Saturday, December 28, 2013

Last letter from Utah MTC - Next letter JAPAN!


My Dearest Family,
I hope your Christmas was amazing! From the pictures it looks like you all had a wonderful time and that food sounds like it was wonderful. I just keep holding on the the fact that in 2 days I get to eat real food and then the day after that I get to eat REAL JAPANESE FOOD!! I am so excited. :) The food here at the MTC isn't too nice to your stomach some days.......haha :) Anyway. I had THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!! :) It was a lot of fun and so wonderful. I am so Happy for all of the fun things that you guys are doing!!! 
Monday: So usually I can't really remember anything about Mon. cause they are so far away from Sat. but this week I was determined to remember something good about mon. So guess what? On Mon. I finally got the 1st Vision completely memorized in Nihongo. It is super slow but I can say it :) and now I am getting a lot better at it! So that was quite an accomplishment cause that was one of my goals for the MTC. 
Tuesday: Christmas Eve!!!! :) Oh this was a wonderful day! Because it was practically like Christmas. We Sang a ton of Christmas songs in the morning and had a lot of study time which is always nice. Then that night for Devotional Elder Evans from the 70ty came. He went on his mission to Japan :) And he told us a ton of really cool stories about Japan and it was such a tender mercy because it just made me that much more excited to go. He spoke about the power of communication and how important it is that we edify others through how we communicate.  :) He said, "The strongest evidence of the gospel is the influence of the spirit on you." I really liked that. As we really come to an understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and begin to live be what it teaches we allow the spirit to fill us and then we begin to act on those promptings the spirit gives us which is evidence that the gospel is influencing our lives. I hope you followed my train of thought on that..... haha :) It made sense in my mind as I was typing it... I just don't have time to go back a read it...hah :) 
After Devotional we watched Mr Cruggars Christmas which was fun :) That night we set up the Christmas lights in our room and some and put a little Christmas tree in the Middle and made it look like a cute Christmas scene, then some of the Sisters from our branch came in and we Sang Christmas songs until bed. It was so fun! And the spirit there was so cool. It really made Christmas that much better :) 
Wednesday: I literally woke up and said in my head.... "It's Christmas! It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" hahahha :) So Christmas was one I will never Forget!!! We got to email our families for 20 min. Then we had a talent show which was a lot of fun to watch. One elder from somewhere in Asia did a magic show which was super cool! I thought of you Dad. :) Then we had a turkey lunch and some free-ish time. After we had the BEST devotional ever! Elder David A. Bednar came! :) He passed out 200 cell phones to the Crowd and then gave us a number to text questions too. The questions would then pop-up on his i-pad and he would choose some to answer so everyone could have the chance to ask any question they wanted to one of the 12. It was such an amazing meeting. Some of the questions he would answer and sometimes he would have his wife answer. The Questions just flowed from one to the next so amazingly. :) and so many questions that I didn't know I had were answered. He is such an inspired man. I have so much I want to tell you about it!!!! But I don't type that fast.....haha:) One of the things I loved though was he talked about his favorite theme in the scriptures. It is the phrase "one by one". It is said 6 different times in the Book of Mormon and he challenged us to go read the BOM again and find all 6 times. He told us NOT to just go look them up but find them through studying the Book of Mormon so we understand the meaning behind the Phrase. He shared one of them in 3 Nephi 11:15 where the people come touch Christ's hands and feet "One by one". It is so beautiful. He said that the phrase "one by one" is the Hallmark Characteristic of Christ's earthy Ministry. He taught, blessed, and suffered for our sins "one by one". That is one thing that I love about the Gospel it is for EVERYONE, yet it is so personal. :) This Church is so wonderful! He also left us with his apostolic blessing that if we will come to understand the atonement of Jesus Christ "you can do what you are called to do in the Land where you care assigned to Labor." I loved that. :) We are called to be missionaries and assigned to Labor in our respective fields. :)
Anyway....haha After devotional we had district time and then had a musical devotional thing by a Jazz band which was fun! Then Sack dinner. During Sack dinner I ate an Orange supposedly the way people in New Zealand eat them. That is what Sister Brown (my good GOOD friend from New Zealand said..... ) and I tried Veggie-mite from my Australian Friend Elder Barr :) It was fun! After we got to watch the 2012 Mormon Tab Choir Christmas Concert. It was so magical. :) It made me so happy cause the Tab Christmas Concert is one of my favorite things about Christmas time. But it made me miss all of you so much. :) Oh well. :) life goes on I guess. 
It was a wonderful Christmas day! Filled with Spiritual and fun moments. Just the perfect mix. 
Thursday: It was are last day teaching our progressing investigators and our last time Skyping with people in Japan. Next time I talk to a Nihongene or Teach a lesson I will be in JAPAN!!!! :) I am so sad to leave our teachers though.... They have really Changed my life in so many ways and really helped me to learn not only nihongo, but how to be a good missionary, companion, representative of Christ, and Friend. I will forever be grateful for them. 
Friday: In-field orientation! So crazy.... :) haha We did a lot of cool things. We learned how to better contact people and plan and practically it was a review of everything we had learned in the past 8-9 weeks. :) But I guess it is really good for the English speakers because they are only her for like 2-3 weeks. :) I learned a lot though and it made me really excited to get out in the field. I am really nervous, but it will all be good. I know that they Lord is sending me to Japan, because It is one of the places that he could send me that I would be forced to rely on him, especially because of the Language. But "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Saturday: Today I have been packing like crazy :) Yesterday I sent a box of stuff home with Brother Mayne. It has a skirt, tree, sweaters, some Japanese books, and some random stuff in it. I want to keep all of it but weight wise I couldn't bring it to Japan.I might send a small box home if I need to too. I will just have a sister sent it one mon after I leave but I might not it is still up in the Air. :) It is so weird that I leave in 2 days but I am so happy. And so nervous. Pray for me k? haha 
I know that this Church is True. Without a doubt in my heart!  I love it so much :) It is amazing. God loves his Children and will bless us as we are obedient and worthy. :) 
Ai shite imasu! :) Next time from Nihon! :)
All my love and then some, 
Ashby Shimai :) 
 HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :) 2014!!!!!!! yeah!!

