Sunday, February 28, 2016

Well, I finally got into my first bike accident...


Don't worry, it was nothing serious XD I'll explain in a minute.

So, in honor of Tsuchia Chōrō's last Preparation Day we went to a shop in the mall to eat a giant parfait. It was so good!!! There was so much ice cream! We didn't have much time after the giant parfait because Tsuchia Chōrō had to catch a bus to Kobe. So we were only able to go grocery shopping before we had to leave. We went to Yonago first so we could do companion exchanges for Tsuchia Chōrō 's travel. We had Abarca Chōrō come back to Matsue with us. We were able to do a few hours of dendo before the day was done so we tried to meet with a few Potential Investigators. Unfortunately, none of them were home. After that we headed to Burger King for dinner. And I was faced with a very interesting challenge while I was at Burger King. There were a few songs that came on the radio that might have maybe kind of made me  just a tiny bit trunky. I'm using trunky for lack of a better word XD But I was struggling with it so I resorted to singing hymns...out Burger Japan. I had to sing Spirit of God and Nearer My God to Thee to get a hold of myself. I didn't see it, but apparently I surprised some of the workers behind the counter XD So, yeah, singing hymns out loud really helps when your feeling out of focus.

Tuesday was flippn' amazing!!! We didn't have anything planned from our weekly planning session because we thought the three of us were going to be in Kobe with Tsuchia Chōrō. We decided to do some English Class flyer hand outs over by the university, but no one was on the street when we got there. And we can't go on campus to do any sort of dendo. So we decided to visit some Potential Investigators around the university. None of them were home though so we moved on to our next activity. Boken Dendo (Adventure Dendo)! There are many places I have never been in the Matsue area. Until Tuesday I had only ever stayed in the city. But Vui Chōrō and I have really been wanting to go out a ways to see what there is. And in our area there is an island in the middle of the east lake that we wanted to go. So we designed to go there. It was raining when we started our ride out, but about 20 minutes in it brightened up enough that we had to shed some layers. By the time we got out to the lake there was a little blue sky and it looked great! We biked another 15 minutes south to the bridge then onto the island. We biked up about five minutes and started housing the area. There are not many apartments on the island, I only saw one complex on the way. We had knocked about five houses when we met him. And we were definitely not prepared for it...


Just kidding, sorry, couldn't resist XD His name is Yoshioka-San. We were walking down the small alleyway when we saw him working in the corner of his beautiful yard. He is about 60 I think, but he was really working. We said hello, and that was all he needed to respond with a lot of enthusiasm. It was polarizing for a few minutes! He was smiling big, and talking loudly (as apposed to the small whisper of most people we talk with). He asked us where we were all from and he asked if we were Mormons. He knew a lot (compared to the normal Nihonjin) about Mormons. It was only a few minutes before he invited us into his home. He freaking invited us into his house! Who does that!? Freaking no one that's who! My mind couldn't understand what was going on. My brain was trying to get traction on reality but it wasn't. This man, whom we had just met, was inviting us into his beautiful, traditional Japanese home. And he did it with a smile and a warmth I have never experienced before from a Nihonjin. There aren't many people I have ever met that have done that!

So, we go enter into his geinkan and he invites us into a room of the entryway. He is about to make tea when we realize it and tell him we can't drink the tea he is making. He had a few other teas that were ok but he said he had milk so we went with that XD He brought out crackers, anko, and apples for us with the milk. He had to keep getting up and down too, he was so awesome! He asked us if meat was ok and I was like, "what, no way!" But I'm glad he didn't because I didn't want him to have to get back up again XD

He told us how much he respected that men our age were away from our families, in a far-away land, to learn a language so we could share something that had a special meaning for us. He talked to us about how sad it is that war happens. That people will argue or disagree to the point of war. We talked to him about our beliefs of God and Jesus Christ. He said he kind of claims to be Buddhist, but he only does so because his ancestors were. He explained to us how he is a go-with-the-flow kind of person. He doesn't really know much about the religion though. We shared our testimonies with him. His wife came in about half way. She was really nice too. There were many times where they would be looking at us, we would teach a truth, then they would lock eyes with each other and communicated as if by thought. And when we were about to leave they told us again and again about a feeling they were experiencing in there hearts! I gotta tell ya, I was freaking out inside! We asked if we could meet again and they were like, "well, you probably want money." We told them we are volunteers and that we don't want money. Then, he was like, "alright, you got me. I'm beat." XD This guy was so cool! We got his name and number then headed out. We were kind of in a daze afterwards. "What just happened?", I said.

After that visit it was time to head home. We decided to take a different route home because it was guided by highway signs and and was getting dark. We were about 10 minutes into the ride when I biffed it. To start I will tell you I was riding without grabbing the handlebars, so that was part of the accident. But I was a little bit in front of my companions at the time which I probably shouldn't have been doing XD I didn't realize how far ahead I was until I I was looking up from the ground. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, I was riding with no handlebars. I was going pretty fast and I was trying to take my gloves off because it was pretty warm. I got my gloves off and started to unzip my jacket pocket to put the gloves in. I got the pocket unzipped when I hit the curb. No, the curb was not that high, maybe half an inch. The thing that got me was the angle I hit the curb. So, I have a cross-bike which means it's a little like a road bike and a little like a mountain bike. The tires are thinner that a mountain bike so they don't have as much traction, but they are thicker than a road bike. This means I am more prone to slipping than a mountain bike, but I can go faster than a mountain bike. But I have more traction than a road bike and I just sacrifice a little speed. So when I hit this small curb, at that shallow angle, at the speed I was going, with my cross-bike tires, it was just enough to mess with me. Now, it didn't send me flying, it just sent my bike in the direction of the fence XD I tried to grab the handlebars to correct my course, and I did...just not in time. By the time I grabbed the handlebars I was moments away from the fence. My front tire made contact first...then my head XD

I don't remember exactly what happened during the moments of bouncing off the fence because it all happened so fast. The left side of my head made contact with the fence. Once I got on the ground it was only a few seconds before Vui Chōrō and Abarca Chōrō reached me. I looked up before they got there, and I thought about getting up, but I was like, "nah, I don't want to hurt myself too much, I should probably wait for them to help me." So they helped me up, asked me what happened, laughed at me (as did I), and looked at the dent in the fence from my tire and my head. A woman came out whose property was boarders by the fence I had just put two wonderful dents into. I, we all, apologized profusely for the damage, but they were just concerned about us. They offered to take me into Matsue and have Vui Chōrō and Abarka Chōrō ride their bikes the rest of the way. We had to explain that we needed to stay together at all times. They then offered to take us all into Matsue and have us leave our bikes at heir place so that we can pick them later. Then we had to explain that we can't ride in vehicles win people of the opposite sex. So, we thanked them profusely, but told them we will just walk the rest of the way. So we started the nine kilometer journey back Matsue XD

We had walked about three kilometers when a man offered to take us home. We were barely able to fit our three bikes into his minivan. Vui Chōrō and I had to be in he back because the seats were moved to make room for the bikes. He knew some English, but he talked to us mostly in Japanese. He was very nice. We tried to offer thanks by arranging a meal but he said no thanks. We were very glad he picked us up because on the way I was looking out he window at the path we would have walked and boy, it would have taken a long time!

He dropped us off at the convenience store across from our apartment. After we got all of our stuff out of the car I noticed that my knee was not feeling good. My knee wasn't experiencing a lot of pain, but it was definitely stiff. My finger was bleeding, my right elbow was bruised, as was my right leg, and my left pinky's knuckle at the palm of my hand took a beating.

My knee wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be when I woke up Wednesday morning. It still hurt, but I was able to move more and the pain had subsided a bit. We called Sister Welch right after the accident happened so she knew what was going on. Her instruction was to take three ibuprofen at each meal. I have been doing this. I also laid off exercise until today just so I don't incur any extra damage.

We went to Yonago Wednesday morning to meet back up with Tsuchia Chōrō and Abarca Chōrō's companion. We got back around 10:30. Tsuchia Chōrō had to pack because he wasn't going to have any other time before he left on Friday. So while he packed Vui Chōrō and I studied. We had to leave the apartment at 2:30 so we could take the train back to Yonago where we would take the bus to Kobe for another Trainer Trainee Training meeting. We got to Kobe around 9:45.

We started our meeting Thursday morning around 9:30. It was really good to see all of my doki (missionaries that were with me in the MTC) and kohai (missionaries that came in while I was in the MTC)! I could see that each of us had become stronger since last TTT. And we all seemed happier. During the meeting we talked about basic health and safety stuff, adjustment stuff, and the role of the Holy Ghost in missionary work. TTT is split into two parts: the first is where the Trainees talk about what they are struggling with, and then those things are addressed by the Mission President, his wife, and his Assistants. We ended around 3:15. Our bus was at 6:40 so we had some time to talk with President Welch and Sister Welch. Tsuchia Chōrō also got to say goodbye to some friends. We got back to Yonago around 9:45 and stayed the night at the Yonago Elder's apartment.

