Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12/31/13 akemashite omedetou gozaimasu (happy new year's)

Hey! Christmas was pretty missionary-y and Japanese-y, but still way awesome. I'm glad the call worked out. I always feel like they end up being all over the place, but I guess that's what happens when everyone is excited. Thats crazy you had to have Christmas dinner at Maverick! Sounds like Lily got some great presents and Adam's phone call was fun too. Definitely send me a pic of Dave's present when you have the chance. I'm glad the Hutchinson family is doing good. It doesn't snowstorm here every day, but there was a way crazy one last Saturday. My new shoes are definitely awesome and you don't have to worry about money. They were a present. I was only gonna get one pair of shoes, but since they were on sale she bought me 2. Way generous and awesome! I hope Mara's talk, etc. went great too!

Here's the week. (since talking to you) So Wednesday DTM went great and we ate sushi with everyone. Then went back to Iwamizawa and planned a bit for zone stuff then went out to do Merry Christmas dendo. Basically like normal housing, but we only went to houses with Christmas decorations and talked about Christmas extra. We did find one pretty cool guy we'll meet again on Friday. On Thursday we had some planning and then rode w/ Adachi B to teach Yamashita at his house. He lives in the city next door called Bibai. It went pretty good. He had a concern at church so we addressed that and then taught him about the plan of salvation which he is really interested in. He definitely has a lot of potential and I can almost say for sure he'll get baptized. We just need to be patient because he likes to talk a lot and has lots of little concerns. After that we rode from the station in Bibai to Shibetsu! We had splits there and they went awesome. It is the second smallest area after Nemuro. There is a lady there who runs a pretty classy shop and is like a Mom to the missionaries. She fed us all for free and we talked with her, a member, and a non-attending. I went on splits w/ Hirata E who is on his 3rd transfer. It was way fun and we taught some awesome people that he had found + I taught him how to street contact because his trainer never taught him. On the way home I found a way interesting shop called "Rodeo" that was just full of retro American stuff, playing oldies rockabilly music. It was way cool and I met the shop owners and they were way happy to meet a real American. It was a pretty unique chance to share the gospel because I tied his desire to show Japanese people what America is like, to us wanting to show everyone they joy we get from the gospel. He was really cool. Kinda looked like a biker with a super long goatee, but we made pretty good friends.

We rode back home and did a bit of finding on Saturday before riding w/ Adachi B and Yamashita to Sapporo to see the Messiah concert. He had a good time + we got to review and talk more about what we had talked about so far in the car. Also, I got to meet a ton of members from Eniwa and Toyohira! That was way happy. Best part is that everyone remembered me! Church went pretty great even though Yamashita had a thing come up and couldn't come. We did a bunch of finding after talking w/members and stuff a lot. I actually translated sacrament meeting into sign language for the deaf member and it was way hard, but I did it somehow. It's pretty fun, but I definitely don't know that much yet hahaha. Monday was DTM in Ebetsu that went great. We ate and came back to visit this NA family (whose daughter came up to visit for new year's-she's active). It was pretty fun and though her parents are in their 80's we had a fun and spiritual time. Yesterday was read the BofM all day day. I got way tired and fell asleep while reading several times and didn't even get half as far as I got last year, but it was still awesome and I got some good revelations for our zone. At night we ate "toshi koshi soba" which is a Japanese tradition that they do every new year's. It was pretty fun. Maybe I'll do it every year from now on :) Did you do anything for new year's?

I'm so grateful for the Christmas season and chance to think of Christ so much more. I'm also really grateful for the awesome responsibility I have to be a leader and serve the missionaries in my zone and district. I miss just focusing on investigators sometimes, but all together it's such an awesome experience. Love you tons! Happy new year's!!!!

Hutchinson Choro

toshi koshi soba

in front of Rodeo

My district at Odori park after caroling

Me on Book of Mormon day


Day after snow storm

Everyone at the shop in Shibetsu

Our Christmas dinner

Christmas cake

Christmas morning in Ebetsu

more icicles

Sunday, December 22, 2013

12/22/13 Way Too Amazing Timing, Several Times

Hey! It's been fun being a zone leader, but surreal. It's really cool to work in other areas and with lots of other missionaries. I told you about the Christmas party last week, didn't I? I didn't get any pics so I'll send some from Hatch E's camera. I'm jealous you got the mission CD. We don't get it until Christmas :P That's too bad about Grandma and I hope she gets doing better. Do you think she'll be around when I get back? You work on Christmas eve? hahah That's like Japan. Won't Mara be home then? I'm looking forward to the call too! BTW I have my own phone now as a ZL so we don't have to worry about coordinating time. Therefore, if you want to call earlier than 9 (my time) feel free to do so because I'll have time. After that is district meeting etc, but yeah. I hope your Christmas lesson goes well! Not gonna lie I probably have the hardest time teaching out of manuals... Sometimes they just get too complicated. I'm WAY stoked for Michael!!!!! That's way boss! Nice!!! Also I don't have any addresses on me so I'll tell you next week (Stilson E, etc) Stilson E going home was depressing because he is one of my favorite missionaries ever. He did go a transfer early for school, but yeah.

