Monday, December 28, 2015



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