Sunday, January 3, 2016

Week 3 in the field (Japan)


わたしのかぞく (watashi no kazoku) (my family)!

This week was eventful and much smoother than last week. Still challenging, but not polarizing XD

So to start, I'll tell you that I had my first companion exchange this past Wednesday. Because Tsuchia Chōrō (Elder) is the District Leader he does companionship exchanges with every elder companionship in our district. We started with the elders in Izumo. Izumo is the area directly to the west of Motsue. We took the train at about 10:40 AM and got to Izumo around 11:30. We met the Izumo elders at the station and headed our separate ways. I stayed in Izumo with Winegar Chōrō (an Amerika jin), and Tsuchia Chōrō went back to Motsue with Mashado Chōrō. Mashado Chōrō is Brazilian, and apparently there are a lot of Brazilians in Izumo. But he was able to coordinate with some of his Brazilian investigators so that when the investigators went to the nearest Costco they picked up a couple of pizzas for us! So I got half of a Costco pizza to myself! Freaking yes my tummy was screaming with joy! It was amazing XD

After lunch we went out to dendo (missionary work). We were trying to find people to help, but instead we found so high school boys playing basketball. Winegar Chōrō turned to me and asked, "have you ever sport-dendoed before?" I told him I hadn't so we went over to them to ask if we could play. I think we played for about an hour when Winegar Chōrō called it quits. We hung out for another 30 minutes trying to dunk and shoot hoops from really far away. While we were doing that, Winegar Chōrō began talking with one of the boys. About how we are missionaries and what we do. The boy I was next to overheard this, turned to me, and asked if I was a church missionary. This began a conversation which led to me sharing a copy of the Book of Mormon which he accepted saying, "I will read". I was so happy and surprised at his acceptance! This testified to me that the Lord prepares people for us to teach. It almost seemed too easy XD Winegar Chōrō also gave a copy away. We invited all of them to Eikaiwa (English class), telling them that Winegar Chōrō would be there teaching. They really seemed to like that! Unfortunately I won't be there so that's sad for both parties.

After the sport dendo we biked over to the mall to pass out Eikaiwa flyers for about 45 minutes. All I was able to say was that the English class was free, it's fun, please come. I basically thrust out the flyer to them as they passed. Most of them were nice enough to take it XD

We then headed to the church to meet with an investigator who is an atheist. He is Japanese but speaks Portuguese very well, and English well enough that we taught the lesson in English. He was very respectful and willing to hear our message, but when we offered him a Book of Mormon he politely refused. Apparently he has refused three times now. But he still wants to meet so that's good. After that we went back to the Izumo apartment, which is nice by the way. You can tell it's new, and I really enjoyed it XD We then retired for the day.

The next morning we only had two hours of study before we had to go to the train station and go to Motsue. We got to Motsue around 11:30 and then switched. Tsuchia Chōrō and I had appointments for the rest of the day. First we met with the bishops family and had lunch. We had really good hot dog things, then played a matching card game, which they had me host. So I tried to read hiragana sentences for 30 minutes. Needless to say it was a struggle. I can read hiragana just fine. But reading sentences smoothly is still not a thing XD Then their six-year-old son read a story book with me. That was pretty great! Your right Dad, having the children teach you helps XD we then shared a message about how the gospel blesses families. Before we left we took pictures of us all together. After that we went to the Notsu family. Notsu Kyodai is the ward mission leader, he just got off his mission in Sapporo, Japan. The Notsu family is soooooooooooooo awesome, and nice,mane caring, and fun. Since that night was New Years Eve we basically ate and talked for a couple of hours. I played the same matching card game with their kids as well. Except the cards were Power Rangers themed. Except, it wasn't Power Rangers...well, it basically was. You could tell it was the same people that made them both. This show is called Ghostu. Just the Katakana way of saying ghost...I think XD

Anyway, after filling our tummies with tempura, chicken, raw fish, noodles, and ginger ale, we headed home. We were planning on sharing a message but my stomach was acting up a little so they gave me medicine and insisted I go home. They took our bikes in their truck and drove us home. Very sweet of them. We wished them Happy New Year before we left. Once home we planned and hit the hay.

