Kobe, Japan

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 34 - Claim the Gospel

That`s probably the hardest question you always ask me every week, `What was the best part of your week?` because it`s so hard to choose! I feel like everything, all of it, was good! Even being stuck in a rain storm with no umbrellas, walking for 4 hours because we were super lost, and waking up way too early to study because of all the lessons we were going to be teaching in Japanese and Spanish. I love all of it, the good and the hard parts!

I guess a highlight was getting an awesome package from Aunty Nei! I loved everything in it. Right when I thought, `Wow I think it`s time to go shopping. I wore out all of my clothes this winter,` a huge package came and it`s full of exactly what I needed! Now I can focus on finding instead of shopping! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

Our week started off great! We taught a lesson to an investigator who loves to learn the facts about the Church but has a hard time feeling the spirit because he`s not understanding with his heart. We had the Boettcher boys come sit in on the lesson even though they don`t speak a lot of Japanese. We taught about the Book of Mormon and we taught him how to use it. Then we ended with sharing our favorite scriptures and bearing testimony about it. Usually that investigator has a hard time sitting still and listening to our message. But when the Boettcher boys shared their scriptures and bore simple testimony in English, I saw that investigator change a little bit. He felt the spirit so strong and he said in Japanese, `Even though they`re young they understand` and it`s true! We don`t have to be old to understand the scriptures. Years of study has its benefits, but age isn`t all there is to it. I was so grateful for the testimonies of these 2 young men because I could see it helped my investigator more than anything I could`ve said. After that lesson we walked to the Boettcher house and had the yummiest dinner ever! Brother Boettcher made Shoyu chicken...amazing right?? I told him how I haven`t had shoyu chicken in ages and it tasted even better than I remembered! It`s a blessing having members who are willing to help and serve with you.

Later that week we had lunch with a Potential investigator and all her girlfriends. They`re all crazy old grandmas who are hilarious! They made us a super good traditional Japanese lunch and I thought they were going to have to roll me out of there. They just kept feeding us and feeding us! What was really cute is that we had told her earlier that we don`t drink tea or coffee so she went out of her way to buy lots of juices and sodas so that we wouldn`t be thirsty because she and her friends all drank tea. We didn`t have time to teach a lesson and it didn`t feel quite right so as a thank you we sang them a song. We sang "I Am a Child of God" in English and Japanese and it was amazing how much they loved it! They started asking us questions about the Church and why we were volunteering to be here. We have an appointment to see them except this time they want me to teach them how to cook something Hawaiian. And they want to learn how to Hula so it looks like we`ll be having a luau at her house sometime in the near future! I love those ladies even though their Japanese can be hard to understand and I can`t speak Japanese very well. I feel like language doesn`t really matter. I know this sounds cliche, but if you sincerely listen to a person and they understand how much you love them, you really don`t need to say anything. All people just want to feel like they belong, and this gospel has a great way of doing that.

Alma 42:31 says, `Preach the word unto this people....declare the word with truth...that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them.` God`s plan for us is simple. He wants us to become like Him and enjoy all the blessings He enjoys. He`s created a plan for us to do that!

Regardless of the language you speak or the circumstances you came from, you`ve always got a Father in Heaven who loves you. He`s always cheering you on, even when you think there`s no one in the stands `that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them.` He wants us to claim His plan. He wants to claim us. It`s there -- we just need to reach out and grab it. I was so blessed to be born and raised in the church. I never thought about how blessed I was to be claimed by God`s plan. I work with people and talk with people everyday who have no idea that there even is a plan. We all have to work to help those (who aren`t claimed by the plan yet) to be claimed, so they too can enjoy the blessings the Lord has in store for us.

Thanks for the prayers and the packages. I know you all love me and I feel it everyday! Just go out and find someone whom you know would benefit from all the blessings the Lord has, and help them claim the gospel. We`ll try hard together!

Love always,

Your Sister Heimuli

Monday, March 24, 2014

Surprise Emails: Sister Heimuli is Fantastic

[Note from Mom:  Love getting emails/pics from members in Japan!  This awesome family has a missionary son serving in Texas Fort Worth.  They also show such great love and concern for the missionaries serving in Otsu.  And I'm sure Hevynn was excited to have shoyu chicken for dinner!  Hmmm...just realized pretty much all her pics are taken with/for/about food...haha, some things never change.]

