Wednesday, July 30, 2014

We asked for more photos of Maryandra, and she sent this one, with a lovely shadow over her face!  But look at the stunning view of Sagamihara behind her as well!  Maryandra had a week of ups and downs. 
Here is some of it:
It took us an hour or so to bike all the way to sagamihara park,
because we got lost once. It's much bigger and prettier than the one
we'd always gone to before!!! I hope we get to go again in the near
future. We met and talked to so many people there, and in particular
with this one twelve year old boy, and his seven hear old
brother. This was the most enjoyable contact I've ever had
before, no joke, no exaggeration. We were old friends by the end of
our forty minute conversation! And then, we made the biggest mistake I
think I've ever made as a missionary. I don't know why, but somehow
this turned into the biggest guilt trip I've ever had in my entire
life. That also is no joke. We had a golden opportunity, but we just
left them with a flier. No pamphlet, no Book of Mormon, no Facebook
address exchanges, not even learning their last name, which would have
made a world of difference. I don't know what we were thinking, but
I've not been able to stop thinking about it, and I've cried so many
times since then, just filled with guilt and regret about it. Have you
and dad ever had experiences on your mission where all you could think
was " what was I thinking? I could have done more! I SHOULD have!

Wuh-oh, guess what day it is?! GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?!?!?!?! Come on,
come on come on! Somebody, give me a guess! No? It's my 1 year
anniversary for opening my call letter!!!!! Aaaaaaaaahhhnh!!!!! I
can't believe it's been that long! I've known where I'll serve my
mission for a year now! Whaaaaaaat? Can you remember all the surprises
we had on that day? Oh my gosh, I can't believe how much has changed
since then. For one thing, I actually came on a mission. I think that,
at this time a year ago, I was wondering if that thing would actually
turn into a reality. Well, it has. And it's almost halfway over.

I took a sweaty selfie this morning after jogging, just to show you
all how hot and gross and muggy it gets outside, before it's even
7:00am. But even the photo of my slippery, shiny face doesn't do it
justice. I've never sweated so much so many consecutive days in a row,
not in my entire life! The closest thing that can compare to this is
the pioneer trek, all those years ago! Yuck! It gets to the point
where, even when I'm not hot, I'm still sweating. Gross! If I ever
rest my arm on the table or something, whenever I move it, it'll
either stick to the table, peel off of it, or else leave a shiny wet
spot where it used to be. 

Hey, by the way, do you remember if you knew a Munakata Shimai? Or
the Shimai who was her mtc companion? They both served at the
same time as you in the Fukuoka mission. Please let me know, because
that would be so exciting if you knew her!. . . 
Oh my goodness, that was the most fun dinner appointment I've ever
had! And guess what? The Shimai who had us over for dinner, (she was 
Munakata Shimai)! And she has a
picture of you, that I think I've seen a copy of before in one of your
mission scrapbooks! She served at the same time as you in the
Kagoshima prefecture. This world is just getting smaller and smaller,
isn't it? I'm finding more and more reasons why I got called to the
Japan Tokyo South mission! It's crazy, because a year ago, I would
neeeeever have seen this like his coming, meeting people from your
mission that know you and still remember you, and I won't be surprised
if before long, I find someone who knows dad too! Wouldn't that just
be the best?
Here, I took a quick snapshot of the photo she had. She's the one
who's sitting in front of you, on your very left, with the really long

Oh, goodness. So, we just got transfer calls. Guess what? Sister
Evans is transferring to fuchu, and becoming sister training leader
there. I will be STAYING, and I will be with sister tachibana. I have
met her once before. It seems I've met all my companions already.
She's nice, I'm sure, but I never really got to talk with her. So, I'm
actually really depressed. I'm gonna really miss Evans Shimai! But I'm
trying to be genki about it. It's way hard, though. This is the first
time I'm going to be area sempai. Yikes! But I've heard that sister
tachibana is way sweet, so that's good. But no one could replace Evans

