Kobe, Japan

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Week 47 - To Takashima and Back

[Note from Mom: When first Sister Scheffler, then Sister Heimuli, received calls to the exact same mission, we moms decided that WHEN (not IF) our daughters became companions, we would go to dinner together to celebrate! We had that dinner last week at -- where else? -- Kobe Restaurant (in Ogden) and sent this picture to our missionaries.]
Lakei & Pania with Kevin & Sheri Scheffler...and their table's chef/comedian.
Wow! We DIED LAUGHING at you guys` picture! It`s so fun being able to serve with someone I`ve known my whole life. And we love telling people our story when we first meet them, too! What a crazy week we`ve had...I guess it will always be crazy since we`re together!
"I miss my mission mom and dad!" said Sis Heimuli, shown here at the Zinke's farewell mission tour, along with Sis Scheffler...a few days before they became companions!
There was a really cool miracle we saw this week. As we planned where to go Monday night during planning I felt like we should go to Takashima which is the furthest point in my area and I have never been there. It`s an hour by train and I heard it was 3 hours by bike. So we were like `Yeah! Let`s do it!` The next day we hopped on our bikes and yup...rode for about 3 and a half hours before finally finding the area where the houses were that we needed to find. By that time it was actually time to turn around or else we wouldn`t make it home on time. We thought about it and decided to leave our bikes, catch the train, and try again the next day. The next day we took the train back to Takashima, got our bikes and began biking again. Our legs were super tired from the previous day`s bike ride but we were pretty determined to find these less active sisters we wanted to visit.

We finally found one and, as we ping-ponged her, she seemed pretty distraught that we were there and she told us to wait a minute. She came out and just bluntly told us she wanted nothing to do with the church and she was sorry we came out to Takashima but she wasn`t going to let us in. And then she walked away, slamming her door. Scheffler shimai and I just looked at each other like, `What just happened?`

We decided on a new and improved action plan for the next sister`s house. We figured if we left our bikes right by her door step so she would see we biked there, then she would feel willing to let us in, and there we could try to teach a lesson. So we did! At the next sister`s house we rang the door bell, she came out, gasped when she saw our bikes and said, `Come in! Come in!` Relieved, we walked in and she fed us cookies and milk. We talked and introduced ourselves. When the time seemed right I asked her if we could sing a hymn for her and she was really excited to hear it. We sang and she started singing along too! That gave us an opportunity to bear testimony and really testify to her about why we are here as missionaries, and that even biking for 3 hours couldn`t change how much we loved helping people and teaching about the gospel. She agreed. She was very kind and respectful. Before we left she gave us a huge bag of treats and told us to take it slow riding home and to stop frequently and eat those treats. She was so sweet!

The miracle wasn`t that she let us in because she felt bad that we rode bikes all the way to her house. The miracle was that both of these sisters were even home. We don`t call ahead of time before visiting people. We just pray and ask Heavenly Father to guide them so that they`re home when we want to meet. We visit lots of less actives everyday and most of the time they`re not home. But the Lord knew how difficult of a bike ride it was for two sister missionaries on mamacharis (the type of bike we have) and He heard our prayers and answered them. No, the first sister didn`t have any interest but at least she was home! And the second sister didn`t make a return appointment but she was home too! And best of all, we got an opportunity to bear testimony, which is why we are here. That day we had to hurry and bike back to the church in time for 2 other lessons and our English class. The Lord provided the way for us to be able to do all the things we needed to do that day.

Yesterday the ward members heard that we biked to Takashima and back and they were amazed! Everyone kept walking up to us asking if we were okay. They kept saying, `If you were elders maybe I would believe it...but you`re sisters! I can`t believe you made it there and back!` Funny, they don`t even realize that both of us grew up with all brothers!! We know we couldn`t have done any of that without the Lord. Imagine if the sisters weren`t home when we went to visit. That would`ve been a waste of a trip! We would`ve needed to make that trip again! The Lord truly does provide the way. We just need to be willing to work and follow the promptings He gives us.

It was an interesting week last week and we look forward to another great week this week too! I hope you all have a lovely week as well!