We woke up early Friday morning so we could get to Matsue in time to prepare for district meeting. I am waiting for travel reimbursements to come in so right now I don't have any money. So I took two ramen packets with me for the trip to Kobe for dinner and breakfast. But I forgot about breakfast so I just skipped breakfast XD Vui Chōrō made "Cocoa Samoa" which is Samoan hot chocolate! It was soooooo good! It has a tinge of coffee flavor and aroma which was fantastic XD There were chunks of chocolate that just made me so happy XD After district meeting we all had lunch with Tsuchia Chōrō and a less-active. We kind of made it Tsuchia Chōrō's last supper. Then came the moment of Tsuchia Chōrō's departure. There were many members of the Matsue Ward there to wave him off. It was rushed because they were about to miss their train to Yonago where Tsuchia Chōrō' would take the bus to Kobe XD

After Tsuchia Chōrō left we conducted our weekly planning session. We then visited the bike shop so I could get my bike fixed XD Which brings me to ask, unfortunately, for another hundred dollars into my account. Honestly, I feel like a trouble child right now concerning money XD Sorry! It only took an hour to get all things in order, during which time Vui Chōrō and I taught a lesson to a less-active member at the church. Then we picked up my bike from Yamasaki-San's. His English teacher was there and we started to talk with him. We ended up teaching him a lesson. We got his contact info, he took a copy of the Book of Mormon and said he would like to meet with us again. He said he is looking for the truth! I guess there is just something magical about Yamasaki-San's bike shop XD jk. Anyway, we tried to finish weekly planning and ended the day.

It was really weird to start the day knowing we are just a normal companionship now. There are now only two futons on the floor instead of three.  Anyway, we visited an investigator and tried to visit a few Potential Investigators. None of the P.I.s were home though. We had game night with our mission leader and another brother in the ward at 7:00. We played ping-pong the whole time! It was fun. We then talked with them about Jesus Christ. We shared the Bible Video, "For God So Loved the World". We all testified of Jesus Christ. It was very simple, but very powerful.

We visited an investigator before church to remind her and she was in the process of getting ready. We walked with her to church then had mission coordination meeting. Vui Chōrō spoke in sacrament meeting on the Holy Ghost. He did very well. We taught Sunday school class on why we need God's help. We were given this assignment last minute by the brother who had to leave town unexpectedly. This means we're not able to teach our investigator because she left after sacrament. But, after church, we were able to visit with a less-active and talked about why baptism and confirmation is important. How the gift of the Holy Ghost helps us throughout our lives. We then met with a member who is working on his mission papers. He was actually having his bishops interview when we had our lesson with the less-active member. When we walked back to our apartment it had warmed up quite a bit which was really nice! We had lunch and did 12 Weeks study before we headed out. We tried to find a less-active member over by Matsue Castle but we weren't able to. Japanese streets are so confusing. No, wait. Japanese cities are confusing! We came back to the apartment to finally finish weekly planning, just the fine details left. We then did daily planning and headed off to bed.

Today we did study and cleaning. I always, always, always look forward to cleaning! I got to clean out the fridge and wipe it down, so much fun! After some emailing we will try to go grocery shopping, maybe get some hairs cut, do some other stuff, we'll see. We are both super excited for summer here because with the warmer weather comes the ability to run in the morning without freezing. We are going to start running a little in the mornings. My goal is to slowly work my running strength back up. And since I haven't exercised since my accident it will be nice to get back at it. I'm going to try and lose a little more fat this next transfer. I need to figure out how to eat healthy without spending a lot of money. Good luck with that one XD  Then we will try to visit some Potential Investigators and an investigator. We are going to try especially to stop as many people as we can this week.

There is a wonderful talk by Elder Larry Lawrence I think called, "What Lack I Yet". It was given in the October General Conference in 2015. It is very good! Please read it.

I love you all very much. I miss you Dad, and you Mom, and you Makena, and you Broklynn, you too Sierra, you as well Jake, and Lizzy of course, and I can't forget Jean-Luc, or Smooches, or Ashes, or Crooked, or Brizinger. And, last of all, the fish...I love you fish! XD

Thank you for your love. Simply your love. Thank you!

