Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas

Hello all!!!
   This week was my first full week in Muroran!! We were pretty lucky this week because it didn't snow... well until today. I'll let you know how that goes in my email next week. :)
   I have met so many people this week and I'm reminded again how hard Japanese names are to remember!! But hopefully once I've met with people more than once I'll start to put names to faces. The church members here are so awesome!!! Maybe I'll say that about every ward I serve in, but really the people are so nice to us. And when I introduced myself in Church last Sunday, I told people that I have a wheat allergy and right after church people were coming up to me and asking me what I could eat so that they know what has flour in it and what doesn't. They were all just so kind and thoughtful! 
   I was also able to meet some investigators this week. We have quite a few in Muroran so that is super exciting. It's a little strange going from only having 2 investigators in Obihiro to having around 8 here in Muroran, but I'm not complaining. :) We have one investigator named Wado San. She and her husband first heard about the church more than 20 years ago - right after they were married and just started having kids. They were super busy and didn't have time to meet with the missionaries. But now they are investigators again now that they are grandparents. :) I think she is really committed to coming to church and she reads the Book of Mormon and prays, but she is hesitant about getting baptized because she wants her husband to get baptized too. But he's not very willing to give up coffee or smoking.So we'll see how it goes with them. They are a very funny couple!! :) But they are so sweet! We had a really good lesson on faith and how if we have faith then there is no need for us to fear.
  I'll be sure to let you know in my next email all about what Christmas is like in Japan!! And since Christmas is in a few short days I'll say it now..........
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season and remember to show your love to everyone this season, because really all we want is to be happy right?? So be happy!!!! :) hahahaha there's a little Jazmyne wisdom for you. :)
Much love!!!!!!!

Morrison Shimai
モリソン 姉妹

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Transfer to Muroran


Hello all!!!
   Well I have finally left my hometown of Obihiro and have moved out to a city called Muroran!! It's about an 1 and a half hours west of Sapporo (by train). And it's right on the southern coast of Hokkaido.  My companion's name is Kuroki Shimai and yes she is Japanese. This area just opened for Shimai only 2 transfers ago so I'm the 3rd Shimai who has ever been here. Pretty cool right?? Anyway Muroran is very hilly and because it's on the coast it is very windy. And guess what?? There's snow here! And a lot of it!! Haha. :)
   My first day here  we went up Muroran Yama (mountain). And yes it's mountain. Not like Mt. Hood kind of mountain but like Ladd Hill/Parett Mountain kind of a mountain, and we took our bikes up it.  We walked our bikes up a mountain my first day here and then we were going to ride down, but because of all the snow it wasn't really possible. But we did ride our bikes down the last half mile or so of the mountain. Riding bikes down a mountain in the snow is just a little bit scary! But no worries! We survived!!   :)
   On Satuday we had the Ward Christmas Party!   I got to meet all the church members before Sunday. At the Christmas party all the missionaries (me, Kuroki Shimai, Lee Choro, and Brown Choro) did a little dance and sang Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. Everyone thought it was really cute. :) Which is good because we planned it exactly 10 minutes before the Christmas party started - since we just had transfers we didn't really have a lot of time to plan anything amazing. :) The ward seems really great and I'm excited to continue working in Muroran!!!!

   Hope all is going well!
   Much love!
Morrison Shimai


Snow Angels in Obihiro


Tempura Ice Cream

Getting Christmas Package

 Leaving Obihiro - At the train station

Leaving the Obihiro Shimai

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Muroran Ward Christmas Party
New companion is on Jazmyne's right, far left two Young Single Adult's.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

New Investigators and Transfer Week


   This week we have big news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
WE FOUND 2 NEW INVESTIGATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Basically we are super excited. :)
   This transfer we started out with 3 investigators, but then within the first week we went down to 2 investigators. So this transfer we have really been focusing on getting more investigators. We've been working really hard and trying our very best, even when we were discouraged. Then this last week we were lucky enough to find 2 people who are interested in hearing the gospel!!  It was truly a miracle week!!! :)
   I may or may not have told you about these people already, but since I can't remember I'm going to tell you about them again a little bit.
   One of our investigators, her name is Songumsuk. If you read that and think, 'that doesn't sound very Japanese, well you would be right!   She is from Korea!   But she speaks really good Japanese.  Anyway, she has a super interesting story about why she is in Japan. She is a part of a religion (I can't remember the name) but it's a christian church and everyone in the church has arranged marriages!  I didn't think there were that many people that did that any more, but I guess they do.  Anyway she got married to a Japanese man and they never met before thier wedding and at that point she didn't speak any Japanese and he didn't speak any Korean. So she moved to Japan to be with him and taught herself Japanese, and then he tried to learn some Korean. It sounds so hard!  But they made it work and it sounds like they are really happy now. So we first met her back in October and gave her a Book of Mormon but haven't been able to meet with her until now. She is really great and we have another appointment with her in a few weeks.
   Our other investigator is Sato San. She is married and has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. She was super open to listening to us and so we were finally able to teach her on Wednesday. We were only planning on teaching her the first half of lesson one, but since she was asking so many questions we ended up teaching her the whole thing. She has lots of really great questions and she understood everything that we were telling her! It was truly amazing. And I recited the first vison in Japanese for the first time (to an investigator). So that was really exciting too!!    REALLY, REALLY great week!!
   This next week we have transfers so I will let you know what the results of that are next week.  This is how the whole thing works..  
   Trainers get their calls on Monday night and all they tell them is that they will be traning (obviously in their same area) but they don't tell them who their bean (greenie) is. So they go to the honbu (mission home) on wednesday morning to pick up their bean.
Everyone else gets their calls on Tuesday (usually in the morning). They call us and tell us what our next area is and who our new companion is. Then everyone who is transfering and their companions (usually) all leave on Thursday morning.  We all meet at the "transfer spot" which is a specific spot inside the subway station in Sapporo. Then you all switch and find your new companion and then head to your new area. So usually Thursday is spent traveling all day. Sometimes it's different. Like this last transfer since none of us were transfering we all stayed and Miyamoto shimai just came with the elders. So they try to save money whenever possible because traveling in Japan is really expensive!!!  Our bikes are shipped to our new area as well as one of our bags so when we travel we only have to take one bag with us so that is really nice. :)  So that's how it works here. :) I've actually never been to the transfer spot, but who knows maybe this transfer I will. :)
   Hope you are all doing well! Much love!
 
Morrison Shimai

Fun in the park with Lundstrom Shimai when the weather was warmer.


A dog sled?

Jazmyne and her companion always seem to find matching outfits.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sushi for Thanksgiving


   So this week was a really weird week. It started out on Monday, we had a little birthday party for Kozuma Choro, one of the elders in my district. He turned 20 years old so I am now the only 19 year-old in the district! Hahaha :) At the party the elders made this huge ice cream sunday. And I love ice cream so I ate a lot. Then on Tuesday, I woke up with a really bad stomach ache (probably from all the ice cream..... :)). So we weren't able to leave the apartment becuase I basically slept all day. :( Then on Wednesday I was feeling a little bit better, so we went and did some housing and then hung out with a member for about 2 hours, but that was just too much for me, so we had to come back to the apartment and then I slept for the rest of the day again. :(
   Ok but on Thursday we actually did stuff!!! YAY for not being sick!!! We met with a couple of people. We met this lady named Sato San. She is really nice and we talked with her for about 30 minutes and just got to know her. There is a really good possibility that we will be able to teach her a lesson next week! We also had a little mini Thanksgiving feast with the other missionaries and the Single Adults from the ward........ :) The elders made mashed potatoes and stuffing. And then me and Bastow Shimai made thanksgiving cake (since there are no ingredients to make pie).  Then we had to go to KFC to get chicken since they don't have turkey here. All in all it was honestly really lame. :) But we got a good laugh out of it. But the sad part was that I didn't even eat any of it becuase it all had gluten in it. So before the little get-together, we went and bought some sushi for me to eat. So I just ate my Thanksgiving Sushi. And it was really good :) It will definitely be a Thanksgiving to remember! 
   On Friday we had a sports activity with all the missionaries and a couple investigators: Akari chan and Koharu chan came. I think I've told you about them before. They are 22 and 23. They both moved to Obihiro for their work. And they come to Eikaiwa sometimes - they both speak very good English. We rented out a gym and we played basketball, volleyball and dodgeball. I wasn't very good at basketball. It brought back some bad memories of my last expirience playing basketball here.... :) Volleyball was really fun and we used a short net so I even spiked the ball once! Pretty amazing right? Haha :) Ok and I guess people in Japan don't play dodgeball the same way that we do in America. It's hard to explain in writting, but it is SO intense! Basically by the end it's like everyone against one person. I was the 2nd to last person out and let me tell you I was a little scared for my life at one point. Hahaha. :) The best part about Friday was that we were able to meet Agnes!!!! We were both really excited. Earlier in the week she wasn't feeling good, so we went by her house on Thursday to drop off some soup and that night she called us and asked to meet with us! It was a mini miracle! We talked a lot with her about prayer and the influence that prayer has on our lives. She really wants to teach her kids correct principles so she has been really focusing on reading the Bible with them. At one point she was asking us about our families back home and about our plans for the future. So as we were telling her she asks "Are you normal American young adults??" And me and Lundstrom Shimai just looked at each other and then together we both said, "No we are really not." :) What normal teenager would leave the fun life of college and take 18 months to go to another country to try to teach people about God and Jesus Christ? I can tell you that not many would. We just testified to her that we're the people we are becuase of the great things we have learned from our parents and from the gospel. It's truly why I am the person I am. And I know that I am so happy to have the knowledge that I do!
   Hope all is going well!! Much love!
Morrison Shimai

Thanksgiving Cakes instead of Pies

Thanksgiving Sushi

Doing service at a Care Center

Sunday, November 24, 2013

BRT (Building Relationships of Trust)


   Minasan! Konnichiwa! This week....... Let's see what did we do this week.... I swear I am losing my memory. And I know it's only going to get worse! Haha. :) Oh right we had ZTM this week (Zone Training Meeting). This is where a bunch of us missionaries get together and have different workshops and stuff about how to be better missionaries. Out first training segment was about finding people to teach. This is probably one of the hardest things we do as missionaries and it also one of the most important because if we can't find people who are interested in hearing our mesasage, then we can't teach and help people. They talked to us a lot about the importance of making connections with people. We call it BRT (Building Relationships of Trust). If people can't trust us, then they probably won't want to listen to us. It really is the same in any sort of relationship that we have, with family, friends, etc. The 2nd workshop we had was about Obedience, Dilligence, and Faith. I really like what they said about Dilligence. We always have to be trying our very hardest to learn Japanese and to teach people. Sometimes it can be really frustrating and discouraging, but if we have faith in Christ and learn to trust him, then things will work out the way they are suppose to. It really helped to boost me up and make we want to try even harder!
   We also had some sisters from Sapporo come out and visit us this week. Vielstich Shimai and Call Shimai came! It was so much fun. I got to spend a day with Vielstich Shimai. She is so fun! She is from Utah and she is half Japanese and half German. But she only speaks English and of course Japanese. She went into the MTC the same day as me, but left after 2 weeks since she already knew a lot of Japanese. While she was here, we were able to meet with Agnes (the lady from Hungary). We had lunch with her and some of her other friends that she wanted to introduce us to, but sadly we weren't able to teach a lesson. She did tell us that she has started reading Bible stories with her kids which is really great news!! The other Shimai were only here for a day, but it was nice to see Call Shimai again too becuase I really hadn't seen her since we first got to Japan almost 4 months ago.
   We also met with Sakuyama San this week! She's the one who we gave a church tour to last week and she has the cutest little baby girl ever! Anyway, we were able to teach her about the plan of Salvation and she really seemed to like it. But I can tell that she still has a lot of questions so we're hoping to meet with her again this week.
   One last thing, so yesterday in Relief Society we talked about Elder Ballard's talk from this last conference. Do you remember what it's about? That's right missionary work and members! We really can't do it without the member's help!! And don't forget his challenge at the end - for everyone to invite someone before Christmas! You don't have to ask them to take the missionarey discussions or come to church, it can be as simple as an activity or a Christmas party. One thing I've learned is that it never hurts to ask. People may say no, but it's our responsibility to put the invitation out there. We've got a month people! I'm going to take the challenge too! To get one of our investigators to church before Christmas. :)
   Hope you are all doing well! Love you!
Morrison Shimai

