Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy New Year from Japan Week 2 in Motsue


Happy New Year from Japan! (Also Merry Christmas to everyone because I forgot to say that in my last email XD)

Well, I still don't know what people are saying most of the time. To better answer the question if I speak better or listen better I think I speak better right now. I definitely still have the American accent when speaking Japanese, but I can say more than I can understand. When we do door approaches I've been saying things like, "We are church volunteers. It's Christmas season  right? We have a Christmas message we would like to share." Then my companion does the rest XD Once he takes over I do my best to listen. Now that we are headed into the new year I need to make a new approach for tracking and street contacting. It's a goal of mine to come up with two new approaches a week. It's pretty frustrating when you really want to do more than your language skills permit you to do. But I know that through the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and with God's help, I can learn Japanese!

This week was filled with big ups and big downs. Starting with the big up, Christmas was this week. The big down was...Christmas this week. Yep, one and the same. So on Monday we cleaned the apartment (which helped me feel better) and traveled to Okayama for our zone Christmas Taikai (party). We enjoyed talking, eating, games, a talent show, and a slideshow of the year. It was sooooooooo good to see several members of my zone from the MTC there. Once we got to the bus station though there was unfortunate news. As I walked up to buy tickets the woman at the counter said that the bus was full. And there were no more buses going to Motsue that night. So instead we spent the night at the local elder’s apartment. And guess who's apartment it was...Welch Chōrō, my MTC companion! It took us about 30 min to find it but we did. We then did dendo (missionary work) for an hour. Just street contacting. We then had dinner and hit the sack. We then got to the bust station at 7:45 to head back to Motsue. I slept the whole ride home XD When we got back we were picked up by a member and taken to his house for lunch. We met with him and his family but we didn't share a message which I thought was odd. We then were taken home. The Taiaki also made me miss my family like crazy.

Christmas Eve was a good day. We also did our weekly planning session after lunch. After planning we went to the bike shop to pick up my bike. Finally!!! On the way to the bike shop we met a Brazilian man who spoke English well. We told him that we teach English and he was interested. The thing is that he lives in Izumo, a town about 30 min to the west. So we told him about the elders in Izumo who also teach English. And one of them is Brazilian so they could speak in Portuguese! After that we picked up my bike and taught the bike shop owner (Yamasaki-San) a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. We gave him the pamphlet and asked him to read it and he said he would. Then, as we were walking out the door they stopped us to give us some pant leg reflective straps. They help make sure your pant legs don't get caught in the gears. They were so nice! We then went to go get a rain coat and rain pants. By the time were done it was time to head home.

Christmas Day was great! We started the day with district meeting. Tsuchia Chōrō and I decorated the room with a Christmas tree, bows, It went from 9:30 to about 1:00. Miller Shimai from my zone in the MTC is in my district here so I got to see her. The meeting was uplifting and strengthening. After the meeting, Tsuchia Chōrō and I went to the mall with the other elders from our district and had lunch. We all got this rice bowl with meet on top that was really good! We talked and ate for about 45 minutes. After lunch we said goodbye and headed out to see less actives and wish them a Merry Christmas. Unfortunately none of them were home. But the bike ride was beautiful! At one point we rode out west along the north side of the big lake. So pretty! After we had tried to visit one member, we were walking back to our bikes when a woman saw us. She was walking toward the mailbox with letters in her hands. She recognized us as Mormon missionaries and began chatting with us. I don't know what she said but she seemed happy to see us. Pretty soon she invited us into her home. We walked a few blocks to her house. Her voice was raspy because she was sick and her hands were shaking the whole time. I think the shaking hands are from a medical condition but I'm not sure. We met her father, mother, and daughter. All of them were so nice and hospitable. The mother kept bringing us snacks and drinks! How nice is that! We talked with her in her geinkan (entryway) for about 30 minutes. We then shared a message and a video. She really liked being with us. Then we told them if they needed any service done we would love to help. As we headed out the woman and her daughter came with us all the way down and past where we met her so as to show us where to go. She was soooo sweet! I don't know her name but we are planning on visiting them again soon. I think she has met with the missionaries before, but I'm not quite sure.

