Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Japan week #71

Hey everyone!
   This has been quite the crazy week with transfers, crazy weather, and pre Christmas stuff!! 
 Transfers were supposed to be a day early this week, but we had a CRAZY storm that blew through, and things changed hard core. The storm actually shut down ALL of Hokkaido for a day, and we all got calls from the aps telling us to stay in our apartments instead of going to the transfer spot to transfer. So, we had four elders from out in the boonies in our apartment, for a total of six of us, and we were stuck in our small apartment ALL day with NOTHING to do. :P IT got crazy. Six elders, small space...equals cabin fever!! But it was a blast. Way crazy though that that actually happened. There were some people that died in the storm. So it was actually pretty crazy, pretty real. 
   And then we finally got to transfer the next day, got all our new comps, and Elder Strachan and I started the greatest transfer ever! :D We've been having LOADs of fun, and we've been working SUPER hard! It's so dang cool to see how far we've come since we were in the mtc. It's been quite the special experience. :D 
    We also had our ward Christmas party this week, which was a blast. The ward surprised us with presents! And like, a TON of them. Two santa sacks that were flipping HEAVY. It was beautiful! The ward loves Elder Strachan, and they're all very excited to see what the two of us can do here in Shiroishi! 
   I'm looking forward to Christmas, and I can't believe I'm already on Christmas number two in Japan. Blows my mind how fast the time is, and makes me wanna work even harder. And it's really cool that Elder Strachan is in the same situation as me, so we're CRAZY united, and wanna just KILL it. :) It's been amazing! 
  Looking forward to hearing all of your beautiful voices!! :)  

 Love, Mike 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Japan week #70

Hey everyone!!
       This has been a good week!
         Honestly though, nothing has happened! :P We have been busy with our ZL stuff, meetings and travelling and what not, and because of that we have had NO time to work this week. We had a particularly stressful meeting on Wednesday with all the other zl's and pres. Lots to think about and plan for. We also have been planning for our zone's Christmas party in a few weeks, and it's going to be a blast, but I might not even be there for it! Dang transfers! 
    I've loved this area, and I don't know what's gonna come with transfers, but I'll be happy with whatever. I really wanna get out of the city to be honest! Wanna get back to the countryside way bad! I feel so cramped in the city! 
    We also got a bunch more snow yesterday! Snowed probably a good 10 inches or so during the night...and it was THUNDERING the whole time...is that even possible?? I have no idea. Was the flipping WEIRDEST thing. But yeah, that's basically it. Looking forward to the rest of this transfer! Because of Christmas the transfer is one day faster. So I will be getting my call on Monday. So I might be able to tell you via email before you find out on fb! ;) Haha!!
   Love you all!

 love, Mike 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Japan week #69

Hey everyone! :D 
  SO this was a sweet week! We saw a couple cool miracles, and we've been having a TON of fun! :D Can't believe that it's already December! My how the time goes! 
   So do you guys remember last week, the guy that freaked out at us when we were starting our lesson with K san? And then he let us inside his apartment and we taught him a lesson? Well, we saw him again this week! And he is amazing! When we first met him, he was plastered out of his mind, but this time he was way cleaned up, looked really good, and was SUPER cool. Really thought about everything we told him, and it was a SUPER special lesson. at one point, he told us that he didn't think that real truth existed anymore, that it was all gone, and then kinda looked up at us with this look of hopelessness. And then, feeling the spirit like mad men, testified of the restoration of real truth. And that he can know it. I haven't ever had an experience quite like that before. SUPER cool. SO we're very excited to getting to continue working with him. :)
   We also were able to find another really humble guy in his thirties that wants to talk to us. He is struggling with some personal issues, and he told us that we came to him at just the right time, and that he feels like something like our message could really help him. His name is E San, and he's way cool. Seems way nice, and we're looking forward to meeting him again and start teaching him. 
 I really know that as we work hard, we are blessed. I've seen incredible miracles in finding and teaching in all of my areas, and I know that all we need to do is put our heart into this work, and that as we do that, it will all work for good. I love this. Looking forward to SLAYING what's left. :) Love you all, have a great week!

