Kobe, Japan

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 12 - Aloha...the Medicine for Kekko

WHOA! It`s been 12 weeks??? I still feel like I know as much nihongo as I did the day I entered the MTC, haha. Days really do fly by, but Preparation days fly by even faster! Hayashi Shimai and I just got done with shopping and we booked it over to the chapel to get on the computers...we taught a lesson in the park, ate lunch with 2 investigators and studied all morning. It`s been a hectic day as usual but that`s a blessing!

The Lord has been so kind to me since I`ve been on my mission. A lot more people speak English than I thought they did and we`ve started visiting a college every Tuesday for their English activities to build relationships and begin teaching. While we were coming back from one of these Tuesday night activities we were running to our train as usual and in the crowds of always-busy nihonjin 2 little kids, about a 7-year old boy and 4-year old girl ran up to me. I was surprised they ran right up to me with huge smiles. The boy said ``Hello!`` The little girl waved. I stopped running and leaned over to them, ``Hello! How are you?`` They said ``We`re great!`` and then just ran off. Their English was awesome! And I was relieved to hear English! I have been thinking all week about what the scriptures say about `becoming like a little child, submissive, meek....` and what that really means. These 2 little kids took one look at me and could tell I`m gaijin -- can`t speak any nihongo -- and they came right up to me and said hello. I wish I had courage like that 7 year old and 4 year old! It`s amazing what we can learn from children.

Japan is probably one of the busiest countries in the world. The most common excuse we hear from people while we`re housing, or streeting, is `chotto isogashii ne` or `kekko`. Kekko is a word for not interested. We get that a lot! For some missionaries there`s only so many kekkos they can put up with before they begin to doubt their abilities to be a good missionary, or begin to become discouraged. In our Zone Conference on Wednesday we discussed Faithfulness. In 2 Nephi 4:34 `O Lord, I have trusted in thee,and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh...` Some days feel like a roller coaster. One minute you`re really happy and everything is great then the next minute you`re more depressed then you`ve ever been in your life. We talked about why that happens to missionaries. In the scriptures it always says, `Let your heart rejoice.`  We need to remember that the Lord didn`t send us here to fail. President showed us that when we trust in man, or ourselves, our faith will go through this wave-like motion. But when our faith is in Christ and Heavenly Father, it`s constant. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ don`t change. Their love never changes either -- it`s us who change. Our faith should never waver when it`s in Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. So next time you feel discouraged, check where your faith is!
We dropped I-San...she`s not progressing and not willing to keep commitments or believe in God. Please pray for No-San, Ni-San and K-Chan. I know that`s a lot! But they`re all important to me.
Also study the topic of Faithfulness in the next FHE. It`s an amazing lesson to be learned and continue to use for the rest of our lives!
Saturday night Hayashi Shimai and I rode bikes for almost 2 hours to a less active member`s house. We went up 2 mountains and 3 hills...when we finally got home, we stretched for a good hour, I think! Anyways, we rode to TC but when we arrived, the person wasn`t home! So we decided to go housing and talk to as many people who were on the streets as possible. It was finally around 6 o`clock in the evening and we figured we should start heading home, so that we make it back on time. We stopped by one more time and by some miracle she was home! Unfortunately she used the `isogashii` excuse so we headed back. As we were coming down one of the hills, we saw this cute little neighborhood we never noticed before. We thought, "Eh we got 20 minutes! Let`s do some housing!" So we did. As usual, we got kekko`d the first 4 houses and I was so sick of it. So the next little door bell box thingy we came to (nihonjin don`t use peep holes, they use cameras instead of opening a door...it`s pretty sweet), we rang, they answered, and I said `Aloooha! We`re volunteers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I came a long way from home to share a message with you!` We both threw in shakas and all! We went all out in front of those little cameras and the people were so much nicer! So 2 people agreed to come to church, all the rest of the houses we knocked agreed to read the little handout we shared and we found 1 potential investigator. Who would`ve thought `aloha` was the medicine for `kekko`! I guess Love really is the answer to every thing! When we finally headed home, we laughed the whole way and kept saying aloha to everyone we rode past.
Yes this week was much better....last week was hard cuz I was really down on myself about the language. But in interviews with kaicho he asked me, `Are you having fun? Are you feeling overwhelmed?` I answered yes to both and he said, `Well, KEEP having fun and STOP being overwhelmed.` I took it to heart and I`m just having fun! Also working hard but always trying to keep that smile...Hayashi Shimai said in her interview kaicho asked about me and he told her he trusts me. He says I have a strong testimony and they`re so excited to have me here. Well there's pressure! Now I have huge shoes to fill with expectations like that from our president! haha so I`ll just keep working!!!

