Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kamisugi Music Concert & Transfer Day!

(Picture of our Kamisugi Music Concert: We collaborated with the Kamisugi missionaries and ward members. My next companion, Morikoshi Shimai, is sitting next to me with the black shirt. The four sister missionaries wore "piano" ties...) This picture is after the Kamisugi Music Concert: From left to right, back: Fukunaga Mitsu san (our 83 year old investigator), me, Suzuki Akiko san (LA), Kikkuchi Shimai (ward member and angel--she helps the ward and missionaries so much!) front: Tomoe Shimai (recent convert), Yoneda Shimai

Dear Family,

I’m sorry, but this letter will be super short because tomorrow is transfer day and I had to pack/say goodbyes...

Tomorrow I transfer to Nagamachi, which is very close to Izumi. It’s the area where the Honbu (Mission office and home) is. My new companion will be Morikoshi Shimai. It will be her last transfer before she goes home. She served in Kamisugi for the past few transfers, so we’ll both be new to the area. She’s from Miyazaki, Japan, but her English is very good because she went to BYU Hawaii, where she was a piano and vocal major. We will have a great time playing together!

I’m sad to leave Izumi, my first area, where I’ve been for 5 ½ months. I’ve learned and experienced so much here and there are so many people I love! But I know it will be in good hands. Yoneda Shimai will stay here, and Kado Shimai will come.

P-day is in the next few days, so I’ll write you more on Monday. I love all of you!

Swain Shimai

P.S. Mom, I heard there’s no email in Nagamachi too...

P.P.S. This picture of me (with my new bangs-all Japanese people have them!) was taken inside Numakura san's house (our investigator who can't see. She wouldn't let us take a picture with her.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ume Blossoms!

Dear family,

It’s been another great week. Mitsu san has a baptism date set for next month! She’s still a little nervous about it because she doesn’t think she knows enough, but she does! Her faith in God and Jesus Christ is strong, and that’s the #1 thing that matters! We had two wonderful lessons with her this past week, both joint with members-one in particular was full of the Spirit, where we reviewed the Plan of Salvation and testified of Jesus Christ. Truly Christ is the only way to return back to Heavenly Father. He’s the key person—our Friend, and Redeemer!

This past week we also went with a less active member, Sister Suzuki and some other ward members to see “ume”-a beautiful blossoming tree. It’s not quite time for Sakura (cherry blossoms), but it was neat to see the ume-the first of the Spring season!

This coming Saturday we’ll have a music concert put together by the missionaries in Kamisugi. I’m playing my violin and Yoneda Shimai and I are singing. It will be fun, and a good chance for people to come and feel the Spirit.

I love all of you so much! Take care!

Swain Shimai

(Yoneda Shimai with me in front of a blooming ume tree.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Earthquakes & Janice Kapp Perry Concert in Sendai

Dear family,

It was pretty cold this past week, but some afternoons are starting to get warmer. I heard that at least by the start of April it stops snowing usually-good news! Saturday night and Sunday late afternoon we had two minor earthquakes. Don’t worry, they weren’t big enough to do any damage or even move anything out of place. They were just big enough to scare Yoneda Shimai and I a bit. We’re so grateful they weren’t any bigger and hope it means we won’t have any more for a while.

Last Friday, Yoneda Shimai and I went with 83 year old Mitsu san to the Janice Kapp Perry Concert in Sendai. The Perry couple both spoke and shared some experiences from their mission on the importance of music. Brother Irie, who is a Japanese singer and member of the church that Janice K. Perry collaborated with (he came to the MTC while I was there, sang for us, and shared his conversion story), sang some of the songs Sister Perry had written, and even Sister Perry sang some herself! It was a wonderful concert—Mitsu san felt the Spirit and was touched. That’s the power of good, uplifting music-the Spirit brings its message to the hearts of those who listen!

Mitsu san is doing well, and working toward baptism! It’s so wonderful to be a part of this work—especially to see the changes it brings to people’s lives, and realize that it was not us, but God that did it!

(Sister Missionaries-2 District P-day at the Park! Sendai Zone)I’m out of time today. We had a two district P-day today with investigators, recent converts and the other missionaries-ultimate Frisbee, freeze-tag, etc... I love all of you and pray for you each day!

Swain Shimai

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Still Snowing!!!

Dear family,

In my last letter I wrote about how it was starting to warm up. This past week reminded us that it’s still winter! It snowed, then rained, then snowed again. The past two days we’ve gotten quite a bit of snow! I guess it’s not quite spring yet, but hopefully it will come soon!

It’s been another busy, but wonderful week. Yesterday we had Zone Conference. The focus was on our purpose as a missionary—to bring others unto Christ! It was wonderful, especially during testimony meeting when other missionaries talked about their experiences in fulfilling their purpose as a missionary, including seeing miracles. Truly this is the Lord’s work!

Mitsu san, our 83 year old investigator, is doing so well! She came to church for the 3rd time last Sunday, and she’s coming to the Janice Kapp Perry Concert with us this coming Friday (Janice Kapp Perry, the church musician, is coming to Sendai!). Mitsu san is friends with many of the ward members now—she’s practically like a member! We’re teaching her the missionary lessons. She believes in God and Jesus Christ and has so much faith!

Sorry the letter is short this week—but I’m doing well and love all of you so much! Take care!

Swain Shimai

(Picture of our Young Single Adult's Family Home Evening at Kanazawa Family's House)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Elder Choi Conference and Visits to Recent Converts

Dear family and friends,

I can’t believe it’s March already! Where does the time go? It rained (instead of snowed!) this past week, and we had a few warm days. It’s been so wonderful, compared to the freezing cold we had before!

It’s been a busy week with the Elder Choi Conference, President interviews, Mogi appointments with members, and visits to the recent converts.(pictures of Sister Tomoe & Brother Saito, recent converts & the Miura Family)

The Elder Choi conference was wonderful! He is Korean and in the Quorum of the Seventies. He gave the talk last conference in the Priesthood session about “I Love Loud Boys.” I was able to play an arrangement of “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer”, on my violin as a special musical number.

I learned so much from Elder Choi and his wife, Sister Koo! They taught us and counseled us to do so many things. Elder Choi talked about the power of music and told us to use it as a companionship—sing hymns before lessons, etc.! He also taught us about the importance of obedience, even when we don’t know the reason for it. We will realize it down the road when we see the blessings that have come from it! --“Today obey, tomorrow understand.”

Sister Koo talked about how the Lord gives us trials because He loves us and wants us to grow! She talked about how Joseph Smith was so young, 14 years old, when he experienced so much persecution and sorrow! Yet this was necessary, and part of God’s plan for Joseph. I felt this so strongly during her talk—that God loves us so much-always! I too, have had trials and sorrows, even since I begun my mission to Japan. But through it all, I have felt the love of God as He has helped me to overcome them. I testify that God loves us always—and that there’s nothing we can’t overcome if we trust in God!

I’m so grateful for the experiences of my mission—both the hard and good times. I love telling people about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. Truly He is our Savior!

Swain Shimai

P.S. Mitsu san, our 83 year old investigator, came to church again this past Sunday and loved it! She’s doing well!