Also, I got the package!!! The stuff is way awesome!!!! The Sufjan Stevens cd's are way amazing (though there are a bunch of random non-missionary songs on there I have to filter out... same with the singles ward [I think the rm soundtrack was a little less heavy hahaha!], but that's what SD cards are for! :)) Also please give me the track listing for the random blank cd you gave me. I was super super super happy though. Pretty much all my favorite Christmas candy and I am almost done with the last journal I was using so that new one will do great. The sweater is awesome too! I don't know if I was supposed to wait til Christmas, but I'm almost sure I wouldn't be able to wait anyways haha. Thank you tons and love you!

P-day wasn't anything too special. We kinda chilled here, found, and went to Ebetsu in preparation for splits and DTM. Tuesday DTM went great and I went on splits with Brackner E who is a bean and way awesome. He has a lot of confidence so even though he is younger in Japanese and missionary stuff he does his best to participate and learn fast which is way way cool. We had Eikaiwa there that night as well. There are some pretty nice members there too. Wednesday was Mission Leader Conference which was pretty cool. I felt old. We talked a lot about what we'll do for zone conference and how all the zones are doing. Kaicho is such a boss and always answers our questions using the white handbook, PMG, or the scriptures. Anyway that was practically all day. We got to eat Costco pizza for lunch. Thursday we did some finding and then members took us out to sushi and made us eat a ton. It was good, but Kushiro/Nemuro sushi is of course still the best in the world. After that we had a makeshift DKK and then went to meet Yamashita before Eikaiwa with a member. We went over what we taught before and then made a baptismal date with him! He actually chose the date himself because he really wants to get baptized, but also know more about the church and know it's the right decision first.

English class went great and then we headed to Asahikawa. IT'S HUGE! Of course not as big as Sapporo, but I was surprised. BUT on the way there, super miracle. We were waiting for the train and this guy comes up to us and is like, hey I used to live in St George! And we're like what? Turns out he got baptized 30 years ago, but because of bad relations with other people in the church at the time he quit. However we talked to him the entire train ride and he still remembers everything about the church. He basically still has a testimony and stuff. Anyway we told him about how much the church has grown in Japan and he got pretty excited about it. He said he would consider coming to church again and we gave him a new BoM. He lives in Asahikawa so we gave his info to the elders when we got there. Also he looks almost exactly like dad, but Japanese. Even he thought so! (I showed him pics) Asahikawa splits were fun (I went with 4th transfer Strachan E who is Canadian and way strong testimony). We also did Eikaiwa there as well (3 in one week! It's all we can do with so little time to do splits because of the holidays) Asahikawa is a way awesome area though! Saturday we came home and were way tired, but we finished DKK and then headed out to this kinda far away area to contact a referral. There was no map of that area so we asked people in town and they drew us a map and were way nice and everything, but it was about a 40 minute walk a way (on top of almost pure ice, but we're used to that already hahaha) so we started to walk and it was getting dark but there was nothing else we could do. After maybe 10 mins. this car pulls over and asks "are you Mormons? We'll give you a lift!" Turns out missionaries saved their kid's life or something a long time ago. They took us to the referral (who wasn't home) and then all the way back to Iwamizawa! (a little ways away) It was a couple and the mom actually works with some people who are members in Sapporo! She actually invited us to her work party which we are probably going to tonight. It was pretty crazy timing that we met them and they were really happy to meet us.

Sunday was great too. Yamashita came to church and had a great time. After church a way awesome NA named Kazama B came. He used to be in the branch presidency, but had hard stuff at work. Sounds like he wants to try to come more actively from now on though! We got so much stinkin candy in our fruit basket I think I'm gonna pass out, but it's pretty awesome. We had some good cold dendo that night and a great time getting everyone's reports! This work is overflowing with miracles! Christmas is awesome! I feel like I'm really bad at giving material gifts, but I want to be better at giving spiritual gifts or gifts of service.

Hutchinson Choro


Weird, gross, foam candy

Japanese Christmas (KFC is THE popular thing at Christmas there)

Members want to eat us so they are fattening us up (did he mean, 'the members want us to eat?' I hope so)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

12/15/13 "I am in Iwamizawa. I am a zone leader. I am buried in snow."

(Note: when Braden's mom looked up the name of this city, she was surprised to see that while Nemuro has 14" average precip in December, Iwamizawa has 87")

Hey!!!! That's cool you got to see the transfer list again. I'm in a place called Iwamizawa. It means "boulder overlooking swamp." It's a branch as well, but the church is way nice and huge. My companion is named Elder Hatch and he's a boss. He's a few transfers older than me (he actually went into the MTC with Gandy E) but since we are zone leaders we are both SR companion haha. I'm ZL over Asahikawa zone which goes all the way up to Wakkanai which is the very top of Hokkaido. I really hope I can go because it is a recently opened area with a tiny branch just like Nemuro! I'm also excited to go on lots of splits all over the zone, but it is tough not having a lot of time to focus on your own area. The members here are way legit especially the branch president Adachi B. He is way strong and has tons of dendo fire. We actually haven't done any finding since we got here since he has taken us everywhere (which is nice because the snow was INSANE! Iwamizawa is known for being the snowiest part of Hokkaido). He has taken us to visit a lot of less active members and he also has been doing a lot of planning with us to help out our investigators. Since this area has been a ZL area for a while, there are not very many investigators, but the ones we have seem pretty cool. I'll tell you about how everything went since last week though.

