Monday, May 26, 2014

Weekly Swagtastic Mail

Okay before you condemn me for the title, let me explain. This week the four of us Ishigaki Missionaries went to our investigators for lunch and a lesson, and this investigator loves speaking English words (in Japanese sentences). At one point he was expressing his excitement for something and he said "fantastic" and Elder Kishihara, from Tokyo, said "yeah, swagtastic" and it just made us 3 English-speaking missionaries crack up because we have no idea how he learnt that word or if he knows it's not even an actual word. So then later in the week Elder Kishihara and I were on companion exchange and when we left an investigators house he said it while shaking his hand, and just for some reason, that 'word' coming out of his mouth is just hysterical. So now it's our motto, and we say it leaving all our investigators. They love it. Good BRT. Also helps them learn English. 

We flew half an hour to the other island that makes up our district, with four missionaries, Miyako. The Zone Leaders came down and we had a super spiritual zone training, really pumped after that one!

During the companion exchange I led 3 lessons with investigators, and sometimes I suprise myself at how much my Japanese has improved. Or so I think, until they start talking about non-Gospel related topics. Then I'm just out.

When Elder Kishihara and I came back from Miyako, as Elder Lefrandt and Elder Henderson flew to Naha for a meeting (hence the companion exchange) I told Elder Kishihara that I didn't have keys to the apartment, that I thought he had them, so he started freaking out, and he was going to call the only active Priesthood holder on the island before I mentioned he was off the island for work, and I kept playing it saying we were going to have to stay at one of the elderly sisters houses. He was freaking out so much, but then I took out the keys and we had a good old laugh about it.

I had my second ever lesson in English! With a somewhat-new-investigator, who is totally awesome! And she has a baptisimal date that she is working towards. The Spirit was so strong, and we worked so well as a companionship; experiences, switching off, testifying on everything.. I can't wait to get to that point with my Japanese! 

But that's all.
Elder Kishihara and I, minutes before it bucketed down with rain..even though it looks fine, right?
Elder Lefrandt (my companion) and I with one of our investigators who is currently quitting smoking so he can be baptised! His name is Karimata and we have been meeting with him for about 7-8 weeks now.
District Lunch (first ever) in Miyako with the Zone Leaders

Thanks for your letters and emails! Love you all.
Elder Wheeler

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Weekly Yabai Kamoshiranai Mail

Mother's day calls were hilarious, Elder Henderson's family seemed more interested in hearing my accent and asking me to say 'fair dinkum' rather than talking to their son. I sent a letter to his Mum last transfer saying thanks for the cookies she sent him and she loved it so much that she is going to send more. Success.

We had the best lesson we ever have had with an investigator who has been investigating for a very long time, the Spirit was there and I know so strongly that he felt it too. It is the first time I have been here when he has finally said that he will ask God. He said when he knows it is true he will be baptised. So I am praying that this humbling decision (to finally pray to know) will make something out of him, if he does it sincerely and allows it to change him. 

We have an awesome investigator who we were led to while housing at the start of last transfer, who is progressing towards baptism. This week we taught him the word of wisdom. The lesson before, he just randomly said he wants to quit smoking - solid timing! Then that lesson when we taught him with a member present, he originally said he can't quit smoking. That he couldn't. After one of, if not the most, spiritual lesson I've been in, we gave him a blessing. I gave it in English and Elder Lefradnt translated it, and it was the first Priesthood blessing I have ever given, but the Spirit was so incredibly strong, I could feel it and feel God's desire for him to live the Word of Wisdom so strongly. After the blessing, he shook our hands and said 'I will quit.' We have a program with him that he is doing well in and are visiting him every day. He came to Church and is really excited to be baptised next month. Hearing the message about being cleansed from sin really motivates him to change. 

There was one man we contacted on the street last transfer who had met missionaries years back and had been given a Book of Mormon. When we talked with him we invited him to read the Book of Mormon, and he didn't really seem all that interested so we honestly didn't think much of it. This week we ran in to him again, and he said he had been reading the Book of Mormon, and asked us how he can be baptised. Haha, I'll be honest, I think my Japanese is getting there, but I still just assumed I didn't hear right. But no, he wants us to visit him, he came to Church this weekend, and it turns out he is friends with the investigator I wrote about in the last paragraph. They didn't even know each other knew missionaries until recently, so they actually came to Church together. What a miracle.

Okay I am writing way too much but we went on splits this week, I was with Elder Henderson from California. We did finding for most of the day as our appointments fell through, but late at night we housed this lady, and her dog went running out the gate just before we opened our mouths to introduce ourselves, so we started running after it, all the way down the street yelling sorry to the lady. Finally we got the dog to stay still and we held it, but when we tried picking it up or moving it, it would yelp, so we felt bad. After 2 or so minutes of us trying to decide what to do, the lady came with the dog's leash. A little awkward, but as we started talking, testifying and inviting, it turned in to a really spiritual experience. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she was open to us meeting with her again.

So to all the missionaries out there; if you want someone to read the Book of Mormon, let their dog run off.

That is this week! It's hot! It's rainy, sometimes! I have dubbed myself the Red Sea, because I'm red and sunburnt, and absolutely dripping with sweat 24/7. That is all.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Weekly Just Waiting for a Transfer Call Mail

Transfer week, haven't got the call yet and even though I have only been here for 2 transfers I feel like President is going to transfer me out and get some big guns down here because he really wants this area going, y'know! Just my prediction. 

 The awesome family we met last week have since become progressing investigators, it's the first time we have been able to actually teach a (fairly) young male, let alone a young male and his family. They are super awesome and I love them so much already! 

 In a lesson with an investigator who has been investigating for about 11 years I was prompted to randomly invite them to Church, even though we weren't talking about that, so I did, but he said he wouldn't come. But! He opened up and said some things he had never said to us before which have really helped us to go in the direction we need to, after being so stumped on what we can do for him for so long. Promptings can mean a lot, even though they are mostly just something simple like that. And even if the outcome is different to what you may originally expect, greatness can definitely come from it.

 Photos! Our apartment, Elder Mineta (a.k.a. Area Senpai, a.k.a. Elder Ishigaki) and Elder Henderson gearing up for the rainy season, and this creepy narrow staircase with cockroaches everywhere we climbed to invite someone to Eikaiwa to. I have overcome my fear of everything. 

Things here are way fun.

I feel like I'm a better missionary as each day passes.

There is an experience in everything we do, and learning from it and recognising it is the best.

Ok bye