is returning home with honor from the
Japan Nagoya Mission
on Sunday, August 13, 2017
will be held
on Sunday, August 20, 2017
at 9 AM
at the Black Mountain Stake Center
400 South Water Street
Henderson, Nevada 89002
Well this is the last one. End of the line.
Well this is the last email I will send as a missionary. It is really kinda sad to think that the end has finally come and that there is nothing that can be done. I obviously am looking forward to certain things when I go home like family and friends and all of that. I'm kinda iffy on the whole going back to homework thing. But honestly it's kinda scary. I've spent the last two years of life in a very protected/attacked way. To explain this is kinda hard but those of you who were missionaries probably already understand. We are attacked by temptation daily as missionaries and because of the badge or cuz of our title we can easily turn away from the temptation. Like we are attacked from every stand point possible but we just move on and roll with it. I know that my choice to be a missionary pleases my Heavenly Father and absolutely pissed off Satan. And I'm pretty sure Satan isn't a very forgiving person. As missionaries we move God's work along. It's our job and for some of us it's our joy.
One of my joys is helping people in their problems. For example this past Sunday night I spent the night with an investigator family. The mother is looking for ways to improve her family and the dad just seems to be indifferent. We have been meeting and hanging out with their son more recently to help him and be a good influence on him, cuz that's what his mom wants. But Sunday night his mom decided to have me give my personal advice to help them parent one of their daughters. I'm only 21. I've got no kids, therefore no parenting experience really. And so honestly with this type of resume I'm way under qualified. But with love for this family I proceeded to draw upon the knowledge that comes from the prophets and apostles of this modern era. I suggested family councils, one big one to get it all started followed with small weekly ones to help everyone to grow together. Then she wanted me to mine in and try to confront the discipline section of family. I told them that they should in their family council go over the house rules and help everyone agree on the rules and the punishments and therefore once an agreement is made about rules and punishments there can be no complaining. She then asked how I was disciplined and I said some by force and sometimes not. But I then said every child is different and some need force and others don't. I needed the force obviously. Also I said that punishment needs to be given in love, weird saying it and they thought it was a bit weird at first too probably. But anyways the mom was way grateful and promised to follow through with this little plan. Actually we might go and mediate the first family council. Who knows?
This is my joy nowadays. Helping people apply gospel principles in their lives that move them closer to God, Jesus Christ, to eternal life, and to each other. It's so awesome to see. It's almost unbelievable to see the change in some people. Like for my last email I want to sum up my time her with a few things I did to help some people. I will not use names and there are multiple people for each thing I have helped people do.
Most people don't know, including my parents, but I had a really hard time in college for a while. My life seemed pretty good but I didn't know what was wrong. I was getting good grades. I was doing good in volleyball. I was having fun with friends but nothing was good. I didn't understand. Slowly I had stopped reading scriptures and slowly I began to decrease my church attendance to just an hour sometimes two. I claimed I was tired or that because all the lessons were on marriage that it wasn't for me so I pretty much kinda stopped. I still attended at least sacrament but sometimes I found that even hard. After returning home for the winter break I could tell something needed to change. But I still didn't know what. I returned for a second semester and almost immediately stopped attending church. I started finding different reasons not to go. And I began to feel the deepest loneliness I had ever known. I had no one I felt. Yet I had lots of friends. Japan is very similar they have lots of friends but they feel like their missing something. And it's true they are missing something. It's the same thing that I was missing. The best friend you could have, a Heavenly Father. Towards the end of the semester and having spent most of the semester avoiding actual church meetings, for some reason I didn't mind Institute. So in April of 2015 I realized that my time to serve a mission was close, yet at that moment I couldn't truthfully say if I knew God answered prayer or not. I couldn't say the church was true or not. I realized that I might break a promise I made to my mother. I always told my mom I would be an Eagle Scout and a missionary. And I wasn't sure I could do the latter anymore. So I embarked on a three week journey for answers. I decided the best thing to do was pray so for three weeks I went to the church building every night to shoot some hoops and pray. I began with a prayer, and I would pray any time I took a break and prayed before I left. I'd like to say it all came back to me but I wasn't going to be content with just a feeling I needed to know. So even when good feelings came with prayer I pressed on wanting more of an answer. So at the end of three weeks I felt like I had given my end of the bargain and that because God had not answered it was all good. So I said one last prayer, in which I said, "Well Heavenly Father this is the end of the road for me and you I guess. It's been a good 18 or so years but after I walk out of these church doors tonight, don't expect me to walk back through them, because you haven't done anything for me tonight or the past few weeks. So good bye." As I packed up my stuff and headed out I got a call from a friend telling me he had been meaning to call and talk, but finals had bogged him down a bit but he couldn't shake the feeling any longer. He then told me where he was and to come talk to him. I had gotten my miracle. As I looked around I was standing about two steps from the door. Ready to walk out forever. But my loving savior decided to let me know in my time of deepest loneliness and hate towards God that he loved me and that he did not want me to walk out that door forever. I resolved all of my problems with my friend with humble prayer, scripture study, and of course church attendance. The very three commandments that I teach people here. I resolved my loneliness by creating a bond with my Heavenly Father. Don't ever forget that, because I did and it hurts. I tell this very story to less-actives, members, investigators and all who will listen. I then tell them that they can know God is there and that he loves them, just like I do, because he is there. And he will answer theirs, and your, prayers. This is a testimony that's stayed with me and been a true companion for these two years. Just like the many other testimonies that I have gained here in this wonderful land of Japan.
This is for certain I love this people. I quoted it in my farewell talk and I do so know. "When I fully understand them... I love them"-Ender Wiggin (Enders Game). I understand this people, their language, and their mindset. And I love every bit of them. And because I love them, I have spent the past two years preaching a gospel of peace, of love, of healing, of hope, and deliverance. I end this long email/testimony saying; I love all of you that have supported me during these two years. Any and all mail, electronic or the regular letters have been much appreciated. And if I didn't tell you personally I'm very sorry. Thank you for this crazy ride and I will see you all back in the states, if my parents can get me on the plane ✈ home 🏡 😉 😉.
Well I did it again.
Time flies on P-day and it is way crazy, but hey that's missionary life. We had an awesome week filled with us running around with investigators and doing lots of crazy things. It all climaxed in to a lesson with our investigator family who committed to come to church every week for the foreseeable future. They're so awesome. Other high lights are that we went to the gym to play ping pong with our investigator and when he discovered they had treadmills he challenged me to run on them. Needless to say I put the machine on high and maintained about a 6 minute mile pace for an entire mile. So yeah still in shape kind of. We also got involved in a large Matsuri (Japanese Celebration) where we carried this “arc of the covenant” like thing around for two hours. It was way fun but way tiring. Anyway, all is good here in Nippon (Japan), love y'all.
We had some lessons so I got this out late. Sorry. Here are some apology pictures.
Wow I'm really bad at this whole emailing thing
So you guys would have never guessed it, but man this whole emailing thing is like one of the hardest things for me to do. Anyways, my life is fine and like I want to do a three week recap but that is kind of daunting so like here's the deal.
Last I left off we had two guys preparing for baptism so here's their story. Saturday June 17th they get interviewed for baptism. Like a big deal. So we were kind of sweating it but like it all turned out good and they were both cleared and we were like this is awesome. So we went out to a celebratory sushi. Way good. So the next week was spent mainly preparing for their baptism. Getting the clothes and getting all of it ready. When we find out that a general authority, Elder Yamashita, will be holding training in Kanazawa, a city an hour and a half away by train ride. This training, as you may have guessed would be held at the same time as our scheduled baptisms. So I obviously told my leaders to not expect me at the trains and that I would be at the baptism. My Zone leaders flipped on me and I had a half hour long phone debate with them. Obviously things were reported to the president and he called me that night. He said that I was right that the baptisms were more important than trains so they would move the training back an hour and a half so we would have ample time to arrive on time and not only that but he would be providing us a ride to the training. To me that was the best idea I had heard so we went with it. So the baptisms went off without a hitch in our beautiful lake.
Last transfer, unless I find the missionary fountain of youth
So I know I'm not special by saying I want to stay here in Japan and be a missionary forever, but it looks like they are going to finally kick me out, but I'm going to go down with a fight in these last six weeks, by working extra hard.
So well I kind of don't want to write a full weekly report so I'm going to just put down some of what's going over here. But first and foremost because transfer calls were his week I will inform you what happened to me. .... Well to be honest transfer calls came and went and nothing happened to me or my companion, so yeah!
Other than that we've slowly been growing our teaching pool and helping people progress. We have lots of solid investigators but we've got to keep working. Other than that we've been running around and working hard with lots of good people. So sorry for the length of the past two, but it you want to hit me up with an email, I'll try to respond. Anyways, maybe next week I'll get some motivation to write a big one.