Playing in the leaves

Obihiro Skyline

Obihiro

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Missionary Purpose


   This week me and Lundstrom Shimai gave out first church tour!  We were a little nervous since neither of us have done one yet, and it started out a little rough but in the end I think it turned out ok. :)   Our investigator, Sakuyama San, she is 40 years old and she is married and has the cutest little girl ever, who is only 4 months old. We haven't been able to meet with her a ton, becuase first of all she is a new mother, and second her work schedule is very.... Ok I can't think of what the word is, but it's very easy to change so she basically never knows when she is working until the day of.   But she didn't have work on Wednesday morning, which was perfect for us!   She came to the church and it was funny becuase she called us saying she couldn't find a church and then when she finally found it she said that it didn't even look like a church, I didn't really understnad that, I mean it's a brick building with a steeple! There's nothing else like it in Japan! Haha. :) We also had a member there, Haruki Shimai, so that she could help us explain church a little bit more. I was so grateful she was there!  It's really great having members, so that when my Japanese doesn't make sense, there's someone there to help me out!   Our tour ended in the chapel.   We explained to her about the sacrament and why it's important. She thought it was all very interesting, but the best part was at the end. We asked her what she thought and what she was feeling and she said that she had a good, warm feeling when she was inside the church!  It was a good moment!
    Our next step with her is actually getting her to come to one of our church meetings. So she told us the next time that she doesn't have work that she can probably come! I'm so excited! I'll keep you updated on when she comes to church.
    I know that it is so important as a missionary to have the member's trust. I always wonder what it's like for missionaries in America, because I can bet that it's a completely different experience than it is here. I think when missionaries visit member's homes, the members should know what the missionary's purpose is there. It's not just to bond with the member (which is important) but they should always be asking for referrals!  Becuase our purpose as missionaries is to find people and then to teach them.  You can ask the missionaries who they are teaching. Ask them if they need a member to sit with their investigator at church. Ask them if they need a member to come to their lesson. TEAM UPS ARE THE BEST THINGS EVER - having a member present at a lesson. I know that especially here in Japan, if I can't explain something super well in Japanese it's so nice to have the member to back up what I'm saying and to give their own personal experience. Now that I've been a missionary I feel like once I get back home I am going to try to be such a better member missionary, becuase I know how important members are in this work. We really can't do it without the members. I think it was presidnet HInckley who said that every convert needs 3 things: a responsibility, feast upon the words of the scriptures, and they need a friend -- or something like that. People want to feel included and connected to others and the only way investigators are going to have that is if they actually know the members!! And how are they going to know the members?? If the members are there to help them along their own conversion process! :) Becuase as missionaries we leave and transfer to other places, but the members are the ones who stay. 
   Hope you are all doing well. Have a wonderful week!
   Much love!
   Ai shite imasu!!
 
Morrison Shimai

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's cold - but that's also a good thing.

Konnichiwa!!!!
   Things are still looking sunny in Obihiro, we have great members, I have an awesome companion and great roommates, the only problem is that we don't see the sun much anymore..... Winter is finally here! We haven't got any snow yet, but everyone keeps telling us that there will probably only be a few more weeks until we start seeing snow. It is definitely cold though! I have gone to wearing tights and a sweater everyday to thermals, big jackets, hats, scarves and gloves. Usually the day starts out pretty chilly, but the sun starts to set around 2 in the afternoon. And by 4:30 it's dark. That's the time of the day when it gets most cold. But since we ride our bikes everywhere, it does help to keep me warm. :) And sometimes people feel bad for us being out in the cold so they let us into their house - which happened this week.
   When we were out housing (going door to door asking people if they are interesting in hearing about our message), we met a lady and she asked us if we were cold. So we said that it was a little chilly, but we would be alright. She insisted that we come inside and have some tea so that we could warm up, so we took her up on the offer. She made us some orange flavored tea of some sort and then she asked us why we would be out in the cold knocking on people's doors. We told her that we're missionaries and because we love the gospel so much we want to share it with everyone. We didn't know it before we went into her house, but I guess she is part of a religion called sokogakai (not sure about the spelling). This church is very well known in Japan, and from what I have heard they are very strict and a lot of people in Japan don't like it. And she is a very prominent member of the church. For the next 45 minutes she was telling us all about what her religion believes and how it is different from our religion. She also pointed out that Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom are part of that religion. Maybe someone can fact check that for me?? Haha. :) Anyway it was a good conversation, but she was using a lot of religious words that were hard for us to understand. It was a bit of a struggle, but we were able to bear a simple testimony of the restoration of Christ's church again on the earth. She wasn't interested at all, but she said if we wanted to learn more about her religion she would be happy to tell us more. We meet the most interesting people here. :)
   This week we got to meet with the Hungarian family!! We only got to talk to the mom, but she is so interesting. When she was going to school in Hungary, she applied for a scholarship to go and study in Japan since her parents didn't have a lot of money to put her through school in Hungary. She came to Tokyo to study Japanese and law. While in Tokyo she met her first husband and they had a daughter together, her name is Shairy, but sadly they divorced and then she moved to Hokkaido. Here she met her second husband, who is Hungarian. And they had 2 kids together, Emma and Aaron. Sairy is 11, Emma is 1 1/2 and Aaron is 3 months old. They are seriously the cutest kids I have ever seen! They are such a nice family! The mom's name is Agnis and she is so smart. She can speak Hungarian, Japanese, English and German - all fluently! So we usually talk to her in English, which is a little strange, becuase it's not often that I get to speak English with people here. :) She grew up Catholic, but doesn't attend church or anything now. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon and how we pray. She really liked that our prayers are more of a conversation with God instead of just something memorized. But when we told her about the Book of Mormon she said that she really wants to study the Bible more before considering reading any other scripture. So please keep her and her family in your prayers!
   That's what's up in Obihiro! Hope you are all doing well! Much love!!
 
