Monday, May 1, 2017

2017.4.30 Transfer 13 Stage 1

God morgen!

Jeg er en
宣教師! Let me just mix all the languages...muy sabroso!

I'm trying to remember what happened this past week. I know I had a couple of companion exchanges, stake conference, and many member appointments but he specifics are just not coming to me now. I'll do my best

Probably the highlight of the week was when my companion and I decided to do a complete overhaul on ourselves with respect to being Preach My Gospel missionaries. For those of you who do not know what Preach My Gospel is I will tell you. Many times, members of our church will refer to it as PMG, but it is the guide and outline for how missionaries teach the missionary lessons to those who have interest in learning about the gospel of Christ. So, if one of you were to decide that you wanted to find out for yourselves what the Mormons believe in then one would usually try to find two young men or young women missionaries. They are the ones with the white-shirt-and-tie with black name tags. Or dresses if they are young women (like my boss sister who is a missionary in West Virginia). One would find them and then they would begin teaching them, at a customized pace, the basic doctrines of the restored church of Christ. And if there are specific things one would like to learn then the missionaries are more than willing to tailor the lessons to those interests.

Either way, the missionaries rely heavily on the PMG to know how to teach simply and clearly so that anyone who has any interest in learning about Jesus Christ can learn what they want to learn. And because these young missionaries are, well, young, they almost always learn about Jesus Christ and His teachings and they teach others. It's something I have experienced time and time again and it is quite amazing.

But, yes, my companion and I decided to recommit ourselves and become PMG black belts. It's been cool, learned a lot of stuff from the First Presidency Message and the Introduction. Basically, the First Presidency of the church (the prophet of God and his assistants) explained that PMG is meant to help missionaries become better-prepared, spiritually mature, persuasive teachers. So, teaching is a paramount responsibility of being a missionary. But through the mission experience an individual changes. If you ask family or friends of returned missionaries you will often, if not always, hear them say that the person that left and the person that returned are two very different people. Because the PMG focuses on the fundamentals of missionary service then a missionary can focus on PMG to practice and refine his or her fundamental skills and behaviors. As this process takes place then the missionary slowly changes his or her fundamental behaviors, skills, thought processes, etc. My mission president often says how many times he has seen the development and the end result be absolutely marvelous. It's a miracle in and of itself.

So yeah, it's been cool this past week.

We also went to a place in our area that I had never been to before. Found two new investigators. Sick!
(This means ‘awesome’ in modern lingo.)
I stubbed my toe and now I'm limping. I hope I didn't break it. I should be fine

We are going to go to Namba in southern Osaka. It will be my first time so I'm excited. My Shimai die this week. No!
(“Shimai” are sister missionaries that entered the MTC same time as David did, they only serve for 18 months whereas the elders serve for 24 months.)

Hope you all have an awesome week! It's getting warmer as summer nears. Gotta love it!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017.4.16 From Rough to Refined

What's up guys?

This past week has been quite the adventure. Ups and downs and it went by way fast! The sakura is past its prime so now we are moving on to other flowers that deserve their attention. My companion is awesome, evident by his zone conference training. I learn from him every day. From here I'll give you the full scoop. Maybe even a double scoop. Cone or cup?

I'll start with Monday because there was something funny that happened after I emailed you guys. So after we left downtown Osaka we got back to the church, grabbed our bikes, and started to head home. About ten minutes down the road I hear my companion behind me say something to himself in exclamation. Turns out he didn't have his missionary phone on his person. I called to see if maybe in his bag. Not there. We went back to the church but it wasn't there. We both felt that we knew where is downtown Osaka. At that point we had a decision to make. We knew we weren't going to proselyte because I was sick. We could either go back that night or go back next week on Preparation Day. Well, the right choice was clear even though we didn't want to. We decided to go get the phone. So we went all the way back into the heart of Osaka to get the phone. Luckily, we found it right away in the massage chairs where we were emailing just a few hours previously. I love Japan because if you lose a wallet or phone you can go back to where you thought you lost it and it will be in the hands of the authorities because someone turned it in! So good! Thereupon finding the said device we returned home and I sacked out.

