Monday, April 30, 2012

Welcome to JAPAN.

ANYWAY...here I am in Japan! And I feel so far away. This week has been one of the hardest weeks of my life but I hear it gets better from here so I am holding onto that faith. I do have a wonderful companion and I'm so glad my President sent you pictures. Her name is Tomura Shimai, and she is from Osaka Japan. Her English is quite excellent though sometimes it is still hard to communicate. She only has three transfers left, two of which will be with me. She has been a trainer twice before and has been with foreign missionaries for a total of seven transfers so she knows how to be patient with us Gaijin (foreigners). Her teaching skills are off the hook and I know I am going to learn so much from her. We have spent a lot of time planning this week but have also had a few lessons with some potential investigators and a less active member from the Philippines. Japan is beautiful. The streets are tiny. The cars are strange. When it rains here, it rains all day long. Oh! Thank you SO MUCH mommy for the rainsuit. It is perfect. We put the rainpants right over our skirts. Ugh riding in a skirt is ridiculous! I've already torn up one of my skirts, haha.

Our apartment is adorable. I love the sliding doors and the futons. Actually I have like three futons stacked on top of each other haha so I'm set. It is on the third floor of this little apartment building right by the railroad so when trains go by it sounds like thunder and our apartment shakes a bit. Awesome. I am in Koiwa, an area about an hour by train from the Honbu (mission home). Very close to Tokyo tower. We are about a ten minute walk from the church which is awesome. The ward here is quite big I think about 180 members. Going to church was wonderful. The church is the same everywhere! I sat down in Sacrament and I felt this huge wave of peace wash over me and I thought "ah...this is home." So even though I couldn't understand any of the talks, it didn't matter. Funny that you can still feel the spirit in what someone is saying even if you have no idea what they said. Also when I came into relief society it was great there was a lace tablecloth and flowers and I smiled and felt right at home. The members are so sweet and I am so excited to work with them. They are patient with my language skills and are so willing to help us. We ask members to sign up to do 'mogi's' with us each week. I have to give all the lessons in PMG by myself before the end of this transfer so they come and listen to my broken Japanese and pretend they can understand haha.

People here actually don't really pay attention to me unless I try to talk to them first. When we were on the bus one time Tomura Shimai began talking with this sweet lady and the lady said I looked like a Disney character!! Haha pretty much made my whole day.

So some blessings...there was already a bike here that Tomura Shimai's last companion only used for a few weeks. So I only had to buy a helmet. Our apartment has been a missionary apartment for quite a long time so it is stocked with all kinds of useful things. Another blessing...the last P-day of every transfer all the missionaries in the Tokyo mission go to the temple! :) So soo excited for that! Apparently they do a special session for all the missionaries in English.

We met this old lady this week who used to be an English translator so she was excited to see me. She told us her goal is to live past 100...and I think she just might do it! When we parted she gave us vitamin C candy haha and told us to not eat too much and always have good health haha. Adorable. Speaking of adorable...there is NOTHING cuter then Nihonjin children speaking Japanese!! Melts my heart every time one of the primary children says 'konichiwa.'

My whole world has been dramatically changed and it has taken a lot of adjusting but the Lord is with me and he has comforted my heart and spoken peace to my soul many times. I keep trying to remember that the Lord generally has to tear us down in order to make something more of us. I am trusting and learning to trust more and always pleading for his hand throughout the days. Sometimes it seems the dogs understand more Japanese then me but I'm trying not to freak out about that too much. Having a Nihonjin companion as my trainer has a lot of benefits. I have to tell you about when they assigned us companions. So we were at the mission home all morning and through some of the afternoon doing orientation and getting trained a bit on how the mission runs. The group of trainers came around 9 so we met them but didn't know which one was ours until 3 o' clock!! We were all in the chapel and of course they assigned the Elders first so we had to sit there biting our nails until they got to the sisters. There were five new sisters. Sister Long and I were the last to be assigned so he had us both come up at once and then announced our trainers. Actually I was put with the one that most intimidated me out of the group (go figure!) but the Lord knows what He is doing and we are becoming good friends. She is adorable and a fireball and completely immersed in being a missionary. When I asked her what her hobbies were she said that she doesn't even know anymore because eventually during her mission she lost the desire for any hobby besides missionary work.