Morrison Shimai

Monday, November 4, 2013

Everyone Needs Friends

 So this week was Transfer week! And I am still in Obihiro, and my companion is still Lundstrom Shimai. We went from a 3 person companionship to 2. It was a little sad letting Bastow Shimai go, but she is still in Obihiro as well, just has a new companion making 4 sisters in Obihiro now!   Me, Lundstrom Shimai, Bastow Shimai, and Miyamoto Shimai.
   One of the things we do as missionaries is that we not only teach people about the gospel, but we also help those people who are members but may not necessarily be active (coming to church every week). We like to stop by and see these people and find out if there is anything we can do to help them and we try to share a spiritual message with them. Almost every week since I've been here in Obihiro, we have tried to visit one lady, her name is Uge Shimai. She is older, and her kids are all grown up and have moved out of the house. We haven't been able to meet with her because she is super busy and she is rarely ever at home. But 2 weeks ago we went to her apartment, and yet again she wasn't home, but I decided I would write a note saying we stopped by and tell her we would try to visit her next week at the same time. We went back the next week and to our surprise she was home!! This was the first time I had ever met her in the 2 1/2 months that I have been in Obihiro. We talked with her for over an hour. She is so nice and she really appreciated the note that I had left for her. Then the next Sunday she came to church!!! (She hasn't been to church in months). It was so great and we were really excited to see her! She came up to us and thanked us again for coming to see her. Just that small little act of leaving a note and talking to someone made a huge difference.
   True statement: Everyone needs Friends!!!! No matter how old you are or what language you speak, everyone just needs someone who cares who they can talk to! It can make a huge impact in everyone's life! So my message for this week is be a good friend and you never know who you might impact! :)
 
Hope you have a good week!! Love you all!!!
Morrison Shimai

Volunteering at a Marathon

Obihiro Halloween Party - Lundstrom, Bastow, Morrison


All the missionaries serving in Obihiro - Halloween Party


Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween in Japan?

Hello everyone!!!
 
   It been another great week in Obihiro and it might be my last since we have transfers this week. I'll find out whether or not I will be staying when they call us tomorrow morning. I'm excited to find out what will happen! I mean I love Obihiro, but I would really like a chance to see more of Hokkaido! You'll just have to wait in anticipation till next week!
   This week we had the STLs (Sister Training Leaders) come to our apartment on Friday and we went on splits (we switched companions). Anyway the STLs are Budge Shimai, she's American but she's been living in Tokyo with her family for the past couple years and her dad is the Mission President of the Tokyo Mission, and Furue Shimai!!! It was so great getting to see Furue Shimai! I really missed her! Anyway I was companions with Budge Shimai and Bastow Shimai. It was a super crazy day. Since Budge Shimai was in Obihiro last year she had some specific people that she wanted to see so she called and set up a bunch of appointments. We were just going from one house to the next, but everyone remembered her and they were all so excited to see her. Her Japanese is really good and you can just tell how much she loved the people here in Obihiro. We did have one appointment towards the end of the night that we had set up a week earlier. It was the Kawamura family. We found them when we were housing last week. Anyway we went to see them on Friday and we met with the mom. It was only for about 10 minutes but we talked about how we believe that families are so important and that our families are a gift from God. It was a really great little conversation and she said she wants to learn more!!!!! Ahhhh! It was so exciting! We got a new investigator this week and it's a family!! :)
   Also we had our ward Halloween party on Saturday!  It was so much fun!! There were so many little kids and our church building is pretty small, I thought I was going to step on the little kids everywhere I went!! Ahh! But they were so cute! All of us missionaries dressed up and I was dressed as a "thug". I know what you're thinking- you're thinking I can't pull off being a thug and I would say you're right, but it was pretty funny! :) I'll send pictures next week!
   One last thing we met a Hungarian family and the mom speaks English and they are so nice and they came to the Halloween party and she has 3 cute little kids and they are adorable!! I'll tell you more about them next week becuase we'll porbably start teaching them some lessons and I'm just so excited!!
   Exciting week! Hope you are all doing well! And Happy Halloween!!!!!
Morrison Shimai

Monday, October 21, 2013

The First Snow!

Konichiwa!!!!!
 
