Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

Snow!! Wooooo!

Happy New Years everyone!! I can't believe it's 2014!! 2013 was a blur! Christmas in Japan was a little different but it was so much fun!!!
On christmas eve we had a huge party at a church building with all the missionaries in the Sapporo area and it was a blast! We played games and did a white elephant gift exchange and then we did a Nativity type thing and then we watched the Christmas Devotional and then had a Christmas dinner. Like a real American Christmas Dinner with ham and cheesy potatoes! Thank-you Evans Shimai! After dinner we all traveled to Odori koen which is the huge park in the middle of Sapporo where all the festivals are and we sang Christmas carols. It was such a great day. On Christmas day we woke up and opened our presents, Santa still found us! Then we talked to our families on the phone and then we had district training meeting. After district training meeting we all visited some of the Otaru missionaries potential investigators and sang christmas carols for them. After that we traveled back to Teine and with the Elders heart attacked a members door and then we traveled back and ate at a members cafe. It was so good and I needed to be wheeled to the bus station haha. Anyways we met up with some members and we traveled to an old folks home and we sang Christmas carols for them! It was the best Christmas!! It was so much fun to be out and about ON Christmas spreading the joy of Christmas! Kapeliela shimai
and I had a fun missionary opportunity riding to and from the old folks home. We got a ride with a nonmember who is the friend of a member in our ward. So on the way we talked a little bit about while we're in Japan and being a missionary and such. Oh and I forgot to mention that Kapeliela shimai had her ukelele with her. Anyways so we were sitting in the back seat on the way home and we looked at eachother and we're like, yes. So when there was a pause in the conversation she started playing and the driver and the other member sitting in the front were like, what the? haha. And we sang some songs and the nonmember was like, keep going! haha. So we sang in english and then in Japanese. But it was so much fun! We have so many fun opportunities and different ways we can share the gospel with those around us! We just have to take a step out of our comfort zone sometimes and just do it. And it usually turns out really great!

So that was a blast!! And then there was the Messiah concert on Saturday. Since President and Sister Evans have been here they've had a Messiah concert every year. It was so amazing! Like seriously some awesome voices and an orchestra. It was an awesome experience!

I hope everyone has a great New Years!

Murray shimai


Otaru with Kapeliela shimai 

Christmas dinner!

This is the coolest lady ever! She sat like front row when we were singing at the old folks home and sang like all the songs with us and when we finished called for an encore! haha

I forgot to tell this story. We were walking through a neighborhood and met these little girls and we talked with them for a little bit but then said goodbye and walked away and then the girls came running after us and we started having a little snow ball fight and then we sang them a song with the ukalele in the street haha and they loved it. Then I was like, let's go build a snowmannnn!! Wooo! And they were like, yaaaaa!!! Anyways it was so much fun.

Christmas Eve!

Christmas morning!

And I got to see an investigator from Higashi at the FHE at the mission home on Monday!!! So happy!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas! - Dec. 12/22/2013

At the chocolate factory

It's a white christmas!! And it doesn't show signs of stopping....:)
It's  been a fabulous chilly week! I've only fallen twice walking around. Of course both times it was in front of someone. The one person walking down the abandoned street haha. But dendo is so super fun in the snow. And people are really nice to us. This last week was really awesome though because we got a new investigator! And she is so awesome. She also wants to learn english so that's fun too. And she has a 22 year old daughter who also wants to learn english but she's super busy with work right now but next month we're going to meet with her and hopefully start doing the family english program with her. I'm super excited.

We missed the last night bus twice this past week. That was fun. So we call the Bishop and are like, "Bishop, sorry, we missed the bus..." and he called someone else who lived closer to us to pick us up. Then yesterday we were eating dinner with a less active lady and she likes to talk a lot so we finally left and ran to the bus stop as usual and missed it by like 2 minutes. Japan is on the ball with their buses.
Anyways we called the bishop and we're like, "hey bishop, sorry we missed the bus....again...." haha. And he's like "okay I'm coming right now". He's super awesome.

But this week was super fun and this next week we have lots of really fun things happening! yay! Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!!!!

Murray Shimai
Inside the chocolate factory. We all share an apartment.

The ocean, viewed out of the train window. That's why it's a little fuzzy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sorry I have no time to email today. We're going to the chocolate factory with a family in the ward! 

Oh ya so we had transfers last week and I'm still in Teine! But hey I got some new news! I have my first non-Japanese companion! Kapeliela shimai! She's awesome! John's shimai also got a new companion so our apartment is all Americans haha. It's really fun. Maybe too much fun haha.

 And the snow has come. Oh has it come and it's still coming. Pretty fun. So things are good. We have an exciting transfer! Lots of activities and caroling and christmas and fun stuff. Sorry I'll fill ya'll in next week!
Love you all!

Murray Shimai

Sunday, December 8, 2013

This week is Transfer 5!!!!!! Ahhhhhh!! What is happening to the time?

This past week was pretty awesome! We met some super awesome people. We're still struggling to find some investigators but we've been able to talk with a lot of really nice people and even though they didn't accept our invitation to listen to our message at this time, I know that they'll have another opportunity and at some point it will be the right time for them. I'm learning that being a missionary isn't just seeing baptisms but it's also about the baptisms we don't see. Being a missionary isn't just finding people and baptizing them but it's also about introducing people to the message of the restoration and helping them to feel the spirit and having the opportunity to learn about the gospel. Seeds have to be planted before the flower grows right? A lot of people who get baptized had met missionaries in the past or had some interaction with church in some way before. So even if you share the gospel with someone and they don't accept it at that time maybe sometime in the future they will be ready and they will remember their first interaction. That's so important. Don't get frustrated if a missionary moment doesn't turn out how you wanted it to. God has a plan for everyone and the missionary moment was part of the plan for that person on their path of progression. They needed that moment, that opportunity in order to progress. I'm really learning that every day as we knock, and knock, and knock on doors and no one has interest.

But back to the awesome people we met. One lady we talked with for about an hour and she gave us a taste of this super yummy mayonnaise that she eats. Ya I don't really remember how mayonnaise came up in our conversation haha. We also met a lady who was like I'm Buddhist so I can't listen to your message. But she was super nice and was like just a second and she went back into her house and came back with some snacks and then we talked a little and left to keep housing. We were walking up the street and the lady came outside walking towards us and said, "Sorry I didn't give you very much, here's some chocolate.
Please eat it when you get hungry while you're walking around." I'll tell you I have met some of the most charitable and kind people in my life here who don't realize they're emulating Christ. Speaking of charitable. Another lady we met. Her genkan was super cute and decorated with all this Christmas decorations. She came out and was like, sorry I can't listen to your message...something about her husband....some other stuff.....I can't listen to your message. So I was like, oh well hey, your Christmas decorations are really great! And then she went into long explanations for each one haha. And she makes little gifts for her neighbors and writes notes for them when something bad happens to them. Like she is seriously a relief society member. It was really strange because you know how it feels different when you go to a members house than when you go to someone else's house? Well it totally felt like we were at a members house and talking to a member. It was the warmest happy feeling talking to her. So strange. Someday she's going to be able to listen to the message of the gospel and accept it.

Well hope everyone is staying warm and enjoying life!

Murray Shimai

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December is here!

TimTam's are soooooooo yummy!!

Yay! Hello Everyone!
This past week was Thanksgiving! Hope everyone had a good one! We had
a mish-mash of leftovers and food from members for our Thanksgiving
dinner! It was yummy! In other food news, of course I have food news,
let me tell you what I experienced this week. Okay so in some of my
past emails I've talked about eating with members and being extremely
full right? Okay and that was after one members house. This past week,
Tuesday, we ate at three different members houses. Yes, three houses,
one day. Randomly tuesday was the day everyone had time. Okay heres
the schedule. 1:00- Lunch with Watanabe Shimai, super yummy and super
full after that. Travel to the Sawaguchi families home. At this point
still full. 5:30, a huge bowl of ramen is placed in front of me and a
side bowl of rice. The only explanation I have as to how I ate all of
it is a Miracle. Heavenly Father truly blesses his missionaries :)
Okay so I am uncomfortably full at this point. Like I'm not sure how I
walked to the bus stop. Then we travel to the bus station and Ono
Bishop and Ono shimai picked us up there in their car and we went to
their home. We walked in the door and smelled what, under normal
circumstances would have been a delicious smell. But under our
circumstances it was more of a "I want to cry" smell haha. There was
homemade pizza on the table and big bowls of soup. When we got home
that night we just collapsed and the next day were still feeling the
affects of eating so much haha. It was a great day.

In other news, snow! Yay! It's pretty cold. It looks so Christmasy
outside. I can't believe Christmas is next transfer! Time is going so
fast!! Work in Teine is still going. We found several potential
investigators this last week while housing so yay! Winter might not be
so bad because we were housing the other night while it was snowing
and everyone was super nice to us haha. Yay snow! Yesterday I
experienced a little miracle. We were housing and we hadn't had much
success like all week. And I realized that I had started to just
expect everyone to immediately say they aren't interested and didn't
really believe that anyone would want to listen to us. So yesterday we
were housing and we went to a house and it was my turn to do the
intercom and as I was walking up to the door I just said to myself
that that person was going to listen to us. I pushed the button and a
really nice mom answered and we talked with her for a little bit and
introduced about eternal families and we made an appointment to go
back next week! Faith and hope are so powerful! If you want to see
success you will!

