Monday, December 28, 2015


Good Morning Sports Fans,

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas! Mine was really good.
Getting to call home on Skype and talk with the family for a couple
hours was fantastic. Even better, my eyes didn't even leak! I also got
to call in and see my little bro in Argentina which was really nice.
Didn't get to talk to him due to technical difficulties, but I got to
watch the family talk to him. That's just a skim of what went on, so
let's take a little deeper of a dive.

So this past week was pretty different from normal. On Wednesday the
zone had interviews with the mission president and while everyone was
waiting to be interviewed I, as a ZL, got to interview about half of
the companionships in the zone with one of the APs. It was really good
to have the opportunity to talk with them and try to help them out and
see them progress. I love working with missionaries and to be around
their good examples. That took up our whole day pretty much and we
spent the rest of the evening at 英会話 where we talked about Christmas.

Christmas Eve was mostly weekly planning, but we did bike out to see
some of Nagoya Harbor after trying to visit a less active member. In
the evening we went to a member's home and had Christmas dinner. They
made a ton of food and it was good to spend some time with a nice
family. Apparently they have had the missionaries over for Christmas
Eve every year for almost 20ish years. That's pretty incredible for
Japan. The family, the food, the love, and the Christmas message
helped bring in a spectacular warmth.

Christmas Day was calling home in the morning and then going to eat
Indo Curry as a group for Christmas lunch. The owners love the
missionaries and gave us some freebies for Christmas. After that we
did some area planning and I went on splits with an elder from Kasugai
until the evening. We met up with the sisters and some members at a
subway station to carol and Santa-San made his final appearance. It
was a really good Christmas activity to do with the members. We sang
carols there until a worker told us we had to leave because we were
being "an obstacle" to the people at the station. The guy was really
nice about it though and accepted a Christmas card from Santa. :)

Last night was one of the most fun member appointments I've been to.
Three families have a Christmas party every year and have a huge
dinner and invite the missionaries and some singles adults in the
branch. It was so much fun! The little kids love us and I tried doing
some magic tricks with them and it reminded me of the elders in
Arizona who would hang out at our house when we were kids. One thing
that has bothered me in Japan is the lack of good fathers, but with
these families that is not the case. These are some of the strongest
member families I've seen on my mission. They remind me a lot of my
family. Two of these husbands/fathers stand out in particular. One of
them reminds me a lot of Dad and likes to tease the missionaries and
another is actually a Brazilian who is an ex-paratrooper who loves
swapping stories. They made us eat so much food (all made by the
ex-para guy which is good cause Brazilians love meat) and then they
brought out this giant chocolate cake and I made a joke that they were
doing it for my birthday the next day and then they all freaked out
and and had everyone sing "Happy Birthday" to me. It was a great

This week looks like it'll be pretty long. New Years is a huge deal
here. It's called お正月 (O-Shogatsu) and literally nobody is out and
it's super rude to knock on someone's door. Last year we had to work
anyways, but this year the 31st and the 1st we have been told to
clean our apartments and read the Book of Mormon unless a member
invites us over. It's going to be a hard week because our
investigators don't want to meet this week so we'll see how it goes.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a great New Year's
(Especially Kelsey because you're getting married on New Year's Eve).
Thanks for all the birthday emails today! Another year is down. I will
never know what it was like to be in America in 2015. That's pretty

Love you all and have a great week!



Nagoya Harbor

Christmas Eve

Christmas morning was a little bit of a bust... The package came the next day.

Caroling on Christmas

The Ochia, Ishida, Kubo Christmas Party

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christ, the Savior Is Born!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I know we're not quite there yet, but this is the closest I can get to
saying it to you all. This has been long week here. The start of every
transfer is the same in that sense. We had a lot of prep for the
transfer and Christmas.

This week we had MLC where we met up with all the ZLs to talk about
upcoming stuff in the mission. I always like going to MLC and get to
see all the other ZLs that I have been able to make friends with
during the mission. We received some good training and we did some
goal planning and prep for the new year coming up. The new year is
always full of excitement and change and the mission seems to be off
to a good start.

This week we also had the Branch Christmas party on Saturday. It was a
lot of fun! A ton of people came (member and non-members) and yours
truly (that's right, me) was Santa Claus. I was told by the members
that I was a better Kris Kringle than last year, so HOHOHO! I have
had to be Santa-San three times in the last week since the
missionaries are the only white guys around. It's pretty fun, but the
Japanese children don't see Santa as a nice guy. They all burst into
tears and dread the thought of receiving a present from him. American
kids are completely different. Who doesn't want free stuff from a
funny, fat man in a red suit? I mean c'mon, the belly like a bowl full
of jelly has to make somebody smile.

Teaching wise this week, not too much happened. We met with our
investigator 松本 and talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon.
It was a great lesson and all the kids at the end came to the door
again and prayed with us. Then yesterday something rather unfortunate
occurred. We  texted her to schedule a time we can go and share a
Christmas message with them when we got a call from a member who has
become her friend. We were told that she doesn't want us to meet or
contact her for a while. This kind of rocked our little world because
she is the primary person we teach and we thought we had a good
relationship with her. We're going to try meeting with her next year,
but for now we will see what will happen.

Christmas is coming up this week and I am really excited to call home
on Friday. This Christmas in the mission field has been better than
last year so far, but I'll be real with y'all, Christmas in Japan is
rough. There's no lights, no trees, no warm feelings, no family
gathering. It's grey and the people just ignore you like always. This
last month with every door I've knocked on and every person I've
stopped on the street I have asked if I could share a simple Christmas
message and everybody rejects you. Even when a warm looking, jolly
Christmas wreath is hanging on the door the people will tell you with
a cold reply that they don't celebrate Christmas and don't want to
hear about it. It's so sad to see and experience.

