Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Best Eighteen Months

Konnichiwa Kazoku!

This week has been fun and crazy. We had some really fun member
dinners and stuff. On Monday night we went to the Utashima family's
house and they had us all make our own sushi. They had seaweed wraps
and rice and fish and it was really good! They were really cute. I
haven't eaten sushi like that but it was really good. They are so
amazing. They love the temple and they love missionary work. They have
been such good examples to us. I love them!

We went up to Saijo for junkais this week. I was able to junkai with
Sister Johnson. She was so kind! She was so bright and happy and I
loved it. It was kind of a fun break from everything. I got to see
some of my old investigators and we had a good day. I have loved being
able to go back and see my old area. It's been so much fun. I love
Saijo, and I love Hatsukaichi!

We heard that America is pulling ahead in the Olympics! It sounds like
so much fun. I bet it has been fun to watch. Go America! We have been
hearing a lot about Trump San and Clinton San too hahaha :)

Hayashi Shimai took us out to Chinese and it was delicious. She was
really cute. When she said bye to me she got kind of emotional and she
was just so kind. She has been really amazing. We actually saw a
miracle because of her. She gave us a referral at the beginning of
last transfer and we COULD NOT find it. But we finally found her, and
we have visited like five times. The other night we decided to try
just once more and she was home! We taught the referral a lesson right
there when we met her and she is so awesome! So we are very grateful
for Hayashi Shimai. She has been so sweet and kind to me. And always
wants to Dendo so much!

We have two new investigators! They both wanted to do this program
where we teach a small English lesson then share a gospel message.
They both were so awesome and we extended a baptismal invite to both
of them. We were just so happy. I love when we get new investigators!

We had a basketball activity this week. We invited recent converts and
members and investigators. It wasn't the best turn out but it was a
lot of fun and it was a nice change of pace. We sometimes need
activities to help us keep going. It was fun though. That was a nice
part of our week.

We have been eating ALL of the good food! We have made so much cookie
dough and pancakes and eating all of the best Japanese foods. We met
our investigator yesterday and ate Okonomiyaki and it was delicious. I
love Japanese food!

This week has just been really good. We are all anxious for our next
transfer. The apartment will be becoming a trio and Vogelsberg Shimai
and Brown Shimai will be companions and have another sister come up.
They will be merging the areas. It is so fun and they are really
excited. I am excited for them to see miracles here together.

We were able to participate in the Sapporo Temple Dedication. It was
so very special. I love the Japanese people. I felt so much pure joy
that they now have another temple to use and to feel the spirit of the
Lord. It is so beautiful. The Sapporo Temple is beautiful from what I
have seen. Elder Nelson was the one who came to Japan for it. It was
really special. Everyone was just so happy. How neat is it that I was
able to participate in that right at the end? It will always be a
special memory for me. I love the temple and I can't wait to be able
to attend more frequently. The blessings of the temple are real.

I love this work. I love being a missionary. I love feeling like I am
giving my all to the Lord every day. I love Japan. I love the Japanese
people. I love every minute I have had to spend here serving these
people, and being served by them. I love this gospel. It is true! The
work will always move forward because it is the will of the Lord.
Christ is our Savior! There is so much happiness for us in the gospel.
It is amazing. Truly amazing. It has changed me. This has truly been
the hardest, most humbling, spiritually filled eighteen months of my
life. I wouldn't every take this back. This part of my life is sacred
to me now.

I love my family! I am so excited to see you soon. Have a good week!

I love you! Love, Raines Shimai

Monday, August 15, 2016

Found My Cookie In The Freezer.

Konnichiwa Kazkoku, Ohayogozaimasu Minasan!

Ogenki desu ka? Nihongo wakarimasu ka?

This week was a long one. We had a lot happen this week. Yet not much
happened either. It was one of those kind of whirlwind weeks, ya know?
We have been getting so many return appointments and scheduling so
many lessons that this upcoming week is going to be crazy jam packed
but we are excited. Our Dendo is better when we don't do it for like
seven hours straight. We have more energy and are more excited to
share our message so this should be a good week.

We taught our investigator this week. She is like forty or so, has a
young son and is just a ball of energy and talking. She is so so cute.
We love her. But we tried to explain baptism and invite her to be
baptized. It was so funny. We asked if she would want to be and she
said she would if we would baptize her. She said she would feel
peaceful if me and Sister Brown were in the water and could catch her.
Hahaha it was the funniest. We obviously had to clarify what baptism
is and how it works. She has a hard time grasping Christian concepts,
but we thought it was so funny. She always acts out what she says too.
It's just great. I don't know how to put her into words.

We taught our other investigator about service and how it helps us to
be even more happy when we forget about ourselves. She seems to be
struggling with that, but it went well and then we taught her again
and finished the Plan of Salvation. When we asked what she thought she
said that if she were to die she would of course want to go to the
celestial kingdom. It was just really cool that she understood what we
were talking about and she understands the seriousness and the meaning
of it as well. She has so much desire to follow God she just has some
challenges to over come, but we are just loving being able to teach
her right now.

Mom, I tried tapioca again and it is SO good! It's better than the
American kind but I have the recipe and I'll make it for you! So so so
delicious! And easy! And healthy!

I finished my lesson mastery again. That's the second time. I don't
know if you remember what that is but I did it. It is such a long
process but it feels good to have it done a second time. Sister Brown
finished hers for the first time this week too! So we will get to send
those into the Honbu together.

Thursday was Mountain Day. It's a new holiday this year! In Japanese
Yama no Hi. It is so funny. They all got the day off for it. These
Japanese people just kill me. They are so funny. Anyway, Miyajima is
known for its firework show its like the second or third best show in
Japan and we got to see them! We just went to a place next to the
ocean near our apartment and watched them! They were so cool and
pretty! The firework shows are kind of different here in Japan but
still fun! It was the first time I have felt so much excitement in the
air in Japan. They don't have a lot of big holidays or things they all
get into very much so it was fun to see everyone out and about and in
such good moods. It was great!

Yamamoto Shimai is so great. She took us with her to visit some of her
old friends and acquaintances so we could share the gospel with them.
They weren't interested but she has so much faith. She just always
wants to help us. She does her calling so faithfully. She waters the
flowers outside of the church. It is so cute and amazing. She is
always just trying to help us so much. She gives what she can give.
And it is always more than enough. If everyone gave as much as they
could we would be seeing so much more success and so many more
miracles. The Lord truly blesses those who just so their best. She was
a good example to us this week.

We have this new investigator who is 13! She is so cute and wants to
know God so badly. She is so personable and we love her. She was our
miracle this week! We thought she wasn't coming and we waited but we
left after fifteen minutes and then she called us and still wanted to
meet! It was so crazy and amazing.

I had purchased a cookie at the near by seven eleven and had shoved it
into the freezer because it had melted by the time I got home. Well, I
forgot about it and then lo and behold, a few days later when all I
wanted was a cookie, I opened up the freezer and it was there! Now
that was a miracle people. Even cookies have the potential to bring
miracles in ones life. Hahahahahaha.

Yesterday was my last church in a Japanese Ward. Next week is the
temple dedication. It was really hard. We sang "I'll Go Where You Want
Me To Go" and "Lord, I Would Follow Thee" of course and it just made
it all the worse. Or better maybe. I love these people so much. I love
the Japanese. They are truly amazing. They have so much faith and love
for their Savior and they all are striving so hard to keep pushing the
work forward here in Japan. I love them. I love this work. It was a
really special Sacrament Meeting. The youth all just got home from FSY
so they all gave their testimonies and it was so precious. The
testimonies of the youth are so amazing and strong. So sure. I just
loved it so much. I just feel real joy and real love when I am here
with these people. The only other place I have felt that is at home.
It's been a real blessing. I just love this work so much.

Well, I hope you all have a great week! I am praying for you all! Keep
me updated on the happenings there in America :) We get updates on the
politics sometimes from grandpas we run into. I've found a couple of
Clinton supporters, and a few Trump fans. Who knows what's happening?
Haha :) I love you!

Love, Raines Shimai

Thursday, August 11, 2016

No Bullets Here. I Sweat Rivers, People.

Konnichiwa Kazoku!

Well, that good old Japanese heat and humidity has hit and hard this
week. I always can feel rivers of water trickling down the middle of
my back. Yes, comfortable right? I still attempt to apply makeup in
the morning but it is usually all sweaty and basically no use by the
time companion study ends. It's all good. I just sleep sweaty, wake
sweaty, shower sweaty and the works. It's pretty great. Also, I don't
think I have sweated so much in a LONG TIME. Or maybe ever. We decided
to climb to the top of Miyajima which is the island across from us. It
took an hour and a half up and back was another hour and a half but it
was seriously just straight up stairs. And they weren't like the flat
stairs they were literally like almost as tall as my legs. It was so
so fun! We did it for District PDay. It was so satisfying and fun and
we all had a great time. We just kept going and going and we weren't
snailing along either. We sure we're hiking and the way down I
basically ran so I didn't have to stop every time I went down a step
because they were so steep. It was just so fun. I haven't been on a
hike in a while! That's why my letter is late today sorry! :) The top
was seriously incredible. We could see literally everything and it was
so beautiful today! I felt the spirit. God and his creations are
amazing. This was up there with the Grand Canyon! It's just amazing!
I'll try to send pictures but I just couldn't capture it.

Actually this week has been pretty great! We saw a lot of great
success! But we were so humbled. We really felt like all of the
miracles we were seeing were purely from the Lord. He is so merciful
to us. It is truly amazing how many blessing we are constantly being
given. We just have to be willing to take them. We made more return
appointments this week than we have ever since getting here and it
felt so good. We have two new investigators and they are both super
cute and in the target age and they are just so incredible. We are
just blown away by how blessed we have been. We met with a few of our
investigators and they are progressing slowly but surely and we are
constantly praying for them and trying to understand what we can do to
help them more.

We went and dendoed with two different members this week. They both
took us to meet people they know and people they knew from before who
have taken lessons and it was just so fun. It was just so amazing to
see their faith. The members here in Japan really just have incredible
faith. I can't believe what they are willing to do sometimes. They
just love the gospel so much they can't help but want to share it with
others. It's truly incredible. We made a few return appointments from
that as well this week! Super cool, right?

This week we got to see two baptisms! Mase San from Saijo got baptized
this weekend and also a cute girl that the other Shimaitachi were
teaching, Miyu got baptized. They were both so cute when they got
baptized. They just had so much light in their eyes. I love the
feeling right after someone is baptized. The spirit is just so strong.
God knows they are trying and He confirms that doe them and for those
who watch. I just love seeing others recognize that God truly is there
and that he loves us. I love this work and this gospel, because it is

Well, it looks like Marg had a good time at trek. Yes, I did like
trek. I just liked feeling so exhausted every day and working so hard.
It feels good right? It is so cool you got to go sissy! I think the
kitchen looks great and thanks for setting up that appointment for me
mom! And for the money. I think I should be good on money! I sure love
you so much!

Love, Raines Shimai

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Rainy Days For Raines

Konnichiwa Kazoku,

Well, I am sure happy you had a good time in the most beautiful part
of the world. I miss the cabin dearly! I am just waiting for next
year! Let's start the count down! :)

We went to the Hiroshima Castle this last week on Monday. It was cool.
They had some cool samurai artifacts and we went all the way to the
top and it just overlooks the city. It's pretty. Then we met this guy
from New Zealand later that night who is also a Christian missionary.
He doesn't claim a church he just teaches people doctrine straight
from the Bible and while we talked to him we really felt the spirit.
We felt like what he was doing was a good thing. He truly just wants
to follow Christ. He was really fun to meet. It is good to know there
are others in the world who want to share about Christ. Then we met a
guy from Virginia and he was nice and we were able to go back and give
him a Book of Mormon on Wednesday. He wasn't interested in the lessons
so much, also we didn't know how to talk to someone about it in
English as smoothly either so it might not have been a fair chance,
but he said he would read it. We told him we can't convince him of the
truth but he has to read for himself to know and he took the
challenge. It was pretty neat.

This week we did something so fun and dumb. I took off my rain coat
and we just biked up this mountain in the rain and then we just like
played in it and I laid down on the hill and it was steep so the water
was just flowed down and it felt like there was just no one in the
world to stop us! It was so fun. We were soaked but we just went home
for dinner after and it was okay. But the rain just cooled us down a
little and it was just fun. Sometimes in life you have to make things
that can be hard to be fun. Take a break every once in a while! God
loves us so much! That's why he gives us the rain. We can either think
things are terrible and hard or we can learn to love it! I feel like
that's just something I was reminded of this week. Take time to do
something fun every day! Not extravagant or bank exploding, but
something simple! Take time to enjoy the blessings we already have!

We were able to meet with our investigator this week again and she
told us about her worries and things and really opened up to us. It
might be slower from here on but she was really willing to talk to us
and we had been praying so hard for her. She seemed more real with us
this time and it really relieved some worries we had as well. We know
God is directing this work and is watching out for us and our
investigators and even the members. There is a member in our ward who
has been helping us kind of from the sidelines with this particular
situation and she has just been so faithful and amazing, every time
she bares testimony in church or in lessons it is so powerful and
strong and heartfelt and I think part of it is that she doesn't use
big fancy words or experiences, she just simply knows this is true and
wants others to know it as well. I love these members and Japanese

We had a really good Zone Conference this week. President Egan and
Sister Egan and the Assistants came as usual but it was just
particularly great. They talked about enduring to the end and enduring
well and I just found it so fitting. President Egan showed a clip from
a BYU speech I can't remember the guy but he talks about running like
a donkey verses running like a horse. He said how donkeys need to rest
and take breaks and won't work even a little until that's done. Then
he talks about horses and how they are so loyal and will run until
they just drop over or die. Kind of a dramatic metaphor but it just
really is so true. There is no time to stop now and we can only look
forward and keep pressing forward. There is only the future ahead and
the Lord is aware of how we are trying.

We went and taught our other investigators to come to sacrament. They
come to church without fail every week and always show up right after
the sacrament. We were bold with them and told them they need to be
coming for the sacrament for church to mean more. And they came! That
was a really cool miracle as well! Their hearts are being softened.

Literally one of the cutest humans ever to roam the earth. But for real! Why can't I hold children???

I love you all so much! You are such good examples to me. I always
think of you when the days get long and I always have enough to keep
going. Let the Lord change you! Change is the best thing for us.

I love you!

Love, Raines Shimai