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