The best time to use an umbrella…is all the time

Japanese people LOVE umbrellas. They use them in the rain. They use them in the sun. And, as I found out this week, they also use them in the snow. I don’t even think I owned and umbrella in Oregon or California. And now I own around five.

This coming week we are performing at an elderly folk’s home and we have to learn two hula dances, several Christmas songs, two ukulele songs and a traditional Japanese song. Well really we were supposed to learn them earlier but I procrastinated. Somehow the “work of salvation” just seemed a little more important than the ukulele. But now I’m frantically trying to find my inner dancer and musician, because those sides were suppressed FAR too long. So wish me luck.


I had the chance to go on splits with Cox shimai, my old douryou from Yamato! It was so fun! We just spent the whole day talking to everyone about Christmas and were swarmed by little children who wanted to hold our hands and touch my hair. We found and taught one woman who was convinced she had a handicapped son because she was a sinner in her past life, which is SO sad! We were able to talk about The Great plan of Happiness, and teach about how difficult things can help us to grow and can be gifts in our life. My throat and head hurt the whole day but at his point I’m just powering through because I’m on the last stretch.

Every time we’d bike past some kids I would call out “do you have a pen?!” And they would all delightedly start yelling at the top of their lungs, “I have a pen, I have an apple! PINEAPPLE pen!” I still have no idea….but it works every time.

In the evening we attended sports night and I made friends with a Chinese college student and then I sat by a woman and realized she was the very person I had been trying to get in contact with for a month because she spoke Spanish. Her number apparently had changed! So we spent a good 45 minutes speaking in Spanish and she promised to help with some people we’re working with!


The next evening back in Tama we went to one neighborhood to share a Christmas message with people about service using the new #LightTheWorld video (which you should all check out and do the service ideas for every day of December leading up until Christmas!) and a posse of 8 and 9 year old girls ran up and introduced themselves in English and debated among themselves what they should say or how to ask certain questions, not knowing we understood everything they were saying.

It was pretty hilarious. “Should we tell them our names?” “No, their strangers!” “Yeah, but they look young and nice!” “It can’t hurt!” “Wait, but I don’t know how to ask that!!!” … something along the lines of that. They were quite surprised when the first door opened and we started speaking in rapid Japanese. Then they proceeded to follow us to every house we visited, yelling out encouragement and saying, “maybe the next person will be nicer!” When someone would “kekkou” us and shut us down, or “hey I know this house!” And “they were so nice!!!” And once, “wow, you’re so beautiful.” Let me just tell you, nothing makes you feel better about yourself than a group of Japanese schoolgirls.

We saw so many miracles that night and the next!

Random goats I found in the middle of the city

We also had a potluck/ surprise wedding reception for a recently married couple (met at BYU, American husband Japanese wife). Some people attended church for the first time and I think they got their expectations set pretty high for future weeks.


My douryou’s bike was stolen few weeks ago and so she’s borrowing a Tama Ward  member’s electric bike for the time being, and I’m just pumping my legs as fast as I can to keep up while she glides along. It’s fun.

I’m absolutely soaking up every second here and life is good.


Smiley shimai



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