So I'll just start with the week. Monday was music practice at the Honbu again. Then we came back and tried to visit some old investigators. The next day I went on splits with the Japanese AP Asai E who is really cool and fun. We just did lots of finding. Even though we weren't able to teach many real lessons, I learned a lot from his style and example. We had pizza hut for dinner because it was half off day and so that was pretty good. The next day I went on splits in Ebetsu with Shoell E who is 6'7" and way cool. Super obedient good example. We did lots of finding and found some pretty cool college kids. He just barely transferred in and didn't know the area super well + it was crazy cold, but we found some good things to do. Next day was running all over. We went back to Iwamizawa, set up for Eikaiwa (some other missionaries came to teach it for us) ate dinner, and headed back to Sapporo for more music practice. Friday was Zone conference and the mental and physical health representatives came and did workshops that were pretty good. They have this new "adjusting to missionary life" book that is really great. Otherwise I was super tired, but I still got a lot out of it. That night we went to Yuki Matsuri (snow festival) and it was pretty disappointing compared to last year. There were still lots of giant snow sculptures and stuff, but maybe I'm just used to that already, haha. We stayed the night w/ Toyohira elders and that was pretty cool for me. I called up some of my old investigators there to encourage them to meet with the missionaries again, so that was neat.
Saturday we were back in Iwamizawa and we met Hayashi again! He is a boss for sure. He told us how 1 year ago in Taiwan, he met missionaries and gave them his information for his home in Hokkaido, but they never came. We taught him the rest of the restoration and about the BofM and challenged him to be baptized and he accepted! He's gonna be such a cool member. After that we headed to Bibai, but weren't able to meet anyone we wanted + it was basically too cold for us to do anything so we hung out in the eki to try to get the planning for zone training meeting done. Still lots to do. That'll be on the 18th. Sunday was pretty nice. Church went good and the stake president came. I gave a talk on the work of salvation and apparently the members got really pumped up by it so I was really happy about that. Basically what Pres. Evans wants us to focus on is not telling members "hey, we need you to do missionary work already!" or "do missionary work this way!" but to find out what kind of dendo they want to do and help them to do it. Also I'm getting a bit better at JSL (Japanese sign language) so that's been fun translating. After church we rode with Adachi Kaicho to visit some NA's and investigators of ours he has been wondering about. Nothing too special happened with any of them, but he was real happy to be able to work with us even just a little. We were too, especially because of the temperature. It's anywhere from -14c to -30c and there isn't much you can do about it clothes or hand warmer wise. You just have to do things in increments I think. It's completely different from last winter, but I'llbe able to make it through just fine :)
So anyways thanks for the pics! Where did you get the really bad pic of my face? The picture of the temple (construction) is way cool! To let you know, I don't get updated on that AT ALL. All I know is when I leave it still has like a year and a half before it gets finished. I haven't even seen the spot where it's being built. Your mini vacation is going to Sharon's wedding right? I hope that goes well. I want to live in Okinawa some day. The climate is probably similar, but I think there are a lot less dangerous storms.
Anyways. Yeah, Hokkaido needs way more missionaries. It is the smallest mission in Japan population-wise, but what I hear from other missionary friends in Japan is that basically every area in their mission has AT LEAST two elders and two sisters. Next transfer 14 missionaries go home and only 10 come in so we're going down a little bit more again. I:m sure the church has a plan for what they want to happen here, but I feel like it's pretty tough right now at least here... We did go up like 35-ish missionaries since this time last year so maybe they just have to do things more gradually. We'll see where things go by the time I leave. Thanks for your testimony about still being able to get all the important things done. I know that's true!
Mission leader council? I thought told you about it when I went w/ Hatch E, but it's just like a meeting with all the zone leaders, APs, and the 2 sister leaders. We talk about what the mission needs and then have a workshop from the APs.
I'm excited for all the great things happening and that is super cool of dad to lose weight! After new years here I have to work out more... But it's nothing really haha.
Love you tons too!!! Happy valentines day!
Some older photos taken by Elder Hatch: