Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 11, 2013

Hello everyone! Here's my weekly high detail recap. Don't get too excited though, this week was a pretty smooth ride with not a lot of cool stories. I enjoyed it though.
Monday: After doing the to-do list of Pday with cleaning, shopping, and emailing, we were able to go bowling with one of our good Eikaiwa friends, Shohei, at his brother's work. My best game I bowled a 149, which I was happy with. Elder Lloyd got a 156 one game though so I wasn't quite the winner. After dinner we went to ping pong night and I tried to talk to some of the bilingual members and have them teach me more Japanese.
Tuesday: After studying we had a lesson with Hori. We used to just teach him short messages from the Liahona since he wants to learn english and wasn't ever really willing to take the discussions, but that lesson was much more of an actual lesson. We taught the Doctrine of Christ lesson, which includes the path we need to take in this life (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End). We really tried to emphasize baptism. He said he feels like he has Faith and he tries to repent every day, but he still isn't quite ready to take that next step. He did say, "Maybe I'll call you tomorrow and say I want to be baptized, but as for now I don't want to." That really surprised me and made me realize that he really has come a long way, I'm sure we'll get him sooner or later. We streeted for a while and met a chinese man that we set up an appointment with, so I'll tell you how that goes next week. During dinner we watched the new CES devotional from Elder Bednar. Everything he said made a lot of sense to me and was something I had thought about in the MTC. What I really took away from it is that we need to truly submit ourselves to the Lord's will, even if its contrary to what we think is best for us. When we have faith, He will bless us, but we also need to recognize that He has His own plan for us and that somehow its for our benefit in the long run. If you haven't seen the devotional yet I recommend you watch it.
Wednesday: Pretty normal day. I feel like I'm being more effective during my study times, and I feel that I am able to understand more Japanese, but my speaking is still about the same. The increase of understanding is encouraging though. We taught a group of recent converts from last year about the temple and urged them to go do baptisms for the dead and even try and bring their own family names. Did some uneventful dendo (proselyting), had dinner, and had Eikawa. The first hour of Eikaiwa is pretty slow and tedious, especially in the beginner class where I co-teach with a very stuborn older ward member, so it's hard for me to try and change things up and make it more fun. The last 30 minutes is always a game of all classes combined and its a blast. This week we wrote the letters A-Z on the whiteboard, one team started at A, the other team started at Z. You go in a line writing a simple english word for the letter your team is at, and when both teams meet in the middle they Rock, Paper, Scissors. The losing team erases some of their words (First loss you erase everything, 2nd you erase 10, and 3rd and later you erase 5). First team to get to the other teams starting place wins. It took the full half hour but finally the other team ended up winning.
Thursday: Studied, had 3 hours of weekly planning, met with Brother Kawachi (a recent convert) and just kind of talked for 45 minutes. He's a pretty amazing guy who's had a lot of trials lately, so he likes to see us a lot. Then we went to Shohei's house and made dinner with him and his family.
Friday: Started the day handing out flyers for Eikaiwa at the train station to people on their way to work. It's kind of awkward since I've always been annoyed by people like that and now I'm one of them. I'm getting used to it though. We had a district meeting at our church and practiced testifying as a companionship. Later we did our study and some more uneventful dendo on the streets. After dinner we went to the Japanese class we went to last week. Right away there was a chinese guy (fluent in english) who asked us if he could come to our church. Of course we said yes, gave him an Eikaiwa flyer with a map to the church, and told him what time it was. He wasn't able to come yesterday but said he'll come next week. After the class we walked back to the train station with one of the teachers and talked about what we do as missionaries a bit. We exchanged numbers and might meet this week. Because she's a girl though we have a lot of rules to follow in order to teach her. There should be sister missionaries coming next transfer to this area and maybe we'll just keep her number to give to them.
Saturday: Most of the day was spent taking Hori to a baptism in Elder Bingham's old area (He's one of the tech missionaries we share our appartment with. He actually started his mission November 16th last year, the day I was supposed to report if I had gone to Nagoya). It was the first baptism I've attended in Japan so that was a cool experience. I think Hori liked it too, but it's hard for me to get a good read because I'm such a novice here. We'll try and ask more direct questions this week to see how he actually feels about everything, or if he just likes hanging out with us. We did a bit of dendo and went to a members house for dinner. The couple both served missions in America, and they invited another couple from the ward including a Nigerian man and his Japanese wife. He doesn't know Japanese yet, but is a pretty awesome guy. We got to teach our message in English so that was fun. I like being able to use English since I regain my confidence, but at the same time I'm afraid the amount of english in my ward will hinder my ablitily to learn.
Sunday: Church stuff, we had a 24 year old Nepali guy, Aman, come to sacrament with us but he left after. It was his first experience with christian churches but he said he enjoyed it. He doesn't really know Japanese so the brother we ate with on saturday night sat with us and translated. We did another recent convert lesson with a 13 year old girl and had Sunday Eikaiwa. For dinner we made some pretty sweet burgers. We had to mix the beef with tofu, but we added chopped onions to the meat and a special ingredient that I threw in just for fun. Rootbeer concentrate! It was actually pretty good. We didn't have any bread and they don't have burger buns here so we just cut up the patties and ate them with rice and a ketchup and soysauce blend. I played around on Familysearch.org and found a direct line from our family back to Adam, you guys should see if you can find it too.
Today: Studied, cleaned, went grocery shopping, emailed! I got one of the 7/11 waffle ice creams that dad told me about. It was pretty good.
One of the things I really thought about his week was how huge and impactful the Plan of Salvation is. Our time on Earth, while it seems long while we're here, is nothing in the grand scheme of things. We develop relationships and families, learn to love, experience trials, and then it's over. I thought a lot about temple work and the timing for people to receive the gospel. The more I thought of it and talked about things with the other missionaries the more I realized that everything that's meant to happen will happen. In the end, everyone who is meant to inherit the Celestial Kingdom will inherit it. Everything is done in the Lord's time. I used to think that a mission is a responsibility to help those people to receive it, but even if I wasn't here they would receive it eventually if they would now. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be here. We're still allowing them to receive those blessings earlier, and it is actually mostly an opportunity for us to show Heavenly Father our willingness to do whatever he asks of us and receive the blessings for ourselves that he has planned for us. I don't mean for this to sound selfish or anything, so please don't take it that way. But it's reassuring for those who don't have the opportunity or ability to accept the gospel now. We need to trust God and His timing, but still try and help anyway we can, as small as we may be in the grand scheme.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 3, 2013

