The Isles of the Sea

So this week has been crazy. I think I’ve felt every emotion that is possible to feel. So happy and so sad and so stressed and so upset because we have found so many amazing people that I won’t get to see progress! But it’s fine. I am so thankful for the AMAZING blessing and opportunity I’ve had to serve here. I know people always say “I served in the best mission FOR ME” but no I’ve served in the best mission and I know it. I have had the best areas and served with the best people and I have had the time of my life. I am sorry for everyone that unfortunately hasn’t served here.

Literally leaving is breaking my heart into a million pieces. I couldn’t even look at my PMG (Preach My Gospel)this morning without tearing up. I have LOVED being a missionary with all my heart. I have loved Japan and its people with all my heart. They have been such an amazing example to me of Christlike service. God promises ‘I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.’ and he truly has done that through the AMAZING sweet baby angels I have served with.

It says in 2 Nephi 10, ‘But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea.’ And I can testify that is true. I Lord loves his Japanese (that’s why he made so many of them) and he loves me, that is why is allowed me to come and serve with these people. When I first got my call I didn’t want to come to Japan but the moment I got here I fell in love and that love has gotten deeper ever since.

I LOVE being a missionary. I am so blessed to wear Christ name on my chest everyday, even though I don’t feel like I always live up to it. I have learned SO MUCH. I have come to know that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings with one purpose. I know because I have a relationship with each of them. Their purpose is my purpose. To bring back souls! He wants our hearts! And that is all we can give. Because they love us so much they appeared to Joseph Smith so we could have a way to return. He gave us the Book of Mormon! THE GREATEST THING EVER. Literally the only reason I have made it through the last 18 months is because of the power of the BOM. It has changed my life. It can change yours too.

It is hard to sum 18 months in on email but I am so grateful for it all. Those I have served, those that have served me, everything. I am so blessed. And I will never forsake.

He Lives!
Fritchen Shimai
See you on the other side!

This is Courtney’s last blog from the mission. In just 7 hours from right now she will get on the first flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo then Seattle then Sacramento arriving Friday May 5th at 5:20 PM. It has been my pleasure to post her emails and pictures each week. I now turn this blog over to her. Court, we are very proud of you for all you have done. Travel safe and see you on this side. Love, Dad.


When we get to heaven nothing will be wet

Hello Hello! We had a district pday at the zoo so sorry its late! Also I decided I need a g pig. I don’t know how to spell anymore but a large hamster.

We’ve had a great week! We had a ton of rain but it became warm and the sandal tan lines and watch tan lines (that never went away) return!
We have been proselyting by a college so we have a ton of new Vietnamese friends!

Also we have been doing a Flood the World with Book of Mormons Challenge and almost ran out but we had to biggest miracle ever a box came within a week when it usually takes 3!

We had interviews with our Mission President and his wife and it was so good, I love them so much.

I can’t recall much else, lots of talking to people and lots of laughs. I just love being a missionary so much!

I don’t really know what to talk about this week except that I am so blessed to have served in the best mission. A few days ago we were biking and these little kids were screaming HELLO and I waved and they freaked out and as we biked a way we got pretty far when I heard one of them say SEE YOU! and I turned around and waved again and they were jumping and so excited. I just wish I could be a missionary here forever. I love it all so much.
I know this church is true and that God is just TOO GOOD. I really don’t know why I have been so blessed. I am so thankful.

He Lives
Fritchen Shimai

Next week Pday is on Tuesday!

Sister Fritchen and her companion are happy about a delivery of Books of Mormon.

Will you be my monkey mama?

I am so jealous of everyone who is celebrating Easter still. My calendar says Easter Monday (Canada) what’s up with that? Anyway, so I’ll probably work backwards because we got a lot to catch up on!

So, like I want it to be Easter Sunday every day of my life, SO MANY MIRACLES. Like dang. So, we park our bikes on this mountain and are about to go and talk to people and I notice this man in his car pass by and stare at us, we are about to pray and he passes by the other way and comes to park. I figured he was going to tell us we couldn’t park there but he comes up and says, “I want to learn more about Jesus Christ” YEA. Then we are walking up some stairs to do an apartment and this girl stops and is like “badge” in English and points at our tags. It was a Vietnamese girl in her way to work and she was like wait come visit me, so she took us to her apartment and gave us something to drink and exchange phone numbers and we gave her the Vietnamese pamphlet we had on us and she was so happy! And so many other people that were so nice and so great!

Saturday was THE BEST. Everyone always says you can’t go to the temple without seeing someone you know and I’ve been so blessed to serve up here my whole mission so I figured I see some people. We get there and I see a family from Iwakuni, a member greets us from Yanai. Then I saw lots of people from Hatsukaichi and I was so happy and I figured I wouldn’t see anyone from Sasebo but as I was walking out to leave I see someone’s jaw drop and I saw some people from Sasebo! I WAS SO HAPPY! And I didn’t think they would remember me but they did! And the temple was so packed and I was just like man this is what heaven is going to be like! All these people I love SO MUCH. God is so merciful! And we got to go with Matsuda Shimai our recent convert! She was able to do baptisms for her parents and she said that while she was there she saw a man who looked like her father who was dressed in white and imagined her father is in the spirit world dressed in white and joyfully accepting the work.

And this last week I got to go on companion exchanges in my beloved first area Iwakuni! And I was with Sister Vogelsberg (aka precious comp that was emergency transferred) and it was the best day ever! I got to see all the people I love with all my heart and it was so fun. And as we rode home from base I thought about how the last time I rode home from base at night it was after my goodbye party and was crying so of course I had to cry on the way home again. I didn’t know it was possible to be so in love with an area or the people. But it’s easy when you serve in the best areas.

I can’t remember everything else that happened. Sakura came and went because of so much rain. We had a double zone conference in Hiroshima which was the best.

Another district potluck. Lots of bike accidents! I flew over my handle bars and bruised my hand which I didn’t know what possible. Also, we had apple bread and I accidentally grated some of my hand off. Also, general conference, is if always that dang good?

Also, I’ve had so many thoughts so I’ll probably just throw them out in a random manner.

So, I learned about Sakura this week. The Japanese see it as a symbol of life. Something short and fragile but very beautiful. Aka enjoy it while it lasts!
We had a meeting about Positive Mental Attitudes and it has been so good! Whenever we say something negative we make it into a positive and it is so good!

We also had a training on Finding the One and Elevating the 99. So, when Elder a Cook came to our mission he said there is 3 groups of people. Those who aren’t prepared and will say no. This who a kinjins and will get baptized no matter what (aka Tomiko) and the big group in the middle that good go either way. And that is where our faith and prayers and obedience come in. Getting those people headed in the right direction. So, we are still trying to find the one but we are also focusing on elevating everyone we see. It has been so good! On the way home from the temple I told the bathroom attendant that she was a hard worker and thank you and they we just had a conversation and became best friends. I gave her a flyer and don’t know what will happen to her but I am so thankful I was able to brighten a strangers’ day!

Also, I am so thankful for my savior! He lived and died and rose again that we might live! I know it! And because he did he was able to appear to Joseph Smith so that we might have His church once more on the earth! I am so blessed to know it and to share it!

7 And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
8 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

He Lives Once More!

Fritchen Shimai
Also, as of Friday I have been a missionary for 18 months so that’s weird! Also I am lucky and get 3 extra weeks!

General Conference Cheer Video


April Showers bring postponed Sakura pictures

I can’t really remember what happened this week, all I know is I love Japan.
Yesterday I bore my testimony at church and I was doing fine till I look out and saw one of the most angelic teachers I have ever met start tearing up and then I lost it. I just love them all so much. I know God knows me and I don’t know why he decided I deserved to be among these people, I just love them so much. They all break my heart.

Also, I just love dendo. I love talking to people about the gospel. I’ve been doing this for a while now and I still get nervous before I approach someone but once I start talking to people all of that goes away and I just LOVE IT.

This week it rained so we saw rain miracles and there is always so many miracles on Sunday but fast Sunday means EXTRA miracles! I love the rain even though it is freezing and seems miserable I am just reminded who I am doing this mission for. I love giving out Book of Mormons even in the rain we handed out 4 Book of Mormons in plastic bags, it is such a blessing to share what I love with others.
Also, we are behind a week for general conference so this week we watched Women’s Conference and OH MY GOSH, like literally it was an answer to all my prayers. Literally I have been praying to be more balanced and my ponderize scripture for the week was Proverbs 3.5-6 So i about lost it by the first talk. It is amazing how message for the whole world can mean so much to one person. I AM STOKE FOR GENERAL CONFERECE.

Also, Tomiko got her first calling as a ward missionary, dies.

This transfer our mission is studying patience so I’ve been thinking about that recently. I have been thinking about how patience is a lot more than just waiting. Patience is accepting Gods will and timing as well as working as hard as you can to bring it to pass. It is like Japanese, you don’t just wait for the gift of tongues to smack you in the face one day, you learn however many words a day an open your mount and make mistakes and try to become better until the day it does smack you in the face and somehow you can speak Japanese. It kind of brings me back to what I have been talking about in my last couple emails. I have wanted to baptize my whole mission, I have tried so hard to be exactly obedient and become the PMG and everything they say that we need to do to be successful missionaries and yet I have baptized every month like I’ve been told we can do. And that is okay. Does that mean I stop being obedient or trying less, nope. You keep going, keeping trying, keep trusting, keep obeying. I am so thankful that God doesn’t give us all we desire immediately and I am thankful for the patience I have learned for that.

At the beginning of this transfer I knew God was going to be trying m patience and honestly I wasn’t too excited because I have no patience. But I’m working on it. And I am thankful for the patience God has with his imperfect tools!

He Lives and I know it!

Fritchen Shimai



This week has been crazy! So Wednesday we had Sister Snow stay with us because her companion was training and it was so fun! We bought 30 dollar pizza over the phone and went to another area to do their Eikaiwa so it was crazy and way fun.
Thursday sister Torgerson (misspelled last week) got here in the evening.


Friday I understood what the gift of tongues is. So, Sister Torgerson needed to see a doctor so I was like okay let’s go, not even thinking to ask a member to go with us. We have a hospital next door to our apartment so we go there and they are asking me questions and I am somehow understanding and responding to them. Then we are sitting in the waiting room and like I had wondered what kind of hospital we were in then we go in and sit down for a consultation and the I explain what’s going on and the nurse is like “this is a gynecologist” and I about lost it. One it was the most embarrassing moments ever but also so ridiculously hilarious. It is the most “sister Fritchen” thing you could do. But then they referred us to another hospital so we went there. It was so fun! I got to play translator and doctor all in one day!

Then Saturday we had a relief society activity and the gift of tongues didn’t come in for that one. So, we are sitting there and bending hangers and tying ribbon and I had no idea what was going on and they we finished and I was like so what is this? And they were like it’s for cleaning! So, we spent about an hour making fancy dusters at the most Japan party I have ever been to. It was a BYOR #bringyourownrice

Any way this week I have been thinking about the scripture

“by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”

So, in my setting apart blessing it says that big changes come by small steps which I feel like is basically a sum up of this scripture. It really is by the small things. It’s been by learning a couple words each day that I’ve been able to speak Japanese and by reading the Book of Mormon that I’ve been able to get out of bed each day at 6:30 and make it until 10:30 at night. And I am just so weak but god can still work through such imperfect tools! I am so grateful! It has been one of the most helpful things I have learned on my mission! And He can help us change every step of the way!

He Lives!
Fritchen Shimai



We are adding Sister Torgensen(?) to our lovely Tokuyama family!!!! I AM DYING!!! She just got done being trained so it’s me and some youngens. I am SO excited but also a little nervous haha. I am waiting for the Lord to figure out I really shouldn’t be in charge of more things especially humans haha. But this is my 3rd trio and man are they the best!!!!

Anyway, it has been a wonderful week! I can’t really remember anything that happened other than Tomikos Baptism! It was so good! I cried so much and she is so precious! She received the Holy Ghost on Sunday and she said she already feels different and can feel the difference. It has been the BIGGEST blessing to have found, taught, and baptized her this transfer.


I remembered! This week we celebrated my half birthday! It was a party! We ate 4 cans of tuna instead of 2 and it was the best! We finished the night off by finishing Tomikos lessons aka the first time i have taught all the lessons in Japanese for the first time of my mission. We ate ice cream! Sister Brand ate ice cream every night this week (one night 2 times!) aka I am training her well. Also, Sister Brand will hate me for this but as we were street contacting she said she was Sister Fritchen and it was the funniest thing ever!

Sunday, they had me give a surprise talk and it was all over the place but I’m thankful I can like speak Japanese somehow and was able to share my testimony.

This guy gave us this calendar and I almost died I love Japan!

This week I was thinking about the Savior and especially about how people always say that if the Savior had to perform the Atonement all over again just for you he would do it. I have loved my mission so much and feel like I am doing what the Lord wants me to do but I haven’t seen a ton of people get baptized, Tomiko has been the first investigator that I have been present to see them get baptized. And yet if you asked me to serve a whole nother mission just for her to get baptized I would do it. Just for her. Just for the one I would do it all over again. And my mission I wouldn’t really say is a sacrifice and can’t be compared anything to the Atonement but he would do it all again just for me. Just for you. I have tasted just a bit of how the Savior feels about us, he really does love us, he really wants us back.

We have this investigator that asked this week why we want eternal life, she said that she understands it is really happy but she just doesn’t really desire that. I have been thinking a lot about that and the reason I want eternal life is because I know how much my Heavenly Father loves me. He loves us so much, He wants us back. I want to do anything He asks of me so I can help His children return. We are of so much worth to Him! We are worth it!

He Lives!
Fritchen Shimai

Video 1 – The Apartment Tour

Video 2 – The Baptismal Song

Another Crazy Week!

Pday we went to the zoo with part of our zone, turns out it only takes 410¥ to keep a bunch of Americans amused. We watching the chimps for probably like an hour, we just kept going back for more. They were getting down and they even spit of another sister! It was the absolute funniest thing ever! Also recently the polar past away so I included the memorial (please take a moment of silence) may he rest in peace.

Tuesday we traveled literally all day for district meeting and then English class! Sister Carey (the sister before me) visited with her mom and it was way fun!

Wednesday we had some proselyting time and met the cutest people and they gave us cookies!

Thursday we had companion exchanges in the beloved Iwakuni!!!! And I got to have lunch with Clayton! He is a recent convert that I worked with that went less active for a bit but just started coming back to church! It was SO HAPPY!!!! Also turns out I am starting to feel the effects of being the only two foreigners in an area and the only contact with humans are Japanese or your companion. And don’t get me wrong I LOVE the Japanese people but they are just so awkward haha. And I LOVE sister Brand but we also spend hours making jokes about lettuce that we think are hilarious. It’s just not good for the psyche. So we had the most awkward English lesson of my life and mostly we just laughed because of how awkward I have become haha. Then took some awkward pictures to finish it off.

We also just had like a ton of awkward moments with men this week. So we got off a train and we’re at our bikes when this man is standing there with his arm around a woman that either said “help me” or the spirit was speaking for her. He saw us and let her go and comes up and starts talking and I am like “why can’t I understand this guys Japanese?” Then I realize he is speaking Spanish, and like people always ask me if I’m from Spain for some reason so I don’t know if that’s why he was trying to speak to me in Spanish but all my memory of Spanish disappeared so I proceeded to telling him in Japanese that I don’t know Spanish (yea I know). Then he goes and try’s to touch my cheek and I dipped and was like okay we got to go to sister Brand and then he like tries to hold my hand and we dipped out of there real quick. It was really weird, especially because the thought of hugging a boy just makes me want to throw up. Anyway I’m glad I serve in Japan because I wouldn’t survive anywhere else. Other man stopped us on our bikes and asked if we liked juice and tried to give us some money for it. It was so funny.

The rest of the week has been crazy and fun. Tomiko had her baptismal interview and is all set to go for next Saturday! I AM SO HAPPY! Straight overflowing joy right now. Our district leader walked out and looked at me and was like holy cow! She is literally a platinum. We usually say kinjin for golden person but she is dang above that! I didn’t even have a testimony until I met her!
So this week I was sitting eating breakfast and reading through a little dictionary and I got to the word “kofuku” which means happiness. In Japanese there is a couple different was to say the word happy and I was thinking about how I only use the word kofuku when I am talking about the Plan of Salvation or the Plan of Happiness and I had one of those moments where it clicks in your head. I realized this week that Gods plan for us is a plan of happiness. I know I know I’ve been teaching people it for a little over a year but it finally made sense. It’s not the Plan of overwhelmed or inadequate or anything else like that, it is a plan of happiness! Of joy! Tomiko LOVES the Book of Mormon, she has read the bible and felt like something was missing and the first night we gave her a Book of Mormon she read it and knew it was God’s word. She loves how much the BOM focuses on joy. Honestly I never really noticed that until she told me that’s why she loves it. Everyday i read the BOM now all I can see is Joy. We are that we might have joy!

This is one the things I am so thankful I have learned. Yesterday I was feeling really overwhelmed try to get things ready for the baptism and I just felt so crummy. But I realized that it is all Satan, he is such a booger butt! God doesn’t want us to feel that way! So I got to work, sang some hymns, prayed and knew it would all work out. I am thankful for a Heavenly Father that is so patient with such imperfect tools, and I pray I will be able to be patient with others the way he is. We are all just doing our best you know. I think of how many times I’ve thought somebody else needs to work harder or be better or whatever else and I feel bad about it but I am trying to repent and be patient with the weaknesses of myself and others. Isn’t it so nice that we get to keep trying? So thankful for a Savior, so thankful to be able to tell others about him.

He Lives!
Fritchen Shimai

‘Every morning after exercises I just feel like lettuce, shredded.’