I Think I’m Turning Japanese! It’s About Time:)

This is it!  The moment I thought, "I think I'm turning Japanese:)  Mayo tastes great on everything!

This is it! The moment I thought, “I think I’m turning Japanese”. Mayo tastes great on everything:)

My last zone conference.  I just love this girl!

My last zone conference. I just love this girl!

I totally played the accordian...kind of:)

I totally played the accordian…kind of:)

Look at my noble steed withstandn' the winds and tempest!  Know why?  It's because he's build upon the Rock!  It's true!  This is actually Blazer...my new companion is shorter so she is riding Janke Randall:)

Look at my noble steed withstandn’ the winds and tempest! Know why? It’s because he’s build upon the Rock! It’s true! This is actually Blazer…my new companion is shorter so she is riding Janke Randall:)

Message

Konnichiwa!

Hellooooooo Mina san!!!!
SO, this week was pretty fun! We spent a ton of time working with Cho Kyoudai. He has been reading every day from the Book of Mormon this week, only he just has the most interesting ideas about it sometimes. He believes it`s true, but at the same time has some trouble believing that all of what the prophets say is true. SOOOOOO…..WE`RE LEARNING ABOUT PROPHETS TONIGHT AT FHE! Woo!
Another big part of the week was spent preparing for the Thanksgiving party we had on Saturday! We made some super cool pinatas!! One of them was a clown and it looked super legit!!!  The party was SO much fun!!! It was just FULL of nonmembers! Again, way more than members! By the end of the night, our voices were just shot! But it was super cool because about an hour before the party, we stopped by the little 88 year old obaachan`s house to invite her and she was like, `I don`t think so…..` and she was telling us all these excuses like, `I`m too old!` or `I`m a grandpa` or `I`m Buddhist` and we were like 1) you are 88 and still ride a bike everywhere! You`re cool! 2) YOU ARE A GRANDMA! and 3) It`s turkey, not your baputesumakai!!! haha! And we were kinda teasing each other back Iand forth but we told her we would come back for her in an hour and she said she would decide then if she was going or not. So we got to church and quickly decided we needed to Watabe Choro`s charm to convince her to come! hahaha! and guess what!? SHE CAME! and LOVED IT!  I can`t remember if I told you, but she is the champion of talkers! Hands down!  But I had a lot of people I had to go talk to….so as soon as Cho Kyoudai came over, I was like `Heeeey!!! Brother Cho!!! Do you know my friend here!? She`s 88!!! Have a seat!` and she started talking to him and I just kinda bounced out. I looked over like 20 minutes later and she was still goin` and I felt so bad! hahaha! Totally threw him under the bus, but she kept telling me afterwards that it was fate that they met! hahaha! Well done, Brother Cho, well done!
Forgot this last time, shout out to Sister Jarvis!! I finally had my `I think I`m turning Japanese` moment! haha! I figured out the key! So we had a lot of random leftovers and I had to figure out some kind of meal to put together. So it kinda turned out like this – cabbage, 1 1/2 week old refried beans, chicken nugget chunks, and cheese. Then I was like Hmm….what should I put on top? And the first thing that came to mind – MAYONNAISE! Welcome to Japan, my friends! That is like the #1 condiment here! And you know what? It was delicious. In fact, I recommend you all go put some of that together right now! HOWEVER, the mayo here is a little different. But what the heck, just go crazy! It`s great! 😀
Also had a lesson with Ochi Shimai`s neighbor, the really really sweet one who we met last Sunday. SHE PLAYS THE ACCORDION! like CRAZY GOOD! Oh my goodness, it`s nuts! She`s like one of those genious` who taught herself! And can just listen to something and figure it out and play it perfectly! And she`s only been playing 1 year! ah! It was so cool! So we`re meeting with her and she`s so sweet. I love her! and she makes me happy!
I feel like my brain is all over the place. Please forgive me! OH MAN! We also taught one of the craziest people of my life. She kills me, she is so hilarious! We met her outside of a grocery store and she led us to her apartment and I seriously couldn`t understsand a WORD she was saying like the whole time! I don`t think words can sufficiently describe all that went down at that lesson. But…….all I have to say is that she calls us. Every day. Straight up from 7 AM all the way til 10 at night! Her record is 7. We can`t really take all those calls but she just likes to call us and say stuff like, `Hey! I went to karaoke! I`m singing a song! I went 3 times today! Kay bye!` or, `Hey! I`m at the mall! I`m having credit card problems! Kay bye!` and we`re just like `what? okay? bye!? it is always too fast to say anything! hahaha! Oh man……Heavenly Father must just laugh at us sometimes! Or all the time! I hope so, cuz I know I do!
Also, went with Cho Kyoudai to a baptism for the Niihama Shimaitachi`s investigator yesterday! We were running a little late, but God answered my prayer and we were able to see her literally JUST as she was going under the water in the font in the middle of the parking lot! haha! It was awesome and Cho Kyoudai was like `I felt blessings today! I`m jealous of what you have!` and we were like `YOU CAN HAVE IT TOO!` …..it`s a work in progress…..but I know it`s possible!!! He can do it!!! He`s making progress!!
But anyways, it`s been a great great week! and Oh my goodness…..I think this is my last email to you……..this is unreal. What is life? What happened? Oh my goodness!
I don`t even know what to say…
I feel happy in my heart. 🙂 I love Japan. I love my Japanese brothers and sisters. SO MUCH! I still cannot believe how blessed I am to be here, preaching the gospel in Japanese. (even though I totally butcher it haha) It will always have a tender place in my heart. I don`t want to go. As I look back on who I was when I first came to Japan…..it feels like day and night difference, but then again, the same. And then to think that I went through the MTC before THAT, I REALLY can`t rememember who I was before I came on my mission, But I have learned SO much! and I have come to LOVE my Heavenly Father and my Savior and this gospel more than I can explain. Sure, I look back and realize there have been some times where you just have to say a prayer, and rely on His grace, that your best will be enough and He`ll help you make it through – then just hop on your bike and laugh! But I love those times! Just as much as the happiest times in the world when you see the light bulb switch on and people just get it! There`s a scripture I really love that I read this morning! In 2 Nephi 2: 2 Lehi says to his son, `Nevertheless, Jacob, my first-born in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.` I love this! Just because I have learned so much and been able to come to know my Savior so much more through all of the experiences I have been blessed to have and it`s not like I have suffered really, but they have stretched me and tried me and helped strengthen my faith and my determination to serve my God to the end! All those hard times and challenges – the joy is WAY GREATER than them. A MILLION TIMES GREATER! I have never been happier than on my mission, sharing the gospel with others! And it doesn`t have to stop after the mission! It can continue! This work doesn`t stop! This is the Lord`s work! And we can all feel that joy as we strive to share the gospel with our famly and friends and uplift those in our wards and branches and serve others! Ah! It just makes me excited!
I don`t have much time left so I have to go! But I love you all!
You`re all rockstars.
Don`t forget it!
Ai shite iru yo!…..oh that makes me sad. Last one….
Howard Shimai
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“Foo-she-gee” Things are happening in Imabari!