There is a flip side however; by experiencing what feels like a less
that satisfactory Christmas season you truly discover why we celebrate
Christmas. We don't celebrate for all the lights, decor, the treats,
but for a more special purpose. We hear it every year; the true
meaning of Christmas, but until you experience Christmas in a
non-Christian country you don't think about it as much. When you've
got nothing else to remind you of Christmas you have no choice but to
focus on Christ. You come to understand that all the joy and warmth
that comes with Christmas comes because of Christ. It is amazing to
think that in a stable in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago a child was born.
He was born so that you and I might truly live. He was born so that
you and I can return to live with Him and the Father again, with our
families, for all eternity. As the famous Christmas carol "Silent
Night"'boldly claims: "Christ, the Savior is Born!" That is why we
sing. That is why we celebrate. Christ was born so that you, me, him,
her, and we can be spiritually be born again! They say you learn a lot
on your mission and I think the true meaning of Christmas has been one
that has touched my heart the most.

Have a very Merry Christmas! I appreciate all of the emails and love
that I have received. As Tiny Tim would say, "God bless us, everyone!"
May the Lord bless you and your families.



Monday, December 14, 2015


Good Morning Sports Fans,

It was a fast week with a a lot of conferences. I also was able to
finally finish my Candidate Fitness Assessment for USAFA this week.
That has been a long, painfully tiring adventure. I should have got
this done weeks ago, but in our area there are no gyms and we were
scrambling to find a gym with a track. Also the gym that we finally
found wasn't in our area and wasn't open on Monday so we had to get
permission to go on Tuesday with our District Leader. I actually did
really well on the events except for the basketball throw and shuttle
run. But now it's done and I should be fully complete with my USAFA
reapplication.  Other good news with college is that my early release
from my mission was approved so now my return date is July 12. So look
forward to that.

With Christmas coming we had our Christmas conference on Thursday. We
did a combined event with Okazaki Zone in Meito. It went really well
and we all felt the Christmas Spirit. It was really good to see
everybody in the zone. Since our zone is almost double the size as my
last one I feel like I don't see the missionaries that often. I also
loved working with the Okazaki ZLs, Elders Jones and Farias. We all
have worked together a lot throughout the mission and we are all
really good friends.

On Friday we went back to Meito for a combined DTM that took all
afternoon. Then on Saturday we had to help do a deep clean at the
church for a couple hours and then we had to go back to Meito again
for a Christmas party. We tried visiting some investigators and
potential investigators between these events, but very few lessons
were able to be taught.

One more exciting note is that transfer calls were this week. You may
be surprised, but I'm staying here in 'Nam with Tommy. Our zone really
didn't have too many changes which is good so that we can all work
better this transfer. Today I have officially started my 11th transfer
in the mission. With my early release, I will go home at the end of my
15th transfer. It's so crazy to be a older missionary. I don't feel
much different just that I don't know all the young guys in the

Next week is Christmas! It's coming up so fast. Hope you all are
enjoying the Christmas Season!



名東/岡崎 Zone Christmas Conference

Combined DTM

Engrish for days (It's a sign for a nursing room)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I've Had Better Weeks

Good morning folks,

So this has been another roller coaster ride of a week here in 'Nam.
This next week is going to be pretty busy as well. We have had a lot
of rejection, but also had some crazy successes.

Monday last week was rough. We had this sweet plan with our
investigator 松本 (Matsumoto) to do a family home evening at the mission
home with President Ishii, but two hours before she wanted to
cancel. We just scrambled and it took an hour of coaxing her via
texting to get her to decide to go again, but the hitch was that she
now needed a ride. We called a member who has become her friend at the
last minute and she was kind enough to do it for us. Once we actually
got to the mission home it went well. The Ishii's are so good and 松本
brought two of her sons. It was just a really good way for her to
learn more about the church and meet our mission president.

A couple of investigators dropped us this week and haven't been able
to find very much either.  One guy who was a success though was
somebody the sisters found who referred over to us. They had given him
a Book of Mormon and we decided to go and see how much he had read. To
our surprise he had read half of it! He's a rather old fellow so has
all the time in the world to read and he likes reading Christian books
because it only has good, happy things written in them. So we'll see
how this progresses.

The largest success of the week was a lesson we had on Friday with the
松本's again. We taught the mother about the Ten Commandments and it
went really well and then at the end of the lesson three of her kids
came to the door and asked if it was time to pray. We prayed with them
all at the door and they told us that they would see us at church. One
of the kids, the daughter, used to have almost no interest in us or
the church, but her mom received some Primary CDs from Ishii 姉妹 and
has been listening to them and that peaked her interest enough to have
her come to church yesterday. The power of Primary Children's songs.

We ended off the week yesterday teaching a recent convert, Roberto,
about temples and the blessings of going to the temple. It was a
really good lesson and he got really excited to be able to help his
ancestors who have passed on so he can help be with them for eternity.

That's about a wrap for the week folks. I hope you all are getting
into the Christmas Spirit. The church released a new Christmas video
about why we celebrate Christmas and the necessity of a Savior. Please
take a look if you have time at

Love you all and have great week!



爆食とんかつ "Explosive Tonkatsu" so much food

More Nagoya at Night