Well I need to wrap this up but I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. So so much. Your thoughts and prayers mean so much and give me so much support during the hard times. Mormon 8:24...your prayers are so powerful.

Your daughter and missionary....Wylie Shimai 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jenna is in Tokyo

"We wanted to let you know that your missionary along with her group from the MTC arrived in Japan safely on Tuesday afternoon.  They were welcomed into the Mission Home, and Sister Albrecht prepared a meal and fed them.  After a good night’s rest they were interviewed by President Albrecht and were trained, given a new companion, and assigned an area.  By late yesterday afternoon they were all on their way to their new area with their new companion/trainers."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last email from Provo...

I am FINALLY feeling good again, thank heavens. Lungs are still a bit sad but I got an inhaler so shouldn't be a problem. Thank you for your prayers. :) Everything feels so strange right now. I'm not sure how to describe it. I am excited and itching to go to Japan to start doing REAL missionary work. It's a different kind of excited then I've felt for things in the past though, because there is this massive responsibility I feel on my shoulders that I've started to recognize over the past few weeks as I've been molded into a missionary. I am going to Japan for the Lord and it has nothing to do with me. It is a cool feeling though because although I miss you and the kids like crazy, there is absolutely no where I would rather be right now and absolutely nothing I would rather be doing. I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, and now that I am living it, suddenly the restless rush to move onto the next thing in life is gone. I feel like I can sink deeply into this time of my life and nothing or no one can touch me because I have been called by God. I wish I could type onto the page the things I am feeling but for once I can't seem to find the words.

TRC last Saturday was really special. We taught an older Japanese woman who actually used to teach at the MTC. SHE WAS SUCH A SWEETHEART. And because of her, any anxieties I had about teaching in Japan slowly slipped away. I cannot wait to serve among such incredible people. Also, we had a former mission president from Japan talk to our whole zone and he was so inspiring. His biggest message to us was to take ALL of OUR expectations that are in our hearts about Japan and missionary work and get rid of them. Then to replace them with the LORD'S expectations. Modern prophets have prophesied and given direct instruction about Japan and their words are amazing. In the prayer to dedicate the land for missionary work, the prophet even pleaded for the assistance of the three Nephites in bringing the Japanese people to a knowledge of their Savior. Wow. So this week I have been striving and pleading with the Lord myself that I may have my heart filled with His feelings and expectations for the missionary work in Japan. Pray for me because I am not enough on my own!

PLEASE CONGRATULATE grandma and grandpa for me on their anniversary and birthday!! And thank them for the wonderful packages and letters they have sent me. :) I've appreciated them so much.

I love you so much!! Thank you so much for the letters and packages and most importantly for the prayers. When it gets tough I start thinking about all the support and people I have behind me and it helps more then I can ever express. Mom and Dad, I couldn't have done this without you. Oh and tell Trevor good luck with his job! I'm super excited for him!

Goodbye America!
 
Wylie Shimai 


Friday, April 13, 2012

Letter from Jenna...

I think I will start off with some exciting news that came in the mail for all of us last night...TRAVEL PLANS!! :D :D :D :D We are actually going to Japan! What! The MTC has honestly just blown by so quickly for me, and this last week probably will too. My flight leaves at 8:35 on March 23rd. So that is only 10 days away! We have about a four hour layover in LA between 9:30 and 1:00 California time. We will then land in Tokyo on March 24th at 4:30pm. BOOM! I can hardly believe it! Still seems so surreal to me.

Okay next I need to thank people for some absolutely wonderful letters this week! They REALLY boosted my spirits and I just appreciate them all so much. Thank you thank you thank you. Knowing I am supported by such amazing people makes all the difference on the hard days.

This week I ran into Andrew Campbell. If someone could tell his parents this, that'd be awesome. He looked so good! When we ran into each other he was surrounded by Elders from his district and there seemed to be a really good feeling amidst the lot of them. He seemed really happy and well and it was so good to see him here. Also another random connection...one of the new Shimai is from Australia and she said shes knows Elder Taylor Wilson! Her name is Rodgers Shimai, and she said Elder Wilson helped her little brother serve a mini mission and that they are really good friends. SMALL WORLD.

Our district was asked to host the new missionaries this week. This was a welcome break in our schedule, and such a pleasure to see all the new missionaries and help them get started here at the MTC. Yeah, I am a veteran now. Pretty awesome. I saw Aunt Dorene again which is always fun. They are having us host next week as well.

I have still been sick this week, but I think I am finally getting better. It's been frustrating being sick at the MTC, but it has taught me a lot. I was actually pondering on this the other day, about what I have gained from the experiences I've had here. For a brief moment I was sad because I don't feel like I've progressed in the language as much as I'd hoped, but then the Lord turned my thoughts to all the things I HAVE learned and how I've changed these past months. It really opened my eyes as I began realizing how much has been put into my heart and how the Spirit has worked with me, though I wasn't always able to see how I was growing and changing. I feel really humbled and blessed and filled with this sweet love that the Savior has for me and for all his children. The Lord has opened my heart to learn about the Atonement here in many personal ways. A story my companion told me really illustrates what I've learned and how I feel about the Atonement.

Think of the Savior on the day of his crucifixion. He was taken to Pilate that morning after being taken from place to place all night long and being treated absolutely unfairly and unlawfully. He was then put in the dungeons with another named Barabbas. This Barabbas was a murderer. He had committed many crimes and was deserving of whatever punishment awaited him. The dungeon chambers were beneath the balcony where Pilate asked the people who they wanted him to free. Though the noise was jumbled, he was possibly able to hear the cries of the people when they yelled 'Barabbas! Barabbas!' and then, moments later, he heard 'Crucify him! Crucify him!' How this would have terrified Barabbas! He may have been sitting there in a panic, overwhelmed with the sudden knowledge that they wanted him crucified. Then he heard the footsteps of the soldiers coming down the steps. His heart must've been pounding through his chest. What a horrible moment this may have been for him. The steps drew near and the Soldiers approach...and then they take Jesus.

We are Barabbas. We have sinned and are deserving of justice and its punishment. But The Savior, our Lord and Redeemer, has made intercession for us. Instead of us being taken, He was taken and punished for our sins. Our pure, innocent older brother suffered the punishment so that we don't have to, if we will only repent and turn to Him. What a heart-wrenching, incredible truth. What a beautiful gift He has laid at our feet. I hope I can always hold precious in my heart these lessons that I have learned about the Atonement. And I know I've only brushed the surface.

My time is gone. But I love you all so much. Thank you for all the prayers and encouragement and love! I would not be here without you.

Sister Wylie

Friday, April 6, 2012

Letter from Jenna..."Ye are little children"