Make this one the best!

Monday, December 23, 2013

To the people who are Near and Dear to my Heart

Dear the people who are Near and Dear to my Heart,

Okay so this week was THE BEST WEEK AT THE MTC YET! There are so many things to tell you I just don't know where to start.... So Sunday... :)
Sunday: Music and the Spoken word was amazing. We got to watch the Mormon Tab. Choir Christmas Concert!! So wonderful. It made me miss actually being there, but that is okay I am in a happy place. The speaker in Relief Society was Sister Madsen. She is a professor from BYU. But I loved this one thing she said and it is going to stick with me for the rest of my life. "Testify of small truths you know as much as you can." Everyday of our life we strive to live our testimonies. Which is good. But we also need to be looking for times in which we can share small bits of pure testimony. Like "I know god loves me." or "I know that as we are obedient we are blessed" They are just small, but by doing so our testimonies can be strengthened so much. And if we do it every day we will be on a constant progression for the rest of our lives. :) I just really liked that thought. The BYU Men's Chorus came for devotional and sang us a lot of Christmas songs. It was so great! We don't get to listen to a lot of music here and so that was a nice change. 
Monday: Okay for some reason Monday's are always just a little boring...haha :) But I did get letters that day which always makes the day the best day ever. haha :) 
Tuesday: This was such an amazing day! And it is all because of Devotional. I am so blessed to be here in the MTC at this time. We have had so many apostles and general authorities come and speak to us. I feel so blessed. But on Tuesday we had Brother Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the 70 come. It was so amazing. He talked about gifts of the spirit and how we all have them. It was amazing. After he counseled us to all write down in our journals our gifts of the spirit and if you didn't know of any gifts of the spirit that you had to ask your companion. Great advice, but it gets better. So after while we were in District Review we were talking about the importance on knowing your gifts of the spirit just as a District. And then Blanchard Churro our District Leader had this truly inspired idea to go around the room and one by one tell each member of our District one of there Gifts of the Spirit. I have had many spiritual experience in the MTC, but that night in our little classroom in 7M I felt the spirit stronger then any other time here at the MTC. As we went around the room my love for the people in my district grew so much. The spirit in that room was so strong. I will forever be grateful for that experience. I learned so much about in what ways the spirit can work through us and saw people change as they realized things that they had never realized about themselves before. It is amazing the kinds of things others see in you. Everyone has so much potential. It is truly amazing. I wrote down all that I felt that night in my journal. Such a cool Experience. 
Wednesday: Okay so ALL WEEK I had been praying that I would be able to host Sammy as she came into the MTC. I was praying so hard! and so that morning after I said my prayers I had this distinct impression that there car would be at #4. So I was like okay here goes nothing. :) I waited to go outside until 12:45 which was her arrival time and then right as I walked out of my building guess what car drove up!?!? and Guess what # they parked at..... #5 which is right next to #4!!!! :) haha It was a answer to prayer. It totally made my whole week to see that amazing family. And hugging Amy was exactly what I needed to be ready to go to Japan. I just needed a hug from someone who was almost my mom. It was the BEST day ever. But really. :) and It is so good to see familiar faces. I loved talking to Sister Claflin and showing her around. We randomly see each-other and it is the BEST! :) I also say Elder Westin Wong that day so that made me SUPER happy!! :) 
Thursday: I always seem to learn a ton of Japanese on Thursdays and by the end of the Day my brain just is dead. But it is the BEST feeling in the world when you can kinda of teach a Lesson all in Japanese and you don't have to write down any phrases. We are now to that point. I form sentences pretty slowly still but it is coming and I am realizing that more and more everyday. We started to memorize the 1st vision yesterday and we have a goal to have it down by tomorrow so wish me luck. haha :) (we as in my comp and 1) 
Thursday I also learned the importance of setting high goals. Don't make small goals that you know you will be able to obtain, set HIGH goals that seem a little impossible and then work as HARD as you can to reach them.  That way you will be able to do more than you ever thought you could. But you have to WORK HARD. So set high goals and work hard. That is a personal mission goal......haha :) 
Friday: Fridays are great days especailly when you get a package and your FLIGHT PLANS TO JAPAN!!!!!! :) It was like Christmas but way better. I am so excited!! Only 9 more days! It is so weird. This is my last week at the MTC. Time has literally FLOWN by. Missions go by fast!!!!!! :) It is crazy. So much has happened and yet I am not even in Japan yet. I am so excited to go. It will be the best! I am so blessed in so many ways! 
MERRY MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! I hope you have a wonderful one! Make sure to send me Pictures! and thank you so much for the Gifts and love. I am so excited for Christmas! We have 2 apostles coming!! :) It will be amazing! 
Have a wonderful week! Love you all! 
Love, Ashby Shimai

