Thursday, November 30, 2017

Writing in Japanese

Sister Sherwood sent a letter to my mom (her grandma) in Japanese! My mom's friend Yasuko translated it for her. 

Sister Sherwood bore her testimony and said she knows she is doing the work of Heavenly Father. She feels the spirit confirming her actions and guiding her and she knows in her heart the church is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet, and she is exactly where she is supposed to be. She loves every day being in the service of the Lord and being guided constantly with the spirit. She is doing fantastic & is so happy. 

She also said she has good friends there and is studying to teach the Book of Mormon. The language is hard, but that's life. She knows in her heart that God sent her exactly where she is supposed to be. She feels His presence, that he is guiding her, and that there are people just waiting for her to share what she is studying (the Book of Mormon and the Gospel). She know's that God loves everyone.

Yasuko (who is not a member of the LDS church) said she couldn't believe how well Sister Sherwood writes - that she is writing Japanese on a high school level.

After only two months in the MTC to learn Japanese and how to be an effective missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, I am so impressed that she can write so well - and even using Japanese characters! I'm so excited to
hear about her experiences in Japan.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

She Made it to Kobe, Japan

Sister Sherwood made it safely to Kobe, Japan early this morning (I got a short email with this picture at 5:15am from the mission office)

She traveled with a group of about 15 other missionaries from Salt Lake City, UT to Tokyo, Japan. From there, she flew unaccompanied to Kobe (the other missionaries were headed to Nagoya and South Tokyo).

Japan is 16 hours ahead of us here in Arizona. Her flight from Salt Lake City, UT left just after 7:00am Tuesday, Nov 28th, and I believe she landed in Kobe around 7:00pm local time Wednesday, Nov 29th (3:00am our time).  Needless to say, it was a very long day(s) of travel and she was tired, but look how happy she is!

Her new P-day (preparation day) is Monday (as opposed to Wednesday when she was in the MTC) so I will be updating the blog either late Sunday night, or Monday morning with her emails and pictures. You can still email her anytime and she will respond on her P-day.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Visa arrived!

If you read the entire last post, you know that Sister Sherwood's visa was delayed. Since the consulate was closed the entire Thanksgiving weekend, she was unable to fly to Japan today as originally scheduled. However, her visa arrived today and she will be flying to Japan tomorrow morning. I may get an email from her or her mission president upon her arrival, or I won't hear from her until her first P-day (preparation day) next Monday. I will post when I have more info!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Last week in the MTC - hopefully

Konnichiwa minasan!

This week sure has been pretty wild! So much has happened and yet I feel like almost nothing has. First things first, we got our travel itineraries! We report at the travel office at 2:30am Monday morning, and we have a direct flight from Salt Lake to Tokyo! I'm super excited!

Also! Yesterday at devotional Janice Kapp Perry came and spoke to us briefly! Turns out she's a giant football fan and was very excited that Elder S. Gifford Nielson asked her to come and speak because he used to be a quarterback at BYU and in the NFL. She is honestly life goals. She's like Mulan's grandmother but even better! 

We've been doing In Field Orientation too and it's been super fun! We've been learning lots about planning and working with members, and I'm really excited to work with the ward councils in Japan! About that though, I have a quick challenge for you all. Think of someone in your life who's recently moved, had a baby, is struggling with an illness, or could just benefit from the message we have to share, and refer them to a pair of missionaries who you trust to help them. Without members, our work is impossible, so never forget how important you are. The missionaries will be in an area for only a short amount of time, but you'll all be there for so much longer! The factor that really helps keep new converts active in the gospel is their relationships with the members of their ward. You're all so so important and the missionaries rely on you so much. Never forget that people are one of Kamisama's greatest tools to bless the lives of His children. 

Also, we've been talking a lot about the importance and power of the Book of Mormon and the strength with which it testifies. Currently, one of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 4:35, which reads:

"Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen."

Kamisama loves to bless us. He cares about us and our desires and goals and feelings because He is our Father. Demo, blessings are dependent on the law upon which they are predicated (D&C 130:20-21), so if you ask for a blessing and obey the law it's predicated upon, you will receive that blessing because God cannot lie. (D&C 82:10) Center everything on Christ. Do your best to align your will with His. Pray always, constantly beseech Him and give him everything you are. Cry to Him. Make Him your rock and your foundation. If you do these things and continually strive to become as He is, I know that you will desire nothing He doesn't want for you, and you will have the promise that He will give liberally to you, and you can do anything through Him.

Minasan o ai shiteimasu! Till next week iN JAPAN!
Sherwood Shimai

***update: after Brittney sent this email she found out her visa has been delayed. We are hoping and praying that her visa comes through and she'll be able to fly to Japan on Monday as scheduled. If not, she will remain in the US until her visa is issued. I will update when I have more info. ~ Julie

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Week 8 Oh Boy!

Minasan, konnichiwa!!

So I feel like I did everything and nothing all week this week and I can't remember like anything that happened. It's all a blur of Nihongo and teaching and everything bleeds into the next it's kinda crazy.

Of particular note though is new kohai (the new baby missionaries who've been here less than 3 weeks)!!! I only know a few of them, but I made good friends with the shimai kohai and also the two chourou in the other zone who're going to Kobe!! Hollingworth Chourou and Dettimer Chourou are my new best friends. They're precious little rays of light and happiness. Dettimer Chourou is from a little town near Munich, Germany and he's a very cool person with lots of fascinating insights. He and Hollingworth Chourou seem very in sync with each other and I'm very blessed to have made their acquaintance. 

Also, get this: THE MTC CHOIR IS GOING TO SING WITH THE NASHVILLE TRIBUTE BAND ON THANKSGIVING!!!! I'm so excited!!!!!! We've been practicing "John's Song", "I Was Born", and "When the Son of Man Comes Again." Dettimer Chourou has enlightened me about the fact that the German line in "I Was Born" is not actually accurate and it's chotto weird to listen to if you speak Deutsch. Regardless, I'm so so so excited.

Ano,,,, we've also been starting Skype TRC and teaching people over that and it's been so much fun! Grover Shimai and I can almost read the Morumon Sho and understand it!!!! I'm so glad we get to be here for so long and improve our teaching skills so significantly before we go to Nihon and serve the people there. It's really a huge blessing.

Also Elder Adilson de Paula Parella, the new Seventy that just got called in April, came and spoke to us yesterday. Incidentally, his wife, Sister Elaine Parella, is a sweet wonderful lady, a precious and pure cinnamon roll too sweet for this world, and I want to be her friend. She challenged us to reread Elder Holland's talk from last conference, "Be Ye Therefore Perfect...Eventually" so I extend this same challenge to you as well.

Elder Parella talked a lot about the Atonement, faith, and hope. He pulled up the definitions for both faith and hope and had us comment about what stood out to us. Something that really stood out to me was from PMG's definition of faith:

"You accomplish what He wants you to accomplish."

I love that line so much! It connotes not only that by faith you're willing to do what Kamisama wants you to do, but that because you have faith and you're doing your best, you WILL accomplish everything you're supposed to! It's like how it says in D&C 80:3 - "Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss."

Ye cannot go amiss!!! Subarashi desu ne! Isn't that wonderful! We need not worry about whether or not each decision is perfect. As long as we're being good people and honoring our covenants, our steps will be guided, our utterance will be given, and we cannot go amiss!!!

I love you all very much! Until next week!
Sherwood Shimai <3

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Aaaaa I'm a Dai-Senpai!

Minasan (everyone) Konnichiwa!

First things first, Grover Shimai and I taught Higashimuki-san on Friday and we invited him to be baptized! AND HE SAID YES!!!! So now all we gotta do is help him really establish faith in Iesu Kirisuto and he'll be golden. Grover Shimai may have cried a little after the lesson because she was so happy. Also that same day we taught TRC and Komiya Chourou's dad was the person we taught!!! It was awesome. Komiya Chourou and his otou-san say "ano" the exact same way. It's kinda hilarious. 

On Saturday we as a district played this game called Tanaka-san. Basically, everyone draws lots to see who is "Tanaka-san" and whoever is Tanaka-san has to speak only in Nihongo until the round is over. Demo, everyone wants to convince everyone else that they're Tanaka-san because if at the end of the game, someone guesses you're Tanaka-san, whether or not you actually are Tanaka-san, you get a point. So everyone speaks as much Nihongo as possible to convince everyone else that they're Tanaka-san so they can get the most points. Basically, it's a super fun game to help us improve our Nihongo.

On Sunday we had an MTC Conference, and it was basically a giant discussion on the Book of Mormon and how it can bless our lives. We all had to read Mosiah 4 in preparation for the conference because there was an application discussion about it. Naturally, me being me, I had like a paragraph and a half plus a couple cross-references prepared, and so I got up to share my insights with President Martino. According to Komiya Chourou, the entire assembly turned to look at me when I started talking like "who invited the college professor???" and I kept getting random comments from people throughout the day after that so that made me happy. Thanks AP Literature!

Also, the MTC choir director, Brother Ryan Eggett, spoke that night at devotional and it was super awesome. He talked a lot about the history and background of the composers of various hymns in the hymnbook and it was sooooo cool. Look up the story of Evan Stevens and you'll see what I mean.

The coolest thing though was last night because PRESIDENT RUSSELL M NELSON CAME TO SPEAK!!! He and Sister Nelson talked about covenants and how we as missionaries need to be living epistles of the Lord, with the truth of the everlasting gospel etched into our hearts and shining through our faces. I loved that because epistles are firm, intense, and declarative. Remember Moroni's epistles to Pahoran? They were bold and absolute in their desire to bring to pass righteousness. Demo, Pahoran's epistles back to Moroni also teach us about the nature of epistles. His were filled with love and understanding and cool-headedness towards Moroni. So based on these two examples, the testimonies we bear as missionaries and as members must be borne with love and boldness. Doubt not; fear not. Trust that Kamisama will give you the strength and power you need. He will help you become more righteous, even as you stumble down the path back to His presence. We must become true beacons and epistles of His goodness and glory.

I'd like to leave you all with a 30-day challenge we were given by Sister Martino, the wife of the MTC President:

Start every day with a question you care about. It can be about literally anything, even just as simple as "Who should give the opening prayer?" (The only caveat is it needs to be a question you care about. If you don't care, Heavenly Father won't care.) Then start reading the Book of Mormon with your question in mind, seeking the answer and believing that God cannot lie. Pay attention to thoughts and feelings you have as you read, and the answer will come. 

Do this and I give you my promise with the authority of a representative of Jesus Christ that your questions will be answered.

I love you all very much! Until next week!
Sherwood Shimai​​

**Quick translation explanation: So "dai senpai" literally means "big upperclassman." So there's the kohai, who've been here for 3 weeks or less, senpai, who've been here for 3-6 weeks, and dai-senpai, who've been here for 6-9 weeks. "dai" basically just means "big" or "great" in context.  So in the Nihongo Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi is "Dai Ichi Nifai."

Hopefully everyone can access the two embedded recordings. If not, I apologize.

recording of Komiya Chourou and Valdivia Chourou singing "Homeward Bound."

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Week 5!!!


So today has been a fairly normal week EXCEPT WE GOT OUR KATAKANA NAMETAGS!! So now we have super cool nametags that no one except the Nihon missionaries can read so we're technically not allowed to wear them and stuff around the MTC. Sad day.

Also TRC was super fun. We taught this Japanese high school student named Ren and I swear he broke the sound barrier when reading the Morumon Sho in Nihongo! 7 verses in like a minute and a half max!! It was crazy!!! We challenged all our investigators that night to study the Book of Mormon with a specific question in mind, and I'd like to challenge you all to do the same. I promise your question will be answered by the time you finish the book! 

In other news, I've made pretty good friends with the missionaries here from Japan and they're so much fun! Volleyball is the actual best thing when they're playing, and I already love volleyball quite a lot so that's saying something. The Nihonjin (Japanese people) just really know how to play. We could learn so much from their willingness to just go all out and have fun!

Also this past week in choir we sang "This is the Christ," which is like my new absolute favorite song. The lyrics are as follows:

They heard His voice, a voice so mild
It pierced them through and made their souls to quake
They saw Him come, a man in white
The Savior who had suffered for their sake

They felt His wounds in hands and side
And each could testify: this is the Christ!
This is the Christ! The holy Son of God
Our Savior, Lord, Redeemer of mankind
This is the Christ! The healer of our souls
Who ransomed us with love divine

I read His words, the words He prayed
While bearing sorrow in Gethsemane
I feel His love, the price He paid
How many drops of blood were spilled for me?

With saints of old, in joyful cry
I too can testify: this is the Christ!
This is the Christ! The holy Son of God
Our Savior, Lord, Redeemer of mankind
This is the Christ! The healer of our souls
Who ransomed us with love divine!

Think on Iesu-sama this week, my friends. He loves us and wants us to reach our fullest potential. And He'll be there with us every step of the way.

Till next week, ai shiteimasu!
Sherwood Shimai <3

Sherwood Chourou - Week 38 in Japan

Konnichiwa! We are back to the slowish days once more. We've been dendoing and teaching plenty, but nothing outstanding has arisen ...