Monday, June 17, 2013
I have noticed that Japanese people don't really like looking you straight in the eye. I have been bound and determined that when we stop someone in the street I maintain eye contact with them...because in the times where I have looked someone straight in the face and told them that God is our Heavenly Father I KNOW THEY FEEL THE TRUTH OF IT!! Even though we get rejected all the time, I know we are baring the truth to these people and they feel it. Some of them are so hardened in their hearts it is so sad to see.
We stopped and elderly lady yesterday and she said God can't exist because she is alone...all her friends are dead and she has nobody...God didn't exist. Sister Buhler and I tried so hard to tell her that through our message she could know that she wasn't alone but she rejected us and we went on her way. It was so sad. We had a similar experience with another elderly woman who was sitting on the side of the road all by herself...we asked her what she was doing and she said she is so alone that she can't bare to sit in her apartment so she will just come outside and sit on the curb and watch all the cars drive by. We asked if we could come visit with her and she said yes, but when we asked for her address she changed her mind...again...these people are so stubborn its frustrating! So we had to walk away from her too, it was sad.
I do have one more miracle that I want to share from this week though before I go....
Sister Buhler and I were riding our bikes home two nights ago around 8pm and we stopped this girl on the street. We began talking to her about God. She said she had heard of God and Jesus Christ but didn't know anything about them...she had read the Bible before though which was a MIRACLE IN AND OF ITSELF!!! Nobody has a CLUE what the Bible is here. So we began talking to her about the Book of Mormon and how it too teaches us about Christ. Things were going SO GOOD! Sister Buhler asked her if we could meet with her again and talk with her more and she said yes! This is where it gets weird...literally RIGHT AS Sister Buhler was going to ask what day we could meet this Japanese man comes out of nowhere and and cuts her off and was like (in Japanese, pointing to all of us) ARE YOU CHRISTIAN!!!??? And Sister Buhler and I were like YEAH!!! (we have been praying for a male to teach because our ward needs priesthood holders) so our initial thought was like wow Heavenly Father is sending us a man to teach!! BUT NOOO...we were wrong... he starts GOING OFF in Japanese about how much he hates God and Christians and he wouldn't stop. I had NO CLUE what the heck he was saying, i don't think I have ever heard someone speak Japanese so fast in my life. Sister Buhler tried to get him to stop but he wouldn't...towards the end of him speaking I started to get a really bad vibe and I could that whatever he was saying wasn't good. Finally he just stopped and since Sister Buhler wasn't fighting back he just walked away...I turned to the girl and asked if she was ok and she just started laughing and said she was fine and that she still wanted to meet with us so we got her number. We said goodbye to her and walked away and i asked Sister Buhler what in the world that man was going off about and she told me and i was like OH MY GOSH!!! First of all, I need to stress how completely unheard of it is for a Japanese person to even know who Christ is...next, I need to stress how UNHEARD of it is for a MALE to approach ANY WOMAN on the street in Japan. It just doesn't happen. Its against their culture...we pass men on the street all the time and they won't even make eye contact with us. So for this situation to even occur it was like what in the world is going on...i know for a fact that it was satan trying to stop us from meeting with this girl. I couldn't believe it. It was a testimony to me HOW AWARE satan is of this great work. He knows and see's every single person we are contacting...and he knows the ones that will accept our message and the ones that won't. I have a pretty good feeling that this girl we stopped is going to accept it so he sent this random man to come and literally say the complete opposite of everything we had just taught her seconds before.
My mind went to the story of Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove...satan knew what was about to happen as Joseph knelt down to pray and so he tried to BIND his tongue so he couldn't offer his prayer...
We cannot ALLOW satan to overcome us. Ever. If you recall Josephs story, he felt as though he was being attacked by a very real being from the "unseen world" he felt as though it wanted to destroy him...he said at THE VERY MOMENT that he "called upon GOD"(PRAYED), he "saw a pillar of light above the brightness of the sun which descended gradually until it fell upon him..."
Darkness and light cannot coexist. The light will ALWAYS dispel the darkness. God and Jesus Christ appeared, and satan no longer had any power over him.
Please remember this. Darkness and light CANNOT co-exist together. Satan can have NO power over you as we stay close to Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Just like darkness and light cannot co-exist, neither can fear and faith. Fear is from satan, and faith comes from God.
I love all of you so much. If time permitted I would tell you every single experience I have had since I have come to UBE, I have seen many miracles and also seen many hardened hearts. But at the end of the day Sister Buhler and I always walk through the door and know whose errand we are on. It's the Lords, and I am so grateful for it. This is HIS work!!
I love everyone here. I love love love Sister Buhler, she is a miracle and blessing in my life.
I will talk to you next week! Stay strong. Remember whose work this is, and CALL UPON GOD.
Light and darkness cannot co-exist. The light will always overcome the darkness. Christ is the Light and Life of the World.
