Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 9, 2014 email

Mom and Dad,

We keep discovering things to do around Tottori. When we went to see the castle, the one that doesn't exist anymore, we saw this very cool house/building. Were pretty sure it's a museum. We went back today to check it out and for whatever reason it was closed. It wasn't closed a few weeks ago on prep day! Eversole Choro has this "Tottori Manga Passport" thing he got from his last zone leader. In it is a list of a bunch of places that have cool stuff to check out. One of them was the Sand Museum. You can get cool stamps for the passport. Last week we went to this place called "Warabe Kan". It's this toy and music museum.
Anyway, the museum had this exhibit on the first floor of old Japanese musicians that created kids' music. There were tons of booths where you could listen to the music and stuff. There was also a room where you could try out various musical instruments and a children's anime song karaoke machine. Eversole Choro, being an avid lover of music, had too much fun. The second and third floors were both focused on toys--all kinds of weird toys and machines.
So the week before last, the only things really worth mentioning are the baptisms, sooo... not much else for that, I'm afraid.

On Wednesday we had a kokan with the elders in Kurayoshi. We both went there for all four of us to work there. There are also 3 shimai there, so for that day there were 7 missionaries working in Kurayoshi. One cool part was talking with the senior companion at one point about following the Spirit and dendo'ing through the grace of Christ. Later that day as we were out housing there was one door that totally was a textbook example of what I had told him an hour earlier. He and I both realized it after and had to marvel at how awesome the Gospel is.

Thursday we had Zone Training Meeting in Yonago, so we all went straight from Kurayoshi. ZTM was way good; our Zone Leaders are seriously the best and everyone learned a lot. The best part of the day was after ZTM. We had our Bye Bye Taikai with the Zinke's since they're leaving in a couple of weeks and the new mission president will come. It was actually kind of sad talking to them for the last time, but it was a really great meeting. Zinke Kaicho and Shimai talked with us about all sorts of things, especially what's going to happen when the new President comes. Of course, they also talked about how what you learn on your mission can be applied to every aspect of your life, for the rest of your life. Talk about being a missionary your whole life!

The best, best part: during lunch time at ZTM, the zone leaders had all the Choro's to take off our suit coats and empty our pockets for a service project upstairs. None of us had a clue what kind of service project would have us do that, but naturally we went and found out. One of the zone leaders, Hapi Choro, is from New Zealand. Kaicho has asked him to do the Haka. This being a very special event, Hapi Choro decided it was time to do the Haka for Kaicho. You can't just do the Haka with one person--you need lots!

You probably guessed by now that we did the Haka for Kaicho! It's probably the craziest thing I'll do on my mission, but it was sooo funny. We only had maybe 30 minutes to practice during lunch so none of us actually had all the words and motions down other than Hapi Choro. It was great and Kaicho loved it. Zinke Shimai was probably a bit surprised. If I can, I'll try to get one of the videos the Shimai took and send it to you.

Responses: The key chain/ornament things are just little goodies I figured you would enjoy. The orange one is called an "o-mamori": It's like a protection amulet. You can send the SD card back.
That's all I have for this week. Now I have to quickly write a letter to Kaicho before 6 o'clock! Sorry for the abrupt ending. Give anyone and everyone my best!


Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014 email

Hey, so we keep finding lots of things to do around Tottori, so this week will be another short email. I'll explain more next week

Mom and Dad,

You're probably thinking of one thing particular you want to read in this email. Well...

Yes! The baptism did go through last week! It went really well, in fact; however, I did have to immerse him twice to get it right because the "font" was so shallow. You'll see the picture! It was an awesome experience.

To keep this short! I'll throw in that the very next day we went over to Kurayoshi so I could baptize the shimai's investigator! Naturally, getting to baptize two people two days in a row was very awesome. This is the investigator that was going to be baptized back in March, but problems came up and it had to be postponed. She was so happy to finally be baptized! Our investigator was too, of course. He kept texting us saying, "only two days, right?" "it's tomorrow, isn't it?" "it's finally today!" Except it was all in Japanese! When I got to the Kurayoshi church, the first thing I was told to do was go and see the investigator because she was way anxious for me to arrive. she could hardly believe it!

I'll probably end this email here because I don't have much time left and I still have to write Kaicho. ごめんね! To make up for it, I'll put the baptismal pics on. Love you all!


May 26, 2014

Mom and Dad,

Sasuga ni this was a waaay crazy week! I'm not sure it'll sound as crazy as it was when I put it into words!

So, we were finally able to go to the Japan-famous Tottori sand dunes. We've been trying to go the last couple weeks, but it kept being cloudy and rainy. Last Monday it was finally sunny again--too sunny, of course. We also went to the sand art museum. It was incredible to see how much you can do with sand! You'll see pictures when you get the package--that's right: I got it off on Friday! The sand dunes were way huge! I ran all the way up a really steep part then later Eversole Choro and I raced down one of the steepest parts. I can't even guess how fast we were going. So fast that by the time we reached the bottom, my momentum was so great that it was hard to stay up and running! I love physics. I got a little sunburned that day. First time in a while! Eversole Choro was sunburned way more that I was though. He's got those freckly Irish genes in him.

