Monday, August 5, 2013

I'm Coming Home!

Hey family! So here we are. Last email, I feel like there are big hopes for the last letter so lets see what we can do. It was actually a pretty fast week. Also kinda felt like it was my funeral for a week. No wonder they call going home dying. We had a goal of getting 5 people to come to church this week leveraging my going home and stuff. In order to achieve that we did some interesting things like house around the church and just introduce ourselves as the neighbors and talk (as neighbors as much as we could) neighborly about what happens in that big white building next door. Didn't end up with anyone coming to church but yeah. I felt it was still good. So I guess I will get the depressing stuff out of the way. So today was transfer calls which I have been looking forward to because I was excited to see Elder K get a bean and all that. Well the zone leaders got the call first and so we heard about everyone else first and that was ridiculous. Huge changes! Some we knew about. Majority had no idea and seems to have no idea why. Then we got the call. The Assistant (not president makes these calls which is weird to me) talked to me and.....well yeah. Then it goes to Elder K so we are all excited listening in to hear about his new comp and........*You are being transferred to Oyumino!* There was just perfect silence as we heard that. WHAT THE HECK! Not just that there are no elders come in our place. They killed my companionship. So yeah. This week was fun. We had splits and stuff and then Saturday they want returning missionaries to deep clean their apartments so we spent a day cleaning and packing so that was interesting. This week probably wednesday I will head to Tokyo. Thursday interviews and temple meal with returning missionaries. Friday I meet you guys. After being on a plane forever! So yeah. I feel like I should have more to say but not really. I will talk to you this week anyway so yeah. I guess we will call that good. Love you. See you this week.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Senior Week

Hey family! Second to last letter! Wow! Still not sure if I completely understand that. But nevertheless here we go. So this week was Elder K's "Senior Week" where I handed over the keys and phone and he became the senior companion and saw how it was. The first day he didn't really take it seriously until I chewed him out and told him he was wasting a good opportunity and my time. Ha. I try not to yell at my comps much so I think it made an impact. He did good. Not anything super crazy today but still a good week I guess. Went to various far places and visited people. He also gave away 2 Book of Mormons which he has been wanting to do since he has come out. Ha. I guess it will all work out. This week as you already know from the pictures we had a baptism in Niigata of the zone leaders investigator. He's a good little member. He was a self-referral after reading a members comics that include church doctrine. It was very well attended. We had every missionary in the zone there which is impressive considering how spread out we all are and that they were able to find investigators willing to go so far to see it. It was a good baptism though. Other than the fact that when we all went to the font to see him get baptized our ward mission leader who was baptizing him just looks in and realizes the drain was not all the way on and that the water had drained down to like 2 inches. Ha. Oh well. So they refilled it. And after that all went well. Then lets see. Yesterday was district priesthood meeting so president B was there and it was pretty good. He is actually way good at Japanese. That was the first time I had seen him speak continual Japanese. Oh and we haven't actually been able to get a hold of the investigator on Sado or really the branch presidency either. He was suppose to watch "The Restoration" DVD with the first counselor yesterday but we don't know if that ended up working. Hopefully this week we can skype. That's an interesting calling that the two of you received. Didn't know that calling existed. So we will just keep working hard this week and next week is probably going to end up being very little actual missionary work so we will see.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Third to last

Hey family! Third to last letter, how crazy is that! Still really hasn't occurred to me that it really is almost over. Again another week of nothing too eventful. You would think I would have gotten better at all this writing jazz by now but not really. Hope your guys` trip went well. Mandy definitely has a fun mission area. Ha. To be perfectly honest I don't know what we would do if we all came to Japan together. I would be fun for me just being here but don't know about you guys. Oh well. So lets see. Monday was P-day so that was pretty chillaxed. Also Monday night when we were housing we met this super mean guy that didn't say no but just was way rude about everything. He used a lot of hard Japanese so I ended up passing it to Elder K. Little by little Elder K got irritated and then the guy said the Book of Mormon was just good for firewood(which totally reminded me I think its Moroni that talks about how the actual gold plates are worth nothing, its the record that is off worth) and that may be the closest I have ever seen my companion to punching someone. He was so angry at that point. We ended up stopping there and just biking to the coast and drank "orange juice"(They are like the tiny oranges, I cant remember what they are called in English)(which is the thing Elder K's home "state" is known for). Strange night. Then the next day was splits in Sanjo. Spent most of the day at district meeting, service for the branch president, and seminary. Oh well. We had a BBQ with the branch which was fun. Japanese BBQs and American BBQs are quite different but still good and fun. You probably got some pictures from O-kyodai of that. (How many pictures has that man sent at this point anyway?) And that was basically it. This week the Zone leaders investigator is getting baptized so that will be fun. He's a way good guy, already like a member. Then next Sunday Elder K and I are talking in church, the next week probably bear my testimony in testimony meeting, and the next week report in Sacrament meeting. Wow! Lets see. I got your *You put up the good fight, you have finished the course* letter. It was funny because I read it and then Elder K looked at me and said, *Its a don:t get trunky letter isn:t it?* *No, its a good job, you did it letter* *Did it!? You aren:t done* Then he banned me from reading it and just started mumbling about you after that. It was way funny but it was a very nice letter thank you parents. So I couldn:t get the go ahead with going to Sado weekly so that was too bad. We have gotten things lined up so we can Skype lesson him on Sundays but its getting kinda hard to find time to do it. Also President B has all but told me that missionaries are going to Sado but doesn:t look like it will happen this next transfer. Therefore another like 8 weeks. Sigh. Nothing you can do I guess. So I guess thats it. Until next week.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Hello family, there are only a few of these reports left aren't there. This week had it slow and boring parts and its fun and exciting parts. No one wants to hear about the slow parts so yay for sharing the exciting parts. So the first one was Monday night. I was finally able to eat dinner with a member I have always wanted to. Brother Yoshida! Why do you ask? One sentence. The man translated the Book of Mormon into Japanese! No he is not Alma O Taylor but he did the big rehaul of the Book of Mormon back in the day. He is awesome! Way funny too. We spent the night eating delicious food and talking about his adventures in translating and other crazy things he did. Its just not a normal conversation when you hear people say, “When I was translating as Pres. Hinckley dedicated the Fukuoka Temple...” But also just plain funny things like, “So you know the whole, ‘I Nephi being born of goodly parents...’scripture?” “Of course”“Its actually ‘I COMMA Nephi’” “Ok?” “We spent a day trying to figure out how to translate that comma. Turns out it doesn't mean anything” And for the record, “This is my beloved son, hear him” Also apparently took a day to translate. So that was fun. Then on our way home got a call from an unknown number which is always kinda fun as a missionary. It turned out to be a member of the Sado branch's branch presidency. After expressing pleasantries “So.....I want you to come to Sado this week” turns out one of the Old investigators we visited last time has started coming to church and he wanted him to hear the lessons again. So that led us to yesterday when we met the man. I-san. He came to church and it was wonderful. He is a very private, quiet man but I like him. We did a lesson with him just to figure out how much interest he has and he actually has quiet a bit. Already believes in God and Jesus Christ and apparently he had a baptism date until his older sister and mom were against it. We’re still not sure how we will teach him but we will find the way. Especially after his prayer. He gave one of the most sincere prayers I have heard an investigator give let alone a first lesson investigator. Asking for the power to change himself for the better and that his sister and mom and recognize that change and accept it. Way cool. So yay for new investigator. Other than that not a whole lot to report. Rest of the week was fairly boring. Got my going home packet from Tokyo which included flight plans, still haven't checked it with the others but probably the same, way crazy that its so close. Cant believe it. Other than that not a whole lot to report. I:m sure you already realized this but as of.....well yesterday for you. I have been a missionary for 2 years! Crazy right! This little while will just fly by I think. I will probably email you later today when I can look at both of the flight plans to tell you if they are the same. Probably are. Get home at like 5 or something. Sounds like you all have a fun week. Keep having fun. Well thats all for this week.

