Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Week 5, MTC

Ohayo Gozaimasu!!
So this picture is of me and my amazing companion on Sunday, the day we became the sister training leaders for our branch!! I don't know if you're familiar with that calling yet. It's sort of like zone leaders for the sisters. Basically we visit all the sisters at night and just talk to them and make sure they're doing okay, etc. Also we are responsible for correcting any modesty situations or things like that. Baker and I are both like I hope we don't have any of those because that would not be a very comfortable situation haha. Anyways so we have nihonjin here again and so we go to visit Sunday night and they open their door and we're like konbanwa! and they're all super smiley and we just smile back because all we know what to say in Japanese is our testimonies or how Joseph Smith restored the gospel, and even that is still coming together, haha. So that was sort of awkward. But they are the friendliest and happiest people I've ever met in my life. They are so excited about the gospel I love it! And you don't feel dumb for not knowing a lot of Japanese because they are so nice about it and just make you feel so happy. We were visiting one of our rooms last night and we were there talking so long that we didn't get to see our last room. We're like, two very very talkative people mixed with sisters who need to talk about their day..hmm, well I guess we should probably learn how to say goodnight sooner. It really is a great experience though.
Our guest speaker for Relief Society was supposed to be Sister Carole Stephens (1st counselor, R.S. general presidency) but she didn't show up and we're still not sure what exactly happened so that was fun. Hopefully she's ok.
We had more amazing devotionals this past week. Seriously you go to a devotional and think, there's no way it could get better than this, and then it does. It really is a blessing to be here for 9 weeks to be able to hear so many amazing people speak. Our devotional speakers last week were Elder Marcus B. Nash and his wife. They are so amazing. Elder Nash sort of speaks like Elder Holland at times. Like straight up, this is what you better be doing! Something he said was along the lines of "Too tired to read? Do it anyway. Too tired to get out of bed? Do it anyway. Don't want to study? Do it anyway and do it with all your heart and soul." I love that because I'm not here for me. I knew this wasn't going to be easy and I have never felt so exhausted in my life, but if we have the desire to do what Christ has called us to do and we try our hardest, he will give us the strength to do it. So it was an amazing devotional and I wish I could send you every devotional we have because they are so powerful. But I basically have like every talk written in my journal so you'll be able to "read" them.
So we did hear about Sister Monson passing away and on Sunday night instead of showing a movie we watched the recording of her memorial service. She was such an amazing woman! She was definitely a woman of Christ.
There is so much more stuff that has happened, I just don't know how to write it all down and I can't even remember half of it right now but just know that I'm having an amazing time and I love being a missionary!! "I'M SO HAPPY!!!! THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIIIIIFFFFEEEEE!!!!" (Get Smart, just in case you cared)
Anyways have a lovely day and I'll talk to you soon!
Ai Shitemasu!
Murray Shimai

So haha under that blue pile is lindquist shimai. She seriously takes up less than half her bed, it's so funny looking. I like to tuck her in and she looks like a little child haha. It's seriously still crazy to me how close we all are for only knowing eachother for 4 weeks. And everyone is super chill and has a great sense of humor and are okay with how crazy I am. Haha lindquists' parents sent her some mountain dew and her and Baker are like, we want you to drink one of these so we can see how crazy you will get. I'm like, that's probably not a good idea haha. Anyways ya good stuff. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Week 4: I think (MTC)

So......Elder Russell M. Nelson (of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) came and spoke for devotional!!! So cool. I've never been that close to an apostle. When he walked in the room it was like this wave of spiritualness rushed over the entire room. Since I was in the choir I wasn't on the floor but it's not a gigantic room so everyone was pretty close. Except for the people in the overflow room. There are so many missionaries here there's not room for everyone in the gym. So seriously people are hardcore about devotionals. The line starts like an hour before and as soon as they start letting people in people are running to get seats. Yeah, it's pretty intense. Anyways Sister Nelson spoke for a little bit and she was awesome. She talked about praying to be led to those whose ancestors are praying for me to find their posterity. She said that there are countless numbers of people praying for me to find their posterity. Elder Nelson also said that ancestors are very much on our side and they will help us. A huge theme of all the talks and things since I've been here have been about how this work is not just for those people we meet and see. It's so much more than that because it doesn't just effect those people we teach here on earth. I've been thinking about how many people are in Japan and how little work for the dead has been done there because there are not a lot of members. How many Japanese ancestors are praying and waiting for their family members to be taught the gospel so they can have their work done. I know the Lord is hastening his work, especially in Japan. Just this last week 3 new Japanese districts arrived and this week new nihonjin get here!! There have never been so many missionaries going to Japan and I know the Lord has been preparing their hearts for the message of the gospel.