All my love,

Sister Heimuli

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week 46 - Don't Overthink

Sister Scheffler and I find ourselves looking at each other countless times during the day and saying `What are we doing?! How are we companions?!` It`s been such a fun few days together. I too am excited to see the miracles that the Lord has in store for us this transfer. Can you believe I`m working alongside a girl I grew up knowing my whole life?! It`s been such a blessing to see how Sister Scheffler works and how the Lord knew I needed to learn quite a few things from her. We saw a huge miracle together after our first day together!

For the last 3 transfers we`ve been trying to find this Less Active sister whose address was wrong and we thought we lost her. But a member called last week with her new address, and when Sister Scheffler transferred in she was the first one I wanted to find! We biked for a while but it was pretty easy to find her house.
Heard a huge rip sound and my bike stopped and my skirt was caught in it. This is my 3rd skirt i`ve ruined. I am so sick of buying skirts! It was pretty intense...the pictures don`t even do it justice....

When we rang, it looked like no one was home. All of a sudden a sister came outside and she was SO happy to see us. She told us to wait a minute, shut the door, we heard some rustling around, and then she said, `I`m sorry my house is so small, but would you like to come in?` Japanese people do not like when people just stop by unannounced but she was super open to us from the get go. We sat down she squeezed some fresh Mikans (orange like fruit) and had us eat some treats and talk with her. We talked about a lot of things and about when she first met missionaries. She said she didn`t think she was a member anymore because she had stopped going to church about 40 years ago. We assured her she was still a member and that she could come back with us! She seemed a little hesitant but since she liked us she wasn`t weirded out by our bold invite. She then wanted to show us around her house so we were like sure! She took us upstairs into this tiny room with a bunch of pictures she`s painted and photography she`s taken, and there was a dusty guitar sitting in the corner. I told her, `Would you mind if we sang you a song?` she was more than happy to let us! I asked her what her favorite hymn was but she didn`t remember any. So Scheffler shimai and I sang I Am a Child of God while I guessed at what chords to play. Halfway through the song she started humming and then singing the words too! When we finished, she was surprised she still remembered the words. We bore simple testimony and she told us about how her parents have gotten really ill lately and she`s been so worried. She said that having us visit and sing that song comforted her and she realized that God still knows her. Scheffler shimai and I were shocked as we looked at each other like `Wow`. I asked her if she`d like to study about God again and she was so excited! We set up an appointment for this week and she said she`d make us lunch and we can study the Book of Mormon together. This was a miracle because we`ve tried to find her house countless times, but we could never find it. She`s been away from church for 40 years, and by that time most people have hardened their hearts to it. Her parents situation has softened her heart and opened the opportunity for us to reinvite her back to church. The timing was perfect, that definitely was not our power but Heavenly Father`s power. This may seem like a small deal to some people, but after working with the Japanese people for almost a year, it`s a huge miracle to me!

I love Sister Scheffler`s `Just Work` attitude. We don`t overthink things, we just go out and do. That`s the way it`s supposed to be! If we think too much, we might overthink the Spirit and miss an opportunity to do something great. Yesterday we had Stake Conference and they broadcasted this special meeting for Japan. It is such a privilege and honor to work here in Japan. It`s not easy but it`s oh so worth it! So this week, don`t overthink the Spirit, don`t second guess a prompting. Follow what feels right and I know God will see your faith and open many doors that you didn`t even know were there!



Last pics with Hall shimai!
Bishop's wife made us these cute hymn book covers

Bishop & YSAs came to say goodbye to Sister Hall

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 45 - Never Ceases to Amaze Me

AHHHHHHH!!! Out with the old in with the new... I love transfer week. It always brings a buzz into the mission. Everyone gets super excited to see who is whose companion...so check this out.