Laptops and Google Maps

So this was quite the week. I feel like there is a lot to say but also not sure what to say but I will do my best. So Monday was the day of doom, we became Tokyo mission. There could be heard wailing and gnashing of teeth as the Niigata zone missionaries woke up. Then we just went about our day normally which included a nap which was WAY nice! Anyway we headed to the church that night. I had my interview with President B which was fine, he is VERY different than president R, much more business man. And then from there I tried to leave to go out and work but the assistants had already learned too much so they told me to set up all the laptops before I left. After 5 minutes I had it all over. So time for me to nerd out here. So we have these pretty old laptops that are falling apart which is basically what I expected and of course they gave our zone the garbage. Then they have 4G Mobile HotSpots (I said nerd out right?) So put simply they pump through money like no ones business. Anyway. That made it for Monday. Oh and President B basically told me Elder K is training next transfer, there are so many missionaries coming and only a few Japanese missionaries to begin with. Poor K-choro.But anyway. So the next day was zone conference which turned out to be different than I expected. It was basically the same 6 hour talk that they give new missionaries coming in. Which I think is kinda brutal to make them go through but is fine because they have minds for molding. When you take in another mission you cant treat them like new missionaries because, well they aren't. I realize normally the senior comp teaches a lot of the practical stuff but that's not the luxury we have here. Up until now there has been no districts in Tokyo mission, this is their first one and I don't think they quite understand. When Elder M went to Tokyo for meetings this week he said President B was in awe of the stats. No babies, basically no Aaronic priesthood, 4 member branches, etc. Sigh. Anyway life goes on. The joke that I always tell Elder K when he is complaining about something is, "well I go home in a month so..." he never finds it funny. :-) The rest of the week was super humid and rainy, I miss my arid Utah. Feels like we have spent the whole week wet. I also ended up teaching Eikaiwa alone because all the other missionaries were in Tokyo for meetings. Oh yeah and then the new sister that came with me to Niigata got suddenly transferred to a spanish branch(yep, Tokyo has those) because she can speak spanish. Met again with H-san. Again he came to the lesson whiskey in hand and as we were kinda chatting before the lesson he told us he had looked up the church online and he asked us if we really didn't drink alcohol. So the lesson changed to Word of Wisdom. By the end up the lesson he said he would rather go to the Terrestrial kingdom than give up his whiskey. How depressing is that! His real problem is he has no faith so to be honest he has no reason to follow. He thinks that drinking alcohol is perfectly healthy. We will give him a little more time considering he is the only thing we got right now as far as investigators go. The laptops are cool. There is only one in our apartment so its kinda a pain to try have 4 people use. K-choro doesn:t even touch it. Yesterday I was showing him how to work on the online area book (I seriously wanted to shout halleluah when I heard that existed) and he told me that it was the first time he had touched that computer. It isn:t as stripped down as I thought it would be but still....yeah. Although I was able to put all the LAs and Active members on a Google map within like 15 minutes of work which we had been planning to put pins in a map we have on the wall for awhile but it would have been like a 72 hour project and this map you click the marker and it shows you all the details about that member. I:m kinda super prideful of it. Just saying. Yesterday we went home teaching with the district president who may have become my favorite member. He is way funny. He was talking about these mission meetings that he will need to go to from now on and he was talking about how the mission president, stake presidents, temple president, etc will all be there. All old men with there big old man glasses on and then the way he explained it it sounded like he would be in the corner kicked back in his chair as the 35 year old punk kid and as he put it *Keyless* *everyone has keys but me!* Ha. probably his favorite phrase. *I don:t have keys* We were praise him for being such a great leader and he would respond with *Its easy. Branch president is hard, they have keys!* Ha. I feel like I will use him in a talk someday when I need to talk about priesthood keys. Just not quite sure what I:m suppose to learn from his talk. Well talk to you next week

Monday, July 1, 2013

From the Sendai Mission into the Tokyo Mission

Hello family! How was all of your peoples week!? So this week marked the last week as part of the Sendai Mission so as of today we are officially Tokyo mission. As always it feels like I didn't get that much accomplished this week. We tried to visit a billion LAs but a lot of them were not home and some had moved. Its been a while since I have met an actual LA when visiting them randomly without an appointment. Not sure what to do if I actually met one. So transfers got a little more interesting with one of the third transfer sisters here suppose to become trainer as of President R's transfer call, but then all these things happened without hearing any details and that sister got transferred out and the other set of sisters in Niigata got another bean. Crazy. In the Sendai mission every sister but two is in a three-some with two of those three as new missionaries. This last transfer also opened up like three areas with new types of missionaries (elders going to sister only areas and vice-versa). The work moves on. From there there is not too much to report. Tonight we have interviews with President B and then tomorrow is the zone conference with Tokyo. We have gotten a call from the Tokyo assistants and that was weird. The broadcast, well last week for you but yesterday for us, yesterday was awesome. If you didn't watch it, you should. Church is moving forward with this missionary work thing. Way cool. I'm already an old style missionary with moving forward with internet missionary work and the such. Should be a busy week so well see how it goes. That's crazy with the iPads with the new missionaries. I really feel since yesterday when we watched that broadcast that I am already an obsolete missionary. Already too old, throw him out, bring in the new type. I should be excited and I kinda am but kinda don't like it a lot too. Church comes out and says that the way we are doing missionary work right now won't work but that's all I've got and all I have done. I know it hasn't been a waste but still. I hope you get what I'm trying to say.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Final time with President and Sister R

Hey family! How are all of you this day! So this week has been a busy one. Started off Monday getting ready for zone conference and the FHE that night. Before FHE I had a temple recommend interview with president which was interesting. He used the phrase, "This isnt your final interview but if it were I would say...." and then say something to me. It was nice to have that time with president. He gave me my "white book" which has all my returning stuff. So yeah. That was sad to know it was the last one but yeah. From there we ate together and just had a jolly old time. We had various musical numbers. It was interesting to sing our, Ill go where you want me to go with the version that Sister Stubbs made because it was kinda sad but the last verse was sweet. Then we had ice cream which went to like 9:40. Then the next day was zone conference. That went well I think. I was put in the translation position which was basically all Japanese to English. I have secretly always wanted to do the translation but yeah. Man is that harder than it looks. Its not that I dont understand them it just that its hard to listen and speak at the same time, let alone put it in naturally sounding English. Oh well, we had the area doctors there and they were very nice about my translation. Its kinda funny because I knew who was wearing the headsets so I could play with them. Mostly Sister Rasmussen. President always set me up good when he would talk about his wife. She knows he is talking about her but not what he is saying so her reactions are very delayed. I also had my "Last Testimony" which was kindof an erry experience. Especially since I still remember my first zone conference in that same building over a year and a half ago with my zone leader giving his last testimony. We gave President and Sister and R a book we put together of pictures of us and little notes to them. Then it was over. Then president and sister R stood up in the front and said they wanted to shake hands with and hug us. Kinda a strange feeling. Thankfully I have mothers emotions so no crying from me. Strangely the biggest tomboy sister I have ever met, Sister S, just lost it. She just hugged Sister R for like 3 minutes straight crying into her shoulder. A touching sight. Then we cleaned up and everyone left, as I walked out of the church and I looked back and waved goodbye to President and Sister R for the last time and that was it, I dont know the next time I will see them. The rest of the week was more uneventful than the rest. We got passed an investigator for the sisters. He is a man so they try not to teach men and they gave him to us. Hes an interesting guy. His name is Hさん. Now the whole lesson I thought his name was H. Very unfortunate name I thought but oh well. Still find his name very dangerous to say. We still arent sure why he is meeting with us. He absolutely LOVES beer. As he walked into the lesson he was finishing a beer and we had hardly said "amen" in the closing prayer before he opened a new one. And this lesson was at 11:30. The Word of Wisdom will be fun. Yesterday at church Brother S from Aizu came to Niigatas church. He is the first counselor in the mission presidency and so he is making the rounds but it was nice to meet him one last time. He even mentioned Elder K and I in his talk as the miracles of missionary work because we could actually speak Japanese now. Ha. This week doesnt have anything too crazy. Next week will be the interesting one. Monday night we have interviews with President B, the next day is another zone conference where we are to put up to speed on what Tokyo is all about. Then Friday is zone training meeting. Oh and this Sunday is a satelite broadcast from somewhere at the Niigata church so that means Joetsu the farthest area in our zone will come three times to Niigata. Probably going to cost them over 200 dollars. Yay for effciency! Oh and today was transfer calls. Of course no changes to me but some of the people of the zone escaped the switch to Tokyo and a few more new missionaries are being thrown into TOkyo three days after coming to the Sendai mission.

