Sunday, December 25, 2016

Week #24: Christmas!

We didn't really receive a letter from Elder Wilcox today because we got to do one better which was to talk with him through Google Chat on Christmas and wish him a Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas.  

We just had to try it out ..."Hot Menu" 24 hours a day...

This hamburger came from that vending machine?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week #20: Cold, Snow, Gifts, Baptism, Warming Spirit

Sometimes it is really cold here!
(Monday) Today was a normal old p-day but we had some fun, but was the normal; study, groceries, and then cleaning.   We tried to go to a gym to play tennis but its started to rain a little so instead we went to the church and our investigator came - we played ping pong, ate pizza and KFC and taught him about how the baptism works and what will happen. The Chiba Elders came here today and tomorrow we are going on splits with kashiwa churro he is an awesome nihonjin we are going to go to tateyama on train tomorrow and we are going to do awesome.

(Tuesday) Yesterday was splits, so I spent the day with Kashiwa Choro we had an awesome day we spent a majority of it going to visit, our good old friend mizuno shimai she is a strong member that lives far and makes it to church every once and a while. She is so sweet, and always makes us food, kashiwa chorro is nihonjin so he is like super nice and fun and always genki and teaching me more nihongo. The day started with, an earthquake that we felt at 3 in the morning about I think someone said was 7.4 but to us was just a little bit here, just big enough to wake you up a little. Funny enough some members called us, to see if we were okay, we didn't think much of it. Initially, some members told us to not go outside because a tsunami was possible, but turned out it was small and would only cause wave of about 3 meters high, in our mission area.  So all was good, but me and kashiwa choro were going to tateyama on a train and weird enough the train was late, me and kashiwa choro were really confused as I have never seen a train late even a minute, but this train was late by like 40 minutes. Someone said maybe it was late due to the earthquake.   Though all was good and we studied together then headed off, venturing up the mountain, it was funny because kashiwa choro was like do you know how to get to mizuno shimai's,  and I was like ya but I don't know how to explain it, pretty much is you go to the bamboo forest, then right after the scary tunnel, take a left then up the mountainous mountain and bam - we are there!   He said at the end I was definitely an omoshoroi senkyoshi (meaning either interesting or funny missionary) one or the other, it has two translations so the world may never know. Though we talked to mizuno shimai and she was super nice, we shared a spiritual thought on prayer. She was so kind and such a precious soul, we left happier having visited her.  As she is all alone in a mountain, though such a tenshi. Then we traveled back and one of our youth is applying to byu hawaii so we helped him with his application, he is super smart. Kashiwa choro asked how he learned English so well, and he was like television. I was like with subtitles? He said no just television, like how I don't understand but apparently that is how.   He is amazing. We ended the day with teaching eikaiwa (English class). Then on the train ride (training) home one of our investigators called us told us to meet him at moss burger where he bought us a ton of food so nice and an awesome day of splits.

(Wednesday) Today I noticed I had lost my white tie so went to daiso, to buy some nice yasui 1 dollar ties, to get ready for baptism.   We surprised our friend and made food at his house; some egg and bacon sandwiches, and just talked to him talking about the baptism coming up.

(Thursday) Today was a good day, a very cold day.  One of our friends told us today was the first time in 56 years it snowed in November.  It was a very chilly day, we woke up with some study. Then we had our district meeting, it was a good meeting we learned about love and working with members, two of the missionaries came from Tokyo came and had snow on them where it was snowing hard.  Here it was mostly raining hard,  it was definiately the coldest day yet, we could see our breath in our apartment as we sat and planned for the week. We huddled together in a room trying to stay warm, I put my feet in the futon dryer as they were cold.  After district meeting we went to a small restaurant as we entered we were drenched and rain and freezing they gave us some ocha (tea) immediately as we arrived, which we just used the warm cup to warm our hands.   As the day was cold and rainy so we spent most of the rest of the day inside, called people and invited various people to the baptism and eikaiwa class.  Also we got our package today!  I opened it a little and it says Happy Birthday. So I don't know if I'm supposed to open it, but I might have to open it because soon I have a chance of transferring and have to get it sometime. Anyways we put it under our Christmas tree and are enjoying our time, things are going well.

(Friday) So today was an awesome day.  It began with some study as always, always trying to improve. Then we had a knock at the door, it was a package, tons of awesome amazing stuff from the Ward, thank you so much Menifee Lakes Ward for everything.  Many things in the package is impossible to find here, and honestly so awesome so thank you a ton!  Opened it like an early Christmas present and love it, there is a tons of the best foods ever, and tons of socks and ties which I legit need. I'm so very thankful for the kindness and warmness from home. I made a video and took pictures hope they are ok.  After that fun surprise, we headed over to the sister's old apartment, the sisters were moved to another area so that means we have to move everything in the whole house into a moving van, so that the new sisters in the new area wherever they are can have an apartment full of stuff.  The house was very full and the doorways and halls were small, like I have the habit of ducking out of every door I go through and now do it even when I clearly don't need to. Anyways we got it all done and shoved everything into the van and nothing broke too bad.

Then we had a lessons and  eikaiwa class always a bunch of fun.  We just talk about whatever, we taught, about prefixes and suffixes and homophones, and various other things like tenses and prepositions. Really enjoyed the class and they seemed to learn a lot.  After class we visited a friend who made us this crazy awesome sandwich, and this other meat rapped, bacon rapped, cheese and tomato and lettuce filled meatloaf thing. And well anyways it was an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, he is so nice and dang were we full afterwards.   We shared some videos, Mormon messages with him, he said he will do his best to make it Sunday for his baptism, though he doesn't know about his work schedule but we will have to see.  We are always praying for him.  It's still very cold, we are very creative when it comes to staying warm.

(Saturday) Today we started with study then continued into kodomo eikaiwa class.  The kids are cute, and they are fun. Always enjoy Saturday's ton of fun.    We always conclude with kakurenbou a few times, and sing some hello song, and once there was a snowman and various other things the class is fun. Then we set up the font for the baptism tomorrow and we partly blew it up with a foot pump and then stuck it in this wooden box.  It was not something one normally has to do back home in preparing for a baptism.  While there you set up some chairs and fill the font, here we build the font!  We  finished the day talking to our two friends that have baptisms tomorrow.  They are doing great, hope everything is cool and both can make it.

Also i learned i should get rain pants.  I realized this week for when I am riding my bike in the rain and don't want to get them soaked.  Yeah that is something I should get soon.  Will have to have my companion show me where to get them.

(Sunday) Today we saw our friends Yi and Jonivar makes strides towards their Heavenly Father by entering into the waters of baptism.   We were lucky enough to see their growth and had the opportunity to teach them, and they are strong.  I know I will be able to see them again in our heavenly father's presence one day. They have amazing faith and have come unto Christ. They have the kindest hearts of anyone I have ever met, and they show everyday to me that Heavenly father truly does love his children. I'm excited for what they have next in their journey.  Their baptism was a very spiritual experience that I know led them closer to their Savior and God's love. We had an amazing day together, it was a good day full of very memorable experiences. It was a great to be part of their lives and I hope they always keep their Savior strong in their hearts and continue in their path of discipleship.  Jonivar and Yi were amazing and hearing their hearts as they bore their testimony, strengthens me, and helped me know why we do what we do, in following Christ, and serving others.

I love this gospel and know it is true and I am so thankful for it.

God knows us. He loves us. He wants us to follow him, the thing he asks us to do in this life is change our heart. People in this world look at each other and they hear our voice they judge us by our clothes by our car, by our intelligence or intellect.  They judge us by our race, our language how we talk, our appearance. But God he looks somewhere different, he looks at our hearts when he judges us,  he looks at how pure our love is for others, how we think about others and how hard are we striving to change, how sincerely we want to make someone's day a little more beautiful, he looks upon our hearts. He doesn't care about any of that other stuff, yes he has given that to us and they are great gifts. But most precious of all is our soul, our heart, and our love. The love he has given us because he first loved us. I am so thankful for a Father in heaven that I know loves me. He is precious to me and I know he is there not because I have seen him, but because I have felt his love. I have seen his love change those who receive it and allow it to change them. And because of that I will always trust in his love, and always trust in his spirit that leads me to do go. I know he does all things through love he gives us our challenges in love he gives us families in love, and in love he reaches out to us beckoning for us to come to him and follow him and his teachings. I feel this love so strongly this day. And I never want to forget it this day, as at times its easy to doubt. But the love I felt this day as I watched my friends Jonivar and Yi follow their Heavenly Father and bear sincere testimony of him, it makes you feel immovable, it gives you hope, through it I could see his love as if we are as a little child and he is holding our hand to guide us back home. I know he loves us and does not leave us comfortless, but comes to us. These things I know to be true In our loving savior's name Jesus Christ, even the son of the living god. Amen.
Baptism of Joniver and Yi
You don't just fill the build the font.

font built

Kashiwa Choro Splits

Cheesy selfie with Elder Rogers and Jonivar

Christmas gifts from Menifee Lakes Ward!! Thank you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week #18: English Muffins, Natto and Christmas carols

Splits and making food with Elder Hirao  and Otani

Lot's has gone on this past week, it's even an extra day since I didn't get to write on normal Pday because we went to the Temple today (Tuesday) so skipped Pday yesterday.  We get to do this every so often.

Here are some highlights:

Last Pday -

  • Clean buy groceries, got english muffins, first time I had seen english muffins so buying those from now on.
  • Karate didn't have...didn't work out.  Maybe next week.
  • As it was fast Sunday last week, members fill a basket full of food for us -  they are so nice to us, so awesome!
  • Went with investigator to moss burger...which is a pretty decent place -normal cheeseburgers and chicken burgers.

During the week we...

  • Had a mother and some from Australia come to our ekiaiwa class...
  • Talked with various friends/investigators, some via video chat lessons (awe the wonders of technology)
  • Flu shots - every missionary must get them, I already had mine back home so I am good this year, that is good to because they are expensive $40 ... I just watched Elder Rogers get his with a smirk and smile.  He was a big boy and didn't cry.
  • Taught more lessons.
  • Went on splits to Inage for Zone leader splits.  I went with Elder Hirao who is an awesome nihonjin.   Super funny and awesome. 
  • Taught a member about the power of reading scriptures and made a ton of food with him, I believe it's called zabe or something like that ... carrots, meat, lettuce, mushrooms, beef, broth biled in a huge bowl.
  • Lots of walking, lots of streeting
  • Finally found some mellon pan . . . as we walked past a bakery couldn't resist the smell, it's a sweet tasty bread and on a cold rainy day it was nice and warm and hit the spot.
  • More walking
  • More teaching
  • Saw an incident/accident at the train station - couldn't see much, just train conductors doing CPR on a man, our train left, I still wonder what happened.  Hope all was okay.
  • Kodomoo eikaiwa - and visited a bunch of schools seeing if we could volunteer at club activities.
  • More streeting
  • More phone lessons
  • Practicing Christmas carols at church as missionaries and members are going to do caroling at the Kisarazu train station in the future to spread teh Christmas spirit.  I think we need a lot of practice.  All but 2 of the songs in nihongo of course.

Side note:I tried Nato for the first time.  Apparently known for not being liked by Americans and makes some people puke.  It is I believe fermented soybeans, some people say it smells bad, but to me, no joke smells like caramel and has this long stringy goo things that hold it together.  Personally I thought it was like just weird tasting beans like a small taste, really nothing special.

Spiritual thought:

1 Samuel 16:7
    But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Most simply, in applying to us, when it comes to us and keeping the commandments of god for example keeping the sabbath day holy, because one investigator had the problem of having work its said its hard to always make it to church, when you read this scripture you know, the lord can see where your heart lies, and he asks that we remember the sabbath and keep it holy, and as long as we are doing our best to remember him and follow him he understands us, our circumstances and our hearts and for that, he knows even if we are not there at church if that is the desire in our hearts, he will know, and he will bless us. I know he loves us his children and as long as we always remember his day and strive to come every chance you can, he will bless us all, he loves us. And looks upon our hearts as we strive to our best to do what he has asked of us.

Love you all - sending a few pictures your way!

Eikiaiwa Class

My MTC Bud - MTC reunions are the best!
(Tokyo tower in the background so you know I am really here!)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week #16: Halloween

So today was a good old pday, ya know they aint nothing like the MTC.  In the MTC pday's are just like chill out and sleep and work out and and go to the Temple every week.  Pday's here are just another day of dendo (missionary work) with buying groceries added in.  Each day, every day, always been busy, pretty tired.

Oh another surprising thing I forget to tell ya, they always play american music anywhere we go it seems like.  We were just listening to the Dancing queen, Mama Mia song.   We went to mizuno shimai's house again, she is this super awesome, a super nice lady just to have some nice conversation with her because she is lonely. We do service for her, she gives us ice cream because well she is awesome, its so nice as she is always so happy to see us, just so we can talk, and always makes food for us, it is a wonderful relationship.  She loves on top of this mountain, it is a tough bike ride. Ali would hate it because there are spiders everywhere, like nice big spiders!  You look up at a telephone line and its just webs everywhere spiders every inch. Sometimes for fun we just get a scythe and smack um to death.  They are everywhere in rural areas and a few in urban areas.

We talked to one our youth takashi who is planning on writing essays for BYU and wants us to help him.  He is very good at English but still here and there not learning. And its crazy, he is planning the branch Halloween party all by himself. Its like wow, ok just throw it on him, but I guess hes okay with it and seems to be doing good with planning.

We are always studying a ton, followed by kubari kai (speaking to people/handing out English flyers) and one day this week we ran into a couple Jehovah Witnesses who were cool.  We were just there and they came by and talked to us. They were nice and just explaining how they have been on a mission for eleven years and been to all kinds of countries. Which is cool, we just talked a little and then my companion invited them to our Halloween party which was interesting because, well they don't celebrate any pagan holidays and I corrected him mid-sentence. Which was kinda funny, anyways they are interesting because they just sit there on the side of a train station seeing if anyone if paying attention.

So this week we had an eikiawa class or English class for kids which is always fun, and this time we gave them some candy because it's Halloween, then played some kakurenbou (kanji- means hide boy)  which is hide and seek,  then we played some takkyuu (ping-pong) because one of the kids wanted to play it. So we had a little fun, then went to this school having a matsuri (festival) which was kinda crazy like every classroom decorated itself and then you could go to each one and it could be anything from a little show, a safari tour, a room full of balloons...tons of kids recognized us because we are always walking the street. We saw this hip hop dancing and cheer leading performance, it was great, and we talked to a bunch of the youth.  Then finally had a Halloween party at the end of the day where we played musical chairs, bases, rapid fire charades, had some awesome food. It was pretty fun, the best part was all of our friends came that we invited except for one, but was awesome to see them there, we got to enjoy some time together and they even stayed after to help clean up they are practically members already.

Things are going great today was definitely a fun day.  Love you all!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week #15: Tako Yaki and Haircuts

Today we went out with an investigator, and a member to lunch at an awesome barbecue place, it was awesome. It was tabei hodai, meaning all you can eat, but in 90 minutes, the Japanese places all have time limits, but normally we are done by then, an hour cuts is close sometimes but, it was awesome tons of meat to grill.  They had some more tako yaki, i got a plate of that because, because of course I love it. Then one of our investigators fought with us and took the bill is was suppose to be bestu bestu (separately) but he payed for us all, we kept trying to stick money in his pocket secretly but all in vain. We followed to teach a lesson to him and another investigator,  played the Joseph smith game with him, got haircuts at his house because, well first companions hair cutter broke, then as we got to a haircut place people said we are closing he said you can do it at my place and well we did. With trash bags and anyways, we taught him, simply about after baptism how we can go to the temple and receive more blessings showed him the Tokkyo Temple and how one day we would like to go through the temple with him. It was great to see him, and was sad because he has to go far back to work, but we keep in touch by calling.

On Friday,  we woke up 15 mins early 6:15 to make it to the conference with Elder Bednar at the honbu (mission home? I think).  Elder Bednar asked us questions for the first hour and a half then we ask him questions for the second hour and a half.  It was amazing!  He taught us how to listen, ask questions and find answers and showed by example, a loving nature of helping us learn and improve, and what we are to do after we ask these questions.  We are not just to ask the question and throw it away, but seek the answer.  He might say get a copy of the Book of Mormon, a paperback copy, read it and pay close attention to that question, highlight it and take notes and when you are done, write down a summary of what you learn.  Get another, and do it again compare what you learned till you have a set of Book of Mormon's on a bookcase full of answers, with varying perspectives. Now when you hear this you think that would be a lot of work, that there is no way I'm going to be able to do that. And if you say that then maybe you didn't ask with enough faith that question, because one wasn't willing to act, or maybe go and do, and the lord with strengthen you. I learned a lot this day and was awesome to hear him and see him listen. I say that because I think he listened better then most ever do.

Follow up training, eikaiwa (English class), another flat tire, this seems to happen quite often, not sure what I am doing wrong.

This week all the missionaries who arrived 6 week ago, came together for a follow up training to review what we learned and be retrained, along with trainers.  We all traveled to the mission home and was great to see good friends from the MTC.   As we were there we talked about obedience and they really drilled that, then gave us some awesome lasagna.  I think I will always relate obedience with lasagne now for the rest of my life.

At eikaiwa (english class) which is always amazing because we get to have some nice English conversation with friends, which is kinda awesome when everything is in Japanese all the time, and sometimes my head wants to explode.   But one of the students there came up to me and said my face had changed since I got here, I wasn't sure what he meant and if that was good or bad. I didn't understand what he meant, but he said something about how I seem more happy and relaxed, not as serious as when I had arrived in the area.  I never thought I was too serious, who knows. Maybe that is a sign of progress I am making or finally getting a little more comfortable.

I am loving our investigators and excited for whenever we get to teach.  Things are looking great and hope they continue. It feels really awesome as you see the joy that comes from someone learning of the gospel and how close friends we become, and how awesome it is one can learn about this truth more and more together.  I see how it changes us. One of our investigators said her friend asked why is she so happy and she told her its because I've been learning from the missionaries. Now her friend said she wants to hear too!

Japanese BBQ

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week #13: Tako Pancake Obsession

[Parental observation: Elder Wilcox started to share a few highlights of each appears he must be fitting in and has an obsession with Japanese food or just food in general.  Maybe those bike rides are giving him a healthy appetite.]

Zone bowling

 So today was zone pday, we got on some crowded trains and went to Chiba to bow.  We played two games was a blast uploaded pictures from last week of what i had. It was a blast and afterwards we went to an all you can eat place, where we ordered tako (octopus) pancakes that were really good and some noodles and stuff and grilled it up. Octopus pancakes don't sound good but trust me they are, then we Skyped with some investigators, and talked and taught lessons via video which is cool.  Then we met one at KFC who bought a ton of food for us, like he is too crazy nice, and awesome.  We then raced home in the rain before curfew. One person we set a goal for a baptismal date which is awesome and we will see where she goes. Excited and having fun time for bed, excited to see what miracles tomorrow brings .

Today was pretty cool we took a train for about an hour to Tateyama, then did comp study on the beach. After that some more study at the mall, then biked up some insanely steep hills to get to a Sisters house, who fed us so that's always nice.  We talked to some friends on the way, and enjoyed running around all day. Tomorrow we are going to zone splits. So sleeping over at their apartment tonight.

So we slept at their house, its a little more in the city so its nicer, but I still like our house better, we have better beds, but it was awesome to teach with someone else just to get a fresh perspective.  It was definitely awesome, just dendoing ( doing missionary work).  We talked to some awesome people, then we went to a school, and in the middle of their school there was a fountain, with a bunch of huge Koi fish like literally the size of my leg, and they even had mustaches. Anyways at the school we volunteer and teach English for a class for students that want to attend.   It was fun,  we played "Do you Love your Neighbor".   After we taught a recent convert and went to dinner with him. I had some spicy ramen stuff with egg, it was pretty good. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he shared a scripture he liked that he said was really powerful to him.

2 Nephi 25: 29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

It was so cool as we read it together and he told us of how to him it was so powerfully written that he felt like he could not deny it. He was awesome definitely a little shy but I loved him.

Then we got to teach an Eikaiwa class, by the way splits is all going on in Chiba where they have a big ward of a hundred or 200 people, and at Eikaiwa there was like 30 people compared to ours that has like 6, we did some pronunciation practice, its hard for nihonjin to pronounce the English sounds they have never had to use before, so their mouths don't understand and its so much fun to hear them and their ideas. I imagine it is just as fun for them to hear me try and pronounce Japanese.  

The zone leader I went on splits with was really nice and awesome, he has been out 18 months and has a nihonjin companion that looks like buddha (they have youtube/facebook videos) (find able) but anyways super cool experience loved the experience, but lots of traveling, we have like hardly any money because we had to spend it on trains for travel but we will get reimbursements, and I'm sure we will survive. At the end of the day, bought some Oreo mouchi ice cream and some yogurt.  It was da bomb.  I slept next to buddha he's very gassy and snores loudly.

Today was pretty sick, pretty fly, we headed back to Kisarazu, got aboard a train, I would have to say one thing that is not cool about traveling is bikes.  If we want to transport bikes in Japan we have to take them apart and put them in a bike bag for the trip, then put them back together, not too bad, but still don't understand why we cant just take them on the train just how they are.  But anyways-  missionary problems -  am I right?

Today was Zone conference, which means more travel, we have literally been traveling everyday and wow its expensive, but all good. We we to some restaurant where we got some really good chicken curry, I loved it absolutely awesome, then we got back had Eikaiwa class, talked with our artist friend, then a super old lady came and she is funny she just wanders around and she is impossible to understand. Then we visited our Member friend he is so funny like he is the biggest jokester ever.  He and his wife came and saw us, they said hello, we talked for a little they gave us some food, because they are so nice, and just visited so nice to spend time with them. Things are going great cant wait for general conference tomorrow (we watch it a week after) we invited all our friends and investigators and they said they plan on coming so should be cool.

Today was was cool we had kodomo eikaiwa, taught some manners, please and thank you, played some hide and go seek, then right after we had general conference, we bought a bunch of food to watch it, it was really good, have it again tomorrow - excited for more, after general conference we went finding for a few hours, tons of biking, after it was over the bed never felt so good...😄

So today was Sunday the day of conference part 2.  It was awesome to be able to relax and hear talks and during break the branch president's wife gave us food, this huge taco salad with rice of course and it was good and a ton of food, we finished the day by visiting some school to see if we could volunteer and then skyped with an investigator for a lesson who may be baptized soon, hope and pray he continues to feel the truth of this gospel.

Tako Pancakes

Many Tako Pancakes on the grill

If you look closely Mt. Fuji on the horizon

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week #12: Temple Trip and grass in my tire

This week we got to go to the temple.  We will do this almost every month, and it is something to look forward to.  I  loved the temple it was amazing. Such a beautiful place from building to grounds.

Afterwards we went to a place to get some all you can eat pizza 930 yen for it.  The most expensive meal maybe I have had so far but was good I liked it. Then we traveled back home, by this time it was 6pm and we ending up calling an investigator and some other people checking up making sure they are ok.  A nice Pday definitely a lot of traveling probably spent good hour today trying to figure out which bus or train to jump on and which sign to follow, but anyways it was great.  Kisarazu, where my area is more industrial and suburbish,  it is nothing like the big tokyo city, which is full of strange and awesome people and things and so crowded like as everyone crosses the street at once the whole street is covered of an intersection.

Oh and I won the lottery this week!  So there is a vending machine where we teach eikaiwa, and it has cold cocoa which is actually good, I like it, because well its hot or at least feels really hot here, My companion was explaining to me that if you get all the same number on the screen when you buy from the vending machine, you get your drink for free, right as he said that and explained it, it happened for me!  He laughed because that's only happened to him once ever!  Anyways was really cool.

Oh ya and we got a package from Elder Rogers Mom that had some stuff for me and him so it was real cool, I love cereal at the moment!  It is real nice and easy, and allows for a quick meal so I can study, and of course I LOVE REESES...hint hint. Thanks so much for the love🐘.

Still doing great! A little tired some days and want a nap but Ill toughen up.

Filling flat tire with grass
One day this week we went finding - searching for people found some friends that potentially might talk to us, sadly we had been biking for hours, we were probably like 40 mins away from home by bike and I got a flat, never had one of those before.   I asked my companion,  know what do I  do. He said ya, I've always wanted to try this. So well we got some grass stuffed the tire with it and rode back.  It was pretty tough to ride, but hey we got back and I guess it worked.

Next Monday it is a zone pday, since it is raining so we are going bowling.  So we are practicing up our bowling skills in the apartment.

On a side note, bananas don't last long here at all probably because of the humidity or the salt air.. after like 3 days I picked one up and just fell apart like melted butter. I asked a guy for takeout one time because I didn't finish my food he was like we don't do that here but for you ok, he said the humidity causes food to go bad fast.

Anyways that's my spiritual thought, jodan desu, though I did share a spiritual thought tonight with the  sugimoto family, and they gave us some fish that were just like plopped on a plate, I was eating it and hair like bones were in it and it was a challenge for sure. They had these little egg cakes that were good, then this carrot and radish mix that was good overall good. And I'm beginning to not completely hate mugicha. Which is a tea that is very common among members probably been given it everyplace I have gone so far.  At first it takes like nothing then has a weird aftertaste, to me now just tastes like a different kind of water.

It was fast Sunday for us, General Conference is next week for us (we get to watch it a week later), so will be fun.  I am happy to report my tire is all good now - new skilled learned and leveled up.

Love you all!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week #11: Churros, Mochi and carrying my bike

So arriving in Japan, getting  new companion and being assigned my first area, lots of excitement.  We are out and about doing stuff, and doing great!  My companion, Elder Rogers, is great, love him, totally cool.  I am trying really hard to help in every aspect, but I can definitely can tell the 10 or so month gap between us in mission experience, but all is good.  I am getting there and enjoying this. 

Anyways this week, we got to help a sister move in. By move it I mean mostly clean her new house, as she had hardly anything she needed to move in to the house, and everything in japan is bite size, meaning the houses and their stuff is simple and easy so moving her stuff in was cake.  But cleaning and scrubbing, oh boy did I work up a sweat, I was already sweating on the like 40 min car ride to her house but then boy do you get used to being wet here. Like covered in sweat that looks like my arms are all nice and shiney, or sweaty and stinky I know how every you want to say it. And then the bike rides in the rain, it hasnt rained hard but its a constant drizzle that gets you wet for sure. As the rain comes down, I like to stick my tongue out and catch it, but got to be careful I'm not going too fast or else the water from the street that my wheel is shooting up will get in. Anyways love it here, it is pretty hot sometimes, and apparently I missed the summer so the worst is next to come next year, we will see maybe good I missed the summer but just means ill get 2 more!  

I love our little cute house, we live in.  It's small, but everyone in Japan is small. 

Well everything is small except for our area we work in.  One day last week, we got on a train for an hour, then we biked for an hour or two, then my bike broke (not my bike actually since we had to special order a bike because I am too tall,  some old one handed down) so we walked for an hour and then arrived at miyu's house.  She is an elderly lady and is awesome, she is so nice she made us mini jelly sandwiches, a bunch of vegetables as a salad, with some muigicha( tea most Americans wont like, I dont like yet, very common though). Anyways then we studied in the mall tried some tako (octopuss ) which was actually really good because it was encased in a sweet bread with chocolate on it and some sweet sauce on the octupus, would easily try again loved it. Anyways did some study, some eikiwa (English class) and it was a blast. Oh ya and all day its been raining, they say its like a typhoon or something, but I would just says its a bunch of wind and rain. Fun to get all soaked, my bike broke again so had to carry it. But not heavy so ya. Had a blast teaching, eikiwa they are always so much fun.   

Mom, I am actually making meals, for example I made some churros today it says I am suppose to deep fry them, but i just put it in the toaster and it was... well... ok. Yes I bought churros in Japan as one of my first purchases, it was a dollar for a bag so im like why not...

My shirt today is very dirty and black because carrying my bike and trying to fix it, so we will see how that goes...

We also met with the mission president and his wife they are awesome!  They told us what to focus on and make sure we are eating our fruits and veggies, seriously they are awesome and gave some good advice and some direction of what we should start doing.  They also left us with some brownies and cookies afterwards which always make us happy.

We  went to a Matsuri again, a Japanese festival thing they were playing bingo I thought it wass pretty funny, the place was super muddy like literally a swamp normally they are on the street but anyways talked to tons of kids and was fun.  Oh so there were please making mochi and they let us smack the dough with a giant hammer, it was cool I took some pictures ill send eventually just dont got time.   It was cool because this mattsuri had a ton of free stuff. This clear sugary sap, then some mochi with some jam. The lady there saw me eating it and was like be careful,  if you swallow too much you choke and die because mochi is super sticky.  There was one lady there who actually just came by to look at the church, and our is just kinda like 10 rooms decent sized church part of an apartment, church is two floors and well we showed her around and talked.  It was a good contact.

I am getting more and more comfortable with everything every day.  My companion is great and I feel the spirit strengthening me and helping us every day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tokyo Japan

We heard "about" Chase today, with an email from his mission president, President Nagano and a video of him getting assigned his first area and companion.

Chase will be serving in the Kisarazu area, in the Chiba Prefecture that is south of Tokyo.  It is the southern most part of the Tokyo Mission.  We can't make out his companions name but will 

He looks good, and you can catch a smile on the video and his "excited face"!

Kisarazu - Elder Wilcox first area

Click here for a link to  Short video of him being assigned new area and companion if the video above doesn't work, especially with your mobile streaming devices.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Week #8: Travel Plans

Travel Plan Day: About to Wrap up 9 weeks in the MTC

This last week as usual was a busy week.   Our Pdays is full where we wake up early to workout at 4am then laundry at 5am, then we moved building/rooms at 6am because they are going to do some construction or something on our dorm, and then prepare lessons, playtime at 8am; volleyball and yada yada.  Pdays are great, nice change of pace and we also go to the temple.  Always awesome to go to the temple though was a little hot specially wearing a suit to the temple.

We also got to do "people in our purpose" which is awesome.  It is for new missionaries that are entering the MTC that are learning how to teach and is awesome.  Basically my companion and I started out a visit with an investigator then a room full of missionaries ask questions trying to help and testify of truth.  There are awesome missionaries and some that definitely more green, or those that try and be funny or try too hard.  For example, one of my favorites and funniest, in a way, but worked.

So it's his turn and he got the microphone and asked,  "So you are in college right now?"
She says "yes".
"What are you studying?"
"So you got a lot of important things going on in your life right now like marriage and college. Do you know what Sarah means in hebrew ? (that was her name)
She replies, "No, do you?"
He say, "It means princess. You are royalty."
She says, "me?"
 He says, "yes!"

It was a bit awkward, everyone was silent, but trying not to crack up, the approach was so different. This missionary was totally serious, at least when he taught he was focused on her and helping her it was just a different approach that took everyone by surprise.

We also teach some Skype TRC's where we taught Mirau Kyodai a lesson we talked simply about faith and shared it in relations to Alma 37:41,42,44  it was really cool and funny it was this gentleman from Kobe Japan he was super cool. He said he wanted to take a picture of us to put in on Facebook, Mom see if you can find it.  (Mom found it, and you can see it below)

Having a tablet helps greatly with scripture and language study, it also allows immersion in the work.
For example, I like to end everyday just sitting in my bed watching bible videos I always find joy in listening to them, they are all on gospel library and I just downloaded them all, plus of course the countless other church videos but I like bible videos the best.   I am studying hard, almost more nihongo: right now I study mostly just the romanji PMG and english PMG, trying to understand how they make sentences, or how I can potentially, definitely have a long way to go no doubt... continuously going through the phase where you feel oh I am good at this, I think I am getting this language, and then oh I am really bad at this and then oh I am doing good, and ya just constantly being humbled and confident.  I guess soon, very soon as we leave for Japan I will be even more humbled when I find out I know nothing of this language. :-)

By the way we got our flight plans, I leave next week (Tuesday morning for Japan) there are 30 of us here all traveling to the different Japanese Missions that day!

Interesting apparently we moved out of the building we were in, but they didn't say exactly why, we assumed because of all the construction, because their is tons outside our residences. Turns out the problem was that there were bats in one of the shimai's buildings on the upper two floors so they moved into ours. Probably didn't tell us why or else the chorrotachi would obviously leave surprises of who knows what for the shimaitachi. Though all is good, this residence seems the exact same, but older, though definitely more crowded and noisy and definitely some hyper eigo senkyoshi.

From the only in the MTC department. . .

One guy here was sent a Shrek script.  The whole thing and he just randomly quotes it in his Shrek and Donkey voices and sings the song, kinda nice to have someone to entertain you...I want to challenge him to teach a whole lesson in his Donkey voice.

Anyways this is going the last week here so that is awesome... gonna be awesome to get to work...

There so much i want to write but so tired and no time, honestly these days are amazing!

This is how we practice our Japanese accents to sound like a native Japanese speaker.
30 missionaries leaving for Japan next week

Purple Day Celebration: When in the MTC you celebrate what you can...

Celebrating "Red" Day

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Week #6: Crandell Kyodai

Lost of great experiences this week in the MTC, some sweet and some bitter sweet . . .

We had the opportunity to go to the temple to do endowments and it was awesome, it is cool that we get to go every week but I hear in Japan the Tokyo temple might be closed sometime around when we get there. Hopefully we get to go to it idk if its true.    I guess some missionaries never get to go to the temple while on their missions, so I will consider it a blessing if we get to go.

We taught some TRC lessons to some members and was definitely awesome as I felt like when I wanted to say something, I could.  I was able to express everything I thought of and is really cool to be able to use the language, so something must be sinking in and some progress is being made.  I still have much to learn and love it, so excited to learn more.  I received my katakana name tag meaning my name-tag with my name in the katakana characters . . .
ウイルコツクス (wi-ru-ko-tsu-ku-su)or (wilcox tsu )  is wilcox pronounced in the Japaneese fashion... anyways cool we got them and next week we will likely get flight plans I hear.. our di sen pi (6-9 weekers) are packing up and leaving weighing their stuff and what not.  They will be leaving later this week.

Sadly,  Crandell kyodai is leaving.  He is an awesome teacher,  he is going to Boston for an internship for 4 months working with Mitt Romney's son or something, he studies finance at BYU.  He is a very great teacher sad he is leaving, demo a few more days with him.

One thing that I notice in the MTC and it doesn’t seem to be getting better is that I (and others) are sleepy and don’t know what to do because I literally just want to fall completely asleep.  I don’t know if that will every change, definitely tired now I was thinking maybe I should try to go to bed sooner but kinda cant’ do that with 5 other roommates, maybe this is one of the things that prepared us for life, like college roommates, a house full of kids that won’t go to bed.   I hope sooner or later my body will adjust but honestly probably not...

Our sensei game us some advice this week, here are some quick notes:

The capacity to love is a gift given to us by god.
If ever you feel like god forgot about me and dendo sucks, you lose all motivation and don’t won’t to continue and it happens to everyone, every senseitachi went through it here.
Jesus didn’t take the easy way he took the long way to places and healed people on the way, even when he was at sea he went through storms he didn’t do it the easy way...
God doesn’t do easy things, senkyoshi don’t take it easy they take the longer way because they are striving to be like jesus
Eye single to the glory of god qualify him for the work.
God sees people with a filter of love.
Being able to love people qualifies us.

Notes from today our final lesson with Crandell kyodai

You don’t feel like a successful missionary everyday... sometimes nobody talks to you... it can kinda suck....

Everyone has the same problem, its really hard to keep people active, its hard anywhere you go...

A bad district was having problems, they hated each other... they were like 6 year olds without nap time krandel said.

Matthew 7:4

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Society can be backwards in nihon, young people are super motivated and hard working, old people stay up late and dye their hair different colors and pee on sidewalks, but the kids are motivated studying working and and striving.

It is so easy to hate japan, it is really easy specially as a missionary to be miserable if you allow yourself to, it is much harder to choose to love the people over there but when you do they return the love and love you 10 fold.

In the mission hardest part was having to say goodbye, but I hope you get your heart ripped out over and over again, because that means you put your whole heart into it.

Crandell  kyodai  was an amazing teacher that was definitely life changing, I  learned  so much more then before and cant believe I never knew or had learned what we were taught. There are some amazing teachers at the MTC they are always return missionaries from a mission by yours and always really are amazing.  It is  sad he left, so many people cried.
I am excited to leave and head to Japan.  The MTC is great and all but I want to  get out and see what the real  mission stuff it all about.

The Nashville Tribute Band came and played again this week.  They do an amazing job.   If i were to describe it, its like a story telling music thing and its super spiritual and emotional. There is one song they played this time and last time that are awesome for sure some really good music and I am not just saying that because I haven’t heard music in forever. They are really amazing and would watch them again and again.  There is one song they sing at the end every time that is pretty dang cool I wish i remembered the lyrics going something like . . . “19 years of dreams left in my room . . .”  I  would google it but can’t [Dad can and the song is linked here]

I loved this week!   My conversion is growing stronger and stronger, and my faith in Jesus Christ and understanding of him and his love through this gospel is remarkable and I feel more ready everyday to leave to Japan and start teaching and serving.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Week #3: Nihongo studies

Well another week down, I am a bit tired as I continue to adjust to missionary life.  We taught two kyokaiin (church members) today and we are making it through the language little by little.  I feel like I need to practice japaneese all the time to be prepared, and this leads to my mind being tired so not sure what to write.  Today we went through the temple I enjoyed it.  It is so nice for it to be so close and be able to go there each week.  Not to mention it has nice A/C and it has been hot here.  Also today, P-day we mostly just did laundry and replied to family and friends it's ard being away but will feel great when I can see them again. I honestly just really want to learn this language so just got a lot of work to do, It's kinda amazing I guess if I look, how much we've already learned.

Today we had a good lesson and learned why teaching in  nihongo (japaneese) is actually better than teaching in (english) eigo. Basically and most simply when we speak in eigo we have a deep knowledge and vocabulary and will tend not to keep it simple. Though the Nihanji people need the simple truths of the gospel they do not know that God loves us. They don't understand that God is there for us, to answer us and these simple truths are all we really need to testify of even in eigo. We need to testify that just as James directs we can ask of god if we lack wisdom. That we can learn truth through the spirit and know it s the spirit as we receive a kimochi a feeling that delighteth us to do good. Today also was williams shimai ,our teacher's, birthday and we sang happy birthday in nihongo and gave her some a popcorn box signed by us. It's her birthday and she worked all day here.  What dedicaiton. Anyways she's an awesome teacher she's a tenshi such a kind soul, and so is our other teacher krandel kyodai(brother) they really are good and its sad krandel kyodai is leaving in a month. And we still have 7 weeks so it will suck to see him leave b4 we do. I love how much we are learning and can say already. Now each day we are teaching two investigators and there's no stress about it because if we need to we can read straight from notes but we attempt to keep eye contact and have a conversation but vocabulary and knowledge of sentence structure is still limited and needs to be studied again and again, today was just more of the same stuff and a bunch of fun. But anyways just the same old same old would write more but out of time good day.

My companion and district are great, it is taking some adjustments in attitude, but it is all good.

On Friday, we had pizza,  which well was cool I guess,  pizza is always nice, not sure why I am telling you this.  The words are just flowing.  The day flew by, we had our normal teacher williams shimai who was amazing as usual, an awesome teacher!  Then after her class and lunch we had our other class but no teacher showed up, but luckily our pre-mtc tutor Brother Cook that wee all skyped with beforehand to learn nihongo was just visiting and was like you don't have a teacher? Well I will teach you... and well he's pretty awesome.  He broke his femur, I don't remember how and didn't want to ask because I'm sure he has been asked a million times.

I will share one of the  super short stories he told us.

He was in his first area with a trainer and he stops this guy and his mind goes blank can't think in english or nihongo(-japaneese), he thinks, I will fake a cough and buy some time, but the man thought he was trying to headbuttt him and ran away. When he went back to his trainer he was like what did you do? ...pretty funny.

Oh and Randell kyodai he did a simple but cool excercise, where we taught the message of the restoration in 10 minutes. Then taught it in 5 mins then in 2 mins then in 1 mins. The lesson we learned is that to keep it simple specially since our nihongo forces us to sometimes our english teaching would expound too mucn, when honestly the nihanjin need the simple truths they don't  need to instantly get our profound knowledge they need to actually understand. What they need is the simple truths that they lack a knowledge of. The knowledge that god is there, the knowledge that we are his children, those very basic things we can say is what is important .

Day saturday: well today zoomed by we studied a bunch more japaneese of course went over plain form yada yada. Today i made flashcards for about 100 words and memorized maybe 70 of them super well the other kinda, so it was just a flashcard day inbetween classes, I cant think of what else to write about today.

Wel during one study period we have some of the missiomaries for 2 hours straight talked about spongebob yes spongebob, Im like ok.?. Anyways ya then they moved on to avatar the last airbender as i was sitting there on the side studying very productive so you can tell here you have the choice to be the one of the two guys in the highschool weight room, anyways maybe good for them to take a break so they dont go crazy because well 7 more weeks left still, but still suprised.I remember when my father banned us from watching the show because of well how well lame it was, anyways ya just an interesting bunch there. Oh and ya been trying all that weird japaneese candy theres definitely some crazy weird things like giant cheetos that are pretty much a bar to some spicy roman and grape cotton candy, some cola hi chew, ya some fun and cool stuff roomates have for sure liked it.

Today we didnt feel like playing volleyball for excercise time so instead we went to the fitness center, ran/lifted weights and stuff, really nothing different today. Dont know what to say two 3 hour classes and a one 3 hour study period is the basic day with of course meals and excercise but ya time for bed tomorrow is sunday which means devotional and church and wear a suit.

Well today was cool we had our usual meetings and temple walk, this weeks topic was enduring to the end. And we got back late so like practically no time to write in my journal, though today our devotional was by Steven B Allen he talked about well us as missionaries, in companionships definitely a funny guy made us all stand up for various reasons, funny because he's like ok everyone who is writing someome special stand up and he says next everyone that is here thats already been dear johned stand up , about 10 guys stood up, he tells us its ok the mail comes tomorrow there will be more joining you guys. He was definitely a funny dude he worked with the people that created the old weird mormon commercials and showed like 10 of those during the devotional, ill give some names of them...

Play ball,potraits, conference call, braces and glasses , splash and a few more we watched...

Today we studied a lot more and I cant think what to write, I have to shave pretty often and I am thinking it might be good to get an electric razor for me because it seems to grow fast because they are fast and easy.  My teachers are great I really am enjoying them and I honestly think I got the two best, one is the fun but super spirtual one and the other is the super kind helpful teacher. I got called as district leader. Today we had subway, cheeseburgers, and i forget its hard to remember things when you are studying these words that are so weird all day. Hmmm fun word to say though is wachiatai  (wa-key-chi-eye-tye) meaning I would like to share.  Tomorrow is tuesday which means no excercise time sad face (sundays and tuesdays dont have exercise time) but then we have Wednesdays which is our day of rest if we want we can sleep. Wednesday I think we have more japaneese missionaries coming in, more newbies, so we won't be the newbies.  I don't know if that is good or not but I guess I will find out.

Today was full of a lot more studying I kinda lose a sense of what to study sometimes i think im gonna buy this one book they have for Japanese it's like 12 bucks called 501 Japanese verbs, has a bunch of verbs and sentences to us. I feel like I have a sense of how to say stuff but nowhere in a confident zone because half the time Japanese flips itself backward and then backward again. But I definitely have made progress to where i can understand and talk with some good ability. Today was well a devotional day we heard from bishop W. Christoper Walden who talked to us about looking outwards and seeing the people we teach their needs with spiritual eyes. Trying to find where their hardship is and how Jesus Christ can help them and change them and ultimately lead them towards the temple, our ultimate goal. He talked about numbers and how we don't baptize numbers but what our goals is conversion to the gospel to christ to the Book ofMormonn ensuring they develop that testimony. Our branch president, President Stevens, told us about a missionary this missionary went to Finland I believe a really hard language to learn the missionary when he got to the field could only say one sentence. But when he got there his senior companion was teaching a lesson taking charge he'd gesture to his companion and he would say I know this church is true. And in the end when this man they were teaching was interviewed for baptism he was asked what made you decide to be baptism and he said the words of the companion, telling him he knew the church was true. The spirit conveyed this truth to the  man's heart in all its simplicity. This speaks to the power of the spirit to testify of the truth and how it touches lives and bears truth to the hearts of god's children.

My favorite time of the day though is for sure is lights out 10:30-11:00 bedtime stories, the bedtime stories are the best for sure. Anyways off to bed till tomorrow....

I can say without a doubt my current companion is my best companion yet so far no doubt.  Anazlyze as you will...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Week #2: MTC and Donuts

Day ichi
Well today is the start of the 2nd week in the mtc for us this pday i emailed home of course, got the pleasure of waking up at 5 to do laundry to beat the crowd.  I had a nice bunch of fruit loops for breakfast and a donut. Then for lunch a nice turkey sub with chocolate milk for lunch. P day was pretty much a day full of study relaxing fun of just chilling in the residence and telling stories.

So we went to the St George temple today [parental commentary: I am sure he means the Provo temple and is just very tired...], for the first time really a beautiful place in the end i said a prayer and then had an impression to find my companion and pray together it was really Subarashi(-awesome) to go through with my district they are really some awesome guys and i love enjoying this experience with them and feeling of their spirit.  These days somehow get better each day and learn tons.

2nd day
Its Thursday and I am more tired then most days today we played spike ball for exercise time which was featured on shark tank and pretty fun to play its best in sand which luckily is available at the MTC along with sand volleyball  courts.  It's a regular spiritual resort!

Also this morning i forgot since it seems now like it was forever ago because we've done so much in between then me and a bunch of guys woke up and ran about 2.5 miles running around I haven't ran much at all in a long while so it was tough. But ya woke up early at 530 to run so we could shower and be ready by 630. Tomorrow the plan is to lift tomorrow at 530. But honestly the overload of food available is crazy I have to turn down so many cookies and goodies and candies and snacks because everyone here has loads of foodstuffs, because well packages and inheritances from sen pi to co pi. When the sen pi leave they leave there stuff for grabs and so much is available so foods for all.  I think you could feed a small country with the care packages that are tucked away.   Don't get me wrong, I am not saying don't send me anything!  It will all be much appreciated!

Today we also just were full of more studying and telling stories.

Observation: Every meal here comes with a donut like no matter what.  It must be in the MTC procedural handbook, and somewhere at sometime someone thought..."missionary having a hard time..give them a donut, it makes everything better.

Today we also had some nice cheese enchiladas to go with our donuts.

Anyways well not much going on besides flatulent missionaries in the residences, tomorrow is Sunday i think I am teaching a lesson in nihongo about baptism and the holy ghost. Ya so basically we have priesthood in English then sacrament meeting half English half nihongo.