CONFERENCE....wow blow me away! What a fantastic experience. Despite being in a VERY unfavorable place for the camera, I did have a perfect view of the pulpit, which apparently most of the choir didn't have. So I was able to watch Elder Scott and the Prophet and Elder Holland and it was really cool. The conference center has never looked so big to me before as it did from the choir seats. It messes with your eyes because people are in the same room but SO far away and since there are no pillars or anything in between, our eyes have a hard time judging the distance. The spirit was amazing. Especially when all the seventy and the twelve started filing into the room. They were so adorable, always turning around in their seats and waving to us and smiling. Elder Oaks and his wife acted like our best friends (since they visited the MTC just the week before). So awesome. We didn't get to shake any ones hands personally, but being up there with all of them was certainly good enough! When we returned to the MTC we watched the Young Woman's broadcast from the previous week, then immediately hustled up to our classroom to watch the recording from conference. It was super exciting. You could even see my arm once!!!......haha. Yeah I won't lie I was a bit sad that you could never see me on TV except for that brief blow by, but I sure sang my heart out, so people had better of felt my testimony blowing them to the ground! Sister Long got a lot of time on the camera. GO look her up so you can see her! If you pull up the whole afternoon session and go to time 42:36 and watch it for a few seconds she comes up. She is the one with the black hair and glasses and purple blouse. Tell me if you find her! :)
 Friday night before conference I actually started getting sick. Luckily I was still well enough to sing, but on Sunday my body finally hit a wall and it's been a long week because of this. The MTC is NOT the place to get sick! But, God is taking care of me, and I am getting better, so don't worry. :) Seems like a lot of people are getting sick actually. Apparently there was a break out of type A influenza. I didn't get that, luckily, but people have been getting quarantined because of it and we're not allowed to shake hands. Crazy.

 Okay time for happy news. The new Japan missionaries all arrived this week!! Including a whole group of Nihonjin (native Japanese missionaries) we were so incredibly excited for them to come!! They got here Monday and we met them for the first time that night in our residence hall. There are TEN sisters! Amazing! They are the most adorable beautiful people and we all love them SO much. So on Tuesday night after the devotional there was a devotional review/testimony meeting with our districts and the new Nihonjin. At the beginning President Kruger asked all the Nihonjin to find one of us to sit by, so that we could TRANSLATE the English speaker's testimonies. 0.0 WOW. We all were on the edge of our seats very quickly and I'm sure there were a lot of prayers being shot through the ceiling at this point. Sister Nanjo came and sat by me, and now she is one of my favorite friends. At first I was a bit overwhelmed and shy to translate but her sweet smile and confidence helped me, and God kept saying in my head "Effective communication= OPEN YOUR MOUTH!" and so, I did, and the words came. It was a really special experience. A lot of the Nihonjin also got up and bore their testimonies and wow they are such special spirits. Although I didn't understand every word, I could feel them in my heart, and the Spirit warmed up the room like a Sauna. Sister Nanjo and I were both crying and a new light and understanding rested upon my shoulders as I realized that they are my people. They are why I am here. My soul felt like bursting and my desire to work harder filled my whole body. I wish I could pour out the spirit I felt there into this letter. I will get pictures with them soon. :)

 The day after that, Wednesday, all the other new missionaries came that are going to Japan. Only TWO sisters came in with this group. One from Washington, and one from Australia. There is also an Elder from FINLAND. So intense. His English is awesome, but I still am blown away by the missionaries that have to learn a language THROUGH a different language then their first. It would be like me being taught Japanese through Russian. They are so brave and have so much faith! 

 During class this week our Sensei showed us a clip by Elder Bednar. In it he talks about recognizing and living by the impressions of the Spirit. His advice to those who worry about recognizing it was this....QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT. He said that if we are trying our best to be a good boy or a good girl, than we will act on impressions even though, most of the time, WE WON'T RECOGNIZE THEM AS IMPRESSIONS until later on. I'd never thought of it that way before but it has helped me to relax a bit and just try my best to be good and trust that that Lord will lead me.

This week I've been thinking a lot about what kind of a missionary I really am. It is easy to be amazing when we first get here and are pumped for the work and full of fire and zeal, and when the experiences are still novel. But what I've found that really counts is the kind of missionaries we are when the days start to feel long and the mornings earlier and the work harder. When I am tired, sick, not learning as quickly as I want to, hindered by mortal qualities, ect...this is when I can see who I REALLLY am. It has been a very tough week, but full of miracles and tender mercies from Heavenly Father.
 My time is up but oh I miss you and love you so much! Mommy people said my music made them tear up when I played a few weeks ago and it brought the spirit and that is what I pray for and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my testimony through music!

 Your missionary, Sister Wylie