Monday, September 29, 2014

Last Letter 9/27/2014

Dear all,  

This week Law Shimai got sick and we spent 2 days inside. Either I'm just tired or I suddenly became the patient person I have been wanting to become for the past year and a half, because I was really worried about her and not so much about dendo [tracting]. She is still sick but doing better. I'm drinking orange juice every day, taking OnGuard, and eating grapefruit to make sure I don't get sick. Plus I made her wear a mask.  

We had a mission goal to get a certain number of nonmembers/investigators at church yesterday. We had 19 people and 5 NAs come. And then more came to the shokujikai [potluck lunch] after church. I gave a talk and it was really really good. There is just too many feelings to describe, so I'm not even going to try. I said good-bye, gave a talk, gave hugs, took pictures, and somehow didn't cry. It was really good.  

I had an interview with Kaicho [President] this week. He was visiting Suehiro for some stuff and I asked to talk to him. We talked about a lot but one thing I want to share is about timing. He said he wished that I could stay and work longer (as do I) but he talked about timing, God's timing. He said its my time to go home. And as sad as it is, I know. This area doesn't need me anymore, its ready for the next missionary. And its time for me to move on to other things. Its the biggest mix of excitement and heartbroken. I love these people. I love this gospel.  

I have loved being a missionary. And will continue to love it for the next week.  

It was an incredible and life-changing year and a half.  

Thank you always for your love and support. So grateful.  


Sugihara Shimai

At Peace 9/24/2014

Dear all,  

Heavenly Father loves me so much. Let me tell you why.  

So remember nephi dendo from a couple months ago? Our plans fell through, we were late starting dendo, and I was ticked. I knew I didnt have the spirit with me so I decided to just follow Law Shimai when she said lets go this way. We turned left, right, then left again. We started housing. We asked people if any families lived around there. An ojiisan [grandfather]who wasnt interested pointed us to a house. We pinged it, talked to the mom, said we could come back. Went back. Still just small talked in the genkan [front entryway], but for some reason it felt like time well spent. Went back again. Again, just small talked in the genkan. Ended with a prayer. Repeat this two more times. Each time, another one of their daughters joined us in the genkan. We finally were able to go inside and start real lessons. Lesson one, lesson two, lesson three. Yakiniku in the backyard. Daughter one praying. Daughter three praying every day by herself and leading family prayer. Daughter 4 reading Book of Mormon stories. Mom remembering what we taught that week while at work. Daughter 2 finally joining us. Dad saying the closing prayer after dinner and before we leave. The humble sense of reverence felt when the head of the household kneels with everyone and prays over his family and us missionaries. 
We made baptismal dates for Mom and all four daughters on Saturday. It is the biggest miracle and words cannot express how I felt after that lesson and dinner.   

Our beautiful family. They will all be baptized one day. And I cannot wait for that day.

Miracle 2. So about 3 weeks ago, I had a feeling I needed to write K s. from Kushiro (remember her? My favorite non-active member in Kushiro who is deaf). Well I didnt write her. The next week, felt that feeling again. Stronger. It was a long shot but I asked if she would be going to Asahikawa or Sapporo within the next 3 weeks so I could see her before I left. Figured it was worth a shot. Response came 9/19. Turns out, they were going to be in Aibetsu, the neighboring town right next to Asahikawa 9/20-9/22 and that she would be able to visit!!! Law Shimai and I were able to have dinner with them last night. I seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was so so so so happy to see her and her husband. I've forgotten most of my shuwa [sign language] but it didnt matter. We had a really really good time talking and I felt like I could finish my mission right then because I was so happy. I know it was no coincidence and I know it was the Spirit that told me to write that letter. She would have never known that I was in Asahikawa.  

Sheer joy. I didnt think I would be able to see her before I left but I did! I got  to see her!! 
I am really at peace right now. There has been a lot of stuff going on in Suehiro that I can't explain but Kaicho [President] came yesterday and I got to have a long talk with him. I'm really happy with how things are turning out and know that I was supposed to be here at this time with Law Shimai for a reason.  

I asked Kaicho [President] for an extension. He said no. And then proceeded to tell me about God`s timing. I know things are the way they are supposed to be. I trust Heavenly Father`s timing, for me and for investigators. I love this gospel so much. I love our investigators like my own family. These members have also become family. I'm very at peace right now.  

Thank you for all of your love and support.  




Monday, September 15, 2014

Let It Go, Let It Goooooooo!

