Monday, January 25, 2016

Where are My Futon?!

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you know that I love you all! It's chilly outside (except maybe in Tonga), so please be safe!

Recently we had been thinking that maybe we should let the elders do Sakaniwa Kyoudai's after baptism lessons, because Sakaniwa Shimai seemed to want that. She would ask us things like, "Didn't you say the elders were going to teach the ab lessons?" Well, last Sunday I told her, "We were thinking that from now on it might be better for the elders to do the ab lessons..." And then she said, "Really? No, I think the sisters should do it." ...okay. Sure. We were pretty confused, but on Saturday we went to the Sakaniwa home and taught the Plan of Salvation, and it was really good. It was such a comfortable atmosphere. Their home really is a special place now, and I love being there. We're looking forward to working with the Sakaniwa family more in the future, and we're especially looking forward to when Sakaniwa Kyoudai does baptisms in the Tokyo Temple for the first time!

Since most of our investigators disappeared in the last few weeks, we've found ourselves with a lot of finding time. We've practiced our streeting, our bike dendou, our housing... And we actually found someone while housing! Her name is Sekiguchi san, and she is way sweet! She accepted the Book of Mormon, and it wasn't awkward at all! She even went back into her apartment to get her phone so that we could become facebook friends! Every time people are so open like that, I think to myself, "What is happening right now?! Is this even happening?! What the?!" I love the tender mercies of the Lord!

The format of exchanges have changed (for those who don't know). It used to be that one STL (Sister Training Leader) would stay in her own area and one STL would go to another area, so there would be two sisters in each area, but now the rules have changed. The other companionship will always come to the STLs' area, so there will be four sisters in one area and none in the other. It's really interesting, and makes it so that the STLs don't have to worry about travel and meeting halfway or whatever, but a whole new set of problems come up. The first is the bike problem. We've already solved this by getting two extra bikes from Kasukabe and bringing them here, so now we have four bikes here in Koshigaya. The next problem is that now we need to have twice as much stuff to do. Another problem is that we only have two futon, aka only two beds. Most apartments have several, but Koshigaya just recently opened back up for sisters, so there are still only two futon. We've ordered more futon, but we had to cancel our planned exchange last week because they have not arrived. We received several package slips (saying that we missed a package delivery), and every time we got super excited. "The futon are here, the futon are here!" But every time we were disappointed. We still have yet to receive our futon, and we've decided that we don't have time to cancel any more exchanges. So, if our futon don't arrive by tomorrow, we'll be sleeping on the tatami mat. Woot. Our last problem is that we have to feed two extra mouths... We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. This whole exchange thing is starting to feel more like babysitting...

Lesson of the week: We had more than one lesson, but I just wanted to share a little about this one. One of our (only remaining) investigators, Imanari Yuka, came to game night on Friday, and I had the opportunity to talk with her about the Book of Mormon. She has a Book of Mormon and enjoys reading from it, but she has difficulty applying it. We talked about how Christ taught in parables, and we shared President Uchtdorf's talk “A Summer with Great Aunt Rose" and then we read 1 Nephi 1 together. We showed her a little bit how she could apply it to her life, and she got really excited. She said that now she feels like she can really apply the Book of Mormon to her life. It is always so uplifting being in lessons like that. I know that by reading the Book of Mormon from start to finish we can see all of the tender mercies of the Lord. We can see how He blessed and loved those people, and we can better see how He blesses and loves us. I love the Book of Mormon, and I know it is a true book.

I enjoyed watching the worldwide missionary broadcast this last week. It's a bummer that I was asleep while it was happening. But, I really felt the Spirit, and I am so excited to work harder at being a better missionary.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Hachi Statue!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Wow, this has been an eventful week! There is this building near the church that says エレベーターreally big (Elevator), so we decided that we wanted to go up it. We rode our bikes out there, and when we entered the parking lot this security guard ran out to us and said, "You cannot be enter!" I guess no one is allowed to go up the elevator.

We've started working harder at finding recently, since all of our progressing investigators disappeared over the holiday. While I still don't like finding much, I find that it's becoming more bearable. Maybe someday I'll actually look forward to doing it. I think the hardest part about finding is just starting the conversation. But once you've done that, it's easy to keep going. It helps though when your companion is way natural at speaking to people. I have felt that I've improved a lot, though, and I feel more confident that I can find people. Even us old missionaries struggle with things as simple as finding (yes, I finally feel like an old missionary. At transfer 8, I am the second to oldest missionary in my district, my companion the only one older than me.).

We visited with a member this last week, or at least we tried to. We followed the address to her home... but her house was gone! Just a bunch of rubble. We called her, and she informed us that she had moved a few blocks over. We visited with her, and she told us about how she had given a Book of Mormon to one of her son's friends. She then proceeded to give us a referral for another of her friends! This sister is on fire! We've tried a few times to visit this referral, but she is never available. We did visit with her husband, though, and he gave us some flowers from his garden. Really sweet guy.

We visited with Kanno Shimai (I think I mentioned her last week. She is a member from Kasukabe and is in the hospital here in Koshigaya area) a few times this last week. We visited her on Tuesday, and it was her birthday! Luckily we didn't try to take her balloons, because I think the hospital wouldn't have allowed them. We did give her a little charm for her phone, and she was way happy that we knew it was her birthday (thank you to her husband and the Kasukabe Sisters!). Later she called us and asked us to bring her three or four Books of Mormon. When we went, she was asleep, so we just left them and a sweet note. She called later and apologized, and asked us to bring two or three more copies. This lady is also on fire. She said that she will probably be changing hospitals soon, so she wants to write messages to all of the staff members that have helped her in the Books of Mormon and give them to them as farewell gifts. She also wants to introduce us to several people that work there, so hopefully we can work that out. She is such a sweet woman, and she knows how important our message is. She is an amazing missionary and a wonderful example to me. And her fake eyelashes are pretty great.

There was a wedding reception for our dendou shunin (ward mission leader?) on Saturday! Congrats to him! We really wanted to go, but we both felt strongly that we shouldn't. Instead we did some finding near Souka Eki, and it was great. I am so grateful that I didn't go. We've been thinking a lot about using time more effectively, doing activities that will help us see real growth among our investigators, and we both felt that the wedding reception would not be ideal for missionary work (even though there would be less actives and referrals there). It sounded like it went really well, though.

 Today we had the opportunity to go to the temple. I am so grateful for the peace and guidance I can receive there. I love the temple! And it is always so great to see friends and previous companions there. This transfer was a bit different than previous transfers. Instead of sending all the sisters on one day and all of the elders on another day, they just had all of the missionaries in the Chiba and Saitama zones go together. The other zones are going on different days. I was blessed to be able to see two of my previous companions there. Woohoo!

The last thing we did was run to Shibuya real fast so that we could get pictures with the Hachi statue, the dog that would wait for his master at the eki every day. It is such a sweet story. After that we came straight home. Well, we did talk to one girl who said, "I've been wanting to learn more about Christ!" Well, let us tell you more!  Way cool! I know that miracles happen! I know that this church is true! I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that He listens to and answers our prayers!

Love, Crandall Shimai

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Monday, January 11, 2016


Dear Family and Friends,

I feel like it gets harder and harder to remember what happens each week. This last week was fairly slow. All of our investigators were out of town for the New Year and are now returning. We spent the first half of the week in Kasukabe, preparing Sister Nicholes for her new trainee! We are so excited for her to train (yeah, training at transfer three!). She will be great. We stressed a lot about transfer plans, but luckily everything went smoothly. All of our sisters got to their new places safely and on time!

We had MLC on Saturday, and we talked a lot about finding and stats. Many of our missionaries are anti-stats (I may or may not have been one of them), and we have seen that as missionaries stop focusing on the key indicators the baptisms also stop. The teaching pools in every area are fairly empty, so we are going to focus on going out and finding through our own efforts. I look forward to having more finding time and improving my skills (which are fairly low level as of right now). President Nagano wants to change the mission culture. We didn't have much time to discuss that, so I really look forward to seeing what he decides.

Yesterday one of the primary kids was baptized! Yabumoto Yuta kun turned 8 last week (we called and sang happy birthday to him on his birthday) and was baptized right after church. One of our investigators was able to come, so that was a huge miracle. Sister Gottfredson and I had the opportunity to teach Yuta kun a little bit last month, and seeing him get baptized was like seeing my own investigator getting baptized! It was a very tender mercy.

Here is an adventure from last week. We went to visit a referral from the elders, and as we were parking our bikes at the apartment a lady walked up to us and told us we couldn't park there. She pointed at a sign that said only residents could park there (it was all in kanji, which is still a foreign language to me), and she refused to let us park there for even five minutes to go knock on one door. She started walking away, but when she heard us discussing which building the referral lived in, she came back and tried to help us. She was very perplexed when we told her we were trying to visit someone but we didn't even know her name. She showed us where we could park – another spot with the same sign as the first place. She said, "well, if it's only five minutes it should be okay..." She left, and we ascended the building. We were about to knock on the door, when suddenly she yelled up to us from the street: "no one lives there!" We told her that there were signs of someone living there. She then said, "no a man lives there, no woman! You're at the wrong door!" She then ascended the building to try to help us again. It was really frustrating. I finally decided that maybe I was supposed to talk to her about the Gospel, and when I asked if she had ever been to church, she fled faster than anyone I've ever seen. After she left, I turned to Sister Gottfredson and said, "wow, I should've done that at the start." Anyway, we think we were at the wrong building, so we'll probably go back some time this week. Hopefully we don't see that lady again.

Lastly, a miracle. We were about to return home after tying to visit another referral from the elders when a man came up to us and said, "hey, you're missionaries, right? My wife is in a hospital near here and she wants to see the Koshigaya missionaries." We were a little confused until we remembered the Kasukabe sisters telling us about a member in their ward who was hospitalized in our area and really wanted to meet the missionaries. Apparently this woman has been sharing the gospel with all of her nurses and wants us to meet them. We went with the member to the hospital to meet his wife, and it was such a tender moment. She had been planning on calling us that day, but then we showed up in her room! We're going back tomorrow to meet with her again.

I love you all! There are no such things as coincidences!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, January 4, 2016



New Years is probably one of the biggest holidays in Japan. It is such an important holiday that we spent the 31st cleaning and the 1st reading the Book of Mormon. We weren't allowed to go outside and dendou, but I really enjoyed the time I had to study. One thing that Japanese people do for New Years is write up and send nengajou, postcards that basically say "Happy New Year! Let's be friends again this year." As this year is the year of the Monkey, most of the nengajou you can buy have monkeys on them.

In other news, this last week one of our sisters went home early (for school), so we got to spend the week with Sister Nicholes! We slept over in Kasukabe the last few nights and spent almost all day on the 31st organizing the apartment. Sister Horito left a BUNCH of junk, and we're going to have a member take it to the recycle shop for us next week. We went through the food storage and almost everything was expired, so we threw away most of that as well. We went to church here in Kasukabe, and it was interesting to be in a new ward and not feel obligated to memorize everyone's names.

I think my favorite day this last week was Friday when we got to read the Book of Mormon for 10 hours. I read all of the war chapters in Alma. Reading them all in one day really helped me to have a better perspective on what happened. It was really interesting, and I got a lot of insights. I love the Book of Mormon so much. Every time I read it I feel so much peace. I know that the Book of Mormon truly is God's word. We can draw closer to Him by reading it. It is one of the greatest sources of revelation.

Lastly, we had transfer calls today! Sister Gottfredson and I will both be staying in Koshigaya, and Sister Nicholes will be training in Kasukabe! I am so excited for her. She is going to be a wonderful trainer!

I love you all! I hope you have all set some good goals for this new year. I know that as you set goals with God, you will receive divine assistance to help you reach them. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. He will strengthen us to do the things we need to. Through Him we can do the things that will strengthen us.

Happy New Year!  Love, Crandall Shimai