Kasteler In Kobe

Kasteler In Kobe

Thursday, September 25, 2014

One Month!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week full of good times and lots of laughs :) My week here at the MTC was amazing- as usual!

Here is an update on my foot situation: I am doing so well! I am so happy that I was healed. My feet are still a little swollen, and look pretty bad, but they feel GREAT. I can walk completely normal and have been able to return to playing basketball and volleyball every morning, so I am really happy about that. I cannot run yet, but I can shoot around and pass a volleyball, and for now that is enough for me :) Thank you for all of your kind words and prayers. I have felt your love immensely this past week.


Thursday: We did an activity after PDay was over, where we pretended to be someone from home, either a friend or family member, who wasnt a member of the church, and we were taught by a pair of missionaries. It was awesome to be able to see things from the investigator's perspective, and helped me develop new ideas and tactics that I will use out in the mission field. This week, with our investigators, we really stressed becoming personal with them, and developing a relationship. We are teaching people, we are not teaching lessons.


Friday: I got the braces for the sides of my feet and am SO HAPPY. They make my feet feel amazing haha it's like I'm walking on clouds. On friday, I wrote in my journal about how much I am loving the Japanese language. I love learning. Japanese is really hard, but it is so cool how much we are learning so fast. I can teach a whole lesson, bear my testimony about anything, pray, and form almost any sentence that I want, without any notes, and I have only been here for 5 weeks. It's crazy and such a blessing how much we learn.


Saturday: ONE MONTH. Holy cow. That is insane. The MTC is going by so fast. We only have one month left and I definitely do not feel ready to go to japan just yet! Haha but I know that we will continue learning and growing until the day we leave, and our learning will increase immensely once we get to japan. We played beach volleyball and basically have an ongoing war with the Korean missionaries haha. We always play them in sports, and then we will try and bury their ball, or kick their ball far away, haha it's pretty funny. and whenever we go up to their floor (they're in the same building as us) we say, "i'm going to invade korea now." It's like a constant joke/game haha but in all seriousness, the Korean missionaries are AWESOME and have become some of my closest friends. My goal for this week was to love others more. I read and studied the talk "The merciful shall obtain mercy" by Uchtdorf on saturday, and I loved reading the specifics quotes and writing them down and trying to apply them into my life. One thing I started saying to myself, and I wish that all of you would too, is that there is enough heartache in this world without me adding to it. Just be nice and uplift others :) That's my thought for you this week.


Sunday was AMAZING. Besides the fact that we will not be singing in general conference :( The elders get to sing during the priesthood session though, so that is exciting and we are very happy for them.... and extremely jealous haha. the ogden temple rededication was sunday morning, and I loved what was said during it. president monson spoke about loving the temple, and it was a really good talk. Rosemary M Wixom also spoke, and it was cool to watch her speak since I am related to her :) We also had the best sacrament meeting yet. Brother and Sister daniels (from our branch presidency) spoke on the holy ghost and told us specific stories about times they did listen and times they chose to ignore the promptings. One thing I loved that was said was, "Don't let a cloud hanging over you detract from your ability to teach and feel the spirit." For Sunday night's devotional, Gordon D. Brown spoke to us on how to be a successful missionary. there were 3 things I really liked:


1. Seek to be positive and retain a good attitude throughout the mission. We can choose to be happy :)


2. This first 3 hours of every day will either make or break your mission


3. "Give your sins to Jesus, for he is the only one who can take them." -Neil A Maxwell


For the movie on sunday night, there was not enough space in the room so we ended up sitting on the floor next to some Korean missionaries and they taught me some Korean! Learning Japanese and being able to speak it makes me want to learn other languages too. Haha I have been practicing my french with chapman shimai as well.... so who knows, maybe I will come home knowing english, japanese, korean, AND french. ;)


Monday: we had the best 3 hour block ever. A 3 hour block is personal study, companionship study, and language study. Sometimes I would have a hard time focusing, but this past week it has gotten so much better for me. I am starting to get lost in the work and i can see myself becoming a better missionary everyday. We also practiced door approaches, street contacting, and bearing our testimonies to random people walking by. it was such a fun activity and got me so excited for japan. a whole bunch of missionaries in my district though, were frustrated with how awkward it can be and how hard it is. But i decided that it is all about your attitude. You have to be confident and just accept that some times we are going to have awkward moments on the mission. Acceptance is going to be a huge part of my mission, I know that for sure. One of my biggest goals that I want to be for my entire mission is just to relax, be happy, and always have a smile on my face :)


Tuesday: I LOVE TUESDAYS. They are probably my favorite day of the week. either that or sunday, They are both such good days haha. For choir, we sang joseph smith's first prayer, and it was the prettiest version of it that i have ever heard. the devotional was broadcasted to all of the mtc's across the world again, and kaylee (Sister Widdison) said that she saw me on the screen both last week AND this week haha and apparently both times i had a close up... so that is kind of embarrassing haha. M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us. it was cool because at the beginning of his talk, he said that he didnt write anything down, because he wanted to talk to us as if we were his grandchildren. It was so awesome to hear an apostle of the Lord speak to us so personally. 3 things he said that I really liked:


1. If you are drifting in any way, FIX IT. You fix it, and you fix it NOW. YOU fix it because YOU are the only one who can.


2. to become a a great missionary is a process, not a change overnight.


3. Get up and do the best you can every single say. You will have a successful mission if every night you go to bed and say, "I did the best I could today."


After the devotional, we had testimony meeting as a district. Jones Choro, and elder in my district, bore his testimony about how my experience with my leg/feet was a huge testimony builder to him. Then two other elders in my district did the same thing. It was truly amazing to hear that my experience has helped other people with things they are struggling with. and it is awesome to think that maybe the Lord had this happen to me, to strengthen other people as well as myself. So many random missionaries come up to me every day and ask how i am doing and tell me that they have been praying for me. Several sisters have come up to me, telling me that whenever they see me, they feel the spirit and think of me as a good example to them. they are constantly telling me how strong I am and how I have strengthened their testimonies and made them want to be better missionaries. How crazy is that?! It is so awesome. I tell you all this stuff not to brag, in any way, but to show that the Lord puts us through trials to not only lift us up, but to lift others up as well. It is such a blessing to have had the experience that I did with my feet. I am so lucky.


Wednesday: We got new missionaries! I love getting new missionaries haha they always look like lost puppies around this place, so i love helping them out and telling them about how much i love the mtc. chapman shimai and i's relationship gets stronger and stronger every day. she is my best friend here and i am so lucky to have her as a companion. she is such a hard worker and has definitely made me a better and stronger missionary.


on a random note, and this is probably going to make my mother laugh, but i am LOVING playing the piano. I eat all my meals in like 5 minutes just so i can go to an empty room and play the piano for the rest of lunch and dinner time. I have learned, by ear, the right AND left hand to come thou fount, and it has become my favorite song to sing and play. a few sisters and I are auditioning to sing in a devotional next week, so wish us luck! We are singing one of my dad's favorite songs, "The olive tree." It sounds so beautiful. Music here at the mtc has been a huge strength for me. I am constantly singing hymns to myself haha and always looking for chances to play the piano. a korean elder can play the entire pirates of the caribbean theme song, so i am trying to learn it too haha but its a harder piece to play.


Anyways, I love you all and wish you could be here experiencing this with me. I miss you and hope you have a blessed week. remember to keep your head up and always turn the Lord if you need someone to listen.


Ai Shite Imasu,


Kasteler Shimai :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Almost One Month!

Hello everyone! I hope you have all had a wonderful week. Life at the MTC this week has been crazy. Rather than giving you all the day by day update, this blogpost is going to be like one gigantic story.
Friday morning I woke up with major pain and swelling in both of my feet. Finally, one of the sisters in my district convinced me to go to the doctor and see what was going on. I was expecting them to give me some medicine, or tell me to buy different shoes, or something like that. However, I found out that I have tailor's bunions, bunions, and heel spurs in both of my feet. The doctor said I would need surgery when I get home from my mission, but that as long as I wore braces on my heels, and on both edges of my feet, that I should be able to last throughout my mission.

Me on my crutches
Saturday morning I woke up and was in even more pain, especially in my right heel and foot. I was limping everywhere and was so embarrassed. But that was just the beginning of it. Around 11:00 I got shooting pain up the back of my right leg. It was the most pain I have ever been in. I got crutches to try and make it go away, since the pain got worse every time I used my right foot/leg. However, the crutches put too much weight on my left foot, which was also swollen and bruised. So, I was forced (literally forced...... haha I did not want to do it) to be in a wheelchair.