Message

Dearest Everyone,

Get some popcorn and get all comfy cozy, cuz oh my GOODNESS this week was CRAZY and I have so much to tell you and I am just……dying already at how I`m gonna tell you all this! I wish all of you could have been here with me this week! IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!!! One of the coolest on my mission! Just the little things! and the big things! and ALL the things that strengthen my testimony that God is in our lives and EVERYONE`S lives EVERY.DAY.  Heavenly Father is just the best!
P.S. MOM! Thank you for my package!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are the best too and I shall share all of my American goods with the beautiful Imabarians! haha!
Here I go!
On Tuesday, we realized we had a sweet day of finding up ahead of us, so we set out for this college, but there wasn`t really anyone there, so we figured we would try some nearby apartments. But after the first apartment complex, I felt this little baby prompting to go to the eki (train station) so I told Itabashi Shimai and we said a little prayer.  We both felt good about it and set out for the eki! It was a little slow at first, but we ended up finding 3 potential investigators and one of them came to Eikaiwa and we were texting another one and he said he wanted to try to come to church!! (He is a cute little old man/bus driver!) It was an awesome blessing from the Lord! And way fun talking to so many people! And it wouldn`t be a day of finding without at least ONE man coming up and telling me I should get married and move to Japan for the rest of my life. Funny thing is, he didn`t indicate WHO I should marry! He walked away after we had whipped out the Book of Mormon, but he was just standing from afar watching us as we were handing out Eikaiwa flyers and I looked over and he was shouting out to me, `I ruh-boo yoo!`  over and over again, (which, if you don`t get the accent, means I LOVE YOU!) Ah…….yeah….that`s the new pickup line these days! Don`t hide those feelings, let `em out! hahaha! Oh man, love being a missionary!
ON ANOTHER NOTE! Wednesday was awesome! COOLEST LESSON OF MY LIFE WITH AKIYAMA KYOUDAI !!! So we went over with the Watabe`s and sat down and had a lesson and OH MY GOSH! They just work magic. They really do! He just fell in love with them, just like we all do! After the lesson he goes, `If I come to the Thanksgiving party, will I see them?` and I just laughed and said, `Yeah, they`ll be there too!` hahaha almost 40 year old man, just waiting on the edge of his seat for the next time he gets to party with the fufu!! Love it!  But SERIOUSLY it was the COOLEST! So we were reviewing the story of Zeezrom we shared in the last lesson from the Book of Mormon and HE FINALLY GOT IT! He goes, `OH! So I need faith in Jesus Christ to change!` AH! It was SO cool! And just I can`t even explain to you the Spirit in that room! I never wanted it to end! The whole thing! I wish I could fully explain/describe just how it felt but I don`t know how to do it justice. Akiyama Kyoudai is just a REALLY special guy. He LOVES his family SO much! And he has the MOST humble heart in the world! His progress is AMAZING! Truly a miracle! And it was cool because we just kind of stumbled upon the scripture we shared in study earlier that morning and we were like, we need to share this! (Mosiah 5:7-8), So we did and he was like asking about the meaning and what we were `freed` from and Watabe Choro (like a champ) goes, `It means you can be free from drinking and smoking` KAPOW! like a lightning bolt! SO BOLD! And Akiyama Kyoudai just goes, `Ohhhhhh….` and then shared with us how he really felt the temptation in his life and how it felt like he was not free and the scripture just like perfectly related to him and the discussion was AMAZING! and we hadn`t even got into the Word of Wisdom yet and Watabe Choro goes, `So how many beers are you drinking every day?` And me and Itabashi Shimai are just like whoa whoa whoa! This is crazy fast! and Akiyama Kyoudai tells him and Watabe Choro just goes, `Let`s bring it down to ___ cans a day` like PACHOW! Again, FEARLESS! and it was SO COOL and Akiyama Kyoudai was all on board and it just kept goin` on like that and MAN! The joy of seeing someone accept the gospel and just run with it is the BEST THING IN THE WORLD! High fives all around! Needless to say, we had a little dance party at the church when we got back and the chorotachi were just like, `what happened!?` CONVERSION! THE HOLY GHOST! THE GOSPEL HAPPENED! EVERYTHING!
So…..on top of that, remember how I told you about Brother Cho? Oh my gosh, it is just straight up FUSHIGI!!! that is pronounced foo-she-gee. meaning mysterious. but acutally I know that it is totally Heavenly Father ALL the WAY which is just exciting! He is like changing in just one week! It`s nuts! So Cho Kyoudai is this guy who likes to…I don`t want to say fight everything you say, cuz that`s not what he`s doing but he just likes to……kind of challenge everything/figure it out for himself. Which is good! It is way good! He learns for himself that way! It just takes a lot of listening to the way he thinks and after he kind of explains it to you, we both kind of realize that we`re actually on the same page! I really love him! He`s a good guy! But he has just been ON FIRE this week! In lots of little ways that have all added up to be AWESOME PROGRESSION!  Like texting us ALL the time with questions he`s been thinking of and finding the answers to! We met with him in some way or another almost every day this week, whether it be eikaiwa or service or a lesson or church or just texting. And every time he wants to talk about the gospel! CHECK THIS OUT ON FRIDAY! This made me just want to sing all the way home after this lesson! So we have a lesson at the branch president`s house with him and his wife and Cho Kyoudai. And we`re talking about eternal life and Moses 1:39 and we open up to D&C 14:7 about how eternal life is the #1 greatest gift from God and Cho Kyoudai goes, `No it`s not. This is.` And he picks up the triple combination and I`m just like, `That`s pretty great that you love the scriptures that much but….that`s what they tell us…` And we were just trying to help him understand how awesome eternal life is and the conversation keeps going on and I remembered the scripture in Moroni 7:41 so we read that and I shared how I liked how it talked about how we can have hope for eternal life because of Jesus Christ`s Atonement and it`s just kind of quiet and we don`t really know what else to say and so we pause and I`m just like, `So…do you have any q`s or parts you don`t understand?` And he goes, `No, I understand….only….I was wrong. the greatest gift from God…..is JESUS CHRIST!` *and the crowds go WILD!!! WOOO!!!!* oh my goodness, seriously we all just got these GIANT smiles on our faces like OH MY GOODNESS HE GOT IT! Oh it was SOOO COOOOL! Wow, nothing can beat that! It was so cool how he learned that through the Spirit, all on his own, none of us said anything. THAT`S THE POWER OF THE BOOK OF MORMON! It teaches them with the Holy Ghost, things that we just can`t! Oh, so cool! P.S. found out on Sunday that he started reading the Book of Mormon everyday on his own! And got texts yesterday about it and all that he`s learning and whoo! The man makes me happy!
Also, HILARIOUS story to go with that lesson! So we heart attacked the branch president a few weeks ago for his bday. We were a little shaky on his address, but it had the same kanji written on the name plate so we figured it was safe!  But usually Japanese people are like way diligent in saying thank you anytime you ever do anything. but he didn`t say anything ever so we just decided to think optimistic and figured he was busy and forgot to say anything, no big deal!  Then we had the lesson at his house and we show up same time as Cho Kyoudai on our bikes and he`s like, `What are you doing? This is his house here.` and we`re like, `no it`s not, it`s this one.` and he`s like, `I`ve been here before. it`s this one.` (the house next door) and we just look at each other like shoooooooooot! hahahaha no WONDER! so Itabashi Shimai goes, `should we say anything?` and I`m like `no way man, just let it go!` so we walk in and sit down at the table and sitting on the table are allllllll of our hearts and the candy we left him and I was like `Hey!!!!! You got our hearts! …….How!?…. we got the wrong address…` and he goes, `Yeah, that`s not my house…..that`s my mom`s` and we were busting up laughing and telling him about what just went on outside his house/debating the address Cho Kyoudai/also debating whether or not we should say anything and he goes, `Yeah, so one other thing…… these all say happy bday on them but……..it`s not my birthday….` and oh.my.gosh! we just started BUSTING UP LAUGHING SO HARD I WAS CRYING!  Like oh NOW you tell us!? hahahaha it was so funny! yeah, you know how I just love to keep my reputation! It was way good!  Anyways, I learned a lot from that lesson. Mainly, TRUST IN GOD! Let Him help. He will. 🙂 He always does. 
Also, another miracle. Ochi Shimai just had a new woman move into the apartment complex she owns right by her house! She is the cutest girl in the world! She looks like she`s 17. But she`s 37. Seriously thought she said seventeen when she told us her age! But cool miracle! Ochi Shimai invited her join in on our FHE`s from here on and she agreed and so we figured we would go stop by and try to share a message and we came JUST at the time she was about to leave!  She was super sweet and was like, Let`s go inside and talk and so we did with her and Ochi Shimai and it was great!  And super super mysterious, but somehow she knows one hymn and it just happens to be `In Our Lovely Deseret` which is TOTALLY a Mormon song and she had all the lyrics down and we were like droppin` jaws and stuff but it was cool and she became a new investigator and SO COOL! 
I know the Lord leads and guides us! He guides this work! It never stops! I don`t ever want to stop sharing the gospel! Even when my mission is done, I want to do all I can to continue on and share the gospel! It is for everyone! God wants EVERYONE home! LET`S DO IT! Kamisama to tomo ni ganbarimasho!!! (Let`s work hard with God!)
Love you! 
Howard Shimai

I was a Samurai in the Preexistence…Can’t you Tell!

The stache is back!

The stache is back!  (My District…the Amazing Watabe’s are in the front on the right!)

Me and Brother Watabe harvesting the biggest sweet potatoes ever!

Me and Brother Watabe harvesting the biggest sweet potatoes ever!

Fish Snacks...those two words just don't go together!

Fish Snacks…those two words just don’t go together!

Konnichiwhaddup Family!?

