Sunday, January 29, 2017

Miracles and Missing Trains

Another busy week in Kumagaya. Gorner Shimai and I were literally running from appointment to appointment to get everything done. Our days were so full and we saw so many miracles! #KisekiKumagaya 

It was another BUSY week for Sister Jordan Wunderli (Wunderli Shimai) and her companion Gomer Shimai.  Lot's of good stuff happening and miracles are always a good thing.  I'm so excited for them.  Here's Jordan's recap of her week in Kumagaya, Japan.

Missing 4 trains was worth it:
We were late to district meeting since we had missed a train and then we missed 3 more coming home (don't really know how, but I'm blaming it on the fact that Sado didn't have trains). We got on the bus, going home from the train station, and we sat by the only lady on the bus. We introduced ourselves and told her we were missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we asked if she had heard of our church before. Well we found out that not only has she heard of our church, but she use to take lessons in the Phillipines and was almost baptized there!! She moved here from the Phillipines when she was 17 and she wants her and her daughter to meet with us! She gave us her number and we called her that night. We have an appointment with her this Saturday with her and her 19 year old daughter. But we would've never met her if we hadn't missed our trains!! 

I think Keigo has the most faith of any 10 year old I've ever met. He has been going to church on his own since he was 4 and has lessons with the missionaries almost everyday on the doorstep of his house. Gorner Shimai and I want him to get baptized really bad so we decided to pray about a baptismal date for him. After we prayed, we counted down from 3 and said what date we were thinking of at the same time. I said February 14 and Gorner Shimai said 3 weeks from today. We looked at the calendar and February 14 was exactly 3 weeks from that day. It was the same day!!! We knew that this is the day that Heavenly Father wants him to get baptized. We went over and taught Keigo about the holy ghost and asked if he wanted to be baptized on February 14 and he said yes of course!! He asked his mom that night, but she's really hesitant so we're praying hard that she will let him! 

I love Ingrid so much; she's literally the cutest! She texts us all the time and tells us about her day and says how sweet we are and is always worrying about us haha. She took us out to sushi on Tuesday and we taught her about the Restoration. She has a huge testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ but doesn't realize that there is only one true church on the earth so that's what we're trying to get her to realize. 

Calls during church:
There we were in gospel principles class and our phone goes off (we're still trying to figure out how to work it). We run out of the room and look at the number and it's someone we don't know. We answer it and this lady named Kiyoko says, "Can we meet today at 3pm at the Kumagaya station?" We said yes and went to the Kumagaya station at 3pm. We met her (she had to come up to us because neither Gorner Shimai or I have ever met her) and she wanted to study the Book of Mormon with us. She had read 200 pages of the Book of Mormon and was telling us that she knows it's true and that she knows Jesus Christ is her savior. We spent most of the time trying to get a little background on her and figuring out what she was saying because she was so hard to understand, but we set up another appointment with her for this Wednesday!  

Word of the week:
Shiawase = happy
Pronunciation: she-uh-wa-say

Remember that you can always choose to be happy! So choose happy; it's the best. 
Wunderli Shimai 

Pics (going across):
1. The view from our apartment 
2. Kumagaya
3. We had dinner with the Ruichi family! Love them!! 
4. One of the young woman in our ward and her grandma!! Cutest family
5. We have too much fun together #unity
6. We made cookies!! Thank you parents for the package
7. Sushi selfie #unity
8. Isn't this a cool building?!
9. One of our many selfies we took during the hour we had to wait for the train
10. Yes we put on self timer to do this #unity

Apparently, Jordan and her companion have the exact same pare of sweat pants.  Not sure how that happened but I'll chalk it up to "great minds think alike."  It sounds like they are having such a great time together and are staying busy in the service of the Lord.  I love all the appointments they had and the investigators they are working with.  Meeting the lady on the bus was definitely God working miracles.  It was also great hearing about the story of getting a call during church from a lady who wanted to meet with them because she had read the first 200 pages of the Book of Mormon.  I also thought the story of the 10-year-old boy going to church on his own since he was 4 is absolutely amazing.  What a great example of faith and testimony he is.  He will get baptized some day; it may not be until he's an adult if only because of his parents, but I truly believe he'll be baptized and will be a great missionary of the gospel himself.  

