Friday, May 30, 2014

It's pouring cats and dogs! Welcome to tsuyu or summer in Japan!


Well, Japan is entering the rainy season or tsuyu 梅雨.  Yes, there is an official name/title for rainy season.  Today it poured cats and dogs and so the humidity is up.  Can't wait for summer :P  

This week has been awesome!  Good week.  Crazy busy.. I guess they're right when they say that a busy missionary is a happy missionary. :D But we taught a lesson to one sister, rice field sister, who is less active. But she still reads the Liahona every month, keeps the commandments (except church) and reads the Book of Mormon and prays.  The only thing is that she feels as if she can't do 100% on the commandments.  It seems impossible to her. So we taught her about the atonement and how it helps us to endure to the end, achieve the seemingly impossible and strengthens us to obey our loving Heavenly Father and follow our Saviour Jesus Christ.  I felt the spirit so strongly as Hamilton shimai testified.  It was so nice. At the end we invited her to come to church and she came!  Everyone was happy to see her.  Next step is just to help her come more frequently.  I know she can do it!  Heavenly Father doesn't give commandments without a blessing or help.  

Earlier this week we taught a philipino less active. She's been less active for 5 years.  She teaches english and there was a member who knew her who came along.  We just sat down with her and talked.  We talked about her baptism, about when she first met the missionaries, about her family, about when she first came to church and then she told us why she became less active.  She asked why she was struggling with certain issues at the time.  Why God let them happen.  She became angry and stopped coming.  But she is still praying!  She loves to feel the peace that only comes through prayer.  She says that she has lasted because of her Heavenly Father's love.  She feels bad for not coming to church but that's why we have the Atonement of Jesus Christ!  Even if we have strayed, our Heavenly Father gives us every opportunity to come back into His embrace.  

Then Friday we travel up to Osaka.  First a 5 hour bus ride, then an hour train ride to Ibaraki, Osaka area.  We got to stay in the Ibaraki sisters apartment, which was the same area where the Christofferson 長老 大会 (devotional) was!   Only a 20 min walk to the church building. Saturday morning, we go early to save our seats and then grab breakfast at a convenie.  It was so fun to see old friends again.  Past companions.  My district. Right now Ellsworth shimai and damron shimai are companions.  I laughed when I saw the transfer list.  I know they've been asking Zinke Kaicho for that for a long time.  

So everyone is sitting quietly in the chapel.  Zinke Kaicho called our AP, Stirling choro, twice to make sure everyone was quiet and preparing for Christofferson choro to come.  Everyone was dead quiet. We heard earlier from Zinke Kaicho of how Elder Oaks told him of how he went to visit a mission but everyone was loud and noisy and he just turned around and left. Saying that they were not prepared to hear from an apostle.  Zinke Kaicho was a little worried.  I don't know why.  Everyone here is so obedient.  I don't know of any really rebellious missionaries.  

Christofferson Choro finally walks in the building and everyone immediately stands up, like an army... a little intimidating.  However for some reason or another he doesn't immediately enter the chapel.  I'm guessing the bathroom.  So we're still standing after a good 5 minutes and everyone is dead silent. He finally enters the room.  The room is in a silent buzz because everyone is just excited to see him.  Earlier, we found out via email that Christofferson choro wanted to shake everyone's hands, so we all line up after instruction and we get to shake his hand.  I'm taller than him... :DDDDDD What?  I'm not proud of how tall I am.  He asked me where I was from and I just said pasadena, CA not really caring if he knew where it was or not.  

I loved it!  He first talked about how proud the Lord was of our work.  That He approves of our mission.  He said that is the highest compliment because it doesn't matter what he thinks.  What matters is what the Lord thinks.  He then invites us to know if our work is pleasing to the Lord or to ask if there is something more we could do or if there's something that we are doing that we should stop.  

He then continues to share mission experiences and I loved hearing them!  He served in Guatamala, his mission president was Elder Richard G. Scott... I thought that was interesting.  He says it's a little intimidating to sit at the same table as your mission president because he knows all of Elder Christofferson's faults and Elder Christofferson doesn't know any of Elder Scott's faults.  

He then talked about loving the people.  He opened an area in guatamala and for 3 weeks no one showed any interest.  The elders serving there fasted and prayed to know what they could do.  They all received the same answer, "Do you love my children?"  I loved that!  You cannot serve unless you love the people.  However, keep serving even if you don't and just pray for that love and charity.  That's my new goal.  I can always love a little deeper.  Now there are 2 stakes in that city he opened. 

In the last hour, he opened it up to questions.  Some of the questions that were asked were "How can we better fulfill our roles as missionaries, what does Christ mean to you as an apostle?, how do you daily rely on the Lord as an Apostle?  Later, the Zinke's told us how impressed Elder Christofferson was with our questions.  It feels good and comforting to work in a mission where everyone is obedient and goes out everyday and works.  Elder Christofferson said, "I'm sure you would've done amazing things in other missions as well but the Lord called you to be here.  The Lord needs you to be here.  What better reason do you need?"  Definitely felt spiritually boosted after the meeting.  I plan on applying what I've learned and to keep going.  Not worrying. Just doing.

Thought for the week - use your time wisely, it goes by so fast! Time is flying by and I try to live each day to make it count, I realize that I will never get this day back again!  The future is bright and I don't want to ever just let time pass me by.  I want to grab life with both hands and hold on!  I have learned so much on my mission.  I cannot imagine what the next 7 months will have in store.  I learned from Zinke kaicho that disciples of Christ are students.  I am definitely a student.  I make mistakes, but I learn and I grow from them.  My faith is so much stronger, I know I have become a better person on my mission. Here's a quote from a talk by Elder Anderson - "There are days when we feel inadequate and unprepared, when doubt and confusion enters our spirits, when we have difficulty finding our spiritual pathway. Part of our victory as disciples of Christ is what we do when these feelings come upon us. Faith is not just a feeling, it is a decision".  I felt comforted by this, because negative feelings and doubts are always a part of our lives.  They happen. But I know that I can choose to either give in to these feelings or I can act in faith - make the decision to go forward and stay strong.  I am so grateful for my foundation in Christ.  

I Love you all so much, 

Bevan Shimai

PS -ok, so one of these photos is the view from the top of a hill we hike in the morning.  The other are these huge green beans!  They were like the size of my hand.  We got them when we contacted a less active. He wasn't interested but he gave us two huge bags of these beans. We gave one to the chorotachi. 

The picture of the hat is to demonstrate Japanese culture.  In Japan, if someone finds a lost article, they will usually hang it up or place it somewhere nearby off the ground so that when the owner comes back, they'll find it and it won't be dirty.  there is practically no such thing as a Japanese thief

HELLO KITTY PASTA - awesome :))

A well dressed Buddha :)

Morning hike to the top of the mountain

Example of Japanese culture - a hat waiting to be returned to its owner