 Love, Mike 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Japan week #68

Hey everyone!
  This has been a super fun week! We have worked our butts off, and we actually saw some WAY cool miracles! :D
     First off though, last Pday we got to play with Brother Unami, an na that I worked with a lot in my last area! We basically spent the whole day with him. We went out to sushi for lunch, hung out at the mission office with some other missionaries, and then went and played darts and billiards at a place in Odori for a few hours, and then went out to ramen with him for dinner. Which was a BLAST! It was great getting to see him again. He and I are really close, and it was good for him to be able to see me again and spend some quality time together! :) Had a great time!
    And we also had zone conference this week, and I got to meet my GRANDSON! :D :D He's a STUD! And he's a rock solid missionary, he's going to be one heck of a grown up missionary when that time comes! His name is Elder Stevens, and I already love him. :) Wish I was his zl so we could hang out more!! Oh well.
     SO last week, we found a bunch of really good potential investigators, ad this week we were able to meet a TON of them. And we increased our teaching pool to probably about 7 people! :D we found a bunch of people that have a background in Christianity, which makes our job so much nicer! :) Love it! one person in particular said that she ALWAYS rejects religion people because she's satisfied with her church, but that for whatever reason when she talked to us, she felt like she should let us in, and wanted to talk to us. SO that is SUPER COOL! :D :D
    And today we're going with the district to an all you can eat MEAT buffet! They have that in Japan. ;) Be excited Dad!
 Love you all so much! Thanks for the support and love!
 Love, mike

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Japan week #67

Hey everyone!
     This has been a stellar week! Elder Kojima and I have worked our butts off this week, and we have seen lots of cool miracles for it. We didn't have too much going on this week, so we spent a lot of time finding, and our efforts were rewarded! We have been able to find a lot of really cool people that want to talk to us. We also have found a few people that have a little bit of a christian background, and proselyting those people is so nice! They are way more interested and willing to listen than the average Japanese person, so that's been epic! We have about 20 appointments that we were able to make for next week, so that's super exciting! Can't wait to find some great people that'll start progressing! 
      We did have one REALLY cool miracle this week! We went to teach a  lesson to our only investigator, K San, and since she's a single woman we can't go inside her apartment alone, so we stood at her front door and start talking to her. After a few minutes her neighbor comes out of his apartment, and starts yelling at us! He's like, you guys are super loud, and I can't relax, and just going on and on and telling us to go home, and he wouldn't believe my comp is Japanese. He kept saying that his Japanese was weird, and that he was Korean. (Korea and japan kinda hate each other, not sure if you knew that, so being called Korean is a big deal) and it got to the point where it looked like he was gonna start throwing some punches. But then right before that, he just stopped out of nowhere, and looked like he was going to start crying. Said he was super lonely, and that he needed something in his life, and that he wanted to hear what we had to say. SO we get our investigator, go into this mans apartment, and taught a two hour lesson. Was super cool! :P Hopefully he progresses well! We're excited to see him again! 
    And we also got the first snows of the year this week!! And in Hokkaido japan, once it starts, it doesn't stop!! BRING IT ON! :D

 Love you all, have a great week!
 Love, Mike 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pictures from August and September 2014

Mike's MTC District 

BBQ in the rain

Watching general conference


Zone Training

Peanut Butter I sent from home

Broken bike

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Japan week #66

Hey Everyone!
     So, I was wrong!! I am staying for another transfer with my comp, still being zone leaders! It was quite the surprise to be honest, but a very GOOD surprise. I really wanted to be Elder Kojima's comp for one more since we have so much fun, and are killing it out here! :) 
     I honestly don't have much to write about this week. With transfers and what not for our zone, we were pretty busy with just a lot of details. We still had  a great time though! It was Elder kojima's birthday on Saturday, and we had a GREAT time! We had our mission leaders meeting with pres, and then headed to the Sapporo to go buy a cake, and take some purikura pictures, and then dendoed, and then called it a day, and finished it by celebrating with cake, fire, and videos! ;) HAHA! 

