Monday, August 26, 2013

Week #3 pictures

Japan week #3

Konnichiwa minasan!! Minasan wa genki deska? Kibo shimasuyo! :) I hope everyone is feeling genki and well!! :) I know I certainly am! I'm already halfway through a transfer, can you believe that! :P It isn't that long, but I can't believe it's already been three weeks about since I've been here in Muroran. I can totally understand what other missionaries say when they say the time flies by. When you're keeping busy, and working hard, and seeing miracles, the days really pick up. Elder Harper keeps us working hard which is AWESOME, and we've already seen lots of good come from our efforts. :) The ward here is awesome, and this last week we've had lots of opportunities to visit them and strengthen them, as well as visiting a lot of non attending members. We have really had a lot of great visits, and we even had one of them come to church yesterday after our visit with her on Friday!! :D Her name is Sato Shimai, and she was so happy that we visited her. She's a lovely little old lady and she has a pretty solid testimony, she just needs to keep enduring to the end, desho! She gave us a present at church, a bunch of writing materials, stamps, prepaid envelopes and things, a NICE present, and not the cheapest too, so we were super grateful for that. The ward is really  awesome, and it makes me happy to see so many really strong members out here in Japan. :) 
  So I mentioned last week how the members don't usually have us for dinner often, well we did have a dinner appointment this week with the Murata Kazoku. That was a BLAST! We had a ton of fun, at some great food, boy do I love tofu, ;) Seriously, I LOVE tofu, and we gave a nice message about our blessings from Heavenly Father, and how we can be aware of those blessings in our lives. We've been giving everyone we've visited with the Shukufu Challange, which is just a blessing counting challenge. To try and write down a couple blessings everyday to be thankful to Kamisama for, and to increase our positivity. It's been going great. :) 
  Last p-day we were doing some dendo in a little place about 20 minutes from our apartment by bike, and we found a SWEET woman who has become our newest investigator. She told us her mother was in the hospital, and how that she felt that she was all alone. So we taught her about prayer and about God, and how he loves her and knows her. We taught her how to pray, and she prayed for the first time ever there with us. We asked her how she felt and she said she felt wonderful, after her prayer, and after ours. So that was a COOL experience, we're visiting her again tonight, so I hope it goes well!! :) I want so badly to bring people unto Christ! She was accepting everything we taught her, so hopefully she's a kinjin, literally gold person, ;) It's how we say golden investigator around here! She was pretty down when we saw her last week, so hopefully she's been praying and is doing a little better this week, and that we can teach her more! Ahh miracles, they're great things. I can't believe I've only been out here for so short a time and I'm already seeing sweet things happening. :) We also had the unique opportunity to help not one, but TWO people with pre mission prep. One is a shimai who knows she wants to go, and so we gave her some advice, things to do to prepare, and the other is Satoshi Kyodai. He's a AWESOME young man, not quite mission age yet I think, but very close, and he's really thinking hard about whether or not he's going to serve a mission, which is great. :) So we have been talking to him and really encouraging him, and I hope he gets an answer for himself. 
   One day to talk about, then I gotta run!
      So we went to Hachodaira on Wednesday really early to visit with a less active recent convert. We had to get up there really early, so our morning schedule was thrown off, so we had a super fun day up in Hachodaira. We visited the RC, and she had a great time, told us she felt the spirit, yoshi! And then we went to go get a convenient store lunch and then do some picnic companionship study. That's where the sweet landscape pictures are from, plus it was that day that I got BURNT to a crisp. It was the single greatest companionship study I think I've ever had, it was glorious. We were on top of a little hill in a park, and after we were done we decided to ride down it on our bikes. Turns out at the bottom of the hill was a little ditch thing that was deceptively deep, and we both went head over handle bars and rolled down another little hill. :P It was SO FUNNY! :D We're fine, my bike is dandy, :) And we're started rolling again. Elder Harper's back tire though is in BAD condition. It needs to be changed, and we have to carry a pump with us all day and fill it up occasionally because it can't hold air!! We're gonna go fix it up today. :)
   One other thing I wanted to tell ya! We eat frozen bananas. A LOT. And they're glorious. I encourage you all to try it! Peel a banana, freeze it, eat it. It's changed my life forever. ;) 
   So, can you guys send me some music stuff? Like the Consider the Lilies motab album, and can you look into Rob Gardener's restoration CD? Sounds like it's amazing, so says Elder Harper.  I am loving being able to listen to music again. :) 
    I love you all!! I am having a blast, and I hope you all are too! 愛しています!! 
      -Dialogue 長老 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Japan pictures

Bean Chan means "greenie" or new missionary.  This note was from the previous missionary in the Muroran area.

Streets of Muroran

Mike's apartment

Elder Harper, his companion

Mike's apartment

more apartment....

The mats that they use for beds

Cat pictures!  He knows his mother well ;)

and of course flowers!
Mike's bike for the next 2 years

Monday, August 19, 2013

Japan week #2

Hello everyone!! :D How's everyone been?
  I've been having a BLAST in Japan! It's so flippin' cool! The people here are awesome, and the work is fantastic. I'm sitting right now in the clerk's office of the church building in Muroran writing on the computer. Everything on the computer is written in kanji, so I'm flying blind! It's hard to navigate when you can't read anything! Which is really REALLY weird for me because I love reading. It's crazy. Whenever something is written in simple characters I get so excited because I can actually read it! But that is rare, because kanji is so much more effective, and it looks way cooler. 
  I'm getting into a nice little routine here in Muroran. A typical day goes like this more or less: 6:30am we're up and exercise till about 7:00. We have an hour then for breakfast and getting dressed and cleaned up and all that getting ready for the day jazz. By 8:00 it's personal study time for an hour. I've been reading the Doctrine and Covenants recently, and it's been great. Personal study is like my favorite part of the morning, I just LOVE it. I find myself during the day wanting really badly to sit down and read more scriptures. :P Ahh the missionary life, desho! After personal study we have two hours of companionship study from 9-11. Since I'm in training I get an extra hour of comp study time, which is fun. After that we have an hour for lunch, and we're out the door by 12. From here our days get a little crazy. We have basically from 12pm-8pm to go out and dendo. (dendo means mission, we use it as our verb for missionary work) We go to wherever we planned from the previous night to go, and then start talking to people. We do mostly housing (tracting) and then street contacting whenever we can. There's not a lot of people walking around Muroran, it's very similar to Nampa actually, size wise. So there isn't a ton of streeting to be had, but we've had good contacts from it, so we always try to talk to people we see. We also use this time for teaching appointments, visits, and the like. This is the bulk of our day. :) And it's hard! We're out all day walking, biking, and it's non stop. And Muroran is very mountainous, so biking is rough! I haven't biked like this ever in my life I don't think! It's been working me hard. We've been coming home at 7 usually though because we have an hour for dinner, and then at 8 we have an hour of language study, and then from 9pm-9:30 we plan the next day. And then have an hour till bed. It goes by so fast! Like today, it's already 1pm! Nuts! The time just flies by. I hear from all the other missionaries that it only gets faster! Yikes! 
  We also take care of ourselves for the most part here. We don't get fed by members hardly at all, which I think is strange because they LOVE us. It's just not the norm here to bring the missionaries over to eat. We get food baskets every now and again, but that's different, and isn't common either. :P We do have one Shimai though, Kawasaki Shimai, ;) I know Dad, epic, right? Who wants us over for homemade pizza sometime, so that'll be awesome. :D They love pizza here, it's crazy. There's a Pizza Hut, of ALL places, like 30 seconds from our apartment, we haven't eaten there, but it of all faster food places, is here. Speaking of Kawasaki Shimai, she's in her 60's, and she LOVES cats. She has a fat orange cat named Kokochan. And he's adorable. :D And she thought it was so cool that I love cats too! So I told her I'd get some pictures of my cats to show her. So, if you guys could mail me some REALLY cute pics of our cats, that'd be great. She has some SERIOUSLY cool pictures of her cats, like jumping, and posing, and being generally epic, and so I need some great ones to show her. ;) When we went to visit her on the 14th, it started downpouring! But the Lord was looking out for us, and it cleared up for the ride home. :) 
   Weather wise it's been crazy the past few days. It's been downpouring, and then it'll stop and get super hot, and then it'll downpour again. It's weird. We had two days of EPIC rain though that was crazy, I've been staying dry, my rain gear is sweet, and my slip on shoes, are like SUPER waterproof, it's crazy. However, just this last Friday, we were out doing some dendo in Noboribetsu. It's a neighboring city in our area, about 30 minutes bike ride from our apartment. We didn't have a ton of success out there, not just contacting anyways. We did meet with an inactive member in her genkan, and had a great visit with her. We scheduled some service dendo with her, and so we'll be seeing her again soon. She's such a cool Shimai, and we want to help her so badly! But anyways, when we were heading back to Muroran for Eikaiwa, english class, Elder Harper got a flat tire!! A really bad puncture that killed our riding capabilities instantly. And so we began the LONG walk back home. And like fools, we didn't check the weather!! >.