Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Christ is the reason

Dear Family,

I can't believe this is it. The last email from Japan. My thoughts and feelings are all over the place so I hope this email makes sense. This past week has been amazing. :) Sunday was one of the best days of my
life. I feel like my heart is bursting with gratitude for my Heavenly Father and love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I know there are many thing and experiences I want to share with you. Many feeling, stories, experience, Etc. But I feel I should just bear you my testimony. Last chance I have to bear my testimony to my family as a full time missionary and representative of Jesus Christ so I am going to take the time to do that. :)

I know that Heavenly Father is real. I know that we are His children and that He loves us individually. He knows us perfectly. I have felt that more this week then ever before in my life. He knows all of His children perfectly. He guides us all. He is over all. He watches over us and leaders us everyday to the places we need to be and people we
need to be with. He make miracles happen in the lives of His children. He changes hearts. He shows us perfect love. I know we are His children and we will one day return to Him. I know that the purpose of this life is for us to prepare to meet Him again.

I know that our loving Father in Heavenly restored the Fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to this earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith through the priesthood power of God translated the Book
of Mormon. I know with very fiber of my soul that that is true. I know that Book of Mormon is the word of God. I have seen it change people's lives. I have seen it soften hearts and create in people a feeling they have never had before. I know that through reading the Book of Mormon and abiding by its precepts we can get nearer to God then by any other book. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. :) I have become nearer to God through reading the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon and I love God.

I am so grateful to my loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I know Christ is our savior and that through Him and His atonement we can become clean, pure, and even innocent again and one day return to live with God in full glory and Joy.

I am so grateful for my mission. Every experience has been a step up. A step toward God. Even though sometimes I didn't feel myself moving. I look back and see miles of progress. But I know it was only possible because of the Savior Jesus Christ. He is my strength and my song. He helps us when we feel we can't go on. He helped me when I felt I couldn't go on. I know I will never regret the decision I made to serve as His representative. I know it has helped me to become the person God wants me to be.

That is what this gospel is about. Becoming. God wants us to become like him and every experience, every trail, every joy, brings us closer to become that person. :) A being full of perfect love, joy, peace, and everything else that is good in this life. 3 Nephi 3:17. Everything good is of God and when we follow God we natural feel
goodness in our lives, even though the hard. :)

I could go on forever I feel. My heart it full of thanks for the gospel. :) Thank you to all of you. Thank you for your love, I couldn't have done this without all of your strength and testimony. You all make me strong. You are also my strength. I love my family!!! :)

Love you! Thank you. :) see you when I see you. :)
Love for the last time from Japan,

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy 母の日!!

Dearest family,

久しぶりですね。 It was so happy to see you all on skype today! I have learned that happiness is family. :) But really!

This week has been great!! We saw a lot of miracles and I am so grateful for The hand of God guiding this work. I know I shared some miracles with you on skype today but here are a few more.

This week we had the opportunity to visit and teach a lot of less active members. On Wednesday we visited a sister who has been recently coming back to church because her mom passed away. That visit really taught me the power the spirit has to change hearts. When we had visited her before, her feelings towards God and the church were a little negative, but this past week she felt so happy and calm. You could tell she had a desire to change and trust God again. We talked about baptism and the covenants we make at baptism and you could tell she felt the importance of it. She shared with us also how her 8 year old son wants to be baptized and asked us to teach him and help him prepare for baptism. It was really great! Gods timing for people is real. He is not only preparing those who don't have the gospel but also those who have once had the gospel but have turned
from it. Her heart has truly been softened and it is really amazing too see God working on her and her family. :)

On Friday we were fasting. We have been doing a 40 day fast in our zone to become more consecrated missionaries. Every companionship fasts one day and our day was on Friday. We had our plan as we were heading out the door but I had the feeling we needed to just stop by and visit a less active on out way to visit other people. We stopped by and she was home!! Miracle..... She is never home! We shared with her about prayer and were able to learn more about her concerns with the church. She told us she had been trying to find her Book of Mormon recently but couldn't find it anywhere. We also had the opportunity to
give her a new Book of Mormon! She was actually really happy and I know that God guided us there to give her that Book. I love helping less actives and visiting with them. They too are kept from the truth because they have forgotten where to find it. :) and we can help them
see the way again.