Lazy follow up and clarification
Well, being low on time and stuff like that, so I'll kind of just keep things brief this week. We've been working hard and keeping busy. By saying I'm “lazy” last week, it was more meant towards my feeling of writing emails, not so much as being a missionary. Being a missionary is so fun as I am witnessing people slowly change their lives, it is crazy awesome and there is nothing like it. So I'll attach some pictures and I'll fill in some details next week hopefully.
Anyways, I love y'all,
I'm really lazy (when it comes to writing emails)
So our time today is ticking down so I'm going to kind of wrap up the week but there might not be much detail so ごめんね、(sorry).
Monday ~ Ahh, it's a great day of rest for us missionaries. So we rested, cleaned, emailed and all that good stuff. Then at night after visiting some peeps we made a stop at our favorite Japanese teacher’s house, Nishikawa Sensei, and just talked for a while. He's way nice and he loves helping the missionaries learn Japanese hopefully we can help him in the long run too.
Tuesday ~ So we had a koukan (exchange) with the elders from Kanazawa and I got to take elder Nagai, our zone leader and resident Japanese elder for the day. He's a great guy and we got a ton done. We ended up finding a way awesome Pilipino kid who is so down to learn. Then we taught a set of lessons to cap off the night.
Wednesday ~ So we had to switch back so we ran down to Kanazawa and then came back up. Just in time for some lunch and service project at a place called Peer Support. So we taught English then we ran around for the day trying to visit people and get stuff done. We capped the night off with a good Eikaiwa class, man English is really hard.
Thursday ~ If you've read a lot of these emails you know this is our planning day. Yay. So we spent the early afternoon planning then we ran over to the hospital and got to meet up with our doctor friends and teach them English. It's way funny as two guys are pretty fluent and a couple other students are behind but it's all good. Then we ran off to institute to teach one of our members, which is always nice.
Friday ~ So DTM (District Training Meeting) was in Kanazawa so we were off to Kanazawa, again. Yay. It was actually a good meeting and we had lots of fun. From there we went to lunch and split 2.5 kilograms about 5 lbs. of curry and rice. Then we wobbled on over to the station and caught a train home. After that we went and visited some less-actives and then we changed to go play volleyball, but to our dismay it was canceled. So we went and found a gym and got in a badminton group. Let's just say I'm very bad at badminton right now, so yeah.
Saturday ~ So we had an early morning appointment and it went decently. And then from there we were supposed to go help a member build their house, but because of bad weather it had to stop. So that threw a wrench in our plans, so we made a member record for the area and then we met with a less-active family named the Shibagaki’s. Way funny and their kids are way crazy. So that was a fun night.
Sunday ~ Good Sabbath Day and we had a guy we met earlier call us randomly and say he would come to church. He then came and gave us t-shirts that say, in Japanese of course, “forget yourself and benefit others”. Hecka cool. I'll send pictures next week. After that we did some visits and calling lots of people and then we went to meet up with our friend, Mario.He's a solid guy and we are slowly helping him see the use of religion and specifically the Churches influence in his life. Well that's about it from Japan. I love y'all, see y'all next week and I guess this was pretty detailed, after all.
So I still have no will power for writing so yeah I'm just going to hit you up with the last weeks’ worth of stuff so here we go.
Monday - So it was a great day because we started the day off Skype calling our families and well as a missionary that's the last time I going to get to do that so yeah that was way nice. And then after that it was a normal night for us. We had a good day and then spent the night looking for gyms where we could meet up with people and play sports and it turned up a good result but yeah that was about it.
Tuesday - We started our day with a clean check and we passed. They were disappointed with the shower because they said it could be cleaner but idk about that because I spent a good 30 minutes scrubbing that thing with my might and it wouldn't change. But oh well not my fault. Then we went to service from there and then we had a meeting with a member who used to live in Nanao, but now lives somewhere else. He just wanted to visit so that was good. Hopefully he stays on the straight and narrow path. After that we had a lesson with our blind investigator. So hard for me because I like to teach in a very visual way so this is challenging me to be a lot better. Than after that we had to drop of some fresh baked cookies to a friend and then run to branch council. Yeah, meetings in Japanese, like I even understood meetings in English, Jk, but yeah a lot was taken care of as we plan to try to get about 40 people to the upcoming branch conference. So wish us luck and keep us in your prayers. But that was our night.
Wednesday - We got a good block of morning studies and then we started our afternoon with service and from there headed out to begin our visits of all the people we could think of. And we were met with some empty houses and don't come backs but in the end one of the people we visited texted us and thanked us for trying to meet with him. And he then promised he would come to church as soon as he could. Way nice. And we ended the night at Eikaiwa where we gave our entire class homemade peanut butter cookies 🍪 yeah. Anyways, all in all it was a good day.
Thursday - So we had Zone Conference in Kanazawa which meant an hour and a half train ride that began at 7:15 AM so yeah got an early start on the day. We got to Kanazawa and had a good set of training where we were told that as a whole mission our stats were dropping and that we needed to work harder. But yeah stats aren't the motive but they measure progress and right now it says that some areas aren't measuring up, kind of sad. But we had to dip early because of the long train ride and also because we had to go teach Eikaiwa to our doctor friends. So we dipped and on the way home I hit an allergy attack. Don't worry, because it was just itchy eyes and stuffed nose and a headache so I pressed on and all the way through to the institute class that night. It all went fine even though I was unable to fully prepare but that's all good. So institute went good and we ended our night on a high note.
Friday - So we had an appointment with a member who lives way up in the mountains. So we biked way far out there and met him part way up the mountain and then he took our bikes and us in his truck up the rest of the way. We had a good lunch with them and then had an awesome lesson on the atonement and that was all good. Then we went outside to check if it would be feasible to do the upcoming baptisms in their lake but because of some construction on the mountain the lake is being drained so that was a way sad no, but yeah. From there we went down the mountain and despite a fervent prayer and medication my allergies got the best of me and we decided to call it a day because the longer I was outside the worse it got. So we called it a night and I rested up.
Saturday - Being fully, as much as it is possible as a missionary to be so, rested and with a new resolve we set out to go out to Hakui a town about 40 minutes south by train. So we got out there and went to try and see what Hakui is all about. Well it turned out to be a pretty fruitless day but yeah it was all good. My allergies were kept in check but how I'm not sure. So we caught a night train home and that was it.
Sunday - Church. So somehow I got roped into playing the piano and yeah that happened so it went ok and then we taught the primary and all that good stuff. And it was a good meeting. From there we went out and invited as many people to that night’s devotional and again met with some opposition but that's all good. Then we went to the church where we began setting up the stuff for the devotional because the people of the branch were like your young you can figure that out. And that was awesome. Elder Oaks is way good. Any ways nothing too crazy happened but yeah it was a good devotional and then we had a meeting with an investigator and that was the rest of our night.
Well that's it for me. Love y'all.
I finally wrote something
So like I've given up on trying to catch up, because it’s way too hard so I'll send some pictures this week and stuff like that and let you know how everything went. So yeah. It is kind of hard to not catch up so I might do it eventually, but not this week because of an appointment. Well for this week I'll give a quick little recap of last week and the transfer to Nanao.
Monday ~ P-day. We did haircuts, shipped my stuff to Nanao and made sure all was ready for the next day of me transferring.
Tuesday ~ I got to ride a Shinkansen, bullet train. It was hecka fun. It left the mission for like 15 minutes so that was interesting. It was all was good and I arrived safe and sound in Nanao. I picked up Elder Janson in Kanazawa and then we headed to our apartment in Nanao. From there I had a struggle with the delivery company, but in the end we got my bags. And then we had a lesson with an investigator and that went good and that was pretty much our day.
Wednesday ~ We needed to cleanup and get some other stuff done like shopping, so we did that, and then that night we had Eikaiwa and since no one came we decided to go to the Matsuri (festival). We figured that is where everyone was at, and we were right.
Thursday and Friday ~ A crazy couple days of Matsuri (festival). We also met with investigators. Thursday night was institute and it was pretty awesome.
Saturday ~ We met with an “eternal investigator” (someone who has been taking the missionary discussions for a long time) and we got him pinned down on a baptismal date finally, so that was good. Then we went to lunch with him. After that it was some good time spent trying to go visit members.
Sunday ~ Church was good and after church a member took us to the most northern part of our area, which was an hour away by car. And so we got to visit some LAs (less actives) and PIs (previous investigators), so it was way good. But then we returned for some appointments at night and that was good. So yeah that's us.
Now here are the pictures form the Matsuri.
P.S. Happy 12th Birthday Acacia!
Actually Elder Williams did not send a letter this week. He did however let us know that he was told he was transferring to Nanao, which is a small city on the North Shore, as far north as you can go in the Nagoya Mission.
Called to Serve in the Japan Nagoya Mission..