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

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