Kobe, Japan

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Week 2 - Lord, Save Me

Ohayo Gozaimasu!

I've never been asked "what should I wear" or "How do I look" as many times a day as I do here! Living with girls is a whole new experience in and of itself! I love being surrounded by my sistahz here at the MTC they're all so amazing! Time here is crazy. Some days hours feel like years but it feels like only yesterday was my last PDAY. Last Sunday was subarashi (awesome) because I got to see my Sikahema family. I'm grateul that they were here, seeing my Sikahema family almost TOTALLY cured my homesickness. It helped that Aunty Keala let me drench her shirt with my tears too (sorry aunty! But thanks!). Being with my beautiful cousin Lana and the rest of the gorgeous Sikahema clan was the boost I needed to get ready for this week! The Lord always blesses us right when we need it.

Housty congrats Hunnaaayyy!!! I hope your game was full of opportunities to learn. Winning is great but learning from mistakes is what's really important. You know that you're the handsomest, smartest boy EVER! Just think: every time you fumble or miss a catch (like soph year) your future wife gets uglier...that should make you hold onto the ball! All joking aside, you're my favorite football player but also my favorite future missionary!

Mom...PICK UP HARRY! You only have one child in Elementary so it shouldn't be hard to remember to pick him up! I don't want to hear that he's not getting picked up on time -- that was my job when I was home and I have to say I was great at it. I hated Elementary (but Harry probably loves it) and having to hang out at school longer than needed is probably one of the worst things in the world.

Helam, yo. Your letters are too short. Write longer, more descriptive ones.

Thank you thank you thank you for the packages my dear family! I actually don't miss you guys that much anymore. I'm really starting to miss the guitars and my independence though! Having someone with you at all times is quite a change for me, good thing my companion is super sweet!

Here's how my week's been, overall I feel like I learn more every week than I did the previous week but only half of what I learn goes to my brain...and the other half is soaked up by my heart.

Devotional this Tuesday was fantastic as usual! Elder and Sister Maynes were the speakers and Sister Maynes shared her conversion story...her husband actually taught and baptized her after his mission! The longer I'm here the more I see all these adorable couples that are training for their missions and it gets me so excited to serve with my husband one day too! I guess I should finish this one first before thinking about the next one though, right?!

Elder Maynes really zeroed in on something I've never thought before: Joseph Smith represents any and all investigators. In the grove, Heavenly Father and Christ appear to him and they were essentially the first missionaries of this dispensation. What big shoes to fill!

Elder Maynes talked about how our love for those we serve -- and serve with -- should be that of the Father and the Son. As we are serving we should always have in mind that Heavenly Father and Christ are who we need to emulate as we continue to serve faithfully. As usual, I was super pumped when I heard that! And then, by the next Nihongo class, I thought, "Woooaahhh...never mind...I can't do this."

Since my chorotachi and shimaitachi in the district are my family, just like I would at home, I turned to the chorotachi for advice. Black Shimai and I wanted to know what helped them study effectively. They all offered amazing advice! Their thoughts about not stressing out and their ideas of effective study were...interesting but helpful! Hyde choro is from Layton and he told me that I study too much.

We also have Cope Choro, who is absolutely brilliant! Gonzalez Choro, Isaac Choro (from Bountiful) and Page Choro are a trio that I sit next to. Those three are amazing examples to me. Tomas Choro and Culverwell Choro are the other set of Elders and those two crack me up! Every single one of these chorotachi have impacted my stay here so much and I know without a doubt that the Lord puts certain people in our lives for certain reasons. If any of their mothers happen to be reading this, I have to compare your boys to the Stripling Warriors who learned everything from their mothers.

Your sons are doing a marvelous job here and I know it's all thanks to you! I'm just the proudest Obasan (grandmother) in the world!

This week has been insanely eventful but I've been praying that the Lord will help me see his hand in my daily life so that I can learn to be more grateful. You know how everything in this world relates to the gospel? (read Moses 6:63) Well everything in my world relates to the ocean. Last night as I was attempting to study I had a weird mental block going on...I couldn't quite focus and I didn't feel like I was really internalizing anything. Thursday's Nihongo class was pretty rough for me and last night's class kind of added on to the stress. As I was trying to study on my own after class before we leave to go back to our residence the apostle Peter popped into my head. I decided to look through the New Testament for the story of Peter's fear when Christ was walking on water. (See, anything that has to do with a large body of water I absolutely love!) In Matthew 14:27-31 it says:

27. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

I felt like Peter at the end of verse 30. As I study the scriptures and our nihongo books I know nothing can help or save me like the Lord can. Every day my faith grows a little bit more, sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm in the MTC that this is a TRAINING CENTER. Isaac Choro had to remind me of that. We shouldn't expect ourselves to do everything perfect. I also keep forgetting that I've only been here 3 weeks and not everything can be learned in 3 weeks.

31. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

These past couple days I've felt like Peter. My 'boisterous winds' are times when Nihongo just doesn't make sense or when I'm tired and I don't think I can wake up ever again. I've also felt I've had to cry out "Lord, save me" more now then I ever have in my life leading up to my mission. But at the end of every single day Christ stretches forth his hand and catches me. I'm so grateful for this knowledge and for the simple truths of the gospel.

I absolutely love my mission. I haven't even gotten to Nihon (Japan) yet and I'm already in love with the people.

Dad, thanks for making such a great name for us. Whenever I meet someone they say, "Hmm..Heimuli, huh. Did your dad play at BYU?" then I say, "He did...in the prehistoric times, but you look way too young to know who he is." Without fail, that is the beginning of almost every conversation I've had with any adult I've met here.

Boys, I love you!

Housty & Harry keep being my favorite boys in the whole world. Do something sweet for mom today! Normz thanks for the sweet letters! Hemz, I'll write you soon. Miss you. I'm the luckiest girl alive to be raised with 5 of the most talented, handsome, sweet men on this Earth. 

Can't wait to see what this next week will bring! Aishite imasu!

Heimuli Shimai

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Surprise Letter: Uncle Vai Makes Me Think of You, Dad

August 19, 2013

Daddy –

I saw Uncle Vai and his family yesterday!  I can’t even describe how wonderfully amazing it was to see my Sikahema family.  I never knew it would be this hard to leave home.  The last 10 days of being in the MTC my prayers have been “Please help me not feel so alone here.  Help me feel the love and presence of my family here at the MTC” because I already know you’ve all been praying for me.  It’s so easy to get discouraged here at the MTC when you’re surrounded by so many kids your age who all miss their families.  Everyone is at different stages in the gospel and with their Japanese.

So I went to choir practice last night.  They kicked us out because security had to come check the premises before we’d be allowed back in.  I was joking with everyone outside.  I was, like, “Ooh, the Prophet must be speaking at devotional tonight or something.”  Once we were allowed back in, we quickly found floor seats, which are so hard to get.  We almost sat in the overflow which is in a whole other building, but my curiosity got the best of me, so we stayed…which ended up being a blessing because as soon as we took our seats, I looked up at the stand and saw someone looking just as beautiful as Aunty Keala.  I looked harder…and it was her!  I jumped over all the sisters and elders in the aisle and booked it to the front!  I ran to her as fast as I could and we embraced each other with tears.  I was so overwhelmingly overcome with happiness that I had family here!  I hugged Lana as we squealed and shook hands with the Sikahema boys and Lana’s hubby Marcus.  Lana and I played catch-up until the program started.  We sang a prelude song when Uncle walked in and onto the stand.  I got goose bumps all over and Aunty and Uncle just cried as all of us missionaries sang for them.  The program started and Uncle and I mouthed some words to each other.  I mouthed, “I’m so happy to see you!”  We exchanged smiles and I couldn’t hold back any tears.

Uncle Vai makes me think of you, Dad.  Your personalities may be a little different but your love radiates the same way.  I just thought of you and how Heavenly Father was finally answering my prayers.

The program was beautiful and funny.  I was so happy to have Lana on my left and my adorable companion on my right; my Uncle and Aunty in front in a room full of fellow missionaries who probably missed their families so much at that moment, but I was lucky and blessed enough to actually have my family with me!  What was even more outstanding was that for our closing song we sang, “Called to Serve” and all the missionaries stood up out of respect for Uncle and Aunty’s testimonies which they shared with all of us.  I couldn’t even sing.  I just stood there crying as the song described exactly how I feel about my mission:

“Onward, ever onward, as we glory in His name.  Forward, pressing forward, as a triumph song we sing.  God our strength will be, press forward ever called to serve our King!”

