Monday, December 28, 2015

坂庭兄弟!!!!

愛する皆さんへ、

一昨日坂庭兄弟はバプテスマを受けました!バプテスマ会はとっても良かったです。Sakaniwa Kyoudai was baptized on Saturday! It was the sweetest, most spiritual baptismal service I've been to. We had to teach him basically everything this last week, but we really felt that it was right for him to get baptized on the 26th. The ward chose a baptismal date and had a forty day fast that someone would get baptized on the 26th of December. We missionaries worked so hard to try to find someone who could be baptized on that day, and then out of the blue Sakaniwa Kyoudai showed up at church and said he wanted to be baptized! There was so much light in his eyes as he was baptized and as he bore his testimony. His wife was crying, too. There is so much happiness in the Sakaniwa family right now, and I know that that happiness will only grow stronger. It was truly the faith of this amazing ward that brought about this Christmas Miracle. I know that as we keep working hard and strengthening that faith, this ward is going to see countless miracles throughout the next year. This Christmas miracle was not just a one time baptism - it is going to be continuing growth and strength in this ward.

I had the opportunity to Skype with my family on Saturday before the baptism. It was nice to see their faces (although I never saw Robert's or Darci's) and hear their voices, although I didn't get enough time with Mom. I loved hearing Mom recite the family proclamation. I trust you all did well with memorizing that by Christmas. ;) I look forward to the next and last time that we skype during my mission.

Christmas was wonderful! The ward gave us two large trash bags FULL of gifts - mostly just junk food, but some cute socks and tights, too. It was so kind of them. Sister Gottfredson and I turned out the lights early Christmas Eve and read Luke 2 together by the light of our mini Christmas tree. It was nice to have a quiet Christmas. As Suzuki Shimai put it, you miss the real meaning of Christmas when you have loud parties with lots of food and excitement. I loved being able to focus on that quiet night in a stable, when the Savior of the world was born. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. I am ever grateful for Him.

Just in closing, I want to share a little about Suzuki Shimai. She was the less active that called out to us on the street a few weeks ago. We finally made the time to go visit her on Sunday. She was so excited to see us. We were only planning on sharing a short message, but she invited us in and we really felt the Spirit as we spoke about Christmas. I felt prompted to share the new Christmas video that the church produced, where all of the children bear testimony of Christ, and she just started crying. I bore testimony of the reality of our Savior and of His atonement. I felt so close with this kind woman, probably closer than anyone else in this area. I love her so much. Please keep her in your prayers.

With love, Crandall Shimai

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pokemon Center, part 2

Dearest Family and Friends,

Yup, you heard it. I went back to the Pokemon Center. Sister Gottfredson said it was just fun to watch me look at stuff there. I get really giddy and excited, and I kindof dance around and hum to the music. I bought some Pokemon cards, and the clerk gave me a bonus Poncho-Wearing Pikachu card! I was so excited!

Today I had the opportunity to go to the temple! The session was in Japanese, so those who wanted to do it in English had to use the headphones. It was nice to do a session in Japanese without hearing English in the background (which is what usually happens when you use the headphones). I really felt the spirit. I love letting the peace of the temple go through me. Chapman Shimai was the only one of my previous companions to be at the temple. Sisters Teruya and Sakamoto are home, and Sister Moore's alarm didn't go off (apparently), which is a real bummer. I saw her bag at the temple, though, so I assume she still got to go? Maybe just a later session?


Anyway, after the temple we went to the little book store behind the temple, and I was finally able to secure myself a conference issue Liahona! It was GONE the last time I was at the temple, so I had to wait another six whole weeks! But I have a copy now, and I really look forward to studying it! As I was checking out, the clerk asked me if I wanted a free temple calendar. Apparently they were defective, so they couldn't sell them. I gladly said yes. He was like, "Oh, is this your companion? Here, I'll put one in for her, too!" We were so excited, and I may have danced for joy as I exited.

A lot of crazy miracles happened this last week. Awhile back, the ward decided to hold a baptismal service on December 26th, and they all started praying for our investigators by name to see a baptism on the 26th. When we met Eri Oyama (I think I mentioned her in a previous email), we were so sure that she was our Christmas Miracle. Well, she got busy with writing something up (she's graduating college soon) and had no time to meet. But, on Sunday the 13th a member's husband randomly came to church and said he wanted to be baptized. We've been meeting with him and preparing him, and he currently has a date for the 26th! This is truly a miracle attributed to the members' faith. We visited a member, Sakuma Shimai, yesterday, and she teared up as she bore testimony to us about how miraculous this whole thing is. She said that even though Sakaniwa Kyoudai's name wasn't on the list that they were praying for, he still came out of nowhere to become our Christmas Miracle. I am so grateful to be in Koshigaya at this time, to see this Christmas Miracle happen! I am so blessed to work with such an amazing ward. I feel that Sakaniwa Kyoudai will be the first of many miracles in the Koshigaya ward.

I love you all and wish you all a Merry Christmas! For so long prophets preached of the coming of a Savior. I can only imagine how much joy there was that night when He finally came to this earth. That night was the most peaceful night in history, and because of Him we can have peace in knowing that we can be with our families forever. I look forward to skyping with my family soon, and I especially look forward to seeing my new niece, baby Jessica Noelle!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, December 14, 2015

Miracles in Koshigaya

Dearest Loved Ones,

Wow, a lot of things have happened in Koshigaya this last week!

