Sister Jena Anderson

Sister Jena Anderson
Entered the MTC December 28th, 2011 and left for Kobe, Japan March 12th!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Oh my sweet sweet fam fam fam!!!

What an adventure it is here in the land of Japan! I don't even know where to start in telling you about our week. It's been crazy!


I was asked to bear my testimony in Church this week! I love our ward and the people here. Testifying was so fun! I know that the Lord TRULY does answer prayers. Every day I pray for you sweet fam! I know He hears me, even if it's a little prayer when we are biking in the rain. I miss you so much. Sometimes I just see all of your cute faces, or think about what you would love over here and want so much for you to share in my experiences. I love you! Thanks for being the best family ever. :)

Having that said!! Yesterday was crazy. After I got to speak in Church, one of our investigators came and handed my companion a paper talking about a cultural event that was free to showcase talents... that day next door. (She can beat box!) We went over and ended up singing "I Am a Child of God" in English, and she beatboxed it after. Life can be so surprising sometimes! I never thought I'd see a Sunday standing in front of thirty people, many intercultural but all speaking Japanese, announcing that we were missionaries... (I don't know if we are supposed to do that, I'm probably one of those awkward missionaries!) I never thought I'd be dragged into doing the Tokushima dance Awadori... ha ha. Missionary work is a lot different than I thought it would be. Each day, I just pray that I can follow His will and find those people that are ready to recieve.

As far as miracles, I want to tell you about a few amazing days. One day we got out of our apartment and there was the sweetest, happiest Japenese lady walking two little dogs. (In the MTC, I always wondered why they told you what form of language to speak to dogs in... we thought that was weird. Remember that this lady has dogs, and keep reading.) We invited her to our English class and she came this week. We got to go walking with her, and my companion was telling her we have a message, but I don't think it came out . She looked at us and said "Kikitai!" which is like... "I want to hear!", which preceded, "Oshiete kudasai!" which is like... "Please teach me!" We get to meet with her this week and we are so excited. We really felt as if the Lord had prepared people and we are looking for them... and we really feel blessed to have found this sweet woman of God. She told us in our first meeting that she had a bible and was reading it. This is Tani San! She is so great and bursting with happiness, I can't wait to just give her sweet spirit more, and how it seems like maybe she's on a search she doesn't know that she is on.

As for our Yamamoto's! One is a woman and one is a man. We got to meet Yamamoto Shingo San a few times this week. He is a former investigator (of about 10 years), so it will be interesting to see how his story pans out. This week we asked him to start to read the Book of Mormon again from the beginning, he is very smart and I can't tell yet exactly where his interest is. Whenever we send him a passage to read, he reads it and really enjoys it though. Hopefully he can read this book from God and recognize it as such. I think he can if he wants to. It will be wonderful to see how the Lord can work with this man if he chooses to turn more to Him and accept more light!!

Our other Yamamoto (Miyuki) is doing great. Our lesson with her went well, but we haven't been able to meet with her a lot. I think she is starting to feel more of a difference in her life by learning about God. It was like when I was speaking on Sunday, and I looked out to see the Elder's new investigator in the audience, beaming at me. Later he told the Elder's that from the testimonies, he is starting to believe in God. Tehre is like a pre-step in Japan, and for a lot of the sweet Japanese people it is learning to accept that there is a God. And she is coming!!

We have a few other people that are really informal as of now.... oh yeah, back to the miracles! So that day we walk out and found this sweet Japanese woman standing outside of our apartment, and then we go to visit a member who got out of the hospital. She isn't in, but as we are walking, we say hi to this sweet obachan (grandma). She is excited to see my blonde hair and explains that her daughter lives in Canada. She asks us to walk with her (I think that's how it happened), walking arm in arm and she just keeps saying how HAPPY she is, and how lonely she has been. After our walk around the block, we tell her we will come back and walk again. We just keep finding these people who seem very primed, talking to US, etc. We are excited to go visit her and her sweet family again!

