Sunday, December 22, 2013

Koniichiwa kazoku to tomodachi!

8 days until Christmas and 13 days until I leave for Nihon. Yikes!

First of all thank you to mom and Courtney for the packages! I promise I won't open the presents until Christmas. And I have my humble Charlie Brown Christmas tree all set up. I'll send pictures. :)

I know I say this every week but it truly was another wonderful week as a missionary!

I feel like I have a lot to say about this week so hold on to your seat belts. It's going to be a scattered and bumpy ride...

So Quentin L. Cook spoke to us on Tuesday and that was pretty cool! We're also supposed to get 2 general authorities on Christmas/Christmas Eve and being a STL has it's advantages because I know who one of them is but I'm not allowed to say! So I'll just tell you all when I email you on Christmas. :)

On Friday my district did what is called an Eigo danjiki (English fast). We spoke only Nihongo all day. It was terrifying and crazy fun! It was a total confidence booster to realize that I know way more than I thought I did. And who doesn't love carrying around a jisho (dictionary) everywhere? We're doing it every Friday until we leave the MTC so that's exciting. 

Also for TRC until we leave we are skyping with members in Nihon (Japan) every week. So we are talking to people that we could potentially see! We did our first one last Wednesday and it was super fun! And really cool! I love the Nihongin already! Speaking of Nihongin (Japanese people) we get 2 Nihongin shimai kyo (Japanese sisters today)! I'm super excited. My doryo and I get to show them around and hang out with them from like 4:30 until they go to bed tonight. I'm super excited but also pretty nervous because I don't know if any of them speak Eigo (English). Oh well! It will go great I'm sure. :)

For Sunday's devotional the BYU men's choir did a special musical devotional for us! It was kirei (beautiful)! So we didn't have any speakers and we just got to listen to them sing. It was a nice change of pace. 

So an exciting thing that happened this week was we invited both of our kyudoshas (investigators) to get baptized. Only one accepted and the other one says he doesn't think it's for him. Silly Naritakun. Baputesuma wa mina san no tame ni desu! (baptism is for everyone) But the one that did accept the invitation has to get permission from her parents and her otosan (father) doesn't like the church at all. So we are working on that. I love Linasan and Naritakun (names of invesigators) so much! As I teach them I have truly learned to feel the love that Heavenly Father has for His children. He loves us so much. More than we will ever comprehend!

So here's my spiritual Christmas thought for the week. The new star that appeared the night Christ was born showed the way the sheperds were to go. The star never spoke and said, "here is Christ." No, it used it's light to lead the way that the sheperds should go. Likewise we should be examples to all those around us. We should live in such a way that people are led to Christ through our actions. Words can be strong but our actions are stronger. There's a quote that is up here in the MTC that says "Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words." Let others see the light of Christ shine through you as you strive to become more like Him. 

I love this gospel and I love being a missionary! I pray that all of you will remember to keep the Christ in Christmas this year. Enjoy being all together this year! Say hi to the family for me please! I love you all so much and I wish you a Merry Christmas from Provo. :)

Ai shiteimasu!

Aulick Shimai 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Koniichiwa kazoku to tomodachi!
So hey there! It's been another subarashii (wonderful) week here at the MTC! Learning a lot about jibun (myself), Nihongo, and kono fukuin (this gospel). So I apologize ahead of time because this letter will probably be lame because not a whole lot happened here this week.
Saisho (first), shout out to Courtney Miller and my mom for the packages this week! The clementines and chocolate covered cinnamon gummy bears were an absolute delight. Still have a little bit of both because I'm savoring them.
Mom it sounds like you had a super fun time hangin out with sweet Brayden and Brynlee. I loved getting your letters this week!
I'm still working on just loving my doryo. At this point I don't know if there's anything more to do than to just love. She does a lot of frustrating things so I'm learning a lot about patience while at my time here in the MTC. And not just with my doryo. But also with wanting to learn the language faster than my brain is capable of doing. I just wish I could be more capable as far as the language goes but all the Lord expects of me is my best. I definitely have to remember that. So along with learning how to be patient with others I also am learning how to be patient with myself. :)
It has been snowing A TON here in good ol' Provo. So I'm really enjoying the scenery as I walk to and from class.
As I have previously explained in a letter home the Japanese senkyoshitachi (missionaries) are split up in to 3 groups. And the group of senkyoshitachi that I've been with for 6 weeks left yesterday. It was really sad. I got especially close to one shimai. Her name is Ellis Shimai. And she. Is. Awesome. I talked about her before I think in regards to the carpet skirt that I've acquired. Remember how I wanted to do like a "sisterhood of the traveling skirt?" Well that dream has now been put into action. We even wrote a story of how it came to the MTC. Well she is going to the Tokyo mission and I left the skirt with her. So when I get to Kobe she will send the skirt to me along with a story of what the skirt has been up to. Current Shimai is also in on this traveling skirt thing. So that's super fun. It makes me excited to get to Kobe.
Along with that group of senkyoshitachi leaving it means that I leave next. Yikes! I've really grown to love it here and I've grown really comfortable with the cushy life I have at the MTC. So I'm kind of freaking out that I leave in 3 weeks. But all is well. :)
So the most significant thing I've learned here this week is God's love for His children. With teaching my kyudoshatachi (investigators) and being STL I've had a lot of opportunities to help people. And in doing so I've had many witnesses of God's love for His children. I've come to learn that being a senkyoshi is more than just talking about kono fukuin. But it's about helping your brothers and sisters remember the love that Heavenly Father has for His children. Especially helping those remember who have completely forgotten. I had a lot of experiences this week where I would be listening to a concern from a kyudosha or a shimai and just feel the love that our Heavenly Father has for this particular child of His. And the fact that I sometimes get to be that vessel in which the Father communicates through me that love for His children is something I am so grateful for. I wouldn't change this experience for anything. While there are many frustrating times as a senkyoshi the beautiful moments where you feel the Spirit so strongly far out weighs those frustrating moments. If there any of you who are on the fence about serving a mission...DO IT. You won't regret it. I know I've only been out for 6 weeks but I already can see the affect, change, and shukufuku (blessings) I'm receiving for choosing to serve. THE BEST DECISION EVER. 
Sorry I went on that little tangent...
Kono fukuin wa shinjitsu da to shiteimasu. Morumon Sho wa Josefu Sumisu ni han'yaku shiteru to shiteimasu. Nani shitemo, itsumo Kamisama wa watashitachi o ai suru to shiteimasu. Watashitachi wa Kamisama no kodomo da to shiteimasu. Watashi wa senkyoshi ga iru kansha shimasu. Kamisama no ai kansha shimasu. Shinden ni yotte, eien no kazoku ni naru to shiteimasu. Kono fukuin o ai shiteimasu.
I love you all and I'm so grateful for your love and support. Know that God loves you because you are His precious son/daughter. This church is true and I know it with every fiber of my being!
Ai shiteimasu!
Aulick Shimai

