Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A new mission companion

Palmer Shimai is off and in my old zone <3 I will forever love the Osaka zone as I spent....a third of my misson there! But, she is doing great and performing all sorts of miracles like she did in Tokushima...and my new companion is named Payne Shimai! She is also an East Coaster! Whoo! She is my first companion that has not been from Utah...or California....(besides Daniels Shimai) But basically, all of my companions have been from the West Coast and so that is cool. We have a ton of stuff in common and we get along really well. Basically, I am pretty sure that our companionship will legitimately be unstoppable because she is amazing and I am getting to that point where I am becoming an older missionary and I have learned so much...and so Satan is trying way hard to stop us from being good missionaries right now...but we got over that the next hurdle is astonishing ourselves, and Tokushima, and Shikoku and Japan and then the entire world. So I am excited for that and it will be just way amazing. Payne Shimai has served in the Inaka (way country) area for her entire mission. And so to her Tokushima is big city....which is like the craziest thing in my mind because...this is nothing like Osaka. Nothing like real city hahahah. But, I guess I haven't even seen real Inaka yet.

We had a lot of planning this week and catching her up on the area. Payne Shimai brought lots of new ideas to Tokushima and so that was exciting. We have lots of great ideas for how to work with the ward better, how to help our investigators, and how to improve as missionaries...and just everything! I love it. That is something about new companions, there is always a lot to learn. I'm not gonna lie though, it was way weird to only have Palmer Shimai for one that takes some getting used to. But, change is always exciting!

This weekend there was this broadcast for all of Japan and Elder Chrisofferson spoke (and he talked a little bit about when he came to visit our mission!) and it was just so good!! I loved it!  Plus, one of our investigators (the French speaking one) came all the way to Takamatsu for the conference (a two hour drive) with some of the members, and then was able to hear it in French because there is a French speaking member in Marugame. And I am pretty sure that they were best friends in the pre-earth life because they got along so well. was a really amazing weekend of church and stuff.

And then this morning we went on a VERY long run! So, Payne Shimai and I decided to be adventurous and explore the area when we went out to run at 6:30....and we got dreadfully lost in a neighborhood. We ended up running for an hour and had to stop and ask for lots of directions, and we worked together and figured out where we were on the phone map and where our apartment was and we eventually made it back just took us an hour of running...and so we were really tired, but we got good exercise in and we had a lot of fun with it!

So....the Lord lives. We can get through anything if we rely on Him. I have learned that more than anything on my mission. Where there is faith, fear will not come.

Much love,
Grundvig Shimai

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Being Gurandobiggu Shimai


So somehow it is transfer calls again and I don't really understand how it is transfer calls because they were just here like....three days ago. This has legitimately been the fastest transfer of my life, and I love Palmer Shimai and she is leaving and so that breaks my heart. But, my new companion is named Payne Shimai! Oh and Palmer Shimai is transferring to the Osaka Zone (which was my last zone) into the area right next to Higashi Osaka where she will be a Sister Training Leader! That will probably be the last area of her mission and so that is crazy.

It was a really great week <3 I just really love Tokushima. It is so sunny and beautiful and Island-y and we visit Less Actives and work hard all day and I just really love it a lot!! I am so excited to stay here for another transfer...and hopefully I don't get us too dreadfully lost seeing as I have only been here for six weeks and the ENTIRE KEN is my area and somehow I am supposed to find my way around here on my that should be fun. But actually, that will be fun :)

Anyway, it was a great week and we did a lot of missionary work and biking and visiting and teaching and all of that fun stuff...but that is not what I am going to write about today. I am going to write about something that I have recently come to terms with in Japan, and that is my name.

When I got my name tag in the MTC it said: Gurandobigu Shimai. When I got to Japan it said; Gurandobihhu Shimai. As I was leaving the Hombu my first day, I was given a new name tag (for free!) because the first one I had received was a mistake. And the new one said: "Gurandobiggu Shimai". So I now had three different name tags, all of them with different names on them as I headed off to Higashi Osaka. When I introduced myself in Higashi Osaka I was met with looks of confusion, and asked to repeat my name at least six billion times, and eventually our ward mission leader gave up and just started calling me "Bigu" Shimai.

So, a quick break down of my name in Japanese -
Gurando + Bigu = extra large. Both words mean "big" and so there was really no good nick name to go by. Ever since I have been in Japan, my name has been met with looks of confusion and a few struggles to pronounce my name, and then after a while...people usually just give up and call me "Shimai" Or my companions name + tachi (the plural for people).