On Monday in Nemuro I honestly spent a pretty good amount of time packing because of how sure I was about transferring. That day of dendo was visiting a few investigators and also doing some finding to give Morgan E more potential investigators to work with. On Tuesday we got our transfer calls. We found out that the next Nemuro missionary is Kina E, the former AP so I'm way stoked about that. We had a good DTM with testimonies and headed to an appt with Kunii. We ate sushi and he promised to read the BoM over his Christmas break! I ate a lot of sushi because it might be the last time I get to eat eastern Hokkaido sushi... T-T After that we tried to do finding, but it RAINED way hard. It wasn't effective/no one was home so we went home and got a call from Ozawa B and Okuchi S and went over to Ozawa family for a final party. It was way awesome. Kinda random, but Okuchi S pulled out her tablet and we skyped with Ishiga E! He is doing pretty great hahaha. Wednesday was eating my favorite food in the world (the chocolate covered cream filled melon bread from this store that's only in Nemuro) and then all day travel to Sapporo. We left at about 12 and got there at about 8:30. There was about an hour in Kushiro (where I said bye to my awesome, grown up bean, Morgan E) but yeah. Crazy. A bunch of members came to see me off. A bunch of other people were going to as well, but the train was too early. At the Honbu I practiced my song with Mecham E (Where can I turn for peace, yeah it should be on Youtube eventually. I don't remember when the performance is). I also found out that Andersen E became a trainer! Way happy for him. He is such a brother to me. I stayed up talking to him for a bit. The next day we had a way long music practice and met all the other missionaries. Stilson E went home which is way depressing. He is also like a brother. It was way awesome to see everyone though. We came back to Iwamizawa that night in time for Eikaiwa which was pretty good. Just like in Nemuro I teach the crazy kids class. Me and Hatch E are also district leaders. We just take turns doing district meeting. Friday we had DKK which is way different as a ZL because it was mostly planning splits and not as much planning for Iwamizawa. We also met a pretty cool non-attending member named N who is pretty nice, but has WoW problems :(

Then we tried to visit a member who sometimes comes to invite him to the Christmas party. It was the craziest blizzard ever :) But we made it there and back w/out any problems. When I first got here there was almost no snow. I send you a picture of outside the church. Saturday was the sweet Christmas party. We did a song with the Eikaiwa students and I played guitar (Silent Night) and a decent amount of people came (I was also Samuel the Lamanite in the play). There is also a deaf member here so I got to use my sign language again! Everyone was way impressed and they want me to translate for her in sacrament meeting... I'll see what I can do! Sorry the space bar on this keyboard isn't very good. This guy named Y came as well. He actually met missionaries 30 years ago and then some stuff happened in his life prompting them that he needed to meet again so he called the Honbu and met up with us. After the party we had a pretty good lesson with him. He really wants to believe and mostly does believe our teachings, he just also wants to believe buddhism at the same time. I think he really has a ton of potential though. We invited him to baptism and he seems like he wants to when he knows everything more fully.

After that we rode w/ Adachi B to another non-attending and it went pretty well. We introduced her to the RS pres so that we will be able to hand her off to the RS soon. Way good thing. Way too many non-attendings for just the missionaries. Sunday went good too! I gave a talk and I wasn't used to only having to give a 10 minute talk, hahaha. The members here are so so awesome. After church we visited another NA w/ Adachi B in a far off area who is 16 years old. He and his brothers got baptized and were way active, but since they moved it became hard to go to church. We talked to him and his mom and she really supports him going to church and worked out a way for him to come up to Iwamizawa more often for church! Pretty stoked for him. His name is Suzuki Kouta B. And that's about it!

I'm excited for all the cool things you are doing for Christmas! I hope everyone gets feeling 100% soon. I haven't written Adam yet, but I'll work on it. I'm glad Mya and them are doing great. That's cool how polite she is! haha Thank you for your testimony and love and support. You are so awesome!!! I love you so much!

Hutchinson Choro

Farewells at the train station

This time, see if you can find Yuka

FHE with Ozawa and Okuchi families

With Kanno Yuji

Hatch Choro, Braden's new comp and fellow ZL

Snow at the church in Iwamizawa

Sunday, December 8, 2013

12/8/13 Baptism and Bye Byes

Hey! So I don't know if I transfer yet... But I kinda hope I do hahaha. I do love it here so so sooo much, but I feel like I know it too well. It stresses me out sometimes and I think it will be best for everyone here as well because I don't want them to get too attached to me. I definitely hope that we can come to Japan and meet everyone again as well!!! Nemuro might be a little tough because of how separated it is, but we could figure it out :) The snow picture you have is crazy. I'm grateful for the lack of snow here, but we'll see how it is in my new area. I haven't found out if I'm leaving yet, but I have been getting assignments from Evans S (president's wife) to arrange music for the Sapporo music thing and she did mention (maybe accidentally) that this time around they weren't going to be able to bring missionaries from far away areas because of how much the mission has grown. Not only that but I've been here for 6 transfers which is really rare (at least for Pres. Evans).

