Monday, November 30, 2015

To My Fellow Americans, Happy Thanksgiving

Konnichiwa Kazoku. 

I hope you read my title in some sort of dramatic way. (My [short pause] fellow americans [long pause] happy [short pause] thanksgiving [clapping and cheering])

This is amazing. By some miracle I have obtained the use of the one computer in the entire church here in Taniyama and I am composing this using a keyboard. What an idea. Wow, what freedom. I feel like I am riding on the wind. Look at how fast I can type when I don't use an iPad!

This past week and a half has been LONG. Oh man I thought I would never make it to P-Day. Kaicho made today P-Day so we haven't had our regular break in a while and we are pooped! Honestly the bags under my eyes and the wrinkles on my forehead are increasing in size at a steady rate. And I am sorry I forgot to tell you that today was P-Day as well. I honestly wasn't thinking about that last Monday. So, forgive me. 

How is Thanksgiving? Wonderful I suppose. I woke up and laid in my futon for about ten seconds before I hopped out. Here is what flew through my mind:

Mom is already slaving away in the kitchen and for some odd reason we all feel that that is some sort of tradition. We watch intensely for the moment that she takes out that turkey, freshly buttered and ready to go, into the oven. Oh that smell. If I could just get my hands on a freshly baked turkey... Here is the kicker. All the night before mother slaved away making dough for the rolls. Oh... sweet victory. Those rolls you could die for. Rolls so good that if we happened to be in the hunger games I would risk my life to enter the cornucopia to get them. The rolls that literally slip down your throat and with some sort of sick humor they are gone too fast. Oh, how the butter rolls down the sides of your face only beginning to quench your desire for more. A pan is gone, and the next, we haven't even had the turkey yet. Mom tells us to stop eating them, but we all know she can just make more, so we don't. Somehow Margaret has gotten herself roped into making the mashed potatoes and gravy, although we know Dad is the one who ends up doing it anyway. What a task. Peeling those potatoes with all the force in her small hands. They are cold, and her hands start to freeze, but it doesn't matter. We sacrifice for these types of splendid occasions. Fingers freezing, the process continues. The rest of us sit and watch. Ravenous, we pull out the bag of doritos in the cupboard. Oh the smell of the food! Doritos are just not good enough now! However, we eat the entire bag anyway. One bag of doritos down, two pans of rolls and we still await for the turkey. DING. It's done. Mom has to check the temperature but we all reassure her that there is no possible way that we can wait any longer. The worst part. The gravy. We smell the sweet sweet scent of the turkey rising from the table. Oh so delicious. The copper color, the grease dripping along the sides, oh the flavors. Our mouths water. Hurry up Margaret, get the gravy done. However, Mom has to do it anyway because she is the only one who knows how. What a shame. Us frauds. She's done. Oh the pounding in our hearts. A day dedicated to eating. What could be more pleasing than that? We pray, we dig in, and finally...

I realize I am sitting in my futon in Japan still. 


Ten Things Sister Raines Is Grateful For: Thanksgiving 2015
1. Mom, Dad, Lauren, Jake, Lillie, Cooper, Scott, Kenzie, Margaret
2. My whole entire extended family
3. The gospel of Jesus Christ
4. The temple
5. American deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo
6. The memory of thanksgiving foods
7. Ice cream
8. The beauty of the earth
9. America the Beautiful
10. Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
11. Japanese people

This last week... yeah! We had a lot happen! Our mission president has given us two goals. One is to have two baptismal dates by Thanksgiving and the other is to have one baptism by Christmas. Right now we have one baptismal date, and we are really sure it is going to happen! We are really excited for our investigator. We are still trying to work through a few things but we have a lot of faith and we are counting on everything going smoothly. We know God wants us to have these kind people come into his fold. This is His work. I was standing on a door step the other day, yesterday maybe, and I was thinking about how weak we all are. How human and powerless we are. I was thinking about how wonderful of a miracle it is that God trusts us young people to be spreading this gospel all over the world in our broken languages, unable to convey everything we have to say, yet some how the spirit is able to work through that. This really is Gods work. No matter what I do, I have to attribute it all back to God. Its a miracle, this work is.

We had zone training this week and they talked about faith. Actually, it was a special training from our mission president. I really liked it and thought it went well. I definitely have a lot to improve though, and I am doing my best. The relief society sisters from the Kagoshima Branch and the Taniyama Branch made us lunch and it was delicious! I am always really grateful for the sweet sisters that I get to work along side with every day. 

We have just been working hard every day. Doing everything we possibly can to find those people that we can bring this wonderful message to. Every day it seems like it gets harder and harder but the rewards are becoming larger and larger as well. We had to sing in sacrament meeting as missionaries and we had to sing in the zone conference as well. So that took up some of our time. 

Sorry this letter is a little weird. Giving you a play by play of the last week and a half of my life would be completely boring, so I thought maybe I could just tell you a few things that have been going on. 

I sure love you all. I am so grateful for you all and I know this gospel will bless your lives if you allow it to. This is a great time to think of all the things that this gospel has done for you in your life, and to really think about what blessings are in store as you live it more fully. I love you!

Love, Raines Shimai

P.S. All I want for Christmas, if you send something is the toothpaste I like. Crest whitening blue sparkly stuff you used to send me. Ho ho ho!

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