Kobe, Japan

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week 3 - Sacrifice for Love

One of the Shimaitachi I've become really close to is Kerr Shimai from somewhere south of Salt Lake. She is studying to become a sports journalist and she's awesome! In the hallway during one of our breaks I saw her and the moment we looked at each other we started squealing and jumping up-and-down and practically shouted while talking about all the season openers we are missing these next couple of weeks! Utah State and the Utes vs. Weber State, and even a little bit about BYU. Even though I'm not a Y fan I hope they do well this year. We were geeking out about all the football we've missed, high school and college. I love her because she understands my need for athletic talk. There's only so much talk about musicals and make up that I can handle...I need some sports talk in my life if I'm going to stay sane here! I just had to tell you about how sports deprived I am here, but it's my sacrifice! Like Elder Neil L. Anderson said this week, "We love the things we sacrifice for, and we sacrifice for the things we love."

Oh, quick story! I walked into the cafeteria during lunch on Thursday and my district has this one particular area we always sit. So I was walking over to where my chorotachi were and I saw this really handsome and familiar-looking guy...it was Jared! Er...Elder Olson! I ran up to him dragging my doryo behind me and gave him a nice firm handshake. I was SO happy to see him finally! We talked for a bit while he stood in line, then he told me to save him a spot by me. Elder Olson ate with my district and met some of my chorotachi. We talked about what was going on before he left. He talked to me about how he wanted to go home after the first few days, and trust me...I know exactly how he feels. We chatted through lunch and when we said our goodbyes I figured it would be the last time I'd see him for the next 2 years. So we exchanged emails and he said if I needed anything while he's here in the MTC he'd find a way to bring it to me all the way from West Campus, haha. He's such a great missionary and he will do amazing things! I've been so fortunate to know so many good people. Every single day I meet new Elders and Sisters, and everyday I meet people who know people I know. This world is so small!

Tuesday's devotional speaker was Elder Neil L. Anderson and of course that was a highlight to my week. Here are some key points I gathered from his talk:

-When weeks are tough, VISUALIZE your testimony of eternal truths
-LOVE is the most powerful, eternal emotion
-Through REPENTANCE all things that burden the soul are lifted... ALL things
-Serve with COURAGE and HUMILITY
-We are servants of the Lord!

After devotional we ran from the Marriott Center back to our campus and into our classrooms. There was a crazy thunder/rainstorm we ran through and by the time we got back to class all of us were soaked and all our mascara had melted off our faces! We had our district devotional review and I heard all the sweet testimonies of my district. Johnson Kaicho (President Johnson) made a comment that really pierced me, "Faith is a prerequisite for Patience." The person I've been most impatient with is myself. After I reflected on how much patience I have NOT had with myself, I could really see the small amount of faith I had been working with. After our meeting we sang and prayed together as a district like we do every night. I love my little district/family.
Hevynn's MTC District w/Sensei Watanabe
The next morning was Wednesday and you know what Wednesday means...NEW KOHAI...which means I'm SENPAI! Here's how the ranks of the Nihon-bound senkyoshi work: KOHAI: Newbies. 1-4 weeks
SENPAI: Still newbies but can't use it as an excuse anymore! 4-6 weeks
DAI SENPAI: Been here forever. Still can't speak Nihongo, but have the Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner menus memorized. Not much use around here anymore, ha. 6-9 weeks

I am now Senpai...I can't believe I've been here for 4-ish weeks. I decided to Host so I could experience coming into the MTC for the first time again. At orientation for the new hosts we learned that our job was...HELP THE MOM. Of course directing the missionary and making sure they don't get lost is good but when the missionary enters the MTC they have other missionaries and teachers and amazing staff to offer comfort. But besides family, moms don't have anyone to console them. So I spent a lot of time talking with the moms of the 2 sisters I hosted. I told them that we would take great care of their daughters. I told them exactly what the rest of their missionary's day would be like, and I thanked them for raising daughters who are so willing to serve. I guess that's where my customer service skills I picked up from Tucanos stepped in! Other skills I learned from dancing at the Polynesian Cultural Center have already helped me with our investigators, too. 
2012-2013 school year Hevynn danced at the Polynesian Cultural Center while attending BYU-Hawaii

It doesn't matter how awkward an investigator is, it's always our job is to make sure the spirit can testify of the truthfulness of the gospel. Our purpose is to invite others to come to Christ, helping them build their relationship with their Heavenly Father.