At first, this made me a little sad. I thought about changing my name to a shorter version of "Gurandobiggu" ..but there was not really a good option...gurando or biggu....and I just never actually got around to doing it.

As I became more confident as a missionary, I stopped being embarrassed when people couldn't say my name, and started just smiling along with them and laughing about it and patiently letting people struggle through my name...or just being called my companions name, and it stopped making me feel silly, unnoticed and even more out of place than a blonde girl in Japan already is.

In the past transfer (when I went through the introduction process all over again in Tokushima) I realized something. I realized that although people could not remember what on earth my name was, they remembered who it was that I represented. They remembered that I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One thing that I love about being a missionary in Japan is my name tag. They are unique because our names are written twice. Once in English, and once in Japanese. This results in our names being very small, making the largest name on our name tags the name of Jesus Christ.

My name is no longer a nuisance, but a reminder to me that my mission is not about me. It is not about my name or what I make of myself, it is about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I am Gurandobiggu Shimai, a representative of Jesus Christ.
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life."
3 Nephi 5:13

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

True Discipleship

This week was kind of a sad, happy...just mostly bitter-sweet week. First of all, IT RAINED A TON. IT RAINED SO MUCH. It rained every single day except for Sunday I think, but it was actually really nice because it cooled down a lot...even though I had to wear my rain suit quite a bit. We also had a week of finding! Last week was a week of crazy busy teaching, and so it was definitely a pace change...but it showed me a lot how the Lord is really the one in charge of this work...because we really can't do ANYTHING without him. And that really includes getting yakusoku with our investigators.

So - finding when we are working with the Less Actives consists of lots and lots of biking to homes all over Tokushima where the Less Actives live. Which we did. And it was really exhausting and a lot of fun! And my watch tan has turned into something crazy.

Sometimes we ride our bikes for three hours up a mountain....and visit less actives...and sometimes the less actives
 aren't we ride our bikes for three hours back down the mountain, hahaha
One miracle this week was when we decided to go visit a less active lady who we taught a lesson to about a month ago. She has been incredibly busy (she is a nurse) and is never really home, but we decided to go visit her anyway. We biked the hour to her house and her car was home! Which was a surprise because usually she is not home on Saturday nights! We were able to meet with her and we told her that we would love to come back with a lady from the ward that she knew before she stopped coming to church. She got really excited about seeing this lady again, and we were able to set up an appointment with her for this week. This was partially amazing because it really goes to show how important it is to work with members. Working with members is just WAY HARD in Japan. I can't speak to them super well, and calling them is scary. And they all have like 600 callings and lots of children and work is busy and Japan is busy and school is busy and so I just never really want to onegai them for anything because they are just so hardworking and BUSY as it is! And they speak Japanese! But, when I it...the Lord blesses us, and blesses the members who have the opportunity to participate in missionary work. (Although, my favorite thing ever is when members come over and ask us if there is anything they can do to help).

Sometimes we have to carry crazy things on our bike!
(Palmer Shimai with Microwave)

We also had a lesson with our 81 year old adorable investigator. She is super crazy and way genki and I love her a lot. She always tells me that I am really tall and that my feet are huge. She came to church on Sunday and the Zinkes were there for our Branch Conference and she was like "HE HAS NO HAIR." And she is just not very sensitive, because she is 81 years old and very genki and crazy, hahaha. She got really cold after sacrament meeting, and because she was cold she was determined that she couldn't stay for the rest of the this genki 81 year old obachan just walked that was little terrifying, but she is pretty fit and we are pretty sure she made it home alright. She also wore a skirt we gave her because she had been all worried about coming to church because she didn't have a skirt. This week we watched finding faith in Christ with her, which worked miracles on her attention span...and really strengthened her understanding of her Savior. So.....I am planning on teaching with lots more visuals and videos with her from now on.... I really wish I could put into this how hilarious she is, but she is really just a lot funnier in Japanese. "KUTSU WA OKIIIIII NE!"

Grundvig Shimai with Zinke Kaicho and
 Zinke Shimai
Also, this week we had ZTM, the Bye Bye Taikai and Shibu Taikai.

All three of which changed my mission and my life in one fail swoop. Those sort of experiences seem to be happening a lot recently. With the Zinke's (Mission President and his wife) going home....I have had a lot of time to reflect on the things that I have learned. And I have also come to the realization that I am very close to half way through my mission. I think I hit the halfway point at some time during this month? And I have been able to think a lot about what I am going to be applying from my mission into my life. There are just so many things.

The mission pillars - the mission theme- of true discipleship has change me so much. My goals in life are just different because I always want to be a true disciple. When our Zone said goodbye to Zinke Kaicho, we got to hear him pray. I had never heard him pray before, but I know I was in tears. Our Zone Leaders were in tears. It was a really powerful experience for all of us. Elder Christofferson said that part of the reason we are sent to certain missions is because of the mission president that we are supposed to have. Zinke Kaicho has changed my life. When he prayed for all of us to all be able to raise "Little true disciples" I kind of had to hold back some laughter, but I also cried a little bit. I think that is what my mission has changed most about me - my understanding of what it is to be a true disciple. I have learned how to really pray, rely on the Lord...petition the Lord....and serve the Lord. Also I will forever be grateful for the Japan Kobe Mission encyclopedia of dendo.

It was a great week! We traveled a lot (to the rain...and home for Eikaiwa) but I learned a lot.

Love you all!
Grundvig Shimai

True Disciple - One and All
Week 3 Rice Field

Week 4 Rice Field

Friday, June 6, 2014

A blue house and 森

Good Morning!!

It was a crazy busy week in Tokushima. We were unbelievably busy this week because out of no where we had tons of investigators who really wanted to meet with us, and Less Actives that we found....and the Lord just blessed us a lot. We saw so many miracles as we interacted with our investigators and the members and went out and worked everyday.

Sidenote- I am probably going to be in Tokushima for the summer and it is  SO HOT. It is only JUNE. And it was still May last week and it got over 100 degrees. (in the 30s for C). It was so hot. I almost melted off of my bike.

Anyway, we had an amazing experience with prayer earlier on in the week. There was a less active man that we were trying to find and we could just not find his house ANYWHERE. We didn't really have very much to go on because the only thing that we knew was that it was behind a Tokushima Ramen Shop...and in case anyone was wondering...there are kind of a plethora of ramen shops in Japan. Finally, we decided to say a prayer because we didn't have that much time left before we had a teaching appointment with a Less Active lady. We said a prayer to know where he lived. In the prayer, Palmer Shimai posed a series of questions: "Does he live in a house or an apartment? What color is the house? What way do we turn from the main street? What is the konji on the house?" With each of her questions, a very clear answer would come to my mind. We finished the prayer and she said that she had thought of the konji for "North" and that he lived in a house. I had felt that he lived in a blue house, left from the main street and that the konji on the nameplate was mori. We went back to the main street, found a street that had the konji for North on it, turned left and saw a blue house with the konji for mori (forest) on it. . No one was home. We committed to return and visit later (which we still haven't had time to do...) and left for our teaching appointment. During our teaching appointment we were talking about prayer, and the Sister we were meeting with expressed her doubts about receiving answers for prayers. Our experience came to my mind, and I shared it with her. The spirit was SO strong as I testified of the power of prayer and that the Lord will answer us if we ask for His help. She teared up a little bit and committed to continue meeting with us. She talked about how she had not thought about the things we talked about with her for a long time, and that she had not felt the feelings that she felt with us in a long time....
I may not know if that less active man lives in the blue house with the Konji for Mori on it...but I do know that the Lord gave us that experience, that tender revelation, so that we could share a powerful experience and testimony with a Sister who needed to hear that God will answer her prayers. He does so regularly. He did it for us that day.

We also had an amazing doseki lesson when we taught our investigator from Indonesia (who has the best Japanese ever. I was so impressed. I was expecting his Japanese to be easy to understand...I was wrong...hahaha) but, his boss called him during the lesson and told him that he couldn't have Sunday off. Our investigator begged to keep his off day on Sunday so that he could go to church. His boss very flatly said no. できない!今日会話だめですよ!といいました. It was super intense. After the phone call our investigator was like...I promise I want to come to church...but as you just a little hantai. So our Doseki was just on FIRE. And threw down like none other! This woman was just baptized less than a year ago and she was like: "I wanted to take that phone and yell at your boss- but you know what? If you have faith you will be able to come to church. If you pray, the Lord will soften his heart, and you will be able to come to church." Our investigator kind of laughed and she was like: "No. Really." And retestified and then we retestified and the spirit just testified of all of us and this amazing Indonesian man was like Ok YA! It was just the best moment ever and I loved this member more than anything after that lesson. She will definitely be doseking for us again hahaha.

Anyway....those are just a few of the experiences that we had this week! I hope everything is wonderful in America.

Grundvig Shimai