Monday, March 30, 2015

Heated Floors & Bathroom Surprises!

Dear Family, Friends, and Missionaries,

I don't have much time this week, so sorry if my thoughts are all over the place!

I bought some Pokemon Candy this week. All of the members love that I love Pokemon. They also love that I like JPop, but none of them have heard of Kalafina...

We did exchanges on Tuesday, and I got to work with Tausinga Shimai in Kamagaya. Tausinga Shimai is on her second transfer. They had no investigators, so we spent the entire day finding. It was good speaking practice, but it was so cold! People here don't even open their doors when you ring the doorbell. They either yell through their door at you or they look at you with their camera and speak through the intercom. So weird. The apaato in Kamagaya has a heated floor. It was so nice to lay on it after our daily planning.

About the title of the email... My first day in Japan I was surprised to find that the toilet seat was heated! I definitely want one in my house. It was quite a pleasant surprise. This last week we were using the bathrooms in the church, and while enjoying the warm seat, I was looking at the different buttons wondering what they did... I accidentally pressed one, and then the toilet sprayed me! I had heard of toilets that would spray you, but I don't know why anyone would do that! Luckily, I knew the kanji for "stop." Otherwise, the toilet would have kept spraying me! It was so crazy.

Teruya Shimai and I have several investigators, but we feel that they aren't progressing anywhere. They keep all of their commitments, but they don't seem to be building testimonies. We want to make sure that they know why we are here, and we want to try changing the commitments to help them progress more. We'll see how it goes.

Yesterday, I street contacted (while biking, which is crazy) a girl named Emelyn. She is from Firipin (the Philippines) and showed a lot of interest in learning about the Church. Teruya Shimai and I have really wanted to find a kinjin (golden person), and we're hoping that Emelyn turns out to be our Firikinjin. :3

We took pictures of some of the cherry blossoms today! There are so many! I'm really excited, because I probably would not have seen them if I came at the end of April like I was originally supposed to...

I know that the Savior is aware of all of us. He knows us perfectly. He knows how to help us. I am so grateful for His strength.

I love you all!
Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, March 23, 2015


Dearest Family, Friends and Missionaries,

Konbanwa from Japan!

For those of you who did not know (or did not realize by the absence of an email last Thursday), my visa came girigiri right on time for me to leave with the rest of the Tokyo missionaries on Monday! Yatta! I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of me and of my desires.

As a quick side note, I had been temporarily (for like three hours) assigned to serve in the Illinois Chicago mission until my visa came! Maybe I would have seen Sheely Shimai? That would have been cool. Except that I didn't pack any winter coats.

We spent the first night in the honbu (mission home) and then went to a mission conference the next morning (Wednesday). The main speakers were Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder David F. Evans (I think). I got to shake an apostle's hand on the first full day in the mission field! Yes! They spoke to us about the use of media and devices on a mission. One thing that really stood out to me is that we have iPads not for missionary work but to train us how to be agents unto ourselves, to not be acted upon by the iPad. The use of an iPad on a mission is how Christ reaches out to us and develops a stronger relationship with us. We are meant to learn how to be masters of devices and social media so as to strengthen our future families. Really interesting stuff. Elder Evans spoke a lot about pornography. He said that most of us will be hurt by pornography somehow, and we need to be mature enough to talk about it. What stood out to me the most was he said that pornography is NOT an addiction. We ALWAYS have our agency to stop. Are we agents unto ourselves, or do we let pornography act on us? Really good stuff.

My new companion is Teruya Shimai, a Nihonjin (native Japanese) from Okinawa. Originally, I did not want a native companion. Communicating with Yoshimura Shimai in the MTC was extremely hard. I wanted to get a better grasp on the language before I had a native companion. When Teruya Shimai's trainee was going to be announced, I suddenly knew that it would be me. I was really nervous, but I know that I am supposed to be with her. Teruya Shimai's English is extremely good, so communication is no problem. I feel that with her my Japanese will be able to improve a lot more than with a gaijin (foreigner) companion. I love her so much, and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful companion!

Our area is Matsudo. The Matsudo ward is the largest ward in Japan, and the church building is the largest in Asia (5 floors!). It's probably even bigger than most churches in Utah! The ward members seem to be very involved, which is great. I really look forward to working with them, and hopefully I can learn all of their names quickly...

I love Japan. The roofs are so cool! Our apartment is simple, but has a traditional tatami room with sliding doors and futons! It's so exciting! I spent a bunch of money and bought a bike on Friday. Riding on the left side of the road is really weird, but I'm sure I'll get used to it before long. Hearing a different language all the time seems normal to me, thanks to my time with the Nihonjin district in the MTC. Seeing Japanese everywhere doesn't seem strange. I thought I'd have more culture shock, but I really haven't. Besides cars on the wrong side of the street, but whatever.

We have several investigators, but only one with a baptismal date. There was a baptism recently, and we're going to meet with her this week and film her conversion story. I'm excited for that. The language is hard, but I know that as I push myself, I will become better. All of the members are surprised that this is my first transfer, and people I talk to on the phone all think that I'm native... but I still feel like I can barely say anything in Japanese. I'll keep striving to get better so that I can better share the thoughts of my heart.

On Friday, we visited a member for dinner. Wakana Shimai is mostly deaf. Her son was there, and he is not a member. We had sushi for dinner, and amazingly I was able to eat an entire roll! Maybe there is hope for me after all! Someday, I will love seafood! Teruya Shimai and I wrote our testimonies down for Wakana Shimai. I wrote mine on the back of a picture of the Timpanogos Temple, and when Wakana Shimai saw it, she freaked out. Apparently she had been there before. It was a really cool experience!

A lot of people here don't have a belief in Christ. But, I know that through Him, we can be strengthened. Though storms may come, though the adversary may attack, when we are built on the foundation of Christ, we can endure. (Helaman 5:12) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:12, I think)

I ran in to Sister Roth!
I love you all! Keep working hard!

Love, Crandall Shimai

PS: feel free to send me mail! <3

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Atarashii Disutorikuto

Nihonjin District

Dearest friends, family, and missionaries, 

Shortly after sending my email last week, I was swept away into the Nihonjin district.  Instead of going to the temple, I went to a four hour class in Japanese where I barely understood what was going on.  I had to move all of my possessions to a new room, and I'm still living out of my suitcase... It was super overwhelming at first, but I am feeling a lot better and more capable now.  Teaching is still hard, but I feel that as I push myself, I am able to do more.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn with the Nihonjin.  

My new companion is Yoshimura Shimai.  She is so sweet and understanding.  Planning and stuff can be really hard sometimes, but I find that it is getting easier to share thoughts with her during companionship study.  
Sisters Crandall & Yoshimura
I love the Nihonjin!  They are so crazy and loud!  I could just watch them all day.  =3  I am so grateful to be with them.  They are kind and willing to help me with Japanese.  In turn, I help them to differentiate between Ls and Rs.  

Half of the Nihonjin are leaving on Monday and the other half are leaving next Thursday.  I was informed that my Visa is not yet back, so I have no idea when I will be leaving for Japan.  Whether I go on time or not, I know that the Lord has a plan for me.  I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to study with the Nihonjin.  I have seen so much more improvement with them than with my previous district (although I love them and loved the time that I had with them).  

Quentin L. Cook spoke to us at the last Devo (Tuesday night), and one thing he said really stood out to me.  He said that he knows the Savior's voice.  The thought immediately came to me that I, too, can know the Savior's voice.  

I love you all!  Keep striving for improvement, and I know that the Lord will help you get there.  I know that as I rely on Him, he will turn my weaknesses to strengths.  I may not be very good at Japanese yet, but even a simple testimony can invite the Spirit, and it is the Spirit who really does the teaching.  

Crandall Shimai

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Many are called, few get a Charmander


O genki desu ka?  

I'm doing great.  My first Pokemon was a Charmander.  I also have a Pikachu and a Magikarp.  This last week I purchased a Bulbasaur at the copy center.  

I'm going to be the Pokemon Master.  

I have a wonderful companion named McCarty Shimai.  She and I are perfect for each other.  She is super spiritual, and I (apparently) am super good at Japanese.  I do most of the talking in our lessons, but I try to give her plenty of opportunities to participate.  McCarty Shimai also went to BYU, and she even lived in Wyview.  Our first night in the MTC, she saw a friend who asked her, "Where were you on Monday? I didn't see you at your party."  And she was like, "Wait, what party?"  and then I was like, "Wait, are you talking about that potato party at the MPB?  My friends hosted that party for me!"  Haha, small world.  =)  Sometimes McCarty Shimai talks in her sleep, and sometimes I talk back.  

Tomorrow, I will be joining the Nihonjin (Japanese Native) district, and then I will be leaving with them and our senpais for Japan on the sixteenth of March.  It is hard to believe that I will be in Japan in less than two weeks!  

If you haven't realized by now, my P Days in the MTC are on Thursdays.  They will be on Mondays once I am in Japan, although that will beSunday nights here.  

It was fun to see a bunch of familiar faces here at the MTC.  I got a picture with Sister Nieznanski, and I saw Elder Brower and Elder Flemming as well.  Also, Elder Braswell from my Japanese class at BYU.  

We currently have one investigator named Ina.  We have been teaching him about the Plan of Salvation, and he committed to be baptized in the first lesson!  He is so sweet, and I felt super cool when he started to invite us in rather than us asking him to let us in.  =3  I was surprised to find out that the Kyoudai who acts out Ina Kyoudai was in my Japanese class at BYU.  =P  I didn't even recognize him, but he recognized me.  

MTC life is really different.  Time is so structured.  We spend hours each day studying, but I feel like I never have enough time to study.  I was reading in PMG, and I saw somewhere that I had written, "a whole hour to study each day!"  Oh, how I wish I had more time.  

You get a new sense of humor at the MTC.  Things that once were not funny are now hilarious.  It's interesting how you don't get tired of being with the same 12 people all day every day.  I love my district!  

We got a bunch of study materials here at the MTC, and each book has it's own name (in the Japanese districts, at least).  My favorite is Charmander, an orange book.  We have a yellow dictionary of grammar named Pikachu, a useless dictionary named Magikarp, and other books named Ninja, Sumo, Katana, Miyagi San, and Samurai.  I purchased a green piece of paper with the most important grammar listed on it.  Its name is Bulbasaur.  

The devotionals have been so great.  They are usually focused on obedience or the Doctrine of Christ.  It is so important to be exactly obedient to all mission rules.  I commit to be faithful to all commandments of the Lord, especially the mission rules, and especially the rule to stay with your companion at all times.  

We watched a video on Sunday titled the Character of Christ.  It was a devotional given by Elder Bednar a few years ago, and it was SO GOOD.  I don't think you can find the video online anywhere, but see if you can.  I know you can find the words, though, but the video is so much better!  For those of you who have yet to enter the MTC, make sure you watch it!  I really want to lose myself in the work.  I want to always turn outward instead of inward.  I want to become fully converted to Christ.  

I love you all!  I hope to hear from you!  

Love,  Crandall Shimai