We had zone conference on Tuesday! That was extremely insightful. I feel that I learned a lot regarding how I can become a better missionary. I learned more about how I can become more charitable. I've started working on coming up with my New Year's resolutions since then...

On Thursday, we met up with a potential investigator at McDonalds. Her name is Eri, and she is so sweet! We talked with her about the restoration, and she told us that her friend had tried teaching her stuff over skype but she didn't understand very much because it was all in English. We then talked about the Plan of Salvation and committed Eri to be baptized on the 26th! Gottfredson Shimai later said, "Well, if I knew she was that kin we would have met her at the church instead of McDonalds!" She came to church on Sunday and seemed to enjoy it. I know that Christmas miracles are real!

After meeting with Eri, we were biking down the street when suddenly someone called out, "Shimaitachi! Sisters!" We stopped, and a lady walked over to us. She told us that she was a member of our church but hadn't gone for years! She said that she sometimes saw the elders around, but never felt inclined to call out to them. She gave us her address, and we plan on visiting her again sometime. We found a less active who wasn't even in our ward's records! Crazy miracles all around!

Friday we had zone meeting, and I got to teach about faith and attitude. When we have a good attitude, we can have more faith! We can better trust in God! And when we have faith, we can move mountains! Is anything too hard for the Lord?

I am growing more and more excited as Christmas draws nearer. I can't wait to see my new niece! And I'm sure Jessie is excited to see her favorite Auntie. I can't wait to hear Mom recite the family proclamation for me!

I love you all! I know that this church is true! I know that miracles are real, and that God loves His children! He is watching out for each and every one of us! He knows what we need, and He is completely willing to give. All we need to do is ask and trust.

My ponderizing scripture for this week is in Matthew 18:21-22.


Love, Crandall Shimai

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Happy December!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Yay! It's December! I'm so excited for Christmas! Sister Gottfredson and I freak out every time we see illuminations. In my excitement for Christmas, I changed my facebook profile picture to a picture of me at the Doitsu Mura illumination. Time really is flying by! It is amazing to me that most of this year has been spent on my mission. Next week I will hit my nine months in Japan mark. Only nine more months after that!

We had exchanges this week, and I went to Kasukabe with Horito Shimai. We had a lot of fun teaching English to a member's daughter and her friend. I also had the opportunity to teach Eikaiwa all by myself, and that was a lot of fun. I really love interacting with different people in different areas. During the exchange, we had the opportunity to visit with a lady who LOVES sewing. She showed us the quilt blocks she was working on and several other finished products of various projects she had done. She does everything by hand! It's amazing! I would have loved to show her the quilts that my mom or grandma had made, but sadly I had no pictures (Mom, feel free to send some so I am not lacking in my next encounter with a seamstress).

I went to MLC this last week for the first time. We had a great discussion on consecration and on faith. I know that miracles are possible. We can truly see a miracle this Christmas, every area seeing one baptism. Is anything too hard for the Lord?


We ate dinner at the bishop's house last night! His wife diligently cooked for six hungry missionaries on a fast Sunday. She and her husband truly are angels. They are a great blessing to this ward and to us. Here's a cool story. They were married when there were no temples in Japan. They eventually came to Utah and were sealed in the Provo Temple! Now, their home is filled with the Spirit and has the same kind of atmosphere as the temple. I hope to someday have a home as Spirit-filled as theirs.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season with your families. Remember Christ and all that He has done for each of us individually. His birth was the meridian of time - the most important time in history! His life is central to all human history! Let us all strive to draw closer to Him this Christmas season.

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, November 30, 2015

Laketown in Koshigaya

Crandall and Gottfredson
Dearest loved ones,

Hello! I'm back! I transferred safely to Koshigaya, my new area, and we have been so so so busy! I can't believe how much stuff we pack into one day. I am blessed to work with Sister Gottfredson. She is so sweet and loving. She has a lot of fire for missionary work and she works hard! We've had several meetings already, and we are going to MLC tomorrow. It'll be my first time!

Koshigaya is a beautiful place. (Not as beautiful as Kisarazu, though. You can't beat that.) There is a nice road that runs alongside a river, and we tend to bike along that a lot. Koshigaya is fairly big - bigger than Kisarazu, although not nearly as big as Matsudo. The weather has suddenly become a lot colder, and I am ever grateful for the coats that Carlile Shimai left behind when she left Matsudo. It has been fun breaking out my scarves.

On Friday, we went to a place called Kazeza where we spent time with a bunch of mentally handicapped people for an hour. It was so much fun!  We made some Christmas decorations. This is a service project that we do every week, and I am so excited to go back!

We went to church yesterday, and it was so strange to be in a ward again. I'm used to there being about twenty people at church, but this ward had around sixty people there! I am so excited to get to know these people more. I know that we are going to see a lot of miracles together! Our mission is focusing on having a Christmas Miracle of at least one hundred baptisms by the end of the year. I know that this miracle is possible. Is there anything too hard for the Lord?

On Saturday we visited with a less active named Mamzi. She is one of the coolest ladies I have ever met. She is so spiritual! After visiting with her, she let me try on a pair of her shoes. They were pretty great. She wanted to give them to me, but I told her that I couldn't wear them on my mission.

I got a flu shot on Saturday... about two inches above my elbow! I think that's the weirdest place I've ever gotten a shot before, but as long as it works I'm happy!

Today we went to a place called Laketown. It is a combination of three giant (like three story giant) malls. It was fun to go walk around and see all of the weird stores. There were even some stores that I recognized, like American Eagle. It was fun to finally go to the mall that everyone was talking about all weekend.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be in Koshigaya right now! I know that we are going to see so many miracles, including the Christmas miracle! I know that this is the place where I am supposed to be.

I am especially excited to skype with my family this transfer! I hope everyone has been working hard to finish memorizing the family proclamation as time is quickly running out. 頑張ってね!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, November 23, 2015

さようなら木更津

Dearest loved ones,

I apologize, I'm a little short on time today. We just received our transfer calls this morning, and I am leaving my beloved Kisarazu and going to Koshigaya! (See that Sister Chapman? I am not a Chiba girl!) I will be serving as a Sister Training Leader there, so that should be exciting and new. I'll include an experience that I wrote in my letter to President Nagano.

“After visiting an investigator on Friday, we returned to the church to do our twelve week study. Midway through the study, Moore Shimai had the distinct impression we needed to go back and talk to a girl we saw sitting by a gate on our way to the church, so we walked back. Upon arriving, we found that the girl was gone. We looked a bit closer at the gate and realized that it was the gate to a high school! And we could hear voices inside! We waited a few minutes, and then five girls came out. We engaged in a friendly conversation with them, and we asked them to help us start an English tutoring class. The girls wanted to help, but they couldn't really understand what it was we were asking them. And then the miracle happened. Four more girls walked out of the gate and stopped to see what was going on, and then their English teacher started driving out! The girls went crazy and stopped their teacher so that she could speak to us. As we talked with the English teacher, the girls excitedly took photos and videos. The teacher asked us why we were in Japan, and we were able to tell her about our role as missionaries and our desire to serve. We told her about the tutoring class we wanted to start, and she helped us choose a time when all of the girls would be free. She basically told all of the girls there that they should come to our free English tutoring. We are very hopeful for this next Saturday when the girls are supposed to come. This entire experience was so amazing to us. It was definitely the Lord who orchestrated this encounter. It was a great dendou experience, and, most importantly, it was fun.”

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve in Kisarazu. I love this place so much, and will definitely miss the people. The relationships I have made here are so precious to me. I will definitely come back and visit sometime. I look forward to new experiences in Koshigaya!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Sister Amelia Crandall
Japan Tokyo Mission
4-25-12 Nishi Ochiai
Shinjuku-ku Tokyo-to 161-0031
Japan

Monday, November 16, 2015

イルミネーション

Dear all,

Yes, the email you've all been waiting for! What did Crandall Shimai do at the Pokemon Center? And what are these illuminations I've been hearing of?

Let's start with Pokemon. I love Pokemon. We had branch conference yesterday, and one of the stake leaders said to me, "Oh, you like Pokemon?" I had forgotten that I had written that on my bio for e branch, which is posted on the bulletin board. I guess the whole world knows now that I love Pokemon. Anyway, we went to the Pokemon Center in Ikebukuro last week! It was amazing. There were giant Pokemon statues that you could take pictures with. There was Pokemon music playing the entire time. There were a billion Pokemon statues. The Pokemon cards were endless. Did I mention the music? Oh yeah, I did. I learned that there is a new Pokemon series called 'Pocket Monsters XY and Z', which makes me wonder if a Z version game will be released. I bought a lot of cute Pokemon stuff... And restrained myself from buying a lot more. I will send pictures.

Now, the illuminations! Yes, the illuminations are basically just Christmas lights, but I think they last for all of Winter. We went to two different illuminations. The first was in Mother Bokujou. It was very simple and small, but I really enjoyed it. The atmosphere was so magical. I really liked the blues and greens of the lights together. We went with an investigator and her family. She seemed a little disappointed, so she invited us to go see the illumination at the Doitsu Mura (German Village) with her the next week. That illumination was a lot brighter and a lot bigger. I really enjoyed the Christmas music. They had a little square for dancing, and every few minutes there would be loud music and flashing lights, and giant machines would blow out these really cool bubbles that would turn to fog when popped. We really enjoyed spending time with this investigator.

 We had the opportunity to go to the temple this last week, which was amazing. We decided to take a bus this time which drove us on the Aqualine, or the road that goes through the middle of the bay. The road actually goes under the water! Although since it's made of cement you cannot see into the water. It was still way nicer, and even a bit cheaper, than taking a train. As always, the feelings from the temple were glorious. I always love the peace and quiet, the safety that I can feel there.

 We decided to drop one of our investigators awhile back, but every time we met with her we kept thinking, 'well, once she understands the atonement, we'll drop her,' and 'once we see if she's willing to work towards keeping the word of wisdom, we'll maybe drop her.' Well, today we met with her, and as we were discussing the Book of Mormon a little bit, I paused and asked her, "what do you know about Joseph Smith?" She said, "Nothing." We decided that we just need to start from the very beginning with her. We shared the first vision, and we asked her to pray about the Book of Mormon. She said she would. She said that she wants answers. I'm really hoping that I can stay and teach her more, but having already been in Kisarazu for four transfers it's not very likely. I worry that the next sister that comes won't be able to speak Japanese, and then we'll lose all progress.

