Sunday, March 30, 2014

Faith and the 1st Convert Baptism

   Ok so basically i've decided that people in the States are so lucky because you all get to watch conference this week!!!   I have to wait another week.  It's weird how excited I am for Conference!! I really just can't wait!!! Ahhhhhh! :)
   Oh my goodness I can't believe I forgot to mention this first! WE HAD A BAPTISM YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so great!!! My very first convert baptism!! Well actually it wasn't our investigator, it was the chorotachi's. So I guess it's just the first convert baptism that I've seen in Japan!!!!!!!!!!! I sadly didn't get any pictures on my camera because we were helping the chorotachi (Elders) take pictures on their camera obviously :) Hopefully they will be nice enough to print one out for me so that I will have one. :) The baptism was at 8:30 in the morning yesterday (Sunday).  So the chorotachi had to get up at 4:30 to start filling the font at 5:00 am. And then Gibbs Shimai and I got up at 5:30 so that we could get to the church at 6:30 to practice the song we sang at the baptism and just to get other things ready. So it was a long day yesterday, but so happy!! 
   Yamashina Kyodai was baptized yesterday morning and then he was confirmed in Sacrament meeting the same day. Our one investigator, who we wanted to come couldn't come because the baptism was too early but she was able to come to Sacrament meeting and see the confirmation so that was really great!! She thought the confirmation was really interesting so that's a good sign!! Yea!!!!! It's just so exciting to see that things are actually happening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which sounds kind of bad on my part because I know I should have the faith to be able to see miracles and baptisms all the time, but I just remember that I'm not perfect. I get discouraged. I get frustrated. I get jealous.  It's a little hard sometimes reading other missionary's emails saying "oh yea we went to this house 2 weeks ago and they were a perfect family and now we are having 5 people get baptized on Sunday." And I'm just sitting there reading like "Say what now?? What do you mean you met them 2 weeks ago? You taught them and they understood everything? And now just like that they are joining a new church that was completely foreign to them 2 weeks ago??? What? Is that real?"   Oh man I am truly lacking in faith and that's why we don't see baptisms? I mean I'm more than half way through my mission and I've seen 1 baptism and it wasn't even my investigator! And I was completely overjoyed yesterday!!!  Like the whole day I just couldn't stop thinking about how happy our new convert was at his baptism and seeing the chorotachi perform the ordinances. Sorry I'm really rambling now and I'm quickly running out of time!! Ahhh! Haha Sorry! I'm so random sometimes. And I didn't plan to talk about all of that in my email today...... Basically what I came away with is that I just have to remember that every mission is different and that we can see success in any area of the world, even if the meaning of success is a little different from place to place. We see success here everyday!!!! As long as we are trying our best and relying in the Lord in all we do he won't let us fail. :)
   Ok so now I'm just going to tell a quick story about what else happened yesterday that was so amazing and truly one of the greatest learning experiences on my mission so far!
   So yesterday we had a lesson with Wada San (her and her husband). Wada San was the one investigator who came to sacrament meeting yesterday. Anyway so the last time we met with them, we talked a little bit about faith and we assigned them to read Alma 32 before we met with them next. So on Friday night we were following up with them about reading, and they still hadn't read (which is pretty normal). So we encouraged them to try to read it before we came over on Sunday. So before the lesson, I was totally anticipating that they still had not read the chapter.  I was expecting them to say that they didn't read it and so we would have to read it during the lesson.  But I was wrong.  Before we even started the lesson they proudly announced that they had read the chapter earlier that day! And Gibbs Shimai and I at the same time were both like "you read it?" and they said yes they had!!! So we had a great discussion about the chapter and what they thought about faith. We talked more about how we can strengthen our faith by doing the basic things, praying, keeping the commandments, and reading scriptures. It ended up being a really great lesson because they had kept the commitment to read the chapter.  After the lesson I had the realization that that lesson wasn't for them about strengthening their faith. It was for me.  I realized that I need to start having more faith in my investigators that they will want to progress and they will keep the commitments that we give them. Very humbling and a good learning experience. :)

Love you!! Have a great week!!!

Morrison Shimai

At the beach on Saturday - Muroran

With Gibbs Shimai

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 Japan Sapporo Mission Fireside

President and Sister Evans - well actually Sister Evans puts together a Music Fireside with missionaries from the Sapporo Mission.  This year Jazmyne got to participate.  Here is a link to video's.  Check it out!
LDS 2014 Sapporo Music Fireside

We Love to Teach!!