Love, Sharp Shimai
Okay, this week was so great!!! Miracles are happening here in UBE! I have a really cool story to share....So Sister Buhler and Sister Eddy have been here in UBE for FOREVER. Sister Eddy is Burgon Shimais trainer, and she is on her 6th transfer in UBE, she has been here since LAST THANKSGIVING. Can you believe that...that is unheard of. Her and Sister Buhler were companions in the MTC and they have been companions for 6 months since they have been in the field and now they are training Burgon Shimai and I together, so they know each other really well they are like sisters..anyways, they have been trying SOO HARD to get UBE going. Since Sister Eddy has been in this area she has helped transform it into seeking out and finding less actives. When Sister Buhler got transferred here she caught the spirit as well and now she's obsessed with finding all these less actives that haven't been contacted in YEARS AND YEARS. Like i said, some of them don't even know what the church is, yet, they were baptized at some point...So when they started digging up all these records they started to find tons and tons of people..the very first person they ever found and visited four months ago, was this lady named Aida..she wanted nothing to do with the church..Sister Buhler is so persistent and even though Aida wanted nothing to do with religion she was still really nice and would allow them to come over and visit. After four long months of never giving up (but wanting to many times, according to Sister Buhler) we went and visited her and her niece this last week. It was my first time meeting with them. We brought a member along with which was great. We planned on talking about our baptismal covenants and how it is so important that we renew them each week at sacrament. We wanted her to understand that if she would go back to church she could get the spirit back in her life and be able to overcome her hard challenges. Sister Buhler wanted me to share my conversion story at the end...Aida's niece's name is Ami, and she is 32 years old. She was born in Japan but has been living in America for most of her life. She was baptized when she was 8 but her mom took her out of the church when she was 12 and hasn't been back since. she moved here to Japan to live with her Aunt Aida 4 months ago because she wanted a change of pace in her life. She doesn't speak hardly any Japanese, just English since she has lived in the states most of her life. Aida only speaks Japanese though. I was excited when Sister Buhler told me that Ami only spoke English and that I would be able to share my conversion story in English to her, and then she would translate it for Aida. When we got to the house, we rang the doorbell and Aida came to the door..in Japan they have something called Genkons (probably didn't spell that right) but in America it would be what we call a Mud room. Most Japanese people won't let you come into their house, they just make you stand in their genkon and talk to them. Even the members... its weird. Anyways, Sister Buhler started asking Aida how she was doing and then went into talking about the lesson we prepared. I could tell that Aida was really uninterested in what we were saying by her body language and she wasn't being that responsive. Sister Buhler gave about a 15 minute lesson and we had the member that came with us bare her testimony, as she was doing that Aida's niece walked in and was like oh sorry I was napping, and then just stood in the doorway and started listening...at the end Sister Buhler turned to me and was like will you share your conversion story now? So I turned to the niece and began telling her my story and how I came back to church. I told her all the trails I faced, but how once I went back to church my entire life changed. I told her about the first day I went to my very first singles ward and when I walked through the doors of the building I was overwhelmed with the spirit. It was then I knew that I needed the spirit in my life. When I was telling her my story I started to cry (big surprise right?!) And suddenly EVERYONE was crying...Aida had no idea what I was saying, she was sitting on the floor and tears were rolling down her face. Sister Buhler began translating for her and she continued to cry. I connected really well with Ami and she too felt the spirit so strong, we were all crying. I bore my testimony that church is where we need to be in order to get the spirit back in our lives. At the end of my story Sister Buhler committed both of them to come to church on Sunday and they BOTH accepted!!!! What a miracle indeed. Yesterday was Sunday and we walked through the doors 20 minutes early and Aida and Ami were already there!! We sat with them, and they stayed for the whole day. It was amazing. Anyone can come back to church, this is not news to me. I am a walking example of this. I am grateful I get to see others come back too! I am so grateful for the spirit, and for its powerful witness that it bore to their hearts when we met with them.
Next, Sister Buhler and I had a referral from a member in the ward and we went to visit him last week also. We knocked on the door and we barely said hello before he was inviting us into his house. Buhler turned to me and was like "THIS NEVER HAPPENS!!!" Like i said , Japanese people don't let you into their homes. The first thing he did was give us an entire tour of his home, he sat us down in his kitchen, got us some juice and we began talking with him. He has been married for 40 years and his name is Wantanabe. He has some Buddhist background but he isn't really religious. When the time was right Buhler began talking to him about the Plan of Salvation...my Japanese isn't great so I didn't say anything hardly at all the whole time we were at his house until the end when I bore my testimony. He told Sister Buhler that he felt like we were different, and that we were really happy. She explained that we are in Japan giving up 18 months to serve others and teach about Jesus Christ, he was so receptive to that and said how amazing he thought we were for doing it. She asked if we could return and teach him more and he said that he would love it of we did. I felt something special when we were talking with him...who knows if he will get baptized, but i definitely know something good is going to come form meeting with him. He is in his 60's or 70's i think. I am excited to meet his wife!!