Yes I got my package..thank you!!!I got it today actually, so i'm wearing the skirt right now. You asked about Sundays? My ward is awesome. They give us so much food every week which helps cuz I`m trying not to eat too much. I spent 9 dollars on groceries for this week cuz I dont`t have money to spend and I really really need to slim down so I can bike faster and not waste any more travel time! hahahaha. Mama! I want to talk to you all the time! When I'm cleaning I think about you having to clean that house by yourself. When I cook I think about home cooked meals and how I would kill for something like yours or grams' cooking. When I bike around sometimes I see things that remind me of the boys and I laugh and hayashi shimai thiniks i`m crazy cuz i`m always laughing...lol oh well. I try to be as loving and kind to everyone that I meet cuz I can`t do anything but smile so that`s what I do. I hope you enjoyed my letter this week! It`s kind of short...sorry, and I could`ve told a million more stories! Like how when we are cutting it close on time and we`re biking as hard as we can sometimes the stop lights are all perfectly aligned for us to get where we need to right on time! The Lord`s hand really is in this work I can testify to that!
Give all my boys hugs for me...even the big ones like Hemz! Tell Normz I want an email from her! A girly one with lots of details about their life and how its been with the fam. Tell housty I love him and I want to write him a long letter...so I will some day when there`s time...eh there`s never time...lol give harry a big hug and kiss for me. His costume was awesome [Michael Jackson]. I miss my baby boy a lot! Tell heels I miss my best friend and I wanna hug him so bad whenever I feel really sad here...his hugs were the best! Love you mama, love you dad! And hey, dad never emailed me back, that punk ;) xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

This Thursday will mark the half way point in my first transfer! And what a transfer to remember! Already I learn  more and more everyday. Yes this work is hard but it`s so worth it. I fall into my futon at night completely exhausted from that day's work and I wouldn`t have it any other way. People always tell us how busy they are and how they don`t have time to listen to our message but I can tell you that they`re busy not listening to our message and we`re busy telling people about our message. What a strange world we live in! I love these people, especially the children I meet. I learn so many great lessons from them! This week really try to make time for the Lord, I know we have callings and we do visiting teaching or home teaching but instead of playing a game on the iPad or watching a lame movie maybe you could be talking to a less active, or a non member and stretch yourself to be who the Lord needs right now. From my favorite hymn, `More used would I be` try to find some way to be more used by the Lord this week. I`ll try too! Love you all, have a blessed week!

All my love,
Heimuli Shimai

Heimuli Shimai and a few of the new sister missionaries

Heimuli Shimai & Kerr Shimai taken on their first morning in Kobe at the summit of Mt Rokkyo.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 11 - My 2nd Week in Nihon...Whew!

Let`s rewind all the way back to March 2013 when I opened my mission call back stage at the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was 6:45-ish right before the Night Show "Ha! Breath of Life" was about to start. The whole cast was singing "I`m Trying to Be Like Jesus" and I was unable to hold back my tears of gratitude and excitement. I remember being surrounded by my PCC family, as my Heimuli family listened on the phone back home in Utah, while I read aloud the line "You are assigned to labor in the Japan Kobe mission." 

I distinctly remember thinking and feeling 3 things. I felt extremely blessed. I felt extremely inadequate. And I remember thinking how lucky I was to be going to a place where everyone is so polite! Well, I still feel all three of these things. Here ars 3 experiences from this week - I want you to see if you know how they`re all related.

1. Tuesday, Hayashi Shimai and I were street contacting at a park in Akashi outside the Akashi Eki. We had been biking and walking in a typhoon for about an hour in hopes that we`d find someone who was ready for the gospel. Towards the end of the storm we saw a man walking towards us. We thought, "If he walks straight towards us, he's the one the Lord needs us to talk to" ... and he did exactly that! We stopped and talked for a good half hour. He was talking SO fast! I couldn't understand a dang thing, but he was smiling and nodding, so of course I smiled and nodded, too. I laughed whenever he and Hayashi Shimai laughed, and I interjected "hai" and "so desu ne" when it seemed appropriate. I looked back and forth at my doryo and him a lot, just trying - and failing - to keep up with the conversation. We got his contact info and he went on his way. After he was out of hearing distance Hayashi Shimai turned to me and said with big eyes "WHAT THE HECK?!"  I said,"What?! Did it go that well? Is he asking to get baptized or something?" She replied, "Oh no! He was bashing our beliefs the whole time!" Turns out the whole time he was saying all these mean things about our religion, I was nodding and smiling and saying yes...oh goodness. It looked like I was agreeing with him the whole time!!!! So yes, sometimes I wish people were a little more upfront about being rude here. I'm sure I'll laugh about this 15 months from now. Nonetheless, I am so grateful to be serving in Nihon!

2. Friday was my very first Zone Training Meeting. It was fantastic because I saw about 5 other missionaries who traveled over to Nihon with me. We all looked a little shell-shocked and a lot overwhelmed. However, we really do have awesome leaders that love and care about us. We have amazing Zone Leaders. Tobler Choro who is from Orem went to school with the Pili`s! And Shinohara Choro is from Nihon. They`re amazing and powerful. We discussed "the first revelation." The first vision is what happened in the sacred grove. The first revelation happened when Joseph was reading from the Bible, "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and it shall be given him." If you ever feel like your prayers aren`t being answered, turn to the scriptures. There`s always an answer waiting there. We talked about how important it is to have the scriptures as the main source of conversion for ourselves as well as our kyudosha. Every time we teach a kyudosha we are experiencing the gospel together.

Yesterday, one of our lovely investigators came to Sacrament Meeting. We taught her about prayer after sacrament. She told us she doesn't believe in God but she is fascinated with Christ. We`ve taught her 3 lessons about God already and she still doesn`t believe God loves her and that we are His children. It just about broke my heart that she couldn`t accept this. We prayed with her and for her. She told us she feels God has been cruel but she likes Christ.

Do you want to guess what all 3 of these stories have in common? YUP! Everyone in these stories needs Christ. Whether you`re a rude-smiley guy, a brand new missionary, or a woman who believes nothing in life is worth rejoicing over, each of us needs Christ. Whenever there`s a tough moment for me I grab my missionary name tag and hold on to it really tight. As you can probably guess, I did a lot of clinging to my tag this week! Likewise, we need to cling to Christ. He`s our only way back to God. Why? In 1 Nephi 19:9 it tells us "And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men."

Christ suffered for ALL of us. He suffered for you. He suffered for me. He suffered so we wouldn't have to. Sometimes I just want to grab these people and show them the countless ways God has shown his love for them. The greatest way he showed his never ending love was by offering his Only Begotten Son as a sacrifice so that the rest of His sons and daughters might live with Him again. 

Everyone is in need of Christ. If we ever think we don`t need him, then that's when we REALLY need him the most. As I was studying this week a quote popped into my head from a while ago it goes something like this, "Be kind. Everyone is fighting a hard battle today." This week please do that! Be considerate as you handle fragile situations. Seek out 1 person a day and completely cover them in kindness. As a missionary that can`t communicate very well here, all I can do is speak through my actions. So this is a goal that I`m going to work towards this week too! I love you all. You`re in my prayers. This week is going to be amazing...I can feel it!

Remember; be a little more kind this week!

All my love,

Heimuli Shimai

PS. Here are some overdue pics!
First shopping trip across the street from the mission home. Things are pricey here!

Me and all my sisters who traveled over to Nihon together. Miss these gals!

