saw what a Shinto priest looks like. They're rare in Japan.  Bhuddism is far more widespread than Shintoism.  

Anyway, then we had lunch at her home and shared a message about Sotaikai (general conference) and prophets.  How they are our guides in these later days.  Guides to our Heavenly Father's love, peace, and doing what is right.  To help us stay on the path to eternal life, back to our loving Heavenly Father's arms.  I only pray that at that day He'll say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

This week our lovely member friend invited us out to eat at a mom and pop okonomiyaki shop.  SO GOOD!  The best food in Japan is granma's shop.  Don't go to chains, they just don't compare.  And she ordered us okonomiyaki, yaki soba, yaki udon, takoyaki and such.  :DDD  おいしかった!

We also had ZTM on Friday.  That was really good.  Hamilton shimai said it was the best one she had been too.  We discussed Uchtdorf 会長's talk on the Atonement and Missionary work "Fear not, for I am with thee"   I had left my talk at the apartment and the elder sitting next to me had it in French because he's from Montreal.  However, he speaks fluent English and was even writing his notes in english.  So he's really Canadian.  ;P But I got to read his copy in French.  I haven't forgotten everything!  I could still read it.  I just can't speak/understand/write it. ;)  

Then General Conference!!! As I have come to leave home and being at school and then a mission, my love for general conference has only increased.  Exponentially.  Now it's not long enough.  I can't get enough.  I was so sad when the Sunday afternoon session was over.  One overriding thing that Hamilton shimai and I noticed about this session of conference was how powerful, direct, straightforward, and strong all of the talks were.  And these three themes were throughout the whole conference: 1. Deepen your conversion 2. Follow the prophet and apostles 3. Know where you stand.   Hamilton shimai couldn't help but wonder "What is going on?"  It seems as if there is something going to happen in the next year or so that may not be so bright and marvelous.  But what do you think?  

I loved Jorg Klenbingat 長老's talk.  Never before have I felt as if a leader was talking directly to me.  As if the talk was made specifically for me.  It was incredible.  He gave the need for spiritual confidence but then continued to give advice on HOW to do so.  Very grateful.  I plan on applying his advice.  As well as the other revelation I received.  A very good weekend.  

Thank you so much for everything!  

Love you so much、

Bevan Shimai 

Autumn Festival Matsuyama

Battling shrines

Zone Conference!

Saying good-bye to Grandma Bevan

Thank you so much for the call.  That evening we had a branch "stake conference" in Matsuyama, thus Welch Kaicho was in Matsuyama because he's the "stake" president of the Shikoku district.  Anyway, so after the meeting Saturday evening, I'm talking to the new senior couple in Imabari and Welch shimai and Kaicho approach the group casually.  Then Welch Shimai just says that Welch Kaicho wanted to talk to me outside where it was more quiet.  I just thought, ok, whatever, we had interviews earlier that day so I thought he just wanted to say some extra thing or whatever... nope.. 

He pulls me aside in the hallway and we're standing by the front entrance.  We're apart from everyone.  And he says that he just got the call from the office saying that my father's mother had passed away.  And to be honest, it took me by surprise.  I told him that I guess I was somewhat expecting it. That you had told me a few weeks ago that grandma wasn't doing so well.  But he was very kind, very considerate.  I felt my cheeks go red as I was holding back the tears.  I don't think anyone could have done it any better.   

Hamilton shimai saw my face get red and knew exactly what happened.  Yes, I told her about my grandma.  And she just thought, "Aw, man.  Did it have to be tonight?"   Mostly because that night there were 4 other shimai staying in our apartment because it was too far for them to get back by 8 am for interviews with Kaicho or to get to Matsuyama by 10.  So the Nihama and Uwajima shimai got to hang out with us.  I didn't think that I was never going to see her again in this life when I left on my mission.  I also cried tears of joy because I know that she is finally reunited with grandpa again.  I know she missed him terribly.  I know she was also in a lot of pain. I'm grateful she's in a lot better place now.  

I mostly just thought of you, dad, and how badly I want to be with you during this time.  I so badly want to hug you.  I want to be there for the family.  I want to be at the funeral.  I wish I could have seen grandma again,  but I guess it's just not meant to be.  I know I'm supposed to be here. I'm so sorry dad.  I love you so much and I know that it's difficult for you at this time.   

Even though I am thousands of miles away and currently serving my Lord and Savior, I desire to be there with all of you.  I will miss grandma but I know that she is in a better place.  A happier, pain free place, once more with her beloved husband.  There is hope in God's plan.  I have hope that I will see her again.  I also know that I will see grandpa bevan as well.  I cannot wait to talk with them both.  Until we meet again.   

Bevan Shimai

Aki Matsuri (Autumn Festival)

This week has been really good, 
We found a PI this week.  She's a bartender. She told us she would like to meet again but didn't have time this week.  Hamilton shimai and I found her nearby the Matsuyama park.  We had just finished talking to someone else who didn't have a lot of interest.  And while we're walking down we see this girl waiting for the light to turn green.  She had an awesome cheetah print scarf so I complimented her on it and start talking and we find out about her job and that she actually doesn't like to drink.  Cool. We can start with that ;)  

However, funny thing is that while we were going through records this week, her name matched with a less active name.  Not sure if the same person. But the ages seem to be the same.  Going to confirm if it is the same or not.  But that would be so cool :)

Then this weekend was interviews and our chihoubu taikai.  Chihoubu taikai is just like stake conference but on a branch level.  So all together there were about 120-150 people.  I was like "holy cow this is a lot of people" But then I thought about how back home there are about 300 people who come to church every week and I slightly peed my pants.  However, it gave me a vision as to what I want Matsuyama to become.  I want that branch to use every single chair in that building for church.  We'll get there.  

