Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Be still my soul . . .

This week has been good.  Lots of biking.  We were able to teach our lovely investigators.  Unfortunately this week we had an investigator who we stopped meeting with.  She told us at our last meeting that she was going to be busy until May... Well.. Neither one of us are going to be in Japan at that point.  She then said that she was going to be busy going in and out of the hospital and not able to meet.  I will miss her.  She's about 87 years old and had some sort of medical condition that I didn't fully understand (my medical vocabulary is a little lacking) and I'm not sure if she'll make it to may.  She definitely has a place in my heart.  Hamilton shimai and I found her.  She told us she didn't want any other missionaries to visit her.  She loves us.  Every time we visit she says she loves the clean, beautiful feeling that she feels in her heart.  I'm not sure what will happen.  'Till we meet again. 

But this week, I love it when new investigators just pop out of the woodwork.  This week as we were streeting in a park, I see a man on his bike rubber necking.  I just wave, smile and say "hello"  He pulls over (That NEVER happens) and talks to us.  Apparently he was a previous investigator.  However, he didn't show any interest and we went on our way.  We continue streeting and keep going and loop back through the park.  On the way through the park, he sees us again. Stops us and asks "do you have time?"  Yes.  We do!  So we got a new investigator that day.  Never had that experience before.  So grateful to Heavenly Father.  He will put the elect in our paths!

I guess during my mission I've always thought that skill is heavily related to the ability to find new investigators. But it's not. It's about how well you apply the principles in Preach My Gospel.  Do you have the faith to find?  Do you believe that Heavenly Father will lead those who are ready to listen in your path.  Do you follow the Spirit?  All excellent questions.  A good finder is not someone who has the courage to chase people down the street but to have the boldness to follow the spirit and talk to those he feels the need to talk to.  

Then this week Hamilton shimai actually got separated.  It was getting dark and Hamilton shimai crosses a street before a bunch of cars come up.  She keeps driving down the street while I wait for traffic to clear.  About 3-5 minutes pass and I finally cross the street.  I get to a main interesection and I don't see Hamilton shimai anywhere and I just slightly panic and I think "oh, she'll come back in the next 10 min."  So I wait 10 min.  She doesn't show up.  A part of me is thinking "how long is it going to take for her to notice that I'm not there?"  So I go up to a hotel thinking they'd let me use their phone.  Apparently not.  A tad disappointing.  I tried to use the pay phone in the corner of the lobby but no luck.... It looked like only international calls.  

So I go outside back to the intersection.  I don't see her anywhere.  I think all right, maybe she went this way.  So I bike down and all of a sudden I see the chorotachi.  Ok, it's really rare for us to see the chorotachi so frequently during the day.  Usually we never see them while we're dendoing.  This was the third time.  I pull them over and I ask to use their phone.  At this point it's been 20 minutes.  My hands are shaking from the adrenaline and unable to even type in my number.  Sorenson choro asks if I wanted him to call her.  I hand him the phone.  He dials the number and passes the phone to me.  Hamilton answers in the normal way, thinking it was the chorotachi.  I could tell she was trying to remain cool.  We arrange for a rendez-vous point.  I thank the chorotachi, tell them about our find and head up to the rendez vous point.  So it was all good.  It was so strange to be seperated from my companion for 30 minutes.  I've heard of companions being separeted/lost for over 2 hours and I think, "Can you not just stop at someone's house to use the phone?"  Anyway... 

The Ringwood Conference was really good.  I ended up performing a musical number with Boman shimai and beane shimai (in Uwajima) and Heimuli shimai in Nihama.  But more about that later. 

Really good taikai.  In the morning Welch shimai and Welch kaicho spoke.  Then Ringwood shimai, the daughter of Elder Nelson, spoke. She looks very similar to him, but still feminine.  She gave a very nice talk on being a light to everyone.  That people can sense something is different about you.  

Then Ringwood kaicho spoke.  Except he took a step off the stand and just stood in front of everyone and worked with a white board.  Then told us to not worry about the time, yes he was going to go over time.  I honestly don't remember what he talked about.  I remember he talked about Alma 36 and Alma 26:22.  What was interesting though is that at the beginning everyone got to shake his hand but during that time he took the time to memorize a certain number of missionaries names.  Then if no one would raise their hand he would just call out a name.  He tried to call on me but instead said "Ellsworth shimai" I told him that Ellsworth shimai was in the front.  He got me later.  

