Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/27/13 Good news

If you want a heading for this email you can call it "good news, the caps lock button is fixed!!!!"

Thanks for the email as always you fantastic family you. This week has been pretty rad actually. Glad work is normal and I still think it's sweet Adam gets to ride a train because it makes me think of here hahaha.

I'm way stoked for Cassie! She wrote me a few letters and one of them was about how she got the confirmation to go on a mission. That is way sweet! That's cool it's pretty close to where Alyssa served as well. I'm excited for Alyssa's wedding too. Way cool! Congrats to Taylor too! Way sick for Jacob too. He is the man. Does he still have that Camaro? Hahaha

Freezing rain sounds way interesting!!! I wish I could've seen it actually. There is some weird snow here too once in a while. One day was like raining slush and another day the snow was like sand. It's hard to describe, but yeah... i am kind of tired of it.

Cool that Mara is going to theatre conf already and WHOA! That's way crazy that a year ago today is when I opened my call. How awesome is that? I forgot what day it was so thanks for letting me know. Thanks a ton for the letters and pics from Joseph, Josh, Ferrin, and Connor! Way sweet! Josh and his comp look way young and Ferrin looks exactly the same hahaha.

I'm sorry again about not getting lots of pictures, but it makes me want to try harder maybe when it gets warmer. That is a way awesome stake theme (Come Follow Me). I forgot that Grandpa told you that before he passed away. I actually thought about him quite a bit this week. I really love having the picture of him after my patriarchal blessing and reading that in your letter makes me want to read it again.

So this week's events were, last p-day we kinda lounged around the apt. Practiced some guitar and ate at the Toyoshima's again. We had shabu shabu which is the same thing we had last time which is ok because it's delicious! Toyoshima shimai put pictures from it on facebook because I told her I had one and she probably tried to become my friend there too hahaha. We shared a pretty cool message about the Atonement and the sacrament.

Tuesday was a cool zone training meeting (ztm) where we had interviews with Pres Evans and some great workshops on Christlike attributes and reading the Book of Mormon together with investigators. I also shared a little talk in the Christlike attributes part. In my interview, president gave me a lot of encouragement about working with my comp and told me to learn as much as I can for when I become Sr. comp and IF I become a trainer... hahah! Also that my time in Eniwa is probably up, but that is ok even though I love it here! After that we ate out at a teishoku place which means "set meal" which is like rice, cabbage, and a meat thing but it was good. I don't remember what kind I got. We went to talk with Yuuta kun who is a recent convert (Hatanaka shimai)'s son. He is a great kid, but having a tough time with school and getting along with his mom. He plays video games too much haha, but we talked with him and helped him clean his room and talked to him about prayer. He is almost 12 but didn't convert with his mom so we are working together with her to help him get interested and see how the gospel can help him. Then that night we had Eikaiwa as usual and it was awesome. We want to work harder to get more people to come so we are making plans to advertise more!

Wednesday was deep cleaning day and we spent the whole day cleaning the apartment hardcore! It was pretty fun actually and we finished early because there are 4 of us.
Thursday was planning session and trying to visit some non-attendings, that didn't work out too well, but that morning I felt a prompting to visit Haramai shimai. The cool thing is that she was actually having a hard time that day and prayed that we would come visit. Way cool experience for us. She also told us about a dream she had recently where a friend called her and said she was meeting the missionaries. She asked her what she thought about Joseph Smith and in the dream she couldn't answer so when she woke up she took it as a prompting to gain a stronger testimony of Joseph Smith! She is so crazy strong. Her husband wants to come to Eikaiwa now too so I'm excited for that.

