Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cherry Blossoms and Honey Bunches of Oats

This week was so beautiful in Japan! I love this country even more as the weather gets better and better. Talking to people is always fun...but it is even more enjoyable as my Japanese continues to improve and the weather gets nicer, and  my toes aren't always cold. The cherry blossoms have started popping out and it makes me happy every single time we leave our apartment to see the cherry blossoms everywhere.

I spent a lot of time reflecting this week on the things I have learned on my mission thus far, and how I have changed. On Wednesday night at Eikaiwa (English class), Tomura Kyodai (previously Tomura Choro, returned missionary) showed up. He returned from the Fukuoka Dendobu (Mission) on Tuesday, and he is so pumped up with the fire of a fresh returned missionary. He came to Eikaiwa and fellow-shipped all of our students after the class (his English is also pretty good because he spent a lot of his mission in Okinawa). He offered to Doseki any time that we need help. He asked us about our investigators and said that he would pray for them. And he brought the missionaries a box of Honey Bunches of Oats back from the military base - this is the biggest treat ever because....we just can't get stuff like that, ever.
He is helping the ward get really excited about missionary work. It is the best thing ever. He gave his homecoming talk at church yesterday and it was incredibly motivating and uplifting - partially because I could understand all of his Japanese (Japanese missionaries are really easy to understand because they spend so much time around Americans that their Japanese becomes simpler), but he also told some stories from his mission. I love hearing stories from other places in the world and other places in Japan because I can see how the Lord is hastening His work not only where I am...but everywhere. His talk also made me think a lot about how I have changed on my mission and how I will apply what I have learned when I get home. I don't want to lose everything that I have learned or my excitement about what I am doing. But the reality is that there is no way to be a full time missionary for my entire life...but there are still things that I will be able to do, even when I am not a full time missionary.

Every single day in Japan we are talking to so many people...I don't know the exact math...but with all of the missionaries here combined, there are numerous. Across the world the missionaries are working harder than others realize. Changes are being made that may be going unnoticed, but the work is progressing. Everyone can be a part of that.

In Higashi Osaka this week, these were some ways I saw missionary work moving forward:

1. We housed an apartment where a man answered over the speaker. He said that he would like to learn more about where he came from, why he is here on earth and what will happen to him after he dies. He had thought about all of these things before, and he wants to learn more.
2. I stopped a Chinese girl on my bike (on a rather dark street- I sort of scared her). I invited her to church. She said she believes in God. She wouldn't exchange numbers with us (given the dark ally and the sudden stop, I don't blame her....) but she wants to come to church. 
3. We housed an apartment with a lady who had been to activities at our church before. She invited us to come back at some point and said that she will think about going to church. 
4. A man stopped us in the mall and asked us if we were missionaries for the LDS Church. We said we were. He was interested in the church and eikaiwa and plans to come next week.
5. We met a girl in the park who wanted to know all about us and what we were doing. When we invited her to come to church with us she got incredibly excited and asked if we were sure if that was OK. She has never been to a church before, but wants to experience it.
6. We taught a 21 year old girl that we met outside of a Chinese restaurant. As we started out the lesson I said: "Kyo wa kite kudasatte, arigato gozaimasu...oai dekite, totemo ureshiidesu. Mizuki San niwa, tokubetsu na mono o kanjimasu. Mizuki San wa, reiteki na koto ni, kyomi ya kanshin ga aruyo, desu ne." (Thank you so much for coming today, we are so grateful that you came. Mizuki, we feel something special about you. You seem to have an interest in learning about spiritual things...) It sounds a lot better in Japanese than it does in English. But, at this point she started crying. Throughout the remainder of the lesson we told her that we could answer her questions about God, about where she came from and about what her purpose is here on earth. She said: "This is so different from the world that I live in...this is so different from anything that I have felt before..." 

The experiences of a mission are priceless.
Much Love,
Grundvig Shimai

1 comment:

  1. When you get home use your language skills at the temple, I don't know when or if they have dedicated Japanese sessions, but report to the temple president and present yourself as an rm and invite him to schedule Japanese sessions and offer to be a temple worker for them. That will put you in contact with Japanese saints who will welcome a Japanese speaker into their homes and invite you to teach their non-member family and friends. You can still go on splits with the missionaries serving in the area. Surely there is some place where there is a significant number of Japanese that you can serve! Your skill and your sweet spirit will help you continue on in this work long after you leave the field. Remember, everywhere you go is a field needing harvesting!