Thursday, December 5, 2013

Trying not to eat all the advent calendar chocolate at once!

Konnichiwa, mina san!


So this week... This week was Zone taikai (zone conference) and Thanksgiving!  Zone taikai was great. I always love getting that spiritual boost that I need.  However, sometimes I can't help but feel that people are just a little numbers crazy. I understand the need to use it as a tool to help our efforts, but I'm going to focus on the needs of my investigators.  If they're not ready for a baptismal date, I'm not going to give them one.  Anyway,  just my little rant for the week because we didn't have any yakusokosha, no new investigators, and nobody came to church (people said they would but then cancelled last minute). Unfortunately, our zone leaders and district leaders bombard us with emails via phone about our 'zero 0's' policy and they wanted to know what were our plans to change our numbers....grrrrrr..

I felt that our week was really productive.  We shifted our investigators and found out who had or didn't have interest.  We helped some of our new investigators become progressing. To me, that's awesome and successful :) 

This week I wanted to share with all of you a small miracle which occurred in the kobe mission.  One of the ward's in our mission had a goal to double it's Sacrament meeting attendance the other week.  This is the story of how it happened - It's awesome. Please read :)

Dear President Zinke,

I wanted to report on our meetings today.  I know that when we follow the prophets we are blessed.  When we open our mouths we are blessed.  When we cast away all fear we are blessed.

Today we held our first referral Sunday.  We held it in conjunction with our annual Thanksgiving dinner.  We altered our meetings as I talked to you about.  We had 77 people in attendance for Sacrament meeting.  This is up from our usual numbers (avg. about 45).  The chapel felt more full than that but, I felt pretty good.  As I looked at the congregation I was overwhelmed with love for each and every person there.  I felt great.  I knew that the members really stretched themselves to invite people and then left the rest to The Lord.  I am sure some members were feeling a little sad as the chapel was not exploding just yet.  I knew that if we pushed forward we would see the fruits of our labors.  Sacrament finished with so many members having bore their testimonies it was a wonderful meeting.  We then announced that the congregation would be split into three groups that would rotate over the next hour or so.  We had prepared three lessons on basic Gospel teachings as well as introduction to the Church.  During this second hour the miracles began to happen.  It was like people were coming out of the wood­work…. quite literally. I would greet someone at the door, introduce myself and take them to a class, as I was doing this Bro.Tanaka was doing the same thing.  We con­tinued to prepare the food and take more and more individuals into the class­rooms.  The rotation from class to class went smoothly.  That time period ended, and we opened the overflow area with the prepared food.  Everyone gathered in our little chapel….. I saw a miracle.  The chapel was bursting at the seams.  Every seat was taken and there were many standing.  We welcomed everyone to the last part of our prepared meetings and we blessed the food.  We allowed the children to gather a plate of food and then asked the adults to do the same thing.  I began counting and lost track when I reached 102 peo­ple.  My family had decided particularly to follow Elder Ballard's counsel to extend a hand of friendship/fellowship.  Of the 18 people our family invited 11 had showed up.  I was overwhelmed with joy and tears.  I would say that this meeting was a HUGE suc­cess!!  Inactive members, part members and investigators had arrived!  I realized today the fear that we can sometimes experience with missionary work can be overcome!!!  

I thought this story was so cool.  Please, invite your friends to church. If you invite with love and care, they will see that.  If they respect you, they will still be your friend.  :)

Missionary work is awesome.  It's the best thing that I could be doing right now.  I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  They are my light and my anchor.  

Thanksgiving was spent quietly during our hour dinner period.  We made mashed potatoes, chicken, fried rice (Tojo Shimai taught me how to make Japanese fried rice), and gyoza (pot stickers) and pie.  It was awesome. We stuffed ourselves within the hour. Said some things we were grateful for and then went out to work. 

I am learning how to make some Japanese dishes, unfortunately, most of the food here comes preprepared.I have tried a couple of new things lately which I really liked.  The first dish was one that was cooked in a broth and then dipped in raw egg!  I have never eaten a raw egg in my life until yesterday, and it was pretty good.  In fact, i ate 2 :))  I'm starting to think that I just love food in general and will eat just about anything!  This last week I also tried nishin or sardines for the first time.  That was pretty good too.  There's another food called Tako yaki. This is fried dumplings with octopus meat in the center.  You dip it in your choice of sauce - hot/spicy or sweet along with some fish flakes sprinkled on top.  The Japanese really love their fish!  I'm not sure whether or not I can find these fish flakes back in America, more specifically in Utah!  My goal is to still learn how to make sushi while I am here, I really really want to learn how to do this!  

I am trying to speak Japanese to everyone including the English speaking missionaries here.  However, sometimes even the other missionaries get impatient with me and they tell me to just say in English.  This just makes me more motivated to speak only in Nihongo because I don't want to speak in English anymore :) I am not giving up, I feel more motivated than ever to speak only Japanese all the time!

This week I've gotten more used to Pettit Shimai.  She also has a strong personality and has a strong dendo gambaro spirit.  It kind of helps my sorry butt - lol.  I appreciate her help and she has definitely helped out the work in Shimogamo.  She has helped our investigators and we know them better because of her.  Granted, her Japanese is about the same as mine.. which isn't very good.  But we're relying on the Lord to help us through the work and to get through lessons and somewhat understand our investigators.  This is where dosekis (members) are our saving grace.   I'm hoping for the best. 

Thanks so much for your love and guidance.  Thanks for reading.  Thanks for your support and letters.  Mom, I got your package this week.  Pettit Shimai is going to try and not eat all of her advent calandar chocolate at once, which is why I'm hiding it for her!


Bevan Shimai

Rockin' the Rain Suit

Enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner Japanese style

Beautiful Japanese maple!