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More pictures!

Christmas stockings

Dear All of you Wonderful people,
First can I just say  I have the BEST family and friends in the whole world. I am surrounded by the most wonderful people at home and the the MTC. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!!!! This is going to be the best Christmas ever!! We have 2 apostles coming to speak to us Christmas day!!!!! I don't know who yet but 2 are coming!!! 2!!! haha :) I am quite excited!!
Sunday: Such a wonderful day! Every Sunday before relief society we get to watch Music and the Spoken Word and this week the King Singers Sang with the Choir. It was amazing! Are they preforming at the Christmas Concert this year? If so it will be a good one! And we also got to watch the Christmas Devotional. That was so wonderful. I love all of the talks especially Elder Nelson. Oh he is a wonderful man. :) The power that accompanies the 12 apostles is amazing. You can feel is so strong and they speak. 
Monday: The dia-sempai left.... you know what that means... ONLY 3 weeks until JAPAN!! well now...2!!! I am so excited. :) Anyway... Monday I was King in 4-square for the 1st time! It was so fun! Every Gym time I play 4-square after I run. It is the BEST! 
Tuesday: We got Foreign Sisters!!!! So as Sister Training Leaders we got to go pick them up and be with them for devotional. They are so cute! one is from Mexico and the other is from New Zealand (so cool huh? She is from Hamilton). And I adore them!! The Shimai from Mexico speaks VERY little English so she is learning both English and Nihongo here. She is so amazing! That night for devotional we had Elder Quentin L. Cook come. It was so wonderful. We have been so lucky to have so many apostles!! Blessings are amazing! :) haha He spoke about being and out-going and friendly missionary and the importance of making it so the members trust you. He also left us with his witness of Christ and his blessing. It is not everyday that you get to here an apostle of the lord testify that Christ Lives.  It was so wonderful. The spirit was so strong. My testimony grew so much and it continues to grow everyday. 
Wednesday: Hosting!! I hosted for the 1st time on wed. IT IS SO MUCH FUN! Remembering back to when I came in....haha that seems like just yesterday, yet SO long ago.. hah :) It is great to be able to encourage them and tell them how much they will love the MTC. :) We then got to meet all the new missionaries in our branch. They are the best!! I love them... 2 elders are from Australia and they have the BEST accents! like so cool! :) We also got to skype with an actaul Nihongene from Nihon!! It was so cool! she spoke only Japanese to us and I could understand some of what she said so that is cool!! :)
Thursday: I don't think I have ever spoken so much Nihongo in my life. We learned so much on Thursday and we had to speak nihongo all class. It was cool... but so hard. :) I loved it! My brain was so dead that night though..hahah :) We all taught 2 investigators that day so it was fun! :) 
Friday: Fridays are always a little boring cause we are all anticipating p-day on Saturday...haha :) But is was good. We had a fun little get to know you thing with all of the new sisters and some of the sisters got locked out of their room so I got to use the RED PHONE :) it was fun! I will send you a pic. Oh and I got the best packages from Ash and Mom and Nicole. It was like Chirstmas!! haha :) so thank you so much! :)

My Testimony is growing so much. Read the Book of Mormon everyday. I probably say that every week but it is because it is so important! I love reading it! I learn so much each time. Especially with a study journal. If you don't have one. Get one!! when you are prepared to receive revelation God will give it to you. I know this Church is true and that God loves you all!! And never forget that I do too! Have a wonderful week! :)
"It's almost Christmas! It's almost Christmas!!" yay!! haha :)
Love, Ashby Shimai!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nihone = Japan