With transfers coming up next week, I feel a lot of gratitude. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve in Kisarazu. I would love to stay longer, but I will not complain if I am asked to transfer. I cannot complain. I am so grateful for the message I have and for the miracles I've seen.

I love you all! Please be safe!
Love, Crandall Shimai

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Adventures in the... Pokemon Center?!

Dearest Family and Friends,

As you may have guessed by my late email, we had our temple PDay this week! We've had a lot of adventures lately, including spending time with investigators, spending more time with investigators, and, yes, even catching some Pokemon. More on that next week. Be excited.


I completely forgot to choose a new ponderizing scripture for this week. Watch for it on facebook, as I will post it there once I decide.

I know that this church is true! I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who cares enough to send us prophets to guide us. I am grateful for the standards of the church. I know that as we align our lives with His standards, we will be blessed immensely.

I love you all!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Sister Moore and Sister Crandall
Happy Halloween everyone!

And Happy birthday to Darci and Mom, as well!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable time. We planned a party, and this last week we scrambled to find time to hand out flyers, shop for food, set up, etc. It was way fun, but I sure am glad it's over. I wore a simple Pokemon trainer costume, and everyone was excitedly calling me Satoshi (Ash's Japanese name, for those of you who don't know). Moore Shimai bought some stuff at Daiso and made herself an Eevee costume this last week. It was pretty amazing, and everyone thought it was great that we were a set.

We had a few crazy miracles this last week. On Friday, we felt that we needed to drop Morishita. It was a hard decision, but we both felt good about it. However, dropping someone that you've been meeting with for several months already is a lot harder in the moment. As we were studying about charity with Morishita, I kept thinking that maybe we could just keep meeting with her, maybe just a bit longer. Maybe she needed just a little bit more time. As I bore testimony of how Christ's atonement was the greatest act of charity, Morishita asked us why only Christ is able to atone for us. We thought that she had understood this for a long time, and we feel like this may have been a huge road block for her. I explained how Christ was perfect, how he chose to suffer the penalty of our sins so that we wouldn't have to suffer. You could see the light clicking inside of her. It made sense. The Spirit was so strong, and my Japanese was flowing so well. She said, "I think... I think I need... to empty my mind!" (; ̄ェ ̄)It was at that point, when she clearly understood Christ's atonement, yet still rejected the path that He had set, that it was reaffirmed to me that we needed to drop Morishita. It was heartbreaking. I solemnly told her that as missionaries we needed to find and teach people who would progress towards baptism. I expected her to be angry, or feel betrayed, but she wasn't. It was such a sweet tender mercy. She was so loving. She said she understood. She said that she would continue to study and search for the truth, and if she ever felt she needed to be baptized, she would call us. She exhorted us to go out and find people and baptize them. She also told me that I have to come back and visit her again when I am no longer a missionary. I promised her that I would. I feel so grateful that I can continue to be Morishita's friend. I know that she will find the truth as she continues to study, and when she comes to the conclusion that she needs to be baptized, she will know that no one is compelling her to do so. It will be her own decision.

The very next day, we got a text from Takahama san. Takahama san. Takahama san! She was a sweet old lady that we used to meet with before summer! I loved her like my own grandma! And then she just disappeared. We were pretty sure that she had blocked our number. But she texted us. She said she was coming to the Halloween party! And she did come! I was so happy to see her again! The reunion was so sweet! I felt that the Lord was blessing us for following the prompting we had to drop Morishita. Takahama san is back, and she said that she will probably be able to come to Eikaiwa again! I am so happy!

My heart is so full. I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. I have truly seen His hand this last week. This is His work, and He is preparing the hearts and minds of His people.

As a side note, we went to a planetarium this morning and got to watch a star show with a bunch of fourth graders from Tateyama. It was pretty great. Because of that I have not yet had time to choose my ponderizing scripture for this week. Sorry!

Mami's 'English' House
I love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

同僚交換

Dearest Loved Ones,

I hope all is going well. We had companion exchanges this last week and I had the opportunity to go to Chiba for a day! We met with a potential investigator for the first time, and I committed her to be baptized! Now if only I could do that with some of my own investigators... I also got to help teach kodomo eikaiwa, and it was fun to see Sister Chapman's recent convert Manami and her adorable son, Mau. Even with only two kids, children's eikaiwa was way fun!

On Sunday we had our last planning meeting for the Halloween party, and this time one of the members joined us to help. We should've had him help from the start because he was WAY effective at getting things done and tasks assigned. It was amazing. I'm hoping that the Halloween party is a huge success. We plan on handing out chirashis at the eki every spare minute we have.

We've come to the conclusion that all of our investigators are at the point where they either need to have a baptismal date or they need to be dropped. We really need to find some new investigators. We've made plans to confront baptism with everyone, which should be fun. I hate dropping people, but sometimes it's got to be done.

Today we needed to buy curtains for our apartment (or face the wrath of Sister Nagano, which probably isn't that bad, but...), so Sensui Shimai drove us to a store called Joyful Honda. It has to be the most amazing store ever. It's similar to Ikea - it has a lot of stuff for your home, inside and out. But it also had a super cheap grocery store. It was so fun just to look at all the meat they had, and how cheap it was! I wish I could grocery shop there every week. The only thing they don't sell is cars.