I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

Murray Shimai

Family home evening/ ysa activity at a members house!

Getting ready for the feast...


Dinner with the Konno Family! Konno Shimai teaches english!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hey! Life is fabulous!

So remember my email last week how I was sort of
expressing feelings of sadness haha. Anyways this last week we found a
really awesome lady while housing! She talked with us for 45 minutes
in her door. We taught a really short restoration lesson and gave her
a Book of Mormon and she said that anytime we were close to come back
and we exchanged phone numbers. We asked her to read the Book of
Mormon and she asked us if there was a specific area we recommended
her to read and me and Muraoka shimai were like, oh uh yes we do haha.
That's the first time someone asked us for a reading recommendation
so it took a minute but then, thank you Spirit, I was like oh ya,
Moroni 10:3-5. That really awesome scripture with a really awesome
promise. So we read that with her and she was like, mm so desu ne.
Which is like agreeing with it. Then we went back yesterday and
visited her and we talked with her for an hour and a half haha. She
had actually read a couple pages of the Book of Mormon! Yes! She said
she didn't understand a lot of it and we're like well did you feel
anything as you were reading it? And she was like, no not really. I
was reading it while I was watching t.v.....uh haha. But hey God is
all powerful right? The Spirit can do amazing things and I believe it
can still touch her heart while she reads the Book of Mormon even if
the t.v. is on too. We're praying hard for her.

So that was the miracle of the week. A pretty big one. That was really
a testimony to me that if we work diligently and continue to exercise
our faith in the hardest times, when it feels like we aren't having
any success, that's when the blessings come. That's when we see the
miracles. I know that's not just for missionary work but for all of us
in every stage of our lives.

We also ate a lot of really yummy food with ward members. That was
great. Sorry this is a short email, we're busy today. This week is
Thanksgiving! Yay! Next transfer is Christmas! What?!

Love everyone and hope everyone is fabulous!!


Murray Shimai

Monday, November 18, 2013


So hope everyone is fabulous! Life in Hokkaido is still fun and cold.

We’ve started using the bus to go to and from Teine. The snow all melted and so now it’s just plain cold. It’s kind of a problem when we go to talk to people and our mouths are numb, haha. but this week was pretty much normal missionary life. We did A LOT of housing. We’re really struggling to find new investigators. When we go housing, people will interrupt us after we’ve only said where we’re from or sometimes we can even say the name of the church, but they’ll interrupt us and be like, “I’m not interested!” and then shut off the intercom. We’re really trying to work with members and encouraging them to invite friends or family to church or activities or to meet us. I know there are people prepared to hear the message of the gospel in Teine, we’re just having a bit of a hard time finding them. But we have met some really nice people and the members are way awesome and all the sisters are super excited about us being in Teine and want to do missionary work. I think as we continue to encourage them and as we try our hardest to find people, together will will be able to find people to teach the gospel to.

So I’m just going to get on my little soap box here for a sec and just say that everyone really is a missionary. The full-time missionaries really do need the members help. Knocking on doors for 4 or 5 hours a day is sort of fun and we meet some really interesting people, but it results in very few investigators. When members invite their friends to listen to the message of the gospel they are more likely to accept. Every member can do missionary work! We need your help!  Okay, I’ll get down now.

Anyways, so sorry I didn’t really have anything exciting to write about this week. A lot of walking. A lot of walking. A lady we stopped to talk to on the street at first was like, “Ya, I’m not interested.” But then she kind of leaned in and said “I do have a question about something.”  And we’re like, Oh yay, please ask! And she said, “I received this necklace from my grandma and it’s a figurine of Mary (I think that’s who it was, I don’t really remember.). But she was like, “I want to know what it means and stuff." We’re like, "uh….we don’t really know the meaning…" and she was like, "oh, okay". And then we were like, so….you don’t want to hear our message? haha and she was like, no. So that was a let down. But she was nice and maybe someday she will decide to learn more about the church.

While we haven’t found a solid investigator here in Teine, we have been able to share our testimonies countless times and introduce people to the church and the gospel. Every time we get to do that I feel so great and I just hope everyone of those people that say they aren’t invested or have a religion someday meet the missionaries again and choose to listen.

I hope everyone has a fabulous week! 
Love, Murray Shimai

Monday, November 11, 2013

SNOWWWWWW!! (For real)

Yay for lots of rain!
Hey everyone, it's snowing!!! It started this morning and it's been pretty constant throughout the morning. It's pretty darn chilly outside. So ya life is great. Last week we had stake conference, so yesterday was our first sunday in the Teine ward and it was awesome! The members are super nice. One of the members runs a cafe and invited us for dinner on Thursday night there. Then she brought us pudding to our apartment last night. The best pudding I have ever eaten in my entire life. That is not an exaggeration haha. 