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Konichiiwa kazoku to tomodachi!

So it was another spectacular week here at the MTC. Demo (but) first, a couple of shoutouts...

Thank you to Darci for the Dear Elder package the day before Thanksgiving! The pumpkin bread was a delight! And thank you to Trev for the Christmas card! I have the cutest niece and nephew EVER. 

So first I will tell you about Thanksgiving. It was so much FUN. They had a completely different special schedule for that day. So first we got to hear from Russell M Nelson of the Quorum of the 12. He and his wife spoke. He talked mostly just about missionary stuff. It was a pretty good talk. Then we had some time to ourselves to write letters/thank you notes. Then we had our Thanksgiving lunch because that way the employees of the MTC could have Thanksgiving dinner with their kazoku. So the lunch was actually delicious! They had turkey and stuffing and yams and green beans and all of the traditional Thanksgiving fixings. They even had pumpkin pie! And my doryo's family sent her some homemade cranberry relish the day before and she was super nice to share with the whole district! I have the sweetest doryo!
Soshite (then) after lunch we packed our dinner that we would have for that night. Then my district just sat around and watched Mormon messages for about an hour and then walked up to the temple. (Sidenote: The weather on Thanksgiving was suuuuuuper nice). My district just sat up there and talked for like an hour. Then our district leader had the idea to pray as a district about all of the things we are grateful for. So he said the prayer, at the temple grounds with no other districts around, and that honestly was my favorite part of Thanksgiving. It was a really special moment. The spirit was so strong there. Gotta love the temple. 
So after that we went back to campus and listened to the head of humanitarian service for the church speak about the service project that we were going to be apart of. We basically just made dry lentil casserole mixes for families that don't have enough money for food. It was pretty fun. Then we ate our sack dinner, then we had a fun little assembly that the Nallys (MTC president and his wife) (AKA Pres Priday's sister) planned and conducted. There was a funny little skit and lots of singing. We even got to sing "Over the River and Through the Woods." It was fun. Then every senkyoshi at the MTC got together and we watched Ephraim's Rescue. It's a movie about the rescue of the Willy handcart company (I think that's what the company was called) Overall it was a really good movie. And overall it was a super fun Thanksgiving. :)

So some other things that have happened this week is my doryo and I were called to be Sister Training Leaders. It's basically like Zone Leaders but we are in charge of the sisters in our zone. That happened Sunday. We basically interview the sisters each week to see how they're doing and we help do orientation for the new sisters that arrive in our zone. I seriously love the sisters in our zone. Though, last night we did our first interviews and it was choto hen (a little weird) because most of the sisters here are older than me. But it's definitely not weird enough to affect our relationships. But still, choto hen. 

Also I've been sick since Saturday. I just have a nasty cold. Don't worry mom, I promise I've been taking my airborne. Germs just got the best of me. I've been skipping some classes and devotionals to rest. And yesterday I went to the health clinic to see what the doc could do for me. He just told me to go to the health clinic off campus to buy some Sudafed. So we did that and ever since I've been taking that I've been feeling loads better. Plus I got a priesthood blessing kino (yesterday) from a couple of chorotachi in our district. That combination has left me feeling much better today. Gotta love the priesthood! 

