Monday, February 24, 2014

23 February 2014 - Becoming the Lord's Missionaries

Well this week was interesting.... hmm what happened.....

Here a few of the thing that happened:  We were taken out for some cake by the old eikaiwa ((English lesson) ladies.     I rode a bus for about 16 hours.   An old grandma from the ward when she met me at first told me I look like Jesus, then changed her mind and said I look like Snow Whites Prince named `Prince Charming.`   She has since become my favorite person in the ward.   I played basketball for the first time in 9 months.   I gave my first 4 hour Zone Training Meeting.   My companion enjoys to comment as often as possible how handsome he thinks I am.   I realized people in Kagoshima actually speak Japanese and not Chinese, Arabic, or English, like they do in Saijo, and it is fairly difficult to understand.   Come to find out, Dentist women (His companion had to go to the Dentist) also love to talk to gaijin's about their entire life thus far and comment on their `clear blue eyeballs`, even if they are actually green.  My companion called me a tool and a few other things during language study, in an attempt to use the words he's read or learned to find out what is appropriate and what isn't.   hahah   Poor guy!!     That's about all I can think of for this week.  That was some of the trivial things that took place this week.  Here is a little more of my week.

Tuesday we had mlc (Mission Leader Conference) in Fukuoka so we spent the night Monday then came back late Tuesday.  Planned ztm (Zone transfer meeting) on Wednesday, and taught eikaiwa.  I held zone training meeting on Thursday.  It was way fun because Elder Hanohano (his companion from the Provo MTC) is a District Leader in the zone so we had a good time at lunch after speaking of all the ridiculous things that happened in the mtc.   

We are implementing a `Becoming the Lords Missionary` 6 week program in the zone to help all of the missionaries become more effective.  In the zone we seem to have a struggle of working hard, but not seeing the success we can be seeing, so we are trying to weed out the ineffective work and loss of the Lords time to become more effective and see the fruits of our labors.   We have certain goals and things the missionaries will do each week and they will build up each week and the goal is that by the end all missionaries will be able to reach Kaicho`s (Mission President) standards on a consistent basis and be more effective in their work. The only unfortunate thing is it is much like members in perhaps Stake Conference who listen to the beautiful talks and love the spirit and then go home and forget what they learned.  Sometimes missionaries can do the same.   So the goal is to follow up as much as possible and see how things are going.   

Oobedience is so important.   Without it we don't have the spirit with us. If only more of the missionaries could understand that. Being a ZL has opened my eyes to how many missionaries actually just are missing stuff here and there.   If we could only be 100 percent obedient then we would actually find it to be much easier than picking and choosing what we want to be obedient to.   Much like our life in the commandments ehh!!!???   

Sunday we had a lesson with an investigator we found last week that is much like Takamatsu san (the video game guy) if you remember him.   His apartment is pretty messy but he actually does have a job and enjoys studying religion so there is a light that he can change.   He is ridiculously difficult to understand though.   

We also found an older lady who knew a little bit about Christ, so we taught her about the Book of Mormon and when we came back for an appointment she had already read quite a bit of the Book of Mormon so we are excited for her.   We had a good lesson on the atonement with her. 

The apartment life is good and yes the food is definitely a change up from the usual soba, curry, then whatever Elder Bloomfield wants to make and then more soba and curry like it was in Saijo.   The nihonjin's in the apartment are actually pretty hilarious.   Elder Kishihara is quite the goofball and they have all learned quite a bit of sarcasm and slang from other Americans in the past.   They are all way funny.   I enjoy them quite a bit.  

Well that is about all I can think of so far this week.   I hope all is well and safe.
Much love, 
Elder Bloomfield 

This is a picture of the Volcano that is near Kagoshima.  You can see it erupting a little.  It makes things very smoggy from all the smoke and ash.

This is a picture of Kagoshima.  It is smoggy often from the volcano.

Thought for the week:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

16 February 2014 - Transferred to Kagoshima

Hey there family,
Well I have indeed been transferred down to Kagoshima as a zone leader.   Pretty surprising considering I'm expected to give 4 hour trainings and I have yet to even lead an hour District Meeting training.   Who woulda thought eh?   Kagoshima is pretty good though. 

Sho was really sad that I had to leave.   He is a funny man.  I will send you what he sent to me before I left.   It was a pretty heartfelt email and then a solid bye bye!! 

Here in Kagoshima there is an active volcano that erupts everyday.   It conveniently erupts with no, not lava, but just ash.   There is quite a bit of ash all over the streets and such.   This morning during my morning run,   I could almost open my eye for a solid 8 seconds straight before I was hit with some more ash.   That was the best record I had this morning.   

