Kobe, Japan

Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 21 - Testify

YES, NEWS DOES TRAVEL FAST! I will be transferring to an area called Otsu and it`s pretty close to Kyoto. I`m SO happy I`ll be able to see Scheffler Shimai! I`ve been DYING to see her! Her new comp is Larkin Shimai who was in my district (now) and in the MTC. Everyone here were just nervous wrecks this morning at the apartment...no one could do our normal study without someone saying every 10 minutes `oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh! Where are we going???`

The whole time I was super chill, just thinking that the Lord knows how much I love this place and that I want to serve here forever...well, it turns out, I`m the ONLY one in our apartment who is transferring! I almost cried when our Zone Leaders called to tell me. Transfers are really rejuvenating. It gives us missionaries a chance to start over, change and refocus ourselves. Now that I`m transferring out of my very first area, I`ll have a lot of change coming my way! I haven`t been this sad to leave a place since I moved back from Hawaii.

Heimuli Shimai & Ellefsen Shimai share one last hug as companions in Akashi

This morning I was thinking about my last 2 transfers and really pondered how much I`ve come to know my Savior in 3 short months. I was reading in Mosiah 18:30 `...all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer...`

It`s true. When I replace Mormon with Akashi, how beautiful Akashi has become to me because it`s here that I started my journey towards the fulfilling of my purpose `...to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel...`  Here in Akashi is where I have come to know my Savior better, through my difficult struggles and in my happiest moments. Akashi -- with its tall cement buildings, loud fast trains, some cold and some warm people, lots of hills and buses -- in Japanese, Akashi means Testify. I can testify how beautiful this place has become to me! 

Heimuli Shimai and Call Shimai head home on Christmas -- those baskets are loaded with goodies/gifts from the members in Akashi!

Although I`m transferring there are so many things I still need to learn. Yesterday our Bishop`s family had 8 of us missionaries over for dinner. Their daughter, Sayaka, is going to BYUH right now and she served her mission in Brazil. When they were driving us back home, I was sitting in the back seat next to her. She turned to me and testified: `A year and a half is really short. Please serve with all you`ve got. Japanese is difficult. Thank you for trying so hard to learn it! I promise you, this time will feel shorter than any other time in your life.`

She`s right. It feels like only yesterday I stepped off the train at the station behind our apartment in Akashi. Now I`m going to a whole new area where I get to learn even more about our Savior and Redeemer, and I get to invite more of God`s beloved children unto Him. We read in the scriptures about how weak we are and how much we can do if we rely on the Lord. I am coming into my 3rd transfer and I can testify to you that I am still SO weak. I can`t learn to speak Japanese in 18 short months by myself. I can`t change people`s hearts. But I CAN rely on the Lord, and He will make up the difference. As He promised, `...have faith in me, and then will I make weak things become strong...` 

Since I`m leaving, my awesome companion gets to stay and train a NEW missionary! Lucky new missionary! Ellefsen Shimai and I have had a crazy transfer together. We`ve been through a lot, and we have grown so much in just 6 short weeks. When we were told that I was the only one leaving from the 4 shimai, we both almost cried. She`s more than my companion…she`s my sistah!

Sistahs Ellefsen & Heimuli

I feel that way about the Chorotachi I serve with as well. We all just call each other brother and sister. It`s such a blessing to know that in the big picture we truly are brothers and sisters and we get to learn this beautiful culture in order to invite more of our brothers and sisters to be `...partakers of the glory to be revealed in the last day...`  This gospel has brought each and every one of us so much joy! I love that my only job right now is to share this with people.

Chorotachi (Elders Steers & Shinohara) & Heimuli Shimai wear kimonos for Christmas

Regardless of wherever or whenever we transfer, `God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth...` Alma 26:37. I know this scripture is true. I am so excited to start a new transfer in a new area with a new companion! I can`t wait to see what the Lord has for me to do. I just want to get to work! 

Thank you for all your love and support, fam. I loved talking to you all on Christmas...maybe not Houston, but everyone else. Just kidding, love you Houst! My FAVORITE part was the song...tears…Hema you are quite the songwriter and boys you are GREAT singers! I miss our jam sessions and the constant music. I cried, laughed, cried, and really enjoyed being able to just be with my family. I love you boys! I`m sorry we couldn`t talk for very long. Hope you all have a happy new year and don`t forget:  Regardless of where you go in life, God has numbered you. I testify that He is aware of you. LOVE YOU!

Heimuli 姉妹

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