< It started raining some of the heaviest rain I've ever been in. And we had no rain gear, no umbrellas, no lights, (it got dark fast) and a long ways to go. We got SOAKED. We stopped avoiding the huge puddles because we were already sopping wet from head to toe. It was crazy! But it was so much fun! Elder Harper and I were just laughing and joking and having a grand time. :) It's funny because for whatever reason the night before I prayed for safety to get to Noboribetsu, and we were safe and dry. But, I never said anything about the return trip, so we got it good! ;) Haha! Just a funny thought we talked about a bit. So we finally show up to Eikaiwa, soaking wet, and RIGHT when it was supposed to start  at 7pm. It took us 2 hours to walk back, in the downpouring rain. We had THREE new students for Eikaiwa too that night! What a first impression! :P We had a ton of fun with it, and I think it worked for our benefit in making some new friendships. :) That was so much fun. We also had two great visits this week that were pretty miraculous in my opinion. We have who we thought was a good potential investigator, named Takaishi San. He is always really energetic, loves talking to us, and always agrees to meet with us. So we met up with him on Saturday and talked for almost 3 hours. :P WAY long, but it was really good. Turns out he's a FORMER investigator of 20 years, and he had a baptismal date and everything! He had a word of wisdom problem that kept him from baptism, and he never got over it. But he loves the church, and really likes the doctrine, so we're stoked to try and help him. Hopefully he'll be willing to overcome his addiction and join the Lord's fold. :) We're going to be working hard with him come the following weeks. 
 The other one was just yesterday night. We were going to visit a potential investigator named Nagata San, but she wasn't home. So we were in a bit of a dilemma. We couldn't dendo around her house because we just did about a week earlier, so we weren't sure what to do. We thought of a couple options, but we still weren't sure what to do. So we said a quick prayer, told Heavenly Father what we were thinking about doing, and then after the prayer was over, I looked over at Elder Harper, he looked over at me, and we both said that of all our options, visiting an inactive member, Narita Shimai, who lived 30 minutes away, felt like the right option. It was kind of a risk to visit her, because if she wasn't home we'd have wasted lots of time, and wouldn't be able to dendo by her house either, because we just had recently. But we went anyways. When we got there she was outside practically WAITING for us! It was the coolest thing. :) She was a bit down and was SO excited to see us. :) We had a great visit with her, shared some spiritual thoughts with her, and had a great time. I hope she felt the Spirit, I know I did. :) When we were leaving she told us that she was so happy that we came over, and that she had a great time visiting with us, and that that was what she needed. She's so cool! She needs to be active. ;) We'll work with her! Anyways, walking home Elder Harper and I were like, "That was some serious michibiki" (guidance). Holy cow, I'm only two weeks in and I'm seeing the miracles. :) I am loving this work so much! So that's my week. :) 
    First off, the Ward LOVES missionaries. We try to do member team ups a lot, and a lot of people are very willing to go do that with us, which is super cool. 
    I absolutely LOVE my new bike, it's a champ! And I love the colors too, a sweet lime green and blue. :) 
    We go through Bank of America, like a commercial card, it's pretty easy. We get 26,000 yen a month, which is about 260 dollars. That's for all our monthly expenses, food and what not for the apartment. 
    And our mats on the floor are the thing I look forward to the MOST every night. :) You don't think it'd be comfortable, but it really is. It helps when you're just exhausted too. ;) 
    And it's very much like the movies here in a lot of ways. No one really has chairs, there's lots of kneeling, and sitting cross legged. Occasionally you'll find a VERY small couch that sits right on the floor, but that's not super common. We do have chairs AND a couch in our apartment though! So we're doing good! The Muroran apartment is supposedly one of the nicer ones in the mission. ;) Yoshi! 
   The language is coming along nicely. I can say a lot of things, it's the understanding that is still hard sometimes. I just don't know enough vocab yet! Lot's of conversational type non gospel topics I have a hard time following. But it's coming. I'm focusing on learning lots of vocab, and that's helping. Most missionaries say that around transfer 5-6 they could understand basically all of what was being said, and by transfer 7 they felt they could say just about anything they wanted. So that's not too bad. Just gotta keep working and have faith that I'll learn it, desho! :) Desho is like, right? by the way :P Sorry!
  Elder Harper and I get along FAMOUSLY! He's a super cool Elder. :) And we have a ton of similar interests. Yeah, Star Blazers, he's seen it and likes it! CRAZY! Desho!! Who would've thought! So everything is going good there. :) 
   And the food here is awesome. :) We've been eating lots of ramen, curry, rice stuff, and tons of good stuff like that. I actually have yet to have fish! O-O Crazy? Right? I really have yet to have meat. :P We can't really afford a ton of meat, so I've basically been going vegetarian the past while, it's crazy. I miss the meat so much! The food really is SO good though, the ramen is my favorite. It's just SO GOOD. And they have this stuff called Melon Bread that Mom needs to learn how to cook, so that I can eat it when I get home from Japan. It's probably one of the greatest breads I've eaten. And by the way, I'm losing weight like a mad man. :P Last time I weighed myself I was about 92 kilos, which is about 200 pounds I think. It's about a 1 kilo to 2.2 pounds ratio. So since the MTC I've lost fifteen pounds there abouts! It's nuts! Ok! Gotta run, I love ya family!
   Thanks so much for the emails, I love reading them. :) Have fun with the new school year! Work hard kids! ;) Ai shite imasu!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Japan week #1