Sunday, as the pain continued, I was told that I would most likely have to go home from my mission to get surgery. Needless to say, Sunday was a really hard day for me. I knew that if I did end up having to go home for surgery, that it would be for my good and benefit. I have never prayed that long or hard in my whole life.
Monday morning, I woke up and the pain was still there. Disappointed, I went in to the doctor to hear whether or not I had to come home. The doctor told me that if I could walk, then they would do a test run on my throughout the week, to see if i could stay here and fulfill my mission. I immediately got out of the wheelchair, and told him that I was going to prove that I could make it on my mission. I was going to walk and I was going to be strong enough to show that I could do this.
The pain was absolutely awful  and some of you may think i was being stupid for doing this, but I wanted to stay on my mission so badly. I was going to do everything I could to walk. I was limping so badly everywhere and became known around the mtc as the "zombie". Everyone here has been so nice and so supportive. I have had countless, probably at least 100, missionaries come up and tell me that they fasted for me this week, and they dont even know me or my situation. it has been amazing. I can seriously feel the prayers that have been coming my way from missionaries around the mtc. It is such a blessing to be in such a spiritual place.

The pain went away so fast. every day the pain cuts in half. it is amazing. I am still walking on my own two feet and am limping so much less now. I met with a doctor yesterday, and he said that most likely the bone was pulling on my tendon and tore it on saturday. he was blown away that i am healing this fast.
Trust in the Lord is so important. Richard G Scott came and spoke to us on Tuesday about prayer, and it was seriously like he was just talking specifically to me. So many talks and devotionals and spiritual thoughts have been on faith and trust and prayer this week. It's amazing and I feel selfish but all of them have seriously helped me so much! I hope they have helped others at the mtc too. I love the mission life. There truly is nothing better.
Now that that story is done, I want to tell you about Champan Shimai and I's lessons from this week. As I already stated last week, we no longer use notes, but we were having problems because we were just memorizing the things we wanted to say, rather than praying and speaking from the heart. This week, we did just that, and BOY was it amazing :) Whenever we taught, we were able to speak straight from the heart. sometimes I said sentences that did not even make sense in my head, and were filled with vocabulary that I have not yet learned. We were both given the gift of tongues. It was the craziest and most amazing experience I have ever had! We both were so incredibly happy for the rest of the day :) and week :) haha

Funny story of the week: Thursday, while playing basketball with a group of elders, Bean Shimai and I ran into each other. She is a little bit shorter than me, and so when we ran into each other, my teeth hit her forehead! She had a huge bruise and teeth marks in her forehead for almost 4 days..... haha I felt so bad. It was so funny though. The elders who we were playing with all act scared of me now.  It's been weird not being able to go to gym this week, but hopefully soon I will be able to go again and be active.
Anyways, my time is up, but I love you all and miss you. You are in my prayers. I hope you have a fantastic week, and no matter what happens in life, know that the Lord is strengthening you and your faith. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true. The power of prayer is real. Heavenly Father can heal us, whether it be emotionally, physically, or spiritually. If we trust Him, miracles will happen :) I love you all. Have a blessed week :)
Ai Shite Imasu,
Sister Malia Kasteler


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week 3

HELLO EVERYONE! The MTC is wonderful as usual :) I am loving it here more and more every day. I miss you all and hope you are doing well!

Last Thursday was Pday and it was the best day ever. We have a devotional by a famous singer in Japan who told us his life story and about his conversion and he sang for us. It was amazing and the spirit was really strong. I already love the Japanese people so much. We played volleyball outside that morning, and it was the funniest experience I have ever had haha. We had so many elders and sisters playing together, and nobody could see the ball because it was so sunny out, so we were all just screaming and running around and falling and just having a good time together. I laughed so hard. The temple was really great. I love going to the temple with my zone. I think that it really brings us together, and going to the temple just brings so much peace into my life. It's a good break from the busyness of the MTC.
That night we had class and cute Chapman Shimai began trying to help me plan the lessons. Now, she finds a scripture in the Nihongo (Japanese) book of mormon and shares it in our lesson :) It's nice to have her contributing. She is doing so well and is absolutely blossoming. My district is so supportive of her and I as well, which is really nice because it gets hard sometimes for us. The elders in our district are getting so protective of us shimaitachi, it's hilarious. They think that every elder that talks to us is trying to flirt with us, so they always interrupt the conversation and tell us that we have to go pick up something, or deliver something to another classroom. It's so funny haha they truly are like my family here.


Friday was a great day. We taught an investigator and sang Joseph Smith's First Prayer in japanese and it was so amazing. the spirit was really strong. Every night we stay up and talk with Roney Shimai, one of our sister training leaders. I love her so much haha she is like my sister.Every morning we play volleyball together and later today we are playing two on two against two elders, so that will be fun :)


Saturday was awesome. Gym was really great because it was empty, so we were able to play 3 on 3 and we had a BLAST. Our district leader (elder hardcastle)'s mom sent us cute little Japanese flags haha so we had a photoshoot later that night with them. We are all so proud to be serving the japanese people and are already filled with so much love towards them. Our lesson went well that day, but we were also told that it would be our last lesson that we were allowed to bring ANY materials into, besides the Japanese book of mormon. Now that was a scary thought! i sure did not feel ready at all. That night, Chapman Shimai finally opened up to all of us. She taught us how to dance Tahitian style (I am awful at it by the way) and told us all about her family and showed us pictures and it was just amazing to see her so happy and actually trying to talk. She loved telling us about her life in Tahiti. I want to go there so badly now! It sounds like a beautiful place.


