Thursday, January 29, 2015

WEEK 2!!

Leaving California for 18 months - January 14, 2015
First Day (with Sister Coughanour)

Name tag!  She's official!

Praying before teaching first lesson in Japanese
After first lesson

Provo Utah Temple

MTC District at the Provo Utah Temple

Lacey Shimai and Coughanour Shimai 

Konnichiwa Kazoku!

Thank you for all your emails, pictures, and letters! I love you guys so much! I will try to send pictures today!

So much has happened this past week and I don't know where to start! I feel like I have to fit a year's worth of information into one email. So, Thursday we went to the temple and it was AMAZING. It was so nice just to focus on the Spirit and the blessings of the temple. 

Later that day, we had our 5th lesson with Aoyagi San and it was the best one we had yet. We taught him about Joseph Smith and we tried to memorize most of the First Vision and the Spirit was so strong. At the end he agreed to be baptized and said that he felt "heian" or peace during the lesson. We were so excited and it brought tears to our eyes. Turns out that was our last lesson with him because he turned out to be our new teacher and his name is Olsen Kyodai. He's super funny and kinda reminds us of an anime character with his expressions. So we have 3 main teachers which are, Jack Shimai, Cook Kyodai, Olsen Kyodai and sometimes Powell Kyodai. They are all awesome and helpful in different ways. 

Saturday morning we had a service project but forgot to set the alarm so we were a little late. Sundays are still my favorite. I forgot to mention, but my whole district (and I think most of my zone) is in the choir and it is amazing! The first Sunday we sang "Lead Kindly Light" and it was so beautiful. Last Sunday we sang "I Feel My Saviors Love." I love our choir director. I think his name is Brother Eggett. He is so funny and knows a lot about church history and the music that we sing. Sunday night's devotional speaker was Stephen Allen (the Managing Director of the Missionary Department for the Church) and he gave a great talk! He was hilarious and very blunt. He spoke on how we are at war with Satan and we need to learn how to not let him press our buttons. He said we need to learn to recognize the Spirit  and never doubt it's promptings. He said if its hard for us to recognize the spirit then we need to remember that every good thing comes from God so if we have a promoting that is a good prompting then we need to do it. I loved his talk so much. 

I bought a mini Book of Mormon and decided to mark anything that stands out about recognizing the spirit and listening to the spirit. My testimony has already grown so much stronger.  On Monday, Coughanour Shimai and I got a new investigator named Kathleen Tsuboyama San. (Jack Shimai).  She is super funny and nice. It was more comfortable to teach her and we taught her about prayer and the Holy Ghost. Later on Monday we had TRC appointments where volunteers come and we give them a little lesson. The first girl served her mission in Japan and was so nice. Then we taught a guy named Sam and he was awesome! He also served in Japan. We taught them about the Ten Commandments and a fun way to memorize them with our hands and he said he never laughed so hard in a lesson. That made us really happy. 

Gym time is going good. I have ran a few times but we mainly go to a small gym and go on bike things and they have TVs with Mormon Messages and talks going. I had to buy headphones to listen to them and yesterday they had Elder Holland talks one after the other and it was AWESOME!  Tuesday night's speaker was Larry S. Kacher, I think he spoke last General Conference. It was so good! He talked about being a consecrated missionary and that we need to have a positive mindset and that if we believe miracles will happen, they will. I think it really hit a lot of my district and zone. He said that only we have the choice to choose what kind of missionary we want to be. Afterwards during our zone devotional overview almost all of us cried when we bore our testimonies. I finally cried in front of people! I love my district and zone so much. I am definitely blessed to be with them. 

Later that night we found out that the sister who was sick, actually does have cancer in her bone marrow... they said it is really slow moving and as of now she can stay and be treated but they might relocate her somewhere else.  She is so strong.  Just before we found out I had prayed to follow the Spirit's promptings without hesitation and I had the strongest prompting that we (the girls in the room) should give her a card. So we all wrote in a card and put it in her journal and she was so surprised and happy when she found it. Then I also had the feeling to share the scripture D&C 122:7-9, so I told her to read it. I'm not sure how she felt when she read it because her and her companion were out in the hall and we all went to bed, but I'm glad I shared it with her. 

Yesterday we had good study time and classes but then right before dinner we were told that we had a lesson with an investigator that we had to teach right after! We had no lesson planned and so decided to talk on prayer. We had never done a door approach but it was really fun! He seemed super shy and let us come in when we said we had a message about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Let's just say the Spirit definitely lead that lesson! I learned how to testify just a few days before which really helped! I understood so much he said and he asked questions like "how do you feel when you do this" or "why do you pray" and " how does it help you" and I was able to answer every question. It may have been a little backwards but he still understood. We had him pray at the end of the lesson and he was quite afterwards and I asked "how do you feel right now" and then he stayed quiet and so did we and then he responded but I don't know exactly what he said but the spirit was so strong! He said he would be baptized if he found our lessons were true but he still has questions. We almost cried afterwards! We were so blessed. 

I love this gospel so much and there's no play I'd rather be. I am so lucky that the Lord trusted me enough to serve a mission. Elder Kacher said "following obedience exactly lets the Lord trust us completely." I am so grateful for this gospel. I would never be able to do this without the strength of the Lord. Thank you all for your love and support! Aishitemasu! (I love you) 

Lacey Shimai

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Konnichiwa!! Week One!

