Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Lice and Love πŸœπŸ’•

Konnichiwa minasan! 

Remember how hard last week was? Well we had another lovely surprise this week too. It started off with the awesome bang of a case of lice on my head. Where it came from we still have zero idea. Literally there are no small children in Matsuyama. Weird.... My hair has never seen so much olive oil before in its life. But hey it turns out that meticulously combing through your comapanion's hair for two hours is a great bonding experience. #compunity 5/10 recommend πŸ‘. It also turns out that Japan's lice care leaves much to be desired, so I'm really grateful for all of Sister Smoot's help in getting this sorted out. She's an angel.

Tanaka-san is doing really well. I've never seen so much childlike faith before in my life. He said that before he read the Book of Mormon he didn't believe in God, but now because he read it he believes. He even said he wants to obey Jesus Christ! Like in those exact words! He also asked us if he should buy a car so he can come to church every week. We told him to ask God and also his wife before making a decision like that. We expect him to be baptized next month. We also have plans to try and start teaching his wife, depending on what he says about her next time we meet with him. 

Also we made the Survey to End All Surveys this week with Joe Kyoudai's help on the Japanese. We've lost quite a few investigators these past couple weeks so we put out heads together to create this beast of an survey that leads to the first four lessons or family history depending on what they answer. More to come about that as we start using it. Interestingly, we found that Japanese does not have a good translation for heritage at all. The only word they have means the same as inheritance, but that's not really the same. It's weird though because one would think that because Japan has so. Much. Pride in their culture that they'd have a good word for family and cultural heritage. But nope. That took forever to try and figure out how to say. 

We've also gathered together the combined might of Takeuchi Kyoudai, Yuudai Kyoudai, and Katsu Kyoudai to create the Matsuyama Gonin (5 people) this week. Basically we discussed why Matsuyama hasn't been seeing much success recently in dendo and we accidentally on purpose slapped the kyoudaitachi in the face with the Spirit Alma-style by making them realize that the problem is that no one is showing love. Even in ministering it's still just a box to check off. We asked them three questions:

How often in a day do you think about the people you minister to? 
How often do you pray for them? 
How often do you study the scriptures for them? 

In so doing, they realized that the love was missing and now they're on fire, especially Yuudai and Katsu. We put it into their heads that because there's no elders in Matsuyama right now, they can be our unofficial member missionary elders. They loved it. Mostly because they never went on missions but really wish they had. It's been way good. 

Along those same lines, we have finally lit the dendo kindling in Matsuyama at FHE yesterday. Turns out there's a concerning amount of members in Matsuyama who don't have their patriarchal blessings, so we've been trying to encourage them to go get them for a couple weeks now with mixed success. But at FHE, I don't remember how, but we got on the topic and it turned into a giant testimony meeting about the blessings and power of patriarchal blessings and now finally Katsu is excited to get his! We also had a deep discussion on the true meaning of faith, that is, action on a held belief, and therefore if you don't act, it means you have no faith. It was awesome. But the real kicker was right after we all said the 8:00 Dendo Prayer together. I was prompted to suggest doing that really American FHE thing where you go in a circle and tell the people next to you why you love them. So we did it and the Spirit was so insanely strong. Sumida Kaichou said he wants to do it at every FHE now, and the kaiin who were there all expressed how good they felt because of it. Yuudai and Katsu said that they could feel that we talk and think and discuss how to help and support them all day every day. I wanted to cry. It was so good. It felt so much like we were all a really close family.

And thus we see that telling people how and why you love them is one of the most important things you can do for unity. We had just come from a Relief Society where they talked about how you just can't tell people "I love you" because that's only for couples, to a beautiful FHE where the love was so palpable and everyone felt so much joy together all because they had said "I love you and this is why." The difference is real. I want to stay so badly. They're so close. The fire is lit. 

愛しています! (*^^*) 
Sherwood 姉妹

1.) zone conference (we've been photoshopped in bc we had to leave early lol) 
2 - 5.)The best FHE in the world. Look at that beautiful smile on Daisuke's face. It's the first time I've ever seen it in a photo ever. I'm so happy
6 - 9.) The best district in the world. We've been through so much together lol
10.) Joe Kyoudai took us out to eat at a fancy place woo

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For

​Konnichiwa minasan! It's been a week.

So last week we low-key asked Heavenly Father to let us be like Alma and we're regretting it just a bit. The thing is, we had meant Alma 15:13-14 Alma who can call people to repentance and baptize thousands, but apparently Heavenly Father thought it'd be better for us to be Alma 14:2-3 Alma who calls people to repentance and then everyone hates him. RIP us. ​

See, what happened was we had a wicked awesome Monday and 7/8ths of Tuesday. We found 6 new investigators and taught like four lessons. And then out came the priests of the Order of Nehor. Out of nowhere, Hayato became like a totally different person, dropped us by way of temper tantrum over text (we still don't know what the real reason is. Like what, are you 12?) dropped our other investigator like a bag of hot rocks (also don't know why) even though we all apologized like three times, and the other friend even went as far as prostrating himself on the ground and begging for forgiveness. It was way sad. And stressful. And also very reminiscent of middle-school drama. It's very interesting how people who aren't keeping the commandments can't really progress past that level of maturity. I mean, you can see it in every TV drama ever. It's just middle school nonsense but on an adult scale. Stupid. Stress only.

But it's interesting cos remember how last week we were working on humility? Well it sure is a good thing we did otherwise this whole fiasco could have been a whole lot worse. As it was it was pretty bad, but we were able to be humble enough to apologize quickly and by the Spirit (even though we still don't really know why he's mad at us) and not get all defensive. (Okay maybe we got a little bit defensive but only when ranting to each other and not to him) So thanks Heavenly Father for giving us that keiji (revelation) ahead of time.

Also, to make up for the Straight Nonsense™ of this week we also had a bunch of Straight Miracles™ and it was great. Tatoeba (for example), remember when we went to Matsuyama Castle with Tanaka-san last transfer? WELL...he's been coming to Eikaiwa for a solid year and a half now, and apparently 6 months ago sisters gave him an English Book of Mormon (and only an English Book of Mormon) and he read the WHOLE THING. In a WEEK! So now he has a super strong testimony of Jesus cos he read the whole Book of Mormon, but he has no idea why. We asked him why he's not Christian if he loves Jesus so much and he just went, "Oh...I don't know. I never thought about it. If I want to be Christian, should I get baptized?" and we're just like ???????? Who even is this guy???  He even asked to give the opening prayer at Eikaiwa! So we started doing lessons with him and gave him a Japanese Book of Mormon so he can actually understand it this time. And it turns out he's been to Temple Square before??????? Like??? Most MEMBERS haven't even been! So yeah he's getting baptized next month. It's been wild.

Other miracles more simply put because I'm tired include:
-We set a maybe kind of tentative date for Katsu to go to the temple and receive his endowments. (it's the end of Bagoyo Shimai's and my missions. We told him we'd go with him if he goes by then. So @mom you have to come pick me up so I can hold up my end of that promise and also I wanna introduce you to my angels in Katsura)
-We had a really fun sports event where we got a bunch of really serious Nihonjin to play stupid games with us. These are the only pictures I have this week. Gomen.
-Our district leader, Bailey Chourou, is an angel and we love him.
-We live.
-We miraculously ran into three investigators when we were going out to eat ramen with Katsu
-God protected our lungs as we dendoed these three punks who were going through cigarettes like a family of 8 goes through a bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. It's okay though. They're like baby punks. Not quite fully fledged yet. Only have their little fuzzy punk feathers. There's still hope. They're in culinary school. We call them The Chefs.

​I'm tired now tho. I want tapioca. See you next week ✌️

Monday, June 11, 2018

I Don't Recommend Having Arguments with the Spirit

Konnichiwa minasan! 

This week sure was an adventure! So many things happened, but the biggest things all come down to the journey we've been on this week with humility and pride. We've realized that the world essentially revolves around these two things. (Which is kind of a silly realization actually bc legit this is literally the entire plot of the Book of Mormon.) Let me explain with some experiences. 

Edward: So remember how we gave him that challenge to come up with his version of the Plan of Salvation? Well, it was kind of incredibly disappointing. He only kind of rose up to it. And the plan he did come up with neglected the very most important of all questions: why? (also he broke all of the rules of God but anyway). We taught him about the real Plan of Salvation, and weirdly he had exactly zero reaction to it whatsoever. So we inquired as to why and it turns out that he really hates that question. And as we investigated we found out it was because this kid is caught in the Luciferian Tar Pits of Self-Deprecating Pride. It was so sad. He told us that he doesn't need the gospel because he's already perfectly happy because, and I quote, "I have my art, and my favorite book, and my favorite anime." Bagoyo Shimai and I just looked at each other like wow. The level of sadness in this child's face was astounding. He wouldn't even listen when Bagoyo Shimai tried to tell him about the single most difficult experience of her life, which kind of trumps most people's in terms of sheer difficulty. Needless to say, he's not ready yet. So we dropped him with a parting testimony that God will give him so many more chances in the future. Sad, but it's okay because God loves him and isn't going to hang him out to dry. Poor kid is probably going to have to be hardcore humbled. Rip. 

Nozomi: Our angel beautiful child. He's the literal exact opposite of Edward. It was way interesting. He's like Shinji levels of humble and it was so beautiful to witness. We did the Book of Mormon challenge with him and right away he already had the humility to ask us an honest question that he was worried about. And then when he read the scriptures we gave him, he immediately applied them and began to repent right before our very eyes! It was so beautiful. He's such a sweet soul, humble and pure and good. He wants to travel the world to learn how to better himself and he has a beautifully positive relationship with his family. He even has interest in Lesson 4, the one all about commandments! Aka, he wants to repent and come unto Christ. We're meeting him again this Wednesday. πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

But like it's so interesting seeing the contrast between his attitude and Edward's because where Nozomi is so willing to change and admit his faults and lean not unto his own understanding, Edward is very not. So because of this and other iroiro (miscellaneous, but more broad of a feeling) things, we came to realize that we, our investigators, and our branch needs to have humility before we can even begin to start exercising more faith unto repentance. 

So we decided to work on humility. And then at zone conference it was confirmed that we need to work on humility. It was great. We were pumped. And then immediately following that we had our weekly planning session, in which the Spirit told me to do something I very much hate: talking to strangers out of the blue. So I argued with Him for a solid 5 minutes, staring off into the distance as I tried to convince Him to change His mind. Bad idea. I lost. Holy Ghost: 10^10. Me: 0. We're talking to more strangers out of the blue now. But it's okay because we've been able to use this experience to encourage the branch members as well! 

Tl;Dr listen to Moroni and Alma. Be humble. Don't fight with the Spirit. Love God. Your life will be happier. It's a good time

愛しています! (*^^*) 
Sherwood Shimai

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udon party! We made the udon from scratch

Hayato makes some bomb fries yo

Monday, June 4, 2018


Konnichiwa minasan! 

Many things have happened. So many. Highlight reel let's go!

I got to chill with Eyring Shimai and be a trainer for a day. Bagoyo Shimai and I cried over our investigators at a park in the middle of nowhere overlooked by a mysterious giant Buddha statue. I adopted Yuudai and Daisuke as my older brothers. We got to see fireflies. The only magic trick I know (thanks dad it's the one card trick you taught me on a vacation to Palm Springs when I was like 12) got us a new investigator. Katsu made a giant bowl of pudding. I swapped glasses with Yuudai. His vision is bad. We pet a dog the size of Bagoyo Shimai. 

Now for the more involved updates on the investigators:

Edward: So when we first met him he said he kinda had a poor impression about religion and wasn't super keen on us trying to dendo him really hard. But then I had an idea. See, he thinks a lot like me and he loves drawing and writing and all that creative stuff so we gave him a challenge. We introduced him to the six basic perfections of God: perfect knowledge, perfect power, perfect justice, perfect judgment, perfect mercy, and perfect truth. If God ceases being any one of those things, He ceases to be God. So we gave Edward these rules and told him the purpose of God: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children, and we told him to try and come up with a plan that accomplishes that purpose while still maintaining all six of those perfections. And it was crazy because he was like "yeah I've thought about this a lot actually" and long story short he already knows really interesting and important gospel principles, like the necessity of apostles. And he was way excited about writing down his plan We're gonna visit him again tonight and follow up and continue with our "game" where we poke holes in his plan, then we present ours and he'll try to poke holes in ours (which he won't be able to because it's God's lol) and through that we'll introduce the Book of Mormon to him. We're excited.

Hayato: He stresses me out. We learned from our district leader that he's been spiritually eating poop out of the hand of Satan and not following really important commandments, which is both frustrating and explains a lot because Hayato is not very sensitive to the Spirit. He doesn't understand that literally the only way he can ever help anyone be happy in the long run is through the mercy of Jesus Christ. 😒 However, he has agreed to take daily 5min lessons with us, which is a small miracle.  However, ever since we set that up, every time we've gone to do a lesson with him, his shop was crazy busy and we couldn't teach him. Satan is really annoying. We're working on it. With varying degrees of success.

Ai-chan: We taught her the restoration on Friday with Itsuki Shimai. She's golden. I love her. She's praying every day and is coming to church next week. She's literally the cutest person. She's gonna be so good for the ward. I'm so proud of her. 

Atsushi, Nozomi, Hiroto, Milena: So this week we were finally able to set up a daily 8:00 ward dendo prayer and it has actually changed the face of our work. Our own efforts haven't changed very much at all, but this week we found four new investigators way easily whereas we usually only find one or two. The only thing that changed is the prayer. For real, the ward coming together and praying every day at the same time is proving to be an actual miracle. We're so happy. Especially becuase one of them, Atsushi, was this magician we met at Hayato's place who said he had no interest in religion, but when we did the Book of Mormon Challenge with him, he basically did a 180 and now wants to learn about Jesus Christ. All because we answered the question, "how do I get a girlfriend" with a verse from the Book of Mormon. It just goes to show that when the ward comes together and shows God through the works of their faith that they're ready to receive new members, God will lead people to them. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon is the greatest tool we have to bring people unto Christ. And finally, when the members and the missionaries are one, the Lord cannot help but bring miracles to pass.

愛しています! πŸ’•
Sherwood 姉妹

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1.) eating dinner at the firefly party. I stole Katsu's hat. Yuudai gave Bagoyo Shimai his.
2.) #aesthetic. Thanks Yuudai Kyoudai!
3.) a fish cream puff and a cream cream puff from Katsu
4.) eating katsudon and ebikatsu with Katsu (aka my oniichan). He took this photo. He added a filter. We still don't know why.
5.) we found a thing. Idk what the thing was. But it was a fun thing. 
6.) the dog the size of Bagoyo Shimai. His name is Cocoa
7.) me, Eyring Shimai, and Hayato
8.) a mystery Buddha. We don't know why it's there

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 ...