We had a nice, what felt like, interfaith conference with a Jehovah Witness missionary this week. We also found this wonderful park right by where we live! Some places just have a good feeling, like you know you will find people there. There is a big daigaku (university) like 20 mins from our house... and then we find out that there is ANOTHER UNIVERSITY so close to our house, by this pleasant little park!

Let me tell you about my evening last night!
We met the sweetest Catholic grandma who speaks wonderful English, and we had a great chat with her; as well as another older woman walking her dogs one day. We decided to chat with the first lady again, and that was last night. As we chatted, we saw the second lady and she invited us all to her house earnestly. She is super funny. She graduated from the university close and worked there, and told us the first meeting that she only speaks Japanese and she is Buddhist, but she is super funny. So we go to this sweet lady's house, end up with orange juice in front of us, kneeling at this table. It is common to heat something where everyone kneels as far as I can tell; this one has a heater underneath it with thick blankets on the outside... and she LOVES DOGS. She is showing us photo albums and probably every three pages is another row of pictures of her dogs. The picture on the wall is of her dogs. Her dog is under the table getting warm (her dogs are both very nice)... Both of these ladies have such big hearts, and are SO SWEET. I wish and hope we can find a way to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them! So we are sitting at this very Buddhist, sweet, kind ladies table drinking orange juice, being giving gorumet treats, being given hand made oragami roses that are very difficult... after which we make our own paper cranes from Japanese oragami paper. They are so wonderful and their hearts are so big. I wish I could tell you all about it. I know that God loves every one of His children. We get to walk with them again this week, I hope we can find a way to share what we do with these sweet ladies. We've talked a little bit! I hope and pray that we can find a way to share with them what they aren't sure they are looking for yet... they are so sweet though, and just like our friends. It is truly an incredible experience, and I feel blessed that the Lord is helping us learna little more about the Japanese people and culture.

It's strange, but I told my ward that this feels like home. It is not my home, but it is like my home. It is so hard to describe, but when you are on a mission... it feels like you came home to a home you didn't know you were away from, a different kind of home. I love the sweet people here. I love their beautiful hearts, I love their wonderful honor for good things, I pray each day for the Lord to help us find those who are prepared to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that they are here!

So much more has happened, I wish I had time to tell. We have District Meeting every Wednesday, and it is SO FUN. We get to rent these little bikes and follow our crazy Elders, who are doing tricks, cruising around Takamatsu. We go out to eat after... I could not figure out the menu, so I just went with the Elders (we are the only sisters in the district) and pointed to the same thing. First mistake! you NEVER WOULD HAVE BELIEVED the size of these bowls. There is a huge bowl of rice and a huge bowl of RAMAN with egg and meat... Nate would have LOVED IT! After we are eating for a while (we walked in this restaraunt and everyone's GLASSES FOGGED completely, it was so steamy!)... the sweet waitress brings us scrunchies on a little roll and lets us pick one to TIE OUR HAIR BACK ha ha... living the dream. I swear I was full for so long afterwards! For another 100 yen, you could get ANOTHER bowl of ramen to put in your broth... which the Elders loved and I definitely couldn't eat it in my wildest dreams ha ha.
So! That is more or less the work. It is hard work but so rewarding when you get to feel God's love for others.  But I also know that the Lord is preparing wonderful souls to hear the Gospel, who have been primed to learn of all of the wonderful joy ahead of them. I hope this letter makes sense! The work is true! Pray for us like I know you always do. We want to teach so much, I know that the Lord will help us find and teach these wonderfully prepared people.

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY! I know that the Lord will be with all of us, He always is. Know that the Lord LIVES and loves you!!

