Monday, February 22, 2016

On Splits with the Elders?!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Wow, I feel like it has been forever!  So much has happened in this past week

Transfer day was really amusing to me, so I'll just detail it all out.

Sister Gottfredson was the only sister leaving our zone, so we didn't have much to do for transfer planning (Phew!).  But, since the Kasukabe sisters weren't transferring at all, they had a normal day planned and a lesson appointment already in place... this made it so that I wouldn't be able to join them for a few hours to avoid being alone... so... I got permission from the assistants to spend the morning with the elders (the Okegawa Sisters are too far away for me to go spend just a few hours with.  By the time I got there I would have to turn around and come right back).  Let's just say it was one of the weirdest mornings of my life.

I said goodbye to Sister Gottfredson at 8, and then she got on a train going north and I hopped on a train going south to Matsubara Danchi.  I arrived at the eki a bit early, so I decided to go use the bathroom at the nearest 7/11. The whole time I was feeling nervous about being alone.  Oh no.  I always thought I wouldn't be the kind of missionary to feel awkward being alone after my mission, but now I'm thinking I might be following Mom around for a few days.  Anyway, I went back to the eki where I found Mikatsura Kyoudai.  I talked with him until the elders came, and then we walked back to their apartment where they could take apart Elder Burch's bike.

We picked up the bike and then proceeded to ride the elevator up to the eleventh floor of the danchi... it was the most awkward elevator ride of my life.  There was me, Mikatsura Kyoudai, Elder Burch, Elder Viehweg, and Elder Burch's bike, all in that little elevator, and the whole time in my mind I was like "What am I doing in an elevator full of men?"  I had myself pushed up against the wall so as not to come in contact with any of them. (Apparently I'm okay with being in a crowded train full of men, but when it comes to elders in an elevator...)  Mikatsura Kyoudai and I stood outside the apartment door (I decided I probably shouldn't go inside) and watched as the elders took apart the bike and put it in the bag for travel.  I took the liberty to take a pano of Matsubara Danchi while I waited.

After that, we went to a nearby McDonalds and studied for an hour until Elder Burch left.  (The other set of elders had to take Elder Lloyd's bike to the bike shop for something, so that's why they couldn't join us.  That's why we had Mikatsura Kyoudai with us.)  I then found myself in a trio with Elder Viehweg and Mikatsura Kyoudai.  Weirdest day of my life.  We went back to McDonalds and studied for another hour or so, and I helped Elder Viehweg plan district meeting (never done that before!).  We had a very nice talk with Mikatsura Kyoudai about the Gospel and Joseph Smith.  I then travelled back to Gamou Eki where I met up with Sister Wadsworth.

All in all it was a pretty crazy day.  Definitely an experience I will never forget.  Sorry, I'm not the best at narrating experiences.  I would have loved to take pictures, but I decided that would probably be lame, so I didn't even try.

Other than that it has been a good week for finding.  We have decided that we really need to find solid new investigators if we want to see a baptism this transfer, so we did A LOT of finding.  Yesterday, we talked to (Sarah, you'll be so proud) 131 people!  We talked to two junior high school girls who might have interest and they took a picture with us.  We'll email them and try to get the picture from them.  They were way cute though!  They live in Matsudo, though, so I don't know if I'll ever meet them again.

Other than that, not too much has happened.  Just finding and getting all wet in the rain.  Brr!  My new companion, Sister Wadsworth, is amazing at finding, and I'm sure that I will learn a lot from her, too!

I love you all!  I know the church is true!

Love, Crandall Shimai

Friday, February 19, 2016


Happy Valentine's Day to the people I love!

I was shocked yesterday at church when after Sacrament Meeting they announced that the Young Women would be handing out a treat to all of the men in the ward.  I had to remind myself that Valentine's Day in Japan is different than it is in America.  In Japan, women give gifts to the men on Valentine's Day, and there is a second holiday called White Day on March 14th where the men return those gifts with something white.  It's kind of interesting.

This last week was fun.  We met with one of our investigators, Imanari Yuka san, at her home and ate lunch!  We had a great lesson about the Spirit, and she is really eating up the Gospel Library app right now.  She listens to the conference talks or other chapters of scripture, and she loves it!  She has been really busy, but recently has been putting forth more effort to meet with us.  Her daughter Berina has ballet practice every Sunday, so Yuka can't come to church, but apparently she was trying to look up a church closer to where her daughter's practice is so that she could go while she waited.  She is so close to baptism.  We're planning on teaching her the Law of Chastity tonight, so we'll see how that goes...

We met with an investigator named Ismat on Saturday.  We made little crafts, and then we talked with her about church.  Nishimiya Eri Shimai showed up to practice the piano and joined our lesson (yay, miracle douseki!).  Ismat said that she didn't have time to take the lessons from us, but she didn't mind reading material we gave her.  We asked if she had a Book of Mormon, and she said no.  We were so surprised!  We gave it to her and she said, "Oh, my mom has this book!"  She said that she would try reading it, and she seemed really excited about it.  I believe that she could have a lot of potential in the future.

