Kobe, Japan

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week 4 - No Doubt in My Heart

Good news & Bad news:

Good news: My cold is completely gone! Thanks to my awesome chorotachi who asked if I wanted a blessing because I was not getting better at all.

Bad news: Heavenly Father didn't feel bad enough for me while I was sick to just hand me the gift of tongues. I'm still human and mainichi takusan manabimasu (everyday I learn a lot). However, I'm not just human..I'M A MISSIONARY! My doryo said to me the other day, "I love being a missionary. This is the happiest I've ever been!" It's true. Being a missionary is one of the best experiences I've ever had.
Roomies caught Heimuli Shimai and Black Shimai teaching a Lorax in Nihongo
Teaching in class...all those Lorax lessons must have paid off
If you haven't heard by now, Devotional on Tuesday was SO good. Elder Evans from the Quorum of the Seventy spoke. He mainly talked about Jacob 5, the Lord and his vineyard, which is a scripture I've read over 100 times in my life and only now realized something interesting. In Jacob 5:72, it tells us:

"And it came to pass the servants did go and labor with their might; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them..."

I can testify to you that the Lord is here and He is laboring with me. Every day, it is evident the Lord works alongside His servants (missionaries). The MTC isn't necessarily hard but this is where we make the most adjustments, we are slowly transitioning out of the world and into the Lord's work, we are learning languages and principles, we are meeting new people and making connections all the time. We are waking up earlier than before and studying harder than before, and there's no way we could do this successfully if the Lord weren't here with us.
Pretty great sketch of all the shimai's in the district.  Yes, that's Heimuli Shimai on the far left.
Sunday night devotional was empowering as we learned what we can give to our Heavenly Father. We can't give Him our time -- this is Heavenly Father's time. We can't give anything we own because everything is essentially from God. The only thing we can offer our Heavenly Father is our Will and Desire. Christ always taught that His will was His father's will. Even until He was crucified, Christ humbly accepted, "Not my will, but Thine be done." As we learned more about our will and righteous desires, I thought about a lesson from Gospel Doctrine class I had a couple years ago. Someone said, "At the end of your day, go to the Lord with a platter. On that platter, give Him something you can offer from that day." I imagine my desire on that platter when I go to Him at the close of my days. I still remember that fire I felt in my chest when I heard the mission age changed. I'll never forget how those few simple words President Monson said ignited my desire to serve. I still feel that same way today.

As a missionary who's still training - and truth be told I feel like I'm going to be training for the rest of my mission! - it's very easy to fall into busy work. Staying busy is good and working hard is better; however, Elder Holland has counseled us, "Don't work harder - work smarter."

One of my good friends told me, "I don't believe in luck, I believe in preparation-meets-opportunity." I've been studying Diligence this week and it's applicable to every aspect of Life. Diligently preparing for a lesson, or using my time wisely during study time, or seeking opportunities to serve while I’m still in the MTC, I can testify that being prepared by working smarter can be tough, but when an opportunity comes, all the preparation will pay off!

The highlight of my week actually happened in class while we were studying. I have 2 senseis, Reading Sensei and Ellsworth Sensei. Ellsworth Sensei served his mission with Kastle and Evan. Our lesson was about teaching our investigators, not teaching lessons. When teaching, I am learning how important it is to ask the right questions and Christ was an amazing example of that. In John 8, Christ teaches the woman taken in adultery a whole sermon with just 2 questions:

"Where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?"  She answers "No man, Lord."

He teaches me how important it is as a missionary to ask the right questions. And then he invites her to act, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

In PMG, Elder Holland is quoted, "If we listen with Love, we won't need to wonder what to say."

How many of us are guilty of thinking about what to say to the person we're talking to, while the other person is still talking? Or how many of us shy away from gospel topics when conversing with friends or coworkers, or even nonmember family members, because we're afraid we won't know what to say? When we listen with Love, we don't need to wonder what to say -- and that's a promise from a general authority, an apostle called by God. 

This week has been such a blessing as are all my weeks here. I can't quite write everything I want to because there's just not enough time in the world and not enough space on this email to contain how much I learn every day and how very grateful I am for this gospel. As a missionary, what would make us the most happy is if we could bring someone closer to Christ or at least help someone gain that desire to come unto Him.

At our devotional on Tuesday, Elder Evans gave us one specific assignment as we continue to labor in the mission field. He said, "Don't fail to teach that this gospel came from the Father. The Father is the one to whom we pray." Christ always gives credit to His father, and His father is always well pleased. Likewise, I want to give credit to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with supportive family and amazing friends! There are countless tender mercies I receive throughout my day – especially this past Tuesday -- that I've begun to recognize. He's allowed me to be here and be a servant in His vineyard and I am eternally grateful for this opportunity. I'm grateful for those that have served before me -- especially my brothers -- and I am also grateful for those whowill serve after me, like my little brothers. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. There's not a doubt in my mind and, more importantly, there's no doubt in my heart. 

God bless! Until next week....

Ai shite imasu!

Heimuli Shimai

P.S. Mom - Tuesday was one of those days I wish I could text you.  So Tuesday after dinner my DL gets the mail and he's like Heimuli! You got 3 packages and a letter -- I can't deliver our district's mail and all of your mail, too. I go and get the packages and 2 are from you guys....so thank you! I loved it and my district absolutely loved the donuts! And I didn't really pay attention to the other one, because the letter was from Bo! Turns out, the other box was also from him -- he is the best! He sent me cinnamon rolls, and my district ate those too haha. They are going to get so fat! He's famous in my district now because of the cinnamon rolls and because everyone wants to know about my life before LOL. Well I really hope the game goes well. LMK early Monday with Dear Elder or something with the score update because I'm dying to know how it all goes. I just got back from the temple, sent you my weekly email and now i'm ganna go study more japanese and practice my lesson for tonight. Mom, I hope you know I absolutely love you. You're the best mommy in the world and my family is the coolest family on this planet. Hope you enjoy my letter...small kine boring cuz I didn't have much time to email. I love you lots!!!!!! Can't wait to hear back from you :) Oh! and please tell Aunty Nei yes I got her package today and I loved it and I love her! It's perfect. But I can't email her cuz I'm outta time! I'll email her next week. Ai shite imasu!

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