Monday, February 24, 2014

We had a Baptism

   Well I'll just tell you the big news first.... We had a baptism on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok now before you jump to conclusions, it wasn't one of our investigators, but it was an 8-year-old girl in the ward named Kamada Aoi chan. She is so cute and it was so exciting to be able to see my first baptism! :) The service was so nice. One of the ward members gave a talk about the importance of baptism. And then us missionaries and the YSAs in the ward sang "Love at Home". And she was baptized by her father. After she was confirmed a member, she bore her testimony. The good thing about when little kids talk, is that they're pretty easy to understand. And so she just bore the sweetest, most innocent testimony about the church and how she knows the Heavenly Father loves her. 
   The work here is moving along! Because of the efforts of past missionaries, now those converts' children are now entering into the covenant of baptism. And that family will bless future generations as well!! I'm so grateful for all the missionaries who have served here in Japan. And they may not know it now, but their efforts payed off. Because of their missionary efforts now there are families who can raise their children in the gospel and continue to share the gospel. 
   Ok I'm almost out of time, but I'll just tell you quickly about Ayana chan. She is one of our current investigators. She's 22 years-old and currently a college student studying to be a nurse. We met her at the end of January, but we haven't been able to meet with her recently because she had a big test at school, but she finished her test last week. We were able to meet with her on Saturday! We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and she seemed to really understand it all! She even said that she wants to go to the celestial kingdom so that she can live with her family forever. So at the end of the lesson we extended the baptismal commitment and she said yes!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh!!! We were so excited!!! So we scheduled her baptism for May 18th!! 

Love you all!!! Have a great week!!!
Morrison Shimai

 Baptism with Muroran Elders and Sisters

 Splits with the Sister Training Leaders

Young Single Adult's with the Elders and Sisters

Got my birthday package!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Too Much Time on the Train

Hello all!!
   This week was a little hectic for us!  We have been on so many trains this transfer - going back and forth from Sapporo for Music Practice and Zone Conferences and Zone Training Meetings. I'm honestly getting a little tired from all the travel time and waking up early and the reason why it's so tiring is that lately when we have been traveling, there are so many people on the train, that we end up standing the whole time (an hour and a half there and then an hour an a half back).   But it's been kind of fun being able to see everyone and we've had some really good workshops at all of these conferences!
   So because we were traveling so much this week, we were only able to meet with 2 of our investigators. We first met with Matsuda San. We've been teaching her and her son for almost 3 months now. I think I've mentioned this family before, but we found them through a Free Family English Program that we offer. So the deal is that we teach English for 30 min. and then we teach about our church for 30 min. And usually it's pretty hard to find families to teach so this program is a great way to get them interested. So we taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation this week. And I asked the mom what she thought the purpose of life is and she said, "well really I just want to be happy". And it caught me a little off guard because it was a great and perfect answer!! I feel like she really understands our message and I know that the gospel will really bless her and her son. The Program that we are doing with them only lasts 6 weeks, so I hope that even when the program is finished that they'll want to continue to learn more about this great gospel of happiness!
    One quick funny story from yesterday. So after church we went with the chorotachi (elders) to one of our investigator's houses. His name is Kakisaki San.  He's a college kid and so we wanted to pass him to the Elders so that the Elders could start teaching him. The lesson went pretty good, he's shy so it was a little awkward at some points, but he really has a lot of potential!   Then after, we were walking through the college campus and then we see a couple college guys making snowmen.  And one of them calls out to us in English, "Hello". So we answer and say hi. Then he asks us if we want to come make snowmen with them. And all four of us just look at each other and I'm thinking, what, who ever actually calls out to talk to us??   Haha!   But, then we just said ok! :)   So it was all of us missionaries (3 of us Americans) and about 5 Japanese college guys playing in the snow and making snowmen!   It was so fun! Haha.   At one point we were talking about how old we were and I asked one of the guys to guess my age and he says 40!   What?    Obviously he was joking, but I hope I don't actually look that old! hahaha.   We hung out with them for about 2 hours and we invited them to all come to Eikaiwa (free english class we teach) and they said they would try to come!! 

Snowman and the college students

They shovel the snow at the church each Sunday

Enjoying a little fun in the snow

Mini Snowman

Mini Snowman

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival)

   This week started out pretty slow, but on Wednesday we got to go to Sapporo and go to the Yuki Matsuri (Snow festival)!!   It's very famous here in Japan and they have one every year! There are tons of ice/snow sculptures!  Some are small and some are really big! There was one that was like a castle and every 15 minutes or so they would play a light show. They would light up the sculpture and have music that went along with it! It was so cool! But it was really cold and by about 8 the snow was coming down pretty hard. So me and Kuroki Shimai went to get dinner, but it was too cold for us to use chopsticks so it was pretty funny.  There was so many people at the festival!!  I haven't seen so many not-Japanese people in a long time. We even met a couple from America. He is in the Navy and currently stationed in Tokyo.  His wife served a mission and so we were talking with her for a while. It was a really fun night!!
   The next day, Thursday, we had a zone conference with 2 other zones in Sapporo. We had the mental health doctor there as well as the normal doctor in charge of all the Japan missions. And mom you won't belive who was there!! So the mental Health doctor is Moris Grahm (not sure about the spelling).   Anyway him and his wife were there. They went to Scandinavia on the cruise with their 2 grand daughters. They are from Hawaii, but are on their mission in Tokyo. She didn't really remember me but it was still fun to see them. They talked about a lot of great things at the conference about how we can strengthen our relationships; the relationships with our companion, the members and our investigators.
   Sorry this is so short, but I have to go now!
Have a good week!!! Love you all!! Thanks for everything!!
Morrison Shimai

Pictures are from the snow festival, a holiday where they wear monster masks, and yes - Jazmyne eating sushi rolls, and a One Direction poster in the subway station.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ice is everywhere

Hello all!!!
   So it's been a little bit of a painful week! In Muroran we're pretty lucky because we really don't have a lot of snow, but the bad thing is that right when the snow starts to melt a little bit, it gets super cold and freezes. This week was especially bad and right now we probably have about 2 inches of ice on all the sidewalks! It's really funny because everyone walks like penguins to keep from falling (including us...). But I did manage to fall at least 5 different times this week! and I have all the bruises to prove it and what's even worse is that 2 times I fell right in the middle of the road. So I just hear Kuroki Shimai from the other side of the street yelling, "Kuruma! Kuruma!" (Car! Car!). So I quickly got up and ran so that I wouldn't get hit! Anyway, needless to say we live a pretty exciting/dangerous life as missionaries! :)
   And to explain the other reason why this week was painful I must tell you a story now.
   So we have this investigator named Shimizu San. I can't remember how much I've told you about her so sorry if I'm just repeating myself. She's in her early 50's. She's married and has kids but they are grown up now, so it's just her and her husband that live at the house right now. Kuroki Shimai found her in October of last year and we've been teaching her about every week so she's been taught a lot of the lessons already. So last week we were trying to figure out how we could help her progress more. She's pretty good about reading the Book of Mormon, but she has a hard time with prayer. So last week we decided to talk just about prayer and how when we pray we are really talking with our Heavenly Father and through prayer we can receive answers and guidance for our lives. Anyway the lesson went super well and she said that she would try to pray by herself!!! (This is the first time she said that she would!!) We later  in the week followed up with her and she said that she prayed to find out if God existed. She said that she felt different and sort of mysterious. She said it was a feeling that she had never felt before. So the lesson this week we decided to focus on the Holy Ghost and we wanted to talk about baptism. So I extended the baptismal invite. She said it was too fast now and that she still wan't sure. She also said that her family is really important to her so she has to consider them in the decision too. Anyway it was a little disappointing, but we encouraged her to keep reading and keep praying and she said that she would. But the next day we got a text from her saying that she will never get baptized. She thanked us for all the things that we taught her but she said that she didn't want to meet us anymore. :(
   It was a rough night and we did a lot of thinking and a lot of praying. I have really come to realize the importance of agency. I know that Heavenly Father has not forgotten Shimizu San and neither will we. We just have to trust in the Lord and everything will work out. :)
Hope all is well!! Never lose faith, even when things are tough!! Have a good week!
Morrison Shimai

Ice on the sidewalks and streets - at least 2" thick.

Train Station in Muroran

Ice Skating on the Streets

Today - well yesterday.  New haircut (bangs and minus 5"), writing emails.