Sunday, March 30, 2014

Japan week #34

This week has been both a fantastic week, and then yesterday it became one of the more tragic weeks of my mission. To start though! We had a TON of fun this week. We had ZTM, which was a blast! And since we had beans in our zone this time, we did the traditional 'bean shower'. It's basically everyone goes up and gives them a TON of random junk from Japan to welcome them to the mission. Food, dollar store stuff, funny stuff, it's great. :) And so that was a blast! I always love getting to hang out with the zone. It's a blast getting to learn and practice with each other, and get to spend some time with the whole crew. It's ALWAYS a blast, I love it!
  This week our investigator Riku Kun went to the big youth conference in Hokkaido. We were hoping that it would be a really good experience for him, and that he'd feel the spirit, and he had a GREAT time! :D I think it was a really good influence on him to see all these other kids with testimonies, and getting to interact with them I think really helped him a lot. We had a lesson with him yesterday, and I think he really has changed just from that conference. I think he has a lot more hope and faith, and willingness to believe. It was way special. :)
   I also was able to go on splits with my zone leader Elder Fukushima this week. It was weird working with a nihonjin again, no english! But that's no problem. ;) We had a blast! And saw a cool miracle. We were doing some streeting, and we found a young man in his twenties. We were talking to him, and then just invited him to church on the spot, and he said he wanted to come. So we were like, sweet, here's the details, and by the way, wanna go tour the church right now? We can show you it! And so we had a sweet church tour, and then he ACTUALLY came to church!! :D The whole 3 hours!! SOOOO COOOL! Too bad he lives in Obihiro, so we can't make him an investigator out here in Otofuke... ;) Oh well! And we just had a grand time. Spending the night in Obihiro was way fun as well. Stayed up late around our incense 'camp fire' telling ghost stories. Too much fun!
   And now for the more painful part of this week. So, you guys are familiar with Sato San, my long time investigator here. Well...she decided she no longer wants to meet with us anymore. She said that since she can't come to church, and she can't be baptized even though she really wants to, it causes her a lot of pain. And asked if we would stop coming by because she feels bad about not being able to do all of what we're teaching her...I have really grown to love her so much, and I was crushed last night in a way that I didn't think was possible. You come to love these people so much, and when they decide they're done, it kills you. I couldn't keep myself together after getting that phone call last night. I just don't know if there was something more I could have done, or where I messed up, and why didn't the Lord provide a way for her to get over her issues...It's been incredibly hard for me. And it happened last night, so I'm still struggling...but it'll be ok. I don't understand, but I know the Lord does. So yeah, that's by far my new hardest experience yet.
 Anyways!! love you all! Training is a blast! Have a great time at conference! I'm uber jealous!

       Love, Mike

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Japan week # 33

Hey everyone!! :) Thanks for all the emails and what not, I always love it! :)
  This week has been a blast! Elder Horne and I get along great, and we're LOVING working together. This is a third week together, ALREADY! I HATE time. Despise how fast it is... We had a lot of fun, and saw lots of good things this week. Most notably, we acquired a couch, further evidence that God does indeed exist, more details later.
   So this week we didn't have much opportunity to meet with our investigators. :( Sato San has been crazy busy, so we haven't been able to see her, and Riku Kun is busy with school, so that's been rough. Both are very close to baptism though. Sato San just needs to come to church, and then commit to do it. Riku Kun gave us the 'why does bad stuff happen to good people?' question today, so we have to help him answer that question. He really wants this to all be true, but he says when he thinks about questions like that, it makes him doubt whether God even exists or not, so once he can figure that out for himself, he'll know that this is true. Of that I have no doubt. :)  So we're working with them there. So I mentioned before that I may have received revelation on helping Sato San. :P She doesn't come to church because she helps her Mom on Sundays, and so I was thinking about what we could do to help her have the courage to find a way to come to church, and I had two things come into my head. One, that she needs to know that she isn't choosing church over family, when she chooses church she IS choosing family, and that she needs to REALLY understand the importance of baptism, and I really felt that when she understands those two things, she'll find a way to come to church. So we have an appointment with her on the 28th this week, so we're excited to go talk to her about those two things! So that's exciting!!
  But this week we had a TON of success finding. We found about 4-5 people that have some really good potential, and they're all SO NICE, so that's definitely a great sign. :) So we have return appointments for them all next week, and we're very excited to go meet them.
  Being with Elder  Horne is such a blast. I love getting to see miracles with him, because it helps him see how marvelous this work is, and how great being a part of it is. And that's one thing I really want him to take away from our two transfers together, how flipping AMAZING being a missionary is. If I can get him to understand that, I'll have succeeded I think!
  So, epic story of the week. We got a couch.
      We were out doing some finding yesterday, and we stumbled upon a bright red leather couch that some had set to be thrown out. We both look at it, look at each other, and immediately begin an inspection of this couch. The Otofuke apartment has no couch, so we DESPERATELY wanted a couch. Turns out this work of art is in DANG good condition, and so we tried the most important test. We sat on it. And we were filled with indescribable joy. ;) So we decided to pack it home with us. We ended up hiking about 2.5 miles home with this couch on our backs, getting the GREATEST FACES from the Japanese people that I've ever seen! OH MAN, we had way to much fun carrying it home. And it fits in our apartment beautifully. Miracles, people. They're out there!
   Love you all so much, looking forward to hearing from you all!!
      Love, Mike

