Saturday, July 27, 2013

You Have A Lot of Hair.....

Hi Everyone,

This week has been pretty exciting. We're already getting ready to take our flight to Japan! We got our flight plans yesterday and I'll be leaving the MTC at 7:30 AM on Monday, August 5th. My companion, Butler Shimai who is going to the Sendai mission, will be leaving the MTC at 2:30 AM on Monday. So I'm pretty happy that I'll get to sleep in a little. :) 

We'll fly from Salt Lake City to Seattle and then from Seattle to Tokyo. And finally Tokyo to Sapporo.  We'll arive in Sapporo at 8:30 PM on Tuesday, August 6th (local time I assume). It's been great and I've even started packing again. It's still a little stressful trying to decide what I'll really need for the next 16 months in Japan, but I think it's much more enjoyable than when I was first packing for the MTC.
Most interesting experience this week (which actually happened this morning): So Butler Shimai and I decided it would probably be a good idea to get our hair cut one last time before we leave for Japan. Here at the MTC they have a little barber shop. So we made appointments to get a trim today. Before our appointment we were talking about how we love going to get our hair cut because they wash your hair and cut all the split ends off and its just so relaxing. Maybe we're the only ones who feel this way but it's just so nice. Anyway we were pretty excited. But obviously our expectations were just a little bit too high...   It took the lady exactly 3 minutes to cut Butler Shimai's hair. And mine took about 15 minutes. Literally this is what happened: we went in, they asked us what we wanted, we sat down, they sprayed our hair with a little bit of water, cut the ends of our hair and we were done. The lady who was cutting my hair, all she could say the whole time I was there was "You have a lot of hair" and I was like "Yes I do". Or she would say, "You have so much hair that I won't need to go to the gym tonight becuase my arms are getting a nice workout" and then I would say "Glad I could help you get a workout while you're at work". It was very amusing. 

Once we were done the first thing Butler Shimai said was "after you get a haircut are you still suppose to have the same split ends you had before the hair cut?" And the first thing I said, "I don't think my hair feels any lighter, it feels thicker than before". We both decided that they probably didn't even cut our hair, but just sprayed our hair with water to make it seem like they did. :)
I can't wait to write you next week!
Hope you are all doing well!
Much love! Ai Shiteimasu!
Morrison Shimai

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's getting down to the last few MTC weeks!

Saturday, July 20

It's getting down to the last few weeks here at the MTC. All of the Elders and Sisters in my district are all pretty excited to finally get to Japan. It's also a little sad though because some of us will be going to Sapporo and most of them will be going to Sendai and we know that we won't get to see each other again for 2 years. I'm really going to miss the people in my district. We have become so close these past 6 1/2 weeks. We act like a big family. We literally spend all day with each other. We all eat together, we study together, and all exercise together. We have really gotten to know each other so well. As a district we decided that every night after we finish planning we have this thing called the "hot seat" where we pick one person to sit at the front of the classroom and for 15 minutes we can ask that person any question we want. It's been really fun getting to know everyone's hobbies and unique personalities. We really have become best friends! We're already planning some reunions for when we all get back from our missions. :)
Sundays are still some of my favorite days. I love getting the extra time to study in the morning. Church for us (sacrament meeting) is almost completely in Japanese. Each Sunday all of the missionaries prepare a 3-5 minute talk in Japanese. Each Sunday we have a different topic such as faith, repentance, baptism, the Book of Mormon, etc. And each Sunday one Elder and one Sister are called up randomly to come to the front and give their talk. When I first got here I had no clue what anyone was saying. But now I'm to the point where I can pretty much understand everything. I can sing hymns in Japanese, I can write talks in Japanese and I even understand the sacrament prayers in Japanese. It's pretty cool to see how much I've learned in such a short amount of time. This last week in choir we sang "Nearer my God to Thee", which has always been a song that I liked, but I never realized what it was about until this week. It's about the story of Jacob and his brother Esau. Esau is the oldest brother so traditionally he would get the birthright, but instead Jacob is the one who gets the birthright. Esau quickly finds out what has happened and he threatens to kill Jacob. So Jacob packs up everything and leave his family. The song talks about how Jacob was feeling as he runs away from home and he feels so alone, but he still has a desire to be nearer to God even through his trials. Pretty interesting right??  (Exodus 28:10-22)
My Japanese is coming along slowly, but surely. It's a really hard language. I don't think I realized how hard it would be. I've pretty much mastered the 2 alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana. The Japanese people also use Kanji, which is where they have one character to represent 1 word or part of one word, and I learned a couple of those, I'm not exactly sure how many Kanji there are, but I'm pretty sure there's at least 3000. So I'm really trying to work hard, but it's really discouraging sometimes when I can't say what I want to becuase I still have a very limited vocabulary. But I'm really trying to hold onto faith.
Hope you are all doing well! I love you all! Thanks also for all the letters and emails.  I'm sorry if it takes me such a long time to reply but I promise I will!

Ai Shiteimasu!
Morrison Shimai

Saturday, July 13, 2013

District 11 Sapporo and Sendai Missionaries

It Was An Uneventful Week if I look Forward to Cleaning!

Saturday, July 13
I have such a hard time remembering what has happened during the week! I swear my memory is so bad! I have found that if I don't write things down, I will definitely forget them.
I feel like this week hasn't been super eventful, except for maybe today. In the residence building there's 3 rooms with girls who are all leaving for Japan on Monday, so they've taken over the entire hallway trying to pack all their stuff. They live right down the hall from me so it's been a little difficult trying to get around them. :) It's so weird to think that in 3 weeks I'll be doing the exact same thing. I'll be laying out my stuff in the hallway packing up all of the supplies I need to live in Japan for the next 16 months. Crazy right? Time here has just flown by so fast.
Every week we have time to do some service here at the MTC. I've heard of some people who wash windows, some people do grounds-keeping type stuff, but mostly we do cleaning. So every Thursday morning all the girls in my district clean the bathrooms in our building. At first I was a little unsure about this task and I wasn't really looking forward to it, but now it's become one of my favorite things to do during the week. Plus it's actually really fun! When we clean out the showers we get to use this giant hose and it makes me feel like I'm putting out a fire, it's pretty intense. 

There's two MTC employees that usually help us out and they are so nice! It's Lisa and Jenna. Lisa is Michaela's friend from back home and she was in my chemistry class at BYU. Michaela was one of my roommates last year at BYU. Anyway usually before we start our service project of clean the bathrooms, they give us some sort of spiritual/uplifting thought. So it might have been last week (again my memory is not very good), but Jenna told us this story from her mission (she served in Nebraska) about how her and her companion were praying that they would be about to find someone who was ready to hear the message of the gospel. She had a prompting that they needed to go to a certain neighborhood in the town where she was, but because of some things they couldn't get there till a few days later. Once they were in the area they went around the each house, but no one wanted to talk to them. As they were heading back to their car, they hear a lady yelling and running after them. She didn't live in the neighborhood, but was picking her sons up from a friend's house and she was interested in hearing about our church and what we believe. Jenna testified that the Lord truly does know all of his children. He knew that the woman would be in that neighborhood that day. 

I know that's true. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that he knows each of us by name. He knows what makes us happy, he knows what our trials are, and he knows our unique talents and abilities. If we pray and truly desire to feel of his love for us then he will show us.

Hope everything is going well!
Ai Shiteimasu!
I love you all so very much!
Morrison Shimai

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 4th

The 4th of July started out like any other day here at the MTC, except for the fact that everyone was decked out in red, white, and blue. During the evening, we had a special devotional where the speaker talked to us about how lucky we are to be a part of a free nation. He also talked about how sacrifice has always been an important part of the freedom that we enjoy here. The first settlers gave up everything in hope of finding a new land where they could practice whatever religion they want. Today, men and women across the country sacrifice so much to join the armed services and help to protect the freedoms of other countries. As missionaries we may not give our life to help others, but we do "sacrifice" some things. We decided to stop school, work, relationships, for 18 months to 2 years in order to serve the Lord. We leave all personal things behind in order to go out to all the world and teach others about Jesus Christ and his gospel. To me I don't feel like my sacrifice is anything as significant as the sacrifices that our ancestors fought for and continue to fight for. However, I know that my service to others will have as great an impact on their lives and I know that their lives will improve as I can help people come unto Christ.

After the devotional, we got the opportunity to watch "17 Miracles" - which is a movie about the early pioneers and their treck across the U.S. It was such a great movie and if you haven't watched it I would encourage you to do so! Throughout the entire movie it tells about the many miracle that occured during their hard journey. In this movie it shows some pretty profound miracles, and although we don't see these kinds of miracles today, we still have miracles that happen all around us. If I can, I would invite you to pray to Heavenly Father (God) and ask him to help you to see all the many miracles and blessings that he has given you! The movie is definitely a tear jerker <-- and yes I cried at least 4 different times during the movie. I was just so impressed by the faith that these people had even through all their challenges including running out of food, crossing the plains in the middle of winter, always on the run from wild animals, as well as all the sickness and death that was present 
during their journey. Anyway my point I guess is that it's a really really really really good (and humbling) movie and you should really watch it!!! :)

After the movie we got to go outside and watch the fireworks that were going off from the Stadium of Fire. The best part was is that we got to stay up until after 11 pm!! (We're suppose to go to bed at 10:30 pm). But it was definitely a challenge getting up the next moring at 6 am! I don't know how I ever survived in college on only 5-6 hours of sleep becuase now if I don't get at least 8 hours I just feel exhausted! But it's ok becuase why would I want to sleep when I could be reading my scriptures right? :)

Hope you are all doing well!

A little more about 17 Miracles:
As part of the Willie Handcart Company, Levi Savage (Jasen Wade) feared that leaving late in the season would lead to despair and death. What he came to find out is that for every tragedy, there is a multitude of miracles.
Based on unbelievable actual events, and brought to you by filmmaker T.C. Christensen (Praise to the Man, The Work and the Glory), 17 Miracles will open your eyes to the stories of the Mormon Pioneers as you have never seen them before. Something extraordinary is about to happen.
Levi Savage kept meticulous records as he made his journey west toward the Salt Lake Valley. Many of the unbelievable miracles showcased in 17 Miracles come directly from Levi's first hand journal entries.