As always, thanks so much for your support via your kind thoughts, emails, letters and prayers.  Jordan truly appreciates it as do we. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Busy week = happy missionary

Well I knew things were going to be quite different for Jordan in Kumagaya since it was a much bigger city and she would be in an actual ward instead of a tiny branch.  Things are definitely different with TWO English classes (one for kids and one for adults) and the fact that she got to teach a whole bunch of lessons. I'm excited for her.  She's already meeting lots of new people and having meaningful interactions with them along with seeing new things.  Can't wait for all the new pictures every week.  Here's her account of this past week. 

Transfer week has been so busy! And Sister Gorner and I have been so busy!! We taught so many lessons this week and had a ton of appointments with the ward. It was amazing. I'm loving Kumagaya and the ward is so so nice!! 

We had transfer calls on Monday where I found out I was going to be transferred from Sado to Kumagaya. We had to leave the next day instead of the actual transfer day (Wednesday) because Sado is so far. We were so busy on Monday!! Since there was so much snow, we weren't allowed to bike so we spent a lot of time walking to and from places, we called all of the members to let them know I was leaving, we met up with Yamaji Shimai (now our recent convert) and Josefina Shimai and had dinner with them, then the Iwasaki's  wanted to take us out to dinner (branch president and his wife) so we went with them to dinner. By the time we got home, it was 8:15pm and I hadn't started packing! 

Wednesday (Transfer day):
Kema Shimai (my MTC companion) and I were travel companions and got to ride a 5 and a half hour bus together so that was fun. We had to say goodbye at the train station and then I had to ride a train alone (weird because as missionaries we aren't supposed to be alone, and then Sado didn't have trains so I didn't really know how to navigate around the stations). I got to Kumagaya and Sister Gorner picked me up! Boy, was it good to see her. 

Joy is an investigator and she's from the Philippines. Her husband and her have been taking the lessons for about a year. She wants to be baptized, but has been a little hesitant to set a date or anything. She is so nice and really has a lot of faith; we're just trying to get her to see that.  Her and her husband have a smoking problem and they really want to quit so we taught her the Word of Wisdom. We then compared God giving us the word of wisdom to her not wanting her little 2 year old play out in the street. We asked her if she could give up smoking for just 24 hours and so she wouldn't feel alone, we would give up chocolate for 24 hours (those who know me know how big of deal this is for me). She told us that she would talk to her husband about it because she wants to do it with him, so we are going back tonight to hopefully commit them to both do it. 

I'm still trying to get to know everyone, so hopefully more details on everyone next week. But here's a little about our life in Kumagaya:
-We teach a cute little grandpa and we're trying to get him to come to church because right now he holds his own little service in his house. 
-The Eikaiwa is popping here! We teach a little kids Eikaiwa and an adult Eikaiwa. 
-We had 8 member lessons this week (where you practice teaching with them) and they were so helpful and nice.
-We teach a 10 year old boy who has been coming to church on his own since he was 4!! We just do short little lessons with him and this week we did an object lesson with baptism. 
-Surprisingly, there are a lot of people that speak English here. There's at least 4 ward members who are basically fluent in English, we teach Joy in English, and we have a potential investigator who we speak English with. 

Have a wunderful week! Don't forget to thank your Heavenly Father for the little things.
Wunderli Shimai 

Pics (going across):
1. The kumagaya church is a little bigger than the Sado one 
2. The view from our apartment 
3. After Eikaiwa feast with our eikaiwa students 
4. Me and Sister Gorner!!! She's amazing!! 
5. Car selfie with our grandma and her 3 grandkids 
6. Joy's little boy. He said "peace" as I took the picture 
7. The Takahashi family! He's the 2nd counselor in the bishopric and they invited us over for lunch and a mogi (practice) lesson 

As always, thanks so much for your support.  She appreciates all the thoughts, prayers, letters and emails (

Monday, January 16, 2017

After 4 months, it's goodbye Sado and hello Kumagaya

The emails started MUCH later than normal - we got our first email just after 10:30 - because she was hiking through the snow saying goodbye to all the members of the Sado branch before her transfer which was much slower going than on the bike.  I'll share some stuff about where she's going after her email.