Then we did interviews differently this time.  Welch kaicho just had people come at certain appointed times during the day.  Had the interview and then have people go about and dendo.  Except with Matsuyama, traveling is the most difficult in the entire mission.  It's an average of about 2 1\2 hours to get to different areas in the zone such as: Nihama, Kouchi, and Uwajima.  Imabari is only an hour away.  Anyway, the idea is to save time, except with Matsuayama you'll spend the whole day traveling anyway.  But mah, we're the only zone in the whole mission to have this issue... yeah... Then during saturday the imabari shimai came to our apartment and just studied and prepared for investigators and did weekly planning, while Hamilton shimai and I stressed over records and making sure all that the less actives have been visited.  We have about 120 left to visit but we have 63 missing papers.  Don't worry about it.. we're working on it.  

Then that afternoon we got to watch the Relief Society Broadcast.  So all of the shimai of the entire zone were there and Welch shimai.  There was a room for Japanese but no english. So we all squished into the computer room and watched it there.  Really enjoyed the korean children singing.  You could tell that the 12 year olds were bored out of their minds and that the 3 year olds were so excited to be there.  But really cute!  The dresses they were wearing look like a more relaxed form of a kimono.  You can breath in those.  Kimono's are a lot more taihen.  You have to wear an obo that prevents you from breathing and having a body shape.  Anyway!  Back to dendo...

So we had a great big sleep over at the Matsuyama shimai apartment.  There were 6 of us with 4 futons.  We snuggled and luckily there was a breeze that evening that kept us cool with fresh air.  Hamilton shimai was kind enough to make beef stew for everyone and french toast the next morning.  She's the best. 

At the chihoubu taikai, one of the speakers was the previous okayama mission president.  Back when there was an okayama mission.  On Saturday night he gave a presentation on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  He came to the floor and had a power point presentation.  He opened the congregation up to discussion and it seemed to be more open and more of a discussion rather than a speech.  Which was nice.  I like those more than talks.  We read together Alma 7:11-16 and discussed the meaning.  How Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  How He suffered our pains, weaknesses, infirmities and sins all for the sake that we may return to our loving Heavenly Father.  I know I am definitely imperfect.  But I trust that through the Savior's Atonement that there is no wound he cannot heal.  No dark to bring to light.  Nothing is too hard for our Savior.  I will be forever grateful for his sacrifice so that my family and I can have eternal joy and life.  All He asks us to do is follow Him.  Which I will do with all my heart.  I have only found healing, joy, forgiveness, improvement, and peace in this gospel.  I know it is true with every fiber of my being.  

My interview with Kaicho was good.  We talked about how he's going to change when returning missionaries go home during the week and how I will still probably get out on the 2nd since my family is coming.  I just probably won't be with the whole group.  Which is fine.  Not a big deal.  And it's nothing permanent yet.  However there will be 30 leaving with my doki in order to return to school.  Yikes. 

I asked him why Hamilton shimai and I were together for 4 transfers, because I only know of 2 other companionships to do so: Deklirk shimai and strong shimai and then Lofthouse shimai and Hayashi shimai.  So I feel somewhat honored.  And grateful to work with someone whom I will be friends with forever.  We will send each other New Year Newsletters ;)  But he told me that he doesn't see a need to transfer people if they love their area and their companion.  Makes sense.  This mission may see more shimai together for longer.  He said that he only transfers people if they don't get along.   I also found out that the mission is going to lose half of it's shimai.  I hope that Matsuyama is not going to be closed for shimai.  I asked him not to.  

Also, today Hamilton shimai and I went shopping.  We always walk through the shotengai to talk with people but never able to actually go in the shops. So we did that today.  However, there was some sort of Bhuddist parade going on in the shotengai.  There were a bunch of families and adults and kids were carrying something that looked like kamisamano ie.  But I don't know.  I tried to ask someone but they didn't know either :P. 

That's about it for the week. Thank you so much for your love and support.  Time is going by fast.  I cannot believe it.  I have loved my mission and so grateful for the experiences I've had.  They have made me a better, happier person.  

Love always, Bevan Shimai

P.S I may be writing next week on Tuesday.  Still waiting for permission but we have 2 lessons next week on Monday.  With traveling included that would be from 1-6 pm of traveling and teaching.  So Hamilton shimai and I were thinking of just switching our preparation day to tuesday to make it less stressful on us.  But... we have to get permission first.  I don't know if we'll receive word or not before 6.  

MATSUYAMA AKI MATSURI (Local Autumn Festival)Matsuyama City Oct. 5-7 Held all over Matsuyama at neighborhood shrines. On the evenings of the 5th and 6th children carry small portable shrines through their neighborhood asking for gifts from each household. They chant and carry lanterns to light their way. 
Autumn festivals are held all over Japan and people thank the god for the harvest and their health. Visitors often wonder why the gods are treated so roughly in many of the festivals listed below. It is a way of showing one's determination and bravery for the benefit of the gods. One's sincerity is reflected in the vigorous handling of mikoshi (portable shrines).

Hamilton Shimai getting ready to enter The WORLD

Matsuyama Matsuri or festival with a parade in front of the shotengai - street shops

Here comes the dragon!

Japanese children carrying the mikoshi (portable shrine)

Children sitting atop a mikoshi lighted with lanterns at each corner