Monday, September 28, 2015

Eu não falo Português und ich kann nicht Deutch sprechen...

Well hello Sports Fans,

What a long week. It's been pretty incredible and my camera's battery
died so I didn't get too many pics. I went to Nagoya twice this week
and it's been a wild ride. I love my new companion and we got a lot
done even though we weren't in 松本 for most of the week.

We'll start off with my Monday adventure. I got to experience some good
'ole Japanese farming. A member's friend needed some help harvesting
some rice in their tanbo (田圃 which is a rice paddy) and four big
foreigners is the best way to get manual labor done. It was actually a
really neat experience. They use this hand pushed swather-like machine
that cuts the rice into sheaves and binds it with cord and then you
line up the sheaves on the ground. They then build these racks next to
the row of sheaves and you hang the sheaves of rice upside down on the
racks. We were a super big help to these folks because they tend to be
kind of slow and take lots of breaks (it would've driven Dad nuts),
but we didn't need a break every ten minutes so we just kept working
and helped them finish ahead of schedule. The Japanese are so funny
when it comes to this kind of work. They are so worried about getting
too itchy, or sun burned, or blisters. Just different than what I was
used to growing up in Paradise North.

My first trip to 名古屋 was on Tuesday to pick up my new companion Elder
Gilberto Andrade from São Paulo, Brazil. He is one of the nicest guys
you'll ever meet. He is an extremely hard worker and has enormous
amounts of faith. We are going to get tons done this transfer.

We had to go again to 名古屋 on Thursday for our Mission Leadership
Council where all the ZLs meet at the beginning of every transfer.
Half of the meeting was about how to more effectively teach to
non-Christians using some new aids to help with teaching. It was
really good training and very different from what we heard from
President Whiting a couple of weeks ago. It was very emphasized on
teaching to understanding and respecting people rather than just

On to the work we got done in our own war zone. Andrade has become best
friends with the only Brazilian member and got two referrals from him.
Our own Brazilian investigators are doing awesome! Aoki and Preto are
doing so good. I love them so much. We are going to start meeting them
at least twice a week to help them get ready for baptism. They love
Andrade things are looking so good for them. We also met with Eni (I
thought her name was Enna) and she is the German speaking Brazilian I
found. I left her a German Das Buch Mormon in her post with a poorly
written note in German several weeks ago because she wasn't home. We
decided to stop by last night and she is pure gold. She said, in German,
that she has been reading it everyday and loves it. She kept saying,
"Danke schön, danke schön." Which is "Thank you, thank you." Since she
and her husband are Brazilian, Andrade started getting to know them and
Eni started asking him all sorts of perfect, golden questions. Andrade
answered all of them and she was so happy! Her and her husband, Louis,
want to meet again and we are going to practice German for 30 minutes
and then teach a lesson. They also gave us a lot of referrals of
friends who live in the area, including their daughter. Eni said,
"These people need to feel the peace I'm feeling right now!" How cool
is that?!

You all maybe are wondering what I am doing when Andrade is talking to all
these Brazilians in Portuguese. Well, I am listening rather intently
because believe it or not I can understand about 20-30% of what is
being said. I can understand everything that is happening in general,
but I can't get the specifics or understand direct questions. If Eni
talks to me in German I understand about 70-80% because stuff is still
in my head. My problem is that I cannot speak these languages; I can
only understand. While of course my focus is learning and teaching in
Japanese, I have to learn some things in Portuguese to be of help. The
goal is to learn how to pray and bear a simple testimony in Portuguese
and German by the end of next week. That way I can connect with my
investigators and build a better relationship with them.

Those are all of the exciting stories for the week. I love being in a
four man apartment. The sleeping area was a little tight at first, but
now Elder Hansen the Bean-chan is sleeping in the closet so it all
works out rather nice. I'll send a pic next week.

This is going to be a sweet transfer. To me personally some of the
best missionaries are in 松本 and in my zone this transfer. We're going
to make change.

