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. AHHHHHH...love 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) LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOVEEEEEEEEEEEEE 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...
True Disciple Quilt...
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.