I hope everyone back home is feeling better! All the pictures of the nieces are great. I hope we'll be able to have a good Christmas party here too. Tell Mya happy birthday for me! Wow. I'm the worst son/brother etc about birthdays hahaha. Lights? Oh boy... hahaha Thanks! The Christmas call will probably be somethin' like that! I think it would be really hard to talk with Adam on the line too. No one would have any personal phone time. I'll leave it up to you though! They said they'd send the mail next week because of transfers.

Lets see what I can get from this week in the next five minutes!!!!
Monday was a cool P-day of music practice and teaching a lesson to a group of four 15 year olds who have a band. One had an experience of getting an evil spirit cast out so he was really interested in getting closer to God. We gave 'em all BoM's and invited them to baptism. We also had FHE with Hayato and the Okuchis!
Tuesday Was DTM and visiting Van S and a few less actives. She made us so much Vietnamese food again. Oh boy!
Wednesday was visiting some old invs to show Morgan E more of the area. We also had the baptism interview and it went great! Harper E came from Kushiro. We ate ramen together afterwards.
Thursday was LOTS of old investigators. Also DKK.
Friday was finding in an area around a lot of other investigators who mostly weren't home plus a great Eikaiwa. Some students knew it'd prob be my last day so they gave me way cool ties.
Saturday we had lunch with our army friend Kunii again and he brought a friend. It was harder to teach a lesson, but the friend is way cool. We also got the baptismal font ready and had another lesson w/ Hayato where Okuchi S surprised with those cards you saw. Way nice. We also had dinner with another old Inv. She gave us the number of her son who lives in the Sendai mission.
Sunday was, oh you know. Sunday. Hayato's baptism went way awesome! His hand came up the first time so Morgan E did it twice. Gift of the HG went great too! The Ozawas had a funeral, but we started early and they were able to come to the whole thing! Yay. At night we visited a bunch of NA's and met Hayato's family. It is him and four sisters plus his mom. His mom is divorced so he's the only boy. They are way nice though!
Great week!
Time's up! Love you!
Hutchinson Choro

Getting Hayato's font ready

Yuka helping

Eikaiwa student

Eikaiwa students

Eikaiwa students

Some sweet katsu curry that I made

Hayato's baptism day!

Branch members at the baptism!

A great day!

Nemuro's newest member

Sunday, December 1, 2013

12/01/13 Baptism next week!

I'm glad my last letter was well received! I'll definitely check my patriarchal blessing out again soon!! There weren't as many kept appointments as I would've liked, but we definitely still had some way amazing lessons. I'm excited to hear more about your missionary work there as always! Grandma's b-day sounds like it was great! I meet so many grandmas here and sometimes wonder what it's going to be like to meet American grandmas again hahaha. There really are soo many older people in Japan. I wish I could've seen all the cousins! I feel so bad forgetting most of their faces already. I don't recognize anyone in the pic with Mara besides her. Keep having fun with the little girls and Sharon Merrill!

Mara's letter was so funny... She is such a high schooler haha. I'll prob write her back today. I only have a few minutes left! Yikes! Monday we had another English lesson with Kunii that went great! We gave him a BoM and he seemed really excited about it! He remembered everything we taught him perfectly. Tuesday was DTM and lots of finding and meeting new people and teaching little lessons and making appointments. It's getting colder. We also picked up Uenami E and Dobashi E who came from Obihiro for splits. Wednesday I went with Uenami E and we had some finding adventures and tried to communicate with Chinese people. Glad we had a Chinese pamphlet. The other Elders taught a lesson to Hayato with Okuchi S and Karebu B and we took pics together after. At night we taught Van S an AB lesson about temple marriage and family history and she really wants her family to all be sealed together. Thursday we went to those appts that didn't work out then had DKK and it snowed. Morgan E was so happy. I was not. We called Van S on the phone and Morgan E did a practice lesson to pass off for his training.

Friday we visited some old investigators I found w/ Inumaki E to see them one last time just in case I transfer. Then before Eikaiwa we taught all the rest of the lessons to Hayato. He also brought his friend Yuuta who he basically taught about the BoM and now has interest. What a boss! We taught him about the law of chastity and modesty and Karebu B read out of the strength of youth about how boys aren't supposed to have earrings and he took his earring out without a question. His faith is so awesome. Because of that we moved his baptismal date to next Sunday after church! Eikaiwa also went well and the lady we met on the street, Haruna, came and told us she was transferring to Tokyo the same day as transfers. Hopefully she'll keep going to Eikaiwa there! Saturday we met this lady named Muranishi who we had met a bazillion times before randomly. She came to the church and we finally had a real lesson with her! She may have some good potential. She also gave us these way cool Christmas cards she drew. She is fluent in English, but when she heard how good my Japanese was, she was embarrassed to speak English so we spoke all Japanese. She's going to India on vacation next week. We also had some great lessons while finding.

Sunday was awesome. Hayato and all the new members plus a few non-attendings came! It wasn't even a special event and if the Kobayashi family came there would've been almost 28 people. Nemuro is so awesome. We had Hayato's practice interview and he passed. We also had a quick AB lesson with Van S. I took some time to work on an arrangement that Evans S is having me do for the next musical thing so that took a little time hahaha. Otherwise I'm looking forward to this week! Heavenly Father is sure hastening this work!!!!

Hutchinson Choro

Yuka and Hayato

Vietnamese girls + phillipino member

group w/ Okuchis and Hayato (gets baptized on Sunday!!!)

Their Christmas tree - bigger than last year :) perhaps sent by Morgan's family?

First pair of shoes to go down! Luckily, I think this was the backup pair

The bike, still going strong

The next few are from the Nemuro house - just a few of the ones he sent:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

11/23/13 ZTM, Splits and Splits!

Hey! I'm glad my letters and everything are well received there. :) I:m so grateful to have a family that supports me so much and has so much faith.

You were talking about clothes and I actually used some of the money you sent to me to get a new medium coat. The coat that you sent with me is really warm and I wanted to get something for when it's still not that cold yet. It's pretty cool and conservative too. Your Sunday school lesson sounds awesome! I taught Elders quorum/relief society on the talk by Elder Ballard about trusting the Lord that was about missionary work. Mara's play looks like it went well! I like the light blue colors in the costume. I don't recognize anyone in the pictures/know anything about West Side Story except that there are sharks and jets. It did look like Dr. Pearce in the picture though.

I have seen the (talk on the) character of Christ! They played it in the MTC every week. Thanks for your fasting! Here's my story this week.

So in Kushiro we stayed the night for ZTM the next day. I wanted to go with the Kushiro Elders to this really good Indian curry place (because there is none in Nemuro) but they had to clean the apartment a ton so we borrowed their bikes and I can pretty much navigate Kushiro because I've been there so many times on splits, etc. We ended up getting to the restaurant exactly when it was closed so we didn't get to eat :( I got to go on splits that night with a cool missionary named Brown E (not the one from New Zealand) and we had a way fun time. I taught him a lot and kinda felt like a old guy missionary... hahaha

Tuesday was pretty awesome. We had ZTM and the APs gave a great workshop on Faith, Diligence, and Obedience and how they are all together necessary to succeed as a missionary. I also had my interview w/ Pres Evans and we talked a little bit about what kind of missionary will be good to come to Nemuro next. IF I leave that is... I do love it here.... But I do kinda want to transfer. It's been a while haaha. We missed our train back to Kushiro so we stayed in Obihiro for a few more hours and tried dendoing a little bit. We got back to Nemuro late at night with Harper E and Yoshikawa E and Okuchi S gave us a ride back to the apartment. Wednesday I went on splits with Yoshikawa E and we met this guy that Inumaki E and I found who is from Osaka and really interested in religion. He is just really doubtful. We wouldn't have met with him, but he called and asked if we could meet again so we did. He talked so much. I'm glad Yoshikawa E was there because my gift of tongues wasn't quite as strong that time hahaha. I still pretty much understood, it was just a lot. We ended up teaching him practically everything because of all his questions, but he is mostly looking for proof. Hopefully he will eventually get humble enough to pray and read. He is searching a lot for sure. After that we met this Chinese guy named Kou who Inumaki E and I found as well. We hadn't visited for a while so his Japanese has gotten a bit better. We were able to share a bit more than before so that was good. He gave us lots of peanuts. We also did some finding and met a lady who said she was just reading this biography about someone and in part of their life they became Christian. She said just as she started reading the part about how they joined we came to the door. Pretty cool. Talked to her for a bit. We also went to the CHurch and taught the Satous the plan of salvation with Okuchi S and it went great! They understand really well, but just need to act more so that they can get real faith.

Thursday we took my bike to the shop and then visited Hayasaka. Lo and behold even though she finally has free time she still hasn't read the BofM. We helped her clean her hair salon a bit to end things on a good note. We might not go by for a while, but she is definitely an awesome person who was really interested in us for some reason that we couldn't find. Anyway before DKK and picking up the ZLs we just had a tiny bit of time to find and actually only got 3 doors. However, those three doors ALL lead to sweet short lessons and appointments! How bout that! We picked up my bike (yay!) and then got the ZLs at the train station. We took them to sushi. Cool thing. During sushi I got a text from this way kinjin J-tai (japanese army) guy who me and Inumaki E met saying he was sorry he never replied to us before because he moved to a different base, but he's back now and wants to meet! Nice. Friday I went on splits with Stout E. He dies this transfer. Anyways he's way good at sign language so we practiced in the morning and went to see Igarashi S and she was so so so happy to see us and gave us a million things/took us out to ramen. I was actually able to say a lot more in sign language than I thought I could. It's really fun! We tried to visit some other people and then had a lesson with the Satous again before Eikaiwa. It was the doctrine of Christ and like the plan of salvation they understand pretty well but are still having a hard time praying sincerely. However, Hayato seems to be getting a hang of it. He is 15 years old and way awesome.

Saturday we went to Betsukai for the first time in a really long time! We helped with home teaching and helped on the farm as well. We found out that Emille (the Filipino guy we taught before) had something happen w/ his family back home so he has to go back. Maria S was kinda upset about it and had us try to talk to him to see if there was anything to do. Oh! Okuchi S and Yuka came with us to the farm as well and had a pretty fun time. Hayato came to church the next day! At church my lesson went pretty decent and the members thought of lots of ideas they can use to do missionary work on their own. Maybe as a family you can think of all the things you can do to do missionary work! There are so many activities there that I feel like it'd be a lot easier ;) We went to primary with Hayato and Karebu because there was no young mens prepared, but it was fun. Van S came late and actually it was her birthday! She made Vietnamese food for the entire branch!!! She also brought four friends. Wow. It was really good. After that I had a meeting with all the branch presidencies in Kushiro district over skype. Crazy. We talked about member missionary work. Also Igarashi S showed up at the church to give us more treats which is way awesome! There might just be a little bit more to do to help her get back to church. After church we saw a few investigators and came back to do some phone dendo.

Anyways that's how things are going! Today is kind of a relaxing p-day with letter writing and guitar playing time. I've come up with a new study strategy to just write how I feel about what I studied rather than just kinda repeat the material. It really helped and was a lot more spiritual! I hope your study is going great! I hope everything is going great! I love you!!!!

Hutchinson Choro

Sunday, November 17, 2013

11/17/13 Pulling things together!

Hey! Thanks for the money update! (Note: he answers some questions from Mom, esp about last week's photos) Did you get those pictures from facebook? Why are you so interested in the picture of the fridge...? It's about 90% bread. On the bottom there is meat. Thanks for the update roster! Though I was able to get the new newsletter. In our mission you have to have two lessons with a return appointment to count them as a new investigator and in PMG it says only one. I'm glad you are having fun with your new phone! Sounds cool. I'm glad church stuff has been going so great and hope that you can put what you are learning to practice! Sounds like there were a lot of other fun things too! I'll give you the update plus the stuff I wasn't able to talk about last time.

So Van S didn't have an accident, it was one of her friends in Vietnam. She was really worried about it and came to church really early the Sunday before to pray for the friend. Ozawa B even sent his name into the Tokyo temple. Anyways, after a few days the friend had recovered quite a bit and she was way blown away about how fast her prayers had been answered. The picture of the kids is the Satou kids that followed us dendoing.

So I only got to last Friday in my last mail so I'll start from there. That day was just some regular appointment visiting, finishing DKK, and teaching Eikaiwa. The Satou kids came and were a ball of energy as usual. They are really learning a lot about the gospel from Okuchi S though! Saturday was a crazy cool day. We went to Nakashibetsu and met up with this friend/investigator named Keisuke who is Tatsuya's friend. He said he would hang out if we ever went to Nakashibetsu so we told him we were there and he ended up driving us around everywhere the whole day! He first showed us this big mall they have there and we randomly met a bunch of Phillipino girls that work on farms in the area. One of them was a member of the church! They all knew at least a bit about the church. Too bad they live so far away! (that's the picture w/the girls) Then Keisuke took us to Uniclo and bought us sweaters. He said since we went to the trouble of coming to see him he wanted to get us presents. He's 23 and is way cool. A lot of his friends moved all over Japan so he was pretty happy to have someone to hang with.

He also took us to this big lookout place called Kaiyoudai where the world looks round. It felt like Pday almost, but we were able to talk about what we do as missionaries and explain the restoration to him by the end. He also took us to all the non-attending members' houses which saved us a lot of time! We were still able to visit them and get some good finding done. He also took us out to eat noodles with duck meat soup that was really good. The bike with the quote was from a random little kids bike there. Sunday was branch conference so lots of people came from all over. The mission presidency came too and so I was in meetings with them and it felt pretty crazy. Evans shimai gave a cool lesson to the youth (that we attended w/ Van S) about missionary work. Van S talked a lot about how she wants to go on a mission which is way cool! We also had a feast thing after ward which was fun. For dendo time we got two good lessons with Hebikawa and Kantou. Hebikawa has been reading the Book of Mormon quite a lot, but won't commit to anything else. She is searching for something, but won't tell us! Kantou is a science teacher and we talked to him a lot about the purpose of life. Sometimes I am really glad that I know lots of out-there vocabulary in order to have deep Japanese discussions. We were able to tie his way of thinking into the spirit and passed him a Book of Mormon. I think more than anything the most important thing will be to be his friend.

Next P-day was lots of cleaning and going to Kushiro! Tuesday we had DTM all together on being more committed to the work and trying to make sacrifices to be better. I went on splits with Harper Choro and we went to this little area called Shibecha. I actually got to visit the referral that I gave to the Kushiro elders! On the train there we met a Russian guy who was fluent in English and talked to him the whole time. He wasn't interested in the gospel, but was really interested in us. He kept saying "I'm a sinner. I can't do things as great as the things you do" and we really impressed him with our standards. We housed for a bit in Shibecha and maybe the 3rd door... BOOM kinjin family. The dad lets us in right away and we teach him and his daughter Lesson 1, baptism invite, Book of Mormon, prayer, awesome. The daughter even bought us bread at a nearby shop afterwards! On the train ride back a bunch of high school kids gathered around because they were so surprised at my Japanese (plus the fact that I'm from the place where High School Musical was filmed). We were able to teach them about God and why we chose to serve. The next day we went back to Nemuro and did DKK early because of how early it gets dark here. We also met Van S at night and started teaching her L5 about church organization and missionary work etc. The week before this little part on my bike broke so we had to walk everywhere on Thursday. Everyone was also not home for some reason. We ran into the Satou's randomly and played with them. Before we played, Hayato gathered everyone together to say a prayer! We also met his mom (he's the Satou's cousin, 15 years old, kinda gangster, but probably the most interested) and she totally gave permission for him to be baptized! That night we met Van S again to teach a bit more and borrow her bike since she offered til my bike's new part gets here.

