Saturday, June 25, 2016

Aww Shiz

Good morning Sports Fans,

Right now I am writing you as I sit on a train headed for SHIZuoka.
Today we have a zone conference out there and afterwards our new
missionary musical group, ザ・モルモンショー (The Mormon Show, playing off the
word for Book of Mormon in Japanese) has a gig and then I will be
returning back to the 本部 tonight, so no P-Day for this guy (again). You
all maybe wondering, "Why are you taking the train and not driving
your van?" But that's a story for a little later.

Last Saturday "The Mormon Show" had their first concert in 名東 (Meito)
and it was a huge success. Around 177 people came from both stakes
here in the Nagoya. I got to see one and talk to one of my favorite
members from 豊田 (Toyota) named 三島兄弟 (Brother Mishima). He was one of
the first members I met here in Japan and we became really good
friends. We were talking before the concert and I told him how long
it's been since I was in 豊田 and then I told him that I was going home in
three weeks. He looked completely shocked and started to tear up. He
told me that all of the members in 豊田 thought that I was going to come
back and finish the last transfer of my mission over there. I was
surprised at his reaction of me going home and was kind of touched. I
didn't quite realize that the members there actually cared enough
about me to want me back. I mean I knew a couple of the members wanted
me to return, but not the majority. After the concert another 豊田
member came up to me and gave me a referral who came to the concert
with them who lives in my area who is his less active daughter's
boyfriend. We were able to discuss a time to meet and should start
lessons soon. I am so blessed to have served in that wonderful area
that I used to complain so much about.

On Sunday we tried to visit 椿 (Tsubaki) and see if we could get her to
talk to us again. I decided measures were drastic so I decided to make
pikelettes (pancake medallions with chocolate inside-I learned how to
make them from Anthony Butters) for her. We biked out to her apartment
in the pouring rain and when we got there she cracked the door open,
looked at us, and then just looked down crying shaking her head and
closed the door. I, not wanting to be defeated, tried writing a note
for her in polite Japanese and left the Tupperware of pikelettes at
her door. We still haven't heard from her.

This week we had two zone conferences, one on Tuesday and the other on
Thursday, in 福徳 (Fukutoku) and 四日市 (Yokkaichi). Both were really good
and I've worked a lot with those ZL's  on my mission. In 福徳 I went
on a split with Elder Farias who finishes his mission on the same day
that I do. He's from São Paulo, Brazil and we have been friends
most of the mission. The highlight of that night was the four of us
(the ZLs and us) went to a churasco place in their area. Churasco is
skewered, Brazilian BBQ (like Rodizio Grill in SLC).  It was way good
and expensive but so worth it. In 四日市 I was able to go on an exchange
with Elder Jenks from Hyde Park, UT in good old Cache Valley. We were
able to teach several lessons together which was a lot of fun and it
was a neat experience to teach with another guy from Cache Valley.

Yesterday we finished our exchange in 四日市 and we were asked if we
could go help move an old fridge out of 瀬戸 (Seto). Our plan was to
meet up with the 瀬戸 elders up at their district meeting in 中津川
(Nakatsugawa). 中津川 is up in the mountains and we had a great DTM and
afterwards started heading home in the van and I was driving. It was
lightly raining as we drove down out of the mountains. As I was
driving I saw in front of me a car cut in front of the car that was in front of
me. That car had to slow down rather unexpectedly and then I tried
pressing my brakes. That's when everything went completely wrong. When
I pressed my brakes, the pedal locked and I couldn't stop. I have
never hydroplaned before, but I went into a skid and I think I was
hydroplaning and couldn't stop. I told the other three in the car that
we weren't going to be able to stop and banged into the SUV in front
of us going probably 50 kph. To make a long story short, I totaled the
front end of my van, but surprisingly (and kind of scarily) our
airbags didn't go off. No one was hurt in either vehicle and the
vehicle I hit barely had a scratch on in. We got out of the vehicle
and the rain, of course, just started pouring and I started making all
the necessary phone calls after an accident. The worst part of the day
was dealing with a police officer who was rather impatient and
racist. He was telling me it was all my fault and was telling the
other cop I couldn't speak Japanese. After a while of talking to them
and explaining my situation he finally relaxed a little bit. In the
end my van was towed away and 石井 (Ishii) came and picked us up and
took us home. The biggest miracle of the day was that no one was hurt
and we all got home safe.

So that is why I'm on a train this morning. Since we lost our van and
the police told me I can't drive until their reports are done, there
wasn't room to ride in the car and I couldn't drive, so I woke up
early with Elder Graydon and we headed off on our adventure at 0600
this morning. It's super fun to talk with Elder Graydon because he's a
Geordie from Gateshead, UK and Dad served in his Ward when he was on
his mission. Graydon's been teaching me Geordie and been quizzing me
to see how much I learned from Dad. It's way fun.

That's about all the excitement for the week. I'm just going to try to
stay in one piece for these last two weeks. I've had way too many
close calls recently. Everyone stay safe out there!




Pic 1- Churasco!

Pic 2- Me, DeSpain, Jones, Farias

Pic 3- ザ・モルモンショー (The Mormon Show)

Pic 4- Bit crunched

Pic 6- Me wearing Graydon's Geordie shirt

Pic 7- Graydon and I coming home from our adventure tonight

Friday, June 17, 2016


Hey folks,

Well a lot of things happened since last Saturday so I've got a lot of
explaining to do.  Last Saturday we met with both of our investigators
椿 (Tsubaki) and David and both of those lessons didn't end quite as
planned. First we taught 椿 with three members at the church during
which we taught about two commandments, the Word of Wisdom (a
commandment of health where we don't intake coffee, tea, alcohol, etc)
and tithing (a commandment where we donate 10% of our income to
support the church and it's activities such as building new churches,
temples, helping those in need, etc). We had already taught a little
bit about the word of wisdom before, but this day we taught it
properly and she committed to it with no problem. Then we started
teaching tithing in which we used a teaching example using chocolate
like what I did for my last investigator with a baptismal date in
Toyota. The lesson went really well and the members who were present
bore really strong testimonies of the blessings of tithing. The was
such a good feeling in the room I thought nothing could go wrong and
then when we asked her if she would follow this commandment she said
she couldn't. Apparently when she started lessons with us she promised
her 16 year old son that if the church would ever ask her to pay money
she would quit. She told us that because of that promise she wouldn't
be able to follow follow this commandment. The really sad thing was
that she told us that she asked us in the beginning if coming to
church would cost her money and we said no and now she doesn't feel
like we were telling the truth. The truth is it doesn't cost money to
come to church and the commandment of tithing isn't about monetary
gain, it's to help those in need. At the end of the lesson she really
didn't want to meet again and we haven't been able to meet her since.
We going to keep trying.

David's lesson was also kind of a wreck where he literally talked for
a solid two hours about why he can't believe in an organized religion
and didn't give us too much time to talk. The good thing was we
learned a lot more about his beliefs and he said he would keep
learning from us. It was really a weird day and the results of it were
rather disappointing.

This week all of the couple missionaries went on a three day
conference (*cough* vacation *cough*) with President Ishii up in 長野県
(Nagano-ken) so we didn't have our van and couldn't exchange with our
bikes. Therefore we arranged for the 松本 ZLs to come to our area, 名東,
and exchange with us on Wednesday. This was the first time ZLs have
ever come to our area to work. It was fun and was my first time
spending the whole day working outside in the 本部's area. I worked with
Elder Mitchell and we went looking for less active members that the
ward wanted us to try to visit. I also went on an exchange with Elder
阿部 (Abe) in 春日井 (Kasugai) because our District Leader wanted to
exchange with us. It was fun to go on a normal exchange with only two
people in the area. I worked with 阿部 in the 本部 for three transfers so
it was fun to actually get to go work with him in the field and help
him with some worries he has. It was really good to spend some time
away from 名東.

Our last thing for the week was yesterday we went to a member a family
called the Gathright's last night and it was incredible. They live up
in a national forest with special permission and live in what is
essentially a giant tree house. It was by far one of the coolest homes
I've ever seen. They live in a beautiful area next to a 1300 year old
warrior shrine that was fought over and protected during what is known
as the Edo Era. Brother Gathright is actually Canadian and his wife is
Japanese and they have a son on a mission and one who will be leaving
soon for one. We had an awesome BBQ with them and an American family
called the Coltrins who are here building F-35s for the Japanese
Defense Force. It was a way good time being with two really good
families partaking of meat and having a good time.

In closing I guess I forgot to tell everyone that Jones passed his
driving test last week! He can now drive and his virgin voyage was up
to 高岡 (Takaoka) this week on Tuesday when we dropped off a dryer up

This Sunday is Fathers Day and just a quick shout out to my dad who
has been especially helping me out these past two years with solid
advice, guidance, and helped take care of most of my paperwork to get
back into USAFA. I love my dad to death. I can't imagine growing up
without him. Thanks Dad! I love you a ton.



Overlooking 名古屋 (Nagoya)

This is a Japanese raccoon. 
They're called tanuki


阿部 and I

The Canadian Family Gathright

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bourne Never Cut His Fingers...

Good morning sports fans,

It's another day in the neighborhood. This past week has been an
interesting adventure. It all began last week on P-Day after getting
back from doing service for our ward mission leader at his house. We
came back to the 本部 and we decided to head out and go shopping and
right as we were about to leave Jones forgot his wallet so I waited
for him downstairs while he went up to grab it. While I waited I got
kind of bored and looked above the door and there is an awning that
sticks out over the door. When I saw it two thing went through my

1. "If Jason Bourne can do it then I can do it" 
2. "It would be really funny to climb this and wait for Jones on top and surprise

I have climbed several 団地 (danchi) buildings with similar
awnings so I jumped up and grabbed the ledge. The thing I didn't
realized is that on top of the ledge was a thin runner of sheet metal
that wrapped all the way around the edge. When I grabbed the ledge it
hurt so I let go, but I must have pulled off funny or something with my
left hand because when I was back on the ground I noticed that I had
just sliced through my left index and ring finger. It looked pretty
bad and I immediately started putting pressure on it and waited for
Jones to come down. When he came down he thought I was joking with
him, but I wasn't. Next we started calling members to find out what
hospital to go to because upon further inspection my cuts were deeper
than I thought. Since it was Saturday all the close hospitals were
closed so we had to go to an emergency room and after about an hour of
calling members to take us we finally went to one 30 minutes away and
I got to experience social medical care at it's finest. I don't want
to bore you too much with the beauties of waiting in line for an hour
at the emergency room, or that the operating room looks like a storage
room, or the fact that I have seen cleaner vet clinics.  In the end I
got four stitches in my index finger and three in my ring finger. I
get the stitches out, this coming Wednesday, leaving me with two
lingering thoughts: "How did Bourne never manage to cut his fingers?"
and "Always look before you leap."

That day we had two lessons planned but 椿 (Tsubaki) canceled and
rescheduled for the next day, but after the hospital we were still
able to meet with David, even if it was an hour later than planned.
In our lesson he asked us why we decided to go on missions and kind of
what our personal conversion stories are. It was a really cool
opportunity to just testify of what we know and the blessing of God's
hand in our lives.

On Sunday we started teaching 椿 some of the commandments which
included the Ten Commandments, Law of Chastity, and Keeping the
Sabbath Day holy. It was a solid lesson and she committed to keeping

all of these commandments and that night after mailing us thank you's she
said, 「私は戒めを守りたいと思います。もっと良い人になるために頑張ります。」meaning, "in order to become a better person I want to keep the commandments." She is so golden and such a sweet lady. Today we finish teaching commandments and start
preparing her for her baptism in a couple weeks.

This week has been a lot of travel to zone conferences in 金沢
(Kanazawa) and 松本 (Matsumoto). Those were my last opportunities to go
there and say goodbye to those missionaries. It was pretty weird to
say goodbye to so many missionaries, some of which I will probably
never see ever again. I'm going to miss these missionaries. While in
松本 I realized how much I love 長野県 (Nagano-ken) and loved working in
that zone. I was only there for five months, but I love it up in the
Japanese Alps. It was hard to work there sometimes but the atmosphere
and the missionaries are the best!

On Wednesday when we got back from 松本 we had to prepare to send off
two missionaries going home, one of which included Tommy Eadie. He is
now currently home safe and sound after two years of service here in
Japan. In a couple of weeks he will be re-entering back into USAFA for
ESET in about two weeks. It was such a blessed opportunity to be able
to serve together in the same mission and then to become companions was
an opportunity that we had dreamed of from the beginning. Oh well,
we'll see each other soon back at the Hill.

That's about all the excitement for the week. It's getting nasty hot
and humid here. I can't wait for the dry heat!




Pic 1- Holding onto my fingers

Pic 2- All sewed up

Pic 3- For reals, how could I have known?

Most true pic of Japan ever

Pic 4- Eating in 瀬戸 (Seto) with Elders Klein and Graydon at a しゃぶしゃぶ
(Shabu Shabu) place that I ate with Klein when I was only week three in the mission.