Kasteler In Kobe

Kasteler In Kobe

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

50 invites!

Hello everyone! Japan is awesome. This was the best week on the mission so far. BY FAR! I know you all are wondering, and yes, I did invite over 50 people to church! It was awesome because I realized just how much goal setting really helps us missionaries to work harder and improve. My japanese got a ton better this week, and I am starting to get a lot more courage about being a missionary and talking to everyone who I see and come in contact with. This week was crazy busy, but I will try to tell you a little bit about it.

First off, we got two new investigators this week, which is HUGE for Japan! One is a 30 year old woman who is so awesome and loves Jesus Christ so much. Whenever we talk about him she just cries! I know that she will get baptized, and she is so interested in coming to church and learning more. She has been prepared to hear our message, I have no doubt that that is true!


Our other new investigator is a 30 year old man from Argentina! You should see our lessons.... mixed with Spanish, Portuguese (since we have been learning that for our other investigators), japanese, and english! Kind of hectic... but Hey! Whatever works :) He loves the church already and LOVES Joseph Smith. We have another appointment with him tomorrow. So look forward to hearing more about these two wonderful people. I think there are some good things in their future!! :)


We had zone conference this week, and it was the best thing ever. It was so good to see some familiar faces, especially President and Sister Welch. They are so awesome! We are so lucky to have them. We got told that our Zone is going to have 5 baptisms before the end of the year.... I have a feeling one or two of my investigators will be included in that 5! Lets hope so! :) Welch Kaicho is really focusing our mission on the Book of Mormon, and I know that this is selfish, but I feel like it is just for me! I am so happy that he is my mission president, and know that I am here while he is here for a reason. I have this plan for the rest of my life. Want to hear it? Well Im going to tell you anyways. Haha so I am going to read a new copy of the Book of Mormon each time I finish the previous one, and start reading it with a question in mind, or something that I am looking for. Then, when I finish, I will have found my answer and will have received a ton of information that will help me, and then I am going to put it on a shelf in my house. This shelf is going to be just for my many books of mormon that I will read throughout my life, each with a different topic highlighted and studied. Then, my kids will do the same, and their grandkids, and so on, and someday we are going to have a whole room FULL of Books of Mormon. It will be so cool :) I love the Book of Mormon so much. There is truly nothing better.


I hit my 3 month mark this week! How crazy is that? It is going by so fast! I love being a missionary more and more every day.


Our other investigators are doing good. The Brazilian family is reallllly progressing. It is so awesome. Yesterday they told us that they all want to be baptized! The only problem is that the wife, Patricia, has work on Sunday mornings. But she requested next week off so that she can come to church with her family. You could say that we are just a little bit excited :)


This week I read the book Our Search for Happiness by Elder M Russell Ballard. If you havent read it, read it! It is so good. I just love studying and reading lately, which is SO not like me haha. The mission really does change people ;)



Along with this week being the best dendo (mission) week, this week was also a hilarious week. Here are a few funny/story-telling moments:


1. This week was my first experience of a japanese earthquake! I was scared like crazy but everyone else in the apartment thought it was no big deal. Haha kind of embarrassing. But yeah, it was super cool!


2. I crashed my bike..... so embarrassing. But I only got a few bruises, and didnt tear my clothes. So that is a plus! :)


3. One of our potential investigators wanted us to meet her friends, so we went to her house and she took us to some weird japanese dance class hahaha so we just sat and watched and learned traditional japanese dances. It was interesting. But it was way cool to be more involved in the culture and to show these people that just because we are christian, doesnt mean that we do not like their culture or dont believe that it is a good thing!


4. We had a YSA dinner last night, and somebody brought salsa that was called "Salsa From Hell." It was pretty funny. Then one of the Japanese sisters, in english, goes "Can you give me some Hell?" talking about the salsa haha it was so funny.


5. This week I ate sea urchin..... EW! Actually it wasnt even that bad. The food here sure is interesting though!


Anyways, that is all to report for this week. I hope youre all doing good. As we enter the holiday season, remember who we are celebrating! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ. I know that He is my savior and my brother. I know that this gospel is true, 100%, and I love being a missionary with all of my heart. Have a good week :) Be kind to those around you!! 愛しています。




Sister Kasteler




"As naturally and as regularly as we seek air, He seeks to bless."


