Sunday, July 28, 2013

7/28/13 I Love Nemuro!

Nope! Didn't remember pioneer day at all! Wow haha. Glad you had fun! We actually did a bit of sparklers with Okuchi and Yuka as well. We got some pretty sweet shapes! Nice job with my name haha!

I'm really excited for everyone back home though. Max growing up fast, etc. Make sure Adam reads that packet a lot! Sounds like he has a good mission president! Definitely read the bike safety stuff carefully. Yeah I don't know if there's a specific album from Sufjan, but Andersen E(lder... we usually write it like this to save time. It's at the end because that's usually where choro goes. The ne I put at the end is Japanese that is getting into my English. it means like, right? or something like that) had a track called Holy, holy which was cool too. Other than that What Child Is This was way awesome. I did get the letter from dad! I actually have gotten a decent amount of mail lately. That's way tough about Adam (and the windshield), but I'm glad he was okay. Probably surprised ne. I hope nothing else breaks soon. Super exciting for him to go to the temple too. Do you have the preparing to enter the temple pamphlet? I tried to do a bit to prepare for going, but I wish I would've read that.
Yuka and Ayako (the Okuchi's) are doing way awesome! They came to church all 3 hours yesterday and are loving it more and more each time. I'm also enjoying primary myself.
Miracles are too many to count! But I'll summarize some up for you here in a second. DKK is weekly planning session (douryou keikaku kai) and a matsuri is a Japanese festival.

So is missing apricot season ;)

The Okuchi's have a really strong baptismal date on the 17th of next month! We'd do it the week before, but there's a big matsuri that weekend. Yuka is really good at praying it's crazy. Way better than I was at 8. Ayako is getting better too. They have been reading together every night as well and we are trying to help them out to understand what they read more. A lot of times we end up playing with them for maybe more than half the time then getting into lesson mode, but Ayako has talked to Yuka a lot about paying attention in lessons etc and she has gotten way better! That's made Ayako really happy too. They also came to eikaiwa last Friday! Oh man, 13 people came and it was way cool. I had 8 people in my beginner class. Can't believe that we started this from scratch. So cool.

Kawashima was a little bit sick last time we went to Betsukai, but she still made some time to talk with us about her concerns and also the word of wisdom which she looked up online. We did a lot of encouraging her. After the lesson I prayed and she just started talking about how when she looks at us, she knows that we are pure for following God. We promised her that through Jesus Christ she could be too. I just hope that she can feel it strong enough! We have had some ideas about doing sacrament meeting for the members out there since it is so far. There are a lot of non-attendings plus the Itou family that it'd probably be a big help to! Here are the highlights of the week! Monday Andersen E and I did purikura again (see photo) and taught Okuchi's about baptism. Tuesday we went out to lunch with a deaf non-attending! She was way funny and made us eat a lot. I am getting better at Japanese sign language little by little. Later we had a lesson with the guy who met missionaries 40 years ago we are starting to see that the reason he might not have progressed is praying about the Book of Mormon so hopefully we:ll be able to strengthen him and help him to do so! We also found the coolest guy ever named Tatsuya. He looked really mean, and kinda gangsterish (but in the Japanese sense) at first, but then he started asking us lots of questions and was really friendly! He even let us barbecue with him in front of his house! He isn't super interested in God in particular, but he is very willing to listen and wants to hang out more. It was cool to see him transform in just a few minutes. He is about 23 and has a wife and newborn baby boy. So awesome.

Wednesday was a day of lots of finding and doing fireworks/lesson with Okuchi. Thursday DKK and going to a kinda far-out place called Horomoshiri and met some way nice people there. One lady had an interesting thing in her doorway and I complimented it and she practically forced me to take it! It's decorating our apartment now ;) Friday was a little bit spread out. We met a way cool lady who went to eikaiwa 15 years ago when she was 7 and still remembers us! She was way happy to see us haha we also met with this nice old couple Inumaki E and I found earlier and they talked a bunch. We also had epic-eikaiwa that day! Saturday we went to Betsukai and it turns out the Itou family's phone broke so we couldn't go to the farm. We just did lots of finding and WOW Betsukai people are way nice/really happy to see Americans/impressed. Made lots of good potential investigators/eikaiwa students. I can see a branch there someday not too far away. Sunday was awesome church with the Okuchis and finding in a far-ish area. Way great week. I love this work and I love Nemuro! I want to stay here for 2 more transfers... I hope kaicho lets me!
I love you tons and am excited for all the great stuff that you're going to do!

Work hard!
Hutchinson Choro

Doing sparklers

The shell boat decoration I got

Purikura - a Japanese-style photo booth

Sunday, July 21, 2013

7/21/13 A pretty awesome week here in Nemuro, and Kushiro, and Obihiro!

Hey thanks for sending everything right away! Glad the stuff in the kitchen is going well and it'll be really cool when it's all done and the rubble is cleared out. Nice to have a lot of help there too. Too bad there aren't any like, less actives in our house or something because that'd be a good thing to invite missionaries over to do! Have fun at all the farewells tomorrow and good luck with Gospel Doctrine! I went to primary yesterday. I'll tell you about that later! Glad Adam's stuff (for the mission) is getting found! You found Uniclo!?!? Where? Was it just online? That might be why they don't have short sleeves. The ones here in Japan are amazing. Ohhh randomly while I remember there is some music I want you to try to find and send to me. Sufjan Stevens has a good amount of Christmas music/hymns that he has done in his style that's really cool. Andersen Choro has some and if you couldn't find that/any other music like that I'd be way happy. Also there is a cd called Nearer: a collection of favorite hymns and it is amazing. It has a lot of local people from Utah that I really like including the old bassist from Fictionist I was friends with. Music is something I am kinda always wanting a little more variety in haha.

Glad you liked the photos! Actually Yuka's dad ran away before she was born so it's just her and her mom. Kawashima is the one who we want the husband to support her. They are all amazing though.

That's tough about Uncle Merril, but I know whatever happens I'm grateful for the plan of salvation as well. Grandpa Price is definitely someone who helped me get a strong testimony in it for myself. Sharayah is a crazy name. :) Thanks for the pictures of my nieces and nephew always. I feel like I won't be surprised at all when I get home because I see how they grow every week hahaha.

That's way awesome Zach Nordfelt and Aaron are back! It felt like they left such a long time ago haha. Glad you got to hear from Sis Gandy too! I was thinking about that time meeting them this morning and how much I want to come back here like they got to...

So this week!
We kinda moved p-day and Wednesday around because of travel stuff, so on Monday after email we did some finding and visiting of PIs that I found on splits the week before. We also stopped by *I's* to see how he was and try to schedule an appointment with him, but he was so happy to see us he let us in and made us eat a bunch of candy. We taught a bunch about coming to church and praying etc because we want to get him back into full on lesson teaching mode. In the middle of that we *accidentally* found out that he has a law of chastity problem when we asked him what movies he's been watching lately. We testified to him pretty strongly about the law of chastity and its importance in feeling the spirit etc. He seemed a little bit overwhelmed, but it was kinda spur of the moment. In the end I think he was pretty good though because he called later in the week and asked when we could come again. That night was a pretty big fireworks show out over the pier by our house. We went there to try to shizen dendo people in the big crowd and got approached/approached a lot of pretty fun people. Invited lots of people to eikaiwa. Tuesday we visited the people Andersen Choro found on splits and then did some finding which was cool. Found a guy who met missionaries 30 years ago and still remembers their names and has the old-school BofM they gave him! We also met with the Edo family again and they are so cool. The daughter Rio who is 8 put the temple pass along cards we gave her over her desk. They really love it when we visit. We also gave them a hello kitty prayer card and the mom was way happy and said that she would pray for sure! Then we went to see Ishii shimai to see if there was anything we could do to help out since her husband passed away. Her son and his wife were there(not members) so we talked to them a bunch and got fed a bunch of candy by Ishii shimai (Japanese people really like doing that!) We made pretty good friends with them and referred them to the missionaries in their area! We tried to visit Okuchi again and give her this epic Book of Mormon present that we made for them, but they were at a matsuri so we couldn't see them.

Wednesday we got up early and got on a bus to Kushiro! We met with Andrus Kaicho who is the branch president in Kushiro (He's American) and he made really good friends w/ Andersen E while he was there so we went and hung out with him for a bit. Took some purikura, ate curry, played our song for him, and got our haircut. He has a professional hair cut license! He even cut my eyebrows! Looks pretty good, no lie. After that we went to visit some old investigators of Andersen E. One named Abe who is way awesome, same age as me and plays the guitar. Had a good convo with him and encouraged him a lot about reading and praying even though he has been way busy with work. After that we met Akari and her Grandma Sugimoto (Akari got baptized yesterday! She's 13) and cheered on the grandma about getting baptized as well. She wants to, but she:s way terrified of water. She also has to quit her past religion (soukagakkai, it's pretty scary) and it takes a lot of steps and stuff to do so. They were way happy to see us though and it was way fun! Thursday we had Zone conference in Obihiro! It was WAY good! Good to see other missionaries! Kaicho gave a great workshop on faith and there were other workshops about being bold, working with members, obedience, strengthening testimony, etc. Also Andersen E and I played the song we have been working on for a while at Evans Shimai's request. It was I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go in a super cool folk version with a fun harmony I made. Reminded me of something from O brother where art thou. It went way good and even President Evans complimented us a bunch on it! After that we headed back to Kushiro after shizening some people in the Obihiro eki. I contacted someone in sign language and that was way fun! We got to Kushiro and stopped by the eikaiwa there.

Friday we had study and before we left went out to eat Chinese with Andrus Kaicho again. He gave us a bunch of candy to eat on the bus back to Nemuro. We got back to Nemuro and taught our Eikaiwa which went pretty decent as well. We were pretty tired though. Saturday Andersen E's ear hurt way bad so we went to the hospital and he got some medicine for it. After that we just did DKK and then finally went over to Okuchi's to give her the Book of Mormon! We put it in a stitch (from lilo and stitch) case and marked a bunch of scriptures in there, wrote our testimonies, and put a picture of us all together that we took before. I also made a paper of all the scriptures and Andersen E put an awesome picture he drew of Stitch to help them remember to read! They loved it a ton! The scripture paper had 24 scriptures to read one a day and Yuka read them all in 2 days! After hanging out with them and teaching them about the BofM we went to eat Reimen again with an investigator named Yamagishi from a while back. It was way fun, but kinda loud in the restaurant that day so it was hard to talk gospel, but he really wants to come to eikaiwa now that he knows about it.

The next day Okuchi and Yuka came to church and were there for primary this time! They couldn't come the first hour so I taught young mens again that time. Yuka is still a bit shy in church, but she sat very still and listened the whole lesson! She even tried a bit when we sang songs. She is the cutest. I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on Pres Monson's talk about obedience. After church we walked them back to a park by their house and found out how much she loved reading the BofM and how since then her mom has gotten more into it as well. We also found out her story about having Yuka with the guy running away and how it was hard to raise her alone, but since we have come it has helped her a lot. They are way awesome and special. We got home and my back started to hurt way bad so I actually laid down the rest of the day while Andersen E work on cards for the members. I feel a lot better today though! Thanks so so much for everything as always and I'm grateful that I was able to be raised in the gospel environment. I'm super excited to help Yuka have that chance as well!
Hutchinson Choro

Sunday, July 14, 2013

7/14/13 Busy week in Nemuro - lots of photos!

The kitchen looks way sick!!!! I'm really glad you got to get all that stuff done and I bet it was way busy, but putting the effort in pays off, no? That sounds like a full and fun week! This week was insane. So cool though. I'm glad you had some fun eating German food, but I'll have to admit.. I've never liked it much. Sausage and stuff... It's all about the fish B)

I'm grateful for all the great influence I have had from you as a family. We have been doing more and more here to help open up the hearts of the people, but there is still so much we need to improve on to make sure that we can tell the message in the right way so that they understand.

I'm excited for Adam to get out there though. It'll be crazy to see him after 3+ years. There is a store here and I think it's my new favorite (well there isn't one in Nemuro... too small) but it's called uniclo and it's the best store ever. I don't know if it has a website or if there are any in America, but I recommend it. It's way reasonable as well.

So this week flows a bit like this:
Monday was a good p-day, woke up early, ran to the Jinja (shrine) by our house and took pictures, got everything else done and went to Kuruma Ishi again. This time took tons of cool pictures on top of the rock. It was pretty foggy so we couldn't see out that far, but it looked amazing. Afterwards we dendo'd that town and called it a night. Next day was DTM and dendoing an area I hadn't done before. Met some cool people. One really nice lady who owned a bar, but was really interested! I also had a conversation with a non-attending member in sign language and we set up an appointment to go eat lunch together some time. Pretty intense. Japanese sign language is awesome. That night we randomly got a call from Okuchi's daughter asking if we would come by and play for a bit so we went back and talked with them and turns out because of the hello kitty prayer card we made for her she's been praying every day! That was really cool.

Next day was splits with Inoue Choro! He is a few transfers younger than me and way awesome. Lived in Ireland and went to BYUID so is fluent in English, but we still spoke Japanese the whole time. Found some WAY cool people actually. Inoue Choro is really enthusiastic about dendo and I learned a ton from him. Oh yeah, and that morning I got a call from Nakazawa Kyoudai saying that Ishii Kyoudai died. Kinda crazy. I didn't how to react at first. Since we went on splits that day Andersen and Ogata Choro went to visit them. The sunset that night was way incredible. We ate this cold pasta called reimen at a yakiniku place for only 350 yen! Yeah boy. It was way good. Next day we stopped by the Ishii's to see Ishii Kyoudai's... self. Kinda sad, but their family was all there and it was chill. We went home and had planning after that and then I got called to give the prayer at his funeral that night. Because of that we didn't get to do the finding we planned on, but it was a great experience. The whole funeral was like a big testimony of the plan of salvation and great stuff Ishii Kyoudai did as a member. The Ozawa family sang Families Can Be Together Forever. There were a lot of non-members and a few non-attendings came too. It ended up being a great dendo method i think. I would like my funeral to be like that. Far off thought, but yeah!

The next day was Friday and it was way cool. The high school was having its festival so we decided to go because we promised pretty much every high school kid I ever contacted that we would go. It was way cool! It started off with just this parade of high school kids in different costumes. We high fived almost the entire high school as they walked by. They were all very excited to see gaijins and a lot of them even remembered my name! After that we went and watched their little dance/play things that they did and were really funny. We tried to shizen dendo (finding people through starting normal conversations) but it was really hard because no one was getting into it even though it was way hilarious. A big difference between America and Japan, no one cheers; not even for their own kids. But we still had a lot of fun and hopefully through that a lot of the high school kids and their families were able to get a good impression of us. After that we helped out at a part member:s dry cleaner. It was really hot! We folded and dried a bunch of pillow cases! After that we left a note at Okuchi's asking them if they'd come to Eikaiwa. Eikaiwa was pretty fun as usual. One new guy came who is really good! It's always fun to have new students and see class grow.

Saturday was another day in Bekkai. We went and met the mom of a member in another ward who we got as a referral. She was super nice and cool! Hopefully we'll be able to teach her more next time we come back :) We did some finding there and taught Kawashima again! She has been praying everyday AND reading the Book of Mormon! We didn't even ask her to! She even bought a cover for the Book of Mormon because she wants to take good care of it. She also looked up the church website and has been studying a lot! She wants to come to church really bad as well. We taught her lesson 3 and committed her to be baptized. She wants to when she feels ready. She has some concerns about what happens after getting baptized (responsibilities and stuff) but we explained to her the importance of coming to church and hearing all the lessons so she can know all that. Her husband isn't protesting to her meeting with us, but is a little worried about her joining as well so hopefully we'll be able to talk with him too and help those worries clear up so they can all come to church as a family! After that we high fived a bunch and went to Itou farm to MILK COWS! Way awesome. Cool experience. Back in Nemuro we stopped by Okuchi's one more time to invite them to church and they promised they would! Actually when we first came Yuka (the daughter) was crying because she didn't get to go to Eikaiwa the day before and thought that we weren't going to visit. Since we came though, she calmed down and was happy again! Before we left that night I asked her if she'd pray for us and she did, primary style!(Me whispering in her ear what to say, way way cute) Then we went home and high fived a bunch again. Sunday was a little stressful at first. We had coordination meeting and found out that only 5 people could come to the first 2 hours of church. Okuchi promised pretty sure that she'd come that time so we were worried it would just be us, a few members, and her. Priesthood was only me, Andersen Choro, and Nakazawa kyoudai and right as we starting we saw Okuchi and Yuka walking by! Found out that they had to go to a practice for a parade they were doing that night, but said they would come back! We were just antsy the whole time wondering when they would come back, but they eventually did for sacrament! Actually a family from Kitami ward came and so did a few other members which was great and made sure there were more people. After sacrament Yuka wanted to play a lotttt. Got really tired, but she had a blast and so did her mom. Went home, ate lunch, and brought the sacrament to Ozawa shimai because she was busy with the baby. Had some fun there with the kids and her parents plus Ishii kyoudais grandkids that were sleeping over there.

Then we went to an appointment we made before with a way cool lady who used to live by missionaries. To top everything off we went to the parade Okuchi and Yuka were in. It was call the senninodori (1000 people dance) and i thought it was a different meaning so when I got there and there were 1000 people in different colored kimonos I was pretty surprised! We went and tried to shizen the people watching and afterwards high fived with Yuka and took a few pictures. They did way great. We have developed a good relationship with them and hopefully it will make it easier to talk about the gospel and teach in a way that Yuka will understand. Reminds me of Haramai and Nodoka sometimes. Anyways it was an awesome week in a billion different ways!

I love you tons and am grateful for the miracles that we get to see everyday! Good luck at home and love you!!!!
Hutchinson Choro

Cool sunset over a shrine that's on a little island

Pictures at kuruma ishi

Creapy powder

Us with the Okuchis


High fiving highschoolers @ parade

More high school kids (Monsters Inc. costumes)

Milking cows

At the parade with Andersen Choro

Us with Yuka

Sunday, July 7, 2013

7/7/13 Japan Japan Japan!

Hey that's awesome!!!!!! (Adam's mission call) Get working on your Spanish accent! Hahaha I think you will really like Spanish once you get into it ;) That's interesting that you didn't want to go somewhere hot. I don't mind the cold now and I'm dying of heat now in 20ish degrees celsius. You'll get used to the heat and it'll be way fun though eh! Maybe you:ll find another branch of Strickland Propane and convert the people that work there hahaha. Also you better not get fat or else...! You've got some time to prepare though, so get on that! :D

I hope getting the passport stuff and everything got done right away. Way jealous Adam gets to go to the Mexico MTC. (Although I heard the Provo one got extreme makeovered) Also he will probably become good friends with mesh garments... Just a guess.
Glad the kitchen stuff is getting moving! Sad story, but when I saw the picture of Adam opening his call the first thing I noticed was new shelves in the front room hahaha I don't know why that stuff is so interesting to me. The cabinets here are kinda low and I bump my head into them on a regular basis. It actually has gotten here the last few days. It got to somewhere around 30 degrees and I thought I was going to pass out. I guess I have just gotten too used to the cold haha. I forgot that the 4th of July passed as well! Glad everyone got to get together and have fun! Uncle Merril is a champ still working sometimes! I think that's why old people in Japan are so genki all the time, they never stop working!

So let's see what I did this week... Last p-day was kinda bad weather so we stuck around the apartment then did some finding and visited Okuchi and her daughter. She has been really busy with work and her daughter so hasn't been able to pray or come to church, but we are going to try focusing on the daughter. If the daughter gets a desire to come to church and pray it will help the mom out a lot as well. They are way cool though and totally prepared. Just need to work with them the right way! Tuesday was DTM, watching the broadcast again (the "I'll go where you want me to go" video is the best thing ever)with Andersen Choro, and going to the city hall to get his resident card stuff done. We also did lots of finding that night. Wednesday was a lot of finding in Nishihama. We also started making all these handouts that we could give to young investigators with pictures of hello kitty, stitch, famous Japanese characters etc. to help them remember to pray and stuff. We decided that we want to work harder to use our talents in dendo. We met with the Sekiya family again for the first time in a while and tried the same approach that we wanted to do with Okuchi. The mom was really happy and having fun with/being a good example to her kids I think is helping a lot. Thursday was planning as usual and visiting some families that we want to try a very similar strategy with. I feel like it can be a big way to help investigators open up their hearts!

Friday we went to Inoguchi's house and he has been getting a lot more time lately. His mom had to go into the hospital which is tough, but hopefully we'll be able to meet with him more and help him make the decision to come to church. We taught him a lot about priorities and hopefully that'll help him pray too. Eikaiwa that night was a little sparse because of cold and rain, but still way fun. Saturday was back to Bekkai where we hung out with Emille the Phillipino and helped out on the farm. Then we headed to meet a lady we found last week there and on the way met a lot of way cool people who were way open to the message and stuff. When we got to the lady's house I've never seen an investigator so happy to see us. She told us about how she was thinking she really wants to come to church the next day (3 hour drive) and also how she wanted to learn how to pray so that she could feel more peace in her life. After that she asked us if we would tell her why our church is different from others and so it was pretty much perfect. We like to call these people Kinjin (gold person) anyways it was awesome. She wasn't able to come to church the next day because of family plans taking use of the car, but she prayed and read the Book of Mormon! Her name is Kawashima and she is probably in her 40s. Awesome. Sunday was pretty great. I taught young men's again and fast and testimony meeting was good too. We did LOTS of finding that day and it was very hot. It was great though! The funny thing that I've noticed with finding is that the most prepared people you find RIGHT before you decide to finish (first floor of a big apartments as you descend, etc). Kinda funny, but it always makes the day feel more worth it. This morning we went running to the nearby shrine and took some cool pictures. Japan Japan Japan! I'm having a great time and it's a lot more tiring to be sr. companion, but way fun. Not quite, but almost everything is up to you and it's a big time to learn more and more about relying on the Lord.

Keep being awesome and share some more miracle stories with me next week too! ;D

Love you tons!
Hutchinson Choro

Shrine by my house (3rd biggest in Hokkaido?)

This is Nemuro