Monday, August 31, 2015

Yours Truly, The Seed Planter

Good morning folks,

It's been a pretty rainy week here. It's also been a pretty busy week as well. Everything was pretty normal until Wednesday rolled around.

On Wednesday we were about to head up to 安曇野 to visit the new investigators we found up there last week, but right before we left the previous senior missionary couple the 當眞 (Toma)s needed to borrow their apartment key to pick up some stuff they left behind. They very kindly offered to drive us to 安曇野。We had a really good lesson with one of the investigators. Her name is 金子(Kaneko). She has a lot of interest in why there are so many Christian churches and kept telling us that she wants to learn more about the Mormons. We taught her the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon and says she wants to read it and learn more. She was super receptive to our message and was good to have something exciting happen with a new investigator.  Her only issue is that she can't get to church because all she has is a bicycle and the church is over an hour away by bike. We'll be working on that.

As the 當眞s were about to drop us back off in 松本 we got a phone call where we were told to go interview a 約束者(yakusokusha-an investigator with a baptismal date) who one of our DLs has been teaching in 上田(Ueda). The issue was that he was on a government probation and we needed to learn more about his crime and probation before we could interview him for baptism. So we quickly went home, packed, and rushed back to the station to catch the train and ride for two hours to spend the night and meet the investigator in the morning. The next day Tu'akoi and Valente went to go do the interview and Elder Tu'akoi had a very special experience. The man being interviewed was a Peruvian named Carlos, who moved here around 10 years ago. His wife died about four years ago and life's been pretty rough for him since. He decided to pray one night to ask God for help and the next day the missionaries showed up. He was living in a home that a less active member used to own, but had since moved and Valente visited and the man became a 約束者 that day. When Tu'akoi did the interview (in English) he said to him, "The missionaries brought me Jesus Christ and the Atonement. I love it, I want it, I need it, and I need it now." He was baptized yesterday. I wish I could have met this man.

I went from beautiful 上田 to 諏訪(Suwa) to go on exchanges there. It was another day of train rides and I got to work with Elder Crippen for the evening. The big highlight was at the family home evening of a Brazilian member who told of his conversion story. He had sought for the truth for years and then two guys with white shirts and tieknocked on his door and changed his life forever. Brother Pontes is one of the nicest men I've met here on my mission and to watch this man tell me with tears in his eyes in his Brazilian Japanese how much he has been blessed since he found the truth will be something I'll never forget. That's what this is all about. To bless others with the Restored Gospel where they can find peace and joy.

In closing I'd like to share a side note from my previous area in good 'ole Toyota. It is currently has the most 約束者s of any area in the mission (11) and had a baptism this week. I found and taught about half of them. I know I said I'd never want to go back, but I can't believe the success they're having. It's like missionary Disneyland! I
spent 8 1/2 months there and dreamed that the area could develop into what it is today. I kind of wish I could have one more crack at it, but sometimes I think I should just be content with the seeds I sowed.

I hope you are all doing great in your respected parts of the world. I hope that you're all safe and sound. We are moving into fall and I am super excited for some color changes up here in the Japanese Alps!

Love you all.


This is beautiful 上高地(Kamikochi). 
We went here with one of Tua's
investigators from Meito who came to visit

Just bored while riding 17 miles to visit a less active who wasn't home.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tongue Tied

Good morning this morning,

Not a whole bunch happened this week, but it all turned out pretty good. I know this is going to sound really bad, but I lost my companion again last Monday. Before you get mad let me explain:

It was dark and pouring rain last Monday night and we were trying to bike home on time. I ended up in the from and kept biking and at a stop light I looked back and Tu'akoi wasn't behind me. So I biked back looking for him. The whole time I had TOP GUN going through my head saying "Never lose your wingman!" I also remembered my last experience in Toyota where I promised myself and God I wouldn't do it again. Well I couldn't find him and he had the phone so I went to a convenie and asked if they had a pay phone. They said no and didn't know where one would be (we're in the modern era of cell phones so that wasn't surprising) so I went to a close by drug store and explained my situation and asked if I could use there phone. They allowed me to and I called Tu'akoi and we met up and got home safely. He wasn't too far from me and since I could call my lost comp it was better than my last experience.

Wednesday I had a new mission first experience. On Tuesday a young 27 year old member named Terashima called us up and asked if he could go and dendo with us and said he could take us in his car wherever we wanted to go. We gladly excepted the offer and decided to go up north to 安曇野 Azumino, which is a good hour bike ride away. We had the plan to just go visit less active members that we normally can't get to, but Terashima surprised us. He had already chosen some 団地(danchi-Japanese apartment buildings) to and try to house. He
actually wanted to do real work with us and was in his church clothes ready to find investigators! All he was missing was the name tag! So we went and housed as a threesome which was another first for me. It turned out to be pretty fun and housed all afternoon and found two new investigators. It was cool because Terashima wanted to be right in the action and housed doors with us and would improve his approach every time. I kind of wish I would have gone out with the missionaries back in high school. I was too much of a chicken to go. Plus they were never in our Ward so I didn't have a relationship with them. After housing we hung out with his family (all non-members) and got to build a good relationship at their beautiful home in 安曇野 and then went to
Eikaiwa together.

Friday I had my first experience teaching ZTM (Zone Training Meeting). Our zone, Nagano Zone, is the smallest in the mission with only 14 missionaries. We have a really fun zone with a lot of different personalities and nationalities. We have a Canadian, Brazilian, Japanese, and 11 Americans. Our zone is doing really good right now
despite being so small.

Later that evening we taught one of our investigators named 山中(Yamanaka). 山中 is an interesting fellow who Hobdy and Tu'akoi found.  He has a problem with his tongue due to some side effects from some medicine he had to take a year ago. The way he talks is as if his tongue is always in the way. Stick your tongue out and try talking and that's what it sounds like except it's Japanese coming out. I get about 60% what he says so I am grateful Tu'akoi is a native speaker or we'd both be lost. 山中 is actually Christian who says he's read the Bible over 60 times and goes to a Brazilian church. He's been taught for the last couple of weeks and we were teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. While teaching about baptism he told us he was already baptized. That provided us an excellent opportunity to teach about the importance of the Restoration and necessity of proper priesthood authority. It went really well and invited him to be baptized, but said he wanted to pray about it. We promised that he would find his answer if he kept reading the Book of Mormon and praying. It was a really good lesson and have hopes for this weeks lesson.

Long email this weeks folks, but I hope you are all doing well. Fall is in the air and we are on our way to hopefully some beautiful golden mountains. I hope summer was fun for everyone and I am always grateful for your love, support, and prayers.

Best wishes!



What!? A castle?!

Celebrating 1 Year today at 焼肉

Beautiful 安曇野

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Journey of a Thousand Miles...

Good afternoon Sports Fans,

It's pouring rain today, but that's ok because that keeps things nice
and cool. Speaking of which, I don't think I'll complain about the
heat in Nagano Prefecture ever again. This week I had to go to Meito
in the Nagoya area and it was ridiculous! It was nasty, sticky humid
and baking like an oven. The Lord definitely knows me and didn't
assign me to that area and to those trials.

Well this was my first week as Zone Leader here in 松本. It was a pretty
crazy week here. My new companion, Elder Tu'akoi, isn't the most
organized of guys and tends to run a little behind schedule so it felt
like we were sprinting back and forth to a bunch of different places.
We also spent almost two days in Meito for Mission Leadership Council
where all the  ZLs and Sister Training Leaders (kind of like ZLs for
sister missionaries) have a day long conference at the Mission Home.
It was a super good meeting where we discussed issues and improvements
to our zones. Tu'akoi and I were randomly selected to do a mogi (role
play) with President and Siter Ishii in front of everyone about how to
teach simply about the Atonement. We ended up doing pretty good. Of
all things Tu'akoi is best a teaching the gospel. He grew up in Osaka
and moved to Hawaii when he was 12 so he is fluent in Japanese and can
explain things very clearly and simplest in a way a 日本人 can
understand. There was a really good Spirit in MLC and I really
appreciated working with some of the best missionaries in the zone. I
felt kind of young and inexperienced there (being the youngest ZL),
but there's nothing else to do than to keep learning and improving
myself and zone.

No super good teaching stories from this week, but there was a 花火大会 at
the largest 神社 ("Jinja"=shrine) in Matsumoto on Monday that we went to
with a Less Active. 花火 means "flower fire" which in turn means
"fireworks" in the English tongue. Japanese fireworks are super cool
and they're pretty big and again they were tons of people on the
street watching. I also got a little tongue twisted while housing this
week. Instead of saying 末日(Matsu Jitsu) in 末日聖徒イエス・キリスト教会, I said 蜂蜜聖徒
(Hachi Mitsu) which means honey, so translated I said "The Church of
Jesus Christ of Honey Saints." Yep, almost a year as a missionary and
I sometimes mess up. Oh well, they rejected us anyways. We did bike
over close to the Matsumoto Airport while looking for some Less
Actives. It was super good to be close to an airport again and got to
watch a couple jets take off and land.