Dec. 7, 2013 - MTC
My Dearest Family! 
What a wonderful week it was! I love the MTC, but I am so excited to leave in 3 weeks!! It is so crazy how fast time goes!! I have already made it through one "transfer" yay!!! haha :) 
Sunday: Sister Padelsky and I were called to be Sister Training Leaders this week.( I AM SO EXCITED!!!! It means we are the ones that get to welcome the new sisters in our branch this week! ) But Sunday was full of meetings.... I don't think I have been to so many meeting. hahah And I was Student Body President....haha :) But it was fine cause it was Fast Sunday and I love Fast Sundays!! :) It is amazing how much love you can instantly have for people when you serve them. So if you are struggling to fully love someone I suggest you serve them like Christ would. Last week I was struggling loving a couple of the sisters in our branch...just cause sometimes they get annoying and are slightly hypocritical and I will admit I am too... haha So I had been praying for more love for them and to be more understanding of them and then we got this calling. The Lord does answer prayers!!! It is funny sometimes. :) We had mission conference and it was so wonderful. The MTC presidency spoke and I just love them. They are amazing people! 
Monday: Good day probably learned a lot of Japanese and such :) haha :) I have learned so much here are the MTC that literally everything seems to just mush together and I can't remember what day is what. 
Tuesday: IT SNOWED SO MUCH!! I am sure you all knew that already, but here there is a good 6 inches on everything! Such a good day of the week because it is DEVOTIONAL!! and we only have one class and lots of study time!!! :) haha So this week we were supposed to have Elder Ballard come.... but because of the snow he couldn't. Curse the snow :) hahah Instead we had Brother and Sister Hafen come. They are amazing people! I went to school with their granddaughters actually! Abby and Lauren Hafen. :) I got to meet them after and it was really cool. They spoke a lot about the importance of the temple garment and how we are given so much power and protection through them. They also talked about how one our mission we carry Jesus Christ on our badge, but after our mission we will still continue to carry his name by wearing our temple garments. He talked about the importance of clinging to the temple after our missions. I LOVED that!! I love the temple! Good job mom for going to the temple!! That is such a cool experience too! The temple really does give us power. Read D&C 109 :) I read it today and it is so cool! It is the Kirkland Temple Dedication. :)
Wednesday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JASON!!!!! :) :) New missionary day!! I saw Ally Pinkston and some other kids that I went to High school with!! It is so fun to see people you know! The best part was I totally forgot that Ally was going on a mission and then all of a sudden at dinner I turn and see her two people down from me. It was a very happy moment!! :) (side note.... I weighed myself on wed. and I have lost 2lbs.. NBD :) haha It was very happy moment!) I also played four-square with my district on wed. IT IS SO FUN!! I am not very good at it but it is so fun! Whitney you would be proud, because every GYM time I run at least a mile before I do anything else. :) I really helps me to feel accomplished during the day. 
Thursday: We taught a really hard new investigator on Thursday. It was just really frustrating because he didn't believe in god but he just wanted to know why his wife wanted to be baptized. I new excatly what I wanted to share with him but I couldn't do it in Nihongo.... It is so hard to be held back by the language. It just fueled my desire to learn more though. It is so good that I am having these experiences in the MTC so I will know what I need to learn before I leave to Nihone!!!! :) Ps... I leave in three weeks!!!! I am so excited!!!!! :) :) 
Friday: We got our Nihongo name badges!!!!!! AND THEY ARE SO COOL!!!! I will actually be called A-shi-yu-bi-i :) But it is still said Ashby :) haha :) I am so excited to go to Nihone. The food is one reason... cause MTC is kinda ehhh. Just because it goes right through you... hahah :) I love the scriptures too!! I was reading all about Ammon and the Anti-Nephi-lehis this week!!! and oh man!! If I could be a missionary like Ammon I would be so happy!! :) I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON! read it everyday! It will give you so much strength and power and guidance in your life. I know it will!
THANK YOU FOR SENDING ME MY COAT!!! I love that coat!! I am still trying to decide what I am bring to Japan. I will send some stuff home for sure but I don't really know what yet. :) But you guys are the best for sending me packages. I am so grateful for all of you and your support!! You are the best in the world! 
I know that this gospel it true and that every part of the church is inspired by God! It is amazing how much the lords hand is in his work. If we turn to him he will help us with what ever we need. Just trust him. :)
Merry Christmas!! :) 
Ai Shite imasu!! :)
Love, Ashby Shimai 
あいしていますみなさん!!(I love you all!

Badges :)
New shirt and cute hat :)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nihongo (Japanese) word of the day Kyudosha (investigator)

"Whenever you get discouraged look up and say it is going to be a great day!"

Happy Thanksgiving!!! :)
I hope all of you had a wonderful day!! I know my Thanksgiving was one I will never forget!! It was so wonderful, but we will get to that is a min... First the Day to day update. 
Monday: All the Sisters our Branch had FHE together!! :) It was so wonderful. We ate treats and read "You are special." Such a GOOD book! I will send pictures. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people.
Tuesday: Happy Birthday mom!! :) So this week we started teaching each other. We all had to create and become an Kyudosha (investigator) and then each of us as companions were assigned someone to teach. My comp and I are being taught by the trio of elders in our branch and then we are teaching the Other shimaitachi. :) It is so cool! You learn so much about teaching simply so that they will be able to understand. It is SO great. I love it and I learn so much from the chorotachi and Shimaitachi in my district. We are like one big family. They for sure have become some of my best friends. Devotional that night was good. :) A member of the Seventy came. I don't remember everything he said but whenever a they come they bring such a spirit with them. I love it so much!!
Wednesday: My journal was written like the scripture that day. I wish I could copy and paste it to show you. We were all so excited for thanksgiving we went a little crazy. :) Being in the MTC for a month will do that to you. Good thing I only have ONE MONTH LEFT!! YAY!!! :) HALF WAY!! Anyway Wednesday was a good day. We really studied hard and I really felt the blessings from it. I love the Japanese language. Did you know that?? haha :) But really I feel so blessed that the lord trusts me enough to learn it and to learn it well and to teach his children. I mission is the best calling in the world. I am so excited to go to Japan. Our Sensei(s) this week have been talking a ton about their missions and Japan and it just makes me so excited to go!! They people there are SO ready to hear the gospel!! And Some of them are SO prepared!! :) And the culture and food sound so amazing!! :) 
Thursday: THANKSGIVING!! :)
It was such a good day and I have so much to tell you so hopefully I will touch on all of it. So first Elder Russell M. Nelson came and spoke!! IT WAS SO GOOD. He talked about the importance of becoming best friends with the Ward mission leader and Family History consultant in whatever ward you serve in. (I thought of you mom) Those two people are the keys to helping you reach out to gods children. People really have a desire to know where they come from and who they are and especially the family history consultant can help with that. After his talk we had time to write letters and read and study for a bit. Then we ate a pretty descent Thanksgiving Lunch. For the MTC it was good! They even had bacon in the green beans... haha :) Lunch we packed sack dinners and then had more time to write and study. Dinner then was eaten in our classrooms....haha It was okay. I will send pictures. But the funniest thing happened.... So the trio of elders thought it would be funny to stick a fake rat in my bag. And so during Dinner I reached into my bag to grab out my camera and I felt something nasty. I pulled out my hand and looked and saw this nasty rat in my bag. I looked at my comp and was like "ew what is that?" Funniest moment of my whole life.... She screamed at the top of her lungs and ran out of the room. I was on the ground laughing so hard. I was dying!!! haha Because of the scream all the people on our floor came to see what happened. It was the funniest moment. Totally made the whole day that much better!! I was legit scared when she screamed though...haha :) It was so funny though. (There are pictures of "Remmy" the rat below. He has scared a lot of people these past few days...haha) It was so great to just have time to take a break from studying Nihongo. :) haha After we had a really cool Humanitarian devotional. The Helping Hands Program in the Church is AMAZING!! If you haven't heard about it go look it up. We watched a video about the church helping in New york after the Huge storms there. It was amazing. Just by looking at how much the church does world wide concerning service and giving donations.... There is no way the the Lords Hand is NOT in this work. The truthfulness of the gospel is manifest in EVERYTHING that the church does. It is subarashi! :) (wonderful) We were then privalegde to participate in a HUGE service project. We filled 360,000 Soup bags/meals to be given to children in Utah who don't have food at home on the weekends. :) IT WAS SO FUN!!!! I LOVE DOING THAT TYPE OF STUFF!! we did is assembly line style and I was the one who sealed all the bags. IT was the best job. My group filled 9 boxes of 96 soup bags. And each soup bag contains 3 servings. :) or something like that. I don't know all the facts but it was so cool!! :) We then got to watch "Ephraim rescue" Which is a great movie :) Then we went to bed. It was great! 
Friday: Nothing exciting.... haha :) Just learned lots of Nihongo and read the scriptures. Oh but they turned the Christmas lights on!!! :) It is magical here at night!! :) I love the MTC and all I am learning here. 
Read the Book of Mormon everyday!! It really does bless lives. :) I am really learning to be humble. I am learning so many of my weaknesses everyday but then as I learn more about the gospel and the atonement I am filled with hope to know that it is okay to be weak. The lord promises that he will make weak things strong as we turn to him. Turn to the lord in all that you do. Don't forget to look up and be happy! :) "Whenever you get discouraged look up and say it is going to be a great day!" Brother Willis told me that. He is in our Branch Presidency. He also is President Hinckley's Nephew!! :) He looks a lot like him and he is Such a good and sweet man! I have learned a lot from him. But the most important thing is to look up! :) Everyday! Look at the sky and feel the love that Heavenly Father has for you and all of his children. He has blessed us so much. Oh and if you get the chance read the talk by President Monson About Gratitude. It is form the 2010 october conference I think. SO GOOD!!! It has become one of my all time favorites :)
I love you all and pray for you everyday! Have a wonderful week and enjoy the pictures :)
Love, Ashby Shimai

アシベ姉妹 Ps This is what my name tag is going to look like in Japan!! SO COOL HUH?!?! :)
A-Shi-be Shi-mai :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sister's in Hannah's branch leaving for Japan

SURBARASHI SENSEIS - Wonderful Teachers

"Some blessings take a while to come, but to those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ THEY COME." -Jeffery R. Holland

My Dearest Family,
This week has been one of blessings. That means it was a hard one....haha but one that showed me how blessed I truly am to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints. This gospel and the knowledge of who we are and WHOSE we are is the happiest thing in the world. (Thanks mom....haha I stole that from your letter ;) As it is the best holiday of the year this next week I am going to focus on the blessings part of my week. :) Cause EVERY DAY we are SO blessed. Especially as missionaries... and then I will tell you all about how flippin AMAZING my Thanksgiving is going to be!! hah :)
Saturday: I am grateful for my Companion P. Shimai :) My companion is seriously such an amazing person. I wish I could tell you all that happened that day, but it is kind of a lot. (I wrote a letter to nicole about it and so you can ask her.) She showed me how truly important that work we are doing here is and the importance of not forgetting who you are and what you are here to do.
Sunday: I am grateful for the gift of the holy ghost. Have you ever really thought about how having the precious gift of the Holy Ghost has changed your life. We taught a lesson on Sunday to our District about the Holy Ghost and all the ways that it influences our lives. IT WAS SO GREAT!! It is SO much easier to teach in Ego (English) Vs. Nihongo (Japanese)....haha :) The Spirit was so strong we watched a Mormon message about the spirit. I cant remember what it was called.... so just go watch some of them... I am sure they are ALL good...haha :) That night we said goodbye to all the Sisters from are branch that were leaving. We sang hymns and prayed together. Again the spirit was so strong. God puts people into our lives for a reason. We can learn something from EVERYONE we come in contact with. Look for the good in people. These Sisters truly changed my life. They showed so much love in ALL that they did to EVERYONE they came to know. I love them and will truly miss them all they will be amazing missionaries. 
Oh side note.... haha So every Sunday night we get to watch a movie.. and last Sunday we watched "legacy"  It was great... that movie is so cheesy. But it really made me miss you guys.... some of the lines... oh man I was just dying. Or the part were the wagons pop up on the horizon and the sun is going down... hahahha :) yeah it was great! Oh and the devotional that night was given by Mary Ellen Edmunds. SHE WAS SO FUNNY!! like so funny and such an amazing person!! 
Monday: I cant really remember Mondays... haha it is always a blurr..... :) But I am grateful for 8 hours of sleep. That night was the first night I didn't got to bed at 10:30 and boy do you feel it when you have a long day. hahaha
Tuesday: I am grateful for the power of the priesthood. So one of my roommates got sick this week. She just had a really bad cold. She was able to receive a blessing and it was so cool to watch the elders in my district give one too her. My companion also received a blessing of comfort and peace that day with all that she has been going through. It was amazing. The Priesthood power is real!
Wednesday: I am grateful for my weaknesses. Wednesdays are always the hardest day of the week for us....... You would think is would be Thursday because we have like 6 hours of class in a row... but no it is Wednesdays. We taught a lesson and it didn't go very well. We learned a TON though that day. My brain hurt...hah :) It is amazing how many weaknesses I have.... I have so much to learn and sometimes it gets discouraging to think about all I have to become to be an effective missionary, but then I remember that the lord only requires your best effort. My dear friend Katie Parker sent me a letter yesterday that had a cool poem in it titled "After all we can do" by Robbie Pierce. Read it. It is really good. :) But it just reminded me that the lord will make up the rest. We just need to do our best and leave the rest to him. He will help you and shape you into the person he needs you to be if you are willing to give yourself to him. 
Thursday: WHAT A GREAT DAY!!! I am grateful for SURBARASHI SENSEIS!!!!!!! I have the BEST teachers here at the MTC. But really they are amazing. Two of them actually knew Jared Hall and lived with him while they served in Tokyo. And Another one of them served with Jackson Healy and Adam Day in Kobe. Small world. They are all such different teachers but so good at teaching the gospel and Nihongo. I love it!!! :) And they are pretty Hilarious. We have a great time in class :) it is SUBARASHI!!! (wonderful) 
Friday: I am grateful for the wonderful language of............. JAPANESE of course!!!! You weren't thinking I was going to say english... I mean english is a hideous language... hahahha ;) The power of praying in Japanese is so cool. Yesterday we learned different ways to say things in our prayers in Japanese so they were the same all the time. My Sensei shared a story about how it was when he made the decision to pray only in Japanese on his mission that the language really started to come. I am really trying to do that but sometimes it is hard cause my mind just starts speaking ego to me and I am like STOP.... I am called to speak Nihongo... not ego... :) but I am getting better so don't worry. :)
Saturday: I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THE TEMPLE!!! :) So today is my last day that I will go to a temple in Utah for 1 year and 6 months... :( I am sad but so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to go while here at the MTC. It has been such a source of comfort and peace and a chance to just get away from the MTC and breathe. Sometimes after you have been in the MTC for 4 weeks you kind of want to see what the world looks like outside of the tan brick walls and blue carpet.... hahaha :) I love the MTC though so no worries. But go to the temple this week if you can!! It will bless your life more than you know. :)
So THANKSGIVING!!!! we get to have a general authority come... Most likely a member of the 12 and we get to watch Ephraim s rescue!! and do a service project and all this other fun stuff!! I am SO excited!! :) Even though I will miss all of you so much I guess this is the next best place to be. right?
Always remember I love you and pray for you every day!!! :) The Church is true and the book is blue. Read the Book of Mormon every day!! :) Trust in the Lord, out your will inline with his and he will bless you. These are all the things I am learning everyday.... and boy do I have a lot more to learn!! It is a happy time to be alive. Have a great week! 
Ai shite imasu!! :) (this is the correct spelling I learned this week ;)
Love, Ashby Shimai
PS. My name Hannah in Japanese Hana means flower or blossom.... cool huh?!? :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pictures sent Nov. 16 - that's my girl

What another Great Week at the dear ol' MTC! haha and trust me some of the buildings are OLD!! I am living in 5M and my classes are all in 7M. 7M has all the Asian Forgien languages in it so it is fun! :) But it still has chalk boards and old desks.....haha :) we try to make the most of it! This week we had the amazing opportunity of having Elder L. Tom Perry come for Tuesday Nights Devotional!! Let's just say Tuesdays was by far the best day of the week. I was able to sing in the choir. And that is so LUCKY because when an apostle is coming everyone tries to sing in the choir. There were probably at least 100 missionaries that came to choir practice that couldn't sing cause there wasnt enough room. It was such a great experience. This Devotional was broadcasted to 5 of the MTCs around the world including the Phillipines! Oh and mom yes I heard about the Typhoon. We have been praying like crazy for the missionaries and people there. L Tom Perry told us of some of the miracles that happend in order to make sure the Missionaries there were safe. I would tell you the stories, but I only have so much time. Anyway... The best part of the devotional was when Elder Perry walked in the room. There have been very few times in my life where I have felt the spirit that strong. He talked about the importance of a Compaionship and how our missions are not only blessing othres lives, but also preparing us for so much more. It was a wonderful devotional. 
The spirit here at the MTC is amazing!! Then you take that spirit and add the presence of an Apostle to it. Talk about chills all over!!! It was amazing. It was one of those moments where I couldn't stop smiling. The happiness and peace that comes from feeling the Spirit is indescribable and irreplaceable. We all should strive to feel the spirit at all times and in all things and in all places. My companion taught me something really cool this week about the the spirit. Go look up the word "earnest" in the Bible Dictionary. It talks about how the spirit is a little piece of how we will feel in god presence. IT is SO WONDERFUL!! Time flies here at the MTC. This week I forgot my journal so I cant really give you a day by day cause it is so hard to remember all that happened. Sorry about that but I will do my best to tell you all that I can!
On monday all of the "Daisenpai" (Older missionaries) are leaving... I am so sad to see them go. They have changed my life in so many ways and have become such good friends. I will attach some pictures. Oh and Last sunday all of our mission wore red, white, and black for our mission colors day! :) It was fun and we took pics at the temple so I will send some of those pictures too. 
The Japanese is coming along. I have learned so much in just three weeks it is so crazy! I love Japanese!! There are so many things to learn still though so pray that I will be able to learn to the best of my ability! :) 
Well that is all I can really remember for this week!! I will try better next week to do a day by day cause it makes my letters so much more orangized...haha :) Thank you for all of the love, letters, and prayers. I love them and need them!! 
I know that this church is true and that god loves us so much! 
Have a wonderful week! I love and miss you all so much!
Ai Shitte Masu!! :) 
Love, Ashby Shimai.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Missionary badge

