Monday, October 26, 2015

Welcome to the Jungle

Well folks,

This week has been real, it's been good, but it hasn't been real good.
Just another one bites the dust. I did, however, have some experiences
that I'll never have anywhere else.

On Tuesday I got the opportunity to back to 上高地 (Kamikochi) this week
and see the spectacular color change that occurs in the Japanese Alps.
The Japanese actually have a word for the leaves changing color which
is 紅葉 (Koyo). The kanji mean "crimson leaves." We went with an
investigator of Andrade's from his previous area and went on a little
hike up there. It was way pretty and ate this fish they catch in the
river called 岩魚 (iwana). They gut it, skewer it, and then roast it
over the a fire with salt. You eat the whole thing; head, bones, and
tail. It's way good. As we were heading back we saw these little
monkeys and then it turned out to be a whole tribe of these suckers.
They are a sandy color with red faces and backsides. They are coming
down from the higher mountains because of the cold. They were eating
these red berries on the trees and would walk right up next to us. It
was super cool and I felt a little bit like I was on the "Jeff Corwin
Experience." I'll put some vids on the drop box.

Wednesday was my one year mark since I came to Japan. After 英会話 I
burned a tie on the back porch and said a few sentimental words and
ate some apple pie a member made for us. It's crazy to think that I
have been in this country for over a year now. I'm only in my second
area and I've put so much time and effort into this it's crazy. I've
seen a lot of changes in myself and others and is something I would
never give up.

For teaching this week we had really cool lesson with Aoki and Preto
on Thursday. Preto got way serious and shared an experience he had. We
have really been working with them to be baptized and have been asking
them to pray about it. Preto said that after our lesson on Tuesday he
way praying about it and then next day he went to work and said all he
could think about was us and O Livro de Mòrmon the whole time. He said
that when he got back and looked at the Book of Mormon on his kitchen
table and he said he felt a great power from the book. This caused him
to decide that he needs to read the whole thing to know what's inside
it's pages. He already believes it's true, but wants to know more, it
has positively affected him so much that he has promised us that he
will read a chapter a day and when he finishes he wants to talk more
about baptism. Our hope is that as he reads he'll be so affected by
the Spirit that he'll have the desire to come closer to God through
baptism. Aoki is good to baptized almost whenever. She is completely
off coffee and has almost quit smoking.

Nothing else really exciting happened this week. We received the worst
persecution ever from a guy we housed into this week and I got super
angry. For some reason this old feller had to try to tell us how
terrible we are. We don't usually get trashed on by people in Japan,
but every once in a while you find someone who just has to trash you.
My patience isn't the best so I have a hard time keeping my cool in
those situations.

Well that's a wrap folks. I just got back from 松本城 for the third time
with the district and it was fun. A member from 諏訪(Suwa) Branch did a
tour for us in English which was nice.

Hope you all have a great week. Have a great Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Good morning this morning,

I am here in 松本 with my companion reflecting on a whirlwind of a week.  Things got way crazy and we traveled a lot.  Statistically it wasn`t our best week, but we don`t do it for the stats right?  

This week has kind of been a dream because it`s my first time on the mission where I was so busy that I didn`t have any time to do finding.  We didn`t necessarily teach at all of those appointments because people didn`t show up to their appointments.  We had appointments stacked on top of each other, so if someone didn`t show up, then we`d have to rush off to the next one.  Nothing bothers me more than when someone doesn`t show up to an appointment.  All the time we spend preparing for them and then nothing.  This week only our Brazilian investigators kept their appointments.  

The big events of the week were my trips to 上田(Ueda) and 諏訪(Suwa).  On Thursday I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with my buddy Elder Jones in 諏訪.  We taught a lesson about the Restoration to an investigator together and it was great to be able to work with him again.  He is our DL right now and he is a great missionary and is super fun to be with.  I was supposed to do a baptismal interview in the evening, but a couple days before her husband said to her that she couldn`t be baptized so that changed our plans.  Also another investigator canceled his appointment and that left Jones and I with some time for housing.  We went to work and had some fun and found two new people for him and his bean-chan to teach.  Jones has been a huge success for the 諏訪 Area and he sees so many miracles.  If you don`t remember, Jones was in my MTC district and he`s from good `ole small town, Enterprise, UT so it always is fun to be with someone from small town, USA.

On Friday we came back to 松本 for DTM and then Andrade and I taught a quick lesson and then caught the train to 上田 to go do two baptismal interviews out there.  It`s a two hour ride so we got there in the evening and we got the opportunity to meet Carlos, the Peruvian who was baptized there last transfer.  He is a way nice guy and is also really smart.  He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, English, and a little Japanese.  He is really spiritual and loves being a member now.  After meeting him I did a baptismal interview with one of their investigators named 清水(Shimizu) who was going to get baptized on Sunday.  It was my first time doing a baptismal interview, but there were no problems and he was a really nice guy.  That night we celebrated with some Brazilian beans, that Valente bought, with rice and sausages.  The next morning Andrade did another interview in the morning and then we headed back to 松本.  

That night we had a first lesson with Eni, our German speaking Brazilian.  They just talked in Portuguese the whole time and Andrade taught the Restoration and answered a ton of questions about us as missionaries and about the Book of Mormon.  It was way cool to have someone truly ``investigating`` what we teach.  She apologized at the end of the lesson for not talking in German at all, but she said it was because she was ``hungry to know about the things we teach`` so she asked all of her questions to Andrade.  She is way cool and she is so prepared.  I just wish I could talk to her!  

Lastly we have been working a lot with Aoki and Preto.  We have been meeting with them three times a week to prepare them for baptism.  Sadly due to some family issues that came up, they cannot be baptized this upcoming Sunday.  We`re hoping and praying that we can reset the day quickly, but right now it`s not decided.  I love them so much!  I listen to the lesson in Portuguese, but I talk to them in Japanese and sometimes English.  They are so ready.  Our lesson last night was way powerful and they know it`s all true.

That`s about it for the week.  I wish the best to you all!

Elder Aoyagi`s home ward is 松本 so he sometimes visits.  
He spoke in General Conference recently.

Yep, that mountain way out there is 富士山 (Mt. Fuji).  
You can sometimes see it in 諏訪 and I was blessed enough to see it for the first time.

Buzz in 諏訪

 Beans in 上田

More Brazilian food we made: pastels

It`s just majestic.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

We`re On Fire!

Good Morning Sports Fans,

It`s that time of the week to hear an update from the Far East Orient.  Andrade and I had a killer week and saw tons of miracles and had a lot of cool experiences.  We found 16 new investigators and we committed two of them to be baptized!  Let`s begin.

The beginning of the week is where the meat of the finding was.  We had an exchange with the APs so with four of us in the area for one cause helped us to find a lot. The big thing that has helped us and our zone find has been our Book of Mormon challenge.  You can always find somebody who will willing accept the book if you honestly go out and try everyday.  They may not always become an investigator, but we`re doing our part to fulfill President Benson`s prophecy to flood the earth with the Book of Mormon.  We have only missed one day and that was Saturday due to spending the day watching General Conference.  We are running out of Books of Mormon, but it`s so good to be able to place one or more copies a day!

On Wednesday a new investigator who Aoki and Preto introduced to us to came to Eikaiwa.  His name is Keiji, but goes by his nickname Kaka and he is Brazilian, but grew up in Japan.  He brought two other friends with him (one Japanese and other Brazilian/Japanese) and they also became investigators.  The Japanese friend is named Ryutou and he lived in LA for four years of high school and is fluent in English.  Yesterday after General Conference we had a lesson with Kaka and Ryutou at the church and taught them the whole first lesson about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and asked them if they received an answer would they be baptized and they said yes!  Their day is for next month and we have high hopes for them.  They are both way young(Kaka is 15 and Ryutou is 19) so they could have potential to serve missions in the future.  That`s far out planning, but we are advised to teach with faith and the end in sight.

General Conference this week was way good.  The main themes from the prophets and apostles all had to pertain with discipleship, the Plan of Salvation, faith, and keeping the Sabbath day holy.  We managed to help our other two 約束者s, Aoki and Preto to come to the last session on Sunday and it was really good for them.  

The main event we had on Sunday was a baptismal service for an investigator Elder Klein and I taught when we were together named 吉野(Yoshino).  It was Klein`s first baptism and it was way good.  He almost forgot to say, ``amen`` while performing the ordinance, but it was a really good baptism.  吉野 is another investigator whom I have taught and is now baptized.  Aoki and Preto also went to the baptismal service and it helped motivate them for their baptismal date for the 25th of this month.  We`re starting to see a lot of success in this area and I love working with Elder Andrade and this zone!

I hope you all the best this week.  At home right now one of my dad`s best friends from his mission is staying with them.  It has been so cool to see how much my father`s mission has blessed his life and is blessing mine. Missions build life-long friendships and are the coolest experiences you can ever have.  



Four man apartment probs

The Team

Monday, October 5, 2015


Pic 4: How we sleep. Yep, the bean's in the closet