Sunday, December 28, 2014

先輩の週 (Senpai Week)

Good morning from a rainy Toyota.  I hope everybody had a fantastic Christmas!

It`s the most trunkiest time of the year and it has also been a week of birthdays here.  This week there were three very important birthdays celebrated in Japan: On the 23rd it was the Emperor`s birthday, then on the 25th we celebrated the birth of Christ with Christmas, and then yesterday it was my birthday.  A lot of birthdays right?  Thank you for all the birthday wishes!  My birthday was nothing special here.  I kind of celebrated it by myself.

Christmas was a great day.  We all got to you use Skype to call home and talk to our families.  It was super good to see everybody for the first time since August.  It was a super good release to talk to the family.  Now I just have to wait until May to talk to them again.  THANK YOU for all of the ornaments that decorated my Christmas tree!  I really appreciate it.  It means so much to have such great support.  

We had a ton of member visits this week and we got fed in the evening four times this week which was super good.  We got fed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Christmas is a good time for a missionary.  Earlier this week we got to watch a member shoot kendo which is traditional Japanese archery.  It`s super cool and super precise.

This week we also met with Morimura-san 3 times and actually taught him every time without meaning to.  He just keeps asking us questions and we teach him as we go.  It was crazy but we took purikuras (see pics) with him and then he bought us dinner and we started talking about the Word of Wisdom (a health code in the Church) and he committed to give up alcohol this week.  Super crazy!

This week is my 11th week of training which is also known as Senpai Week.  It means that I become the senior companion and take the lead on everything and my trainer takes on the language ability of a bean-chan who just came from the MTC.  It`s going to be super tough.  I have know idea how it`s going to go down.  I have a lesson with Morimura this afternoon to kick it off.  

This past week has been an interesting one doing some self evaluation and just looking back on my last 20 years of life.  I came to the conclusion that so far this mission has been the hardest thing I have done in my life so far.  Yes, more difficult than Freshman Year at USAFA.  I like to think I`ve done some hard things in the last 20 years.  I have never once gotten my eyes wet in any of them.  I didn`t cry in the Assault Course, I didn`t weep during Recognition, but in the last 4 months my tear ducts seemed to have grown more active than they have ever been in the last 2 years.  This mission so far has transformed my soul more than any other experience and every tear that may have been shed has been while I was testifying of truth.  I know I am supposed to be here and be tested and tried and to help these people in Japan.  This is difficult because I want to be successful because this mission will bless my life forever.  ``And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.`` (Romans 5:3-5)  

Thank you again for all of the Christmas and Birthday wishes!  I hope you all have a fantastic New Year`s 


Pic 1- Trying out kendo
Pic 2- Christmas Eve at the Miyachi Family


Sunday, December 21, 2014


Morning everybody,

Well Christmas was in the air this week.  At least it was the one day it snowed.  It melted later in the day.  The weather has been cold and rainy and riding through the rain sucks.  Nobody walks on the streets during weather like that or they don`t want to stop and talk.  There`s something else about winter time that makes investigators not want to talk to us anymore.  We`ve had to drop 4 of them which gives us the grand total of 9 right now.  I`m starting to feel like a missionary in Japan due to our reduced teaching pool.  For some of my friends in the mission 9 is the max they`ve had in an area.  

A lot happened this week.  We had Zone Conference in Okazaki which was super good.  It was a really big language confidence booster for me because President and Sister Yamashita both spoke in Japanese for the morning session and I could understand them pretty well.  They were speaking slowly, but it was still rewarding to see some sort of progression. 

We had a Christmas Party on Saturday at the church.  It was pretty fun and Elder Moretti was Santa Clause and Elder Miranda was his reindeer.  Elder Bills and I made little presents for the kids and it was a good time.  It felt a little more like Christmas with all the happy (crazy) kids.  

I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas!  Several of you have asked what I will be doing on Christmas Day.  Well, I will get to call home in the morning and then I work for the rest of the day.  Yep, no break, we work.  At least I didn`t have to take finals last week!!  (John and Ashley)

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas wherever you may be in the world.  Remember Heavenly Father loves each of you so much that He sent His son to this world to die so we all can live again.



Pic 1- P-Day last week was rather sweet shall we say...
Pic 2- Snow
Pic 3- Christmas Tree


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Month 2

Good morning/afternoon/evening wherever in the world ya`ll might be.

This week is the end of Month 2 in Japan.  It`s been rather cold and windy here in Toyota.  I shouldn`t complain too much and I have to be careful what I say because those elders in the northern area of the mission are freezing their butts off.  It`s super windy here and that`s what makes it cold.

It`s really hard to remember this past week because it went by fast and we did a lot.  On Thursday we went to Nagoya again for a ``mission tour`` with two other zones.  Elder Ringwood of the First Quorum of the Seventy did a mission tour and it was pretty good.  We spent the whole day in Meito (suburb of Nagoya where the mission home is).  I got to see some of my buddies from the MTC which is always a good time.  That night we went and did some Christmas visits with Sister Ichikawa.  Apparently every year she goes to some of here friends in the neighborhood and gives them bread and cookies she bakes and the missionaries share a short message about Christmas.  We visited 10 people and asked if they knew the purpose of Christmas and nobody really understood why it`s a holiday.  It was a really good Christmas activity to do and it reminded me of being home with Mom visiting the neighbors.  Ahhh trunky.  Next week we are meeting with one of the families to talk about the gospel/Christmas.  

We went to 森村 (Morimura, I love his kanji.  It means forest town) shop and taught about the First Vision and Jesus Christ and showed the Easter video ``Because of Him`` to explain why Christ is important.  It was a super good lesson and felt the Spirit and he let Elder Bills pray in his shop which is awesome.  森村 is my favorite.  He lights up every time he sees us.

Last night we went to a member`s home to a Christmas party.  It was super fun and all the kids were super crazy.  Yesterday we also watched the Christmas devotional from the First Presidency.  I loved what President Eyring spoke about Christ being the light of Christmas.  He is the Gift.  In case you haven`t seen the Christmas video the church made, here`s the URL:

Next week is Christmas and I`m excited!  I love Christmas and it`s definitely going to be a plus to call home.

Have a great week preparing for Christmas!


Pic- Don`t ask me because I have no clue

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Não falo Português.

Oi!  Tu tu ben?  Como você está?

As you can clearly see I live in an are with not just one, BUT two Brazilian elders.  Elder Miranda`s new compheiro is also Brazilian.  Elder Moretti is super cool and this is the last transfer of his mission.  He is what we call a ``dying`` missionary.  He was a Brazilian jujitsu/MMA fighter before the mission and could have been really good if he wouldn`t have left to come to Japan.  He is fluent in 3 languages because of his mission and he was like Miranda and couldn`t speak any English at the MTC and now he is fluent.  It`s so crazy.

This week has gone by so sloooowww.  I have forgotten a lot that has gone on.  Even though the week passed by super slow we still got a tone of work done.  We biked all over the city and have been trying to get our investigators to progress.  We went to Nagoya last Tuesday because Bills and I had to help with training the new trainers for the next batch of beans that came in.  I was hoping to see Tommy because he said that he had to be in the same area, but alas I never saw him.  

Last P-Day to celebrate Tuakoi`s transfer to Meito we went to a Yaku Niku place.  Yaku Niku is an all you can eat meat place where you grill your own meat in the middle of the table on a little stove.  It`s good, but you only get 100 minutes to eat.  We also went to Homi with the Brazilians with a Brazilian member (he`s an RM fluent in 3 languages as well) and had all you can eat Brazilian PIZZA!!  It`s super hard to find an all you can eat pizza place anywhere, but especially Japan.  It was super good. 

I got my hair cut last Tuesday and let`s just say you should watch the video on drop box because that explains it best.  

It`s been cold and raining all week, but of course we still go out and dendo anyways.  We saw a couple flakes of snow, but it just turned back into rain.  I would love some snow instead of cold rain.  

Not much else happened this week.  None of our investigators really progressed.  We did learn that one, by the name of Ando, is reading the Book of Mormon on his breaks at work which is super awesome.  He however won`t pray because he feels like he can`t talk to God.  It`s really sad because I know that our Father in Heaven wants him to talk to Him.  We are going to emphasize that God and Jesus Christ love him and want to help him in his life.

That`s it for this week.  Stay warm, unless you`re in Yuma, AZ where it`s warm whether you like it or not.  `Tis the Season!

Pic- Christmas at the Eki (train station)