Monday, September 30, 2013

9/30/13 email

Mom and Dad,

So, this week wasn't all too eventful but we had some awesome successes!

Monday was interesting because there wasn't anything that needed to be done for pday in Nishiwaki, so we rode a half hour out to go to an Aeon Mall--which is a big shopping center in Japan. Well, since it's a small city, the mall was small too. The only thing we really looked at was the Daiso inside (Daiso's are the 100 yen stores) and I got a tie. That makes three new ties: two that I bought and one that was left in the apartment. We left the mall early and it turns out there's a singular Daiso right down the street. We checked that one out, too, but didn't buy any ties there.

Tuesday was Trainer/Trainee Training Meeting (TTTM), so we went down to Kobe for that. The meeting was really cool. We got to talk with Kaicho about our trainers and they got to talk about us, nothing negative, of course. Then we got together and learned more about Kaicho's Red Door-Blue Door analogy for the cleansing and enabling powers of the Atonement. Needless to say it was really spiritual. On the way back, I actually went on a companion exchange with the DL again, so I went back to Miki. We got back late. Oh, I'm also actually in Kobe right now because this could be any one of the four of us last week in the district, so we decided to come to Kobe for, possibly, our last p-day here. Right now, I'm at a weird media cafe where there are showers and tanning beds, and other non-media stuff.

Wednesday my DL and I prepared a lesson we were going to teach to an investigator, but, on the way there, he had the feeling that we shouldn't go. So we housed some apartments that were on the way. After that I went back to Nishiwaki.

On Friday, the only thing worth mentioning is that we had a lesson with our 17-year-old, shy/quiet high school dude. He has much more interest in Christianity than a lot of people, and we found out during that lesson that he knows a lot about Jesus Christ. Anyway, we had a really great lesson with him about eternal life being our hope and baptism bringing joy, and connecting that all in with the Gospel of Christ. Best part--he accepted a baptismal date! There are three yakusokusha's!

Other than that, I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday. We were actually supposed to talk last week, but the schedule got changed and nobody told us. So, I fortunately had time to polish a highly-rushed talk from the week before. People said they liked it and that they felt the Spirit.
It looks like that's all there is for this week. I hope everyone is well and happy. I'll let you know about what I want in the package probably next week. I'd also guess that it'd take about a week and a half to get here.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 23, 2013 email

Dearest Mom and Dad
This week was a pretty tough week to do a lot of work because of multiple meetings scheduled during the week. I think I told you about the dendo fireside in Fukuchiyama last Sunday. What I didn't mention is that Fukuchiyama is a 90 minute drive away. Well, this Sunday we had another meeting there, this time for all the priesthood leaders in the district. That took up most of the time out of our Sunday. At least Zinke会長 was there and we got to hear him speak.
On Wednesday we taught our two yakusokusha's, and those lessons went really well. I went on a companion exchange to Miki again. We got to Miki in the evening, so we didn't have much time. We did, however, teach a lesson to the one yakusokusha they have in Miki. He's actually a Brazilian named Brandon who can't speak any Japanese, but has really good English. Naturally, we taught him in English. That lessons went so well! He has a Catholic background and already has a strong relationship with God. Especially living here, working at a bread factory, he's turned to God even more. He even had this story to share about when he was back in Brazil: on three separate occasions he was upset and worried. He went on and said how during those three times when he was out in public, a stranger came to him; put their hand on his head; and told him that everything will be alright and that God loves him. He's never been able to find those people, nor find anyone who's heard or seen them, so he's convinced that they were angels or people sent by God. He's seriously ready to follow his Savior.

I think I told you about the 17-year-old girl whose interested in hearing the gospel. Well, Bogedahl and I both felt prompted to go way out and visit her again. We got to the house, but only her older brother was home--he was awesome. He said he'd like to learn more and he has his own car, so he'd be able to take his sister with him to church. Also, after we talked with him, we went and visited with neighbors. The mom came home as we were ending a contact with one of their neighbors. We're hoping she saw us interacting and smiling with the guy, as it'd be really good for her and her family.