Pikoku Chōrō

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week 18 of My Grand Adventures in the Far-Away Land of Japan



You know you love the title of my email this week! XD Also gotta love the power of kanji! I tried to say "beloved family".

On Monday, we had a lunch appointment and we were late getting to the church to email so our time was short. We had lunch at the mall with a wonderful less-active member. After our lunch we grocery shopped, electronics store shopped, and then relaxed for a bit in our apartment. At 6:00 we went out to visit a less-active member. This took up the remainder of our day.

On Tuesday we had lunch with three members. It was a good meal and we taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. After that appointment we met up with a member to doseki. We taught him about the Holy Ghost. We then met with the investigator who the member was dosekiing for. This investigator loves meeting with us. He is very receptive and enjoys learning from our lessons. We asked him if he would be baptized if he came to believe in what we taught and he said he would. We think he will, he just needs time. After that lesson we met with a less-active member. To be honest I can't remember what we taught him. But I'm sure it was a good lesson XD Afterwards we had Eikaiwa! We still only have two people who show up so that's fun XD Vui Chōrō and I switch off teaching sections of he lessons. We have different teaching styles but we definitely compliment one another.

Wednesday was a busy day. We started visiting people at 10:00 so we could get to all of our people. We had lunch and dinner with members which was fun. We went to a really good ramen shop for lunch and a good sushi place for dinner. After lunch we taught a lesson to the member about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He kind of opened up to us a little. He shared some of his interests with us in a way that was new for us. We really liked it though. We were able to meet with an investigator who has been sick recently. We feel really good about this investigator so we have been really anxious to meet her again. She will try to be at church though so that is awesome! Then we were able to meet with a recent convert who is really awesome. I don't know why he is less-active, but I really like the guy. And he really likes us so that is great! We talked about the Atonement of Christ with him. We then met with an investigator who is struggling with desire. He is a good guy, but we think that his priorities are making it hard for him to have desire to progress. He likes meeting with us, and he has been keeping commitments, but, yeah.

We were greeted on Thursday morning with a completely clear sky. It wasn't very warm, but the sunshine was super nice. We tried to visit a friend for a service opportunity around lunch-time. But we weren't able to get a hold of him and he wasn't at the meeting place so we ended up not doing service that day. We decided to visit a less-active member over by the west lake. It was sooooooooooo pretty! Vui Chōrō was loving it. We ran into a young man who we had a nice conversation with. We talked with him about God and he said we could visit on normal weekdays. At around 3:00 we practiced a song we performed in sacrament meeting. We sang Bring the World His Truth. We met with a member of the ward who played the organ for us. We sang in Japanese and English so that was fun! After practice we taught a member a lesson who took us out to dinner. We taught him about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

On Friday we had district meeting. And we decided to have a pot luck lunch afterwards in honor of Tsuchia Chōrō. There was so much food! There was homemade macaroni and cheese, soy sauce spaghetti with meat sauce, Brazilian cheese bread, chocolate fur dayz, popcorn, and omelet rice. There were so many leftovers! After that we had kokans with the Zone Leaders in Yonago. Since it was a threesome going with a normal companionship we had to switch around people throughout the kokan. I went with one for the first few hours. Then Vui Chōrō joined my group for the rest of the night. The next day I was with the other group (threesome) for the rest of the day. It was a shortened kokan because we had to get back to Matsue in time for our appointments the next day. It was Tsuchia Chōrō's last kokan.

We headed back to Matsue around 12:30 and planned for the remainder of the day. We had an appointment with one of our ward missionaries. We talked with him about e Atonement of Jesus Christ. Something my companions did on Friday was let me lead most of the lessons. And they went well, nothing blew up XD He asked us about blessing the sick. I didn't understand all of it so Tsuchia Chōrō was the one who talked most of that time XD After that lesson we met with an investigator to talk about the Book of Mormon. We talked with him about how he is feeling and his thoughts on what we have been teaching. After that we met with a less-active member and talked about how we study the Book of Mormon. We each talked about how we each study and apply the Book of Mormon. We feel like he really knows how to Apple the scriptures to his life. We didn't have much time for that lesson before we had to meet a member for dinner. We met with the member at 6:00 and headed out. The place we originally wanted to go was packed so we decided to go to Burger King instead XD There was no one at Burger King so it was really fast. Our group order was so big! It was fun to have some American fast food XD We are at the church because we had game night as well. We played ping pong and card games. It was really fun! We taught him about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Again, I led the lesson. I started by talking about how grace saves us after all we can do. It was a really good lesson because there were lots of things I had no idea how to say but that I really wanted to say. Now I have a lot of stuff to work on (like I didn't before XD). After that we retired the day.