Then as we were about to break for lunch Stirling choro was going to give us 40 minutes for lunch.  However, Ringwood kaicho cuts him off and says "give them an hour".. Ringwood Kaicho just got the hearts of over a hundred missionaries.  It made everyone very happy. 

After lunch Boman shimai, Beane shimai, and Heimuli shimai performed "Be still my soul" accompanied by me.  It was an arrangement.  One of the prettiest I've heard. It has the melody a little bit rearranged for a soloist.  So there is a high A in there... Could not sing this song to save my life but Boman shimai has the voice of an angel.  She also added parts to it so that multiple shimai could sing at once (the arrangement is a solo piece).  It was beautiful and rich with voice.  And the accompaniment was also really good.  I really enjoyed playing it and practicing it.  Afterwards everyone told us how much they loved listening to it.  They said it was one of the best musical performances they've ever heard before at church.... Yoshi!  

The afternoon session was a question and answer session.  Everyone asked some good questions.  For the homework we were asked to read Moroni 7 to prepare for the taikai. So I asked about the relationship between faith and hope.  Because Moroni says that neither hope is without faith as faith is nai without hope.  And then you have Alma who says hope comes before faith.  So I wanted to know what his opinion was.  He said that there were two kinds of hope.  The hope to believe and the hope that comes of faith.  An abiding hope in the Resurrection of Christ and the Resurrection to come.  In Eternal Life and such.  And that faith comes from the hope or desire to believe.  And that as we are faithful we will have the hope in the good things in life.  That there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

This week I have been also thinking about the meaning of happiness.  What does it mean to you to be truly happy?  I've studied it in the scriptures and it mostly defines happiness as people rejoicing in the Lord their God.  The prophet Mormon states that joy comes to those who are penitent and humble, those who are true in heart and purpose.  

Last week I had to prepare a talk in church on humility.  My favorite scripture from this experience was Numbers 12:3 that describes Moses as the most meek man upon the entire earth.  Have you ever thought of meek when you think of Moses - someone who was a mighty prophet able to part the Red Sea and save thousands of Israelites.  But Moses was meek in that he understood who he was, his role.  He was Moses, not God. He knew that God would take care of him.  He trusted God and knew his will.  And he was able to use his priesthood power to part the Red Sea and to perform many miracles.  So my biggest frustration with this talk is that when I was speaking - no one was listening!  To start with you have a little boy who is fussing and whining that he is HOT - his mom finally takes him out of the room.  Then they come back in.  Then one of the members who brings his own standing fan to church gets up while I am speaking and moves his fan over to the little boy.  But then one of the older more frail sisters starts to complain that now she is cold. So now the branch president's wife asks them to move the fan.  So this man gets up again and moves the fan.  And at one point during all this commotion, I stood still and stopped talking because No One was paying attention!  And then I waited for every one to get seated again.  Afterwards, I felt so frustrated.  I almost cried because I was so upset.  I felt like everyone was ignoring me on purpose.  But hey, it's over and I've moved on.  Most of the members came up to me and complimented me on my talk.  No one even corrected my Japanese!  Anyway, life is good.  I guess we all get tested everyday, different challenges and frustrations.  

But funny moment of the week:

So I asked the chorotachi for our new investigator's old teaching record and their response was:

Elders:  "<1AC.gif>NEVER<1AC.gif>"
Sisters:  "<1AB.gif>Wipe your tears on your skirt and bring us the record. <1B3.gif><335.gif>"
Sisters:  "Alma 54:7-9,13"
Sisters:  "Alma 30:16, 60:28, 54:11, 60:36"
Elders:  "Ok, we'll bring the record"
Sisters:  "Alma 39:7-9, 13; Proverbs 24:33"

Never get into a battle with shimai when scripture pride is on the line!!  It gave us a nice laugh.  Hope it gives you one too.

Love you alll, thank you!

Bevan Shimai 

P.S all the spiders in the electrical lines

Beautiful sunset!


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