Monday, February 25, 2013

2/24/13 It is very awesome here!

Hey! So it is very awesome here. Toyohira is like a borough of Sapporo kind of like in New York. My week has been incredible and lots of fun. We did meet a pretty good amount of awesome people! Toyohira is leaps and bounds busier than Eniwa was and I am realizing more and more just how small Eniwa was. I still really love it tons. By the way I still want recipes and things to send to Haramai Shimai if you have 'em. My apartment is super cool and it is way different to only have two people in the apartment. With all the new missionaries coming soon (next transfer 15) it will probably become a four man so I will enjoy it while I can :) I haven't taken any pictures of it yet so I'll try to remember to. Glad you found pictures on facebook again! Remember to check for friend requests from Japanese friends every once in a while. Today we did lots of music practice at the honbu and I am being used a lot more hahaha. I got that sweater for like 500 yen at a recycle shop :)

Thank you for all the awesome stories! I am glad I was able to leave such an impact on the ward and I am looking forward to seeing how everyone is doing when I get back, but that's a while away ;) I'll keep doing my best to try to leave a good impression on all the wards I end up having the privilege to be a part of. Also I'm excited for the package! Since I'm close to the Honbu I'll probably receive it sooner than I did when in Eniwa, but I don't know for sure. Also the snow in the city is way crazier than Eniwa. The news about 58 new missions is incredible! That's so exciting. I feel like there are going to be a ton of new areas opening up here too. Well, they will for sure actually! I'm so proud of the little things that you are doing to start missionary work in as many ways as you can. The pictures are wonderful (Mya and Livy awesome as usual) and I especially felt nostalgic seeing the picture of Lily at the door.

Dad-Thank you for your love and concern and prayers. That is such a cool thing to see 31 missionaries at the temple in one day! No one here can believe that people in Utah wait so long for the temple. We try a lot to shovel snow for people, but (especially old people) everyone likes to do it for exercise. It is a great way to start conversations and show a good image though. Your testimony is such a strength to me and I was really happy to here from you. I love you dad!

Here is my summary of the week.
Monday- After emailing we went home and I finished letters. We just did a bit of finding the rest of the day. Tuesday was DTM in Atsubetsu with the new district. Everyone is way fun and I'm looking forward to the DTMs etc for this transfer. After that we taught some good lessons. One to an old lady who really wants to come to church. Very funny person. Wednesday was dendo in a place called Nishioka (west hill) and we tried to teach this older guy who is in a country western band who was really stubborn, but he let me play his banjo and was super impressed. That day we also had my first Eikaiwa and it was WAY fun! We had this little rhyme to help the students practice pronunciation and Stilson Choro decided to try rapping it while I beatboxed and everyone loved it! Best part was after than one student (a lady who is about 68) came up and said it was her turn and SHE rapped while I beatboxed! Oh man. Way too funny. There is just tons of funny stuff here I can't write it all. The next day we went on splits with Komori Choro (it became 3 man) and we did some finding and I taught a cool kid on the street and gave him a BoM and then we taught a lesson to a really neat guy named Nakamura (very common name) who is 45ish and works for a video game company. He is afraid of going outside and meeting people, but for some reason meeting us wasn't scary at all and he really wants to change his life. He said meeting with us is healing him and we haven't even taught him that much yet. He might take some time, but I'm looking forward to him. Friday we ate lunch with this guy named Daiki from Eikaiwa who is fluent in English and has been going to Eikaiwa for 6 years. He had interest in the gospel, but a missionary pushed him too hard one time. He is super cool though and we will keep showing love to him etc. We also taught a lot of lessons while housing that day and had a way good time. Saturday was going to a bunch of appointments we made and then making some more. We taught a lesson to a mom who said that she always rejects missionaries, but we felt different. Very cool. We also had this kid randomly call us and say he wanted to meet at the church. We ended up running to the church and had FHE with him and the YSA's in the ward. Sunday was super awesome. The investigators who said they would come to church didn't, but one of the AP's (My trainer Elder Hansen!) investigators came and I got a chance to teach him a bunch during priesthood meeting. After church one of the sister's investigators had been having a kidney problem and wanted a priesthood blessing. Since she isn't a member the responsibility went to the missionaries and I gave her a blessing in Japanese and it went pretty well. Cool experience. After that we met with some members and an old lady I found in the phone who lives in a place kinda like where grandma is living. So that is it! What a blast haha.

Thank you so so much :) Love you tons! Keep doing your best and the Lord's help will be with you!

New comp Elder Stilson

From the last area - Eniwa choros at the ice festival

Eniwa district - I'm not sure where this was taken - Rodenberg's mom sent it to us

Holiday party at the honbu

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2/17/13 I'm in TOYOHIRA now!!! AND IT ROCKS!

I left Eniwa :'( but I'm in TOYOHIRA now!!! AND IT ROCKS!
So it was a pretty intense week. On Monday we went to Lake Shikotsuko because they have a festival there called Hyoutou Matsuri and it was SOOOOOOOO good. It was way better than yuki matsuri not gonna lie. They made these huge caves out of ice that they poured little by little over these frames so everything looked like a frozen waterfall. So amazing. Look up pictures because I forgot my camera so you should look up pictures online until next week. It was awesome and the lake was really cool. We went with Sugiura shimai and then the rest of the p-day we just chilled. Tuesday was transfer calls and they came really early but I found out that I was going to Toyohira with STILSON CHORO who is the coolest guy ever. He is a convert from Seattle Washington and super strong. He is 23 and super buff. Probably the buffest missionary in Hokkaido haha. He played football and tons of sports and is probably also the nicest guy ever as well. The members and investigators in Toyohira are super cool as well and I am just super excited about everything. I will probably say lots of cool stuff about Stilson Choro and the ward as I go.
So on Wednesday we met a few non-attending members named Adachi and Katou shimai and they were super funny. I made a paper with our favorite scriptures on it and we are handing it out to a lot of people to help them read the Book of Mormon more. I also met another non attending that morning at the church (which is 3 stories tall!!!!) and we also taught him a way powerful lesson about the Book of Mormon and the importance of it in your testimony. Way good lesson and he is really into music too, so he was really interested that I studied guitar and stuff.

The time went by really fast actually and I don't have my planner or journal so I don't remember a ton of stuff, but dendo here is crazy different. Probably 4x the amount of people talk back to you than Eniwa plus there are tons tons more people here. We have met some crazy cool people on the streets haha. So we also went to a couple members' houses (the Kurami's and the Yasutani's) who are super awesome and they love me a ton. I helped Yasutani kyoudai with his application to BYU. He is fluent at English and just a way cool guy. There are a ton of people here that speak English by the way!!! Way surprising. On Sunday we went to church and it is such a fun ward! Everybody is way nice. They were excited to meet me too. There are seriously so many awesome people in the ward though I don't know if I could tell you about them all and I have only met them like once! Anyways we had our golden investigator named Yukio come to church (he is also fluent in English) and he liked church a ton. The lessons were all about missionary work and the spirit and so were the talks in sacrament meeting. After church we taught him a lesson (all in English so I was a bit nervous at first, but because of the spirit it ended up being really good and powerful) and he said he was looking forward to praying about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and he wants them to be true. He is pretty much getting baptized no doubt. Elder Stilson found him last transfer on the street because he was wearing a Raiders jacket. He played football at a college in America for a while and that's why he knows English. All around awesome week. I'm at the honbu now because that's where we do email from now on. Fun stuff.

I'm way stoked for you as Gospel Doctrine teacher! Have lots of fun because I think you will be a great teacher. I think as you get better at it it will become more simple. That's tough your uncle passed away. Where was the funeral? I'm excited for Cassie too! Glad Mara's grades were better than they seemed haha.

Valentine's day was transfer day, but I still got some valentines earlier from members and one Eikaiwa student who saw me off at the train station. But anyways I've been distracted this whole time and ran out of email time, but I'll see you around and I love you!!!!!!!!

Hutchinson Choro

Sunday, February 10, 2013

2/10/13 Yuki Matsuri ga arimashita

Today's title: Yuki Matsuri ga arimashita (closest translation Mom can get is "The time I went to the snow festival")

What is up!? Sounds like a pretty awesome week with the wedding shower and stuff! Mine wasn't too bad either. On Monday we went to the Honbu to play for this RM from Australia who served his mission here and was having a little party (with TONS of Tim Tams) so that was pretty fun. We played 3 songs and the guy just talked about how he met his wife so it was just awkward hahaha. It was cool to talk with all the other missionaries there though, that's the best part about gatherings. We also hung around at the eki (Sapporo train station... it is soooo HUGE!) and bought some guitar stuff and did this thing called purikura that is where you take pictures in a photobooth and the effects make your skin really clear and eyes really big hahaha. They are insanely popular in Japan. I'll scan it eventually and send you a copy. That night we dendo'd in Megumino a bit and I had to carry my guitar the entire time! Oh well!

