Saturday, June 29, 2013

Transfer 11, Day 1

We received transfer calls on Saturday morning. Sister Long is transferring one area over and whitewashing with a new missionary. Sister Lowry and I are staying in Kiryu...and getting a daughter/little sister!! Since the mission is splitting he's already picked our companions, so I even know her name. Sister Linquist from Springville, Utah! We will be 3 Americans wandering around our little Kiryu land!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I was thinking that if Sister Long transferred I might get another trainee....but I was expecting her to be Japanese....so this is a big surprise!!! She is flying into Japan on Tuesday night, and we will go pick her up Wednesday morning! :D

I'm not sure what God is thinking...pray for me and my girls! Oh I hope I can just love them and watch the love of God for these people grow in their hearts and shine from their eyes! I also hope I can keep track of two fiery new missionaries....I was leading on the bikes the other day and going over a bridge, wind blowing in my hair and feeling pretty good about things. Then a voice from close behind me yells, 'Hey, Grandma! You okay up there???" HAH! I got called a GRANDMA!

This past week feels like it didn't even happen it went by so fast. Lowry Shimai was lucky...she had a mom AND a dad for a week! And next week she gets a little sister! We're a big happy family over here. :) Except dad transferred to Oyama a few hours ago...whoops. Yesterday Long Shimai was asked to bear testimony in Sacrament meeting, and as she was talking I was just sitting there shaking my head, wondering how in the world we've already been here together for two transfers, when it feels like just last Sunday we were bearing our first testimonies to the ward together. It still hasn't quite hit me yet that she is gone. We just came to Kiryu! How could she been gone already? Absolutely blows my mind. We're going to miss her here. Especially her kanji reading and cooking skills. ;) Oh Long Shimai! I'm not sure what they are thinking putting me in charge of everything here...but at least I'll have two young ones to keep me running. Seriously I thought I was pretty fast on a bike until I put Sister Lowry in front of me....Sister Long and I were huffing and puffing behind her all week! What am I going to do when there's two of them?? They'll leave me in the dust.
 
We have some exciting things going on here in Kiryu. See out here even though there are still lots of buildings, you can go 20 minutes walking without passing a single person to talk to. We've had to get a bit creative in order to make new friends. Our ward mission leader has been working hard for us and got us into a radio station, where a few weeks ago we began talking about doing some type of regular broadcast. Brother Yasuda (the WML) apparently went to high school with them all. A lady in the studio noticed us and told him to bring us back to talk to specifically her. She was fascinated with us and the church, and we are scheduled to have a live interview in a few weeks. You'll be able to look it up online. ;) Lowry Shimai was a bit worried about the Japanese, but the lady just told her she can speak English and I can translate.... 0.0 Not sure if they are going for educational or comical here, but at least we're getting noticed. Another person from the radio is getting us set up to do short English classes live on the radio to advertise our church English classes. They are going to bring in college students and we'll teach them on the air. Not quite sure what we've gotten ourselves into yet...we're making some history though!
 
On Wednesday Tomura Shimai (Jenna's trainer) came to Tokyo to go to the temple, and we also met up with Iida Shimai. They called me and I was able to talk to Tomura Shimai for the first time in almost 10 months. One of the first things she said was, "Oh...Wylie Shimai...you speak Japanese!" hahaha. Good! She is getting married this fall and then has plans to move to New York for her soon-to-be-husband's job. Good excuse for me to take a stroll up to NY? I think so! Anyway it was really fun talking to her again after so long. If she can she might come up for my last temple day next month.
 
There is much to be done here! I am so grateful that I get to stay. This is my home right now. Please keep praying for me and my girls! Sister Long and I are both still sister training leaders...but we're now working separately and have different sisters assigned to each of us. Since I will have two companions, I will occasionally leave them to work together in Kiryu while I go to another area and work alongside the shimai there. Should be an adventure!
 
Thank you so much for your love and prayers. I FEEL THEM SO STRONGLY HERE!
 
 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Families

What a week!! Haha I have to say this transfer has been a bit exhausting. But, although we're a bit breathless, life is good. The temple was wonderful today. And I am happy.

I don't have much time but I thought I would tell you a little about my week. First of all, I got sick. The day that it got particularly bad was also the day we were scheduled to go to a less-active member's home up in the middle of the mountains. She had invited us to come make sushi. Not wanting to ditch out on something she'd prepared, I went despite feeling under the weather. From her I received mysterious Japanese medicine-no clue what it was except that it was mostly 'natural' but I was miserable enough that I eagerly took whatever she put in my hands- and was cured within 24/hours. Not even kidding! I went from what Tada Shimai thought was severe tonsillitis (sp?) to just a runny nose in under a day. So! :) That was that.

