Kobe, Japan

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Week 7 - How Did I Get Here?

Want to hear a funny story? Every week, we prepare talks because you just don't know who's going to talk until they announce it in Sacrament meeting. You're given a specific topic which has to do with the Missionary Purpose and it's given in your mission language. 

So in the morning I had this awesome feeling that it wasn't going to be me even though I'm Dai Senpai which means I have a greater chance of being called on. I was walking around to all the other Districts and giving everyone a hard time about being picked on. I told them, "I just have a feeling it's not me today! So you better have an awesome talk ready!" I was joking around with everyone but I was 100% certain I wasn't speaking. I told that to every single other person in our branch. As soon as we walk into the chapel my happy feeling suddenly disappeared...and I just knew I'd get called. Before I knew it Brother Marks announced, "And our speakers today will be Jensen Choro and HEIMULI SHIMAI" Everyone I gave a hard time to that morning was fist bumping and snickering...ughhh it's what I get! So I gave my first talk in all Nihongo on Sunday which was actually really fun. I don't think anything I said made sense! This was the perfect start to my crazy week.

As I mentioned in previous emails, there's just not enough time...ever. We got travel plans on Thursday and when I held those papers in my hand I just thought about all the time that had flown by up to that point just thinking, "How did I get here?"

Sister Heimuli receives her travel plans.  She leaves for Japan on October 7th!

In District Meeting on Sunday Cope Choro and Hyde Choro gave an awesome lesson on Taeshinobu or Enduring to the End. We read 2 Nephi 31:15-21 together and picked faith, hope, and love to discuss. We decided that in order to endure well we must have all 3 of these Christlike attributes. As I think back on the days I've spent here I think about he song Lead Kindly Light. "Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see." As a companionship when you plan every night you plan for the next day not the next month or the next year. Taking it a day at a time or one step at a time is what it takes to endure. As we pondered what enduring really meant this is part of the list we came up with:

-feasting on Christ's word
-unshaken FAITH
-rely on Christ
-Press forward
-Baptism, repentance
-LOVE for God and all men (charity)

Notice how most of these factors of enduring are Christlike attributes? Hyde Choro said, "None of us can appreciate all of Christ's characteristics until we develop it ourselves." So many of us talk about Christ and how much we love him but do we really? Do we really appreciate Christ's sacrifice? Or do we just like the story and the idea of his mortal ministry? I think the only way to really know Christ like we know our family is to do exactly what Hyde Choro said and develop his attributes. Since I'm coming up on my last week here I've been soaking in every second that I can with my district. I watch these chorotachi teach and I've seen them grow so much in only 8 weeks. I get teary eyed just thinking about what 2 years is going to do to everyone in my district...my district is a force to be reckoned with. Their testimonies and their experiences have strengthened my testimony to the point that I think my heart is going to explode! Sometimes I feel like God loves me too much because I'm so blessed by the people he places in my life. Like one of my dearest friends...who recommended last week that I read 2 Nephi 4 -- wow! Like Nephi says, "He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh." (2 Nephi 4:21)
Heimuli Shimai & her doryo Black Shimai ready to leave for the Conference Center to sing in the choir at the General Relief Society Meeting, September 28, 2013
Leaving the MTC not only means leaving my very first district, but leaving our teachers as well. Without a doubt, our teachers' testimonies have forever changed how we view ourselves and our calling. Our sensei, Reading Sensei shared a thought the other day about our purpose and why we are here. He shared 4 Nephi 1:5 which starts off, "And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus..." As a disciple of Jesus Christ our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ through FAITH in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. This scripture ends with, "...and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus Christ." Reading Sensei asked us to think about what kind of miracle we want to see in our last week of the MTC. As I pondered the idea of miracles this scripture popped into my head; Ether 12:16 "Yea, even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith..."

We have this set aside time every night for what is called 'coaching'. Our sensei will take a companionship out into the hall and just talk to us. I can't remember if I've written about this before but I love coaching! Our senseis have done exactly what we're about to do and they're here to help us in every way. Thursday night Ellsworth Sensei did coaching as a class. He shared some awesome things with us about how the Lord is hastening the work. He then asked us, "When did the most important events of Christ's life take place? Mostly everything we know about Christ happened in the last week of his life." He compared that to our last week here at the MTC that most of the things we'll remember about our MTC experience will happen within our last week of being here. He asked us not to lose focus, to hit a peak so that when we land in Nihon we can hit the ground running! Last night's coaching was with Murray Sensei and he coached a group of us and said, "I promise the Lord is preparing something for you this week. Think of what he wants you to learn, set a goal, and do it." Up until the Savior's last week, even the night before he was crucified, he was engaged in his work. I've been here about 8 weeks now and the Lord still has things he needs me to learn and accomplish within my last week. 

My time is short and I haven't even expressed 1/10th of what I wanted to. All I can say is that I'm so grateful for the teachers and people I've met so far in my mission. I got an awesome email from Hawkes Choro (he played football with Houst) a part of his email was exactly what I've needed to hear, "...don't get down on yourself it's gonna be hard...but we'll conquer this mountain!" and it's true. 
Elder Marshall Hawkes (2nd from left -- one of Houston's teammates) before he left for Japan
We all have good days and bad ones but stay true to your faith and like President Holland says, "Hold to the ground you've already won." Sometimes I think we stomp out our own faith when we over criticize ourselves or compare our god given gifts to other people's gifts.

Helam wrote me this past week and said, "If you slip, get back up quick!" Even when Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane he took up his cross and finished what his father needed him to do. We're all going to have those moments where we slip but I testify that Christ's already atoned for it. All he needs us to do is pick ourselves up and continue our work. As you can see, there's so much change that will be coming up this next week! With change comes trial and with trial comes growth. I'll tell you what I tell both my investigators, I know this gospel is true. I know Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and through him we are made stronger. I know that Joseph Smith restored this gospel and I know that thanks to him I am where I need to be. I'm grateful for my brothers and sisters that I get to labor alongside everyday. I know that our Heavenly Father loves his children and I know that it's that love that pushes me to be a better missionary. Sorry this letter is short compared to my other ones but it's going to be a busy day! I'll leave you with this D&C 68:4 

And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by he Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation...

and John 14:18 
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.  

This week try as you come up against an obstacle ask the Lord to show you how to use the gifts he's already given you to overcome it. I promise that when you do that the Lord will see your willingness to learn and bless you with more gifts and opportunities to use those gifts.

Thank you for the love and support! Heels, thanks for the awesome letter. I hope you know I miss you best friend! Norms, thank you for the update on the little boys. Sounds like you all had a crazy week as well! Thank you for being the best sister-in-law since their sissy is gone. I love you Ohana and miss you choke. Harry, I love you baby! You're my favorite boy in the world! Thank you Dad for the donuts my district (and sensei) LOVED it! Have a blessed week everybody, help someone in need today ok? Love you lots!

Heimuli Shimai

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