Monday, October 28, 2013

10/28/13 email

Mom and Dad,
Oct 14: Two Mondays ago was pretty awesome. One of the members took us to all-you-can-eat yakiniku! Yakiniku, as I said before, is sooooo good. We did that for lunch after all of our preparation. After P-day, we had a dinner appointment at the ward mission leader's place. Another family from the ward also joined in. The main reason for it was to get some help planning for our (the missionaries') part in the Halloween program, since we don't really have time to do it on our own. I'll tell you all about the party later.
Oct 15: Every Tuesday night in Kitarokko is Eikaiwa (English Class, if I haven't already told you that). Apparently in Kitarokko, they also do a kids' eikaiwa, so doing those two classes was pretty fun. Oh, and the other family that joined us for dinner the previous night has a 1-year-old daughter whose probably the cutest child ever born. The funny thing is, I'm pretty sure she's terrified of me. Whenever I'm around, she'll stare at me, then when I stare back, she'll turn away and look back again, except she'll be trying to hide behind whomever is holding her. It's hilarious.
Oct 16: We spent all day knocking on doors since our original plans didn't work out. We were also fed at the very end of the day by the bishop and his wife. This is the same bishop that took Bogey and I to drop off the music CD's. He gave us more A&W!
Oct 18: Zone Training Meeting. Kitarokko is in the Kobe zone, so I got to go back to the mission home! Following ZTM, Hiratsuka and I got lunch at a place nearby the mission home called "Burger Pit". Their burgers are half Kobe beef, half normal beef. It Was So Good. The burger literally melted in my mouth; it was so soft. I have to try straight up Kobe beef sometime.
Oct19: We biked way out--about 40 minutes--to find an investigator who hadn't been met with in 2 months. We went to his door but nobody was home. As we were about to leave, he pulled up in his car after having picked his daughter. We were fortunately able to meet at that time. He's apparently had a rough life and his family relations aren't super strong. He works at a hospital which wears him out every day. We were able to share a message with him.
Oct 20: We had dinner at the house of the member who took us to tabehodai yakiniku. On a couple of occasions he's also given us chocolate. His family is really awesome too. They're all very strong in the Gospel. Most of them can speak English pretty well and they're all super cool.
Oct 21: My second hair cut in Japan! Again, it was done by a member, but this guy cuts the missionaries' hair for free and he does a great job. Haircuts in Japan usually include a shampoo and massage. He also finished everything off by taking a straight razor and perfectly lining up the hairline (except for the front)! We also tried to find a place that sells Nesquik.
Oct 22: Eikaiwa again (and kids' eikaiwa).We also taught an investigator today who has some challenges. We pretty much went over the very basics again because he has a tough time remembering everything we teach. He's a really awesome guy. He even bought sports drinks for the two of us!
Oct 23: We taught one of our twentyish investigators today. He was a self referral that called in to the mission home and asked if he could get a copy of the Book of Mormon. So far he's really responded well to what he's learned. We searched in an area while it was raining. I put my hood of my kapa down since I love the rain. It was sooo nice.
Oct 24: There is a potential investigator who lives on the other side of what I think are the foothills of Mt. Fuji. Biking over the foothills was grueling. Hiratsuka said that the two times he's done it before, he has given up and walked the rest of the way. I wasn't about to let him do that, so I pushed myself to not walk and he ended up following suit. But anyways, this guy we met with went to a Catholic college when he was 18, and joined that church (probably around the same age). He's 70 now: he's such a God-oriented person. He grows vegetables and such in his garden and sells them to people for 10 yen. He wants to give them away but people insist they pay, so he asks for only 10 yen. He also thinks really deeply about spiritual things. We managed to have a lesson with him and he invited us back for more. After that we searched around in a neighborhood a little down in the foothills from where he lives. It was raining, but knowing me, you probably can guess that wasn't going to stop me. I'm not sure how much Hiratsuka enjoyed it, though.
Oct 25: Interviews. I had my first interview with the Zinke Kaicho--aside from the initial one when we all first got here. We also had training from the AP's about the plan that Kaicho put out. The two AP's were actually companions together in Kitarokko so we talked with them a lot about the area. The two of them are awesome. One is currently in his 5th transfer as AP--way solid missionary. Another solid guy: one of the office elders--commissarian, to be exact--Elder Asai. He's perfectly proficient in Japanese AND English, so he usually does all the translating for Kaicho. Anywho, he knows how much I love Nesquik, so this last P-day, he went and bought FOUR cans, just for me! I paid him back, of course.
Oct 26: Halloween Party! The missionary booth was balloon animals! Yes, I learned how to make some basic balloon animals! We, in turn, helped the kids and other make balloon animals of their own that they got to keep. There were SO many people at the party, non-members included. Our booth was the last out of 8. Since people here have a tendency to do everything in order--and because our booth was completely separated from the other 7--we got FLOODED with people at the end. But, it was super awesome. My costume was a super-panda-Santa-Oregon basketball player. You'll get to see pictures. Immediately after the party we had a lesson with an investigator who came to the party. We also had the father of the "other family" from before join in. It was a way solid lesson. The member is also a really awesome guy for doseki's. He's 30 or 31-ish, and he served in the Sapporo Mission. He's also really cool. I think because we planned the lesson so thoroughly and had such an awesome doseki, the lesson went really great.
Oct 27: So the guy from the ward that cuts hair for us for free also takes the missionaries out every Sunday in his car and will take them wherever they need to go. So, we planned for a very awesome day; however, he ended up sick. The only thing we really had time for after church, ward council, lunch and stuff was to bike way out again and visit the investigator again that hadn't been seen for two months. So, we did just that. By the way, the way summer and winter work here is one day it's summer, and the very next day it's winter--it happened to be Winter today. Although he had just made dinner for him and his 7-year-old daughter, we were pleasantly surprised that he invited us in. We waited and just talked with them as they ate. After they ate, we managed to transition into the lesson, but then his 23-year-old daughter came downstairs and asked him if he could give her a ride to Sannomiya (which is about 70 minutes away). We ended up not getting to teach him the lesson. It's alright though: at least we were able to visit with him.
All my clothes are still fine. My companionship is doing great; we get along and work together really well. Our investigators are few, but they're all great.
Okay, that's all I have for this week. Goodness, it's longer than I thought it'd be. As always, give everyone my best! I need to close because my companion has been sitting here for a while waiting for me to finish.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13th, 2013 email

