Don't say the t-word. Do you mean Transfers?
So for those of you reading this, transfers may not seem like a big deal, but for missionaries this is pretty much tier life. We work hard with someone for 6 weeks or more and then at the end of those six weeks we wait by the phone for an hour or so to get a call from the Mission office. If you don't get a call, then nothing is changing, but that hasn't really happened to me much. Only twice on my mission have I not got a call on transfer weekend, and those were second transfers with my trainer and when I trained. So if that spoils anything for this week's letter I'm sorry. The details will come later in this letter.
Monday ~ So it was p-day (preparation day). We had a morning appointment and after that it was pretty much clean so we could pass cleaning checks and all sorts of things like that. We emailed, shopped, and did all of that fun stuff, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
Tuesday ~ We had service at the mentally handicapped hospital which is always fun. We played lots of games with them and the workers are always so nice. After that we went home and changed and then went to visit an investigator. He was kind of down on himself because he has lots of problems keeping him from being baptized, i.e. word of wisdom and law of chastity issues. He is pretty much in the final stretch of overcoming them, but he was feeling kind of discouraged. So we helped him shift his views to the celestial kingdom, but he thought that was still way impossible, but he accepted the fact that God can help him overcome. After that we went to an appointment at a restaurant, but the guy was a no show, so we just ate curry and went home.
Wednesday ~ We did our studies and then ran to a member appointment that was about an hour bike ride away. Then we started to rush home because the 痲(f迂fu) [means couple missionaries] were coming to check our apartment. While rushing home they drive past us and told us to hurry up, jokingly. So while they inspected the apartment which was spotless, I made everyone a big dinner and it was great. We got high marks and positive remarks, and the Sister missionary was especially happy and pleased with our bathroom; shout out to my mom for grilling me on how to clean a bathroom for 12 or so years. It was all good and we then cleaned up dinner and all went to Eikaiwa to finish the night.
Thursday ~ So we had two baptism scheduled for the coming Saturday, so this day was set apart specifically for the district leader to come and interview the candidates. So the first one happened at 3 o'clock-ish and she, Sister Hayashi, passed with flying colors. Then our next person, Brother Higashimoto, went in and also passed with flying colors. They were both cleared for baptism for Saturday. We were all way excited, so we went out to celebrate the occasion with food. All in all, it was a really good day.
Friday ~ First off we had DTM (district training meeting) in our district leaders area of Tsu. Then we made our way home and while we were eating some leftovers our ward mission leader called us and wanted to take us out to deliver all of the baptismal invitations. It was way nice so we jumped on that offer and he came and picked us up 15 minutes later. After delivering the invitations, we also visited 2 investigators and 1 less active family. It was way nice, and it was definitely only possible with his car. Bikes would have taken too much time because when he dropped us off it was already time for us to call it a day. But later that night we got a call from a member. So the man who was supposed to be baptized, Brother Higashimoto, visited a member who proceeded to call us and explain that Higashimoto’s boss, like the big boss the #1 boss man, told him that he needed to go to a project out towards Tokyo and that it would start Saturday morning, and so he had to leave immediately. He couldn't say no or else he would lose his job, but he was way sorry and said that once he's finished he will come back and be baptized as soon as possible. We were kind of flustered, but it was all good. And that was pretty much our night.
Saturday ~ So this is the morning of transfer calls and as I made brownies for the upcoming baptismal program we received a call from the Mission office. And when I answered the phone, it was my old companion/trainer Elder Coleman calling me one to tell me all of our transfer information and then to also let me know that he is now stuck in the office as the new Assistant to the President of our mission. He hates it, but loves it all at the same time. So Elder Coleman let us know that I would be staying in Ise and be getting a new companion by the name of Elder Pope, and Elder Adams would be transferred out to a place called Seto. After we received the call and the brownies finished cooking, we had to run to the baptismal service. From there the service started and after the talks we all loaded up into cars and drove out to a river that the church owns, and preformed the baptism in the river. It was way awesome. Hayashi Shimai (Sister) was so awesome and it was a beautiful day, see the picture below. After that we returned to the church to give her the gift of the Holy Ghost and then we had a luncheon with everyone there. It was definitely a great day. After that we went home and Elder Adams packed and I figured out all the trains he would need to take to get places. After most everything was packed we went to visit some investigators to let them know he was leaving. After all of that we began the journey home just to find a random festival going on with a fireworks show, so we stayed for the show and then we finished our journey home.
