Monday, February 29, 2016

Still Finding Firsts

Good morning Sports Fans,

Another week bites the dust here in the Land of the Rising Sun. This
week we finished our last two zone conferences and are essentially
done with all transfer decisions. It was another pretty fast week and
we were really busy. I got to experience a lot of cool things and work
with some great people.

To start things off I guess I'll start with Sunday when, for the first
time, I spent a whole Sunday in 名東 (Meito) without going somewhere. I
don't know what to think of the members here. They are really quite
indifferent to our existence. This Ward is the biggest in the mission
and I think they just feel like there's always someone else who can
take care of stuff because they're so big. On the other hand, they
probably feel indifferent to me because I'm hardly ever here anyway so
I can't even develop a good relationship with them to begin with.
After church we did get the opportunity to go do home teaching with
the bishop. After the visit the bishop (who's only 32 years old) said
that since he had 30 minutes he wanted to go streeting with us. It was
actually super cool to have that opportunity. It's the first time in
my mission I've ever done anything like it. It was actually really
nice to have the bishop there in the approach to help introduce the
church. He is also a returned missionary so everything worked out
really well. It was good to get to spend time dendoing with him.

Monday and Wednesday we had two more transfer meetings where we
shuffled the mission board around a little bit more. It was really
cool for areas or companionships that we worried about changing and fit
naturally as we discussed things together. In President Ishii's office
there's a giant transfer board with everyone on it and as we mention
needs of the missions and new leadership or as we change companions
we move them around and re-evaluate. There are times when things
just "click" and it's for sure revelation. For example we were
deciding a certain sister missionary and who should be her companion and
we discussed some options and when we put the name card up on the
board we all felt instantaneously that it was the right person. It was
just crazy how we would all get confirming feelings for different set
ups. It doesn't happen every time and there's still places that we
still question, but the Lord definitely is trying to guide us to help
the mission to reach it's fullest potential.

On Tuesday we headed up to 松本 (Matsumoto) for zone conference. There's
no more snow left up there except on the mountain peaks, but it's so
beautiful. At the conference we were all surprised when we were told
by 石井会長 (President Ishii) right as we started that he wanted the whole
thing to be done in Japanese, including all the training. We hadn't
prepared ourselves to do so, but I was really surprised by how well
everything went. I've never given any training or presentation ever in
front of a group of people in Japanese before and the crazy thing that
surprised me the most was how smooth it felt (at least for me). It's
crazy to think that a year ago I had just become senior companion with
Elder Tramacchi and was struggling to lead the teaching of 10-15
minute lessons and now I am having to give training in front of 15-20
people of different nationalities in Japanese. I feel like I am pretty
average and am by no means the best in the language, but I can testify
that the Lord does bless us with the gift of tongues and that when we
need to fulfill our purpose He will help us. I definitely felt it
because of how smoothly and clearly I was able to speak.

After the conference I went on an exchange with Elder Axthelm who is
actually Tramacchi's bean-chan from almost two years ago. We went and
visited an former investigator who I found with Elder Klein almost six
months ago and we were able to meet with her again. She didn't really
want to meet again, but we were able to recommend her to read some
more of the Book of Mormon and to contact us if she had any
questions. At night I was able to go back to Aoki and Preto's again
and surprise them. I love them so much. The are still reading the Book
of Mormon and praying everyday. I was able to talk with Aoki for a
little bit as we discussed both of those things and she has such a
good understanding of the gospel and is probably reading the Book of
Mormon more often then most members in 松本. She and Preto know it's
true, but it's just taking that next step which is difficult for them.
I love them so much and they are some of the best friends I've made in
my mission.

Thursday was our seventh and final zone conference in 四日市 (Yokkaichi).
This conference was also completely in Japanese, except this one was
expected because the zone leaders had been focusing on language
improvement and gaining the gift of tongues for the entire transfer.
It went really well and one of the ZLs, Elder 赤堀 (Akahori) wrote down
any words that people had questions about on a white board for the
duration of the conference. It was a really good experience for
everybody, especially the young missionaries.

After the conference I went on an exchange with 赤堀長老. He's a way
athletic guy who has dreams of being in the Olympics for volleyball
someday. Also a fun fact about him was that Spencer actually was a
bean-chan in his ward in Tokyo. Anyways we went out to teach a lesson
and this was another first that I'd never experienced until this point
on my mission. We were going to teach an investigator who was a member
referral and lives at this member's house. The lesson was inside the
home and husband and wife were both present for the lesson. It was
such a good lesson. The man we were teaching was such a nice guy and
likes missionaries a lot. We reviewed/taught the restoration and it
was just one of the best lessons I've ever been a part of. 赤堀 is such
a good teacher and can teach so simply and the environment in which we
taught was so perfect. The man we taught (田口-Taguchi) was so accepting
during the lesson and we were able to answer all of his questions. If
all lessons in Japan could be like this then we'd see a whole lot more
success. I felt really privileged to have gotten to teach in that kind
of environment and share my testimony with 田口さん.

That about raps up my week here. Things are going to be pretty busy
next week in the office with transfers coming up. We'll see how it all
goes. It's going to be crazy so stay tuned. I love y'all to death and
thanks for all the love and support.



Eating Super Red in 松本. 
Hands down the spiciest ramen ever

Glad to be back in 松本

Welcome to Mie Prefecture with factories in Nagoya Harbor

Office Maverick

Road Kings

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