Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014


I am feeling lots better this week and have been doing my best to eat no gluten!! Thank you so much for the gluten free food Dad, and thanks to everyone for all the love/support/letters. Kartchner Shimai looked at the mail box and she said "Holy cow Sister Crofts, you are loved."  I can’t tell you how much it helps me. The gluten free diet is still a work in progress.  It is hard when people make things specifically for you and then have it sitting on a tray when you show up at their house... I feel so bad.

It has been unusually rainy lately. It wasn’t rainy at all during rainy season so I was thinking that maybe God knew I wasn`t a fan of working in the rain so He said "Crofts Shimai, I will cut you a break this year." But of course, God chastens who He loves, so we are having lots of rain. I was thinking I was a genius for just spending one dollar on a raincoat, because I didn’t really use it, but I guess you could say I am having regrets. (The one I brought with me soaks up everything.)  

We had a lesson with Kobayashi san that was SO GOOD. He is slowly understanding more and more. He talked about how he can’t do the pressure, but how he thinks that it was God`s divine guidance that led us to meet him. Whenever he talks about us he calls us "his angels." He said he thinks that we are on a different level than him. But then when we told him that we have bad/negative thoughts too and that we are imperfect.  He was completely shocked and he felt 110 percent happiness. Hahaha I love him so much. He came to church to hear the member we teach him withs lesson and he is learning so much. 

Well, we had a lesson with Mika and the Warners last week and it was really awesome! Mika just talked about how she knows that this church is 110 percent true and that she has changed so much. We have asked her to be baptized so often, but she always makes different excuses. She doesn`t read the Book of Mormon because it is too hard to understand.  So we are trying to start studying it with her almost every day so that she can understand it and have the faith to act!

While we were riding the train to Nagoya for a companion exchange there was a lady I sat by on the train who I started talking to. When I started talking about our message about God and Jesus Christ, she was so moved and said that she had been to a Christian church once, read the bible and that it was the most beautiful thing she had ever read. She didn’t go after, but she said she wanted to know more! As I was telling her about eternal families and Jesus Christ I just felt the Spirit burn in my heart. It turns out she lives really far away in Okinawa but she said she wants to go to our church and wants to learn more. I loveeee how much I feel the Spirit testify through me. That is probably one of my favorite feelings. 

I went to Gokiso and I couldn’t eat the yummy sauces so I ended up eating just boiled meat in water at the restaurant. One day I will find a way to eat delicious shabu shabu. megumi shimai fed us SO MUCH IT WAS DEATH. After, we went to this thing called niko niko eikaiwa. These girls are orphaned and live together in a house. They go and teach them English almost every week. It was one of the funnest things ever just talking to them. All they say is how cute we are. It was so much fun to go to Gokiso, it is a huge city. Furlong Shimai and I talked to several hundred people as we were trying to go to this member’s house. There was a woman we stopped who said "ARE YOU MORMON MISSIONARIES?!?"  We said yeah! She talked about how she has only seen the elders and has been searching for us for years because she wanted to talk to us. She is from some other Christian church, but she just said how much she respects us and admires us. She said "I want you to know that I am a believer too!!!! ganbatte!!! (Work hard) “It was so awesome to have someone so excited to talk to us, because everyone else had straight up rejected us the moment we said "Jesus Christ."

We went to a 祭り(festival) with Marina Chan!!! It was soooo crazy fun. There were fireworks, and lots of food stands. It was so awesome to just have the chance to get to know her! We talked a lot about the temple. When she saw the picture of the San Diego Temple she nearly died because she wanted to go there so bad. She loved the idea of eternal families, but when she heard you have to be baptized she seemed a little bit sad.  She loves what we teach her so much, but I think the fact that her mom is against the church is a huge barrier in her progressing.. ahhh どうしよう? She is studying to be a midwife so she is really busy, but we can usually meet with her at least every other week. 

My very very very favorite thing is to teach about Jesus Christ. Every single time I tell someone about the atonement I just feel so much love for our Savior and for that person I am talking to!  I love our Savior so much. Being a missionary is the best/hardest/most wonderful thing ever. Have a great week! 頑張りましょうね


Thank you so much for the package.  It really made me feel so much love.  So far everything has been really yummy.

