Monday, December 31, 2012

12/31/12 Akemashite Omedetou Gozimasu (or in other words, Happy New Year!)

Hey! Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

That's what they say on New Year's in Japan which is a ridiculous affair. No one (almost) in all of Japan does anything for about 4 days. On the way to the church was pretty much a wasteland. Yesterday I spent the entire day fasting (until 6) and reading the Book of Mormon. I could only get to page 330, but I tried my best! Today we are eating lunch and dinner with members and trying to find a place that is open to buy stuff.

Also sorry that the email is a day late. This weeks P-day moved to Tuesday. And I have lots of pictures, but today is crazy and I forgot the camera again... :(

It was so great to talk to you on the phone too! I wish I had prepared better, but I was especially grateful to hear how family things and scripture study are going. I'm also glad I could hear Andrew and David's mission advice and hear about Adam's mission preparation.

Christmas Eve we had a really awesome party in the Kotoni church in Sapporo. There were some fun games and great food and we got to watch the Christmas devotional which was incredible. Did you watch it??? Then a group of missionaries did a presentation of the Christmas story from Luke which was great too. We also practiced for caroling which we did that night in Odori park in Sapporo. The second half of which was in the subway where we got in trouble by the guards and had to leave early... But it was still a good experience! While we sang other missionaries contacted those listening and when we got stopped lots of people got mad at the guards because they wanted to keep listening! hahaha Christmas back home sounds like it was wonderful. I miss pizza. It's 20 bucks for a plain medium size here. Glad everyone liked their presents and stuff! Good luck with your new computer haha be careful with it! I can't believe there is a windows 8!

I am probably fine on sweaters since I don:t know where I'd pack them, but I do use them everyday and only have 2...

Christmas day was supposed to be normal dendo, but ended up being lots of service and visiting with members. We sang carols at a day service place in Sapporo and "heart attacked" (Ishiga Choro is really into stuff like that) a few members' houses and then ate dinner in the igloo we made.

Adam's court of honor sounds like it was awesome. I feel really honored that he is saving the pin for me. I'm glad it went smoothly and I bet he looks great in the uniform. I have been getting a few emails from Dan Hansen lately too.

So I feel really bad too because today is another short email day (the other elders have a bunch of stuff they want to do) and I feel like I have way more than usual to talk about. The Japanese elders don't really email much.

I want to tell you more experiences, but they're really scarce as of late. Last Saturday the area put on the Messiah concert that was really good. We got Nakamura shimai, a guy from Eikaiwa, and Haramai shimai's family to come and it was a blast, plus tons of missionaries were there. We have been getting fed by members a ton lately, yes. The Christmas party was on the 22nd and this random guy I housed one day came and brought a friend. That friend sent me a picture of Mt. Fuji in the mail the other day and it was really funny because I didn't suppose that giving someone my meishi (business card) would lead to that. Remind me next week and I'll tell you more about the stuff this week.

I love you all and I'm grateful for this work and the support you give me!!! Stay safe and warm and share the light of the gospel as much as possible!!!

Oh yeah, we got transfer calls early. I:m staying in Eniwa with Ishiga Choro and Brown Choro's companion is becoming Rodenburg Choro who sang with me in the music thing.

Hutchinson Choro

Sunday, December 16, 2012

12/16/12 I've only fallen once, haha

Hey! Glad that the mail came in time. I also wanted to let you know that I got the package this Tuesday! I was super happy and Elder Ishiga was pretty happy about the Lucky Charms too. He said *this is probably the happiest I've been all year* hahah. The jacket is perfect and the speaker is amazing too! The hand warmers are good, but I don't think they are Hokkaido strength haha. We ate the Reeses pretty fast with the four of us. I brought pictures, but I forgot my camera cord... Sorry! ;( Please tell the Gardners thank you as well! The hot chocolate is delicious and their Christmas card was awesome too. Everyone is so big! I will do my best to write Mara back soon!

Today is P-day and Elder Ishiga needs new shoes. He has been borrowing my spare pair for this last week so we are going to this big mall. I want to get presents for everybody back home, but I'm not sure how much sending costs etc. or what even I should get hahaha. I will look around though.

Sounds pretty there! It is just the same snowyness here. I guess I'm used to it already. It is pretty much ice everywhere so you have to get really good at walking on it. I've only fallen once. haha

I'm surprised that the Christmas tree has taken this long, but I'm glad it's up. Can you send a picture next week? That's nice of Mara's friends to help and I hope Dad got the lights fixed without too much trouble. That's awesome Dave's team won too! I am trying to picture him as a coach etc and it's not very hard. What kind of Japanese ornament did you get for me?? I'm really sorry about your knee! What did you do? I will pray for it to get better fast.

That's neat that Adam's finals are going well! I didn't know he was taking a vocal class, but that sounds cool. Sounds like a perfect mistake too hahaha. What other classes did he have? The train sounds cool! It'll be like Japan hahah everybody uses the trains here it is crazy.

I'm so glad Kyle's farewell happened as well! I wish I could've heard the song and stuff. I hope everyone is doing awesome. It always makes me super happy to hear about missionaries leaving too!!! :D Speaking of which, do you know of any that have come home since I have left besides Dallin? Tell Adam *what Hobbit??* haha

That's funny Sister Nordgren was surprised about me being out of the MTC! I did not do anything to commemorate that (being out 6 months). If you say I already have one fourth down it makes my stomach ache... Hahaha. I'm way way glad that people are reading the blog! A lot of people write in letters *tell me everything that is going on!* and all I can really do is say go to the blog because of time so it helps me out a ton.

I'm way excited for Lauren and Andrew too!!! (and Max) Where is their new home at? Please send a picture too. I'm so proud of you for getting a work promotion too! Wow!!! I will be praying for you to be able to do your best in that as well. I know Heavenly Father is especially there for us when things are busy and tough.

This week has been following up with people that we've found, Eikaiwa (English class), introducing Ishiga Choro to more members, and splits two days in a row with Brown Choro and Ogata Choro! Oh yeah plus tons and tons of walking in the snow. I'm not too cold as long as I wear my gloves and awesome ear things. Communicating is still tough some times and I'm still working on adjusting to his dendo style too, but I know that it'll be for my good and help me to learn more and more. In 3rd Nephi I'm reading right before Christ comes about the people that were inspired of God to stand up and preach righteousness when almost everyone around them was choosing wrong. The Book of Mormon is really one of the things I enjoy the most in this work. I just wish I could get to introduce it to more people.

Thank you so much as always and sorry again about no pictures. I'm looking forward to the Christmas call and sharing my testimony with you! I love you so much and know that the Lord will bless you in all the things that you need to do.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12/9/12 "I didn't even realize that it's been six months!"

Hello! I am staying pretty warm. Thanks a ton as always for the prayers and love. I didn't even realize that it's been six months!!! Yikes. Too fast!!! A lot sure has happened, but I'm looking forward to more and more awesome experiences and miracles. I still have so much to learn and grow. Of course I forgive ya for missing me, especially because you know so strongly why I'm here.

Thanks for the encouragement as well. I actually do really like finding. Meeting people is pretty neat and everything. I do have hope that we will be able to find people that are prepared as long as we are doing everything we can to be obedient and work hard. Still have to work a bit with the new members and they are doing great. We really want to help them get their families into the gospel as well. That's a cool thought about Moroni too. Even though he was the last Nephite his work in compiling and burying the Book of Mormon really did help just about everyone!

