Sunday, April 24, 2016

Back in Blue

Good morning folks,

I was just informed that I was reaccepted to the United States Air
Force Academy! I will re-entering and joining the Class of 2019. My
report date is August 3 a couple of weeks after I get home.  I just
want to express my thanks to all of you who helped me re-apply once
again and allowed me to start this awesome adventure all over again.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This week has been pretty busy. Just like my last two transfer weeks
we were running around like our heads are on fire trying to take care
of all the stuff we need to do. It's been crazy that's for sure. The
best part of the week is that my health is essentially back to normal.
I'm eating normal food and I feel really good. As a result of not
eating yogurt, toast, soup, and bananas for a week I've lost around
two kilos (about four pounds) but I'm back to working out hard and
eating right.

As normal for transfer week, the dying missionaries came into the 本部
on Monday as we tried to continue working on all of our work. In the
afternoon we went out to go get Jones's license translated so that we
can begin his license application process as soon as possible.

On Tuesday we did something a little different than normal with the
dying missionaries. Jones and I said goodbye to Nakamoto (since he was
transferring) and took three of the Japanese missionaries to the 名古屋駅
(Nagoya Train Station) instead of the airport so they could take the
bullet train home. This group of missionaries were some of the best
Japanese missionaries in the mission who were 赤堀長老 (Elder Akahori),
堀尾長老 (Elder Horio), and 内村姉妹 (Sister Uchimura). As we dropped them off
at the station we noticed on our way out that there was a Krispy Kreme
donut shop so we simply had to stop by to buy a dozen donuts. They
were so good! It's the only Krispy Kreme in the whole mission I think,
so we felt like we were carrying gold in our hands. When we got back
we had to hurry and teach trainers training to all the new trainers.
We were having 10 new beans coming in so we obliviously had just as
many trainers to train. They are all way good and I am really excited
for their next adventure.

At night on Tuesday we went out to go pick up the beans. One (a
Brazilian who didn't go to the Provo MTC due to visa complications)
came in while we were dropping off the Japanese missionaries. His name
is Elder Espinoza and his English is pretty good and he's a good
enough guy. He acts like a South American soccer player because that's
exactly what he did before the mission. He was apparently invited to
play on some sort of semi-pro team in Argentina before the mission. He
acts a lot like the former Elder Valente, which makes sense because
that's who trained him in Brazil. He came with us to Costco and to the
airport to pick up the rest of the bean-chans. This group's flight was
delayed, but all of them looking super excited even though their eyes
were blood-shot from jet lag.

Wednesday was another busy, fast day with the bean orientation. It
went really well and these beans are way cool and are going to do so
well out here. Something interesting to note is I welcomed my
great-grandson into the mission (my bean's bean's new bean-chan if
that makes sense). Elder Jones translated for two of the Japanese
missionaries as I led the main points and it was so exciting, like
always, to work with these brand new missionaries. They have such a
light about them and it always gets you excited. When they meet their
trainer for the first time it's always so exciting for when they give
their first companion a hug for the first time without any idea of how
the next two years is going to play out. They are right there on the
brink of the biggest adventure of their life up until that point.

After all of the madness of dying missionaries and bean-chans,
Thursday rolled around and Jones and had a lot of catch up to do into
the office. We were able to have a good solid planning meeting with
President Ishii to schedule out this transfer. We are going to be
super busy real soon (well we are right now anyway) but busy is good.
Ishii gave Jones and I permission to stay in the office at night so
that we could get all of the work we needed to get finished done. Lots
of phone calls and paperwork for us.

To cap off our week we had a really good Mission Leadership Council
with the ZLs and STLs. We dropped a huge, unexpected change in the
mission and collected everybody's advise and comments about it. The
missionary department has decided to allow missionaries to travel solo
to their new ares and since our mission is so big with all travel done
by trains we had to do a lot of discussion about how we are going to
get this to run smoothly next transfer. At the end of MLC I got to
listen to one of my best friends, Elder Tommy Eadie, bear his final
testimony at MLC. He expressed his desire to keep working and how the
time has just flown right by for him. He expressed his deep love for
being able to serve and work hard for the Lord. I am so glad that we
were able to serve in the same mission together.

That's my week in a nutshell. Next week we have a mission tour so
life's going to stay busy for this guy. All's well. Best of luck to
everyone this week wherever you are in the world!




