Monday, June 25, 2012

Flying pigs...

So definitely had some surprises this week!! First was a package with a lovely little green camera....mother, how did you know I hadn't gotten around to fixing mine? :) THANK YOU. It is perfect. Proof I received it coming soon! Second surprise started with a phone call from the office couple..."Sister Wylie, are you expecting something?" "Um....no, why?" "There is this big box here for you, it's kind of heavy, from the flying pig?" ".........what??" "Yeah we might be able to bring it to you at the mission conference tomorrow, if we can fit it in with everything else." "That would be awesome...wow...totally am not expecting anything!" "Is it your birthday?" "No." "Well someone must love you!"
 
Bikuri shimashita!! Surprise!! Haha and what do you know it was a box of fabulous food from costco! Leave it to my mother to figure out that you can order your missionary COSTCO in Japan!! :D :D :D :D :D We are THOROUGHLY enjoying the contents. Thank you so so so much! I felt quite pleased carrying my bags back to Koiwa. I'm lucky the office Elders didn't consume them before I got there! Thank you thank you thank you for your sweetness and love that I can feel all the way over here in Tokyo! Thank you. :)

We had our last mission conference with President and Sister Albrecht this week. Since it was kind of a special occasion, they had all 180 missionaries come to one location. They fed us subways for lunch. Boom! It was a really fantastic and uplifting experience. I am going to miss them so much...very sad I don't get them for longer. They are so loving and good to their missionaries. Truly they have dedicated their lives to the missionaries these past few years. President and Sister Budge arrive this week....they share one meal with the Albrechts, and then they are on their own. Crazy how fast it switches over!! We are looking forward to meeting the Budges. They sound like awesome people.

This weekend was also stake conference. On Saturday night Tomura Shimai and I sang in the choir. Hymn #78. I didn't really know this hymn until I came here, but it is fantastic. Get some intense voices together in a choir and it is very powerful. Daddy have you ever done this one before? Anyway...Saturday night I prayed to be open to whatever message God needed me to hear. My brain was tired and the Japanese was difficult to follow, but my testimony was strengthened that the Spirit is the most important speaker. Though I didn't understand much of what the speakers said, the Lord was able to put into my mind and heart some needed inspiration that is a big blessing to me. I walked out of the conference spiritually fed. It proved to me that if we prepare ourselves, the Lord will speak to us...no matter the language or the words of the speakers. :) There is a principle I've been tapping into this week about humility. During times of struggle and growth, we have the beautiful opportunity to turn to the Lord. Humbling circumstances can actually be a tremendous blessing, because they bring us closer to our Maker in a way that nothing else could. Realizing this touched my heart. Sometimes, life is SO DIFFICULT. But through these difficult times, the Lord will walk with us. He will be our guide, our comfort, our friend. And though He may not take the challenge away, He loves us all the way through it, and promises it will be worth it in the end. I am still trying to figure this out...my thoughts are especially turned to the pioneers and the trials they went through. What a miserable experience many of them had to endure! And yet they didn't turn away from their God. They learned something about our God that far exceeds any words that can be told. How did they do it??
 
Something else that has been hitting my heart...God hears the prayers of mothers and fathers in behalf of their children. There have been several instances on my mission where I just know the blessings or tender mercy I am experiencing are coming because of the prayers of my sweet mother and father. I can feel it in my heart so strongly.

I got a wonderful email from my dear Aunt Luanne today! I am not sure if I can email extended family....I think it might be okay but I'm not sure! Anyway for now could you please tell her that I appreciated her message SO MUCH and just love her to pieces! She said such kind things that really lifted my spirits. Thank you so much! And thank her for reading my emails. Knowing I have support at home means so much to me. Thank you thank you thank you! It is especially fun thinking that she did this sister-missionary business not so long ago herself.

I love you all so much. I miss you like crazy. Thank you for everything. I can never say thank you enough!
 
Your missionary...Wylie Shimai 

Monday, June 18, 2012

From my side of the lake...

First of all...I got a nice surprise this week! :D A package from my mommy!! Thank you SO MUCH for the kanji cards, and the adorable skirt, and the food. Haha. It is nice to have some food with labels I can read. Seriously. Maybe God is trying to break me of my obsessive-label-reading habits because I never know what's in the food I make here and I just have to deal with it. Thank you thank you thank you. :) It made me so happy. The cards will be super helpful, and I love the skirt. Tomura Shimai was so tickled you sent her a little surprise too! We listen to music a lot when we are in the apartment so it's been nice to have some new tunes. I love you. :)

Also I got a wonderful letter from Grandpa this week. It was very inspiring and please make sure he knows I appreciated it so much. I didn't realize he had flown to Japan so many times while he was in the air force.

Have I mentioned yet that the Jehovah Witnesses have been popping out of the woodwork here the past few weeks? I didn't even know they existed in Japan. Apparently some people confuse them with us. They have come to our apartment twice now wanting to 'debate' the bible. They figured out there is a foreigner living here and for some reason that makes them more interested in debating with us. We've never opened the door to them, just told them politely over the intercom that we're not interested and don't have time. Haha. Strange.

My new skill of the week is texting in Japanese. Woohoo! During follow-up time some nights I send emails through the phone so I had to figure out how in the world to do it in Japanese. It's fun, but I am still painfully slow. Luckily Tomura Shimai has great patience. :) Funny story of the week...yesterday we had tons to do so we woke up early and when I wake up early here, especially on Sundays, I am DRAINED by about 4pm. Something about going to church in another language really overloads my mind for the day. Tomura Shimai has declared that I am not allowed to wake up early anymore because of how it affects my face during the day. Lol. Anyway I kept telling her I felt like a pansy for not being able to handle little sleep hours better. At the end of the day during planning she turned to me and asked why in the world I kept calling myself a 'chimpanzee'.....LOL. After a few minutes she understood I'd been saying 'pansy' and not 'chimpanzee'. It was pretty funny.

We taught relief society yesterday. Since the topic was missionary work, they figured it would be quite appropriate for us to give the lesson. SCARY. But I think it went well. Heavenly Father really blessed my heart so that it wasn't pounding out of my chest. He helped me to find peace. Though my grammar was definitely rough (I could tell by a few of the older woman tilting their heads to the side occasionally) I felt like myself and that my words were from my heart. We've been praying to find more ways to connect with the ward so this opportunity was a great blessing.

Ida Shimai is hitting some rough spots but she has still got her eyes on baptism. Any prayers sent her way would be wonderful. :) The first picture I sent is of me and her. Oh and the picture Tandy posted was taken at the church in Nakano, right by the mission home. We went to a fireside by the Albrecht's for our stake and I met a bunch of Tandy's mission buddies. It was rainy and humid that day so I was a mess haha but the work goes on!

That is all for this one...but I love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers and support! Happy birthday again Trevor!! Glad you had a great day. :)
Wylie Shimai


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jenna met Tandy's friends!

Jenna showed up in a picture Tandy received from her friends/former companions in Kobe...it's a small world. She looks GREAT. (:  Thank you Tandy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let it pour!

Rainy season is officially here! I am so excited. I absolutely love the rain. And not just because it gives me an excuse to wear pants on my bike. ;) I don't know why but the rain is magical to me and I just think it's splendid. We've had a couple of good rainy days this week to start off the season. Apparently after rainy season, near the end of July, the humidity and heat sets in for the summer. Not sure if that will be as enjoyable as the rain...but bring it on!
This week has been tough, but the Lord is blessing me and puts ground under my feet at the last minute when I think I'm about to walk off a cliff. Sometimes it is hard to know how he feels about my labors each day, but I absolutely know he is listening to me. Slowly, little by little, day by day, he is changing my heart. There is no way I could do this without him. I wouldn't have made it out here without him in the first place. Everything in the past few weeks has been forcing me to rely on him more and more, and He doesn't let me down.
My P-day has been a bit shortened because of a late weekly planning and then visiting Ida Shimai at her job at IKEA in mina-funabashi. Sorry if this is short. That was an adventure though! IKEA was HUGE...I think like 5 or 6 stories. Looks exactly the same as it does in America though. Really, really strange going in there. Tomura Shimai and I both felt like we were in America. Had a good (although Japanese sized) hotdog. When did I decide it was okay to eat hotdogs anyways? Speaking of food...so far the only healthier thing I've noticed about Japanese food is that they don't use so many preservatives and they don't gas their bananas. And somehow, their watermelon here is absolutely to die for!! Seriously. I have never tasted a more glorious melon! I wish I could send you one.
Ida Shimai is doing really well. She is a bit nervous for baptism and sharing her testimony, but we know she'll be just fine. She is one of the most genki people I've ever met. (genki= happy, healthy, energetic) I respect her a lot because she came out of some tough family situations but has chosen to be who she is today and hasn't let her circumstances mold her character. We know the gospel can be such a blessing for her and we can't wait to see her recognize its influence in her life.
After leaving IKEA we stumbled upon what I at first thought was a stadium but turned out to be a HORSE RACE TRACK! Tomura Shimai was laughing at me because I got excited so quickly. Who would've thought there were horses in this crazy city? It was a full size race track too! Okay this probably doesn't hit home with anyone like it does for me so I'll stop going off about it. :D
Glad you got the letter from Tomura Shimai this week. She is so sneaky. The only reason I knew she sent it was because she asked for my home address. (She felt too guilty looking in my drawers). But by the time she asked it was already sealed so I wasn't sure what she was sending off. Glad it was good. :)
Church is really good. I love the ward here and I feel at home while at church. Kind of funny...but I've matched some people in this ward with people in the Battle Creek 1st ward. Whether for looks or personality...they have some twins out here in Tokyo! So funny! I've found Sister Thatcher and Sister Giles and several others. It's a fun game I play when my brain stops processing Japanese. This Sunday though, the Lord really blessed my Japanese. I had several unexpected circumstances where I needed to talk a lot. In the morning meeting with the missionaries and ward mission people I was asked to give a spiritual thought on the spot, then in Sunday school my study partner (not a member yet) just said 'zen zen wakarinai' when we were asked to explain about some spiritual gifts, so I got to explain them alone...and then later when talking with members my understanding was blessed. Though often I have to struggle and strain, the Lord really will lift the weight when I am doing all I can.
I love you so much! Thank you for your prayers. And thank you for the information about mission calls!!! When does Dallin leave? AND I CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR ABOUT DAVIN'S MISSION CALL!!!! I didn't know he'd even put his papers in yet!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Also maybe you could give me a brief update on Sister Shields? Is she coming home this month? Also Sato Shimai from Tandy's mission is one of our best ward missionaries. We use her as a joint in lessons all the time. She also goes out with us on the bikes once in a while to find referrals. She is a sweetheart.
Anyway...much love coming at you from across the pond!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Letter from Jenna's companion today!

We received a sweet letter from Jenna's companion today.  We wanted to share some of the things she said about Jenna..."I am Sister Tomura. I really want to say 'Thank you so much' - Sister Wylie is awesome missionary. I'm impress her!!! (original grammar is hers) She can speak Japanese very well. Whenever I stay with her, I feel peace in my heart. She've already known 'What is the importance of missionary work.' She is very spiritual. Whenever I work with her I feel 'I want to work more and be a better person.'!! She is a great example to me. We will watch many miracles in this transfer."

Monday, June 4, 2012

One day at a time...

This week has been both good and hard, haha, full of the extremes. Seems my life usually tends to linger in one extreme or another. There have been a number of instances this week where my brain feels like it is just too slow to pick up this language and live up to the expectations I feel on my shoulders. Sometimes it feels like my brain is trying to run through sand. Tomura Shimai is incredible, and I love her. With the Lord's help I have been able to swallow a lot of correction and improvement and accept my weaknesses more easily. I have been trying to find what my role is in the mission right now, how my talents and abilities can best help the Lord's work here in Koiwa. I have slowly come to realize that it is impossible to be everything that Tomura Shimai is...but maybe that is okay. I am not Nihonjin, and I can't teach with the same fluency and ease that she does, and I don't have the Japanese background she does. But...God has called me here, so there must be something I can do. There must be a reason God puts people like me in such foreign places, with a testimony and a desire to serve. I just need to figure out how I fit in.

You will be happy to know that I use my violin quite often. Played at a baptismal service on Saturday. It was for one of the Elder's investigators. A Mongolian who speaks neither Japanese nor English, haha. He is here with his wife and baby. His wife is studying at a university here. She has been the translator for him learning the gospel, and they are an amazing family.

One miracle in particular stands out this week. I believe I mentioned Ida Shimai in my last letter....she is now committed to be baptized on July 14th. :D And she is so excited. She came to a baptismal service on Saturday, and we had a very moving lesson with her afterwards. Lots of tears and happiness, and the Spirit. She is such a character and so much fun. I feel very comfortable with her and we always have fun when teaching and working with her. She comes to Eikaiwa and a lot of other activities we do. July 14th is at the end of this transfer, so it will most likely be my last week with Tomura Shimai. Very special. We are so happy and excited for Ida Shimai.

My split with Nishigaki Shimai did go well this week. She was very easy going and relaxed so I was able to feel peaceful with her. We even found a new friend on the street. A 78 year old woman who had a cute old dog. I started talking to her about her dog and then told her we were volunteers for the church, and eventually she invited us to come into her home that was near by. She tried to give us tea and coffee, haha, so Nisshigaki Shimai left her with a Book of Mormon and Word of Wisdom pamphlet. Tomura Shimai and I are going back to visit her today.
Had pizza this week. Homemade. They like to put corn and unrecognizable meat on their pizza. Haha. It was way good, though it made me MISS YOURS, Dad.

Much love and many prayers from across the pond....