Monday, June 23, 2014

Power of the Spirit


We had stake conference this weekend too, it was super good!  I learned a lot, and there were a lot of good talks given.  From what I could understand of them at least :)

So I am still here in Okinawa in Naha Higashi :) I am still with Kashiwa Shimai hallelujah!  One big announcement that came at conference was the reorganizing of wards and branches on the island.  We combined with another ward and became one! HUGE MIRACLE!  I feel like our area can grow so much more now.  We need more available members to help us with missionary work and I feel like with the combining of wards, its going to help us with missionary work move forward so much more now!  Thats just one of the miracles…

Last week we weren't able to meet with everyone that we wanted to, but we saw tons of miracles!  The first miracle I want to share happened last week on Friday.  Kashiwa Shimai and I were out finding and I saw a huge apartment complex pretty close by on a pretty big hill from where we were.  I felt like we should go there so we left the area we were in and headed towards the hill.  When we got there and started knocking on doors EVERYONE was rejecting us.  This apartment building had about 10 floors…after about 4 floors of straight rejection I was starting to get discouraged, and frustrated that nobody was listening.  We said a prayer asking for guidance and I told Kaskiwa Shimai that I definitely felt like there was at LEAST ONE prepared person in the whole building who was going to listen to us.  She felt the same way, so we kept knocking on doors.  The rejections kept coming.  We went down onto the next floor and in the hallway I saw two small pink bikes sitting next to a door.  As soon as I saw the bikes, I knew whoever lived there was going to be our new investigator.  We knocked on the door.  A young mom (her name is Maho) with the cutest, chubbiest baby in her arms answered the door and with a warm smile on her face said 'Konnichiwa!'  Suddenly two other young girls from the back room came running to the door to see who we were.  They had three crazy pony tails in their hair. They were so cute!  I said 'Are they twins?!'  She said yes, but that they are her husbands kids from a different marriage.  As we started talking, we taught her about eternal families.  She said she didn't currently believe in eternal families, but if it was real it would be pretty awesome!  We asked if we could come back and she said 'Yes! I am here all day, I don't work right now, anytime is good!'  We set the appointment for tomorrow.  When we left her door, I wanted to drop on my knees and thank God for answering our prayer and guiding us to literally the ONLY prepared person in that whole apartment complex.  It was a miracle.

Nakamoto San:
We were able to meet with him last week with a member.  We finished teaching him the plan of salvation, he seemed a little confused on some things which is to be expected, but he said that he prayed and read the reading assignment that we gave him from the previous visit. YAY!!! He actually kept his commitment!  That was a miracle in and of itself!  He said that as of right now he doesn't have a lot of desire to stop worshipping his ancestors because that is all he knows, but he is not opposed to keep learning.  We are going back tomorrow! :)  The lord is working on him, I am so grateful for the power of the spirit!  That is what is ultimately going to convert him and soften his heart!  He's really sweet and  nice, so once he starts learning by the spirit I don't think joining the church will be hard at all.  Especially if he keeps reading and praying..that will be key.

Shiroma San:
Shiroma San is an older guy that we found in the beginning of last transfer and have been teaching him REALLY slowly.  He is one of my favorite investigators that I have had on my mission.   He isn't progressing super fast, but every time we meet with him, I feel Gods love for him so strong!  He loves when we come over!  He is a little stubborn, but the spirit is working on him, I see it every time we come.  He has yet to pray in front of us, he is always super embarrassed and no matter how hard we beg, he is stubborn and won't do it.  BUT last week when we went to his house we sat outside his door, and when we started the lesson he pulled out a piece of paper and I said 'Whats that Shiroma San?'  He said, 'I was thinking a lot about what you said about prayer…is it okay if i read this?  I've been waiting for you two to come so I could share it.'  He opens the the paper and it has a bunch of handwritten Japanese all over it.  He takes a deep breath and says the first line 'Ten no Otosama' which means 'Heavenly Father'…He wrote out his prayer and read it to us!  It was the cutest thing I've ever heard.  He said that thinking about what he is grateful for on the spot is hard, so he took the time to write it all down and was waiting for us to come back so he could read it to us.  I WAS SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!  It really was such a HUGE MIRACLE!  I love that guy!!!  I want to take a picture with him next time so you can see him.  I don't know if he will let me but I will try haha.

Shinzato San:
This is one of the craziest miracles of the week…We found her two weeks ago, she was SO happy when she met us and said that she FOR SURE wanted to come to church.  She is an older lady, maybe in her 70's or 80's and LOVES to talk…anyways, we gave her a Book of Mormon and told her that we wanted to teach her.  She said to call her and we could make an appointment.  So a few days later we called and some weird guy answered the phone and WOULD NOT let us talk to her!!!!  It was the MOST FRUSTRATING thing ever!  Since we couldn't get a hold of her, we had no way of making the appointment.  We attempted going to her house a few days ago but when we got there we heard that mans voice and decided to try again another time…yesterday as we were driving back from stake conference with a member we got a phone call.  It was Shinzato San. I threw the phone to Kashiwa.  Shinzato said that she really really wanted to come to church today and that she wanted us to teach her. She said she didn't have a ride to church and wanted us to come pick her up.  She didn't know that we had conference and that church was over…we didn't know what to do, but luckily the sweet member that was with us said she would go pick her up and take her to the church for us!!!  She came to the church and we sat in the chapel and started teaching her about the gospel of Jesus Christ!  We were about to invite her to be baptized but the member that drove her needed to go, so we will have to invite her this week. I have no doubt that she is going to say yes!  She kept saying over and over again how happy she was and that she felt so much joy in her heart from meeting with us!  She can't wait to come to church next Sunday and learn more about Christ.  It was the biggest miracle ever!!!  WE WERE SO HAPPY!!!!!!!

