Sunday, March 27, 2016

Plot twist, emergency transfer! New area: Sumoto!


Surprises all around!  I'll start from the beginning of the week.

So, after doing all of our shopping and stuff we had a meal with a member family. It was at their home, which was a good 30 min bike ride through the maze of squashed homes of Osaka. It was actually more of a goodbye party for Crystal Shimai who will be returning to America in a couple of weeks. She has been working at Universal Studios Japan for the past two years in Harry Potter World. She can sing really well which is what she does at USJ. Anyway, there was tons of takoyaki, sushi salad, meat, and ice cream. It was way good. And there were three huge families there which packed the house. After that meal we traveled home to end our day.

On Tuesday we worked a lot on our iPads because we had to download an update which took almost two hours. Then we had to take a language assessment which took another 30 minutes. So after all of that was done we tried to visit some less-active members but none of them were home. We were able to talk to some people in between house visits though which was good. Then, after dinner, we went to Japanese Class. Is about am hour and a half, but we have to duck out a little bit early so we can get home in time for planning and such. It was good, I'm just working on my casual conversation skills because I want to be able to carry on a normal conversation as well as a gospel conversation. After Jeikaiwa we headed home and ended our day.

Wednesday was a very warm day. We woke up early for seminary to clear skies and mild temperatures. After seminary we had study back at the apartment. We finished our study and reaffirmed our plans for the day. We had plans for a doseki lesson with one of the bishopric members. The lesson was going to be with a former shigansha who still wanted to meet with us, she has just been really busy. This is a shigansha I inherited by coming to Sekime. We talked with her about what she remembers from her last lesson with the missionaries (which we found out ended up being a year and a half ago). She knows she has felt the Holy Ghost and she has the Book of Mormon she gave them. We were able to talk about feasting on the scriptures. The lesson went super smooth and was very good. After that lesson we tried to visit one of the ward missionaries, but he wasn't home. So we went to the Osaka Castle Park. There weren't very many people to talk to there so after a while we left. We talked to people on the way home. After dinner we headed to the church for Eikaiwa. There were a lot of new faces at Eikaiwa which was really cool to see. After Eikaiwa we headed home, planned, and ended our day.

Thursday was the transfer call day. After we had prepared for the day and gotten through personal study we got the call. It was in the middle of companion study. It was the office elders I think, but I'm not sure. First they talked to Racker Chōrō, then they talked to me. Racker Chōrō is staying in Sekime while I am going to Sumoto. Sumoto is connected to Kobe by, guess what, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge. Yep, the Kobe Bridge! It's kind of in my new area. The Sumoto area is the entire island that the Kobe Bridge goes to so its a pretty big area. It's the only island-area in our mission, I get the whole island to myself XD In order of smallest to biggest areas so far it is Sekime, Matsue, and Sumoto. So, we got he call around 9:30 and I packed from that time on. We got my suitcases off around 3:00 and then cleaned up the apartment a bit. We had planned to do weekly planning, but here was no way that was going to happen, even if we wanted to. Plus there was going to be a new elder, so doing weekly planning with me wouldn't make much sense. We got Dominoes Pizza around 4:30 and then waited for more phone calls. We weren't able to do anything more that day because there was a lot of other stuff going on, and because of he short notice we had to be here so we could get done whatever needed to be done for the transfer. So we were stuck at our apartment the rest of the day XD

We were originally going to have district meeting at the Sekime church building, as opposed to the Higashi Osaka building, because of the sudden transfer. In district meeting we each taught a section from chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel which is about improving teaching skills. I taught the section on Helping People Resolving Their Concerns. The main point I emphasized was how we need to make sure we address the source, or root, of the problem instead of the problems that come from the main problem. The visual of an iceberg is good because most of the time we only see a small portion of a problem a person is facing. The large part we can't see is something that takes love and time to discover. Then, once we discover the source problem, we can help them overcome this problem. I only had five or so minutes to teach so I had to be brief. It was really good though. After district meeting we went to get curry for lunch. After that I made my way from Higashi Osaka, to Osaka, to Akashi, then to Sumoto. At Akashi I met my new companion, Yamamoto Chōrō. We then hopped on a bus on the Kobe Bridge and made our way to the apartment. Sumoto is right next to the ocean so we can see as we walk through downtown. This place is way more rural than Matsue. At night you can see the stars! Our apartment is in the hills which is way different than Matsue or Sekime. Trees surround our building and we have a couple of ponds where people fish in the evening right next door. We are on the top floor so the view out is pretty great! Anyway, after we got to the apartment we had dinner and waited for my suitcases to come. We tried to do a little bit of weekly planning, even though my area book is still set to Sekime. After my suitcases came I unpacked them and then ended the day.

