Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Well hello. This week was dandy. First off I got some great news. So we have a new music policy here in the Fukuoka Mission. Anything that is not endorsed by the church, like doesn't have the church`s name on it, is now dame (not permitted). So like EFY music, Motab, and BYU Mens Chorus and such is okay, but all else, Piano Guys, Enya, etc is all dame haha Dakara yoroshiku onagaishimasu. I don't really mind it too much. I did enjoy the Piano Guys and Enya but I was also tired of missionaries abusing the privilege of music. haha I thought the new rules were actually quite funny. I was excited to see peoples reactions.
Also this week we had cleaning checks and it proved to be a great learning experience for me. Not because I finally learned how to clean, no I've been doing that since I was old enough to walk, my parents made sure of that. But I learned fast that "Cleaning Check" was quite different in the other elders minds. As we began cleaning check, one of the elders sat down and started organizing all of his letters, while the other elder took out his camera and started looking through all is pictures. As you can imagine I started to get a little frustrated that I was the only one cleaning as usual, but then I remembered a talk by John Bytheway about reversing your buts. I was thinking the cleaning is getting done now, but I'm the only one cleaning! Then I realized I need to think,
"Hey I'm the only one cleaning right now, but the cleaning is getting done." I was thinking in ward as the natural man and not outward like Christ. So after that I thought out ward for the rest of the time and its amazing how much more happy one can be as they turn outward despite how unfair things may be. So I've realized I will prolly just only turn outward for the rest of my life because in the end it is much more happy.
I gave talk number like 6 or 7 in Sacrament Meeting. This week I was given a whole 3 days advance for the talk, that's the soonest so far! I sort of mixed the turning outward and the talk you shared with me from your Youth Conference that Steve Young gave and talked about how we need to focus on obedience and not sacrifice. With sacrifice we focus on what we are giving up for what we may get in result, but we don't need to worry about that. God has promised that with obedience he will always provide. We just need to be obedient and whatever situations we may be in, we just see how much we can learn and grow from it and enjoy it. So yeah now the Kagoshima Branch all know about Steve Young, It's a good time.
Kusatsu san is progressing greatly. She is up to I think like Alma 10 or something in the Book of Mormon but she got sick and couldn't come to church. Still in every lesson so far, the lesson we have planned happens to be perfect and answer what question she has at the beginning of the lesson. Before our lesson I decided I wanted to read the Tree of Life with her and it happened to answer the exact questions she had from her reading in Alma 5. haha The member who always joints with us, Sasaki Shimai, was getting pretty excited about it when we were talking at church, She was like "you are a gift from God prepared for her! You always know exactly what to teach her and it is always such a good lesson! Go home and read Alma 5 and you will notice the lesson was just perfect! You are prepared from God!" The best part was I just smiled and nodded, "oh thank you, yes thank you, thank you, oh you are too kind" and then asked Urakami Choro what she said after because I couldn't understand what the heck she was trying to tell me. I got something about returning home and being prepared from God and such. So glad we cleared that one up.
Kagoshimaben (dialect) is still a process in the learning.
Oh also Stevo about my haircut I got this week, when the lady was blow drying my hair I started laughing way hard and couldn't stop laughing because my hair looked so ridiculous and it reminded me of your stories when you got your haircuts in Japan and had an Afro after. I felt way bad because the lady was way confused and thought she was doing something wrong, but I couldn't hold back my laughs. It was just too good haha.
Well that's about all I can think of for this week. My new companion will be Elder Sasaki. He is in my same transfer and a hard worker so I am way excited. I am looking forward to the reinforcements soon. Two ZL`s is much more convenient than 1.
Well I hope everyone is genki. Lets see some pics from Masons b day aye?? 17- holy smokes he's gonna be hitting midlife crisis soon, watch out.
Well love you all. Life is good. Dendo is great. Looking forward to that massage in 2 years.
Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)
Thought for the week:
Well this week was fun filled!!!
Monday/Tuesday we did junkai (splits) with Miyakonojo. We had a tabehodai all you can eat yakiniku (like barbecued meat) which was a great time. When we came home Tuesday night we got a call from a member to go home teaching with him. Hometeaching here in Japan is quite interesting. It usually means do a joint lesson with the missionaries to whoever you are assigned to home teach... Most often at the church after the meetings have ended. Perhaps if they called them home visiting teaching here, they would actually go visit the home more. I do not know, beats me.
Kusatsu san is doing great as well. She finally prayed for us in our lesson Wednesday and when we visited her Saturday she said that Thursday morning when she woke up, after she had prayed Wednesday night, she woke up with just a good feeling she couldn't really describe. We set a baptismal date with her for A. She understands that in order to receive an answer from God she must come to church as well and will hopefully come to church this week. She is progressing so good though. She is awesome!! She is already in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon and reads everyday. We are worried she may be reading it as a novel though, so I'll have to do a fun filled reading time with her this week.
On Thursday we junkaied in Miyazaki. I got to junkai with my good bud Elder Hanohano because he is the District Leader there. It was a way fun time. We worked hard and taught a lot of people the gospel on the streets of this beautiful country.
We also had a group of little kids follow us for a good 10 minutes calling us Chinkos. Perhaps Dad knows what that is but I feel it is not appropriate to type in English so I shall keep it hidden. It was quite interesting though. I felt bad for the parents of these children and worse how they thought that it was actually funny.
Thursday night we also received a call from our good President Gustafson. Elder Mukaitani has gone AP and had to leave Saturday to be trained for 2 weeks because both the aps are going home this transfer and the office is basically getting white washed. So I'm a lone wolf in the Zone Leader world for a couple of weeks until I get a new companion. haha Hokokus (not sure what that is called in English, the thing where you call about how everyone is doing and report on their work for the week) took a little longer than usual this morning but it was a good time. The best part is guess who his companion as AP is?? Yes, my good friend and father Elder Dolbin! Fun times, Fun times.
For the next couple weeks though I am basically just put with the other 2 elders in the apartment and we are a trio for a bit. It is pretty entertaining when we are streeting. There are 3 guys on bikes stopping you and then following you down the street. Probably isn't the most comforting experience for our friends here in Japan.
Can't really think of what else happened this week. I saw some monkeys playing together in a field while I was riding the train home from Miyazaki on Friday. They were just having a good time and I was just thankful for Gods love once again that he would give us monkeys on this earth to find joy with.
Also I got a letter from Sho this week haha He became the Gospel Principles teacher for his calling in Saijo and I asked him how it was going and he emailed back that he taught for the first time last Sunday and he's pretty sure it went pretty awful but he will improve next week. He seems to be doing good though which is good.
Can't think of much else. I'm just genki (happy) all the time and loving the work. I'm pretty exhausted usually but the work is just fun and I love dendo so it doesn't really bother me. I can sleep when I reach the Celestial Kingdom. Probably I can take a few naps with Kara. Is she still the queen of naps? Maybe it is hard now with a baby kicking her. Oh speaking of kicking while sleeping, We also had an earthquake while junkai in Miyazaki. It was the first one on my mission so far. It was wild.
Well I hope all is well and all is safe. Life is good.
Kagoshima Zone Conference
Thought for the week:
Monday, March 10, 2014
What's up fam?
Well not much time today, gomen (sorry) It is a bit busy. We woke up at 4:30am to be able to bike to seminary with our good youth buds and then we are catching a train to Miyakonojo in about an hour so the time is sukunai (short). However I prepared points from this week to tell you.
First great moment from this week was an 80 year old grandma smoking a cigarette approaching us to tell us she will come to church on Sunday and proceeded to say many crazy things I couldn't quite catch. So as we tried to escape and shake her hand goodbye, she grabbed my hand and gave it a nice big kiss. It was a great experience no doubt. The only bummer part was we were in a hurry and I felt like I needed to wash my hand all day.
Shortly after that experience we ran into a pleasant grandpa who overtime was able to open his heart to us and tell us his life's secrets. He told us he has killed 6 people by using brain power and after an incident where a horse bit him in the chest he has been able to talk to animals ever since. So we gave him our free English class flyer and I hope he can make the trek out sometime.
In Japan the church kind of has a problem where there are many older people, and then some young youth, but there seems to be a gap in the middle and it is quite the problem. Upon asking someone about it one day I was informed that Japan is in the 5th chapter of a demographic transition. No country has ever been in the 5th chapter before, but in the 5th chapter the nations population has turned itself so much that it will eventually go extinct and it is difficult to fix the problem. Because no other country has ever been in the 5th chapter. However, they can not prove that Japan really is in the 5th chapter or not, but for me this hit me really deep. I am currently preaching the gospel not only to my family in Japan, but also a people that could go extinct at any moment. It helps me to realise even more how important every day of work is and to never waste it, because I may never know when all of a sudden the nation of Japan may end. It could be today, tomorrow, in a month, years, I know not, but I do know I will preach the gospel to them as long as they are still alive.
Another interesting thing from this week, We were teaching a college student who is a Physics Major and he asked us what we believe Gods shape or image to be. So we explained to him that God has a perfected body of flesh and bone and as we attempted to proceed on how we as well will eventually receive this he cut us off and said, "oh that is enough. I just wanted to know if you believe God has a body." Because apparently according to physics laws, if God didn't have a body, it is impossible for him to exert or have any sort of power to use. Without that body it is impossible. So that was pretty cool. Yet another example of how science proves there is a God and how he created science.