Sunday ~ So we didn't have regular church. Instead we had the temple dedication for the Japan Sapporo Temple, up in Hokkaido. We didn't go all the way to Hokkaido, but we got a ride to the nearest broadcasting location, which was a church building about 2 hours away by car. It was definitely a long ride, but worth it in the end. We then made the return trip home and then had a lesson with an investigator. She fed us dinner, but when it came down to it she is not willing to accept the fact that the Book of Mormon is scripture because she loves the Bible so much. Anyways, it's always nice to talk to her, but she is pretty set. All we can do is keep trying though. If anyone has any ideas to help crack a tough cookie like this don't hesitate, I'm open to ideas. And that was our night.
Well that's the week. The thought of the week is sometimes we might not understand why something is happening or why God would let something like that happen, but we just need to trust Him and keep pushing. Always trying to be better because that's all we can do sometimes. Anyways keep going. Keep trying. And never give up.
Who knows what happened I wasn't even there.
That's kind of the feeling for this week, as I was barely in my own area all week. I spent most of my time on Kokan, or as the English missionaries call it a companion exchange. We will get to all of it eventually but I feel like most of my time was spent away from Ise. Anyways, let's begin the week.
Monday ~ As for us missionaries this is the true day of rest, but we still got a lot done. That's the life of a missionary. Then at night as we were getting ready to go out, our ward mission leader called and said lets go visit a less active, so we went and had a nice little visit with them. From there we met with the mission leader and discussed the upcoming baptism and stuff like that. From there we made our way home, because it was late at night.
Tuesday ~ So we had studies and then we went to meet the Zone Leaders, to begin our Kokan, in which I would be going to Yokkaichi and my companion staying in Ise. From there we went less active hunting and talking to people. Then we had to go to the church so Elder Hansen, the zone leader I was with, could give an interview to someone who was to be baptized soon. The interview went smoothly and she was baptized this past Sunday. It was way cool. After that it was more hunting for less actives and people to talk to, with not much success. A few people were pretty close to meeting again, but they all kind of just stopped part way and said nope. But it was all good. Then we went home and ate water melon that a member had given us.
Wednesday ~ All the missionaries in our zone went to a big youth activity, FSY, or EFY for those of you in America. So it was way cool, because I got to see people I haven't seen in a long time like; Suzuki Maito, who was my first ward mission leader back in Fukuroi; Roberto, who was a less active youth that is now active in Takabata; and some other friends from other youth activities I've gone to. The activity was way fun. Then once that was done the Kokan ended and I went home. Back in Ise we did planning for the next week and taught Eikaiwa, so not much else got done.
Thursday ~ We finished up planning and then the investigator we planned on teaching canceled because of a sudden problem in her home. Understandable, so we told the member that was coming with us, and he was like, well can you just teach me English instead. So we agreed and taught him an hour English lesson and then he said he wants to do it every week and to thank us he took us out to dinner. It was way nice but that was our day.
Friday ~ Was DTM (District Training Meeting) and it was nice to get together with the other missionaries. After that I went to the City of Tsu to be on another Kokan with the District Leader and we had a nice time. We visited less active members and then went finding, and even found two way cool people that said they would go to their Eikaiwa class. From there we went home and made homemade mabudofu ( a spicy tofu and ground beef dish over rice) and it was way delicious. Later that night, we had a long phone call with the Zone Leaders, and after we hung up we realized we had like no time to get ready for bed so we made a mad dash for the futons (beds) and had a good night’s rest.
Saturday ~ So it took our companions a while to get to Tsu, to end the Kokan (exchange). Once they got there, we had a quick hello-goodbye and ran so we didn't miss our train that was coming. After that we went home and did a bit of prep for the baptism and stuff and then we went finding. I had a few people that I wanted to try and contact, but none of them were home. So we went housing. Interesting story from that is so I was housing and this guy had his gate closed so I opened it, because it wasn't locked, and went in to knock on the door. From there the man who we clearly saw in the house would not come to the door. Now in Japanese culture you technically haven't entered their house until you've stepped out of the genkan (front entry area) and up into the house, so knowing that I took the liberty of opening again the unlocked door and saying, "Gomen kudasai" or pretty much “Excuse me, is anybody home?” From there a man came to the door and we talked, but once he learned that I was a missionary he got all flustered and angry and practically threw me off the property. The whole time yelling and cussing pretty much. He pretty much called me an idiot who was doing no good for anyone in society and some other random stuff, but it was all good, just another day in the service of the Lord.
Sunday ~ So I had to give a talk that I really didn't prepare for so I spent the morning studying and coming up with a game plan. I ended up taking 7 Books of Mormon to church and then spent my time testifying of its power. then in the middle of my talk I pulled all 7 books out and set them on the podium and told them that I was going to give each family a book and have them to write their testimony in it, and then they can hand it out to someone. They all took the challenge and I gave each family a Book of Mormon at the end of sacrament meeting. Church was way good and then we had a small luncheon and it was good. From there we ran out to meet with a member and their grandkid. It was way fun and we had a great time with them. Then we had dinner with an investigator who refuses to progress, but keeps wanting us to come back. She won't trust the Book of Mormon and has a super hard time believing that God could call a prophet. It’s hard and she almost always counters anything and everything we say, but we are getting there, because she finally said a prayer correctly. And that was how we ended our night.
Well that's all from here. This week is transfer calls and I have a feeling even though I have only been here a short time I will probably be leaving, but who knows. Only time will tell.
I'm tired and sore, but would you like to listen to a message of happiness?
That's what I feel like my life is like sometimes. With this whole push-up competition and then proselytizing, man it's enough to make you sleep all day. But hey, there is no rest for the wicked and the righteous don't need any. Right?! Anyways, lots of fun things coming your way from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Monday ~ So we had a lesson in the morning and it went really well. It was a way fun hangout time with our investigator. From there we did all of the necessary things like cleaning groceries and such. But then towards the end of the day Elder Adams didn't feel so good, so we ended up staying home and I did more cleaning.
Tuesday ~ We did the normal morning routine and all was good and then we headed out to an appointment and she happened to not be home, so we rushed over to our service appointment. We were a bit late, but it was all good. From there we went to the church to be picked up by a member for a youth BBQ. So I had made my good old chicken marinade and everyone loved it. I brought a kilo (2.2 pounds) and it all got eaten. But the BBQ pretty much took all of our day, as it was quite a ways away. Still during the activity I almost found a new investigator. I talked to him and he eventually came over and ate with us, it was way good. But it turned out to be just a fun time and he said he would call us if he would like to meet, so maybe in the future.
Wednesday ~ So we had a mougi, role play, with a member and when we showed up they had their granddaughter over and she is not a member. The grandma invited us in and we started doing the lesson with the granddaughter. Thankfully we had planned doing the first lesson, even though we had done part of it before. So we just jumped right into the lesson and the kid seemed to like it and said that the next time we come over she would be there. So it was pretty cool. Since they lived pretty far away and a member had requested we open the church for them that evening we hurried our way back to the church. Where we prepped Eikaiwa (English Class) and this member practiced piano. Eikaiwa was fun and we all played a fun game at the end, and it got pretty competitive, which is really funny to watch.
Thursday ~ We had an exchange and I went with Elder Takara a brand new Japanese missionary, who does not speak much English, but he's working on it. It was way fun to be with him. So with Elder Takara we had a lesson with one of our investigators that is prepping for baptism and then after that we went out in search of less actives and past investigators. It eventually just turned into housing and we found two really solid potential investigators. It should be interesting to see what happens. From there we went to a Japanese learning center, where I still haven't really learned anything useful or helpful. But hey it's a good place to go meet people. But that was it for the day.
Friday ~ Well, after the end of the exchange we headed home and did planning for the week, so nothing interesting really coming out of that. Then we had game night at the church. It was a fun time and I finally beat someone in ping pong, but it was short lived, as I got destroyed in the next round.
Saturday ~ So we had all day training in Yokkaichi. It was a long day, but it was followed up by a performance of the missions musical group. So it was pretty good. But we ended up getting home with just enough time to get to our dinner appointment with a recent convert. After dinner and talking with him we went home and called it a day.
Sunday ~ Like always is crazy. We had church and then talked with people at church. After all of that we returned home where I contacted pretty much everyone we haven't seen in a while and set up appointments with them. From there we had leftovers for dinner and then headed out to meet an investigator.
So here is where I'm going to give my spiritual thought for the week. It's about the power of prayer. So when we went to meet this investigator we knocked really hard on his door and called his name but nothing. We proceeded to leave, but I didn't feel settled as we haven't seen him in a while. So I convince Elder Adams to turn around and go back up the four flights of stairs. Once there I knocked again and nothing. Finally I got the impression to pray. And it was more like a "Hey you realize that you haven't asked for help” feeling, so I asked Elder Adams to pray and he was really reluctant and even refused because he didn't see the point. I insisted and even said the prayer myself. After I closed the prayer I knocked normally, not pounding or anything but just a nice set of raps on the door and called his name nicely once, and all of the sudden I hear movement in the house, and then the door OPENS. He happened to be a bit sick at the time and told us to come back on Tuesday. But after he closed the door there stood Elder Adams in awe, kind of dumb struck at what had just happened. First, we had practically beat down his door with nothing, and then after a prayer and a few quick knocks he opens. Elder Adams just wanted to head out and come back later, but I knew that we needed to see this man that day. God does answer prayers and does open doors. It specifically says "Ask and ye shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened unto you." So that's the message on the power of prayer. From there we visited some other investigators and got them to setup a family home evening night. It is going to be a fun night. But that was it for us.
