Thursday, March 27, 2014

Transfer Calls

We got transfer calls this morning....

....I don't know how often it is that sister missionaries spend their first six months in their first area...but I am staying in Higashi Osaka for another transfer!! Cain Shimai and I are staying together, which is wonderful because she is an AMAZING missionary and I am so lucky to be her companion. 

The next transfer here is going to be great, the Osaka stake has so many activities planned for missionaries and their investigators that I am excited to be a part of. And I will get to be here for Sotaikai!  General Conference

At Osaka Castle
Being labeled a Christian in Japan is not the most popular idea ever and the family of the girl that we are teaching does not want her to be baptized. However, they are fine with her going to church and continuing to meet with us, which is wonderful, so we will keep teaching her and pray for a miracle! If the Lord can help us find one in a million, he can certainly soften the hearts of the parents of that one in a million!  She still has a strong desire to develop a relationship with God and I know that as she shows her faith, the Lord will open a way for her to receive the desires of her heart. 

I love it.

Osaka District

Osaka Japan

Friday, March 21, 2014


The 16 year old girl that came to church last Sunday is an angel. I love her so much. I have no doubt that we are going to be best friends for the rest of eternity. She is deep, thorough and the cutest person. From the moment that we started teaching her (on Monday) she has had the strongest desire to develop a relationship with God.

On Tuesday we taught her more about who God is. We taught her essentially, that our goal in life is to return to live with God again. That there are obstacles to this - sin and death. And that Jesus Christ is the solution. She loved it. As she pondered what we taught, she said: "I believe that with this goal of returning to God for my life, I would be happy. I believe that this is the way to happiness." (that is a bit of a rough translation, but it was even more beautiful in Japanese. 

On Friday we taught her how to pray. As we explained prayer, we asked her when she thought she would be able to pray. She thought about it for a second and said, "well, I will pray when I wake up, and when I eat, and when I study and in the afternoon and before I go to bed." And we invited her to be baptized. She was ecstatic. The joy that filled the three of us was more than I can explain. We talked about the ordinance of baptism and how baptism is only the first step - the real goal is eternal life. 

On Saturday she got terribly sick and had to go to the hospital and missed church on Sunday. We were sad, and she was sad, but she mailed us expressing her excitement about prayer. Although she was sick, she had the strongest faith that if she prayed to God, He would help her be healed. This was yesterday. Today she is planning to go to Osaka Castle with us.

A week ago this girl didn't know who God was. She didn't know anything about God. She hardly had an interest in spiritual things. But, she has a keen eye for truth. She has the sweetest spirit of anyone I have ever met. It is beautiful. 

I didn't know that so much joy existed.

I love this work.
Grundvig Shimai 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


We hardly taught any lessons this week, so we had a ton of time to go out finding!  Which was exciting because I really love our finding time. There are so many parts of missionary work that I hadn't really anticipated taking up so much of our lesson planning, the weekly planning session...and all of the other really vital parts of dendo (missionary work) that don't come to mind when we think "missionary work." But I LOVE days when we get to go out finding and just talk to as many people as we see...because that is when I feel so much like a missionary.

On Tuesday this week we had all day to go finding. We had been planning on going to a college in our area and an eki....but we received a message from our zone leaders instructing us to visit previous investigators. So we did. And none of them were home...or they had hantai parents, or some sort of other strange situation...anyway, we weren't actually able to meet any of them. We spent the entire day talking to people who not only were not interested, but REALLY didn't want to talk to us. I can't count the number of times that people would look at us like we were crazy when we introduced ourselves and then tell us: "Why are you in Japan? You should go somewhere else. Japan is a Buddhist country. Your work here is futile." (That is not an exact translation, but it was basically along those lines). So after knocking...and knocking...and knocking doors with this response....or talking to people on the streets with this response....I ping-ponged (a two way speaker/camera at doors) one door in a mansion...and the lady on the other side of the camera asked who I was and then came running to open the door. She was SOO excited to see a foreigner, and so surprised, that she could hardly wait to talk with us. She invited us in and we talked with her for a little while before her husband came home, and then she invited us to come back the next day. She lived about an hour bike ride away, and it was raining the next day...but it was one of the most enjoyable bike rides of my life. We had a lot of fun with it, and we were just really excited to have an appointment with someone who was sincerely interested in our message. When we talked with her about what we do and that we could answer the questions "where we come from, why we are here on earth, and what happens after we die?" She started to get a little bit emotional. She started pointing at pictures around her apartment and shared some of the deepest, hardest times of her life. She unfolded her life history to us and explained how in the past few years many of her friends and family members had died unexpectedly, and that she had never understood why we had to die. She shared that she had always felt that there was a God, because she had received help through hard times...but she didn't really know who God was. It was amazing. It is a blessing to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What a privilege to be invited into a strangers home and then be allowed to share with them a message that answers the questions they have pondered for their entire lives.

Yesterday we had a few of our investigators come to church! It was wonderful to sit with them through sacrament meeting...and my Japanese really is slowly improving because I understood much more of the sacrament talks than I ever have before. We had a girl come to church yesterday who is 16...and she stayed for about 5-6 hours (she showed up really early) and then stayed late to meet with members and eat some rice and curry. The ward embraced her completely and she absolutely loved it. She is so sweet and has thought deeply about who God is. She found the church on Google (she googled free English programs) and we invited her to church after Eikaiwa class on Wednesday.

The love that I feel for the people in this area is amazing. The members, our investigators -oh fun fact - so in Japanese "investigator" is "きよどしゃ" and the translation is "Truth Seeker." I absolutely love that. I really love these people...and my love for them continues to grow. I feel like I am learning how to love this work more too. Every time I leave my apartment I have a feeling of joy that I can trace back to some of the happiest moments of my life. It is a feeling that always reminds me of my favorite memories at BYU, or playing soccer or backpacking or moments in high school or with family...recognizing that feeling here makes me so happy.

I love it :)

Grundvig Shimai

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Lord's Work

Grundvig Shimai and Cain Shimai
The Lord's Will Be Done. This is the message that I have pulled from the past few weeks. Sometimes I get it into my head that I have some sort of effect on what happens in this work...and I forget that the Lord is really in charge of absolutely all of it. That includes the moments when we miss trains...or get on the wrong trains...and end up somewhere we did not mean to go...but we meet someone that we were obviously supposed to meet. 

On Wednesday this week we had a training with a member of the 70, Whitings Choro, . He is amazing. I loved everything he said - it was very flat, straight and to the point. Before the training he asked us if we wanted milk, or we wanted meat. Everyone said meat. And he definitely gave us meat. (D&C 19:22) Something interesting about the Japan missions - each one has some sort of "reputation." Tokyo is flashy, Fukuoka tends to be funny people...etc. I don't know how true these reputations are, but the Kobe, Japan mission hold the reputation of having very serious missionaries. I don't know if that means we take ourselves too seriously, but we are a rather serious group. Everything is always so intense all of the time. Part of me really loves this- because I think that pretty much everyone here would work until they fell down dead. But, Whitings Choro's training reminded us that as much work as we do, it really doesn't amount to what the Lord can do. And through the Lord's grace, we can do all things that are His will. Without the Lord's power...we can't do much of anything. How true this is. 
Domino's Pizza with what tasted like Mayonaise on it!

A gift from a friendly contact.  Chocolate and an apple
Sunday was amazing! On Saturday night I called a man who was a potential investigator from a year or so ago. He said that he would come to church! He came to church - which in itself is a tender mercy :) and he was SO prepared to hear the gospel message! He has been carrying around a Plan of Salvation pamphlet for a year, as well as the chirashi that the sister missionaries gave him. He stayed for all three hours and absolutely loved all of it. He asked for a Book of Mormon. He was the most adorable old man ever with a plaid jacket, bright orange pants, and a tie with a picture of a mountain on it. He had the whitest hair that I have ever seen and he was probably the sweetest person in the entire universe. The Elders are going to start teaching him this week and I am so excited to see how he progresses, because he is clearly seeking after spiritual truth. 

Have a great week! 
Grundvig Shimai

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Refinery

This week my mission was incredibly difficult because of Japanese. Japanese is hard! And the overwhelming task of learning this language...and eventually feeling comfortable in it was starting to really take over my mind.  I have concluded that a mission is just hard because it is supposed to be hard and the challenges and trials that come with a mission are personal and irreplaceable. The hard things about a mission change on a week to week, and even on a day to day basis depending upon what the Lord knows we need to learn and grow from. The mission is an incredibly personal experience for every missionary in the world. Through the help of my companion, the Lord and our leaders I was able to remember that the Lord knows me. He knows where I am.  He knows what I need...and He will help me to be able to accomplish the task ahead of me. 

The question posed to the Japan Kobe Missionaries this week was "whom say ye that He is?" As I have reflected on my experience as a missionary, the picture that I paint for investigators and my personal relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ, I have recognized that it needs some nourishing. The insights that my companion and I have had as we more diligently study Christ has been wonderful and enlightening. As we focus more on testifying powerfully of Christ in a way that the spirit can magnify our words, a much greater power and authority comes into our calling...because this is not our work, it is His.

My heart has been opened this week and filled with more love for the Japanese people, the Japanese language and this work! This has been one of the busiest weeks of my life and one of the hardest in Japan, but it has also been the fastest and I have learned SO MUCH. The busiest, craziest weeks are always some of the best. This week I watched one girl think about what she would ask God for the first time...a girl who is half Korean and half Japanese, who has lost all of her family and who has low self -confidence. The opportunity to teach these people, to love them and to bring light to them is the most wonderful thing that I could ever experience.  I love it! I love this work! I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I will leave with my testimony of my Savior, which I have been nourishing this week. I know that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. He was born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. He walked the paths that we walk and He experienced all that we experience. He suffered all the pain, sadness, misery and trial that the world had to offer. He took upon Him the burdens that we could not bear alone. It is only through Him and by Him that we can overcome the obstacles that could not be overcome. Only through Christ's atonement can we overcome sin and death. It is only through Christ that we can return to live with God. God's plan for us, His Children, is only possible through our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.