Monday, March 20, 2017

LAST MISSIONARY EMAIL

Well, here it is, my last words I'll ever write as a missionary. Honestly my heart is in my throat right now!

Looking back on my mission, I can see how it all fits together. The times when it was hard, the times when I cried... it all makes sense now. I get why I had to go through those things. When we finish our time on this earth I think it will be a similar experience. We'll all look back on our lives and then we'll understand how short it really was and what a blessing it was.

I can't take you to see where I went on my mission; You can never hear what I heard on my mission or comprehend the way felt on my mission, but just know that it was worth it.

I love you all so much.
See ya soon!

Lowry Shimai

Hiking with Hoshino Shimai.

Don't leave! ;)

Re-enacting photos :)

Yuki chan and me making gyoza.

Dinner at Bishop Manabe's home.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

TRAINING IN KOBE + ZONE CONFERENCE IN YONAGO

We had Mission Leadership Training in Kobe on Tuesday. I learned a great deal about the power of asking inspired questions and how teaching is listening. At the end I gave my testimony, and boy I just love our Savior. I couldn't stop pouring out my soul in gratitude for all that He means to me. I know my testimony has been strengthened over the course of my mission. I don't feel like the same human being I was a year and a half ago. After that awesome experience we got to ride in the Welch's car to Yonago for tomorrow's training!

We had Zone Conference in Yonago on Wednesday. Miller Shimai and I taught about 'praying with faith'. It was lots of fun! Some power phrases I took from the meeting:
- It wasn't by chance and it wasn't by love. It was by your faith that you are here. Are you a progressing member?
- Name one person in the Book of Mormon that didn't go through trials or struggle.
- The doubt is not there because they have faith.

We are the only sisters in this whole zone! (Me, Miller, Mami, Stoneman, Taguchi, Loving, Eguchi).

Sports day! The weather was perfect.

Our Relief Society leaders are so inspiring!

I love missionary work! And I love you all!
Love, Lowry Shimai

Sunday, March 5, 2017

THE CANDLE OF THE LORD + COMPANION EXCHANGES

"If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?"

"Now you are getting juvenile," was his reply. "Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience--I know it as well as I know anything."

"Then," I said, "assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like."

After some thought, he ventured, "Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour."

"You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is."

After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, "I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!"

From that experience forward, I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually. 


Companion exchanges with Taguchi Shimai and Megu-chan (who is going to Sendai on her mission).

Companion exchanges with Stoneman Shimai and Kihara Shimai.

Rena and Akari graduated high school!

With Miller Shimai :)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

FORGIVENESS + BE HUMBLE

{Sorry I've been behind on posting Sarah's emails! This email is from last week, and I also posted the email from the week before.}

This week was so so cool! I learned a lot about forgiving and forgetting. It's amazing. The instant we choose to repent and have faith, a distinct power and joy just flows into our lives.

One night Miller Shimai and I were feeling sad and weak and I didn't know exactly what to do. As I was praying, a small idea popped into my head. Give your companion a picture of something fun we did recently! It seemed so small, but I searched and found a polaroid picture, wrote a note on the back, and slid it into her brown leather bound journal. The next day we somehow got on the topic of weaknesses and the scripture Ether 12:27, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." We realized that we both have our weaknesses. We forgave ourselves and immediately felt a change in our hearts and countenances.

Miller Shimai and I have been working really hard these past 3 transfers together. But sometimes I feel like we hadn't seen the blessings and success we had hoped for. In my mind and heart this has been a hard thing to accept, especially with my time in the field winding down. This week I felt like all I could think about was, "Heavenly Father, I have been trying and working so hard, for you, but we aren't seeing the fruits of our labors. What more can I do? What can I give? What must I surrender?" We read Alma 32:16 & 22, "Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God...And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word." 

We don't always know what God is teaching us. But one thing I do know is that the greatest fruits of our labors right now are that we've been healed and that we are in the process of being healed. God's mercy towards us is that we have grown and learned so much!!! When we realize what He is doing for us, that's when everything changes.

(Also, give this song a listen: Exalted Over All - Vertical Church Band)

Love, Lowry Shimai

BBQ and Ume Matsuri.

Eating fries :)

Shopping.

We love the scriptures!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

BIKING NEAR BIZEN

Well, this morning was so funny! Miller Shimai and I are getting so freaky alike that we both woke up at 2 am with no alarm or anything to warn us, and we were like, "Okay, it's time to get up," and then I began to pray. Then we fell back asleep. That was that haha!

Anyway, this week was amazing! I have a new niece, Isabelle!

On Wednesday we biked out to a far place near Bizen to visit less actives. We were stopping and finding along the way so when we finally got to our desired place the sun was setting and we only had 45 minutes. We were really tired and didn't know where we were, but we finally connected to wi-fi, said a quick prayer, and felt strongly to go visit a certain woman. We rang her and she talked to us through her intercom thing, but she didn't sound like she wanted to talk at all. We felt like we were about to cry, haha. Then she came out. We talked for a while and it took some warming up, but then she let us in. We had a really good talk and she brought out her Book of Mormon. She told us how the elders met her 2 weeks prior and invited her to read it. She told us she is in the middle of Mosiah! The more we talked the more excited she got about the gospel. Soon enough she was on fire; her eyes lit up. She told us she wants to come to church but it's a little hard because of how far out she lives. Miller shimai and I have been able to witness 3 less actives come back. We are so blessed!

Also, a young woman in our ward got called to the Sendai Japan mission and leaves March 21st!

Love, Lowry Shimai

Our bike riding adventure near Bizen.

:)

Monday, February 13, 2017

I'M HAPPY AND I LOVE IT HERE

My life is so rich and I've been so blessed. I can't even put into words all that I'm learning. I have just a few short weeks left here in Japan to serve as a full time missionary, so forgive me if my emails start slimming down a bit. I just want to say I'm alive, I'm happy, and I love it here :)

With love,
Lowry Shimai

Also, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Cute note given to me from a member's daughter :)

Monday, February 6, 2017

LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE + PORT OF KOBE

Happy February! Wow. The time is winding down. How do I even express how grateful I am for this opportunity to be a missionary? With the new schedule I really feel like we can wind down at nights and that way be spiritually and physically prepared and genkier {happier} for the next day. It is also helping me to remember that missionary work is not a 'numbers game'. It's all about the people and the sincere feelings we have for them. I feel this change in the mission is a reflection of my life. All growing up I was all about doing things and accomplishing things, but then I have realized more and more that I need to not focus so much on things, but people!

We had MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) in Kobe on Tuesday. We learned how repetition is a principle of the gospel, and so we must never be afraid to teach ourselves and others things over and over again. It has been cool to see the Kobe Japan mission evolve. As leaders, we are recognizing that our mission is beginning to change in the fact that we are loving repentance more and more. Right now we are reading through the Book of Mormon and marking anything in relation to faith and repentance. I can definitely testify that it is changing my heart and mindset on all aspects of life.

"If I could have the wish of my heart, make repentance be the thing you do the rest of your life - and feel the joy." - Welch Kaicho (Mission President)

At the Port of Kobe.

Eating parfait :)