I am so grateful for all I am learning about God, the gospel, the atonement, and love. I can see the power of the small improvements and changes we make in our lives. They really make all of the difference. God loves you. Never forget that! Make the changes you need to to feel that love more. :)

Have a great wonderful week!! I know I will!!! It will be the best week of my mission so far! :) pray for me please....



Atsugi Ward missionaries, president Wada, our Ward mission leader and
bishop! Best Dendo team ever!! :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Spanish, English, Portuguese, Japanese....I actually don't know what language I am speaking.... :)

Dear family,

Sorry for long title.... :) haha but because time it short today this one won't be long. :)
So currently I am serving in Atsugi. Atsugi is the best place ever! And there are people from around the world who live here! Sometimes I forget what language I am actually speaking. Recently I have started to learn Spanish! We have a recent convert who speaks Spanish and she has been needing help lately. I love her so much!!! We also have a recent convert who speaks Portuguese. And we have been helping her! My companion as you know is Japanese!  I am English..... It is the best feeling in the world though to be sitting with these two women in sacrament using Google translate to help them understand what is going on. They both can speak a little bit of Japanese and we have the best conversations. The spirit is truly there when we speak together. I have felt that the gift of tongues comes in many ways. I always thought I would receive the gift of tongues on my mission to speak
Japanese. But recently I have learned that I was wrong. :)

Yesterday another Wonderful person was baptized into Atsugi Ward.  He is from Cuba and he speaks Spanish. His baptismal service was in Japanese and Spanish. :) It was so beautiful. 9 investigators were there  and 3 recent converts. All different races. It was so amazing to be there  apart of it. The spirit was so strong. I learned this week that the gift of
tongues might not always be to actually understand the language, but maybe to feel the spirit of what a person is saying in the language that they are speaking. I felt that spirit yesterday at the baptism and I am so grateful for that. :)

The church is true and the spirit touches hearts whether you speak Spanish, Japanese, English, Telugu, Chinese, Portuguese, etc. The spirit speaks the language of our hearts. I am so grateful for that. :)

I love you all so much! That you for your love and support!! Happy may!! :)

Ashby Shimai

Monday, April 27, 2015

Gracias :)

Watashi no familia,

So this week I learned how to pray in Spanish for our recent convert! :) It was the best thing ever! She was so happy. She has been having a hard time recently and so we have been trying to think of ways to help her more. :) She is the best person ever! :) I want to go to Peru someday.

Busy busy week. :) I felt like this week we were all over the place. Everywhere but our own area. :)  But we had meetings and exchanges 5 out of the 7 days. But it was so good! We saw many miracles and it was
cool to see that when we did Dendo in our area we saw the biggest miracles.

To start off the week we had a lesson planned with our investigator on Monday night, b it was raining and she had something come up so she had to cancel the appointment. We were both a little sad about that especially since it was raining. But we knew it would still be a great night of Dendo. So we prayed and went to go visit a member who has been struggling. She wasn't home. So we went with our back up plan #3. Housing! I actually really like housing. We were knocking on a few doors with not much success. We came to another door and rang the door bell. Through the little box the lady started talking. I introduced
who we were and that we would like to share with her about how she can find more happiness. Before I could finish she said, "Kekko desu." (Aka. not interested.)  But before she hang up the box I was able to invite her to church and asked if she would come, even though she said no once. And then we heard her say, "one minute please!" We were both
a little shocked. Haha :) She came to the door and we talked for a long time!! Come to find out she thought we were Jehovah's witnesses and that is why she said no... But when I asked her to come to church she realized we were different then them. We shared with her the restoration and the Book of Mormon and she has a ton of interest. She reads the bible too. It was a huge miracle!! We knew God was guiding everything that happened that night in order for us to meet her. It really strengthen my testimony that we are lead by the spirit. :)

So much happened this week. Some things seemed very unfortunate at first, but turned into great miracles and a learning experience.  I think what I have learned most this week is learning to rely on God. Not everything will go as planned. Sometimes you will be on a train
sharing the about the Book of Mormon with a girl and she is really excited about it and so are you, and so when your stop comes where you both get off you are all still talking and you forget you left your bag for exchanges on the train...... But then you see so many more
miracles because of it. :) and it gives you a good laugh! So in the end it was a great experience. :)

All I can say is we need to just rely on God. He knows us and all of his children perfectly. Sometimes I stressed when I don't know how to help an investigator, companion, Ward member, less active, or other missionary. But this week more then ever I have learned that that is okay! Because God knows and he will guide us to know what to do, if we follow the spirit. :) I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me. He knows you. He knows the people we love and worry about. He will help them all! I promise.

Have a great week! It is feeling like it is getting warmer here!!! Yay!! Today we went and did a いちご狩り。Pretty much it is all you can eat strawberry picking. For sure the most delicious strawberries in the world!!!! :)


Monday, April 20, 2015

Flowers and happiness :)

Dear family,

It really is the little things that make life good and happy. I was reminded of that this week a lot simply by flowers. One day we were street contacting to an investigators house and on the way I complimented a lady arranging flowers in front of her shop. She took out two of the flowers and gave them to my companion and I. She was so cute. We had a great conversation. She was so happy and told us that the only way to speak to God was in Spanish! And so she wants to learn Spanish. :) She was so cute!

The second happy flower experience was while we were riding our bikes up this huge hill!! We stopped half way to not only take a break but talk to a women looking at the cherry blossoms. She was so in love with them it was so cute and reminded me of a child. We were able to sonars with her about the Plan of Salvation a little and set up a chance to go meet with her again. So this week I am grateful for flowers and the opportunity they give me to see Joy and share the gospel. It truly is the little things. :) Focus more on the small joys
of everyday life that make life happy.

This week we also met another old couple that taught me the importance of that same idea, this couple is in their late 80's. We found them housing and they let us into their home to share a message. First that was a miracle in it of its self! We were asking them how
they stayed so 元気 this long and the wife said she laughs a lot and that is why she is 元気. She laughed so much while we were there and it
just brought joy into that home. :) God is happiness and He wants us too to be happy. Laugh, smile and share your happiness with others. It will prolong your life and maybe make two missionaries really happy too! :)

This week our dear friend/investigator from India went back to India for a few weeks. She was so excited though to share the Book of Mormon with her family and others there. It was so cute. She asked us for extra copies so she could give one to the pastor of the church in her village and her father and brother. It was so cute. She wanted to share it with everyone. She has only read a little bit of it so far but she knows it is good. We are praying that she has the opportunity to meet the missionaries there. We looked up the closest churches to
her village and hopefully going there  will help her understand the gospel in her own language. English is really hard for her. :) But we know God will help her.

I love you all so much. Love is so important. Love life. Love to laugh. Love the little things. Love the gospel. Show more of your love to God. Keep the commandments and be happy. That is true love. :) Love of the good things in life. God is where that goodness come from. :)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I love to see the temple!

Dear family,

This week has been wonderful! We got to watch general conference!! I am so grateful for the words of the prophets and how inspired all of the talks were. We had an investigator with us to watch the Sunday
Morning session. It was so great! She really felt the spirit and she was able to see President Monson speak, so that was wonderful. I love the spirit that comes from hearing the prophet speak even if it is being translated in to Japanese. And don't think I am all fluent in Japanese.....  Haha I was following along in English to understand it of course...haha :) But it was a great experience. I loved that the theme of general conference was family and Jesus Christ. Those two things are the most important things in our lives. I felt that they were talking about all the basic things we need to do and believe in order to be happy in this life and the next. It was so focused on doing and being more. I am so grateful for the trust God has in us, His Children, to become more. And I know that through this gospel we can become all God has intended us to become.

It was also so wonderful to see all of the members from the Fujisawa stake! I have served in the  Fujisawa stake for about a year now. :) It is my home away from home. I love these people so much! It was great to be able to see so many of the people I love again! They have all influenced my life so much. So grateful for them! And I am so happy to be able to serve here until the end of my mission. It is such a blessing! :)

This week we had transfers and my new companion Murakami Shimai is the cutest person in the whole world. She is so funny! We do English day and Japanese day so that she can learn English and I can learn Japanese. This week I have learned so much from listening to her when she prays in English. It is so simple and so pure. It is from the heart and she really tries her best. It is the way we should all pray. Simply and from the heart. It is the cutest thing in the whole world! I am so grateful for the chance to be serving with her and learning so much from her!
Today we went to the Tokyo temple. It was my last time on my mission getting to go to the temple.  As I was sitting there, there were about a million things going through my mind and I felt a little stressed out. They were all good things, but just too much. So I said a simple
prayer and before I finished praying it was as if my whole mind was just wiped clean and I felt so much peace. It reminded me of the scripture 2 Nephi 33:1. The spirit can be all around us, but we have to let it INTO our hearts in order to feel it and be changed. I was in
the temple surrounded by peace but it wasn't until I let that peace into my heart that I felt it. It was a good reminder. Sometimes we need to remember that not only do we need to be in good places to feel the spirit but we need our heart to be in a good place as well.

I know that this is the Lords work and he is guiding and blessing us. The gospel is true and I am so grateful for it in my life.

I love you all so much!!

Sister Hannah Ashby

My new district before general conference in the "Easter room" they
had set up for church tours. :) Elder Mitabi is so tiny!! Haha :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!

Dear Family!

Happy Easter! We had a great Easter Sunday. It was full of happiness, testimonies, and miracles. This week we had some happy days. Today I wanted to share three things that I believe are really important to understand.

1. God wants us to be happy. :) There are so many things that bring me happiness everyday. :) This week was Cherry Blossom week in Japan. Spring is here. Easter time! I was able to go on splits with the Shonan sisters. We had such a good time talking to so many people. But the best part of it was just thinking about all the things during the day that made me happy. And most of it came because of other people. The old man at the food stand that always waves to the missionaries. The jr. High school kids running, but who wanted to stop to say hello.:)  All the thousands of people at the park looking at the Sakura trees and enjoying the weather. God has made us a beautiful world and filled it with so many wonderful people, who just need the gospel in their lives! So happy I get to share it with them.

2. If you seek with real intent you will find. This week after eikaiwa I had the opportunity to testify to one of the elders investigators about finding answers through the words of the prophets. He has a baptismal date, but is still looking for an answer. We talked about general conference coming up, and the power of the words of the prophets. It was a great conversation and the end he committed to pray about his questions and then come to general conference to help him find his answer. The next day I put that to the test for myself, because you can't tell your investigators to do anything your not already doing... So I went to Mission leadership council with questions. (I always do...but this time I really really really prayed about them) And I received answers. To all of them. :) I know that as we seek with real intent the Lord will bless us with answers to all of our questions. And he will do it in his own way. :)

3. The most important thing is to love people, including yourself. :) President Wada has been talking a lot lately about loving ourselves as well as loving others. We have had a lot of missionaries being too hard on themselves I guess. But I know that if we really come to understand our true identity as sons and daughters of God we will learn to love ourselves because of not only who we are but whose we are. :) God loves us, so we need to love ourselves. :)

Well yesterday was the best day ever! We had a less active come to church with her sons!!!! It we way happy! And a huge surprise! We also had a ward prayer meeting for missionary work in the mountains yesterday morning. The spirit was so strong there. I am so So grateful for these wonderful Atsugi ward member.

We have transfers this week. I am staying and my new companion is Sister Murakami! So excited! :)
Thank you for all of the love and prayers! I am praying for you!