Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12/31/13 akemashite omedetou gozaimasu (happy new year's)

Hey! Christmas was pretty missionary-y and Japanese-y, but still way awesome. I'm glad the call worked out. I always feel like they end up being all over the place, but I guess that's what happens when everyone is excited. Thats crazy you had to have Christmas dinner at Maverick! Sounds like Lily got some great presents and Adam's phone call was fun too. Definitely send me a pic of Dave's present when you have the chance. I'm glad the Hutchinson family is doing good. It doesn't snowstorm here every day, but there was a way crazy one last Saturday. My new shoes are definitely awesome and you don't have to worry about money. They were a present. I was only gonna get one pair of shoes, but since they were on sale she bought me 2. Way generous and awesome! I hope Mara's talk, etc. went great too!

Here's the week. (since talking to you) So Wednesday DTM went great and we ate sushi with everyone. Then went back to Iwamizawa and planned a bit for zone stuff then went out to do Merry Christmas dendo. Basically like normal housing, but we only went to houses with Christmas decorations and talked about Christmas extra. We did find one pretty cool guy we'll meet again on Friday. On Thursday we had some planning and then rode w/ Adachi B to teach Yamashita at his house. He lives in the city next door called Bibai. It went pretty good. He had a concern at church so we addressed that and then taught him about the plan of salvation which he is really interested in. He definitely has a lot of potential and I can almost say for sure he'll get baptized. We just need to be patient because he likes to talk a lot and has lots of little concerns. After that we rode from the station in Bibai to Shibetsu! We had splits there and they went awesome. It is the second smallest area after Nemuro. There is a lady there who runs a pretty classy shop and is like a Mom to the missionaries. She fed us all for free and we talked with her, a member, and a non-attending. I went on splits w/ Hirata E who is on his 3rd transfer. It was way fun and we taught some awesome people that he had found + I taught him how to street contact because his trainer never taught him. On the way home I found a way interesting shop called "Rodeo" that was just full of retro American stuff, playing oldies rockabilly music. It was way cool and I met the shop owners and they were way happy to meet a real American. It was a pretty unique chance to share the gospel because I tied his desire to show Japanese people what America is like, to us wanting to show everyone they joy we get from the gospel. He was really cool. Kinda looked like a biker with a super long goatee, but we made pretty good friends.

We rode back home and did a bit of finding on Saturday before riding w/ Adachi B and Yamashita to Sapporo to see the Messiah concert. He had a good time + we got to review and talk more about what we had talked about so far in the car. Also, I got to meet a ton of members from Eniwa and Toyohira! That was way happy. Best part is that everyone remembered me! Church went pretty great even though Yamashita had a thing come up and couldn't come. We did a bunch of finding after talking w/members and stuff a lot. I actually translated sacrament meeting into sign language for the deaf member and it was way hard, but I did it somehow. It's pretty fun, but I definitely don't know that much yet hahaha. Monday was DTM in Ebetsu that went great. We ate and came back to visit this NA family (whose daughter came up to visit for new year's-she's active). It was pretty fun and though her parents are in their 80's we had a fun and spiritual time. Yesterday was read the BofM all day day. I got way tired and fell asleep while reading several times and didn't even get half as far as I got last year, but it was still awesome and I got some good revelations for our zone. At night we ate "toshi koshi soba" which is a Japanese tradition that they do every new year's. It was pretty fun. Maybe I'll do it every year from now on :) Did you do anything for new year's?

I'm so grateful for the Christmas season and chance to think of Christ so much more. I'm also really grateful for the awesome responsibility I have to be a leader and serve the missionaries in my zone and district. I miss just focusing on investigators sometimes, but all together it's such an awesome experience. Love you tons! Happy new year's!!!!