Companion exchanges in Gokiso

Niko Niko Eikaiwa with the orphan girls

Companion exchange with Furlong Shimai
Festival with Marina Chan

It has rained a lot this summer

Fun night with Sister Moore & Marina Chan

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 21014

Dear family, 

Thank you so much for all of the prayers and fasts on my behalf.  I really have felt so much help from that and can’t thank you enough.  I was feeling really depressed and overwhelmed last Monday about all the things going on, but I spent a fair amount of P-day trying to find foods that don’t have gluten in them. With the time left, I just prayed to God.  I wanted more than anything to just feel happy and peace about the Celiac diet and that I would feel better.  As I prayed, there was honestly a miracle in my heart.  The way I saw everything totally changed.  I realized how much God has blessed me, how this Celiac diet is a way to help and strengthen my body, and that if I stick to it, it will help me to just serve faithfully to the end of my mission. I also think that it was an answer to prayers because I was praying for the strength and motivation to lose weight and what not... Well, I think God said -Sister Crofts, let me introduce you to a celiac diet. Because last week alone, I lost 6 pounds.  Hahaha anyway, I have really just felt a lot of gratitude and peace and it has made all the difference to have a positive attitude as I am changing everything that I eat. My stomach pain/diarrhea almost completely went away last week and it was feeling so much better. My rash on my arms went away, but it is still there a little bit on my lower body. I have been a bit dizzy and completely exhausted, but we are trying to balance out working and still taking some time to rest for my body. I am praying so much that I will have the strength and energy to do everything I need to, but above all things I just want to learn what God wants me to from this experience. I want God to know that I am really grateful for this.

It felt so good to go and talk to and visit people last week. Even though it totally wore me out, it made me so happy. We went streeting on Thursday and talked to over 70 people. In those 70 people, there was only one person who said she would maybe listen if her friends came. I am praying that she comes next Saturday! We also met a woman from Nepal who wanted our number. There were lots of kekos, but it was great. 

Saturday we went housing at these (we call them danchis).  We met with one of our investigators there and he actually ended up coming to church yesterday with his daughter. He doesn’t believe in God, but I was way impressed that he came. As we were walking up those flights of stairs and knocking on the doors, I physically thought I was going to die, but I didn’t want to go home. I also never realized how much spiders freak me out. On all the stair wells of these apartments, they are just covered in spider webs and these huge nasty spiders. Their body alone is the size of a quarter but I am super tall and so ALL of the webs would just hit my head and they would fall on me. It was so gross. But we found these two girls at the very last row we knocked on. They were 16, the one girls parents had died or something and she was just working. She had never thought about God or anything, but it was awesome because she wants to learn English and hear more. The trick will be just meeting with her because she is so busy with her job. 

Moore Shimai is helping me SO MUCH and I am so grateful that she is so patient about this. I am always like -Moore Shimai lets go dendou!! Pleeeaseeee!!!- and she just says “Crofts Shimai, you are sick. don’t be unreasonable.”  Hahaha, I love her so much. I am getting better little by little. I am so grateful that I have gotten so much better in the last week 

Well, I love you all! Thanks for all of the support and help, I honestly can’t thank you enough.



Sister Warner is an angel!! She spent 2 1/2 hours just looking for gluten-free food that I can eat.  She even found gluten-free soy sauce.  I love her so much. 

Dinner at our Bishop's house

Biking despite feeling sick

Young Women's activity

Housing at Danchis

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 11, 2014


Well, it has been a rough week and I am looking forward to a new week. Last Tuesday, after finishing zone training I had to run to the bathroom because I felt so sick. We went to the doctor again on Wednesday morning with a member. He had no idea what was wrong with me, but gave me lots of medicine. The medicine made me sicker I think. I blacked out a couple times on my bike and had a hard time walking. I have been resting the past week according to doctors’ orders. I slept almost all day every single day and felt just so sick.  President Yamashita called my Dad on Friday and asked him to call me to see if he could figure out why I have been so sick because the Japanese doctors are making me worse.  After listening to my symptoms, my Dad diagnosed me as having celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and he emailed instructions to Sister Warner who is a nurse in our mission and has been helping me.  After talking to Sister Warner on Saturday afternoon, I started the Celiac diet. I know a lot about the diet because Sami Sorensen had it when we lived together at BYU and some of my other friends have it. However, I don’t know anything about doing it in Japan. I haven`t seen any gluten free options for anything, so for right now I am just going with rice meat and vegetables. I don`t have a lot of time in the morning, so I don`t want to make eggs and am kind of lost about what to eat. We are trying to be really prepared and let members know and what not. We called one member who we had a meal appointment with on Wednesday and told her that I couldn`t eat gluten and could eat rice and vegetables she just said "ahhh what should we do, what should we do... maybe it is better to cancel the appointment." I know this is going to help my body and what not, but adjusting is hard. 

