HEY!!! Thank you! Tanjoubi omedetou is right :) Oh wow! That's crazy that Max hasn't been born yet. I mean chances are he's been born now, but I'm still excited. There are no special birthday songs here. Just the regular songs translated plus the traditional birthday song with sweet Japanese accents (happee bas-day tsu yu) and stuff like that. To answer a question, the cake I got from the Kuramis was chocolate. I can't believe I am 20. I don't really feel like it and I forgot it was my birthday until I found a cool origami shirt that Inumaki Choro made for me on my desk. I'm so proud to be your son as well and am grateful for your support and love and example. The prayers are so incredibly helpful as well. Thank you and I love you!!! I have a letter I will send next week with a reply to the priests quorum as well.
Nemuro is still awesome. It is really cool to be re-opening this area after a long time, but a lot of the times it doesn't feel much different from any other area. Just that we don't have Eikaiwa yet and there aren't as many members to get to know. It is so great though and I'm grateful the Lord trusts us and has prepared us for the people here.
With conference I only had to watch the first session in Japanese. Afterwards a member let me use their laptop with headphones to watch the rest. I was surprised how much I did understand in Japanese actually. Probably took the most notes then out of all of it. The translation is pretty much just the basics of what happens in the talks. Not going to lie the general authorities use some pretty hard English hahaha. I got tons out of it though. It is cool as a missionary because all the time you are thinking of what you can do for the area and your investigators especially as you study and do stuff like watch conference. I really liked how they focused on member missionary work and happy family relationships etc. Way good. I think these are the things that we need to do to get more people into the gospel and baptism. With those strong family examples and desire to share them I think the work will go faster and faster all over the world.
Lauren really is a basketball! Wow! Looking forward to Wednesday for her! It is actually pretty clear here. Not too much rain. The wind is still very cold though. I don't think it ever gets *hot* here, but that's ok. That's great for Adam and his papers progressing! Sounds like everyone has been busy! I hope you did great on your Sunday School lesson! Have you been trying to involve the class a lot lately? I feel like in gospel classes if the teacher just kind of leads and everyone teaches each other the spirit can come more fully. That is one thing I've been learning and thinking about lately in my teaching and noticed from good lessons that I've had up to now in my mission. Don't worry and the spirit will help you out. You are probably way more prepared than you think! That's wild that the stake presidency is changing! I can't believe that. I don't have any memory of a Stake President besides President Nordgren. I wonder what he will do next. I also wonder who will release me when I get back! He did so much great work and it was really a privilege to be in the stake with him.
Thanks for the happy wishes from the ward! I love them all and am excited for all the great work that is going to happen there as well!!!
So this week was a bit of continuing gathering things for the house and also searching for old investigators. We also had our first district meeting which was... Over the phone! It was pretty interesting. Very different, but still had a great experience. It is kinda sad to not be able to mingle with the other missionaries, but we still fulfill the purpose and get a lot out of it spiritually. We have been finding investigators new and old through all sorts of methods, but mostly by NEVER STOPPING FINDING whenever and wherever. Old phone numbers, on the street, houses, stores everywhere. It is so great. I love talking to and meeting people, but I love best when you can just tell that the people are prepared and when they listen. I am really wanting to work harder and harder to help them understand and think of the importance of the gospel. The members here are so willing to help as well. The district president Ozawa kaicho is in our branch and even though he is busy and has 6 kids (newest born Saturday morning) he is so strong and helpful to us. The members have been so fast and willing to help team up with us in lessons. We have also been working with members by meeting at their houses and praying with them before we go out to find in their neighborhoods. It is so great and cool and you really get power from the branch like that. Also we run when we find to use our time more effectively and that is way fun too. One interesting thing I noticed is that the people that are hardest to contact are usually the most prepared (farthest away from the path you're going, etc.)
We also had splits with the Kushiro missionaries and when they came we ate dinner at the Ozawa's house. They are way amazing and their kids are super fun too. The have a son who is 15 and just got into high school who was way happy that missionaries finally came back to Nemuro. We ate sukiyaki (a lot) and had a blast. On splits I went with Ogata Choro who was in the same apt as me in Eniwa on my 3rd transfer. It was pretty fun and we did lots of housing and made lots of appointments to come back and share a message! We also taught a great lesson to an investigator with Ozawa Kaicho and I learned a lot about the importance of asking questions to get investigators thinking and to know by the spirit what they need to hear. Also learned that at night if you go to the supermarket the sushi and tempura becomes insanely cheap (like 3 dollars for 12 rolls) Anyways that was fun. Saturday was just general conference and so was Sunday, but then we went to visit non-attending members with another member which was cool even though no one was home. We did meet a lady whose son is a member and used to live in Nemuro who was way happy to see us and wanted to feed us really bad. We couldn't go into her house because there were only two of us, but we will be able to come again and teach her. We also taught a lesson to a Filipino that we found! She speaks no Japanese and we teach her in English, but she is way strong. She is good friends with the Ozawa's and is also Catholic and believes in Jesus Christ really strongly, but she is really open to hear our beliefs and was really intrigued about the restoration. She has two kids who are awesome as well and is married to a Japanese guy who is very nice as well! We'll probably be able to teach him too.
That is about it though! I feel like I write so much some times. I might as well not even keep a journal hahah! Well if I find a voice recorder eventually I could just record little by little everyday and spend less time on the computer, but there doesn't seem to be any place to get that here. I'll just keep going normal for now! Thanks a ton and as always I love you!!! Tell me about your missionary work too!
Aishiteimasu! Hutchinson Choro