   And then today we have a big baseball activity planned! We were planning on only having a few people from both zones in the city to come, like ten from each, but when we sent the word around, EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG wanted to come! So now we have 60 missionaries coming, and it's going to be SICK! We rented a huge baseball diamond by the mission office, and got all the equipment we needed from a bunch of members in the city, and it's going to be sick! !:D Quite the accidental joint zone activity we planned! :P haha! but it should be good! Thanks for everything fam! love ya!
 Love, MIke

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Japan week #65

Hey everyone!!
 This has been an incredible week! We've been SO DANG BUSY! We got to meet some of our investigators, and we were able to teach a few lessons this week, so that was really nice. It's kind of hard not having anything to work with in an area, and on top of that you never have time to work because of all your other responsibilities, but it's ok. It's been way great. :) The bulk of our time this week was devoted to prepping for the Halloween party. Japanese people don't celelbrate Halloween really. They just do costume parties, and the members in Japan ALWAYS give the american missionaries all the responsibility for planning the party because we celebrate halloween, so that's always a pain, but way fun. This time though we were only in charge of the haunted house! ;) Haha! Elder Kojima and I turned the underground floor of the church into a SICK haunted house, spook alley thing, and it turned out great! We filmed videos for it, spent all week decorating, and had some of the ward members as actors for it, and it worked SO GOOD! :) We made it kind of the like an abandoned science facility. We made every individual room have it's own special theme under the science facility one, and we made them have to figure out how to get to the next room, and accomplish certain tasks / puzzles in every room too. We made manicans for corpses, and decorated every room like mad, and it was way too much fun! :) And of course elder Kojima and I acted in it. My room was the scariest by far. ;) Haha!! We had a video in it were elder Kojima got killed, and it was a laboroatory room. We had an operating table, and it was all covered with blood and other fun stuff, and then we made a manican that we hung from the ceiling. Not just hung, we HUNG it. Like with a noose. It was FREAKY! And we got a flickering light deal going, and it was SICK! We had every group walk through it with two really weak flashlights, and we got some GREAT scares! We had people talking all night about how it was the scariest haunted house they've ever done, and that this years party was by far the best the ward has done. ;) We rock! 
     And that was basically our week. This transfer is only 5 weeks long, so that means tomorrow is transfer calls. It is GOSH dang too fast. I can't believe it. I dont think elder kojima nd I are staying for another together. I don't know who's going to leave, but I don't think we're staying. :( Which sucks, because I REALLY wanna stay with him for one more. 
 Thanks for all your support! Have a great week!

 Love, Mike

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Japan week #64

Hey Everyone!
    This has been another busy week with zone activities, splits, and more splits, and lots of hard work! 
     Our zone activity was a rousing success! Everyone came, and we all had a blast. :D And this week we had two more splits, one with a DL in our zone, and the other with the aps! Both were way fun, but I didn't get to work with elder Lee on splits! I went with his comp. :( Can you belive we were comps a year ago?? I can't! He's also officially ending being ap this transfer, he told me! SO that's crazy...Time to start guessing who's going next! Haha!! He's been ap for four transfers, put in a lot of good hard work! 
   This week we really focused on getting our zone's numbers up. We have some low numbers, lessons, contacts, and what not in my zone, and so we've been thinking a lot aobut what we can do to get those up. And so we had all the dl's give a special workshop in their respective dtms about numbers, and this week, we saw the fruits of it! All of our districts numbers had improved, and our district in particular skyrocketed! Everyone worked way hard, saw lots of mircales, and it was amazing! :) I just hope now that they all saw that, everyone keeps it up and keeps working their butts off! I love missionaires that work till they drop! :) 
  So this week, we weren't able to meet Internet. She got sick, and told us to come by again next week. So we're going to see her tonight, so more details on her progression next week! :P HAHA!!
 Thanks for all your love! love you all! 
 Love, Mike