Saturday was my fist full day in Sumoto. After study and everything we went to go visit the couple missionaries at the hospital. The husband apparently got a fierce fever the other day so he went in. The thing is, this couple was in Matsue district my first transfer. I saw them at the Christmas Day district meeting so they are in the picture I sent home. Once I told them that recognized me XD We gave the husband a blessing for the sick and they really appreciated it. After the hospital we went to pick up our bikes and went to a place where we apparently teach Japanese...yeah, I don't know how well that's going to go XD But that time I just talked with a member who was there. We were there for about an hour and then left to get a helmet from the apartment because my bike haven't come yet. For now, until my bike gets here, I am using one of the church's bikes. We went to visit a few members and potential investigators. They were all home and very kind. It was warm in the middle of the day so I shed some layers when we went back to the apartment but I ended up regretting that decision XD It got cold quickly XD After that we got home, planned, ate, and ended our day.

Sunday was interesting, in a good way. There were only eight people there besides Yamamoto Chōrō and I. Yamamoto Chōrō is the second counselor in the presidency, the senior couple husband is the first counselor, and the president is less active XD The only reason he is "less-active" is because his work schedule doesn't allow him to attend church. And since the senior couple husband was in the hospital, Yamamoto Chōrō conducted the meeting, conducted the music, blessed the sacrament, gave one of the talks, taught gospel doctoring class, and taught priesthood XD What a guy. And church is only two hours for us because sacrament is one hour, then the classes are 30 minutes each. After church we had a lunch that the members provided. It was way good. After that we prepared for a dinner appointment with another member. The member's sister was their so we planned around teaching her. We shared the hallelujah Easter video and talked about how, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can return to live with God again and live with our families forever. It went really well, and I got to know a few members, win-win! After that we headed home for the normal routine and ended our day.

Today we studied and cleaned. We are planning on shopping after a bit of emailing. Then we are heading back to the apartment for some extra down time. It is sunny today, promising some warmer weather to come this week. At least that's what Yahoo Weather is telling me XD The church just came out with a new mobile app called "JustServe". You can find service opportunities around your area with the app. It doesn't work for my area right now so I can't really use it. But I thought I would let you guys know about it.

There is a talk from 1971 General Conference called, "The Law of Abundance". I read it a couple of weeks ago and have been thinking about it a lot since. Even during my mission I can see how it applies to me. I highly recommend reading it. No matter where we are in life we can be generous with our monetary means, our time, our effort and energy, etc. Right now, in Sumoto, Japan. I will be generous with the love and light of Christ. I will show others how to live in the light of our Father in Heaven. We can all do this. Begin now.

You guys are never far from my thoughts. Whenever I learn, whenever I grow, I think about how you guys taught me. Then I think about how I am going to live from here on because of you. Thank you guys! I love you!

Elder Peacock

I'm going to be an uncle any week now...*insert classic David freak out sounds*!!!💥💫☄💥💥

First Week in Sekime

2016.3.20 [Sorry this was delayed due to David's family being on Spring Break vacation.]

こんにちはかぞく! (Kon'nichiwa kazoku)

How are my peeps? XD I now have one week under my belt of my new area. I've been all over
the place but I still can't seem to find my way around anywhere except to the church. There is so much big city in the Sekime area! I have really been enjoying it though. There is no shortage of shops, people, or sight-seeing attractions. I'm really looking forward to my time here in Sekime.

Well, after emailing last Monday we didn't do a whole lot. We got groceries, got our bikes tuned up, made a post office run, watched videos from, then wiped down our bikes (which was way nice). Once we started dendo at 6:00 we tried to visit a few people. Only one of them was home, but he was sick and you could tell it was really affecting him so we weren't able to teach a lesson. So, after all of those visits we went to the big park across the street and talked with a couple of people. It was pretty cold so not many people were out. After that we stopped at this food stand on the way home to get takoyaki. Takoyaki is a ball of dough with octopus that isn't really cooked all the way because that's how Japanese people like it. And because it isn't cooked all the way the dough is super hot. So, if you’re not careful, you could end up putting a lava ball in your mouth. That's kind of like what I did XD It was good though.

Tuesday greeted us with blue sky and puffy, white clouds. It was still chilly, but much better than the previous day. We started our day by going to the Osaka Castle park to try and find people to talk to. Unfortunately we forgot to take into account that is was White Day. White Day is basically another Valentine’s Day. So there were tons of people there, but many of them were not from Osaka. But, something very interesting happened. We had been there for about 20 minutes and were walking down a wide path when we saw two women smiling very big at us. It kind of startled me to be honest XD There was an awkward moment of us both thinking, "are they going to stop us, are we going to stop them, who's going to..." But we ended up stopping them. They were there to talk about their religion, which was Buddhism. They were very forward and tried to get us to go to their temple, but we didn't have time to. We wouldn't have been able to anyways because they were women and we can't ride in cars with only women. So, we didn't right then, but we set up an appointment for Wednesday afternoon to visit them and to teach each other. We talked with them about how all religions have some truth and how many religions teach great things. They really like this because they felt the same way. We also talked about how many Japanese people do not want religion, especially Jesus Christ. Anyways, it should be interesting. Hopefully they won't attack us or do anything weird XD After the park we went to another park where we tried to talk to some skaters because Racker Chōrō usually tried to talk to skaters. It was a pretty park with lots of cool stuff. They have a dinosaur and a pirate ship on the playground. They have a skate park and dirt bike track. And lots of room for fishing. And, for some reason, lots of cats *shrug*. We were able to talk to an older man who landscapes the park and apparently he has met with the missionaries before and would be willing to meet with them again sometime, but not right now. After that we made our way home for dinner. At this point Racker Chōrō's stomach was acting up a bit so we were taking it slow. After dinner he started feeling better. I was worried he would have to stay home. But, that was not the case, so we were able to head back out. We travelled to Jeikaiwa at a school in town. Since it was my first time I had to fill out paperwork and introduce myself. I got to the part where I say my favorite foods and I started listing off Japanese foods and they all start oohing and it's funny and stuff. After Jeikaiwa we headed home to end our day.

So, we were very excited to wake up Wednesday morning knowing we were going to visit a Buddhist church later that day XD It was the first thing on our list of things to do that day, so after lunch we headed out. They greeted us outside their church building very kindly. They were very kind throughout the whole visit. We started by going to the top of their building to their Chapel of sorts. And on the way up we passed a woman coming down and add I passed her she stopped me and put 1000 yen bill in my hand and told me something but I couldn't understand her. So I don't know if I was supposed to do something with it, or if she was trying to bribe me to convert, or something. I have no idea. Like, what the heck just happened? They had about ten pews in the room. At the front was a very ornate set of tables and chandelier things that were leafed in gold. It was all very pretty. We didn't have to pray to anything which was good...but we did end up doing some chants XD I was totally freaking out in my head like, "what the heck is going on". And every time we passed a door they both bowed to it. It felt a little strange XD We then went to a private room where a purist came in to talk to us about why we were there. We told him we wanted to learn more about the Buddhist religion because every time we meet someone who claims to be Buddhist we ask them what they believe and they never really know. They just use it as a scapegoat most of the time. Usually because their family is Buddhist they will claim to be Buddhist. So, he began to explain where Buddhism came from and what they believe. I didn't get most of it though because he was using a lot of old Japanese. They were really friendly the whole time. They weren't aggressive at all. Even when they asked us about how we are spreading Christianity as missionaries. After we headed out Racker Chōrō explained everything that was spoken to me. Apparently there are many Buddhas. However, the first Buddha, the original Buddha, is a Father figure who watches over all of humanity. Then there is another Buddha that protects us. They believe that we are supposed to continually gain knowledge throughout life. And as we do this we can reach enlightenment. When we reach enlightenment we have the opportunity to live with the original Buddha forever, which is the greatest desire of this life. Then, as we reach enlightenment we can become Buddhas as well, like the original Buddha...the similarities are crazy!! We believe that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that he watches over us continually. We believe that the Holy Ghost protects and guides us. We want to live with God again. We believe in continually gaining knowledge in this life to benefit us in the next. We believe that we can become gods like our Heavenly Father. So, yeah, or religions are super similar! Isn't it amazing how connected everything is!? It was way cool. We are planning on visiting one more time in a week or two. After that visit we tried to visit The Man but he wasn't home. After that we went to the park to try to talk to people and do some finding. Then we headed back to our apartment for dinner. Then we had Eikaiwa for the rest of the night. I got to meet more members and friends which was nice. I was struggling to teach because many of them are not good at English. It was fun though. Trying to explain English things in Japanese is a struggle XD

