Wednesday, December 25, 2013

'Tis the Season!


Its that time of the year here in Japan. Christmas is just two days away! Things are definitely in full swing. There are so many ads for Christmas chicken and cake, not as much snow, and definitely not as much "Traditional" American commercialism. Its a different feel that's for sure. Different cultures = Different traditions.

Now for the real exciting stuff, how my week went! Last P-day was on Tuesday so my week has been a little short! But fun nonetheless!

Wednesday was not super out of the ordinary. We woke up, did our morning study stuffs and tried to get in contact with this old woman who Elder Tauchi and I had met on splits the week or two prior to that. Afterwards we decided to Kubari The Fussa Eki. (Pass out fliers inside the Fussa city train station) to get people to come to our free english class. We did this for about an hour or so. At the end of the hour, I couldn't feel my hands, they were SO COLD. It doesn't snow here in Tokyo, but since it's still about 8 degrees Celsius we probably wont be getting snow any time soon.

It has rained a lot this week however. For two or three days out of the 6 this past week, Elder Merrill and I have had to face the elements in an attempt to spread the good word to all those who don't have it yet. Thank goodness for cold-gear Underarmour!

Thursday we had a conference with Elder Whiting of the Quorum of the Seventy. We essentially had a 6 hour question and answer session with him where were were allowed to stand and ask him questions pertaining to missionary work and what not. It was essentially the latter part of a Forrestall like at the Academy but less people and more churchy. He asked if anyone knew the missionary purpose and I raised my hand to stand up and recite it in Japanese for the whole room to hear. I did it plebe summer style. I should have started it: SIR THE MISSIONARY PURPOSE IN JAPANESE IS... probably not appropriate to yell in the sacrament meeting room. But he was impressed and so was everyone else by my confidence in reciting it. Afterwards several missionaries came up to me and told me that they were super impressed.

At the conference we were supposed to bring stockings that we bought at the 100 yen store that the mission home would fill and give back to us some time later this week. Elder Merrill and I couldn't find any stockings in any of the stores in Fussa so we made our own. You would be so proud of me. I bought America-themed cloth and made a sweet-looking stocking that would rival any traditional-store-bought stockings. I think I'm going to keep it for as long as its good. Elder Merrill made his look like a penguin. I forgot to take pictures so Ill send some later!

This week also, with the Fussa Japanese ward we drove around the area visiting less-actives and caroled at their houses. It was an ultra spiritual experience, everyone was home and I think I even saw a few tears in the eyes of some of the adults. It was long and hard facing the cold and rain of that day, but definitely the warmth of the Lord's love could be felt for these people. It was #Awesome_Motivating

We have a new investigator! Hiroshi-san!  Well kind of... He is an English class student that has come to church a few times and that we've met with once before. He wanted to meet with us to "practice English." We had a lesson with him this week and he wanted to know why there were so many churches on the Earth. Of course, we explained to him why! He said that if we were trying to baptise him and get him to join the church he didn't want to meet with us but he still agreed to meet with us again for another lesson on the Plan of salvation and he also came to church yesterday... Odd, right? It was quite odd. I think that he is concerned about his family or friends because that's a big problem here in Japan. But he is kind of a secret investigator but without a baptismal date.

I may have almost killed Elder Merrill on several occasions. Our morning runs have left him quite close to the verge of death. I should either back off (nah) or suggest to him a bike. Apparently the other Elders are spreading rumors about how when at the MTC, I PTed them to death during the hour allotted for missionaries to work out. I laughed when I heard that one. If they really wanted to die, they would work out with 1/c Scott Obrien.

This week we also had a small open house at the Cooper residence for the people who live in their apartment building and some of the English class students. Because they can't speak English they invited us to come and help translate for them and also eat some of their food. We were more than glad to go! I ate way too many cookies that night. But we did get two really good potential investigators form that event so I am super excited to see what comes about from that. Maybe they'll be investigators by the next time you hear from me!

In all, things are really really good here in 福生 Japan. Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! If you get a chance check out this cool video from

Very Respectfully,
Elder Farr

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Another fun week here in Japan!

Hello everyone!

I know some of you were expecting an email yesterday but because the Tokyo temple is closed on Mondays Pday was moved to Tuesday! I'm still alive! I also apologize for the shortness of the email. I wrote it once already and my computer decided to freak out and the email got erased. Since i'm pressed for time I'm just going to quickly re-cap what happened this week and write a longer email next week!

As for this week nothing super extremely exciting happened although we did do a couple of cool things. We Had a lesson with Sato Kyodai, a less-active member again who is super cool. We taught him about the plan of salvation however he did not understand a lot of the more "Advance" concepts. Elder Merrill and I didn't have a member present to help explain so we were by ourselves to answer his questions. We ultimately did our best and we believe that his questions were satisfied! I believe that that was the influence of the Spirit helping to testify instead of what we said specifically.

On another day we went and visited the house of a certain Mr. Sherman Carter. He was a person that the Elders had previously met with and he spoke English. So we had to follow up with him. We called him and set up an appointment and on Wednesday we went and talked to him. Turns out that he is a protestant preacher and just really wanted to talk about the Word with us. It wasn't a bible-bashing session thankfully he did most of the talking and after an hour or so we decided that it wasn't worth our time to meet with him since we weren't actually teaching anything. More so he was witnessing to us or something like that.

On Wednesday morning we meet with one of our old investigators Vijay after as soon as we had woken up and turned off our alarm he had called. At 0631! He wanted to meet within the hour for a lesson. We were ecstatic and so we meet with him. I was so happy to see him again! So we met with him again and had a lesson. We invited him to come to the dual-ward Japanese and English Ward Christmas party that was being held on the base this past Saturday. He had a lot of questions concerning the church and wanted to find proof of the Book of Mormon and other practices of the Church within the Bible. We told that that we would study the scriptures that week and would get back to him with the answers on Sunday.

