Kasteler In Kobe

Kasteler In Kobe

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Till We Meet Again Japan!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great week. So this weeks email has a little bit of shocking news....
I will be home this saturday. With everything going on with my feet, and the conditions continuing to get worse, it has been decided that I need to go home and figure everything out before I can continue my mission. This has been a really hard week for me, as I am sure you can imagine. Thinking about leaving this beautiful country and these even more beautiful people breaks my heart. But, I know that the Lord has a plan for me. He will provide angels to bear me up through this trial, and I know that there are lessons that need to be learned and things that I need to experience. Heavenly Father knows everything, and He knows what I need to go through in order to become the person who I need to become. He sees our full potential and is going to put us through experiences in order for us to achieve that potential. 


This past week was full of doctors appointments and phone calls and quite a bit of tears, but it was even more full of spiritual experiences, prayer, blessings, and miracles. The past few days have completely changed my attitude about everything. On friday we had a Zone Training Meeting that I seriously feel like changed my life. I am so grateful for my zone leaders and the meeting that we had. The spirit was so strong and we had a testimony meeting at the end that allowed me to bear my testimony of the Saviors love. I have felt it in my life so powerfully recently, and I know that He loves us so much. More than we can comprehend. The next two days were a lot of goodbyes. As soon as one person in the Matsuyama Branch found out that I was going home, we got phone calls, emails, presents, letters, food... everything you can imagine haha. It was like we were being swarmed with love! I even had a 20th birthday party thrown for me after church yesterday as a surprise. I was able to wear one of the most special kimonos, ones that you wear on your 20th birthday, and eat wonderful japanese food and be with the people who I love so much. It was such a treat. I am so grateful for this branch and honestly dont think I would be able to do this without them. 
Sunday night we had family home evening at the Branch Presidents house, and for it we all just went around the room and bore our testimonies. The spirit was so strong and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to bear my testimony again. Testimonies are so dang powerful and cool. Ahh, they are just the best. And on the way home, the cutest lady ever in the branch was driving us home, and she just started crying saying that we are like her kids. She always prayed and asked God for kids for the past 30 years, but she said instead of sending her actual children of her own, He sent her the missionaries. I just started crying too and told her that she is my japanese mom. It was such a sweet moment. Man and now I am starting to cry again haha anyways new topic. 
This morning a member picked us up and took us to the Castle in Matsuyama, called Matsuyama Jo. It was awesome and we were able to wear old medieval armor! Pretty awesome :) we took a chair lift to the top, since I cant really walk right now, and it was POURING snow the whole time! so much fun. 

I am learning to trust Heavenly Father more and more every day, and because of that, I am growing closer to Him and my Savior Jesus Christ. As sad as I am to leave Japan and these amazing people, I know that this will be good for me and will help me in many ways. I am grateful for the opportunity that I did have to come to this country and be a representative of Jesus Christ. It has been the best adventure that I have ever been on, and I have learned more than I ever thought that I could. This mission experience has changed my life, and my decision to serve a mission has shaped me into who I am. I couldnt be more humbled or more grateful for this experience, and I am looking forward to continuing being a missionary for as long as I live. Hopefully I will come back to Japan soon, but it is all up to the Lord and His timing.

See you all soon,
Kasteler Shimai

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Years!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!! How was your new years? I hope you were all safe and chose the right! ;) This week was very boring honestly.. New years in Japan is a HUGE deal, and so everything was closed and there was hardly anyone outside. Nevertheless, we managed to get a new investigator and have a ton of adventures. Thus is the missionary life :)
This week, Bowman Shimai and I threw a gingerbread party for the primary! We only have two kids in our primary, but another family showed up with 3 young kids, so it was definitely a successful primary party. We worked hard to make homemade gingerbread houses last preparation day. Trust me, I say we worked hard, because we did. It is hard to make gingerbread in Japan when there arent nearly any of the ingredients. Nevertheless, it worked and actually tasted decent haha. The kids had a ton of fun, which is what it was all about. 