Kusatsu san is still progressing way good. She is reading through Jacob right now. This week she told us she feels she has so many weaknesses and she has the desire to know if the Book of Mormon is true because she knows God can help in her weaknesses. She is way funny. She reminds me of the Japanese Jinx for those of you familiar of the District. She is pretty much exactly Jinx but Japanese. She lives alone though and really needs this gospel. We pray that she will be able to come to church this week.
Last but not least, I had a crepe (crepes are his favorite food. They were the last thing he wanted to eat before going into the MTC so I am pretty sure that was a highlight for him to find crepes in Japan).
Looking pretty happy with his crepe.
I hope everyone is doing well and healthy. I am seeing more and more everyday examples of how this is the Lords work and how we need him. Lately I have been super busy doing stuff for the Zone, random calls, junkais, questions, things they need help with etc, I actually haven't even had a full study in a few weeks haha and I fall asleep exhausted everyday, but come morning time God has me ready for a fresh day. The enabling power of the atonement turns weak things into strengths when we trust in our Heavenly Father. I am loving the work everyday and loving working with my Japanese family here. Hope all is well and everyone is remembering their Heavenly Father so their weaknesses can become strengths as well. God loves you all.
Early morning bike ride to Seminary in Kagoshima
Sunrise in Kagoshima
Another photo of the volcano near Kagoshima
Thought for the week:
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
This week was fantastic! What happened? I don't really remember. We had a few lessons with Kusatsu this week. We only found her housing a couple of weeks ago and she has already almost finished 2 Nephi. She is a boss and progressing way fast. When we met this week both times we asked her what questions she has right now, and both times the thing she had a question about or what she was interested in, was the exact lesson we had planned for her that day. What wonders God does for you when you plan with the spirit aye? She is way cool though and wants to come to church but it is sometimes hard because both her knees are really messed up and she can't really walk and because the climb up to the church is steeper than Mt Fuji it makes things a bit difficult. I have faith things will work out this week though.
We junkaied (splits) with Taniyama Elders this week. That was a great time.
I had an old man punch me a few times while he laughed about how we are turning to ash when we die because there is not any after life. He was a pretty genki man and had a pretty solid handshake to a right hook to the shoulder routine that he pulled a good few times. So that was interesting.
Yesterday we had a skype meeting with all of the missionaries and the District Presidency in the Kagoshima District. It is cool the involvement we have with the leaders here. Compared to other places in the states maybe we don't have as much success in Japan but I am so thankful for the members here. Their appreciation for missionaries is so humbling and they are always kind in their giving, or getting so excited to talk to us at church, or hear us speak in Sacrament Meeting, and always willing to help with missionary work. The people here are so loving and kind. I truly love them and the work is truly taking off right now. The work is starting to explode and it is exciting to see.
In the 6 week program of goals and challenges for the zone, we had so many miracles this week and every companionship was able to accomplish all of the goals which was amazing. I pray that things will continue to go well throughout every week in the 6 week program.
Well that's about all I can remember I suppose. It rained a bit, the sun shined a bit, my back got covered with ash a bit, every day goes by and I wonder how it ends so fast. I don't understand how it is already March. I was talking to Elder Hanohano and it seems like the MTC was just yesterday. Our life is so short compared to the eternities, We must make the most of everyday and most importantly never forget to smile!
I hope all is well on the big island! I got a letter from the Pleasanton Stake this week. That is way cool all of the baptisms and growth you guys are having! It was cool to hear them talk about the growth Pleasanton 2nd Ward (that is the ward we live in) has made in the past 15 months. not in a bragging way or anything but I know you all were a help to that for sure. God has a plan for everything and it is pretty dang obvious why we were meant to go to California, and also Mom, you should probably give Dad some slack on his house selection because if he had never chosen that house you would have never met Bill (The 90 year old man that lives up the street that we fellow shipped and Steve baptized in August and ordained an Elder Sunday. Also, we took Bill to the Temple on Wednesday to do baptisms and Olivia was baptized and confirmed by proxy for his wife, mother, grandmother and 4 aunts and Mason was baptized for his father, grandfather and 5 uncles and Bill was confirmed for the men) and maybe be in a different ward and never met Demetri (He is the Young Man that went on High Adventure with Steve last year that ended up getting baptized) either! No worries Dad, you can thank me later ;) Not having any water for the first week we moved in was just a fun time (our water comes from a well and the pump motor had broken and we did not know it and we ran the storage tank dry and had no water), not to mention other problems the house may have had like the mud bath I took during the winter time (He took the first bath with the jets on and mud came shooting out all over him because the lines had never been cleaned out before we moved in). But hey, if you're not having trials then you're no longer living so be thankful you are here on earth alive! In the letter they sent I also really like how the Leaders are helping members to see their responsibility in missionary efforts as well and inspiring them to do more.
Have a great week!!
View from church in Kagoshima
Hill that they have to ride their bikes up to get to the church in Kagoshima
Thought for the week: