Kasteler In Kobe

Kasteler In Kobe

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

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Weeek before Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!! What a wonderful time of the year- the BEST time of the year in fact! Okay so a ton of amazing things happened this week. It was such a great week to be a missionary in Matsuyama :)
First off, last monday was Bowman Shimai`s birthday party. What a fun way to involve the members, our friends, and investigators! It was so much fun and was a huge success. Everyone had a blast. Sometimes you just have to plan parties and things to involve everyone and show them how we are all allowed to have fun too! This gospel is a gospel of JOY! We must never forget that.

Birthday Cake

We had a few lessons with recent converts this past week which was awesome. I love recent converts because they are just so dang cute. They are still so excited and eager to learn about the gospel. It makes me so happy and strengthens my testimony every time we meet with them.

We had a lesson with the cutest member EVER (she is like the missionary`s mom) and her cute 90 year old mom. The poor thing has an awful memory and says she wants to get baptized and then changes her mind. Haha so we invited her to be baptized but she changed her mind. We will keep trying but we will see haha.

At one point this week, we were having a rough day, so decided to go into a pet store really fast to cheer ourselves up. Let me tell ya, IT WORKED. And we met some awesome people. Sorry I just had to include that to describe this weeks pictures :)

Friday and Saturday were the best days to be a missionary EVER. Let me tell you why :)

First, it started off with Zone Training Meeting. I love meeting with other missionaries, my testimony is always strengthened by seeing them and hearing from them. Ahh I just love missionaries. After ZTM we went out streeting at the ShoTenGai (indoor mall)  and caroled :) The other missionaries sang while I, the newest missionary (aka NO ability to speak japanese) was picked to be the one who talk to everyone and invite them all to our christmas party that next day. I was nervous but it went so well! Seriously, I was shocked! I ended up talking to so many people and handing out over 400 invitations! It was incredible! I met a man who had a huge lizard on his back with a huge bow on its head. He talked to us for a while and said he was born in Utah! Crazy, right? He was a little strange but definitely somebody who you dont forget! Another man came up to me and just started rubbing my arm. It was hilarious haha we were all like "What the heck is going on...." Sometimes funny things happen to us blondes in places like Japan. Haha it is all just one big adventure. I love it.

Now for Saturday. We caroled and talked to more people earlier that day and then went to meet up with a vietnamese man who we met yesterday. He wanted to come to the party, and even though he hardly spoke japanese, we found a way to talk about meeting up before the party so that we could all go together. While we were waiting for him outside of the Eki (train station), a man came up to me and was like "Are you Mormon? Do you believe in Joseph Smith?" And I was just like "Yes! Yes! Are you a member of the church?" and he talked to us for a second about how he wasnt a member but wanted to know why there are so many churches and which one he should join and all this crazy stuff. It was incredible. Then he left to catch his train before we could really say anything else. So anyways, remember that man. But back to saturday, so we met our new vietnamese friend and he ended up bringing 4 of his friends! All from vietnam! They are SO CUTE. Oh my goodness, the cutest human beings ever. And they are coming to Family Home Evening tonight. SO excited :) So we were off to the christmas party- HUGE SUCCESS. It was so much fun and SO many people came!! Three high school girls who I had met the day before in the ShoTenGai showed up and we had so much fun together. I spent the whole time talking with them (well... trying to talk with them) and they helped me out a ton with my japanese. I told them all about missionaries and everything. They are coming to eikaiwa on wednesday... cant wait to see where things go with them. They are so awesome.  Also a couple who we invited at the eki showed up. They are so awesome! It would be so cool to teach a couple, because then we could talk about the blessings of temple marriage and everything. Ahh, I am so excited for the teaching opportunities that are opening up. I am looking forward to great things :)

Spiders in Japan

Okay, so sunday. The man who asked if we were mormon at the eki SHOWED UP AT THE CHURCH. Like, what?! He just showed up! And we taught him the restoration in the kitchen of our building because all the other rooms were full. Haha it was so cool. He has now become a solid investigator and we are so excited to see where things go with him. On sunday we also went with the Branch to sing and do service at a handicap home. You could say I almost fell over from being so happy. My favorite things all at once. Being a missionary. Being with church members. Singing christmas songs. Being with a ton of amazing people. I love handicapped people so much and think they are angels. I just about fell in love with every single one of those sweet spirits. We are looking forward to going back and serving there with some of the church members sometime soon :) I cannot wait.

This week all in all was SUCH a great week. We have a lot of potential here in Matsuyama and it is so great to be able to see the work of the Lord move forward. I know that He is preparing people for us to find. This gospel is so true and makes me so happy. I love being a missionary! I love Matsuyama! I love this church! I love my Heavenly Father and am so grateful for His love towards each one of His children. The Book of Mormon is TRUE, one hundred percent, and I LOVE that book. I LOVE that book. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have and that I get to share it with others.

I hope you all have the best christmas ever. Remember that Heavenly Father gave his son Jesus Christ for each and every one of us. Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and He has paved the way for us to return back to His presence. I am so grateful for my Savior. Please remember your Savior during this time of celebration. Give a gift to someone you love this Christmas by helping them come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This gospel is the best gift that can be given. Spend time with your families and truly enjoy one anothers company. I know that you will be blessed and will have a wonderful and memorable christmas if you do so.

”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son. That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.

I love you all so much. I hope you can feel my love from the beautiful island of Shikoku. I wish you all the best Christmas.
Stay warm and drink lots of hot cocoa :)
Ai Shite Imasu,
Sister Kasteler

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Almost Christmas

Hello everyone! This week was the hardest week of my mission but ended up being the most rewarding. Unfortunately one of the computers is broken at the church where we are emailing today, so I do not have a lot of time to email. I apologize!!
This week we went and dendo-ed at the college. It so much fun for me to be able to talk to people my age and show them a little bit about the gospel. We have three colleges super close to us and are very lucky for that. 
This week I had my first eikaiwa in Matsuyama and LOVED it. A lot of people came and it is so fun for me to talk to people in english and teach them. Its what I want to do when I grow up, so it is awesome and a ton of fun for me. Sister Bowman and I even stopped a random boy on his bike and told him to come with us and he did! Haha it was awesome. 
This week we did a lot of visiting people. We went with a recent convert who is just about the cutest lady you have ever seen. I love her and meeting with her is so much fun. I love teaching recent converts because they are still so excited about everything :) We visited a man who has a dog that is seriously like a pig, It was the funniest thing!!
I loved it. We had really good, deep spiritual talks with each of the less actives that we visited. It was awesome and the spirit was really strong in every lesson that we taught. 
Saturday we went to Kobe (a five hour bus ride) to meet with President Welch. It was such a great experience and I am truly grateful for him and his wife. I couldnt be luckier. On the way to Kobe though, a girl started talking to us and then she introduced us to her 2 friends and they asked about where the church was and everything. We basically taught them on the bus and are now spending time with them tonight for Bowman Shimais birthday. It is going to be so much fun and I feel really good about everything that is going to be happening with these girls! It is so exciting! I love being a missionary!

Yesterday was probably my favorite day of my whole mission. Seriously, it was the best sunday ever. Church was awesome. I spoke in it... again.... haha but it was good (maybe... I think). But I cannot tell you in words how much I love this little branch that I am working in. I LOVE it here. Matsuyama is an amazing place and I feel so blessed to be serving here. Last night we had FHE at a members home and had a live nativity... oh my goodness it was the funniest thing ever. I was mary and a random japanese man was joseph... AWKWARD. All of the missionaries were dying laughing.
Me as Mary

We have been doing a lot of things with the zone leaders lately, who are also serving in this branch, and I love it. They are so awesome. They definitely have the spirit with them and the members just adore them. The 4 of us missionaries have so much love coming to us from this tiny little branch. Also yesterday we got to teach primary! Which only has two kids, but it was so much fun. The little kids love sister bowman and I because we have blonde hair haha. They just play with it all day long.
I love this place. I love Matsuyama, I love Japan, and I love being a missionary. There is so much good and so much light in this world if we are all willing to look for it. I love you all. Have a great week :)
Ai shite imasu minasan!!
Kasteler Shimai

"These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 3:16
"Fear not little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me. And NONE of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost." Doctrine and Convenants 50:41-42