Once we closed the meeting, I jumped right up to see Uncle and Aunty.  There was already a huge line of people waiting to speak with them, but you know me – I cut them off!  I walked straight up to the stand to give Uncle a quick hug before he was whisked away by elders.  Then I turned to Aunty and we hugged and cried!  It felt good to hug her and to feel like I was hugging Mom.  She told me, “I couldn’t look at you while I was up here because then I would start crying!”  This made me cry even harder.  Since entering the MTC, I have turned into a cry baby!  Aunty told me to make my way to the foyer, so my comp and I did.  We waited as missionaries talked and took pictures with Uncle.  I talked with Lana and Kaylie and just had a great time being with family.  Once the foyer cleared a little, we all took pics and hugged and laughed.  I didn’t want to say goodbye but we needed to find my district, so I gave my final hugs and kisses and said my goodbyes for 18 months.  Aunty told me that if I ever need anything, to just send her an email.  This made me cry AGAIN!  The Sikahemas always do service and make everyone feel good.  I hope I can be amazing like them one day, too.

Dad, I felt like I really needed to write you this letter and tell you this.  I hope Uncle sent you the pics by now.  Will you please call him and tell him thank you for being an answer to your homesick daughter’s prayers?  And send me their emails and address please.  I should send them something.  So I’ve been feeling so blessed and so full of love because Heavenly Father knows I struggled with the language.  I feel like it’s His way of comforting me.

So that was Sunday (yesterday).  Then this morning after breakfast, before class, one of our elders stands up and closes the door.  He tells us that he needs to say something to the sisters.  My heart sank.  He told us he was going home and needed to take care of some things, but that he’d be back out in 6 months.  He apologized and thanked us for being such great examples.  We told him there’s no need to apologize.  Class carried on for an hour then it was time for him to report to the travel office.  We all said, “Aishitte imasu” which means “I love you.”  Our Sensei didn’t know he was leaving and asked when, where and why 4 elders were leaving class?  As I said in my last letter, I feel like my district is my family.  To see him leave was like saying goodbye to a brother, and you know how I feel about my brothers!  Tears started…again.  I am so incredibly proud he has such integrity and faith to go home and take care of his past, then make his way back here again.  I cannot imagine what he’ll face going back home, and my motherly instincts make me feel like I want to protect him from everything.  I am so grateful for the Atonement and for the encouraging Spirit this gospel brings.  He left and everyone in my district/little family became very quiet.  I know I will see him after our missions but I feel like I’ve said a lot of goodbyes lately.  I don’t know how many more goodbyes I can take. 

This work is amazing and I know there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than struggling right here.  I’ve grown so much, Dad.  I’ve been tested constantly during my first few days, but I’m full of hope and I know my family and my Heavenly Father love me.  Some days I wish I could just pick up the phone and call you because you’re the one I always called whenever I needed anything (especially money!  LOL).  Sometimes just hearing your voice on the other end of the phone made my day better.  I guess this is the closest I can get to a phone call, Dad. 

A scripture I’ve really come to love is Romans 8:31 ~

“…if God be for us, who can be against us?”

I’ve got the Lord on my side and nothing can stand in my way – not homesickness, or negative thoughts, or this language!  I hope you’re doing well.  Be positive and be a great example at work like I know you are!  Oh, by the way, I don’t want family coming to pick me up from my mission.  I need to just come home with the rest of the pack.

I’ll love you forever!  You’ll hear from me later this week.

Love you, Daddy!

Heimuli Shimai xoxo

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 1 - God Guides Moving Feet


I miss the beach so much. I didn't realize how bad I missed sports, swimming...and the beach...until we watched a motivational video clip in class and part of the Olympics were shown. All the chorotachi (elders) and I were FREAKING OUT! Afterward, we all looked at each other and said, "ahhhhh...I miss sports." So we played sand volleyball the next morning on Tuesday!

No I didn't prepare a talk on Sunday because luckily us kohai or newbies don't need to our first Sunday. I was still super confused in church nonetheless! Everything is in Nihongo which is great practice. Sunday was my doryo's (Black Shimai) birthday...she just turned 20!

Black Shimai and I are called the "Obasan"-tachi (emphasis on the first A) which means grandma. We are the oldest in the district! Only by 2 or 3 months but we're older so all the chorotachi and shimaitachi call us grandmas.