Working with Ishiga Choro has been tough to be honest. The first while was just me showing him around everywhere and introducing him and stuff. It was kinda all on me at that point and I was tired, doing lots of work, but it was a happy tired y'know? Now that it is more on him where contacts, lessons, etc go it is extremely different from how things were with Hansen Choro. Everything he focuses on is different. His teaching style is really different and it's not that I can't get anything in or anything like that, but I can't control where it goes. Sometimes I feel like my language is getting better, but someways I feel like it isn't at the same time. I for sure have learned a bunch of new things.

Mya's birthday sounds like it was a blast! Cookies instead of cake is interesting though haha. That's pretty early for a ward Christmas party, but they've always done it like that, huh?

Good for Mara and her choir too! I'm glad she got a good part in the play, but I'm also glad she doesn't have to go so crazy hard like she did last time. I didn't know that David was taking college classes still, but that's awesome! I hope he does great! Same to Sharon Merrill.

I'm really excited for the package, but sounds like you've overdone it again! Hahaha I won't say anything and just be happy that my Mom loves me and sends me goodies. Brown Choro got a package yesterday and I thought it might have been for me so I was excited. It was a ton of New Zealand candy! Some pretty good and interesting stuff. If you ever get a chance, try pineapple lumps out! haha I'm probably not going to wait til Christmas if there are separate boxes. I meant for you to just send candy for Ishiga Choro because the ward already gives me too much junk food, but I'll make sure to split it up right.

Cool you found some pictures online too. Pretty late haha. The zone conference was way amazing. The day before was p-day and we went to the honbu to practice and afterwards I went with Ishiga Choro to Odori park in Sapporo that has a cool tower and lots of lights for Christmas, but it was nothing compared to temple square. I have only seen one house with Christmas lights here so far, but Ishiga Choro says that people usually try hard. There are definitely decorations at stores and in the church. Nakamura Shimai gave us some little decorations for the apartment because Ishiga Choro really wanted some.

Elder Ringwood spoke a lot about faith, having hope in the mission, and tons of way amazing stories about how people have been found through Eikaiwa and someone who met the missionaries 40 years ago and stuff like that. Crazy crazy spiritual experience. We sang I Feel My Savior's Love and I had this little guitar part that I made for it. I don't know what the version is called, but it's originally a harp or something. Afterwards I got to have an interview with him and he just asked me how I was and if I had any questions and we just talked about Utah a bit and he gave me tips for finding and working with a native companion. Super nice and chill. While I was waiting I got to talk to President Evans a lot about the same kind of thing. He is a way awesome guy and I'm glad to be in the mission with him. Elder Ringwood's wife was pretty cool too. She's Russell M. Nelson's daughter and looks a lot like him.

I guess I used the word Gaijin wrong haha it means foreigner. Also don't worry about calling me yet and don't email the Honbu. They'll email me the week before with the stuff to tell you. It will be to my cell phone here. I'm really excited to talk to you and share my testimony with you too. Also you are funny for putting money in my account because other than buying my bike and going to an Onsen one time I haven't used any ;) Thanks though! I am going to look for an electronic dictionary today that I really really want so I might use it on that.

Also on Saturday we had this thing for one of the members who teaches an Eikaiwa from her house. She went to BYU and got a degree in teaching English to Japanese people and is pretty cool. But anyways it was this presentation of the Christmas story called the 3 trees that you probably know. I had to teach her how to use power point and use audacity to edit sounds and stuff so that was pretty cool I got to use computer skills for service. At the presentation she had Elder Brown and me recite some of the parts and afterwards play some Christmas songs. It was pretty fun and everybody liked the songs. Afterwards everybody had refreshments and stuff and Takasugi (Eikaiwa member) shimai's husband (who is way funny and awesome) spontaneously asked me to stand in front of everyone and tell about myself in English and Japanese and answer everybody's questions and stuff. It was alright, but I really wanted to talk to the investigators and eikaiwa students that came. It turned out pretty well all in all I think ;)

Other than that has been snow falling a ton, melting completely, and then falling tons again!!! Good stuff. I'm excited to grow a lot here, but it is tough a lot of times with all the change so please keep praying for us. I love you more than there are snowflakes in Hokkaido and Utah combined!

Hutchinson Choro

Sunday, December 2, 2012

12/2/12 Christmas in Japan begins

Hey! Sorry last week's letter was short. I guess not really that much happened plus we had to hurry to the mission home for music practice. Thanks a ton for thinking about Ishiga Choro with the package and stuff. I'm looking forward to it! Everyone here is getting excited about Christmas, Santa, parties, and stuff like that. The snow is piling up really high. I don't think it really snows that much at least here, but they pile all the snow in the same place.

I have no idea what Moliere is, but I wish Adam good luck with that! Congrats to Mara too! That is funny that you touch my picture. They are doing tithing settlement here too. I'm really sorry you had to work when you weren't feeling well. Please get lots of rest when you can! Fat Friday sounds pretty fun haha. I am almost forgetting how Mexican food tastes. They have this dish here called *taco rice* which is kinda like Mexican food, but you just put it over rice. Elder Hansen made some pretty good tacos one time too. This doesn't mean I want Mexican food though. ;)

Grandma's birthday sounds like it was super fun too! That:s funny she forgot you were all coming too. Mya is getting big really fast! What day is Emily's wedding?
That's way cool that David is coaching a Jr High basketball team! I remember when him and dad coached my jr jazz team even though we weren't very good at all he was a really good coach. That's crazy sad news about the previous coach. Wow. What Jr. High is it? He is going to be an awesome coach. How did he get the job??

Christmas is Japan is basically just Santa and presents etc. There are no Christmas lights at all. Once in a while someone will have something on their door. There are a bunch of places in Sapporo city that have lights, but I haven't seen them. We haven't really had chances to talk to people much about Christmas except at church. Since it got cold and icy we can't use our bikes and no one is outside anymore. It is pretty tough to get places and go finding people. I guess people kinda focus on ancestors. It's what Buddhism is all about, but I'd say 90+ percent of Buddhists I've met here are only Buddhist on Obon and Shogatsu. Those are holidays. Anyways a lot of Japanese people have these things called butsudans in their house where they put pictures of their ancestors and burn incense and leave food and stuff. It's also pretty tough for Japanese people to do genealogy because after 100 years they destroy the public records. You have to go to the hometown of where the specific ancestor lived to get their records etc. because they become private property.

I'm doing my best to not freeze though. We have been doing a lot of snow shoveling and walking to far places in the snow. Mostly just my toes, fingers, and ears get cold. Other than that I'm all good and there is a place where I can buy earmuffs so I:ll be good. I'm doing my best with the new companion. It is a lot more tough to just talk and stuff because of the language barrier, but my Japanese and conversation starting skills are getting better I think. It is also tough to jump in when we teach lessons and stuff because I'm the only Gaijin now and I have to double time to keep up with everyone. I:m doing my best though.
So today is another music practice, but we got here early so I have more time. Elder Ringwood from the 70 is coming to visit and do a special zone conference. It's tomorrow and that's what the music practice is for. I actually got specially selected to be interviewed by him and I'm a little bit nervous, but it should be good.
This last week was a few lessons with the recent converts and a lot of trying to find new people. It is way different not having our people that are really progressing anymore because they all got baptized. They are doing pretty well though getting into the ward and stuff like that. It is hard for the ward to get them home teachers and stuff like that right away because there are so few priesthood leaders most of the time.
I feel like not a lot happened this week either, but I hope this feels like a *normal dose* of me. I love you all tons and tons and am so grateful for your prayers and encouragement!!! Please do your best to do missionary work there through your examples and your friends. Make friends with the missionaries if you can. It is so important for the work. Thanks for Moroni 8:2-3

and I will read it right away!!!

Hutchinson Choro

Pretty sure this is Brown Choro, Ishiga Choro (new comp) and Hutchinson Choro!