We had zone meeting on Friday, and it went very smoothly.  I gave a training about exact obedience... It was kind of intense, but I felt the Spirit.  It was a good zone meeting, and I feel inspired to work harder to use my time more effectively.

Today we had transfer calls!  I will be staying in Koshigaya, and I will be working with Sister Wadsworth!  She was my douki in the MTC, but is now my Kouhai since I came to Japan early.  I'm really excited to work with her, and I know that we will see a lot of miracles.  I am so grateful for my mission, for what I have learned, and for how I have changed.  I know that this experience is being fine tuned to exactly what I need.  I'm so grateful for my loving Heavenly Father and for His help in times of need.  I know that He is there, watching over me!

I love you all!
Love, Crandall Shimai

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Setsubun! 節分!

Happy Setsubun everyone! I hope you all threw some mame to get rid of all those evil spirits and invite in some good fortune! Sadly I was unable to throw anying, or even make any temakizushi. We did go out to eat with a member though at a super fancy shabushabu restaurant. I ate ALMOST everything on my plate. I still can't hack anything pickled.

We had MLC this last week, and the assistants gave a FABULOUS training on returning to the basics - simplifying our finding! I realized that I had started thinking of finding as successful only when I could talk with someone for as long as possible. If I could build a relationship with them and get their phone number, I would be successful. We talked at MlC about focusing on our purpose. Are we here to go eat ramen with people, or are we here to preach of Christ? From now on we are doing what we call kinjin dendou, which means we are going back to the most basic form of finding and just talking about Christ right off the bat. We are going to talk to as many people as possible, because if we only find one kinjin after talking to one hundred people, we want to talk to one hundred people as fast as possible. We've been implementing kinjin dendou in our dendou, and it just feels good. It feel good for people to understand our purpose right up front. It feels good to be preaching of Christ, and not trying to craftily convince someone to be our friend. It was interesting how the assistants put it. We aren't here to make friends. We are here to be missionaries. We should never have to transition from friends to missionaries, because we should be missionaries from the start. It was really insightful, and it led to a crazy cool miracle.

We were walking back to our bikes after some finding at Shin Koshigaya Eki, and we talked to a girl who was walking by with earphones in. She pulled out one to listen to us, and then started to back up when she heard we were church volunteers, saying she had work and was busy. We quickly said that God is our Heavenly Father, and that she is His daughter. Her other earphone came out so fast, and she proceeded to give us her phone number so that she could call us later when she had time. We were so in shock. I've never had anyone just give me their contact information without first having asked for it. It was an amazing miracle, truly a tender mercy of the Lord.

I want to bear my testimony to all of you that God truly is our Heavenly Father. We had an experience yesterday that made me so grateful for that knowledge, and also for the Restoration of this church. Three appointments fell through yesterday, so we decided to stop and say a prayer to determine where Heavenly Father would have us go. We prayed, and then waited. Nothing came. We were both so confused as to why we weren't receiving any promptings to go anywhere or do anything. A minute later, a black man walked out of a building and stopped to talk with us. His name was something like Reverend Pastor Uche, and he was in charge of the church that was right there (I didn't notice the church until after we had prayed). He and Sister Joy, a Filipino woman, were just closing up the church. He proceeded to dendou us for the next 45 minutes, telling us things like "the legacy you leave is most important" and "you can't call yourself a missionary until you've been homeless" and other stuff. He just wouldn't stop. The stuff he was saying wasn't too crazy or anything, until he said that all of the Japanese people were going to go to Hell because they didn't know God. My insides immediately felt gross – I knew right then and there that what he was saying was wrong. I felt my Heavenly Father's love, and I knew that He loved all of His children. I knew that He wouldn't damn His children just because they never had a chance to learn of Him. I felt so grateful for the knowledge we have of Heavenly Father's character. I am so grateful for the Restoration, for restored truths. I was grateful for the experience I had, for how my testimony was so strengthened.

I love this gospel. I love this church. I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father.

Love, Crandall Shimai

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weekly Email

Hello all!

I'm a little short on time, so I'll just give a quick overview of my week!

We had two exchanges this last week, but still no extra futon. One came today, and we assume the other will come soon... Exchanges were fun though, having four sisters in one area.

We went to an activity called Oshaberi salon, an activity where we can speak Japanese with natives. We've found it to be pretty good for meeting new people. This time we did calligraphy, and I even got to make some green tea (although I didn't drink it) in a mock tea ceremony.

We went out to lunch with some investigators and ate - yes - sashimi. Raw fish. And it wasn't bad.

I have a love for gatcha machines, like quarter machines but a bit more expensive. I got a black egg, which means you pay but you don't know what you're going to get. I was hoping for a Pikachu, but instead I got a Tenagagame (手長亀).

One of our investigators opened a bread shop, and we got free bread! Yum!

We taught family Eikaiwa at a referrals home! And she didn't freak outwhen we shared a gospel message!

I know that this is the true church. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He hears our prayers and answers us. He strengthens us in times of trial. He will deliver us as we put our faith in Him.

I love you all! Have a great week!
Love, Crandall Shimai