Friday, January 29, 2016

The 本部(Honbu)

Hello ladies and germs,

How to even describe this week? It has been one heck of an emotional
roller coaster ride ride. I guess my story all begins on Sunday:

Well I got to go back to 'Nam for church to help out a recent convert
so I was reunited with Tommy and had a great final Sunday there. I
love the members of 野並! They have been by far the best on my mission.
They've been so nice and such great examples of good, strong members
of the church. After church 落合兄弟 (Brother Ochiai) invited us over and
we went with the Branch President since we didn't have bikes and had a
fantastic last meal with them. They are one of my favorite families
I've met in Japan. It was a great opportunity to spend my final
evening in 野並 with them.

Monday I started my morning off by collecting reports from three of
the zones in the mission that I am responsible for. I spent three
hours talking to Nagano, Okazaki, and Fokutoku Zones. Then after
reporting we had a staff meeting with President Ishii and the other 本部
staff where we each reported on all of our respected responsibilities
that cover the whole mission. After that meeting Nakamoto and I had to
type up some mission statistical results and write an email to all of
the Stake Presidents in the mission to report on the week. While we
were doing that missionaries who were to return home this transfer
slowly began to trickle into the office. Some of my best friends in
the mission like Sister Patrick, Elder Andrade and Rufatto came in to
"die" as we like to call it. I was able to get to talk to them while
they waited for their final interview with President Ishii and see how
they were doing on their last day as missionaries. I was able to see
their excitement and their sadness as they were about to finish their
missions. I am going to miss these missionaries a lot.

Tuesday was one of the craziest roller coaster rides ever. It all
began at 0500 to take the seven "dying" missionaries to the airport.
Nothing seemed quite real until we arrived and unloaded the bags and
started helping everyone get their stuff checked in. That last
goodbye was hard. We said goodbye to the first group of missionaries
which included Sister Patrick with three other sisters and one elder.
It was hard to watch them go through security and disappear. Next we
went to drop the Brazilians off at their counter and then saying
goodbye to Andrade and Rufatto was tough. They were the last ones to
watch leave. As I watched them leave and I turned around and walked
away I was very verklempt, but not quite to the point of tears. I've
seen missionaries leave to go to the 本部 to die before, but now as AP I
am very actively involved in watching them leave and sending off a
group of such fine individuals is hard on the soul. It was the first
time in my mission I felt like I would never want to leave here
because of all the good people I would leave behind.

Later that day is when the roller coaster of emotions starts to climb
again out of the trough. In the late afternoon we rolled out to go
pick up the new bean-chans from the airport. On the way we stopped by
a CostCo right next to it and got to shop for some stuff. It looks
just like America inside! If the people weren't all Japanese I
would've thought I was back in Sam's Club in Logan. After buying a
good supply of stuff I haven't eaten in forever (brick of cheddar
cheese, salsa, etc.) we arrived at the airport and anxiously waited
for the beans. We only had five come in this transfer and watching
them be "born" into this great adventure can't help but make you
excited. They are a very fun group and they were all smiles and
laughing nervously with each other. Quite a contrast from what I'd
seen 15 hours earlier. That evening and the next day was getting them
oriented to the mission and "in-processed" with their necessary items.
Watching them all receive their trainers was way fun as well. I
haven't seen that since I was a bean so everything was all very
nostalgic. I love all of their trainers and they're fantastic
missionaries and the adventures will all have a great start. I love
missionaries; they're so cool!

The rest of the week was office work and MLC. Office work means that
we do whatever President Ishii wants us to do and other things that
correlate with transfers. A day in the office starts at 0900 and is
supposed to end at 1700. However on Thursday we didn't leave until
1930 so I was in the same building for almost the entirety of the day
to do assignments that came our way. Being stuck inside shuffling
papers, writing memos, and having staff meetings is definitely not the
most exciting thing. We want to get out and dendo and I know that if
we use our office time as effectively as possible we can do so but, we
often get things thrown on us at last minute. For example last night
at around 1930 President Ishii asked us to put together a stats report
for a meeting he has this morning that included graphs and charts and
other number crunching tools, but there was missing information that
needed to be found so I spent three hours on the phone calling people
to confirm information and then we had to edit our sheets and then
print it all. Nakamoto and I successfully displayed some excellent
teamwork and finished the whole project by...0045 this morning! Yay!
I've firmly decided that I don't like office work and that in my
future career I will avoid it at all costs. The plus side is that by
working here I am learning how to do and complete things in an office
environment which will help for any office assignments in the future.

Our big event of the week was yesterday's Mission Leadership Council
which went really well. Working with the Zone Leaders is really fun.
Some of my best friends in the mission are on that council and I love
working with them. I've worked with most of them for my entire mission
and they are some of the most stalwart people I know. Coming up next
week we have Zone Conferences so I be traveling to those and will get
to work with these ZLs throughout the transfer.