I love my brothers...I grew up with 4 crazy ones. Everybody knows all my closest friends are boys, and I cling to every word Dad and my uncles say----HOWEVER there is nothing more empowering like a conversation with another woman who understands what I go through. Thursday mornings we have the opportunity to do service in our residence building. The young lady in charge of coordinating what we need to clean is Beatriz Woodard from New Jersey. She was in the Sikahema's stake. She's absolutely adorable and she's so much fun! Not only am I working on my teaching and Nihongo skills here, but I'm also working on my toilet-scrubbing skills. You would be so proud of how clean I can get these stalls, Mom. This service opportunity gives 8 of us Shimaitachi a little time to get away from the pressures of learning and just talk with our fellow sisters. I always leave our service assignment so uplifted because for the first 20 minutes we open with prayer and then we discuss how our week's been going. I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful and inspiring women on this planet! My doryo, Black Shimai, is fantastic! Our roommates and shimaitachi from the district are Tolley Shimai and Larkin Shimai. Tolley Shimai is from San Diego, she's so talented and so smart. Her Nihongo is flawless and she's got such a strong testimony. I look up to her in so many ways. Larkin Shimai, her doryo, is from St. George. She's smart, witty and funny! Whenever she talks in class I feel like I should be taking notes, her comments are so profound. I love all these women that I get to serve with.
Black Shimai, Watanabe Sensei and Heimuli Shimai

Of all the amazing opportunities I have to grow while I'm here, and of all the fun and inspirational things we do as a district, I have to say that the BEST THING that happened to me with week happened about 2 nights ago. As you can probably tell from the pics, I've been feeling chotto byoki (a little sick) for the last 2 weeks. After class when we have personal study time or gengo benkyo (language study), my doryo and I like to go outside so I can get some fresh air and not be so nauseous. I remember looking at the sky after I couldn't handle reading one more page from my textbook...the clouds were a really cool yellow-gold color and the sky was a dainty purple. I had a tiny fever so I decided to fan myself with my textbook instead of read it. I was a little distracted by nature when a pair of elders walked up to me hesitantly. They asked if they could have 5 minutes of my time. They started to bear their testimony in broken English. One Elder was from Mexico, called to serve in Provo. The other was from China, called to serve in Canada -- both English- speaking. Their sentences were very simple and their grammar wasn't perfect, and I figured that's what I must sound like in Nihongo, only I probably sound worse. By the end of their 3- minute testimonies, I could really feel the spirit. Their simple testimony was all I needed to hear. When they finished I stood up, shook their hands and told them how beautiful their testimonies were. They seemed relieved when I told them I knew they'd be wonderful missionaries. I wished them luck, then they were off! Who knows if I'll see either of them ever again, but their testimonies left a lasting impression on me.

There's so much to learn every day that sometimes we forget about the simple truths. As I've tried learning another language I've had to learn how to really simplify everything and anything I want to say. I think we could all use a little simplifying in our lives, whether it's simplifying our daily schedules, or simplifying how we approach situations. Our gospel is simple and I think I need to do better at remembering that. Like Nephi says,

"I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." (1Nephi 11:17)

It's that simple. God loves His children! That's where everything starts.

Thank you for the package, mama! Like President Lincoln said, "All that I am and all that I hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." I don't care what mistakes my parents have made or what mistakes I've made because you've both done a wonderful job raising some beautiful babies and loving us with all that you are. I hope my mission makes me at least half the mom you are for the boys and I. You all know how much I love you, but I'll say it one more time...LOVE YOU!
8 year old Harrison sent his sister and her comp glow-stick promise rings...promising he will wait for them.

Baby boys: Have a crazy week! Have lots of fun, be kids, don't grow up too fast like your sissy did. You have plenty of time to be adults - just have fun this week, okay?! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
A page out of Sister Heimuli's daily planner...notice all the times blocked out to "[think about Harrison]"!
Please tell Lil Sifa I love the shirt. Heels: Love you, ugly boy! You are the background on my iPod :)

I like Sheri's (Scheffler Shimai's mom) idea about the prepaid phone. I would really love that so I could talk to all of you the whole time I'm still in America. But instead of mailing it to me, couldn't you just give it to Hema to give to me at the airport??? Nice excuse to see him! LOL!

And one more thing........eh! I can't think of it. Update me on the Weber State game. I hope it's so fun and I really hope Helam and Bo and team do well!!! I want them to beat Utah State and the U so bad!!!
Sister Heimuli at her desk in the MTC...let's see...a box of Caramacs, a Harrison-autographed Pokemon card, her boys at Weber State, and scriptures, too!

Forever yours,
Heimuli Shimai

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