I don't know how many of you know but this Thursday is my one year
mark of my mission. It's crazy to think that one year ago I entered
the MTC and started the adventure of a lifetime. It's definitely a
strange feeling standing on the halfway point; you feel like you've
come such a long way but still have so far to go. At other times you
are worried that you don't have much time left and that you haven't
mastered the language or other missionary skills. Just over a year ago
I sacrificed my personal goals and dreams to come to this strange land
to serve the Lord and to bring souls to Christ. Some days I miss what
I left behind and then other days I love that I am here. I got to
thinking the other day that no matter what your life was before the
mission you had to give up something to serve whether it be
girlfriend, college, truck, job, or whatever, you gave it up. Every
missionary has sacrificed something and that makes missionaries
special I think. I know that each missionary will be eternally blessed
for their personal sacrifice. I have less than a year left of service,
but I am super excited and don't plan on slowing down! This work is
important and there are 88,000 missionaries around the world all
serving for the same cause. "The journey of a thousand miles began
with a single step." - J.R.R Tolkein

Thanks for everything this last year! Still got less than 11 months
left so don't forget about me! Don't worry I ain't slowing down!

I love you all a ton! I hope you are all safe and sound! Summer's
about over so make the most of what you have left!



Monday, August 10, 2015


Good morning Sports Fans,

Well our 7 week transfer came to an end yesterday and now Elder Klein and I are officially at our half way point of 8 transfers in the mission. That just seems kind of crazy that this transfer is now over.  It was a week longer than normal, but Klein and I had a lot of fun and saw a lot of success and the time just flew by.  Well, now down to business with transfer calls.  My companion became a trainer therefore Matsumoto is getting a Bean-Chan!  It`s gonna be fun to have a bean in the area.  Now you all must be wondering what happened to me if Klein became a trainer.  Well don`t you worry Bessy Sue because I`m not transferring too far.  I am actually staying in Matsumoto and am just switching apartments to become a Zone Leader with Elder Tuakoi.  You may remember Tuakoi from my first transfer in Toyota just under a year ago.  It`s kind of crazy we are going to be companions.  I am the youngest ZL in the mission with the oldest ZL in the mission, so our companionship is a little strange, but it will all be good.  My buddy Elder Jones is the new District 

This week was kind of a slow week for us.  We did, however, have two important lessons.  First one was with our Chinese investigator Enny.  She met us at the church and we did our English lesson with her and had a decent lesson start with the Plan of Salvation and prayer.  We then tried to transition into introducing the Book of Mormon and giving her a reading assignment, but she was asking a lot of questions and when I tried to explain them she seemed to be more confused and therefore I tried to re-explain, but she didn`t have anymore time.  So the lesson ended with her a little confused, but she wants to know and will continue to read and pray.

Our other really good lesson this week was with a guy Elder Klein OYMed about two weeks ago.  His name is Shionozaki and he is a Morse Codeman for the Japanese Self-Defense Force at the base that is a three minute walk from the church.  We had our first lesson with him on Saturday and it was super good.  He had a lot more interest than we originally thought and he had great understanding of what was being taught.  We taught about God and prayer and a little about how a restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was necessary.  After the lesson we gave him a church tour of our little building and tried to schedule a next appointment, but because there is a lot of training going on on the base he couldn`t set a firm day. (We see CH-47s and UH-60s fly in almost twice a week.  Trunky...)

Elder Hobdy and my trainer Elder Bills finished their missions and went home today.  I really am going to miss Hobdy.  He was a really great ZL and we went on a lot of P-Day adventures together.  It`s always sad to see them go.  I know they`ll be great once they get back home.

That`s about all of the excitement for this week.  Sorry it`s a short one, but it makes up for the long one last week.  Now that we`re a week into August things will hopefully start cooling down.  Best of luck out there this week folks!  Oh and a big shout out to my little bro Brocky-Boy for making it safe to Argentina! He`s already witnessed his first drug deal!  Also Audrey`s moving off to college so congrats to her too!



He died (see the bullet holes?)

This place was kind of creepy.  It looks like a sacrificial stone and the kanji says 千度 meaning ``1000 Times``

My office


Monday, August 3, 2015

Hot as Valhalla


According to Viking lore heaven was a location know as Valhalla, which was a place of intense heat and fire. This visual is a stark contrast to what many Christians believe due to the fact that the Viking version of Heaven is our Hell. I have no idea how the Vikings could ever consider melting in the flipping sun heaven because it sure ain't.

Not much in the way of super exciting stories happened this week, but I did have some cool experiences.  On Wednesday we had interviews with President Ishii here in 松本. It was good to meet him again and get know him better. It's really strange to have a change of Mission Presidents because you have to readjust to a completely new person and their vision. It hasn't been to hard, but it has just been different. It's just a new tempo to adjust to.

After interviews I got permission to do a 48 hour exchange with Elder Crippen in 諏訪(Suwa) because we had DTM in 松本 on Friday so we didn't want to go back and forth and spend all our money on trains. It was a good experience. Elder Crippen is an extremely obedient missionary and follows every letter of the law, which is good, but needs to loosen up a little bit. He is a young missionary (Transfer 3) so I tried to help coach and train him with planning and teaching. On Thursday we followed his plan and went out into the blazing sun for six hours to go to less active members' homes and go teach one investigator. It was by far the hottest day I have had so far. One kind LA gave us each a bottle of Aquarius (the Japanese version of Gatorade) which was a life saver. The night ended at a Brazilian member's home where they gave us my newfound summer time weakness... ice cream.

On Friday we switched back and Klein and I had a lot of teaching appointments (3 actually which is a lot in a day for us). It ended when a teaching experience Klein and I had never had before. We found a lady named Ichihashi 一橋 housing an apartment building on Sunday and she was unusual in the fact that she was Protestant. She had met missionaries several years before and had read a pamphlet from them and when I asked if she had read the Book of Mormon she said no and was interested so we set a next advent. Anyways Friday was our return appointment and she opened the door and told us she couldn't talk to the Mormons because she loves coffee and I started talking to her and told her that we don't drink coffee because it's a commandment from living prophets. We got into a little discussion about prophets and the Book of Mormon and she didn't know what to think of prophets living on the Earth today. I felt prompted to ask her if prophets lived in a long time ago in the Bible and Book of Mormon times, then why should there not be prophets today? She said she didn't know and we shared the message of the Restoration of Christ's church through Joseph Smith and how the Book of Mormon contains the pure message of Christ and how it with the Bible makes a strong, unbreakable testimony of Christ. We read Moroni 10:3-4 with her and challenged her to read the introduction and Moroni 10 and and pray to know if our message is true. She accepted and we promised she would receive an answer. We have a next appointment so we'll see what happens from there.

This experience was special to me in several ways:  Firstly it was my first time teaching a Japanese Christian allowing me the opportunity to bear strong testimony about the Restoration of the gospel. It was also one of the most Spirit directed teaching experiences I've had. We had no plan but to teach about the Book of Mormon and we ended up teaching a lot of things clearly and simply without a plan. We also testified a lot in the lesson. This stuff is true folks. My invitation is the same as is written on the introduction to the Book of Mormon:  "We [I] invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true." If you do follow the invitation to read, ponder, and pray then you will receive an answer that the things which are written are true. If you are seeking for truth, then you'll find it there.

The week ended with the 松本ぼんぼん祭り (Bon Bon Matsuri)!  This is a huge festival on August 1 where there is a massive parade of people from different clubs, companies, and organizations perform the Matsumoto Bon Bon dance in the streets going in both directions from 1700-2200. We got to participate with the 松本 Barbers Association because a member of the branch is a barber and invited the branch to participate with them. It was a cool once in a lifetime experience. Each time you dance the Bon Bon song blasts on loud speakers throughout the city for sets of 30 minutes. We did two set and then decided to go look around. It was crazy with how many people were out on the streets. It was packed with people in kimonos, yutakas, normal clothes, hardly any clothes, and street vendors trying to sell you high priced food and beer. We walked around just making our presence known and found some of our friends who we have talked to on the streets before. It was an awesome experience I will probably never have again. Missions are cool.

I got to get ready to go to the castle again today. I am taking my district over these and then going to get Indo curry! I hope you all have a great week folks and enjoy the heat. 気をつけてね!めちゃ暑いから.



Barber Club

Work Hard, Play Hard