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

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