Me and my MTC Comp Black Shimai on the last part of our plane ride. Yeah, we look like we've been traveling for 12 hours...ugh.

Our first morning in Kobe, our entire travel group hiked up to Mt Rokkyo where we could overlook the entire city of Kobe, and all 66 MILLION people in our mission!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week 10 - Yes!


Yes, I am in Nihon! Yes, I am so lost all the time, and Yes, I still don't know the language; HOWEVER, YES! I still know this Gospel is true. Yes, my love and admiration for my Heavenly Father and for Christ's sacrifice grows every single day. And Yes, I am totally in love with every aspect of this country and its people. 

Thank you so much for the GREENIE package! I loved everything that was in it: the scarf, the candy, and the letters especially! I also loved that everything in that package was green except for Hema`s yellow letter, hahaha, oh Hemz!! I have the best family in the world. Harry`s letter was so funny. Helam`s was sweet and too short as usual. Housty`s got me pumped. And Dad`s made me cry. My favorite part of Dad's greenie letter was when he said, "If anyone gives you a hard time, just say the word and I`m there." I cried because I know it`s true. Out here on the mission especially, I know I`m a daughter of God, but sometimes I forget I am also my Dad`s daughter and he`s just as willing to do everything for me as is our Father in Heaven. LOVE YOU DADDY!!!!!!

I want to share with you what happened on the plane ride from America to here. I would almost say that plane was a sacred place. When you think about it, there were 31 of us senkyoshi (missionaries) on that plane. Not only are we senkyoshi but we are atarashi senkyoshi (new missionaries), so we`re new, excited and eager! I sat in the middle seat on the middle row between 2 Nihonjin (native Japanese). During those 12 or so hours, there was A LOT of missionary work happenin! Lamb Choro taught the old guy next to him how to pray. Three other missionaries and I gave out Book of Mormons (in Nihongo, of course!) and almost everyone passed out pass-along cards. If there`s ever been an excited bunch of missionaries, it would be us! I talked with both Nihonjin next to me; I read the Book of Mormon with the man to my left. The woman to my right wasn`t interested in our message, but she was intrigued and grateful that we would travel such a long way to learn their difficult language. She could tell how enthused and happy all of us were and I testified to her that it`s because of Christ that we feel this way. I respectfully encouraged her that, if she ever sees anyone with black tags like mine with Christ`s name on it, she should stop them and talk to them. I gave her a pass-along card with my email and the mission office`s number to call if she ever needed anything. I talked to a man from Nashville who has a rock band that travels everywhere to teach English and sing songs about Christ. He told me, "We only teach about Christ for 2 weeks -- you teach for 2 years! Thank you so much for spreading Christ`s love!" He was awesome. No, he wasn`t interested in our message either but he definitely walked away with a deeper appreciation for missionaries.

As soon as we landed, I heard Giles Choro and a bunch of missionaries say, "We`re HOME!" And that`s exactly how I felt. There are millions of people within the boundaries of our new home -- the Japan Kobe Mission -- and they all deserve the Gospel.

 President Zinke and Sister Zinke are amazing! President Zinke is a man who functions by revelation, as should we all. He is truly inspired by God and he makes sure we know that we all can be, too! 

The first couple days were awesome ... lots of English, ha! And then we met our trainers, said our goodbyes to others in our group, and I was off to my first area, Akashi [which is just west of Kobe].
Hayashi Shimai is the poor Nihonjin who has to train me! She`s so...there are no words to describe her, but I will try to tell you about my wonderful trainer who right now probably has the hardest job in the world. Hayashi Shimai is from Sendai (I think where the earthquake was a few years back). She's awesome, mom. The mission home should've sent you pics of us, and also one of me with the Zinkes...so hopefully you get that soon because I know you want pics but I didn't take any. All my friends have them on their cameras..they`ll have to send them to me and I`ll send them to you eventually...xoxo.
Hayashi Shimai really knows what she`s doing. Even better, she really knows where the source of her strength comes from, too! We pray before we do anything, and I love that. Her English is awesome (yayy!)! And get this: we actually went to BYU-Hawaii at the same time, and she was a tour guide at PCC! She told me she remembers seeing me dancing and running around at work. Of course I felt bad cuz we dancers are literally running all the time so we don't always get to know those who do other jobs like tour guides...but still, it's a small world, right? I can't tell you enough how grateful I am for Hayashi Shimai. I know this is God's work and I know I can't do this alone. Sometimes when I`m pondering things about my mission I feel a sudden burst of new energy, or a comforting feeling, or a scripture will pop into my mind, and I know that I get these promptings because I have so many people praying for me. The power of prayer is real! Make your prayers as specific as you possibly can with all the faith you can muster and you`ll unlock the powers of Heaven, I promise! I've been learning the importance of specific prayers and I think it could really benefit me! When you pray for me, please pray that I will know the Nihongo for my next lesson. Pray that I will be able to remember my surroundings and be open to being guided by the Spirit. Also thank God for giving me an amazing companion who helps me with my Nihongo. She really is an answer to many long prayers! I told her that, too. I told her that I had been praying for my trainer ever since I got my call. And my prayers have been answered with Hayashi Shimai. She's so awesome, Mom. No need to worry, I`m in good hands...I`m in the Lord's hands.

I didn't need to buy a new bike so they're taking out a bike rental fee. It's like $150 for the next 2 months, so cheaper than I expected. I did lots of shopping today and everything here is so expensive, so I`ll definitely be skinny when I get home. Thank you for the skirt - I can't wait to get it. I thought my skirts were long enough coming here, but riding around for the last few days on a bike, I realize how short my skirts are...yikes!

My 2nd day in Akashi, we went to teach a lesson but she wasn't home. We had to travel pretty far by bike, too, so we decided to come back on Sunday. We went back yesterday and same thing...she wasn't home. I was semi-relieved because that meant I didn't have to talk :) but I was mostly sad that she missed an opportunity to hear the message God knows she needs to hear. We`ll keep trying! This week we have a lot of streeting and finding (knocking doors, stopping people at parks, etc.) so I`ll have a lot of opportunities to open my mouth! 

Everyday I have less and less time which is kind of a ridiculous thought because I just got here, but I can already feel the urgency of this work. I hope you all know how much I love this Gospel. Most times I feel totally lost here but I know I'm not really because I have the Gospel. I`m so blessed that I`ll always be able to carry it with me no matter where I go. I am so grateful for family and friends that have been so supportive! You`re all in my prayers. Keep Nihon in your prayers please! There`s lots of work to be done! Second Nephi 7:7-8 has helped me prepare for this week. I hope it helps you prepare for yours, too!

"For the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded. Therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. And the Lord is near, and he justifieth me. Who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is mine adversary? Let him come near me, and I will smite him with the strength of my mouth."

The work is working!

Heimuli Shimai

Shout-outs: Love everybody's emails especially those who send me nice long ones for my birthday! I love all my boys and I`m glad they all love each other. Please tell Pua and Sifa I love them, too, and really do appreciate them. Tell Coach J that I said hi back, and tell him to keep giving Housty a hard time. Tell the extended fams that I love them so much!!!! Everyday one of the cousins pops into my head and I`m thinking about them...even the babies! I love you all. I miss you all. But I love this work so much! Wish I had more time but this Japanese keyboard is going crazy and I don't know how to fix it...oh well...all my love to the boys! Love you, mama!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Week 9 (con't) - I'm in Nihon!

[Note from Mom:  October 9th is Sister Heimuli's 20th birthday!  We received this very brief note from her shortly after midnight which was 3pm on her birthday.]

It's been a marvelous bday thus far. Thank you thank you thank you! I just got the package from harry. I'll open it in the mission home later. Love you lots!

Very large group of 31 travel-weary but very happy missionaries finally arrived at the Osaka International Airport

It's hard to miss Sister Heimuli's red luggage in the center of this photo

All is well, Pres. and Sis. Zinke are amazing wonderful people. I just got out of an interview with him and he's just wonderful. Absolutely love him and my mission.

There are some awesome things happening mom. The Lord definitely is aware of His work and He's hastening it! I love it. I'm happy, I'm healthy and I want to get to work! I get my trainer tomorrow. Love you!

Heimuli Shimai

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 9 - Leaving SLC...Headed for Japan

This morning, Heimuli Shimai boarded the MTC bus at around 3:45 a.m.  From there, they went to the Front Runner station for the drive up to Salt Lake City.  From there, they transferred to Trax which took them straight to the SLC Airport.  Her brother, Hema, got up super early and was waiting there with a coat for her (she's been freezing) and some waterproof boots.  He ended up staying until he saw his sister board her plane for Seattle.
Oldest brother Hema met Heimuli Shimai at the airport bright and early -- actually dark and early -- to deliver her Converse bag, a warm wool coat, some rainboots, and a lot of love!
Hema snapped this photo of Black Shimai and Heimuli Shimai waiting at C13 for their flight to Seattle.  Hevynn is going to miss her MTC companion when they get split up in Kobe.  Uh-hmm, that is a phone stuck to her ear -- Heimuli Shimai had only a very limited time to call/text close family & friends...we were SO HAPPY to get to talk to her!

Picture Hema following his little sister around the airport as she sought out other members of her district -- such an awesome brother!  It's hard to keep up with her.  Here, Hema takes a pic of Heimuli Shimai and Black Shimai with some of their chorotachi (elders).
Hevynn & Hema share one last hug and a pic as she boards the plane.  Look out, Japan, here she comes!  See you in 15 and 1/2 months, Heimuli Shimai!

Week 8 - Last Week as a Dai Senpai

Well, this is my last week as a dai senpai...then it's back to kohai (newbie) when I get to Nihon!

"And I will also ease the burdens which are put on your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions." Mosiah 24:14

Throughout my last week here at the MTC there were hundreds of ways the Lord has eased my burdens. Between packing, class, cramming as much info into my head as possible, and saying more goodbyes there have been all kinds of burdens my district and I have been feeling weighed down with. We're thinking a lot about adjusting to a new country, new language, new people and the physical as well as emotional burdens have been on our minds. I want to tell you about three ways the Lord has eased my burdens this week.

I am such a lucky girl! Thank you family and friends who have all been so kind as to send me letters and packages! We get mail twice a day and without fail everyday this week I've gotten at least 3 packages and 5 or 6 letters. By the end of the day I was drowning in letters and food and I LOVED it! Thank you thank you thank you. I'm so blessed to have known such wonderful people in my life. This week will be one I'll never forget and all the love and support I've felt from home have made this week a little easier. 
Heimuli Shimai received packages and letters every day this week with birthday puzzle pieces of over 100 photos sent in by family & friends. Her companions and district also participated-- they made her do crazy things to earn puzzle pieces.
Black Shimai (Hevynn's companion) had the "master" copy of the puzzle as well as the checklist for her to mark off when she received puzzle pieces from family & friends. She had a blast putting it together and getting everyone's letters, cards, packages and love!
Speaking of family & friends, Hevynn sent a quick extra email -- she was worried because she knew she would not be able to write back to every single person who sent her birthday wishes.  Here's what she said, "Mama, please be sure to say THANK YOU to everyone who sent in Happy Birthday pics, including some awesome families:  Andrus, Bolen, Chaus, Een, Eyre, Gautavai, Gough, extended Heimuli, Johnson, Knickrehm, Laumatia, Lopez, Mauigoa, ext Murray, Nordfors, Olson, Parry, ext Pili, Rigby, Robinson, Semaia, Sikahema, Simmons, Soliai, Stanger, Tate and Welling families!  I'm afraid I don't have enough time to write them all but I want them all to know I love and appreciate them so much. Love you."

Our senseis are students with personal lives and they have to teach us language and gospel principles on top of their studies so I would imagine it gets pretty stressful sometimes. I've truly grown from their testimonies and their examples. 
Heimuli Shimai, Ellsworth Sensei and Black Shimai.  Ellsworth Sensei served in Nagoya with cousin Kastle Soliai and friend Evan Parry.
As the end of the week approached I was reflecting on all the events that have lead up to the end of our MTC stay. No one ever told me how many goodbyes you'd be saying as a missionary! First you say bye to sins and your old way of life as you prepare to serve. Then you say bye to family and friends. Next you say bye to everything you've ever took comfort in as you adjust to missionary life. Then as soon as you get used to the MTC it's time to say bye to your senseis and your district whom you've grown so close to and really learned to love.

Heimuli Shimai and her district share a candid moment as they pose for last district pictures before going their separate ways in Japan. Yes, she's gonna miss this group.
Beautiful Branch photo in front of the Provo Temple.
That's what's amazing about this gospel, it makes you love more deeply than you have ever loved before. Soon, I'll be saying bye to America! I already know when I get to Nihon there'll be many more byes said; however, I'm grateful for that. To me, goodbyes are a sign of progression and moving on. Even though goodbyes aren't easy they are necessary. I think the hardest goodbye we've ever made was before we left our Heavenly Father because although he has a plan to see us again we have our agency so returning to him is no guarantee. I know he longs for us like we long for things we say goodbye to. Heavenly Father is fully aware of that and that's why he sends missionaries around the world to teach his plan so that ALL his children have a chance to live with him again. I've been privileged to be a missionary and I can't wait to help the Nihonjin say their necessary goodbyes and begin to say new hellos. There's so much to think about as we part ways and learn to say goodbye, but I already know for every goodbye there's a new hello! (When one door closes, another one opens...kind of like that, haha)

"But behold...I will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of their deliverance." In the midst of a stressful week the Lord never ceases to bless us. It was Tuesday or Wednesday and Black Shimai and I were outside trying to plan our final lesson and do a little bit of study before heading back to class. As we studied outside we heard someone call out, "Sisters!" 
Sister missionaries, called to Japan, who had the privilege of singing at the General Relief Society Meeting
This super cute lady walks towards us. She says, "I saw you and I just had to come over and talk to you. I've just had the strongest impression to tell you that I can feel God's love for you. He's appreciative of your work. I hope you know he's aware of you." My jaw dropped. Of all the crazy things going on for every person in this universe the Lord took time to impress on someone to tell us that he loved us??? She then says, "You have such a strong spirit about you and you just glow! I had to come over and say something." I introduced myself and asked what her name was. She is Sister Wadsworth from Arizona...I believe...and she's been home from her mission for about 6 months. She's also a new teacher only been working 4 weeks but already she's helped a missionary in training (me!) learn something! We  expressed to her how inadequate we feel to be going to Nihon and how she has been an answer to our prayers. She smiled and said she understands, she says she feels inadequate everyday to be working in the presence of new missionaries. I expressed to her how the stresses of change and expectation have gotten the best of me and she says, "Lean on the Lord! 'I need thee every hour' right?" We talked a little bit more and then it was time for us to go back to class. We shook hands and told her how appreciative we were to her for following that prompting. The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways, none the less he's always working!

There's no way to measure how much I've learned and how much my love for this gospel has grown throughout these 9 weeks here at the MTC. "For I am God, a God of Miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith." I testify that is true! Our God is a God of miracles and anywhere you see the word God in the scriptures there's a scripture next to it with the word Work. He is always working and he is all knowing and he is fully aware of his children here on Earth. Everything else in the entire world you can forget about, but don't ever forget or doubt that God loves you. As women we are daughters to a king and we should never let anyone, even ourselves, treat us less than that. It is my testimony that the power of God is on the Earth today. I am so thankful for Joseph Smith and his sacrifices because if it weren't for him I wouldn't be on my mission. I know this gospel is true. After 9 weeks of studying this gospel you'd think I would've found out by now if it wasn't. But it is...it is!  I've found this gospel to be more true than anything else on this Earth and I testify of that from the bottom of my heart. The future holds exciting things for all of us, "Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even until the end."

God bless,
A Nervous but Excited Heimuli Shimai

P.S. Okay so here's a list of people that wrote me thoughtful, uplifting letters and/or sent me awesome packages my last week here -- they're amazing! Unfortunately, i dont have time to write back so if you see them around PLEASE thank them for me!  Val Faldmo, Rod & Dierdre Nordfors, Maxine & Stephen Keller, Larsons, Debbie Dickerson, Johnson's, Emily Een, Aunty Mari, Sheri Scheffler, Phippens! Love them all!  Yes I saw Elder Scott this week! Tell Housty his friend Cowboy says hi...Elder Smith? I swear. Everyone knows Houston at the MTC. He should just come here already. LOL. Just FYI, i still don't have a jacket or any of my winter stuff Aunty Nei said she'd send...I'll just buy that in Nihon? Also will you please ask Hema if he'll bring me my white converse bag that I can stuff books and stuff in at the airport? I'm checking 2 huge bags and then i have a roller and i need a carry on cuz i can't fit all my stuff in just my bag...LOL...I'm turning into a revenue traveler. So could you have him bring that for me on Monday? I report to the travel office at 3:35 AM then they take us to front runner and we take front runner to the airport. So IDK what time I'll be getting to the airport. I'll be calling/texting once I get closer to salt lake though. Tell the baby boys I'm calling them first! I want them to be the first ones I talk to :)  Mommy thanks so much for the awesome bday presents and puzzle! I'm almost done with it! I've had such a crazy week that I didn't get to take a lot of pics. Here's a few but there's not that many. I love you. I can't wait til monday so I can talk to you guys! I need to talk to dad. I have lots to tell him! I'm so excited for general conference. So sorry my letter was super short I have NO time ever. The Johnsons sent me 2 huge packages this week with awesome goodies and i LOVED it. I love all my brothers...I really am SO excited to see Hemz. I have been thinking about my cute brothers all week! I did get the phone, thank you for that. I'm excited to use it! Ummmm what else.....I don't know I'll hop back on email later today during lunch or something so if I think of anything else I want to tell you I'll let you know. enjoy General Conference! Make sure the boys are awake and pay attention. This will be a good one! Oh and tell Normz thank you for the awesome packages and letter. I honestly love all her letters. I love all my letters from everyone but especially my sis-in-law! I'll send pics. LOVE YOU MOM!!!!!!!!!!
In the green room at the Conference Center

Before the General Relief Society Meeting began

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Feedback from General RS Meeting

Guess quite a few people spotted Sister Heimuli on Saturday.  Her CTR 7 Primary teacher, Berwyn Andrus, sent Mom a cute note and pic yesterday, and mentioned Hevynn's upcoming birthday.  I'm impressed that Berwyn remembers all this stuff...can you believe he was a Primary teacher to Hema, Helam and Hevynn!  Where has the time gone?
In 2001, Hevynn's Primary class toured the "new" Conference Center.  Who knew 12 years later she'd get to sing there?  L to R is Cason Stucki, Kyle Armatage (currently a missionary in Arizona Scottsdale Mission) and Hevynn
Another wonderful note was received yesterday as a result of Sister Heimuli's Conference Center experience.  Her oldest brother, Hema, served in Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission from 2006-2008 under the direction of President Randall L. Ridd and his beautiful companion, Tamina.  President Ridd is currently Second Counselor in the General Young Men's Presidency.  Really...where has all the time gone?
Sister Tamina Ridd, Elder Hema Heimuli and Pres.Randall L. Ridd on Hema's last night in Ecuador (May 2008)
Good morning Pania,

Just a quick note this morning to say hello and tell you we think about you and your sweet family all of the time.  I hope everyone is doing well. I was at the RS Conference last Saturday evening with two of my daughters.  Adrienne was quick to spot Hevynn in the choir.  She was so excited to see her that she just about jumped out of her seat.  Hevynn looked beautiful.  I hope she is doing well.

Also, last weekend, Rand and I were getting ready for bed, listening to the local news, and we kept hearing the sportscaster say, "Houston Heimuli" over and over again.  We rushed out of the bathroom and rewound the TV so we could catch all of the action!! Oh my goodness!

Anyway, there are lots of wonderful reminders of your family out there.  We love you all.  Please tell Hema and Norma hello for us.  How are they doing? Please stop by and see us if you are in our neighborhood.  

Randall and Tamina