After that amazing visit (which was obviously a Christmas miracle because it just fell into our lap) we rode out to have Christmas dinner with a member. His name is Kou Kyodai (Brother Kou). On the way there we picked up KFC. And yes, it's weird, but KFC is a legit Christmas thing here. There were so many people there! But when we got to Kou Kyodai's house and showed him that we got KFC he looked at us apologetically and said, "I'm sorry guys, I can't eat that. I'm on a diet." Of course he said it in Japanese but that's  what he told us. Our hearts dropped as he told us we could eat it. So the two of us ate a three-man meal. So much fried chicken was eaten that night. As we are we talked with him about how his Christmas had been and how he was doing in general. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. I told him how I have felt peace and joy because of Christ's Atonement in my life.

After our visit we headed home. When we got home, and after daily planning, I gave Tsuchia Chōrō his Christmas present. I got him two bags of his favorite sweets. He liked them. Then I opened your package. And boy was that awesome! I loved everything! The Mormon Guitar cd is great by the way, we have listened to it twice already. The candy is greatly appreciated! MARABOU!!!! The copies of the Book of Mormon will come in handy, along with the testimonies. The manga cookbook made me laugh. I'll try to use it as much as I can. I shared the candy in the stocking with Tsuchia Chōrō which he really liked. Thank you so much for the package!

There is a special note I would like to share. I said Merry Christmas so many times on Christmas Day. That morning and night, when we were in the apartment, we played Christmas music. And I have come to the conclusion that the most powerful source for creating Christmas Magic and Joy, besides music, is two simple words: Merry Christmas. Either shouted from rooftops or whispered to loved ones, these two words create the Christmas Magic we crave. Therefore, we should always say it during the season and love the magic it brings!

Now, the day after Christmas was the most difficult day of this past week. After study I was so anxious and excited to FaceTime you guys. And once it began I will filled with such a great happiness!!! I was so, so, so happy to see your faces and hear your voices. For me it didn't matter what we talked about because I just wanted to hear and see you. I honestly thought I was going to cry during the video chat. Once my companion told me it was time to end my heart felt like it broke, it burned. Then we had a few more minutes. You guys...when the time came to hang up I felt like I was killing something. It was terrible. The moment after I pressed that button I was paralyzed. It took only seconds for me to start sobbing. I shook and shed many tears. I was given about five minutes by my companion to clear up. He told me to get up. He told me that if I focused on the people here it would help me. I agreed with him, but all I wanted to do was cry. It felt terrible to hang up on you guys. It was soooooooooo good to see you. Sooooooo good! But the after effect was awful. After the call we went to sushi for lunch. It was good, but I began picturing Mom and Dad serving with me. I pictured them in their 20s, helping me and talking with me. Even now I'm tearing up.  After lunch we returned to the apartment. We read from the Preach My Gospel the section "The Gospel Blesses Families". The moment I began reading I was crying. But as soon as we when out to dendo I was ok.

Sunday was good. I'm becoming more comfortable there. I led the music for sacrament and said the closing prayer. I got lots of comments on my conducting skills. I'm glad I could have helped. After church we had lunch and went out to find less actives and tract. Then we went home and retired for bed.

This morning we cleaned the apartment some more. I got the emails from Mom and Brooklynn which was great. I loved them! Thank you. Keep sending emails, letters and packages because they really cheer me up.

I want to testify of the help of God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. Especially since I didn't have time to when we called. Even though the mission is hard, and I mean super hard, I have been strengthened by God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. I have been called by a prophet of God to share what I know. I know I'm not perfect, I'm nowhere near perfect. But through the Atonement of Christ I am able to take on this great task. I know I will do good things here in Japan. And I know I will do great things through Christ. Even though it's hard, even though part of me wants to come home, even though I can't speak Japanese very well, I know God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost love me. And I know that my family and friends love me. I have succeeded. I succeeded when I got my mission call. I succeeded when I entered the MTC. And I succeeded when I got to Japan. I have already succeeded. The person I am becoming is because of God and Jesus Christ. I have never felt this kind of happiness before in my life. And the thing is it's not from me. It's a gift from God. So no matter what I'm going to stay out here until I have served a full, valiant, true mission to God. I know that you guys want me out here. There is no place you would rather have me be. I feel the same way. I'm in for the long haul! These next two years are going to go by so fast. When I'm coming home I'm going to be wishing I had more time. Even if it looks super long now. If I trust in God I can do this. I love you guys so much. It hurts how much I love you. I also sorely miss you. When I look at the screen shot I took at the end of our call it gives me strength while also making me tear up XD Thank you so much for loving me and supporting me on the long road it took to get here. I'm here now, and I'm giving it my all, even if my all is weak right now. I know I'll become strong through Christ.