Konnichiwa Kazoku! 

Where do I begin?? This week has felt like eternity. It's really hard to explain but the hours go by super fast but if feels like there are 100 hours in a day. I absolutely LOVE the MTC. It already feels like I never had a life before it. I feel like I haven't seen you guys in forever but it's only been one week! I'm sorry you didn't get my letter until Tuesday, I'm glad you finally got it though! The first couple of days were really rough. I didn't realize how difficult the language would be but I just have to keep reminding myself that I have only been here a week. I honestly think I have learned more Japanese in a week than I learned Spanish in two years! As of now I speak Japanglish. Yes, that's Japanese and English mixed up. We try to speak as much Nihongo as we can to get used to it. I'm sorry if my emails don't make sense. I have formed the habit of filling in a lot of Nihongo words whenever I write. Whenever people ask me a question I say "Hai" because that's "yes" in Japanese and they just look at me funny because they just think I said Hi to them and then I have to correct myself. 

So, my doryo (companion) is Coughanour Shimai (sister). She is from Portland, Oregon and I love her to death! I honestly know there is inspiration behind choosing companions because everyone in my district is perfect for each other! A lot of people think we look like sisters. We have really similar personalities and we work well together. I love my district! There are 8 Shimaitachi (sisters) and only 2 choros (elders). We are like a little family and we feel like we've all known each other our whole lives. Every single companionship is perfect for each other. Caton Choro is very good at Nihongo and is our tutor when our Sensei isn't there. Newey Choro is a goofball and super funny. He reminds me exactly of Saka from Avatar the Last Airbender. I love all the sisters. In my dorm room there are my companion and me, Hubbard Shimai and Chapman Shimai and two sisters from Australia. I can't remember how to write their names. They have actually known each other their whole lives and are companions both going to Nihon!

Something really sad happened Monday night. Well, last week one of the Australian sisters was sick and we thought she had the flu and she said Tuesday she was going to a specialist. Well, Monday night she was crying so we all went to her bed and it turns out before her mission the doctors said she couldn't go on her mission because she might have a disease that could lead to Leukemia. Somehow she went anyways because she has such a strong desire to serve the Lord. Today she is getting tested so we hope all goes well. I feel so bad for her and I hope she will be healthy enough to serve. She has such a sweet testimony and I love her so much. 

I absolutely love my zone! They are so helpful and awesome. The sister training leaders are a sister from Hawaii and one from England. The one from England (Martin Shimai) is originally from Portugal and will be speaking Portuguese in Japan, but is still learning Japanese here. They are so awesome and supportive. Every night we go in one room and say a prayer together. We spin a bottle and whoever it points to says the prayer. I've said it twice already. Its really fun. My branch presidency is awesome! They are all so spiritual and one couple is actually the Schulthess' cousins! Small world! Sacrament meeting is so fun. Most of it is in Japanese and the President actually served his mission in Japan. They tell us to prepare a talk every week because they might ask you to speak in sacrament meeting.  Well, on Sunday, they said Brooks Choro and I thought he was about to call my name! I got so scared. I did prepare a talk, but I was too nervous so I'm glad it wasn't me! 

The language is so hard! I was struggling a lot the first couple of days. I found a couple scriptures and they are 2 Nephi 32:2-3 and D&C 11: 21. They talk about how we must first obtain the words of Christ and then we will have the gift of tongues through the Spirit. I realized that I would spend every moment I could trying to learn the language and hardly anytime doing personal scripture study. So I set goals to only focus on language study during set times. I love my teachers, but sometimes they move on too fast and things just go over my head, but I just need to learn to have patience in myself. I've already taught 4 lessons and we have another one tonight. I can hardly understand a thing Aoyagi San says, but I can understand more and more each time. Its just really hard because he asks us a question and we have no idea how to respond. Its so hard because when I know what he wants to know, I don't know how to answer him. I just need to keep relying on the Lord. Sunday Coughanour Shimai and I were asked to say the prayer for the New Sisters meeting, but I wish it was for the devotional Tuesday where Elder BALLARD spoke! He gave an awesome lesson on how we need to learn how to be bold and share our testimonies. One thing that really hit me was when he said "You are now full time servants of the Lord." That really spoke to me because I am here for the Lord and not for myself and I need to always remember that. 

Sunday night we listened to a recording of Elder Bednar speaking on the Character of Christ and it was AMAZING. He gave the suggestion that we should buy a cheap Book of Mormon and have one question in mind and read it so we can find our answer. I'm going to start that today. 

Funny story real quick! Yesterday me and my companion went in a different room to focus on our lesson and we skipped lunch! When we realized what time it was we ran to the cafeteria and grabbed a bowl of ice cream and crackers. We were so hungry the rest of the day!

I love and miss you all so much! Thank you for everything. I love my mission and I am so honored to be serving the Lord. There is no other place I'd rather be. I am learning so much right now and I can't wait to continue to learn and grow my testimony! Matta ne! Aishitemasu!

Lacey Shimai

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sister Lacey opening her mission call - Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sister Lacey leaving for her mission to the Japan - January 14, 2015