Monday, January 28, 2013

Letter Jan. 28, 2013

Hi family,
First of all, Lacey got her teeth whitened?! What have I been missing?! (STILL waiting for you to write to me, by the way!) It's always fun to see photos of the family. You are all growing up too fast.
Today I got to go to the Ghibli Film Museum again! (Ghibli made My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo, if that rings a bell.) My companion had never been, and we took a recent convert from Taiwan (Sophia, who's in the photo with me) who's studying art at college. The elders in our area happened to be there at the same time so it was a ton of fun. You can't take pictures inside the museum (that giant robot is on the roof) but I did buy a book about it to show you eventually because the architecture is SO COOL! The museum itself is pretty small, with only four or five display rooms, but it's like Disneyland in that the designers created a whole different world for the museum. Remember the teeny animation exhibit section of California Adventure? It's sort of like that, only more Japanese-y. The museum's always packed too, because Ghibli is very popular inside and outside of Japan. Anyway, it was a fun day because I love art and films and Ghibli makes some of the most acclaimed in the world.
Missionary work wise, this week was full of ups and downs with mostly downs, but we still have miracles happening every day. We make sure to write down at least five in our daily planners to help us recognize the Lord's hand in the work.
What I want to write about today is YOUR missionary work! Yesterday in church Elder Coleman from Texas spoke in Sacrament meeting and he shared a cool but simple experience. He was into kick-boxing in high school, and one day after a match his trainer took him out to eat and ordered him alcohol. Elder Coleman explained that he didn't drink, and his trainer asked why not. How many of us have been in a similar situation? What do we usually answer with? "I don't drink, I'm Mormon." "It's part of my religion." "It's bad for you." "I choose not to drink."
Elder Coleman answered with, "I believe that God has a living prophet on the earth, and that prophet has said God counsels us not to drink alcohol, so I don't."
How great of an answer is that? We all have reasons we keep the commandments, and they are founded on testimonies of the Restoration of the gospel. Our duty is to not be shy about sharing those experiences with others. From Elder Coleman's short answer, his trainer became interested in the church and they had weekly discussions after practice from the Book of Mormon. His trainer isn't baptized yet, but Elder Coleman has plans to do the baptism himself when he goes back to Texas.
Most of us are too afraid to approach our friends about the gospel, and that's okay, but most of the time our friends will not approach us with questions either. However, we can use short, powerful statements about what we believe to open doors for gospel discussions that will touch people's hearts. This missionary work is natural and is founded upon friendship and curiosity, not putting down what others believe or turning it into a sermon. Don't soften your testimony for fear of offending someone or looking like a religious fanatic. Be brief and sincere about why you keep commandments. People will respect you and pay attention to the way you live your life.
The easiest missionary work is to live the gospel joyfully; smile; show people you are happy. Tell people why you are happy, and because there is something different about you, they will listen.
Missionary work is so important, family! Right after our Sacrament meeting about missionary work, the Sunday school lesson was on the same topic. The teacher had us make a list of the reasons we love the gospel, or the reasons we come to church. It amounted to joy, peace, and friendship. We talked about the importance of sharing these things with our friends and family members. Heaven is only a place we want to go if our loved ones can be there too.
Thank you for all the work you're doing already! I'm excited for all the activities you're up to with jobs, school, extracuricular stuff, etc.
Dad: I'm glad you're getting the extra work! I bet you love teaching those people a lesson C: That's awesome that you got to talk about the church too.
Mum: It sounds like you love what you're doing now, and that you really want to work at BYU! Keep your heart open and the Lord will help you know what to do!
Lacey: Good luck with preparing for college and stuff! I can't believe you're getting so OLD!
Tyler: I hope you get into volleyball! Kick-boxing sounds way fun too, anything to get in shape and get active. Missionaries are required to exercise thirty minutes a day because of all these statistical reports about how daily heart-pumping workouts improve your ability to focus, feel happy, and of course burn off calories from too-friendly Japanese moms feeding us.
Bridgette: Mum and Dad keep telling me how talented you are! I'm excited to hear you play the violin and watch you act!
Benjamin: Mum and Dad told me how much you love playing the wii and playing with the new butterflies. That sounds so fun!
Be good and keep up your prayers and be consistent about family home evening. Oh, and Mum could you send me a good banana bread recipe? We have tons of bananas in the freezer and I'm afraid to try winging it.
Your Japanese word for this week is "Oishii!" (oh-ee-shee) It means "delicious!" and you say it repeatedly whenever eating something that has been served to you.
I love you! またねー
Long Shimai

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