Hutchinson Choro

toshi koshi soba

in front of Rodeo

My district at Odori park after caroling

Me on Book of Mormon day


Day after snow storm

Everyone at the shop in Shibetsu

Our Christmas dinner

Christmas cake

Christmas morning in Ebetsu

more icicles

Sunday, December 22, 2013

12/22/13 Way Too Amazing Timing, Several Times

Hey! It's been fun being a zone leader, but surreal. It's really cool to work in other areas and with lots of other missionaries. I told you about the Christmas party last week, didn't I? I didn't get any pics so I'll send some from Hatch E's camera. I'm jealous you got the mission CD. We don't get it until Christmas :P That's too bad about Grandma and I hope she gets doing better. Do you think she'll be around when I get back? You work on Christmas eve? hahah That's like Japan. Won't Mara be home then? I'm looking forward to the call too! BTW I have my own phone now as a ZL so we don't have to worry about coordinating time. Therefore, if you want to call earlier than 9 (my time) feel free to do so because I'll have time. After that is district meeting etc, but yeah. I hope your Christmas lesson goes well! Not gonna lie I probably have the hardest time teaching out of manuals... Sometimes they just get too complicated. I'm WAY stoked for Michael!!!!! That's way boss! Nice!!! Also I don't have any addresses on me so I'll tell you next week (Stilson E, etc) Stilson E going home was depressing because he is one of my favorite missionaries ever. He did go a transfer early for school, but yeah.

Also, I got the package!!! The stuff is way awesome!!!! The Sufjan Stevens cd's are way amazing (though there are a bunch of random non-missionary songs on there I have to filter out... same with the singles ward [I think the rm soundtrack was a little less heavy hahaha!], but that's what SD cards are for! :)) Also please give me the track listing for the random blank cd you gave me. I was super super super happy though. Pretty much all my favorite Christmas candy and I am almost done with the last journal I was using so that new one will do great. The sweater is awesome too! I don't know if I was supposed to wait til Christmas, but I'm almost sure I wouldn't be able to wait anyways haha. Thank you tons and love you!

P-day wasn't anything too special. We kinda chilled here, found, and went to Ebetsu in preparation for splits and DTM. Tuesday DTM went great and I went on splits with Brackner E who is a bean and way awesome. He has a lot of confidence so even though he is younger in Japanese and missionary stuff he does his best to participate and learn fast which is way way cool. We had Eikaiwa there that night as well. There are some pretty nice members there too. Wednesday was Mission Leader Conference which was pretty cool. I felt old. We talked a lot about what we'll do for zone conference and how all the zones are doing. Kaicho is such a boss and always answers our questions using the white handbook, PMG, or the scriptures. Anyway that was practically all day. We got to eat Costco pizza for lunch. Thursday we did some finding and then members took us out to sushi and made us eat a ton. It was good, but Kushiro/Nemuro sushi is of course still the best in the world. After that we had a makeshift DKK and then went to meet Yamashita before Eikaiwa with a member. We went over what we taught before and then made a baptismal date with him! He actually chose the date himself because he really wants to get baptized, but also know more about the church and know it's the right decision first.

English class went great and then we headed to Asahikawa. IT'S HUGE! Of course not as big as Sapporo, but I was surprised. BUT on the way there, super miracle. We were waiting for the train and this guy comes up to us and is like, hey I used to live in St George! And we're like what? Turns out he got baptized 30 years ago, but because of bad relations with other people in the church at the time he quit. However we talked to him the entire train ride and he still remembers everything about the church. He basically still has a testimony and stuff. Anyway we told him about how much the church has grown in Japan and he got pretty excited about it. He said he would consider coming to church again and we gave him a new BoM. He lives in Asahikawa so we gave his info to the elders when we got there. Also he looks almost exactly like dad, but Japanese. Even he thought so! (I showed him pics) Asahikawa splits were fun (I went with 4th transfer Strachan E who is Canadian and way strong testimony). We also did Eikaiwa there as well (3 in one week! It's all we can do with so little time to do splits because of the holidays) Asahikawa is a way awesome area though! Saturday we came home and were way tired, but we finished DKK and then headed out to this kinda far away area to contact a referral. There was no map of that area so we asked people in town and they drew us a map and were way nice and everything, but it was about a 40 minute walk a way (on top of almost pure ice, but we're used to that already hahaha) so we started to walk and it was getting dark but there was nothing else we could do. After maybe 10 mins. this car pulls over and asks "are you Mormons? We'll give you a lift!" Turns out missionaries saved their kid's life or something a long time ago. They took us to the referral (who wasn't home) and then all the way back to Iwamizawa! (a little ways away) It was a couple and the mom actually works with some people who are members in Sapporo! She actually invited us to her work party which we are probably going to tonight. It was pretty crazy timing that we met them and they were really happy to meet us.

Sunday was great too. Yamashita came to church and had a great time. After church a way awesome NA named Kazama B came. He used to be in the branch presidency, but had hard stuff at work. Sounds like he wants to try to come more actively from now on though! We got so much stinkin candy in our fruit basket I think I'm gonna pass out, but it's pretty awesome. We had some good cold dendo that night and a great time getting everyone's reports! This work is overflowing with miracles! Christmas is awesome! I feel like I'm really bad at giving material gifts, but I want to be better at giving spiritual gifts or gifts of service.

Hutchinson Choro


Weird, gross, foam candy

Japanese Christmas (KFC is THE popular thing at Christmas there)

Members want to eat us so they are fattening us up (did he mean, 'the members want us to eat?' I hope so)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

12/15/13 "I am in Iwamizawa. I am a zone leader. I am buried in snow."

(Note: when Braden's mom looked up the name of this city, she was surprised to see that while Nemuro has 14" average precip in December, Iwamizawa has 87")

Hey!!!! That's cool you got to see the transfer list again. I'm in a place called Iwamizawa. It means "boulder overlooking swamp." It's a branch as well, but the church is way nice and huge. My companion is named Elder Hatch and he's a boss. He's a few transfers older than me (he actually went into the MTC with Gandy E) but since we are zone leaders we are both SR companion haha. I'm ZL over Asahikawa zone which goes all the way up to Wakkanai which is the very top of Hokkaido. I really hope I can go because it is a recently opened area with a tiny branch just like Nemuro! I'm also excited to go on lots of splits all over the zone, but it is tough not having a lot of time to focus on your own area. The members here are way legit especially the branch president Adachi B. He is way strong and has tons of dendo fire. We actually haven't done any finding since we got here since he has taken us everywhere (which is nice because the snow was INSANE! Iwamizawa is known for being the snowiest part of Hokkaido). He has taken us to visit a lot of less active members and he also has been doing a lot of planning with us to help out our investigators. Since this area has been a ZL area for a while, there are not very many investigators, but the ones we have seem pretty cool. I'll tell you about how everything went since last week though.

On Monday in Nemuro I honestly spent a pretty good amount of time packing because of how sure I was about transferring. That day of dendo was visiting a few investigators and also doing some finding to give Morgan E more potential investigators to work with. On Tuesday we got our transfer calls. We found out that the next Nemuro missionary is Kina E, the former AP so I'm way stoked about that. We had a good DTM with testimonies and headed to an appt with Kunii. We ate sushi and he promised to read the BoM over his Christmas break! I ate a lot of sushi because it might be the last time I get to eat eastern Hokkaido sushi... T-T After that we tried to do finding, but it RAINED way hard. It wasn't effective/no one was home so we went home and got a call from Ozawa B and Okuchi S and went over to Ozawa family for a final party. It was way awesome. Kinda random, but Okuchi S pulled out her tablet and we skyped with Ishiga E! He is doing pretty great hahaha. Wednesday was eating my favorite food in the world (the chocolate covered cream filled melon bread from this store that's only in Nemuro) and then all day travel to Sapporo. We left at about 12 and got there at about 8:30. There was about an hour in Kushiro (where I said bye to my awesome, grown up bean, Morgan E) but yeah. Crazy. A bunch of members came to see me off. A bunch of other people were going to as well, but the train was too early. At the Honbu I practiced my song with Mecham E (Where can I turn for peace, yeah it should be on Youtube eventually. I don't remember when the performance is). I also found out that Andersen E became a trainer! Way happy for him. He is such a brother to me. I stayed up talking to him for a bit. The next day we had a way long music practice and met all the other missionaries. Stilson E went home which is way depressing. He is also like a brother. It was way awesome to see everyone though. We came back to Iwamizawa that night in time for Eikaiwa which was pretty good. Just like in Nemuro I teach the crazy kids class. Me and Hatch E are also district leaders. We just take turns doing district meeting. Friday we had DKK which is way different as a ZL because it was mostly planning splits and not as much planning for Iwamizawa. We also met a pretty cool non-attending member named N who is pretty nice, but has WoW problems :(

Then we tried to visit a member who sometimes comes to invite him to the Christmas party. It was the craziest blizzard ever :) But we made it there and back w/out any problems. When I first got here there was almost no snow. I send you a picture of outside the church. Saturday was the sweet Christmas party. We did a song with the Eikaiwa students and I played guitar (Silent Night) and a decent amount of people came (I was also Samuel the Lamanite in the play). There is also a deaf member here so I got to use my sign language again! Everyone was way impressed and they want me to translate for her in sacrament meeting... I'll see what I can do! Sorry the space bar on this keyboard isn't very good. This guy named Y came as well. He actually met missionaries 30 years ago and then some stuff happened in his life prompting them that he needed to meet again so he called the Honbu and met up with us. After the party we had a pretty good lesson with him. He really wants to believe and mostly does believe our teachings, he just also wants to believe buddhism at the same time. I think he really has a ton of potential though. We invited him to baptism and he seems like he wants to when he knows everything more fully.

After that we rode w/ Adachi B to another non-attending and it went pretty well. We introduced her to the RS pres so that we will be able to hand her off to the RS soon. Way good thing. Way too many non-attendings for just the missionaries. Sunday went good too! I gave a talk and I wasn't used to only having to give a 10 minute talk, hahaha. The members here are so so awesome. After church we visited another NA w/ Adachi B in a far off area who is 16 years old. He and his brothers got baptized and were way active, but since they moved it became hard to go to church. We talked to him and his mom and she really supports him going to church and worked out a way for him to come up to Iwamizawa more often for church! Pretty stoked for him. His name is Suzuki Kouta B. And that's about it!

I'm excited for all the cool things you are doing for Christmas! I hope everyone gets feeling 100% soon. I haven't written Adam yet, but I'll work on it. I'm glad Mya and them are doing great. That's cool how polite she is! haha Thank you for your testimony and love and support. You are so awesome!!! I love you so much!

Hutchinson Choro

Farewells at the train station

This time, see if you can find Yuka

FHE with Ozawa and Okuchi families

With Kanno Yuji

Hatch Choro, Braden's new comp and fellow ZL

Snow at the church in Iwamizawa

Sunday, December 8, 2013

12/8/13 Baptism and Bye Byes

Hey! So I don't know if I transfer yet... But I kinda hope I do hahaha. I do love it here so so sooo much, but I feel like I know it too well. It stresses me out sometimes and I think it will be best for everyone here as well because I don't want them to get too attached to me. I definitely hope that we can come to Japan and meet everyone again as well!!! Nemuro might be a little tough because of how separated it is, but we could figure it out :) The snow picture you have is crazy. I'm grateful for the lack of snow here, but we'll see how it is in my new area. I haven't found out if I'm leaving yet, but I have been getting assignments from Evans S (president's wife) to arrange music for the Sapporo music thing and she did mention (maybe accidentally) that this time around they weren't going to be able to bring missionaries from far away areas because of how much the mission has grown. Not only that but I've been here for 6 transfers which is really rare (at least for Pres. Evans).

I hope everyone back home is feeling better! All the pictures of the nieces are great. I hope we'll be able to have a good Christmas party here too. Tell Mya happy birthday for me! Wow. I'm the worst son/brother etc about birthdays hahaha. Lights? Oh boy... hahaha Thanks! The Christmas call will probably be somethin' like that! I think it would be really hard to talk with Adam on the line too. No one would have any personal phone time. I'll leave it up to you though! They said they'd send the mail next week because of transfers.

Lets see what I can get from this week in the next five minutes!!!!
Monday was a cool P-day of music practice and teaching a lesson to a group of four 15 year olds who have a band. One had an experience of getting an evil spirit cast out so he was really interested in getting closer to God. We gave 'em all BoM's and invited them to baptism. We also had FHE with Hayato and the Okuchis!
Tuesday Was DTM and visiting Van S and a few less actives. She made us so much Vietnamese food again. Oh boy!
Wednesday was visiting some old invs to show Morgan E more of the area. We also had the baptism interview and it went great! Harper E came from Kushiro. We ate ramen together afterwards.
Thursday was LOTS of old investigators. Also DKK.
Friday was finding in an area around a lot of other investigators who mostly weren't home plus a great Eikaiwa. Some students knew it'd prob be my last day so they gave me way cool ties.
Saturday we had lunch with our army friend Kunii again and he brought a friend. It was harder to teach a lesson, but the friend is way cool. We also got the baptismal font ready and had another lesson w/ Hayato where Okuchi S surprised with those cards you saw. Way nice. We also had dinner with another old Inv. She gave us the number of her son who lives in the Sendai mission.
Sunday was, oh you know. Sunday. Hayato's baptism went way awesome! His hand came up the first time so Morgan E did it twice. Gift of the HG went great too! The Ozawas had a funeral, but we started early and they were able to come to the whole thing! Yay. At night we visited a bunch of NA's and met Hayato's family. It is him and four sisters plus his mom. His mom is divorced so he's the only boy. They are way nice though!
Great week!
Time's up! Love you!
Hutchinson Choro

Getting Hayato's font ready

Yuka helping

Eikaiwa student

Eikaiwa students

Eikaiwa students

Some sweet katsu curry that I made

Hayato's baptism day!

Branch members at the baptism!

A great day!

Nemuro's newest member

Sunday, December 1, 2013

12/01/13 Baptism next week!

I'm glad my last letter was well received! I'll definitely check my patriarchal blessing out again soon!! There weren't as many kept appointments as I would've liked, but we definitely still had some way amazing lessons. I'm excited to hear more about your missionary work there as always! Grandma's b-day sounds like it was great! I meet so many grandmas here and sometimes wonder what it's going to be like to meet American grandmas again hahaha. There really are soo many older people in Japan. I wish I could've seen all the cousins! I feel so bad forgetting most of their faces already. I don't recognize anyone in the pic with Mara besides her. Keep having fun with the little girls and Sharon Merrill!

Mara's letter was so funny... She is such a high schooler haha. I'll prob write her back today. I only have a few minutes left! Yikes! Monday we had another English lesson with Kunii that went great! We gave him a BoM and he seemed really excited about it! He remembered everything we taught him perfectly. Tuesday was DTM and lots of finding and meeting new people and teaching little lessons and making appointments. It's getting colder. We also picked up Uenami E and Dobashi E who came from Obihiro for splits. Wednesday I went with Uenami E and we had some finding adventures and tried to communicate with Chinese people. Glad we had a Chinese pamphlet. The other Elders taught a lesson to Hayato with Okuchi S and Karebu B and we took pics together after. At night we taught Van S an AB lesson about temple marriage and family history and she really wants her family to all be sealed together. Thursday we went to those appts that didn't work out then had DKK and it snowed. Morgan E was so happy. I was not. We called Van S on the phone and Morgan E did a practice lesson to pass off for his training.

Friday we visited some old investigators I found w/ Inumaki E to see them one last time just in case I transfer. Then before Eikaiwa we taught all the rest of the lessons to Hayato. He also brought his friend Yuuta who he basically taught about the BoM and now has interest. What a boss! We taught him about the law of chastity and modesty and Karebu B read out of the strength of youth about how boys aren't supposed to have earrings and he took his earring out without a question. His faith is so awesome. Because of that we moved his baptismal date to next Sunday after church! Eikaiwa also went well and the lady we met on the street, Haruna, came and told us she was transferring to Tokyo the same day as transfers. Hopefully she'll keep going to Eikaiwa there! Saturday we met this lady named Muranishi who we had met a bazillion times before randomly. She came to the church and we finally had a real lesson with her! She may have some good potential. She also gave us these way cool Christmas cards she drew. She is fluent in English, but when she heard how good my Japanese was, she was embarrassed to speak English so we spoke all Japanese. She's going to India on vacation next week. We also had some great lessons while finding.

Sunday was awesome. Hayato and all the new members plus a few non-attendings came! It wasn't even a special event and if the Kobayashi family came there would've been almost 28 people. Nemuro is so awesome. We had Hayato's practice interview and he passed. We also had a quick AB lesson with Van S. I took some time to work on an arrangement that Evans S is having me do for the next musical thing so that took a little time hahaha. Otherwise I'm looking forward to this week! Heavenly Father is sure hastening this work!!!!

Hutchinson Choro

Yuka and Hayato

Vietnamese girls + phillipino member

group w/ Okuchis and Hayato (gets baptized on Sunday!!!)

Their Christmas tree - bigger than last year :) perhaps sent by Morgan's family?

First pair of shoes to go down! Luckily, I think this was the backup pair

The bike, still going strong

The next few are from the Nemuro house - just a few of the ones he sent: