Monday, April 27, 2015

Video of Sisters Kawabata and Lacey singing "I Need Thee Every Hour" in Japanese

Video of Sisters Kawabata and Lacey singing "I need Thee every hour" in Japanese

Transfer Calls!

Hawaiian Avocado Burger!

Japanese Shrine 
Tokyo Temple - 3/25/15 


Transfer calls!.......... Sister Sticht and I are staying in Urawa!!! We are so excited! Last transfer was tough with quite a few people dropping us, but now we know who we need to focus on!  Thanks for all your emails! I'm glad you're all doing great! I can't believe I made it through my first transfer! Saturday was my mark of 100 days from the start of my mission! Ah! Crazy! This week has been good! I had steak!! We went out to dinner with a member of the bishopric and his nonmember wife and we went to a steakhouse! It was heaven. And Brother Jitsukawa reminds me exactly of Matt Reichmann. He's so cool! Even if I can't understand him...hah!

We had a crazy couple of days. We went on exchanges with the Koshigaya sisters. I was went there and was with Sister Kawabata. She is the most adorable human being ever. She has so much cuteness but she is way deeper than that. She is an amazing missionary and she finally broke me. It finally happened, she made me cry! She was just telling me how much she respected me for going out on a mission right after high school and she was making me seem way better than I am and encouraging me and making me feel really powerful and important. I was fighting back tears but then she started crying and then I did so we just cried together. I am so grateful for her and for that experience. I really needed to hear everything she said. I know that if she has that much faith in me and what I can become, I need to think of how my Heavenly Father and Savior think of me and what I can become. I love her so much! It was also her birthday so I drew her a picture and she loved it. Ah, adorable. 

We also found out that we needed to have temporary emergency transfers. We're in a 3 sister companionship right now with another sister. She's going to be staying with us until transfer day. So, on Saturday, we went to the mission home, picked her up, came back to Urawa for a few hours then traveled to Hiroo were the temple is for Chinese night. Trains make me tired. They're so crowded and just tiring and there's so many transfers we needed to take. Ugh, exhausting. It was a long day but a very fun day. Then on Sunday, President and Sister Budge spoke at stake conference and it was really good. I've seen them so much lately and I love them! I'm also excited to see how the new mission president will be.  

Liu Fang is doing really well! After FHE on Tuesday I was talking with her and before she left I asked her to say a prayer with me. She was really nervous and hesitant to do it but she finally did. In her prayer she asked if she could get a day off at work because she has been working a lot lately and is really tired. A few days later I called her to see how she was doing and she said "Lacey! It worked! My boss called me the other night and said I could take the next day off! I was so surprised it worked!" I told her that that was awesome and that yes it's true, God answers our prayers and I encouraged her to say a prayer of thanks and she said she would. We had Chinese night on Saturday and out of all the Chinese people we have been teaching, only Fang was able to come. I was so happy she came! She had a great time and the theme was centered around families. She thought the temple was very beautiful and she loved the idea of eternal marriage and said it was very romantic haha. She also liked how we talked of the importance of families and I told her how this gospel is centered around families. Bing Han (Steve) spoke at it and told his story a little bit and I think she enjoyed it.  We also went to visit a 13 year old investigator Marichan and gave her a Book of Mormon reading card and made it all cute and it's the happiest I've ever seen her!  She's so shy but she was glowing last night. When we gave it to her we asked what she thought and she said, "mm, ii kanji" which is like 'good feeling.' She so cute!

Well, that's about it for the week! It's starting to get warm! I think Japan skips spring... Let the summer rain and humidity begin! I'm so excited for what next transfer has in store and I'm ready for the challenges. I know they will be hard but I know I need to work harder and rely more on the Lord. Sister Sticht and I also realized we need to have more faith in our investigators and focus more on the ones who are actually progressing. This Christ's true gospel and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that God hears and answers our prayers and all we need to do is ask. I also found a cool thing in the Doctrine and Covenants. It kept repeating "endure with faith to the end." I found that really interesting and important. We always hear 'endure to the end', but if we just go through the motions it won't really mean anything. We need to have faith as we endure. I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week! 愛しています! 