I had the opportunity to speak in church yesterday about examples. I am so grateful for the many examples that I have in my life. I am particularly grateful for my amazing mom and my three wonderful sisters. I am so blessed to have grown up with such wonderful women.

My ponderizing scripture this week is John 15:13. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." I may not have to lay down my life, but I want to do whatever I can to serve and love my friends. Remember, charity seeketh not her own!

Have a fantastic week! And happy birthday to Darci this Saturday!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Sister Amelia Crandall
Japan Tokyo Mission
4-25-12 Nishi Ochiai Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo-to 161-0031
Japan

Monday, October 19, 2015

Charity Never Faileth!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Week one of the transfer is already gone. I can't believe how quickly October is flying by! We've been planning a Halloween party for the 31st, so hopefully it turns out alright. I'll attach a picture of the flyer we made.

We had the opportunity to go to a festival in Tateyama with an investigator this last week, and it was way fun! There were these giant wooden floats that people would pull through the streets. There were drums and flutes going the entire time. There was so much food, and I almost didn't have to buy anything because the people we were with kept sharing their food with me! We watched this weird little skit of some samurai fighting an evil samurai. It was pretty intense. The costumes were way cool, but our investigator told me she thinks the costumes my sister made were better. We took a refreshing walk on the beach and then watched a short firework show before taking the hour long train ride home.


We've been meeting consistently with Mami, and she is soaking up everything we tell her. This last week, she told us about how she was talking with someone about the Bible and she asked him why God preferred Abel's offering over Cain's, and she could tell that he hadn't thought about it before. She told us, "I don't think his answer was right, because it was different from yours!" We asked her why she was so convinced that Crandall Shimai's answer was right, and she immediately responded, "Because I trust you!" It was very touching. I love Mami, and I am so grateful for the amazing relationship that I have been able to build with her. It's relationships like these that make me so grateful for my mission. I am so grateful for the amazing experiences that I have every day. I'm grateful for the miracles and for the friends. I am most grateful for the opportunity that I have to draw closer to my Heavenly Father. I know that He will magnify me as I strive to further His work.

Lastly, I'd like to go over my ponderizing scripture for the week. This last week, my scripture was D&C 121:45: "Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men... And let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then may thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God;" This is the first of many scriptures that go along the theme of "Charity Never Faileth." I want to develop more charity in myself, and this first week I focused on "charity thinketh no evil" by striving to always have clean thoughts and hold no grudges or anger. For this next week, my focus is "charity vaunteth not itself." Charity is not prideful, but builds people up through humility. My scripture is 1 Corinthians 8:1: "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth."

I love you all! Have a great week, and don't forget to memorize the Family Proclamation!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Five o'Clock Song

Dear All,

Yes, I recorded another song. Starting in October, the city started playing a new song at five o'clock. The sun sets earlier now, so they play the song earlier. It's way cute, and I was able to get a recording last week.


We had transfers today, and I am so happy to be in Kasarazu once again! I love this place and wish I could spend the rest of my mission here.

I was looking at our transfer goals last week, one of which was to get two new solid investigators. I realized that we did get two new investigators, one of which is way solid! Her name is Mami. I've probably mentioned her before. This last week, we gave her a Bible, and she was way excited. She had previously been using a Jehovah's Witness one. She asked again what the difference between the Book of Mormon and the Bible was, and after I explained, she said, speaking of the Book of Mormon, "are you going to offer it to me?" I replied, "do you want it?" She cried out "yes!" Oh, she is so cute. I'll have to get a video of her singing America's National Anthem. It's priceless. Anyway, the first time we offered her a Book of Mormon, she refused, but this time she was so excited to take one! She has progressed so
far, and she doesn't even know it!

We watched conference this last weekend, with only half hour breaks in between each session. It was pretty intense, and I definitely need to go back and study the talks some more. I love conference. I'm so grateful for living prophets and continuing revelation!

Ping Pong Pro
Sorry, I'm short on time again. I love you all! Keep working on memorizing the Family Proclamation! Christmas is coming fast!


Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Hike

Dearest Family and Friends,

I apologize for the short message last week.

This week was great. We went to the temple on Tuesday, and I was able to do the temple work for one of my almost ancestors, Sada Shimogawa! It was great to feel the peace that can be found there. We had new missionary training, so we weren't able to do any sightseeing in Tokyo. It was still fun to be in the big city, although I was very happy to return to the countryside in Kisarazu.

The General Women's Session talks from conference became available in English this last week, so I took the time to watch those. They won't be broadcast here for another two weeks. I loved the talks, especially President Uchtdorf's. His parable was so beautiful, and it really helped me to hear what I needed to hear.

Saturday... Was not conference, but our talent show! (We'll be watching conference this weekend) I sang two songs, one with Moore Shimai and one on my own. I had a lot of fun, although we didn't get any videos. I'll see if I can get some this week. It was great that Morishita was able to come and teach everyone how to do yoga. I did some in my exercise this morning, and it was great.

Funny story: Before the talent show, we were practicing the songs we were going to sing, when suddenly Ozawa, an Eikaiwa student, walked in, gave me a plastic bag with huge (fake) sunflowers coming out of it, bowed weirdly, and left. I just kind of looked at Moore Shimai and said, "Did Ozawa just give me flowers and chocolate? What the?" He's been giving me sunflowers ever since I told him my mom loves sunflowers. It kind of creeps me out, but I guess I'm not complaining about free chocolate.