I have another Japanese companion, he is way cool. His name is Mukaitani Choro.   I'm excited to work with him this transfer,  I will learn a lot.   My apartment I have moved into has 3 Japanese and a Blondy (me).   So I should get to brush up on my Japanese a little bit more than when I was in Saijo.   Saijo`s large amount of foreigners kind of threw off my becoming fluent schedule so I will have to get back on track here where we will only speak Japanese.   Walking through the streets here in Kagoshima, I get a large amount of more stares than I got in Saijo.   It's like they don't see someone blond everyday or something its weird.   The branch we have here seems way cool though.   I am excited.   I was asked to give a talk on my first Sunday there (not much has changed since Pleasanton ehh?) so I was able to meet many of the members real quick from that.

Mukaitani Choro (Elder)

Cool stuff that happened in Saijo before I left.   We had a lesson with the Morita's and we were able to set up a new baptismal date with him.   The spirit was strong and you could tell he really has the desire.   The only problem is he has the desire when we are there, and he will want to grow and progress when we are there with the spirit, but when we aren't there his life is tiring to him and it is hard for the dad to follow through with his commitments.   We met with Gary and he was the purest kindest soul as usual, really wanting and really needing this gospel, but his life is just making having time to progress and do what he wants (come to church) impossible.   He had a way cool miracle.   We have never gotten to meet with his wife because she always kind of wants to avoid us and not meet with us, but they are moving apartments and yes, indeed, moving into the same apartments the mission couple, and the sister missionaries live in.  It is a 30 sec. walk from our apartment. What a coincidence, I doubt it!   God loves him so much!   Now we can meet his wife and bake bread anytime for his wife!   Yukihiro (Johhny Depp) was pretty devastated when I told him I was leaving.  haha   That crazy man. He told me he will write me a letter though so that should be interesting.   Saijo will always have a special place in my heart. We were able to see so many cool miracles there and see it grow so much in just 7 months and have grown close with many people there.   I hope that one day in my mission I can return there.

Last Okonomiyaki eaten in Saijo.  It will be missed!!!!

Other good news is as zone leaders we have a meeting with all the other zls and Assistants to the President and Kaicho (Mission President)at the beginning of each transfer, which means I will get to see Elder Dolbin tomorrow!

Well other than that,  I can't think of much else. My eating portions have drastically been cut, living with 3 nihonjin.  My stomach will either have to shrink or I will most likely die.   Perhaps the daily intake of ash will fix the problem ;) Kagoshima is good though   I am way excited to work with Elder Mukaitani!   He is a way hard worker which makes me very happy.  

I hope all is well and everyone is safe and happy!

Happy Anniversary to the wonderful Steve and Kris.   28 years later and you're still kickin.   Happy Valentines to all those who are single and looking for someone to tell them they are loved as well!   

Love you!
Elder Bloomfield
Thought for the week:

10 February 2014 - Snow and Bikes, Not the Best Combination

Hmmm what to report on this week. Well the funny thing about last week is I said it seemed to be warming up a bit.. Then this week it snowed all week.   It was quite the experience, biking uphills in snow and slush can be a little more difficult than one might imagine. It was pretty awesome.   You would go from side to side almost falling about ever 5 feet to barely catch yourself and keep going.   It was hilarious,  I would just laugh every time we were biking up hills because it was just impossible.   I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and look forward to my next encounter with the blizzard.   On with the snow also brought many little children having snowball fights, which also brought them to enjoy throwing them at the big gaijin (Foreigner) walking past them.   I usually felt bad hitting them with snowballs though. 
Snow in Saijo

Joys of riding bikes in the snow and slush.

This week Haishan and Chunka, the Mongolian couple were baptized!   They are such a cool family.   Haishan is such an incredible man.   He will one day be the Branch President of Saijo,   I have no doubts in my mind.   We were also able to meet with Bing Bing (the wife of the Chinese family) this week.   It was a way good lesson.   The husband was doing research at the college but we were able to talk to her about what we do as missionaries and she seems excited to get to read the Book of Mormon and try to find if a God really even exists.   She has much time to read since she just hangs out at home with her new 4 month old baby girl.   

We also met with Sho a couple of times this week.   He and I blessed the Sacrament together on Sunday.   That was a pretty cool experience seeing as it will probably be my last Sunday in Saijo. haha   It was pretty funny when he first started breaking the bread the pieces were absolutely massive! haha   One piece he broke off was like an entire side of crust,  I was like woah woah there friend, it's not a meal we are just breaking off small pieces now.   He nailed it though.   He blessed the sacrament, then bore his testimony during fast and testimony meeting,   We had a shokuji (party/get together) after church for him that the YSA girls did for him (which was indeed 5 girls) and Azumi was here too.  We told him he is the big dog around here now.  After the party we unfortunately had to say our goodbyes because he is going to be in Osaka until Friday and I have some good chances of leaving Saijo on Thursday.  He was like "man I'm so sad right now!"  He's a funny kid. he . It is amazing how much he has changed.   He is so strong in the gospel now.   It makes me happy that both he and Azumi are so strong.   I think that would be something that would hurt me the most if I  ever find out one of my recent converts goes less active after all the growth we see in them.  
Sho, Travis and Azumi  for the last time before Travis was tranferred from Saijo

Sho and Travis enjoying the Shokuji

I have been here quite awhile but still don't want to leave. So many cool miracles here in Saijo and Saijo is really starting to take off now.   We had a baptism last week, we will have another one this week.   In a few weeks from now Saijo`s active members will have gone from 2 to 9.   Gods hand is evident every single day!   You can literally feel Gods love for these people here as we go out and dendo every single day.   It is a special place and growing fast.   Saijo will one day have an institute and game center for the college students nearby.  

Christ lives and this work is powered through his atonement. hope all is well and healthy. 

Elder Bloomfield

P.S.  I just got my transfer call.  Sooo apparently I am going Kagoshima as a Zone Leader??   It's weird because I have never lead a training meeting yet.  Someone must be confused.   We will see how this goes.

                                           Thought for the week:

3 February 2014 - Meeting Elder Aoyagi - Dad's (Steve) Mission President

Well this week was great. There are too many things to tell, so I will only tell a few.   First thing, I have great news.   Elder Aoyagi (Steve's mission President when he served in Sendai, Japan in 1984)still remembers you.   Yoku oboete imasu to itta (he said he remembers him well).

So first we had an Family Home Evening activity on Monday which was a great success.   It was way fun and we had a way good talk about faith. 

Then Thursday we made dumplings with the Lee family that we became friends with through helping them move in.   They are so cool and we are meeting with them this week to talk about God and the gospel.   I'm way excited for them they are such a cool Chinese family.

I'd like to skip to Sunday.  Sho has progressed so much in the last couple months it is amazing. Sunday we had Stake Conference in Takasu (about an hour and a half away) and Sho received the Priesthood after Stake Conference.   The room we went into to do it was pretty cold at first and after the blessing he said, "wow I felt so warm!   The room was so cold at first but when you guys gave me the Priesthood I felt so warm."   Then later we had a fireside for new members and investigators with our Mission President and a member of the 70 which was Elder Aoyagi.  Sho was asked to bear his testimony and I was pretty blown away.   He wasn't sure what he was going to say even before he got up and he talked about how he was worried being baptized would change his life plans.   He had plans for his life.   He had been working hard his entire life, getting baptized would change what he already had planned for himself and he went on to talk about how his life did not change, only his heart did.   He said he doesn't know if what his plans for his life is correct or not, but he does know that the plan God has for him is correct.   The best part was (haha) - so our Mission President has a classic line he always says when giving experiences he will say "guzen? no, kiseki desu" which basically means "coincidence? no miracle".   Sho heard him say it at Stake Conference and took the liberty in using it in his talk.   haha   So, in front of a member of the 70, Kaicho, and the Stake President,  Sho copied Kaicho.   He bore a pretty powerful testimony and then said "guzen? yap chigaimasu.. kiseki desu" and looked back at Kaicho. haha   Everyone got a pretty good kick out of it.

