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 :)