Dear Pania,
I forgot to send this the other day. We had the Relief Society Birthday activity. The presidency made homemade pizza. It was delicious. We are actually have the sisters over for dinner tonight so I will send more pictures. Hope you are doing well. It is finally warming up here. Sister Heimuli is fantastic.  Love, Cindy 

Hi Again, 
We loved having the sisters over for dinner tonight. My husband made shoyu chicken. It was yummy. Sister Heimuli said thanks for the hug. Have a great day!!  Love, Cindy

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Week 33 - My Heart Has Grown About 2 Inches

Glad to hear you made it back to the Mainland safely! I too am so grateful for Siu. She really did bring a special spirit to our Heimuli family gatherings. But even more so, how grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation. I know we will see her again. Not only that, but she`ll be perfect...we all will be! Hall shimai and I taught family home evening here at the church yesterday. We taught the plan of salvation, so it`s such a coincidence that you talked about that in your email to me. We made the young men and soon-to-be missionaries help us bear testimony about every section of the Plan of Salvation. They were so nervous! But they all did great. The church is still young in these parts, but their youth are looking so promising.

It`s amazing how, over this transfer, my heart has grown about two inches, I swear. Not only because it`s pounding so hard when we bike up the mountains to get to our apartment (haha), or because I am still so nervous to speak Japanese to people, but because this ward has really taught me what it means to love. I`ve come to really love this ward and this city. I am so blessed to be here one more transfer! That`s right, I didn`t have to transfer. I am SO stoked!
One rainy day this past week, we ate lunch in this cozy cafe.  Below, is the view from our table.
In PMG it says that the Lord `...wants you to watch over your area with love and great care.` The Lord wants us to love where we serve and love whom we serve. It`s been easy to love the people here because they`re just really, really good people. The YSA put on a talent show Saturday night which was AWESOME! Our ward is SO talented and everyone loves to be in each other`s company. We had the show and dinner together. Two of our investigators came to the show! Then as we were cleaning up, one more of our investigators wandered in. Before we even saw her, all the Relief Society sisters had swarmed her, welcomed her, and took her jacket and bag. They sat her down, and even though we had just finished eating and were in the midst of cleaning, they made her a big bowl of rice and curry and a plate of desserts and made her sit and relax while we cleaned. I was so touched to see that she didn`t even need the missionaries by her side -- the sisters fellowshipped her right as she walked in the doors. Some sat next to her and asked how her day was and what they could do to help her. This particular investigator has had a lot of financial problems and a really rough past. The sisters` love is something she really needs. After she finished eating, we had to head home and one sister volunteered to drive her to the station so she wouldn`t have to walk alone. I was SO grateful for their examples of thoughtfulness and kindness. Their sincere desire to help us missionaries and to do the Lord`s work is outstanding. I know I`m the missionary, but our investigators and especially the ward members teach me so much every day.

I was thinking back on this past transfer and what I could do better to get the work done that the Lord needs me to do, when I came across this scripture in D&C 3:3 `Remember, remember, it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men.` Of course there are ways to improve every day, we are human and we all have imperfections. But I found it comforting to know that even with my weaknesses and incapabilities, the Lord`s work will not be frustrated. Nor will it ever be frustrated. Hall shimai and I talk about how before we became missionaries, there were missionaries out there  working everyday like we work and we didn`t even notice them. Before I became a missionary, the Lord`s work was going, and long after my full-time missionary service is over, His work will continue still. The Lord`s work will never be frustrated.
Our District. Our awesome district leader, DeSilva Choro went home and Brown Choro from Woods Cross is transferring. Other than that, we are all staying! Brown Choro knows Houst, he remembers him from football, haha. Small world.
We had a potential investigator come to church yesterday for her first time. She came to listen to Hall shimai speak and to hear us sing. (Yes, we sang with the Elders, Novak and Brown chorotachi) and she loved it! But during the talks the sister next to her kept showing her scriptures and giving her things to read so she couldn`t just focus on how she felt. I was getting kind of irritated. I thought, `Wow, this is going to be a train wreck. She`s not going to want to come back ever again because this sister keeps giving her all this unnecessary stuff to read.` Then that scripture came to mind and I thought, `Hmm, okay if she`s prepared by the Lord it doesn`t matter what I say or what this sister gives her, the Lord`s work will never be frustrated. If it`s His will, she`ll come back.` And after sacrament she had to leave and she said she wanted to come back next week...YES! I was relieved and grateful. We have an appointment to meet with her this week, so keep her in your prayers.