Kobayashi san has been meeting with one of the members who is trying to encourage him and help him to meet with us again. Satan has been working so hard on him. We gave a picture of us that we decorated to brother Itakura to give to him. After he received the picture of us, we FINALLY got a call from him and he told us how much he loved the picture and wanted to meet again. He walked in with two packages of cake for both me and Sister Moore and said he was sorry for not calling us back. The bishop`s wife came for the lesson and it was just the greatest lesson ever. Kobayashi san also said how much he loved Fujita Shimai and how much she helped him. He said I love you two, but this woman helped me to understand better because she is Japanese. Hahaha.  He is seriously a miracle. I loved how strong the Spirit was during our lesson. Granted, it was a little bit hard for me physically but I really felt so blessed by the atonement. I love him so much! 

We also met with Marina San! I taught her with Mikami Shimai for a companion exchange. She said she hadn`t read the Book of Mormon, but she asked her mom about being baptized and she was "hantai" (against/opposed) to it. When we started the lesson, she asked Mikami Shimai how she decided to join this church. She told about her experience to become a missionary and Marina was just speechless and said "I want to be a missionary too!" hahaha so cute. So Mikami Shimai talked a lot about how you can still be Christian and be a part of Japanese culture and do their customs and what not. You just have a different heart towards it. Rather than worshiping or praying to your ancestors, you pray to our Heavenly Father. That helped her a lot! I was so grateful for Mikami Shimai because I realized how important it is to understand the culture, because I don`t.  Even though Japanese people think we are cute foreigners, they need to have Japanese fellow shippers in the church because they understand what I don`t. If Mikami Shimai hadn`t been in the lesson, I would never in a million years have known that that was something Marina needed to know. She is so excited about learning and I feel like she is just speechless after everything she learns. I love her so much. 

Mayumi and Malom came all the way from Kariya to come and visit!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so awesome to see them and it helped me a lot. I was so happy to see them. 

Also, there was a crazy typhoon that hit us on Saturday and Sunday. There were even evacuation notices and all the missionaries had to stay indoors. We survived!!!!!

As I have been super sick this last week, I can`t help but be so grateful for my Savior. Starting this new lifestyle where I can`t eat gluten has been really hard and discouraging and it has only been a few days. I would always look at my picture of Jesus on my desk and think "He understands. He knows." I am trying, but I can`t do it without Jesus Christ. He suffered for me, for all of us not just so we can be clean of our sins, but so we can have someone who understands exactly what we are going through.  I love him so much and am so grateful to know that. This work I am looking forward to going back to working as hard as we can and talking to everyone. I really missed that last week. The church is true. 


Mayumi & Malom visited this week.

Mayumi & Malom were a nice Kariya flashback

Tiny watermelon we received from a member

The cakes that Kobayashi San gave to us.  They were so crazy yummy.  Such a bummer that I can't eat them anymore.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014

Minasan konnichiwa!!! 

This weekend was the natsu matsuri (summer festival) in Yokkaichi so it has been really fun! 

It cooled off towards the end of the week, but the first part of the week was seriously deathly hot. We go running in the morning and always shower... but I am starting to ask myself why I even take time to shower?  I feel clean for the hour of personal study and companionship study and am just drenched the rest of the day. 

This member made me and Moore Shimai dinner and she is the sweetest person ever. She is loves missionary work so much. So she made this massive meal for the two of us that she didn’t even eat. Most of it was good and I was able to eat. However, there were these little fish (the whole bodies) covered in lemon. The taste would have been absolutely great, but just the crunch as I chewed the bones and eyes and stuff made me want to cry a little bit. Moore Shimai looked like she was going to die. Hahaha. I feel fearless, after being in Japan so long I think i can at least get anything to go down. Truly one of the many miracles of being a missionary. We were a little bit sick after though. We visited this lady who is in her in her late 80s who was one of the first members in Yokkaichi. She is pretty much hilarious. She just talks about how she is so ready to die. She said President Monson is still pushing through, so that is her only motivation right now.

We went to Nagoya for leadership training and were there all day! Chikano Shimai from Kariya came and it was SO AWESOME to see her. I love her so much. She was an awesome missionary so she gave us some training. We are really trying to focus as a mission on the conversion of the people we teach. Helping them to really know Jesus Christ and truly repent. I am so excited for this new focus.

