Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I Am Now Friends with Several Small Children

Konnichiwa minasan! 

We got to see some pretty wild miracles this week actually!

On Monday we spent a solid chunk of our P-day making a beautiful Lego brick cake for an adorable child in the ward because he was turning six that Tuesday. He said his favorite flavors are chocolate and pineapple (Idk why a six year old loves pineapple) so we happily obliged. (we were originally gonna make fondant to go over it but failed miserably and we accidentally made tootsie roll tasting stuff that looked like dragon hide) We went and delivered it to him that next day and he was so excited about it, it was adorable. His mom was super happy because most of his siblings were either at school or work so he was all by himself on his birthday, and his mom was in the middle of making dinner so she asked us to play Legos with him for a little bit before eikaiwa. We made a boat and a man. It was adorable and very fun. His mom said she was super grateful we made the cake because it meant she didn't have to. I hope he had a super fun birthday. πŸŽ‰

Wednesday we had a lesson with Nakamura san and it was actually the best. Naganuma Shimai came with us to douseki and it honestly could not have been better. We talked all about the redeeming power of Jesus Christ, and it turns out that Nakamura san actually really wants to know which religion is right, but doesn't know how to know. So Naganuma shimai did the whole faith is like a seed tatoe and he said that if he finds out that our church is true, he'll get baptized. It was awesome and he even committed to listening to the book of mormon and praying every day. He's honestly such a sweet old man.

But wait! There's more! On Thursday we went up to try and visit this American family, the Okermans, and it ended up being really awesome! It just so happened that Fukuchi shimai ran into us as we were walking up and she dropped us off at their house right as the dad was about to leave on a walk. It was perfect, he was all like "oh come in and talk to my daughter and me. Tell us your stories" so we talked for a while, and then he left on a walk and we ended up talking to the daughter about the plan of salvation and baptisms for the dead. She was really into the conversation too. (Though I did have to explain the word "vicarious." i didn't realize it was that hard of a word whoops) I honestly think she might join the church someday. She seems really open, and we're gonna meet with her for lunch on Wednesday again!

Friday was interviews; had a really solid district meeting. In case you were wondering, Narcisso 長老 is the best district leader. Also I made lots of friends during the waiting period. We've got so many good missionaries in this mission. So many good noodles. Pure and sweet angels. We also were given potato croquetes and delicious orange candied almonds by Kurose san after we got back. It was really delicious and we got to meet her mom! Such nice people! A good day.

Saturday was the really awesome wardHalloween party! Jones Shimai was a Tae Kwon Do instructor and I was an alien, due to the lack of any costume stuff in our apartment other than my makeup kit and a party headband. It was exciting. We got many compliments. Also! Jones Shimai taught a kiddo Tae Kwon Do class again before the party and it was really fun and also adorable. Lots of members' friends came and also some of our investigators! It was a blast. There were charades and various other games and all the children were very cute. I also was able to stop tiny baby JJ from crying by presenting him with a Hankyu Densha notebook I had found and got for him because he loves trains more than anything and I've been trying for three transfers to get on good terms with this adorable baby with little success. But! The train book did it. He gives me high fives now and smiles at me and says "Hankyu Densha". These are the only words he says that I understand but it's okay.

Sunday was the biggest, craziest miracle though. Ooyama san came to church again, and during our lesson about prayer, Kazuki asked her why she wants to read the book of mormon and why she's so open. She said that she feels like she's being guided and even though she has no idea if God is there or not, she really wants to try and see and listen to everything we have to say. We also asked if she would get baptized provided she receives a witness, and she said she would! That's two investigators open to a baptismal date in one week! Absolutely crazy! Kitarokko is slowly getting there, and it's honestly all thanks to our awesome members. Literally could not do it without them. We're so blessed.

But anyway, that's about it for the week! Tune in next week for transfer information! Will I train? Will I not? Will I stay here another? Vote now on your phones! 

愛しています! (*^^*)
Sherwood 姉妹

1) North Shimai (we're writing a manga together now), Smith Shimai, Me, Jones Shimai
2-5) pumpkin pudding decorated by children 
6-8) the lego cake, the dragon hide, and precious Kou-chan
9-12) Halloween party fun times

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Fun Fact: Baking 60 Cookies in a Microwave Takes 5 hours

This was sent 10/21/2018

Konnichiwa minasan! 

