Sunday, November 16, 2014

The name tag miracle

Due to lack of email last week...I will try to fit all of the amazing miracles that happened last week into this weeks email!

Chapman Shimai is amazing. I love her to pieces. She is the most fun person to train in the whole
With Chapman Shimai, lunch after softball

Enjoying sushi
world probably and we get along really, really well....despite absolutely hilarious language lapses. We were planning on the bus home from Zone Training Meeting the other day and I had written that we would "ride the bus" from 2:30 - 4:00 and she looked at it and said: "What is the signification of 'ride the bus'?" (Meaning "what does ride the bus mean?")  When she understood what it meant we laughed for a while. I don't know why it was so funny...but it just really was. Another really enjoyable quote was that for the longest time she would say: "I'm scary" when she was nervous to do something (instead of "I'm scared"). When I explained that one we laughed for a really long time too. She is super awesome and willing to laugh at her mistakes, and keep trying over and over again....and she is learning Japanese (and English) really quickly. My French progression is significantly slower...but I have started to actually understand the daitai of what she is saying in French just from hearing it so much. And also because she is really good at body language. Probably, mostly the body language is helping my understanding more than anything....but...every day is a super,crazy, fun adventure.

The name tag miracle
This week on Monday we played softball! There was a tournament in Takamatsu and as a result we didn't have any time to email when we got back. Instead we bought Black Thunders, the most delicious Japanese chocolate bars ever, ate those in a parking lot and then went over to a members house for Family Home Evening. The Elders and I were all very sunburned from the softball games...but my Tahitian Companion remained sunburn free :) Anyway, it was a crazy busy slightly stressful Monday and we didn't end up having time to buy groceries...or really do anything besides eat our chocolate bars (I think the Elders actually lived on rice the entire week...and maybe some packages of ramen), but after our crazy day on our bike ride to the members house for dinner and FHE, Chapman Shimai got run into a large bush by a group of Japanese Middle School Students on their way home after school. So, after picking herself up out of the bush we continued on our way until we made it to the members house. At the members house, Chapman Shimai realized that her name tag had disappeared and she was really, really worried. And, it turned out that she thought that she wouldn't be able to get any more name tags if she lost hers (which I didn't understand at the time, but anyway, she was really nervous about it). So, she wore one of the Elders name tags for the night because that made her feel better, and we said a prayer together that we would be able to find her name tag. The next day we had to bike by the same place she had been run over the night before on the way to one of our lessons, and we found her name tag! It was sitting next to a drain along the side of the road completely untouched and unscratched. She was so excited. We stopped right there, said a prayer of gratitude and continued on our way. My favorite part was the testimony that she bore to me afterwards: "I know that my name tag was protected because it is not just my name that is written. It is because Jesus Christ's name is on this tag, and His name is bigger than mine. This is why Heavenly Father helped us to find my tag." It was super sweet, and I love her powerful testimony. I have learned from her how little the words we say actually matter...because her testimony in Japanese or English comes with amazing power, despite the words being simple or jumbled. Her testimony has touched my heart many, many times in the past two weeks. Her faith is magnificent and tremendous to witness every day.

Last week we had the opportunity to teach one of our investigators about prayer!! And it was a super great lesson :) Chapman Shimai shared an experience in English during it (this investigator is from Taiwan) and it was SO POWERFUL. The gift of tongues is real because I had never heard her speak English like that before. But, she told her a story about when she arrived from Tahiti in California. She was in the airport, she didn't know where to go, she couldn't find her bags and no one spoke her language. She was terrified. But, she sat down and said a prayer. When she opened her eyes, her bags were in front of her and a police officer walked by and asked her if she needed help, and he was able to help her make it where she needed to be. The story was really amazing, her testimony of prayer was super powerful, and I know that it touched our investigators heart! 
Visiting Referrals with Nakamura Kyoudai and elders
This week we also focused on teaching more through the Book of Mormon, and we have been using the Book of Mormon more during street contacts and as a result more light has come into our work in Tokushima. We have been finding more people to teach, our testimonies are being strengthened, and our investigators are progressing more because of the Book of Mormon. The Sister Training Leaders came to do a koukan with us this week on Thursday and they both powerfully used the Book of Mormon. We loved it and have tried to apply the same principle, and found a few great potential investigators as a result, and started teaching a few less actives through the Book of Mormon. Also, the Japan Kobe Mission has set a goal to read the Book of Mormon together by March, and everyone received a new copy in their native language to read. (This was cool because in our zone there were people receiving Books of Mormon in French, English, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese - our zone is very diverse). We are all super excited about this because the Book of Mormon brings GREAT POWER into the lives of those who read it. It truly testifies of Christ and strengthens our relationship with Him. Anyone who would like to join us in reading the Book of Mormon by March, please do :) I promise that if you do, you will learn of Jesus Christ and His mission and Atonement. The Book of Mormon is the foundation of testimony, if it is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet and he truly did restore the church! Through the Book of Mormon, we can gain our own witness of these things. And that is why I love the Book of Mormon. :)

This weekend we had a District Conference in Takamatsu. (We spent most of our week in it was kind of crazy) BUT I loved the district conference. The district presidency was released as the old District President is moving - which was super sad, because I have really grown to love him and his family during my time in Tokushima. But, it was neat to gather with all of the people that I have been working with her for the past six months...and to see the changes that have happened since the last District Conference in June. There have been a lot of baptisms, and in this conference some of the recent converts spoke. It was one of the most powerful things of my life and it made me so happy to be a missionary. That is one of the best things ever - seeing the changes that happen in peoples hearts. Because it is not just the changes in investigators, but it is changes that happen in members and recent converts and less actives and companions and everyone around us. Change is accelerated times a billion as a is really quite fun. But, I really loved the conference because I just really love these members in Tokushima with all of my heart and I love this island and I love Shikoku. And Shikoku is a super special place....seriously...I don't know what it is about Shikoku but every missionary that comes here feels it. Japan is special, but there is something different about Shikoku. It is a different feel than the rest of the country and I love it with all of my heart and I would like to stay here for the rest of my mission...but that is maybe not possible...kamoshirenai desu.

Tokushima at night.  I love this place!
SO! It was a good, full two weeks :) I love being a missionary. I LOVE the members here! I LOVE Tokushima. I LOVE Shikoku. I LOVE my companion. And I never want to leave :) 

Make it a great week!

Grundvig Shimai

WEIGL SHIMAI is in my zone! That was a hisashiburi reunion! I am sad we never got to be companions, but this is her last transfer which is the craziest thing ever. She is a super good missionary and she is way good at Japanese and she is such a cute person.

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