Sister Lacey

Monday, April 20, 2015

One month in Japan!!

Her first Japanese Triple Combination

Italian restaurant in Japan

Tokyo Temple

Tokyo Temple

Public transportation

Their yard at their apartment

Famous Shibuya Crossing (The Scramble)

Famous Shibuya Crossing (The Scramble)
Famous Shibuya Crossing (The Scramble)
Ohayo Gozaimasu!

Hey Family! Genki?? I'm glad you're all doing well! I love reading your emails! I can't believe there's only one week left of this transfer! I'm getting pretty nervous for transfer calls but in my interview with President Budge on Tuesday he made it seem like I was going to be in Urawa for awhile, so lets hope he's not playing games with me! So we had temple P-day on Tuesday. I LOVE the Tokyo temple! We are about 50 mins away and we had to take a couple different trains to get there and we were running a little late so as soon as we got off the train we started running and we turned a corner and I got a quick glimpse of the temple. But afterwards i was able to take pictures. It's so beautiful! After the temple, we finished up new missionary training and I was able to see everyone from the MTC. It was so cool, but also weird seeing everyone with different companions. We had a good training with President Budge. He is so awesome and I'm going to miss him when he leaves but I'm excited to see what the new president will be like. During part of the training I went on temporary splits with Sister Worth and we placed a Book of Mormon! It was so cool! After the temple and training we stopped in Shibuya and went to the scramble. It was crazy! It was also pouring and we didn't have any umbrellas so we stuck out even more. I think it's so weird to see foreigners now and I forget that I'm one! I always make awkward eye contact when I see someone who's not Japanese, its really strange. 

On a down note we got dropped by two people in one week. We went to go visit Eri who used to have a baptismal date and then got sick and stopped contacting us. We had a start over lesson with her but we went to go visit her again but she didn't answer (we knew she was home). On our way back home, she called us and said she wasn't interested anymore and wanted to focus on finishing her last six months of schooling. It was pretty rough but I was actually grateful because now we know that she isn't ready and we can focus on other people. 

Just about an hour after that I called Liu Fang and asked if she had tried praying and she said she did! She said she had a big day at work the next day and was really nervous but after she prayed she wasn't! When one door closes another one opens! I think she is progressing well but it will take some time for her to understand and comprehend everything because she gets overwhelmed a lot but she keeps asking questions so that's awesome! I love her so much!

There's a little 13 year old Mari Chan who loves going to church! She's super shy to us but likes going to hangout with friends and she likes learning about the Atonement! Her mom is less active and she's not a member yet but we are trying to work with the ward to set up lessons with her so she will feel more comfortable.

So Steve, one of a recent converts from China, is probably the smartest and most faithful human being I've ever met. I seriously think he's going to be the first bishop in china or an apostle or something. He has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and finds answers to really deep questions. He's such an example to me! 

At Kodomo Eikaiwa only Uri Chan and her grandma came. Afterwards she invited us over to her son's restaurant. (Before hand we had just ate a huge lunch) They have this cute little Italian restaurant and they kept feeding us! I had pasta and shrimp pizza (crazy right?) bamboo (it had clams on it or something), fries, bread and orange juice. Whenever my plate was empty they would put more on! They are such a cute family though and we want to go back and try to teach them. I think I may have had more Italian food than Japanese food since I've been here! 

This week I've realized my brain is starting to block out Japanese... I'll try to explain. I'm trying not to let things bother me but I realized by doing that I'm not trying as hard as I should but now when I do try I feel like whenever I hear Japanese my mind blocks it. It's like I'm in a sound proof box and I'm trying to break out. I get some wonderful headaches haha. I feel like I can understand words but I can't translate it into English in order for my mind to understand and be able to respond. It's the strangest thing... 

That's basically the sum of the week! Oh, I also realized why I'm in Japan. I was reading my patriarchal blessing the other day and then in zone meeting the zone leaders told us to think about why we came on a mission and then everything clicked! It was the coolest thing. During the meeting I also realized I need to be more grateful. Not just grateful but sincerely grateful. I need to recognize the Lord's hand in my life on a day to day basis and show my gratitude. I love this gospel so much! Being a missionary is definitely hard work but that's why they call it 'WORK' - quote from president Budge - I love you all so much! Have a great week! Aishitemasu yo!