   So on Wednesday, it snowed!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!! It was a really crazy beginning of our week! On Tuesday Morning we had Zone Conference. And since our Zone is one of the biggest in the mission, some of the missionaries came on Monday and then stayed the night. We have the Shimai from Kitami come and stay with us. It was Nanjo Shimai, Kappeliela Shimai and Gibbs Shimai! In order to get here from Kitami they have to take 2 busses and so it usually takes them about 4 1/2 hours to get to Obihiro. So we had 6 shimai in our apartment on Monday night. It's really fun getting to catch up with everyone since we don't see them very often.
   Zone Conference was the next morning from 8:30 am to 5 pm. It was a really long day! But it was good! President Evans (my Mission President) spoke to us about the importance of having the spirit when we teach. Then the Sister Training Leaders (Budge Shimai and Furue Shimai!!!) talked to us about this new program that we are going to try implement. It's called Family English Class, or something like that, basically we really want to focus more on teaching families. So it's a 6 week program where we can teach families English, but also teach them about the gospel. We haven't found anyone who's interested yet, but it's a cool idea. Then we had a Language workshop, where we talked about how we can better learn the language. Basically what I learned is that I need to be working harder and make sure I'm always learning more and not "standing still" in my learning Japanese. Last we had a workshop by the Zone leaders, Jones and Watanabe Choro. It was about finding people and getting used to talking to people where ever we go. It was really good. At the end of Zone Conference we have a testimony meeting, where we can get up and bear testimony of Jesus Christ and his gospel. President Evans picks people to share their testimonies. And can you guess who's name he said first?? Yep! Me! I was totally not expecting it! The good part is that we can bear our testimony in our native language so I got to speak English. :)
   Anyway I was so nervous and I had no idea what to say, but I just got up and starting speaking. I don't get to teach or bear my testimony in English here so it was nice being able to express my real and deep feelings for once! I know my Japanese will be good enough to where eventually I can still give a heart-felt testimony in Japanese, but on Tuesday it was nice to do it in English. I really learned a lot and I have a lot of things I can work on to becoming a better missionary. I learned that I need to stay more focused and always remember that my purpose of being here in Japan is ultimately to help people come closer to Chirst.
   Tuesday night I got to go on splits with Nanjo Shimai. She's from Tokyo and this is her last transfer of her mission. She'll be going home at the end of October. It was cool to be her companion for a night and just talk to her about all the great experiences that she has had with being a missionary.
   The Sister's from Kitami left on Wednesday morning, but remember how I said that was the day it snowed, well here's the funny story. So their bus was at 9:50 am. And so they left around 9 and by about 11 am the snow was coming down pretty hard. It just came out of nowhere!!! So we put on all our winter gear and headed out. We had planned to meet a couple people and the snow was not going to stop us. It was cold and it made me nervous to ride my bike in the snow. But we persevered!! Then around 6 pm we get a call saying that it was snowing so much that the Kitami missionaries couldn't go back to Kitami. So they had taken 1 bus (2 hours) but once they reached that bus stop they were informed that all the other buses going into Kitami were cancelled. So they all had to come back to Obihiro (2 hours) and spend the night with us. Then on Thursday morning they finally were able to get on another bus (4 1/2 hours) and they finally made it back to Kitami! Pretty crazy start to the week. By Thursday morning all of the snow had melted. It was so weird and I am definitely not excited about the next 5 months of snow, but I'm going to try to make the best of it!!
 
Love you all!! Hope you are doing well!!
Morrison Shimai

Bowling with the Obihiro Elders


Taking a rest after a long ride up a hill.  When we biked to Memuro took us about 1 hour and 15 min. to get there and this pic is after we went up the huge hill right at the end.

Scenery of Hokkaido

When the Kitami Shimai came to stay with us before Zone Conference (one bedroom, one bath apartment!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

First Book of Mormon - I did it!


   The weather in Hokkaido is SO random!!! 1 day it's cold and raining with winds at super crazy speed and strength and then the next day is clear skies and bright, warm sunshine. This has been the weather all week. Seriously every other day is completely opposite!
   I don't know why, but for some reason this has been one of the toughest weeks here in Obihiro. And not just for me and my companions, but for the other 6 elders in my district as well. On Monday, it looked like it would be a really great week! We (me, Lundstom Shimai, and Bastow Shimai) had about 6 appointments and we had plans to meet with all of our investigators! But by Tuesday 5 of our 6 appointments cancelled on us. We also had a hard time even just talking to people, it seemed like no one wanted to listen to us. Our Zone had a goal this past week to spend 5 extra minutes of our dinner break and use it for dendo (tracting - trying to find investigators) time. Normally we have an hour for dinner each day, but this week we all committed to take 5 extra minutes and just talk to one more person every day. It was hard at first, especially when we were feeling disscouraged, but we did it!
   Even though we didn't see a ton of success this week. There was one exciting part that I know was a huge blessing because of our commitment to stick to our goal. Story time: On Thursday we had planned to visit a non active member of the ward. We got to her house right before she was about to leave, and I belive she was going to the hospital. Side note* for some reason people in Japan go to the hospital all the time. Like if they have a cold, they go to the hospital. If they feel a little bit of pain in their stomach, they go to the hospital. Japanese people go to the hospital a lot. Anyway back to the story, we couldn't talk to her for as long as we wanted to so we had extra time to do housing (where we knock on people's doors and ask if they're interested in learning more about our message). And we didn't have much success.
   It was time to go back home and I was leading the way back to our apartment. We rode past a girl, probably in her late 20's, and I started to talk to her and I asked her if she had ever thought about God before. And she said "no" (pretty common answer). And I don't normally do this when I just talk to people on the street, but for some reason I started to tell her what I know about God. I told her that God is our Heavenly Father and that we are His children. I told her that becuase he loves us he wants to help us becuase we have problems and challenges in our lives. I said that becuase he wants to help us he gave us a book called the Book of Mormon. And I asked her if she had heard of it before, she said "no" (also common answer). At that point I turned to Lundstrom Shimai hoping she would take over because I didn't know what to say, but being the good trainer she is, she simply said, "keep going, tell her about the book." And so I did!!! And she listened!!! I told her how much I love this book and how it has helped me in my life. I told her that my questions about life were answered through this book and that it has brought me so much happiness in my life. Then I looked to Lundstrom Shimai again, but she didn't say anything except, "give her the book". So I did!!!! And she took it and said she would try to read it!!! It was the most incredible experience. I gave away my first Book of Mormon all by myself! It was really scary becuase I felt like my Japanese was so limited, but also so amazing because she actually understood me! We gave her our phone number so that she could call us if she had any questions. I don't know what will happen with her, but I know that her life will be better if she reads the Book of Mormon. It is an important book and I know that it is true. God knows each of us and he really does want to help us. He knows me and He knows that girl. Never forget that you are a child of God and that he wants to hear from you daily so that he can help you!
 
