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!