4th day
Ok so today was sunday means we went for a temple walk again at the provo temple took some pictures and fun stuff. We did a bunch more studying of japaneese, and fun stuff. A band was here for the devotional and sang/ told a story couldnt really say much about it besides how he expressed just the joy of the mission and the sacrifice, that comes with it and to finally in the end be able to to return home after serving the lord and kiss your mom on the cheek the joy that there will be. I wish I remembered the lyrics but I cant too well, the Nashville tribute band [parental commentary: Guess he led a pretty sheltered life never hearing about the Nashville tribute band until now...] they are called and I'm sure their songs can be found, I liked it and I don't like musically things sometimes, well except for seminary teacher extraordinaire Sister Ranes,  but they made it enjoyable by telling a story and explaining why we are here and why this is important, how we can only just hope the spirit will testify to these peoples hearts that are words are true, by doing our best to follow the savior.  We also watched a recording of Elder Holland's open your mouth. Tells us most basically the adversary as Joseph Smith prayed had not the power to take his life but only to bind his tongue and as he was overcome by the power of some real being from an unseen world. The adversary would use the power he has to bind his tongue to frustrate our heavenly father's work but exerting all his power to call upon god in which he was the  delivered and just the same we must not allow the adversary to bind our tongue but be loosed and call upon the power of heaven exerting all our power so that we can move forward our father's work.
     Finally, we ended the day in service taking down the stage and and chairs and putting everything away, time is definitely flying by faster and faster. Though one grief I have is a collared shirt I don't like them when its hot I think about shark tank I want to invent a material or a ventilation there or a unique structure there so solve the problem of a sweaty yellow collar anyways I get used to it, tomorrow more study and almost P day the day of rest.

We had a devotional and it was by Connie an Emeritus 70 what i took out of it was Elder  Connie was talking with a guy with a PHD and he was teaching him about the first vision. The educated man told him that God can't possibly be constructed in a human state, we cant comprehend gos he is beyond our understanding. And the simple reply was to him singimg I am a child of God, he said when he finished the spirit in the room changed and he said I get it now god is your heavenly father. He learned by yhr the spirit in that momemt not by book or logic or arguement but by the spirit that can teach things that we can't and thats why we rely on it. The guy was funny he added a little humor in it to keep us awake

Today was the first day I fell asleep on my desk and was like shoot I didn't mean to do that, but ya a lot going on here and today just needed a little desk nap I guess. Still now 7 more weeks, the last 2 have flown by like nothing but felt so long at the same time. You get so much done in one day more then most people ever could being at home because honestly there is nothing here but books and papers, so only choice is to study or nothing literally.

Well Pday is tomorrow and I feel nice and settled in now gonna get up nice and early at 5 to beat the laundry crowd to get that laundry done quick. I got 2 more packages one with soap and facewash and another with aftershave, still have one more package that I haven't gotten yet cant get till tomorrow morning they give you a slip of notice when you get a package and then gotta grab it, letters our district leader goes and checks 3 times a day and will bring to us if we get um  mostly dear elders are given out to people.  Thanks for all the stuff and bars, and tapatio and aftershave.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Week #1: The MTC

My emails are basically snippets from my journal each day for now, as I adjust to this missionary life and especially the MTC.

I am beginning to learn Japanese and I feel like I'm back in Spanish 4 teacher while the teacher doesn't speak any English to us and I have no idea what she is saying. My first companion is best choro (elder).   I'm trying to talk more then I do right now but still struggling with homesickness and overwhelming work. I know I will get there once I feel more comfortable and get adjusted at the moment I am struggling but know somehow it will simply come and the struggles will pass.

Today I learned about how the Lord strengthens us in a scripture of the day:

9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

Favorite word so far is doryoku (Doree yo ku) because it reminds me of what dory said just keep swimming just keep swimming swimmimg....

We learned about how the Lord will strengthen us as we show  shinko (faith) inori (prayer) and doryoku (effort)

Each day is better then the last and tomorrow we finally get some gym time or exercise time to break the routine up.  I need a little of that each day to keep going. We didn't get that first few days and hoping tomorrow will help me relax more and help me get more done. I realize I definitely have a lot to get done in the nine weeks here.

I have cried and struggled, I knew it would not be easy and that has been confirmed.  I guess that's why it's not just anybody's work but the Lord's work.

I learned a lot about hard work this week.  But I feel I'm ready to be a senkyoshi (missionary)

Honestly there is a load of stuff to learn, the first days have been overwhelming,  but then I adopted a better perspective of making small goals.

Also another thing that came up is that well japan sendai missions have ipads and tokyo japan have android. And when you get advice at the MTC you get it 10 fold by each and every person so I have heard like 10 times you should get this app in the app catalog (ones we can choose from) but nope not on android apparently, its super helpful and crazy good for learning but I find I just do it the old fashion way study the paper.

The other day we got to go to the Provo temple, we just walk across the street and its there. One of the highlights of the day would definitely be when we watched a video that Elder Bednar from where he visited the MTC last Christmas and talked about the character of Christ to give one example of what was said. In Matthew 4 i believe , when Jesus is has just fasted the forty days and forty nights and satan tempts him to summon food, he looks outward and instead of looking on his struggle of temptation he brings himself outward he moves towards others, he seeks to touch the lives of others. The character of Christ was defined is why the atonement could take place and is  when the natural man would look inward Christ and his character would look outward. When you think you've worked hard all day and deserve a break the natural man would look inward and say poor me or look at all that I've done, I deserve this,  where as Christ would look outward to touch the lives of others. And again another point I summarize, is simply charity is the pure love of Christ and when as the lord suffered on the cross he looked outwards at those who betrayed him and those that hurt him and asked for their forgiveness from his father. Christ looks outward when we would look inward that's what we try to change about ourselves. Our frustration our competitive nature of being the best missionary our worry of not being good enough is not what we should be looking at but instead we should look outwards towards those that we could serve. No matter who they are or how they treated you.

And lucky enough the first week we were there our first Sunday devotional Elder Bednar came and just as awesome we left 5 mins early to get good seats for the devotional and then when we got there they said go put your bags away in the residence so me and my companion had to go all the way across campus to put our bags away and then we were late every seat was taken but as we were leaving to watch it on TV in another room because the devotional center was full, a man said wait and the 8 of us waited there and he got us front row seats so we sat probably as close as possible to Elder Bednar with his family right next to us. So was cool to see them so up close. The apostles you know just on T.V. but his message when he was there was basically to look for our spiritual needs by asking the crowd questions on what we needed and then he asked how can we relate this to our investigators. In short we can see that when we ask investigators questions we get a sense of the spiritual needs they may have in understanding their spiritual needs it not only shows a general concern.

So much happened that I cannot write it all down. But I am getting more and more glad I came.  The first night was hard being way from family and friends, shocked me and i didn't know it would hurt that much but with time the pain is still there but I can handle it.

District in class...

Reunited with dat boy Hyde!

My companion on our way to Provo temple