As we roll into October, I hope that all is well and you are enjoying
the beautiful fall colors. Everything is still green here so we'll see
if we get a color change. I am so grateful for all of you and your
support. I'm sorry I don't always respond back to everyone, but with
my re-application to USAFA and other Zone stuff I've hardly had time
to write in my journal. Please know that I love and appreciate you



Beautiful 安曇野

Monday, September 21, 2015

The 姉妹 Are Coming, The 姉妹 Are Coming

Brock and Andrade's brother

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oh Ye Of Little Faith

Good morning folks,

Welcome to another week here in the 日本名古屋伝道部. It's definitely had its ups and downs and I am so ready for this next transfer. So let's talk about the past week. Shall we begin?

To start things off it was pouring rain from Sunday to Wednesday. Just buckets of sky-juice just getting dumped on us. Then all of a sudden it just stopped while we were walking to a lesson in 安曇野(Azumino). That was a lovely little miracle because we had to teach 金子(Kaneko) on her genkan. It was a really good lesson. In a week she has started the Book of Mormon from the beginning and finished 1 Nephi! I've never had an investigator read that much so fast ever. She even highlights parts she doesn't understand so that she can ask us questions. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she really liked it a lot. It made a lot of sense to her that God would want us to be happy for eternity. I mentioned to her that as missionaries we invite people to be baptized so they can return to live with God, but she said that she couldn't be baptized. We'll see about that. If she keeps reading and starts praying she will for sure gain a testimony of the truth. Sadly we won't be able to meet until October, but I'm sure she'll keep progressing on her own.

Most of my week has been spent down in the heart of 名古屋(Nagoya). We had a mission tour by the Area Seventy President, President Whiting. Our day of the conference was three zones meeting in the Fukutoku area. It was a pretty good conference, but it shocked a ton of us. We were told that after Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited us in February, President Whiting was asked why Japan and Korea don't baptize as many people as the rest of the world. The only answer President Ballard would accept was that we as missionaries
in Japan don't have the faith sufficient enough to baptize. That hurt. I have seen missionaries with way more faith than me see only a couple of baptisms. As far as I'm concerned Japan is one of the most difficult areas in the world to serve as a missionary. Here we are now being told that we need to get our act together because all of the things that make Japan a low baptizing mission are just excuses and if only we had more faith would we see more success. As hard as it was to swallow this pill, it actually helped motivate a lot of us. I am really excited to start a new, fresh transfer, with a new companion, and apply the things I learned and motivate my zone.

This week I was unable to meet with Enna, my German investigator. I practiced do German for language study for two days and learned how say a really simple prayer in German. I left her a German Book of Mormon in her post with a sticky note with our email and number to set a next event. I realized later that I wrote the wrong number and my grammar was wrong on the note, but the email was correct, so I hope to hear from her.

This week was really good for my Brazilian investigators. On Friday we went with Elder Valente to give Aoki a blessing. The were so happy after it was crazy. Preto gave me a hug and kissed my neck! That's how happy they were. Yesterday we went and taught them again and followed up on their reading assignment of 2 Nephi 31, which talks about baptism and the need to be baptized. Preto is Catholic and mentioned how he had already been baptized. We read Moroni 8 and talked about how children don't need to be baptized and how proper baptism requires the proper priesthood authority and immersion, both of which he hasn't had. I continued to teach that we become missionaries to help people be properly baptized so they can return to live with their Father in Heaven and be families for eternity. Aoki was a little worried because she doesn't understand everything right now and Tu'akoi shared with her Moroni 10:4-5 and shared his conversion and how he received an answer it. It was like a light bulb clicked for her and she seemed determined to accepted Moroni's promise and ask God if it is all true. They both accepted a baptismal date for the end of next month! There was a lot of love felt and the Spirit was super present in the lesson.

The last thing I want to make note of this week was that my investigator Rei Takami was baptized yesterday in Toyota. You may not remember her, but she was my Chinese investigator whose parents were members. I loved her and she was one of my most favorite people to teach. I am so happy for her. When I left Toyota I had taught her all the lessons and set up her baptismal date, the only thing was I couldn't be there to do it. Her family is now another step closer to being together for eternity.

This all true folks, every word. Everything I say on the streets, on doorsteps, and in emails home is true. If I didn't believe that this was the only true church of God here on the Earth, then I wouldn't be in Japan. Through this message a share I have seen lives changed and felt God's love.

Love you all! I hope you all have a great week!


On the side of a mountain looking for less actives

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Alles Gut in Matsumoto

Good morning sports fans,

It's just pouring rain outside and is supposed to keep pouring all week long. There's so much water I wouldn't be surprised if the island is sinking. It's going to be a long, wet week.

This was actually a pretty crazy week and somehow we managed to get a ton done. On Wednesday we did another 安曇野 (Azumino) trip where we taught 金子 (Kaneko) again. She had started reading a little bit of the Book of Mormon. She didn't have much time, but she still has a ton of interest in us. We we then found three more investigators with the member we went up there with. Two of them didn't really have too much interest, but were willing to meet again. It's been awesome how successful 安曇野 has been. That night our 英会話 (Eikaiwa)'was pretty fun. We were talking about vacations and places to go in the U.S. Someone asked if they could shoot guns while in America and the whole 英会話 changed from there. The rest of the time was answering their questions about firearms and how to shoot. I haven't had the opportunity to talk about that kind of stuff for a while so it was really entertaining to answer all of their questions. They are just amazed that we allow our citizens to have such "dangerous" objects.
Probably my craziest day this was on Friday. We took the two hour train to 上田 (Ueda) to attend the DTM there. Afterwards I went on an exchange with the DL there, Elder Valente from São Paulo, Brazil. As we are heading back to 松本 on the trains, we correctly make our connection and are riding for about an hour and I realize that I don't recognize any of the stations names. Valente asks the lady next to him if we are heading towards 松本 and she said that we were going in the opposite direction. The 駅 (eki) we got off at was on the very border of The 上田 area almost out of the prefecture. We had an appointment that we needed to get to in 松本, but learned we were going to be an hour late. My cell was dead so I had to go old school and call Klein with a pay phone to have him cover our appointment. When we finally got to 松本 the whole train ordeal had taken about four hours. Our mistake was a simple one. We were on the right track, but there's a Y in the line and if you take the one train that is five minutes earlier than the other then you get sent in the opposite direction.

The day was not a loss, however. That night we had. Lesson with some of my favorite investigators, whom of which I really haven't talked much about. They are a Brazilian couple by the names of Aoki and Preto. This was the first time that they had ever been taught by a Brazilian missionary and it completely changed them. They have been taught for a while and love the church and Book of Mormon, but through complications with the language barriers they haven't accepted to be baptized. They loved Valente. The opened up like never before. Preto speaks decent English and Aoki speaks both Portuguese and Japanese, but speaking to a native was so good for them. I can understand Portuguese to a certain extent and understood what Valente was teaching and talking about and learned their sauce with baptism. Valente's coming back again this week and if I can get a Brazilian companion next transfer then I am sure they will be baptized soon. Last miracle of the week was yesterday afternoon in the pouring rain. We decided to go no check on some potential investigators that were found last transfer, one of which was a lady who Tu'akoi me Hobdy found who speaks German. When we knocked the door a man who looked Japanese opened and was about to reject us until Tu'akoi asked where he was from and he said Brazil. Then he asked if his wife was German
and then the wife popped out from around the corner and looks at me and asked, "Alles gut?" She then started talking to me in German and to my surprise I could understand about 80% of what she was saying to me. To my dismay I couldn't respond back in correct German; I kept trying to use Japanese words inside my sentence. I learned that her grandparents are from Germany, but moved to the German colony of Parana in southern Brazil. Her first language is German, but she also speaks Portuguese. Enna ( that's her name) was super nice and knew about Mormons and and asked us if we had a paper/pamphlet/book we could share. I said yes, but not on me and asked if it would be alright if I brought a Das Buch Mormon with me next week and could share it with her. She said that would be fine and says she wants to read something to keep practicing her German and wants to practice speaking to me because she doesn't get the opportunity to speak. I promised I would practice and I am super excited to meet her again.

Well this week's email is quite an epistle. I cannot believe how much stuff happens in a week. I hope you all are keeping just as busy as me. I am so grateful for all of you and for your love and support.

Have a super great week!


Pink お寺 (O-Tera: Buddhist temple)