THIS WEEK HAS JUST FLOWN BY!! Oh my goodness, it`s CRAZY!!! But really fun! and full of just….hilariousness! I gotta tell you! haha!
SO
Last monday, we went to a flower park with the Watabe`s and that was just a party! I love them so much, it`s nuts! I don`t know what I will do without them in my life! I hope they move back to America after their mission is over! But there was this way crazy roller slide and we wanted to go down SO bad, but…….skirts. We were FOOLS and forgot pants!!!! Who does that!? haha! Not Watabe Shimai. She`s wise. She wore pants, and therefore, went down the giant roller slide and I thought she was going to break her body or something but she made it and we were all very jelly (all of us being me and Itabashi Shimai) and she is now my hero. haha! Anyways, the leaves are changing and so it was super beautiful!!!
Then we had family home evening, and one of our investigators has been in China for this past month, but he`s here now (he`s Chinese) but his Japanese name is Cho and he`s 20 and so he came and I really like Cho. He`s awesome! We used to called him Cho san. But this week, we have all officially spiritually leveled up to Cho KYOUDAI!!! (It just means Brother Cho instead of Mr. Cho) haha! Sometimes when he`s not around we refer to him as Bro Cho. I like that one best but……ANYWAYS! We had a good lesson on prayer. HE`S DOING SO GOOD!
Tuesday was a solid day of missionary work!  Cool experience though, we went to visit the 23 yr old we met a few weeks ago.  He was the one wearing the sparkly t-shirt. I shall call him Brother Cool because he just seems like a cool guy! So it was like 8 at night and super super cold, but he came out and talked to us for like at least 30 minutes, maybe more! He was so cold! I felt bad, but we ended up just talking and apparently he`s been talking with one of his friends about whether or not God is real and we ended up sharing Joseph Smith`s First Vision and it was awesome! And talking about the ways we know God exists. It was interesting to hear the way he thinks, but he`s SO open to listening and he`s pretty receptive! He still has doubts about whether or not God exists but we decided to show him `Because of Him` on his phone and it was AWESOME! Man, I get chills every time I see that! You could just tell he felt the Spirit! And afterwards he was sharing how it helped him feel more positive about God!!! He has some pretty good potential!! Super excited to see him again!! Definitely a blessing from the Lord! Oh we also visited a little old lady in the branch with the Watabes and had a mini lesson and I didn`t understand like a word she was saying the whole time bahahaha! You`d think I`d be over those experiences at this point but nope! Still happens all the time! hahaha!
Wednesday, spent some good time with Akiyama Kyoudai. He is just the man. I love that guy! If only we could just get him to come to church one time!!! He would be sold on going every week!! It`s still a work in progress, but his heart is just IN it!! We shared `Because of Him` with him too and afterwards he just goes, `Wow….I`m going to watch this video every time I am troubled or sad and I will be comforted.` and I was like YES!! Oh my goodness, if you haven`t see that video, WATCH IT! I hope whoever made that knows all the lives they are blessing!!
Thursday we spent most of the helping out Ochi Shimai`s 80 something year old dad harvest his sweet potatoes! Now THAT was fun! Watabe Choro was shoveling way hard, but we were all afraid he was going to throw out his back again so he just started rolling around in the bug invested vines/leaves while we were all digging! It was hilaroius! Cho Kyoudai came to that, too! Good times! Then Ochi Shimai`s nonmember dad ended up coming to church this Sunday! Whoo! Dendo through service! So that was pretty cool!
Friday, was zone training meeting in Matsuyama! Which took most of the day with travel, so afterwards we went straight to a pizza party at Ochi Shimai`s house and Cho Kyoudai came and we talked about eternal life. He has some pretty great questions, he does. WHICH WE SHALL ANSWER TONIGHT! Stay tuned! But yeah, that was hilaroius because Ochi Shimai asked us a few days ago what kinda pizza we should make and Itabashi Shimai told her Hawaiian! And that it has ham and pineapple on top! So we get there and there are these GIANT chunks of pineapple on the table and whole mini hot dogs! hhehehe! like just to put a whole hot dog on your pizza! It was hilarious! It took a couple tries to communicate that you cut them first! 😀 Ah, Japan! You`re the best!
Saturday was hilarious because we met just the funniest little grammie ever! I may have mentioned her earlier but she is the amazing painter who just let us into her house the first time we came! Anyways, she let us in this second time and we just brought over some pictures of Jesus that we thought she would like to look at because she likes art and man, that turned into like 2 hours of just a bunch of crazy! hahaha! I understood MAYBE 15% of that whole thing! She speaks the craziest ben (dialect) you have ever heard! She is just so so funny! She is 88 years old and just as genki as can be! Not even kidding! But she lives alone and we must have heard every life story she had! I love her though! I just had to finally picture her as my own grandma and be comfortable enough to be like `Grandma! Hey! I want to tell you something!` Because there is just none of those natural pauses in the convesation for you to speak! hahaha! But amazingly, she somehow switched the conversation over to God and in the midst of hearing her stories about the Japanese mafia and all that good stuff, she was sharing with us about how she had felt His guidance in her life and it was awesome! She was pretty funny though, at one point (because she was talking about the pre-earth life…I could understand that!  haha!) she goes, `In the pre-earth life I was a samurai!` and I just started laughing! and was like, `Really!?` and she goes, `Yes! Can`t you tell!?` Oh man, she`s just too stinkin` cute! Itabashi Shimai and I just looked at each other like..`Oh boy, another day…another day` haha!
Man, I seriously LOVE my mission! Every day is a new adventure!
I love the Lord. I love the Book of Mormon. It is so powerful. We have a new mission goal, to read the Book of Mormon as a mission by February! And I am beyond stoked! We are highlighting three things – 1) anytime we see God`s name or Jesus Christ`s name
2) all characteristics of the Godhead and 3) anytime one of the members of the Godhead speaks
I know the Book of Mormon is true. Since I`ve been on my mission, I don`t really know how to explain it, but the words and the meaning have just….taken on a deeper meaning than before. And I don`t know that that could have happened had I not gone on a mission. They just resonate in a different way in my heart. and I am so grateful for the eternal truths that it teaches. I know the Book of Mormon is truly a gift from God and evidence that He lives and loves us.
I invite you all to read it! Every day, even just for 5 minutes – just long enough for you to feel the Holy Ghost and receive that genkiness from heaven every day! It will change your life!
Ai shite iru yo!
Howard Shimai

My Heart is Full of Happiness!

Halloween Party with Kokone Chan.  How cute is she!

Halloween Party with Kokone Chan. How cute is she!

Itabashi Shimai..my new companion I'm training.  She's awesome!  I just love her!

Itabashi Shimai..my new companion I’m training. She’s awesome! I just love her!

The nasty fish that my Itabashi Shimai made me eat!  Can you see the eyes!

The nasty fish that Itabashi Shimai made me eat! Can you see the eyes!

The pink pickled garlic Itabashi Shimai had to eat...muahaha!

The pink pickled garlic Itabashi Shimai had to eat…muahaha!

Dear Family….You’re all my family 🙂

How are you? Oh man, life’s crazy! So so crazy….this week was really good! Very busy, but I love it! I love Itabashi Shimai so much! She is just the happiest person ever! And so chill! No big deal racing to appointments, having 10 minutes to eat lunch while planning the next lesson! Shoot, she’s just so good and teaching with her is the best! She bears some powerful testimony! I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I know I am so blessed to be with her! Always a good day! Sometimes it makes me nervous to speak Japanese because she’s fluent but she helps me out! It’s fun!

Other things that happened this week, HALLOWEEN! That was a party! We actually had our church party on Halloween! Way fun! Lots of prep for that this week, but totally worth it! Almost everyone who came were nonmembers!!!! How cool is that!? I was a Care Bear 🙂 Ochi Shimai had a costume that I borrowed. Booyah! haha! and Itabashi Shimai was a cat/fox…..she couldn’t decide! But AWESOME turnout! And one mom from children’s eikaiwa, (English class), came with her kids and she ended up inviting us to a trunk or treat thing on Sunday after church so we went to that with her. It helped our image as missionaries I think! One guy came up to us at the end and goes, “Hey thanks for not being mean!”  I was like What???  What does that even mean?? “You’re welcome!”  Well shoot! I’m glad he thinks we’re not mean! Anyways, that was funny.  Then at the end, we gave the mom a picture of Jesus with a scripture about blessing the children on the back and she was so happy to receive it!!! It felt so good to have someone be happy to receive a picture of Jesus! Small and simple things…..our hope is to be able to start sharing little messages with her family!!

Itabashi Shimai and I challenged each other to eat nasty things……oh boy…..haha! That was fun! I got her some nasty pink pickled garlic! That was pretty bad  Muahaha! But hers was worse for me! (or so I think…she eats them on the daily..hahaha!) But they were called like okaka flavored shirasu…….basically sticky mini fish with the eyes and bones……..mmmmmmm! Gotta love it! Can’t say I loved it but…….mah! It was fine!  If I didn’t know it was whole baby fish it would have been a little cooler though hahaha!

One of the Elders ended up showing some potential investigators this short clip called, “Because of Him” It was the first time I’d ever seen it and it was all in Japanese so I couldn’t really read the kanji but, I cannot explain to you how much I love that video……I got chills. Oh my goodness, it just reminded me how much I love Jesus Christ. I love Jesus! He just fills my heart!!! I know He lives! I know He is our Savior and our Redeemer! I love Heavenly Father! I know He knows us! He knows our hearts! He knows my heart. I know He desires our happiness! We are all a part of His family and He wants us all home! I’m so grateful for Jesus Christ and His Atonement! I know those words are true, through Christ, we can start again! We can find peace! And healing! And Happiness! And Life. I want to follow Him. Whatever comes. No matter what happens. I will follow Him.

I love this gospel. Everyone, please, go check out that video! It’s called Because of Him. I promise, you will feel His love.

Love,
Howard Shimai

I Love Being A Missionary!

Message

Konnichiwa!!!!!

SHOUT OUT TO JUSTIN HOWARD! CONGRATS ON YOUR PILOTS LICENSE!!!! You da bomb! I know just where you should take your first big flight to! NIHON! Holla! haha! Anyways, super happy for you!
So this week was just….CRAZY, but really good!
HEY! Check out this sweet tender mercy/answer to my prayer that just happened like 10 minutes ago!!!! So we left the apartment to set out for our preparation day adventures!! And we said a prayer, as always, and in the prayer, I prayed that if we could find anyone to invite to church or eikaiwa or the halloween party that God would guide us or them to each other. And we set out to go the bank, but we stop at the market. So we`re chillin` there, like, `Dang! These bananas are so cheap!` And then this little old lady comes up and is like `Hello! How are you! You teach English?!` And we`re just like `Whoa! Yeah! Well we`re missionaries for the church, but we also teach English!` And basically she was just like I`M COMING! LET ME TEACH YOU MY NUMBER! and I swear there was a little chorus of angels singing `Haaaallelujaaah!` in the background or somethin` haha! And she was like, `and I live over here! and you should come visit me! I`ll give you candy! And chocolate! and ice cream! Ice cream is good! I`ll see you Wednesday! I`m fine thank you, how are you!?` And all this was said at like a million miles an hour all very jumbled up and I was like, Itabashi Shimai, are you getting this!? hahaha it was nuts, but SERIOUSLY no doubt an answer to my prayers!!!! Ah, so so cool! Thank you Heavenly Father!!! Anywho….just wanted to share with you! 😀 so cool!
So my new companion!!!!!! Her name is Itabashi Shimai!!!! She is ADORABLE! She is half Nihonjin, half American (born and raised in Japan, but spent highschool and 1 year of college in the states) so she is fluent in both Japanese and English and she is just ….THE COOLEST! She is SO genki and has just the most positive attitude in the world! Even yesterday after like 5 hours of straight planning!!! I love her and am so happy to be with her! Fun fact, she loves nato – those are fermented soy beans…the kind that tastes/looks like boogers…..hahahaha! dirty! But we decided that today when we go to the grocery store later, we are going to each pick out something nasty and make the other one eat it….muahaha! let the games begin! But yeah, she`s awesome and super tiny so we had to switch bikes. And lower her seat to the lowest setting…..and her toes just BARELY touch the floor. Stopping is just a little scary but……shikata ga nai! No other way! hahaha! She`s a super hard worker! Stoked for this transfer!
So this week! Ah, just nuts! We spent a good part of the week as a san nin (that means three-some) because Bevan Shimai (from Matsuyama) killed off her companion on Tuesday. So that was way fun! Tuesday we were just going from place to place, nonstop, trying to say goodbye/share messages before Harris Shimai left! But there`s nothing more satisfying than working all day and just being out! We met with Soup Shimai and she`s doing SO well! It`s like…too much to explain but just…….she`s good. Really good. I`m so happy to see her progress! OH! Hilarious lesson with Shirley, too! Oh man, that little old grandma just cracks.me UP! She just LOVES talking about her health and it is just the funniest thing in the world!  Sometimes she just talks about things that make your eyes all big and you`re like WHAT!?  Like mammograms….and falling asleep on the toilet…..oh shoot, I`ll leave it at that, but seriously…..I was dying laughing. It was a great lesson and a great opportunity to help her see that going at her own pace is totally okay and help her find some similarities between what she believes and about Jesus Christ. All in all, she`s doin` well! and we learned to be careful with the questions we ask about her health hahahaha! But yeah, Tuesday was just crazy, and at the end of the day, I remember just thinking like, `Oh my gosh….how did we just do all that?` And I know it`s because of the Lord. So grateful for the strength He gave me to do all of that and not be overwhelmed/still feel the Spirit and be happy. Truly His power!
Wednesday was much like Tuesday! AWESOME LESSON WITH AKIYAMA KYOUDAI!!!!! Oh MAN! So that day it was just pouring!! But Bevan Shimai had no kappa and she was just soaking! Props to her for staying genki through it all! And even though Harris Shimai and I had kappas we were still soaked too! But, the beauty of the san nin is that we can go inside houses with just a man, so we were able to have a lesson inside Akiyama Kyoudai`s house instead of his genkan and it was GREAT! We read and talked about Mosiah 3 together and he just comes with the BEST questions  and really thinks about it and he`s just the coolest guy ever! And the conversation just naturally led to exercising our faith and the different ways we do, and we started talking about going to church for the first time and HE WANTS TO COME TO CHURCH!!!! Oh MAN! It was totally awesome and his desire is there and I know that he can do it! The only thing is that his wife if Buddhist and he really wants to share this with her, but they kind of get into arguments when they talk about religion and Sunday is their family day…so he has to ask his wife about going to church. But he has shared with us the coolest experiences about prayer and receiving guidance before so we invited him to pray and ask God about what he should say to wife/how he should go about it and he was like YEAH! I`LL DO IT! And he`s just making so much progress and life is just happy! I love the Lord!
Also, had dinner at the Watabe`s that night as a bye bye to the missionaries transferring out and they become my best friends more and more each day. They also checked our apartment today for a cleaning inspection and all morning I could hear Watabe Choro`s voice in my head going, `I`m kibishii yo!!!!` (meaning I`m strict!) and so I spent 40 mintues SCRUBBING that shower shiny clean for him!!! hahaha! Makes me laugh! It IS beautiful though….you could lick it or something….but I wouldn`t..it`s not that clean…haha!
Thursday, we visited an investigator with a member in the morning and had some good chats..then spent from noon on traveling. First to Matsuyama to drop off Bevan Shimai and pick up Bean Shimai. Then to Okayama. Then waited to switch off, said goodbye to Harris Shimai and went off with two other shimai who are training to go to Akashi. Oh snap, mom, if only you were there. We were just….gettin` lost all over the place! Trains are gnarly here! 😀 But way fun! And so we finally made it to the Akashi apartment by like 10 that night!! Then woke up the next day and took a train to Kobe! And received some of the coolest training of my life. The spirit was so great in that meeting. And met our trainees!!!!! And like I said, Itabashi Shimai is just the coolest ever! Finding the bus on the way home from Kobe was adventurous too, but we made it back by like 9 that night! I`m so broke!!! But it`s okay 🙂 She was such a good sport with all the travel! Lots of good talkin` time! Man…I do not feel like an 11th transfer missionary at all….I feel like a baby…..what is this life!? haha!
Hmm….and I think I`ll just leave it at that! But anyways, it was fun and I`ve been learning a lot this week!
I really love studying about the Savior. As I was studying for an investigator this week, I had the chance to study Alma 7:11-13 again and I just love it. This time the word `succor` stands out to me. It says Christ will succor us `according to [our] infirmities.` And I think before when I read that, I don`t think I really understood the meaning of infirmities, either. I always had a different image of them being like insecurities or things like that. But when I read it this time, I took it to mean, `weakness.` He took upon Himself our weakness, that He may be filled with mercy and know how to succor or HELP us overcome our weakness. He knows our weakness, because He`s felt it! and He knows how to help us overcome it! He calls upon the `weak things of the world` to preach His gospel! Ah man, I love that! He will truly help us if we rely on Him and His Atonement! I`m so grateful for Jesus Christ!
Well, hope you all have a good week! Party on! Share the gospel with EVERYONE! Just get crazy!
Love,
Howard Shimai

Janky Randall Strikes Again!

Hello Hello Hello!!

