Kobe, Japan

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!

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