Thursday, September 25, 2014

もうもういっかい (Once More)

こんにちわ かぞく と ともだち (use google translate that make's it fun)

So we lucked out here at the MTC and another Apostle of the Lord came and spoke to us here.  That's two in two weeks!! (sorry once again Tommy)  M. Russell Ballard came and spoke and it was as though his talk was meant for me.  He spoke as a grandfather would to all of his grandchildren about missionary work.  He said to remember that we volunteered to be servants of the Lord Jesus Christ and that we need to wake up to that reality.  His talk was really important to me because I have been reading his book "Our Search for Happiness" which was written for nonmembers.  I encourage you all to read it, it is a great book especially for those who don't know much about the church.  I have been trying to find ways to strengthen my testimony and faith and it has really helped to become the investigator my self and to find answers to my questions.  

Something to truly celebrate is that it has been ONE MONTH as of last Saturday!!!!  I get my parole in less than a month.  My Nihongo is progressing slow and steady, but I really just want to get to Nihon and learn from experience.  I'm seeing pics from all my Academy buddies from around the world and I'm still here.  Patience is a virtue I guess.  

I guess I should tell you all that my companion Klein 長老 and I have been called to be the Zone Leaders for our branch.  We are now overseeing five districts and life just got more busy.  I guess this is a life of work and service so you can sleep when you're dead.  We have to fit in DL interview around our study time and にちようび (Sunday) just became the busiest day of the week.  This is what I've needed though.  I have felt somewhat without a purpose since we got a new DL and it was great to get back in the saddle again.  It helps my attitude and makes me feel like I'm in the service of others since I don't have real investigators or Nihongiins to serve.

Lessons are still hard to teach depending on the investigator.  The other day Klein and I were teaching a lesson to our difficult "investigator" and we forgot our lesson plan.  It was so bad in fact that he told us that if we didn't remember we could come back and teach later.  He was opening the door for us to leave and we hadn't even had a closing prayer.  So embarrassing.  Our other "investigator" is progressing well, but he's also a "17 year old kid" so he's easier to connect with and talk to.  It's just hard to get excited to teach a きゅうどしゃ (an investigator) who doesn't really want to learn.  We just haven't found the right way to connect with him yet.

Missions are cool.  There's nothing I'd rather be doing right now.  It will only get better once I leave here.

I love you all and all of your support.  It means a ton.

スピイド と てんし


Pic 1- Some of the district with our Nihon shirts
Pic 2- All Hail the Utah State Aggies!  We got my buddy Cowan a Aggie shirt because BYU tries to convert all the international elders to come to BYU and they give them free gear.  I thought he needed a second opinion.
Pic 3- Someone missing a leg?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

こんにちわ皆さん (Kon'nichiwa Minasan)


We are down another week.  Things are going decently well.  My Nihongo is progressing and it is coming along the more I use it and teach.  Life is so repetitive here it's annoying.  It's getting difficult to come up with new stuff to write about as the week commences.  I need some new scenery.  

One of my Shimai started having foot problems so bad she could hardly walk.  In the beginning her feet just ached and then she found out she has heel spurs, but was told not to worry about it until after the mission.  Then the next day she got worse and worse and was told on Sunday by our Branch Presidency that if she couldn't walk by the end of the week she was going to be sent home.  She was devastated.  She asked me for a blessing and I was more than willing to oblige.  I felt a strong impression to tell her afterwards that I didn't know when she would be healed, only that she would weather she could stay or if she had to go home.  We found out yesterday that Kasteler Shimai will be staying with us.  She had a minor tear in a tendon in the back of her ankle and it got super inflamed and that it should heal itself.  She walking with a minor limp right now, but she should be just fine.  Miracles do happen with faith.

Our new DL signed us up to host the new incoming senkyoshi-tachi on Monday and yesterday I helped welcome 4 of them to the MTC.  I don't have a desire to do it again.  Every person I hosted will leave right before me or right after me and I've already been here for four weeks.  It was a good experience to do it once, but I hope we don't get signed up to do it again.  

We had an Apostle come and talk to us Tuesday night (sorry Tommy).  Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke to us on prayer and about the missionary experience.  My favorite thing he said was, "Missions are fun so have a blast!"  I loved that.  He loves missionaries and said that missions are meant to be a time of work, but have fun and make it the best two years of your life.  To me that says if there are some minor rules that need to be bent then I say bend them because you'll never have this experience again.  2 Nephi 2:25 says, "Adam fell that men might be, that men are that they might have joy"  I intend to have and find joy on my mission.  

I am enjoying the spiritual experiences I am having here, but I can't wait until I can get to Nihon.  My purpose is to serve them and I want to leave this time of training and get to work.  Saturday is my halfway point here at the MTC and I can't wait until I get on the airplane on Oct 20.



Hardcastle 長老

Pic 1: We finally got some Nihon shirts after four weeks.  These are a hot item for some reason and they have been sold out.  When we got ours they sold out before lunch.
Pic 2: Planting flowers for service.
Pic 3: Mom's stickers on the backs of some of our name tags.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 いつも おぼえます(Always Remember)

Konichiwa minasan,

Another week bites the dust here at BYU State Penitentiary (MTC).  Just kidding, it's really not that bad.  I was asked to give a brief synopsis of what I actually do here.  Well here is an average day schedule:

0630-Wake up 
0640-0730- Gym
0830- Daily Planning
0900- Personal Study
1000- Companionship Study
1100- Language Study
1200- Additional Study
1250- Lunch
1330- TALL Language computer program
1430-1730- CLASS
1730- Dinner
1820-2130- CLASS
2230- Bed Time

That's our average day here at the MTC with every minute of everyday planned out.  It's really exhausting here.  I feel super smoked every morning when I wake up.  I'd kill for a weekend.  Wait, what's a weekend?

I was replaced as DL on Sunday.  I was really sad that I lost my district, but they try to trade out DL's every 3 weeks.  I love working with everyone in our district.  I have been learning some Portuguese on the side because the other companionship we share a room with are from Brazil.  One speaks English, but the other doesn't.  Tsuru Choro is the English speaker and new DL and his Doryo, Miranda Choro, is in the Brazilian Army and is a survival instructor in the Amazon.  Pretty sweet right?  Miranda has been really quiet, but since I've tried to speak Portuguese he has really opened up and is trying to learn some English along with Nihongo.  I wish I could be multi lingual.  I am losing my German and it's making me sad.  I wish I could retain it somehow, but it just might now be meant to be.

The language is coming slower now.  We are not learning a quickly as we were.  We are three weeks in and we still use simple sentences, but I cannot have a conversation.  My comprehension really depends on the day and the speed at which someone talks and their vocab.  We are not allowed to use notes or books in any of our lessons now.  It is all based off of our preparation and ability to come up with sentences on our own.  None of the other districts do this, but I'm glad our Sensei-tachi are pushing us to do better.  They really want us to teach by the Spirit and I can come up with stuff on my own off of inspiration sometimes and that is cool, but it really depends on my vocab, grammar, and lesson prep.  

Tommy and Tanner left the MTC this week on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.  I'm going to miss those two.  I'll get to be able to see Tommy in a couple of months.  All three of us are going to try to get into CS-09 "Viking Nine" when we go back to the hill.  It would be sweet if it all worked out.

We got our first Dear John letter in our district this week.  One of our Shimai got it from her boyfriend.  Thank goodness I don't have any relationship problems or anything to tie me down.  Dad has always been right from the beginning.  Life's just going to be great as a freelancer over the several years of life.  I'm just waiting for some more of those to sneak in here in the next 7 weeks.

I don't know why but I want to talk a little about my New Zealand friend Cowan Choro.  Unbeknownst to most, this optimistic, half Maori guy only has one leg.  He is a great fun loving guy who almost always has something positive to say.  He was hit by a car while training for a triathlon a couple years ago and lost the use of his leg and  thought that he would never be able to serve a mission.  Now this Choro through his strength and diligence is serving a mission and his twin is in the Philippines serving as well.  He will be riding a bicycle like the rest of us and he doesn't worry.  He know that if he puts his trust in his Father in Heaven he can accomplish anything.  In fact we all can.  God loves all of us and with him anything is possible.

Here's a great scripture from our Devotional on Sunday.  1 Timothy 4:12 "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in purity."  That's what us Senkyoshi are supposed to do.

Remember today is 9-11.  There are those serving out there so that I can practice my religion and allow this Gospel to spread.