-Tad R. Callister

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

First Book of Mormon!

Hello everyone! It was a busy week for us in the beautiful land of Japan, but I loved every minute of it!

Last preparation day, we went into Kobe and rode on a ferris wheel and did some shopping and walking around. It was really fun. We ended up giving out a book of mormon to some school girls who were listening to Justin Bieber. It was my first time giving out a book of mormon, so that was really exciting for me. :)


On tuesday we had eikaiwa, or english class, and that is so much fun for me to do. One, because I want to be a teacher, and two, because I get to speak english! Haha it is nice to have a break from the Japanese every once in a while. At the end of eikaiwa, we taught everyone how to play Do You Love Your Neighbor, and it was fun to teach them an "american ge-mu" or american game haha. We had so much fun, and continue to get new people every week come to class. Its a great missionary opportunity and Im very grateful for it.


Our ivestigators are doing well and are progressing nicely. We of course wish that we had more investigators, but that is okay! Our less active that we are teaching is amazing and continues to strengthen my testimony everyday. her progress is inspiring. This week, she called us several times to ask questions about Joseph Smith, or to just talk with us about any questions or anything. She also is having a hard time, so she calls us whenever she is struggling. It is cool to see how much she trusts us. I love developing relationships with these people. The japanese are amazing! I love them so much!


This week we did a lot of housing, which was scary for me, but it was good. We found a man who came to church yesterday :) So that is awesome. This week, Scheffler 姉妹 told me that I have to invite 50 people to church this week. I am scared that I might not be able to do this, but I am hoping and praying for strength to know that I can! I think that I can! haha I will let you know how it goes next week.


Our mission is currently doing the Book of Mormon challenge, and I am loving it more and more every day. Someday, I want to have a shelf full of books of mormon from my mission and my life, that I read because I had a question or wanted help with something. It is amazing how much one book has helped me so much. I am forever grateful for the Book Of Mormon and its teachings.


yesterday, I spoke during the missionary meeting at church. It was so scary but I did it! My japanese is really improving. Yesterday, we taught three lessons and gave a spiritual thought, so it was a lot of japanese in one day, but it was really good for me. I am learning fast, but not fast enough! haha I just want to be able to speak this language and talk to these amazing people.


This week, I ate nato for dinner one night.... It was rough. I love japan, but some of their food is very hard for me to eat haha. This week, Scheffler 姉妹 and I got lost at the worlds biggest bridge for about an hour. That was the eventful portion of the week. haha We also had a lot of people asking for our picture this week, which was funny. Its a good way to dendo too haha because we tell them to come to eikaiwa or to church or something. We will see if anyone shows up though.


I love being a missionary and I know that this is the work of the lord. I love this gospel and know that it is true! I love each of you and hope that you have a great week. Spread happiness to those around and serve others with all that you have :)


Love always,

Kasteler Shimai

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sick :(

Greetings from Nihon! I love this place and my mission more and more every day. This week I dont have much time to write but I will do my best to tell you all about this amazing week.