I love you guys so much! Keep writing me and keep praying for me. I am praying for you. Every day, every prayer.

あいしています!
Pikoku Chōrō

P.S.
Congratulations Sierra on getting accepted to BYU-Idaho. Spending time there before your mission will help strengthen you. You will learn and grow. Keep dancing, teaching, and doing well in school! Enjoy your senior year. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :-D

P.P.S.
I tried Natou for the first time last night Sierra. It was super nasty, but I tried it. And I didn't throw up. Yay! XD

P.S.S. Below is a video of David's first trip to the post office in Japan.  Enjoy! :)


video

In Okayama for our zone Christmas Taikai (party)

Silly poses
That soup was some kind of meat, mushrooms (which is the stuff that looks like noodles), noodles, and cabbage. It's pretty good.


Screenshot of family during Face-Time Christmas Day! :)

Selfie in bike helmet.



Sushi for lunch

New bike!

Riding bikes out west along the north side of the big lake Shinji-ko.

The masked (scarved) missionary.

Elder Peacock with companion, Tsuchia Chōrō 

"Kentucky Christmas" at KFC!

Post office.


Happy Elders :)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas from Japan!

Merry Christmas from Japan!

Merikirisumasu watashi no kazoku!!

Well, I've made it through (roughly) one week in Japan! The travel last Monday was crazy. We nearly missed our international flight out of LAX to Narita which would have been bad. We really hustled to our planes all that day. But I eventually made it to the mission home after 24+ hours of travel. President Welch and Sister Welch were very happy to see us, and I was very happy to see them! We had dinner in the mission home and were quickly off to bed. Up to that point it did feel like I was in a different place. But the point where it really hit me that I was in Japan was the next morning when we all went running, and here is why.

Since I got my call I've been picturing what it would be like to run through the streets of Japan. And that morning was like running through my dream! It was amazing! The rest of that day we were instructed by Pres. Welch and Sister Welch. We also had interviews with Pres. Welch. The next day consisted of more instruction, meeting our companions, gathering everything and shipping out. We gathered in the chapel where all of the trainers were with a mission map projected on a wall. Pres. Welch called each of us one by one and told us where we were going and who our companion was. I was called up second to last, before Bieber Chōrō I mean Stolworthy Chōrō XD jk [just kidding].  I was given Mostue as my area and Tsuchia Chōrō as my trainer! Tsuchia Chōrō is a Nihongin that can speak English VERY well, albeit not fluent. No, he didn't act like he couldn't speak English (although part of me wishes he had). We quickly gathered our stuff and embarked on the 6 hour journey consisting of train, waiting, and bus. It was 8:30 my time when we got to Motsue.

On the way to Motsue is had snowed a little so I knew it was going to be cold. When we got off the bus it was very cold and raining. It took about 30 minutes to find our apartment in the dark. The apartment is right next to the church building which is very nice. The apartment is older and kind of cluttered. You can tell many, many elders have left stuff here. There are, no exaggeration, 10 pairs of dress and tennis shoes in the geinkan. There is partially used food in the fridge, food out on the counter, crumbs everywhere, and dishes in the sink. Less than a clean and neat welcome, but it's fine. Tsuchia Chōrō and I are planning on overhauling it today. I'm really hoping to get a lot done in the apartment. But we quickly went to bed.

The first real day of field work was awesome! We study up until lunch for the first few days. After lunch we went to a bike shop to get my bike. We walked about 20 min to the shop where we were greeted by a man who recognized is as Mormon missionaries. He was very kind and warm. "We" (more like they XD) talked about bikes and then he gave us some bike catalogues. It was about 10 minutes of me looking and them talking when I heard Tauchia Chōrō say 'Kamisama', which means 'God'. In that instant I froze. They were having a gospel conversation and I was looking at a bike catalogue...what should I do? More like what COULD I do?! For the next five minutes I pretended to look at the catalogue when Tsuchia Chōrō says to me, "Peacock Chōrō, he asked why you believe this." The moment I have been waiting for. I told him that I have received blessing through prayer and reading the scriptures and that I have felt God's love. That's all I said. He seemed to approve. He was impressed at how much Japanese I knew. They continued talking while I kept searching through the catalogue. We eventually chose a bike and ordered it. The man is also taking a chunk of money off the price of the bike for us! How nice is that! They didn't have it in stock because of my American size XD. It should be here next week though. He accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said if I teach him English he will teach me Japanese. Freaking yes!!! I can't believe that actually happened. Tsuchia Chōrō said that it was definitely a blessing that we met him. I'm so glad we did!