Last week was pretty good. We had splits on Thursday night and Friday and that was fun. I was with a 2nd transfer bean and so I basically had to speak and understand everything.... that was a little scary but it was also fun to dendo with another gaijin. While we were out biking trying to find a house it was pouring and then it started hailing and it was super windy so that was a blast. Luckily it didn't last very long. Then the other day Muraoka shimai and I biked to one of the farthest places in our area to visit an O.I. (it took us 2 hours to bike to the house ;) ) and right away the man who answered the door was like "No, I'm not interested." That was a little disappointing but a lady across the street was outside working in her garden and so we went over and talked with her and she was super nice. That was fun but it gets better. So we're like super far from our apartment right, and my back bike tire decides to go flat. Ya. At first it wasn't horrible so I still rode for a ways because we had a ways to go to get home. Well pretty soon it was completely flat and there was a bump or something on the rim so I was riding, basically dragging the back wheel, riding on the rim and every few seconds "clunk, clunk, clunk..." haha. So we walked for quite a ways and then it was getting close to curfew so we rode for a little while and I clunk-clunked the whole way haha. That was a fun adventure. We're going to be using the bus soon though because of the snow. I guess it could have been worse timing. In happy good news, yesterday we met with a girl that we met on the street! She's so cool. We met her our first day working in Teine and she can't hear but she can read lips super good and she can speak really good. She's 22 I think and super nice and fun to talk with. Yesterday we talked a little about church and stuff but hopefully we'll be able to teach her more. We're still working on finding new investigators but on Tuesday we're going with the Elders to meet a few of their investigators and they'll probably pass them to us so that's exciting! With the snow coming we'll be able to do shovel dendo haha. Carry a shovel everywhere and shovel people's driveways for them and shovel anywhere. Should be fun. I'm excited! Snow!! 
Anyways hope everyone is fabulous! Love from Sapporo!Murray Shimai

This picture is the view from the balcony of our apartment

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Let it snow let it snow let it snow!

We love eachother :-)

Okay it's not actually snowing here yet but I saw yuki mushi yesterday and one of the lady's we stopped and talked to on the street last week said it might snow this week!! Yay! Tanoshimi!! Oh oh ya I forgot, transfers were last week. So I got transferred! I'm in Teine now. It's still part of the Sapporo areas and it's an open area for sisters! Ya I'm opening another area but this time I don't have a senior companion to rely on which is a little scary. Oh ya and I'm follow-up training again and oh ya my companion is Japanese again haha. If my Japanese isn't improved after this transfer something is wrong. My companions name is Muraoka shimai and she's also from Okinawa! Ya! My Japanese is probably going to be a little abnormal :) 
 So we actually live in Kotoni with the Kotoni shimai and ride our bikes to the Teine area everyday which is fun. Teine is like at the base of mountains so it's basically a bunch of steep hills that people decided to live on. It's also super pretty. There's the mountains which are super pretty right now and then there's a lot of trees that are all red and orange so it's a really beautiful area to be in right now. 

Muraoka shimai actually speaks less english than Nagamine shimai which is a pretty big feat haha so that's fun. The Kotoni shimai are Hisakawa shimai (mtc doki!) and Johns shimai so when we're all home we like all automatically split to english people and Japanese people and talk like crazy haha. It's fun! Anyways life is great! Last week for P-day we hiked Maruyama yama which was totally fun and you could see all of Sapporo. Super fun! Hope everyone is fabulous!

Murray Shimai

My mom (trainer) went home :(

Hiking Maruyama yama
Transfer spot!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I love riding a bike in a skirt when it`s freezingggggggg haha

At the ward Halloween party

Hey World! 
First of all I didn't even know there was an earthquake until I read my emails this morning haha. I don't think we felt it. Hopefully everyone in Tokyo is safe. 
This past week was way fun. Two of the sisters came from Hakodate and we did splits with them for wednesday. Me and Johnson Shimai got to go to a yochien which is like a school that`s just for preschool and kindergarteners. We got to play with the kids outside and then we did activities with them in the classroom and ate lunch with them. It was really funny because when I was playing with a little girl outside she fell and her pants got dirty and when we went back inside she pulled some different pants out of her backpack, took her dirty ones off and put them in a plastic bag haha. She was like 4 years old. I was like ya you won't see that in America haha. Anyways it was way fun.

On saturday we hung out with two eikaiwa students all day at one of their houses and she taught us how to make really yummy bread. It was way fun. After that we had the ward halloween party. Chiba shimai teaches english to little kids and a bunch of them came to the party so it was way fun. She told her students to talk to me in english and they would just kind of look at me with big eyes and be like, water, or thirsty haha. (I was serving drinks) It was fun. 