Thursday was taken up mostly by our Weekly Planning Session. After planning we headed to a big dome thing to do finding and just to find out what it was because we had passed it many times and it really made us curious. Turns out the dome is part of a sport complex and the done itself is an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Yeah, it's away cool structure. After that we tried to visit a progressing investigator named Honbo. Unfortunately she wasn't home so we ended up putting in lessons because we aren't very good about doing it every day XD Then  we went to the park because we had about 30 minutes left. We rode around for about five minutes when I felt super prompted to park our bikes, so we did. Looked around and saw a middle-aged man smoking on a bench. I knew we needed to talk to him. We walked over and introduced ourselves and he asked if we were Christians. We said we were and he said he was too! He went on to tell us that he attended a Christian church as a kid. Then he got involved in not good stuff, but he had always wanted to go back. He has kept the good feeling from church in his heart all these years. He said he has been feeling like he's needed to go back to church recently and then we came. He seemed to think it was more than coincidence. I know it wasn't. We invited him to church and I think he will come. He was open to meeting again. So, hopefully he will come to church. After that we headed back to our apartment and ended our day.

Friday morning we woke up at 4:30 for, you guessed it, early morning seminary! Good stuff. Most of that class period was for memorization. After that we rode our bikes to district meeting. We had doughnuts for breakfast which was great! We talked about how our Atonement study is
going. Then we talked about working with members and getting people to church. Afterwards we had sushi for lunch. Then we began companion exchanges. I was with the district leader while Racker Chōrō was with the other companion. We did a lot of biking that day. We biked an hour south to meet with an investigator to whom we extended a baptismal invitation, and he accepted it! It will be later in April so that is way awesome! After that visit we were on our way to another investigator when my bike decided to freak out. I was riding on even pavement, I didn't bump against our run over anything when it happened. At first it felt like my rear tire popped. But upon closer inspection we discovered that one of the wheel spokes had snapped. And because the spoke snapped the wheel became all wonky therefore unridable. We had to walk about 30 minutes to the closest bike shop to get it fixed. It only took 10 minutes and less than 20 dollars before we were able to ride back out. We decided to do some finding by a nearby eki. We did that for about 45 minutes before we had to make the now hour+ ride back to their apartment. After we got back we dried off from the rain that started while we were at the eki. Then we made burritos!

After breakfast, study, and lunch we headed back to our area and apartment. During Friday and all of Saturday we were experiencing rain, but it was still super warm. It was very interesting, but
apparently the summer is like 10X worse XD after we got back to our apartment we unpacked and headed out to Umeda to meet a referral that we had met the previous week. The mother was there and we had only talked a few minutes when she invited us in to talk to her son on Skype. The son is in Arizona so it was like 12:30 at night for him. His English is literally perfect, accent and everything. It kind of messed with me a lot XD We invited him to attend church and he accepted. We will meet with them again next week. After that we traveled back for dinner. After dinner we headed to the park to talk to people. We met four older men playing aboard game called Shogi, which is kind of like a mix of checkers and chess. So, basically, it's kind of like Shogi XD Then, on our way out, we ran into a member so I got to meet her. After the park we ended our day.

Sunday was pretty normal. We had someone walk in off the street again though so that was cool. He said he had been to our church a few times over the years. We taught a recent-convert lesson during second hour. After church we were supposed to have a meeting but it got moved so we went home for lunch. One member have us a ton of American chips like Lay's, Ruffles, and Doritos! We studied then headed out to visit less-active members and invite them to Useman Kyōdai's FHE. Every Sunday Brother Useman had a giant meal and FHE at his home. He always brings lots of friends and members. After that we headed home to end our day.

Today we cleaned after study. Then we headed out to do some shopping. It's sunny and mild right now. We are at the church cleaning our bikes and shining our shoes while we email. We are planning on having a meal with a member around 5:00. It had been a very good preparation day so far.

As we near Easter I think about the great opportunity we have to listen to our prophets and apostles twice a year. I wait with anticipation for their guidance. I know they are chosen men of God who have great faith in Christ. We must cherish their council because their words are the words of God. I love you all! Fight the good fight and never give up!

Pikoku Chōrō

Monday, March 14, 2016

Well, you know how I said I was staying in Matsue this transfer...

That's right, new area! HELLO SEKIME, GOODBYE MATSUE! *shed one tear*

So, after emailing on Monday we ended up shopping just a little bit before we headed out at 6:00. We tried to visit a less-active member but she said her health wasn’t good enough to talk to us. After her we visited an Investigator. She was home and glad to see us. She told us that her birthday is this week so we will plan to visit her on her birthday and give her a birthday card. She was very happy to hear that. We are going to try to have a few members sign the card. We weren't able to stay very long, so after her we headed home and ended our day.

We biked to the lake Tuesday morning. We ran a little bit with me taking it easy because of my knee. It is way nice running by the lake, it's just too bad I won't see that lake again for a while after Wednesday morning. We were pretty busy on Tuesday because there was a lot of people we wanted to visit. However, many of them were not home. It was amazing, actually, how many people were not home. Around 4:30 we visited a member very close to the church building. We had been there for about 10 minutes when we got a call. Vui Chōrō picked it up then handed it to me. I was greeted by an elder on the other end as he said, "Hello, is this Elder Peacock?" "Indeed it is." "Elder Peacock, this is-*insert elder's name here because I forgot his name XD*-, welcome to the Osaka Zone!" " *the sound Japanese people make when they are confused*" "You are assigned to the Sekime area with Raker Chōrō who is a 12th transfer missionary." To say the least I was very confused and surprised, as was Vui Chōrō. Especially because Welch Kaicho told us we were both staying together in Matsue. But, apparently changes were made, because now I am in Sekime.

So, yeah, after that we had Eikaiwa, which was good because a new person came! But right after Eikaiwa I had to start packing. I was packing all the way through dinner. After that we ended our day.

Wednesday was me packing, us getting my luggage off to Sekime, us meeting up with Winegar Chōrō because his companion got transferred as well. So, the way it worked was that Winegar Chōrō (from Izumo) would be with Vui Chōrō from the time I left to the time that both of their new companions would come into Matsue. Then Winegar Chōrō would go back to Izumo with his new companion. Yeah. After meeting Winegar Chōrō we met with a few investigators before we had to end our day. And because it was my last day in Matsue, my companions wanted to celebrate so we got fried chicken, pizza, fries, and a giant parfait. Yep, it was a lot, but it was so good XD

Woke up Thursday morning at 5:45, should've woken up at 5:30 because I nearly missed my 6:59 train XD There were two members that met me at the station and because of that they will never be forgotten. And one of them brought one of her dogs which was adorable! Apparently that dog doesn't like people, but she was really liking me so she brought her. Anyway, it was about a two and a half hour train ride to Okayama where I met up with another elder and rode the rest of the way into Osaka. We got to Osaka around 1:30 where we met up with our companions. We had to take the other elder to a church building because his companion was doing something. But after that we headed to our apartment.

This is the same apartment we stayed in when we came to Osaka for Tsuchia Chōrō's visa stuff. And we came twice so I knew the apartment and how to get there. So yeah, that's kind of interesting. After I put my stuff in a room and got my bike together we headed to the church building to do weekly planning. That took the rest of our day so when we got home we ended our day.

Friday was my first full day in Sekime. I was able to send off my luggage the day before I left for Sekime so they were able to be dropped off Friday morning which was nice. Raker Chōrō gave me some time to unpack before we left so that was great. We had a lot of stuff planned for the day so we set out. We met with a recent convert and we just wanted to meet with him to make sure he is coming to church. Then we met with a Philippine family in this GINORMOUS apartment building! Pictures will help you see, but the pictures don't do it justice. After that we visited a very interesting ward missionary. He is 76 years old, super-duper short, but has a very commanding presence. To all of the missionaries he is known as "The Man" XD. He opened up his door and immediately told us he wants to go visit a less-active. So we all get on our bikes and travel through a maze of alleys to try and find this address that ends up being wrong. We were able to find the right address though unfortunately no one was home so yeah. The Man just did what he wanted concerning traffic laws. He crossed the streets so many times when he shouldn't have XD It was so great! After teaching him a lesson we visited a few other people, a few of them weren't home though. We had dinner around 5:00 then tried to visit a few other people. A couple of them weren't home, but he last one was. She came out to talk and she was awesome! We just talked about the gospel in general and she was super involved in the conversation. It was great. Definitely a good feeling about her. After meeting with her we went home to end our day.

Saturday was a good day. We woke up to white, puffy clouds and a bright blue sky! We started our time in the city park across the street which is HUGE! We were able to talk to a few people but not too many because everyone was there for the circus. Yep, that's right, a circus. It was pretty big. After the park we met with a young couple that has one child. They are both returned missionaries and they both have their missionary tags on their geinkan table. So cool! We talked with them about the area plan and how we can use the five points of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to accomplish the plan. It was way good and they had wonderful input. And their kid was so cute of course XD We then made a long trip to Umeda, which is the big city part of our area. This is he same area with the US Consulate where Tsuchia Chōrō did his visa stuff. We met a referral and she said we could meet again! We then talked with some people at a skate park. Raker Chōrō is a very good skateboarder so he did some awesome stuff and all the Nihonjin were like "WHAT?!" kind of thing XD Then we had dinner at good old McDonalds. Then we did some other awesome stuff...unfortunately I can't remember what we did. And I don't remember doing anything the area book says we did. Oh well *shrug*.

Sunday was amazing! It was ward conference so there were many stake officials there. Someone told me there were about 140 people there. We didn't have enough chairs. And Raker Chōrō had to translate for eight people without translation equipment. And something else happened, something very interesting. A woman walked off the street into the middle of sacrament meeting. Raker Chōrō taught her a lesson with five other members while I was translating. Apparently she is a volunteer priest for another religion. She said that she had walked by the building before but that she felt very strongly that she needed to come inside today. During the lesson she said that what she had heard and felt is true. She wants to read the Book of Mormon and continue coming to church. It was way cool! I had to try and translate during the second hour for a member who works at Universal Studios Japan. She has been here for two years and is about to go home. Usually the elders translate for her. I did a pretty bad job but I got a little bit of it XD after the blocks we had a big birthday party where everyone in the ward who has a birthday in April is celebrated. They had cake, hot dogs, and tons of snacks. After church I tried to get to know a few of he members. I didn't introduce myself on the stand because of ward conference but I'm sure I will next week. After church we went to a member’s house for dinner. He is Nigerian and used to be Muslim but converted a few years ago. He has friends, investigators, and the missionaries over to his house ever Sunday night for his massive dinner he makes. He also has [soft] drinks like nobody's business. I nearly exploded but it was soooooo good! On the way home we synced our iPads and then got to the apartment. My stomach was about to go into cardiac arrest, I swear XD

This morning we woke up at 4:45 to attend the early morning seminary at the church. The teacher is a ward missionary who wants us to try and help the youth with missionary work. I think we will try and go twice a week. After seminary we have just been at the building for study and emailing. After this we will go back to our apartment for cleaning and lunch. We will go out for groceries, check out our bikes at the shop, dry cleaning, and other stuff later on today. It's been raining since last night but it's not terribly cold. Later on this week should become sunnier and warmer. I am really looking forward to that.

Lots of changes this week. I'm enjoying the Sekime area a lot. But it's a challenge to meet new people and adjust to a new area. I am excited. I know that the Lord is hastening His work all round the world, and I have seen strong evidence of this recently. I am but a small part of His plan, but I will do my best to be the person Jesus Christ needs. I will rely on the Atonement of Christ to become this person. Thank you for all of your love and strength. Fight the good fight and never give up!

Pikoku Chōrō

Sent from my iPad
Pizza Hut, KFC, and McDonald's for David's "last supper" in Matsue!
Time lapse video of last night in Matsue, eating the giant parfait!
First morning in Sekime.

Osaka--Big City!
At least 12 flights up!

Popular drink-flavored marshmallows.