So here's something I've learned this week. I've been working really hard to do my best in speaking Nihongo and loving my doryo as best as I can. But this week no matter how hard I try I seemed to keep falling just a little bit short. And I would feel it teaching lessons to our progressing investigators as well. And I would pray for Heavenly Father's help. And I knew He was helping but it was hard to see. So I expressed this frustration to the STL (sister training leader) that interviewed me right before I got called and she advised me to pray to have the Atonement work through my life. And as soon as I've started to do that I can feel a difference. I can personally and physically see the affects that the Atonement is having in my life. My relationship with my doryo is getting better, I'm catching up to the language a little bit more, and I am gaining a ton of insights through my kojin benkyo (personal study). And it makes sense why it's working. This is the Lord's work that I'm doing. He has asked just us mere humans to be his hands. Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ I know I can't accomplish much, but with it I can accomplish anything He asks me to. No matter how hard or frustrating it may be. I know the Lord asks a lot of His saints. But through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and with faith in Him we can accomplish anything. I know that to be true. I know there is no way I am able to understand this language that is a pain in the butt (she says affectionately) without His help. And even though feelings of inadequacy come often they are quickly pushed away because of my faith in my Savior. I'm grateful for His Atonement and the personal application it has in my life.

I love you all and I hope you all have a fantastic week.

Kono kyokai wa shinjitsu da to shitemasu! 

Ai shitemasu!

Aulick Shimai

Konichiiwa kazoku to tomodachi!

Happy week of Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is just full to the brim with grateful thoughts and thankful hearts! I know I am! I am so blessed to be able to serve the Lord and be in the MTC during Thanksgiving! I am also seriously soo grateful for everyone's love and support. I really do feel all of your prayers as I strive to be the best senkyoshi I can be. :)

Seriously, thank you so much for the dear elders and emails and letters. They make me so shiawase (happy)! I love the weekly updates I get on every Monday from mom and dad. They are the highlight of my Dear Elder-absent weekend. :)

So this week I feel was much less eventful than last week. But here are some things that happened...

I got to host this week. Which means that I just helped all of the new missionaries who got dropped of at the curb and told them where to go and such. It was soooooo fun! I got to meet a lot of really cool people. Plus it was raining and there was hot chocolate available to us. And who doesn't love rain and hot chocolate?

Ok so my favorite progressing investigator's name is Naritasan. And I kid you not he is the bomb. Teaching him makes me remember why I love being a missionary. He took the discussions from the senkyoshis before demo (but) as soon as the senkyoshis got transferred he stopped coming to church. So my doryo and I are teaching him once again. Seeing him slowly begin to understand how the fukuin (gospel) can specifically apply to his life is an amazing thing. It makes me super excited for Nihon (Japan)! 

We will be getting a devotional from one of the general authorities on Thursday for Thanksgiving so I'm pretty stoked about that. They're keeping who it is a tight secret though, demo I promise to let you know who it is on my next P-day.

Soo you know how everyone says that you gain weight and get fat here in the MTC? Well I have promised myself that I'm not going to do that. So in order to keep that promise I made a bet with one of the chorotachi (elders) in my district. The bet is if I gain over 3 pounds of what I weighed myself on November 11 then I have to lay in snow for 20 seconds. Demo, if I don't gain that much weight then he has to take 3 laxative pills. So I am determined not to gain weight. Needless to say that gym time is my favorite. :) 

So as you all know my doryo and I have a lot of differences. And this hasn't effected our teaching but it's just made for somewhat of an awkward relationship. So something that I've tried to focus on this week and for the rest of my time here at the MTC is every day I hide a little sticky note in her things. The sticky note says one reason that I'm grateful for her for that day. This is really causing me to focus on the wonderful things about her throughout the day so I can write the sticky note that night. I've only done it for a few days but I believe I am starting to see an improvement. A general authority once said, "you don't have to like your companion, but you do have to love them." And I truly do love my doryo. It's just sometimes it's hard to like her. hahahah that tabun (probably) doesn't make any sense to you guys. Demo, I know that if you focus on the good in people then you will begin to love them as Christ and their Heavenly Father loves them. I am starting to experience that and it's a pretty cool thing. :)

The Nihongo is coming along slowly demo surely. The reason I write a lot of Nihongo words in my emails home is because I've completely committed myself to SYL (Speak Your Language). Which just means that I am speaking Nihongo in every way I can. It's helping a lot. And in every ressun ((lesson) haha I love that ressun in Nihongo sounds super similar to lesson in English. Except for the l of course. Typical Asians) I can feel the improvement with the language. The thing that is helping me at this point is diligent study and the shinko (faith) that as long as I do my very best then the Lord will take care of the rest. And lots of prayers help too. :)

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving is super happy and I hope you all are surrounded with people you love! I love all of you so much! Dad, give Nana, Pop, and Cici a big hug and kiss for me. Tell them I love them! And if you could give me Nana and Pop's address that would be splendid. 

Keep loving people and loving your lives! We've been given so much, I hope you take the time, especially this week, to appreciate all of the blessings! 

Ai shitemasu! 

Aulick Shimai