Zone Leaders in Aprons

Fixing eachothers aprons
During new years in japan, everyone has big parties called Mochi Tsuki, where they make mochi, or pound up rice. It is almost like a taffy texture and is SO GOOD. So this week, we went to two different Mochi Tsukis, one with the District President's family, and the other was with the entire branch. We had so much fun pounding the rice with a big hammer and eating yummy food. I had to be careful though because my rice cheeks are comin in! Haha. 
My back and feet have been having a lot of problems lately. The update right now, after going to the hospital this morning, is that I have arthritis and tarsal tunnel syndrome in both of my feet. It is a huge bummer, and I am praying to know what to do. A lady in the Matsuyama branch has been working on my back, and it has been helping. She is wonderful and is my angel haha I am so grateful for her and her tough, strong hands.
On Friday, we were off to Uwajima for district meeting. It is a two hour bus ride away, and we had the funnest bus ride ever just telling each other funny family stories with the zone leaders. It is fun to think about stories from when I was a kid and it just reminds me how much I love and appreciate my family.
District meeting was awesome, I love my district and am grateful for each member. We are all very good friends, and doing missionary work together is the best. We went out to sushi and then went and visited some people in that other area. I was able to share my favorite scripture with someone and bear testimony about it, which was something that I had never done on the spot before. I was very excited and could feel the Spirit working through me. It was such an amazing experience. 
Before we went to Uwajima, we were waiting for our bus and ran into a french man. He was so nice and came up to us, speaking great english and even better japanese. He has lived here for 30 years. He grew up atheist, but has always believed that we come from somewhere and that we go somewhere after we die. We met up with him the next day and were able to tell him about our beliefs. He was amazed and shocked when we told him that God is loving, and that He wants what is best for us. He said that everything that we said makes so much sense to him, and that next time he is going to bring his friend with him to hear our message. He also informed us that he has ran into missionaries before, but that every single time, it has been when he has been really struggling. We quickly told him that it was not a coincidence, and he agreed. It is so cool how Heavenly Father knows exactly where each one of us is, and He puts people into our life's paths for a reason. 
I have such a strong testimony of this gospel. I love this church and am so grateful for the knowledge and clarity that it brings into my life. I know that our trials make us stronger and that in the end, we will become more like Christ after going through them. 
I love you all! HAPPY 2015!
Love always,
Sister Kasteler

"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions." Mosiah 24:14

Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas!

HELLO EVERYONE! I hope you all had a great Christmas! :)
This week was really fun! Unfortunately we do not get to teach much around the holidays because everyone is so busy... especially this week with the new year coming up. The Japanese LOVE the new year. It is a really big deal here, way bigger than Christmas. 
So for Christmas Eve, Bowman Shimai and I got to go and have temakizushi, where they have a ton of raw fish and stuff and you make your own sushi. Believe it or not, it was SO GOOD. I actually really like sashimi... who wouldve thought? It definitely surprised me. But yeah, we ate at the Branch Presidents house. He just loves me because he is such a goofball and knows that he can tease me in Japanese without me understanding him. It is pretty funny.

On Christmas Day, we went to a non-members house, a potential investigator, for lunch with the elders. It was so much fun. The elders bought recorders from a dollar store and were determined to play them for us. It was quite hilarious. They are the best Zone Leaders ever haha.
So we met with this nonmember and she became a new investigator! Yay! She is so awesome and is now reading the book of mormon for the second time! How crazy is that? She is the perfect investigator. I am excited to see where things go with her. 


Later that day, we met up with 2 PIs, the cutest girls I have ever seen. I just adore them. They are so interested in the church but are scared what their friends will say. But we are hoping that things progress with them. We went out to dinner with them and just talked about Christmas. It was awesome.
The day after Christmas, I GOT TO TALK TO MY FAMILY!!!!!!!!!! It was the best thing ever to be able to skype my family. Oh, how I miss them. It was so great to be able to talk to them. Later that night I really, really missed home. But it is great to know, without a doubt in my mind, that this is where I need to be. I know that with 100% assurety. I feel so lucky to be a missionary! 

My favorite christmas gift this year, was definitely talking to my family. But after being homesick, Heavenly Father knew that I needed to get focused, so he allowed for a way for us missionaries to play basketball on saturday! It was so much fun (and a miracle that we found a free place to play at). It was nice to be able to run around and play the sport I love with other missionaries and be able to meet other japanese people in the process. It was so awesome and exactly what I needed. I did realize though that my skills have gotten really bad haha but that is perfectly okay. Missions are way more important than basketball! :)
Yesterday we had FHE and one of our new investigators came. It was awesome. At one point, we went around the room and shared our goal for next year. His was to meet with the missionaries more and find out if it is true! How awesome is that?! He is the perfect investigator and I cannot wait to see what the Lord and the gospel do for him as we continue to teach him. 
Something funny about FHE is that everyones goal was to get married..... except for mine. HAHA it was pretty funny. 

Sorry this week wasnt too interesting :( I hope you all had a great Christmas and that you enjoy your New Years! Make a great New Years Resolution this year. Mine is to draw closer to my Savior and let him change me this next year. This is one of the best times of my entire life and I know that this year is going to be full of life changing moments. I cannot wait to experience them. New years is crazy here, they even shut down the hospitals! Stay safe and know that I love and miss every one of you. This is the Lords work, and I know that to be true. 
I love you! I love this gospel! I love my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I love the Book of Mormon. I love my family. I love Japan! I LOVE being a missionary!

Ai shite imasu yo!

Kasteler Shimai