Well, this week was something of an adventure. Some crazy stuff's been happening in the whole new investigator department. It's been a party. But I don't feel like going in chronological order today so gomen ne.

Nakamura: we went and tried to visit him and give him the book of mormon CD that we've finally got working, but alas, both times we tried this week he hasn't been home. #zannen But! We have a secret and most infallible plan to figure out when he's home, otherwise known as we're going to trap him figuratively with a phone call tonight and see if he's home on Wednesday so we can spiritually attack him with the gospel and also a priesthood blessing bc he asked for one but has not yet met with us. Slightly annoying.

Suenaga: We attempted to teach him really simply about the role of Jesus Christ and who He is, but, unsurprisingly, this man is Very Smart™ and Knows A Lot of Things™ and thus gets very distracted by very specific Buddhist and Japanese history things every other sentence. I never know what he's saying. Thank heavens a douseki was there to help us out because I do not have the knowledge, nor the skills for these conversations outside of "idk man all I know is the Book of Mormon just read that and it'll answer your question probably." Thankfully, this has generally proven to be accurate and he quite likes reading the Book of Mormon actually. #kiseki Our plan is to very, very slowly teach him the plan of salvation because he currently doesn't understand how the Church and Buddhism are different (which confuses me because they?? are???? really different??????) and so theoretically that will help.

Koukan: We had a pretty swell koukan with the Akashi shimaitachi on Thursday cos Jones Shimai had a doctor's appointment, and it was quite fun. Ishikawa Shimai and I taught a very small baby English. I got her to laugh. I was quite proud of myself. Shortly afterward, while studying, a strange young man showed up randomly at the church. This was confusing, as you may gather, because it was a young salesman and I'm not entirely sure what he expected to be able to sell at a church building on a Thursday afternoon, but long story short we gave him a tour of the building and told him a little bit about who we are and our purpose as missionaries and swapped LINEs with him. It was a really solid contact. And then, to make matters more strange, we get a lovely call from Zenebri Chourou, onegaing Ishikawa to make 60 cookies in cute bags with scriptures for the festival thing in Okayama at the service project. He was very concerned about this, which, in turn, made Ishikawa Shimai very concerned about this. Originally, the elders were supposed to help with this endeavor, but they decided they had better things to do, so Ishikawa Shimai and I made 60 cookies in the tiny apartment microwave at a rate of 7 cookies per 20 mins, which, as you may imagine, was quite tedious. So much butter was used. So. Much. But, it gave Jones Shimai and Smith Shimai a chance to go out and learn the ropes without us to lean on, so all in all I think it was a good experience for them. I sure hope those cookies were appreciated in Okayama.

Yasuo: So this guy is new! He was referred to us from missionaries who knows where and so we gave him a call. Turns out the guy has some crazy interest in both English and the gospel. He's basically fluent and wants to be a cram school teacher. Mad props. So we met with him on Saturday and turns out he's already really familiar with Jesus Christ, has met with four sets of missionaries before, has been to our church a couple times and really loves the feeling there. Currently his only barrier is that his image of religion is very casual and not commitment-heavy yet. This may change though! Also he's very busy so we may have to just teach him over LINE and email. Soon though. Soon.

Ooyama: This lady's story is crazy and full of miracles I can't even begin to explain it all, but basically her daughter is engaged to this member from Australia and wants to get baptized so she's been like "hey let's check out this morumon sho thing and see what my daughter's getting herself into" and it just so happens that there's two Australian members here in Kitarokko. But you see, she just showed up to church yesterday all by herself and it's crazy. We taught her a bunch of stuff with the help of Wilkin Kyoudai and long story short she's now a new investigator and she's super excited to learn about the gospel and read the Book of Mormon. It's crazy. And what's even crazier is I had heard about this lady before she showed up from Yoshihashi Chourou, who just happens to be friends with the Japanese missionary who's teaching her daughter in Australia. Literally insane. She wants to come to church again next week. The Lord is too good. We have done nothing to deserve this. All I've done is make 60 cookies and eat indo curry and try to do things with varying degrees of success.