Hey hey hey!
    My p-day is on Monday. ;) Same as everyone else it would appear! 
   I tried to buy my bike with my card, it wouldn't accept it. I have NO idea why, but it wouldn't. I have only tried it at the bike shop, so I'll try somewhere else as well. Maybe you guys could look into that for me? Because I owe Elder Harper $509. :P He's such a great guy. I love him to death already. I think I got the best trainer in the mission. ;) He's been here for just over a year, and he knows his stuff very well. I'm learning a ton from him. He's from Kaysville, Utah, and he's half Japanese. So since he's fluent and Japanese, people don't think he's a foreigner! And then they look at me and they're like O_O Gaijin!! (outside person, foreigner) :P It's pretty great. You don't see many gaijin's in Hokkaido, so I'm a bit of a spectacle sometimes. He loves the work, and he loves the people. And he cooks everything! I've been eating pretty well since he can cook a lot of Japanese stuff, which is awesome! I'm gonna have to learn so that I can do some of that too in the future when I don't have him to do it for me! He's also a musician. Plays the clarinet and the sax, and he's really good. He was going to school for band related stuff, and he really likes it. Sister Evans recruited him to participate in her jazz night in 3 weeks, so we made the two hour trip back to the honbu so that he could make the rehearsal. We will normally do emails on the church computer in the clerk's office. I'm not sure exactly how that works, but Elder Harper knows the gig so I'll be fine. He's only been in Muroran for one transfer, so he's still a tad new to the area, so it's going to be quite an adventure for the both of us. :) He says I'm way more prepared than he was as a bean chan, (greenie :P) So I guess that's good! I'm not sure if he's just saying that to be nice though. ;) 
   And it is true that it's been raining Hokkaido, just not in Muroran. It's been HOT! SUPER HOT! It's so humid here that I'm just a sweaty mess all day everyday. Turns out that the summers here are really warm, and the winters are VERY cold because of the humidity and how far north we are. It's crazy. It did rain my very first day in Muroran, so Friday, and it was down pouring. The rain gear worked well I assume, but I'm not too sure, because I literally soaked my shirt through with sweat so... :P Who knows! ;) It's great though! It'll start getting cold soon enough though, and then I'll be wishing for the heat! So Muroran isn't cold quite yet, but it's gets colder much sooner than a lot of the other areas in southern Hokkaido because of the coastal breeze. 
   I'll look into dropbox next week. I didn't bring my camera stuff to the Honbu so I can't try anything right now. I don't think it'll be a problem though. However the computer at the church is VERY slow I hear, so it might take awhile to upload pictures and what not, we'll see. 
   As for Japanese missionaries, there are quite a few. It's about a 60% to 40% spread for gaijin missionaries to nihonjin missionaries, which is incredible!! Lots of people have Japanese companions, they usually are the ones that speak Japanese really well though. :P So I don't quite fit under that umbrella quite yet. 
 The sleeping arrangements are not beds too by the way! We are in Japanese apartments, and they don't really use beds. We sleep on mats on the floor every night, and it's really actually quite comfortable. It's WAY different from america. It's crazy not being able to read ANYTHING too, it's nuts. There's so much kanji that I don't know, so I just have to guess what stuff means, it's crazy. 
   So every Friday night, we teach an english class, as part of service and missionary work. We teach some english and then get to know the people well and then try to  invite them to church things, it's really cool. I was like O_O I can't teach english! I don't know where to begin! But it was a blast, and seeing all the japanese people practicing english was a fun switch around. ;) My first Sunday was a blast as well. I gave a little talk and interacted with the members a ton! It was great. They are all so nice and are very excited to see me. They all seem to like me, and I love them, so I can't wait to get to know them more and work with them! The bishop is AWESOME!! He's got so much energy, he's a fun dude. We've been doing a ton of finding the past few days. Lots of door knocking, and street contacting, and it's pretty intimidating at times. I have a hard time hearing them well because they don't always open the door, the speak through it first and ask who  you are and what not. It's scary sometimes, but it's fun too, especially when they actually stop and talk to you for a bit. We're the only two missionaries in the Muroran area. We're over three cities, so there's lots of work. 
   Good luck heading back to school. :) I'm sure summer was fun, but school's great too. :) I love you all so much and I can't wait to hear more! My address by the way is just the one that you guys already have, which is the mission home. They'll get the mail and then send it to us. It's easier for transfers and other logistical stuff, so just write it to the mission home. I'll let you know if anything about that changes. I can't wait to keep working and do lots of good in Muroran! There are some promising looking individuals that we're going to be meeting with, and we got a referral yesterday, so hopefully we'll see some progress. :) I'll let you know all about my adventures and the crazy things that happen! :)


Friday, August 9, 2013

Arrival in Japan pictures

Sent from Sister Evans

Mike's new companion Elder Harper

Dinner at the Mission President's home

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I made it!! :D :D I'm just sending a quick email home now so you guys know that I'm safe and sound. :) We actually missed our flight on Tuesday evening for Sapporo because our flight from Seattle to Tokyo was almost an hour  late. So we spent a night in Tokyo, lost and confused out of our minds!! Luckily we had some very  nice people help us out, and I'll tell you all about that when it's p day. :) So we didn't get to Honbu (mission home) till the afternoon of Wednesday. We did some training stuff, met our new companions, had an interview with Evans Kaicho, and got our assignments, and then went out to spend the night. My companion is Elder Harper, and he's been here for about a year. EVERYONE says he's just the greatest, and they wish they could be with him, I think I'm gonna have a GREAT training experience. Elder Harper and I stayed at another companion's apartment last night, and one of the elders there was one of his previous companions! It was a ton of fun, and we got some good rest. No beds here in Japan, lots of futons and tatami mats, and FLOOR! ;) It's gonna be great! So you know how I was wanting to get out of the big city and spend some time in the country side? Well, I got just that!! Elder Harper and I will be serving in Muroran, a small coastal city a couple hours south of Sapporo. It's out in the middle of nowhere, it's gorgeous, and it's COLD!! :P It's going to be great! Evans Kaicho and his wife are AWESOME!! And I can't wait to get out and work. I've already had quite the experience, and I can't wait for more! I'm going to buy a bike in Muroran, so make sure I've got some cash please. :P Ai shite imasuyo! 


Monday, August 5, 2013

More pictures!

Mike and Forrester

Fun in the shelves :)

Mike and Elder Strachan

Mike and Elder Strachan

Mike and Elder Brandolino

Mike with Whitney Harris

Mike's district

Mike and Xavier Kingston

He sure is happy to find a fan!