Friday (my time) was a good day too. After study and lunch we headed out to meet with less- actives. We met a sister who said she would come to the ward Christmas party later that day. And she did! It was great to see her there. The party was filled with food and talk. This was the first time I had met anyone from the ward so there were many introductions. The ward is a legit ward, albeit barely I think. We have a member who is a computer programming genius and has his own Mormon Message. He is in the bishopric and is awesome. You can tell he really loves his family. There are lots of goofy brothers who are fun to be with. And a lot of the sisters are very nice. I don't know them that well so I will fill you in on the details as I get to know them.

Saturday was greeted with coughing. Yep, I'm sick. Then it was just a cough but now it's accompanied by a stuffy nose and head cold. I got cough drops so that's been helping. We found a less active member who was so sweet. She lives down-town and when we invited her to come to church she accepted. When we saw her yesterday at church she came up and told us thank you for visiting her last night. I could feel her sincerity and was very happy because of it. That was the highlight of my Sunday.

Speaking of Sunday… about half the day was spent in the church building. We met with the ward mission leader. Don't really know what they said exactly but that's ok. I got to try and introduce myself at the pulpit. I doc an ok job but it was pretty basic. The lessons were good because even though I didn't understand what they were saying I still felt good. The children are so cute in this ward! Love it. After lunch we tried to find some less actives but the maze of Japanese neighborhoods wouldn't allow it so easily. Eventually we found a member. She said we can visit with her next week because she is leaving town tomorrow. I tell you, I cannot wait until I get my bike! Travel will be soooooooo much faster! I retired to bed an hour early to get more rest.

Today has been a good day so far. Still feeling sick but taking care of myself. We studied, cleaned, and are going to attend a Zone Christmas party tomorrow night. We are also going to go shopping with a ward member because he offered to give us a ride. So nice! I'm excited to get some night time cold medicine!

Now I'll tell you about Motsue. Motsue is in the north-west corner of the mission, right on the coast. However, we can't see the ocean because there are mountains in the way. There are lakes on both the east and west sides of us. Apparently there is a "castle" in Motsue so I'll try to find it. Since it is winter it's cold here. Wearing my sweater and scarf isn't enough so I'm going to get a coat and a couple of other sweaters. It's cheaper to buy them here then to have you send them. And if you had sent them before I came I might have paid more baggage fees. So it's ok. But yeah, it's rained a couple of times. I haven't seen it snow yet though. There are no legit sidewalks or painted lines to split the road on the smaller roads. This was sketchy for a day then I got used to it. Cars just do their best to slow down and maneuver around pedestrians. There are lots of hills and mountains here. We haven't gotten to the mountains yet though. Since we are walking right now travel is slow but interesting since I get to notice a lot of little things. Like how small the garages are here because literally 70% of the cars here are miniature boxes on wheels. I swear, every other car I see is a box. And they make them look cool! Like, mega cool!!! Suzuki and Daughtsun are really a thing over here. And I literally see Hondas 60% of the time. From boxes to sleek crossovers they are everywhere! And I have seen three different minivans that Honda and Toyota make that are this year. Which means each of them make three different minivans for the Japanese market. How in the world!!! I don't know how they can do that. But probably the most popular car I have seen is the Honda N-Box. It's a four seater box that I could probably never fit in XD And then I see an American variant of a car and I feel fat just looking at it like, "wow, ew", basically.

The people here are kind in Motsue. We have been able to talk to every teenage/young adult male we have tried to talk to. They have all been receptive and respectful. There is a lot more about Motsue than I have yet learned so I'll fill you in as I learn more.

We cleaned the apartment for an hour and the difference is amazing! All of the closets have doors now, the bathroom is de-cluttered, floors swept, and the cooking space organized. We both feel a lot better now. By the way, I got a slip letting me know I have a package. I'll call them to pick it up later today. I'll wait to open it for Christmas. XD

Speaking of Christmas...FACETIME!!! I just talked with my companion and he said that Nihonjin missionaries Skype on Christmas Day here. And that USA missionaries are encouraged to FaceTime the day-after Christmas here which is your Christmas Day. I'm so excited to see you guys!!!

So the bike is going to be around 600 dollars. Then I need to get some clothing and other items today. I haven't tried buying anything with USD using my card so I'll try that today with something small. I haven't used my mission card either. I'm going to try to pull out money and change it at a post office. We'll see what I can do. And the unused money on my card at the end of each month does carry over to the next month. That's really nice. I'm emailed every week notifying me of my mission card balance. I am going to try not to spend a lot of money here, just what I need to get. I also really don't want to incur any fees because yeah.

I've only been here one week and have already been experiencing difficult things. One of them is being in a completely different world. And I know, more than ever, that I need to rely on God. That is why the mission is hard. So I can turn to Him for everything. And I will always turn to Him.

あいしています!
Pikoku Chōrō
Arrival at apartment in Matsue

Unpacking our luggage in room

Sleeping quarters, bedding.

Study area.

Kitchen left to us in messy condition.

Refridgerator/Freezer?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Elder Peacock's arrival in Japan!

We received the following email from the Japan Kobe Mission this morning:

Dear Brother and Sister Peacock,
We are happy to have your wonderful missionary here to serve with us in the Japan Kobe Mission.
                                             Love, President and Sister Welch
 
Elder Peacock’s trainer/companion is Elder Tsuchiya and they are serving in the Matsue Area.
Elder Peacock with Mission Pres. & Sis. Julie Welch 12.16.2015
Elder Peacock with 1st Companion/Trainer:Elder Tsuchiya 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I'm Alive and Well in Japan!

Konnichiwa Kazoku!

I'm alive and well in Japan! We barely made a few of our flights by running from terminal to terminal XD I still have all of my luggage too. We had no problems in getting picked up by Welch Kaicho and his wife. They are great! By the time we got to the mission home it was around 8:00 pm local time. We e had dinner and went to bed around 10:00. Needless to say I sleep very well. It is really beginning to feel like I'm in Japan! I'm super excited XD

We have Preparation Days on Mondays. So next Monday I will give you more details. They told us that we can Skype/FaceTime (immediate family only) on either your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Which is, for me, either Christmas Day or the day after. I would prefer to FaceTime on your Christmas Day. I have an iPad right now. Tomorrow is when I meet my new companion and travel to my first area!

I love you guys so much!!!

あいしています!
Pikoku Chōrō

P.S.
I'm sorry I wasn't able to talk very long or call at LAX

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Last email from Elder Peacock in MTC Week 8

メリークリスマス!

OHAYO GOZAIMASU Kazoku!

As of today I have four days left in the MTC! These past eight weeks have absolutely flown by! I can't believe the MTC is going to let me loose on Japan. They have a lot of faith in me XD My Japanese is nowhere near good, let alone perfect. But it's definitely good enough.  Although I still have the strong feeling that once I step out into the Japanese airport and begin hearing the Nihonjin I'm going to be all like, "that is not what they taught me in the MTC" XD I'll survive though.

We will see how bad the layovers will be (if there are any). But that is the schedule if everything runs perfectly according to schedule. I'm not sure exactly when I will be arriving at SLC, but I assume the traffic will be good. I did buy a call card that has three hours on it that is only good for calls within the United States. However, none of us are sure how many pay phones will be available.  I just really, really, really want to talk to you guys as much as possible that day. I'll be able to call home both at SLC and LAX. Even if no one is home while I'm at LAX I will still leave a message. So, it will be early in the morning when I call but I would really like to talk to your guys.

Besides that my week has been good. My new companion has been great! We get a lot of stuff done in a short amount of time. We have had a few super good lessons where we really felt the influence of the Holy Ghost. In case I haven't said before, we have two progressing investigators. Both of them are our teachers. Bingham Kyodai is Shibata-san, and Budge Kyodai is Otani-san. Including tomorrow I only have two lessons left to teach them. We are planning on talking about Christmas for Friday, with Shibata-san. And on Saturday we are going to talk about our favorite scriptures and how the gospel of Jesus Christ has made us better people. I'm really looking forward to it.

We had Chik-Fil-A for dinner on Tuesday night. I had three helpings of sandwiches and fries...good stuff! Also, there is a gluten-free closet in the cafeteria and they actually have really good stuff. Like the Christmas tree sugar cookies! They also have a fridge full of super good gluten-free bread. It's amazing XD

Today we had our last TRC with the Nihonjin. It was the best one so far! We talked about how to use the Book of Mormon as a study tool and how to draw closer to God through it. I'll say we were both
strengthened.

