Monday, March 25, 2013

3/24/13 I went to HAKODATE!

I went to HAKODATE!!!!!!!!!!! Also it was awesome.

I hope things are going way good. Well it seems like they are! I have had an awesome week. I'm so excited for all the new missionaries! Most of all I'm excited for the new missionaries coming to Sapporo next transfer, not gonna lie... Also Adam! Crazy proud of him. I remember about this time last year being crazy giddy and telling everyone how excited I was about having my call. Thanks a TON for telling me about everything back home though! I'm really proud of Mara with her friend Emily as well. That's crazy cool! :) I'll bet she is starting to feel the missionary spirit quite a bit. Good luck on the taxes! Crazy to believe it's almost Easter time already though. Most Japanese people haven't even heard of Easter actually. I hope I'll have lots of time to think of how great the atonement is and how through it we can overcome death and return to our Heavenly Father as well. Sounds like Dave had a good birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! You're the best big brother ever. I'm really excited to see the Gandy's and tell them thanks again if you have a chance!

So my week was pretty big! Last week on P-day after finishing music practice we had a pizza party and I ate way too much. Costco pizza. Good stuff. After that we went home and met this guy named Ono who loves feeding missionaries! We taught him a little bit which was a little tricky because he initially was only interested in feeding us, but we taught him about baptism and he said it is something that he'd want so that was really cool. The next day in the morning we went to teach Arai with a member named Kurami who is way awesome and strong and close to Arai in age. We taught the doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, etc) and he accepted everything. He also accepted the modern day prophets. He wants to get baptized so bad. We just need him to have time on Sunday to come to church. After that we taught Nakagawa who is a member referral and way awesome. We have taught him a bit and he is pretty strong. Not quite sure on whether God is there or not, but once he gets that confirmation he'll progress WAY fast because he understands the doctrine really well. He just needs the faith. That time we taught him the restoration and Joseph Smith. After that we tried to visit some other invs that weren't home then did lots of phone dendo.

Wednesday was an interesting day. It was kind of a big inv exchange with the sisters that are in the area called Odori which covers all of Sapporo. We spent time with them visiting the people we wanted to "exchange". After that we housed a bunch of apartments and met some cool people that used to be investigators. Then we had Eikaiwa and quite a bit of new people came! Way fun and good lesson. Thursday was the ZTM that Yamashita Choro came to. He is from the quorum of the 70 and is WAY cool. He spoke in English the whole time, but it wasn't for us gaijin missionaries, it was for the nihonjin missionaries to show them an example of working hard to learn English! He taught so much amazing stuff to us and it was way fun. I actually went to the Odori zone's ZTM instead of the Hakodate zone because they needed me to play the guitar for the musical number. Because of that I went on splits with my zone leader Olsen Choro. He is a boss and went to USU as well. He played the clarinet in the number. I felt the spirit so strong in the ZTM. Yamashita Choro spoke with so much power and actually reminded me a lot of Pres. Uchtdorf. It was also really fun to meet the missionaries in the other half of the mission. I've now officially met everyone in the mission at least right now. Yamashita Choro focused a lot on member relations, the younger generation, referrals, and lots of other really important things like how the doctrine of Christ ties into everything we do.

After ZTM I went on splits in Higashi which means "east" because it's the east part of Sapporo. It's the zone leader's area. I went with Hatch Choro who was the AP when I came to Japan. We just dendo'd for two hours, but it was really cool and fun. He is going home next transfer. That night we slept over in the Higashi apt and I got to hang out with Sasaki Choro a lot who is from my MTC group and I get along with him waaay good. Anyways the next morning I had to wake up at 5 to make the train to HAKODATE!!! I went with Olsen Choro and the train ride took a little over 3 hours, but it was WAY pretty! Would've been even better if there wasn't so much snow, but still sooo amazing... I'll put lots of pictures on. Anywho we got to Hakodate and rode on this little tram (kinda like in San Francisco, Hakodate has them everywhere) and while waiting met a really awesome high school girl who goes to a Christian school and ended up being WAY interested in the message. We were pretty suprised how interested actually. We passed her on to the Hakodate sisters to teach when they get back. After that I ate a GIANT hamburger at this store that's only in Hakodate called Lucky Pierrot. It was way big and good. Then we went to dendo and had a blast. There are so many cool people in Hakodate and it was really fun with Olsen Choro, because he used to be in Hakodate for 4 transfers. We visited some of his old investigators and one of them fed us! His name was Mikami and he was so cool. He is married with a way cute little kid. I totally forgot to take a picture. He wants to get baptized so bad. He's only been taught the first two lessons and word of wisdom, but he researched the church online and has such a strong testimony he wants to get baptized sooner with his family! He also liked me a ton because of my good Japanese. He wanted me to come back to Hakodate when he gets baptized hahaa.

