Monday, October 28, 2013

1st Transfer Call

I have super big news. This week is transfer week and we got the nerve-racking transfer call this morning! Because it was my first one I didn't really get too nervous. I just figured what will happen will happen. But my 2 comps were really doki doki (nervous). 
The call came right in the middle of us reciting the mission theme scripture at 9:00 this morning. My trainer (Sister Jensen) picked up and it was the Assistants! (That means someone is transferring. If you are all staying then you get a call from the Zone Leaders.) So she puts it on speaker phone and the camera recorders are rolling :) He commends her for all the work she has done in Niigata and tells her she is transferring to Saitama.  So exciting, yet so sad for me :( 
Then he asks for Sister Hubner. She is also transferring to Saitama! And she will have a Nihonjin (Japanese) companion! She is worried that her Japanese is too bad for that, but we assured her it is good enough and that she will get so pera pera (fluent)! :) 
Then he asks for me. I figure at this point I am going to be the area sempai (the longest one in the area). So he also commends me for my work and my Japanese. Then he tells me about my new companion. 
She is straight from the MTC!!! I AM TRAINING!!!! THIS IS MY 1st TRANSFER! I CANT BELIEVE THIS!!! Also, I know a lot of these sisters! This is my first MTC district that is coming to the Hombu (mission home) tomorrow. I am so excited about this it is nuts. I am super worried though that I don't know enough to train... That I don't know the area enough and about being a missionary. I don't know if I can wake up in the morning without my trainer babying me!! haha. No, I will. This is just a ton of responsibility. I can do it. I am so excited to love and teach my new trainee. Cant wait to meet her!

 Oh, the Ward Mission Leader and his wife went to Tokyo last week to the temple and Costco and brought us back rolls! And muffins!! Even though we were just in Tokyo ourselves, those were things we couldn't get.  I love them so much (the people, not the food...well I do love the food as well : ) 

We had a Halloween party at the church that was pretty fun. I forgot how organized Japanese people are. It has to all go so perfectly. Maybe thats where my perfectionist side came from (that and Dad :) A mom and her 13 year old daughter who are investigating the church attended. It was good.
My comps are so sad to leave the area and all the investigators. And our investigators are sad to see them leave as well. I am so happy to be able to keep working with all of them! I love them all so much. 
Oh, and I love the rice here!
Orton Shimai

Sunday, October 20, 2013


President Budge (my mission president) trained us to expect miracles. Well I am really learning to do that and we are seeing so many! It is getting to the point where we make a goal not knowing how it will be accomplished and then we just pray and get to work. Then guess what? It happens! 
Miracles are so real. They are usually simple too. It is getting to the point where I feel like we are almost scheduling in a miracle. It is amazing to see.
We invited 4 investigators to come to the church for General Conference and they did! For 3 of them it was the first time at church and they all loved it. One even told us that "If you didn't recognize that this is true you are pitiful." (かわいそう) !!! Crazy right? It is great to see many people recognize the truth and power that we have to give them. True a lot of people tell us politely no on the streets and on the phone, but some of them are really getting it!
Riding to an appointment (Shimai: Hubner, Orton, Jensen)
Rural portion of our area (Niigata)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Things are great here in Niigata!
We have found some great people to teach.
Here are some pictures, finally!
sunset out our apartment window
Jensen Shimai (from Utah), Hubner Shimai (from Hawaii), Orton Shimai
in our apartment
My bicycle!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birds at church

I am having a hard time getting my photos uploaded, but hopefully I will be able to get things working soon.

It is really amazing here! Niigata itself reminds me a bit of Yokohama where we lived. I thought I was going to the inaka rice fields and such, but it is a big city. There are quite a few community colleges and a university so it really is kind of like Kalamazoo MI area. There is a big beautiful river that we cross over to get to the Eki (train station) too! This area is famous for the best rice in Japan (Koshihikari) and fish. We are pretty close to the ocean. I got to see a glimpse of it on the way to an appointment about 30 min from the church.  

I heard that the winter here is bad because it is so humid and snowy that it is hard to keep things dry. But for now it is still really nice. We are getting a kerosine heater for the apartment (we are the only zone that gets them because they are a little dangerous). We are also the only apartment in the whole mission that has a clothes drier, though it takes its sweet time getting things dry. :)
My bike is treating me well. It is perfect. I heard that because of the sea winds everything rusts really easily. :( 

The members really take care of us here. They buy groceries for us every week and leave it in a big basket for us at the church. We split it with the Elders, but there is always plenty. It makes shopping on Mondays easier. Especially because we have to transport whatever we buy on our bikes. Though thankfully it is very flat here!

Anyway, funny story. On Sunday we had an inactive member come who we had never met before. She randomly pulled out 2 parakeets in the middle of Gospel Principles class! They were squawking and walking around on the floor and everyone just ignored it! Japanese people are good at ignoring social abnormalities like that. Anyway we took her and the birds out and talked with her one on one for the rest of church.  The Elders had to explain to their investigator (who had never been to church before) that in all the years they had been going to church that had never happened before. :) Birds are not normally part of our Sabbath day observance.

Also we had a wonderful surprise lesson with a member who brought her close friend to us because she wanted to learn about how to pray. It was amazing to get to listen in on her first spoken, heartfelt prayer. I really felt how much God loved her as His daughter. 

I am loving the food, of course! We are experimenting with cooking at the apartment, but I really enjoy getting store-bought food, too. I am recognizing a lot of things I ate before. :) Curry of course, katsu, udon, ramen, and all the really yummy bakery goods :) 
My trainer is nuts about Mr. Donuts.