Tomorrow I plan to begin packing. There are some things that I will have the mailroom leave for Makena to take back home for me. It's only a few things though. Speaking of packages, you guys should have gotten my package and letter by now. You can open the letter, but don't open the package until Christmas. Speaking of Christmas I can't wait to Skype you guys. I'm not quite sure if it will be Skype or FaceTime. Since We both have iPads it would make sense to use FaceTime. We'll
see.

Also, a Paul Oscarson spoke at our Tuesday DEVO. He said he served as a mission president in Sweden. The name sounded slightly familiar so I thought I would ask. His wife is the young women's president of the church I think...or something like that.

I know I'm ready to go to Japan. I'm am ready emotionally and spiritually. My Japanese isn't ready but it doesn't have to be, which is great. I know it's going to be hard and I look forward to that. These trials will prove and strengthen my faith. I know that I will keep turning to the Lord because I have been for a while now. God is the first person I turn to. And I know that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost love me very much and are anxious to help me. God wants me to be a success, not a failure.

あいしています,
Pikoku Chōrō






Sunday, December 6, 2015

MERĪKURISUMASU!!! Week 7 in the MTC

Merry Christmas!                                                                                           12.3.2015
OHAYO GOZAIMASU!

MERĪKURISUMASU!!! メリークリスマス

I remember when I entered the MTC that the next two months were going to take forever. Boy has time flown! Japan is just around the corner and I have no idea where the time went. All I know is that my zone gets flight plans tomorrow and that we got our full Japanese name tags yesterday. I'm really getting excited now. Yesterday Daniels Kaicho showed us a couple of videos he took over in Japan while he was a mission president. One of them was a Christmas dinner where they ate raw squid! Here's the crazy part. The head is chopped off and the blood cleaned out, but when they put soy sauce on it the salt reacts with the nervous system because squid’s axons are so large that it stars a reaction. Basically it moves like it's alive!!! That is so not ok! The guy in the video took 20 seconds to bite off a tentacle! And in case you were wondering, yes, I am going to eat that XD… somehow.

It has been very cold this past week. It snowed heavily the day after Thanksgiving. This made our temple walk very beautiful. Also, on Tuesday night Daniels Kaicho came to our residence and made a change in companionship. Iwaasa Chōrō and Sheppard Chōrō have been experiencing a lot of struggles. So for the last two weeks Daniels Kaicho is having Welch Chōrō be companions with Sheppard Chōrō, and I am now companions with Iwaasa Chōrō. Yep, I have a new companion now. I have been aware of these struggles (from day one) and had been praying for them to find peace. I will continue to do so because when we fly to Japan we have to switch companionship so to normal. We'll see how it goes. I really like Iwaasa Chōrō so I'm cool with it.

We had a Kohai (new elder) go home a few days ago. I didn't know about his struggles until the day he was leaving. He seemed like he was fine, but that just goes to show how well we can hide our emotions. He said he will be back in 6-12 months. I have faith he will and he is now in my prayers. It was pretty sad for us all.

 Sierra, I LOVED the picture you made of Jean-Luc! Also, when you mention Sora in your note it made me pretty flippn' happy. XD I am very glad that Dad and Jake were able to go to the state championship football game. I have to admit I did a few fist pumps when I got the news they won. XD #highschoolpride.  You asked what I want concerning Christmas treats in a package and I honestly will eat everything you send. Demo: If you send Lucia Katter and Vienerbrod I will be very happy. But send me anything and I will eat it. Also, side note, Mom and Dad, what exact years did you serve your missions? I can't remember why I left the sweaters in my closet at home. Send those and I'll see if they don't fit. I'll let you know if I need new ones.

Each week missionaries have TRC. I forgot what it stands for but it's where we meet with members and teach them a lesson. Since last week we have started Skyping members in Japan! Last week was pretty bad because we couldn't understand what the member was saying. But this week was much better. We taught how prayer helps us receive revelation. I now have the first vision memorized so I shared that yesterday because of how Joseph Smith found answers through prayer. It was rough but I got it XD Right now I'm working in memorizing Moroni's Promise 10:4-5.

I try to write things down to email home about but I always feel like I'm forgetting something...whatever.