Last week at the "Bye Bye Kai," or the meeting where we said bye to President Zinke and Sister Zinke, we gave them hugs. Yes, I got to hug President, too! I was crying the whole time...and took pictures with them. I love President Zinke, he`s been another father to me. And Sister Zinke`s been a mom to me. 
Me and Mama Zinke.  I love this lady!
I leaned over and said, `President, I have a request (I was totally joking). Will you put me and Sister Scheffler together next transfer?` He took a notebook out of his pocket and a pen, and wrote it down. Sister Scheffler and I were laughing, thinking about how funny it would be if he actually did put us together. This morning, we got a call from our District Leader saying, `Hall shimai, you`re transferring. Heimuli shimai, you`re staying. You will be companions with Scheffler shimai.`

WHAAAAAAT???!!!! Can you believe that?! I thought he was joking! Yup, President never ceases to amaze me. I am SO excited to be with my dear Scheffler shimai! Can you believe we grew up together...and now we get to serve the Lord together! I am so excited to work with her!
Kyoto Zone! I love this Zone. There's cute Scheffler Shimai....Can`t believe we`re going to be together next transfer!
Now, with transfers comes a lot of changes. I am so sad to see Hall shimai leave but I`m excited to see what more Scheffler shimai will add to our investigators` testimonies. I`ve seen many miracles with Sister Hall and it`s sad to think we won`t be together again!
Hall shimai and me sweaty from our dramatic bike ride/my non-graceful bike crash (more on that later!). Gonna miss her!
One significant miracle we experienced yesterday was when we went to visit a less active sister who lives with her son. These two have been less active for over 10 years and she`s not felt any need to return to church. Sister Hall and I have visited her about 10 times by ourselves but no one was ever home. Bishop came up to us after church yesterday and asked us if he and his daughter (Megumi shimai, who is leaving for the Minami Tokyo mission in October) could come with us and visit less actives. We were so excited to work with bishop! I`ve seen over and over again the difference in working with members. I know that only when we work with members can we actually hasten the work. So we went with them after church and spent a couple hours visiting families.
One of my favorite people, Misato san! She`s an opera singer and she`s amazing!
Then when the time felt right, I told him we needed to try and see this specific less active sister.We did, and lo and behold, she was home! Her door was open and it looked like she had been cleaning or something. She happily invited us in. I looked on her wall and a picture of the Salt Lake Temple was hanging there. We talked about that picture and about various sacred things. We sang `How Great Thou Art` and bore our testimonies. She cried and thanked us for coming. She said she`s been working so hard and feeling so burdened and right when she thought she couldn`t handle it anymore, we came to her door. God`s timing is perfect. She also invited us back! Having bishop with us was a great blessing because even though we offer to help, people look at us like `Uhh you`re two girls; Two girls that can`t speak Japanese. I don`t need your help.`  But when bishop offered his help, and the help of our ward members, she gladly accepted -- which is good because the more her ward members are around her, the more she can feel God`s love and gain a desire to be part of His fold again.

Since it`s transfer day we don`t have much time, but I just wanted to tell you all thank you for the letters and the awesome package! Bishop`s son LOVED his hat and he was so excited when he saw it! Thanks, Dad! I loved the letters from the Primary children as well! I sincerely wish I could write every single one of them back individually. Please tell them Sister Heimuli loves them, and I can`t wait to find out where they will all go on their missions! That`s the beautiful thing about this Church. It`s the same everywhere you go. Nothing changes in the gospel. It`s at its purest truest sense. I love this gospel! It`s an honor and a privilege for me to be allowed this opportunity to help share it with those around me.

Congrats to Heels and Alyssa! Alyssa, welcome to the Heimuli Family. I think you will love being a Heimuli. 
Helam & Alyssa at the Bountiful Temple
From the pictures, it looks like it was a great day! The most important and gorgeous part was seeing everyone at the temple!
Welcoming the newlyweds! L to R: Hema, Devin, Houston, Bo, Harrison, Thomas, Evan & Kevin.
Mom & Dad stand in the background

Love you all!

Sister Heimuli

The Crash: We were racing the clock one night and my tire hit the curb wrong and i crashed! I hurried and got back on my bike because I didn`t want to miss curfew and Sister Hall rides behind me and says while laughing, `Woah! That was like matrix! Okay, let`s go -- we don`t have time!` hahaha it was a fun night!
Ouch...still smiling though.
Ruined my watch in the crash. At least it wasn't my favorite one!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Week 44 - Just Listen

Thanks for the picture! Everyone looks great! I miss the Ole PCC crew. Tell Po`u cut his hair! Hahaha. Wow! You all sound like you`ll have a busy week! But busy weeks make time fly by for some reason! I woke up this morning and I couldn`t even BELIEVE it was Monday again!

Yes President and Sister Zinke will be leaving in about two weeks. We have our bye-bye kai this coming Wednesday. To think this may be the last time we`ll see them is pretty sad, however I`m looking forward to what President Welch and his wife will teach us.
Speaking of people leaving, the sisters found these big boxes of food waiting for them when they arrived at the church.  They were from the Boettcher family who moved back to the U.S.
Something I`ve really learned from our President and his wife is that the Spirit is the key. Think about it, we are the only church in the world that has the Holy Ghost testifying of it. That`s what makes it true. We are taught over and over again that the Holy Ghost teaches truth. Everything in the books we use as missionaries and members throughout the world (Book of Mormon, Bible, PMG, Gospel Principles, etc.) always refer back to the Holy Ghost.

`If ye have not the spirit, ye will not teach` `the spirit teacheth a man to pray` `...then ye shall know by the power of the spirit...`

Sometimes we forget about the third member of the Godhead, The Holy Ghost. If the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead then He must be a God. If you look up Holy Ghost in the Bible Dictionary it tells us He`s a God. As baptized members of the Church we are promised to always have a God (the Holy Ghost) with us if we remain worthy of His presence. With the Holy Ghost as our constant companion we can do anything.

Recently, we haven`t been able to work with one of our Less Active sisters because she got really sick and couldn`t handle us visiting anymore. This nearly broke our hearts because she was progressing so well. As we continued to pray for her she eventually emailed us and asked for some Book of Mormon homework. When we first met with her she told us she wouldn`t return to Church. The next time we met she said she would return no earlier than August. Then this week she emailed us and said, `If I`m feeling well on Sunday, can I go to church with you?` Sister Hall and I had to read that email ten times to make sure we weren`t mistaken! This is what I think:  as she read the homework we had given her the Spirit testified to her that this was true, that going to Church was important. If you think about it, we humans don`t have that much control over things. I couldn`t force her to feel like the homework we gave her would help her. That`s something only the Holy Ghost can do. `...and the spirit carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men...`(2Nephi 33:1)

We waited for her in the lobby on Sunday, and she walked in right before sacrament. It had been over 10 years since she`d been to church, and at the end of the meeting she turned to me and said, `Same time next week?`

What a blessing it is to have the Holy Ghost helping us do this work. I know this is something man cannot do, only with the help of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost.
Sister Heimuli and a less-active sister
Even though this sister was nervous to come back to church because she was scared of what people would think of her, I know that anyone and everyone is worthy of Christ`s Atonement. Everyone deserves it. And I`m so grateful that President and Sister Zinke have done an amazing job at helping us recognize that the Spirit is the key in everything we do and that the Atonement is enough for all of us.

I know Heels is getting married this week! It`s come so fast! And there`s so much going on, but please don`t let things around you get so crazy that you shut out the promptings of the Spirit. He`s not loud, He`s not harsh, yet He`s willing to help if we will just listen. I promise that as you listen to the Spirit this week, your thoughts will be organized, your struggles won`t seem as hard, and your week will end up being full and satisfying! You won`t have any regrets! I still haven`t gotten your packages yet but I`m excited to! I love you all and hope you have a FUN and memorable week!

All my love,

Sister Heimuli
At church, Sister Heimuli met one of her mom's Kahuku classmates: Alan Walker and family from Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Ran into this cute little guy at the lake

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week 43 - You Know What I Love?

You know what I love? I love testimony meetings where people bear testimony! This past Sunday was so beautiful as people bore testimony of what`s important...Christ and His gospel. We had a lot of investigators there and a friend came, so I was the first one up to bear my testimony. After I sat down the 2nd counselor stood up again and said, `Now we will hear a song by the missionaries.` We all looked at each other like 'What?'

We had planned, earlier in the week, to do a Choir with our English class but they all last minute couldn`t do it, so we were surprised they still wanted a song. We opened up the hymn book, then got up and sang `Where Can I Turn for Peace?` I sang the first verse, then all 4 of us sang the last 2 verses together. Angels were helping us, because it was early in the morning, obviously none of us had warmed up, but not a single person or note cracked, so it was great!

As the meeting went on, a woman by the name of Sister Shimiller, who was visiting from Utah (but born and raised here in the Ootsu area), stood up and bore her testimony. She and her mother were converts, she was baptized at 16 years old. She said when she was baptized she realized God loved her and she felt His love, but didn`t quite understand Jesus Christ and she had no testimony of Him. After she was baptized, a Sister from Hawaii came to school here in Japan for a while and was in her ward. One fast and testimony meeting, the Hawaiian sister nudged her and said `Let`s go sing a hymn`. This Hawaiian sister couldn`t speak very good Japanese but she felt impressed to share her testimony and the only way she knew how was through a hymn. Sister Shimiller was reluctant at first but got up and they sang at the pulpit. She told us that the hymn they sang was about Christ, and that even though this Hawaiian sister couldn`t speak Japanese, her love for Christ and her testimony of Christ was borne through their song. Sister Shimiller said she just cried and cried as they sang that hymn that day. And ever since that day, Sister Shimiller has had a strong testimony of Christ.

We had our investigator sitting right next to us.  She zeroed in on this sister the whole time she was bearing her testimony. After Sacrament, we taught a lesson about the gift of the Holy Ghost to our investigator. When we asked what her favorite part about Sacrament was, she said, `I like how that sister said she didn`t understand Christ even after she was baptized.` This is something our investigator has been struggling with. Christ is someone Japanese people have a hard time connecting with and understanding. I don`t fully understand Him either (do any of us?) and I`ve been learning about Christ since I was born! That`s what`s been holding her back from baptism. So we spent quite a bit of the lesson talking about how we don`t have to know everything to be baptized. Baptism is only the gate, and we have a whole lifetime to figure everything else out. She didn`t commit to baptism then, but she did say she`d like to be baptized sometime. I was so grateful for Sister Shimiller`s testimony because it helped our investigator. That`s why we have testimony meeting, to strengthen and lift each other. It`s not a thank-i-mony, it`s not story-telling time or a comedy act, it`s a sacred time to talk about our Savior, to feel His love, to be guided by the Holy Ghost, and to help lift someone who is listening.

Yesterday was sad as we said our goodbyes to the Boettcher family. Brother and Sister Boettcher drove us home and made us take huge bags of chicken and meat, and a bunch of vegetables and frozen fruits home with us! In exchange we made them a little card with a small testimony on it and some Li Hing Mui. I know, lame on our part, but it was all we had. Plus, it was something that I really love! I will miss the Boettchers, but I know I will see them again real soon. And here's what I love about this gospel -- it`s not a gospel of endings, only beginnings.

We have our lifetimes and eternity to build friendships and relationships. I`m so grateful for that as I meet more and more people that I absolutely love, and for whom I have a strong desire to serve. Like it says in Moroni 8:16 `...Perfect love casteth out all fear.` I've learned that when you love the people you serve (and serve with) there`s no need to fear.

Kyoto Zone
As you go throughout your week, please look for opportunities to build your testimony and especially the testimonies of those around you! Little acts of service and love go a long way. I know with Perfect Love we can overcome anything. Have a blessed week! Until next week...

Sister Heimuli

PS. So, there aren't many Tongans to be found here on Japan, but this is one of my favorite Tongans in the WORLD! We had Zone conference a couple weeks ago and took a pic of the prettiest Tongans in the mission. Yes, those with less confidence might say we took a pic of the ONLY Tongans in the mission, but I prefer the first, haha ;) I love this lady! I don`t know where in Tonga she`s from, but she`s my sister, so she`s from Beautiful Land like me ;)  And you thought Hevynn Pania Ku'ulehualani Heimuli was long???  Meet Lesieli Fatai Ki'ululua Talia'uli --

So this is a Tanuki. They are supposed to bring wealth and good health. All japanese homes have them sitting outside. We were trying to find a house and these 2 old ladies gave us one. So this is after we had gotten ready for bed (no make up...gross) and had extra time to snap some pics.