OH MY GOODNESS GUESS WHAT!? I`M TRAINING!!!! A new bean chan! Wahoo! It`s going to be a tender goodbye with Harris Shimai. These past 6 weeks have FLOWN by!!! I love her so so so much! But she`s going to Nara and she`s gonna have a party with all the bowing deer, so it`s okay! 😀 But oh my gosh! I am so excited!!!!! I can`t wait! ….what if my new comp is Nihonjin??……oh snap…..well I guess we`ll just have to see!! I love new missionaries, though! They just send my dendo fire through the ROOF! Partay in Imabaray!!! HOLLA! 😀
Haha so…..THIS WEEK! `Twas of week of learning….basically what happened was we met with a quite a few investigators…but unfortunately, much of it was building relationship stuff rather than teaching and we passed up some solid opportunities! Bummer! But it was good because we could learn from it and make some goals for this week! Don`t get me wrong, I love being friends with people! It`s one of the best parts of missionary life, BUT, I want to help them come unto Christ!!!!!! And so this week, GANBARIMASU!!!
So guess what!? We`ve been trying to friendship our neighbors in the apartments next to us and we know that one of them has a 10 year old girl who likes English and the past couple weeks have just been us passing goods back and forth between the two of us! 😀 And every now and then, it will be like a `Hey, why don`t you come over and talk to my daughter and teach her English!` and we`re like, `Yes!! Anytime!` And finally we exchanged emails! And then last Monday, she called us over and we did a little mini eikaiwa and introduced our role as missionaries and it was SO fun and she said we could come back, so we`re starting the half English/half Gospel program with them and we`re going back over tonight and I`m so so excited!!!! It`s going to be a party!
P.S. so in Japanese, to say fashionable, you say, `Oshare!` and as we were leaving, she goes, `Howard Shimai! You`re so oshare!` (Now take into account that I wear the same black skirt EVERY Day..well pretty much, from the sister missionary mall and it was after that crazy typhoon we had that day, so I looked like a mess, head to toe and I was like WHAT!? Noo!   So she asked me where I shopped and I just laughed……oh man….it did put a little pep in my step. Oshare……..oh, if only🙂
ANYWHO! So….this week we went on kokans with the Sister Training Leaders. I stayed in Imabari with Heimuli Shimai (she`s Hawaiin) and it was WAY fun! But didn`t go anything like how we planned! haha! So basically we had this beautiful, lesson filled day planned, but many people had to cancel, but it`s okay! We just went with it and visited members/tried to show some love/found as we went! The best part is that I was telling her about how janky my bike is and how every time you ride over a big bump, the chain just falls off and sure enough, on the way over to an appointmentwe were in a bit of a rush and went over just like a normal curb and the chain falls off! Yosh! So I fix it, no big deal, wash my hands in a Circle K (almost forget I`m still wearing my helmet as I go inside, but she reminded me just before haha! I was like, `Dang, you shouldn`t have said anything, that would have been way funny!` So we get back on and like 10 minutes later it falls off again! So I fix it again and keep going, figure I`ll wash my hands when we get to the appointment.  Then about 2 minutes later (we`re only like 3 minutes away from her house at this point) the back of the chain pops off so I fix that….THEN LIKE 30 SECONDS LATER the chain pops off completely AGAIN! and at this point, we are both just busting up laughing! and I am like, `Oh come ON Janky Randall! Be good to me man!` And I`m just like, `Let`s just walk it, we`re so close!`  And I start to walk it and she goes, `Shimai! Your chain!` and I look back and it was just dragging on the floor!!! hahahaha! Oh MAN! So I killed my bike this week!  That was a party….especially because we had an appointment after that at the church and then had to be at the eki after that….but ….it all worked out! 😀 And one of the members gave us ride because she`s a champ and then it just so happens that the Elders were at the eki at the same time, going to a different thing and so they left us their bikes to ride home that night once I picked up Harris Shimai again! But ohhhh man did I learn my lesson of grattitude! I love Janky Randall! The Elders were like, `whoever rides the green bike, don`t stand up on the bike unless you want to die.` Oh sweet….and then I got on the blue bike and the back breaks would NOT work! And I started messing with the gears in the dark and didn`t know how to fix them so that got exciting and there was no basket on the front to steady me so it quickly became like 5th grade again, steering into bushes and cars and what not and my skirt was getting all caught up hahahaha! Never a scarier bike ride in my life! But it was hilarious! So we took their bikes and rode to church to teach Soup Shimai! And it was AWESOME!!! We studied John 15:9-15 together. It`s one of my favorites and it was just…..so so good!
Anways, great exhange and I learned this way cool new way to invite people in lessons and I`m stoked to do it more from now on!! Way powerful!
Also, hilarious moment on our bikes, I was starting to tell Harris Shimai a story and I go, `So when I was a teenager..` And I just stop and was like, `whoa……..what the heck? /did I just say that!?` And we both just started laughing hahaha! #grayhairsandbackpains #thesenkyoshilife#shindoiwa
Also, went housing out in the boonies one day. But managed to find one random house with a pink motorcycle out in front with `Victoria`s Secret` logo on it. That made me laugh real hard! bahahaha! so random…like what!?
Also, MIRACLES!!! So, we met this guy from Nigeria a few weeks back and on Sunday morning on the way to church we see him on the opposite side of the street.  He was on his way to Catholic mass, but he ended up coming for like the last 5 minutes of our church! Woo! So we decided to whip out one of the talks from conference and watch it with him and the Elders. We watched the one from Elder Bednar on why we want to share this message with everyone and it was SO good!!! We went from a contact on the street to `I really like that you`re sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone -the people who don`t know Him and the people who can know Him even more.` it was awesome! He was way open to meeting and again and hearing the message!!! He goes, `I promise you this,  Anytime I can meet with you, I will come and hear your message.` IT WAS SO COOL! To which we promised him blessings and it was just this big promising fest and it was so cool!!! But…I think the Elders will start teaching him.
Then we had some apartments in mind last night that we had seen the night before and wanted to try housing. So we did! And GUESS WHAT!? We found 2 people there who said we could come back and share more!!! MIRACLE!! Heavenly Father leads His children! It was awesome!  Also we were contacting this one 23 year old guy and he was saying about how he doesn`t believe in God/anyone telling him what to do. And we were like, yeah, we all get to make our own choices, but what if you had someone to help you and guide you to make the right choices? And he was like YABAKU NARU! (like, `that would be CRAY` seriously basically the translation) and I just started laughing, it was so funny! Anyways, he`s one of the people who said we could come again and I can honestly see him being just totally golden with the elders! whoo!
Spiritual thought: Luke 9:23 `..Let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily..` I LOVE that! Daily! How important it is to remember and recommit ourselves each and every day to choose Jesus Christ and follow Him. `By small and simple means are great things brought to pass`!!!! Live it up! Everyday with the Savior! He invites us to `walk with Him!` Will we choose to follow? I know you will! You`re all rockstars!
Much love! Ai shite iru yo!
Howard Shimai

Typhoons, Spiders and Missionary Work!

A visit to one of the most beautiful beaches ever!

A visit to one of the most beautiful beaches ever!

The special pancakes Harris Shimai made us to celebrate being companions.  I just love her.

The special pancakes Harris Shimai made us to celebrate being companions. I just love her.

Message

Oh Hey There!!!