With Japan coming closer and closer my mind turns to how, despite my weak language skills, I will  communicate with the Nihongin. And the answer comes very quickly to my mind. The Holy Ghost. There is a three-part video on LDS.org called Patterns of Light featuring Elder David A. Bednar. Member or Non-Member I invite you all to watch it because it is insightful. Also, Elder Bednar is amazing. I also invite everyone to read the Book of Mormon if you haven't already. The Book of Mormon, coupled with the Spirit, is the most powerful tool in converting ourselves to the Lord. We will come closer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book. Please convert yourselves to the Lord and never fall away. Ai shite imasu.

Ai,
Pikoku Chōrō

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Six Full Weeks/Thanksgiving Week in MTC

OHAYO GOZAIMASU KAZOKU,

I'm emailing today because of the different 'Thanksgiving week schedule' we're having. I can't believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I remember exactly one year ago from yesterday we arrived at the cabin up by Mt. Rainer. They was one of my favorite Thanksgivings for many reasons. We had so many people there. We played Betrayal at House on the Hill among other games. Ate awesome food. It snowed. And my favorite part was video-taping my interviews with Bubba and Gammies. By the way, those interviews should be on my external hard drive if you want to try and find them.  I'm super excited. We will be involved in a service project with one of the Twelve Apostles!!! They haven't told us which one it is but I'm betting it's Elder Bednar or Elder Holland. I won't have P-Day this week so we are emailing today, doing laundry tomorrow morning, and going to the temple Friday morning.

I need to know what gender Makena and Bryant's baby is!!! I got Brooklynn and Jonsie's email, totally called it by the way XD If Makena's baby is a boy I will be so happy! Remember, I called it months ago!

The MTC life is good. My understanding of the language, speaking it, and teaching lessons are all improving at an accelerated rate. Welch Chōrō and I are teaching more to the needs of our kyudosha (investigators) so we don't follow our lesson plans as strictly anymore. I see this as a good thing. It's not easy to teach in the mission language, but it is getting much, much better. I'm working on memorizing the First Vision and Moroni 10:4-5 Nihongo de. Our district goal is to SYL (speak your language) itsumo (always). That is probably the most difficult part of Nihongo for me right now because I am very bad at recall. Memorizing is one thing, recalling that knowledge is something else. But I am steadily improving :) One of my chōrōs got a love interest from Dowell Shimai. It started out as talking about what we like in the opposite gender. Then Dowell Shimai told Voorhees Chōrō that one of her friends fit his checklist exactly. Now they are emailing. What a story this will make if the very unlikely happens XD.

I greatly appreciate the package you sent me! The stuffing, banana bread, and rolls are awesome! I demolished the stuffing and banana bread in two days, with a little help from my chōrōtachi (elders, multiple). But I still ate like 96% of it all XD the leaves are great, thank you. I totally forgot about the Girl Scout stuff I ordered. The notes and pictures were amazing! Thank you so much. My district now knows what watashi no subarashi kazoku (my wonderful family) looks like :) You guys still need to give me your shirt sizes as soon as you can.

Make sure you guys have a good Thanksgiving for me at home. Remember me because I know I'm going to be thinking of you. Also, small side note, Frozen came out exactly two up years ago from tomorrow XD There won't be a big dinner for us but I will be filled in more ways than one.

For DEVO we sang "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer". Very good arrangement! I've been doing more celestial service each week. Make sure you tell Dad that XD

I haven't felt any sting impressions this week. Nothing new that is. However, I have been told my many people that I have a different spirit about me. That I look better, different. I do not feel anything new, but they seem to. Even if you don't feel like you are improving don't stop. Others are paying attention and can be inspired by you.  Even if all your doing is something simple. Keep going and do not stop. I do not intend to stop or give up. Ai shite imasu!

Ai,
Pikoku Chōrō
Devotional in MTC

Room with a view

Sunset at MTC

Sunset

Elder Peacock with companion head mix-up (2 Davids??)

Elder Welch with companion head mix-up (2 Elder Welches??)

Companions at Provo Temple (Elder Peacock, Elder Welch)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 6 in MTC Watashi no Subarashi Kazoku!

Watashi no Subarashi Kazoku!

This week has been the most challenging week so far at the MTC. I was able to talk to a couple of my teachers and they assured me I am doing just fine. Addressing the issue that I felt like I was falling behind, they said I really have been doing well and that they were addressing more of the reclassify in general than me or any one person.   Welch Chōrō and I were in the middle of planning a lesson when this started and my focus just got worse and worse and worse. I believe I was experiencing a stupor of thought. I tried to wish alive what to say and tried formulating sentences and I literally saw a blank page when I tried to.  