Today we went on a super intense hike to a Daibutsu. I previously visited a big white one with Sensui Shimai. This one was cut out of stone in a mountain. It was way cool. We also hiked to the top of the mountain and took a bunch of pictures. It was an intense hike – really steep with lots of stairs. It was so spiritually refreshing to spend the day in the mountains. Nature truly is evidence that God lives. I'm so grateful to live in such a beautiful world!

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be in Japan right now! The experiences I have every day are one of a kind. I will not ever be able to have this kind of experience again. I'm grateful for the wonderful friends I can make and the wonderful places I can go.

I love you all! I hope that all is well wherever you are! Please be safe and make good decisions

Love, Crandall Shimai

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Temple Pday

President & Sister Nagano in center... Sis Crandall 3rd from left in front
Hello all!

I am short on time today, but please know that I love you all!  I am going to the temple and then we have new missionary training after that.

I know the church is true!  Be fun!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, September 21, 2015

モニュメント

Dearest Family and Friends,

This week was pretty crazy. We had a mission conference on Wednesday, and immediately afterward we had exchanges with the sister training leaders. We also had to prepare two lessons for Sunday and some talks. Sister Moore spoke yesterday, and I will be speaking next week. Notwithstanding being busy with other stuff, we got more than twice as many lessons this week as last week. Crazy miracles everywhere!

For our mission conference, Elder Whiting came and spoke to us. He was very straightforward about how we as missionaries need to have more faith to baptize. I feel very inspired to work harder to talk to more people, especially younger people. I feel inspired to work harder and have more faith. If I have faith, God will work miracles. A marvelous work and a wonder... Often we focus too much on the work part and miss the wonder of seeing God lead His own work.

I think our eyebrows got a little singed in that meeting.

We have been striving to teach with the Spirit more, especially in asking inspired questions. I feel that our lessons have improved a lot. We met with an investigator named Mami on Saturday, and we just talked about Christ the entire time. We talked about His birth and His ministry. We focused a lot of time on the atonement, and what that means for us. It was a really powerful lesson. I feel so grateful whenever I have experiences like that.

We had the opportunity to teach Primary yesterday, and it was so much fun! Japanese children are the cutest. Just sayin'. I also basically singlehandedly taught the gospel principles lesson on tithing, so that was fun. Sister Moore spoke in Sacrament Meeting, and I felt like a proud mother. Her testimony was very simple yet powerful.

This morning, we decided to go find some statues on the top of a hill. I've been seeing these two statues for three months now, and I decided I really wanted to find out what they were for. We biked up a hill and then hiked up a little more until we came to a lookout with the two statues towering over us. It was a beautiful view, but there were no signs anywhere describing the statues. After a few minutes, a lady joined us on the platform, and we started talking. We talked a little about church, and she told us how she sees the elders biking around a lot. She believes in God, and was curious about our relationship with Him and with Christ. We talked a little about that, and then she told us the story behind the statues! Apparently there was a huge Typhoon, and It was becoming very dangerous for Kanagawa prefecture. So, a princess (one of the two statues) went down to the bay and prayed, and then some kind of god (the other statue) came down and calmed the water. It is supposed to be some kind of love story between the princess and this god.

Within minutes of that lady leaving, Morishita came to the platform as well! I feel like we see her everywhere. She kindly took some pictures for us, and we were able to get some pictures with her, too. She's so cute.

We had zone Pday in Toke, so we got to ride the trains a lot. It was fun to talk to a lot of different people. As we were walking to the park in Toke, a man stopped us because he wanted to talk to gaijin (foreigners). He told us about how he might want to study English, and he played a leaf for us. (Grass whistle?) It was way cool, then he said bye and left. We got a little lost looking for the park and found ourselves in a cool forest-y area. We saw a cool shrine and lots of pretty scenery. Every day I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be in Japan right now. This place is so beautiful and the people are so kind. I know that the Lord has prepared the Japanese people. The work here will explode, and I hope to be a part of it!

Stay safe! Be fun! Have a great week!
Love, Crandall Shimai

Sister Amelia Crandall
Japan Tokyo Mission
4-25-12 Nishi Ochiai Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo-to 161-0031
Japan

Monday, September 14, 2015

Caterpillar

Beautiful Kisarazu
Dear Family and Friends,

I'm glad to hear my cougars won again. <3

There was an earthquake Saturday morning, about a 4 I think. At least that's what we felt it at. We didn't get any flooding, which is great. Right after the earthquake, though, we hear sirens going off and the city's intercom system was saying things. We couldn't understand it, and we decided that if there was a tsunami coming, someone would call us and tell us, so we went back to bed.

We had zone meeting last week, and I feel super inspired to set better goals and work towards twenty lessons every week. I really want to make use of the phone and help people get spiritual nourishment every day.

I got sick last week and had to cancel several appointments, but I am feeling mostly better now. We were able to visit with a less active member and his wife yesterday. We asked the wife if we could come back and visit sometime, and she said, "Yes, please!" Hopefully we can help her to grow a testimony of the Book of Mormon. She is such a sweet lady, and I think she could really help her husband.