The next day was a tough day not being able to meet people we planned on, but still got some good stuff done. Eikaiwa was way fun too! Since we divided into two classes I taught the beginner class by myself. Wednesday I went on splits with Elder Brown and it was a blast! We went to Shimamatsu which is the most northern part of my area and I haven't been there since my first few weeks so it was nostalgic! The people we planned to meet weren't really around then either, but we met a way nice dad and a guy who fills the gas tanks by people's houses who lived in America as a semi-professional guitar player! haha We also went to an area in Chitose to dendo as well and met a really funny guy that loved English. Maybe he will come to Eikaiwa eventually. That night we had a birthday party for a member who turned 87. She is a boss. Her name is Sugiura shimai and her daughter (Miwa shimai) is awesome too. She is giving us a ride to Lake Shikotsuko today for this ice festival which should be pretty cool. Anyways at the party Miwa shima's friend came, who we want to teach, so that was good. Also the Sugiura's are hilarious because they are way sarcastic and that's rare in Japan! We had some way good spicy food and apple pie. We also played a bunch of hymns on the guitar.

Thursday was zone taikai where we had workshops on mental and physical health. The mental health guy was Japanese, but went on a mission to San Francisco and for school to BYU Idaho and Provo. He was way chill. After that we had great workshops from Kaicho (President) and the APs on companionship goal setting and repentance. It was great to see everyone then too. After that was the SNOW FESTIVAL!!!! But... It was snowing way crazy so the sculptures weren't as recognizable. I got tons of pictures though! If you really want to see the statues well, I'd check online :) It was pretty great though. Friday was another day a lot like Tuesday.

Saturday was in Megumino again and we taught the plan of salvation to this guy I found a long time ago on the phone. He is not at the point where he is ready to act yet, but hopefully he will be soon. We also talked with a non-attending kid named Kanai Ryouta kyoudai who is way cool and likes kingdom hearts a lot so we talked about that a bit hahaha he is also going to college to study English and Chinese so he has come to Eikaiwa before.

Sunday was pretty much "take tons of pictures day." Since I have a really good feeling I will transfer on Thursday, I took pictures with as many of the members as possible (which is pretty much only guys because there is a rule that unless you're with your comp, and he didn't want to cooperate(as usual)). Anyways church was super good and we had a lesson on Adam and Eve in Gospel Principles. Haramai shimai is pretty much a genius and knows the gospel better than a lot of the members already. The stuff she shares in class always impresses me a ton. After church we tried to visit the people from Tuesday again, but they weren't around. Then we had dinner and a chocolate fondue party at Haramai shimai's house with the bishop's wife and kids too. The bishop got the flu so he didn't come. (The flu is a big deal in Japan right now, but I wash my hands so I'm all good ;)) It was way good though. She made a ton of awesome food and we shared a message on the commandments and challenged the dad to read the scriptures with his daughters because we gave them a challenge to read one verse a day.

Anyways, I love being a missionary. I don't want to leave this ward, but I am ready for change. I bet things are changing there a ton too! Livy walking and everything. I think that's awesome Mya talks about me. Thanks for telling everyone how I'm doing too. The worst snow was on Thursday and Friday. Well... Friday was mostly really hard wind with really icy snow. When we got to the church for Dendo meeting my hair was all blasted back and there was ice all over my face and in my hair. I wish I got a picture! It was actually pretty fun, no lie.

You are hilarious for talking to Rodenberg Choro's mom all the time. I get along with him way good. If I'm able to go to BYU it would be sick to room with him I think.

So if you are sending a package I only have one deodorant and toothpaste left. Plus did I tell you about a voice recorder? Other than that I am pretty good on stuff. I love you!!!

Mara's seminary sounds awesome. There is definitely protection and prepared people ready for missionaries. You just have to be righteous and ready yourself. Hearing that makes me think of missionary Mara someday hahaha! Crazy at the zone taikai we watched this video from Elder Nelson talking about the number of missionaries going from 59,000 to 70,000 and half of them being sisters. Also the chances of me becoming a trainer someday are way high. whoo!

Haha I remember making that thing for auto (a video we saw at the high school registration.) I didn't know I was in the Madrigals one though. Make sure Mara doesn't go too crazy with stuff in High School, but I'm excited for her! Also I wanna see a picture of the bookshelf. We have pretty much cleaned the apartment here so much I swear I know it better than my own room back home. Today I found all these really old flyers and For the Strength of Youth pamphlets from the 70's in Japanese.

I wish I could send you a real live hug too! You are the greatest and I know that through striving to find God's hand in your life more you will receive even more blessings :) I love you!

Hutchinson Choro

Me with the Fujitas (ward missionaries, they are my heroes)

Eniwa choros at the festival

Ise shrine sculpture - huge

Weird head at the snow festival

Dinner at Suguira's

Suguira family

Me and Ofuji kyoudai

Haramai dinner and fondue

Sunday, February 3, 2013

2/3/13 My comp baptizes a kid in the ward and two in a row splits

Hey! You can call this message... My comp baptizes a kid in the ward and two in a row splits...

P-day was a chill p-day for once, which I actually really love. We just sat around and played guitar a lot. Rodenberg Choro is actually looking into the media music program when he gets back and we talk about making music together a bunch after we get home. We just had another good jam session just barely haha. Speaking of which I really want a voice recorder. He always records his letters and sends them and it is way faster and you can put so much more in! Plus he sends back songs he records too. Tuesday was splits with him and it was way fun to just talk with him, hear his advice, and just see a new dendo style. We also found an Adele CD attached to a tree... hahah we decided to keep it and it's just sitting on Rodenberg Choro's desk right now since we can't listen to it. I also taught a pretty cool lesson to this lady in her doorway all by myself and I was pretty proud of it haha. Eikaiwa that night was pretty crazy. Two new people came, one of them being Haramai Shimai's husband which is way sweet. We separated into two classes which is something we have been talking about doing for a long time so more people can come.

On Wednesday we went to this way far out area on a bus and it was WAY covered in snow because the snow removal doesn't really go out there. It was fun though. Thursday was splits with Fukuyama Choro and it was way bomb. He is from Okinawa and is going home in four weeks. We talked a ton and he gave me a bunch of advice. Okinawa sounds like an amazing place and I want to go wayy bad haha. It is the warmest part of Japan in the very south. We also taught a pretty awesome lesson that day as well to a lady I found the time I went on splits with Davis Choro. Friday was planning and visited some prospective investigators in Megumino.

Saturday was the day that Ishiga Choro baptized the kid in the ward who turned 8 named Kei kun. We went to his birthday party and played some games with the kids and ate a ton of food. Then at the baptism we had one investigator come, but Ishiga Choro didn't tell him that it was a baptism, just an activity so we had to explain everything to him as it was going. Haha oh well. He is still pretty cool and we went out to eat afterwards. Sunday was way fun too. It was fast Sunday and the lesson in gospel doctrines was on the creation. I love gospel doctrines by the way. Do you have the book? You should read it. I really love the Lorenzo Snow book too. He is a way cool guy. Also two gaijins from Russia (from USA living in Russia) came to church because they were on vacation. We also got Yuuta kun (Hatanaka Shimai's kid) to come to church too. At testimony meeting Haramai Shimai bore her testimony and it blew me away. She is so strong it is crazy. I felt the spirit a toooon. I'm so excited for her and her family as always haha. Have you found any recipes for her? This is probably my 2nd to last p-day in Eniwa. Crazy. Also that night we had a party at one of the member's houses for this Japanese tradition called mamemaki where you throw beans at people with ogre masks on to bring fortune into your house. I won the rock paper scissors tournament, so I got to throw the beans. It is a pretty cool thing hahaha. Also I decided to give "taking my camera around anywhere just because" a try, and took a ton of pictures.

So things sound awesome back home. The girls are cute as usual. Have I told you about the bishop's family? Way cute kids. The littlest one finally talks! haha Sounds like Adam and Mara are having a good time too. So crazy Jameson is out already and Mara is doing the talent show too. Caitlin is going to Romania I think - haha I dunno. That's way scary about Jacob's accident, but I'm glad he didn't get hurt. Definitely protected. Speaking of which I've been reading this book called Our Heritage about the early saints, and it has a ton of stories about people being protected.

We are actually singing a bunch of stuff today at the honbu for this party for a previous missionary. Ahhhh.... I don't want to get transferred, but at the same time I do because I love this ward and area so much, but I want to see what the rest of the mission is like. We will see what happens next week on the 14th! So it is way icy here. It was super warm for a few days and then just all frozen again. That sounds way tough the lights are frozen though hahaha. The Snow Festival is starting today, but we are going to see it on Thursday after zone conference! I love you tons and am grateful for this work and for the testimony and strength I am receiving!!!

Hutchinson Choro

The Eniwa Choros with Kei kun

Our apartment building - we're on the first floor


More Snow!

YM from the ward at Kei's party

Two of the bishop's kids