I mentioned before that our Methodist investigator is coming to church every week all on his own. He was there again this week but the teachers for Gospel Principles weren't, so we ended up teaching. It was the perfect week because the chapter in the book we're on is the Spirit World, and that's probably what he's most obsessed about. He sat back and paid attention and feasted on the information the whole time. At the end he spoke up and asked if he could get a copy of the book, so we gave one to him. He also asked if he could get an English quad, since in Japanese you can't get a quad due to a company owning printing rights to the Bible here.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Dear Mom and Dad,

On Tuesday we taught the parents of a young family for the first time and they said they'd like to hear more, so they invited us back. We haven't taught any of the children yet. President Zinke wants every area to find a family by the end of the year, so we think we found ours.

Wednesdays have been crazy the last couple of weeks because we have regular appointments back to back with the investigator who committed to baptism on 10/6 and our investigator (that was Methodist) in the middle of study time. Both of those lessons went great and the best part is that the Methodist investigator also committed to be baptized--his date is 10/26. I may or may not be there for that depending on if I get transferred.

On Thursday evening we taught a young man who we met while housing. He goes to the high school down the street from the church so he said he'd meet with us on his way home. We weren't too sure if he'd show up because he didn't seem really interested when we talked with him. Well, he did! It turns out he's just a shy, quiet guy but he has a lot of interest, it seems, and really great questions. He's a new investigator this week, as well.

On Sunday there was a dendo fireside in the Fukuchiyama area that every branch in that district went to. It was really good and very spiritual. Also, one of the Japanese members of the Seventy, I believe, was there--he might be in some other leadership group. Everyone knows and loves him.

Today was pretty cool, getting to go to the outskirts of Kyoto and Nara. We had to drive through Osaka to get there so I saw a lot more of the industrial places and HUGE apartment buildings everywhere. The whole drive made me realize that Japan is a lot like Oregon when it comes to landscape. Also, on the way to the church to email real quick, a car, that didn't see me coming, turned in front of me and we collided. Since it had been raining (a typhoon passed nearby) my brakes didn't work very well. My bike has too much mass so I couldn't stop. I'm fine, and the car's fine, so everything's all good.

I'll probably respond to your emails next week, because we literally have 16 minutes left of p-day.


Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9th, 2013

Mom and Dad,

This week went pretty well. We achieved the first of our zone goals--have zero 0's by 9/8. Zero 0's mean that all of our person-oriented key indicators (people with baptismal dates, progressing investigators, people who attend sacrament meeting, and new investigators) for the week were greater than zero. Yes, that means we have a person committed to a baptismal date--a yakusokusha! Her name's Shindo, and her baptism is scheduled for 10/6. We talked with her yesterday during church. She said she prayed about it and had a calm, reassuring feeling that it's the right date.

Last Monday, I got my first haircut in Japan. Yes, it's been 8 weeks since having it cut. We went to the shop of a lady in the branch and she gave us a discount--only 15 bucks. Haircuts are super pricey in Japan. There are also salons and barbers EVERYWHERE. When I first got here, I just figured that a lot of businesses had barber poles since I saw so many of them. My trainer informed that they're all, in fact, barber shops. There are probably 10 barber shops within a 5 minute bike ride of the apartment.

Wednesday was the lesson where we extended the baptismal invitation to Shindo san. We had a really great lesson about eternal life and the Doctrine of Christ: we even drew a diagram on the whiteboard that depicts baptism as the gate to the path that is enduring, which leads to the sun-- representing eternal life. She was a little hesitant at first, but she said she'd commit to the date. The only issue is her father-in-law is hantai, but the husband is perfectly fine with it.

That same day we also had a lesson with the investigator who is Methodist. He really does seem to be trying to change Christianity in Japan. He does like learning about the Gospel because it answers questions he's always wondered about. He also loves coming to church. From this week on, he'll be walking 4km to a bus stop to take a bus to Nishiwaki and come to church--and he committed to this himself. We also gave him a copy of the Restoration movie that's 20 minutes long for him to watch at home. He ended up watching it 5 times because he liked it so much (he also watched it in English twice, but re-watched it in Japanese right after since the English was too hard).

On Thursday we had a lesson with the investigator who's everywhere (and yes, we've seen him around here and there). We showed him the video called "Did You Know" that gives a simple background of the Church and leaders. He seemed to like it but I'm not sure if he's any closer to accepting the Gospel.