I'm transferring!!! We had transfer calls this morning and it was definitely bittersweet because I'm leaving Sado. Sado has been my home for the past 4 months and I've really grown to love it. My new area is Kumagaya and I don't really know anything about it, but my new companion is Gorner Shimai!! She was in my MTC district and we've always wanted to be companions so this is a dream come true!! 

We had so much snow this week! It snowed for four days straight without stopping and when we came back from Niigata, our poor bikes were buried in the snow. My bike even had icicles on it!! We're not allowed to bike at all since we have so much snow so we've had to do a ton of walking. Our 45 minute walks to the church got really boring really fast, but me and Boden Shimai made it fun by having snow-ball fights along the way. 

We went to Niigata twice this week: once for zone meeting and a second time for interviews with President Nagano. It was a lot of traveling - it takes about 5 hours to just get there between the buses and ferry. We had a lot of time that was spent traveling this week and a lot of time outside of our area which was a little stressful because we had Yamaji Shimai's baptism at the end of the week. However, because of how much traveling we did, we really had to make sure that we planned well and worked effectively. We managed to still teach Yamaji Shimai a lesson every day and were able to call members and do some type of work for our area even when we were in Niigata. It made me realize how important time is and how much we can do with the time we have, we just can't let it go to waste. Interviews were amazing and I loved seeing and talking with the Nagano's even if it was only for 20 minutes each. It was just the reboot I needed! 

Yamaji Shimai drove us to the church where we started the service. Sister Boden and I gave the introduction and basically just said how ready she was to be baptized. After a short talk by one of the members and a musical number by the Elders we drove to a nearby hotel. We went upstairs to the public baths (really popular in Japan). The bath was pretty big, but it was really shallow - about a foot deep actually. So we were all wondering how she was going to completely submerge in the water. They ended up having to have two attempts at the baptism because it was so shallow (I was actually really impressed because the first time she only went half way under because she floated up). After she got baptized she told Boden Shimai and I that she felt so clean and pure. It was so cute how happy she was. We drove back to the church and concluded the service. For the closing hymn, we sang "Angels We Have Heard on High," which we sang so much during Christmas time so it's one of the only songs Yamaji Shimai knows and just happens to be her favorite too. It was awesome though because it felt like Christmas in January. She was confirmed as a member of the church on Sunday. I've never seen her wear a skirt or dress, but for her confirmation, she wore a skirt and a blouse!! I'm so excited for what's ahead for her.

English club:
English club has been really slow at getting started (barely have 2 students for two months of doing it), but we had 2 new students show up this week!! It was a huge miracle for us!! One of the students was a friend of Reimi San's (the lady who has been coming). Then the other student is a lady we found housing!! They were both so cute and really good at English! They are all in their 20s-30s so it's a fun class. We mostly just talk and have conversations in English! 

Wunderli Shimai 
1. Domino Shimai giving me a piggy back ride :) 
2. Zone p-day! I got to see my MTC companion!!
3. Sado in the winter
4. Yamaji Shimai's baptism!! 
5. More baptism pics 
6. The branch 
7 and 8. The bath where she got baptized 
9. Pointing to where I live on my island 
10. We always eat good when we're in Niigata 
11. Same as 10
12. Boden Shimai was bored on the ferry

Jordan's foot isn't broken in any way, it is just inflamed.  Rest is the best thing but that's hard for a missionary so I told her to take ibuprofen and wrap it if needed.  She had a great meeting on Thursday with President Nagano and a separate meeting with his wife.  I won't go into details of what was said but I will say that both of them are VERY pleased with what Jordan is doing.  I'll add that I think President Nagano was inspired when he called Jordan to Sado for her first area; Sister Nagano told me when it happened that President Nagano must see something very special in her to send her there now because it's the toughest area in the mission.  

Kumagaya:  Jordan's next area has a population of about 200,000.  It is about 40 miles northwest of Tokyo and has a train line that goes directly to Tokyo.  Eight national highways and three train lines run through the city which has a higher population during the day than at night - apparently, more people commute into the city than out of it.  The average temperature in January is 28 degrees for the low and 48 degrees for the high - it was 41 degrees yesterday when I was looking up facts about Kumagaya.  It is the hottest city in Japan and reached a record temperature for Japan on 8/19/2007 when it got to 105.6 degrees; it's also very humid which makes hot seem hotter and cold seem colder.  I shared some pretty pictures from Kumagaya with Jordan and it looks like there will be some fun places for her to explore on her P-days.  I'm looking forward to getting some great pictures from her.  

As always, thanks for your support via thoughts, prayers, emails, letters and such.  She LOVES them all as do we.  Feel free to share any thoughts or ask questions in the comments section.  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

I Think I'm Turning Japanese, I Really Think So...

Well it's less than a week until Sister Jordan Wunderli has her first baptism on her mission and Sado has it's 4th in 22 years.  Next week's email will be fun to read with the recap of the baptism, the confirmation and the celebration that goes along with it.  I'm a bit bummed that Jordan is injured but she's tough and will plow through.  She'll get an x-ray in Niigata on Thursday so that she'll know for sure what's wrong and then be able to get it treated properly.  In the meantime, here's her weekly email:

I hope everyone had a fantastic start to the new year. You are all amazing!! I know it's already the second week of the year, but don't stop doing those New Year's resolutions yet!

For shogatsu (new years) in Japan everyone goes to shrines. Yamaji Shimai called us on Sunday and asked if she could take us to a shrine and we said of course, so on pday we went to one together. I got to see a little of the Buddhist culture and saw someone pray. I don't really now how to describe it since it was all so foreign and I didn't understand most of it. We bought a fortune out of this machine for 100¥ ($1) and read them (I didn't understand it at all haha) and we tied it to a tree branch so it would come true (hopefully it was a good fortune). 

The Iwasaki's invited us, Yamaji Shimai, the Elders and another person in our branch over for a special dinner for shogatsu. We made sushi!! They had some fish, vegetables, rice, seaweed, and all that stuff all over the table and we made our own sushi. I think it's safe to say that I will never work at a sushi restaurant... mine didn't look too pretty, but it sure tasted good!! 

Apartment-trapped = lots of cleaning: 
On January 3 we weren't allowed to go proselyting since shogatsu is huge and lasts a couple of days after the 1st. So we stayed inside and cleaned the entire day. In Japan they do their deep cleaning at the end of the year so that they can start the new year fresh. We were sent a list of what to clean by the assistants and we cleaned for about 7 hours straight. We cleaned everything, and now we have so much trash in our main room that we have to throw out. And by everything I mean EVERYTHING. We cleaned the outside of our front door, our planters that are outside, washed the curtains, vacuumed our futons (our beds), cleaned the light fixtures, cleaned under the tatami mats, if there was something to clean, we cleaned it.

Yamaji Shimai:
I know I've already mentioned her a couple of times, but she's just amazing!! We taught her the commandments this week and also went over repentance with that. Tea is pretty big here in Japan (it's like coffee in America), and she loves tea. She even told us that she was in a tea club in high school. She was so surprised when she heard that we can only drink herbal teas. She then had one of the members right down teas she could and could not drink so she could follow it. We went over each commandment individually and then asked her if she would keep it and she said "of course" every single time (even the Word of Wisdom). We had a practice interview with her on Sunday and she passed! Her real baptismal interview is on Wednesday and she's a little nervous for it, but I know that everything will work out. We planned her baptismal service after church and her two options for a font (our small little building doesn't have a font) were either in a hotel bath tub with warm water (I'm not sure how big the bathtub is) or in a rentable pool outside the church with freezing cold water and she just said she doesn't care she's just excited to get baptized (we picked the warm one for her though). She also picked "Angels We Have Heard on High" for the closing hymn which is a Christmas song that we sang at the Christmas party and she just loves it so it'll be Christmas in January! 