Our ward had a natsu matsuri on Saturday morning.  It was up at the Itakura couples house. They live in komono chou and it is BEAUTIFUL. He built his home and it is along this absolutely incredible river and it is seriously magical I think.  I may want to live there.  So we had barbeque and somen. (which is like a cold Japanese noodle). Also I thought it was hilarious because only in Japan would you bring a rice cooker to a barbeque, there were like 3. Tomi san, the man we met on the street who we tried to get to follow the word of wisdom came. He brought a million cookies, which was super nice. He doesn’t understand the whole word of wisdom thing yet so 1/3 of them were coffee flavored, but he had an awesome time. He was asking almost everyone if they drink alcohol. Hahaha. Chizu san also came and it was fun to have her there with us! She is reading the Book of Mormon and really trying, I think. One of our friends also came with her husband and she could be one of my favorite people too. It was an awesome time to get to know the members and some of our friends and people we are teaching! 

There was this huge festival down by the eki (train station) and we tried talking to people there. We didn’t have a lot of time, but we talked to 60 people while we were there and gave out lots of cards and eikaiwa flyers. Nobody would really listen. After our time streeting and talking to people we rode a train to kuwana shi. While we were on the train there were these 2 girls that we talked to who were 16 years old. They were both so pure and fun to talk to. We testified to them about Jesus Christ, His sacrifice for our mistakes and sins, and the way we can always find comfort because He died for us. As we were teaching them, their faces honestly changed. When we stopped they were both silent and just said -wow, “ii kangaekatta”. As we were testifying to them, I just felt the Spirit so strongly. They were Heathers age!!  I thought of them as my little sister and how much they need the gospel. They had to run off the train for their stop, but we gave them a pamphlet and our number. As we rode away they waved until they couldn’t see us anymore.. ahhh. Even if they aren’t ready now, I know that in those two girls’ hearts we planted seeds. 

We met Hasegawa san to go to the kuwana matsuri with her. It was so fun because there is so much history that she taught us and I loved being able to learn more about the Japanese culture. There were these float type things that they would pound drums and bells and walk along the streets. It wasn’t just a several hour thing, it goes nonstop for 3 days!!! INSANE!  All the people who pound the drums and bells gather together before and just drink as much alcohol as possible. And then there is always a designated person to take a can of beer around to each person in the group to make sure everyone is drinking. The road that it is on is SO OLD and people used to walk on it to travel all the way to Tokyo. The 3 guys that are in the picture with us? Yeah one of them totally grabbed my butt. that was a dose of alarm and a half, they were so drunk. As I was watching the festival, I was just so happy. I realized so many things about life and Japan and myself watching it. It was so fun to watch it with Hasegawa san. She took us to her family’s house for dinner and introduced us to everyone. They all couldn’t believe that we give up 1 year and a half of our life to do this. 

Remember the guy who we ran into housing a while back whose family member had passed away? We visited him yesterday to follow up on him and it was way great. He says he is Buddhist, but he took the Book of Mormon and was pretty stoked to read it. 

The sad news... so we have tried visiting and calling Yamamoto San. We finally ran into her on the street by the eki. She started ranting about having to write her parents’ names on the record and we said that it is OK, you don’t need that!!! It is up to YOU to do the temple work for them. Your choice! I think she understood better about that, but then she started going off about other stuff that is going on with her husband. I guess he is asking her where she is going lately (which should be normal) so she isn’t leaving the house. As she we were talking, we tried so hard to express how much God loves her and we love her, but she wouldn’t budge at all. I just, uh felt so much love for her, but just so much sadness. I almost started crying several times during our conversation because there was nothing we could do. She was choosing for herself and regardless of what we said; her heart is so closed off right now.  She said that she can’t meet this month and maybe in September she’ll meet us again. She said -you go home in October, so that is still plenty of time.- nooooo whyyyyy?  I still have hope for her. I know that she is a miracle and that she will be ready. 

I just read Kristy’s email and it is actually kind of hilarious because we almost have the same experience. But, we visited this less active that wasn’t on the records or anything but we heard about her from a member in another area. So we visited her and she has 4 children. When we shared a message with her she picked up the Book of Mormon and just said -wow, long time... but she has good feelings towards the church and her husband isn’t a member either. So we are way stoked to work with this family! Her children LOVED church when they went before. 

I am so grateful for our Savior and for what He did for me. I am learning so much every day! As I pray to God that He will give me strength, that I will be able to feel His Spirit I know that He answers my prayers. I love being a missionary. 


Sister Crofts

Natsu Matsuri (Summer Festival)

Drunk guys at the festival. Watch the hands boys!
Hasgawa San with Sister Moore & Crofts

Tomi San  at ward party

Rice fields

No stress being a missionary
Proof I can eat about anything by now. Sister Moore thought she was going to die