I know that the Lord is aware of our circumstances. He does not ask unrealistic things of us. As we are obedient to Him, we will receive more blessings that could have been expected. I know that He loves everyone individually. I have felt His love for me, and I have felt His love for His other children as well. I know that He is proud, even when we are imperfect. He is proud when we do our best.

Love, Crandall Shimai

PS: We saw a caterpillar last week.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Secret of the Six-o-Clock Song

Dearest Family, Friends, and Missionaries,

I feel like it has been so long since I've last written! A lot happened this last week.

I was very sad to see Sister Chapman leave. I really enjoyed the time I had with her. We saw a lot of miracles and crossed many bridges. It was pretty great. It's hard trying to get used to someone new.

We were shocked this last week when we learned that Eiko had talked with her husband about baptism! Missionaries have been trying to get her to do that for over a year now, and she finally did it! He didn't really respond at all, but I know that as Eiko shows that courage and that faith, we will see miracles.

I went to the Honbu on Wednesday to pick up my new companion, Sister Moore! She is from Idaho and shares the same love for cosplay that I do. She is very sweet, and very shy. Her Japanese is pretty good, although she is often too shy to say anything. However, the branch had her bear her testimony in Sacrament Meeting, and she prayed during third hour. I think that helped her come out of her shell a little bit. I'm sure that she will continue to get more confidence as she opens her mouth.

Thursday through Sunday were spent teaching lessons, weekly planning, setting up facebook, etc. on Saturday, we were able to go to Asahi and buy a bike! This experience was very different from my first experience in a bike shop. When I bought my bike, I had no idea what the shop worker was saying. But this time, I understood almost everything that was said. I guess I just know a lot of bike terminology. We had a lot of fun, and now Sister Moore has a beautiful, bright yellow bike.

While we were waiting for the bike baskets to be put on our bikes, we were able to talk with one of the workers there for a little bit. I asked him about the meaning of the song that plays throughout the city at six pm every day, and he said it was a song about a crow. It plays at six so that the children, who often lose track of time as they play together, will be able to get home before it becomes dark. Because the sun is starting to set earlier, he said that the song would probably move up to five-o-clock or so. It made a lot of sense!

We've seen a lot of miracles this last week. Sanae san seems to have more interest in the Book of Mormon than she used to, and Eiko san is glowing with the light of Christ. I think that Eiko has been reading the Book of Mormon, because there is no other explanation for that light. We met with a new investigator named Mami. She says she can't be converted because her family would be violently opposed, but she wants to learn about different religions, particularly the differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We feel that it would be good to visit with her, even though she can't get baptized. Our zone has a new goal for every companionship to teach at least twenty lessons per week, whether they be to investigators or members, and I truly believe that we can do it. I know that we will continue to see miracles throughout the transfer.

I love you all! I know that God is leading us all in this great work. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Love, Crandall Shimai
PS: Go Cougs!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Stake Conference

Dear Loved Ones,

We had a busy week last week. We visited with many of the members in our branch and talked about how 愛は決して無駄にならない ai wa kesshite muda ni naranai, no love is ever wasted! We're hoping to serve the members a lot, but first we have to help them understand that it's okay for people to help each other. For some reason the Japanese seem to be against receiving any form of service. It can be frustrating at times.

We went to Inage for Stake Conference on Saturday and slept over in the Chiba Sisters' apartment! It was a party. Stake Conference was fun, but I didn't really understand what was going on. They were talking about how ward councils and ministers can bless families and individuals and help the work of salvation move forward, or something like that. Most of it went over my head. I woke up with a cold on Sunday, so while the topic was family (yay, so simple!), I couldn't really focus and it all went over my head. (I'm feeling a lot better today, though.)

We met with Eiko last week, and she is being friendly with us again! She said that she had been stressed out during the summer break because the kids were at home all the time. We told her that we would help her overcome her problems one at a time and then she could get baptized when she is ready, and she agreed. She seemed really relieved that we weren't going to try to force her to get baptized on September fifth, and I think she really felt our love for her. Besides that, Takagi san didn't seem too excited to see us this last week, and she wouldn't set up a return appointment with us, so we may be dropping her soon.

We had transfer calls today, and... I'm training in Kisarazu! I'm excited to be training one of three sisters coming in this transfer! I hope that I can help her to become the best missionary she can be!

In other news, Chapman Shimai and I each bought our own yukata last week! A yukata is a summer kimono worn at festivals. Since Obon, along with all of its many festivals, is over, the yukatas were on a really good sale. I am very thrilled with my purchase.

With four of thirteen transfers done, I am about a third of the way through my mission. I really can't believe how quickly time has gone by. I am grateful for the many experiences that I have had, and I know that I will continue to grow and become an even better person. I know that this work is the Lord's work, and nothing will stop it from moving forward.

I love you all!
Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, August 24, 2015

#TheBook

Crandall & Chapman with Pres/Sis Nagano
Dearest Family and Friends,

Our mission has started a new social media wave using the hashtag #thebook. If you can, please share your testimony of the Book of Mormon using that hashtag on facebook, twitter, and other social media networks!