Yesterday we had a training from Elder Aoyagi.   Stevo he is a pretty humble man.   I was surprised when I found out he was your Mission Presdient when he was only like 40 years old.   I showed him your picture though and he asked him if he remembered you and he gave me a hug and told me to pass it on to you.   His wife is an angel, she is so kind.   When did you serve, was it from 84-86?   Aoyagi Shimai said, "you were iisenkyoshi datta (a good missionary)".   It was cool to get to talk to them.   They sat at my same lunch table too.   I got to have a nice chat with them.   He is such a humble man.   I wanted to talk to him more and they were asking more about you and the family but then time ran out.   I gave her our address so maybe she will try to write you a letter or something.   The training was all about the atonement and being the ideal missionary. The spirit was so strong the entire meeting and many answers to my prayers came through your old Mission President.   That was pretty cool.   He would always relate things we talked about to stories in the Book of Mormon and how we are just like them.  I can understand why he told you to use the Book of Mormon in your housing contacts!  Elder Aoyagi told some pretty cool stories that he may have told you (Steve)when he was your President.   He told us how he wanted to go on a mission way bad but his parents wouldn't let him.   So he was at college praying every night that somehow he would be able to serve a mission, then randomly one day he received a telegram from his parents telling him to come home.   His dad had a financial problem come up and told him he could no longer pay for him for college so he is on his on.   So Elder Aoyagi said, "okay father I will help you, "what must I do?"  His Dad said "no you have your life,  you need to tread your own path in life,  basically, you can even serve a mission if you want to."  Then Elder Aoyagi said he told his father, " well excuse me but I must go on a mission" and he was way excited.  Another story was where he got his first job.   He basically gave the people giving the interview a 40 minute lesson about the restoration of the gospel in the interview and despite never graduating from college and being extremely under qualified he got his dream job which payed a lot of money at a foreign trading company.   He had other cool stories.

Well there's always more to talk about but I think my fingers are probably starting to cramp up so it is probably best to give them a break.   They are needed for handing out chirashis (pamphlets) to old grandpa's who can't hear our message.   Hope all is well and safe in the Americas.   The church is true.  God loves all.

Love you all,

Elder Bloomfield

Elder and Sister Aoyagi with Travis

Castle in Hiroshima

Hiroshima from far off

Thought for the Week:

26 January 2014 - Week Full of Fun

Howdy y'all,
It's funny because no one here actually says that.
Well this week was full of fun.   I  gave my 3rd talk in Sacrament Meeting.   This one was on sacrifice.   I related sacrifice to the peace we feel from it and how sacrifice really isn't for good, like in the olden days when people sacrificed animals,   God didn't actually need the animals, he didn't need the sacrifice, its all for us and remembering Christ and the promised peace that comes from it.   So it went pretty well I thought.   

I don't know if I ever told you but we do all of our talks in both Japanese and English because we have so many foreigners here in Saijo.   On Sunday we had 14 people from 6 different countries.   If you had told me a year ago that in a year from now I would be teaching in both Japanese and English to a priesthood class of Americans, Japanese, Mongolians, Chinese, and an Iranian... I most likely would not have believed you.   That has been my life the past few months.   It's pretty awesome.   

This week Tohma Kyodai became really sick from his diabetes and was hospitalized.  When we went to give him a blessing you could tell he was in a lot of pain,  so please keep him in your prayers.   It seems pretty serious. Without Tohma Kyodai none of this work in Saijo would have ever been possible,   He has done so much for the Saijo area and is an amazing member.   We pray he can recover soon. 

Also sad news about the Tonga's, so brother Tonga wasn't offered to play again this year so their family is having to move back to New Zealand as I think I told you, but it seems the only flight they can get that would work is on the 2nd of February, which yes, makes the baptism muri.   She told us though that she knows she wants to be baptized and thanked the missionaries for our help but is sad it can't happen here in Japan.   

We were also able to meet with Gary this week. His meetings always make me so sad for him.   He talks about how he loves the feelings he has when he meets with us.   He loves being able to feel Gods love when he is with us, but life right now is just so difficult.   His English is not perfect, and therefore because he is in the foreigners part of the college, his classes are pretty difficult,   He is always having to right reports and presentations and such, and has 2 jobs that he does whenever he doesn't have college work so he can help pay for his wife who is currently pregnant and always complaining he isn't home to help her.   He tells us how he wants to be baptized but he doesn't even have enough money to pay his rent right now and if he quit his job on Sundays it would just be no bueno.   The man has incredible faith though. 

We met a new Chinese family that is coming to FHE activity tonight and we are going to their house to learn how to make dumplings on Chinese New Year (Thursday).   That should be pretty good, except the husband and wife's mom is there who can't speak any English, so I had Sho teach me how to say `this is delicious!` and `making these dumplings is difficult` and also `you are very skilled` in Chinese.   I hope it goes well but we shall see.   Apparently my pronunciation is pretty awful. 

Life in Saijo is good.   Just really trying to study how to be a more effective missionary.   If Wilford woodruff could baptize thousands, Nephi could baptize nations, then a simple branch in just a couple of transfers is nothing too big.  I leave my faith in God to do his work through us missionaries and members and whatever happens happens right?

Romans 5:19
"For as by one man's disabedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
Elder Bloomfield

"You could say things have gotten pretty serious"

P-Day Fun at the Museum

Thought for the week: