Kobe, Japan

Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 29 - We Don't Have to Suffer

Wow! Sounds like everyone`s doing great! Yes, Sister Scheffler and I are in the same zone still and I`ll see her on Wednesday! I always look forward to seeing her. We have such a good time together! And Sister Hall is awesome. We`re doing good, just working hard to find those that are ready to hear the gospel. We didn`t teach as many lessons as we wanted to this week, but we did do our best every day. We`ve both been thinking about our purpose lately which is, `...to invite others to come unto Christ...` so whenever we are streeting or housing we always start by saying, `How would Christ do this? What would Jesus do differently?` and we can usually always come up with some pretty creative ideas. Friday night we were walking up and down this really busy street between 2 malls where thousands of people go shopping. Most people are really happy to talk to us because we`re both Americans. They are either excited we`re in their country, or feel bad for us so they talk to us. But we stopped at this traffic light and this little grandma looked over at me. Anytime anyone looks at me, I always start a conversation with them. There are just too many people to talk to in a city like ours, so whoever looks at me first becomes my focus…target…haha. Plus, she asked where I was from. I started introducing myself when the wind picked up and blew my hair off my tag. 

The lady saw Christ`s name on my tag and a stunned look crossed her face. Then all of a sudden she picked up her stuff and started walking away from Sister Hall and me. I started to go after her, but she wanted nothing to do with us and I didn`t want to freak her out. I just think it`s so sad how much people dislike Christ and they don`t even know Him.

Recently, our whole mission has been trying focus more on Christ. I was reading in D&C 19:1-4 `...I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done.` I thought about how interesting it was that everywhere in the scriptures Christ always invites us to take His name upon us, and in this scripture He says we will be judged according to OUR works and the deeds that WE have done. Those works are in OUR names, not Christ`s. But once we are baptized and make covenants to take His name upon us, our works are His works. The next verse says, `And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I God, am endless.` So we have 2 choices -- Repentance: Changing our ways to be God`s ways (or taking on Christ`s name) which leads us to Eternal Life; or Suffer: Thinking our ways are better than God`s (or only taking our own names) which leads us eternal misery. I know these words may seem harsh, but that`s exactly why Christ came to this earth and submitted to the Father`s will -- to suffer for all that we do in OUR names. He suffered, so that if we choose to repent and take His name upon us, we don`t have to suffer. 

Yeah it`s pretty rough trying to get people to understand why Christ`s name is bigger than ours on our tags. Some people have told me `Oh, that`s why you`re so nice` or `You have a kind atmosphere` (literal translation) after they notice our tags. But regardless of people`s reactions to His name on our tags, we love Him for whom we labor, and we labor because He (and we!) love these people.

Speaking of those we love, our investigators are AWESOME! We got 2 new Tagalog-speaking investigators that we`re meeting with tonight. Thank goodness their English is understandable because Tagalog is pretty impossible. 

The weather has been surprisingly nice lately. It`s supposed to rain on Thursday. When it rains here, it literally rains cats and dogs. I am NOT looking forward to it, but we get to wear pants when it rains, so that`s good. Later this week, we`ll be seeing Elder Whiting at our mission tour. I can`t wait to tell you about it next week!

Hope you all have an awesome week! It should be getting warmer in Utah now, right? Boys, keep training hard. Football season will get here faster than you think. And keep being good to Mom and Dad. We were riding past a park the other day and a bunch of high school boys were playing rugby. They were probably all around Houston`s age. I wanted to play! They reminded me so much of Houst. I miss that boy.

Have a great week! Love you all!

Love always,

Sister Heimuli

Monday, February 17, 2014

Surprise Letter: To Utah, With Love

[Note from Mom:  Valentine's Day came and went, then a lipstick-kisses-covered envelope showed up in the mailbox!  Sister Heimuli had collaged pics on one side and a personalized letter on the reverse side for each member of her family.  What a treasure!]

Hope you guys enjoy my valentines!!!  Sorry they're kind of ghetto and really rough looking but keep 'em forever...they're probably the only souvenirs you guys will get from me. LOL (Broke, that's why).  Show those you love even MORE love.  Even though I'm in Japan, I still love each one of you.  We all have some exciting things coming up in the next year.  There are a lot of changes happening.  You've all been troopahs thus far.  Don't let up!  Keep including the Lord in your plans because "Perfect love casteth out fear" (Moroni 8:16).  Change can be uncertain, exciting and sometimes even sad, but I promise that the love of Christ, perfect love, will cast out all fear.  Love each other.  Love those that may have offended you.  But most importantly, love me...because I'm awesome!

Love always,
Heimuli Shimai

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 28 - Who Is Hevynn?

It`s okay!!! I understand that you guys don`t love me and don`t want to send emails to me...hahaha, just joking! My fambam is awesome. I love you guys to the moon and back. Thanks for the rockin` Valentine`s day package! I LOVE all the candy. Sometimes we don`t have time to eat dinner, or appointments run late and we end up skipping meals, so it`s nice to have something on hand to keep us going for a few more hours! You guys are awesome!
Well this past week was the last week of being a 3rd transfer and my first week of being a 4th transfer missionary! It`s amazing how the time passed so fast. We were at transfer point and these sisters were shouting, `Who is Hevynn? Do you know who Hevynn is?`
I told them that was my first name and they said, `Our ward keeps talking about you! They keep telling us to find Hevynn. They want you to transfer into our ward!` 
Come to find out it`s the Fukuda family that I stayed with when I was living in Osaka, remember? I remember going to church in that ward there! I sang `I Am a Child of God` in japanese  when I was 11. I can`t believe they still remember me. It`s amazing how small this world is, and the LDS world is even smaller, haha. They are in the Takatsuki ward so I hope I transfer there some day, but we'll see.
My new companion is Hall Shimai from Oklahoma. She`s adorable! 

She`s a 7th transfer and it`s cool because she wants to work together so we can help each other grow, not just tell me what I`m doing wrong. It`s super nice! We have a good relationship already. I can tell the Lord is expecting big things from us this transfer. Sadly, within the 3 days we`ve been together we haven`t been able to meet with any of our investigators. But last night we found a new investigator and her daughter. Their names are Maria and Bianca. Maria is from the Philippines. She speaks pretty okay japanese and some english. When we taught them last night it was a little bit in japanese, a little bit in english and she would say a few things in tagalog that I kinda sorta knew from my Filipino friends in Hawaii. And that`s how that lesson went. Even though it was hard to pick a language to teach it in, it was still super fun! She`s a spunky lady with lots of personality and I loved hearing anything and everything she had to say. We have an appointment to see her tomorrow night.
As far as my Tagalog goes, it`s pretty bad. But my spanish is improving! Tell Helam I understood everything he said in his letter in Spanish I just can`t speak it very well. I sat next to our Spanish speaking investigator`s mom at church yesterday and she just talked and talked and I can understand her pretty well. We have an appointment later this week to learn some Spanish and the gospel with him.
The most exciting thing that has happened was Saturday night while we were housing in an area relatively close to our apartment. I made a few wrong turns and we ended up on the other end of the city. It was POURING rain and we were hopelessly lost. Our shoes were soaked, we were cold, and we were 2 Americans biking aimlessly around a big city. We stopped at this restaurant that looked closed but the head chef was cleaning up. I knocked on their nice glass windows (getting it all dirty and soaked because of my rain suit, oops!). He was super nice and opened up. He told us which way to go and asked us why we were in Japan. We told him very little about who we are because we had to hurry home to make it in time for curfew. We followed his directions and in a couple minutes we were back in an area that I knew like the back of my hand! I was so confused...I had no idea how we got lost. But after we got home we both felt really strongly that as we go finding later this week, we want to go back and try to find that restaurant again and invite that guy to church. It`s kind of simple, some might say a little dumb, but I know everything happens for a reason! If you let the Lord guide His work it`ll get done!
I promise to have more things to share next week! Transfer week is always rough because if someone transfers in, or if you transfer, a lot of that time is spent getting to know each other and planning...so this week we`ll have some awesome experiences and I`ll share those next week!
Love you all!
Sister Heimuli

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Surprise Message: She is Loved Here

[Note from Mom: What better way to warm your heart for Valentine's Day than to get a message from Japan in the wee hours of the morning?  I wonder if the incredible moms in the mission field have any idea what a blessing they are for taking time to email a missionary's mom...]

Hello! We are the Boettchers from Orem, Utah. We live here in Otsu, Japan now. We had the sister missionaries over for dinner tonight. We have really enjoyed getting to know Sister Heimuli and her sweet spirit. She has a beautiful voice! She sang in sacrament last week. She is loved here and doing great.

The Boettchers seem not too different from the Heimulis...one beautiful sis and all those handsome boys.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 27 - My Whole Soul

Thanks for all the pics!!!! All my boys are growin up too fast. You know what`s crazy?? Our last name isn`t that common but everywhere I go there`s always someone that knows our name. There`s an elder in my zone named Bentley Choro, I think he`s from Alpine. Well he saw my name and asked if I was related to Leah Heimuli. We were in a train and I shouted so loud I think every japanese person fell out of their seat, `Yes!!! That`s my cousin! She`s a tennis pro!` and he said his sister plays tennis too so he`s watched Leah play before. I was jealous because I miss that cutie and I would kill to watch my little cuz kill it on the court! 

I also saw the adorable Scheffler Shimai. We sat in the hall at Zone Training Meeting and just reminisced on the days when we were kids and played together. I love that I see her all the time because it feels like we both have a little piece of home right here in Japan. Missionaries can`t believe we`ve known each other since before we were born. They`re always surprised when we talk about how our parents were friends before they even had us. It`s a fun little story we get to tell people!

At Zone Training I learned something really interesting. In Enos verses 8-9 it says, `And he said unto me, Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee WHOLE.`  `Now it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren...wherefore, I did pour out my WHOLE soul unto God for them.`

Enos repents, receives forgiveness, then takes his WHOLE pure and clean soul, and pours it out to God for his brethren. He pours out his new soul in order to help his brethren, the Nephites. PMG 186 states you cannot convert past your own conversion. That is an important concept to understand. I had to step back and really evaluate where I stood with the Lord, and where my investigators stood with the Lord. Am I giving my WHOLE soul for them? If I am, is my whole soul clean enough? When we do all within our power (this includes repenting and working), I know God paves the way for those for whom we labor. 

On Wednesday we had Eikaiwa and one of our students is this really cool 20 year old kid. He`s in college, he studies hard, and he loves english! He actually came to church last week because I told him we were speaking in Japanese and he was super stoked to come. I followed up with him at Eikaiwa just asking him how church went and if he had any questions about what we talked about. He asked `Why do you say Christ died but that He still lives?` Wow. I thought he was going to ask about how much we pray or ask why we all have `Shimai` and `Kyoudai` at the end of our names. I couldn`t explain it to him in 2 minutes at Eikaiwa so I told him to email us later that night whenever it was convenient for him so that we could teach him about it. Well he didn`t email us that night. But the next day while we were proselyting we got an email that was from him and he said he wanted to meet at the church in a couple of hours. 

We booked it back to the church and got a lesson together for him. In order to understand Christ you need to have a foundation of God. So we taught about God. As we taught him I could see things clicking for him. We told him he was a son of God, which he thought was pretty cool. Then we asked him, `From what we`ve taught you about God, what do you think God is like?` His answer was, `He`s busy!` We just had to laugh! He was so right. God is busy. We missionaries are working hard down here, and He`s working hard up there! Heavenly Father has to answer people`s prayers, we don`t. He blesses people when they make promises with him, we don`t. It`s amazing how when we missionaries do everything within our power, Heavenly Father really does take care of the rest.

`Therefore, o ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.` 

All He asks is for our ALL. Once we give Him all our heart, might, mind and strength, it`s only then that we `...may stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God...` Luckily, He doesn`t ask us to answer prayers, or change people`s hearts. Only He has the power to do that. He doesn`t even ask us to be perfect or know everything. He`s already perfect. He just asks us to give our all.  
While we were finding, we ran into this random reservoir
The last two weeks have been skimpy on the lessons. For some reason all of our investigators got super busy so we couldn`t set up appointments and people just weren`t interested in anything we had to say, so our numbers were looking pretty sad. However, we still worked hard, we went finding, we talked to everyone we could, we struggled through hundreds of conversations in order to meet people with interest and invite them to hear our message. I know the Lord saw our efforts and He`s blessed us immensely this past week. Even with a new transfer coming at the end of the week, He`ll continue to bless us. 

I am so sad that Colter Shimai is transferring to the other side of the mission! My Spanish hasn`t improved that much, so I feel bad for all our Spanish speaking investigators who will have to hear me struggle through their language, but I will give them all I have got. Our investigators are doing pretty well and I`m excited to stay another transfer to watch them progress and move closer to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

As always, I love you, ohana! This Valentine`s day, show all those you love even MORE LOVE! More importantly, keep working hard and doing the things you know you`re supposed to do, and showing your loving Father in Heaven that you love Him, too. He`s always there for you, waiting patiently for the moment you come to Him.

Take care, stay healthy, be happy!

Love always,

Sister Heimuli

Friday, February 7, 2014

Happy Bump Day (6 Months Out)

6 Months have crawled by (to the day)
Since Sister Heimuli went on her way.
“No Greater Work” had she to do.
Now she’s 1/3 of the way through!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 26 - Because My Parents Were

You know you`re in Japan when you are at a mall, in the food court, and you can leave your bags and coats on chairs to save your spot, and no one moves or touches them. I love how safe this place is....everything is incredibly tiny, the food portions, the people, the stairs...but it`s safe! We took an investigator to lunch on Saturday, she`s 12 and really soft spoken. We asked her what she wanted to eat and she wanted Subway. So we were standing in line and she looked kind of nervous so I asked her if she wanted something else and she said, `We should probably save seats first.`

 Her English is amazing. She lived in Australia for 2 years when she was 9. She also speaks Chinese and Korean because of her mother, and of course Japanese too. I was surprised when she said that because I would NEVER leave my stuff on a chair without someone watching it in America, but she`s from Japan so I decided to trust her. We found some seats and left our stuff only taking our wallets with us. When we got back 15 minutes later with our food everything was…right where we left it! Thank goodness for good, honest people. Japanese people are great in that way!

This week all our teaching appointments kept falling through. We`d start the day with about 3 appointments and slowly one at a time, they would fall through. So when you have no lessons and nothing else to do, you find. Our mission goal this week was to get 400 people to church for Fast Sunday. So we invited every person we came in contact with to come to church. In order to get a lot of people at church we decided to target families. So we made a 2 minute message we could share with people as we housed and testify about how the church strengthens families, and then we would invite them to church. So we housed for hours and hours and finally this guys came to his door (which is rare. They usually have ping pong boxes and you speak with them through it like a phone so they don’t have to let you in) and we started our message. He asked if we were talking about religion and we answered yes. Then he said, `not interested.` We asked why and he said it`s because he was buddhist. We asked him why he was buddhist. He was totally thrown off guard. He didn`t even know why he was Buddhist! After a few minutes he finally managed to say, `Oh, because my parents were.`

He ended up not accepting our invitation to church, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless. It wouldn`t be enough just to say I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, `because my parents were.` Every single one of us needs to exercise faith and be diligent in nurturing our own testimonies, no matter how small or how young we are, so that we know who we are, what we believe and why we believe it.

The next day when we went finding, we were riding down a really sketchy looking street by Japanese standards. We were trying to find the nicer newer homes but we took a wrong turn and rode past this old woman trimming her trees. She saw us and as always, we said hello. She flagged us down and asked us to look at her trees. We hopped off our bikes and parked. She took us around her house pointing out all these things and saying names of plants. It`s at times like that when I wish I had paid a lot more attention to Dad, his green thumb, and his love of gardening. I had no idea what she was talking about! I just smiled and nodded like I always do. She took us to the front of her house by her front door, (culture tip: Nihon jin are VERY private people. They like their space. You usually can never get to their front doors.) so I was feeling kind of thrown off because most people wouldn`t take you this close to their house, and she started picking fruit off her trees and giving it to us. Colter Shimai and I looked at each other totally bewildered. We had no idea what was going on. Colter`s a 4th transfer I`m a 3rd, so we don`t yet know much of the vocabulary this woman was using. Then she ran into her house and told us to follow her! We walked in and took a seat on the floor. She came back out with more fruits and little paper cranes. She started telling us about her life and how she was an English teacher at a high school 40 years ago. She then taught us how to make paper cranes. We just talked and laughed and ate fruit with this stranger in her house. She was kind. We invited her to church but she said she would be busy. We exchanged numbers and she asked us to visit again soon. Before this we had been housing for a long time and we had been biking for a while, too. It was a tender mercy from the Lord to give us a small break and let us chat with a really sweet old lady. We left her house so pumped to find more sweet people like her!

Just like last week, this week we worked really hard to invite as many people to church as possible (and you remember how that turned out). When sacrament started Colter Shimai and I had 7 new people there!!!!! The Elders had 5! Not bad, haha. Today we found out we almost hit our mission goal, as a whole our mission brought 396 people to church yesterday!!!! I`ve really seen how the Lord will bless us if we`re diligent. When we do all within our power, the Lord will make up for the rest.

Thank you fam for the package!!! American toothpaste is waaaayyy better than japanese toothpaste. I`ve been listening to the Ambassadors CD morning and night ever since I got it. I loved all the letters...Pua and Becca and Normz`s letters were awesome! Ah, girl power! I am always uplifted when I get letters from you guys. Sifa`s letter was funny as always, too. Girl power, jk. Well, I hope the best for everyone at home, especially Grandpa. Get better, Gramps! Harry, I promise to get around to writing you soon okay, bud?

Love you all!

Sister Heimuli