Another big event of our week happened on Saturday. We had just begun an exchange with the sisters down in Oizumi. Sister Lowry and I went with Takishita Shimai down to our little Brazil and Sister Long and Sister Tada stayed in Kiryu with Sister Silva. Around 10 am we got a call from President Budge. In Kanagawa (an area that will be south mission next week) a second-transfer sister had been ill since the MTC and it was finally, rather abruptly, decided that she needed to go home for a while. President Budge wanted her on a plane the next evening. Sister Tada was asked to transfer down that day and take her place. So their end of the exchange was spent teaching kids English class and the packing, and then getting on a train at 4 pm. I didn't get to see Sister Tada until today at the temple. Crazy! Since then we have been working as a threesome. It was kind of a shock. But Sister Tada is now with Sister Dolan (Mom you know her mom right?) and they are both happy. Tada Shimai's dream was to be in the south mission. It is bittersweet. We miss Sister Tada but we are having fun up here in our threesome. It is nice to have Sister Long back. We aren't sure what will happen with real transfer calls this week, but the Lord is in charge.

Some good news...do you remember Hitomi and her little son down in Kofu? They are getting baptized this Sunday! :D What a beautiful miracle. I am so so happy for them. I wish beyond wishing that I could go, but it is just too far and too expensive. But oh how I miss Kofu! I am calling her tomorrow.

Also I was able to see Iida Shimai today in Tokyo! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!

I can't believe Adam is coming home in three weeks!! Ok for that matter I can't believe I'm coming home in 7....what is happening??? This will probably be the most bitter-sweet experience of my life. I'm sure the difficulty of the experience will be soothed when I get to see your gorgeous faces and have the chance to just be with you all again. Oh I have missed you so much. And I am so excited to be fed at your healthy whole foods table. :)

You are all so wonderful. I love you so, so much. Families are a miracle. So much of the work we are doing out here is in a effort to save families. In the most basic roots of life and eternity and godhood and this gospel and who we are, is our family. God's family. It's all that matters! Becoming one with our families. Becoming one with Jesus Christ. Becoming one with God. There's simply nothing else that even comes close in importance! In PMG it says..."The feelings of love and concern that we have for our families are eternal and rooted deep within our souls. They are centered in our relationship with God. You have been part of God's family since before you were born..."

That is my favorite message to tell as a missionary.
 

Monday, June 10, 2013

"We will always have enough resources for being who we are and what we can become."

First of all I better report on the exchanges I did this week...because a Sister Davis from Provo Utah came up to work with me! Apparently she is way good friends with all the Shields in Provo. She also happens to be Kaitlyn Waters cousin. Seriously she knows or is connected to just about everybody! I guess that is typical for people with Provo roots. It was an awesome experience! She just barely had her 20th birthday. She came to Kiryu to work with Sister Lowry (who was her MTC companion) and me. We had a great time! And somehow the next day I even got all of us back to Urawa for the conference with Elder Ringwood, even though the trains getting there were brutal. LOTS of switches and some big stations. God is good! That's all I can say.

It is a humbling experience being a leader. I feel like a lot of the lessons God has been trying to teach me gradually throughout my mission have all been compounded into one transfer. I think I've become more aware of who I really am as a missionary, and as a person, than ever before on my mission. I feel I am learning more from those I'm supposed to be 'training' than I could possibly be teaching them! It was interesting because although we had a good exchange I didn't really feel like I'd been able to do as much for them as I'd hoped to. I have a big desire to empower them and give them my heart, but I felt kind of unsatisfied. Then at the end of the day, as we were all laying in our futons to sleep, the conversation turned towards the big changes in the Tokyo Mission, and all the new missionaries coming in. I feel the Spirit so strongly whenever we talk about that and I testified to them with all the heart I could spare that they were chosen and prepared for this time, and that I was so impressed with them and their group. I was able to really share how I felt about this mission and about their role in it, and the Spirit touched my soul and I felt that I was finally able to give them what they needed from me that day. It taught me strongly that God knows what these sisters need from me. I may have my own plans and ideas of how to be a training leader, but in reality what I think about it all doesn't matter much. God knows what and who he needs me to be! I've got to trust him, put it in his hands, and do everything I can to invite the Spirit into my life.
 