Monday, March 7, 2016


Hello かぞく,

Well, this week has been fun :D

To start, we had a lot of snow on Monday! It started of slow, then it started to grow (XD) So, we get mission money loaded onto our cards on the first of every month, right. And Monday is Preparation Day...and it was also the 29th of February. Freaking Leap Year! We had no money to get groceries or do anything that would have cost us money. So we felt pretty stuck XD We really just emailed until 6:00. When we went out at 6:00, we tried to visit a couple of Potential Investigators but neither of them were home. After those attempts we tried to visit a man we met in the golf shop. We had met him once before and we were excited to see him again. After looking at a few clubs and taking a few shots we talked with him about our church and invited him to come. We exchanged contact info and headed out. While we were at the golf shop, it really started snowing. But it wasn't just heavy was heavy snow, with wind. And this was very strong wind. We walked out the front door and the car that was parked right there was blasted with snow on the side! We had to bike very slowly to be safe. Going over the bridge was ridiculous. My face wheat numb and my bike was being pushed around a bit. After dinner we biked home in two inches of snow. But, before we left for home we decided to build a snowman! It was sooooo fun! A few people stopped to watch us and take pictures of us. One of them wanted to take pictures with us which was amusing. We also had an epic snowball fight on a street corner XD Then we got home and built another snowman! All of the YUS!! We got into our apartment, dried off, and warmed up, then ended the day.

Tuesday morning greeted us with some snow, but it was on the decline. We had lunch with a member over by the city university. While we were there the snow really picked up. Big, fluffy flakes that filled the air. We enjoyed big bowls of ramen, and they were having specials that day so the price was lowered XD Loved it! He asked us questions about how to teach the things Christ taught. Like how we should teach as missionaries. We weren't able to talk for very long because he had to go do stuff. Then we went over the west side of town by the east side of the west lake (XD) to visit a Potential Investigator. We met him while housing and he said we could visit on normal weekdays anytime. He was home, but busy at the time. He said he would like to see us on Thursday at lunchtime. So we left him the Restoration pamphlet to read. After him we visited a Progressing Investigator. He has been reading from the Book of Mormon and been understanding what we have been teaching. This was made really apparent when he talked to us about what he had just read in 2 Nephi 31. He was really getting it. The lesson went so well! In fact, we felt that he was ready to accept a baptismal commitment. We extended the commitment to be baptized and he accepted! We have a shigansha! He definitely has a lot  of work, but I know he can do it. After him we visited another Progressing Investigator. This investigator has been attending church for over a month now and she has really been enjoying it. When we visited her she seemed extra chipper (I just said 'chipper' XD) She told us that she was in the hospital the other day and that while she was there she was telling everyone around her that we are all children of God, brothers and sisters. Yeah, she was being a missionary! The people thought she was weird but she still said it. She told us that we helped her understand that. That filled me with warm fuzzies! It was so good. After that we ended our day.

Wednesday was a pretty busy day. We wanted to try and hand out Eikaiwa flyers before our appointments. We tried going over by the city university around lunchtime but no one was out. We had to head back to the other side of town for our first appointment. Our appointment was with a member who has really been sharing the gospel with her friends. She is good about handing out materials from the church. She will often give out magazines or copies of the Book of Mormon. After meeting with her we had to hurry to the church for our appointment with a less-active member. This member has been soaking up all of our lessons and has been attending church for many weeks now. I don't know why he was less-active, but he seems to be doing fine now. From there we had three appointments at the church building one after another. We met with an investigator who we feel like was ready to set baptism as a goal. He is a great guy, and he really enjoys meeting with us. We focused our lesson on Jesus Christ and linked baptism at the end. When we extended the commitment his response was not what we thought it would be. It wasn't a direct "no", but he said not right now. He doesn't have a desire to be baptized. We asked if we keep meeting with him would he gain a desire. He said maybe, but he isn't sure. He told us he likes us and that he enjoys our lessons though. So, we'll see where we need to set the direction from here. It's hard because he is in Tokyo every weekend for his work so he can't attend church in Matsue. After him we had a lesson with a young man who is very close to finishing his mission papers. We spoke with him about humility. Humility is very important all throughout life. We need to always trust in, and rely on God. We need to do everything for Him and give Him all of the credit. Especially since he is about to become a full-time missionary.

After our appointments at the church we were about to head out when a member came in to set up for institute. This member has been helping us get missionary work going in the ward so it was good to talk with him for a bit about that. After talking with that member we didn't have much time left so we decided to go to a member who lives very close. We weren't planning on visiting her, but Vui Chōrō got a strong, sudden impression that we needed to go visit her. And I'm glad he was listening and that he followed through with it because she needed it. It was the one month mark from her daughter's unexpected death and she really needed support. We were in agreement that the Holy Ghost led us there. After being with her we headed home and ended our day.

We didn't have much time on Thursday before we had to leave for Zone Training Meeting in Okayama. We tried to visit a Potential Investigator but he wasn't home. It was beautiful weather though! We also met with a man who runs a cram school. He recently got a new building that is more of a lounge study than anything. It was good to talk with him and a couple of his assistant teachers. He is fluent in English which is nice XD He showed us a home-made film about boxing. It was way funny. They referenced Rocky soooooooo much! After that we headed to Okayama on the 3:55 bus. Got to see the Okayama apartment around 8:00 and ended our day.

Zone Training Meeting started at 10:00 but we had spiritual prep for about half an hour before hand. Vui Chōrō and Hanagan Chōrō played ukulele and sang together before and after the meeting. It was very good! We talked a lot about how our mission study is going. What we are learning about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was very good. After Zone Training Meeting we headed to Izumo for kokans. Because Tsuchia Chōrō left early they didn't make Vui Chōrō district leader, instead, they made Machado Chōrō district leader. So we had kokans in Izumo with them. We got to Izumo around 9:00 and walked about 30 minutes to the Izumo apartment.

Saturday was the day of kokans. I was with Winegar Chōrō (who was my first kokan), and Vui Chōrō was with Machado Chōrō. The morning was thrown off because of the baptismal interview that Machado Chōrō had to conduct. It took a while so we were only able to do a little bit of finding before lunch. We were able to talk with a few boys so that was good. After lunch we had a little bit of study before dinner. After dinner we tried to meet with a couple of Investigators before meeting back up. It was Saturday night which means we had game night. But before that we had to set up the inflatable baptismal font. We played for too long because we missed our train and just spent the night again at the Izumo apartment.

We woke up early Sunday morning in order to get back to Matsue in time. We were able to change into suits before we had mission coordination meeting. We had one of our investigators come so that was awesome! She has started reading the Book of Mormon but she want us to help her understand it. Testimony meeting was great. A lot of members spoke and they went 20 minutes over the time XD After church we met with a couple of members for lessons. At this point we hadn't done our weekly planning yet so we tried to do that quickly before meeting with a family for a dinner appointment. We met with our Shigansha and we can tell our lessons with him have been getting a lot better. Not that they were bad before, they are just really improving! Then we talked about the area plan during the dinner appointment. We made it interactive for the kids by doing cut-outs that they could tape to a paper. They were then able to keep the paper that they made. It was a really good lesson and the family told us they could feel the goodness from us. I was very glad. It was a big improvement from the last time I was in their home XD We headed home, tried to plan through our tiredness, and sacked out.

This morning was the beginning of our running. We are going to try to run every morning. Well, maybe every other morning so I won't hurt myself. We ran to the west lake and back. At 8:40 we went to the train station to head back to Izumo for bowling XD So much Izumo! We had three games of bowling awesomeness! It was way fun. Afterwards we went to a Brazilian restaurant for burgers. And they were soooooo good! I also got some French bread! It made me so happy XD After that we came back to Matsue. We won't go grocery shopping today because we definitely have enough food to last through the week. We aren't really going to do anything else but emailing the rest of the day. We will try to visit a couple of Investigators starting at 6:00. But yeah, it has been a good Preparation Day so far!

This week I have started focusing on humility. There are things I want to do in the future hat will require great humility. And, no matter what I do, I will always need to be humble before the Lord. I need to always trust in Him and know that He will always guide me to what is best. I have also strengthened my focus on faith. It really is through faith that God works among the children of men. We need to exercise faith, and then ask for more. This will be my focus for a while. I need to have strong faith. We all do.

I love you guys so much. You are a fantastic source of strength. Never stop trusting in God. I love you!

Elder Peacock

*Pictures and videos coming soon! :)