Yoshiko San:
I don't think I've mentioned her a lot lately, but she's the lady who brought her cat to church. We have been trying to contact her and she's always busy and then when we get the chance to talk with her she isn't very interested so we decided to drop her. Faith to find, faith to drop. It was kind of sad, but I know that when she's ready the missionaries will be there for her!! 

Word of the week:
Word: pekopeko
Meaning: hungry 
Pronunciation: peck-o-peck-o  (you say it really fast)

Wunderli Shimai 

Pics (going across):

1. Shogatsu dinner
2. All of the trash we collected in our apartment haha 
3. Me and Yamaji Shimai tying our fortunes on the tree
4. The entrance of the shrine 
5. Don't exactly know what this is
6. Walking in beautiful Japan 
7. Selfie 
8. Yamaji Shimai and me!! 
9. Close up
10. Sister Boden and I got matching cat slippers and they are so warm and comfy. Japanese people always where slippers in their houses because the floor is always so cold. 

I love the faith that Yamaji Shimai has.  It's a beautiful thing - she's ready and seems excited.  I also love these pictures - Japan is beautiful and I think that Sister Jordan Wunderli has really immersed herself into the culture and the people so that she can truly love and serve them.  I'm so proud of her. 

I'm also very appreciative to all of you who support her via letters, emails (, thoughts and prayers.  It means a lot to us (her parents) and to her and I know that she can feel your prayers.  Happy New Year and make it a great one.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Two Companions - two car wrecks: Sister Jordan Wunderli is batting 100%!!

It was a bit of a slow week for Sister Jordan Wunderli and her companion, Sister Boden, because of the New Year's celebration - my guess is that this week might be slow as well based on how big she said the celebration is.  There was still some excitement and some good news.  

Happy New Years everyone!! To start off 2017 we had a Book of Mormon read-a-thon. Our mission president said that it wouldn't be effective to proselyte the 1st-3rd so we read the book of mormon on the 1st, our P-day is the 2nd, and on the 3rd it will be a deep cleaning day. New years (shogatsu) is huge in Japan (maybe bigger than Christmas in America), but everything and everyone closes down for a week or two so it's been a little challenging trying to find people this week. We did a ton of housing this week, but everyone just said they were busy! 

Second companion, second companion to get hit by a car...
We were biking home from Miyakawa  (about a 45 minute bike ride from our apartment) and a car came a little to close to the sidewalk and hit Sister Boden. She was completely fine but we still had to call the cops and wait two hours for them to do their investigation (the cops on sado have nothing to do because it's so safe here so they make every minor thing into a crime scene investigation). Her front brake was broken so one of the cop cars took it back for us and then we got to ride home in another cop car. The guy that hit her felt really bad and was really nice and we ended up inviting him to Eikaiwa! Always doing missionary work right?! Haha 

Yamaji San:
We taught her everyday this week!! We have taught her about the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She understands it all so well and believes it! We asked her if she believed that God was her Heavenly Father, that Jesus Christ was her savior, and if the Book of Mormon is the word of God and she said yes to all three. She says she is so excited to get baptized and I'm so excited for her. 

Word of the week:
Word: binwan
Meaning: capable 
Pronunciation: bean-wawn 

Wunderli Shimai 

1. When your companion gets hit by a car the branch members feel bad and buy you tons of donuts...
2. Sawata, Sado 
3. Aikawa, Sado
4. Boden shimai and I in Aikawa 

As always, thanks for your support via email, snail mail, thoughts, and prayers.  It's all great and we appreciate it all.  Feel free to share your thought or ask questions in the comment section.  Happy New Year.