Our Relief Society speaker on Sunday was Robin Bonham from the relief society general board and she was amazing. She talked about how blessed we are to be a part of the greatest women's organization in the world and how lucky we are to be able to take this message of the restored gospel to the world!

On sunday night our devotional speaker was Mary Ellen Edmunds!! She is so awesome. She's served 4 missions I think and was in the first companionship of sister missionaries in the Philippines.  She's also flippin hilarious. Seriously she is a stand-up comedian on the
weekends I swear. So great. She was talking to us about not letting things bother us that don't really matter. Like she was sharing this experience she had where she met this elder on his mission and asked for his home phone number so she could call and tell his mom how he's doing and stuff. And the mom is like is he losing his hair? Apparently he was really worried about that. And sister Edmunds is like, well you know for the 15 minutes I saw him he was looking pretty good haha. And then she says to us, "Don't worry about losing your hair. There's worse things you could lose than that. Besides the angels have it all
in a sack!" Like, what? Haha I don't know if it's that funny over email but we were busting a gut haha. She also talked about having help from both sides of the veil and treasuring the Book of Mormon because she was in different countries at the times when they didn't have Books of Mormon in that language.

Anyways it's been a super awesome week and I can't believe I'm already half way through my MTC stay! It's so crazy. I've already had some really amazing experiences that I'll never forget. I had an amazing experience at the temple last week that left me with no doubt that this work is so important for those we see and don't see. I'm so grateful to be a part of it!!

Ai Shiteimasu!!
Murray Shimai

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Week 3 MTC - May 14, 2013

Mina san, Konnichiwa!
That is the greeting that is said in Sacrament meeting when someone gives a talk and everyone says "konnichiwa" back. It's fun haha. Let's see....So much to talk about I don't know what to start with. Okay so on Sunday our Relief Society speaker was......Janice Kapp Perry!!! Ya when we saw her name on the big screen Brumley and I were like, Sweeeet! And Baker was like, who's that? haha. So basically she is amazing. During her talk she had us all sing a medley of her primary songs, it was awesome. And then oh my gosh this was so amazing. She had written a new song to the melody of
"As Sisters in Zion" and this new song is called "The Sisters of Zion" and it's about sister missionaries. It's like our Army of Helaman song. And get this, we were the first sisters ever to sing it! It was the most powerful experience I've ever had. I don't know how to express through a letter how amazing it was. There's this huge gym FILLED with just sister missionaries, which is historical and we're all singing this song about serving the Lord and following the prophet's guidance to preach the gospel to the world. Then yesterday we had gym in the morning and we always go out to the field because we don't see the sun very often during the day, being in class for a million hours a day and all, so we were all super tired and didn't feel like playing anything so we just decided to walk around the field. So we start walking and up ahead of us we see this cute older lady and we're like, hey that looks like Janice Kapp Perry, holy crap that's Janice Kapp Perry! Out on her morning walk. She'd told us during her talk that she walks around the MTC field every morning too which is funny that we'd see her the next morning. Anyways so we walk towards her and she stops and talked with us for a while. She is so cool. And we're all like, that song we sang on Sunday was so amazing! And she told us her husband was putting the words to the music and then sending it to the MTC president's wife so we'll get to sing it again! I'm so stoked. I'm getting chills just thinking about it. So that was an amazing experience. I feel like I am so blessed to be able to serve a mission at this time when missionary work is exploding and there are so many exciting changes. Our sunday night devotional speakers were awesome also. Sister Littlefield's talk was so amazing and she said that for the night she would be our mom and if we wanted to we could come up after and get a mom hug haha. Since it was mother's day she was talking about what our heavenly parents would want to tell us if they were standing there talking to us and she said
that she was sure they would say that they want us to have joy. That we have so many reasons to be happy and have joy, despite all the struggles and challenges we face. She suggested that maybe everything we have to go through is to prepare us for joy. She said to look around us everyday and know that the Savior is there, that he's in everything. It was such an amazing talk and I felt so comforted and happy.