Well sorry this is short we have to leave soon to go to Sapporo. We`re going hiking today! 

Murray Shimai

It's awkward taking pictures with elders

It poured like crazyyyyyy!!!

Chiba Shimai
Johnson shimai

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Last full week of transfer 3!

Wo time is flying! I can't believe my third transfer is almost over!!! What the heck? It's getting really cold already haha. Nagamine Shimai is from Okinawa which is like the southern california of Japan. I don't know if she'll live through the winter haha. They have these bugs here called yuki mushi which means snow bug. A short time before it snows you'll see them, like a bunch of them and when your riding your bike they'll just hit you in the face and body haha. Everyday it's really cold we look for them and we think we saw them the other day but neither of us has seen them before so we're not sure if it was them or not. Anyways this past week we had zone conference which was way fun and super good. Evans shimai did a language workshop for the young missionaries and it was so helpful and made me feel okay about the language. Evans shimai is so awesome. We also learned about a new english program we're starting in addition to English Class. This new program is for families we find or friends of members, whoever. And the program is 30 minutes of english class and then 30 minutes of the gospel message. Super fun idea right? I'm really excited to find some families we can do it with. 

Yesterday one of our investigators came to church with her two little boys!! They didn't stay for Sacrament meeting which was a big bummer ( sacrament meeting is last hour) but they came and hopefully felt good and will want to come back. 

Other than that just a lot of housing and streeting and doing fun missionary stuff. We had ward FHE saturday night which was fun. At the moment I literally cannot remember what else happened haha. My brain is a little mushy these days. 

Well I hope everyone has a fantastic week!! Enjoy sunday! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It`s getting cold here.....

From last week at the Honbu
Dear family and friends!
What amazingly uplifting and inspiring sessions of General Conference! We were able to watch all the sessions this saturday and sunday. I love Conference! It's such a blessing to hear from the Prophet, apostles and other church leaders. As I was sitting in the church building in Shinkotoni I had such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I am a member of this church. Just about every talk was about strengthening our faith and keeping our covenants and making choices that will keep us on the right path as the world moves farther and farther away from what is right. It's such a blessing to have the gospel principles and the guidance of our church leaders and the scriptures. Every day I meet people who when we ask if they have ever thought if there is God or where they came from, why they're here, they respond, I don't know, I've never thought about that before. It's the saddest thing to have people tell you that they don't know if God exists and they don't want to learn how they can know or that he has a purpose for them. If God doesn't exist, what is this life for? If I didn't have the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, I would be so lost in this world. It is so important for everyone to share the gospel with friends and family. Everyone needs this gospel and the peace and happiness it brings with it. The most comfortable I ever feel when speaking Japanese is when I am sharing my testimony. I always feel so happy as I do so and am not concerned about if it's correct or not just that I am able to share with people that there is a way for them to find complete and lasting happiness. It's the best feeling in the world!

So as for this past week. I can't really remember at the moment what happened...but it was a good one. Lots of rain. That's always fun. We lost track of our bikes....again haha. We always park our bikes at a park and then go housing and stuff. Well the other day we parked our bikes at a park and then walked to an appointment and then did some housing. Well as usual we got a little lost and then of course it started to pour like no tomorrow and of course our umbrellas were in our bike baskets haha. So we got drenched walking around trying to find our bikes and we thought we found them but it was the wrong park. There are parks everywhere. We finally found them and it was all good. But ya that was exciting. 

So as senior companion I'm in charge of the cell-phone but the phone is like the scariest thing ever. Every time Nagamine shimai is in the shower or busy with something I'm like, "please don't ring, please don't ring" haha. Usually I'll give the phone to Nagamine shimai or start out talking and then give her the phone haha. But yesterday was a big day. I missed a call from one of our investigators while watching general conference and so after it was over I went to get Nagamine shimai to ask her if she could call her back but she was talking to someone and I don't know why but out of nowhere I just had this sudden burst of courage and called the investigator and totally did the whole phone call all by myself! Boo Ya!! Well and I'm sure the Spirit. 

Well I hope everyone is having a grand ol' time!! Life is fabulous!