Hello all!!
 So this week was good!!! The beginning of the week started out just too perfect! It was truly the beginning of a miracle week! On Monday night we were out dendoing and we weren't able to meet with an NA (non-active), she ended up not being home when we went to visit her. So after we were trying to figure out what to do, go housing, call some people, try to see another NA. By this time it was about 7:30 at night and so Gibbs Shimai says "why don't we try to go visit Ayana Chan?" Side note* she is one of our investigators who has a baptismal date for the middle of May and we have had a really hard time getting a hold of her and haven't been able to meet with her at all so far this transfer. So we decided to pray about it and we were just pleading with Heavenly Father that we would be able to meet with her. So we go to her apartment and she is home!! She invites us in and she was really excited to see us. She tells us that she will be moving on Sunday (yesterday). So it was a little miracle that we were able to meet her one more time before she moved! Luckily she will still be living in Muroran so we'll continue to teach her! Super exciting!
   Ok and then on Wednesday we went to yama no ue (top of the mountain). Literally it's like this tiny part of the city at the top of this huge mountain. Really weird I know! :) We tried to meet some people, but no one was home, so we decided to do some housing. And right before we started housing Gibbs Shimai said, "I don't want to do finding anymore! I want to actually teach people!" And then I said "Me too! We really need to make an appointment and find strong investigators."  I truly think the Lord heard our sincere plea to teach people, because the first house we knocked on a lady answered the door. She was a young mom and we started teaching her about the importance of families. And she kept listening for a good 5 min! So Gibbs Shimai asked her if she would be interested in hearing more about our message and she says yes! Then I asked her if there was another time we could come back when she's not busy. And she was like, "well how long is your message?". So we say "well about 30 min". And she says "ok I have time let me just go get my baby and you can teach me now". And as soon as she went into the other room, me and Gibbs Shimai just look at each other and we both say, "we're going to teach a lesson!!" So we quickly talked about what we were going to teach and we stayed at her house for almost an hour teaching her about the Plan of Salvation and then we introduced the Book of Mormon and we gave it to her and she took it!!!!  It was a really exciting day! We made an appointment to meet her on Tuesday again!!!! Her name is Kunimatsu San and she has a 4 month old baby boy named Ritora. So please keep her and her family in your prayers that we will be able to teach them!

Love you all and hope you have a great week!!!
Morrison Shimai 

Food Pictures - We rarely have dessert because it is so expensive.  Gibbs Shimai

"Bolt Man"  (Fun things we find in Japan)

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Hello everyone!!!!
   So this week we climbed lots of hills and they were steep hills too! Muroran is a city right on the southern coast of Hokkaido and so we have lots of hills all over the area. They were so long and so hard, but we were so determined to get to the top and it was a little dangerous because there's still snow and ice on the ground.
   The most exciting part about the week is that I decided to take us to an area of Muroran that I've never been before. Since this area just opened for Shimai before I got here, we had been focusing a lot on the main part of town. But now that I have a new comp. and we've got time, we decided to go to the most southern part of the city right on the shore. It's only about a 20 min. train ride to this part of the city. It's the older part of Muroran so it has lots of older style buildings and lots of temples and shrines so that was interesting. But anyway the purpose in going down there was I wanted to meet 3 NAs (Not Active Members) that live down there. 
   Sadly our day started off a little discouraging. When we first got there the sun was out and it was warm, but after about 30 min. it started snowing really hard and it got really cold really fast. We started housing one area, and literally every single person shut the door on us. Usually people are pretty nice and will let us tell them who we are before they tell us 'no thank you', but this time as soon as we said that we were from America, they would shut the door. One lady started yelling at us to go away and get off her porch. It was so shocking and very out of the ordinary. And then we went to visit the 1st NA on our list and she told us that she was really busy and had no interest in the church anymore and so it would be better for us to leave and not come back because we would just be wasting our time. So by that point our hope was basically gone. I started feeling like we had just wasted our time by coming to this area.
   But the story doesn't end there. We went housing at the very top of one these steep hills. And one of the first doors we knocked on there was an Obaachan (grandma) that answered the door. She had white hair and she was probably 85 years old. I really love talking to old grandmas which is good because we find a lot of them. :) So we told her who we were and she started asking us all sorts of questions as to why we were here in Japan and what we had been doing before we came. We were talking to her about 30 min. We told her a little bit about our message and about God, but she told us that she was old and would never change. But then she started to tell us about how much she admired us. She told us how it was rare to see young people be so dedicated to something and actually have something to believe in. She told us that she thought we were doing a good thing and told us 'Good Luck'. Then before we left she gave us some bananas and crackers. (Such a grandma thing to do right??) She was so sweet and totally lifted our spirits. The rest of the day went pretty well and we were able to meet some nice people.
   Heavenly Father has to lead us up the biggest and tallest hill to find someone at the top to give us some hope. And it's the exact same way with life. We each have our own hills to climb and sometimes they might be covered in ice and you slip and fall down a little, but you keep going. You may not know what's at the top, but Heavenly Father knows. And he knows that you'll be happier once you get there. God truly knows each of us individually and he knows how to help us when we feel down. Each of us is his child and he will always be there to guide us up all of our hills.
Love you all!! Have a good week!
Morrison Shimai

Overlooking Muroran from a tall apartment building

Creative picture taking

The shore of Muroran (Pacific Ocean)

The Shore


Conquering the Hill!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sixth Transfer - Still in Muroran

   Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes!! It was a good and super busy week! We had transfers this week! So on Sunday night we got a call from the APs telling us that Kuroki Shimai will be STL (Sister Training Leader - basically like a ZL, but they are only over the Shimai) this next trasfer.  Before we only had 2 STLs in the mission but now they are expanding it so there will now be 4 STLs.   So on Monday we made some vistis to investigators so Kuroki Shimai could say goodbye before she transfered to Sapporo.
   Then on Tuesday (my birthday) we had DTM in the morning (a training meeting for our whole district) and they sang to me, and gave me a little photo album where they had all written nice notes to me. It really was the sweetest birthday present! Then we went out to lunch, visited one member, and then we went to the train station to catch our train at 2:30. The best part was Wada San and her husband met us at the station to say goodbye! It was so sweet! We took the train to Sapporo and dropped Kuroki Shimai at the Honbu (Mission office). Then me and Baker Shimai and Oosugi Shimai went back to Atsubetsu area (still in Sapporo).
   On Wednesday I was on splits with the 3 of them in Atusbetsu. We had so much fun and we were able to meet a lot of people. Then on Thursday I met up with Gibbs Shimai (my new companion) and we came back to Muroran that night. I already love Gibbs Shimai! She is on her 7th transfer, so just one ahead of me! She is so kind and her Japanese is really good.  I'm so excited to work with her and have her meet all of our awesome investigators here in Muroran!!
Hope all is giong well!! Love you all!!!
Morrison Shimai

 A member from Obihiro (previous area) sent her a birthday cake!

 Together with members in Muroran celebrating a holiday called Hina Matsuri

Matching outfits with Kuroki Shimai on Jazmyne's birthday

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Miracles and Perspectives

Hello everyone!!

This week was really great!! To start off, we made another baptismal date!!!!! For April 27th!!! Ahh so exciting!! 2 baptismal dates in 2 weeks!!! I couldn't ask for anything better!

So this baptismal date we just made is with a lady named Kasai San. She's in her early 30's and she lives in a little apartment with her dog named Kotarou.  He is so cute, he is a tiny little black pug! Every time we've gone over he always jumps on us and licks us! So cute!

Anyway, we met her for the 2nd time this week and we taught her about Jesus Christ and about who he is and why he is important. We talked about how he is our perfect example and how we should always strive to follow him. So then we started explaining how Jesus Christ was baptized and how it's important for us to be baptized and the we extended the baptismal invite and she said YES!!!! Then at the end of the lesson we asked her if she had any questions and she was like "yea, I know that in some churches they have prayer, but do you guys do that in your church?" Me and Kuroki Shimai just looked at each other with a face like "Wait she knows what prayer is??" Best moment ever! So of course we said yes and taught her how to pray. It was a really great lesson and I'm excited to continue to teach her!!! It's so amazing how prepared she is and we were so lucky to find her!

Sorry I don't have much time again today. An hour is really not enough time!! But as I'm coming up on my half way point I have really been reflecting on how I've changed in the past 9 months - and I really have changed and learned so much! And really it's all good changes, things that I want to continue to do even after my mission.  One thing I know for sure is that these last 9 months have been the hardest months of my whole life. It's been really fun and at times rewarding. There was a quote I heard and it goes something like this "Lots of people say their mission was the best 2 years of their life, but I disagree. My mission wasn't the best 2 years of my life, but it was the best 2 years FOR my life"   And I think this is the closest/ most true statement I can give at this point. It's already been the hardest, but also the greatest learning experience so far in my life. So I guess that's kind of my thoughts at this point. :)

Hope you all have a good week!!! Much love!!!
Morrison Shimai