Sunday, January 25, 2015

Now I Feel Like a Missionary...IN JAPAN

Good afternoon ladies and germs,

So this week was flipping the most different week in my life as a missionary yet.  First off we are now down to only two investigators; the lowest I have had in Toyota.  One of those two also became suicidal this week so we are trying to keep him alive.  We haven`t found a new investigator in the past 4 weeks.  I now feel like a missionary in Japan.  We are trying and tried a lot of different ways to get a new investigator.  Besides doing our normal streeting and housing efforts we tried getting an appointment with the Mayor of Toyota.  Sadly, that turned out to be a failure because we had to get through the secretary to the secretary of the mayor.  They wouldn`t even let us leave a Book of Mormon.  We also tried offering a presentation on how students can have balance in their lives at a high school, but no dice.  I have learned that I need to learn how to become a good ``finder``.  I need a whole lot more faith because the basic ways of finding I don`t have a whole lot of faith in because there are way too many crazy people or old, angry people on the streets and nobody wants to talk to you on their doorstep.  I promise that I am trying to become the best I can to find people.  

On a bright side I love my new companion.  He is a huge breath of fresh air from my trainer.  Elder Butters and I have been gelling really well together, but we both have the same weakness: finding.  We have so many plans to get Toyota to succeed as an area.  We`ll see how this next week goes.  

I had a couple of humbling experiences with the language this last week.  The week before last week i was feeling pretty confident and it was a good feeling.  This past week, however, we were at a member`s home and their oldest daughter is serving in Temple Square and I asked their daughter what I thought was, ``When is your older sister coming home from her mission?``  Instead I said, ``When is my older brother coming home?``  She handled it really well and didn`t tell me I was wrong.  After we left Butters told me what I had said and I felt like a super big idiot.  Second experience was yesterday at church where the bishop asked me 10 minutes before sacrament meeting to bear my testimony on how the gospel blesses families.  Man that was rough.  I did alright I guess, but I thought I was doing better than that.  When I have to speak in front of the ward members I get really nervous and my language skills go blank.  Yay for humility.

Well that`s about it folks.  Thanks for all the prayers.  They are felt.  I love hearing from you all and I am eternally grateful for your support.



Pic- I had an oopsie on the bike...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kiwi In Town

Good Afternoon,

Well we finished off the first week of Transfer 3!  My new companion is from New Zealand and his name is Elder Butters.  He was Tommy`s trainer and only companion so that is super cool.  He is also the District Leader so I get to see what responsibilities they have. We are about to rock Toyota`s socks right off.  This whole next week is going to be all about finding people to teach because we are down to 6 iffy investigators and Morimura now does not want to be baptized.  We have some pretty high hopes and plans and we`re going to be doing our best.

One of the great things about this week is that I got to see Tommy twice!  Once at transfers and at a District Leader/Zone Leader training where I got to hang with Tommy there because both our comps are DLs.  It`s pretty flipping cool because I don`t know if any USAFA cadet in the past has served in the same mission as another cadet.  We`re pretty lucky.

Nothing special really happened this week.  I am getting Butters familiar with the area and he will die in Toyota probably because he only has 2 transfers left.  We got to be at a member`s 8 year old son`s baptism on Saturday.  That was pretty cool to be a part of.  We didn`t teach him or anything, but we were there to support our ward.

This week is going to be a busy adventure and it`s going to be hard to find a lot of new people, but it will be worth it!

Thank you for all the love and support!




Pic 1: Falcons Reunited
Pic 2: This building was lit up with two huge projectors
Pic 3: The Yusa family whose son got baptized


Sunday, January 11, 2015

We Killed Him...

Good Morning Sports Fans,

I just witnessed one of the saddest things so far on my mission so far.  We killed Elder Moretti this morning...Meaning he`s finished his two years of service to God and is heading home to Brazil.  He was a legend in the mission and was only 20 and was one of the coolest guys I know.  It was super sad to see a physical and spiritual giant leave all by himself and get on the train.

I got to go on my first companion exchange to Okazaki this week with our DL.  It was super fun!  Our DL is one of the coolest guys of all time and he has the biggest heart I`ve ever seen.  His name is Elder Schmeil and he`s Brazilian, but his father is German in his mother is half Lebanese half Bolivian.  He speaks four languages and has perfect English.  He looks kind of like Klinger from M*A*S*H (mostly because of the Lebanese nose).  Okazaki is a sweet area and they have one of the best apartments in the mission.  I got to talk to the Japanese elders there and that really helped my language confidence.  If you are confident with who you are talking with, the ability to speak becomes so much easier.  It was so much fun talking to the Japanese elders and we hung out that night talking for 45 minutes and they had me try some fish (see drop box) and they busted out their cameras like good Asians and filmed the white guy eating it.  Their English is super funny.

Probably the coolest thing that we did this week in regards to culture is make mochi (smashed rice) the traditional way.  It`s tradition to make it during Shogatsu, but the ward did it for Elder Moretti since he was dying and had never done it before.  What you do is smash a ball of rice with a massive hammer in a solid stone bowl.  It`s super cool (see the drop box)!  It doesn`t taste like anything, just whatever you put it in.  

The big spiritual high this week was teaching Morimura.  We stopped by on Wednesday to set up a next appointment (only) but as we were about to leave he asked us about his reading commitment in the pamphlet (about Christ`s Atonement) and said he had read it and didn`t understand.  So we did our best to explain it simply enough for him to understand.  We ended up teaching most of the Plan of Salvation and he wanted to get to the Celestial Kingdom so we invited him to be baptized.  He hesitantly agreed, but he agreed and now we need him to progress towards his committed baptismal date.

Well that`s about it for the week.  Thank you so much for all of your support and I love you all.  May the Lord bless all of you!



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Senpai Week: The Debrief

Morning folks,

Wow, that was a long week with a lot of downs and very few ups and a lot of lessons learned.  First off I learned that I really and not very confident in talking to people.  I really don`t know where to go with a conversation when I stop someone out of nowhere on my bike.  However, I did develop a way for myself to get better and I started applying it and it has helped.  Not OYMing 100% is what has caused me the most frustration, mostly due to my frustration at having a hard time talking.  

On New Years Eve I got lost trying to find a less active`s apartment.  We biked around looking for it for 2 hours and I couldn`t find it.  Finally I gave up and found it on the map at our apartment.  I was so frustrated because I thought I knew where it was, but now I know.  (I found it on exchanges.)

Probably the most frustrating thing about this week was feeling alone.  My companion would literally not talk to me for hours or help me in any way at all.  It was super difficult and I got really angry.  I haven`t been so frustrated in a long time.  I didn`t want to visit investigators because my spirit was definitely not in the right place all the time and you can`t teach effectively without companionship unity.  

The good things that happened this week were member appointments and a companionship exchange.  New Years is a HUGE deal here in Japan and everyone stays in there home and don`t leave or answer the door and it`s really hard for missionary work.  It`s called Shogatsu and they all eat lots of food and have a good time.  Nobody is on the streets.  The city looks deserted.  On New Years I had an exchange with Elder Watson from Okazaki.  He`s Australian and he`s kind of posh.  The bike he was riding chain broke and we had to walk 3 miles back to the church to get him a new steed.  It started snowing and he was unhappy he had to dendo in that sort of weather.

The next day we had a lunch and dinner appointment with members and we got to eat and do some traditional Shogatsu stuff.  It was super fun and we ate so much.  (I still lost weight)  

All in all the lessons I learned this week are this: I learned this week how I want to train my future bean someday and how I need to develop to become a better missionary.  Developing myself to be the best I can for others is the most important thing I can do and most important lesson learned.

Hope you all had a great week!  We`ve biked 108 miles since Christmas!  If your New Years Resolution is weight loss then I have the plan for you!  All you have to do is eat 1 scoop of rice for lunch and dinner with some sausage and egg and bike 16 miles a day and I guarantee weight loss!  

Happy New Years!!