And then the next two days consisted of me sleeping in the apartment and reading The Book of Mormon in Japanese. Yep, leveling up my reading comprehension skills

Had a companion exchange with one of my doki! Doki means same class group. You can use this for school grades, business experience levels, or the MTC. It was cool to see how he has changed since I knew him in the MTC. We talked a lot about how the mission experience has changed us in so many ways. I reflected on how I have developed the skill of planning for investigators. And how to see people with an eternal perspective. There are other things that have changed about me but those are just a couple. And the Lord isn't done with me yet

It has been SUCH NICE WEATHER lately!! I can't believe it! It has been cold for so long that the 20s (Celsius) have been feeling incredibly nice. No jackets, no gloves, no scarves, nothing! Soon sun screen will be needed. Summer, here I come! A year ago now I was in Sumoto with Yamamoto Chōrō. How the time flies!

We had zone conference on Thursday. At zone conference, we have our mission president and his wife come and train us on the vision and mindset of how we need to work here and help the people of Japan. The zone leaders conduct the meetings but the mission president presides. So the morning session was where our mission president, President Welch, led a discussion about our Book of Mormon challenge. We have recently been studying The Book of Mormon to cultivate and strengthen our knowledge and testimony of the principles of faith and repentance and how they are linked together. Welch Kaichō (kaichō means president) directed the discussion towards our new study challenge. Starting this week, we will be studying The Book of Mormon with a focus on the doctrine of Christ. I AM SO STOKED! In the afternoon session, we had the sister trainer leaders give their portion. They talked about finding joy in the work. I gave my training on The Book of Mormon and how we should act towards it. As in our attitude. How we should value it. And then my companion specifically talked about repentance. It was way good and we were able to deliver what we wanted to say. It's interesting where the conversation ends up going because of the Spirit's influence.

I may or may not have had a full cup of chocolate from a chocolate fountain while I was eating with a couple of other elders. It was good...but extremely unhealthy

I took my bike into the shop because on of the wheel spokes broke. This whole week has been without a bike. Lots of walking and money going into trains. It's been good though. I am definitely excited to get my bike back.

On Saturday we walked to the eki (station) and saw a couple of volunteers for a rescue medical group working in Africa. And one of them studies the Bible every day, but he isn't Christian! He said he met the missionaries 20 years ago in southern Osaka and had a lesson with them. We exchanged business cards and he said he would like to meet again. Such a miracle! Can't wait to meet with him.

Sunday was awesome, especially since it was Easter Sunday. There was a big party afterwards where we welcomed three new families that moved in to the Senri ward. So much good food and good people. Then we walked to a member's house to have a meal with them. She cooks everything and it's all American styled stuff. She even had A&W brand root beer. I died! So good! We set up lots of member appointments this week so we are going to work to get them all going strong on dendō

There is one thing I want to share with you guys. Two scriptures. Matthew 5:48 and 3 Nephi 12:48. There is one difference between them and I'm sure you will find it. It's not necessarily hiding, it's just something one could miss if one is not paying attention. It has everything to do with Easter. I believe that Jesus Christ died and was resurrected three days later. I believe that He provides a way through death because He first conquered death. Who better to be on your side than our Savior. Get to know Him as I am trying to know Him. He loves
us all so much. Never forget that.


