Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our prayers were answered . . .

Mina san konnichiwa!

thanks so much for your love and support.  I really appreciate it.  It means so much to me to see a letter in my post box or that I have email.  It's amazing and thank you :)

So this week I hit my 6 month mark.. weird.  Not sure if I like this.  At this same point in Fish Shimai's (my trainer in Kobe) mission she was going to be training a new missionary.  At this point in my mission, I'm going to be with Pettit Shimai (she's been on her mission 6 weeks longer or one transfer more than I have).  I'm so sad that Tojo Shimai is leaving me.  I started crying when she pulled out her suitcases. :(( Tojo Shimai is going to Takamatsu City on the island of Shikoku (the huge island south of Kobe) she is going to be a Sister Training Leader or STL, and she will be training a 2nd transfer Sister Missionary.  I'm staying in the Shimogamo Ward in Kyoto.  I hope our investigators like Sister Pettit.  She will be my senior companion; I am relieved, because I don't like leading!  And I still don't know how to make a phone call in Japanese, so I'm hoping her Japanese is pretty good :)

This past week Tojo Shimai and I worked tirelessly to prepare our investigators for baptism.   However, we weren't really prepared for opposition from the Bishopric.  Apparently there was pretty much no communication between the Bishopric and the ward mission leader.... yeah... So the Bishop became panicked when he found out that two people were being baptized next week when he hardly knew anything about them.  Which caused the bishop to say, "Please don't baptize this week...."  What?.... are you kidding me?  It didn't help that Zinke Kaicho was in South Korea for a mission presidents conference and was completely unavailable to contact.   So we had a lot of phone calls going back and forth from the AP's and the Bishop.  One of the Bishop's concerns was that our new converts wouldn't be able to come to church every week.  Our argument was that not all members are able to make it to church every week, and they still have testimonies and want to be members of the church!  One of our investigators had to fight her job to just have every other Sunday off.  She is so excited to be baptized, I couldn't break her heart and tell her we had to postpone her baptism.  But then on Thursday we got a call from the Bishop saying that it was ok to have the Baptisms on Sunday.  To say our prayers were answered is not an understatement.  We were so grateful and happy!  

One of our converts is a sister whom we found through a member. We taught her all the lessons and she wanted to be baptized by lesson 2.  Very unusual for Japan.  Our other convert is a sister whom has been coming to church since March and agreed to baptism back in August. She moved her baptism date up to yesterday 2 weeks ago and now she's finally a member.  It was such a happy day.

So I felt very blessed to be present at both of their baptisms.  If feel as if I have had absolutely nothing to do with their conversion.  It was all through the Spirit.  I just happened to be there and Heavenly Father was kind enough to bless me with this experience.  

I loved helping them with their baptismal clothes and watching from the best point of view.  The view from the dressing room.  I remembered my baptismal date and I remember the joy and the warmth that I felt.  How strongly I felt Heavenly Father's love for me and that I was doing the right thing.  I am so grateful for this gospel.  

The next challenge we have is that our teaching pool has almost emptied because these two wonderful sisters are now baptized :)  Now we've got to help other investigators make a commitment to a baptism and to find more progressing investigators who want to commit to discussions.  We have our work cut out for us,  may we be blessed in our teaching and finding.  

So this week Transfer day falls on Thanksgiving ( *Sarah thinks Thanksgiving is this week), so I'm going to make mashed potatoes, pie, meat, and fried rice (Tojo Shimai is teaching me).  I hope it turns out ok.  I'm going to start prepping tonight.  Wish me luck!  

and Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you enjoy some apple pie for me.  I ate sushi today, it was awesome, totally going there again! (because it's so cheap!  150 yen per 2 pieces of sushi) 

(Sarah finally made it to Sushiro - a chain of sushi restaurants in Japan.  Bruce has been bugging her to go since she arrived in Japan - lol.  But of course, she doesn't say anything like - "Dad! I finally went and ate at that restaurant you've been wanting me try for the last four months!!"   Oh well, shikata ga nai

Love you all

Bevan Shimai

Sarah and Tojo Shimai at Sushiro - check out the conveyor belt of sushi items going by to Sarah's right.  You order on a screen and then pull off your items as they come down the conveyor belt.
Sushi here is one or two pieces of fish for only a dollar! It's definitely one of the best bargains in Japan!

Sarah having lunch with the Elders (2 Zone Leaders and 2 new trainees) at Sushiro. You can see the ordering screen at the end of the table

Beautiful fall colors

Sarah and the four Fushimi sisters who moved in for a week or so after the stalker incident! Sister Ellsworth, from Sarah's original group in the MTC, is in the front wearing the blue sweatshirt. Sarah was very happy to see her again!