Sunday was my first fast Sunday in the mtc. and  I LOVED IT. It might be one of my favorite days that I have had in the mtc. We had a huge 2 hour mission conference and the speakers were amazing. One man said that this experience at the mtc has not only tested our character, but revealed it. I love that, because I think for me, that statement is so true. The mtc president spoke last, President Nally (i love him... He's the sweetest man ever), and he said that when times get hard, to think that the only way to get out of his challenge, is through it." He also talked about doubt and faith. "Whether God rescues me or not, I will stand for Him." I loved the things that were said during mission conference. Around 4 o clock everyone started to get hungry haha and cute Chapman Shimai goes "I can eat 10 chicken!" haha because she didnt know how to tell me that she was hungry. It was so dang cute and funny. She kept saying it hahaha she thought it was hilarious. The devotional was really good that night too. A man came and spoke about investigators, and he brought up 3 recent converts to tell their story and give us advice. It was awesome. We watched Legacy that night and I didn't want to watch the sad parts, so Bean Shimai and I told stories to each other instead hahaha it was quite fun. I had to say goodbye to Sister Golden (Mallory) shortly after though. It was actually really hard for me. I have loved having her here, and sharing our spiritual experiences together. I love her so much and she has blessed me immensely. She will do wonderful things in Raleigh, North Carolina. I love you Sister Golden!


Monday was a greeaaaat day! We taught our first lesson without ANY notes and it went really well! WE ARE FINALLY ABLE TO SPEAK JAPANESE. It is such an accomplishment, trust me haha. Gym is hilarious now. The elders call Bean Shimai and I the dynamic duo. We are always having such a fun time and making the biggest fools out of ourselves. The other day, I made 11 three pointers in a row! I dont know why but the MTC makes me really good at basketball. Haha it's awesome.


Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week :) We taught our other investigator, again without notes, and although this one was harder, we still got through it and were able to get our point across. It gets me so excited for japan when we get to teach the investigators :) We didn't know how to tell him how to be baptized, so we got up and showed him hahaha it was so funny. Our investigator said that he wished he had his camera. But, even though it was kind of awkward and weird, it worked! because now he is getting baptized! WOOO first baptism commitment :) It felt pretty good to have the baptism commitment memorized and to see someone's reaction to it. I just absolutely love missionary work. can you tell? :)


Wednesday was a good day as well, but reallllly long. To break up the hard classes and everything, we had a giant jan ken pon (rock paper scissors) tournament and it was so fun. We always have so much fun together in our district.


My district's favorite word to us is YOSHI but its pronounced YOSH haha we say it whenever we are happy or get excited about something. I love personal study. It is my favorite part of every day. The scriptures have so much knowledge in them, it's incredible. Also, this week i learned my new favorite japanese word: Shiawase. It means happiness :)


I love you all so much and think about you every day. hope all is well. I adore all of you and think you are amazing! Never forget how much your Heavenly Father loves you.

"Dont you give up. Dont you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. A lot of it. You keep your chin up. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."
-elder holland

Kasteler Shimai :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014


We absolutely love choir!
We like to accidently match when we work out!
It's so good to all be together again!
I cant wait to teach all of these Nihongojin (Japanese people)
I absolutely love my companion

Learning the Language

really quick, this is Sofie.  I'm super sorry but the photo upload isn't working.  I will try to get them up as soon as possible!

Hello everyone! I love hearing from you all through emails, letters, and dear elder! Thank you so much for your constant support and prayers. This week went by so fast. I am loving the MTC so much more every day. It makes me sad that time is going by so fast. I want time to slow down so that I can keep on learning. We have over 10 hours of studying a day, and somehow I crave more than that! haha it's crazy. I'm a totally different person though, but in a good way :)

Our first PDay was last thursday and it was the best day ever haha. After emailing, we played volleyball against the chorotachi (elders) 4 on 4 and we played for two hours haha it was so much fun. I am getting so close with my district and zone, it's like we are family. They are so great. After the gym and lunch, we all went to the Provo Temple and did a session there. It was so awesome to be able to attend the temple with my zone. The temple was awesome, and it was nice to be able to get off the MTC property for a little bit.

On friday chapman shimai got sick :( so we took her to the doctor and then met up with everyone at lunch. She is doing a lot better now though. The water here made her sick so now she has to drink from bottled water only. Class was really good on friday; I understood ALMOST everything :) 

I see Mallory... or sister Golden.... a lot, and every time I see her, I get so happy. It's amazing to see our friendship grow while we are both here at the MTC. No distractions, no input from other people, just both of us being spiritually fed constantly and changing for the better. Whenever she sees me she says that she hardly even recognizes me! that's how much ive changed! but she said that I look so much happier, and that I just glow here at the MTC. The light of christ really does shine through us missionaries. It's so awesome. I bore my testimony to her in Japanese a few days ago and she cried! It was an amazing experience. I am so proud of her and am so glad that she is here with me.

Saturday was good as well. We had service at 6:15 am... so early.... but then gym after, so it was great :) one of our chorotachi in our district got so sick that they had to take him to urgent care.. it was so sad because he the sweetest thing ever and doesnt speak english cause hes from brazil. so it was so sad to see him hurting so much and not being able to help. he got better though after a few days. thank goodness. Chapman shimai made a friend across the hall from our classroom. hes an elder who speaks 8 languages, and they talk all the time. It is nice for her to have a friend she can talk to. I always just end up talking with his companion haha he is so awesome and we talk about how we got on missions, and we both have a really similar story so it is cool to have someone to relate to. That district is full of such strong missionaries. We always hang out with them because we are such good friends with all of their chorotachi. we are lucky because they are also going to kobe! it's so cool to see how much the MTC brings people together on deeper levels.I feel like the people who i have met here, i will be friends with for a long time. at least i hope that that is the case haha.

Sunday was awesome, as usual. I love sundays at the MTC and look forward to them every week. that night I watched the Testaments in a huge room full of missionaries, and at the end, the spirit hit the room like a semi truck. haha it sounds weird but i am not even kidding. within the last few minutes every single missionary in that room was feeling the spirit so strong. everyone was crying, but the good type of cry. it was so awesome to feel the spirit like that, and to see so many other people feeling the same spirit as me. It was a really cool experience.

Monday was great and super hard. We taught a new investigator without ANY notes. It was so cool to be able to look into his eyes and just connect with him about the gospel. learning japanese can sometimes be a distraction for the spirit, because we end up focusing on our grammar and trying to remember words instead of truly speaking from the heart. but this time, that was not the case. chapman shimai and i were both so happy to have shared that experience with each other. Later that night, however, we had a rough patch. We taught two lessons in a row that went really badly. It's hard because, since I plan every lesson by myself, I feel like it is my fault if a lesson does not go well. I got really frustrated and down on myself, until I realized that I was being selfish by thinking that way. The only thing that i could do was make it better somehow. I talked with Nitta Sensei after class, when i was crying, and he gave me some amazing advice. he told me how proud he is of me and how much the other senseis have talked about my companion and I, and how our companionship is a miracle. It really is :) It's amazing how great she is doing. I love her so much. My teacher also gave me a scripture that I have read every day since then. D&C 78: 17-19. It's a good one. I am so grateful for my district and my teachers and the support they give chapman shimai and I.

Tuesday was good as well. I beat all the elders in a game of bump so that was pretty dang awesome haha. They now all call me the straight shooter. it's pretty funny. I played them again though and got last place.... so I think i just had a lucky streak haha. Oh well. I finally got around to reading the talk The Fourth Missionary. It was so powerful. I spent hours just studying it. it definitely made me want to be a better missionary. I am so determined to be the best that I can be. The devotional on tuesday night was awesome too. it was cool to be able to listen to a member of the 70. he spoke on the importance of finding the lost sheep, or inactive members. I am determined to be the missionary that reactivates those members and I want to be the one who lets them know that they have someone who they can count on. The choir sang Where Can I Turn For Peace, and it was so amazing. we might get to sing in general conference (!!!!!!!) How awesome would that be?! I will know in the next two weeks and will definitely tell you all about it.

The nihonjin (japanese) are so cute. I love having them here with us and in our zone. if I love the japanese people in kobe HALF as much as i love the ones that i have met here, I am going to have an awesome mission haha.

yesterday I got really sick unfortunately. today I feel a lot better though. my district was there to support and help me catch up, thank goodness. We taught two investigators last night and they both went relatively well. I love teaching investigators :) it is definitely one of my favorite things about the mission.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I love and miss you all so much. You're in my prayers, and please know that I think you are all wonderful!!!!

Aishiteimasu! I love you!

Kasteler Shimai