2017.4.9 Broken backs, funerals, and General Conference

I know your curious about the subject line so I'll jump right in it. But before I begin, I will tell you that I am actually in Umeda, downtown Osaka. We just went to go see the Osaka Castle and the Sakura there. I sent a million and three photos so you should have gotten them. Way fun, then we grabbed lunch and are now in some of the mall's massage chairs. It's a good Preparation Day 😊

So, I'll start by saying we had Mission Leader Council on Tuesday. It was way awesome. It's a meeting where all of the zone leaders and sister trainer leaders meet in the mission office and receive training from President Welch and his assistants. We talked about how things are going in each of our zones and what we need help with. Way good and way uplifting! Basically, I want to repent all the time. When we finished, I went to the office elder to try and get a new microwave for our apartment. When I asked him what could be done he took me with him into the back room to see what they had that wasn't being used. This is the back room that has all the spare furniture and appliances that are stored when an apartment closes so that then can save money by reusing the stuff instead of buying new stuff. Anyways, we walk in and he says, "oh, we probably have a microwave back here". Now, the reason why we needed a new microwave is so I could try my hand at some baking. Because baking with a toaster oven is not super effective. So, we look and behold, not just a microwave with a bake function, but a legit oven! It was so beautiful. And it works! One problem, he couldn't drive it over to our apartment until a few weeks later. But by that time, I could be transferred. There was one option. And that was to carry it all the way home. Which is what I ended up doing. The result was a back with problems two days later when we went to a funeral of a member's father.

We went to the dollar store before the funeral so that my companion could get a black tie. While walking through the store a pain shot across my back that caused me to stop walking in my tracks. Then it happened again after the funeral. I called Sister Welch and she said to take a few days off to rest, so that's where half of my week went, to the apartment. But the funeral was a first in Japanese. Most of the speakers were LDS so everything was testified in the name of Jesus Christ and we sang hymns. But what really caught my attention was one young adult who shook so hard when he got up to speak. His hair was swept in front of his face and he looked to the side instead of forward to the crowd. He was bent over for most of his talk which made it all very dramatic! It was hard to watch, but one could easily tell he missed his grandfather whose funeral it was.

That, and General Conference. Way awesome! Elder Renlund talked about sin and sinners. That was one of my favorites. And President Uchtdorf taught that “perfect love casteth out fear”. That was way good! I downloaded all of the audio so Imma be listening to that a lot.

We spent Sunday at a ward members house for General Conference. They are from America so it was all in English. And they made homemade cheeseburgers. I died! They were so good! And then we went to go see one of our investigators. We just shared a thought or two from General Conference and then invited him to read one of the talks. Way good and he felt the Spirit. Then we went home.

Then something funny happened. I got a bloody nose and laid down to let it settle. Then a strong head-cold broke over me. It had never happened like that before. Then I coughed last night and am now in a full cold today. Yay! But it's ok, because I went to Osaka Castle.

Anyways, those are the highlights. It also rained a lot, but it was very warm at the same time. Hope you all have a good week!


2017.4.2 🦋SAKURA🦋

Hello everyone!

Let me take a minute to explain my subject line. Sakura is one of those times of year the Japanese absolutely treasure. Its a huge symbol of renewal in the Japanese culture. Often times the sides of a street, pond, or park are lined with them so when the time comes there will be an explosion of light pink all around. And the branches of the Sakura trees are loaded with blossoms so it becomes difficult to see the branch. In Japan, the most well-known place for its Sakura is Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. And it's great that I only live about an hour from the heart of Kyoto. I'll send you pictures in the coming weeks.

So, last week. Was great! We had a solid lesson with one of our investigators who haven't been able to meet for a while. We dropped by just to see how he was doing and he ended up inviting us in. The lesson focus ended up being forgiveness and repentance. We sat down and the first thing he asks is how he can show love to others. And when you have a Japanese person ask that question you take it and run! We went straight to the scriptures and read through a few stories of Christ's personal ministry. All of us can learn A LOT from how Christ taught and served others. And that's what we started with, SERVICE! Then we explained that one shows love when one forgives. We showed the Bible video depiction of forgiving 70x7 times. Oh, I forgot to say that this investigator is decent with English so, yeah, we showed the video in English. Then we read through it from the scriptures in Japanese so he could understand it fully. We let him know that it is available in Japanese on and he said he would look it up. We brought up how we are forgiven of our sins as we follow Christ and keep God's commandments. And when we are baptized we are washed completely clean of guilt and sins. He said he understood. In his own words, "wakatta!", which means a light bulb when off

We had a companion exchange with elders from Toyōka. I walked with a young missionary and only spoke Japanese with him which was good. He is really pushing himself to improve which is always inspiring to see.