Here is an earlier photo of  Maryandra and her companion that is transferring away.
She is learning a lot from her experiences, and her daddy gave her some great advice to help her deal with how she was feeling about the boys in the park.  The hot, muggy weeks in her mission are winding down, and we think it is fun that she ran into one of her mom's old mission acquaintances! We have loved this month while she has served with Sister Evans, and hope the new companionship will be great too!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The highlights of Maryandra's week were practicing some games for the summer festival they held for friends and investigators, and trying out hairdos at the sisters' conference on Saturday!  Here are some excerpts from her e-mail:

In the morning, we had
our weekly zone meeting. I did the first presentation with another sister,
and it went surprisingly well, considering we had no
opportunity to meet and plan besides over the phone. Thank you
to the spirit for carrying me through that, because I got really
nervous right before it started, on account of us having planned
something different than what was actually supposed to happen. But it
went well, and I actually felt the spirit a lot in it. Anyway, right
after that, I went on splits with another sister, and proceeded to have a
really really good time! We went out to eat at this restaurant that
makes "American" food, and yes it was really delicious, but who should
we just happen to find there but a random less active whom I've never
met before, who came there as well to eat lunch with her friend who is
also by chance less active. Quite the coincidence, one would say. And,
do you wanna know how it gets even crazier? She just barely came back
from going to English school in Utah, from Provo no less! I. Eleven
she even went to classes on BYU campus to study English! And since
both me and my companion just happen to be from Utah, it was like
whaaaaat?!?! Small world, huh? She was so genki and cute, I wonder why
the heck she even went less active? Well, we soon hope to fix that,
since we are now Facebook friends and such.  All in all, it was a rather enjoyable day.

So, today, I got to do all of the contacting, inviting people 
to our upcoming natsu matsuri (summer festival) on
Saturday, which I am way stoked for! However, I am even more excited
for a mission wide sisters only conference the day before, where we
have spiritually uplifting things go on, so I've heard, followed by
fun things like learning exercises and recipes, doing hair, and I
heard one rumor about massages, but that's unlikely, of course.
However, I am pleased to announce my second unofficial baptism. One of
the people I taught three or four times in Hachioji is getting
baptized on Sunday! Way excited for her! Yay! I probably won't go, but
since I doubt I'll see any "regular" baptisms, this is as close as I
get. So, that's number two! Woot!
...ugh, maaaan, today was so hot! It was about 93 degrees. Trying to
street was rough! And he humidity! It was so hot, I just wanted to
sleep on an ice bed or something. That heat does something to ya,
seriously. But at least I had water.
Anyway, let's get back, more or less, to real time. We woke up way
early and traveled all the way to kichijouji for the all sisters
conference, which was amazing! I loved the talks, and the workshops
afterwords. I especially enjoyed getting to see all my friends again.
We had a lot of people come to summer festival It was great! 
We had barbecued sausage
and onigiri, shaved ice, and nagasomen. But
anyway, we really enjoyed ourselves, even though it rained slightly.
That actually made it pleasantly cool. I hope to be able to send you
so e photos, airdropped to me by another missionary. I didn't have my iPad
with me during the festival, cause I needed my hands. 

Anyway, we are currently sitting at the barbershop that's about five
minutes away from our apartment. We have a bit of a long wait to go,
so I just thought I would update you/do my own thing since I can't
currently speak to anyone, as there is nobody sitting with us waiting
in line. I am working on a drawing, since having gotten some art
supplies. I'll have to send you a photo of it when it's done! I plan
to give it to someone, if I can.
I also found out that today's national holiday is beach day, so that
clears up that mystery.
We went shopping at OK Super before this, and ran into one of the
people we'd streeted before, who works there. What a fun little
coincidence that was!
Well, we currently have nothing else planned for
the day besides emails, until four or five o'clock this evening, when
we go to a family English Conversation again. . . We
finished early with the English part, so we moved to the short message
about the church. Today's theme was " I Am A Child of God." We had a
good time. Their son is such a cutie! Did I tell you that he's Hyrum's
age? It's way fun teaching him English! 
So, lots of love,
bless all your faces, peace out!
Miller Shimai