The next morning we had district meeting. So we had a district meeting on the first day of the year because the rest of this month is full of events. More about that later. We talked about the importance of the Preach My Gospel, White Handbook, and Book of Mormon. And to ask inspired questions, listen, then teach to their needs. It was a good meeting and we all felt uplifted. We would have joined the rest of our district for district lunch at the mall had we not already had a meal planned with another family in the ward. We were picked up at the church by the father of the family. It took about 25 minutes to get to their apartment. We had a scrumptious lunch of sushi fixings so we could make it ourselves. But first we had these appetizers that came in at box. Honestly, I don't know what half the stuff I ate was but it was all good XD But the box was cool! There were three layers, so you would finish a tray/layer, then take it off to reveal another tray of appetizers! How cool is that! But yeah, the sushi was good. We then played catch with their ten-year-old son for a few minutes. The father then drove us to another family to have dinner with them. We drove with the second family (I am so bad with names right now, sorry) to the church building where we played ping-pong with them. We then met with a recent convert, Kou Kyodai, in the church building to teach about the temple. We then had dinner with the family and enjoyed their company. After dinner we went to the apartment, closed the day, and hit the sack.

On Saturday we met with two members and did some tracting. With each member I asked, "is there anyone else who you think could benefit from this message?" I will make it my practice to ask this after each lesson. I'm interested to see who we will teach as a result. We were not able to teach a message to anyone we met with tracting. It's discouraging at times when tracting doesn't reveal people who are prepared to hear the gospel. But I know that it helps. Although I also know there are better ways to find people. I want to develop these better ways so we can become more effective with out time and eventually make our resources work for us. This will make the work progress much, much faster than we could do by ourselves.

The Sabbath days are always good days. They help me recharge a little and feel rest. Kou Kyodai came to church which was great! It's something he has been struggling with because he is shy. Unfortunately he had to leave early. We were hoping he would stay the whole time so we could watch Meet the Mormons with him. We are trying to spend more time with him to develop a relationship with him. After church we went through our area book to see and clean our records. We are trying to contact as many of the contacts in the area book as possible. Updating the records is helping us do that. I hope we can uncover and recover some of those who are ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This lasted until about 4:30, at which time we bike over to the Notsu family to have dinner with them. We met with their family, Kuji Kyodai, and Yamamoto Kyodai who are both preparing to serve missions. And Yamamoto Kyodai brought his mission papers to start filling out that night. It was pretty awesome to see that! We are, played that matching card game again, and then talked with them about how we need to pray, study, and ponder about the Book of Mormon so we can receive greater knowledge. We then headed home to plan and go to sleep.

This morning we studied, cleaned (I look forward to cleaning ever Preparation Day because it makes me feel so much better), and are planning to shop and see the Motsue Castle later on today. Super excited for the castle! Definitely pictures to come :D I am also planning on writing my budget for my mission money. I am planning on needing to adjust it a few times before it's  set in stone but I'm excited to do that! But I have really been looking forward to emailing today. Being able to chat with you guys really helped me. I have felt strength from you, my wonderful family, and from Heavenly Father, and from my Savior Jesus Christ. I have felt the support this week. I feel stronger, although still aware of my feelings of homesickness. Please know that the homesickness is much better than last week. Last week was kind of a mess for me emotionally XD I am able to focus on missionary work and on study. Bubba and Gammies sent me words of encouragement that I have been able to think about that have helped me look forward with greater hope.

Dear family. I want you to know that this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Attending university was a stepping stone to this event. The strength of the beast is great. I can attest to that. And I'm only a few weeks into the field. But I am not worrying too much because I know Christ is here beside me. I know that you are here beside me. I still hold conversations with you, Mom and Dad, and what you would say to me. I also imagine talking with Bubba (Grandfather) and what he would say to me. And doing the same thing with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really helps too. I am so thankful for you guys. To everyone who reads this email, I am thankful for you. I want emails from everyone! All of those who are apart of this mass email please send me a message because I want to hear from you! That would be awesome.

In closing I testify that Jesus is the Christ. That God is our Heavenly Father, and we are His children. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, like the Bible. And that the Bible and Book of Mormon work together to testify of Christ. If you haven't read the Book of Mormon...READ IT! I promise it will bless your lives! It most certainly has blessed mine.

Remember, you are a child of God.

あいしています!
Pikoku Chōrō

P.S. Below are videos of a young boy teaching David to read in Japanese and a time-lapse video of the first sunrise of the New Year. Enjoy! :)


video

video


Missionary Exchanges in Izumo

Izumo

Missionary bags/backpacks

I don't know if these statues are actually statues...or raccoons (if
you get the reference you are awesome! XD)


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