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


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.

   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