I love my district sooooo much! It's not that creepy kind of love but it's the kind of love where I feel responsible for every single one of them. They all literally feel like my children. I want all of them to succeed and learn the language so bad! All the chorotachi offer advice when we need it or we shimaitachi will help them in anyway we can. I absolutely adore all the Elders and Sisters here because we've all got the same purpose and we're all struggling in our own ways however we're all still here so we're all still faithful and following our desires to serve. Whenever anyone makes an awesome comment in class, or bears their testimony, or understands the bunpo (grammar) or tango (vocabulary) I'm always so proud!

I tell them yokatta (good job) or do a nice firm hand shake since we're not supposed to high five or fist bump anymore...

I've noticed that we don't focus so much on language here as we do the spirit. I've learned that without the spirit everything else won't matter. It's not what you say that helps others desire to come unto Christ, it's how they feel.

"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things..." (Alma 26:12)

The most important thing I've learned this week is that without the Lord we can do nothing. Some days it feels like I can't go another day or like I can't learn another japanese word but some how I get strength and I feel like I could run a thousand miles! Those weakest points in my days are when I feel the closest to my Heavenly Father. Those days when I feel like I can't do anymore are when I also grow the most. I would like to ask the boys if they'll make the Lord a priority in their lives. Football is great and I totally miss it but the Lord should come first and they'll succeed in every other area if they do that. I wasn't the best example of that when I was home but when you leave home and you have nothing else to lean on but your testimony and your faith, I know they'll be happy they learned to lean on the Lord way before I did. I still find it challenging to totally put all my trust in the Holy Ghost when we are teaching lessons. That's something that I will have to learn over time because you already know how big of a control freak I am! I know that I am nothing without the Lord, luckily I was raised by amazing parents who taught us how to be humble and grateful so thank you mom and dad! 

Tuesday we had our weekly devotional and this week Richard G. Scott came to speak with us. Here's my advice to anyone who is planning on entering the MTC: JOIN CHOIR! Choir gives you a chance to hear music because here at the MTC there's too many people so they ask you to not listen to music. Choir also gives you a chance to meet other missionaries and hear Brother Eggett's (the choir director...I hope that's his name) testimony. He's a talented man with such amazing musical capabilities. I couldn't teach a choir of 1,000 missionaries a song in an hour and a half but he sure did! We sang "Jesus Once of Humble Birth" and that song brought back so many memories from the good old “Savior of the World” days! (Note: “Savior of the World” was a Church production performed at Christmas and Easter. Hevynn was a cast member in 2 runs when she was 7-8 years old.)

The devotional was broadcast live to I think about 6 other MTC's and then translated and shown to all other MTC's a couple days later. The spirit was so strong in that meeting as Elder Scott talked to us about the gift of tongues and about prayer. He gave us an apostolic blessing that we would receive the gift of tongues through study and prayer as we continued to learn what the spirit feels like to us. I was so inspired by his words and his blessing as I began to transition my thinking from "My japanese isn't good enough to speak to my investigator" to "What does my investigator need to feel" I needed to focus less on my shortcomings and focus more on my investigator.

Speaking of investigator...we committed our investigator to baptism on Wednesday (I think...you lose track of time here at the MTC) and he accepted! Now we got 2 new investigators and I will not make my same mistake again!

Sunday was a blessing, Tuesday was amazing, and today is PDAY so naturally it's a blessing AND  amazing! Thursday I learned a really cool thing: God guides moving feet.

We have what's called 'coaching' where our sensei will visit with us as a companionship, she asks about our lesson plan, our language plan, and then she always ends with "Besides doctrine and nihongo, what can I help you with?" My doryo and I were getting pretty discouraged with the language and we were pretty frustrated, don't get frustrated! It leaves no room for the spirit which I've learned this week as well! We expressed to her how we've done everything we possibly can to be able to understand japanese but we still don't feel like we're grasping the concept yet.

She told us that maybe we've done all we possibly can and that the rest is up to the Lord. So my doryo and I have decided that we will continue to move our feet and trust that God will guide where we need to go whether it's discussions with our investigators, or japanese. 

Well enough about me! I enjoyed your letter! Baby boy has a phone?!?!?!?!?! Please delete all the contacts except family. I don't want him calling random people or random strangers calling him. So tell him not to answer if he doesn't recognize the number. Also tell him that I love him and I miss my baby more than anything, even more than my closet full of clothes! Ha! OoOoh I have to say I'm quite jealous of all the football gramps gets to watch. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for the packages and the letters! I needed it. And thank you so much for the thoughtful DearElder letters those are amazingly precious here!!!!