Other than that I'm doing well. I've grown closer to Welch Chōrō and my district this past week. It's a district goal to become like a family and I believe we are on the right path. We had a lesson yesterday where we had a plan, didn't follow it at all because we were following the Holy Ghost, and have lots of questions to answer XD Welch Chōrō and I both had times where we were able to understand and respond quickly and correctly. So  cool!!! We also got new Kohai (new missionaries) yesterday and our entire zone is so excitedly! A few of us had a sleepover last night in my residence room so that was great. We have a sleepover every Wednesday night.

I like the haircut I got. Literally 5 min haircut. So fast! At the end they used a VACUUM to get the hair clippings off me. I liked that XD I love the cookies Jake, and all of the pictures and letters/notes you sent me. Every time I eat a cookie I get a shot of homesickness. I'm glad you sent me that package. The food is fine. I've been eating pretty healthy with salads, wraps, cottage cheese with veggies, and hot cereal in the morning. I swear, NO ONE appreciates cracked wheat for the amazing thing it is. Really though.

I know that it's hard here. It's part of the refiners fire. I know God has forgiven me and that he loves me. I'm going to move forward with faith is the Lord Jesus Christ. They are my heavenly family. I am so glad you guys are my earthly family. Please never, ever, ever, ever, ever lose faith in Jesus Christ. Taksan ai shite imasu!

Ai,
Pikoku Chōrō (Elder Peacock)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nov. 12, 2015 Wk 5 of MTC

Konichiwa Kazoku!

This week has been flying! I've been here for four whole weeks, I can't believe it. The days are going by a little faster as well. It helps that it's been a fun week. We had some Nihongin (native Japanese speakers) come this week. In total we have eight new elders in our zone. Most of them can speak English very well which helps so I don't have to (try to) translate. They are a good group of elders and I'm glad they are here. They will be here for two weeks at which point they will fly out to their respective missions in Japan.

Kali Gillespie flew out yesterday to Texas so she should be having her first full day there today. It was great to see here while she was here. Also, the elders going to Salem, Oregon flew out yesterday as well so they should be there as we speak. Elder Ashby is the one I know by name. But there should be a handful of elders total that arrived yesterday. I really hope you can meet them.

A few other fun things that happened this week is that we got a new classroom! When the sempai left there were five classrooms that became available so we asked to switch. We got one with much better ventilation, a lot more space, a taller ceiling, AND A WINDOW!!! We can see outside DURING CLASS! It's kind of a big deal for us XD That same day we ended up not teaching any lessons because Welch Chōrō and I kept getting called in to the front desk to pick up Nihongin. So we had two lessons that we were able to have ready for the next day. That was pretty nice. Lets see, what else...oh, we totally got Chik-fil-a for dinner the other night. It was my splurge XD Loved it. It also snowed a few days ago. Nothing stuck but it was nice. We woke up yesterday to the mountains looking like a winter dream!! So gorgeous!!!! I didn't think to take a picture though.

For Tuesday DEVO we sang Nearer My God to Thee for the choir. Loved it so much! Elder Hugo Montoya was the speaker and he talked about being genuine among other good stuff. But being genuine is what I came away with. An interesting thing happened while Elder Montoya spoke. My back, specifically my left side mid back area, began to have pain. The pain increased all the way through our district meeting after DEVO until I got back to residence. At which point is ceased completely 30 minutes before lights out. I asked my elders if there was anything visibly wrong with my back and they said there wasn't. The pain hasn't persisted so that's good.

My times almost up so I'll just say that I really love you guys. Your support and love is totomo  taisetsu. I miss you guys but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I testify that the redeeming and enabling power of Christ's atonement is real. Ai shite imasu kazoku!

Ai,
Pikoku Chōrō

Amazing sunburst in blue sky near MTC

Bright smiles with Elder Peacock & companion at Provo Temple

Care Package stash in closet at MTC

Elder Peacock with mystery dog...so cute! :)

MTC in Fall


Fellow Japanese Missionaries in MTC

P-day with 'off-duty' elders

Hallween in MTC classroom

Japanese lesson on chalkboard

Japanese language class

Leafless trees at MTC

Masses, crowds, and multitudes...Oh My!

Large group photo with Japanese Missionaries in MTC

New haircut at MTC

Red Japanese Maple Leaf

Red Japanese Maple tree at Provo Temple

Shining shoes at MTC

Sunburst at MTC


Sunburst reflected off MTC

Waking up on the bottom bunk at the MTC