On Sunday we performed our song. It went very well and the members loved it. We sang each verse as a solo then we sang together for each chorus. Tsuchia Chōrō was first, in Japanese. I was second, in English. Vui Chōrō was third, in Japanese. Then we all sang together in Japanese. It was very fun. We got compliments from many of the members. We had one of our investigators come and she was very touched by the Holy Ghost. We think she is very strong and soon we will invite her to be baptized. We had a lesson with a less-active member after church today which went very well. He is an awesome member that is super humble. Honestly, I don't know why he is inactive but, yeah.  We then had 12 Weeks study and planning. We had to finish Weekly Planning yesterday because we were not able to on Thursday. By he time we were done we only had an hour to dendo. So we met with a member who has been wanting to visit with us. It was a good talk and the member really needed it. After that we ended our day.

This week is busy and it starts today. We cleaned earlier and after emailing we are going to eat a giant parfait XD Don't worry, you guys will definitely get some pictures XD Then we have to grocery shop, get money, and leave for Yonago. Tsuchia Chōrō has a district leader meeting in Kobe on Tuesday. We don't have to travel with him but we are having another elder come in to be with us. Then we have another Trainer Trainee Training meeting on Thursday that we will travel for on Wednesday. Then Tsuchia Chōrō goes home on Friday after district meeting. He is in Matsue very little this week XD

But I know I can improve through the he Atonement of Jesus Christ. I still don't know very much about it because my scope and ability to comprehend is so small. But I am striving to trust Christ. I know I will get their. One day will be my day. And I will never give up until I get there. As I rely on Jesus Christ He will help me. I know this to be true.

Fight the good fight and never give up!

Another Busy Week of Travel XD

2016.2.14 (David wrote this on the 14th, but we did not receive it until a few days later.  Sorry for the delay.) 


I tried using some kanji and I hope they are correct XD The first one is 'love' and the second set is 'family'. That is what it is supposed to be anyway XD  So, this past week also had a lot of travel. After emailing on Monday we shopped, packed, and headed to Osaka. The elders were out of town but they left their keys so we were able to use their apartment.  We woke up a little earlier Tuesday morning so we would have time to get to the US Consulate on time. We actually had to get to an Internet cafe first to get some last minute things done first. We got everything done in time for Tsuchia Chōrō's appointment; which only took half an hour. This was a pleasant surprise as we thought the appointment was going to take a couple of hours. We were able to change the time of our bus ticket to an earlier time so we could get back in time for Eikaiwa. We got lunch before the bus. Once we got to Matsue we taught Eikaiwa at the church building and ended the day.

We had to travel on Wednesday as well because we had Zone Conference on Thursday. We were able to visit an investigator before we left for Okayama. We taught him about Jesus Christ. One of his concerns right now is that he doesn't think he knows Christ very well so we are trying to help him with that. We felt that the lesson went well. We taught very evenly sharing teaching time.We wanted to visit two but one wasn't home. We took the 3:55 bus and got to the elder's apartment around 7:30.

We started Zone Conference at 10:00. Welch Kaicho spoke about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That Christ's Atonement is the most important doctrine we need to understand. Thus, the Atonement of Christ is our new study challenge. There were multiple things I was impressed with during that meeting. We ended around 2:45. Tsuchia Chōrō had his last interview with President Welch then we headed out. We had tickets for the 6:40 bus. We were walking towards the densha eki when we got a phone call from one of the other elders saying the train to the bus was coming in less than five minutes. And we were still about ten minutes we started running. We passed Welch Kaicho on the way and I saw him laughing at us XD We were getting our tickets when the train pulled up. We were running across the overpass to the other side and I was running down the stairs as the bus was pulling away. You know those scenes were the man stands dejectedly at the side of the train after he fails to reach his loved one in time (or something like that). Yeah, that is what I looked like. We looked up the next time for the train and it was to arrive at 6:30. Remember, our bus was scheduled to depart at 6:40. So we said a prayer and got on the 6:30 train. It got to the bus station at 6:38. We RAN through that train station to get to the busses. We got there as the driver was getting on the bus. We were yelling and waiving our hands to get his attention. We did and we were able to make the bus. It was way close! We got home around 9:45.