I know you're going to Dal & Alicia's wedding so here's a picture for them since I can't be there.

Sister Heimuli sends a message to her brother Dallan and new sis-in-law Alicia!

Lakei & Pania with their married kids outside the Newport Beach Temple:  Alicia & Dallan, Hema & Norma
Dallan, Alicia, Norma & Hema send the Japanese hi sign to Sister Heimuli from the reception in Newport Beach

Also here are pics from my doryo and I studying, celebrating her bday, reviewing language in the TALL lab, and just more pics of us! I love you all so so much. I wish I could write more but my time is short and I've got lots to do today. Stay safe as you travel, don't party too hard without me ;) I miss you all so much but not enough to leave where I need to be. You're in my prayers.


Heimuli Shimai

More Pics:
My first night I rolled into bed and looked up and saw THIS! the sister that did this was totally inspired. From that first night on I've always had this in the back of my mind "No Regrets".

Sister Heimuli found this important message fastened under the top bunk at the MTC on her first night
WOW!  It looks like Sister Heimuli ran into her beautiful cousin Lana Sikahema-Corbitt at the MTC -- Norma found this pic on Instagram!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

First Letter from the MTC

Ohayo Gozaimasu!
It was 5:45 in the AM when i started this email and I just put my laundry in. Everyone was right, you do do so much here! Can you remember the last time I actually did my laundry?? Now it's 9:30 ish and I went back to my Residence and knocked out...that was quite possibly the best nap i've ever had in my entire existence. I'm still adjusting to the way things run here. Our work isn't hard, it's not too time consuming, I feel like I'm just mentally and spiritually drained by the time I get to my room around 9. All the Elders and Sisters here are so kind and so excited to be serving their missions! It's kind of rejuvinating to be around energy like this all day everyday. My companion Black Shimai is absolutely adorable!! I just love her. I'm grateful to have a companion like her because we're enough alike that I can get a long with her but different in ways that pushes me to be better and to try harder. Our Shimaitachi that share the room with us are also amazing! Our whole floor is amazing actually, I've never laughed so hard and talked broken nihongo more than I do in our door way because at night everyone just walks around from room to room with boxes of treats, granola bars, redvines, and whatever they have to share with all the Shimaitachi. I was talking to the 2nd counselor in our branch presidency's wife and told her I am so grateful to be here with all these sisters for the same mokuteki (purpose). You'll never find that anywhere else!
The FOOD. The food here is pretty okay! I thought it'd be like BYUH caf but it's waaaaayyyy better. I can definitely see myself getting sick of it real fast though. We have dinner at 4 every night so you can imagine that by the time 9 o'clock rolls around my doryo and I always detour to the vending machines. Class is really different because there's a lot less instruction than i thought there'd be. We had a 3 hour block yesterday where it was all personal study, and then an hour of personal language study. Please keep me in your prayers with this language, there are so many things I need the Lord to help me with I feel so pathetic!
How are my baby boys doing?? I half expected Harrison to walk into our room my first morning here like he would at home.  Tell Houston I met his friend Elder Hawkes who is so sweet. I was doing laundry and I was kind of in my own world not really awake yet and this young man walks over to me and asks if I'm Houston's sister. It was SO great to hear the name HOUSTON! It woke me right up as I told him he was my little brother and he told me about him. I've met so many wonderful brothers and sisters so far! I also ran into my friend Cory Grohse who is from Samoa but i met her at BYUH. I taught my first investigator in all Japanese yesterday and let's just say I don't want to ever have another first time ever again. I can understand what he was talking about but I can't speak enough for him to understand. So after we taught we were headed back to class kind of disappointed and embarrassed when all of a sudden i heard a loud "HEVYNNNNN!" I looked up the stairwell and she was there!!!! We both freaked out, screaming and hugging and laughing! I definitely needed that uplifting moment for me to get through the rest of the day. She cried, I laughed, we just had a great 10 minutes of catch up. After that I had an amazing rest of my day! We hung out everyday and danced at PCC together and we both decided around the same time that we wanted to serve missions. She's going to the Philipines Sebu...Sabu? mission. I don't know how to spell it. I've met so many missionaries going to the Philipines it's crazy! The elders here are so nice and gentlemanly and the sisters are all outgoing and fun. This is a utopia for young men and young women!
The lowest part of my first 3 days here was definitely the second full day. I have had so many migraines! I don't think it's stress induced or lack of sleep or anything it's just a minor set back. I'm grateful for my doryo though! Black Shimai has been so patient and such a sweet spirit through the last half week. I think we make for an awesome companionship! I really am enjoying my time here taking it one day at a time. Hema was right, the time here at the MTC feels slow but I should take adventage of it now because once I get to Japan I'm going to hit the ground running. My district is awesome! All our elders are hilarious and so smart. Our district leader Gonzalez Choro has been a great leader so far. I got 2 notes that I have packages waiting but I haven't picked them up yet I will after I send this. So thank you in advance for the packages!!!!
The most important thing I've learned so far is a pep talk my sensei gave my companion and I. Watanabe Shimai told us that our purpose is not to learn Japanese. It is to bring others to Christ and japanese is just the tool to get there. She also said that God knows exactly how much Japanese I can speak right now and exactly what I'm capable of and if he needs me to be just a little bit more he'll send me help. I found that extremely comforting as I've been slowly learning to rely on the Lord. I'm not even close to being the perfect missionary yet but if God knows what I'm capable of, and he does, then I'll do all I can to reach that potential.
One more thing! We met our brach presidency Thursday night and my branch President President Johnson....I believe....is in Uncle Hema's ward! I told him to tell Uncle's family I said Hi and I love them. We had interviews with a member of the presidency that night and the counselor that interviewed me was Waites Kyodai or Brother Waites. He's such an lovely man! He told me some stories and we laughed and mingled more than we probably should've but you know me...i can't keep my mouth shut ;) He gave me some advice: Missionaries that keep one foot at home and one foot here don't succeed. We have to dedicated everything we our, our heart, minds, spirits, everything to the Lord while he has us. This is MY mission and no one else can experience it for me so leave your family and your friends at home and be here. I think he was inspired to tell me that because I definitely had my mind at home during those first two days. I'm slowly getting better and wondering less about what the boys are doing, or talking about and thinking more about my investigator and the Lord's work. There's so much I need to work on and so much i need to learn i guess I can't afford to keep half of me at home, I need all of me here! I love you so much mama, thanks for being my mom. I love dad sometimes too... ;) and i love my boys more than everything!!!! Send me lots of pics of their football seasons kudasai, I miss sports a lot. I love Hema and Norma and their willingness to fit me into their busy schedules my last week and a half of being home. I love Heel even though he didn't drop me off at the MTC, haha and I love Housty & Harri more than I think I could love any other boy on this planet!! Be good boys, treat mom right and I'm expecting some exciting letters from you boys!
Love you always,
Heimuli Shimai 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Family Tradition? Another Tender Mercy