The nest day we met with our shigansha (they changed the word from 'yakusokusha' because apparently in PMG it says "shigansha" and we make it a point to be as disciple-like as possible). His baptismal interview was this last Thursday.We put it into high gear and made sure that it all connected for him--including all the commandments. We also had a surprise lesson with the two seishinbyo's we teach. We also had eikaiwa this week. Recently we've been taking some time almost everyday to hand out fliers. Two new people came this week! We were very happy!

Wednesday, we had another lesson with our shigansha. It all went well because we were well prepared for the lesson. We made sure this whole week that every lesson we had with him was a great one. There's certainly no room for failure when his baptism is in a week.

On Thursday, he had his interview! We also had a lesson with him right before the zone leaders came for the interview to make sure he was ready. When it came time for the lesson, we prayed, relaxed, and taught the law of tithing better than we had when we mogi'ed the lesson just an hour before! It truly was amazing. There isn't anything that can't be done when the Spirit is there guiding the way. He accepted tithing without hesitation. We and the member testified deeply about it's blessings. It was awesome!

Then there was the interview. He was very nervous for it.We reassured him, left the room, and the interview started. After it, they came to where we and the other zone leader were chilling. The ZL said he did great and was impressed by how solid he was in all the doctrine and his testimony! I wish we could've celebrated more, but the zone leaders had to leave right away to get back to their own eikaiwa.

Right after that we went with our shigansha to get sushi! We ate and talked for a little while. We had some very good sushi. I also tried a new one: uni! That's sea urchin! It actually doesn't taste that bad, but the texture is way weird. 

Then there was Friday. This was an exciting day. We had to leave early to go to the Amagasaki area to spend the night so we could get to Ibaraki the next morning for a special taikai. We stopped by at Himeji so Eversole Choro could check out his old area a little bit. We also got pictures of Himeji Castle! Too bad I had already sent the package, so you'll have to wait for that picture. Then we continued on the way through Sannomiya--the main eki for the mission--to Nishinomiya Kitaguchi eki. I had gone through that eki many times before when I was in Kitarokko, so that was way cool. Then we went to Amagasaki. I had been on an exchange there once before, so I didn't need to stop for directions. Awesome! Once in Amagasaki, we started walking to go get some dinner at Costco. That's right: Costco! Then we realized it was actually a lot further than we thought because I looked at the wrong eki when we planned to go there. So we just got dinner at a convenience store.

Saturday was the day of the special taikai. I think I mentioned it before, but Elder Christofferson was coming to the mission for conferences all day with the missionaries, members, and priesthood holders. We all got to go through and shake his hand and the hands of two Area Seventy and their wives. I've got to meet a lot of general authorities so far! But seriously, that taikai was fantastic! Christofferson Choro is super awesome, as is his wife. They're also both really funny! I made sure to take a lot of notes. All I can say is that it was a very short two hours. I remember at one point writing notes, glancing at my watch, and thinking 'gaaah, there's only 30 minutes left!'

The taikai was also way great because ALL the missionaries in the mission were gathered for it. I finally saw the one elder in my MTC district that I haven't seen since we came to Japan 10 months ago! Probably one of the best reunions ever. He and I are way tight. Also, waiting to go inside were a bunch of members that came for Christofferson Choro's next conference. Among those members were several from Kitarokko including Fukuchi Bishop and his wife! They were super happy to have gotten a letter from you and even happier to see me and let me know! Saturday was probably the best day of my mission. My life, even. So great!

Coming back from the taikai, however, was kind of a nightmare. It was still way fun, though. The bus we planned originally to take back to Tottori was full, so we had to figure out another way. The guy at the counter said a bus was leaving for Tottori from another eki 2 hour later than the bus we were originally planning on. The only problem was we had to get to that eki. The thing about being in the heart of Osaka: it's really hard to use public transportation if you're not familiar with it because there's so much and they're scattered everywhere. We were lucky enough to run into the Tottori Shimai since Yoza Shimai is nihonjin. Even then, with her and Shin Shimai who had served in Ibaraki before, it took forever to figure out where we were going. But, we finally made it! Home sweet home!

Sunday, our investigator's baptism was announced! It's so close. We're meeting with him later today to get all the assignments made. The dendo shunnin is a little stressed out because he just returned from his mission a couple months ago and has never been a WML before.

The craziest week of my mission so far. This coming week is also going to be crazy with getting all the baptism stuff together along with doing dendo as normal and being a district leader and all the great things about missions. I hope last week sounds as crazy as it felt!

That's all there is for this week! It's a pretty big one. Naturally, a great week should result in a great story! Here's the story to prove it!

I hope everyone's doing well and enjoying Memorial Day.

I love you all and give you my best!


May 19th, 2014 email

Mom and Dad,

That's right! I can hardly believe it either! I've been out for a year! Luckily for me, the top of this hump just leads to another hump! No going downhill for me!

I don't really have any time to email today because we finally went to the Tottori sand dunes and the sand art museum. It was pretty cool and pretty hot. It's getting to be summer time around here!

I spent a bunch of my email time getting pictures sorted around on my SD cards so I can finally send it home. That's right! I'll most likely get the package off this week! So...I figured that I could take a week to not write a very interesting email and make up for it by finally getting that package sent off. :)

Just know that this week was great! It was way hectic towards the end with zone taikai--during which Zinke Kaicho and Shimai gave us the run down on what's going to happen during their last days here, since it's their last zone taikai--and investigators calling us for lessons out of the blue. Good stuff though. Give my best to everyone!