 P.S. Powder for gatorade is way fine! Thanks on the work for the glasses! And other requests?... As of right now, I have no idea. Beef Jerky would be nice. Other Elder's have gotten it just fine as of late, so maybe it's ok again? I dunno...OH!!! The bricks of cheese like you had at Christmas time! PLEASE!! I'm begging you! It was wonderful! :) Thanks for all you do!!!! LOVE YOU!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Japan week #32

Hey everyone!! Week one with Bean Chan is over!!  Crazy I think! Time is relentlessly NOT SLOWING DOWN. I basically hate it more than anything at the moment. Should I repent? ;) Glad to hear everyone is doing very well at home! Sick, but not dying, so I'm fine with that. None of you guys can top my sickness though, so that makes me happy, because I would never wish ANYONE would be that sick! This week has been an absolute blast! It's been way crazy with a brand new missionary. There are so many things now that I do without realizing, because I've been living this missionary lifestyle for awhile now, that I need to now think about again so that I can make sure Elder Horne knows how to do this. It's been such a sweet opportunity to see what I can do well, and where I can improve. It's been really special. I'm just trying really hard to be the best example I can be. Being super obedient, working super hard, and trying to really show him that being a missionary is basically the greatest thing. If he takes nothing away from these two transfers but that, I'll know I'll have helped him out just a bit. Missionary skills are way important, but to me I think being able to love each and everyday is just as, if not more important. It's been great so far. He REALLY wants to learn everything. Japanese, the missionary life, skills, everything, which is such a great attitude to have. He's just a tad picky though, which will kill him here in Japan. ;) Gotta help him get over that! Haha!! But it really has been a blast. These next two transfers are going to go by way fast.
  This week we were also able to see some sweet things. We had lessons with both Sato San and Riku Kun, and both were pretty good. Sato San continues to blow my mind away. We see her, and she just bears sweet testimony to us, she just needs to come to church! But I totally think I received revelation on how to help her there, so I'm WAY stoked to see her again. And Riku Kun is such a stud. He's come to church 9 weeks in a row now, it's incredible, and he wants to know if this is true very badly. His baptismal date is this month on the 29th. So I'm praying VERY hard that he gets that answer, and can be baptized. I want VERY badly to see God's children accept the gospel!
  We also had some funny experiences this week. We met a lady who was SHOCKED when we didn't know that the Second Coming, had already happened. :P HAHA!! She then spent the next 20 minutes telling us all about how since Christ was killed, he couldn't fulfill his messiah duty, and so a new messiah had to be called, and how that messiah is in Korea right now. Elder Horne didn't follow any of it in Japanese, but once we said goodbye to this very nice lady, and I explained what just happened to him, he and I spent the next few minutes rolling in the snow dying. :) We also had a man STRAIGHT UP RUN from us. It was epic! I stop him to contact him, and as soon as I say that we're missionaries, he BOOKS IT at a full on sprint for the next 100 yards or so, it was SOOOO funny! I didn't think I was thaaaaaaat scary!
    Plus, we had one of the absolute WEIRDEST miracles of my mission so far. So we're walking down the street to head to a neighborhood to do some housing, and this lady driving a car flies past us, and then stops way suddenly in the middle of the road. She rolls down the window, yells at us to stop, and gets out of her car, in the middle of the road still! She yells that she's going to give us fruit, and I yell, why?? Then she answers, they're bananas, and they're from God! Enjoy! And then drives away. Elder Horne's like, was that a member? And I say, Elder, I've never seen that woman in my life. HAHA!! I was craving a banana though, so bam! God really does exist. :) Way fun week!
    Love you all, can't wait to hear from you soon! LOVE YOU!
      Love, Mike
 P.S. So, I have two things I want to ask for next time you send me a package. Gatorade, or powerade, :P And glasses that don't change dark in the sun. It isn't against the rules for my glasses to be like this, but it's just a bad thing here culturally, and I look way scary all bundled up... So if you could maybe get me the same frames I have now, and the same prescription, just not transitions, that'd be epic! But don't worry too much about it, it really isn't too big a deal. If you can, that'd be awesome, if not, no biggie. I'll adapt. Thank you!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Japan week #31

Hey Everyone! So, the secret is out...I have gone both senior companion, AND trainer, all in one fell swoop!! I was just chilling on p day evening after our day's work was over, and I get a very unusual call from the aps. And, it was my transfer call, telling me all about the fact that President Evans thought I'd make a great trainer, and wanted me to train starting this transfer. So I was more than just a little surprised! I had to get ready to go that Tuesday, and by wednesday morning we were in Sapporo waiting to go get our beans. That's what the new missionaries are called in this mission. ;) Bean chans! We all head upstairs after waiting, and the process of one by one trainers and beans meeting each other began. It was way different to see it all from the other side, now that I'm training. Seeing all of these brand new missionaries who are so lost, but are just SO excited to hit the streets and dive into the missionary life, it's really quite amazing. :) So, I was given Elder Horne, to be my companion for the next two transfers, unless something crazy happens, which almost never does for us Elders. He's from Gilbert, Arizona, so this weather is more than just a little different for him. :P But he's toughing it out like a boss! He did one semester at ASU before heading out, graduated high school in 2013. Which blows my mind...makes me feel so dang old!!! :P And his dad served in the Japan Nagoya mission. So he's got some ties to Japan, which is cool! He's a bit worrried about the language, especially after his first Sunday here in Japan, but I'm way stoked, because that's an area where I feel that I can REALLY help. I have definitely been there, and when I was a bean I had my moments freaking out about the language, so I am looking forward to helping him acclimate well. So my job as a trainer is really quite simple. I just need to help him acclimate to the missionary life smoothly, and help him get some skills that will help him fulfill his purpose here. Finding skils, teaching skills, member skills, the whole shebang. So we have 2 hours of comp study to do lots of practicing, and it's been great. :) My skills have been increasing a ton too, and I've been able to pull out knowledge and tips and what not that I did not even know that I had, so I've been pretty incredibly blessed thus far!
  After I met him, we traveled home Thursday, and started getting to work on Friday. And it's been a blast! It's crazy to realize that this is his first time doing anything, so things that I don't even think about now, I have to make sure I'm thinking about so that I can help him. Finding is way fun. He has no fear! I just tell him to go contact someone and he just does the best he can, and then I am there to help him if he needs it, it's such a cool experience. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. When I got the phone call, I was thinking to myself if I could really handle a bean, if I really knew what I was doing well enough to help someone else. And so it's been a blessing to see that we're being helped in every aspect of our work. It's been way great, can't wait to see how it all turns out! PLUS we have two baptismal dates this transfer, so if we put in our time, and if it's the right timing, and if they both feel it, we might see some pretty incredible miracles in our time together. :) Can't wait! That's basically ALL that happened this week. Glad to hear taht everyone is doing great and having fun, I LOVE that. :) In just 3 short months I'll hit my year mark being set apart as a missionary... Mind is officially blown. ;) Love you all! Have a marvelous week!!
     Love, Mike

Monday, March 3, 2014

pictures week #30

Sapporo Snow Festival

 Japanese hair style

Japan week #30

Hey everyone!! 
 This week has been a blast, and a bit sad. :(  We had our last performance of the music night last Saturday, and that was a crazy great success. :)  Everyone performed really well, and we all had a BLAST. Plus getting to see all the missionaries is ALWAYS fun. :) I've really gotten quite close to a LOT of missionaries here, it really is something special. I believe they'll be making a CD again of the performance like they have every other one, so if I get one I'll send it to you so you can here all of our gorgeous music!! :) 
   But music night was also a tad sad. It's Sister Evans last one, since their mission is over in June, and I've had to say good bye to a lot of missionaries that are going home this transfer! It's crazy here how you know people for so little time, and then all of a sudden you can't imagine not having them around, and you feel like you've known them forever. This work is incredibly unifiying. It's such a miracle everytime I think about it. 
  So aside from that this week wasn't super eventful. We didn't really have much happen, and we didn't really meet with anyone this week. It was kind of a slow one, but that's ok.
    Transfers are this week, we'll be getting calls tomorrow with all the info. Since Elder Kozuma has been here for four now, and with me for two, it's basically guaranteed that he's leaving. We obviously still don't know, but that's what President does. Four in an area, you get transferred. Two with a comp, someone gets transferred. Keeps it all mixed up nicely. So we'll see what happens. Odds are that this transfer or next I got senior comp and take the reigns! Yikes! Can't believe that time is coming! We have a LOT of new missionaries coming in the next two transfers, and a lot of old ones leaving the next two, so more leader missionaries are needed. Kind of exciting. :) I'm not really worried about it though, I feel ready to take the reigns and work. 
  Glad to hear everyone is doing great! Love you all! 

     Love, Mike