Friday was more housing and looking for non-attendings/old investigators. We also taught a short lesson to the kid who is turning 8 pretty soon and it went way good and he is so ready. Hopefully we can get some investigators to his baptism.
Saturday was a lot like that too. Tons of searching and walking around. Pretty tired that day haha. Sunday was another great day at church too. We sang There is a Green Hill Far Away in sacrament meeting and it went super well. After we were done it was just so silent and the spirit was so strong. Even the kids stopped crying and stuff! haha We got tons of compliments on it. That day we went to a pretty far out area that I hadn't been to before and looked for another non-attending that ended up living in the same apt building as a member! I also found a Scottish guy and had to contact him in English which was way awkward for me! hahaha He was way nice though. Kind of an eye opener. Well,

That's it for me this time! Love you tons and am proud of you always :)
Hutchinson Choro

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1/20/13 More from Eniwa

(the caps lock is broken on this keyboard now so unless i hold down the shift key then EVERYTHING IS LIKE THIS so i have to type in all small letters - edited by Mom)

Sounds like Jameson's farewell went awesome! It is so crazy that people are growing up so fast plus the new age limit makes it possible to be one year earlier! I'm glad it got Adam excited too. Lauren sent me some great pictures of Richie, Xela, Ron etc and they were really fun.

You can pretty much send any and everything to Sister Haramai if you want. I know they can't really get peanut butter normally, but there is a Costco here where you can buy all sorts of crazy things. (It's not in my area though so I've never been, but we sometimes order stuff from it through the honbu choros) also of course she has a microwave. She loves sewing, but I'm not 100 percent sure if it's sewing in general or just certain types. I think it might be cross stitching? I don't really know. She's also really into patchwork quilts and stuff like that. They actually have good FHE materials in Japanese, but if you find something really good then go ahead and send it. I actually translated Phase 10 to a family in the ward yesterday. I'll explain that later.

Her little family is doing great though. Her two daughters come with her to pretty much everything and are way good in primary and reading scriptures and stuff. It has definitely been a good influence on the dad, but he is already such a good guy that he kind of doesn't see how the gospel can improve his life. He is just happy for his family and works as much as possible to help them out. One thing is that Haramai Shimai is shy about talking to him about things like that, but we are doing what we can to provide opportunities through activities FHE etc.

The Kit Kats here are exactly the same as in America haha, Snickers too. I don't know if I will ever get a chance to see or read the YSA fireside. I really want to though!! We don't get the Liahona or anything. I think i have to order it myself? We'll see how that goes.

I'm glad you have been guided by the spirit as well in teaching or having conversations with us as kids. I think you could get that help from the Holy Ghost in anything when you really need it and I'm going to try harder to just open my mouth. It's tough with a native companion who talks really fast. It was kinda like that with my trainer too, though. When you think you have an opening to talk you take a breath and get ready to talk and your comp beats you to it haha.

Mochi tastes way good. I don't know how to describe it. It's really gooey. It just tastes like rice, but you put all sorts of stuff on it. I will see about getting pictures from one of the other missionaries or something. I've told you before, but I can't just carry my camera around especially in the snow. The one time I did my camera didn't work for a few days and I thought it was broken. Also there are rules about not looking like a tourist so I have to look for opportunities, plus I'm just not good at taking pictures or remembering that kinda stuff. Are there any pictures of Eniwa on the internet? I have pictures of where I live so don't worry about that. Of course we have music in the apartment; I would be dead if we didn't haha. Lately I jam a lot with Elder Rodenberg.

That's way exciting for Alyssa! Please give her my best. I'm excited for Jesse and Doretha and will keep praying for Uncle Merril.

What do you mean up late for two nights in a row for Adam's improv shows? Wait, what? Whose birthday was it? There were two birthdays in my apt this week so that was pretty fun.

Yeah sure Adam can use the suit, just remember that my branch president in the MTC made me send it back.

So this last week p-day was pretty much just me buying a sweater at a recycle shop and getting my haircut. It took forever because Ishiga Choro wanted to go to a nice place, but the haircut is really good. They actually cut it how I asked and got it right. I'll put a picture on.

