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!

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