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

 Maryandra went to the Tama Zoo this P-day, and had a great time, even if she was talked out of buying the tiger stuffed animal, AGAIN! Here are a few excerpts:
So the zoo was pretty fun, and this time, I actually have things
I can send you guys, and it's pretty cool! I got to see some animals
that I couldn't before, due to all the snow. It was nice! I got
irritated, though, when the other sisters told me not to buy the
stuffed tiger at the gift shop. I'd been planning to for months, but I
think that, because everyone was kind of tired, and their remarks were
kind of blunt, I let it get to me. But gosh, I've been missing my
stuffed animals. Of course it's difficult to carry one around at
transfers, and yes this one was 23 dollars or so, but it was a good
sized, soft and cuddly little tiger, and I've packed things more
difficult than that before, so whether or not it was unreasonable, I
really just wanted to sleep with a stuffed animal. Is that too much to
ask for sisters? Really? But I semi-sort of consoled myself by buying
two really cool elephant journals for really cheap. I'll send you the
picture of them.

Also, to give you an update. I barely noticed the typhoon. 
And there is no sign that it even came except that everything is wet
outside. It came sometime in the middle of the night, and it didn't
even wake me up. In short, I'm just fine. No worries here! :) thanks
for all of the prayers on my behalf, everybody! I was aware of them,
be assured, and I am very thankful for so many people who care. Love
you all!
Oh yeah, so there was an earthquake the other night, and we felt it...
Well, actually, only Evans Shimai did. For the first time ever, I
actually slept through an earthquake! And it was apparently a good
one, too! Lasted about two minutes, according to Evans Shimai. I
really wonder why I didn't wake up? Usually, I'm a really light
sleeper, so either I was so exhausted for some reason, or I really did
notice it and I just don't remember. But yeah, it happened.

Anyway, we have zone conference today,Zone Conference was amazing! 
We heard from the missionaries who
will be going home, and they both shared really good stories and testimonies 
about why we are here, in Japan, right now. It was without a doubt a bit of a
defining moment for me. I've seen reasons here and there of course,
ever since I came to Japan, but this made me think about lots of
things, such as how much my mission will affect the rest of my life,
and the things I came here to do. I can't slack off. I can't not do my
job. It's just mind blowing to think about that, and about other things
like it. My whole life will almost certainly pivot around this period
if 18 months. Honestly, if I wasn't on a mission right now, what would
I be doing? I don't know. College, probably, but I would be such a
robot, and a lazy butt, and who knows what could have happened had I
made a different decision? But, if I do my job well and remain a
faithful, sincere and obedient member of the church, I'll receive
wonderful blessings that I can't even comprehend right now. It's
just... Amazing! I can see both roads, and, honestly, even though I
was a little but reluctant and mentally rebellious at first, once I
made the necessary adjustments, I'm just so glad that I chose this
one! It's given me such growth and perspective, I cringe at the
thought if going back to normal life. 

And, another fun fact, today marks my seventh month as a missionary!
Wow, the time goes by so fast! At the moment, nothing fun going on,
but, if we can we are going to go to a questions of the soul in Tama,
given by president Wada. Those are always fun. This time around, it's
about faith, and president Wada will show clips from Indiana Jones
that relate to the topic, such as when he steps onto thin air and the
bridge appears. It's always cool how he makes those analogies. Our
investigators, PIs, and ward members love it, because it relates to
every normal person, and ties back to a principle from the gospel at
the same time. It's way cool!
Love you guys! Till next time!
Miller Shimai

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Here is Maryandra at her new favorite restaurant after Temple P-day, called Homeworks!