Friday we had some great finding and little lessons before Eikaiwa (where you got the picture). The Satou's came again and we had a blast. Satou mom is pretty much committing herself to quit smoking. I gave them a DVD to borrow (finding faith in Christ) since the had a relative die and can:t meet for lessons for a tiny bit. They really wanted to come to church but had to go to the funeral. Saturday we had lots of finding which felt like we hadn't been able to in a long time. Morgan E is getting way good at teaching lessons on the fly even if they're simple. I'm really glad he's getting so boss. We also taught a lesson w/ Karebu B to a different Satou who is having a hard time quitting smoking. He kinda gave up, but hopefully someday we'll be able to help him again. Sunday was really great! Van S brought her friend Cham to church. The Hansens from the Honbu came to do a clean check and they attended as well. Gospel principles was taught in Japanese, English, and Vietnamese... I was tired. I also gave a long talk in Sacrament but it went alright. Then I had a long meeting after church and was very tired. I had to sleep for our lunch and dinner time. Anyways Cham had a good time and we taught her about prayer and passed her a Book of Mormon! (sach mac mon in Vietnamese) Today we came to Kushiro (we got 100% on my house's clean check btw) and Okuchi S has been telling us about the gospel study sessions she has with the Satou family. Tomorrow we have zone training meeting in Obihiro!
Sorry I forgot to get pictures of my house/bike. I will make sure to do so when I get back. I have been riding a regular (not mtn) bike lately and it's fun.

Gospel study is such an important thing and I feel like I really need to do so much better. Even as a missionary there are so many distractions. It's definitely a time to reevaluate and rely on the Lord to be back to 100%, but I know that through the power of the Atonement we can overcome any little things that hold us down.
I love you love you loveyouuu
Hutchinson Choro

Here is the picture from teaching Eikaiwa that is mentioned above - thank you Okuchi Shimai!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

11/10/13 Amazing miracles thanks to amazing members!

Hey! So I feel way better. No worries there. It isn't much different to be in the branch presidency, but last Sunday was branch conference so I was in a lot of meetings with the district and Hokkaido mission presidency which was cool! I am definitely learning a lot of stuff. I get to learn to use MLS in Japanese! hahaha. I'm glad I get to be here with Morgan E his full 2 transfers and also with the amazing members and investigators here! I have some cool stories for ya! That's funny that Evans S has me as DL still! I still have no idea who is where because we didn't get our "shepherd" yet. It's this magazine type thing that the mission makes each transfer.

Morgan E is doing awesome and growing lots as usual! Sometimes I need to be more patient with him because I like going fast in more ways than 1, but he is doing great. We actually got 8 new investigators this week which is a new record for me! We count investigators a little different than some missions probably so it makes it a bit harder, but more worth it and helps you focus on the people who are most prepared. We can't get to the northern territories as far as I know, BUT they are in our area! So if there was a way, we'd be allowed to go ;) I'll work on pictures of the house. We have a bit of cleaning to do for clean checks this weekend.

Thanks for the pic of Lily and I'm glad she's doing better! Glad the little kids are doing great too! Looks really fun! What made you want to get an iphone?

I'm glad Sunday School and church are going great too! People are probably not as interested in family history as some other people, but I've seen times where it helped. I still haven't used one tube of the lotion so I am fine. The humidity is the best. I'm looking forward to Mara's letter too!
I honestly have no idea what I should do about college. I always thought that the mission would eventually come and tell me to do stuff, but I don't know.

Anyways this Monday was probably the coolest day! We met this guy a while before on the street and it was a pretty weak contact, but he called us on Sunday night and invited us to lunch! We met him and it turns out that he's fluent in English. He had a lot of really good questions about Jesus Christ that we were able to answer ALL in English! Pretty crazy. He is in the Japanese army so he never knows his days off, but he was pretty interested and a really nice guy about 23 yrs old. After that we were wondering what we should do for the rest of P-day because the museum we wanted to visit was closed when all of a sudden Okuchi S calls us and invites us over to her friend's house to teach a lesson! WHAT! Way cool! Every missionary's dream! We meet the family (who has been coming to Eikaiwa stuff) and they are all way interested because of how much Okuchi S has changed since she got baptized and almost all of them are pretty excited about getting baptized themselves! They are the Satou family (one of the most common names ever... we have 3 other Satou investigators) We taught a great lesson and made baptismal dates with all of them! Whoa! After that we met Van S who fed us some Vietnamese chicken she made. Then we went to the Ozawa's for FHE with all three of the recent converts! Way too fun! Way too good.