Love Lacey Shimai

Monday, April 13, 2015

Over 2,000 views!!

Brooke's blog just went over 2,000 views.  Thank you again to all those who support and show interest in Brooke's missionary service in Japan!

Ohayou Gozaimasu!

Seaweed Salad

Japanese Raman Noodles :-)

On exchanges with Gates Shimai

Snow in April!

Packages from home with American Food!!

Rain Gear!


Hey everyone! This week went by so fast! It's kinda scary how fast the weeks go by.. Only a couple weeks left until transfer calls! I don't want to leave Urawa. I went on exchanges the other day and it was fun but I felt home sick for Urawa. I'm starting to know my way around and I love my old apartment and the people here are amazing! It was funny, when I was on exchanges with Sister Gates, we taught a recent convert and she gave me some foundation that's supposed to protect your skin because she said I have a lot of freckles haha. Oh, and I thought California had bipolar weather, nah. It was snowing early this week and then it rained for two days and then today was bright and sunny... Yeah, times like that is when I realize I'm on an island in the middle of the ocean! But I do love it!

So, I finally had my first Japanese conversation all by myself! It was awesome! We were on the train and Sister Sticht sat down by a girl and started talking to her and I was across from them. There were two ladies sitting next to me and one was having a conversation with someone and the other was just on her phone. She was wearing all black so I wasn't sure how to compliment her because that's the easiest way to start conversations. So I saw her bag and said I liked it and to make along story short, we talked about where we were from and what I was doing there and a little bit about God. I gave her an Eikaiwa flyer and asked her to come. I didn't understand much, but we were able to have a couple minute conversation and it was definitely a confidence booster.

We had zone P-Day and we went bowling and I got 4 strikes and two in a row! I had a million gutters but still! We also decided to go shopping and we had a great time. I love Sister Sticht. She just makes me laugh and she's very entertaining. The next day we had zone conference and that was cool to see President and Sister a Budge again. Sister Budge talked about how music can bless the lives of people and help bring people unto Christ. I need to work on my musical abilities... President Budge talked about light and how we are nothing without God and if we choose the light we will be more like Him. Something I really liked was he said, "if we almost keep the commandments, we almost get the blessings." The conference was a lot about light and then just the other day I was reading about how Christ came to the Americas. When Christ was crucified "there could be no light...and there wasn't any light seen.." Then they heard the voice of Christ and He said "I am the light and the life of the world." Then there was light back on the earth after the three days were over and then Jesus came to them and said again "I am the light and the life of the world." Then He said "I give unto you to be a light... Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven." I don't know why but my mind was blown just reading all that and making the connections. We have the true knowledge of the gospel and we need to share Christ's light so all may see it and come unto Christ. I love The Book of Mormon so much and my knowledge of my Savior is growing immensely.

So Fang came to FHE last Tuesday and we studied the Book of Mormon. I love fang so much!  I was so happy to see her and she said before the class she thought praying was selfish of people but after that she realized it is for thanks too. I taught her how to say a basic prayer and said she should pray to God to see if He exists. Also, I showed her the Because He Lives video and told her just to focus on how she feels because she doesn't have any religious background and she may not understand everything. Afterwards she said she felt warm and she felt like crying! I love her so much! I also asked her if she wanted to learn from us consistently and she said yes! I asked her to come to General Conference on Saturday and she ended up coming to the second session! She didn't understand much and she asked what it meant to "stay by the tree." I told her about Lehi's vision and how the tree of life represents eternal life and we need to stay by the tree and make right decisions and not go away from it or we won't be able to live with God.  I read the first and last two paragraphs of the intro to the Book of Mormon to help her understand it a little more. She said that she didn't like how the bible and everything seems so forceful but we told her that we have agency but if we listen to God we will be able to return to live with Him, but it's completely our choice and she liked that explanation. I asked if she ever came to find out for herself that this church was true would she join and she said yes! I invited her to try praying again and to come to church and she said she would think about it. She still thinks it is really difficult to understand everything but she thinks it's all good. I can't describe how much I love her and how well we get along. I keep making sure to tell her my purpose and why I'm here so she knows I'm not just here to hangout but I'm here to help her come unto Christ and learn about God and she seems to understand that well. She is so Kinjin! (Golden) I think one of the reasons I like teaching Fang so much is because I've been the only one who has taught her so far. Sticht Shimai is usually talking to a Japanese investigator or she's been playing sports and Fang and I just sit and talk and she's still been interested and its with my teaching, so it helps me realize I can do this and I shouldn't be so shy in other lessons. 

We had dinner at the bishop's house and it was taco rice! Yummy! (Instead of taco salad they have taco rice here; my rice cheeks are coming in nicely). We had a really nice time and they are great! Thank you all for everything! I pray for you always! We are so lucky to have the gospel and we need to make sure we don't hide the light we have but share it so everyone can see the joy we have with this gospel. I love you all! Aishiteimasu yo!

Love Lacey Shimai

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!

Lacey Shimai and Sticht Shimai

Worn out after a long day

Out to eat for a Chinese party in Japan

P-Day bowling (Brooke got 2 strikes in a row!)

Zone P-Day activity... At Costco 

Happy Easter!

Konnichiwa Kazoku! I hope you're having a good Easter and enjoying conference. I have only been able to watch the Saturday sessions and we will watch the Sunday sessions this coming Saturday. It was kind of a sad holiday because Japanese people don't celebrate Easter, but it was nice to listen to General Conference. I loved it so much. I think one of my favorites was Elder Renlund.  It was way cool because right before it started Inoue Shimai invited us over for dinner! YAY! It's normally rare for Nihonjin (Japanese people) to invite you over. Sticht Shimai is really shocked that we've already had 4 meals at members houses. 

This week has been great and I've learned a lot. The beginning of the week I was dying. I felt so bad about everything and I thought I was such a failure. I was feeling kinda lonely too and then I finally had a sincere prayer and I stopped thinking about myself and realized I just needed to try not to let things bother me. Once I did that, I honestly felt like I can 

understand way more than I used to. I feel like I am getting more comfortable with the language too. I'm already starting to develop weird habits.. I don't really like eating with silverware anymore, chopsticks are awesome :-).  Also, I don't think I can pronounce x's anymore. It's not in Japanese vocabulary so I'm having a hard time whenever I read things with it! Also, when you're talking with people they like to have responses constantly, so if you're talking, the other person is constantly saying "Mmm" or "eehhhh??" and "ooo" and a lot of nodding. It's pretty funny, but I feel like I'm starting to develop that habit! 

So for conference, the whole stake came to our building because we have the stake center so there was a lot of people. The chapel broadcast was in Japanese and then most of the missionaries were upstairs watching it in english with all of the foreign investigators and members. It was a lot of fun and we only had a half hour break between sessions, but it was awesome! It was nice just to relax and be spiritually fed. I can't wait to watch Sunday's sessions! We have a good amount of people that we are teaching but for some reason none of them seem to be progressing. The hard thing is is that I can tell they understand it and like the gospel, but they don't seem to want to change their lives. One of our investigators said she doesn't see herself getting baptized for 10 more years.... She wants to know everything before she makes the commitment. I hope we will be able to help them see the importance of the gospel and how it will bless their lives. It also doesn't really help because one of our investigators and another (sort of) investigator seem to only be interested because they're in love with Maki Choro haha. 

So the week before I got to Japan, Elder Nelson and Sister Nelson spoke in my area and Sister Nelson challenged everyone to do a 30 Day Book of Mormon Challenge. What you do is say a prayer of thanks for the Morumon Sho, ask to have the spirit to be with you, have a question in mind and then open the Morumon Sho anywhere and read until you find your answer. I've started it and the first time was awesome! It doesn't take very long and who would have thought that my answer would be found in the Isaiah chapters!

Well, I love you all so much! Thank you for everything! I pray for you all everyday.  Let me know how the Book of Mormon reading is going! I know this gospel is so true and that we can find answers to anything in the Book of Mormon if we ask and search. Have a great week, aishiteimasu!

Love Lacey Shimai