Pic 1- We went bowling last week with two members. Guess who won. It
was the guy in the blue shirt that says "ZOOMIES"

Pic 2- Nakamoto and I with Jones teaching a member family, the 井口s (Iguchi)

Pic 3- Gold. Pure Gold.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The 12 Week Program


Well I'm not going to lie, this week has been a really rough one. The
beginning went pretty well until about Wednesday. Tuesday while we
were in 金沢 (Kanazawa) I had a raging headache and kept working and on
Wednesday after waking up at 0400 driving for three and a half hours
to get to the 本部 (honbu) I was also having chills and muscle aches.
That night was several trips to the bathroom between miserable bouts
of sleeping (I wasn't throwing up so it was the other end). The next
morning I woke up to a temperature of 102 and was not feeling good. I
asked my companions Elders Nakamoto and Jones to give me a blessing of
healing in order to try and get over this quickly. Shortly afterwards
my situation got a little worse and I was told to go to the clinic.
That was not a great experience. The doctor got frustrated with me
when I didn't understand his diagnosis of 腸炎 in Japanese or when he
tried saying Acute Enteritis in English (because I'm apparently
supposed to know what that means). Anyways his solution was to stick
my with an IV (he stuck me twice! Who misses my big veins for crying
out loud) and put 1000ml of fluid into me for my water loss from the
night before. I was told the saddest news ever, which was I am supposed
to eat soup until the diarrhea stops. I was given antibiotics and a
drug I couldn't find when I tried to research it online and that was
my first experience with social medicine. I don't recommend it.

I spent most of that day, after the doctor, sleeping trying to break my
my fever. On Friday morning, to my surprise, my temperature was
already back to normal which was a huge blessing. I was still tired,
but I didn't have to make a lot of trips to the bathroom so I was
pretty happy. The hardest part of the day was a member of our mission
presidency really wanted to take us out to eat before Nakamoto leaves
and Friday was the last opportunity to do so, so he took us to a steak
house. I had to be the guy who watched everyone around me eat steak as
I drank soup. That's a pretty teasing experience for me. Right now I am
feeling better than yesterday, but I'm still drinking soup and jealous
of all solid food eating individuals. My hope and desire is to be back
to 100% next week. This is my first time being sick on my mission and
I hate it. I hate being a patient because I lack the patience of being
one. I just want to be back to normal and do normal things.

Alrighty well that's enough depressing health issues, let's talk about
some good things that happened this week. Let's reverse to the
good parts. We did go to 金沢 on Tuesday to go on an exchange there and
pick up Jones. I had the opportunity to work with Jones on his final
day in 金沢 and his final day a field missionary. Because Jones finishes
his mission in August, one transfer after me, he is guaranteed to finish
his mission here in the 本部.  金沢 is such a beautiful area and it was
good to get to work it with Jones. The highlight of the the day was a
little bit of Good Samaritan work when a bloke from Cambridge, England
walked up to us and asked us for directions. We were actually heading
in the same direction and we walked together for about a kilometer or
so. It was nice just being able to talk to someone who was nice enough
to talk to. He knew right away that we were Mormon and we had a
pleasant chat about England, thanks to my dad serving his mission
there. We helped him find where he was supposed to go and he thanked
us and he was off. It was really satisfying to help someone out,
especially knowing that if we wouldn't have been there he probably
would have kept walking in the wrong direction. At night we were able
to play basketball with some members and non-members and it was so
good to play ball again. I haven't played in about six months so I
wasn't doing so hot, but it was still way fun to play several games of
three-on-three. Those were definitely my week's highlights.

Today was transfer calls and with this new transfer I begin my final
12 weeks of my mission. I guess one of the most frustrating things for
me being sick right now is that every day I can't do, see, or can't
eat something I lose that chance. I can't really say, "I've got loads
of time, I'll just wait till next time" because next time may never
come. I am way excited to get to work with Jones this transfer and
these next two weeks are super busy and are going to sky rocket by.

Well that's a wrap for this week. I'm sorry there weren't very many
good experiences. I'm hoping next week will have a lot more better

I'm thankful for for all of your love support and prayers.




Pic 1-金沢 (Kanazawa)

Pic 2-Another of beautiful 金沢

Pic 3- Baseball this morning. President Ishii loves baseball enough to wear his
past team's uniform still.

Friday, April 8, 2016

雪のように桜が降っている (Snowing Sakura)

Good morning folks,

It's been a beautiful week here. Right now all throughout Japan the 桜
(Sakura) is blooming so there are patches of pink everywhere you go.
This is definitely one of the best places in the world to spend Spring
time. It's so special to the Japanese people that they have their own
word for looking at the flowers which is 花見 (hanami) which literally
translates to "flower watching." This beautiful scene doesn't last for
too long, only about two weeks, and then it's gone. The heavy rain a
couple of days ago put a good beating on the delicate blossoms and now
pedals are lining the streets. It's a beautiful time of year-did I say
that already?

Last week on P-Day in the evening we had a lesson with our recent
convert we are working with named 克樹 (Katski) who is only 17 and is
one of the strongest, young converts I've ever seen. He originally met
members and started going to church with a host family in Utah while
on a exchange trip there last year. After he got home he met
missionaries and and was baptized last year in the end of October.
Last week he went to the 東京神殿 (Tokyo Temple) for the first time with
the ward. In our lesson last week we followed up with him about the
temple at a member's home and discussion the importance of him
starting his family history so he can take names to the temple. It was
a great lesson and the member helped out a lot to help coach and
motivate him.

This week was essentially a repeat of last week in terms of schedule.
We went on two exchanges and helped move another apartment again.  On
Tuesday our point of interest was 松本 and is was a beautiful spring day
up there and I was able to work with Elder Mitchell and we met with
several people who I worked with up there, one of whom was Aoki who
has pretty much adopted me as her son. Mitchell and I had a really
good day working together and his Japanese is way good. He's working
really hard to help the zone's member work increase and right now his
efforts are paying off and they are seeing success with it. That night
we actually went and worked with some members and visited less active
members and invited them to watch general conference which is today
and tomorrow here in Japan. I love 長野県 (Nagano-Ken)

Wednesday we woke up at 0430, I think, in the morning to help out with an
apartment moving trip from 大垣 (Ogaki) to 瀬戸 (Seto). Nakamoto, 阿部
(Abe), and I went out as a threesome to take care of all the loading
and unloading with the elders in both of those areas. It was a good
day out getting to do some service for the 本部 in jeans a T-shirt. It
took the whole day and we were so tired when we had to teach 英会話
(Eikaiwa) that evening.

Yesterday we went on an exchange to 岡崎 (Okazaki) and attend their
District meeting there. It was one of the best DTMs I've been to in a
while and the DL, Elder Yamada, is helping out that district so much.
After DTM I got to work with my former companion Elder Klein. He is
such a stud. He is working so hard out there and is so dedicated.
Having worked with Klein and be his companion twice and watch him
develop has been such a great opportunity. He is one of the most
diligent workers and isn't distracted at all from his current purpose.
I am certain that I have learned more from Klein than he ever did from

I don't feel like I have too many stories this week. Today and
tomorrow we are watching General Conference and so we essentially
don't have much of a P-Day again. Oh well, it should be good to listen
to the prophets and apostles advice and revelation for the next six
months. This morning after we got pack from 岡崎 we met with 石井会長
(President Ishii) and we called my new companion. My new companion
(and potentially last) is going to be one of my favorite missionaries,
Elder Jones from Enterprise, Utah! I am way excited to get the
opportunity to work with him as my companion and this next transfer is
going to be fun. A lot of changes are coming to the 本部 and I am happy
to be able to work with him.

That's about a rap folks so enjoy the springtime and get ready for BBQ season!




Pic 1- Teaching 克樹 (Katsuki) at the 福山s (Fukuyama)

Pic 2- 桜

Pic 3-桜

Friday, April 1, 2016

"Like a Hand out the Window in the Wind"

Good Morning Ladies and Germs,

Days have just flown by this week. I've been around the mission this
week and I've spent a good amount of time behind the wheel. I've
hardly spent any time in the office and it's way crazy how fast time
goes by when you're not behind a desk.  Let's talk about the week!

On Monday time just flew by. We went through our normal routine and
then after staff meeting had our first real transfer meeting. We
actually got about half of the mission done in this first meeting. At
night Nakamoto and I went out to visit a less active member, but he
wasn't home so we talked to people on the street while riding our
bikes home. We stopped and were talking to a college student and after
we were done talking to him a group of five other young, college age
guys walked out of a 牛丼 (gyudon) restaurant for a smoke and called out
to us in English, so we turned back to talked to them. At first they
just kind of seemed like a bunch of punks who just wanted to try to be
cool with their extremely limited English ability, but as we got
talking to them about what we do they seemed to be interested. We
asked them "if you could meet with God and ask him any question what
would you ask?" and the ring leader thought about it and answered that
he would ask about what happens when we die. He explained to us that
one of their friends who should be standing in this current group had
died in a car crash four months ago and they were wondering what
happened to him. As a missionary these are golden statements and
questions on which we can teach upon and answer. We explained that
death is not the end and (since we were running out of time since it
was almost 2100) we were able to give them some pamphlets about the
Plan of Salvation and set up an appointment to meet with them next
week. It's been the best finding experience I've had since coming to
名東 (Meito)

Tuesday we got up and rolled out to 静岡 (Shizuoka) for an exchange. We
met up with the ZLs and went to eat at a cheap all you can eat pizza
place called Shakey's that was only about $12.00! In Japan a small
pizza from a Dominos is around $30+ so we were all really excited. It
was pretty similar to Pizza Pie Cafe, but with more weird favors.
After lunch I got to work with Elder McClellan who was just called to
be a ZL this transfer. He's a quiet guy, but he's super smart and a
hard worker. We did a lot of finding (which is what we as missionaries
in Japan spend 80% of our time doing) which included talking to people
as we rode our bikes from less active member's we were trying to visit
and we also did some knocking on an apartment complex's door. At night
we had a member lesson at the church where we talked about Christ Like
Attributes that are written in the missionary handbook "Preach My
Gospel." The focus of the discussion was virtue, knowledge, and
patience. This member spoke fluent English so it was a rare
opportunity to get teach in English. It was a good lesson and it
caused me to realize how much I've changed internally on my mission
and that I need to review the Christ-like attribute section again. I'm
grateful to have the opportunity to become a better person through
Christ and have the opportunity to strive to be more like Him.

Wednesday morning was rough. We had to wake up at 0430 to get on the
road by 0515 so that we could be back to the 本部 by 0800 because of an
apartment moving project in 金沢 (Kanazawa). We got back at 0720 and I
took a 20 minute power nap to prep for a full day of driving with
Elder 阿部 (Abe). Elder 阿部's job as commisarian in the 本部 is to take
care of apartments and open new ones and our job for the day was to go
up to 金沢 to close and move out all of the old sister missionary
apartment and move it to 福井 (Fukui) in less than 12 hours. We met a
member with a rental truck at 0800 and started the first leg of our
journey with a 3.5 hour drive up to 金沢 and once there 阿部 and I worked
with the four elders there to get everything loaded up into our van
and truck and then we headed out for 福井 which was about another 1.5-2
hour drive. Once there the three elders in that area helped us unload
it all and get it up into the new apartment once that was finished we
said thanks and headed for home with our last 2.5 hour drive home. We
were racing the clock because the member helping us needed to get the
rental back before 2000 and we pulled back into the 本部 at 1945. I
spent a total of 10+ hours in the van driving about 8 of them, but it
was really good to spend time with 阿部 and talk to him. I got to ask
him a ton of questions about Japanese during those drives and it
helped me stay awake and I learned a lot.

But wait folks the week doesn't slow down yet. Nakamoto and the other
two wanted to go to seminary at 0600 with the high school kids in the
ward so we woke up at 0530 and went. There's only five kids from the
ward who come, but it was still nice to join in on the class I guess;
even without the sleep.... At around 0800 we headed out to go on
another exchange, this time in 四日市 (Yokkaichi). This time in 四日市 I was
able to work with Elder Esplin. He is kind of like the zone leader
grandpa of the mission because he has been a ZL for 8 transfers now
which is half of his mission. He is probably the most diligent worker
in the mission. On this exchange we also spent a lot of time streeting
on bikes and at one point we were finishing talking to a man on the
side of the rode when another young guy walked up to us asked if we
were Mormon. This has never happened my whole mission where someone
just starts walking up to talk to us being friendly, so of course we
say yes and he pulls out his phone and starts showing us pictures. It
turns out that he was on an exchange program in none other than Provo,
Utah for 6 months a year and a half ago. He told us he went to church
every week and used to meet with missionaries there and was helped out
by a lot of Japanese speaking returned missionaries there. He also
said that he has a Book of Mormon in English and Japanese and says he
reads from it some times. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was
so excited to be able to help find a soul interested in our message, but
he then told us that he lived in 名古屋 (Nagoya) and I told him that I
live there too, but he didn't live in my area and didn't want the
number for the missionaries in the 福徳 (Fukutoku) area. All I could do
was try to tell him where the church was and I hope he gets enough
interest to go there. It was a really sweet miracle of the day.

The next day we came home and started working on our office work that
we got behind on. I was way tired from three days of nonstop travel
(and from staying up late talking to Tommy in 四日市), but we still had a
transfer meeting in the afternoon. We have pretty much finished
transfer calls which is way faster compared to last time. I don't
think too much will change and we'll see if anything changes this next
week. We've been way busy this week, but it's been really fun. Time
flew by as I went across the mission and worked with a lot of cool
people. Missions are so cool.

That's about it for the novel this week. I hope everyone is doing
good, especially those on spring break. Spring is definitely here
because the 桜 (sakura-cherry blossoms) are blooming and it's so
pretty. I hope you have the best of weeks!




Pic 1- Shakey's

Pic 2- Silent Hills (静岡 Shizuoka)

Pic 3- Our boy who went to Provo

Pic 4- Getting my artistic skills on