Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly Kiseki Dake Mail

It's getting warm, we even sweated a little the other day. Still trying to get the most of out it not being summer because.. yeah. We'll get to that in another few months.

This week we met with a few people, here's the story of Isayama-san! 
We met on Wednesday housing, he is a 70-ish year old single man living alone. When we first started talking he wasn't all that interested, but he said he had a Bible, and that all he does is research his family history. And I was like, "woah, you'd get along with my Mum!" and then (just kidding) we shared a little about our family history, and I shared my story of my ancestors being sent to Australia. This got him a little interested, and he opened up a bit more. Then we shared a short message about the Book of Mormon and he happily took it, and a return appointment, even saying, in the most humble & respectful way that I know, if it's convenient for you please come here again. We returned a few days later, he was waiting for us, and he taught us about earthquakes and the geography of Japan, and we taught him about God's plan of happiness. I was messing up with my Japanese so much for some reason, but it was made all right at the end when we reviewed what we had taught, testified of its truthfulness, shared our own personal experiences and promised him his own blessings.

We also visited Santaro-san, who we have met three times now - he is the man who can meet every other week. He seems to have a sincere interest and has been reading the Book of Mormon really carefully to understand it. We had another super great lesson with him. We taught him the Restoration, and I told him an experience that I had when I was young that helped me with my testimony, that I prayed and felt my heart fill with peace and clarity through the Holy Spirit, that I feel it every time I pray or read the scriptures or go to Church, and that I was feeling it at that exact moment as we were speaking. It was a really powerful moment in our lesson and I feel that this really is the Lord's work and it is His desire for us to be sharing these experiences with Santaro-san and the other people we meet!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Weekly Jigenbakudan Mail

I had a week, let me break it down for you.

Went to Buzen-Shi, a town to our east which is about a 40 minute bike ride, twice and dendo'd banzai style. The second day was particularly hard but our last contact was a lady who asked about the meaning of life, why there are so many Christian churches, what happens after we die, and whether or not it is really worth believing in Christianity if it means there is a chance of not going to Heaven as opposed to her current Japanese Buddhist beliefs. 金人やろう?! We taught her as simply as we could, testified as much as we could, and gave her a Book of Mormon and will be going back this Thursday to see what she thought about Alma 34. 

Friday was companion exchanges, and I had the honour of being a part of Elder Mahler (Cairns, Elder Jakob Rowlings' MTC companion) last one. We went hard! There was this one neighbourhood we were going around and talking to everyone in, and the last house had two pretty fierce dogs out the front and we almost didn't do it! Can you believe it! We were like, "nah we know better than that," so we went to the window and a young-ish man came out - and here's the good part. In our planning we made a goal to meet someone and teach them the message of the Restoration, the full lesson, and this was our man. At first he thought we were way silly and thought our message was kinda laughable, but through the testimonies and experiences, he started to show quite a bit of interest. So much so, that he took a Book of Mormon, and Elder Powell and I are going to his place again tonight.

On Saturday we went to Fukuoka and received training on how we can use iPads when they come to our mission next month, from Elder Ringwood and Elder Russel M. Nelson. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, an Apostle of the Lord came to our mission and I shook his hand! Haven't had such a nerdy, slightly embarrassing grin, walking away from a handshake, like that in a while. 

Came back, had a Family History - Open House activity at the church and a few people came along with all the members who put in all their efforts to make it a success! Then yesterday we went back to Fukuoka for the best Zone Conference ever. ほら、you have no idea how sweet our Mission President is. For real.

Learnt a lot, felt a lot, made goals and I look back on the week and I can say it was definitely a wonderful learning experience!

My companion likes learning weird words. He learnt the word for "time bomb" and kept mentioning it, saying, "trust me, it comes up!" as if it's a regularly used Japanese word. During our train ride to Fukuoka, Elder Mahler was talking to a lady, saying he is unfortunately going home in a few weeks, and that's right, she said "it's like a time bomb!"
My companion didn't need to say anything, we just sat their with our mouths shut.

Here is a photo from last nights Family Home Evening, and another photo of a lot of missionaries in Fukuoka.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Weekly Keisatsu Yatsu Mail

ほら! Nakatsu is the best, but don't be a jealous guy. Here are some tales from this week.

Elder Powell and I were on the third floor of this apartment, and we heard and saw this kid walking through the street singing the Dragon Ball theme song with all this excitement and energy, so I started singing it back to him but in English, and he had no idea where the mysterious voice was coming from. In what looked like a burst of ki, he shouted "dragon ball is the best!" and took off down the street.

Now for something that has something to do with missionary work.
We rode an hour into the wilderness and visited a lady we met a few weeks ago who owns a cafe that was an elementary school 100 years ago. Elder Powell cut some wood for her while I made encouraging remarks - and he was working so hard, my arms got sore just watching. We talked for a while and tried something we have never done before; we said that we wanted to leave her with something, handed her a Book of Mormon, and without explaining anything went on our way. She said she'll give it a read, so we'll see what happens!

The next day we rode to a nearby city and visited an apartment complex that we prayed about earlier and felt like we should go there, and we met a lady who accepted the Book of Mormon and a return appointment for next week. We explained the purpose of it, and invited her to read 3 Nephi 11, and she said that she's home in the evenings so she will read it by then. Miracle #67854.

In other news, we were stopped by police late at night which was a first, no interrogations - I think they were too softened up by our as-polite-as-we-could-have-made-it polite Japanese.
We also tried some swing-dendo (photo below). Good times in Nakatsss.

Photos: Quick snap with Notorious B.I.G., Dendo in the hood and Swing Dendo.
Checked out another shrine next to a member's house. Look at my face, then read in Nicolas Cage's voice: "what are these strange white tokens?" 

Another photo is of the neighborhood we dendo'd this week. 

The last is what a door looks like when it's closed.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Weekly kono junkai wa itsu owaru no Mail

Cool week!

It's still weird working with Elder Powell, we're still waiting for the exchanges to end and we go back to our old companions. Speaking of which, we went to Kita Kyushu for our weekly district meeting and got to hang out with Elder Malaska again. He looks ikemen in the photo I sent but that's definitely him.

We just started teaching the two kids of a new member called Satomi Shimai. We have been friends for a long time, and they come to our activities, but this was the first time we were able to go to their house and have a legitimate lesson. It's difficult teaching young people with short attention spans, so if anyone has any ideas on how to teach young people please let me know!

During the week we were housing and we talked to a girl through the inter-phone, saying our usual stuff, that we're missionaries and we are sharing a special message, and she came to the door and let us in to their genkan and her Mum came too. We stood in the genkan and shared a message with them for about 10 minutes about Joseph Smith and about the Book of Mormon, invited them to read the introduction, gave them a copy and made a return appointment for this coming week. The Mum is blind so the daughter will read it aloud for her :). She met missionaries a long time ago and remembers the good relationship she had with them, so I am grateful to those missionaries - no effort is wasted.

We also went out to all-you-can-eat-meat-that-you-cook (not sure how to translate that one into English) with our branch president Matsumaru, Mitsuko Shimai and Matsuo Shimai.
Elder Vance, who I lived with in my first transfer on Ishigaki, is now in our district so we'll be seeing weekly photos of his beautiful face I'm sure.

Mata ne!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Weekly Sakurakou Keionbu Mail

My ai suru companion left us this week to move onto bigger and better things: to Kita Kyushu as our District Leader. When we got to the train station to drop him off he left before we could say goodbye, saying, "Yeah see you guys next week." Every Monday morning the District Leader calls and we report on our week, so it was strange for him to call me his (number one) companion and hear a report on what he was here for half of (as transfers were on Thursday).

My new companion is Elder Powell from Colorado who is now transfer 9 (now I am transfer 10), who has been in this area for 6 weeks already - but now his companion has got a transfer 1 missionary, fresh from the Missionary Training Center!

Earlier in the week we went to a cool shrine that we've wanted to go to for a while. On my companions last night we had a mochi (crushed rice.. things) party after Eikaiwa. Last week I sent photos of o-hina-sama - traditional dolls that people set up at this time of the year for a festival. This week Elder Powell and I went to the nearby castle where they had an event including human o-hina-sama so we got a lot of nice squinty photos there because the sun is coming out these days (not for much longer though, before we know it it'll be rain season).

Here's a cool experience we had the other day! We decided on a place to go housing and kept to our plan, but no one was home aside from a few people that told us that we already came a few weeks ago. So, we finished up the street, prayed, and Elder Powell felt like we should hit up an apartment nearby. We did and met a young father who we had an awesome talk with, gave a Book of Mormon to, and made an appointment for next week. And it's not one of those bimyou return-visit-requests, he repeated it back to us, "so not this week, but next week, you will come here at around 3:30 on Wednesday and if I have read this part of the Book I will share my opinion and impressions and you will talk to me about it?" And we were like "yep!" so let's see how it goes! It has been a long time since we have been able to schedule an appointment with anyone here so I think it was a pretty grand miracle!