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