Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekly Gaijin Power Letter!

To avoid writing the same thing as every other missionary I will spare you the 'where has the time gone' and 'this week has been crazy' lines and cut right to the chase! We got dear John'd by one of our progressing investigators (literally, they brought out a letter but we couldn't read the kanji so they ended up just reading it out loud to us), and another one of ours went from progressing and improving every day, to hardhearted and unteachable in two days but they said we could still be friends! Just like a break-up, hey. 

Well! The first investigator that I mentioned just needs a break from all the stress that comes with their sickness, of which they are having a low point in, so as heartbreaking as it was when they said they couldn't continue with us, in the end they are still accepting of Christ, still loving the Book of Mormon, and I know that they will have that chance to follow Christ more fully in the near future!

The second investigator I spoke of unfortunately has made an end to our talkings about Christ, but still wants to talk with us. It was pretty disappointing, but all the while we feel like we're not reaching the right people -- the people who have been prepared by God to receive this message, who will really contribute to this small in number but big in heart branch we have here. As always, we kept a positive attitude and as a result of these experiences have started working harder than ever (each day is better than the last here), and have found two new potential investigator families! One a young couple who we haven't been able to really sit down and teach, but from our short visits they have invited us back twice although they hadn't had time for us at those points in time, and are interested in the Book of Mormon, and another young family, a Mum and a Dad, and two crazy kids. 

Actually, with those two kids, the contact started like this.. we knocked on the door of an apartment and the kid answered, when she saw me she freaked out yelling 'foreigner!' (in japanese of course) and got her Mum and brother. As my companion Elder Lefrandt talked with the parents I ended up entertaining the kids, it was way funny. The Dad came out and they invited us back tonight! So I will leave you all on a cliff hanger! But they love Australians way too much. Gaijin power!

Interestingly enough the exact house after which we visited, the kid saw me and freaked out, only no return appointment with them. Maybe I should start charging people to take photos with me? Uh oh, it's starting to go to my head!

Ishigaki is awesome and it's transfers next week and although it's quite unlikely that I will leave, I really, really, really hope I stay because it's the best place in the world! 
In western counties, you would usually say 'lets get some japanese' when you want japanese food. but here, you say 'lets get some american' and thats what this weeks photo is about.

So for the tl;dr's! Main points of this week.. always look for the right people the Lord wants you to, always keep a strong positive attitude so you can keep the work going when things get turned upside down, always look for ways to learn from your experiences, and always be a white person if you are in Japan.

Thank you all. Love you!

Elder Wheeler

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekly Miracles Letter

Week of miracles! This week we were riding somewhere and stopped to talk to these two men, the Nakasone Bros., about 45-50 years old, and they have had a really rough life, but we knew as we were talking to them how perfect the message of the Gospel was for them! Long story short, since meeting them we have had 3 lessons at their home (they love inviting us over), they both came to Church where we taught them a fourth time, and the younger brother has a baptisimal date for June. Just wow. Already we are such great friends with them, and after teaching the Restoration, one said he was really moved by it, and he believed it to be true. The older brother doesn't talk very much and didn't accept (or deny) the invitation to be baptised, but I know he will! 

We now have 3 baptisimal dates, such a blessing to see the change in people as they begin, firstly, to believe in God and how He can and will help us, and then as they begin preparing to make their first convenant with him. The baptisimal date for Karimata Shimai, who has been progressing so much in the last month, has been pushed back for more time to prepare. 

I don't know how likely it is that I will be transferred in the next two transfers, but setting these baptisimal dates for people I would absolutely love more than anything to see baptised at a time when I may not be here has really helped me keep a perspective on this being the Lord's work and not my own. I'll be honest.. I'm just happy I can meet these wonderful people (and understand more and more of what they say each time we meet them!), but the opportunity I have to simple invite, or testify to, is something I will forever be grateful for. Missionary work is beautiful. I love every moment here.

On Saturday we taught 5 lessons, after 2 fell through! We were flat out, riding from one appointment to the next, that is by far the most I have had in a day here - and one was in English! My first lesson in English! It was so bizarre hahaha. It was with this awesome American/Japanese family who love the Missionaries and love studying with us.

This is a long as email but last night we went to this beach house where this Japanese LDS lady sung songs and bore her testimony, and this morning we played volleyball with our branch president and his work mates! Sports in Japanese is so funny, one of the other missionaries investigators (coolest guy ever), when the ball came to our side, was like "mai, mai, mai!" or something, which means "forward" but my companion and I thought he was saying "mine, mine, mine!" so we left it and the ball just hit the ground and everyone laughed at us.. Lost in Translation indeed. 

That's all! Thanks for reading otsukaresama desu!

Today's photos is Elder Mineta taking in the beautiful view and us four Ishigaki Elders at the beach house event.

Aishite imasu!

Elder Wheeler

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekly Just Waiting for a Goat Mail

So there's this bridge with a bit of land off to the side with this random goat just chilling there all day long, and I can literally think of no idea why he's there. But he loves taking photos with us.

Awesome spiritual experience this week! After our lesson on the Restoration with our progressing investigator this week, we met with her to answer her questions about why she needed to be baptised if she has already been baptised in a different church (which she no longer goes to). So we prepared and everything, and as we met her, I just felt like.. her countenance had changed. There was something different about her, and I just felt this warmth.. she told us before we even really started talking that she had a dream where she was baptised by going completely under the water and coming up out of it. She said she feels like that's what she needs to do, what God wants her to do. And we didn't even talk about what we were going to originally! She is excited to progress and she enjoyed Conference this week. We are planning for May, which is super quick for Japanese people apparently, but I feel so much joy in sharing with her what I know, absolutely know, to be true - from everything I have seen in my life to everything I see day to day here in Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan. This is a wonderful work and I am glad I get to share it all with you!

Love from Elder Wheeler

Photo 1 - the island of the goats home
Photo 2 - my main man, G.O.A.T.

Photo 3 - everyone from mainland Japan is sending these sweet photos of beautiful trees and blossoms, so I want to feel included. I love the scenery here, it's probably just pretty average to a lot of you, but every where I look reminds me of anime I watched as a kid, so a little bit of fanboying goes on here and there.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekly Hastening Mail

The work is really going ahead here in Ishigaki. After a wonderful lesson yesterday, our progressing investigator is right on track to be baptised in the coming weeks. We taught the Restoration with the Branch President and his wife, and the Spirit was so strong. It was like I was being nudged to just bear my testimony at every opportunity I could. We watched the Restoration video too and she was crying, and said she believed it to be true! She is happy for April 26, her baptisimal date, but thinks the ocean might be a bit cold then, so we'll be praying for good weather! 


We also met a man early in the week who we have taught twice now, and he came to church and is really excited about meeting with us this week. We have a few investigators now, and, again, the work is definitely going ahead here on this beautiful island. We are seeing miracles every day, and my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel is increased every hour here.


The Yonaha family are moving to Brazil soon, but we had an awesome lesson with them this week - they pretty much make up half the branch. Every missionary says some family in their ward they're serving in is the best, but let me tell you, they do not know the Yonaha family!


Thank you for your time! No funny things this week. I'm too busy Nihongo shite iru and telling people I'm not American (such an insult). ;)


Love you all!

Elder Wheeler

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Weekly Icanunderstandpeoplenow Mail

So I have a new companion! The breaker! Elder Lefrandt from Hawaii who is half Japanese and has a bit of French in there somewhere (hence his name) who has been out for almost a year. He is fully sick! So far it has been great seeing and doing things differently with a new companion. It has also been pretty crazy how much my Japanese has improved over the last 6 weeks, and I only realised it this week really - when I started finding that I was able to actually carry conversations on my own for once! Haha. And understand people too! I can actually understand the change in words now, instead of everyone's sentences just sounding like one long word.


Our branch president drove us up to the top of this mountain on Ishigaki this week, and the view was crazy good, beaches, mountains, the city, farm lands, everything! That's where the photo was in the one I attached - Elder Lefrandt it the one by me, the huuuuge Elder is Elder Hendersen from California and he is Elder Mineta's new companion! Elder Mineta is now area senpai, so he rules Ishigaki with an iron first, a pair of chopsticks and his glasses which he broke while cleaning them. Bit of electrical tape fixed them right up - good as new!


Before our old companions left, our branch president also took us to this island resort for a buffet lunch. Would recommend, Ishigaki is the bomb.


We visited a former investigator who had a baptisimal date who we had to eventually stop meeting with, just to call in and say happy birthday. He let us in and we all sung Happy birthday in english together and it was hilarious! He said to us his feelings about the missionary discussions and again said that he believed it all to be true, but felt overwhelmed by trials and so on. It wasn't really something that he talked with us about before, but all the while, it testified to me that if people are to accept the Gospel and make that first covenant, baptism, it will be at the right time. And I don't know when that is, but every time I think about him, I just have this feeling that things will work out for him. He has accepted it, but needs to act on it. So all we can do is help and serve him and encourage him, and if he doesn't progress any more with us here, I am sure he will when the time is right.


We have an investigator with a current baptisimal date - and we went to visit her but I forgot where she lived! And my senpai was no where to be seen! (Actually he is in Kumamoto, which is lightyears away from this little island) But she called us and told us to wait by the post office and she came down and found us and walked us back haha. It was a little embarrassing when I finally remembered where it was, but she loves talking to us, she loves reading the Book of Mormon, and she loves praying, so I am happy to do anything for her. Service makes the world go around!


Thank you everyone for reading and as always I appreciate your emails! Love you all!

-Elder Wheeler


Yesterday we didn't have access to a computer so we Dendo'd instead of Email, so don't think I'm wamp because I'm emailing on Tuesday!!! haha