Mom and Dad,
Last p-day wasn't very eventful since you're required to spend your time packing if you're being transferred.
Tuesday was disappointing because we had planned to meet with and teach quite a number of people, but almost none of them were home. We ended up spending a good amount of time knocking on doors.
Wednesday: We spent the afternoon meeting and teaching some investigators, and visiting ones we hadn't seen in a while. It was interesting, because when they said that they were looking forward to seeing us again we had to mention that I'd be leaving (the very next morning). In the evening, we went to visit a less-active family who are still faithful, they just don't go to church. The father had stopped us outside the grocery store to ask how some of the members were doing and he explained he was less-active. We've gone to visit them a couple times to see if they'd be interested in coming back to church. This time the father was home and we talked to the mother. Here's the 'eat pavement' part of the story: a neighborhood we have to pass through to get to their house is literally one giant hill and this family lives at the top of the hill. When we were leaving and going back down the hill, we passed a little road that goes off to left. There was another guy on the bike who emerged from that light, but from my angle I couldn't see his light until he was turning up-hill. All I could do was hit the brakes and try not to hit him. We weren't going super-fast down the hill because we're always told that speeding is the number one cause of wrecks. I managed not to hit him, but the bike's tires have practically no traction so I ended up sliding sideways and being thrown forward into the asphalt. I hit the road pretty hard and slid along for a short distance and ended up halfway in one of the rain chasms. My first thought was along the lines of "I don't feel injured or brain damaged...okay, stand up." Surprisingly, I actually wasn't hurt too bad. My left palm and right elbow got chewed up a bit, and my right ankle is pretty swollen, but miraculously perfectly fine. Missionaries really do have God's protection--though that's no reason to do stupid things. In fact, my helmet had hit the ground pretty hard but my head and neck are fine, and there's not a single crack or scratch on my helmet. Oh, I also managed to bend the front wheel to the point where I had to disengage the front brake so it could spin. I feel really bad for the guy that has to ride it now. There is a best part: we had a dinner appointment at the branch president's house. When they saw me they freaked out and took me into the bathroom and cleaned me up, even though I had literally just done that at a 7 Eleven. Bogedahl Choro got a pretty funny picture of them scrubbing dirt and a bit of blood off my shirt, and putting bandages on me.
Thursday was transfer day and I was in Kitarokko before noon. Because of general conference, I've already met a lot of the people in the ward. One: this is a ward of 120! Two: Kitarokko ward has the dendo fire. They are super great with the missionaries. I've already been fed 4 times or so and we have another appointment tonight!
General conference was spectacular, as usual. We didn't have any investigator's attend, but Bogedahl Choro told me over the phone they had a few that came. Oh, on Saturday, President Monson was wearing a tie almost identical to the red-square one I have! Sweet!
So yeah, that was pretty much my week. We just got back from being taken to an all-you-can-eat (tabehodai) yakiniku restaurant. It's seriously sooo good. When you come to Japan, you have to have yakiniku.
Kitarokko isn't in the same district as Kobe, but it is in the same zone. My new companion is Hiratsuka Choro.
Which talks did I like most? All of them, of course, but President Uchtdorf always has a knack for being number 1 in my book.
That's all I have for this week! I hope everyone has a great week. Everything here is good!

