But this week... What to say...
I finally finished my Book of Mormon with highlights according to: restoration, plan of salvation, gospel of Jesus Christ, commandments, and ordinances. As well as references to Christ and His words. You can say that 3 Nephi is marked up pretty well... But definitely have learned a lot with a specific focus as I studied the Book of Mormon. I have seen new insights, and how much doctrine the Book of Mormon holds. It's awesome! Now I've started again except with a focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Highlighting according to faith, repentence, baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. Good stuff. I'm still learning and I've just started over. Hopefully I'll finish this version by December.
I also am so grateful for my lovely companion, Hamilton shimai. I feel as if I could go on about her all day. But you or I do not have time for that. I am just so grateful that we are always on the same page. We are practically the same person. In fact it surprises people when we speak in unision. Exact phrasing and everything. So fun. Or how we like to sing "Bicycle" by Queen on really long bike rides. And that we just goofily bounce on our seats and ring our bells according to the song. Makes dendo a lot more fun.
This week however we went down to Iyo shi to visit some more less actives. In fact one of them was a gaijin. His name was Eric. And the first time we tried visiting, the front door to this school/clinic was open and we saw pictures of him and his family on a bulletin board. This time we got to meet him. He has lived in Japan for the past 22 years. Married a nihonjin and had a family. He has two daughters. One is 15 and the other is 13. Recently the 13 year old visited Salem so I got to see all of her photos and it was a little fun to see that she went to places I had been to. Apparently Iyo shi and salem, Oregon are sister cities. Just like Matsuyama and Sacramento are sister cities. Fun fact of the day.
Anyway, we just started talking about how he came in contact with the church because he was baptized when he was 8. However, he told us that he was never really truly converted and I don't think it helped that his uncle's family (whom he stayed with for a number of months) was this peter priesthood and molly mormon family... who only watched television when it was conference...
But his whole family went inactive. He ended up moving to Japan to teach English. Went to the branch once with the mormon teacher he replaced and then never went again. But we had a great discussion. I honestly think the purpose of meeting was to show him that LDS people are normal people. We ended up talking about good books for his daughters to read. Movies. TV shows and such. But it was nice to talk in English. He even said it was ok for us to come again. His daughters seemed to really want us to come again and the wife wasn't hantai at all and was very kind. He's had missionary friends before so I think he knows whats up but seems fine with it.
Tonight we are driving up to Takamatsu for the Ringwood taikai tomorrow. The meeting starts at 9 and no one on this entire side of the mission can get there early enough. So everyone will be traveling tonight. Yeah... I am going to be bringing my ear plugs and melotonin and pillow. Should be good. However in preparation for the taikai they have asked us to read Moroni 7. It's a letter from Mormon to his son Moroni primarily discussing the light of Christ, faith, hope and charity. That all good things come from God. All things that are uplifting, bring light into our lives, the sunset after a long day, the sunrise after a long night, music that makes you happy, the Book of Mormon, a welcoming smile are of God. How intertwined faith and hope are. Hamilton shimai and I discussed which came first "faith or hope". We came to the conclusion that faith comes first. For in order to hope you need to first believe that it exists. Such as hope in the resurrection. (which my hope has only solidified on my mission. You should see our backs sing the song of its people every morning). You can't have hope in the resurrection if you don't have faith in Christ.
Anyway, hope all is well in the land of California and the states. Good luck with everything. Know that you are loved by our Father who lives in Heaven. This life is not just a game of chance. It has purpose. The struggles we face are specified to us and our needs. Our Heavenly Father is involved in our lives. We just need to open our eyes a little wider than the next day. Pray. He is there. He is listening. He wants to hear from you.
Love Always, Bevan Shimai
pictures: Another breath taking sunset. I swear, Shikoku has the best sunsets ever!
A bride and groom while we were streeting near dogo koen