So that was the week. The moral of the story for the week is prayer is powerful. Sometimes the answers come quickly and others come slowly, but the answers always, without fail, come.
So I'll explain the subject line later, but just to say I am really freaking sore right now. No pain no gain, as with all things in life I guess. Enough complaining, and let’s get on to the weekly report.
Monday ~ Pretty peaceful P-day. Cleaned and bought groceries. Taught a lesson to an investigator prepping for baptism and then proceeded to play ping pong with him. I am still terrible at it, but they say I'm improving. I think if I'm going to play a sport with a net in it I'm going to stick to volleyball, but the churches here don't have volleyball courts so しょうがない, (Shoganai!), it can't be helped. Anyways, after ping pong we made some unsuccessful less active visits. Then I called a "less active" and she agreed to have us over the next day. As I did some research on her to see what her problems were I found out she had pulled her records and therefore she is quote unquote less active. That was our night.
Tuesday ~ So we headed out in the morning to teach our "less active". Anyways, she is now a Jehovah’s Witness and she is going to be very fun to teach as I know that this church has all the right answers and she seems to have lots of questions. After her lesson, which went pretty well, we went to service at the hospital for the mentally handicapped and had an awesome time there. From there it was visiting LA’s (less actives) and FI’s (former investigators) but nobody was too interested in meeting, kind of a bummer. And that was another day.
Wednesday ~ We did all of our studies and then headed out the door, to bike for an hour to the members house, where we had a practice lesson. The lesson was good and they are way awesome. From there we went to get some food, and then proceeded to continue the trek back into town. From there we had to setup Eikaiwa and prepare the lesson, so that was pretty much our night.
Thursday ~ We had a lesson with an investigator who was preparing for baptism and the member that came to the lesson was awesome. After the lesson we got her to start filling out the paper work for baptism, and she decided to take it home and bring it to us later. Then the member that came with us was like, “hey you guys got any more scheduled lessons today?” I told him we were planning on visiting some people, but nothing set in stone. So he decided to take us out to Yakiniku (grilled meat), or in other words all you can eat meat. Once there I asked about our time limit and was told that there was none. The member then looked at me and pretty much said, "I just spent $20 for your dinner. Eat everything they have." I was happy to oblige. But I felt very fat afterwards. So that was our night.
Friday ~ We had DTM (District training meeting), which was interesting because there are only four of us in the district. This is where the push-ups come into play. So the district decided to start a push-up contest to encourage us to get out of bed, and the losers will have to buy the winners ice cream. I'm competitive so I plan on winning but the competition starts on Saturday. So that was fun. After that we all grabbed some ramen for lunch. Then we had weekly planning and stuff like that. Then we had game night where I got destroyed in ping pong, and that was the night.
Saturday ~ I woke up and began the push-up competition. The rules are they have to be done before 8 AM and push-ups are 1 point and sit-ups are a half point. So I began and by 8:00 AM I had done 200 push-ups and 40 sit-ups. Needless to say I was tired. The actual day was full of visiting people and rejection on the streets, but all was good..
Sunday ~ We had church and it was, as always, a good experience. Also I had decided to fast because I wanted to better the area and was kind of stuck on what to do. So after church we went home so Elder Adams could eat lunch, but I was still fasting. So we hit the streets and we actually found a new investigator. But after that all of our appointments randomly canceled and I had the night solidly booked. So I was like woe is me and all down but then I remembered something my trainer said, "If God cancels all of your appointments it's usually for a reason." So I decided to flip through the phone and see who I should visit and ended up coming across the name of a recent convert who I've met, but not had a lesson with yet. Previously, he had told us that he would be traveling this weekend and wasn’t sure when he would be back. But I called him and it turns out he was home and we had a good meeting with him. There I finally broke my fast, from water at least. It was 7 PM’ish. Yeah, I was kind of tired, but it was all good. So that was my week.
Also this morning to continue the push-up contest I did 240 push-ups and 120 sit-ups. So I'm way tired. But I'm winning by a lot.
Called to Serve in the Japan Nagoya Mission..