Our investigator with a baptismal date, Eiko, has been avoiding us recently. She is always gone around the time when we usually visit. We were able to catch her on Monday, but she only spoke with us through the kekko box (the speaker phone outside the house). She told us she was busy. Her son came outside to see us, so she eventually came out as well, but she was pretty icy... We set up a douseki (member present) lesson for Thursday, but she texted that morning saying she was sick. We stopped by to leave a note in her post, and all the cars were gone. We stopped by again on Friday, and she actually let us in! Then she didn't acknowledge us for the first ten minutes or so. Soooo awkward. We basically sat there and played with Atsushi's toys until she was willing to talk with us. She warmed up to us by the end, but then she had to go because the kids had ballet practice. She came to kodomo eikaiwa on Saturday, and she was totally normal. We don't really know what's going on, but we're thinking she'll start communicating with us again after her baptismal date, September 5th. Kind of crazy recently.

In happier news, Miki was baptized today! She was one of my investigators from Matsudo. I was unable to go to the service, but I am so happy just knowing that she was baptized. I know that she will be so blessed and strengthened. We'll be skyping with her tonight, and I'm so excited!

I am so grateful for the wonderful people that I can meet here in Japan! I have made so many wonderful friends. I am grateful for their kindness and help.

I know that the gospel is true! I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that we can come to know our Savior through studying the Book of Mormon. I know that as we draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to us.

The field is ready to harvest :-)
I love you all! Keep working hard in your respective duties! I know that He will strengthen you in all of your righteous endeavors!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kisarazu Branch

The entire branch!

YASSAI MOSSAI

皆さん、こんばんは!元気ですか?

私は元気です。今週は本当に忙しかったです!たくさん写真を取りましたけれども、全部送ることが出来ません。すみませんね!

We had a very eventful week (although we only taught about half as many lessons as we usually do...). It started with Francis. She welcomed us home one night. She is a lot more active than her husband, Frank, and we're hoping she's not too unhappy about what happened to him... I'll try to get a good picture of her.

We got five referrals last week, which is more than I've ever seen before. We rode a train two stops over to Aohori to visit a potential (she wasn't home) and then we walked a half hour to the referrals' home. We ended up walking up this mountain, which was pretty fun, but then the referral said that she (and her family) had no interest in the church. We horsed around there for a bit, and then decided to head back to the station. Then it rained. A lot. We stood under a tree so that we wouldn't get soaked, and then I realized that the lady across the street was waiting at a bus stop! And it just so happened that the bus went to the Kimitsu eki! That bus saved us a lot of time and spared us from getting soaked. It was a cool miracle.

A previously visited referral, Takagi san, came to the church for a tour, and her husband came, too! We were pretty excited about it. At the end, we gave her a Book of Mormon. We got out another one and asked her husband if he wanted his own, and he said yes! I think that the Takagis have a lot of potential! We are visiting with them on Thursday again, so I guess we'll find out.

August 15th is one of my new favorite holidays - Obon! Everyone celebrates their ancestors. People seem a lot happier to talk about religion and their families, and we saw a lot of miracles. We've somehow been finding a lot of potential investigators, which is something that Chapman Shimai and I have always struggled with. Anyway, the whole month is like family history month. Woohoo! On Friday, we had the opportunity to participate in the Kisarazu Yassai Mossai dance! There were 89 groups (at least 20 people per group, many had a lot more than that) competing. We all did the same dance for the first two rounds, and then the last two rounds each group did their own dance. They would play the Yassai Mossai song for twenty minutes and we would all dance in a train down the street in one big loop. I loved seeing everyone doing the same dance. I felt like there was a lot of unity among everyone there. We missionaries dance with a group called KIFA (if you look them up, you may find pictures or videos...). Apparently our group did well - we got second place! My feet were really sore afterwards, but it was an amazing experience.

On Saturday, we and some investigators watched the fireworks together! The firework show was an hour long, and it was amazing! I think that Japanese firework shows are a lot prettier than American ones... But that's just me. At the finale, they used really pretty fireworks rather than just doing a bunch at once. I really enjoyed it. I would love to come to Kisarazu for Obon again sometime!

On Sunday, Chapman Shimai and I both spoke in church. We speak about once a month. We were asked to share about courage, so I shared a bunch of stories about my ancestors and how they showed courage. Afterwards, we taught the Sunday School lesson about service and. We talked about how 愛は決して無駄にならない。No love is ever wasted! Always remember that! Let people serve you, and search for opportunities to serve others. As we 愛によって分かち合うdivide by love, the love in the world will increase.

On Monday, it rained a lot. And we confirmed that Eiko has been avoiding us... Kindof a bummer. We set up a lesson with her on Thursday, though, so we'll see how that goes. Today we went to the temple! It was nice to do an English session again, and I feel really edified. Afterwards, we went to the Scramble in Shibuya and did some finding with the Shibuya sisters and their giant Book of Mormon door. I learned that I am very bad at city dendou. We also went to the Meiji shrine and walked around. It was like all the other shrines I've visited, but bigger and a bit more plain. I loved the trees surrounding it. You couldn't hear Tokyo around it. It was really pleasant and shady. We also saw Takeshita street. It was super crowded, and we were happy to just take pictures from across the street.

One thing I noticed while I was in Tokyo today was that there were so many people, but no one seemed happy. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to share about God's Plan of Happiness. I know that He loves each of us and wants us to be happy. He has prepared a way for us to be eternally happy. Lasting happiness comes from keeping His commandments and following His Son, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the happiness that the gospel has given me.

Love, Crandall Shimai