"Before" Hair

"After" Hair

The day after was district meeting, dendo in a place close to the apartment. There we met with an old investigator who has problems with commitments but he wants to be better. Ishiga Choro really wants to work with him so we'll see how it goes. He has a baptismal date at the beginning of next month. We were going to meet with him today to help him clean his apartment, but he hasn't mailed us back. We also had Eikaiwa and it was pretty fun as usual. Elder Rodenberg pretty much takes the Eikaiwa for the most part, but I'm trying to start a beginner class to get more members and new people to come. There is one guy from Eikaiwa who is in the j=tai (Japanese army - there are tons of them in Eniwa) who is way awesome and good at English and has made pretty good friends with me. He came with us to the Messiah and sat by me and talked the whole time. When I asked him how his new year's was he said hanging out with us was the best part! He has been having a hard time getting divorced, but is going to move actually pretty close to the church. We really want to pick him up as an investigator. He actually met with missionaries lots in the past so we'll see how that goes. Wednesday was lots of housing. It was also Elder Rodenberg's birthday. I gave him the extra guitar I got from a member and put new strings on it haha. We also met with this non-attending named Kazuki who is way awesome and he is starting to want to come back to church. He is seventeen and a way nice kid, way smart two (number two in his whole high school, number one is another girl in the ward haha).

Thursday was dkk (dendo in Chitose) and dinner with the Kurashige's again. We played this game with her grandkids where the leader reads old Japanese proverbs and in the middle are all these tiles with the proverbs written in way old style. Most Japanese can't even read them, but anyways when they read the proverb you try to be the first one to pick it up! It's pretty intense. Her grandkids were way good. She is the only member in her home, but her two grandkids have told her before they want to get baptized and go on missions when they grow up! Hopefully that example will continue. She also gave us more calligraphy things! I have a good collection now. Friday was straight housing and looking for old investigators. We also went to this little old American antique shop because it was Ishiga Choro's birthday the next day and he really wanted to go. There was some waaayy nostalgic stuff. He bought a Batman shirt and this America puzzle that I remember playing with in elementary school. On his birthday the next day, I gave him a ton of chocolate. We also went housing that day and decided to check out this area that was kinda on the outskirts on the north side of Eniwa. At one of the houses a random high school girl who was way nice gave us a ton of candy too! Elder Ishiga was pretty stoked. We also met with one of the members whose birthday is the same as his and he gave her a card. He gives everyone cards that he makes and he's pretty good actually. She invited us over for dinner the next day after church. Church was way good and afterwards we housed and went to the member's house. She has six girls so it is a pretty awesome family. They are all really quiet though! We had a ton of cake and played some pretty awesome games including Phase 10 that I translated.

I have been thinking a lot about Christ and what kind of person he was lately and it has affected our dendo style a lot. Please do what you can to try to find out more about him and become more like him. I know you will have his help always and be guided to the things you need to do! I love you so much and pray for you always!



Here's the puzzle they found that Braden had as a kid

Monday, January 14, 2013

1/13/13 Seven Months Out Today

Hey! This week was good. Sounds like work is complicated, but good! Sounds like there has been a ton going on there!! A You've Got Mail party, huh? That's way funny hahaha. Sounds fun though! How is Mara going on personal progress?? That's pretty cool.

It actually hasn't been snowing very much lately here at all, but it is way frozen and icy. The roads are covered in inches of ice, but I have been doing fine. Just have to be careful when I walk around. I haven't seen any car accidents or anything, but there are some funny drivers now and then. I'm way sad to hear about the car getting damaged, but at least it was the oldest of the cars eh? I hope you can figure out what to do with that whole situation. That's cool about Richie and Xela's reception! You said hi for me right? I heard the Jordan River temple was closed for a long time, but that's good to hear dad is back and working there again. I miss the temple lots. It is really interesting to talk about it here and teach about it to the new converts, etc.

Good luck with whatever your new calling might be! I am having a hard time remembering what it's like to not be a missionary, but I remember that I really loved being in the Elder's quorum presidency at USU and in stake YSC etc. and I wish I did more for those callings then. That is funny about Lauren and her stomach too. (That is, us trying to tell if Max is moving) The pictures of her you sent last time were pretty good!

I am praying for you to find missionary opportunities too, but the main thing you need to do is look for them. Remember that prayer is just the first step. There was a plaque one of my roommates had at USU with a quote from Gordon B Hinckley that said "get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work". It's just like that out here too! I'm glad to hear you are doing better with scripture study! What kind of things are you trying? I also want to hear about how FHE is going. Hatanaka Shimai and Haramai Shimai want to know more about it so if you had any cool ideas that'd be awesome. Also Haramai Shimai made a new years resolution to learn to make candy at home just like you do at Christmas so if you could send me a bunch of recipes she would be really happy. She reminds me of you a lot in a lot of ways actually. She has said before that you sound cool and she wants to meet you haha. If you have any patchwork, stitching, etc. things that you think she might like let me know.

Let me know how the YSA fireside went! I am jealous you get to see it! I am glad Adam is doing great in institute and German sounds way fun too! That trax thing does sound like something I would do. How is he liking riding the train??? I think it sounds fun and I want to try it when I get home.

I hope church was awesome! I gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday on the sabbath day and focused on the Lord's rest, because in Japanese the Sabbath is "rest day." It actually went really awesome and I spoke for almost 20 minutes which is double what they asked, but they were okay with that haha. It felt really good to be guided by the spirit and be able to expand on the things I planned to talk about. My Japanese has been getting a lot better I think, but the tough thing is always being led by the spirit to know how and what to say. Really the secret is just opening your mouth. The time that is the most tough is when you don't even know how to say it in English and you somehow pull it out in Japanese.

So the cool things about this week are that on Monday I bought a sweet new backpack in the mall in Chitose and on Tuesday we started Eikaiwa again with Elder Rodenberg and it was way fun and energetic. Then on Wednesday was straight housing and going to Brother Katanuma's house for dinner. He used to be the area Seventy and spoke at the Sapporo Temple groundbreaking. He is also good friends with Elder Holland and a few other general authorities. He recently wrote a book about Christianity in Japan focusing on our church and it has actually gotten a lot of high up people interested and it is way cool. He is an awesome guy who has gone all over the world, served several couple missions in Japan, and speaks English pretty much fluently. He also taught at BYU for 3-4 years. At the end we watched this movie called "home" that was from 1992 (one of those cheesy seminary ones) but it was really good and afterwards we shared scriptures and testified about the hope from the gospel. It is pretty cool to testify to someone who used to be a general authority! haha

Thursday we planned and visited Haramai shimai. Friday was visiting a lot of people in Chitose and one of them was a girl that Elder Hansen got almost all the way to baptism, but went on vacation and got protested by her parents so he had to drop her, but she sent us a new year's postcard and when we visited her she said she talked to her parents and everything is good! Her name is Miyashita and she is pretty much a kinjin. She came to church on her own because she said it seemed like a warm place and she could feel that it was full of love. Literally. She has still been reading the Book of Mormon everyday. We will see how that goes :)

Saturday was amazing too!!! We had the mochitsuki activity which was tons of traditional Japanese new year's games and toys plus making mochi!!! Mochi is rice turned into this doughy stuff. To make it like that you... Smash it with a giant hammer!!! It was so awesome. I didn't get pictures, but lots of other people did. It was way great plus we got a few investigators to come too. It was a great way to make better friends with the ward and feel closer to Japan. Haramai's husband came too! We are trying to help her a lot to share the gospel with him. We also did a song there with me on the guitar, Brown Choro on the keys, and Rodenberg and Ishiga Choro singing. It was kinda loud with the mochitsuki going so the beat got a little funky, but it went great!

Well that is what has been going on in a nutshell. I am getting my haircut today because I need it really bad. Who cuts my hair?? Some Japanese dude. Not my companion. Haircuts here are expensive by the way and there are probably more hair salons than any other building. Literally.

Anyways I love you tons and and am so grateful for you! Jesus Christ is my Savior and He lives and loves us! Keep showing good examples and do your best to become more and more like Him!