Murray Shimai
Pretty sweet scenery

Sunday, October 6, 2013


How is everyone doing? Fabulous I hope and assume! I'm doing pretty good myself. The time is going by so fast! This transfer is already half over! This past week was pretty awesome. Recently Sister Evans (our mission president's wife) has started doing team-ups with the sisters serving in and around Sapporo. This past week was our turn. We decided to invite her to team up with us for our lesson with Tsuji san. She is the miracle investigator we found housing the week before last. It went really great! Sister Evans is awesome and since she speaks fluent Japanese it's even more awesome! The beginning of the last week we weren't sure what to teach Tsuji san in the lesson and so we were a little nervous and I was praying so so much and then the day before the lesson the idea came to me that we needed to teach her about the Godhead and each of their roles and who they are. It was a little scary because that's not a lesson in Preach My Gospel and both me and my companion are really young missionaries so we don't really have a lot of lesson experience anyways. The morning of her lesson we did roleplays for our entire study time and it was pretty rough haha. But in the lesson we were able to teach and it wasn't perfect but it came together and I know it was only with the help of the Spirit. The cool thing is that when we asked her if she had read anymore of the Book of Mormon, she said yes and she had read the stuff before 1 Nephi. So Joseph Smith's testimony and that stuff and she had all these questions about who `Heavenly Father` is and who all the different names were like `Lord` and all the different names for God and Jesus Christ and if they're two different people and what not. The Spirit totally prepared us for that lesson. It was a really awesome experience. Our prayers truly are answered and the Lord truly guides this work. 

We actually watch general conference this coming Sunday and I think only the Sunday sessions because we have to go to Shinkotoni to watch it which is a little ways away. But I'm super excited to watch it!!!

This past Sunday was great. The Bishop really wants us to help encourage the ward members to do missionary work and to share our experiences and testimony as much as we can. So yesterday we all bore our testimonies in Sacrament Meeting. When I was sitting on the stand my mind was blank and as I got up to speak I had no idea what to say and all Japanese left and went somewhere else haha but I just started to speak and somehow I was able to bear my testimony. Spirit. 

Last P-Day was fun haha. We went curling. Yes, curling. That weird Olympic sport that I only found out about last winter olympics haha. There is a curling rink in Toyohira and they actually had olympic tryouts there a few weeks ago. We went there with some other missionaries and it was so fun. For the first hour we had an instructor and she was basically laughing the whole time because we looked really special haha. You wear a shoe cover on one foot that has a really slick bottom for sliding and then holding the stick in one hand and she had us practice going up and down the ice. It was very entertaining to watch I'm sure. Then we got to try actually pushing the weight. I went first because no one wanted be first and look ridiculous haha. You crouch down and hold the brusher in the left hand and the weight in the other hand and the foot with the slider stays crouched flat and you push off with the other foot and extend it out backwards. Let me just say that this isn't something you can just pick up one day and be good at. So hard to keep your balance. So the first time I tried it I couldn't even push the weight forward haha. Instead of my body sliding forwards my legs slid backwards haha and I was stuck in like a push-up position haha. Ya it was way entertaining. 

Anyways I hope everyone has a super duper week!

Murray shimai
Curling and photo shoot haha

Housing in the evening. Super pretty....

Sunday, September 29, 2013

とてもうれしい!!!! (I'm so happy!!!!)

What's up everyone? I hope you all are doing great and enjoying life, because life is fabulous!! 
This past week has been a tender mercy from the Lord. Becoming sempai (senior companion) so early with a young companion is definitely a calling that you don't feel ready for. Heavenly Father truly knows your fears and your feelings of inadequacy. Everyday this past week at some point during the day I got this feeling of calmness and comfort and I knew everything would be okay. Heavenly Father doesn't call perfect people, because they don't have anything to learn. I have never experienced so many `out of my comfort zone` feelings in such a short time haha. But from these experiences I have learned to rely on my Heavenly Father and trust him more than ever. If we exercise our faith and continue to take steps forward, He will fill in for any inadequacies. 

This past week we found a really awesome investigator. We had an appointment on Tuesday night and we got there a little early so we decided to go housing nearby And we only had time to do one or two houses. So we parked our bikes at the park and picked a street to go down. We walked to the end of the street and turned the corner and there was a small apartment complex and the middle door on the bottom level seemed to draw us in. We knocked on the door and after several minutes a lady answered inside and after we introduced ourselves she was like `hai, dozo!` We were like, what? Rarely, rarely does someone invite you inside. So we opened the door a little bit and she was like, `it`s cold outside, come inside`. Super nice lady. So we went inside and talked with her for a while. She has Parkinson`s disease so she talked about how everyday is hard for her and we talked a little about God and how he is mindful of us and then we introduced the Book of Mormon and how it can help us in our lives. We gave it to her and asked her to read the introduction for our next appointment. We didn`t have time to read it together. But we made an appointment for Thursday and she was like, okay you two bring some food and we`ll eat lunch together` haha. So we went back on Thursday and we ate lunch together and we talked for a while and then we were like, so did you read the Book of Mormon? And, happy day, she did! She didn't understand a lot of it but that's okay, she read it! We taught her about prayer and how she can pray for help as she reads and to know that what she reads is true. We have another appointment for this Thursday and I'm so excited to go back and teach her more. The Lord truly has prepared people to hear the message of the gospel and he guides us to them or them to us. I love being a missionary!! This gospel is so true and it brings so much joy into peoples lives! 
I hope everyone recognizes the blessings of the gospel in their lives because there are so many! I talk with so many people everyday who have never even thought about whether or not God exists and who have never thought about why they`re here on earth. The gospel truly brings so much comfort and gives us our purpose for living. Such a huge blessing!
I hope everyone has a great week!!
Sapporo Sports Dome
takoyaki! These are not cake pops...they have a piece of cooked octopus in the middle. Put some sauce and shredded dry fish on it and enjoy! ("tako" means octopus)
MTC doki reunion
Love, Murray Shimai

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Good Morning!!