The Bullet Train

Hello family.So we end another busy week. Unfortunately it wasnt so busy in the ways I would like it to be. Tuesday we went to Sanjo for district meeting which was not that exciting until we came home. So in my apartment above my desk is my bucket list pertaining to my life as a missionary. One of the things was to go to Sado. Checked off last week. Another was to ride the shinkansen, or as you would know it as, the bullet train. So we took that back and it was way fast and smooth and 13 minutes ha. But it was a good experience. We tried to focus more on finding a new investigator this week which didn't end up with any results so the end of the week our numbers looked like crap. Also worked a lot on this Excel spreadsheet of all the members in Niigata and organizing them in such a way as we can use it better. Let it be known that I may have not really touched a computer in two years but I still dislike Microsoft. I have wanted to run my head into the wall a thousand times working on that although this week we talked with the Elders Quorum president and he asked me if I could make excel do something and oh how that became a problem. You dont challenge me to something like that. Although I realized how much I miss free use of the internet. In the end I wasnt able to do it but yeah. Other than that really nothing interesting this week. I had a good birthday. K長老 took me out to dinner and I received 3 cakes, and all that jazz. Even some crappy singing of Happy Birthday made it feel like home. Kinda funny presents. Tie and "P-day shirt", you do realize we wear normal missionary clothes on p-day right? But I could feel the love and to be honest, no offense to you mother, but I really was impressed with your tie choice, I really like that tie. So yeah. Tonight is our family home evening with president and sister R. And before that K長老 and I each have 45 minute interviews with president for our temple recommends. Either he thinks we are big sinners or he is going to use it as an opportunity to give us a "pre-final interview" since he wont be there for the real one, half excited, half terrified. So that shall be fun. So we will keep working. This week is zone conference so that shall be fun. The last zone conference. And then it will just e back to the old grind. It will be interesting to see how the switch off of missions is going to be. I thought it might be a little hectic but as things are going now we are just going to become an island at that point. We have heard zero about the switch over. I guess there is not much to say. Im assuming President B will come do a zone conference type thing real quick to introduce us to Tokyo mission and meet the assistants and stuff. Then after that basically going to tokyo to end the mission. Shall be interesting. So I hope all is well with you guys. Talk to you later.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Blind Soccer

Really no time today so no time to fix mistakes. Hello people of the Americas and people living on other other continents. Another week is behind us. It was an interesting week more than I would call it a exciting week but whatever works. We did various things. FHE with members and visiting a ton of LAs. Anyway. Elder K found his first potential investigator which was nice. I think it may have helped his faith some. Had zone training meeting which was nice not to have to stress about and just sit and listen. Also funny how small this zone is. Ok this is where it gets interesting. This gets us to Saturday. So since I got here I have been talking back and forth with this lady and trying to get our two schedules to meet. Well anyway we finally were able to get a time together on Saturday. Well the first thing that was weird was that she wanted to meet at a shrine but she is a female so we would have to meet outside anyway so we agreed to this. Well most shrines are inside but this one wasn't. So we go into this building and they give us visitor passes and we are walked through this place with a ton of incense buring and people meditating in the hall and lots of statues. So she explains her religions basic beliefs and talks about how you can be any religion and also her religion at the same time which makes no sense to me. Anyway, I was about ready to leave when she sat us down in this normal room and asked us what we believe and of course I cant pass up this so we gave her the 10 minute version of the restoration and she already has the Book of Mormon so yeah. And my goodness and then on the way out they gave us little care packages. And their book of doctrine in English. Then we went to the welfare center and played Blind Soccer which is exactly what it sounds like, playing soccer with no sight. First strange thing is that no one at blind soccer was actually blind. So this is how it works. You put a blind fold on and the soccer ball has like rock sounding things inside so it rattles when it rolls and then you have a seeing person who yells from behind the net to tell you where to go. Sounds hard right? Now try doing it with half your hearing gone in one ear! Actually surprisingly I could do it. Do I think the broken ear made it harder, yes but I still have directional abilities. And actually the majority of the time we helped the official Niigata team practice for their tournament next week so we were allowed to see. Way interesting though. Then finally yesterday. It was on my list of things to do before I went home and I did it. We went to Sado. That would be the island off of Niigata's coast. We woke up and 4;30, left the port at 6, arrived at 8;30, Took a bus and got to the church at 9. Adventure, right!? It was way interesting though. There were a total of 6 people there including the two of us and one non-member. They all have to give talks like every other week so they were way excited when we came and made us give talks. Sado is amazing though. Way beautiful, cool members, and goodish dendo. Kinda has always been a joke in this mission but way awesome. They have three or four potential investigators here. Thats more than I have in Niigata. So after church we just went around with the first councilor and we visited LAs and PIs and all that jazz. Way fun. So that kinda does it for this week. I got the birthday package this week so thanks for that. Still haven't opened the wrapped stuff but used some of the other stuff to celebrate Elder K's B-day which was yesterday. We will try to make it a fun day.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Learning Nepalese in Japan

Hello family! How are you all today? Its been a so-so week here in Niigata. I know you love it when I have nothing to report but at this point I have nothing to report. We did various things this week. Since Elder K is a new missionary I have been using that to my advantage of having members have us come over and let us role play with them, especially since we have no investigators as of now. I have done these role plays in various other areas but by far here is the most interesting. Apparently the members here have done role plays with missionaries so much that they have grown tired of the normal ones and now just take the weird personalities and we go from there. Yes there are these type of people out there but I'm not sure they are "those that will receive you" Fun stuff. This week was our first taste of the rainy season. We had two days of rain this week which is always rough. You either choose to get soaked from the outside in, or the inside out. You you decide to wear rain gear you sweat a ridiculous amount. Gives me the heebee jeebees just thinking about it. But the last few days have been nice. Also a super random thing this week was the ridiculous amount of Nepalese people we met. Of all places you would think to meet them Japan wasn't one of them but there are a ton of them here and I'm still not sure why. I ask but they say they are here learning the language, why learn the language? To go to school. Now realize these people can basically all speak Nepalese, Hindi, and English fluently, couldn't they go somewhere where they don't need to learn a fourth language. Just seems they cause more stress than they need. But oh well, they are very nice, but busy people. We also started biking out to some of the farther areas in our area which has been fun because Elder Kondo played a lot of soccer before coming out so he can actually keep up pretty well when we bike but when we come home he just collapses on his futon and is out like a light. Apparently hes not quite used to it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Figuring the Niigata area out

Hello family! So how is everyone today? So here's the thing. Today we would have had time even with the 8 people on the computer but A sister invited us to lunch in 30 minutes and well.....yeah. So I will have to make this short but although you people think you are being cut super short on these letters I really am not cutting them that short. I really don:t have that much to say, I realize I should but yeah. Not really. So as for the area. This week went by way fast and it felt like we got nothing done. Seems like everyday there is not enough time to get things done. A lot of stuff is just getting consistently put on the the back burner and that back burner is getting pretty full at this point. Technically I am not the district leader because our district is 10 people and the district leader is in a different area but yeah. There are 8 missionaries just in this area so yeah it takes a lot of doing to keep everyone working effectively. And there are also almost 600 members in this area with every week 60-70 coming so you can see there is somewhat of a crazy balance there so I have also taken it upon myself to sort out the ones that don:t need to be dealt with right now and try to get some of these people to come back soon. Still no investigators. The guy that came to church we still haven't gotten in contact with. Last week we had two old investigator lessons planned but one out of my stupidity didn't work out and the other was a high school student who never showed. This week as of this moment no lessons are planned. We will try to pull something together though. Also probably the most embarrassing moment of my mission we went to visit an LA member and he wasn't home so we talked to his dad for a bit then left and the next day in missionary coordination meeting there seems to always be new random people that sit in. Then we explained what happened with this LA and the ward mission leader just chuckled. Looked over at one of the brothers sitting in who also had a funny look on his face and said, "So......why weren't you home? And why are you *LA* anyway?" Then he looked at us and said, "I realize I don:t come every week but come on." Yep. Hes active, very active but on our sheet in the apartment he is not marked as active. Super embarrassing. I kinda wanted to die. We had splits which was fine. Also I really wanted to ride the bullet train there but just didn't work out. Maybe I will ride it to district meeting in two weeks down there. It actually takes more time because you end up shooting past the city and then have to take another train back to the city that he lives in but it might be worth it for the experience. Lets see. Not much time left and not much to say. By the way does Sister O email you in English? You will probably be getting soon another email with pictures because we ate with them last night. And yes members bring us food every week. Good stuff. They are way nice. Well I guess we will end with that. Not that short is it! yay for me. Love you, until next week. email you in English? You will probably be getting soon another email with pictures because we ate with them last night. And yes members bring us food every week. Good stuff. They are way nice. Well I guess we will end with that. Not that short is it! yay for me. Love you, until next week.

Monday, May 20, 2013

White washing Niigata

So 8 missionaries on one computer is a disaster so I typed this on my electronic dictionary so at least you have something. Hey family! How have you been this week? So its been kinda a long week this week. Kinda still feels a lot like running around with my head cut off. Still dont know what I'm doing in this area but yeah. We have been working pretty good this last week visiting a number of members and a few LAs. Trying some finding considering we are starting from nothing. We have had some good blessings. This week and next week we already have a number of appointments with members so that should be good. Then also this week while housing we met a guy that we were able to set up an appointment with for yesterday which he ended up having to do something else in place of the lesson so we invited him to church and believe it or not he came! I was a little shocked but glad. The gospel principles teacher definitely was trying to make him feel involved which in the end was a bit stressful because I think she was focussing a little too much on him. Then apparently he has a business trip so doesnt know when he will be able to meet next. So that part was too bad. Other than that I dont know what to report. Never really do. Had some good things this week, had some not so fun things, had a member sing "Love Potion No. 9" to me in English, had an old man at a old folks home we were doing service at call me names so yeah....pretty normal week. So there you go, thats the report for today.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Big Changes! Transfer to Niigata

So yeah, eventful week here. We started it off with doing 4 splits this week! Talk about awesome planning! Holy cow I kinda wanted to kill myself. Spending that much time running around and taking care of these people was kinda super busy. But we ended up doing splits with everyone that we needed to do splits with and even attending every district meeting we had to. So yeah. That's always fun. But, yeah because of that, or maybe even though that happened our results stunk! Lets see. That cool you met W choro. He was pretty good at Japanese himself.....he never worked with me in Yokote. Then of course transfers. Holy cow is this transfer crazy! So many new missionaries there are crazy things going down. "H" choro is going Zone Leader! A lot of people you wouldn't think were going to train are training and even white-washing areas. Then you have me. First I guess I should explain this for the person that doesn't keep their eyes on mission boundaries changes. So last year with the 58 or whatever new missions they created in the world one of them was in Japan. That is the Tokyo South mission. Now they don't just split Tokyo into two. They also take some from either side. Now I didn't know this until recently but apparently Niigata prefecture has been the ball that is passed between Sendai mission and Tokyo mission since Sendai has been made. But anyway. The new borders are taking Niigata prefecture out of the mission. So this means any missionaries in that area at the time of the split will move missions from Sendai to Tokyo. So I didn't think this would touch me and I have known for months. Well in interviews president told me that I would be white-washing Niigata with a new missionary. So the minimum time you are with a new missionary is 2 transfers, 3 month, which brings me to the end of my mission and past the deadline for mission switch. Crazy stuff indeed. So this week I have the new version of Zone leader council (but now has sisters) and then zone training meeting, then the next day training to be a trainer and then pick up my new Japanese bean-chan and head down to Niigata. I would be lying if I didn't say at times it feels like I like a lamb going off to the slaughter. It will make sense in time. I hope. All these things happen for a reason. Its funny to have read all of your letters with the idea I'm leaving Sendai mission. Well love you. Talk to you next week. Bye.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Allegory of the Bonsai tree

So yeah! As always a busy week this week. So I guess I will get the information out first. I don't know if this is how it actually happened but what I heard is that President R has a Mission President seminar in two weeks and that was also transfers so he called the church and said he wouldn't be going and they didn't like him not going so they said they would send his new missionaries a week early and so yeah. This transfer became a 5 week transfer which means, yes if you are counting them, next Monday is transfer calls. I don't know. I kinda feel like I'm out of here because as you said I have been here for awhile and well. I sure don't want to be transfered with only one transfer left. That would stink. So yeah. Then next transfer is 7 weeks so it will all even out with my coming home date. But yeah that was a big news cast. Lets see what else. This week was splits with the assistants which were fun and we visited "W"-kyodai which ended up going well. Gave him a Book of Mormon and the 2011 October Ensign (The one about the Book of Mormon) so he could brush up on the church. Sure hope he will read it. And possibly the proudest commitment of my mission; I committed him to read Jacob 5 about the Bonsai trees. ;-) Who commits a recent convert to read that!? This guy! Ha. Our ward mission leader lost it when I told him that during our coordination meeting. When he composed himself he just said, "Well it might be crazy enough to work" I think it will. He didn't seem so keen on reading the book of mormon but when I explained that it talked about tending trees he just responded with "Ok I'll read it" Score! What else. Went to Furukawa because they were having their first district meeting as the furukawa district after the split of districts. That went well I guess. Nice to be back in that church. After almost a month of not meeting we were able to meet with O-san. Hes been way busy with school and it doesn't look like it will lighten up any more. Way too bad. But he's coming to help us move a couple in our ward this next week so that shall be good. That man is a saint. Today we have a lesson with a new investigator (at least we expect she will become a new investigator) so that shall also be good. If we get this one it will be 1 new investigator for 3 weeks in a row! Yes I'm sure thats probably even embarassing for Mandy and Steven but its kinda a miracle in this mission. Especially lately! Love u bye

Monday, April 22, 2013

A long, quick week

Whoops. Sent that in two emails. Well I know you love getting emails like this but I have no time today. We had zone p-day today which was fun. Went bowling and then had kind of an iron chef type thing where everyone brought food and we ate it to see who's was the best, ended up being basically just a pot luck which was also cool. Then a lesson with a part member family which her husband now is officially an investigator. Then last night one of the sisters in the next area over was checked into the hospital for who knows what but basically I think it was like the flu or something and they were just worried because she couldn't keep food down and would get dizzy so they wanted her on an IV which ends up being at the hospital. But yeah. So we went there (FAR!!!) to give surprise her and give her a blessing. I had to bite my lip because when I asked for her first name she said it and it sounds like "Oolala" like "that girl is cute Oolala" Strange. But I think her companion and her and the member that was staying with them really appreciated it. She was suppose to get out tonight but doesn't look like she will. But yeah. Other things this week. Feels like a long long week. Ha. I feel like I feel the opposite of all of you. We had some good things happen this week but also a lot of appointments fell through so that was a bummer. Oh well. Lets see what else. Visited "W"kyodai with "N"-choro. That ended up being pretty good. It basically is what we had hoped, turned into two old men talking about the past like they do. Helped our ward mission leader move from one building to the house next door. Strange move but good. Then as a new technique we tried going to this Japanese class at the international center which we have tried before but didn't work very well. But this time it worked out way well! We ended up just teaching the teacher about the restoration for an hour and a half. She ended up not really wanting to learn more and was quite set in her ways but she thanked us for the discussion we were able to have which doesn't happen in normal contacts. Other than that not much new. Sorry it is again short. Hope all is well with you peeps.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Service and Seaweed in Ishinomaki

Hey family. Wow was last week a ridiculously busy week. Every day was jam packed with stuff. Started with Monday calling a bunch of people to get all our stuff in order for service. Tuesday visiting Broth Wako and going to the mission home. Wednesday Mission Leadership Council which was interesting. It used to be Zone Leader Council but as you may have heard the church made a new position in the missionary heirarchy. Sister Training Leader. So we now have sisters as leaders too. No one really knows what they actually do. For the time being president has just made up their role. Oh well. Then the next day was zone training meeting which was good. A lot more lively with U choro there. He is a very energetic person. Then Friday we went to Ishinomaki for service. That was a lot of fun because its been awhile since we have done service. It was a little different this time though. Instead of cleaning stuff up and such, we actually just worked their jobs. So I learned a lot more about seaweed then I ever cared to know and I never want to see it again in my life. Ha. Oh the stories to tell about those seaweed and the crazy things that happen to them. Then general conference which we were thankfully able to listen to in English. Then on the bus for service it was scary because we had the MC the whole time which president didn't want everyone to sleep so we planned a bunch of activities and such to do but yeah. Ended up talking to president for about an hour about the zone and he told me a lot of the upcoming transfers and gave me power to split a district when I felt it needed to be done and a lot of other unknown details we talked about. Kinda freaked me out to see how much he trusts us. In just this week its been ridiculous how much I have heard from him which I have known I can't tell people. But yeah. Ok so lastly mothers day calls. So this time we got permission to Skype which looks like it will work out with the church computer. So I need your skype details and we need to plan a time and all that jazz but yay for skype! So thats the details of that. Talk to you later. Love you bye.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week of Miracles

So this week have been good. Just getting used to the new companion and such. He is like the complete opposite of O-choro. He's funny, he is way good at english. Lets see. This week there is like no time. Today P-day will be preparing for Friday which is service we are doing in Ishinomaki. Tuesday night we go to the mission home. Wednesday we have zone leader council, zone leader council activity, planning for zone training meeting, and eikaiwa (Yeah I kinda freaked out on O choro when he called to tell us that we would be doing all of that on that day) Thursday zone training meeting, a lesson, weekly planning, FHE. Friday service. Saturday General conference. Sunday General Conference. Sigh. Just getting tired typing it. Anyway. Wasn't all bad though. Below is what I wrote to president and I figured you would enjoy. So this week was full of miracles. I will tell you the two biggest. So as part of Bishop F's vision of missionary work in Kamisugi he wants us to visit members a ridiculous amount and even if they are not there leave a message. Also with Elder U just coming I felt like it was a good opportunity to introduce him to some of the members. So we went to the "H" familys home who the mom is never home because she is always busy but even meeting the kids would be good. Well by some miracle the mom was home. She told us that she had a friend over so I saw this going downhill quickly but after leaving for a second she came back and said that her friend told us to come inside and rest for a minute. Well we didnt want to hurt her feelings so we came inside and over a glass of mugicha were able to exchange pleasantries with her and from that that led to talking about how she went to Ishinomaki eikaiwa 20 years ago and heard some of the lessons which even "H"姉妹 was surprised about. Which then led to her talking about how she had had some worries about after a death recently. We explained that that was why we are here, to teach people about stuff like that. She said she was busy during April getting her kids in school and such but to please come teach her in May. "H"姉妹 offered to take us to her house and she told us her address and phone number before we had a chance to even ask. As we were leaving her friend added that she hoped her son (maybe 5 years old) would some day become a missionary. Then yesterday in sacrament meeting H姉妹 shared about that experience and about having always felt good about that friend but never knowing how to proceed with her and also about her never being home at that time but God knowing she was home at that time. How cool is that! The second miracle has to do with someone I may have mentioned before. "W"兄弟. He is one of the less actives that the ward council has picked to especially work with. And I learned that "T"兄弟 who is the one that actually picked his name has actually never even met him. But anyway as you may have already heard from the assistants we have been trying to look for someone from the time he got baptized because we thought that would help him and might be able to work through those memories to help him remember why he was baptized. So O-choro and I had joked about maybe N-choro would know him because he dendoed here a long time ago. So apparently O-choro just directly asked N-choro and not only did he know him he had taught him and done his baptism mensetsu. What are the odds? Luck? Not likely. Perfectly heaven sent guidance! We talked with I-kyodai about it at DCS. We probably wouldn't be working so much with W-kyodai if he wasn't on this list because from what I heard of his past visits they weren't anything special. But through him being on the list we have decided to put more time toward working towards him and we are seeing the results now. Still just a start and we need to work with Noonchester-choro from this point to find a time we can visit him. I'm excited though.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tom and Jerry

So lets see what we can talk about today. So lets start with the most exciting parts of this week, today! Today was transfer calls . So this time it effects me. Elder O is going up to the honbu to be assistant, and I'm going to get a companion by the name of U-choro. He's a good guy, he was in my district last year and is probably a little more than a year into the mission. 8 people changing in the zone, 4 beans coming in. One set of missionaries "white-washing" (both will be new to the area) so lot happening in the zone. Other than that nothing too much exciting about transfers, kinda dont know whats going to happen to me after this transfer but as father loves to say, "theres going to be some changes around here" Two new district leaders will also cause this. Its going to be rough though honestly O-choro has been doing a lot of the work for the last 3 transfers. So lets see what else there is this week. This week was focused on lots of LAs(less active). Well at least thats where the majority of our success is. We were able to do a lesson with an LA that we havent been able to before. And our 20 year old that has hated the church his whole life made some progress this week. Maybe its the crazy person inside us that makes us want to work so hard for him but when someone tells you, "You will never become happy as a Mormon" it peaks your interest. So this week he took us to his house which was an important step. I feel like we were be friends in "real life" too. He's quite the nerd and the thing that got him to like us was doing riddles or mind exercises with him. Which brings me to my request. If anyone has simple but interesting puzzles like that send me an email and let me know, kinda how we get more appointments with him. But from there we talked about why we are here and how we think he's just misinformed so he thinks he will never be happy. O-choro went LA about the same time that he did and became active at about the age this guy is now so they were able to talk about that. Possibly the best LA lesson I have ever seen and I didnt do any of it. It always seems like doing the opposite of missionary things works the best. Complimenting a man's tattoos, telling an LA how much you hated church, lighting a man's cigarette. Very interesting. Also did super short splits with the assistants (2 hours) which basically consisted of one lesson and then chatting about the zone. It was interesting because it was E-choros previous investigator so led the discussion. The joint and I were just laughing the whole time. I think O-san put it best when at the end he explained the day's lesson as an episode of Tom and Jerry with E-choro as the cat and O-san as the mouse. I think it was really good for him though. We also visited with a referral that the assistants found and invited him to church. He is a Chinese guy and he knows very little Japanese. He just knows single words so that was way interesting but he came to church the next day because he sits down and then O-san comes later and as he sits down he is just eyeing K-san until I say, "Yes he's Chinese" and so he explained what was happening in church in Chinese to him. Its way interesting to talk to chinese people because when they dont understand you write it out and they can get the jist of it. Like we invited him to church but he couldnt figure out where we wanted him to go until we pulled off our name tag and pointed to the part that says church. So thats basically it for the week. Talk to you all later.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Nice to go "home" to Furukawa

Hey family! Whats up? So lets report on another week! So we started off the week with heading to Furukawa which I was way excited for. I felt like a little kid looking out the window of the train as it came into sight. We had some extra time that night so we tried to visit an old investigator too but didn't work out cause they weren't home. It was a new experience for sure. Biking down the road and knowing exactly where to go and who we were visiting and such. Also some sweet vindication visiting some of these people that I tried so hard to get lessons with and coming back a year later to tell them they couldn't escape! Also visited to members which was way cool and definitely makes you feel loved when they see you and they just freak out with excitement. Apparently I was loved back there. Although I didn't get a chance to meet "T"-shimai (The baptism right after I left). But it was fun. The visiting authority was an adventure. Was a lot more running around than with the presiding bishop because there were a lot more moving parts; none of the least of which was making sure we were going to have lunch prepared by the relief society. But it was a good meeting. He is orginally a Korean guy so that was too bad but its a lot different having your area president come visit because he knows a lot more about us and what we go through so that was cool. Actually one of the better feelings I had about a general authority coming. The highlight because it was just hilarious and none of the Japanese elders understood it because it was in fast crazy English but we had a question and answer portion and so one of the elders wanted him to explain the vision of Eikaiwa since the area presidency changed it. So he goes through on how it hasn't really changed which was weird because it has. Then president, trying to help, adds. "I think what he is asking is since we don't share a spiritual message and don't pray..." to which he gets cut off "NO! We pray! We are a church and we will pray if you use our building."Ha. It became quite the thing. But anyway, it all ended well. This next transfer is ridiculous with missionaries coming. The onslaught of sister comes about June. So yeah So have a good week. Talk to you later.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Excited for Splits in Furukawa