Hutchinson Choro

Funny things seen at the mall:

Monday, January 7, 2013

1/6/13 "I'm starting to get the basics, I think"

Hey! That is tough that your first letter didn't work out, but I'm glad this one still got to me :)

The Messiah was pretty good, but I didn't participate in it. I sat with an investigator and had a decent time watching though. I do appreciate that kind of music a lot. I don't know how fun of a date that would be... hahaha! I'm way glad you got to see the Christmas Devotional too! That's crazy school has started again. Most of the students in Hokkaido have a pretty good break in January till the 17th or 22nd depending on the school. Cool that Adam is taking the train too! Trains in Japan are one of the main ways to travel anywhere. I'm so glad he's taking Institute too. One of the most important parts of college for sure! That's neat Lily (our dog) had a birthday! That is super nostalgic hearing about all the silly stuff she does. Happy birthday to Andrew too!!! It is Elder Rodenberg's b-day on the 16th and Elder Ishiga's on the 19th so those are pretty exciting.

What kind of project did you have at work? Have you always been on salary? Good luck and I will be praying for you to do awesome there! Haha don't leave the Christmas stuff up too long, ok? If you just do it little by little it'll be easy I think. I'm super excited for the other missionaries coming out! Please tell 'em all good luck etc. for me. I am staying healthy, but everyone back home better be careful with that stomach flu. I pretty much ran out of vitamins yeah, but I think I am just going to order some from the Honbu when they go to Costco. I can actually buy sweaters here pretty easy and cheap at recycle shops so I wouldn't worry about those actually. Some new CTR socks would help I think. Plus I want some cool music CDs if you find or know of any (not Motab, stuff like Mindy Gledhill or Alex Boye that has religious themes etc.).

Do you see Mya and Olivia weekly lately? That's crazy! Good luck with 1:00 church. I like our 10:00 church the best. Doctrine and Covenants is way good! I have been thinking about starting it over again soon. There is so much good stuff to read and so little time to study when you're on a mission! ah!!!

I'm very proud of Adam giving Mara a blessing. I still remember the time a girl in my ward in college needed a blessing and only one of her home teachers was around so I went and gave the blessing and it was a really good experience. So cool. It has been even cooler to be blessed with opportunities to participate in blessings here every once in a while.

Elder Rodenberg is way boss. We just got finished making a way sweet song in the other room in the church. How often do you talk to his mom? I still think that's way funny. I have been doing a bit better with Elder Ishiga too. The apartment went from all Japanese to probably half and half and it has been a huge change. I did draw out a bunch of money, but I haven't bought anything with it. I'm for sure going to get a dictionary when we have a chance to go to this recycle shop where I found a cool one, but I'm thinking I might buy a new backpack today or something.

Thank you so much always for the prayers and encouragement!!! It helps more than either of us can understand I think.

So for the summary of this week we ate a lot of Japanese new year's food. It was almost just all time with members and hardly any normal dendo. Really yummy though. Elder Ogata transferred on Thursday and on Friday I went on splits with the APs. I went with Elder Davis and it was incredible. We talked to EVERYBODY and had so much success in just one day and it was really all about attitude, no fear, and being happy as you dendo. I hope I can apply it more with Elder Ishiga and get all the people I found with Elder Davis that day to progressing. Yesterday at church was testimony meeting and Elder Rodenberg, Ishiga, and I bore our testimonies and it was a way powerful meeting and I talked to almost everyone after church! I have grown a lot as a missionary and even though I still have a long ways to go and lots to learn I'm starting to get the basics I think.

I love you tons and I know that this gospel is true!!! I have been able to know it more and more fully through all of the big changes and miracles that I am able to see here, even when we aren't having tons of investigators and stuff. Sometimes the Lord just wants us to be right where we are for the time being you know? I'm really grateful I get to be in Eniwa one more transfer too since it is such a lucky thing.
Heavenly Father is watching out for you and answering your prayers. Please be ready and he'll provide opportunities for you to share the gospel.

Hutchinson Choro

What rice cooker...?

Ishiga Choro with the cereal we sent him

Braden with a Christmas present (speakers?)

Christmas cake

Christmas present (suit jacket)

Holiday decor (Lauren, recognize the tree?)