Hope you are all doing well!!
Ai shite imasu!!!
Morrison Shimai

Monday, October 7, 2013

Love One Another


   I think I said this the last couple weeks but this week was SO crazy!!! It's a busy place out here in the mission field!! The past 3 weeks (since we had transfers) me and my companions have been going through the area book (a book where we keep track of all the people that we've taught and what we have taught them) and going through all of our investigators and other people who said they might have interest in learning more about Christ to figure out who really has interest in hearing our mesage. We've been calling people (and finding that we were given wrong numbers) and going to people's houses (and finding that they don't  live there anymore). So it's been a little discouraging the past few weeks, but we have one investigator right now who is really interested in learning more about the gospel.
   Her name is Sotokawa San. She's an older lady who comes to Eikaiwa every week. (As a service "project" we teach a free English class every week). She is the sweetest lady and her English is actually pretty good. I think her English is better than my Japanese... :) Anyway she used to meet with the Missionaries a while ago, but then stopped because she was very busy with her job. But now she is interested in the church again. She has read the Book of Mormon twice and is reading it through a third time. She believes that the Book of Mormon is true and so now we are focusing on trying to get her to come to church. She works a lot and doesn't feel like she has time so we're really trying to help her see the importance of church and what a good experience it is every week. To go to a place where we can teach and learn from each other more about the Savior and his gospel.
   One quick thing that I learned in my gospel study that I thought I would share with you. This morning I was reading in John 13 and I came to verses 34 and 35. We quote 34 a lot about "a new commmandment I give unto you that ye love one another". But I never really pay attention to verse 35 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have alove one to another."  It talks about how Christ's disciples loved one another. So in order to be a disciple or a representative of Christ, one of the most important things we can do is to show love towards one another. So I'm challenging myself to show my love for people this week more - by writing notes, doing small acts of service. Something like that. So if you want to take the challenge with me you are more than welcome. :)
 
Hope you are all doing well!!
Much love from Japan!!!
Morrison Shimai

Monday, September 30, 2013

Providing Service - Harvesting Potatoes


Konichiwa!!
   So this week has been so crazy, but it's been so fun!!! I love having to 2 companions!! It's so much fun being companions with Bastow Shimai and Lundstrom Shimai. I can't remember if I told you anything about them. Bastow Shimai is from Utah, she just turned 20 and she was in the MTC the same time as me so we both got to Japan almost 2 months ago! (Oh man I just realized I've been here for almost 2 months! Time goes by so fast!!). Lundstrom Shmai is from Ohio and she will be 21 in November. She's been in Japan since April and she says that her Japanese isn't very good, but it really is. We have a lot of fun together and we all get along really well!
   This week we've pretty much been exploring Obihiro. Me and Bastow Shmai have been in Obihiro for 6 weeks and Lundstrom Shimai just got here. So we're in charge of leading the way and finding where our investigators live. It's been quite an adventure, but we're all learning together. We visited a lot of people this week to introduce Lundstrom Shimai. She's a really great missionary with talking to everyone and getting to know people!
   Obihiro is the city that I live in, but there's a lot of church members who live in another area called Otofuke. There's a lot of farm land so we go up there every once in a while to visit people. On Saturday all the missionaries were invited to a members' house, the Shibota family, to help them harvest their potatoes. There were also a couple other church members who came and they all brought their kids to help out too. It was really fun and I mostly helped the little kids and they are just soooo adorable. At one point, one of the little boys picked up a worm and put it on Bastow Shimai. She flipped out a little bit, but then that gave us the idea to do the same thing to Lundstrom Shimai.... i guess we should be nice to our trainer, but we thought it would be so funny. We put the worm on her neck when she was talking to another missionary and she screamed and freaked out. We all laughed about it. And the kids thought it was pretty funny too! Have I mentioned how much I love the church members here? :)
   Japan has been great and I love it here - even with all the rain!
Hope you are all doing well!
 
Morrison Shimai

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Transfer - Still in Obihiro


This past week we had TRANSFERS!!!! I am still in Obihiro and my new companions are........... Bastow Shimai and Lundstrom Shimai!!   Bastow Shimai came to Japan the same time as me (although she was in a different district in the MTC).   We`ve both been in Obihiro for the past 6 weeks and Lundstrom Shimai is our follow-up trainer.   Last transfer we had 5 shimai in our apartment, but 2 different companionships. (Me and Furue Shimai and then Gibbs Shimai, Sugihara Shimai and Bastow Shimai). But now we only have 3 Shimai in our apartment!  There is so much room now!!!  I kind of don`t know what to do with all the new room!!!! It`s great! :)   On Saturday we started our weekly planning session and usually it takes us about 2.5 to 3 hours to complete, but it took us 3 hours on Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday and we still didn`t finish...... It`s been a little crazy.... Obviously... :)   But it`s been fun. We have to combine 2 different companionships into 1, so we have so many investigators now!!   I`ll let you know how this week goes. :)
 
Fun part of this week is that we went up to Sapporo for our Stake Conference on Sunday!! We had a member drive us to Sapporo and it usually takes us about 3.5 hours to get there and so we had to wake up at 4:30 am so that we could meet the member at the church at 5:30 am (not the fun part). So we drove to Sapporo and the countryside of Hokkaido is absolutely beautiful!!!   It so green here and a lot of it is farm land. It reminds me a lot of Oregon becuase there is so many trees here!  So we got to the Stake center at about 8:30 and the meeting didn`t start until 10 am. So we just hung out and said hi to all the members and we got to see a lot of missionaries!   So it was fun seeing other missionaries.   I still can`t understand a lot of Japanese, but during the meeting I was so surprised at how much I actually understood. So it`s coming along!!   K so the really cool part was after Stake conference!   We left and the member asked us if we wanted to see the Temple site and so of course we all said yes!!   It wasn`t super far away from the Stake Center. There`s a bridge to the side of where they are building it!   So we went up there and took some pictures! It`s suppose to be done December 30th, 2015!!! I`m so hoping that I can come back and see it when it`s all done! It`s going to be beautiful!!
 
Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!!! And enjoy the first week of fall!! Love you all!!
Morrison Shimai

Week 14 Pictures - Still in Obihiro


Jazmyne in front of the new Sapporo temple site with her new companions.  The Sapporo Temple is expected to be completed December 30th, 2015.


Jazmyne and Furue Shimai - Polka Dot Day


All the sisters in the apartment and the number of months they have been on their mission.

Jazmyne - 3 month anniversary, just 15 to go. :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We're all in this together!


This week has been pretty crazy!  First of all I swear the weather here is so strange!   So the last couple of weeks it`s been really windy and raining every day.  One of our investigators told us that it was suppose to start snowing in some places on Hokkaido (the island that I`m on).   No snow yet for Obihiro, but it was crazy to think that some of the other missionaries in my mission will experience snow in September.  So me and my companion have been getting ready for winter pulling out big jackets and buying more tights and sweaters!   We thought we were so prepared, but then to our surprise, this week has been warm and humid, just about every day!!   Haha and we were obviously not prepared.   In the morning it would look foggy and cold, but by about 1 pm it would be bright and sunny. Oh well!  I`m having a hard time deciding if I should enjoy the humidity while it lasts, because I know in about a month I`m going to be wishing for some sun. :)
 
So one of our investigators, Miyako San, has really been progessing!  We had a baptismal date set for this last week, but she`s been having some trouble with the Word of Wisdom.  So we met with her last Sunday and we made a deal with her:  If she would not drink alcohol for a whole week, me and Furue Shimai would also give up something for the week.   For all those High School Musical fans: I almost wanted to start singing "WE`RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!"   Anyway so Furue Shimai decided she would give up eating snacks and I said that I would stop eating chocolate.   And anyone who knows how much I love chocolate knows that this would seem like an impossible task....  Even here in Japan, I usually always have some sort of chocolate bar or candy sitting on my desk and I eat a little bit each day.  I know, it`s bad! :)    It was a lot harder than I thought that it would be to not eat chocolate!   But I did it!!!   I went a whole week and no chocolate!   And the best news was that Miyako San went the whole week without drinking alcohol!!   Great news all around!   She is very strong and I hope that she will continue to progress.  I know that we recieve so many blessings when we live the Word of Wisdom.  It`s not just another rule we have to follow, but it`s more like a protection. If we don`t put harmful things into our body, then we will be more healthy! Who wouldn`t want that kind of promise?!?
 
Transfers are this week so we`ll find out tomorrow if I`ll stay in Obihiro or not!   But we do get to go to Sapporo this week for a mini mission conference so I`m really excited for that!
Hope all is well! Love you all! Thanks again for all the letters!!
Morrison Shimai

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Squid!



Investigators, Ward Members, and Birthday Party

Furue Shimai and one of our investigators Akarichan - Jazmyne mentioned them in her basketball story from last week.


Obihiro Ward Family

Birthday Party 

Octopus and Squid!


So this week was good!! I`m going to start out by bragging a little bit because I`m so excited!!

1. I navigated the city all by myself!!!!! After a month I finally know how to get around (well a little).   My sense of direction isnt the best, but Im doing pretty good if I do say so myself!   We ride our bikes everywhere becuase that`s the fastest way to get around.   A couple times during the week we went really far (to the outskirts of town), it took us about 40 minutes each way - and I was able to lead the whole time.   The way the city streets work is that it`s a grid system a little - kind of like Utah.   So as long as you know how far south or west or north or east you need to go it`s all numbered.   I never though I would say it but I`m grateful for the grid system with naming and numbering streets!! Haha. :)

2. I talked to 3 people all by myself!!!   Don`t be too impressed becuase the conversations we had were probably only a minute long, but they were able to understand me and I kind of knew what they were saying!!   Every time I do something good Furue Shimai`s comment is always "you`re growing!!"  It`s pretty great and a really good feeling.   But I know I still have a long way to go before I can have conversations with people for more than a minute!!   Sukoshi zutsu! Little by little! :)
I think I`ve mentioned it before, but the people here are so nice!!   Whenever we go and visit people they always give us food!   And I`ve had some good and some interesting expiriences!   Octopus and squid are very interesting.   I found out that I actually like squid as long as it`s cooked, but raw is just a little too chewy for me.   The Japanese do have some really good treats though!   Like last Sunday we went to a member`s home and she make us this apple with cinnamon and carmal, whipped cream thing!! It was so good!

HOPE EVERYTHING IS GOING WELL!
LOVE YOU ALL LOTS!
Morrison Shimai

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Obihiro Zone Conference

New Missionaries are given a "Bean" shower at the first zone conference after they arrive in Japan.  I'm not sure why they call them "Beans", here in the US we call them "Greenies."


Monday, September 2, 2013

P-Day Basketball


Ok so this week I found out how I really am not a sports person! The elders invited us to come play basketball with them so me and Furue Shimai went and we also brought along one of our investigators, Akarichan. She is 22 years old and she works in this cute little bakery in the city and she has the cutest, littlest purple car I have ever seen!!! Anyway so it was 5 guys and us 3 girls. All the guys were so good! And so was Akarichan! And then theres me and Furue Shimai. We were having some real difficulties! They would pass me the ball and say `shuto` so I would try to shoot the ball and only 3 out of the 30 times I shot the ball did it actually go in. They wouldn`t even try to stop me from trying to make a basket (thats how bad I was). Hahaha. :) It also probably didnt help that they were all speaking Japanese and so I couldnt tell if I did something wrong or not. Anyway it was very funny but really fun!
 
Japan has been great! We are getting into the Fall season now. I now wear tights and a sweater everyday because its so chilly and a rain jacket is a must! But I think people are more willing to talk to us once they see that we`re drenched becuase weve been out in the pouring rain all day so thats good!
 
Again sorry this is a short letter!
Love you all! Hope you are all doing well!
Morrison Shimai
モリソン 姉妹

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thanks for the Letters!


OH my goodness gracious!

I opened my email today to find 26 new emails!!! Oh man I feel so bad that I really just dont have time to read and reply to everything! :( 

Ok sorry this is going to be a short letter!!!!!!!!!!!! :( but I want to try to reply to some people who emailed me this week. I hope youll forgive me!

Answers to your questions.
1)  Do the people of Japan pay more attention to you because you are blond?

I dont know if they pay more attention, but people always comment on my blonde hair and sometimes they want to touch it. A lot of people ask me if it changes color. Whenever they do comment on my hair they always say that it:s so pretty and they are jealous.. So I guess its a good thing. :)

2)  What kinds of things do you do on your p-day's.  I assume you do grocery shopping and laundry.  Do you have a scheduled time to write letters? Just curious if you are at the church and all 11 missionaries are using the same computers you probably have assigned times.

On P-days we do grocery shopping, shopping for clothes, and then we do some fun things like go and take pictures and go to resturants - like today we went to this curry resturant and it was SOOOO good!! :) We can actually do laudry any day of the week since there are 5 girls in our apartment and only 1 washer and dryer. Yes we have a scheduled time to write emails. There is only one computer at the church so we hace to take turns although I heard that theyre trying to figure out other options for us like using members computers or something...(sorry there arent going to be any appostrophies in this letter.... im too lazy to add them in...) :)

3) Do you cook in your apartment most days?  Do you take a turn in cooking?

Yes usually we eat in our apartment. Our kitchen is so small though that usually its 2 girls who cook food and the other three of us help to clean and set up the table.

K so I just have one quick story and I hope that will suffice. :)
 
This week we took a little trip and spent 2 days in Sapporo. On Wednesday me and Furue Shimai got to take a bus to Sapporo. The bus ride is about 3 1/2 hours. The countryside of Hokkaido is absolutely beautiful!! There are just rolling hills with trees and flowers everywhere. It kind of reminds me of the opening scene in The Sound of Music where she is singing `The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music`. We dont have quite as big of mountains, but you get the idea. :)
 
So we got to Sapporo Wednesday afternoon and we had exchanges. Which means that I got paired up with a new companion for the day. It was one of the Sister Training Leaders, her name is Honda Shimai (yes Honda like the car brand). She is so sweet! She is Japanese and she is from a city near Nagoya. Her English isnt the best so it was a little hard to communicate with her, but from what I did understand, she is really funny! Anyway it was great spending time in the city with her.
 
Quick story time: On Wednesday night we had an appointment to meet with a girl who was interested in hearing our message. Her name is Irina and she is from Russia. Shes been living in Japan for about 11 months and she is in her 20s. She lives in this little one room apartment, but she is so cute! She has the longest and blondest hair I think I have ever seen! Her Japanese is really good and since she is a gaijin (foreigner) she spoke a little slower so I could actually understand most of what she was saying! Anyway,  we brought her a Book of Mormon in Russian so that she could start reading it. So together we all read the introduction to the Book of Mormon, which explains what the Book is about and why its so speacial. As we were reading together on the floor with a Russian, Japanese, and English Book of Mormon I just felt so overwhelmed. Its truly a testimony to me of the promise that is given that the true gospel of Jesus Christ will go to all the world - every nation, kindred, toungue, and people. I truly believe that everyone will benifit from reading the Book of Mormon and inviting Christ into their lives. I bore my simple witness that the Book of Mormon is true and they contain God`s words. The spirit was there and it was a really neat expirience.
 
Hope you are all doing well! Thanks again for all your love and support and letters! I promise I will reply to all of them eventually!
Ai Shiteimasu!!
Morrison Shimai

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rice, Rice and yes more Rice!!


Konnichiwa!
 
There has been so much that has happened in just my first full week in Japan! First I just want to tell you about how awesome the people are here!! They are so polite and kind and very understanding of my poor Japanese. I`ve realized how little Japanese I really know! But its really funny becuase I try to say something in Japanese and all the people are like `Nihongo wa jozu!!` which means `you`re Japanese is good!` Really they`re very nice and they tell me my Japanese is good, when I know its not. :) The church members here are the best! In the past week the members fed us 5 times and there are 11 missionaries in my area/ward, so that`s a lot of people to feed!! Usually the members don`t feed us and we usually eat at our apartment, but this is really a great area and the members really love the missionaries.
 
So some of you may know, but one of my biggest fears about coming to Japan was the food! I was so worried that I wouldn`t like anything because most of it is fish and I`m not really a huge fish person, but I must say in just a short week I have come to really love Japanese food!! My favorite meal so far is any kind of meat on top of rice. Its so simple, but its really good!! Also I think Japanese curry will become a quick favorite! I`m still trying to get used to eating with chopsticks. Embarrasing moment of the week: we were over at a member`s house on Saturday (all 11 missionaries) and we had some pork, but they were cut into really big slices! And so I`m sitting there and finally I got about half the piece of meat into my mouth, but I can`t get the other half in. So I`m really struggling and then I notice that no one is talking. So with a huge piece of meat hanging out of my mouth I look up and everyone is staring at me!! The member comes into the room with a fork and a knife and everyone laughs a little. I`m such a forignier! Haha. :)
 
There are about 60 people in the ward that I go to on Sundays. Yesterday I had to give a talk in church, and since I don`t know any Japanese it basically means share my testimony about Jesus Christ. I was so nervous. They told me that I should try to take about 3 minutes, but in reality I probably wasn`t up there for more than 45 seconds... Oh well... I guess I need to work on that. :) After I went and sat back down and my companion said that she could understand me, which is a good sign. Then after the meeting people were coming up to me and telling me that they really appriciated my testimony. It was a huge compliment to hear from them! The best part about church is that one of our investigators came!! Her name is Kohoru Chan, she`s 23 years old and she just moved to Obihiro on Friday. We met her when we were out knocking on doors on Satuday and we just started talking to her for a while and then she even came to dinner with us on Saturday night and then came to church with us on Sunday! She speaks a little bit of English and she actually was living in Hawaii, on Kona, back in December. She was there for a work training program. Anyway, she is really nice and she`s been wondering a lot about what true happiness is in life. I`m so excited to get to know her more and help her learn more about the gospel! I`ll let you know more about her next week.
 
Hope you are all doing well! Love you all!!! Again sorry if I don`t reply to all your emails right away! But I love getting them! Thanks so much!
 
Morrison Shimai
 
PS these are some pictures of the view of Obihiro from our apartment!