Other miscellany: 
We sang in sacrament meeting yesterday and it went super well! We sang 'Where Love Is' and everyone was really ureshii (happy) about it, and it was even better because Ooyama-san was there to listen! 
At district meeting we were discussing general conference, and what I got out of it was basically Families Are The Best™ and so now I'm rather quite excited to come home and get married and have a family too and while discussing these things I became, to quote President Nelson, exceedingly excited and, in a voice much louder than intended, slammed my hands on the table and said "I just really want babies!", thus startling our poor, sensitive, angelic Nishinomiya elders and causing the Amagasaki shimaitachi great hilarity and waking up Jones Shimai.
We are currently in the process of baking a Lego-shaped birthday cake for a cute little boy in the ward who is turning 6. He's basically the Japanese version of my baby brother Seth and he loves Legos so this is what we are doing. We only have a toaster oven though so who knows how that's gonna go.

But yeah that's the basic gist of the week! Only one more until transfers aaa! 

Sherwood Shimai

1.) we made successful rolls finally. Thank mom πŸ’•
2.) after that one mountain hike we went to a farmers market thing with Koyama Shimai and Shibano san

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Be Proud of Me I Did an Exercise

Konnichiwa minasan! 

This week has been very very busy. So many things have happened. I am very tired.

Monday we barbecued with the Koyamas for our birthdays! Mine, as you all know was about a month ago lol. Jones Shimai was the 11th, and Koyama Kyoudai's was the 10th. So we all barbecued! Well, it was clear Jones Shimai and I were the ones with most knowledge of lighting fires lol so it took us a bit to get it going, but it was delicious and Koyama Shimai made us cake! But it wasn't just any cake, no, it was SUSHI CAKE! What is sushi cake you might ask? Well, essentially it's a ring of rice topped with ikura (fish eggs), maguro (tuna), and salmon. It was really delicious. A really fun time. 

Tuesday we koukaned with the Amagasaki Shimaitachi and it was a really good time actually. We did this cool little setup where we put out a bunch of Books of Mormon on a table outside the church and tried to get the high school students passing by to do the Book of Mormon question challenge. It went fairly well, actually. We handed out three Books of Mormon and had a solid five contacts. Bills Shimai and I also went to visit their dendo shunin's less-active wife and shared a message about family history. It was super great. We used the #meetmygrandma video and talked about how our families influence us. We could tell she felt the spirit really strongly. She's a way nice lady. Also! When walking back home through the city we said hello to a guy and he was ridiculously open and wanted to talk to us so we started talking to him and turned out he had a crazy amount of interest and he was super excited to receive a Book of Mormon and said he wanted to come to church. This is why I struggle to have any desire to talk to people about anything other than Jesus Christ and the Restoration. If they're ready, they're ready. If they're not, they're not. Only the Spirit and God can change that. This is what I feel at least.

Wednesday we had lunch with a former investigator named Momoko who technically lives in Nishinomiya but all of her friends are in Kitarokko. We didn't know this though so we sent her as a referral to the Nishinomiya elders, wh then called her and long story short we got to meet with her and Atsuko Shimai. She's adorable and cool and we're gonna try to start teaching her and then try to pass her off to the elders. We showed her pictures of them at lunch and the verdict is that Pionita Chourou is an angel, and she was very touched that he tried so hard to talk to her over the phone. Shout-out to my boys over there. They're doing great work. What good noodles. Precious angels and servants of the Lord with the Spirit of God in their countenances. We have the best district leader and bean companion ever. ✌️

That same day we also got to help Naganuma Shimai with her PathwayConnect homework. She's learning math now so we helped her with reciprocals. It took me a sec to remember how to do it lol it was kinda sad. Low-key (high-key) want to get back into the swing of math again. I don't remember how to do like any calculus and this is very concerning to me. Who knows when I will need these skills???? I am not going to be sad when it's time for me to take math classes again, to be quite honest. It was also Bishop's birthday this week so we made him and his family a cake and we are very pleased because they were very pleased. Sweets dendo is the best dendo, hands down. 

Thursday. The best day. Both zone taikai AND my companion's birthday! So many things were learned and it was really nice to get to be around so many people I adore. Hugs aplenty. It was great. I really appreciate the supportive atmosphere of zone taikai. Everyone just leaves all pumped to talk to thirty million people with the fire of a thousand suns. Also Emerson Chourou did a really cool backflip and I was very impressed. If he can do that then we can probably talk to people lol. 

Friday was the day of SKK. We decided to do it at McDonald's in an attempt to find people. It went actually pretty okay! This cute little three year old named Ami-chan came up and talked to us and recited the ABCs. My soul was cleansed, all negativity washed away, the sky became a majestic azure hue, it was so pure. We told her mom about the 30/30 program and gave her our contact info. It was super cute. We also went to visit Nakamura-san to see if he would come to general conference, but alas he declined. Sad day. It's okay though we still love him. 

Also, everyone who knows me will be very surprised, but this week I climbed TWO mountains! (well technically one and a short jaunt but that's neither here nor there) Our lovely Suenaga-san adores hiking so we hiked with him twice this  week. The first time we drove up to the top of Mt Rokko and then hiked around a lake up there, which was really quite easy, and then Saturday morning we legit actually hiked from the base of a mountain up to the top at 592m. We also saw two whole snakes. They were cute cos they're the kind that eat spiders for us. Go lil snakes. Eat those spiders. 

Speaking of eating, for lunch that day I ate a natto roll, voluntarily, of my own free will. (and the crowd goes wild) I have video evidence. It wasn't that bad actually. I could probs get used to it. The rice and nori help with the snotty consistency. 

General conference! Was a blast! President Nelson is my literal favorite human. I found it really interesting how much of a focus there was on mothers and their critical part in these latter days. It's so wonderful and powerful to see how much the Lord appreciates His daughters and wants them to see their true divine potential. I'm so thrilled to be able to see where all of this is going to lead in the future as it happens. I feel that the day of the Lord's coming is fast approaching. Are we ready? Am I ready? Probably not, but I'm working on it. I hope to rejoice in that day with Him. I hope to rejoice with those that I teach. Now if only they can hope that too. :/

Sherwood 姉妹


**I'm having trouble uploading videos. Will update when able.


1-2.) on top of the mountain which I don't remember the name of 
3-6.) on top of Mt Rokko
7-8.) sushi cake and barbecue! 
9-10.) zone conference nonsense with foam swords

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Five-Year Old is a Better Shot Than Me

Konnichiwa minasan! 

So this week was kind of anticlimactic but that's just how it is sometimes. We've been trying to set up mogi lessons at the request of our dendo shunin, and it's been a little slow going. But there have been some solid highlights, so it's all fine!

Nakamura-san: we went to follow up with him cos he came to church last week, and it went very interestingly. He thinks church was cool, but because he's old and his body hurts, he doesn't want to go very often. So we taught him about priesthood blessings and he agreed to receiving one soon. Originally the plan was Sunday but that didn't end up working with his schedule so we're planning for this Friday.

Suenaga-san: so the thing about nihonjins I've noticed is that they have this interesting cultural thing where they think you have to believe in everything to be able to respect other religions so they just believe in everything and nothing all at once. It kinda confuses me because both Jesus and Buddha can't both be God? We had this problem while attempting to teach the restoration. It's a slow-going process. We're working on it.

Also this week we had a really fun service opportunity at a day-service home where one of the members works. We did a mini eikaiwa and then sang Peace in Christ for them. They were all way ureshii and we even got to talk about our purpose to one of the workers there. It was a really good time.

Then afterwards we got to do a mogi lesson with the Fujikawas and it was really fun. The youngest is only 5 and he's super cute. We played nerf guns with him for a few minutes before dinner and I got schooled. It was great. Super cute. Just like my baby brothers. They gave us some really great advice for improving our teaching skills. They're a really great family.

This week upcoming though we have a whole lot of stuff planned so theoretically speaking there'll be a lot more to report next week! More to come I guess. 

Sherwood 姉妹

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We found crabs???? In a gutter????????? We live on a mountain??????????

So mom we tried to make rolls but you see Jones Shimai miscalculated when I asked her for tablespoons to grams and we put in WAYYYYYY too much butter and ended with this inedible mESS

Members love me and Jones Shimai and gave us all these snacks and things for our birthdays

We went hiking on Mt Rokko today!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Let the Dead Speak Forth

Konnichiwa minasan! 

It's been another week. Things have occurred, events have taken place. It's a good time.

We visited Nakamura-san on Tuesday hoping to follow up on his listening to the Book of Mormon CDs, but it turned out the CDs wouldn't play, so now we're kind of up a creek without a paddle because the poor man can't see very well and we have no idea where to get a large print Japanese Book of Mormon. We're working on it. But! We read 1 Nephi 1 with him with the text size on our tablets to max size and committed him to coming to church! And the best part is he actually did come! And in a suit! It was super great. We talked about the Atonement in Gospel Principles and he had a lot of fun in third hour cos we were all together learning about self-reliance. All the members were really kind to him and it was just super good.

On top of that, we had another lesson with Suenaga-san, which was probably not the best lesson we've ever taught ever, but alas. We got through the first three principles in the Plan of Salvation, but he was very caught up in the whole agency vs. sin vs. redemption balance and we ran out of time before we could talk about the atonement. But! We gave him 2 Nephi 2 to read and we're going to focus on he atonement next time so that should help him out.

We've been making lots of brownies and cookies and things for members recently, and then dropping it off at their houses as we try to dendo in the area. It's been a really good time. The Tanakas have been really awesome and helped us out with Suenaga-san so we made them brownies and they were way happy. It was adorable. Brownie love is my fav.

Saturday was the best though. We got to go help out Kurose-san again cos she hurt her finger and now can't get it wet, which makes things like dishes really difficult. And we got to sing hymns for her and talk a little bit about the gospel and why hymns make us feel so good. She loves the song "Love is Spoken Here". It's adorable. And then we had a meeting with Bishop and our dendo shunin about EnglishConnect. It was great. We've got a solid plan for starting it up for real now and on top of that, our dendo shunin's goal this transfer is for us to be able to build a really strong relationship with the ward members through mogi lessons every day! It reminds me of Bagoyo Shimai's stories of Yonago, I'm very pleased.

The very best thing though, the greatest miracle, happened last night as the typhoon was raging and the wind sounding like a fourth grader trying to play recorder. We were messaging a member referral, Kame-chan, over LINE when out of the blue she asks us if it's possible to hear the voice of the Spirit. We, being very enthusiastic missionaries, gladly explained what the voice of the Spirit is like and how it speaks to our minds and hearts. The conversation continued and we asked if she'd ever heard the voice of the Spirit before. She told us she hadn't, but she had felt the presence of one of her ancestors before. Now I, having just recently been called once again as the zone Family History Specialist and having been thinking very deeply and hard about what we can do to revitalize everyone's fire and help them immerse themselves in the Spirit of Elijah, was very, very, rather extremely excited about this new information. We taught her that God sometimes guides us through our ancestors because families are eternal, and those connections are important. She was super excited and wanted to learn more. I told her some personal experiences about how my ancestors gave influenced me, and she said she wants to be able to feel close to her ancestors again. She said she's busy this month, but she really wants to learn, so we're going to work with her member friend to see if we can't start teaching her properly. It was honestly just such a huge miracle. People want to feel close to their families, but I feel that its too easy sometimes to just treat family history as a means to an end, and we end up sacrificing some of its potency. Temple and family history work is vital to the end we're working towards. Without our dead, we cannot be saved. I particularly like D&C 128:22-24 where Joseph Smith is waxing poetic about the joy of temple and family history work. But yes these are my Feelings about family history in a condensed format. Thought I should share. 😊

愛しています! πŸ’•
Sherwood 姉妹

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Gomen the only photo I have is this Rilakkuman, aka a chocolate filled bun of deliciousness that looks like Rilakkuman. (Bagoyo Shimai go eat them if you haven't yet they're delicious) 

(I got her to send a couple pix while they were at Costco for P-day)

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 ...