Thanks for sending me that picture of Heels and the other boys I don`t know...Heels is the best lookin` one ;) And Houston looks good in his dance pic! The tights and pink shirt are a good look for him. I think he should wear that more often -- it really brings out his feminine side! Hemz sent me some awesome Spanish stuff because our investigator won`t teach us how to conjugate. He just speaks it to us and we speak it back. I know my Spanish grammar is awful, but my grammar in English is awful too so whatevz. I love you guys! The weather has been really good lately and it just makes me think of days when we`d play rugby and volleyball at the beach or have lazy days at the pool. I am so happy the weather is clearing up. When the weather is happy the people are happy and they`ll stop to talk to us more!

Have an awesome week! I love you!

The sister who is STILL in OTSU!!!! Cheeeehoo!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Week 32 - My Favorite Part of the Week


So ya`ll are in Hawaii?? Ah! Go catch some waves for me, k? Today we played soccer with some Brazilian elders and our investigator. We played for about an hour and a half and today just happened to be an abnormally hot day so I was DYING! (Not to mention I am super out of shape.) I wanted to hop into the lake SO bad. So please, catch some good waves, eat some poke and pake cake, and drink some guava juice for me! 

[Note from Mom: Request granted! Harrison caught some good waves, Mom ate some poke, Dad ate pake cake, and we all drank guava juice. That's what families are for, right?] 

This week, like all other weeks, went by fast! We were housing in a new area and this really spunky guy walked up to us and asked us if we`d like to try some fresh apples and maybe buy some from him. We talked for a bit, and ate his apples (which really were the best apples I`ve ever had!) and then bought a couple from him. He used to live in New York as a dancer so he loves anything and everything about America. He also spoke a little bit of English and told us his reasons for wanting to study English more. He boldly told us, `Amerikajin girlfriend ga hoshii node benkyou shitai` which means he wants a girlfriend from America, so he wants to study English more so that he can get one. Haha. I didn't have the heart to tell him that speaking English was not what was going to get him an American girlfriend (I mean, my brothers spoke English all their lives and...haha). We just laughed, left him with a flyer for our free English class and kept going.

We got to this other area and as we turned the corner to talk to more people this little girl zoomed around us on a unicycle. It`s a little harder to talk to kids here because they use Plain Form so they don`t conjugate their words properly, which makes it a little harder for us to follow what they`re saying. But she started talking to us about why we were there and asked us where we were from. She was very friendly and curious. We told her we were volunteers, that we teach English and teach people about our church. She didn`t have an interest but she started following us. 
When we`d stop to ring one door and talk to someone, she`d get off her unicycle and stand right behind us. When we`d start walking again, she`d hop up on her unicycle and ride along side us. As we walked from house to house, she`d read the kanji names on each house sign for us, so we were able to use the people`s names as we contacted them. She was actually a lot of help! She became a missionary for a little bit and she didn`t even know it...she was SO cute! We eventually had to tell her bye. She told us, `When you return, we`ll practice riding unicycles together.` I hope that when we return, she and her family will be ready to hear the gospel together, too!

My favorite part of the week was teaching an investigator and committing him to baptism. It was amazing. We weren`t even planning on extending a baptismal invite to him, but the conversation just moved comfortably to baptism so we talked about it. I asked him if that`s something he`d want and he said yes. His date isn`t until May, but it`s definitely something I am looking forward to!

I wish I had more time to write. I am SO sorry this letter isn`t as uplifting as it should be. I am healthy, and happy, and I`ve got work to do! Love you guys, I`ll write more next week...maybe...LOVE YOU!

Just received this photo of Elder Scott D. Whiting's visit to Hevynn's area. Hevynn is on the 1st standing row, just behind the Mission President's wife's (Sister Zinke's) right shoulder.
Sister Heimuli

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 31 - Our Babies

So guess what? We got a new Spanish speaking investigator! We taught him on Saturday after playing soccer with one of our other investigators. He`s a nice guy, says he`s Catholic but wants to learn more about Jesus Christ. He`s only studied the Bible and read a little bit from the Book of Mormon and wants to learn more. I love when people love the Book of Mormon! We went to a Potential Investigator`s house a couple days ago for tea (she made us herbal tea of course!). It turned into a giant scripture study which was rough because she`s a Jehovah`s Witness and their Bible is different from KJV. After studying with her it really motivated me to study the Bible more. I love the Bible because of all the stories of Christ. I was reading in Mark 5 when he raised Talitha from the dead. Christ says in verse 34 `And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.` I found it very interesting because almost every time Christ heals someone He tells people not to say anything to anyone about it. To me, Christ`s humility is a major attribute I need to acquire while I am out here on my mission. He also commands that this girl be given something to eat. I know this may seem like such a simple passage but I really admire Christ`s consideration for her comfort…another attribute I need to learn!

Dinner at Bishop`s last night. Chinese food. It was AWESOME. We love Bishop Hayashi and his family :)
As we`ve focused everything we do (as a mission) on Christ, I realized we can`t wear Christ`s name every day and NOT have His attributes. That doesn`t just apply to missionaries. When we are baptized we covenant to take upon us His name. We don`t need a tag for that. All of us have Christ`s name and we can`t honestly carry His name and not have some of His attributes. `Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ;...`

Moroni points out that we need to be perfect IN Him. We can`t just go around Him, over Him or under Him; we must be IN Christ, and He in us, if we want His grace. Our investigator told us on Saturday that `If I put my faith in a table, I can only do things to the extent of a table. But if I put my faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ I can do the things that they can do.` And she`s so right! Where we put our faith is exactly where our potential lies. Christ didn`t just die for us so that we could be forgiven of our sins. He died so that we could have a chance to become like our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for that, and I am so grateful our investigators are starting to understand that as well.

I love our investigators! They`re kind of like our babies. We find them, begin to teach them, and delight in watching them take their first steps in the gospel. One of our investigators, a 68 year old lady who is crazy and LOVES the chorotachi (elders), was waiting for us after our meeting on Sunday. The Stake President came to say hi to us, he shook our (me and Hall shimai) hands, and he gave the Elders hugs. Our investigator saw that and said, `I want a hug too!` And she literally jumped on one of the Elders! Haha, it was so funny! My companion and I were dying of laughter as members and the Stake President tried their hardest to pull her off of the elder! We talked with her afterward about how she can shake the elders` hands but she can`t hug them. It`s only funny because they just don`t know any better. I love being able to watch our investigators` testimonies grow as they learn line upon line, precept upon precept.

Our friend took us to a Hawaiian restaurant this week...it was LEGIT!
I am STILL learning how to develop Christ`s attributes. Our investigators are discovering them, too. And I have already seen what a difference it makes in the lives of our investigators when they apply Christ`s attributes. I have already seen a change in myself as I learn how to be humble, exercise patience, become diligent. If you have time later, please read John 14. My favorite part is the last verse and it says, `But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.`

How`s everyone doing? Is dad feeling better? Seriously mom, I am so blessed with such awesome family and such awesome friends. I love them so much! I love you guys! Thank you for taking care of yourselves. Keep it up. By the time I get home you and dad will be in better shape than me...I swear a mission gives you baggy eyes, white hairs, and sleepless nights...is this what it`s like being a parent?!

Gotta run. Love you mama :) Are the boys still crazy and having jam sessions on the weekends? I hope so! They gotta have fun while they`re young. I love you guys, I think about you guys often. But not too often ;) Sorry this email is short, but it`s actually sunny today and I`d rather be out there than in here. Love you! Until next week.......