This email is ridiculously long, but that's a snapshot of the new
life. I hope you enjoyed it. The adventures continue as I go to
Shizuoka tomorrow to take a missionary out there with Nakamoto so stay
tuned next week.

I love you all and I feel your love, support, and prayers.




Pic 1- Last meal with the 落合s and our 
Branch President 有坂(Arisaka) and 萩原(Hagiwara)

Pic 2- Goodbye Team 野並: 
Sister Erin Thomas, Sister Allison Patrick,

Elder Tommy Eadie, & me

Pic 3- See You Sister Patrick

Pic 4- Bye Bye Rufatto and Andrade

Pic 5- Sunset at the Airport

Pic 6- Bean Chans!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

P-Day? Again!?

Good morning sports fans,

Yes it's true it's P-Day again. I got here on Wednesday night and
haven't stopped running since. On Thursday morning I went with my new
companion, Elder Nakamoto on a companionship exchange to Matsumoto!
Nobody in the mission knew I was an AP so the missionaries flipped out
when I walked in. I was able to spend the whole day with my good
friend/ former companion from Brazil, Elder Andrade. It was a great
day! We met a lot of people who Andrade and I actually found and
taught together and it was such a great experience to go back and work
with him again. We were able to visit Aoki and Preto in the evening
and they were so surprised and happy! I love those two. It was so good
to see them and others doing so well in the area.

Yesterday we returned from 松本 and did some office work to prepare for
transfer calls, which were today, and then we headed out to start
getting paperwork done for my application to get a drivers license and
that took a long time. Nakamoto and I had time to go dendo at night
and that finished off our day.

This morning was actually a pretty cool experience to actually call
people for transfer calls. Being the guy behind the phone call and see
how it all works is a pretty neat experience. It's way interesting to
call and hear people's reactions, both good and bad. After the calls
were done we had a ZL and DL phone conference call. Since then we've
had our P-Day of eating out with the district and shopping. Next week
should also be exciting because we get to pick up the new bean chans
on Tuesday and have Mission Leadership Conference on Friday. It's
going to be way busy. I more fully understand what I do next week once
I've actually experienced it.

It should be a great transfer. I really like my new companion and he's
ready to work and so am I. It should be a lot of fun and a lot of work.
Let's roll.

Best of luck his week and have an adventure wherever you are!



Pic 1- Cool Shrine in Nonami

Pic 2- Looking over 名古屋 (Nagoya) in Nonami

Pic 3- Working with Dave in on my last day in Nonami

Pic 4- Toyoshina Eki in 松本

Pic 5- Andrade and his companion with a guy we found together

Monday, January 18, 2016

Baa Baa Blacksheep

Good afternoon sports fans,

Another week has come and gone. It's been pretty good. I got to go on
another exchange and get some work done. The week was a little slow
teaching wise, but we finally managed to meet up with 松本 (Matsumoto)
and her kids again. We were able to see how she's been lately and she
seems to be doing pretty good at the start of this new year. We are
hoping to rebuild a good relationship with her again and help her
start coming back to church again.

On Thursday I headed out to the city of 春日井 (Kasugai) to go on an
exchange with Elder Ence who is a bean-chan out there. It was his
Senpai Week and so he had his day planned out and we were ready to
execute it. Everything was going well until after we tried visiting an
investigator and headed off to look for a former investigator where we
got lost for a couple of hours. Ence just transferred into the area a
week and a half ago during an emergency transfer so he was trying his
best to get around the area and was doing pretty well. He is such a
good missionary. Way better than I was when I was transfer 2. It was
so much fun working with a young missionary! I'd love to train again,
but I'm pretty sure that's not an opportunity I'll get again.

Yesterday we also went on an exchange with a DL by the name of 増子
(Masuko) who actually works in the 本部 (Honbu=mission home) so because
of all his office work he can only exchange on Sunday's after church.
We went out to work as a three some which is hard, but we made it
work. We housed an apartment building and then visited and had an AB
Lesson with Roberto. He is doing so good. He came to church yesterday
and he was trying to speak to the members in Japanese and they were
kind enough to help him practice. Tonight we got him set up to do
family history online so he can begin to find family names to take to
the temple. Every time we visit him he grows more and more spiritually.
It was a little hard for 増子 because we taught everything in English,
but he tried his best to speak in English.

This morning something happened which will change the pace of my
mission a little bit. I received a phone call from President Ishii
where he extended to me a call to become of of his two assistants. I
accepted and I will be leaving Nonami on Wednesday to go work in the
本部 as an Assistant to the President. I have no idea what I will be
doing there and I'm a little confused about why they chose me, the
most black sheep zone leader in the mission, but I'll do my best.
With becoming AP my new P-Day is going to be on Saturdays so you will
all get my e-mails on Friday. So look forward to that. I'll have
another P-Day this week so you'll probably hear from me then.

Ok folks, that's a wrap. I hope you're having a great midwinter and
MLK day. Thanks for all the love and best of luck this week!



Pic 1- Big City

Pic 2- Words of Wisdom in 春日井

Pic 3-12 Floors

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Off With a Bang

Good Morning Ladies and Germs,

There goes the first full week of the two thousandth and sixteenth
year since the coming of our Lord. It's been pretty busy and there's
been a bit of travel happening here. We had two exchanges and a ZTM
this week along with our normal missionary efforts. It's been a good,
full week. I like weeks like this; working makes everything

To start this off I went to 名東 (Meito) on Tuesday to go on an exchange
there with Elder Blanscet and had a great day working together. We
were able to find this 15 year old kid who told us that his family has
been visited by another Christian religion and has read some stuff
from the Bible. As we got talking he got more and more cool (and
seemingly prepared for our message). He is a basketball team captain
and likes English as well. We shared a little about the Book of Mormon
and gave him one and invited him to come to the church before 英会話
(Eikaiwa) next week to learn more. When we started talking about where
the church was he said he knew the place and said he has passed it
many a time. He seems like he has a ton of good potential. I hope to
hear more about him next week. It was nice to work with Elder
Blanscet. He is fearless. He may not have the best Japanese or
contacting tactics, but he has absolutely no fear to go out and talk to
people and work. I wish that I could have been more like that as a
younger missionary and he showed forth a good example that I want to
help myself in my current state to be better. I get to work with such
good missionaries.

On Wednesday we were able to meet with our Canadian friend Dave and do
some more service at his house. Almost every time we go over there now
and work with him he likes to have a BBQ on his roof with us. As we
were eating and talking he brought up the Christmas lesson that we had
a couple of weeks ago and said that he really liked it and liked
having his kids learn about Christmas. Dave also said that by having
us come over and do the Christmas lesson and by working with him his
wife (who is Japanese) is warming up to Christianity. It's amazing
what the power of service can do to change hearts. We've been able to
leave such a good impression on Dave and his family and have plans to
help them continue to keep progressing to the restored gospel of Jesus

One more story from Wednesday that kind of impacted me happended after
英会話. Recently a Brazilian named Alex has been coming pretty much every
week and about two weeks ago he had been asking me questions about the
church so I explained about the church a little bit and gave him a
pamphlet that explains the restoration of the church and the Book of
Mormon. He speaks fluent Japanese and can read it as well so teaching
is really easy with him. Anyways, he came this week and I really
wanted to give him a Book of Mormon. So after 英会話 I went up to talk to
him and see if he read the pamphlet and he said yes and that he had
looked up some stuff about the church on the Internet as well. I told
him that I wanted to give him a Book of Mormon and asked if that was
ok and he said he'd like one. I asked what language he'd like and he
said Portuguese so as I am going to grab a O Livro de Mórmon for him I
asked him how his New Year's was and he told me that it wasn't super
good and  I asked why and he explained to me that a close family
friend had been killed barely a week ago. I kind of didn't know what
to do. I was thinking to myself as I held a Book of Mormon in my hand,
"What can I do to comfort this man? What can I share that will help
him?" I expressed my sympathy and told him that death is not the end
and that the Book of Mormon explains that God has created a plan for
us. I quickly reviewed that the Book of Mormon is like the Bible and was
written by prophets and flipped open to Alma 40 where the prophet Alma
writes about the Plan of Salvation and what happens to us after death.
I marked the chapter for him and recommended that he read it and to
ask questions about it next week. He said that he would definitely
read it and seemed to be a little better when he left. I have faith
that the power of the Book of Mormon will answer Alex's questions and
will help him and that he will want to learn more next week.

I had another exchange on Thursday with a missionary I know rather
well here in 野並. I was with Elder Johnson who is from my MTC district
and it was great to be able to work with him for the first time in the
field. He is currently one of our District Leaders in 瀬戸(Seto) and he
is doing awesome. We were able to catch up a lot and see how his
mission has been up to this point and we shared some of our
frustrations, experiences, and miracles that we have seen and
experienced in our past year and a half. He has become such a solid DL
and missionary and it was cool to talk with him about how the mission
has changed and shaped us and what we plan to do once we go home. We
were able to work with a member and try to go visit less active
members and some investigators and it was a great day to work.

Friday was ZTM in 名東. It went really well and it was really great to
see everyone in the zone. One the books it looks like our zone is
pretty big, but we are actually the smallest zone of actively
proselyting missionaries. So I switched from what was the smallest
zone to the smallest zone and I like it. There's such a family feel
right now and everyone is working so well together.

This week's email has been an epistle. A lot of good things have
happened and we are looking forward to see the results and miracles
that are in the future. I hope all is well for all of you and that
your new year has started off as equally busy and exciting as mine. I
love you all and best of luck this next week!




Pic 1- Mighty Meito Zone
Pic 2- Summiting Mt. Fuji
Pic 3- Looking out over the city... Again