Tuesday we had DTM with Harper E over the phone which was very different, but good. It is a little weird to not be DL anymore. After that we got our haircut because P-day had so many surprise lessons, we didn't have time. We got it cut by an investigator actually! After that we met Okuchi S and finished up their 3rd AB lesson which we only got halfway done before. It was great to have a lesson like that with her and Yuka again! Wednesday we went to this area that's closer by the apartment and met some investigators that we dropped because they weren't progressing and they were mostly not home, but we tried stopping by this lady who was really nice, but not interested before and she tried to invite us in to have a meal right there! She was the only one home so we couldn't get in, but we were once again surprised at the niceness of nihonjin. We did a bit of finding and then headed over to this investigator (also Satou) who is really nice and came to Eikaiwa before. He has a little bit of a mental disability, but he is really interested. He also has a big smoking problem. We had a good lesson/discussion with him, but because of his mental state aren't 100% sure how to help him out. It's not too bad of a problem, just a little weak. If he can take the steps to change than that's what will be best! We also met a non-attending member nearby for the first time in a while which was great! Thursday we went finding by the Satou family and the kids saw us and followed us the whole time! We actually met a way nice lady from a different religion that thought we were really cool and gave us (in tears) a lot of food and a referral for her old neighbor! She called us after and said she found more food to give to us. We also had DKK and a short meeting with Van S who had an accident a while back so she was worried, but we taught her about how God can provide comfort in those times. I want to tell you more, but time is up! Remind me next week and I'll fit it in! :)

These pics are from going to Nakashibetsu on Saturday!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

11/3/13 Russian Islands and Halloween parties plus a surprise calling!

Hey! It was a way crazy, but good week! On Monday we went to Nosappu Misaki and the weather was finally good enough to see the northern territories! I was way happy. I also had my favorite yakitori bento and chocolate covered melon bread from the local convenient store here + at night we got invited to the Ozawa's FHE! I felt like I got to do all the things I wanted to do in Nemuro before transferring... However I am not! I mostly expected it, but I'll be doing 6 transfers here in Nemuro. I feel really lucky, but sometimes am a little tired hahaha. Let's just say I'm excited to see some new parts of Hokkaido. It probably means that by the end of this transfer I'll have at least knocked on every door in the main city area.

Anyways, I also had my last DTM as district leader because I got 'demoted' to just being a normal trainer which is totally ok. Harper E my MTC comp transferred to Kushiro and is the new DL. I probably won't be going to Kushiro very much this transfer, but I guess that's ok. I think part of the reason I am no longer DL is that on Sunday I was surprise called to be 2nd counselor in the branch presidency. I was way shocked. I'm looking forward to working a lot more to help the members though. After church we had branch council meeting and assigned everyone's HT and visiting teaching. It reminded me of when I was in Elders quorum presidency at USU. Otherwise, Tuesday was a lot of finding plus a good lesson with this lady Satou who we passed a Book of Mormon and taught the restoration to. She said that since she is so busy she wouldn't be able to read the BofM, but Morgan E bore his testimony and she decided to accept it. Wednesday was pretty interesting. We were going to go to lunch with this Eikaiwa student, but it didn't work out and we decided to go on our own anyways. Morgan E crashed his bike and we had to go buy new lights, so we got stalled a little bit. Anyways, the timing worked out perfectly that we were able to meet her on the street in the end and share the gospel with her a bit. We also found in that area a ton and taught this really young mom about prayer.

Thursday was DKK and lots of finding plus a bit of Halloween party preparation. We also were introduced to another friend of Van named Thuy and taught her a mini lesson with Van! She is Catholic, but pretty interested in why our church is different! We actually have more than half Nemuro's Catholic congregation as investigators or possible investigators hahaha. Friday we were able to get in 2 really good lessons with this lady Ishiyama who is way nice and prepared, but busy watching after her mom who is really ill. We also taught this really cool older guy that Morgan E found on splits last night. His name is Minakatsu which means 'everybody wins' hahaha I think it's a way awesome name. We did party prep a little bit early and then had the party! We had a bunch of games and a TON of people came! We counted around 50 which is a pretty big deal. We left a bunch of pass along cards and a BofM out on a table and one girl who came just sat in the corner and read the BofM the whole time! It's a member's friend and she committed to passing it to her :) It was cool to finally have an activity here. Okuchi Shimai and Van Shimai brought a lot of friends as well. We have been wanting to meet with Okuchi Shimai more, but she has been a bit busy and it's been hard to meet. Saturday was pretty much straight finding all day... Way tired. We were able to find a few nice people, but no one particularly strong. We were able to make some good appointments over the phone and actually randomly got a call from a weak street contact that we got a while back who wants to go to lunch! We'll meet him today.

Anyways my time is about up, but your Halloween sounds like it was fun! We don't have daylight savings here... kinda tough. ***** would love that present! I'm excited to see the photos of Adam's plaque. I have no idea what to do about college apps. That's really unfortunate to hear about Brother Hardy too... I'm really grateful for the gospel as well! I have been really tired lately, but I hope I'll be able to get back on my feet 100%.

Love you love you!

Hutchinson Choro

nice phone hahaha


View from big tower

Me and a bear

Ozawa S, Meg, Van S, Okuchi S

Vietnamese friends

Okuchi S and Ozawa kids

My costume wasn't anything in particular, hahahaha