Hey family. What up? So busy week this week......well kinda. Lets see. I felt like there was a lot I left out of last weeks email but I cant really remember what. We had a baptism here this last Saturday. "N". He's from Canada and is fluent in French, English, and basically fluent in Japanese. Been in Japan for 6 years and makes apps for a living(Hence I never talk with him because I know I couldn't focus at that point). But it went well. Lots of people came to the baptism including "S"-san the self-referral from around Christmas that we passed to Izumi. It was nice to see him and he seems to be doing well with going to church and all that jazz. Also was interesting because they said the baptism prayer and he was confirmed in English which I'm not sure they ever got permission except from me. Ha. But it was for Nicolas more than it is for the members so I was all for it. He gets the priesthood next week. Ok so mother you can't get mad at this comment but it made me laugh because it shocked me at the bluntness. So after the baptism president came to watch and he walks up to me and says, "....Elder Carter.....come by the honbu someday and we can get you some new white shirts......this one has seen better days." Ha. Now don't be sending me white shirts mother! There are about a billion and a half cheaper and better ways to get them here but it was way funny. It got better because I think he felt guilty after for saying it because he kept coming up to me after and saying things like, "Its just cause you are working so hard in it." "You're strong, you know I don't have anything against you" etc. I didn't really care. I told him I would take them to get dry cleaned and he seemed to agree that that would probably be good enough. Good stuff. Then this week we have the Ringwood choro conference. Elder Ringwood is our Area president so we are pretty excited about it. Its not a mission conference but still. Half the mission will come to our meeting. Its going to end up being a lot of prep by us but oh well. The poor Relief society is making 70 meals. What else. Tonight we are going to Furukawa for splits tomorrow. I'm way excited to work there again. I may just plan it myself. I think N choro is excited too because its always fun to work with someone that has been in the area before because they have a lot of crazy ties and can work with members but also are only there for a day so they can be bold. Yep, way excited. Other than that not a whole lot going on. As for my language skills being "as like it is my native language" I'm basically convinced that the fulfillment of that prophesy is that I just won't be able to speak English either. Still not good at this language. Abby knows the word "place" thats impressive. Baby A bosses the dog around, just a matter of time. Hope you all have a good week.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Hello family. I feel like this week was a busy week so lets see if I can find stuff to write about. Ok so I totally forgot to tell you about Bishop D. Well there is not a whole lot to talk about but yeah. He gave a nice little talk on temples and prophets at the member meeting. The poor AP got roped into translating the Japanese into English for the Americans there. Then the missionary meeting was nice. The bulk of the talking was by president and he didn't even talk that long. Elder Y and Bishop D didn't even talk. They just walked up together and said, "Lets do question and answer". Then lets see. Tuesday was our zone leader council activity the day before the actual zone leader council which occurred to me is actually not a church thing. So they have been trying to have us avoid the simple robotic things so we have done LA stuff, straight training, riding a subway, etc. So this time it was something called "Losting" which I would like to point out I invented. Basically the idea was that they would drive us around the city then at random places tell us to get out and then we have to get home by talking to people. Anyway so they start dividing everyone up for the splits of the activity and everyone gets matched up and I don't have a partner.....strange. Then the assistant looks at me and says,"And Elder Carter with be with President" ha ha ha. Funny. Except he was serious. Like I want to do splits with president!? Ha. So we drop everyone off and then we head out from the church as he is leaning over and saying stuff like, "I'm going to do nothing" "I'm just a junior companion" etc. This doesn't help. Just adds to the stress. So we walk down the street and I think, "Well might as well say 'Good evening' to everyone" so I start to do that and thats still not getting me anywhere then I see a lady walking two little pugs. Well I can work with that. So they try to attack me which is perfect. I call them cute and what lady can resist you when you compliment her dogs so I pet them and ask her where she is walking to and she answers with "You are people from that church over there" "Yep" "My friend is an alcoholic and I told him to go there(Side note she used a very condescending way of saying 'go' which I thought was funny when I learned this friend was not related to her and was like 50)" "Oh really? Did he?" "No" --insert more talking-- "Well can we meet your friend sometime?" "Sure....what are you doing right now?" "....going with you to your friends house." So we did. Met the man. He just restarted his life by moving across japan and started living with this lady (I think its some kinda boarding house thing because she lives with a lot of non-related people) anyway. We were in the middle of praying with them when another man walks in. Score! Anther investigator....not. Even president gave up on him as he started cursing us for being part of a religion that has a commandment against what we eat or drink. So near the end she tells president "Tell him he has to go to church (again condescending)" "I think better that 'Go!' is 'Come with me to church?' (this conversation makes so much more sense in Japanese)" So she agreed to it. Then president looks at me and says, "And elder carter will come here on Sunday and take you to church" Ha. So we did. Didn't go to my own ward but went with them to church which was cool. Anyway. Long right! So therefore I don't have time to write much more so you will get more next week. I think. This next week doesn't have a whole lot of events. Talk to you next week.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lost in Kamisugi

Hm lets see what we have done this week. So this week we had two splits which are always half fun and half stressful. So Tuesday I did splits with a new district leader which is always a stressful position. We tried a few new things to see if we could get a new way to find investigators but for the most part it didn't quite work. I didn't want to give up too fast so we went to a different library to try and give a Book of Mormon but again it didn't work but this time we at least got them to consider changing the old version of the Book of Mormon for the new Book of Mormon. (I learned the Book of Mormon has been translated like 7 times in Japanese this week). Also we were able to set up a dinner with an LA boy to come to the young mens presidents house with another youth boy. Worked out awesome and way grateful for how much the members helped. It really only took two phone calls and like 10 minutes to get it all set up. Then splits with H choro in Kamisugi which was fun but I have never been so lost in my life. But we had a lot of fun together. He's way funny and we have some things in common so that was fun to talk about. Also the wind was way crazy. Maybe the strongest of my mission. Other than that not a whole lot happened this week to be honest. We were able to meet with O-san once this week but that was on splits and I wasn't there and apparently O-choro tried to get him to change his schedule to be able to come to church next week and he yelled at O-choro. Really not a whole lot to say about this last week. Just meh. Ha. What else. This week is zone leader council so again a busy week. Then I'm probably going to be doing a baptism interview this week with a Canadian so that will be interesting.....and in English. So whatever. Well I hope you all have a magical week. Talk to you later.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Transfers take a lot of work

Ok so how did this week go. Pretty good week. Way busy week with all these people coming and going with transfers. We kinda of take the babysitter role and dealing with the mission at times like this is kinda hard because they have this whole, "Only absolutely need to know information about transfers will be told to people" which kinda messes with us because people come to us for answers and we don't know and the assistants aren't perfect so trying to tell them where we are having problems is a pain and all this jazz. I have never called the assistants so much in my life. We even had 3 of them for most of the week. The one new one and they kept Shinno choro on board until he left. Finally Wednesday night when everything fell apart I'd had enough, I have never used the phrase "As a zone leader do...." and there is a grammar in Japanese of doing something without permission I used that more than I have ever in my life. Speaking of S choro you want to hear the funniest thing ever. So we have the mission home cook in our ward so S choro went home Friday morning and Sunday morning this sister comes running up to me. "Elder Carter guess what!?" "What!?" S choro is getting married on March 20th!" Ha. I lost it. I knew he had a woman and that she had been making wedding plans. But yeah. Less than a month after his mission he will be married. Even better is that is only the second fastest in the history of our mission. Last year apparently there was a sister that got married in 2 weeks. He has the record for a Japanese missionary though. Other than that lets see what we did this week. We met with O-san twice this week which was good. He is still a little ways from baptism but hopefully we can keep working with him. We were able to go to a baptism in the adjoigning ward with him so that was good for him. We also had a sports activity on Saturday which I'm still sore from. Ha. Way out of shape but it was fun. Nice to see you were able to take up my slack with Lyssas birthday. I'm not sure how I feel about you having her take these mind tests but oh well. Other than that not a whole lot exciting. This week we have the second counselor of the presiding bishopric come so we have two meetings with him. One with the member and one for the missionaries so those are always fun. I think that basically covers it. Have a magical week. Love you all.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Earthquake safety training

Hello peeps. Lets see what kind of random information I can tell you this week. To be honest not a whole lot exciting happened this week. No real big meetings, no crazy big miracles, etc. Just plugging along. So as I already told you. No transfer for me or for my companion. The zone has a good amount of transfers going on which is hilarious to see the form they give us. Two page packed excel sheet of where people are going when and why. Ha. You thought my christmas light map was cryptic you should see these things. Anyway. We got fed twice this week which was good I guess. Its been awhile it feels like since we have been fed. We also had interviews this week with president which are always terrifying and a half but I think I passed and that he wont beat me too hard. He told me a little about the future transfers and how many people are going to be coming in. Its pretty impressive. Lots and lots of shimai. About double and the difference is mainly made up of american sisters. I got your package. Still haven't finished eating all the crap I got on Christmas so I think its going to be impossible to eat all this food ever. Just a random thing maybe father will like because hes into this city stuff. So in the recent earthquake trying to check everyones safety was a pain in the rear. The phones wouldn't connect so they found a new way. So in Japan if you called 171 you can leave a message for someone using their phone number and then they can call into this number and hear the message. This message thing apparently doesn't go down in disasters and from pay phones (Yes there are pay phones here) it is sure to work (Land line) So we wanted to test it. Kinda funny because we were all sitting there and get a email from the assistants. "Earthquake!!!!!" Ha. Took about an hour to confirm everyones "Safety" but it worked out. Pretty interesting. Did splits with H choro Saturday. That was fun. Don't work with other americans as much so I tried to use that to our advantage of being able to get people to pity us. So we went to the library and tried to get them to take our book of mormon for the library. They didn't take it because it is a religion book. They have Book of Mormons in the other libraries in the area. They all report to the same people. I talked to President about you guys and the grandchild that you hype up and leave to his parents. Ha. He just nodded and said, "Its the best" Ha. Anyway. Maybe next week we will have something more exciting. Until then....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Alma O. Taylor