Konnichiwa Kazoku! :)
What a wonderful week it has been! I pretty much love and adore the MTC. The mission though has proven to be the biggest roller coaster of my life. It is wonderful one hour and then the rest you get discouraged cause you can't understand any of the Japanese your "investigator" is speaking, and then you meet some actual Nihon Sisters and you are so happy to meet them cause they are from Japan, and then you realize you can't understand what they are saying either. :) Let's just say that was my whole week. haha But it is so wonderful cause the Lord it teaching me so much. I feel like I have grown so much in just 1 1/2 weeks. :)
Thank you for all of the letters and packages!!! It is the best day ever when you get a letter here at the MTC and then we you wake up on P-day and see 14 EMAILS!!! and you get 2 packages. :) let's just say today has been wonderful!! I love hearing all about how everyone it doing. And pictures are always fun! 
So let's talk about my week:
Sunday: First no one told all the new sisters that it was Daylight Savings...... and it isn't like we remember those types of things I mean we had only been here 4 days. So we all woke up thinking it was 6:30 when it was really 5:30....hahahah :) Funniest moment when we found out an hour later...hah :) But it was fast Sunday and we were fasting as a district to be able to learn the language. It was amazing. That Sunday really helped our district to unite and now we are all the best of friends. Devotional was great. One of the old MTC presidents came and spoke. After devotional we watched the Christmas MTC devotional by David A. Bednar titled "Character of Christ". If you haven't heard it YOU HAVE TO LOOK IT UP. It is so powerful. He talks about the importance of giving and serving as Christ did. :) Sundays are the best!
Monday: I don't remember a ton from Monday.... sorry. Class and class and more class... ?? ;)
Days here go by slow but weeks seem to fly...haha
Tuesday: I really learned a lot Tuesday. I learned the importance of not comparing my self to others. But it really is an important thing. God has given us all things to accomplish here on this earth and he has given you the means to accomplish it so don't worry about the talents and abilities you see others have that you lack. You have what you need and the Lord will make up for what you lack. :) A very important thing to learn especially when everyone else in your Nihongo class seems to be speaking so well and you only have been learning Nihongo for a week.... Devotional was amazing on Tuesday too but I don't have a ton of time..... :) BUT FUN FACT!!!! L. Tom Perry is coming Tuesday for Devotional!!!!!! Yeah we are all pretty Excited!! :)
Wednesday: We taught our progressing investigator who is also our other teacher. It was amazing though! Padelsky Shimai Shared an experience and I totally almost cried. The spirit was so strong. I just love my comp. She is so wonderful. We work really well together and balance each other out. Companionship's are truly inspired. Also we read the 1 chapter of 1 Nephi together and all of the gospel principles just popped out. Reading the scriptures is amazing. Here I have learned so much about effective scripture study. 
Thursday: Not going to lie it was a long day. I really realized I have so much to learn. Kind of discouraging.
Friday: Prayers are answered. Since Thursday was kind of hard I prayed that night that I would be able to see the results of my studying and see just a glimpse of what the gift of tongues really means. And boy Friday was the best!!! :) and no I wasn't able to speak Nihongo perfectly... But during class that day for the first time I was able to create sentences on my own and kind of start to bear my own testimony instead of just reading things from a book. It was so wonderful. The lord is mindful of us and helps us see that he is the true source of power in the world. :) It was the best day! :) 
Okay so I just love my Branch. I am surrounded by the best people. The Shimaitachi (sisters) are so sweet and I just love them and we just laugh all day long. Well.... we appropriate ;) It is wonderful. They have such strong testimonies and are always helping us Kohai (new Japanese speaking missionaries) to feel loved. 
Oh I feel like I have so much more to tell you but I am running out of time. :)
I love you all thank you for all the letters, packages, emails, support, and love. I pray for you all multiple times a day. :) I love you with my whole heart and soul. Almost as much as I love the Gospel :) haha Have a wonderful Week!! I can't wait to hear from you soon! 
All my love! Ai Shitte Masu (probably the most said phrase by the Nihongo missionaries It is the best! there is a lot of love here)  :) 
Ashby Shimai

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hello Family and Friends,
Well I did it! I made it through the first few days at the MTC and what an adventure they have been. I have had so much fun, but I will be honest It is no walk in the park. 
Day 1:
After you dropped my off we went through check in and Sister Hyde, Sister alldregde and Sister Judd all checked me in!! It was the best thing ever. :) and all by chance. Then we got our twenty pounds of books and went straight to class, where Hansen Sensei spoke only Japanese for the whole 3 hours. Okay so he did say a few words in English. It is really weird when he does speak English in class cause most of the time it is straight Nihongo. :) And I love Nihongo (Japanese) It is a flippin hard language and as much as I try to remember words I cant....haha But I love it! I cant wait until I can just go off and sound like a Japanese person. My companion is Padelsky Shimai. She is wonderful and so much fun! She is from Syracuse Utah and 19 years old. We have a lot of fun together. We are completely different people yet we have a lot in common. :) There is a picture attached. ALL the sisters in my district are half Nihongo. :) crazy huh? and then there are 5 elders. They are wonderful people! Anyway....back to the day. We had a cool teaching experience. We had the opportunity to watch and participate in teaching someone the gospel. It was really cool. It is amazing how fast you can feel love for a person. That night I was so tired. It was such an emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausting  day. For sure the first day was the hardest.
Day 2: I actually cant really remember all that we did Thursday...... HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! haha it was kinda blur..... we were in class for like 6 hours,... haha :) but is was fun to learn the language more. 
Day 3: WE TAUGHT OUR FIRST LESSON IN NIHONGO!!!! :) Hardest thing I have ever done... but it actually went really well. We could really feel the spirit and we were for sure being guided by the spirit in what to say to her, cause we had no idea what she was saying. We were able to understand very minimal. But it was really cool. We will teach her again today about the Plan of Salvation. So hopefully that will go better. 
Day 4: P-DAY!!!! Aka the best day ever at the MTC!!!! except the computers were down all morning so we couldn't check our emails until now.... and it is so sad when you open your email and you have NO EMAILS......... The best part of the day becomes the worst......hahah So step it up AND EMAIL ME!!!!! Cause I have a whole hour!! :) And I really want letters and emails and such. Oh and send pictures!! I will always have Saturday as my P-day and I will usually get on either in the morning or after the temple. :) I get to go to the temple today and I am so excited!! :)

Well that is all I really have about my first few days. This church is so true. I Know it! I love it! and I LOVE IT!!!!! My testimony with in the last few days has increase so much!!! :) I love the gospel and I know that as I am obedient the lord will bless me! :) ps... I can kind pray in Japanese now so that is really cool. I love NIHONGO and I know the lord will help me learn this language. I love you all!
Ai Shitte imasu! (I love you)
Love, Ashby Shimai