So it is currently typhooning like CUH-RAZY right now!!! I`m serious, on the way over here, a bush hit me in the face and I was just praying I would not get blown away!  Talk about adventure enough for a lifetime…..but we gotta get home somehow so ….woo! Round 2 here I come!
We went to the BEACH last monday!!!! Ah, heaven!! And then got some Baskin Robbins. 🙂 made me happy! Then the weekly FHE at Ochi Shimai`s house! Good day!
Tuesday, was SO GOOD! So, we decided to fast for one of our investigators, Soup Shimai, and seek revelation on how to help her. That morning study ended up being one of the coolest personal studies ever! It was awesome! I know Heavenly Father was definitely answering my prayers! It was a great day! We like weren`t even hungry like AT ALL! We were just going along, working and it was so good! Oh so we had a lesson with Shirley that afternoon and went back to follow up about prayer.(which by the way, she was SUPER surprised to see us because she thought we had gone back to America for some reason and so she was so happy the whole lesson, saying over and over again, `I`m so happy! I thought I`d never see you again!` it was tender) She seemed like she was all good, so we asked her to say the opening prayer and she was like, `No no, I`m embarrassed! Let`s say them individually!` And before we could say anything, it quickly turned into a repeat of last week – awkwardly long prayers in silence, not knowing how to end it hahaha! Then Harris Shimai`s faithful coughs broke her out of her silence and we continued. It was pretty funny! But anyways, we talked about Jesus Christ and she was understanding so well! Then we invited her to pray to know if Jesus Christ is the Son of God and she was like, `I can`t! I don`t know what to say!` So we were like, `Well, what if Harris Shimai demonstrates and then you try?` and she goes, Okay! So Harris Shimai starts out, `Heavenly Father,` and Shirley goes, `Heavenly Father` and we both look up just like, What? and Harris Shimai continues, `We`re thankful that we could meet today.` And Shirley continues, `Thank you very much.` And we both are still confused, but as she goes on and we both finally realize that she started to follow Harris Shimai word for word and Harris Shimai started slowing down for her and only saying like 2 words at a time. So it turned into this really tender prayer, like when you help little kids pray and it was adorable and she did it and asked if Jesus Christ was the Son of God and it just made me all warm inside! She was a rockstar! Anyways….good part of the day!  We had a lesson with Soup Shimai that night and it was good. 🙂 I think what I learned most from fasting was that it really strengthened my love for her and helped me learn a lot more about how to help her. YOSH! (it means sweet in Japanese)
Wednesday was a day of happiness! We had a lesson with Yano Shimai, a less active, and the Watabe`s. I LOVE teaching repentance!!! ISo cool thing, we were out working and we had like 30 minutes and we could have easily gone back to church and taken language study but we were like, `Let`s keep working! We haven`t had very much time to just be outside talking to people today!` So we did and we didn`t really find anyone, BUT a new guy about 24 years old came to Eikaiwa and afterwards I went up to talk to him. and it started out just casual conversation, then I invited him to church this weekend. He was cool with it, but had a friend coming into town from Tokyo so he couldn`t but I was telling him about the half Eikaiwa/half gospel program we do and he just kinda joked about church and praying and it was kinda a quiet moment.and then out of nowhere he goes, `I always wondered about why we are here.` and I was like !!!!!!! Nooooo way!!!!!! But casually was just like, `Oh really!? Well…..through this church I have found the answer to that question!! I can share it with you!` And he was like `You`re lying!` And I was like `No, really!! That`s why I`m here!` And it turned into this really cool conversation.  IT WAS SO COOL!!! And so we`re gonna try and meet up and talk again some more! Seriously, a miracle from Heavenly Father. And I just think, the Lord blesses our efforts. Earlier in the day, we tried to show the Lord our faith and keep working and show Him our desire to serve. And He blessed us in His own way/time. So grateful to Him. 🙂
Thursday was also a cool day! For one it was our month anniversary as companions! Harris Shimai had made us pancakes with the kanji for `gatsu` meaning `month` on them and with the katakana `ha` for `HAwado` and `HArisu` (our names) and it was hilarious and she`s the best in the world! 😀 And to celebrate, we taught about Jesus Christ!!! 😀 We taught an older couple, then went and taught the less active, Ochi Shimai. I love her more and more each time we see her! She is TOO hilarious and too sweet! She talks a TON though, especially with Watabe Shimai so we kind of have to redirect the conversation a lot.
Friday awesome zone training meeting in Matsuyama and sushi with the Watabe`s after!!!! He was eating the weirdest stuff…..stuff I don`t even want to type it out hahaha! Makes me laugh!
THEN GENERAL CONFERENCE FOR THE HOME RUN!!!! wooo!!!! loved it. so much.  So much yet to learn. So much goodness.  NEVER ENDING LEARNING!!!!!  P.S. after conference on Saturday, we helped the other Ochi Shimai at her house, picking up stuff in her field. Oh my holy guacamoleIt was spider MANIA and not just like, spiders….LIKE GIANT BLACK/YELLOW/RED SPOTTED ONES! and they were all eating butterflies!!!!!!!!! Let`s be real, I was trippin`. And Ochi Shimai knew it. So I may or may not have just `supervised` while Harris Shimai was a champ, fighting spiders and picking up trash. ahahaha! oh man….love my life!
Alright, to sum it all up, just wanted to share one of my favorite scrippies right now. It`s D+C 50:24 I love it because it calms my worry of getting stuck in the path of progression/road to becoming a true disciple. There was something that President Uchtdorf said. Something to the extent of, The more we incline our hearts and minds to God, the more light we will receive. I could be totally butchering that,sorry, but basically I just love that we can CONTINUE to grow and live the gospel! Forever! There is MORE light to receive, MORE growth and progress to be made! I love those words, `brighter and brighter` It keeps my hope in Christ and hope in the future strong! I love this gospel!!! and you all! Have fun this week!!!
P.S. Janky Randall`s, (my bike), chain only fell completely off twice this week!! He really knows how to make my day – I think I`ll keep him🙂

Just Say Yes!!!!

Harris Shimai and I at the beach.

Harris Shimai and I at the beach.

The giant slide we got to go down with some of our investigators.

The giant slide we got to go down with some of our investigators.

Hello My Family!!!!! I love you a lot and I am giving you all big hugs right now! So just hug the computer screen or something!

So THE WEEK! Well last Monday we went with the chorotachi and a member, Ochi Shimai to a GIANT slide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Need I say more?  And then had FHE with one of the chorotachi`s investigators at Ochi Shimai`s house, as tradition continues. We played charades and their investigator had to be a ballerina. It was pretty good:)

So many sweet tender mercies and miracles and I could just feel the Lord working with us a lot this week and preparing the people and leading us and it was just the best, happiest feeling in the world!   So Tuesday, we took an hour bus ride over to the farthest island in our area, Omishima, and met with an investigator and her little boy, Ryuki kun. He`s 2 and pretty much the most adorable little boy ever! So we played with him and attempted to teach some English (always makes me laugh when moms want us to teach their babies English….they are BABIES! they just do what they want! haha…particularly Ryuki kun. He`s a sassy one!), but I loved playing with him, I miss that! And so his mom is our investigator, she`s the one we ate the nasty octopus eggs with,  she has some serious interest in the purpose of life and we had a really great discussion and SHE IS SO PREPARED!!!!  That lesson just …made me happy!  It was cool to be able to testify of Jesus Christ and why we need a Savior to be able to make it back to return to live with our Heavenly Father. I LOVE teaching about Jesus Christ SO much! That has probably been one of my favorite things on my mission!! To help people who know nothing  about Him build that foundation in who Jesus Christ is and what makes Him so special and important!

After that lesson, we raced back home to make it to another appointment with the little obachan from last week….did I give her a name? Hmm….okay, I’ll name her Shirley, because if she was American, I think she`d be a Shirley. So Shirley is a rockstar and prays everyday to her butsudan (in English, ancestors` shrine, maybe?) but she can totally feel God`s hand in her life and helping her! And it was funny because when we taught her about Heavenly Father and having a body and creating the world and our bodies  she was like YEAH!! He totally made my body and my body is so mysterious!! It has to be from God! Look how I can move my fingers! *proceeds to move fingers in front of our faces* `Why yes, yes Shirley, your body is mysterious, and a loving Heavenly Father made you!  But like she totally believes everything…but then totally believes her ancestors are god…….but they can`t both be and  that is probably one of the biggest challenges is helping people understand the difference between God and their ancestors. and accepting it. But little by little, I think her image will get there as we go!

Then after that, we raced over to the church to teach a lesson to THE COOLEST GIRL IN TOWN! I shall call her Soup Under the Floorboards Shimai because she`s the one we went to deliver soup to my first week here….but that`s a long name….so maybe just Soup Shimai. Only in I do mean that in the most respectful way possible. TrulyJ.  We got to teach about Jesus Christ and how we can be cleansed from sin and it was such a happy lesson and she`s a rockstar (more details to follow about her) but basically she`s 24 doing so great and she`s so much fun! and has amazing potential!

On Wed we decided to go over and bring some goodies to a less active investigator, Yano Shimai, and she ended up telling us as we were leaving that she had wanted to call us and meet that day, but she felt bad because it was sudden and didn`t want to bother us so she put the phone down. But then we came!!! And we were like WHOA! Thank you Heavenly Father for leading us to her! It was pretty cool! Then we went back to that golden potential investigator from last week and she let us in and we sat down in her genkan and had a lesson and I`m not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous before this lesson because we just had know idea where to go, but we just said and prayer and led with talking about God and it was AMAZING! The Spirit was so sweet in the lesson and I`m so grateful that Heavenly Father had helped us and even more, that He had prepared her! She listened so sincerely and gave it so much thought before responding to our questions. I just love her so much already and she really seems like she needs God and His love in her life. I`m grateful for the opportunity we had to share just a bit and that she is willing to hear more! So excited to visit again this week! She is tender!

Also fun Friday doing lots of service for member Ochi Shimai, and then also for less active investigator, Ochi Shimai. We were already in our work clothes so we just rode over and told her we were going to pull her weeds (Japanese people NEVER let you serve them!) we just said `WE`RE DOING IT! YOU CAN`T STOP US!` and that was that and it was fun! and good relationship building goin` down!

We also had interviews with Welch Kaicho – always the best and Distric conference for. Way fun riding back and forth with the Watabe couple in their car though. THEY KILL ME! They are so hilarious! We get in the car with Watabe Choro and he goes, `So are you ready to wait for 2 more hours?` *referring to Watabe Shimai talking in the hall with people….sounds like my family! We were talking with her the whole way home and we get off the freeway and cute little Watabe Choro goes, `Whoo! That police car was following me the whole way! I was freaking out!”  hahahaha if only you could hear him talk! He`s the cutest little old man! Love them to death!

We got to watch the General Women’s Broadcast by the way. it was so good! But one thing that has been on my mind a lot has been God`s will. Why we want to follow it and why sometimes we don`t follow it  And I`ve had a lot of different things on my mind about this….but I guess mainly it’s just that, because I know and trust that God`s will will truly lead to the most happiness for me and everyone around me, I want to follow it. And God has given us agency because He wants us to CHOOSE to follow Him. And that is a learning process, but a necessary one. And pretty much the greatest joy we can feel comes from following God and seeking to do His will. I think about my mission. And all that I`ve learned. And I think about my life. Truly my life is gift from God. This is His and the Lords’ work. Not just my mission, but this life! My life! This work continues beyond these 18 months. it`s not about me…it`s about me relying on the Lord and following His will. Giving Him my life and using it to help further the work and build up His church. that`s why Zinke Kaicho always wanted us to be True Disciples, because true Disciples never die. They don`t just come home and go back to daily life, the way they did before the mission. They continue to LIVE THE GOSPEL JOYFULLY -just like in President Uchtdorf`s talk. I want to choose the Lord every day for the rest of my life. Every day, wake up and say YES! Today is YOUR day! (the Lord`s day)Something Harris Shimai  and I made a goal to do this week is just to wake up, high five each other, double handed, and just shout YES! Today, we do it for Jesus! Because it really does make all the difference, each day, the little things. I love the Lord. I pray I can live up to His expectations and be the best for Him.

Have a rockin` week! and just …say YES!

Howard Shimai

Nothing Tastes Better Than Hokkaido Ice Cream at Costco at 11pm!

Ice Cream at Costco in Horoshima with Harris Shimai and the Watabe's.

Ice Cream at Costco in Horoshima with Harris Shimai and the Watabe’s.

I love the Watabe's, they are the senior couple who serve in my area.

I love the Watabe’s, they are the senior couple who serve in my area.

Saw all my old friends at the conference in Okayama.  All of us served in Kawachinagano at one time or another:)

Saw all my old friends at the conference in Okayama. All of us served in Kawachinagano at one time or another:)

McLaughlin Shimai and I have never been comps, but don't need to be to love each other...I love her to death!!

McLaughlin Shimai and I have never been comps, but don’t need to be to love each other…I love her to death!!

Renuited with my Japanese mom Hiraoka Shimai after the Okayama Conference:)

Reunited with my Japanese mom Hiraoka Shimai after the Okayama Conference:)

Message

Dearest Family,

Hello! How are you? I love you so much! SHOUT OUT TO NATE HOWARD AND HIS MASTERPIECE!!!! I saw the pictures of the house and let me just say, you have some mighty fine taste, my friend. You should get on pinterest. I`d follow you. I`d be your first follower. And Harris Shimai would be your second!!!
So anyways….I really only have like 20 mintues……oh gosh! Can I do it? Can I say all the things? I`m worried…..I`m stressing…..I`ll try. HERE GOES! P.S. I kneel as I email because I live in Japan and they email while kneeling here. It makes for good feels in my ashi. Ashi means legs. So anyways, for reals now. This week was super great and I loved it! 😀 Hmm…..OH! So BIG NEWS!!!! Ah, my life was just complete! We had conference with Ringwood Choro (the area president) IN OKAYAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO I GOT TO GO BACK HOME FOR A BIT!!!! wooo!!!! It was the happiest day of my life!! And we actually got to take a bus/train Monday night and stay in the Okayama apartment along with 14 other shimai! THAT was a party! Super natsukashii! (like memory-ish) And conference was SO incredibly good!!! I learned so much and the Spirit was so strong! It is the best feeling! So secretly, I was hoping that Hiraoka Shimai, (my Japanese mom), would somehow know that I would be there with all the senkyoushi…..I didn`t say a word to her though! But….she`s Hiraoka Shimai, so she just somehow knows everything…..so it was the end of the meeting at like 4 o`clock and I was like, `Okay, Heavenly Father, it`s okay, I don`t need to see her` BUT then 2 shimai came up to me and were like, `By the way, there was a woman who went into the Relief Society room and wrote you a note on the board. She said she was your mom.` and I was like NO WAY!!!! SHE CAME!??? and just as I was about to run out to look at the note, she popped her head into the chapel and I was like !!!!! (in my head) and we reunited and it was the happiest time of my life and I saw Hiraoka Shimai and it was the weirdest thing because it felt like I had just seen her yesterday and she was genki and cute and I saw her note and died laughing and man, YOU ALL HAVE TO MEET HER SOMEDAY BECAUSE YOU WOULD LOVE HER TO DEATH!!!!
It was a happy day 🙂
Then we went home with the senior couple in our area, but they got permission to go out of the area to go to Costco to pick up a few things….and Costco happens to be in HIROSHIMA! (p.s. that is NOT in my mission haha!) So that was ALSO a party! I love Watabe Choro and Shimai! He is Japanese, she was born in Hawaii, but they lived in Utah with their family and have already served a mission in Japan, so they are fluent in Japanese and English but they just crack me up! I love them! Like my own grandparents! We had fun at Costco and it was hilarious listening to Watabe Choro talk about Watabe Shimai. We were walking down the aisles and he goes, `Now let`s hurry before she stops and looks at these cans here, or she`ll just spend all day!!!` It was so funny! So we ended up getting some pizza, too, and ice cream! OH MY GOSH! It is the best ice cream on the face of the planet!! From Hokkaido! Shoot dang! Ain`t got nothin` on BYU Creamery! haha! Way good! and way fun! ….but we may or may not have not gotten home until about 11…..woo! Just breakin` all the rules! ….with permission….hahaha!
Bah! Almost forgot, this made me laugh real hard. So they have a Japanese speaking GPS in their car and we were like, `Hey, have you named your GPS?` and they were like no, but you should do it for us! And we were like hmm…..Japanese name or English name??……and we were just like, LET`S GO WITH TAMMIE! Yeeeeeah! Tammieeeee! and Watabe Shimai just laughed and agreed and then like 15 minutes later, the GPS was having some problems recalculating and Shimai goes, `Ganbatte Tammie!` bahahahaha, we were laughing so hard! (ganbatte = work hard)
So those were fun days! and we realized the next morning that we had left our bikes down at the train station from Monday so we decided to wake up early and run down there, then bike them back home Wednesday morning! that was fun! Also had a good time doing some housing! We found the COOLEST woman on the face of the planet!! All thanks to Kamisama, (Heavenly Father)! She was so so sweet and open to the message and agreed to meet again! So this week we shall come again! And I am excited! Also, had a few good lessons with some less actives this week! I love reading the Book of Mormon together!
Also, went back to visit the genki grandma from last week and she let us in again and we sat down in her genkan and talked about God and she was sharing with us how previously, she had lost something and couldn`t find it, so she decided to pray and then she found it!!! And she was like, `It`s because those two girls came to my house!` and so as she was telling us this, we were like, No way! We didn`t do anything! That was Kamisama! but that made me so happy to hear! She is so cute! And so it begins! I must get a nick name for her! haha! Such a blessing though that we are able to start teaching her! I love teaching more than anything in dendo! It is so fun and just….I think it strengthens everyone involved! I love it!
I ended up getting a little sick this week. Nothing to keep us in, but just feelin` a little funny, but Harris Shimai was the KINDEST LADY IN THE WORLD and when I came out of the shower, there was french toast on the table and for that I am eternally grateful! I`m glad you and her mom are becoming friends. I am too, her mom doesn`t know it yet, but I love her already! hahaha! Sadly, we had quite a few people cancel on us this week! But we tried to make the best of it!
Yesterday, we were out housing, and ping ponged this obachan and she didn`t have any interest at all. In fact, she had done like this pilgrimage to all the shrines in Japan or something. But we were still good friends and she was probably the nicest little obachan I`ve ever met yet (which is saying something) and was showing us the art she painted and we were like CUTE! and she was like LET ME GIVE YOU SOME CORN POTTAGE! (in her obachan voice) and so we received some elegantly wrapped corn soup as well as pretty much her whole garden of eggplant! hahaha! she came out with some clippers and just WENT TO TOWN! this is no exaggeration! I wish it was! We felt so bad! And we`re totally going back over there again! hahaha!
But anyways! It was a great week!
I was reading a bit in an old Liahona about President Monson. He is the COOLEST in the world! I love him!! Just reading about all of his service makes me so so happy and makes me want to be better! I love that! And at conference, Ringwood Choro was sharing with us how we can help the wards and branches where we are serving. And he was saying how we should know the ward and the members well enough to know who is NOT there on Sundays. And yesterday, as I was sitting in church, I was looking around, a little sad because the two sisters who had committed previously that week to come, hadn`t come. And as a missionary that`s like, my whole life is just trying to help those people. And it`s easier to notice who`s not there when your branch is only like 25/30 members and your life revolves around reactivation, but it just made me realize how IMPORTANT it is to continue to do that, even when I come home. To look for those who couldn`t come to church that day, and send a quick text or drop by with something, just to say, `we missed you.` I think those little acts go a long way and by doing so, we can better establish the church and build each other up. Missionaries and members alike. I pray I can follow the prophet`s example to reach out to those in need as the Savior.
I love you all!!! Have a happy week!
Howard Shimai

” What is that?…..Itadakemasu, (It’s Scary!)

Imabari Castle

Imabari Castle

My bud Harris Shimai!

My bud Harris Shimai!

Look at this beach...I feel like I'm in Hawaii!

Look at this beach…I feel like I’m in Hawaii!

Message

Konnichiwhaddup Y`all!?!

This week has been SO crazy!!! Like….so fast….but yet…..I feel like I know no life other than Imabari and Harris Shimai….hahaha! It`s been way good though and one of the happiest!
So just to start off with a little story I forgot to share from last week. We have an American in our branch – he`s married to a Nihonjin. But he`s probably in his late 40s or so and he just……always seems bummed about something….haha..it`s sad..but the way he is just makes it kind of funny. I`m not being mean, promise! So he comes up to us (all 4 missionaries) on our first Sunday to give us copies of his talk in English and I go `Ohayo Gozaimasu!!` (good morning) and he made a face, shook his head and goes, `It`s gonna take me a while to get used to your voice…..` and I just started busting up laughing! BAH! hahaha! what the heck! hahaha! perfect timing for all the elders to make fun of me…as if they didn`t enough as it is! haha! Anyways….I think he`s warming up to me now! 😀
So this week!!! We went to Imabari Jo on Monday!!! (that`s the castle!) it was pretty great 😀 way fun! then had some FHE with a member and some investigators and the chorotachi! I love Harris Shimai more and more each day!! It`s nuts! If this is how good it is after just like….1 week….after 6 or 12 or however long it is….we are just going to be exploding with happiness or something because …..life is just GOOD and I feel so blessed to be with her!
Tuesday, we set out to teach this one investigator-to-be, but she couldn`t meet then, so we decided to do some finding around the area. And we ended up finding this sweet little obachan (grandma) who let us into her little genkan (doorway/entryway maybe) and we talked for probably almost an hour and shared about the gospel of Jesus Christ and it was way awesome! She is SUPER genki! like 81 years old, but you would never know it! And she was like, `Eternal life would be great!` and we were like `RIGHT!?` So we are going back this week and I`m excited!! 😀 A miracle from the Lord, for sure! Also, made some pretty hilarious looking cookies to take to investigators. Oh gosh…you`d think we`d get pretty good at baking with all the baked goods we make, but that is just not the case! 😀 Oh well! Also, had some fun contacting and using new words. Like Harris Shimai gave me `owl` to use….so we ping ponged this house and I was like, `Hello, we`re missionaries ..etc etc…Do you like owls? ME TOO! You know what else we have in common? We`re both children of God!…etc etc.` the woman thought that was kind of funny and it made me happy…and I hope it made Heavenly Father happy…haha!
Also, quote of the day/another reason why i love  Harris Shimai. She was leading us to find an investigator, but couldn`t really remember the way….like 5 times we got lost… hahaha so finally she was just like, `Man…if Janky Randall were a person…….he`d be ME!….` bahahaha we were laughin` so hard! 😀
Ah, so Thursday, so much good feels goin` down here in Imabari! I love teaching with Harris Shimai SO much! It just…..flows so good and she`s an awesome teacher! When we speaks, she really gives it thought and it`s meaningful and powerful! What a rockin` example and full of SO much love! One thing I am learning from her is selflessness! She is always so quick to serve! So one of our investigators had to cancel her lesson because of a cold but we were like, `Well…..just so happens we`re making DELICIOUS soup today! Why don`t we bring you some?` *wink wink* but she didn`t respond and we kind of forgot about it all….until about 7 oclock that night when we get a text from her apologizing for not seeing the text earlier but any soup would be appreciated hahaha! Well…..we started booking it home to go make some kind of soup! 😀 And we were like….dang…..all we have is this nasty instant soup……what do we do?? and then Harris Shimai remembers the secret trap door in our floor and it was like one of those, *points finger*`Quick! To the lab!` moments hahaha! And there was mysterious cans of clam chowder and we were like THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER! and we brought some of that over! 😀 and another miracle in that, we got to meet her boyfriend, who we have been trying to meet for forever apparently and it was AWESOME!  Then we had like 15 minutes to make it home in a 25 or so mintue trip and Harris Shimai goes, `Can we make it?` And I`m like, `only if we have super human strength and all green lights.` and so she starts praying out loud just like, `Kamisama, please help us to have super human strength and all green lights.` and the light turns green and we book it and seriously…that is just what God gave us! It was insane!! I was going to die, but we made it JUST intime!! 😀 and as we knelt down to pray for planning, we were just like so tired and I just broke and prayed in English and in the middle of the prayer my companion just started laughing and I was like what?? so confused! And afterwards she goes, `Do you know what you just said?` and I was like `No, what?` `You said, Heavenly Father, thank you for learning us that there were cans of soup under the floor.` hahahaha ah shoot! 😀 Japanese is messing me up! Way fun day though! Grateful for the opportunity to make sacrifices for our investigators and serve!
Also, taught the coolest less active brother, Akiyama Kyoudai, on Wednesday. He`s unbelievably awesome. So golden.Some powerful testifyin` in that lesson!
P.S. I heard from Weigl Shimai that Deguchi Kyoudai passed the Sacrament on Sunday!!! Rockstar!!!
Friday we got to teach a new investigator.  I shall call her…..Monique…because I can`t think of anything better right now! But she is AWESOME and shared with us her desire to learn more, but just afraid of believing in something new so quickly. And we just bore testimony and tried to resolve her concern and it was great and she became a new investigator, meeting again next week! I LOVE teaching her! She just soaks it all in! about 35, newly-wed, and the prettiest smile on the planet! Way natural talking with her! Also, did some service that day. In the bushes of DOOM! They were seriously filled with spiders and lizards and jumping crickets and just…..oh man…..oh man…..it was….some kind of party….haha! but happy to help!
Oh and Saturday, we went to an island off about an hour away to teach a woman and her baby/meet up with her and a member for lunch…..so it ended up being….welp…..karma haha! I got a letter from Marrietta the other day asking what was the craziest thing I had eaten lately, and I was just like…Hmm…nothing really…..Well, I think Kamisama was laughing at that, because the next day we go to this lunch and the member goes, `Is fish and octopus okay?` and umm….those are the two things that kill us! hahaha! Me – fish. Harris Shimai – octopus. we can do those..but we were like, `YEAH!!!!! OF COURSE!` oh snap…..so I come back to the table from playing with the little boy and some food is there in front of me and ask Harris Shimai, `Hmm…..so….what is this?` and she goes, `It`s scary………` and I just started busting up laughing! ahahaha! like welp…it`s gonna be one of those lunches, isn`t it? I didn`t even ask what it really was.  I couldn`t….I couldn`t eat it if I did. Because to me, it looked like a bunch of furry tongues and maybe a whole brain…..or the whole digestive system dissected out and slapped on my plate. I literally swallowed that thing whole! hahaha! So basically it was 2 hours of eating like 50 courses of mysteriousness and lots of water! 😀 but she became a new investigator, so …totally worth it, right? Oh yeah…so I got on the bus to go home and was like, `So dude….what were those things REALLY? and she goes, `Octopus eggs.` and possibly intestines...in their intestine form. sweet. haha! So there you have it! That`s the craziest thing I`ve eaten lately! 😀
Then after we got back, we stopped to visit this Chinese couple we found last week. She`s gonna have a baby in January! and I LOVE them!!!  The language barrier is…a little something, but nothing the Spirit can`t overcome!   They are SOOO cute and it was so fun talking and so much happiness and they became new investigators too! The work as been going really amazing and I am so grateful to God!
I love being on a mission SO much! It is like nothing else in the world! Definitely one of the hardest things….but by far, the happiest and most rewarding! I never want it to end! I love so much testifying of Jesus Christ and studying His gospel every day! Truly there is the most joy in living it!
There`s a scrippy I love this week, Mosiah 3:19 because it talks about us becoming humble, meek, and submissive like a child. And I love that! And it`s something I know I can work on, but it`s something I have been wanting to share with my investigators, to help them open their hearts up even more to this message and trust in God! Because if we can do that, then the Holy Ghost can teach us these things are true and we can know God! And we can be happy! I love you all! Have a beautiful week!
Ai shite imasu!
Howard Shimai