We had kokans with the Izumo Elders on Friday. Tsuchia Chōrō went with one elder and Vui Chōrō and I went with another. We were able to teach a couple who were on their way to the buses. They had just completed an important exam when we met them. The awesome thing is they were the ones who stopped us! Their English was way good. We talked about what  they were doing and what we were doing as missionaries. They really really liked what we were doing. We exchanged emails and they said they wanted to attend our church! They also told us to pray for them! It was so good! Shortly after that couple we met a college student. He was respectful and attentive. We taught about Jesus Christ and prayer. We actually prayed for him during the contact! He was nice. We then tried to meet a couple of possible investigators but none of them were home. On the way back we stopped at a golf thrift store. We tried their practice swing area. They had Callaways, Taylor Mades, Adams, Cobras, etc. it was cool to see and hold clubs again. I don't think I have told you guys, but Vui Chōrō played golf for Nebraska. He is the number one golfer in Samoa. His dad is number two and his little brother is in the top ten as well. Awesome right!? XD So yeah, my swing was pretty rusty. But Vui Chōrō was able to drive it 335 yards according to the simulator! Before going into the store we made the deal with ourselves that we had to dendo in the store. And we were able to! We told the man who we were and what we did. I asked him about the golf course in Matsue and he said it was small and short. But we might try to hit a driving range on Preparation Day XD After the golf shop we had dinner and headed home.

On Saturday we were only able to do weekly planning before we had to go to Yonago for a concert. It was a concert that we participated in. It featured a man who is a member and a well-known singer. He has come out with many popular songs among members. I don't know his standing in all of Japan, but he was really good! It was a good concert. We were able to get a ride home from the Matsumoto family. And we had just watched their "I Am A Mormon" video earlier so it was cool to talk to them about their experience with that. It was about three years ago now.

Sunday was Valentine’s Day! I had some chocolate for breakfast which was fun! Oh, I forgot to tell you guys, I got my first talk assignment! Finally!! Since I entered the MTC I haven't given a talk, until now. I was assigned to speak on what I did for my missionary preparation and what I am learning right now as a missionary. With the help of my companions I was able to write a talk that was understandable. I didn't feel super nervous which was nice. I was able to speak at a good pace and in a way that the members could understand. It went well. We had a man come that was in Japan to work on nuclear reactors. He is an American and I was able to talk to him about his work. I got his email because I would like to talk to him. Anyway, he has some cool stories! After church we held mission prep class and had ward council. Then, after dinner, we met with another member who has been going through some difficult challenges. But we also have a new investigator who seems very receptive to the gospel. He wants to join the church! So awesome! After that we ended our day.

Today has been fun so far. We wanted to go to the beach this morning so we got up at 5:00 XD We were about a minute out when it started snowing with hard wind. Yeah, we called it quits because we knew it would be like that on the coast. We will try again another time. We want to try to do some fun things before Tsuchia Chōrō goes home, which is in only two weeks! Crazy right!? Anyway. We got back home but didn't go back to sleep because it wouldn't have been for very long. We might try to nap later. We have a lunch appointment with a less-active member today so that will be fun. After lunch we will try to go shopping and get everything done. Yeah, good stuff. I'm going to try to treat my companions today. We will see how well that goes XD We are planning on meeting with a less-active and an investigator tonight. We feel pretty good about the investigator. She really likes coming to church so that's good!

So yeah, that was my week. The language is getting better. I'm starting to speak a little faster which is nice. And my listening comprehension is really improving. Even if I don't know the words I am able to listen, separate, and remember them so I can look them up later. I was able to do a lot of the talk myself which was nice to see. There were only a few phrases I needed help on. It definitely wasn't an exact translation, but it was good.

My companions are good. Tsuchia Chōrō isn't trunky which is nice. Vui Chōrō is enjoying being with us. He has told us multiple times how is is learning from us. I'm glad. All of us have good health. I'm still exercising twice a day. And biking is helping too. Right now I am trying to eat a little better. Not that I'm eating bad, I'm just going to try to do a little better. I'm going to try and find cottage cheese at the store today. I don't know if cottage cheese is something common in Japan, but I'm going to find out XD I'm also trying to eat more veggies. They are just more expensive than the other food! XD  I set aside some of the birthday money for emergency travel. My money is holding out fine. Usually my monthly fund is sufficient.

