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


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!




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

Monday, August 10, 2015


Going from left to right around the table: Cardon, Werner, Jacobs,
Hirschi, Bell, Adair, Kubota, Crandall, Chapman, Sugimoto, Burt,
Wilkes, and Law. Elder Mutzelburg was taking the picture.


I hope that everyone has been doing well! The weather has cooled down a bit here, and it actually rained a lot this morning.

I want to start off by telling you all about Frank. Frank would welcome us home every night. We usually had to throw rocks at him until he left so that we could get into our apartment. He stopped coming for a little while, but then he returned. "Frank's back!" We tried to take a video of him, but he wouldn't come out into the light. The next morning, we found him shriveled up and dead. Apparently Sister Chapman accidentally hit him with one of her rocks, and he passed away. I'll miss Frank.

On Friday I had the opportunity to eat lunch with one of my previous investigators. It was such a happy meeting, and she really glowed with the Light of Christ. I am so grateful that I was able to see her again. She has a baptism scheduled on the 23rd, and I really wanted to go, but doing so would make me miss church here in Kisarazu. I thought about it a lot, and I remembered a scripture in Ecclesiastes 2:18-19. Our stewardships will continually change. As missionaries, we transfer to new areas. When we transfer, we receive charge of a new area and new people. We are only in our areas for a short time, so we must do our best while we are there to leave it stronger than it was before. We must trust the missionaries coming after us to take care of the area and the investigators there. I realized that my stewardship is no longer in my previous area. I need to look after the sheep that the Lord has entrusted me here in Kisarazu, and how can I do that if I am not at church? I will truly miss being at my previous investigator's baptism, but just knowing that she is getting baptized is good enough for me. I will continually cherish my relationship with her.

We received five referrals last week, which is more than I'd ever received in the past. We visited with one lady, Takagi san, and she is going to come to the church on Wednesday for a tour! She doesn't know much about Christian churches, but apparently her husband dated a preacher's daughter before they got married, so she has some interest. I'm excited to see where things go. We went to visit another referral, and on the way, we suddenly started to hear this flute. It was really cool, and as we kept riding we could hear drums, too. We finally arrived at a festival! It seemed really fun, and the red lanterns made a really warm atmosphere. We tried taking photos and videos, but they don't really do the festival justice. It was way cool, and I'd love to be able to go to one sometime. My Mom's favorite holiday is coming up this week, so there are a lot of festivals right now.

I want to give a shout out to my sister, who just found out that she's going to have a baby girl in December! I love her and I am so excited for her family to grow even bigger! I know that she will be so blessed! I am grateful for families. Families are eternal!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, August 3, 2015

Meet the Mormons

Minasan, konnichiwa!

I decided I always start my emails the same way, so I'll shake things up a bit this week.

As many of you may have guessed, we watched Meet the Mormons! We had zone Pday today HERE (yay, no hour long train rides to other areas in the zone!) and we ate pancakes and watched the movie. More on my thoughts later.

We saw a lot of crazy miracles this last week. We had exchanges on Thursday, and I had the opportunity to stay in Kisaradzu with Hirschi Shimai! She served in Kisaradzu last December, and she was able to really help our investigators move forward.

We met with Saitou Shimai and talked with her about the temple. We set up a date with her to go to the temple and do baptisms for her ancestors. All she needs to do is pay tithing and then she will be worthy to enter. Chapman Shimai and I met with Saitou Shimai again on Sunday and talked about the blessings of tithing. It was a super intense lesson. We shared personal experiences and asked Saitou Shimai to trust in her Savior and just try paying her tithing. We'll see what happens this week.

Hirschi Shimai and I also met with Eiko san, and she said that her family really enjoyed the FHE we had with them last week. They even filmed the entire thing! Eiko's husband had fun, and he said that he is okay with doing it every week. We talked with Eiko about her baptismal date, which was last May, and she said that she wanted to wait for her family to desire baptism as well. We told her that her family will never understand how important the church is to her unless if she gets baptized. We told her that she needs to be the example for her family. She agreed and decided that she will be baptized on September 5th! We will work with her to make sure she is prepared for that date! I know that as she takes steps of faith, her family will be able to follow her clear beacon.

I am so grateful for the gospel. We watched Meet the Mormons today, and I felt so much gratitude and love. The gospel is so beautiful and simple. Christ truly is the source of lasting happiness. He will use us to strengthen others: friends, family, neighbors, etc. the gospel can heal us. His way will make us better. The church is full of imperfect people, but through His teachings we will become more and more like Him. I am so grateful for the examples in my life. I love my family so much!

Love, Crandall Shimai

P.S. Here is our new mission logo!