So, for the first few days of this week, I got really sick. I had to stay in bed (Mission President's orders) and it was really hard for me because I just wanted to be studying or working or talking to people. I spent a lot of time sleeping and feeling pretty bad haha. I was throwing up quite a bit, but thats okay. I got a blessing from the zone leaders and Im doing a ton better now. (Dont worry mom!!!) :) When I was sick though, I got pretty homesick too. So that was not too fun. but that is okay. I miss you family! and love you dearly! 
On friday, things got so much better :) We had zone training meeting, and I was able to see a few familiar faces from the MTC (other new missionaries who came to japan with me) so that was nice :) But the thing I really liked about zone training meeting was the stuff that was said by our amazing zone leaders. Elder Fukui gave a spiritual thought, and in it he said that whenever he has a hard day or doesnt want to get up in the morning, he pictures his mom and dad, at their bed side, praying for him. And it changes his whole day. I have done that every day this week and wow, it has truly changed my attitude about waking up early and studying extra hard. I love you all and am so grateful for your support and prayers. I can feel them and feel Gods love immensely. I said the prayer at zone training meeting in japanese and it was so scary! but it was a cool experience because everyone said my japanese is really good for only being here two weeks. maybe they were just saying that, but thats okay :) We got challenged to read the book of mormon before the end of february, and to use three different colors to highlight the things that are about the god head. i am really excited to read the book of mormon and do this challenge and learn more about my heavenly father, Jesus Christ, and the holy ghost. I love reading the scriptures. I read them every chance I get :) my testimony of them has grown so much and I know that they are true with all of my heart.
We met with our less active this week, and I just love her. I think as missionaries our capability to love people triples haha because I love her so much! It is so awesome to care about people the way that we do. i told her stories about the year before I came on my mission, and how it was a little crazy and she actually had a way similar experience and it was cool to see how my experiences, even though not all of them were necessarily good ones, have helped someone else. She told me trusts me a lot more and feels like she can relate. She calls us constantly now seeing when we can talk again haha. I shared a scripture with her from the book of mormon that has really helped me whenever I was struggling. Mosiah 24: 14-15. She really enjoyed it and we are hoping to get her back to church on sunday :) I love our investigators.
Saturday was the best day of my mission so far. our study block in the morning was the best one yet. I feel like i learned so much and got so much out of those 4 hours studying. everything felt productive! then, we went finding for 6 hours. It was hard. haha we met an australian, so that was nice to be able to talk to him. we will see where things go with him and the church :) After we had housed (knocking on peoples doors) for about 30 minutes, my companion turned to me and goes "okay, youre turn. im not going to say anything from now on." I got so scared. but i decided I would do it. I rang the next doorbell, and a lady came outside, which usually doesnt happen, and so i got nervous and said, in japanese, "Hello. I am sorry to interrupt whatever you are doing. I am a message. I want to share jesus christ's messenger with you." haha it was so embarrassing. but something to laugh about, so that is good! 
This week, my testimony has grown like it never has before. I LOVE being a missionary. and I love this gospel. I know that God knows each of us and that he puts us where we are for a reason. I am so grateful for my family and for everyone that has helped me get on a mission to serve these wonderful people. A man gave a talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday about how me being in his ward has helped his testimony grow and has strengthened his family. I know that Heavenly Father put me in this area, in this ward, for a reason. Having Akashi be my first area on my mission has been the biggest blessing in my life. I know that there is a purpose for everything. I know that through our trials, and any times we feel alone or anything negative at all, the Lord is strengthening us. I know that we go through hard times and experiences to not only strengthen us, but to strengthen others. I am so grateful for this church and the wonderful blessing that it is to be a missionary. I know that these things are true with all of my heart. 

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week. Always remember to put a smile on your face and remember that YOU ARE LOVED! :)
Love always,
Kasteler 姉妹、

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Oh, what a wonderful week in the beautiful country of Nihon! I love being a missionary. Japan is awesome and I love my area, my companion, everything!

We're five minutes from the beach!

This week was my first eikaiwa, or english class. It was so much fun teaching english! I could finally do something in my own language! It was awesome. We got to be dressed in Kimonos thanks to a ward member who owns like 100 of them. We also had a halloween party afterwards for the kids. It was so much fun!


Food: Holy yum japanese food is absolutely delicious..... haha it is bad! it is dangerous! I cannot get fat! haha but the breads and chocolates... oh yummy they are wonderful. My companion and I are already on a diet haha and I am trying to convince myself that Nato, the fermented beans, is good.... So this week I am going to try to eat it once a day! We will see if I throw up or not.. haha just kidding. I want to learn to like it, so I am committed! Also, my companion and I do 200 sit ups every night... so dont be shocked if I come home super ripped. Haha just kidding. Black thunders are the most amazing chocolate bar thing ever! I have only had one, but if any of you want any, they are so cheap haha and I would love to send you some. They are life changing. This week I tried tomato ramen which was so good! I also ate KaSuTeRa (aka my name in japanese) which is a sponge cake that they have here in japan. it was way good! I finally got to try the food that (literally) everyone here associates with my name.

It says my name.