After that we taught Hakodate's eikaiwa (which is the reason we came. the Hakodate missionaries had to go to their ZTM that day) and it was super fun. The members there are really strong as well. The next morning we woke up at 5 again with plans to eat this thing called the odori ika before the train left. Odori means dance (different from the Odori area) and ika means squid. Yes. It is eating a squid while it is still alive. I wanted to do it so bad because squid is one of my favorite foods. We got on the tram to go there and I met another cool guy who said he was going back to Sapporo that day too and he wanted to come with us to eat the odori ika. We went to the fish market, but the odori ika part wasn't open until later so he told us he would take us to a close by seafood place and pay for us. He was way cool! He had fluent English and lots of crazy stories about being in America. He wasn't very interested in the message, but knew a ton about it and us and respected us a ton. It was an incredible experience having someone spend around 40 dollars on you even though they just met you on the tram. After that we headed back to Toyohira where there was a wedding party for a member who got married in the temple. So much like an American wedding hahaha. Lots of great Okinawa and Hokkaido food though! Then we had a lesson with this kid who is 19 and a member of a church called toitsu from Korea. He doubts its teachings quite a bit and wants to hear how we think. A member who barely got back from his mission teamed up. After that we went to eat soup curry with the member we helped shovel snow before. Crazy day with lots of food! Sunday was great! Had missionary coordination meeting before church and Nakagawa came to church! He had a really good time and afterwards we taught him the doctrine of Christ and he understood it way well. After that was planning session and phone dendo! What a full week. There is so much of the Lord's work to do here it is overwhelming at times, but I'm glad He's pushing me forward to the places I need to be.

Hutchinson Choro

View on the train

Hamburger at lucky Pierrot

waiting for the tram in Hakodate

Squid that Sasaki bought us! He also bought us bowls of seafood donburi which is just seafood on rice. I got crab, shrimp, and sea urchin

Me, Olsen Choro, and Sasaki

Wedding party

Way cute kids at the wedding

Sunday, March 17, 2013

3/17/13 "The blessings are literally too many to handle"

Hey! This week was pretty fun as well. A bit hectic though. We are having so much success it's overwhelming haha. We have 7 people with baptismal dates. I want to tell you about 'em all, but it'll be long! I'll try to say a little about each of them.
We have Arai who is an 80+ years old man, but one of the most energetic and happy people ever. Elder Stilson found him housing and he has a huge desire to follow God and go to a good place after he dies. He said that when we meet with him he knows we're from God. He reads the Book of Mormon every day until his eyes hurt and he has to stop (which is usually just 2 or 3 pages, but still!). He is a boss.

Next is Akimoto who is a girl in her 30s that a previous missionary found on Christmas by saying Merry Christmas!! when they found her housing. She wants to get religion to help bless her family and do know how to be a better person. She is way funny and nice and really interested in what we have to say.

Aoyama is a guy around 45 that the last missionary found housing who has read the Book of Mormon 3 times. He has a problem with the word of wisdom, but he wants to do all the things God commands. He is trying hard to overcome alcohol and tobacco and in the past kept it for 2 weeks.

Aida is amazing. He 22 and is a self referral which means that he came to Church on his own because he has a friend at work who is a member he looks up to. He is really interested in God and being a better person and loves playing basketball with us on Friday.

Ueda is awesome and I think he is an old investigator that we revived. He really looks up to Jesus Christ and reads the bible and prays everyday. He is in his 30s as well and is really chill, but way nice. We are working on getting him to read the Book of Mormon on his own and understand the importance of the restoration.

Kunii is a way nice 19 yr old girl that we found housing an apartment. She has a 4 month old baby and loves her like crazy. She is really interested in strengthening her family as it grows and having a relationship with God.

Last is Tsuruya who is an older lady who is really nice and thinks what we are doing as missionaries is really impressive. She has really strong faith that people need to trust in God to become better people and she wants to help her family know it as well.

We have quite a bit of other really strong investigators as well! The only thing that is kinda tough with just about everybody right now is that it's hard to meet consistently with them, but otherwise they are all amazing. If we could just meet and get good lessons with them I am pretty sure they would have baptismal dates too. We want to make Eikaiwa stronger and get better relationships with the members too, but our hands are super full! I'm way sure Toyohira will become a 4 man area next transfer.
It's kinda hard to write everything in just the time we have, but there are TONS of miracles it's not even funny!

Sunday school sounds like you did a great job! Was it fun? I think it seems like a WAY fun calling. Make sure to have fun and that's when it will become easy I think :) You have been doing lots with work and chores and all that great stuff! There is a phrase in Japanese called Otsukaresamadesu and it means "you are a hard worker". I wish there was a phrase like it in English hahaha. Sounds like a fun baby shower and Lauren looks like a mom already :D In a good way of course. I can't believe David's birthday is coming up so soon already! That's awesome. Doing anything fun? Glad that the car is getting fixed. I'm just worried that one of the other parts would break as well because it's just getting old in general. I want to hear about the missionary activity that Mara had!

I did hear about being able to email friends, but I honestly have no time. I don't even have time to write any letters. A couple people emailed me already. The recorder has no possible way to connect to computer. I still don't know if I should send it back. I can deal with not having one I just think it'd make it more efficient to tell you all the things you want to hear about the week plus make it easier for me to keep a journal which I am not very good at.

Mike Connelly and Marquie are out this week??? NICE! I'm way stoked. I'm glad people are thinking about me and I'm really happy for them as well. The missionaries are coming over? Feed them something really healthy. Stuff with grease doesn't give you that much dendo energy. You need like really wheaty stuff and vegetables and lean meat. Yeah.

So this week was Monday; shoveled snow for a non-attending for 2 hours! Made piles and piles higher than my head. He was way cool and we are going out to eat ramen another day. Before that we cleaned the apartment and I tried to organize stuff. Tuesday was a DTM where the AP's came so I got to practice with Hansen Choro a bunch which was pretty nostalgic. It was a great workshop about using the Book of Mormon. After that we got home and had a lesson with Aoyama. Then we did a bit of dendo, actually a lot. Wednesday we met with Arai in the morning and after him we had to run to the church to make it on time to Aida's lesson at the church. After that we went to eat all that you can eat Indian food with an Eikaiwa student who is a boss. After that we had a lesson with Aoyama scheduled, but he ended up not being able to come so we chilled with the soon to be missionary who was going to team up with us. Then we had Eikaiwa which was pretty fun, but not as energetic as usual. A new person came who found the Eikaiwa online. From a member we found out that Toyohira's Eikaiwa used to be 40+ people! I wish we could make it like that again. Thursday we had DKK and lots of calling investigators to try to make appointments. Then we went out to dendo for a bit. Friday we had a lesson with a member referral named Nakagawa who is way cool. About 30. Has really good taste in music and clothes. He really loves how the church is like a big family. He actually has a bit of a social illness where he is not good at making connections with people, but we have done pretty well with him so far. We also met with the Shimai in the area for a bit and exchanged some investigators we thought would be better being taught by them. After that we ate and went to the sports activity where I ripped on of my pairs of pants way bad, but it's all right because no one noticed :) That night I went back to the apartment with Elder Stout on splits. His bean area was Eniwa and his 2nd companion was Hansen Choro so we had a ton to talk about hahaha. We had a blast teaching Tsuruya and doing a bunch of finding. I also found out that next weekend I get to go to Hakodate on extra long splits! It's the southernmost part of Hokkaido and way famous for being fun, pretty, and delicious. I'm crazy stoked. Yesterday was Stake conference and it was AWESOME!! Guess who spoke??? Haramai Shimai!!! She did way good and talked on her conversion and I was way moved. She is crazy powerful. It was also mega fun to see all the people from Eniwa again. After that we visited Ueda in the hospital and then went and had two meals in a row with members. The Tanjis and the Oouchis. So good. So stuffed. Oh man. Great though! Today we have music practice and not tons of time ;( Should still be an awesome day though!

I love you tons and know this gospel and work is God's! Nothing can stop it from progressing quickly and filling the whole Earth. I used to think that prepared people were impossible to find, but as we believe it happens and the blessings are literally too many to handle! :D

Hutchinson Choro

Sunday, March 10, 2013

3/10/13 Teaching people about BAPTISM! :D

So this week was a blast! By the way we made and ate the pizza yesterday and it was crazy good. (Elder Stilson used to work at a pizza place and loves it a ton) It didn't bring me into a craze to want to eat more American food or anything, but it was really fun to make and eat. I wish you could taste the food here. I have been eating this one food called natto for breakfast almost everyday. Raw fish are also some of the most delicious things ever. The other food was great too especially the candy eggs. I'm usually pretty loaded with candy by the people here though so don't go too crazy if you want to send candy again ;)

I didn't even realize that it was time change time. The snow here is just getting taller and taller :D What do you mean you want extra hours? (Mom wished for more hours in the day) If that's the case I'm way happy you're liking your job! Sounds like stuff is way busy over there. I didn't know both plays were going on. Glad everyone did well though! Also I'm probably forgetting English or something, but "He was supposed to be a doofus windbag and the play was a farce" didn't make any sense to me... :s Not really, but that sentence made me laugh! Congrats to Alyssa! I'm looking forward to the photos. What shower invites were you getting ready? Max? I'm glad you were able to make it through all that busy-ness though! That's exciting for Lauren's new car and I don't know what to say about Mr. Miyagi (his old car) still... haha. I wish I could've seen how your first lesson went! I bet it was way good! I'm learning about teaching so much it's crazy. My advice is to get the class involved as much as possible and do discussions and stuff. Your missionary experience sounds so cool too even though it's small! I'm way happy and have been praying for you to be able to find little things like that. I read in True to the Faith this morning under missionary work and it describes our duty as members way simply and good I thought.

Kurashige Shimai who made the calligraphy is a member in Eniwa. I felt like she was my grandma while I was there; she is way awesome and strong. That's insane that the Gandy's are visiting! Whoa!!! I'll be excited for that package if things work out. Thanks for all the cool missionary news too! 8 missionaries? Championship! That's all I have to say haha :D

This weeks dendo was super great. Monday was a lot of busy people that couldn't meet, but we got a referral from a member that's way strong who we are going to teach on Tuesday. We met him at an activity and since we're both kinda new we didn't know whether he was a member or not, but afterwards he told his friend he wanted to learn about the church from us. Tuesday we had district meeting and then taught some awesome lessons. We also visited some way cool members and just had a great time. There is a family in the ward called the Oouchis and they are way fun. 3 little boys with lots of energy. This ward is so cool I can't get over it. Wednesday was Eikaiwa and visiting a bunch of cool appointments and making new investigators. Thursday we got a little sick, but it was ok because we had weekly planning so we stayed in and did that and dendo'd for just a little bit outside, but took it pretty easy. The next day we felt a lot better and dendo'd a bunch. We met some way funny little kids that talked to us a bunch and were way funny. Saturday was back to Kiyota that was pretty fun. We also helped some members shovel snow, ate lots of food with them, and then repeated with some other members. Sunday was a lot of fun too. At church we had some way good lessons and then after church put lunch and dinner into 2 hours right after church in order to have more time to visit some investigators that night. That's also the only way we would've been able to make pizza too.

Anyways in all of that we got 4 investigators to commit to prepare for baptism and I'm pretty excited for all of them! I'm so happy about this work and how full of miracles and amazingness that it is. The coolest thing is that it's all about what we do. We decide to be happy and we decide to be successful. It's really that simple also long as we have the Lord on our side holding us up. You are the best!

Hutchinson Choro
Here we have mordor tower (in Atsubetsu)



Stilson Choro

Yukio san, the cool kinjin who moved to Kobe

Sunday, March 3, 2013

3/3/13 Having fun in blizzards...

Having fun in blizzards, splits again, and kinjins moving to Kobe

So that's my title for this email I guess. Livy looks like she had the most spoiled party ever hahaha. That picture of the table? I thought it was someone's wedding at first! Crazy haha. For some reason I thought she was 2 but that's awesome she is 1! I feel like time goes by faster where you are than here. Thanks for the pictures and speaking of which the package came right as I got to the honbu! The picture chain you made is awesome! It is kinda funky and really big so I don't know if I'll be able to hang it up. Great pictures though! If you have any others you can just send them over email please. Thanks! Also the recorder you got me seems really spiffy, but I don't think it can connect to the computer... :( The food looks really great too especially the pizza and cake stuff that will be a blast! There is tons of hot cocoa here and more handwarmers than 30 missionaries could ever use so if you want to send a package again we're probably good on those. :) You are so awesome and eventually I will figure out how to send packages to you. Kurashige shimai back in Eniwa made you a "eternal families" Japanese calligraphy thing that I need to send eventually. I still haven't even gotten my American money changed to yen haha.

That is way crazy about Lily! I can't imagine that at all, but I'll pray for her to be all right. I'm way glad for Brian Koji. That sounds awesome. Lots of other parties sound fun. Doesn't anybody study around there? hahaha just kidding. Adam's play sounds interesting and not going to lie, but the pictures are a little funny. Glad he's doing great though. Super exciting for Lauren. Every time I think of Max I think of how he's probably going to steal my birthday... Haha.

So this week! Yeah! Monday was just music practice at the honbu. That day dendo was just walking through lots and lots of snow and not being able to meet with anyone. Snow here is crazy, but it is not that cold. Really. Tuesday was Zone Training meeting where we learned about study in the morning and how to make it more effective. It was pretty good actually. I got to see the Eniwa Elders again and it was pretty fun. Afterwards we ate at a Chinese buffet and I talked with the new Eniwa people and heard about some people that I found there that are starting to make progress which is way awesome. That day I went on splits with one of the zone leaders Olsen Choro and we had a pretty good time getting lost because I still don't know the area at all hahaha. We talked lots and shared lots of advice. We also taught this kinda crazy old lady who actually came to church yesterday. Wednesday was visiting some non-attendings, finding, and teaching this awesome family we have named the Matsumotos. The mom is way awesome and way interested and wants to be baptized, but only if she can together with her family. The husband really likes us, but isn't really interested in the gospel at the time, but we know his heart will soften as we keep going and don't push too hard. They have a 7 year old daughter named Haruka who is also really interested and loves hearing about God and praying. Then we had Eikaiwa and it was awesome. Then I met up with the district leader and his companion and went on splits with him. He is Finnish and named Palomaki Choro. It felt like I was dendoing with Andrew hahaha. That was way fun and I got to sleep in Atsubetsu's apartment which is way huge. I also taught their Eikaiwa which was interesting teaching two days in a row haha.

Thursday was an interesting day. Taught some non-attendings and found a new investigator, but Stilson Choro was having a bit of a hard time so we came home a bit early. That night we went to sports night in Atsubetsu and played ping pong with a cool investigator named Aida. Did I not tell you about Stilson Choro? He is a boss convert who is 22 I think. His parents are divorced and he has various step parents who aren't very supportive. He is awesome though. It's hard to just talk about him, but he's insanely funny and dendo has become a lot more fun since becoming his comp :D Saturday was great. Also insane blizzard. We taught a new investigator, did lots of finding, and walked through the crazy blizzard to eat sushi with our kinjin Matsushita. Unfortunately last week his son died and stuff was way crazy so he has to move to Kobe, but he is still super interested and we had a really good talk over sushi. The missionaries in Kobe will continue to teach him. He is the guy who is fluent in English and lived in America. He is great and we miss him a ton. Yesterday was a baptism for the sister missionaries here and it was way awesome. The super old lady also came to church and had a blast. The lady who got baptized was super nice and had a crazy strong testimony. It was a great meeting and the spirit was really strong. 10 missionaries plus Evans Shimai came to visit as well so that was cool. I bore my testimony about why I came on my mission and the power of the priesthood in priesthood meeting and it was awesome. The rest of Sunday was our weekly planning that we usually do earlier in the week, but it ended up getting moved to that day. So that's my week! Way fun.

I love you and there are miracles happening here faster than I can count! It's all because of hard work so I know the same can happen for you at home! Don't forget it! See ya next week!
Hutchinson Choro