Thanks for all the emails and encouragement! Life's getting a little easier, still mostly just going with the flow, but nothing wrong with that. Here's a recap of the last week:
Tuesday: Pretty good day. Shohei (an Eikaiwa student who moved out of our area to be a manager at a pet store) was back in town and we made lunch at his house. They were an attempt at hamburgers, but we had to use pork and regular slices of bread instead of buns. Still tastey though. He still doesn't want to really investigate the church but he did contact the church in his new area to go to their Eikaiwa. Then we did some streeting and stuff, got a couple numbers of people saying their interested in Eikaiwa but not the church right now. Then the 4 Elders in our area went out to dinner with a recent convert and at dinner met an older man that we had a good conversation with. The other elders picked him up as an investigator and have seem him a couple times this week so far. Elder Lloyd and I started handing out Eikaiwa flyers at a nearby strain station. One guy came up to us and started speaking English to us. His name is Shota Chiba. He asked us what we were doing, we explained that we were missionaries. He asked about the church, and long story short we gave an overview of all the lessons and set a baptisimal date with him! It was pretty miraculous. We exchanged numbers but he's been pretty busy and unfortunately didn't come to church yesterday even though he said he would. He's been reading the Book of Mormon though. We probably won't be able to baptize him as soon as the date we set but I think it'll happen eventually.
Wednesday: Had a lesson with Brother Fujita, once again it was just him and not his family. He really likes the church and church members, but when we talked to him seriously about him receiving the priesthood and baptizing his family he said that he doesn't want to rush anything and will only do it when he feels like his family wants to do it on their own. Slow progress but still progress. Later we had a study session with recent converts and read a talk by Elder Bednar. I followed along in English but wasn't really able to participate in the discussion. Good listening practice. In the evening we had Eikaiwa and I taught the beginner class.
Thursday: We did our normal study and spent a lot of the day preparing for something special that happened Friday. We had a 4-person planning for what we wanted to do this week as an apartment, and we had a 3 hour weekly planning as companionships to talk about our investigators and have "companionship inventory", which is where we have to talk about our feelings and other girly stuff. I see why its important but I still think it's pretty dumb sometimes. We finished the day doing tracting and not much came of it.
Friday: Woke up bright and early to go to the Temple annex in Tokyo and hear Elder Nelson! First time I saw Zach, so that was cool. And I got to say hi to everyone from the MTC too and see how people were holding up. Elder Nelson was amazing and we had a question and answer session with him afterwards. I think what I took away most from it was the responsibility I have to be here and the feeling that I'm really not wasting my time, which was something I needed to hear. I think the biggest change in my way of thinking about church things since I started my mission is my respect and admiration for the General Authorities. They really do have power and authority, they're not just good leaders. They receive powerful and direct revelation. So a lot of the day was that and travel, but in the evening we went to a free local Japanese Class to try and find investigators and improve our Japanese at the same time. Turns out the first one of every month is just a dinner so we got an extra dinner. We did meet some cool people though. One of them was apparently baptized as a kid. He would go play basketball with the elders when he was about 13 and one just got baptized. Never went to church, got confirmed, or even took the lessons though. It gave us an opportunity to talk about the church and hopefully we can talk more this week.
Saturday: Pretty average day. Checked out familysearch.org during study time and was surprised how far back I could go. That was cool. We have an Eikaiwa student who doesn't want to officially take the lessons and commit to anything, but we teach him private Eikaiwa lessons using the Liahona and basically just teach him the lessons anyway without him knowing it. We taught the Plan of Salvation and he thought it was really cool. Had a lot of questions but understood it in the end. Still no desire to change his life though. Then we went to go to a soccer activity with one of the youth and an investigator. My companion thought it started when it actually ended though so the 4 of us didn't end up doing it. We taught a role play lesson to the youth that was with us in a mcdonalds on the way back. He's a pretty cool guy, 15 year old named Toshiharu.
Sunday: Did normal Sunday stuff. No investigators at church this week unfortunately. Taught a recent convert after church and Eikaiwa. We got a referral from some sisters in the area by ours, who had a Nepali guy approach them on the train back from Elder Nelson and say "I don't really know why, but I feel like I need to talk to you and hear whatever message you have." He lives in our area so they referred him to us. We met him at the local trainstation, he came with his friend and we walked with them to the church real quick before they had to go to work. They're both 24 year old Nepali guys who are here studying Japanese. They've only been here for 2 months so I'm kind of the same level as they are. We talked all in English. They're both fluent in it, as well as Nepali and Hindu. Pretty impressive. We set up appointments to meet with them on Wednesday.
Alright, I might have to start just writing my journal on the computer and copying and pasting it into the email. This took a long time to type. Have a great week everyone! Love you all!

The Ultimate Rock, Paper, Scissors model