Missionaries are human, too

These past few weeks have flown by! We’ve hosted a tortilla making party and built our own piñatas, started a Japanese class for mothers and their young children on the base, and had two baptismal services. I gave a talk for 15 minutes to the Japanese congregation on Mother’s Day–shout out to you, Äiti!


We volunteered on a different base making rice balls (onigiri) for homeless people. One of my favorite people here in Yamato taught a wagashikai (Japanese Sweets making class) and we ate the kashiwamochi I sent a picture of last week. They’re so good!

I gave a half hour long training at Zone meeting on the Character of God, which was fascinating to prep for. There are so many beliefs in so many different religions!

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With warmer weather, spiders and insects are out…

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It’s a doorbell, sir…

Our friend gave me a Japanese vegetarian cook book one day and dumped us the next, so that was sad. She’ll come around. Deep down I know she cares. Its not me, it’s what I stand for. Except now they’re one and the same. Sometimes it’s a rude awakening to remember that although I’m my own person, in the end it’s not me people see, it’s the shiny black name tag I wear, a name engraved in white.

So when we face rejection, I have to remind myself it’s not me they’re rejecting, it’s who I represent for a year and a half. Yet somehow that stings more. No matter how deep I think a friendship is, in the end a simple thing can end it and they don’t think twice, because to many I’m not a person, I’m “a missionary”. Turns out missionaries have feelings too. Turns out we’re human and make mistakes. I have a favorite color, I have a story, and I’m just out here doing my best to help people feel more joy in life. But I’m not here to just “hang out.” I have a purpose, and it’s a burden and a blessing in so many ways.

In no other case would I have license to initiate such meaningful conversations with random people on the train; in no other situation would people open up about some of their deepest fears and doubts with a gaze hopeful that I can somehow fix it all. That realization weighs heavy but also lifts me up. The more I give my heart to people the more vulnerable I am to get torn apart, but it doesn’t mean I can close off. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past year (give it 24 days), it’s how to be vulnerable. And it turns out that takes the most bravery of all.

Smiley Shimai


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