Receiving the Alma O. Taylor pin
Zone leader council
Hey family. Again a day with no time but we will do our best to get the information out. So yeah you people have to go and spoil my surprise with the Alma O. Taylor pin. (Editors note: This pin is awarded when an Elder or Sister reads the Book of Mormon in their non-native language) And you have more information about that man then I do so I'm kinda excited to read his life story later. All we really know about him was he was a cool missionary in Japan and yeah. .....that he has a pin? So yeah. That was a surprise. And just for the record the Japanese elder in the pictures with me read the Book of Mormon in English so thats why he got the pin. Just saying. Ha. Which is actually super cool for them because they are able to read the actual words that Joseph Smith wrote. So that was cool. Then we had as you also already know riding the subway for an hour and a half. Just riding it back and forth was kinda fun. I like the subway and we did splits with the other zone leaders for it and who was my comp? C choro! ha. Its was fun to work together again. Didn't have a whole lot of success but it was educational. So yeah. What else. From there zone leader council which is stressful but I'm growing to actually really like. I like to be in the guts of stuff and its really cool. Really have that feeling that you are part of something huge as you sit around a table with 12 young kids and a 60s/70s year old man and discuss the salvation of a good couple million people. No big deal. ;-) Funny thing is no one ever fights. Everything is based on opinion yet no real disagreements, disagreements but no hurt feelings or feeling like people aren't listening to you. Cool stuff. Then from there zone training meeting which went well I think. We even had the recent convert come and share his testimony with everyone to keep everyones sprits high. Was pretty funny. We tried to end but he said he wanted to say one more thing. So of course we say he can. And he starts telling us to cheer up because what we are sharing is the best. Be happy, God will help you. Ha. The man is basically still wet from the font and he teaches the thing we need to remember. Humbling but awesome. From there we did our usual weekly stuff. Then yesterday we were able to teach the person that S choro and I found spiritually housing and we have another appointment this week. That was a month and a half without a new investigator. Sigh. Good. Anyway. All good stuff. What else. Had the sister missionaries over? They ask for referrals? They help you fulfill your missionary responsibilities? If not they failed! Hahahahahahaha. Yes I'm evil and the missionaries will probably never want me to invite them over because I will grill them. But yeah. Austria and Idaho......thats interesting. People think its funny that I have no recollection of missionaries. Sometimes the bishop would have them stand up at church. I saw them serving hot chocolate at the institute at USU. I think we invited them over when dad was bishop. Thats about it. This week was not transfers next week is because this transfer is longer. But yeah. O choro is probably gone. Scary to have to run this place after him. Hope all is well with you peeps. Thanks for working out the schooling. I still would like to at least stay somewhat in the loop. Have a wonder week.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Blast from the Past

Hello everyone. Hows it all going. Hope your week was magical. I hope the super bowl continued after power outages and all that other worldly stuff. Lets see. They are not "mission slides" they are "mission pictures".......not the ice age. ;-) Lets see what we did this week. Again two splits which were funnish. I don't really like to do splits in my own area because it just adds to the pressure. Anyway. Did a split with Nagamachi district leaders companion which was good. We went to the stake president and asked for referrals and we got two which was awesome. Kinda suprised. But we went to this guys house and he invited us in and all that. It was cool. Weren't able to teach him anything but were able to set an appointment for this week to teach. Cool stuff. There's been a lot of focus in this mission with how to find. We go weeks upon weeks not finding anyone. 16 some odd million people and we cant find anyone. Little embarassing. Oh well. Then on Thursday we had another splits with...................................drum roll............................S choro!!!!! I have been looking forward to this split for months. Ha. It was way fun. Way blast from the past. He goes home in like 3 weeks and so this was our last chance to hang out. Of course that wasnt' the reason we did splits but it was way fun. Sometimes I forget how enjoyable it all can be. We went out to eat ramen (If you don't remember S choro is the king of ramen) which S choro ended up puking back out. Ha. Then went around visiting members and such. But the strangest and most fun was biked to an area. Said we would only talk to 5 people and then did "spirital housing" where you hold your hands up in the area and seek for inspiration? Blasphemy? Not quite, but yeah. We actually did find someone that seemed to have interest. Way cool. It was fun just to sit back and talk. I miss that guy. Really is like a father to me. Just want to make him proud. Kinda feel like I have failed him but yeah. Was able to hear that H choro is doing awesome so that made me happy. Then the next day we had a training from the assistants which was good. Then just kept moving forward. not a whole lot else to report. This week is zone leader council week again. Seems to come faster and faster each time. Anyway, love you all, talk to you later.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lots of splits

Hey family! Hows it going. Anyway. This week was way busy but actually not a whole lot to talk about. Started off with Splits with "I" choro in Nagamachi who goes home next transfer and is an amazing missionary. So we start planning and he tells me that we will be teaching "S"-san........I'm suppose to be interviewing him..... Well we couldn't back out of the lesson so that meant I was going to get disqualified to do the interview (Simply put if you taught the investigator you can't interview them) So we hit the strange situation where the district leader, both zone leaders, and the assistants had all taught this investigator. Thankfully it was in Sendai so we had an extra district leader close by to pull on but all went well with that. Oh and they are painting the Nagamachi apartment so the smell was ridiculous so we didn't know what to do because we didn't want to sleep there so we called Sister R and she told us that we could sleep in the mission home office downstairs so we were way excited. We grabbed our futons and ran down their and set them up where? Not the walkway, or in front of the computers, or any of that. Had to find the best, most interesting place. Of course we chose the middle of Presidents office. Ha. However apparently he got wind that we were sleeping in the mission office so, although he and sister R were 7 hours away he told us how we could get into their house and sleep in a real bed. Oh my goodness, their house is like a hotel upstairs. I had never been up there. It was like sleeping in the temple. Wake up and the first thing I see is the lifesize painting of Jesus looking down at me. Scary! But yeah. Then worked in Izumi on Wednesday with N choro who was in the MTC at the same time as me. And then worked with S choro in Kamisugi on Saturday. Way crazy right! Oh and then on Sunday our self-referral from way back came to church! Yay! He could only stay for sacrament meeting but after church yesterday there was this special YSA sacrament meeting program and since he is 21 we thought we would invite him for the fun of it. And he came!!! Way cool. Although for priesthood meeting they had a mock priesthood executive meeting, yeah try to explain that to a person that has been to a church meeting for a total of 2 hours up until then. Sigh. And we also learned he lives in the ward over so we need to pass him to the missionaries that work in that ward but oh well. Well thats it for the day. Talk to you next week.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Especially Snowy

Hey everyone How was everyone's week? Hope it was all good. Well truth be told not a whole lot to report on this week. We got blasted with snow like Sendai has never known. I was joking with another elder that we are sick of members and the people talking about how special the weather is at that point. "This summer is especially hot" "Especially snowy" "Especially Rainy" "Especially cold" Why can't we just have normal? Thats all we ask. Oh well. Then lets see, we weren't able to meet with any investigators this week. That was too bad. Although we were finally able to meet with a 16 year old LA that "O"-choro has been working with since August. That was cool. A lot different than the normal LA vists. Had him come to the church, showed him around, talked about his hobbies and family while eating snacks and said a pray and that was it. Oh well. Little different to work with youth. What else happened this week. Really not a whole lot. We had our stake missionary coordination meeting again which this time it was the two of us, the stake presidency, and President "R" with 50 of sister R's cinamon rolls, talking for an hour and a half at table. Stressful but it really was cool. I think it was somewhere in my missionary setting apart that it talked about working with leaders on the mission and that has definitely come true. I'm just in awe of these people and their experiences and the ridiculous things that do. Not just president but the stake presicdeny are way cool and bold and loving and all that jazz. It really was a cool experience to be able to sit down and talk with them. Sadly the conversation always is about unfortunate things. Recent converts that are now LA, baptism dates falling through, etc. But still try to throw in some joy too. And then this week I'm doing my first baptism interview which is terrifying and we'll see how that goes. He seems pretty awesome so it shouldn't be a problem but yeah. Well short today like always but there you go.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Good week

Hey peeps! What up? (I felt like pulling on my black self there for a minute). Well I'm sure you love this phrase but "No time today" but today I have a real excuse! We went to this area with a bunch of members today for 6 hours so yeah......kind over-shot the 3 hour of dendo time scheduled for P-days. Anyway. I think it was good. Got to help my dear comp keep it short though. He says, "We will just say hi" "Ok thats all we have time for." "Ok" 15 minutes later I get to be the rude one that just mid-sentence tells the member we need to leave now. Then we run to the bus in a foot of snow with our normal church shoes on. About 50 percent of that run had traction. No worries mom. Anyway. Today it snowed a lot. Just so you know. But anyway. Lets see what last week had. We met with "O"-san twice which was cool. He is really improving and we started teaching him the commandments this week. Why I don't know, but we started with the Law of Chastity. That turned more interesting than I expected. To be honest I have never had an investigator with a problem with this. Defintiely a different world we live in in Utah. He also had me proofread some essays he was sending to American Colleges to see if he could get in. They were good in all and then I get to this one which was like a poem almost but it was amazing! This man has gotten around. It was about his "Inner voice" that tells him what is right and guides him (Can you say SPIRIT!) But yeah. He toured China when he was 16 alone and slept on the streets. He saw some crazy stuff. From crazy industrialization to watching a mother sell her daughter. Then he saw a place that got destroyed by an earthquake there so he wanted to study earthquake proof building and came to Japan. Then the earthquake hit and he saw no-matter how good the building is you still need a good organization and rescue plan in place so he switched his major again and now wants to study that. Way interesting guy. Then we had zone leader council. That was fun. This time it was quite different. Basically all of it was training from president which was cool. Then the next day Zone Training Meeting which was good but we kinda failed at. Oh well. Oh and then at zone leader council President wants us to bring questions or things that should be changed. So we get there and mention that as of now in our "Other Lessons" category we have been counting member lessons but PMG only says investigator lessons. The words left "O"-choros mouth and all the zone leaders cringed because.....well it helps our results look good with those members in there. President opens up his iPad. Reads it over (PMG(In three languages...well kinda)). Looks up. Groans within himself. Then says, "We follow PMG......stop counting them." Then this man that had not even had this idea cross him mind gave a 5-10 minute training on why its not in PMG. Hammer dropped. I kinda feel like that man has a conduit with heaven. Anyway. Changed the missions work in the blink of an eye. I realize that no one probably cares but I thought it was cool and our district leaders have been griping about it. Oh well. They can dust of their skirts (as Kreigh would put it). Lets see. What else. We had what was called a Shinenkai at church (New Year Party) which the cool thing there was we made mochi which is basically pounded rice. Hard to explain. Look it up. When I send my camera card you will also see. Way cool. Anyway. I guess we will go with that for this week. Its longer this week so you should be happy. This next week less will probably happen so maybe next week we will be back to short.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hello and Happy New Year!

Hello and happy new year! Well I feel like I emailed you recently and not much has happened since then but I will try to fill up an email so you don't fly over here and kill me. So these last few days have been good. Since we are in downtown Sendai transfers had a lot of people staying the night with us. Kinda annoying because they eat all our food and kinda fun because we get to hear other stuff from around the mission. The funnest part was my old ZL came and stayed the night and the next morning while we are exercising he told me to come over so I do and he looks at me and says, "H" choro made a goal to exercise more in the mornings, follow up" and hands me the phone. It was way fun, he didn't even know it was me for awhile. I chastised him pretty good too. Ha. Anyway. Also another huge blessing was because everyone is coming to Sendai one of the elders on the bus talked to the guy next to him and this guy had a ridiculous amount of interest! So we received that referral. Way excited about that guy. Anyway. We also met with "O"-san and "B"-san this week which was good and has been quite awhile. But this last week it was hard to meet with a lot of the people because everyone returns to their family's city during the beginning of the year. (Think Mary and Joseph returning to Bethelehem, its like that). So that was a bummer but this next week we should be able to meet with people. So yeah that means Mr. College student from last week we still haven't talked to. We try though. This next week will be busy with zone leader council, Zone meeting, etc. There is a lot of good stuff going on. Anyway. So yeah today there was not much time. I don't want to rant so I won't point fingers but yeah. Oh and by the way the world didn't end in 2012, this occurred to me the other day. As a missionary seems like a good place to be at the end of the world. From there various things we did but nothing too interesting. This zone leader council will probably be boring because we already know what will be talked about. I go through Shinno choro for all my needs. We have a good relationship. So thats basically it for the week.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hey peeps! Long time no talk right?! Like 9 days! Actually a lot has happened in those 9 days but still. Lets get down to business. So we had Christmas as you were all a part of at the beginning. Then from there we went around visiting Single/older members of the ward trying to be like santa (We even had a red bag of presents) but sadly like no one way home. They seemed to appreciate the presents we left though. And then that night was spent at an LAs that we had never met but a member made the appointment for us so that was fun. The husband had me find our house on his iPads Google Earth. That can make you trunky pretty fast. Then it was back to business as usual. Well kinda. Apparently its a japanese thing that invite missionaries over during the end and beginning of the year (This explains while in Furukawa at the beginning we got fed a ton). So we have had a lot of meals and its interesting because there are 6 missionaries in this area we teach together and have to figure out how we will attack these 2 people or family most effectly. But its been fun and 3 of the families we went to the husband was either LA or not a member so that was a lot of fun. Nothing major happend but just good relationships being built I think. They were all very open to talking with us. Truth be told they were way awesome. Oh and then we helped a member take down the Christmas stuff at the church on the 26th (No mercy right!) and about thirty minutes after we left she calls us and tells us that a college student just came to the church and said he wanted to learn about the church. (From this point I'm just going to copy what I sent to president Rasmussen)"....about thirty minutes later saying that after we left some random man walked in off the street and said he wanted to learn about the church. Can you say blessing? YES! It was way cool. She got his name, a little info, and his number and we were able to call him and set up an appointment for the next day. Didn't have a whole lot of information but had his age and that he is going to graduate school so what would you know we had a member a lot like that that was able to joint. Once we hear his story it turned out that he had studied abroad in California and met a Jason who had introduced him to the church. Before we even knew this he reached into his bag and pulled out an english Book of Mormon. Ha. Little by little we were able to discover this story from questions he would have. Ex. "What is a 'Sister'?" "Where did you hear that?" "They were with Jason." "Were they two young females" " did you know?" (Thought)"Lucky guess" Ha. Asked him if he prayed and he opened up his Book of Mormon to its first page and there these fine sisters had written out the steps of praying.....of course in English. Ha. It was kinda cool. Seems that because of various factors including this language barrier he didn't hear much of the message but he is definitely searching for a purpose to life now. Way cool." End Quote. So yeah that was a blessing. So we have only been able to meet with him once so far but still have hope. Lets see what else has happened this week. We had our special New Years schedule so we deep cleaned for 8 hours on Monday. Monday was also transfers and only two people transfered in the whole zone although one of the sisters I was district leader over is coming into the zone so that is cool. No one in my district is changing so way boring transfer. Then the next day we went to a shrine and worshipped there.......I mean we payed our respects to the culture. In order to do this prayer thing you have to through like 5 Yen (5 cents) in this pot. So I was stuck in this line and so I think. Oh well. Its 5 yen so I throw it in and while its still in the air I think. "Hm......technically that tithing money......oh well" Then I rang the big bell. Ha. I also got my fortune. Apparently, according to this fortune, there will be a lot of people telling me to get married and a lot of people telling me not to get married this year......I feel like I have already started hearing this *Cough* Steven *Cough*. Just saying :-) Other than that pretty normal life. Thats all for today but I'll email again in like 5 more yeah. Until then.