I am out of time! ah! But there is one more investigator named An Chan who we are teaching.  She is super cute, 20 years old and lived in America for school.  She is really good at English and we taught her last week.  She committed to pray about the restoration and Joseph Smiths experience.  I will update you on her next week!  I have to go but I love you all!!  The church is TRUE!  God is a God of miracles :)  He knows us and loves us.  He is hastening his work.  I am so grateful to be a part of it!  Love you all!
Sharp Shimai

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I am so blessed

June 15, 2014


This last week was much better than the week before. Yes it is transfer week- I haven't gotten the call yet, but I am pretty positive that I am staying. I think I will stay here until the end of my mission. Kashiwa and I are doing great :) I really do love her so much, I am sooo grateful for her. I would love to stay companions with her until the very end. 

This last week Kashiwa shimai and I saw some way awesome things happen. We went out housing with a member from the ward and we found two awesome people. The first one was a young mother. I knocked on the door and she opened it and the first thing she said is `Oh! Aren't you Mormons!? I saw you two last week in front of your church, we talked for just a little bit, do you remember?` Kashiwa remembered her, but I didn't at all...we talked to her about the Plan of Salvation. She has two young kids, and one of them has a huge fear of people. She said that in order for her daughter to overcome her fears of people, she felt like we were the kind of people she wanted to bring her around. She wants to attend church, but she is super busy this month. We will be recontacting her again at the end of the month, and I think we will be able to start meeting with her. It was a miracle that we not only stopped her on the street, but Heavenly Father guided us straight to her house! She is obviously being prepared. In the same apartment complex, a few doors down, we knocked on the door of an older man named Taira San. We began talking to him about the restoration after he made a comment about how there are too many churches on the earth, all teaching different things from the same bible. He said that he has read the bible and he just doesn't understand why all there are so many different christian churches...he doesn't know which one to join. He didn't have a clue, but he was almost word for word quoting Joseph Smith history. IT was crazy! I shared with him the first vision and the three of us bore testimony of an apostasy. He was touched and said that we could come back and teach him more, but between his work and his visits to the doctor, he couldn't make a solid appointment. However, he gave us all his information and we are going to try really hard to meet with him this week. He is incredibly prepared to accept the restoration. Super excited :)

Yesterday we were on our way to an appointment that we had at a members house and as we were biking along the sidewalk, a man biking in our direction yells out `Are you Mormons?` in passing. Normally when people recognize us I immediately stop and talk with them...however something was different about this guy, and I had no desire to stop and talk with him. As i rode by I said yep! and kept going..kashiwa didn't hear him so when we got to the light I turned to her and said `that guy back there knew who we were, should we go back and talk with him? I don't really feel impressed to talk with him...` She said she didn't either. As we were waiting for the light to turn green we heard a voice from behind us say `Konnichwa!` we turned around and it was a sweet old grandma who has apparently met sister missionaries before and received a book of Mormon a few months ago. She kept saying that she was looking forward to meeting with us, but we had no idea who she was...I got her name and address and we set up an appointment to meet with her today at noon! huge miracle! I immediately knew why I wasn't impressed to go back and talk with that man..we needed to be standing on that corner so that Chinen San (the grandma) could see us and stop us. The Lord works in wonderful ways :)

One of the best miracles of the week happened with a man named Nakamoto san.
 Sister Lewis and I were on exchanges together last week in our area and we housed into this sweet older man who said that he would love to see his ancestors again if he had the chance. We bore testimony of the plan of salvation and asked if we could come back in a few days. He agreed. I asked if his wife would be home at the time that we would be coming and he said no- he also said that she probably wouldn't have any interest in our message. We said okay and left.
Yesterday Kashiwa Shimai and I went to our appointment with him and knocked on his door. His wife answered..she didn't know who we were and seemed a little confused, but we explained that we met her husband a few days ago and that he invited us over. She let her husband know we were at the door and he came and let us in. His wife at first didn't seem to excited that we were in her house, and she didn't participate in the lesson, but I think by the end of the meeting her heart was softened. She served us tea (that we cant drink..always super awkward) and said that we could definitely come back on Wednesday. She will be at work, but she is ok with us coming. Anyways, during the lesson we talked to Nakamoto San about the atonement of Jesus Christ. He knows nothing about God or Jesus Christ, as almost all people in Okinawa, and he worships his ancestors. (Just like everyone else) However, when we explained the role of Jesus Christ and the Atonement to him, he was intently listening the whole time. He had never heard of it before and the spirit was definitely in the room bearing witness to him that it was true. He had never prayed before so we taught him to pray and committed him to pray on his own before he went to bed that night. He said that he would. We set up another appointment for Wednesday :) YAY!!!! I really feel like he is going to progress and keep his commitments. The only problem is going to be his wife, but I think we will be able to soften her a little more with time. He use to be a taxi driver, but is retired now. They have four grown children and 9 grandchildren. He came from a family of 12 which is absolutely unheard of for a Japanese family, and he is the youngest. I Have a feeling that all his ancestors are rejoicing on the other side of the veil when they saw us step into his house yesterday and taught of the atonement and plan of salvation. I am excited to see what happens, and I will update you next week on his progress :)

The church is true! Heavenly Father is hastening his work. I am so blessed to be a part of it. Thank you for all your prayers. I know that the power of your prayers are real!! I love each of you. Remember that God is aware of you and knows everything about you and your life. He loves each of you and is so ready to use each of you in hastening his work. Go to the temple as often as possible! Say your prayers, and read the scriptures EVERY DAY. 
Love you all! Stay Genki (happy/healthy) 
Love, Sharp Shimai