Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017.4.16 From Rough to Refined

What's up guys?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2017.4.9 Broken backs, funerals, and General Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2017.4.2 🦋SAKURA🦋

Hello everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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