On December 15, 2010, we dropped off Hevynn's older brother Helam at the MTC.  Unlike August 7, 2013, the weather that day three years ago was freezing cold and snowing.  But everything else about Helam's MTC Drop Off Day was absolutely heart-warming!  Read about it here and see if you can find the incredible similarity to Hevynn's MTC Drop Off Day...

August 7, 2013, provided beautiful summer weather and another heart-warming experience.  Ready for this?  Hevynn definitely was!  The rest of the kids, cousin Ina, Aunty Nei and Dad kind of were.  Mom?  Not really, but she knew it was going to happen anyway, so why not have everyone strike a Japanese photo pose and get Hevynn on her way?
We turned the corner and were just passing Stop 1 when we saw the prettiest sister missionary out there...it was Tasha -- I mean, Sister Scheffler!  If you've read earlier blog posts, you know that Hevynn & Tasha were both called to serve in Kobe Japan.  You might also have gathered that the Heimulis LOVE the Schefflers -- Tasha's parents Kevin and Sheri are some of our dearest, longest friends from back in our San Diego days.  When we dropped Helam off at the MTC in 2010, their son Elder Tyler Scheffler (headed to Costa Rica Mission) was at the curb to welcome Helam.  Now, it was Tasha who was welcoming Hevynn in! 
Who wouldn't LOVE to be greeted by this beautiful host?!  Scheffler Shimai just glowed with excitement and happiness.  Mom gave her the biggest hug from Sheri.
Then Hevynn and Tasha hugged and snapped this pic -- Sister Heimuli's first "companion" even if it was just to be escorted into the MTC!
Within a matter of what seemed like seconds, we unloaded Heimuli Shimai's luggage, took a family photo with Scheffler Shimai (so Mom could send it to Sheri!).  L to R: Norma, Mom, Hema, Harrison, Sister Heimuli, Sister Scheffler, Aunty Nei, Dad and Houston.
Houston scoops Hevynn up into a big goodbye hug.
 Aunty Nei and her favorite niece embrace.
 Daddy's girl gets in one last kiss and hug.
 Favorite sister-in-law Norma says goodbye.
 And Scheffler Shimai and Heimuli Shimai take off with red luggage in tow, without even looking back.
 Aloha 'Oe, Sister Heimuli!  See you in 18!

