Sunday, November 15, 2009

No More Email! (More on Matsushima...)

November 15, 2009

Dear Loved Ones,

I am doing great! But I just found out that I won`t be able to e-mail any more while I`m in Izumi--there are no approved places that I can e-mail from (the place I`ve been e-mailing from said we couldn`t come anymore). I`m sorry about this--I will snail mail family each week, and will write back anyone I get letters from.

I continue to pray for all of you and I`m doing well:)

Swain Shimai

(Since Danielle can no longer send emails, I am including her "snail mail" we received this week--It is about last week...)

11/6/09 Friday

Dear Family and Friends,

Today is not the usual P-day (Mon) because we received permission to go sightseeing today with 2 recent converts and a ward member (it was the only time they could do it.)—So today is a ½ P-day and Monday we’ll only use ½ of the day for P-day.

We went to Matsushima. Matsu is a beautiful tree found on this island (shima). It was about an hour drive away. It was beautiful, and wonderful to be out in nature—and see the

koyo (autumn leaves) and the Japanese trees! The view of the ocean was beautiful as well. Izumi, where we dendo, is jam-packed with houses/small companies—so besides the occasional park we ride by on our bikes, I haven’t been able to see Japanese nature and appreciate it until today.

My companion, Tani Shimai (from Osaka) is not the typical Nihonjin. She is very outgoing and has a talent for “loving” people. She’s served in Izumi for a long time (6 transfers!)—The ward members love her and she’s had many investigators baptized! The other missionaries call her an amazing missionary—the mission president, in my interview Wed., told me to learn all I can from her and ask lots of questions. She really is an amazing missionary—I hope to become like her!

...Continued on Monday 11/9
Usually new missionaries stay with their trainers for three transfers, but this is Tani Shimai’s last transfer before going home, so I’ll have a new companion in two weeks. I’ve felt a lot of responsibility to learn everything about the area—investigators, members, directions (Ichiban musukashii - #1 hard thing!) around our area, so that when my new companion comes we can continue what Tani Shimai has worked so hard here for six transfers to do! Tani Shimai is giving me a “Senpai Day” – one this week and one next week-where I decide what we do and ride my bike in front! I still have a lot more to learn these last two weeks, but the Lord is helping me little by little to do it!

Mom, I’m going to try and answer some of your questions now. There’s so much I want to tell you about missionary life here in Izumi! My bike is wonderful—it’s the best mountain bike they have here. I’ve had to take it into the shop 2 times because the gears stopped working-but I think it may have been my fault for changing the gears too fast when I shouldn’t have! It works great now. The hardest thing is riding up the hills and in the tight, tiny sidewalk paths they have—and in a skirt! But I think I’m figuring it out!

Like I’ve said before, the Izumi Ward is wonderful. The church building is 2 stories high. Sacrament meeting is held upstairs in a hall about half the size of ours in Vegas. The other rooms are also smaller, and each has a gas stove we turn on in the winter. The walls are thins and the church is often colder inside than it is outside! (when the stoves aren’t turned on). When the stove in a room is turned on, the room gets super warm and then we have to turn it off again.

About 2 or 3 times a week we eat with ward members—we coordinate it and call to make an appointment with people we want to meet with unless they invite us over—it’s pretty different than Vegas! The members are kind, and usually say yes unless they’re super busy. They’ve fed me all sorts of wonderful things! Lots of rice, noodles, and miso soup…

I’m out of time today, so I’ll write more next time. I love all of you so much and pray for you each day!

Swain Shimai

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