Love always,

Sister Heimuli

I ate poke and rice! I haven`t had poke and rice in ages. The woman that owns the restaurant said that she used to dance in a halau by UH and she lived in Hawaii. Her English is perfect.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 30 - Last Thought

HAPPY GIRL`S DAY!!! Hina sama no Hi!!! I`m not really sure what people do on Girl`s Day, but all I know is that they`re celebrating us, so I`m good with that! Konnichiwa family and friends! Can you believe it`s March already?? The weather is finally warming up. I no longer have to wear 3 layers of scarves! I`m down to just 1 and a light jacket. The weather is beautiful today, so I want to hurry and finish emailing and get out and enjoy it! Japanese is still difficult, but I`ve now managed to learn how to order food without just pointing at pictures, and I can almost carry a full conversation...with a 10 year old. By the time I come home, I`ll be speaking Japanese like a 6th grader...yay!
This week was AMAZING. Elder Whiting came and visited our mission. He did a 3 day mission tour, started in Ibaraki (which is my end of the mission) and worked his way across. There`s nothing more powerful than having someone come who is sent by the First Presidency, who has received revelation on your behalf, and can lovingly but directly give you counsel to help you and your investigators. He taught us about the book 1st Nephi and how it`s the most read book in the church because once you hit the 2 Nephi Isaiah parts, most people give up. Then a few months later, we feel a desire to read again so we start back at `I Nephi having been born of goodly parents...` He`s SO right. He also pointed out to us how the Prophets knew a lot of us would only get as far as 1st Nephi so they jam-packed it full with everything we`ll ever need. Of course we should read the WHOLE book, but we started discussing some of Nephi`s attributes and I noticed that all Nephi`s attributes are Christlike attributes. We`ve been focusing a lot on Christ as a mission lately. During the day as we`re proselyting, Hall Shimai and I play a game called `Last thought!` At any time either of us can say to the other `Last thought!` and we HAVE to tell each other what we were thinking right before that question was asked. And if it wasn`t about Christ or the mission, we have to explain to each other one way it ties back to Christ. It`s kind of silly but it helps us to keep our minds where they should be.
Tuesday night was pretty hectic and we had been riding our bikes for about 2 hours. We finally got home all sweaty and tired and we got an email as we sat down to eat dinner. It was from one of our favorite investigators who`s seventeen and she`s been meeting with us for only about 3 weeks. Her mail said she was sorry but that she couldn`t meet anymore because her parents are Buddhist and they caught her praying. They told her not to meet with us anymore and they said she couldn`t even come to Eikaiwa anymore because it`s held at the church. She told us she was so sad and she cried all day. Hall shimai and I were devastated! We could see her testimony developing so nicely and now, because of her parent`s agency (you aren`t considered an adult until you`re 20 here, and so unless you`re 20 or older, you need permission from your parents in order to be baptized), she`s no longer able to learn about her Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. We prayed and decided we needed to see her soon. A few days later we went to lunch with her and talked about everything. 
She just kept saying over and over, `I wish my parents were Christians.` She asked us if our parents were Christian and we said yes. She then said, `My parents don`t know how I feel when I pray and learn about Jesus Christ. If they were Christian, they`d understand.` Our heart goes out to her. We see her desire to learn and we are continuing to pray for her parents that their hearts may be softened towards the Church. 
I was studying `Who is Jesus Christ` by President Boyd K. Packer and I love the way he describes agency. ``How supernally precious freedom is; how consummately valuable is agency.`` He later explains how Satan knows this. Satan has clever ways of manipulating our choices and deceiving us about sin and consequences. Like Hema said, our choices, the way we use our agency really does have eternal consequences no matter how big or small. Pres. Packer then said, `...Had agency come to man without the Atonement, it would have been a fatal gift.` I can testify that agency is a fatal gift without repentance. Because of Christ`s willingness to endure the Atonement, we have the opportunity to repent. Because of repentance (a broken heart and a contrite spirit), we can be freed from guilt and suffering, and continue to progress and become like our Heavenly Father.
I wish I had more to say, but agency is what it is. If agency was a food, it would be sweet and sour pork. Because it`s really good sometimes! And really blah at other times. Like Alma says, `Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in...` we have to be willing. We have to choose.
I am so happy to hear the Heimuli Family is doing good! Everyone seems to be happy and healthy and that`s really all I could ask for. Hema and Norma are doing a great job representing our family. I am so grateful everyday for the examples my brothers and older cousins were to me because of their determination to serve the Lord. Sometimes their examples are the only things that keep me going. Give my love to the family! Tell Grandpa and Nate I said Congrats!
When you`re faced with a difficult decision sometime over the next week or so, think past that day and the next, because your choices will affect your eternity. And that's my last thought!
Love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Heimuli