I want to bear the simple testimony I have of this Church. I bear testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. Jesus Christ is the head of this Church. It is led by a modern-day prophet named Thomas S. Monson. I know this is true.

I think about you guys every day. Thank you for your good example to me and your love. EVERY DAY, EVERY PRAYER!

Pikoku Chōrō

You should look up Lauren Daigel and Jeremy Camp. Awesome Christian artists!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sunny Matsue says hello to the world!



After emailing on Monday we didn't have much time before we left for Osaka. We shopped, had lunch, packed and left. It took almost five hours to arrive at Osaka, then it took another 45 minutes to get to the elder's apartment.

We woke up early the next morning to make sure we got to the US Consulate on time. Once Tsuchia Chōrō got inside, Vui Chōrō and I tried to find a post office where I could try to pull money out. I tried at a Seven Eleven but it wasn't working. Each time I gave the ATM either my personal or mission card it said, "your card could not be serviced". I called the mission office to contact the financial person and he said he will order me a new card but that it will take a couple of weeks. I hope I can get my card situation figured out fast. I know I will survive. Anyways, we were walking to the post office when we ran into...Tsuchia Chōrō? Yeah, apparently there was an I completed something on his papers so they told him to make another appointment...yeah. He wasn't very happy about that. So we spent the rest of our time (approx three hours) trying to get this thing fixed. But, either way, he had to get another appointment. At around 2:30 we headed back to the bus station to catch our ride home. We got back around 7:30 and went to the church building to set up another appointment with no success.

During study on Wednesday morning, Tsuchia Chōrō was trying to get everything in order for his return appointment. He was making calls and was on the computer all morning. I can tell he is a little stressed. He really wants to get this done as quickly as possible. Anyway, after lunch we visited a couple of less-actives, had an appointment, then went to get bus tickets to go to Okayama for Zone Training Meeting which will be held on Friday. I was able to pull money out of my mission card so that's good XD We then went to visit another investigator. This is an investigator who already believes in Jesus Christ and he really likes the Atonement of Christ. He is very receptive to all of our teachings so that is good. We invited him to receive baptism a few weeks ago but he said that he wants more time. We talked with him again and said that when he feels ready would he be willing to be baptized. And he said he would. Now we just hope that he is able to resolve his issues, and we will do our best to help him do so. After him we had dinner with a less-active member. We went to a really good ramen shop! They put on, like, a million pieces of meat. I almost couldn't even XD Then we shared a message with, talking about following the prophet. This was the first time I led the lesson. Yep, I was the one who led. It was intimidating but it turned out ok. Definitely not perfect, but ok. After that lesson we went back to our apartment. But we stopped at the church on the way there to meet a member who wanted to give us some food (I love you member!) and saw that there were a few high priests boxing in the chapel. Apparently every Wednesday night at five or six they box for a couple of hours. And they turned the heat all the way up in the chapel. It was pretty awesome XD We then ate the food that the member gave us. Now, Vui Chōrō wanted to get his hair cut on Monday but we didn't have the time. So he wanted to cut his own hair. I told him about how I had been cutting own hair for a while now and he asked me if I would do it. I told him I have only ever used a buzzer and that I had usually only done the sides. He said that was fine so I went at it. It was a good cut, but very unblended. Then it happened. He asked me if I could try to blend the sides. I told him that I understood the concept but that I had never done it before. He said it will probably be fine. Alright (*fingers crossed*). I positioned the comb and ran the buzzer across the comb...unfortunately I had the comb right up against his head. Yep, I destroyed his hair XD I froze and said, "I. Am. Sooooooo sorry". I was apologizing for the next hour straight. Anyway, it was really embarrassing and funny XD He wasn't mad, just amused.

Thursday had amazing weather!!! From morning until we left it was blue sky with puffy white clouds! Freaking yeah!!!! We left at 3:55 to go to Okayama for Zone Training Meeting on Friday. Anyway. After lunch we went to the hair salon to fix Vui Chōrō's hair. XD It took about 10-15 minutes then we were out of there. visited Yamamoto-San at his school. He is fluent in English and loves having the missionaries come and see him and his students. On Thursday we practiced English with a few of his students. One of them is really good! She likes Harry Potter a lot so we suggested that she try to find Harry Potter in English because it would be super good practice. After that visit we went to the busses and headed for Okayama. We got there around 7:30 and then got dinner and talked. The Okayama Elder's apartment is the entire top floor of a mission home building. The amount of space they have is massive which is great for zone conferences and other gatherings.

Friday was zone conference. It started at 10:00 and went to about 1:30. In zone conference we talked about being accountable to the members, member lessons, and shared insights from the Elder Choi conference and the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast. For me, the Elder Choi conference made me think about why I am obedient (to God, the mission rules, Welch Kaicho, etc). The Worldwide Missionary Broadcast helped me think about the role of the Holy Ghost in our work. Specifically how we should make sure we don't get in his way because we are his tools, not the other way around. Of course, Elder David A. Bed at was the one to talk about the Holy Ghost. Yeah, good stuff! After the conference we packed up our stuff and headed to lunch. We went to a buffet with the A.P.s which was really fun (and totemo oishi)! We then caught our 5:00 bus and rode home.

Saturday's weather started out nice but then took a sudden turn. By the end of the day it was quite cold with some snow and lightning. It was fun though XD After lunch we commenced our Weekly Planning Session. When we were done we were about to head out when a member drove up as we were getting on our bikes. She really wanted to talk to us so of course we did. I didn't understand a lot of what she was saying but she was emotional through a lot of it. I won't tell you exactly what happened but it was pretty serious. We gave her a blessing of comfort before she left. The interesting thing is that we would have left a minute and a half earlier but one of us forgot our gloves in the church building. If that had not happened we would have missed that member. I am really glad we didn't though because she really needed us. After that we went to get our bus tickets for Osaka for the Visa return appointment. We then met with a less-active member and taught him about testimony because yesterday was fast Sunday for us. We committed him to bearing his testimony with the three of us and he accepted. I'm looking forward to all of us doing that. After him we visited an investigator to teach him the Plan of Salvation. He is very receptive and enjoys meeting with us so we had a good lesson. After him we went to visit another investigator. Unfortunately she was busy but said that she will come to church. She came last week so we feel confident she will come again. Then we went to visit a part-member family. They were home but in the middle of dinner so they weren't able to talk. After that we went home and retired the day.

Sunday was an interesting day. We woke up to snow which was amazing! It didn't last long though as it became sunny and warm in mid-morning. By the time church was done it was all melted. But, that investigator came to church by herself! She came early, in the snow! How awesome is that! I sat next to her and she made sure I sang loudly so that she could hear the words. She is a little slow of speech so she doesn't sing but she loves, loves, loves the hymns. Anyway, after church we went to visit a couple of investigators but neither of them were home so we did some tracting. We then visited a less-active member and taught him about enduring to the end. He is trying to live the gospel so he is always receptive of our teachings and he tries to do what we commit him to do. After him we went home because of my stomach. It started hurting a little right after church so it wasn't a big deal. But before we went out it got a little worse. My companions wanted me to eat or rest but I didn't do either. I said I would tell them if it got worse. I took a protein bar with me in case that happened. I also took a four of the Tums you sent me before we left. After housing it got worse so I ate the bar and we decided to go home. By the time I got home the pain was pretty bad. They told me to get into pajamas because I laid down in my church clothes XD I laid there for about an hour without any relief. I tried eating and drinking then laid back down. After another half hour I think the pain subsided enough that I could fall asleep because I did.

Today we have studied, cleaned, and I completed the technology courses. I get the strong feeling that we will begin using some new form of proselytizing soon (don't quote me though XD). After emailing we will go shopping and head to Osaka on the 2:30 bus. Fun! So much travel, but it's good stuff.

I would like to testify of Joseph Smith. That he is the prophet of the restoration and that through the power of God he translated the Book of Mormon. I say this simple testimony in the name of Jesus Christ,

Pikoku Chōrō

If you haven't already, read Landing Safely in Turbulence by Elder Uchtdorf. It is in the February 2016 Ensign:

Also see Pres. Uchtdorf photographed with Harrison Ford and "The Candy Bomber" at the Living Legends of Aviation Awards hosted by John Travolta at:

Photos and Videos from David this week:
The morning sun in Okayama.

This house looks great! So does the sky!

Buffet in Okayama XD

This was taken in Osaka while Tsuchia Chōrō was working on Visa stuff

Train station in Osaka

Yes, that is a giant sushi roll XD

This was from Christmas Taikai. That is President Welch being a boss.

This is a train in Osaka. Dose noises do.