With so much more to say and even more love,
Andason Shimai :) (my katakana name)

Monday, March 19, 2012

To my beloved fam!!
HELLO from the other side of the world!! This is your daughter reporting here, from her first area in... Japan... in...
TOKUSHIMA!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are on the Shikoku island down south and it is AWESOME. There is so much to say, its hard to know where to start... plus the keyboards are a little different here, which makes it a little harder to start... ha ha.
My first day in Japan, the trainers were out and we wanted to go streeting. I grabbed the two sisters waiting for the interviews and off we went! Luckily, one of our sweet sisters was Japanese, and wow that helps a lot... mostly we just walked around and looked at people, holding our little pass alongs and shaking ha ha! That was our first experience streeting in Japan.

So, I will tell you about a few experiences, the first one which I think will amuse you. (funny stories first, salad before meat and dessert)
On our first full day in Tokushima, we attended a potential investigator's English class with her. So picture a bright pink room. Now put pictures of kittens and fish on the walls. Add a little bright music and ten Japanese women learning English from a teacher that studied in Britain. Stick me in there, on my first day in the field, trying to speak Japanese and English... and realizing that, unbeknownst to me, I can't speak English either!! ha ha. Stick us in front of them on two seats, asking them questions in English... I don't know how from their persistent urging they found out my first name though I thought I explained that we go by sister, and why they didn't ask my companion, or why somehow I got a few lines of "my heart will go on" out in sheer horror because the teacher kept begging me to sing with her... ha ha. For a while I don't know if they knew what I spoke! But, the Lord is always with us and helping us, and hard days and good days are both SO GREAT for what we learn. The bike... I ordered a bike that should be here Wednesday, so the one I am riding is on loan. They call these bikes "mamachari"s because they have a basket and a low bar, made specially for mom's who take their kids around, do the grocery shopping, etc. I'm on this mamachari riding my bike when I catch sight of myself... I'm on my teal mamachari with a big basket, wearing my coat unbuttoned and it is flapping in the wind, with my big white bike helmet on, and a skirt that looks suddenly very much like a tablecloth. I had to just start laughing... I've never looked so much like a witch in my life!
Enough about me! The ward is wonderful. They BUY US OUR FOOD here in Tokushima, and I get to bear my testimony in Church next week! I got to pray a few times at Church... and sometimes the little kids laugh when you pray ha ha... but I love it. I felt just like I was at home in Tokushima, I didn't feel strange... which is weird to me. I just feel so at home here, like it is familiar, and I love it! It's a little like Salt Lake City with a little safer streets mixed with huge stones and beautiful parks and huge green mountains... typical Japan rugged beauty. It's a city, so it's not on the edge or the coast.... ah I just love it! I can feel that there are souls being prepared to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ here. Every person we talk to who says they don't want to listen, every person who turns away is one person closer to those prepared we are looking for. I feel them here, and I am undeniably full of hope. It is SO FUN to get to talk about the Gospel.  
So, on Saturday night we had game night. A former investigator came named Yamamoto San, and he wanted to learn to pray in English. My companion did most of the teaching, but after when we were back with everyone, she asked him a question about a scripture she'd given him. We were talking to him about it when another potential investigator came in. As she greeted her, I had the privilege of teaching him. I've never felt Heavenly Father so with me, though He is always with me. I felt like the words I said, especially looking back, were His words. He speaks excellent English, so I got to teach him in English. It progressed naturally to the introduction to the Book of Mormon. After reading it, he looked up at me and said: "How do I know?" I knew he was talking about the promises we'd read and asked me about proof. I got to turn with him to Moroni 10:3-5 and testify to him that the proof was the Book of Mormon. He wants to meet with us again this week to discuss "this book." I know that this promise is true for ANY that want to seek, that we truly can read the Book of Mormon and find out about the validity of the Book of Mormon and that this is Jesus Christ's church, if we but ask. What a miracle! I sincerely hope and pray that he will read!! We have another investigator names Yamamoto San who came to Church. She is very sweet and we get to teach her and have dinner with her tonight! There is a university here in Tokushima and that makes me so excited. I love the university students, and feel blessed to be in a place they have a university... I think I just love the youth so much. Even talking at a stoplight the other day, I know that so many of these sweet people are being prepared... whether they know it or not!
So Thursday we got our assignments... we had a wonderful testimony meeting on Wednesday night with our doki (group we came with). I got my companion and my area.... we stand up and President opens a letter dramatically and announces it and our trainer comes up to get a picture with us! My trainer is Sister Uyema and she is super nice! I feel like with all of the wonderful members and already wonderful people we are starting to teach, we are only going uphill. I feel so blessed abnd can just FEEL that we are on the berge of miracles here in Tokushima. Welcome home!

On our new program (also we have an hour to write... so my emails will probably be a little longer and fluffier, I'm sorry about that!)... we study for a little bit longer for the first 12 weeks. We don't get out of the house until roughly after lunch, it's a long time to study, but everything comes to an end! Now we can just appreciate it and get extra training from our companion to prepare for an even greater STORM of missionary work! It is so great though. I thought I would feel stressed, a sense of urgency in a sense of almost panic, of finding prepared people. But I think that the Spirit works a little differently. I feel so at peace, and just WANT to work, but feel at peace that the Lord will lead us to them, or lead them to us (a PMG idea!). It is so great, and doesn't de-motivate me at all, but it makes the work SO FUN. We just get to go out and do our best everyday, and the Lord will help us... it's a sweet peaceful feeling.
So, on the upside (or down), I've never been so sore from biking in my life! We biked an hour one way the other day to drop something off at an investigators house. BUT IT'S AWESOME. There is nowhere else I'd rather be, the Lord is so with us. I know that He is in my life so much and we are living a miracle, right now. We are living on the threshold of miracles every day of our lives. I testify to you that is true! We can live in the present... it is here and now, and the Lord will guide our tomorrows. Mmmm so good. They think I am quite genki here in Japan ha ha.
I LOVE the Japanese people. I just want all of them to come to know their Savior, Jesus Christ. If they only knew, and they are so good. But I also rest with a sweet peace that even when they turn away, maybe they will be prepared at another time. Maybe it will foster something in their hearts that may take years to bloom; a simple thought that may come back to them.
I was thinking of Auntie Sue... she would love Japan! I'm still getting accustomed, but MAN the presentation of food here is amazing. When Sister Zinke pulled out tiny spoons and bowls, I knew I had come home (all those years eating from tiny bowls just cuz I liked them has paid off! Maybe I'm more Japanese than I thought...) The ward had a potluck for members that were leaving. and we got to stay with our investigators... I love this place and how much they love food. They bring out beautiful tiny sandwiches and tiny treats along with traditional noodles, rice, etc... and some other dishes. it! Excited to see more of that in the future... ha ha. Also you will see moms with two or three kids biking... one on front, back, and often in a front pack they are wearing or dads walking with a child in the park... it is so fun. The parks are BEAUTIFUL here! We met such a fun couple walking in the park and they are going to come to English class - I felt like we were friends so fast. :) And it made me feel like I was at home with all of the fun couples that are in my life! Thank you, fun couples.

All right, enough of that. The work is true and it is SO FUN to be here! I promise you that there are missionary opportunities you can find if you seek them, you are all so good at that. The Church is true and I promise that it makes us happy... with a deep, lasting happiness beyond what we know.
LOVE IT. Love the Kobe mission. Love this work. Even when all you can do is put your bike in first gear and keep pedaling! (it's kind of like enduring to the end, huh? ha ha) LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVEEEEEEEEEEEEE ITTTTTTTTTTTTT. And my health is good Mom. :)
Love you! The Gospel is the best gift, never be afraid to share something so wonderful. I LOVE YOU ALL!
Anderson Shimai, officially in Japan
MMMMMMMMMMM misionary work is good!                                                           

We all got up early and hiked up Rokko mountain behind the mission home to see a view of Kobe, and as Sister Zinke said, "Get a feel for how many millions of people are in the Japan Kobe Mission!"

 At the airport in Osaka...

 Signing the True Disciple Quilt...
 Waiting to interview with the mission president...
 Testimony meeting (I was in this very room when I came to Japan before!)

Click here for more images of TOKUSHIMA, JAPAN where Sister Jen is serving...

Tokushima (徳島市 Tokushima-shi?) is the capital city of Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku island in Japan.
As of May 1, 2011, the city had an estimated population of 263,372, with 114,325 households, and a population density of 1,377.25 persons per km². Its total area is 191.23 km².
The city is situated in the north-eastern part of Tokushima prefecture at the mouth of the Yoshino River. In terms of layout and organization, Tokushima displays the typical characteristics of a Japanese castle town.
Tokushima was developed under the Hachisuka clan. Its prosperity was built on a strong indigo dye industry.
Every August, during the Obon Festival, Tokushima holds a cultural dance festival, the Awa Odori. Awa Odori literally translates as "Awa Dance" (Awa being Tokushima prefecture's ancient name). During the festival, residents ranging from young children to professional dance troupes perform a distinctive style of Japanese traditional dance in regional costumes, accompanied by strings, drums, and singing (usually by the dancers themselves).
The modern city of Tokushima was founded on October 1, 1889. At the time, it was the 10th largest city in Japan.
The city is served by Tokushima Airport (recently renamed to Awa Odori Airport), in nearby Matsushige.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sister Jena in Japan!!!

Dear Brother and Sister Anderson,

Your daughter has arrived in Kobe, Japan.  She is so happy and ready to get to work!

I am attaching a picture taken with us before she left for her new area.  We look forward to serving with her!

Sister Zinke

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I AM HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey fam!!!! This is supposed to be super short... BUT! I'm safe in Japan, we got here last night, I'm on a mission, feeling a little jet lagged... ha ha!  I had my first contact with JAPAN!  We had lunch at a World Buffet and as we were leaving, a Japanese guy ran up and wanted a picture with me... ha ha! He thought the blonde sisters were so beautiful ha ha... we are not in Kansas anymore, one of our sisters keeps saying... "we are the minority!" I LOVE THE JAPANESE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We might get to go TRACT today, wow I am so excited. I love this work, Japan feels just like home, I realized that I have BEEN TO THIS CHURCH and by the mission home... some Japenese memories just came floating back from our trip! And... this is getting longer than 25 words.... THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot WAIT to share it with the beautiful people of Japan.
Loving you forever!!!!!!!! Your blessed blonde daughter :) (with a Japanese nametag!)

Dear President and Sister Zinke,
The time has finally come!  Our daughter will be arriving at your door step - 
so excited to meet you and so ready to get to work.  We are thrilled that 
she was called to the Japan, Kobe mission, and will have the opportunity
to serve the Lord there, and be one of yourmissionaries. Thank you for your
dedication, your example, your enthusiasm, your love of the missionaries
and missionary work, and for all you are doing to build the kingdom in Japan.  
Thanks also for your wonderful blogs!!!
We have a small favor to ask. If possible, could you print the following letter 
and give it to her for us when you see her?  
Scott and Angelle

Dear Sister Anderson - our sweet, beloved daughter!

YOU ARE THERE!!! You are in Japan!!!!! Wow...did you think this day would
ever come?  By now you have more than likely met President and Sister Zinke -
what a blessed day!  
We hope your flight was without incident and a lot of fun!  Did you sleep at all
on the plane or were you too excited? We can't wait to hear who your new
companion is, and where you will be serving in your first area. Wherever it is,
 it will be the perfect place to begin your adventure in the land of the rising sun.
We love Japan, and love it more now that you are there!
We hope you feel our prayers for you, and that you know how much we love and
adore you.  And admire you.  And think you are the best!!! And we are crazy
about you!  And we are so proud of you (the good kind of pride) :).  And we are
so happy for you!  You have worked hard to be standing (or sitting) where you are
right now, and we hope you soak in every minute of this momentous moment!
Is time standing still for you right now???  Does it seem real????
There are undoubtedly many, many people in this beautiful country who have been
prepared to meet you and have you teach them. What a thrilling thought! And you
are up for it!
President Hinckley said: "The message has always been the same...Missionary
 work has never been easy, and yet the joyful rewards cannot be equaled by any
other experience. Anything as precious as the gospel of Jesus Christ is worthy of
all the effort and sacrifice of time and means employed to teach it...The biggest 
challenge facing a missionary today is to forget himself and lose himself in the work...industry is at the heart of missionary work. This has not changed since
the time of the Savior. 
He said, “… whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same
shall save it.” (Mark 8:35.) That is particularly true with missionary work. The greatest challenge has always been to go before the Lord in prayer and ask for strength and capacity and direction, and then go out and
go to work. The Lord has declared: “If therefore thine eye be single [to my glory],
 thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matt. 6:22.)
So...go for it young lady!  We have confidence that you will go for it with
 all your heart and soul as you did in the MTC...and that you will share
 your incredible love of the Savior and His gospel with all you meet.
We know that you will share the light you have been given - the light
you brought with you to this earth - with enthusiasm and love. Go forth with
 confidence and joy!  

Joseph Smith proclaimed:

“No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions
may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may
defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent,
till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every
country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be
accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” (HC 4:540)

We are so blessed to have our daughter proclaiming the truth in Japan.
We love you forever and know that you are in the Lord's hands. You are
His servant and He will lead, guide, protect, and comfort you.  We know
that you will be blessed in ways you can't even imagine - for it has been
so from the beginning of your mission. Right? Right!


With deep gratitude and immense love,
Your Mom and Dad back home in Utah...

Dear Brother and Sister Anderson,

Your beautiful daughter has arrived safe and sound in Kobe Japan!
She is so happy and we are delighted to have her as one of our 
sweet sister missionaries.  
We were happy to copy your letter for her and she has received it! 

Thank you for your kind note and gift of chocolate!  We love chocolate
(and especially chocolate mint)!  We appreciate so very much your support.
 We truly feel that we have such wonderful and obedient missionaries -
we feel blessed to be serving with them.

Thank you for sharing your daughter...we look forward to getting to know
her better!  

Much love,
Sister Zinke
Click here to Reply or Forward

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Onward and Upward!!!!!

Hello to the sweetest fam in the world!!
Oh how I love you! Time is short but I feel so full of love for you. Thank you for helping me to be who I am today. Thank you for raising me in the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for teaching me how important it is to love people. Thank you for teaching me of the Savior's life and ministry, of the Book of Mormon, of where to turn when I need help. :) I love you so much.
This week has been miraculous. I cannot express here all of the tender mercies and the miracles I have witnessed at the MTC, this week even. I testify that the Lord is with His children and that there are people being prepared for us in Japan. I testify that this is His work. I testify that you can have the Savior MORE in your life, that the Savior of the World wants to be right next to your heart as you go through your days, that the Spirit wants so much to be with you ALWAYS and testify of Him. I love Japanese. The whole tambre of our mission is changing this week. We have been packing like crazy, trying to get our bags within weight etc...hahahahahahaha! I just can't believe it. I know that I am inadequate, but I know the Lord knew exactly who I was when he called me... even more than I know me. :) I know this is His work! I know that there is nothing we can't do with Him.
We had AMAZING speakers this week. We were graced with a famous and wonderful speaker within the Japanese missionary/MTC world... The Brother Mills Fireside. He came and spoke on expectations and how we often place limits on the Lord. As long as it is expedient in Him, I know it can be done. I know it! Oh I love faith. How faith can heal this aching world, how Jesus Christ wants to heal each of us.
This week as I got to testify in our last District Devotional Review, I realized how different I felt. The Lord is constantly changing and refining us. How much of a treasure the MTC has been! As I finished up 2 Nephi this week, I was reminded again of the goodness of the Lord in helping us meet our goals. He is SO good to us! If He is with us in a goal, if it is expedient in Him, there is NOTHING we can't do. We do not need to fear (I've learned this so much more). He is with us.
So, in two days I am flying to Osaka Japan! (Fam: I'll probably call the home phone at about 6 am from the SLC airport... I hope that works!!! I love you!)
On the light side (the Gospel is all the light side!), things have been crazy with everyone being here 12 weeks and now getting ready to go. Just to shake things up a bit... for a few weeks I salvaged Christmas decorations from the giveaway bin, plus the treats mom sent. One morning, my companion and I snuck in early and... decorated our classroom for Christmas! It was so so funny. They had me lead and we sang Christmas songs. (pictures are coming ha ha). Even our Branch president poked his head in... a lot of the teachers were pretty certain it wasn't Christmas...and the word was getting around. One of ours came in and apparently said, "Christmas jinai!" and punched some streamers... he's funny. ha ha. ("It's not Christmas!")
Alex Boye also came this week and it was AWESOME! He talked about the power of vision, a message I seem to be getting a lot lately, and sang a bunch. I thought how much my family would have loved it! His friend was on the piano and would frequently just play whatever background music he felt like as Alex Boye spoke. I realized what is missing in my life... it would be nice to not have to do your own background music - that's the life!! ;)
The Spirit gave all of us a hug as we closed District Devotional Review. Our district has so much love, and we are so ready to go... and so not ready, but ready with the Lord. I testify that this is an amazing work. I can't think of much more to say bout that, but... onward and upward! The work is true. I will bear you my testimony in Japanese:
Watashi wa Kamisama o ai shite imasu. Kore wa Kamisama no waza da to shitte imasu. Ten no Otosama wa watashitachi o ai shite imasu. Kamisama wa watashitachi hitori hitori o ai suru to akashi shimasu. Kamisama no keikaku no tame ni kazoku wa taisetsu desu. Kamisama wa itsumo watashitachi to tomo ni iru desu. Fukuin wa shinjitsu desu!!! Iesu Kirisito no yotte, Kamisama mi moto o modoru koto ga dekiro to shite imasu. Iesu Kirisuto o honto ni ai site imasu. Iesu Kirisuto no okage de, watashitachi wa itsumo ichi ban saiko tomodachi ga aru to shijite imasu. Iesu Kirisuto o toshite zenbu koto o suru koto dekiru to shite imasu. Iesu Kirisuto wa watashitachi no Sukuinushi da to shite imasu. Gessemane de, Iesu Kirisuto wa watashitachi no omoni ye tameshi ya byoki koto o susunde torimasu. Morumon Sho mo shinjitsu to shite imasu. Seiten o benkyo sru toki ni, keiji o ukeru koto ga dekiru to akashi shimasu. Kamisama wa ikerimasu!
I LOVE THE GOSPEL! The Savior has willingly taken our pains. God is always with us. He lives and loves us, and I love you sweet family! Pray for the people in Japan as we are and Heavenly Father is. I know that He has a great work ahead.
Onward and Upward!
A blessed Anderson Shimai 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Flight plans!!!

Dear Family!

WOW! Another week here at the MTC.... only I can't tell you how it feels like time's ticking is picking up momentum! Yesterday we got our FLIGHT PLANS and guess what - I am heading out for JAPAN! Honestly I think I've had some anxiety thinking this would never come, and now that it is here I don't know what to do. haha!  A week from Monday I fly out to OSAKA! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I'm going to preach the Gospel (finally!) to a people who I can't completely communicate with in a place I don't know...and the Lord is taking such good care of me. How I love you sweet fam! (we may be able to call from the airport, I'll let you know for sure next week... we leave at 5 am so I'll let you know on that... ha ha). We fly to Seattle and ON TO THE BEAUTIFUL LAND OF NIHON!!!!
I can't believe I'm ok. :) I don't know how else to say that, but I am just so grateful for the Lord's mercies... that I could be here, that I could have experienced the MTC, that I get to go to Japan... even when we are so imperfect! I don't know if I can find words for the mercy I feel. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love this sweet Gospel. It really is the way to happiness! I love testifying of that. We got to practice street contacting a little bit this week, and I am so excited. (I think that will be the focus of my language study this week... preparing!) Oh sweet Fam, the Lord is so good to us. I wish I had hours to write you of the mercies He has given me. The MTC has been one of the most refining experiences of my life, but missions are meant to be hard. I can't express to you from the depths of my heart how grateful I am that the Lord is making something of me. I read John 17 the other week and my spirit was just SO TOUCHED. Isn't it amazing that the Lord wants to be WITH us and WITHIN us, so much a part of us that He knows what we face and how to succor us... IN and throughout our trials so we grow, and to help us know how to come out on top... and to take away the regret and pain we have so we can learn. I cannot express the depth of my gratitude and love for my Savior Jesus Christ!! I feel that so acutely as I prepare to leave this place. I think the MTC has been a lot for me, honestly. I've learned to say some things in Japanese, but the Lord has made this my personal tutoring grounds. He is writing His law on my heart, and I cannot express my gratitude enough. The Lord sees so much in me, so much in you, so much in each of us. I promise He knows your potential and will SUCCOR you.... I can't express how grateful I am that He succors me; I cannot express how it feels to have the Savior WITH me. I have felt His power. I have felt Heavenly Father's power. I know that grace is real. I want to turn my whole life to the service of My God and My King. How can I express my gratitude?
So: update-ish things.... we got our travel plans (did I mention that?), I'm going to JAPAN!!!!! :) ha ha. Elder HOLLAND came this week for our Tuesday night fireside. He gave a phenomenal talk! A lot of it was about when we return from our missions... about staying on the path, and it was given with all of the Elder Holland fervor... so good. He also talked about the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion, and the role of patterning our teaching "after the manner of the spirit." He asked for volunteers and quizzed them on the happenings from 1 Nephi 1 and the latter point... it was something! At one point he pulled up President Brown's (the MTC president) grandchildren and said something to the effect of...Don't come home and try NOT to look like a missionary. The upcoming generation needs your example - do it for them!! For some reason I saw all my nephews and nieces in my mind as those kids stood up, and I just thought what an even better missionary I want to be for my sweet family. I love you nephews and neices! Know that the Lord loves you and Heavenly Father has a plan for you. Missionary work is awesome!
That night, I had a reminder of the Lord's love. We decided to go sing in the choir, and they sang "Come Thou Fount"... probably my favorite song. It overwhelmed me. The meeting that night closed with another of my favorite hymns, and it was another witness that the Lord truly loves me and is aware of me. He sends so many mercies to me daily. Also, for some reason on Monday I received 10 letters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you my sweet family and friends for your love and your support. It was SUCH a reminder to me that the Lord knows us and is anxious to lift us through other people. I love you family and friends!! Thank you for writing this week. YOU ARE WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guess what! We had coaching with our sensei this week. When we had our meeting, he told me that I was doing really well.... that I spoke fast and sounded really Japanese. He said he didn't know how I had done it (and that I had sounded very American before ha ha) I have really been striving to WORK HARD, but I know how it is done - it is the Lord. The Lord IS with us. His work is miraculous, and His ways higher than ours.
SO! .... I can't believe I'm leaving! ha ha. It's been rough but good. :)
The Work is GREAT and the Lord is with us. We got a new room and I am just trying to concentrate on studying  in this time before we leave... WHEW! :)
I love you sweet people. I hope you know that the Lord loves you and is watching out for you!
Love, Sister A.

Making a really big letter for our missionary!

Sister A.

Beautiful snow In Japan!

In a post from Sister Zinke (wife to Sister Jen's mission president in Japan), she commented:
We were gone most of January traveling the mission for interviews.  These pictures will give you an idea of how beautiful the countryside is this time of year.  They were taken as we were driving across Honshu towards the Sea of Japan.  One thing that was interesting…Japan has lots of tunnels through the mountains.  We entered a tunnel from one side where the weather was just fine…and came out the other side where it was snowing like crazy with a lot of snow piled on the ground!