On Friday we had Zone Training Meeting, my first one of my mission. It went pretty well, though it wasn't quite as exciting as Zone大会. We got to know all the people in the zone. One of the girls from my MTC district just got transferred to the zone and we have two brand new missionaries.
We've had a lot of thunderstorms around here, but not many right over us. Also, since typhoon season is starting we've had some crazy rain storms. There's a dinky little river that runs through Nishiwaki, and even though it's small, with a relatively big bridge spanning it, I've always wondered why. Well, we crossed over that bridge during a rain storm. The river had risen probably 50 feet and expanded another 30 feet because of all the rain runoff from the land is directed to the river. We also had a typhoon almost hit but it died down and redirected before coming too close to Nishiwaki. The weather was cooling down from all the clouds blocking the sun and the evaporating rain, but today it got back up to the high temperatures.

I mentioned earlier we have one yakusokusha. We have 14 investigators total, with 6 of them progressing (down from 7 because we haven't been able to meet with one for a number of weeks now). There are still a couple that we feel are ready and we're going to invite to baptism.

That's all I have for this week. I look forward to reading your emails next week. As usual, give everyone my best!


Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2nd, 2013 email

Mom and Dad,

I'm sad to say we didn't see as much success this week, though we did see some and are grateful for that.

Last Monday, we went way out after preparation day (so it was pretty dark) to visit a former investigator. She apparently teaches an English and math class at night for teenage kids, so she wasn't super concerned with talking to us at the time. As we talked with her a bit more, she mentioned her class, then had the idea to have us come in and introduce ourselves in English to the kids and talk with them for a while. She ended up really enjoying having us there, as did the kids. We've committed to come to a Halloween party she's throwing for her students and she's committed to come to the Branch Halloween Party, as well as meet with us.

On Tuesday, we planned to take the whole day and just visit potential investigators and newer investigators to see if we couldn't get a lesson in with them. Well, it turned out that we couldn't. We did, however, get a couple of referrals that look promising. At one point, we went to the apartment of the in-active man whose wife wants to learn about the church but has the opposing sokagakkai parents. Turns out, they planned on coming to church that Sunday, the husband wants to get active again, and the wife is considering baptism and really wants to learn. It's funny how these things work out, huh?

Wednesday, the lessons we scheduled didn't end up happening. Bogedahl had the idea of tracting these college apartments waaay out there. When we got there, one of the buildings was closed entirely and the rest of them had a combined three people that answered, and those three didn't really have interest. BUT, on the way back, we decided we had time to tract a little more, so we stopped at another huge apartment complex in town. Turns out it's a popular place for internationals and young people to live at. One of the first doors we came to was one of a prospective investigator. She's full-blooded Chinese but grew up in LA. She decided to move to Japan for a year, just because, and teach English. She's not liking where she's living because her friends aren't nearby; her friends hardly even speak English. The city is small (remember she's from LA) and she's not sure what to do right now; however, she's optimistic and every now and then she and her friends go down to Kobe to go to a Christian church. So, she was actually really interested in what we were telling her at her door and she gave us her phone number and said she'd like to check out the Mormon church more. BAM!

Thursday, a bike tire popped on Bogedahl Choro's bike. We were going to fix it but it turns out that the tire was filled with that goop that automatically repairs small holes. The hole was really big so the goop leaked out and got everywhere, making a patch-job impossible. His bike has weird tires so he couldn't find the right tube and had to order one; that tube will come in a week. So, for the day, we walked around to visit people, so our range was limited. But, we had a great lesson with an investigator. During companionship study, we decided exactly what we were going to teach him--which was stuff we've taught him before--and exactly how we were going to teach it. We're convinced that was guided by the Spirit because he committed to come to church (which he did!) and is progressing now!
There was a typhoon that was going to hit and I was super excited--but it ended up dying down by the time it got to us, so it was just a lot of rain. The last couple of days, we've had a TON of rain and a TON of lighting. It's been awesome. Going shopping earlier today, there was a "semi" that ran through a puddle and sprayed water all over us. Luckily we had our kapas on. Unluckily, my ear is waterlogged a bit. It was actually pretty funny.

I'm so happy to hear that everyone's doing well (Dad and his test, Jaron and his job, Garret and his surgery, etc). Give everyone my love and support, and let them know they'll be in my prayers.