                                        I finally cut my hair!

Before shots. Law Shimai is a strict modeling coach. 
We took about 50 pictures...
I was freaking.
I asked a member for a haircut. Turned into inviting the elders, another family, and having a bbq. I love p-day! ps. the elders and Law Shimai sawed off my braids.
Elder with the best hair ;)
Two beautiful braids for "Locks of Love. I seriously have beautiful hair. Not even going to try and be humble. Those babies are going to make a great wig. 
It's gone!

Time Flies 9/15/2014

Hey there.  

Cant believe another week flew by. Is anyone else a little concerned with how fast this is all going? No? Because I am.  

This week we had 9 non members at the church building on Sunday. And none in sacrament meeting. Lame. We had 6 investigator young women at the church making brownies though, and that made me sooooo happy! The choros [elders] invited some young men,  but they didn't show, so basically the choros just taught the yw how to make brownies. It was really great. We wished we had more members there but when we did the church tour, we were so so grateful for the two members that were there. I've never wanted so badly to bring everyone we teach to church. I want the ward to feel the hope I feel, the dendo excitement that I feel. There are so many great young people who are ready to hear the gospel! We just need to keep teaching, finding, and leading them to church.  

Still inviting everybody and anybody to church on the 28th.  

The baptism dates we had for the 13th didn't make it. Mom is still smoking 2 packs a day so...please pray for her. But we made new dates and we are going to try to help them prepare by then.  

One investigator is practically a member. She came to the RS activity, brought flowers to a funeral of a person she didn't even know, and came to RS and participated. its great. 

Law Shimai is awesome. She always gives me new perspective and talks me into or out of things. So grateful for her.

Had an incredible lesson with an NA [non-active]. She prayed in the genkan [front entryway of the house] with us and she offered it! Probably the first time in a long time. Totally felt the spirit and Law Shimai and I couldn't stop beaming/laughing/rejoicing after we left.  

Missionaries are the same everywhere. I read Akisha`s email about looking at a rainbow and remembering that God always keeps His promises. Law Shimai and I had that exact same experience this week looking at a double rainbow. Heavenly Father will never ever let us down. He is always there for us, always will be.   

I love this work. I love missionary life. I love this ward. I love Jesus Christ. I love the Book of Mormon.  

Love you all! Have another great week! 
This is what riding home in the dark with awesome earrings looks like. An investigator gave them to us. 
Sugihara Shimai

Another Great Week 9/7/2014

Dear all, 

Another great week in the life.  

We had 3 people come to church on Sunday!!!! But none of them could stay for sacrament mtg (its 3rd hour for us) so that was too bad. But the ward embraced them and loved them and all was well. 

So the YW Pres comes prepared every week with a lesson, even though there are no active young women. This week she prepared a really really good lesson and prayed extremely hard that she would be able to teach it. We didn't know our investigator would be coming, so we didn't call ahead of time but miracle, the sister was totally ready to teach this incredible lesson when our investigator and her friend showed up. It was perfect.
 The other investigator who came, we made a baptismal date with this week! She is an old investigator we picked up by calling her two months ago and almost everyone remembered her from 8 years ago. Crazy! God's timing is perfect! 

We taught our favorite family again. it didn't go as incredible as the other times but we taught baptism and really got them thinking. we didn't make dates but we feel like one of the girls is really close. sadly, they could come to church because of bukatsu [school sports] tournament . Lame.

Remember the family where the cute dad opened the door without a shirt on and then his wife got mad and their whole family is adorable? Well we taught them this week! They are a very busy family and meeting with them seems like its going to be a challenge but we are really excited about them. Last night their little 3 yr old was getting ready for the ofuro and was running around naked. His mom was just laughing haha. little boys are the same anywhere.  

Right now Law Shimai and I are trying to invite everyone possible to my last Sunday. I'm speaking (again) and there will be a shokujikai [potluck] afterwards. We made chirashi [flyers] and are inviting everyone and anyone I have ever met here. Its gonna be great and we are going to fiiiilllll the chapel. Wooo! pray for us. We need all the help we can get. 
Her name is also Mei (same kanji!) Also, that is Dad in 15 years desho [right]?!

Love this work and the Lord. Love you! 


September Already 9/1/2014

Hello all my favorite people! 

Not really sure how its already September...weird. The mornings and evenings are starting to cool down but the afternoons are still sweaty. The green peppers and nasu [eggplant] are still coming in hot in the fruits basket [food basket from members]. I'm getting a little sick of them, especially since my companion won't eat them. I bought bacon today Mom, I'm getting desperate. Any other good ways to use them? Im still not eating rice, pasta or bread so something that doesnt use those :) (side note: Law Shimai and I have started a serious diet this week. We gave everything to the elders this morning. She is so committed haha.) 

This week we met with one of my favorite investigator families. They have 4 daughters and last week, only 2 joined the lesson. This week we had 3! We taught English and then the restoration. They took it all in and asked really good questions. When we asked if they had prayed this past week, they said they had prayed together as a family!!!! One of the girls had suggested it before dinner and they all prayed. Yayyy! I thought I was going to cry tears of joy. The same girl who prayed, Satsuki-chan, said she would come to church. We called everyone and told the teachers she would be coming. We waited outside for 20 min. No show. I was so disappointed. After first hour, we called her house and asked if she was coming. Turns out she was on her way and would be there any minute! We ran outside and in about 5 minutes, she came walking up the street. She didn't know it was us at first but when she realized, she started running towards us. She biked 25 minutes to come to church! She is 14 and the cutest girl ever. She was so reverent and engaged and took it all in. She even started singing hymns after listening to the first verse. I gave a talk and she wished me luck. It was fun watching her take it all in from the front. The elders also brought 2 high schoolers to church. Bishop was stoked to have young people at church. His smile was huge and he shook my hand so hard. This ward has no active yw, only 2 active ym, and almost no one in their 20s and 30s. Really really sad. But the ward is excited we are bringing young people to church. Yay! 

We are also planning a potluck on the 28th. Its my last Sunday and Im basically going to use that to my total advantage and invite anyone and everyone I have ever met here in Suehiro. Its going to be awesome! 
We had a zone taikai this week with Elder Todd Whiting of the Seventy. It was really really good. I learned a lot and really felt the spirit.  It was annoying that everyone and their companion had to ask if this was my last transfer. So happy Im in the inaka and we never see anyone, sheesh. I was asked to interpret into Japanese...that was a bad idea. I do not know the Bible in Japanese. It was a disaster. I had 3 people helping me, looking up scriptures, etc. Afterwards, a choro that I have never talked to before, came up to me and said `Sank you fo translatingu` Well lets just say my pride took a hit. I do a lot better translating into English. Good to know.  

Dendo [missionary] life is rich. Full of miracles, laughter, hard work, and being tired. We have so many people progressing right now and I love all of them very much. I told Law s. yesterday that the remaining weeks I have will be spent really loving everyone. Loooooove is what changes people. So grateful that Heavenly Father loves me, even when I make mistakes. 

Love you all so much and am grateful for the support!  

Sugihara Shimai

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last Transfer Call 8/25/2014

Dear all,  

Transfer week came and went...I stayed! Most anti-climatic phone call, since Law Shimai got her call first and had it on speaker. But I recorded my official last transfer call on my camera. Woohoo I'm so happy I got to stay. Things are really moving here and I'm excited for what is to come. 

I'm so in love with my mission. The working all day every day, the members who do so much for us, for our bishop who is also the dendo shunin [mission leader], our investigators, the rain and then the heat, the alarm at 6:15, working with other missionaries, learning from my companion, praying constantly, falling in love with the scriptures, being so tired I fall asleep when praying, feeling the spirit to go visit someone or go a certain direction, waiting for an investigator to show up to church and not, teaching a family English, praying with that entire family before eating yakiniku [BBQ] and seeing the dad bow his head, close his eyes, and fold his arms as his 14 yr old daughter says the prayer, listening to an NA [non-active] shimai tell us how much she loves her kids and wishes she could pray with them, making crafts with the Relief Society shimai, teaming up with a member who hadn't teamed up for over ten years, going home overloaded with 'fruits basket' [box of food from members], planning, really listening to someone talk and feeling the spirit tell me exactly what to say, apologizing to my companion when I'm in the wrong, hugging shimai [sisters], feeling gratitude for every person we meet, and the being in bed by 10:30 but not falling asleep right away because of a deep conversation with my companion. I love my mission; I love all of it. It`s so hard to explain, but I'm just really grateful. Yes, there are a lot of not so fun things too but because we have those, it makes the good moments that much better. 
I'm so happy right now. I've never been more focused and never felt so at peace. All is well.  

Love you all. 


Sugihara Shimai