So we made the deal with Powell sensei that if we only spoke Japanese from class on Wednesday until class on Thursday afternoon than he would show us pictures of his mission and stuff. Also he was a
gymnast so we wanted to see pictures of that, which were legit. Anyways so that was a pretty entertaining evening/night and day. Imagine the minions from despicable me, Chewbacca, an interpretive dancer and a baby learning Japanese. ya basically there was a lot of grunting, awkward body language and random Japanese words thrown in every now and then haha. It was crazy.

Oh I forgot to mention that for the past week we've been meaning to go to choir practice because it's awesome and you have sure seats for Tuesday devo haha. Anyways we kept missing practice and then on Sunday we finally made it and guess what song they were doing? Come Thou Fount! Seriously we couldn't believe it! So we're singing that tonight for devo!! I feel like everything is working in our favor
here. The Lord blesses his missionaries, even in things that don't seem really important. Seriously though, it's those little things that help you get through the day sometimes. I never knew you could do so much stuff in one day and thank goodness my district all has the greatest sense of humor. I thank Heavenly Father every day for my shimai tachi because we all love to laugh and we all love missionary
work and love the Lord. I've heard about drama that happens in districts, usually between sisters and stuff like that and I am just so blessed to be in my district because we all are so compatible. We've all decided we were buds in the pre-existance because seriously I feel like I've known them all my whole life. I love my companion so much and I'm so glad we're going to the same mission because I'll still get to see her when we're in Japan. P.S. I'm working on sending pics but it's not exactly an easy process here.

Oh we had to move buildings. Before we were in this tiny corner classroom and were the only Japanese district on the floor, amongst the mandarin and korean speakers. So a new mandarin district is coming tomorrow so they kicked us out to make room for them and then I guess new Japanese districts are also coming so they'll be by our new room so we'll have some company. We were talking about the new ones coming and we're like I am so glad I'm past that. It's funny because everyday we're like man we've been here so long and it's only been 3 weeks haha. Last week when new missionaries came we're like man remember when that was us, I know so much now, look at those youngsters and it was only our 2nd week haha. Time is so weird here. We've decided the MTC is like the Hunger Games. We're not really in Provo. Everything outside the gate is a mirage and we operate on a different time zone haha. Good stuff haha. So I know there's a bunch of more stuff that's happened but my week is sort of a mashed blurr so this will have to do. Love you all!
Murray Shimai
-------------LATER THAT DAY-----------
Ok so we just had lunch and let me tell you about what just happened. So the 6 of us sisters sat down at this table by ourselves because the table the elders were sitting at just "happened" to be full. So we were sitting there and out of nowhere President Nally (President of the MTC) came and sat down by us. He was talking with us and we're talking about Japan and then Brumley told this amazing conversion story about a lady in her ward who was indirectly converted by Elvis, ya crazy story, and then we found out that Baker was from the same ward as his mother-in-law and was close to her, like what?! Oh my gosh this is so exciting it's hard to write about. So then President Nally asked us all to go talk to his wife in her office and for Baker to tell her that she knew her mom. Then he said goodbye and got up to take his tray to the dirty tray place. So then we're all talking about how amazing that was and all of a sudden he's back and he crouches down and says in a quiet voice something like, you sisters are so special, can I tell you something confidential? And we're like ya! And he says make sure you get to devotional early tonight. And we're like we're in the choir so we'll be there and he's like good. And Gibbs is like, does that mean an apostle is coming for devotional tonight??? And he leans in and smiles at us and says, "I can't tell you that" !!!! And he walks away. Seriously we all just look at eachother and are like oh my gosh, what just happened? We are so blessed I'm telling you. I don't know why us but there was a reason President Nally sat next to us and I just feel so lucky. Seriously the past week through now it's like amazingness has exploded and I am being so blessed and it's only my 3rd week!!! At first I thought I was going to die having to be here but I have already had some amazing experiences and I know I'm going to have so many more that I wouldn't have if I wasn't here for 9 weeks. Anyways I'll tell you next week how tonight goes!!!! We get to go to the temple soon! I love the Gospel!!!
Murray Shimai