Aside from her companion getting a broken finger playing basketball, nothing too adverse to report this week!  Here are a few excerpts from Maryandra's latest letter:
Man, it's July already? We're did the time go? Holy cow! I'll for sure be home in a year from now. That's the weirdest thought ever! *mind blooooooooooooooowwwn!* anyway! today we had a weekly zone conference. It may sound weird that we are, for the now, holding zone conference every week, but it's necessary. We are doing what's called the ten week turnaround, and it involves a weekly super training on a specific aspect of missionary work, such as finding, or doing how to begin teaching, which was what we did today. This is to help us improve our work ethic and rekindle our dendo fire as a whole mission. It's awesome!
So, you know that picture my companion posted on Facebook at the eikaiwa activity? We have that again today, only this time we are learning how to make origami! I'm so excited! Maybe I'll begin to have some skills in that department! I've got pretty paper, and I'm ready to learn! I just hope these cute middle aged women can survive learning how to make origami in English. A lot of the time, they make funny jokes in semi-correct English the whole time, or do things like name the fly they just killed with their bare hands Georgey. It's one of their favorite jokes. Anyway, I'll tell you more about it when it's actually happened. I can't wait!...
Well, I didn't learn how to make as many things as I thought, due to the absence of the main skilled origami lady, but it was still really fun, and I did learn how to make a paper bag. I should send you a few samples sometime. Only this time, the fly tht buzzed around, due to the passing of Georgie, was named Billy.

Well, first off... HAAAAPPYYYY FOOOUUUURRRRRTH OOOOOF JUUUUUUULYYYYY!!!!! I wish that I could celebrate it her in Japan. でも、それ は ちょっと むり ので、あまり できないですね? Oh well. I'll just celebrate it in my mind.
Okay, well sports night was good, with it being Independence Day and all, and therefore having American snacks, and petting someone's random new pet gecko, except that Evans Shimai jammed two of her fingers while playing basket ball. Oooouuuuuuch! However, after returning to sagamihara and making a tiny detour to our pi's home so she could give us this special cold tape for Evans shimai's fingers, I saw-- don't get too excited, Curtis--a young, small cat, hiding in the bushes, just staring at us. It hid when I approached, but I put a piece of a Pringles left over from dinner on the wall, and backed up. As it smelled the alluring scent of Pringles, it inched forward, picked up the pringle in its mouth, and slowly retreated back into its shelter. . .I felt happy to help the little kitten. It's just too bad that at that moment I had nothing healthier than Pringles. I hope it doesn't get sick because of me. Well, that's my favorite part of today.

Man, more rain. This stuff is more like mist, though. Usually, that's better, except that it's not necessarily bound by the laws of gravity, so an umbrella is totally useless, and you get soaked without even noticing it. But it feels really good when it's hot out. And it's really cool to watch the tiny droplets float around in the air as you walk, until they stick to your face and hair, but it kind of tickles.

...okay, a small update on Evans Shimai and her finger. Turns out, it's broken, not jammed. We went with a member to the nearest clinic today and got an X-ray. There's just the tiniest piece of bone broken off at the second knuckle. We have to go back to the clinic on Monday, so that they can put on a more permanent cast once the swellings gone down. They say her recovery time should be three to four weeks, so she'll be like this for the rest of the transfer, pretty much. What fun:/ But oh well. She's still pretty genki, which is good. But at least the rain stopped. I should tell you about the two things that happened today, one cool one at the clinic, and then an interesting one or two at the less active lesson we taught right after. So, we'd planned to surprise visit a less active sister today, but because we were taking so long at the clinic, we were pretty sure we couldn't do it, so we were a little disappointed. But, lo and behold, while we were waiting, who should walk in but none other than that very sister, the very lady we'd planned to visit! WHAAAT???? O.o O.o!?!? So, we got to talk with her, and catch up a little on what's going on, and she met another sister, the member, which was really good, and they talked while we went in for the X-rays. It was really good!

So. We just got back to the church from a very rewarding experience. We went to visit a woman who is Taiwanese, and very kind. I really enjoyed going to her house. She speaks pretty good English, because she went to school in the states for a while. You'll never guess where she went to for her first three months of school. Yup! BYU Provo! And she went to church some with her roommates! Isn't that the coolest? Small world, deshou? That was...what, maybe 25-30 years ago. She's really nice! And she believes a lot of things about our church, too, and she is perfectly happy to learn more! It's just too bad that she's so busy. We won't be able to meet with her again till almost the end of the month! Sad day! But that's okay.

