Saturday, January 4, 2014

Week 5 24 Dec 2013 - Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!

I have been here a month!

I think the longer I am here the quicker the weeks start flying by. I don't know where this week went! But I am totally ok with that. I have 4 more weeks to go and then I am finally in Japan. I cannot wait. 
The food is still awful here. And it's freezing cold. But my companion is amazing. And so is my district and zone (the other missionaries who are going to be serving in Japan).

Earlier this week Dopp Shimai and I came bounding out of our apartment, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for the day. Little did we know what was about to happen. As we rounded the corner we both went flying, as we hit a VERY icy patch of side walk. I thought about grabbing Dopp Shimai but instead grabbed a pole and she fell flat on her stomach on the ice. While I slid in circles around the pole she tried her hardest to get up. It was quiet the scene! And the screams we let out got everyone's attention who was within ear shot! But no worries, we are fine. Dopp Shimai has a bruise on her shin and one on her elbow (which she spent most of the week thinking she'd gotten weight lifting), but that's it.
That entire day was just a hard one for my dear companion. That night in our evening classes she just couldn't stay awake! she was awake...but coherent...maybe not.. I kept looking over at her and her mouth would be hanging open and her eyes would be glazed over. I started laughing at some point and she turned, looked at me with very sad eyes and said "my bottom lip is just so heavy." After class I had to meet with someone and when I came back to my classroom I saw Dopp Shimai leaning against the wall, talking to someone. As I got closer I realized she wasn't talking to anyone, but sleeping! I grabbed the girl who I had been meeting with so she could see and as I did so, Dopp Shimai slowly slid into the corner, face wedged between two walls. It was perfectly timed and of course I lost it. That woke her up. 

Last Tuesday we had a really fantastic devotional. Ronald A Rasband, from the 70) came. He spoke all about Gifts. And since we, as missionaries, won't get too many he told us about the gifts we should really be concerned about. The gift of gratitude, the gift of faith...spiritual gifts! What made this really great was the fact that Dopp Shimai and I had been studying spiritual gifts that morning! Inspired?? I'd say so! Well, after the fireside we stuck up to the front. It was the President and his wife's anniversary and I REALLY wanted to wish them a happy anniversary. Sister Nally was SO surprised that we knew or even remembered! (She had mentioned it in November during a talk). She brought us over to her husband and he was equally surprised and touched. It was great! We got to thank them for everything they do and we chatted a little as well. They needed to run but before they left they sent us over to Elder Rasband and we got to meet him and shake his hand! And his wife's too! It was pretty great.

I don't remember what day it was this week, but Dopp Shimai and I decided to help the Elders plan their lesson for one of our investigators. Oh my goodness that was quite the experience. Imagine 20 chickens running around with their heads cut off...That is how planning goes. There are so many ideas floating around and occasionally someone would snatch one and then hold on to that idea and try to plan the entire lesson around that one sentence they could say in Nihongo. And then they would get distracted...and we would end up talking about farts, or Finland, or how fast everyone wants to get married when they get back. Chaos!

Finally Dopp Shimai took control and planned a beautiful lesson for them about how faith is like a little seed. It was great. We were excited they were excited and there was no more talk of bad smells. Well, the lesson didn't go quite as planned. Our teacher told them (and everyone else since we were in the classroom) that they had not been using the correct verb for "to grow." They had been using the verb "to level up." You on a video game. We of course found this funny and were laughing about how prayer and church attendance helps you level up, and that we could get a lot of video gamers this way when Smith Shimai asks "So what level do you need o get to to make it to heaven?" WE died. It was hilarious. 

Exciting news!! Dopp Shimai and I were made Sister Training Leaders this Sunday. I am sooooo excited. It's such a great opportunity to serve the other Shimaitachi in our district and it's a good reason to keep Dopp Shimai and I at our best. I can't wait. We have a little less free time now and a lot more responsibilities but I am up for the challenge.

Also on Sunday, we sang a special musical number for our branch. We had originally planned to sing Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel. Saturday night we went to practice and I couldn't bring myself to sing that song. I hated it! And so did she. We frantically tried to pull something together, run between buildings and searching for English hymn books. Well, we finally decided on something but it still didn't seem right so we asked another sister in our district if she wanted to since with us. Of course she said yes! So on Sunday, after only singing this song together a dozen times and only singing it with the piano twice we performed With Wondering Awe to the tune of Come thou Fount. It was Spectacular. Dopp Shimai sang alto, I got the melody and Trent Shimai did some beautiful harmonies a little higher. We got a lot of compliments and quite a few comparisons to angels’ voices. I had been praying all day that this would work out. And I know we only sounded as good as we did because Heavenly Father helped us. I'm so grateful. 

We didn't do too much teaching this week. The schedule got messed up and we only taught once or twice. Last night we taught Katayama San though and it was great! WE read part of 3 Nephi 11 and just talked about Christ and bore our testimonies about different things the entire time. It was a really spiritual lesson and I could say everything I wanted in Nihongo!! WITHOUT NOTES! I felt sooo good about the lesson. And so did Dopp Shimai.

Today we will be spending some of our day with another investigator names George. He speaks English. It's wonderful. I cannot wait! We are gonna go on a walk with him and just talk. Dopp Shimai had a brilliant idea too that made we should go to the temple and walk! We will see.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. And don't forget what we are really celebrating!  Jesus Christ's birth! I am so grateful for Christ and this time of year. I know that he is our savior and that he came to this Earth to save each of us. Through the Atonement we can be forgiven of our poor choices and can be healed from all that has hurt us. And that one day we will be able to return to our Heavenly Father, who loves us so much! He just wants us to be happy and to come back to him and he has provided a way! I am soo excited to share what I know with the Japanese people. Being a member of this church has made me so happy and has blessed my life so much. I want others to get to experience that as well.

Well, I love you all! Merry Christmas!

Molinari Shimai