And it has been absolutely GORGEOUS weather this past week. There was a day that was cold and rainy, but besides that it has been warm. And today is absolutely amazing! The weather forecast says that this entire week is in the 60s so I'm way stoked! I love spring!

We also had a companion exchange with the Assistants. We were able to teach one of their investigators with a member present. I gotta tell ya, I love lessons which investigators when a member is present. It's so cool because the member gets to strengthen their testimony and teaching skills while the investigator can see the results of gospel doctrine and have a new friend. It makes me so happy. I'm gonna be doseki (member-present lesson) master when I return home. I may or may not keep slipping into Japanese as I teach but I will still be all the investigators best friend!

Church is always the best. Especially when you’re with Japanese people. But I may be biased. We met with the stake president and talked about how the zone is doing and the investigators. He then explained to us how a major business magazine had their main article on English programs. And the number one program was that of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So we basically just got big national publicity as a church. Gotta let your light shine people!

One of the families in our ward is American so they know how to do youth activities. We had a BBQ at their house on Saturday. They let me and my companion grill the meat, i t was so fun. There were SO MANY non-members there that my head was spinning. And they were all so cool. Lots of good food and awesome people.

Last night we had to work on a project as zone leaders so it cut out some of our dendō time. But in the middle a package arrived for my companion and he opened it up. It was an Easter package and he opened up all the candy. We basically went ham on the candy and both got sick. Let's just say we were not well all through the night. But now we are better so we are good.

Today we got shopping done, cleaned the apartment, and I got a haircut. Spring cuts are awesome! We are going to meet up with a few members for dinner later on today so I'm excited for that.

Anyway, that's it. General Conference is his weekend for us. Please don't spoil it too much for me, ok guys? Thanks. Have an awesome week.
Love you!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017.3.27 Got a flat, a new companion, and some rain!

What's up guys?

It's been a busy but good week! A lot of our time was spent figuring out stuff for transfers which cut down on our dendō time so that was fun. From creating and sending travel plans to making sure everyone got to where they were supposed to be, we have been on the phone a lot. However, I am pleased to say that there were no big mishaps that caused confusion and delay (#thomasthetankengine) so I'm happy!

After all of our emailing, grocery shopping, having fun and stuff on Monday, we went to the church to figure out all travel plans for the people coming into our zone. Everyone who is leaving our zone gets travel Plans from their new zone leaders, not us. There were six new missionaries coming into our zone. And when I say new, I don't mean first-transfer missionaries, I just mean missionaries who were coming from a different zone. So we made six travel plans and two of them traveled most of their journey together which made things easier for us. There were three apartments in our zone that housed more than one companionship last transfer. But this transfer two of them became just one companionship housing. What that means is that our zone shrank by about four missionaries. Which is fine, it just means the Lord needs more missionaries in a different area in a different zone. 

Tuesday we made all the calls and answered questions of how everything will work. We tried to contact a few potential investigators but none of them were home. No worries, we will catch them another time!

Thursday was the actual day of transfers. My companion woke up at 5:30 to make sure everything was ready to go. We left around 7:30 and went our separate ways once we hit the 十三駅 (Juso Eki). Then I went to 岡町駅 (Okamachi Eki) and waited with Jensen Chōrō until both of our companions came in. It was about 11:15 when Jensen Chōrō's companion came in. His name is Nash Chōrō and I knew him from when I was in the Kobe Zone. We waited for another hour or so until my companion, Keenan Chōrō, finally arrived. We took a small break because he was tired from lugging his bike and suitcase around. After that we travelled to the apartment, had lunch, and then planned for the week. While planning one of our members called and asked if we had any plans that night. We didn't so he set up a dinner appointment for us. We went out to 焼鳥 (yakitori). It was way good! And so nice of them. 

We had a meal appointment set up with one of our ward members on Saturday. It was the first time I had really met this member because she has been attending the other ward that uses the same church building as us. Because of certain things she isn't attending the correct ward. She knows, I just don't know all the reasons so, yeah. But she is a COOK! I may or may not have explained that ovens are NOT a thing in Japan. Toaster ovens are normal, but the full-sized, American style ovens do not exist here. You can maybe get one half the size of a normal oven for 100 dollars. But she has one of those half-sized things and she is a beast! She made lasagna, mashed potatoes, and this crispy chicken stuff that was SO GOOD! She also made this killer chocolate cake and a strawberry-mousse cake that was heavenly. Loved every bite. And to top it off, she had root beer! Then we shared a lesson focused on The Book of Mormon for her son who isn't a member (yet). 

So, let me tell you a little bit about my new companion, Elder Keenan. He is from St. George, Utah. He is 20 and will be returning home in June. He played American football and soccer. He loves to beatbox and is pretty good at doing silly voices. :) 

So, yeah, my tire got punctured. They repaired it for under ten dollars but said that because the back tire has worn thin it will be easy to pop again. Another expense. Yay! Also, my bike light committed suicide so that's another thing to buy.

It also rained cats, dogs on our way home from church. It was clear on the way over, but then it got cloudy while we were at church. So by the time we got home we were soaked through and through. Way fun!

I wanna make a plug for General Conference coming up. General Conference is BOSS! I think a lot of you will get it this weekend, not sure. But we get it a week delayed because translation stuff. I'm WAY STOKED! To hear the words of Christ's prophets and apostles is a blessing! We can know for ourselves that God is working among the children of men according to their faith when we hear the words of the prophets. So, let's strengthen our faith! I would like to invite everyone to watch it. I sure will.

Anyways, that's all I got. It's been way fun to get to know Keenan Chōrō. It's gonna be quite a transfer. #dendoisbest 愛しているよ!


Monday, March 20, 2017

2017.3.19 Happy Spring Everyone!

Hello everyone!

ITS SPRING!!! It is warm today! I'm so excited for General Conference and the new transfer and the changes it will bring. I'll tell you what happens with me next week.

This past week was full, but I'm trying to remember what happened
😆 We had a couple of kōkans, a meal with Bishop Shiono, and and a way busy Sunday morning. Let me fill you in!

So I kōkaned with Olsen Chōrō who was in the same district as me a while back so I knew him which made it even more fun! We found quite a few sick houses. In Japan houses NEVER have chimneys, even if they are fake. But we saw two houses with chimneys, and one of them had TWO chimneys! It blew my mind! And then, right next to them was a house that just screamed Scandinavian. Which was weird because it's not like I've seen that many Scandinavian homes. I dunno, it just spoke to me. So we had to go into that neighborhood anyway to find a less-active and when we were riding past that house I saw something, and you'll never guess what it was...a dolahest (spelling?)! The Scandinavian horse thing! I literally exploded! I whipped around and told Olsen Chōrō that we had to talk to them. Then there were other things with Scandinavian painting. It was awesome! Knocked and opened the door to see the husband answer. He said he had been to Scandinavia a few times. I told him that you two (Mom and Dad) served your missions in Norway and Sweden. He told me that the house is modeled after Denmark homes. Then he got his wife who said that the sister missionaries
visited the day before. Yep, turns out they were the less-active we were looking for. CRAZY!!! Loved it.

Yeah, so the Bishop invited us over for dinner last night. He is way young and is so on board with the changes happening in Eikaiwa and stuff. I love it! When we got to his house we shared a message about the atonement of Christ. But because our audience was mostly kids we had to make it simple. So we decided to do the
 doughnut and push-up thing. We used Jolly-Ranchers instead and it was pretty powerful. Needless to say I am pretty sore today
😆 Then we made homemade pizza with corn on it #japanpizza

I read in Alma 4 when Alma the younger gives up his government position, confers it on Nephiah, and serves a beast mission. And for the next 30 years or so he just goes ham. City to city and preaches the gospel of Christ. He is a way good example of how to give up what needs to be given up and how to go to work. I loved it and hit straight home. Being able to choose what to give up will be made easier through prayer and meditation. Turn to the scriptures. Change is fun and repentance is great!

Today we are planning on going to Kyoto! We are going to see the Golden Povilion and the Thousand Red Gates. I'll send you guys TONS AND TONS of pictures. It'll be great.

Love you guys. Have an awesome week!!! 



2017.3.14 I'm still alive!

Hello everyone!

I'm sorry for the delay in my email. I went to the local Seven Eleven and thought it sent but apparently it didn't. The Seven Eleven wifi is much weaker than the church building wifi so I guess I forgot to factor that in to the equation. But, I'm am now resending this email and hope you all enjoy it!

We had mission leader conference on Tuesday and it lasted most of the day. It's nice because Kobe isn't too far away by train (less than an hour) so traveling there and back isn't to bad. We talked a lot about the new schedule and about making sure the younger missionaries know how to perform their role in all settings such as meetings, proselyting, and supporting others even if they are inexperienced. I know that for me having solid support from a junior companion is a big help and comfort! Even in a zone leader companionship where there is no senior or junior companion title it is still a big help when we back each other up. There is definitely a reason why we have companions out here because I would be struggling to do this on my own.

Last week we had three kōkans (companion exchanges) in a row, starting on Wednesday and going through Friday. I spent time in Hanayashiki and Senri which was great. I was with a few way good elders and we all had a lot of fun. It's cool to see when people are ready to make the next step in their progress as a missionary. Whether it's a move to senior companion or any other position you can just feel that they are ready.  It's way cool and something I really enjoyed. Being a missionary isn't easy. We have been called to do a hard thing. And then we face those challenges that are sometimes things that are out of our control. When I see missionaries who tackle the obstacle and rely on the Lord for their support it is a HUGE inspiration to me. I'll send pictures of those kōkans.

We had zone training meeting on Friday and I learned a lot! Surprisingly, I learned the most from the tech elder. We talked about how we would use tablets if Jesus was our companion. Or, even better, even Jesus Himself were using these tablets, how He would do it. It really hit home with me. Technology is such a powerful tool and if we use it righteously we can help spread the gospel so much. It was stuff I already knew, I just needed to hear it again.

By the end of our kōkans and zone training meeting me and my companion were pretty drained of energy. It was a lot of fun but man, exchanges really wear ya out. Saturday was a recuperation day. We took strength from a normal-day schedule and focused ourselves on our investigators. It was great to have time with my actual companion for a day

There was something way cool that I noticed during my personal study on Tuesday. I was reading in Omni in The Book of Mormon and the part I want to share is verse 12 to the end of that chapter. I won't describe everything but I will just say that I imagined myself in Amaleki's place when he wrote that last verse and I thought of my younger brother, Jacob. Needless to say it was VERY powerful and I don't know if I will forget it for a while.

I may or may not have had KFC buffet last week. Gotta love fat days

So, we were going up a small hill to visit one of our new investigators and my companion was behind me. We boy shift gears so we can actually get up the hill and then I hear this crunch come from my companions bike
😱 We take a look at it and we quickly find the problem. What happened was that the part that moves the chain across the gears got to close to the wheelie spokes and got caught in them. Therefore, the wheel spokes cranked the mechanism al the way up and around and broke it off! 😰 I could just see the dollars flying away 💸 A member helped us take it to the shop and they ordered the parts needed. They were able to install and fix it up later that week. While it was out of order, my companion rode a beach cruiser which did not look fun. In Japan, beach cruisers are called mama chari(s).

Well, that's the condensed version of this week. It went by so fast! Next week is transfers so we will see all the surprises that happen. Stay tuned!