Hey! Everything is way exciting and awesome! I`m really sorry that I wasn't able to snag more time to talk to everyone else as well :( I still have that phone card you sent and don:t have anything to do with it... Should I send it back sometime? It was great to talk and sorry if I didn't have much to talk about. I`m excited for Christmas, but I hope it doesn't come too fast for me!
Flying was the best, but I`m super glad to be here and not have to sit for a long time. Being out and about is the best! There were no problems at all with my luggage except for I had to use an extra knapsack type bag that elder Bush let me borrow to use as my "personal item" because It wouldn't fit anywhere else. It actually ripped almost completely apart once I got to the mission home, but I was able to make it without losing anything. I`d recommend getting two big suitcases and a carryon rather than 1 suitcase and 1 carryon like I had.
I have had a whole week full of "bean"(like a greenie, but the Japanese version) things, but I`ve also had lots of time to dendo as well! Dendo means missionary work and there are lots of different kinds of dendo. Since I didn't really sleep on the plane getting used to the jet lag wasn't too bad, but I sleep better here than I ever did in my life probably because of all the hard good work. My apartment is pretty cool and nice! We actually share it with 2 other missionaries that are way cool. One is named Elder Oomura who is from Okinawa and a Nihonjin and his companion is Elder Brown from New Zealand. There are two study rooms/rooms to keep our clothes and get dressed, a small bathroom w/ just a toilet and sink thing and then another bathroom with sink, laundry machines, and Japanese style bath/shower. Then our Kitchen has a microwave, stove, toaster oven, and fridge. The microwave is pretty spiffy and can work like an oven too. Yesterday was Sunday and the ward gave us so much food! We also have a bedroom that has a cool sliding door with the straw mats as the floor, but because there are four of us our futons overlap into the living room too. Getting a bike was tricky because the card wasn't working at first and we found out the problem was my daily withdrawal limit, but we fixed it and I have the money so no prob there. We just have to wait for the bike shop to get the one I ordered. No need to send my straw over! haha the 7-11's are mostly for getting money and buying a snack or something once in a while. I wish I could show you the cool Kanji for Eniwa, I'm sure you could look it up though. There are also two other cities that my area covers called Chitose and Megumino. We are definitely going to work hard and plant/raise some beautiful blessings haha! My companion is pretty much a boss. He is crazy good at Japanese and talking to people. He is also way funny and cool. Definitely encouraging to work with. He actually looks a lot like Joseph Gandy haha. I forgot to bring my camera to the church, but you might be able to see his pic with me on the mission blog. As for garbage there are just a bunch of different categories that they only pickup on certain days, so it is a bit tricky.
I'm way glad you are reading the NT together! I want to start reading it eventually too because of how much we can learn about the savior's life from it. I have kind of been focusing on the BoM and PMG lately, but I hope to eventually find time to read all the NT, BoM, and Jesus The Christ. I hope Mara is learning a lot in seminary and taking the time to think about it a lot! I'm glad my testimony was able to help :) It is something that I hope to always be sharing as a missionary. Thanks for reciprocating the importance of the savior and the comfort that we can receive through and from Him. I know He is proud of all of you for all the great things you are doing back home as well. I`m glad that you were able to be help a lot through your tough work experience. Please keep working hard and remember how much I love you!
Thanks for the address and I'll do my best to write her/everyone else soon! There are lots of things we can only do on P-day(cleaning, shopping, sightseeing,etc.) but I want to find time to write as much as I can. Please send everything to the mission home address :)
How is Adam liking college? What classes does he have and how is the commute? I bet it is really fun to hear Mara and I`m proud of her for taking such a big responsibility and working hard. P-days are Monday here which I think is like Sunday night for you or something. I have some cool stories to share now.
So my first dendo was in downtown Sapporo before I left to Eniwa. There are tons of people on the streets there! It's tricky though because we can't talk to girls. We found a few people who actually wanted to talk and actually passed a book of mormon to a high school age kid and passed a lot of little chirashi (flyers) too. We also met an interesting guy who had studied a lot of different religions and stuff and just wanted to talk about how he wants to become an animal. I am pretty good at understanding the gist of conversations here, but I have definitely been humbled a LOT as far as Japanese goes. It's good though because I can learn a lot from what I hear and be motivated to study harder!! We have also tried dendoing in Eniwa a bunch, but there are hardly as many people on the streets. Yesterday we house dendo'd a bunch which is always very interesting and fun. We actually found one guy who was interested in listening and taught him all of lesson one on his porch! We were going to give him a BoM, but he wouldn't take it because it was free! He tried to pay for it, but we couldn't let him. He gave us water and said we could come back any time though! We also actually talked to random people in the park afterwards and it was great! It is such a cool feeling to be able to talk to people even though in the end they don:t always have interest.
So right now we have 3 solid investigators. One is named Nakamura and she has had all the lessons and is keeping all the commandments, but just needs to get a stronger testimony of JS and the BoM. The other is Haramai and she is pretty awesome! She has a daughter who is 8 and when we visited her house her daughter kept asking when she could be baptized! Another investigator named Miyashita could be getting baptized this Saturday except she had to go on a trip for a while. I think there are a few more, but there a lots of people that have interest and are progressing. We had to pass a bunch to the other companionship because of it. We have also visited members quite a bit and been fed A LOT! Of the first 4 days in Eniwa we were fed dinner 3 of them. Such crazy good food! Elder Hansen got sweet pictures. The members are so awesome! Two of them are old widow ladies that are super funny and fun to listen to. We actually ate at the stake president's house last night too. SOO much food, but sooo good. I also ate this thing called natto at the apartment a few nights ago. Some people say it's one of the hardest things to eat ever, but it wasn't too bad. Not delicious by any means, but really healthy so I:ll try to eat it every now and then I think.
Church yesterday was really cool too. The ward is so cool and nice! There are some funny and cool members and they:re all interested in the missionaries and stuff. We all bore are testimonies and introduced ourselves since it was fast and testimony meeting and I was really nervous, but everyone said I did great and is impressed with my Japanese for a bean. The spirit is so strong even though I can't always understand 100%. I'm excited to work hard to make it to the point where I can at least be really close and share and be uplifted just as much!
That's pretty much it! I'm excited to get a bike and be able to get moving a lot more! I:m also going to a Matsuri festival tonight with the other missionaries and then once p-day time is over we are going to shizen dendo which means natural dendo. It is where we basically just talk to people in normal situations, become there friends and try to find a way to share the gospel! I'm super excited. We're also doing lots of shopping.
I'll try to get lots of cool pictures and not forget my camera!
Love you so so so much! Kokoro Kara Aishiteimasu!!!
(Note from Mom: I received the following note today from another Sapporo mission mom, Sister Rodenberg:
"Your son (Braden?) was mentioned in our letter home today. Our son, Braedon Rodenberg is in Odori, Sapporo, and told us that they are having another musical fireside. He is in a trio singing A Child's Prayer, and your son is the guitarist!" I'm so excited to hear that he's been given a way to share his music already!)