movie posters
Busy week!
Safely sent off Tanimoto Shimai and met up with Ibañez Shimai! Her parents are from South America but she grew up in Canada.

She just testified to the fact that I’ve changed a lot in the past year or so. After about a day or two of being together my new companion tells me that I’m something of a legend in the mission….and then says “you’re a lot nicer than I was anticipating.” Red flag. So I ask about what she’s heard. Turns out sisters would say something along the lines of “everyone really respects her and she’s an awesome missionary, great at Japanese,  knows her purpose …except she’s really hard to build a relationship with.” And then follow up with “But I hear she’s changed a lot!”

Basically she said other sister missionaries think I’m intimidating. Thinking back to a year ago, I could see where they got that from. I was a lot stricter (kibishii) which isn’t bad in and of itself, but I sacrificed love in the process by having overly high expectations for everyone and low patience levels. It was more along the lines of being loving to people when I needed a friend or it was convenient, instead of thinking of who else might need a friend. In other words, selfish. Making an effort to get to know other shimaitachi seemed a bit like a waste of time, when I could be concentrating my efforts elsewhere, like on the people I was teaching.

I’m not sure when the change started, it must have been gradual, but when I think back to my way of thinking and the things that frustrated me then, it’s like listening to a completely different person, who’s ideas and thoughts just don’t really make sense. At one point I realized that I was lacking in the patience and charity sector, and decided to make it a goal for myself. Just the other week during companionship inventory (where we check in with our companion about our goals, strengths and weaknesses) Tanimoto Shimai said she thought one of my strengths was charity and patience (!!). I was pretty shocked. But if anything can change a person, it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“…The word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just–yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them.” Alma 31:5

Either way I’m so grateful for my time in Japan. It’s been such a refining fire, and thanks to all the the challenges and humbling experiences I’ve faced, I’ve been able to slowly change the way I think and my behavior, and life is so much less stressful, more enjoyable – just better all around. Obviously I still have such a long way to go to be the person I want to be, but hopefully I can leave the Tokyo South mission with a reputation better than one of just respect and being intimidating.

This week we saw lots of small miracles, meeting several people from various countries and teaching them, and being given far too much free food.

Last night we had a really bizarre and slightly creepy experience…It was dark and pouring rain, and a high school boy in a baseball uniform bikes up to us and mumbles a question about directions, looking nervous and eyes darting around. I apologize that I don’t live in the area (we were visiting a station pretty far from our apartment) and he bikes off. A few minutes later he comes back and asks another question, but when I try to find out if he’s lost he won’t give me a straight answer. We do our best to help and he thanks us, and then asks for a hug (mind you, he’s soaking wet). We say “kekkou desu,” we’re fine, and then he asks if we have husbands/significant others, and slinks off on his bike into the darkness. It was altogether just such a weird experience, I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it!

That’s about it!
Not many pictures this week sorry!

Smiley Shimai


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