Wednesday, March 25, 2015

week 1 in Japan

 Sister Hubbard with her mission President and Sister Budge 
Sister Hubbard's new companion, Sister Trent
New Bike getting adjusted to fit Janae :)

Dearest family,

Ah! I was so excited to hear from all of you today! There are so many
things happening with all of you! I'm really excited for all of your
news. :) I love you all so much. Thank you for your letters. I have so
much to tell all of you, so I will try to write really fast. Let's
start from the beginning...

My last 12 hour plane ride was really, really long! It was good
though. I sat on end of one of the middle sections in the airplane, so
I had people on both sides of me. One of the 2 people sitting next to
me was Japanese and could speak pretty good English. On my other side
there was a couple who were from the Philippines! ( by the way, there
are so many Filipinos in Tokyo! The cultures here are very diverse,
but most people speak Japanese ) They were an older couple, but they
were so nice and they could speak a little bit of English too. By the
end of our trip, I am happy to say that I did place 2 book of Mormons
with God's help! It was a really great experience. I gave the older
couple my email address too, so I guess we'll see what happens. :)
When we arrived at the airport, my whole district was amazed by how
amazing Japan looked. Everything was so big and different looking!
There is kanji everywhere! ( Chinese writing symbols)
I was so excited to see everything and to meet my mission president.
After going through customs and exchanging money, we were met by the
two APs inside the Narita airport. They were really nice and they
apologized for president Budge not being there. He had to go to a
meeting and was not able to greet us. He was in an important meeting
with Elder Nelson! Pretty cool right? I thought it was. It just made
me even more excited to meet my mission president. :) From there, we
loaded our luggage into a big van so it could be transported to the
mission home, and then we took a bus, and 3 trains to the mission
home! As we road the bus, all I could do was look out my window. I
didn't even want to take pictures of anything. Everything looked and
felt so amazing! As I continued to look at all of the building and the
people passing by, I remember thinking and feeling at peace with
everything. I felt the spirit witness to me that I was in the right
place. It was really amazing. :)
The train stations are huge here, and there are so many people
everywhere! I think seeing how many people were everywhere was the
biggest shock to me. The culture shock hasn't hit me yet. I don't
really think it will... I feel at peace with everything that has
happened here in the last week. I know I am where the Lord wants me to
be, and I feel his strength just as strong as I felt it in the MTC. It
is a huge blessing.

As you have already heard, yes, Elder Nelson was in Tokyo! He spoke to
all of us missionaries my second day here, after spending the night at
the mission home. ( by the way, president budge and sister budge are
awesome! They made us a really yummy dinner the night we arrived, and
helped us feel at home) Anyway, all of the Missionaries were able to
shake Elder Nelson's hand and his talk was really special. He promised
us some amazing blessings, as do all of the apostles, and I loved
hearing him speak. It was a tender mercy for me to feel the spirit so
strong and to know that the Lord was with me. Even though his talk was
amazing, I learned more from the spirit I felt in the meeting then I
did from what he said. I'm really grateful for that.

That morning, I was really worried about how it would be to say
goodbye to everyone later when we each met our trainers. I was
optimistic of course, but deep down I was genuinely worried. Not so
much about what would be happening, but about saying goodbye to my
district. I've learned that goodbyes will probably be the one of the
hardest things I will have to face on my mission! It was difficult at
the MTC, and at this meeting, and I'm sure the pattern will follow as
I continue my mission. I may not see most of the people I will meet
here in Japan again in this life, ( I might ) but I really look
forward to the time when we can all meeting in heaven together. How
amazing that will be! Anyway, that is something I have really thought
about during my trip here and on this 2nd day. As I waited for my turn
to be called to the front of the meeting, I saw members of my district
meet their trainers. They were literally picture perfect! Every single
group companionship! I wondered who my trainer would be as I looked at
the remaining trainers. When I found out who my trainer was, I did
feel peace about it. Sister Trent is my trainer! She is from American
falls Idaho (by Pocatello Idaho) , and she is great! We hugged each
other and one of the APs took a picture of us. ( I'm not sure if they
sent that to you as well, but I will try and send you a picture of
her.) anyway, that is pretty much the shortest part of the story,
haha. I can never say everything that happens out here because there
is so much!

When I learned where my area would be, I felt really good about it.
The Spirit confirmed to me that it was the place I needed to be. So,
right now I am in Koiwa! It is in Tokyo, and it is a really neat
place! Everything looks so different everywhere, but there is a really
neat feeling in this area. The members are amazing! They are all
amazing missionaries and they try so hard to be examples to their
friends and to invite them to activities. Elder Nelson actually came
and spoke in our ward yesterday! Every member of the ward tried really
hard to invite their friends to come and listen to him speak. Sister
Trent and I tried really hard to invite everyone we talked to on the
streets, and to have our investigators to come to church to hear him
speak. We had so many people at church! It was an amazing missionary
experience all around. There were so many people with questions after
the meeting. There is about 200 active members in our ward, and there
are lots of less actives we are working with. There are 3 sets of
missionaries in our Koiwa ward, but we were all really busy after
answer people's questions. There are two sets of Elders, and then
there is Sister Trent and I. :) it was great. We were able to meet
lots of people and to teach lots of people. I tried my best to talk to
people in my broken Japanese, haha. Everyone is so nice here. I am
amazed at how amazing our ward members are. All of them are wonderful
fellow shippers because they genuinely care about others. They
genuinely want to share their testimonies with others and have their
friends share in their the joy the gospel brings them. It's amazing.
There were some amazing musical numbers in our ward yesterday in
preparation for elder Nelson to speak to us. The primary is really big
here, and they sang the song, "I know that my savior loves me." As
they sang, I was so overcome with love for all of them. Japanese kids
are the cutest ever in the first place, but as they sang, I felt the
presence of angels. In their little Japanese voices, they sang, " I
know he lives.... I will follow faithfully. My heart I give to him. I
know that my savior loves me.." As long as I live, I will never forget
their little voices and the spirit I felt in this sacrament meeting.
It was truly a sacred experience. Then, Elder Nelson spoke. Similar to
the last time he spoke, I learned a lot from the spirit and about my
responsibility as a missionary. One of the first things he said was,
"as long as I live, I will never forget these children's voices." -
the exact same thing I was thinking. Our ward is so amazing. I wish I
had time to tell you about all of the ward members I've met, and how I
feel a familiarity with them and their families, but I need to tell
you about some of our finding experiences and investigators.
Also, I need to tell you a little bit more about my trainer and our apartment!

My companion, sister Trent, and I are the only missionaries in our
little apartment. It's about 10 minutes away from the church, which is
nice. We cleaned our apartment really well today. It's a pretty old
apartment and we had a lot to do! There was lots of dust everywhere
and we had to chuck a lot of things, but it is in good shape now. :) I
was happy to clean it, because it was driving me crazy since the time
we arrived here. I only have one of my suitcases currently, as the
other one is lost somewhere ( hopefully at the mission home) haha. I'm
sure it will turn up soon. :) I'm not worried, I'm just glad I put
clothes in both of them before I left the MTC!

Sister Trent and I have a goal to have 1 baptism every week for the
month of May. We have enough investigators to do it, so we are both
working really hard with the members to try and make it happen. We
hope that as we work hard that we will be able to see this miracle.
Sister Trent only has 2 transfers left, ( I'm her last companion) so
we are working really hard. I'm grateful for a hard working trainer.

I'll have to tell you about our investigators some more next week. I
have been able to teach some lessons in the time I've been here. It's
been really neat, even though I don't know what's happening all of the
time and can't say very much. I'm excited for the time when I can say
everything I want in Japanese. I know God will help me learn this
language. :)

It's been a good week. The food is awesome here! The crows make weird
noises and they sound like people... It's kinda scary, haha. Oh, and
last but not least! Japan has a really different smell. And yes, it
was one of the first things I noticed after getting off the airplane,
haha. It's been a wonderful and difficult week, but I know God will
continue to help and strengthen me. He always provides a way. I do
feel His love and His strength. More than not, I feel peace about
everything, which is an amazing blessing and testimony to me of Gods
love. :)

I love you all so much.
I pray for all of you.
Love always,

Hubbard Shimai

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