Unfortunately, missionaries are no longer allowed to handle fireworks, so I did nothing for the fourth except for sports night, which was actually pretty fun, I guess. I sang the national anthem there with all the other American missionaries for the first time in... How long? I'm ashamed to think about it!  Anyway, love you all, keep it up!
Miller Shimai  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Maryandra is really enjoying her 2nd area, Sagamihara! Here are a few excerpts from her last letter:
Okay, and in short, we had the craziest day ever! I mean, really! After teaching an pi, we experienced a typhoon! The only thing it lacked was ridiculous wind to the scale it was ripping away umbrellas. But it sure had enough water, thunder and lightning! The 3 minute walk to the church resulted in us both being soaked and wringing water out of our skirt hems before proceeding to enter the church. Needless to say, this made finding a little difficult. We only just managed to talk to the ten we needed, in fact, though, we were able to get a pi by helping this women retrieve her laundry from where it had fallen in a place where she couldn't get to, finding out she was catholic, and giving her a Book of Mormon. I think that that makes... Five? I don't know, really. But she was sweet. We didn't ask her name, though, so we just call her the pink pants lady in honor of her laundry, which is what helped us to find her in the first place! The last miracle of the day was as we were walking home, discouraged that we had missed the ten by just one, only to find a man as he found a dog that wouldn't stop trying to make friends with everyone it met, and thus striking up a conversation about where the heck this dog came from. It was the coolest day ever, I tell you! Don't let me forget to send you the short typhoon video(s) that I have! It's crazy crazy crazy! Well, gotta go. Now. Bye!

We had a gyouza making party at the home of a pi and her friends that we go to every week. It was a blast! Then, we did park dendo, and we got to talk to a lot of people. It was way fun! The only troubles as that, I'd eaten lunch before even going to the gyouza party, and I'd had to eat a lot of gyouza, down to the very last one, so I was full to bursting. It was on this slightly uncomfortable occasion that we had dinner with the district, at an udon restaurant. I had to eat a bowl of curry udon. I seriously don't remember being so full. And then, right after that, a healthy, if slightly uncomfortable, ten minute walk to the church for district meeting. Yay.

I must close for this week. I will, however, tell you what we plan to do for today. We are going with the Tama sisters again, only this time, we are going to get foot massages... From fish. I will tell you more about it after it's happened, when I understand it better myself.... Actually, it turns out that the plan changed, because nobody knew where the place was. So, instead, we ended up going to Chinatown! It was a blast, I tell you! It's ironic how we all felt more touristy going to Chinatown when we live in Japan, isn't it? I'll be sending some really cool pictures soon, and maybe all the others I haven't sent before, so I can make space on my iPad. But we'll see. In Chinatown, I got a few key chains and some shoe inserts that massage your feet while you walk. They feel GREEEAAAT!!!!! I love them! And I also got a dragon ball z fan at a conveni before actually going to Chinatown. I saw some shirts there as well that I could get, but they weren't very cool.

I am now riding the train back home, and I will send you this email, along with as many pictures as possible, as soon as we arrive at the church and can receive wifi. I will send you pictures of the cat knick knack shop we went to, just for the sake of dear old Curtis! He would have died of happiness if he had been there! I almost did myself, In fact! I loved going to Chinatown to just look at all the cool stuff! I especially loved looking at the gigantic, intricately designed Chinese Buddhist temple! Oh, my gosh, it was so gorgeous! I wonder just how long it took to build something like that back in the ancient days, in both china and Japan? The colors, and the decorations and carvings, are just insanely ornate! Dad would go crazy with excitement!
You know, we should visit as many traditional Japanese and other such temples and castles and other places and buildings as possible when you guys come to get me in less than a year.... Man, I can't believe how fast that's thats coming up! I've almost been a missionary for seven months! Holy cow! I hit my halfway point around my birthday. Man, what a rotten birthday present that's going to be. Sad day... And, on that note, I bid you all a very fond whatever is left of your Sunday or Monday... Oh. Actually, you're all asleep right now. Well, sleep tight! I must be off. Bless your face. If you sneezed during this email, bless you! Peace out! See you next week!
Lots of love,
Sister Miller