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 2 MTC
Okay so there is so much stuff to say I don't even know where to start. First let me tell you about my teacher, Black Sensei. This guy is huge, like buff huge and he has this deep, thug-like voice. He just looks like a football, manly man. He served his mission in Japan, is majoring in Japanese, has the "one ring" from Lord of the Rings for his wedding ring, and is going to a Magic conference thing with two of his friends. Ya Magic is that card game that the weird kids always played at lunch in High School. It's so funny, he does not match his appearance at all.
So we actually have two sensei's now. Black sensei and Powell sensei (who was actually are first investigator) We have the two best Japanese teachers ever. Seriously everyone is jealous of us haha. Black sensei subbed for a Japanese district who has been here longer than us and he said we're already at their level or beyond.
So I'm pretty positive that all the weight people gain on their missions is from the MTC. Seriously I swear we are always eating! And then we sit in a classroom all day. At first we were all like oh don't worry about it we'll lose any weight gain in Japan because we'll be riding bikes and eating seafood. And then Black sensei shattered our dreams. He said that in Japan the sisters were usually the ones to gain weight and the elders lost it. So if I come home looking a little different just act normal haha.
Every couple weeks there is a group of Nihonji missionaries who come. They are Japanese missionaries who come from Japan, are here for two weeks and then go back to Japan to serve their mission. They're only here for a short time obviously because they already know Japanese. But they are so cute. They are always smiling and we try to say things to them and they giggle to each other and it's fun. Anyways the group that got here with us is leaving this week and on Sunday they song the most beautiful song ever. They sounded like a choir. The words in english I think are "I'll find you again, my friend". I guess it's pretty popular in Japan. But it was so beautiful and I didn't even understand most of it. I've gained such a strong testimony that the gospel is true no matter what part of the world you're from because the spirit is the same. I feel the spirit everytime a Nihonji bares their testimony. They have the strongest testimonies of anyone I've ever heard and they don't take the gospel for granted at all. We are learning everyday that the Lord is hastening his work in Japan and people are prepared for the gospel there. On sunday they organized a third Japanese Branch here!! That's so amazing! There has never been so many missionaries going to Japan at once. We had a meeting last night with all the sisters going to Japan and the two sisters who were conducting it said that when they served their missions there was maybe 6 or so sisters ever going to Japan at once and last night there must have been 30 sisters in that room. I feel so blessed to be part of such a historic time in missionary work. Also speaking of historic, the percentage of sisters at the MTC just past the Elders with 51%. Isn't that amazing? One of the speakers at mission conference on sunday said he'd never seen so many colors at the MTC before haha.
So since we've been here my shimai tachi (sister's) and I have sort of been like grossed out by a lot of the food. Seriously you look at something and think, hm that looks pretty darn good. no. The wraps are the food of choice haha. But anyways so we're always talking about how we feel like we're always eating and never satisfied because the food isn't that great and then on sunday which was fast sunday, we're all like what they don't even open the cafeteria so you have a choice to fast or not? How am I going to last from 6 in the morning until 5 without food? Haha I guess there's no pleasing us. But you know you've been here for a little while when you start saying things like, you know this meal isn't half bad, or this is pretty good. The most common response to how is it though is, well, it's not gross. haha.
Oh my gosh, so on sunday nights they play movies or conference talks and stuff like that. So this week they played Legacy and we all decided to stay and watch it. You would have thought we were watching the years best comedy. I mean we were in the big gym where devotionals are and the entire room was cracking up at that movie. I love the MTC. Everyone is so cheesy and it's great.
This week we started teaching our second investigator (who is now Black sensei) and there are no notes allowed and it has to be all in Japanese. So Baker and I are like okay we need to memorize the things we're going to say. So we get down what we're going to say and in what order. The only problem is when the investigator responds and you don't get it or they say something that doesn't quite fit in with what you had planned to say. So we're giving our lesson and he says something( which we later found out was that he doesn't know if God exists or why it matters) but we didn't know what to do so we just went on with our lesson in which we were saying God has a plan for us and we learn that plan through prophets and scriptures, etc. And at the end we asked him if he'd read the scriptures and pray. He was pretty confused. Why would he pray or know who to pray to if he doesn't even know if God exists? Probably the biggest thing we're learning is that we're not teaching lessons, we're teaching individuals. I'm learning that relying on the spirit is crucial to knowing what to teach because every person is unique and needs the message of the gospel to be tailored to them. I love all that I'm learning and I know that I have been called by God to serve the people of the Japan Sapporo mission and that there are people being prepared for me teach. 
Murray Shimai

P.SOh I forgot to mention the funny thing about my senseis. So there's Black sensei who has thighs as big as my waist and squats 600 lbs and then there's Powell sensei who is skinnier than kyle. ya it's pretty funny. Also Powell sensei is from an island by seattle that i can't think of the name of right now. Seriously i have lost my mind. Our tiny dungeon classroom makes us all slap happy. Anyways i was just thinking about that and thought it's pretty funny.