Today`s email is really early because today we`re going to a baseball game!!! All of the missionaries serving in the Sapporo area get to go. We`re having a barbeque at the mission home and then all going to the baseball game. It`s the Hokkaido Fighters! It`s going to be awesome. Oh so transfers were last week. I`m still in Higashi!!!!! That`s the great and happy`s the somewhat frightening and shocking news. Kuroki Shimai got transferred out to open another new area and train and so Nagamine Shimai and I are in Higashi. Yes. I`m Nagamine Shimai`s follow-up trainer. I kind of had a panic attack when I got the news haha. No I`m not fluent by any means in Japanese so it`s a little scary but the good news is Nagamine Shimai is Japanese so what I don`t understand she does and I can still really work on improving my Japanese this transfer. 

So that`s the big news for this week. Sorry we all only have a few minutes to email today. I`ll fill y`all in next week!

Murray Shimai

Our ward Primary President asked all the missionaries serving from our ward to write a short note to the kids. Here is Lynell's response:

Dear Primary kids,
Hello from Japan! I hope you are all super happy and paying attention in primary. I want to tell you that the most important thing you can do right now is prepare for a mission. Start now. Read your scriptures, say sincere prayers, learn to recognize the spirit. Heavenly Father is preparing people all over the world right now to hear the gospel. He needs you to bring it to them. This work is the work of angels. People`s lives are changed forever through this gospel, If you want to know what it feels like to be the happiest you could ever be, try sharing the gospel with someone. Start now to share your faith with your friends. Bear your testimony often, and if you don`t have one, that`s okay. STart now to work to gain a testimony. I know with my whole heart this gospel is true and I have never been happier than I am right now serving the Lord as a missionary. 

I hope that`s good:) 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Transfer 2 last days

Wooooooo this transfer was way too fast. It has been a blast and quite the experience having two Japanese companions haha. I have learned so much and my Japanese has improved a lot. Higashi is the best and so much fun. We`ve finally started finding and teaching some people. We found a college student while housing several weeks ago and initially said he didn`t want to join a church but that he`s interested in learning about the different religions in the world so he said we could teach him about ours. So we`ve taught him the first and second lessons and both times he has a ton of questions, really good questions that we can`t always answer but it`s really great because usually when we teach people they don`t ask questions and if we ask them if they have any they say no but you can tell they aren`t completely understanding so it`s really refreshing to have the investigator ask questions. 

We had stake conference yesterday and it was in Asahikawa. We had to ride a bus for 21/2 hours or so to get there. It was really fun. We had to catch the bus in the morning and we were a little late leaving our apartment so we were racing to the bus stop and as soon as we started riding it started pouring down rain like crazy and we didn`t have our rain gear so we just booked it and as we got close we saw the bus at the stop so we`re like, ah! We had to park our bikes at the church building which is a short way away from the bus so we parked our bikes at the church and then booked it running to the bus. By the time we got on the bus we were soaked haha. So much fun! 
Stake conference was really good, what I could understand haha. 

Things are great here and I love Higashi so much! Today or tomorrow we`ll be getting transfer calls and I want to stay here but I also want to see new places. We`ll see what happens. I love teaching the gospel so much! Japan is awesome!

Murray Shimai

The sister on the far right in this picture is Tashibu shimai. She served her mission in Sapporo and is wayyyyyyy awesome! She`s probably the happiest person I`ve ever met.

