Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This week has been pretty amazing . . .

Hello everyone!

Halloween in Japan is not what you'd think it be.  In fact, they don't really celebrate it.  On Halloween, Tojo Shimai and I biked around all day visiting the members, our investigators and a couple of PIs (who became investigators this week! Woo Woo!).  We gave them our goodie bags and sang a hymn and then prayed.  The members seemed happy that we visited them and they actually gave us food in return!  Including a little bit of mochi :DDDD  But at night, i only saw a couple of college kids dressed up and going to a party.  So it seemed to me to be more of a college kid's excuse to have a party.  No little kids dressed up.  But on Friday, at zone training meeting, Womack Shimai said that she and her companion joined an American family for Halloween.  The mother gave bags of candy to all her neighbors and said, "We'll come around 7 to pick the candy up"  So that's how their family went trick-or-treating!  I thought that was kind of hilarious.  But most of the members asked us, "It's Halloween?"  Yes... it's Halloween!  

Anyway...  Language.  For my language study, I usually do some reading, some grammar, some vocab, and some memorizing.  All day, I speak in as much Japanese as I possibly can with Tojo Shimai.  She usually tries to speak as much English as she can.  But we speak english at meals.  And there are a lot of English words that are in Japanese, they're just disguised in Katakana.  Like "Isu" is Ice cream or "bagu" is bag or "motibeshon" is motivation or "kamera" is camera. It's great.

I can understand pretty much everything that Tojo Shimai says.  Every once and a while I'll have her repeat something but other than that it's good.  I still have difficulty understanding our investigators though.  I can pick out words and phrases but other than that I can't really connect the dots.

I'll send fall photos next week.  We're going out with a member and an investigator to go see the "karafuru ribusu"  (colorful leaves.. just think "engrish" and you're good)

Ok.. now for my favorite part... Dendo.

So this week has been pretty amazing.  I'm very grateful for my Heavenly Father right now because I know I wouldn't be able to do ANY of this on my own.

We were able to get two PIs to become investigators this week.  One of them is the sister who's husband used to live in San Marino, but he's gone a lot for business (he was in India last week).  She has a ton of questions and is really interested.  She came to church on Sunday and really respects the members. She's impressed by how nice everyone is. 

The other sister is mongolian.  She was neighbors with a member and we met her once before but then we visited her again with the member and we talked for a little bit.  Then we visited again after the member had moved back to Mongolia.  She said that she wanted to come to church and so she came yesterday!  

Then we had two other investigators who came to church, so we had 4 people at church on Sunday!  Tojo Shimai and I did splits with the members so that we could teach 2 at a time and then the 3rd during relief society.  One of them had to leave after the first hour.  I am always impressed with Heavenly Father.  He has been so good to us.   

Then a miracle happened. So one of our long time investigators who set her baptism date in December (back in August) suddenly decided to change her date to November.  Tojo shimai and I were delightedly shocked!  So we made arrangements and now we're stoked to have 2 baptisms planned for 11/17.  I can't wait for the P-day afterwards to send photos :D  

You said you wanted to know more about Zinke Kaicho so I'll tell you.  I got to know him a little bit back when I was in Kobe.  Every once in a while Fish shimai and I had to go to the Honbu to resupply and I would see him.  He also came to the English branch a couple of times.  He has a great sense of humor but he definitely has a serious side.   Everyone is a little worried about the new mission president who is coming next summer because Zinke Kaicho is the backbone to our mission, along with Zinke Shimai (who is amazing).

Zinke Shimai is pretty much an angel in a mortal body.  She is perfect.  I cannot see any wrongs.  She is the nicest, sweetest and the most loving person I have ever met.  She is definitely the mission's mother. 

Last week, Tojo Shimai and I went to the Heian Jinja.  We didn't pay to go see the gardens but it was definitely worth the trip.  We also then went to go see the emperors home... granted the walls were 20 feet high and nobody could go in, the garden/park was pretty cool.  I'd like to compare it to the central park of new york. It's huge! At least for Japan it's huge. 

Last night we had an american dinner at our investigators home.  I made tomato soup (from the tomato juice a ward member had given us) and grilled cheese.  Our investigator loved it!  She says she's going to make it from now on.  Then I shared some of the Reese's peanut butter cups you sent me for dessert.

Anyway, I'm going to go. I've got other stuff to do.  Glad to hear you're doing well.  Keep up the good work.  Thanks for your love and support and concerns. 

Love, Bevan Shimai

Zone Conference!

One of the largest torii in Japan is located at the entrance to the Heian Jingu. 

The torii gate stands about 80 ft tall.

Heian Jingu is a Shinto Shrine built to deify two Japanese emperors. The first is Emperor Kammu, born in the year 737, he was the founding emperor of Japan's capital city, Kyoto.  The second is Emperor Komei, born 1831, who was the last emperor of Kyoto, which was also known as the Heian Capital. The shrine was built to commemorate the 2600th year of the founding of Japan in 1938!

Today the shrine serves as a spiritual center for the entire nation of Japan as well as a commemoration of Kyoto's historic beginning and end as the capital of Japan.


A bridge somewhere in the gardens surrounding the Heian Jingu?