Monday, April 29, 2013

Crazy, Fun Mission Life Continues!

Hello! Just a brief message today because we are pretty busy with mission awesomeness! Today we have Ai Chan`s baptism planned, and it should be a ton of fun! We also have two shokujikais, or potluck style meals, at the church with members too so we`ll be running over to one of those in a few minutes.

We got another crazy surprise this week though when I got a call from President Evans on Tuesday... apparently in connection with the rapidly growing number of girls on missions they have created a new responsibility for sister missionaries, and I and Sister Kise, a super cute always happy missionary from Okinawa, are going to be the first ones to try it out in Sapporo!

Since no one has done it yet before we`re still figuring it out, but it is called a Sister Training Leader, and our main responsibility will be pretty much what the title says -- training other sisters. We`ll be conducting a training meeting to help all of the other sisters become trainers soon. And then our other main responsibility is that we have to go on 24-hour exchanges with all of the companionships in the area -- so we will be going on splits twice a week next transfer! We`ll hardly ever be in our own apartments, but it will be a ton of fun because we will be able to work with everyone and see all of the areas that sisters are in in Hokkaido! I do love myself a little travel... I`ll probably like die on the plane home though.

The other thing is that the two sister training leaders are supposed to be companions, so I will be transfering to Odori (the area in the center of Sapporo) next transfer to be companions with Sister Kise, who is actually extending her mission another transfer to do this. She was originally supposed to be going home at the end of next week! There are just all sorts of crazy stuff going on with so many new sisters coming into the field. I don`t know that I am qualified to help train them all, but I will do my best! It is a little sad though that I`ll have to part with Lundstrom Shimai; it has been a ton of fun being with another American! One of the other sisters will finish up her training though.

And I have to go!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Four Minute Email!

Hello family and friends!

I have now three minutes to write. Just know that we`re still having lots of fun here, and things are going great! Just wishing it would stop snowing for good though... the streets are clear now though, which is a wonderful thing. And I have seen a couple fo crocuses coming up! This week we also had stake conference, which was a lot of fun and the mission president and his wife both came up to speak. 

The Asahikawa stake covers a lot of ground, so some of the wards that were furthest away all rented a bus and rode on it for a couple of hours to make it up here for the 10 am session! It really made me feel like I needed to appreciate having a stake center over my fence some more...

Next week on Monday we have a baptism, so I am not sure if/how much I will be able to write (it is also a work holiday, so the email place closes early), but it will be awesome and I will do my best!

Love ya!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In case you were wondering.​.. it snowed again today

Hello again from the ever-snowy Asahikawa!!

I am having a ton of fun working with Lundstrom Shimai here! We had to go get her registered with the city this past week, so I have some updated citizenship stats (I think I sent these when I went before?).

Right now in Asahikawa, there are:
349,332 people living here
674 people are non-native (including all Asian countries, etc.)

Moral of the story, we have a tendancy to stand out! It has been funny to see some people get super nervous when we like go up to a counter at a store, and then the relief when I start speaking Japanese. So far we haven`t had too many language problems yet! People tend to stop on the street more (possibly because they might think we`re lost), so it has great benefits.

We had general conference this past week, which was fabulous as always! We also had a really fun lesson at a members house. This week went by ridiculously fast! I also forgot to mention this last time, but one of the little girls of a family I absolutely love that I met while housing in Atsubetsu, my first area, was baptised at the end of last month! It was seriously the happiest thing ever. I wish I could have been at the service, but it doesn`t matter where I am as long as she will be able to receive such blessings!!

Ahh, and I am out of time again already! Until next week,

Sister Crofts

Wait! Bonus letter and photos arrived this week!

4/8/13 The weather today is a mixture of rain and snow, but we are having fun getting Lundstrom Shimai all set up with a bike and everything!  But without further ado, the pictures:

In front of one of the fun displays for the zoo at a bank in the city.

Asahikawa is lucky because there are two districts that meet in the same building (the Elders in Shibetsu and Takikawa are like two hours away from each other so they meet in the middle, which happens to be Asahikawa)!  This is the group shot from last transfer!  Back row left to right is Elder Harper from Utah, Elder Sims from Texas, Eler Itee from Hawaii, Elder Nishima from Okinawa, Japan, Elder Jo from Japan/Korea, Elder Hatch from Utah, Elder Fepuleai from New Zealand.  Front me, Tsichida Shimai from Japan, Elder Brown from New Zealand.

My newest companion, Sister Lundstom, and I!  All the flowers were made by Sister Hansen, one of the senior missionaries.

Having fun with the flowers.

All of the newest Sisters together.  The first four are natives (the group includes 19 and 20 year old’s), the next two are half and have lived in various places, and then Lundstrom Shimai.  They just happened to stand in that order and I thought it was funny.

I forgot to say this in the email, but one of the little girls I love from my first area got baptized!  She is 10 and I love her and her family.  Since I was in Asahikawa and couldn’t go to the baptism I took a picture to send as a message.

And this is the long requested picture of me at my desk!  (I straightened my hair for like the first time in six months so I figured I should take a picture to document it).

And more pics from the Sapporo Mission Facebook page:

Yakiniku Lunch with New Companions

Sisters Training Meeting on April 4th with paper flowers made by Sister Hansen.


Elder and Sister Yamashita zone conference

March birthdays!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Snail Mail Photos from Natalie!

But first, a bonus photo of Natalie and her brand new companion, Lundstom Shimai!

Just before a super fun lesson!  Ai Chan's sister was in town from Abashiri so we got to do it together, and the Elders happened to stop by the church before it started (Aee Choro knows her sister from Abashiri)

Tsuchida Shimai's birthday at Eikaiwa

With Yamashita Choro and Shimai - they were so wonderful and gave lots of great advice!

Bowling activity on p-day with the Elders in our district

The Mini Cooper dealership in Asahikawa.  It may be one of my favorite roads to take... I may have found Mini Cooper stickers the other day.  And bought them.

It is spring so we decided to take our break in a park this week - Tsuchida Shimai got stuck in the snow up to her knees!  Not just once, either...

Snowman missionaries.  They're made for Hokkaido weather!

A farewell dinner for Brother Nogiwa at the church with the Elders.  He's been doing a fantastic job as ward mission leader here, but is going back to school at BYU Hawaii at the end of the week.

Double bonus: a photo from Natalie's companion Tsuchida Shimai with a note on the back!

Monday, April 8, 2013

I became a mother!... Well, in missionary life.


So as some of you may know, this past week we have transfers, and it was special because we had 17 new missionaries come!  7 of those missionaries were sisters, so our numbers increased dramatically here.  There were three native Japanese sisters, two sisters who are half Japanese so they are already like fluent, and one sister from Ohio.  The sister from Ohio`s name is Lundstrom Shimai, and she is my newest companion!

It`s the first time I have had a companion who hasn`t been a native, so it is a ton of fun to be able to speak English all of the time. I need to step it up for our lessons and stuff though! Northrop Shimai is training too, and she got a 19 year-old Japanese sister. Cool stuff. Lundstrom Shimai is 20, and has no Japanese experience (although she does know Spanish because her mother is from Venezuela, so we`ll need to find somewhere we can use that) other than her 9 weeks at the MTC but she is fearless and even bore her testimony at church yesterday. She studied at BYU-Idaho before coming on the mission, and also taught English for 6 months in China, which is really cool. And will come in handy for our kids English classes!

We`re going to try and get her all set up for missionary life today with buying her a bike and all of that. We had all day training on  Wednesday in Sapporo (including everyone going to a baptism at night, which was really cool), and then we had our sisters training on Thursday. It was especially fun because this time all of the sisters,  even the ones who live far away were able to come! Another fun fact: since so many sisters came and there weren`t very many of us to begin  with all of the sisters except for six are in training right now. And the rest will probably be doing it soon... because I don`t think we`ll have enough for how many are coming this next time! Maybe some will have to double up? It is kind of crazy. They opened up a new area to sisters this time, in Eniwa, and it will probably be the first of many. I`ll probably be heading home right around when things really start to expand, but it is really cool.

This week was also really great because one of our investigators was able to come to church for the first time! She has been wanting to come forever, but hadn`t been able to because of work. But because she switched jobs this month she was able to come for all three hours, and since the first sunday of the month is fast sunday she even fasted!  She is so awesome. Next week she will come to General Conference (which was this past weekend in the states, but we watch it later because of the time difference. You can watch it online at  whenever you want! I recommend a peek), which will be a lot of fun.

Love you all and hope you are having a fabulous time!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter in Japan?

So the thing about Easter in Japan... is that it is kind of hard to tell when it is happening, haha. They just don`t seem to celebrate it at all! My companion didn`t even know what it is. There were a couple of speakers at church who gave really good talks about the atonement of Christ (the fact that he died to free everyone from their mistakes and pains, so they can return to live with God and loved ones again) though, so it was an enjoyable day.

After church we even met a super cute young mother. Hopefully we will be able to meet again soon!  We also met a really fun 21 year old on the street at the beginning of the week who just moved to Asahikawa for work, and then she invited us to dinner at her apartment the next day. We had a great time chatting and eating together!

Tomorrow is transfers -- I think I will probably be in Asahikawa for my last two transfers, but you never know! I will update you all next week. I hope things are going well for all of you!!!


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