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Japan week #63

Hey everyone!! :D
        This has been quite a good week! We had one big event, and that was a blast! And then it was a regular week of work, but that's what I love, so. ;) No complaints here!
         As zone leaders, once a transfer we put on a big training meeting for the zone, and we did ours just this past week on the 16th. And it was way good. :) We talked about a theme that we received from President Nakatsuka, Gathering the Elect. And it was way fun! We got to talk a lot about finding, and faith, and what we need to do to receive revelation to find God's elect, and it was a blast. :) I was a little bit nervous at first, but true to form, as soon as we got started I had no problems! :) We've recently been blessed as a mission with lots of baptisms, and so because of that, we are now a little low on investigators. So that's where we need to focus now. Especially in my zone. We don't have a lot of good progressing investigators, and so we're gonna have to work hard from here on out to get those numbers and people back up! :) 
    And aside from that, this week was normal. Elder Kojima and I have been working hard, and we've been able to increase our teaching pool to about five people since I've come here. We had literally NO investigators when I came, so that's a pretty dang sweet miracle. :) We have one lady who is a former investigator of the sisters, and since the sisters are gone now she is talking to us. And she might be able to make it to baptism this transfer. Elder Kojima and I at the beginning of this transfer had no investigators, but made a goal of a baptism. And I think we can do it! :) We're doing all we can to make it happen! 
   One funny thing though with one of our new investigators. We have a new investigator called.... ready? Internet. :P We went to an appointment that we had, and talked to her through her intercom for about 45 minutes. I asked her if we could talk at the front door, and she was like, 'Woah, take it easy. I don't know you guys! I can't trsut you guys yet! So, call me internet, and if you want to talk, we can talk like this.' :P Elder Kojima and I were DYING. That ISN'T normal by the way. ;) Haha!!
    And then today, since our zone is in the city and we're all fairly close to each other, we can do a zone activity! :D So we're doing that today! Elder Kojima and I planned a zone olymipcs, so it should be great!! :D 
  Thanks for all you do everyone! Love you!

 Love, MIke

Monday, October 13, 2014

Japan week #62

Hey Everyone! 
   This has been quite the week! I've been WAY busy with the new zl responsibilities, and it's been nuts. Meetings, and planning, and scheduling, and splits, and all sorts of other stuff has to get done, and Elder Kojima and I have to do it all! But it's been a blast! :) Elder Kojima is a stud as well! We have so much fun everyday, and even though in our area we have NOTHING at the moment, I have no doubt that good is coming. :) It's been incredible.
  Because of all of our ZL stuff, and meetings, and GC, I don't have too much to write about. But General Conference was incredible, as I'm sure everyone agrees. I can't believe I was never stoked out of my mind for GC before the mission. :P Like a great friend of mine said, it's like Christmas. ;) I feel like I learned a lot, and I can't wait to put it all into work with my zone, my area, and my self. 
  I do like the ward here a lot too. There is about 20 members, and they're all pretty old, but there is one recent convert who has two really young kids. And since we're the only ones who have the energy to handle them, they swarm us non stop. Those kids LOVE US. It's nuts. One is a about 2, maybe 3 years old, and the other is about 6 or so. And church and every other time we see them is crazy. They climb all over us, and there's nothing we can do about it. But they're so gosh dang cute! :P Haha!
  Anyways, love you all so much! Thanks for all the love and support!
     Have a great week!

        Love, Mike

Japan week #61

Hello everyone!
   This has been quite the crazy week. We had transfers, and lo and behold, I have been transferred! I've moved from the west half of Sapporo....Ready? To the EAST half of Sapporo!! O.O Minds be blown! ;) HAHA! But the crazy thing is though, is that I've been made Zone leader, and my comp was with me in the mtc, and we're both brand new zl's, and we have no idea what to do! ;) Haha! We do know what to do, and our DL was ZL last transfer, so we'll be ok! :) It's way fun though since my comp, although he is japanese, was with me in the mtc. So we already know each other pretty well, and we've been having a ton of fun so far! 
   My new area is called Shiroishi, and it's the opposite of Shinkototni. My last area had no elders, because of some problems a long time ago, and now in Shiroishi, there are no sisters, because of some problems a long time ago. :P Funny, right? Sad, but funny! :P Haha! It's going to be a crazy transfer though. When I first came to Sapporo, Elder Borgholthaus and I had NO investigators. And then after 3 transfers of hard work, one baptism, and quite a handful of good investigators. And now, coming to Shiroishi, I'm back to square one. We have literally not a single investigator. :P I keep getting sent to areas to find people to work with it feels like! :P But if that's my calling, then so be it! I like it! :) 
   So obviously, as ZL, I have a lot of new responsibilites and things to do. I have to get the entire zone's daily and weekly reports, and then give all that info to the aps. Things like number of lessons taught, baptismal candidate info and so on. So that takes up my evenings even more than being DL did. ;) Haha! And from here on out, I have to do a lot of work for training and supervising missionaries in my zone. I have to go on splits with lots of elders, I have to go a monthly meeting with all the zl's, the aps, and President to talk about the mission and to figure out what we need to focus on for training and what not. I also have to plan a big training meeting for the zone, and do all the training. And since my zone is in the city, we can do a zone activity since we're all fairly close to one another. ;) So that'll be epic! I have heard from lots of ZL's taht I've talked to, that being a ZL makes the time go by even faster, and I can see why that would be the case. :P 
   But I am really excited for it. It's going to be a lot of fun, and ELder Kojima and I are simultaneously going to ROCK our area, and do all we can for this zone. :) Faith, and motivation, and missionary fire are at an all time high for my right now! :) This is trully the greatest thing I could be doing right now!
   Thanks for all your love and support.! Have a great week!

 Love, Mike

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Japan week #60

Hello everyone!
     This has been a fun week!
 Nothing really crazy or spectacular happened, but we have been working hard, and have been enjoying the last bit of this transfer. Tomorrow is transfer calls, so that's exciting. Not sure what to expect, so we'll see what comes! I think I'm getting the boot though! But we won't know until tomorrow!
  We had lots of opportunities to meet our investigators this week, and we had lots of teaching opportunities which is amazing! This transfer has been a busy one, and its been great! :D I've loved working with Elder Numano, and this has been a WAY great transfer.
   This week though, we did have one really cool experience. The stakes in Hokkaido did a mission prep event for a lot of the youth, and that basically means that they met in Sapporo, and spent a day learning about missionary work, and then going on splits with missionaries! And since w're the Odori Elders, and we're right in town, we got called in to go on splits with some of these youth! I got to work with Brother Henmi, from a ward about fifteen minutes from my apartment. And it was EPIC! We had SUCH a good time! Just spent a few hours walking around Sapporo just doing some street proselyting, and he had a blast. At one point I asked him what his favorite gospel principle was. And he says the atonement. And I'm like, you're so dang amazing!! :) So it was quite a blast! We had a few opportunities to teach some lessons during our time together, so that was epic. And he was the first one after it was over to bear testimony about it and how epic it was. :) Way sweet experience!
 And that's basically about it! Love you all! Have a great week!

 Love, Mike !

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Japan week #59

Hello Everyone!
 This was a very fun week! Nothing too crazy happened this week, and we weren't able to meet many of our investigators, so we hit the streets like mad men!
      But first things first. Winter is coming! O.O The nights and mornings and days are starting to get coooooold! And the days are getting short again! It's PITCH BLACK at 6:30 every night, and it's only gonna get earlier and earlier from here on out! 
     Elder Numano and I have been having a blast, and this week with our extra finding time we had some way cool experiences! And we found a lady who is a HARDCORE kinjin. Way hardcore prepared for the gospel! We were dendoing late one rainy night this week, and we had not been having much success. We actually ran into a guy from england just living out in the suburbs of sapporo as a missionary for his protestant church. He told me all about how the Mormon church isn't true, and that he thinks it's all nonsense and reeks of myth and legend. And was having a visibly fun time of bagging on it to my face. And when he was done, I had a very VERY fun time testifying as hard as I could about how I knew it was all true, and that I would fight and defend this to my death, and that if he has any desire to know how to have even more happiness in this life, then he oughta give what I have to say a listen. And it was wonderful. :) I felt SO DANG GOOD! Gotta love bearing down in pure testimony!
   And then later that day we found a lady named K San, and she is so ready for the gospel. She taught piano to some lds families in Sapporo years ago, and she was always way impressed with them, and their kids, and over the course of her time there learned a little bit about the church. Like the word of wisdom, and Joseph Smith, but that was the end of it until last year. She told us that she was thinking about her life, and how to be more happy, and she remembered the church. And she was like, that's a dang good church, and started to have lots of interest. But she couldn't find out any ways to learn about it or contact it. Until we came to her door! She told us that she's also started to keep the word of wisdom a bit, slowing down her intake of coffee and tea and what not, and that she wnats to come to church and learn all about this. We gave her a book of mormon then, and prayed with her, and she was telling us over and over about how this book was really special, and that the time she spent with us was incredible. So we're VERY EXCITED to keep working there! :D 
      Thanks for all your love and support! Keep up the great work, and have a great week! Love ya!
 Love, Mike

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Japan week #58

Hey Everyone!
      This has been a really fun week! Elder Numano and I have been working hard and we've been seeing lots of good things! 
   First off, our investigator M san got permission from his wife to get baptized! So that's exciting! The whole family should be here in Sapporo by the end of this month, so that's good news. :) No more of this misscommunication stuff! He's been doing really good, and he's been coming to church for a while now, so we're very excited to see him get baptized. And hopefully we can throw some of his family members in there too. ;) Haha!
   K San, another investigator of ours, also came to church last week! He had a BLAST and we taught a really good lesson afterwards. :) We also had a dinner appointment with a member with him this week, and we taught another lesson there, and it was really good. :) He's progressing very well, and I'm VERY excited to see where he can go! 
   So just a funny experience. :P Funny to iu ka... I prayed for the first time in English in over a year this week! :P It was awful. I had NO IDEA how to say what I wanted to say. I honestly felt like I couldn't speak in English. :P The Japanese hasn't effected my regular speech, but I do find it hard sometimes to do things in English. Like church meetings, and praying... :P Just thought you guys might get a kick out of that! :)
  And I have a really special experience that happened yesterday! So since I'm DL I have to interview my district's baptismal candidates before baptism! And I got to do my first interview with one of the sister's investigators! And it was DEFINITELY the biggest spiritual experience of last week. :) It was way special getting to spend some 1 on 1 time with someone with such a young new testimony that is just burning, and is so excited to receive baptism and all the blessings that this church and gospel have to offer. :) I was blown away by how amazing that time was. 
  This week should be fun. Looking forward to more hard work, and to seeing more miracles. :) Should be a blast! I can't believe how fast this transfer has been going! Just a little under three weeks and it's over! O.O NUTS! 
   I love you all so much! Thanks for all you do!

 Love, Mike 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Japan week #57

Hey everyone!
    First off, I'm sorry that my emails have been getting very short and very not detailed. I in part blame mailing back and forth on pdays, AND the fact that I email in the mission office, and I have ALL my friends here, and it's FLIPPING DISTRACTING ...And today is no exception. :P I'm sorry! And I'll try and be better about it!
     This week has been great, and kind of disappointing! Our baptism didn't go through. He didn't pass his interview, because he had some things that came up that made him have to have an interview with the mission president. But, before that went through, we found out that his wife is threatening divorce if he joins the church, which we did NOT know about before, so obviously his baptism and his interview fell through. His wife thought that we were jehova's witnesses, and so she was way against it. And now his daughter his coming to check out the church, and us, and make sure that we're not crazy people taking advantage of our investigator. :P So that's been nuts, and kinda stressful. She comes this Wednesday, and so that'll be crazy!
     We also had K, our other really strong investigator, come to church this week! He was found last transfer by Elder B and Elder N while they were on splits, and since this transfer our four man apartment became a two man apartment, and so all of there investigators became ours, and he was one of those investigators. We taught all of lesson one to him, and it was WAY STRONG. He's got a lot of desire, and he loves coming to church and learning about this stuff, and I think he can make it all the way. But he does have one glaring problem right now that we're going to have to help him with. The law of chastity. SO that'll be fun helping him with!
   Elder N and I have been having a TON of fun. We just joke and play and talk all day everyday, and we're working our butts off. I've never had so many investigators and teaching opportunities as I do now, and it's been amazing. :)
    So about my bike, I replaced the rear wheel, the tube, and some of the sprockets. Cost about 150 bucks. :( but now it feels brand new again so!  :) That's epic!
    I also recently wrecked my knee way bad playing basketball. :P It's nothing serious, it just sucks. I was getting a little too into it, and I just smashed it way hard on the ground, and I can't bend it much at all. But it's getting better. :)
        And that was bascially about it this week!  Looking forward to another week of hard work, and lots of fun. :) Thanks for all your support and lvoe!

 Love, Mike