Monday, February 25, 2013


Thanks for all the emails! I did get my bike, and it's got a light, reflectors, a lock and of course I wear a helmet, don't worry =). And yeah its pretty cool that they're splitting the mission! It takes affect in July and I don't know how they'll choose which missionaries go to the new one so we'll see. Also I'm curious to see if the Tokyo South mission will also have computers, they're definitely convenient here. People are so busy all the time and never are able to set apointments when you talk to them and pretty much only do it through email. That might just be because I'm in the heart of the city though.
Well I'll try to be more detailed with this email...
Last monday: Bought the bike, did other chore type stuff, then went to ping pong night at the church. One of the people we contacted on the street the night before, Imai, actually came and we gave him a book of mormon and restoration pamphlet.
Tuesday: Had a lesson with Brother Fujita, a nonactive member since about age 10. His wife and 4 kids aren't members but they weren't at the lesson. He seems really interested in the priesthood and we taught about the restoration. He seemed really interested. He came to sacrament meeting with his family yesterday but left after. They're family is super busy all the time apparently so we still don't  have our next lesson set up.
We also had lunch with an older man, Mr. Kawawa. He took us out to Chinese and bought a ton of stuff, it was pretty sweet. We talked to him about his philosphies a bit. He has lds friends in taiwan. When we started trying to talk about the plan of salvation a bit he kept talking about how you shouldn't think about death and just focus on life. He doesn't believe in an afterlife and didn't want to hear about it. Next time I think we'll just teach him some more basic things and see if he becomes interested later. Then in the evening we had a going away party for one of our Eikaiwa students. Imai came to this as well and asked a lot of questions about chirstianity and our beliefs. He seemed pretty interested and we invited him to Eikaiwa and church. He doesn't have a phone or email though so it's hard to get a hold of him and he had a lot of tests this week too. He didn't show up to either so hopefully we run into him at ping pong tonight.
Wednesday: Super weird day. We went to the mission home for interviews and my companion left our phone on one of the trains. We stayed at the mission home until they could track the phone which took forever. We did get to meet a lot of people from our zone though that came that same day for the interviews. Finally they tracked it and we went there. It was in someones house and the man wanted nothing to do with us. We got back right before "Eikaiwa" or English Class. I taught the beginner class and we pretty much just listed words and worked on pronounciation.
Thursday: Had a lesson with a recent convert. He's having a hard time feeling the spirit and I shared some things that hopefully help with him. We got a call from the mission home saying the phone changed locations and was at the train station. We went and got it but it was still under remote lock for the rest of the day. We went to a members house for a scheduled role play lesson but he wasn't home. It was super far from our apartment too. That's pretty much the jist of that day.
Friday: Had district meeting in the morning, that was fun. Then we had a "study meeting" with a group of 4 recent converts. We studied chapter 4 from PMG together. A couple of them are having a hard time knowing whether or not the church is true or not. I wasn't able to follow the conversation at all and every few minutes or so my companion would ask me "how do you feel about that?" and I had no idea what to say since I didn't even know what they were talking about. Then he would kind of just keep going. I felt pretty useless. In the evening we had a role play lesson with an older couple in the ward that fed us dinner. I was able to participate more in that because it was more of a planned lesson which I had practiced in the MTC.
Saturday: Did the usual morning routine: Wake up, excersize, eat, shower, study, study, study, eat lunch, then started the real work. We planned to go tracting with brother Ikari, a member of the ward. When we met with him he decided he wanted us to go visit his childhood friend instead. He was a bit out of our area but the Zone leaders okayed us to go meet him. We took him on a tour of the church in his area which is 5 stories. The tallest LDS church in Asia. Bottom floor is parking, 2nd is chappel, 3rd and 4th are classrooms, and 5th was gym and stage. Pretty neat. We taught him Lesson 3: The Gospel of Christ, in the parking lot afterwards. He thought it was interesting and he likes the missionaries but he doesn't really want to apply it in his own life. Seed planted though.
Sunday: Church meetings and Church in the morning. They had a ward fundraiser after church where they made curry and it was delicious. We got the leftovers too =). The Fujita family came for sacrament, and an Eikaiwa member, Mari, came right after sacrament for an English sunday school class we taught. She stayed for relief society which was cool. We had Eikaiwa after the fundraiser but I didn't teach this one, just sat and listened. We had an emergy transfer this week so one of the Elders in the companionship we live with left wednesday and a new one came thursday. The new one, Elder Bingham, from arizona taught the new class. He entered the mtc Nov 16th last year so I wouldn't have been with him then if I went to Nagoya last year. He's way smart and I learned some good study ideas from him. After Eikaiwa we had another church meeting then went to a members house for dinner.
Not going to lie from about Friday morning til this morning I was feeling super down and really questioning my motives and desire to be here. I didn't feel like I was doing anything special. This morning though after reading some things I got a better perspective and a better attitude. I might not be doing a lot right now, but I am doing something and in time I'll be able to have some good experiences.
Alright, hopefully that's detailed enough! Love you all!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Arrival in Tokyo - February 12, 2013

Well Japan's pretty cool. I got in tuesday evening, President Budge picked us up from the airport and Sister Budge made soup and salad for dinnner. They seem pretty awesome. The next day we had a little orientation in the mission home and we met the trainers. Then after a while they assigned us our trainers and areas. My trainer is Elder Lloyd, and he was actually MTC companions with Zach. I'm in the Koiwa area, which is right on the outskirts of Tokyo. We have Tokyo Disney Land, Sky Tree, and some other landmarks in our area. I'll make sure to take pictures. The roads are tiny and confusing so I have no idea where I'm going ever I just follow Elder Lloyd around.
The Japanese is killer, I barely understand anything and can't really say much outside of lessons, and can't understand what the investigators are saying in our lessons so Elder Lloyd usually translates a bit. It'll come with patience though. We only have a couple investigators right now and we can only meet them about once a week or so, so we spend a bit of time on the streets too. Apparently they used to have appointments all day every day but nobody was really progressing and they were all just king of looking to "hang out with the Americans" so they dropped a lot before I got here. I've helped teach Eikaiwa (English conversation class) twice so far and it looks like we might have a new investigator from there. She hasn't asked us to give her the lessons but I think she's planning on coming to church next week. And last night we talked to a 21 year old guy on the street for quite a while. Apparently the most contact with religion he's had is from video games like Devil May Cry and Diablo, but because of those he's interested in what we actually believe. He didn't take a Book of Mormon but said he wants to come to Ping Pong night at the church tonight and that he might take one then. We'll see how interested he actually is. Haven't bought my bike yet but I should today.  Well my ward seems pretty awesome, one of the largest in Japan with 140 members or so. 10 baptisms last year. A lot of them speak some english too so I was able to talk to a few a bit, although I say what I can in Japanese. Well.... I guess I'll talk to you all next week! I get 90 minutes to email on Pdays here (way more than the MTC).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Excited for Departure

Give my love to my new cousin for me, It'll be weird to see him in 2 years when he's walking. I really enjoy sharing the plan of Salvation lesson. It really is the best news for everyone, regardless of their current standing with God. It gives people hope, which I've started realizing is really important. Hope, optimism, and positive expectations can be a night and day difference with life. We had a meeting with a former mission president from the Japan Fukuoka mission and he talked about making sure to align our will with Gods, not limit ourselves with expectations, and to stay worthy of the spirit so God is able to do whatever he needs through us as missionaries. He talked a bit about how Japan can sometimes have a reputation for being a slow mission, but he made the point that most LDS members in Japan are 3rd generation at this point, and it was in the 3rd generation after Joseph Smith that the church really started to grow in the States. I'm really excited to get out there and share the gospel, and even if I don't get a hundred baptisms I want to bring everyone I meet closer to Christ, even if its just a bit.

I leave on Monday, Feb 11th, and this is from memory so forgive me if the times aren't exact but I think we leave Salt Lake at about 8:30, arrive in Seattle around 9:30 PST, then have a 3 hour layover before the 15 or so hour planeride to Tokyo, where we'll arive at 4:30 pm local time. So between 9:30 and 12 I'll be able to call but I won't have that whole time haha. Crazy that it's coming up so soon! I'm super excited though.

Photos from the MTC (Jan/Feb 2013)