It's been quite the week. I also got some heavenly tutoring on effective planning and finding....which mainly came through the form of failure in those areas. But Sister Lowry is such an angel! I've been blessed with the sweetest fiery little companion! She is one of those miracles in small packaging! Anyway...amidst a challenging week, God also granted us some big miracles. We had 12 students come to eikaiwa this week!! Including 6 new students. They just kept coming. Then over the weekend we also received 4 referrals from members. 2 from our sweet Bishop's wife, who found the courage to invite some of her friends to hear the gospel, and 2 from the Elder's Quorum President who, when we came to his area and asked where to dendo, sent us off to see two of his friends. So cool.

Okay in closing I'm going to share something else that is really long (sorry) but so worth it to read! This is a quote from Patricia Holland, Elder Holland's beautiful wife.
 
"My greatest misery comes when I feel I have to fit what others are doing, or what I think others expect of me. I am most happy when I am comfortable being me and trying to do what my Father in Heaven and I expect me to be. For many years I tried to measure the oft quiet, reflective, thoughtful Pat Holland against the robust, bubbly, talkative, and energetic Jeff Holland and others with like qualities. I have learned through several fatiguing failures that you can't have joy in being bubbly if you are not a bubbly person. It is a condition of terms. I have given up seeing myself as a flawed person because my energy is lower than Jeff's, and I don't talk as much as he does, nor as fast. Giving this up has freed me to embrace and rejoice in my own manner and personality in the measure of my creation. Somewhere, somehow the Lord has 'blipped the message onto my screen' that my personality was created to fit precisely the mission and talents he gave me. But the moment I indulge myself in imitation of my neighbor, I feel fatigued and find myself swimming forever up stream. We will always have enough resources for being who we are and what we can become."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Like a fire is burning

Happy June...? Wait what? JUNE????
 
That's how I feel about that!
 
So anyway. We had something really awesome happen last week! We taught a combined lesson with Brother Ogiwara, another recent convert, and their home teacher, about missionary work. Although we didn't directly ask them for referrals, we challenged them to pray for missionary opportunities, and to think of a friend who might listen to the gospel. Well...we finished off the week with 3 referrals from Brother Ogiwara!! He had us write letters to two of his friends, introducing ourselves and the church, and set up to bring another one with him to Stake Conference yesterday. We could hardly believe it. He is so cute, too. He met us at the church where we passed him the letters he'd asked us to write, along with other materials he might need, and then off he went to deliver them. After handing off each one he would call us and report how it went. So amazing. He is already such a blessing for this ward!

In other news...Stake Conference was yesterday! Since our ward building isn't big enough to seat the whole stake, they rented out a culture center hall close by. As we walked in the members passing out programs stopped us and asked if we were Kiryu sisters. After confirmation of names they quickly pulled us with them down the hall and told us they were waiting for us on the stage. Apparently I was assigned to translate the meeting into English for Sister Budge. Haha! Surprisingly I haven't had a lot of opportunities to translate on my mission. It was VERY humbling. We did have the miracle of  5 investigators coming to stake conference! Anna, unfortunately, was not feeling well and although we went to her apartment that morning, wasn't able to attend. She sure is having some tough challenges right now. My heart just aches to get her into the gospel where she can feel the safety and peace that comes from our Savior.
 
It's kind of been a scary feeling, recently, feeling like there is a clock hanging over my head, and that I only have so much time to help the people here. I suppose it happens to every missionary, where the urgency of the work lays more heavily on the shoulders as the months roll by. The thought of leaving some of these people before I know they are safely 'in' just tears my heart apart.
 
We found a little family recently named the Kazama's. Maybe I mentioned them already. Anyway the oldest child is a girl and she is 10. She and her siblings come running as soon as we turn our bikes onto their street. We are trying to get them to primary this week, although their parents might not come. I've never really worked with children on my mission until coming to Kiryu. Now we've got two families where the kids love and want to listen to us. We just have to pray their parents follow their example.

Being a trainer and a leader is extremely humbling! Sister Lowry is so easy to be companions with, and her Japanese is just going through the roof. They say you learn the most in the last transfers of your mission, and I'm starting to believe them!

We appreciate and need all your prayers for us and Kiryu!! I feel like there is more...but we need to buy food. So! Off we go! I LOVE YOU.
 
Sister Wylie