Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Solo No Longer!

Dear Family and Friends,

There's been a lot of change for me in the past week! When the kohai (younger district) came in last Wednesday, there were 3 new sisters going to Japan! One of the sisters speaks Japanese very well (she's studied it extensively before) so they moved her into my district and she is now my companion! So, I am no longer a solo sister missionary! It was a big change that happened really over-night--but it's been neat to have a sister companion with me all the time and feel the strength that comes in a companionship! Her Japanese is very good, and I'm already getting a lot of help from her in learning the language--her name is Sister Helps:). The other two sisters are great--and it's so fun to have more sisters in our residence hall room, and in our branch!

My Japanese is definitely improving, although sometimes I don't even realize it because it happens so gradually each day. This week is our first full week of SYL ("Speak your language")--where we speak Japanese 100%, and only speak English when we get permission from our teacher to do so (to ask a question, etc)! The past few weeks we've been preparing to do a full week of SYL by doing 1/2 full days a week. SYL is great--each day I'm able to express myself a little more, and my Japanese is getting better!

This past week I've learned so much from firesides and meetings! Sister Cheryl C. Lant, the General Primary President, spoke in Relief Society about involving the children of the families that we teach! She encouraged us to use the scriptures to teach the children of families--the importance of anchoring them in the gospel! She said that children can feel the Spirit strongly when they read scriptures, and can offer sincere prayers that will help build their own faith and strengthen the faith of the family. She said that wherever possible, each child should have his/her own copy of the Book of Mormon and study from it directly (with parents/missionaries help)--then "great shall be [their peace]"--2 Nephi 22:13. I'm excited to keep this in mind as I teach the families in Japan--truly every child of God is precious in His sight!

We had a Sunday night fireside from the administrative director of the MTC--he stressed how our purpose was to do all that we could to invite and help people come unto Christ--but then recognize that people will exercise their agency. I hope that I will become all that I need to be the best "instrument" through which these people can learn of the truths of the gospel! I love being a missionary! I love the Savior so much, and have felt strength from Him everyday here in the MTC! Truly He was wounded for our transgressions--and this so that He could succor us when we need it! He IS the only way back to living with God again, and brings so much peace and happiness to those who put their trust in Him! There is no burden too heavy for the Savior--He will lift it off our shoulders!

Thanks those of you who've sent me Dear Elders/letters! Sonia, I do not mind and would love it if you shared some of my letter with the Young Women. May God watch over and bless all of you, and may you find the strength and peace in Jesus Christ that I have!

Swain Shimai

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