Language: japanese is hard.... haha that is pretty much all there is to it. leaving the mtc, i felt pretty good about my japanese... to say I am "humbled" is an understatement haha. I feel like I know nothing most days! But that is okay. I just need to learn to speak up and such. I need to open my mouth and have faith that I can talk to these people. I know that I can, it is just so scary! I dont know why! haha but I am trying really hard and every day I get better. I understand a ton of what people say, I just have a really hard time speaking back to them. I gave my first real lesson yesterday and it went really well. I spoke several times, bore my testimony a few times, and shared a scripture from memory in japanese. that was awesome and definitely helped my confidence grow :)


Now for the good stuff! My investigators! It is amazing how much you love your investigators as a missionary. The brazilian family that we found last week is doing great. We taught them the whole restoration yesterday! That usually does not happen in Japan. Usually it is an entire lesson before they can even fathom that there is a God who loves them. But, the brazilian family has been prepared for us and completely understood everything that we told them. We gave them a pamphlet on the restoration and a book of mormon, both in portuguese. They said they are very excited to read it! they also said that the story about Joseph Smith completely makes sense. It was amazing. I felt like crying I was so happy haha and even though I didnt play a huge part in the lesson, my testimony grew so much in that 45 minutes. I know that God prepares people for us missionaries to teach. We just have to go out and find them! I was so happy and feel so blessed that we did find this wonderful family. They are perfect for this gospel, and the gospel will bring them so much happiness. I know it. We are going to try to commit them to baptism this week :) I am looking forward to it!


We have had a hard time communicating with our other investigators, but met up with two of them this week. One gave a prayer at the end of our lesson and said that she is not going to join our church but that she likes being our friend... haha she said that IN a prayer! it was funny. we are going to keep working on it though :) We cant lose hope yet! We also met a less active this week, who has become my favorite person on the planet. She has had such a hard life and just doesnt understand how a loving heavenly father allows bad things to happen. It is so sad but we cannot get her to understand that god does love her. we are going to keep trying though. the reason I love her so much is because she is absolutely amazing. She has done so much and has been through so much, yet she still smiles and laughs constantly. She is so much fun and we loved hearing about her. Also, she speaks english and likes to practice with me :) So it is nice to be able to talk to her and give her feedback and advice about how she can overcome her trials that she is going through. She is a wonderful lady.


It is amazing to me how much us missionaries love those whom we are teaching. I feel so much charity towards these people who I hardly know. I feel such a deep connection with them and I feel like I am being blessed to feel just a small portion of what Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father feel for each of us.


I love the sisters who I live with. There are 4 of us and we have so much fun together. We all pretty much have the same personality.... so I think you all can guess just how much fun we have together (at the times we are supposed to be... dont worry, I promise I am an obedient missionary) :) Here are a few funny things that happened this week:

We had to break one of the shimai's bikes haha so we smashed the lock with rocks until it broke. You could say we got a lot of stares.... 4 white americans breaking a bike. Haha what a beautiful site ;)


I biked into a fence.... so that was funny.... and painful haha.


We were running late to meeting the Stake President and his wife, so we biked to the church (a 17 minute bikeride) in just 7 minutes. It was hilarious how fast we were biking haha we were kind of being spazzes.... but it was fun.


We wanted to eat tofu for dinner so that we wouldnt get fat.... but it was too watery (we home-made it... bad idea haha) so we tried putting like dressing on it. my companion tried to get me to put nutella on it. Haha we had fun experimenting with pretty much everything in our apartment.


My companion and I have made the goal to do an act of service every day this transfer, and one night we were biking home and realized that we had done our act of service for the day. We hurriedly looked around for something we could do to help. We found a pile of dog poop on the sidewalk, so we decided to use sticks to try and pick it up. haha it was a nasty mess but finally we did it. It was pretty funny. not your typical sister-missionary service, but hey, it counts :)


We had two men who we ran into this week show up at church, which was a huge surprise, and we were so excited! As we were talking to them though, we just realized that they were creeps. The elders in our ward tried to get them out the door and to leave us alone haha it was pretty funny. Being a tall, blonde, american in Japan is interesting! Little kids are even scared of me sometimes... it is sad but helps me focus on not playing with them I guess haha. So that is a blessing in disguise I guess!

The Japanese man I ate dinner with when I was seven, shown in the picture below.
This is the little boy in the picture.
Dinner at my Grandma's when I was 7.

I love being a missionary. There seriously is nothing better! I am so happy with my decision to serve a mission. I love Japan and the Japanese people, and yes, even the Japanese language. I love all of you and hope you have a great week.


Remember, keep smiling!