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Mom and Dad,

I'm being transferred to the Kitarokko area! I'm disappointed to leave Nishiwaki because things have really started to pick up and we also have three baptisms scheduled for the next transfer. It'd be nice to see our investigators progress even more. BUT, Bogedahl Choro was in Kitarokko before coming to Nishiwaki and says it is one of the best wards in the mission. I'm excited because it's a big city. My new companion is also Nihonjin (native Japanese), so I'll probably speak very little English the entire time I'm with him. I hope to be fluent by the end of my time with him.

Monday was pretty awesome. You could probably tell I was excited last week to be in Kobe for p-day. When you get off the train in the station closest to the mission home--Sannomiya--you step off in to a HUGE station/shopping center that has TONS of people. All of the stations in the area are like that. All of us from our mission district went to a tabehodai (all you can eat) Brazilian style joint called Brazilianos. It's a really popular place for missionaries to go. There were 6 other missionaries there, as well. I didn't know them, but Bogedahl Choro and my DL did.

Wednesday we had lessons with two of our three yakusokusha's (the 10/6 and 10/27 one). One of our Yakusokusha's new baptism date is 10/27. I'm disappointed that I won't get to witness their baptisms.
Thursday we met with the other yakusokusha; the awesome high school student. Our lesson with him went great. He is an incredible investigator and is going to be an awesome member.

Friday we had a lesson with the family that we had found. We spoke about the restoration of the gospel and the prophet, Joseph Smith. The 14-year-old daughter became really interested and stopped doing her school research to listen. At the end, we the offered the family a Book of Mormon. The mom said they already had one, but the daughter was eyeing it like she really wanted it--so we offered it for her to have as her own and she accepted it. She also committed to go to church yesterday, which she followed through with. I tell you, young people are absolutely the best.

Both of us popped our back tires. Thursday we went to visit someone quite a distance away. As we were going, my tire became flat. Upon inspection I found a small twig that had managed to embed itself into my tire. We walked back home from there. We fixed the tire the next day, then decided that same night we'd try to visit the same person again. We took a different path and as we got within a few kilometers of the place, Bogey had to stop. His tire had popped. He inspected the tire and found a nail that had punctured right through the tire, tube, and into the rim. We fixed his tire the next day but my tire had gone flat again. I pumped it up and it was fine though. Then his and mine were flat again after church. We realized we still had a bit of patching to do, so the last couple days there has been a lot of bike work. Bogedahl Choro says that the bikes in Kitarokko are not so good either, so I'm not too excited for that. However, as long as the bike is big enough for me and doesn't weigh a ton, I'll be happy.

We don't get to see conference until next week because they have to translate it all to Japanese, then we will watch it as a ward.

So that's all! Next week I'll be emailing you from Kitarokko. I'll have to get updates from Bogedahl Choro in order to know what's going on here in Nishiwaki with our investigators.