Supiido to Tenshi

Hardcastle Choro

Pic 1- I had Dad e-mail me some flag patches for my district.  They came the day right before I was release from being DL.  Good timing.
Pic 2- Tommy, Tanner, and I
Pic 3- Tommy and I until the mission field
Pic 4- On Wednesdays we wear pink (at least most of the district and Nitta Sensei)


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Junbi o hi

Well sports fans we made it to week two.

It's been one crazy week.  Several members of my district got sick this week.  Some very sick.  I have given and assisted in two priesthood blessings this week.  Last Saturday one of my Choro-tachi got so sick and weak he couldn't walk.  He's from Brazil and barely 100 lbs and since the doc doesn't come to the MTC on weekends we had to go to the office off campus.  Since his companion is also Brazilian and doesn't speak English I decided I go with him as District Leader.  It took forever.  His companion and I gave him a blessing with some of our zone leaders the day before and now Tsuru Choro is as right as rain and as happy as ever.  The power of the priesthood is real.  The next day one of my shimai-tachi asked for a blessing because she was sick.  It was the first priesthood blessing blessing I have ever given and all the choro-tachi in the district stood in the blessing.  It was a really neat district experience.

Being district leader is still a great experience, but frustrating some times.  I often find myself getting mentally frustrated with them because they're not as high speed as I am or aren't willing to maintain a positive attitude.  I am just used to people who want to do their best at all times, even when times get tough.  For some of these folks it's like the world has ended if they didn't get mail that day.  I do love them all, I really do, it's just different is all.  I'm not bragging when I say I have more experience than most of the people at the MTC and from those experiences I know how to handle situations.  I try to help them and coach them everyday and I hope I am helping them.

The language is getting better.  We have two new investigators and it is both of our sensei-tachi.  Klein Choro and I taught two lessons yesterday with polar opposite effects from each.  Our first lesson was with our second lesson with a character who is 17 who learned about Christ through Christian rock and wants to know more.  This was our second lesson with him and I managed to do the whole lesson on Jesus Christ and the Atonement with only a few notes in English.  We felt the need to invite him to baptism at the end of the lesson and read the baptismal commitment out of the PMG and to our surprise he accepted (remember this is a sensei acting out one of his own actual investigators).  It was a great lesson and I felt super confident.  Later that evening we had another lesson with our sensei who was acting a 53 year old man who wife was a member and has met with the missionaries before and wants to rid himself of a smoking problem.  We had prepared a lesson on the Word of Wisdom (church health code to those who don't know).  When we knocked on the classroom door the sensei pretended he didn't know jack squat and destroyed us at the door.  He eventually invited us in and at that moment I knew when had to change lessons.  If he didn't know about Christ we couldn't teach the WoW.  So I tried leading a discussion on Christ and it was a disaster.  He didn't know a thing, didn't know about missionaries, and about the church even though his "wife" was a member.  Most of the lesson was silence because we didn't have any idea of what to say.  To make matters worse I used the word anko (sweet bean paste) instead of On-ko (honored son) in saying, "God sent his bean paste (instead of honored son), Jesus Christ, to atone for the sins of the world."  I was so embarrassed I just wanted to escape and run away.  I decided since I knew how to bear testimony and pray in Nihongo I would do both so we could escape.  I have to admit I was super discouraged last night.  We got absolutely DESTROYED.  I thought I was better then that.  This was a truly humbling experience.

On Monday, however, we taught a relatively good lesson on prayer to a member of the church from Nihongo in the Training Resource Center who was going to BYU learning English.  We used a lot of English mixed in with Nihongo because we thought she knew English.  She was like a really lovely Nihongiin Aunt and we loved teaching her.  We didn't believe our sensei afterwards that she didn't speak English because she said she understood every word we said.  We know now she really didn't know English because the review card made no sense.  The Spirit must have been working because I don't know how else she would understood our message in broken Nihongo.  I testify that the Holy Ghost is real.  She felt it and could understand us and we I feel it I can understand my sensei-tachi and other Nihongo speakers.

I love you all and I wish you the best.  Ai shite masu!

Supiido to Tenshi,

Hardcastle Choro

Pic 1- The Fantastic Four. From the left: Cowan Choro from New Zealand, Tallent Choro from Debuke, Iowa, Me and Klein Choro from Mesa
Pic 2-Our review card from Monday.  We don't know what the intent was
Pic 3- I found these sweet shades in my dorm closet so I decided to change up the proselyting attire. JK