Just a little wet after our ride and run to catch the bus!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Last full week of Transfer 2!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought my first transfer went by fast but this one far outdoes it. It seems like we just get used to things and finally find people to teach all at once, and at the end of the transfer. But that's okay, finding them is what matters. This past week was probably the best of the transfer in terms of success. We got 3 new investigators and were able to make a bunch of appointments! Opening an area is hard because you start from ground zero so this transfer we've been trying and praying so hard to find people to teach and at times it seemed like we weren't going anywhere but then this past week it seemed like everything came together. The Lord truly is guiding this work and I have seen first hand how He works in people's lives to prepare them and in ours to direct us to people. Here's one example for you. Several weeks ago, in the beginning of the transfer we met a lady while we were streeting. She was really nice and really interested in religion but she said she was busy and on her way home. She didn't give us her address or phone number but we could see the apartment complex she walked into. So we wrote that address down and went on our way. Then fast forward several weeks and we're biking past her apartment complex to go somewhere and there she comes walking toward us. We stopped and she was really excited and happy to see us and we talked with her for a little bit but she was on her way home again. This time we got her name and we could see which section of the apartment complex she went in. Fast forward again another week or two and we're riding our bikes somewhere far away from where she lives and we see a lady walking down the street so we get ready to stop and talk to her and it's the lady! We were all like, WOA! haha. Again she was happy to see us but we still weren't able to make an appointment or get her phone number. So the other day we decided to go to her apartment complex and see if she was home. So we found her apartment (everyone has their name on their house or mailbox) and she was home, and she invited us inside! (Not very usual) She was so happy to see us and she fixed us a snack and then her husband came home and he was way nice and they both talked with us for an hour about religion and we talked about commandments because their image of the Mormon church is that it's very strict. So we talked with them for a long time and then we talked about our mission and they asked us if we could take breaks or stay home if it's rainy or bad weather. And we're like nope, we go out in everything haha. And they were like, oh well you can come here anytime you want to take a break or get out of bad weather! We're like, thank-you! The husband said it's fun having young people in their home to talk with haha. All their kids are grown and live other places. 

So that's one example of how the Lord really does direct this work and he wants us to have success. I know there are people everywhere prepared to hear the gospel. We just have to work, pray and open our mouths. 

I love you all and I hope you all have a fabulous week!
Murray Shimai
This was taken in the MTC, but Lynell sent it along today so we thought we'd put it in.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another great week!

This last week we had Zone Training Meeting which was way fun. It was in Atsubetsu so we had to ride the subway thingy to get there. We had to get off and switch at one point. If I`m ever companions with a gaijin we`re in trouble haha. Anyways zone training meeting was awesome! For the last few mogi`s (roleplay) i was companions with Sister Evans. She is fluent in Japanese and so it was a really great experience working with her and listening to her and seeing how she would do things if she were a missionary. 

After zone training meeting and after we went to lunch we raced back to Higashi and back to the church building for a lesson. It was a first lesson with a new investigator. We watched the Testaments video because when Nagamine shimai met her streeting on splits she said she loves movies. So we watched that and then afterwards talked about Christ`s purpose and the Book of Mormon. Oh, so at zone training meeting they talked about being bold and inviting people early to be  baptized so at the church before she got there we felt like we should talk about baptism and invite her and I was going to be the one to invite her. So after we watched the movie and were talking about it Kuroki shimai was explaining about it and talking and I sort of got lost for a little bit and then Kuroki shimai stopped talking and looked at me and sort of nodded her head and I`m like, `ah! I don`t know what she just said, am i supposed to invite her to be baptized now?` So I start bearing my testimony about the Savior and the book of Mormon and then start inviting her to be baptized and I can see Kuroki Shimai`s face in the corner of my eye and it was really surprised and then after I asked the Sugimoto san if she would follow Jesus Christ`s example and be baptized she looked really scared and confused and I`m like, oh man it wasn`t the right time yet. So after I asked her to be baptized kuroki shimai explained what baptism is haha. So it was kind of awkward and I hope she will still want to learn more haha. Speaking a foreign language is always an adventure. 

So last week or the week  before I mentioned an old lady we met on the street who said we should eat sushi together sometime. Well we are on Tuesday! Haha that should be fun. Speaking of sushi, last monday for lunch we went to a sushi restaraunt. So the tables are in a rectangle shape with the preparation area in the middle and you fill out a paper with the sushi you want and give it to one of the guys in the middle area. Or you can just grab one that`s on the moving conveyer belt. So after a while one of the chefs pulls up this live octupus and everyone`s like oh ya! Yummy! haha like he`s holding it in his hand and it`s legs are all moving around and stuff. Then he says some stuff and then throws it down on the table and cuts one of the legs of and puts the leg on the cutting board and it`s still squirming around. He peels the outer skin off and the suctions off and then washes the white flesh and cuts it for the sushi. I asked nagamine shimai and kuroki shimai if they were going to eat it and Kuroki shimai said ya! Are you? And at first I was like no. But I figured I should try it because I might not have the chance again so we ordered it. Let me just tell you that if I do have that opportunity again I will pass haha. It was like a chewing rubber and a chip at the same time and then some mushy stuff. It was not a pleasant feeling in my mouth haha. But it was a good experience I guess. 

Well I hope all is well with everyone! Things are going great! My Japanese is slowly improving. Living with two Japanese companions it`s kind of sink or swim so I`m learning a lot. So much fun! 

Murray Shimai