Almost Gone...

August 7, 2013

When Hevynn opened her call on March 21, 2013, in Laie, Hawaii, it felt as though this day would never arrive.  As with her brothers, MTC Drop Off Day got here sooner than we thought it would.

The day started out with a family breakfast.  Grandpa & Nate Heimuli, Grandpa & Grandma Murray, Aunty Nei, and Hema & Norma all slept over.  Hema & Norma made their famous crepes which meant a quick dash to the store for nutella!

Then she needed to go and get one final immunization...why not?

And add Dad & Mom to her bank account (we're rich now!) and extend her expiration dates to February 2015.

Received a father's blessing, held family prayer, then posed for a picture with both sets of Hevynn's grandparents whom she absolutely adores.

Provo Temple grounds were beautiful -- green grass, blue sky, and Elder Brendan Green (from our ward...headed to California Los Angeles Mission!).  Sister Heimuli and Elder Green took a great non-hugging photo.  Both were so excited to get going!!!

Loved ones just started appearing almost out of nowhere while we waited for the clock to hit 1:10 pm.  Here Hevynn gets a great big hug from her best cousin Terina Semaia.

Aunty Nei & Sister Heimuli at the Provo Temple.

Hevynn is happily surprised by another cousin coming to say "goodbye for now." That's cousin Maveu Heimuli at left.

Brothers Hema, Houston and Harrison give the Queen one last ride.  Sadly, Helam had football practice at Weber State so he wasn't able to come.

Pure joy on Hevynn's face as she hugs cousin Lauryn Pili goodbye.

Family Over Everything:  (Top) Heimuli cousins Maveu, his wife Val, and cousin Melisa; (Middle) Murray cousins Ina Semaia and baby boy Mino held by Uncle Lakei, Lauryn Pili, Dallin Pili and little Hezekiah in front; (Bottom) Just our little fam minus Helam -- dang it!

Last Week At Home

Hevynn still had so much left to do:  people to see, places to go, items to buy, and family & closest friends to spend time with. 
It's no secret that the boys focus on Hevynn 100%...here we have Harrison, Houston, Helam and Hema goofing off with their sister...as usual!

Hevynn & favorite Aunty Nei go out to dinner one last time

"Little Sis" Haley Johnson and newly-returned missionary TeeJay Johnson (Minnesota Minneapolis Mission) visit on Hevynn's last Sunday at home.

Hevynn & Evan say goodbye in English; the next time they see each other, they'll be able to speak in Japanese (Evan served in Nagoya)!

A quick day trip with Grandpa & Grandma Murray to attend the San Diego Temple with cousin Nona Soliai & meet her new baby boy!
Hanging out with Bo Bolen

Siblings together one last time...for a while!  Harrison in front; seated on couch L to R are Hema's wife Norma, Hevynn, Alicia and Dallan (getting married August 17th!); in the back are Houston, Helam & Hema

Heimuli Family BBQ: L to R are Houston, Hema, Norma, Harrison, Charney, Keanen, Noelani, Hevynn, Kalea, Marsha, Pua, Melisa, Sifa, Valerie & Maveu

OG Pic @ Heimuli BBQ: Nate, Hevynn, Grandpa Heimuli; in back are Mom, Dad, Uncle Sifa and Uncle Tini

High school friend Bri Miller visits Hevynn before she is set apart as a full-time missionary.

Best friend McKean Samuelu...really, with Hevynn's nerves of steel and all the people she said goodbye to, THIS was the one that almost made her cry...she is really going to miss this guy!

Final soccer game with the fam...Helam kneeling, Hema, Norma, Hevynn & Houston -- they lost...again.

Hevynn & her cake face