The Christmas party was AMAZING. The Japanese and the American Wards really really know how to party. The food was awesome however about 1/3 of the way through the night they ran out! A couple of members ran out to the on-base popeyes and got boxes upon boxes of chicken to feed the masses of hungry people. It was essentially a traditional Japanese Christmas dinner, minus the cake! The youth did several musical numbers and the combined youth programs put on a play concerning the real reason behind the Christmas season. There were tons of members and non-members as well. Essentially all of our English class students came to the party. Elder Merrill and I had a ton of meaningful contacts with these people and they all seemed to enjoy being able to get onto a US airbase even for only a night.

On Sunday Vijay called to tell us that he had not gotten a good nights rest and wasn't coming to church. He hasn't returned any of our calls or texts. We think that this might be the last of him that we see for a little bit. His family owns an indo curry in town. Were hoping that if we swing by for lunch this week we might be able to catch him and see why he is avoiding our calls.

The rest of the Sunday was un-eventful. One of our investigators (Kim-san) came to the wrong ward (English ward instead of the Japanese speaking ward) but as soon as he walked in a Chinese family welcomed him to the ward and invited him to sit down with them. It was really really awesome seeing just how Member missionary work can be so fluid and without awkwardness. Elder Merrill and I didn't even have to do a single thing! Member Missionaries are the Best! *hint hint*

This week wasn't the most exciting week teaching wise but Elder Merrill and I had plenty of contacts with people. My Japanese has seen significant improvement since I have been using our district's native Japanese speaker. In a week or so we will be having transfer calls. I fear that I might be training a Japanese Missionary in the next transfer. Hopefully that's not the case!

Thanks everyone for all the support and the letters. They're very warmly received!

Elder J. Alan Farr

Attached is a picture of me channeling my inner Japanese. In the background you can see the sun setting behind Mt. Fuji and some of Fussa. The area that I'm in. Pretty cool huh?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Its been two months since I arrived in Japan!

Dear All,

This has been a pretty crazy week but in all i'm glad its P-day so I can recharge my batteries and hit the ground running again tomorrow morning. I still haven't found my lost bag yet, but I've alerted pretty much every business where it was lost so if anyone finds it I will know soon enough. In the meantime, I have been using another bag that I found in our apartment in the back of one of the closets, it seems to be holding up just fine.

From what I hear, its pretty cold back in the states. That's too bad. I'm currently, wearing short sleeves. Its awesome. This past week I wore short sleeves three out of the 7 days. Granted, it did get a little cold towards the evening, but because its not snowing its not that cold. Although the past couple of nights we couldn't figure out why our room heater thing wasn't working at all. Elder Merrill started pushing random buttons and that seemed to do the trick because on Friday it stated blowing warm air again. We think that our lack of being literate in Kanji has to do something with that.

This week pretty much all of our investigators fell off the face of the world. Yamada-san stopped showing up to lessons, and because he doesn't have a phone we can't get in contact him. Vijay, another investigator decided he doesn't want to keep meeting. Also, Kim-san didn't come to church and Hano-hano san wont pick up his phone. Its been weeks since we talked to him. So basically any progress has halted with those individuals. However ELder Merrill and I are being steadfast and pressing forward with faith. We have been trying to work hard and smart as well as inspired so that we can best utilize the Lord's time.

Yesterday in Sacrament meeting I could understand a few of the words people said. I still have no idea what people are saying though, I think this will continue throughout the mission unfortunately. As a result I have been really picking up my game when it comes to japanese. During missionary meetings I hang out with the Japanese and listen to the English-to-Japanese translations and pick out words to learn. I also ask the Japanese missioanries to help me out. So in the past week, I have seen big gains with my language abilities.

One of the new sister missionaries in the Fussa area is 中村姉妹 (Sister Nakamura) she is essentially fluent in English and has been a big help to me this past week. However I am most grateful for her potatoes. Her parents own a Potato farm in Hokaido, Japan (its up north) and sent her a crate of 20kg or over 40 pounds of potatoes. She has given us Elders a large portion of it. Needless to say I've had a lot of potatoes recently and I'm happy!

This past week Elder Merrill and I had a really cool experience involving Prayer:
On 6 December 2013 Elder Merrill and I did not have a very good day. We were quite flustered at the fact that despite our best efforts, nobody was willing to accept our message or let alone give us a few seconds to hear us out. We tried visiting potential investigators but none of them were home. We were tired and discouraged. Frankly, we didn’t think we were going to have much success for the rest of the day. On our way back to the apartment for dinner, we decided to visit the home of an investigator that kind of had fallen off the face of the earth. We had tried numerous times to meet with him but he either wasn’t reachable or cancelled our appointments several minutes before we were supposed to meet.

As we approached his apartment I had the distinct impression that we should pray. We stopped and prayed for comfort and for our “lost Investigator” to have a desire to meet with us again. It wasn’t much. Just a quick prayer of help. We really our investigator to meet with us!

As we approached his door we saw that his lights were on. We rang the door bell and waited. After a few brief seconds of wondering if he would answer the door opened. I looked up and found myself eye to eye with the ever-elusive Emo!

It had been quite some time since we had last meet. Emo looked much older, as if he had been through some hard things in the past few weeks. But regardless of whatever troubles he might have been having he greeted us with a warm smile and shook our hands with vigor. We talked for a bit and I introduced Elder Merrill to him as the new missionary in the area. We chatted for a bit and invited him to the Christmas concert in kichijoji but he was working the following night. He did however, commit himself to church and meeting with us. He mentioned that he had received our voicemail from the previous day and that he was really glad to hear from us. He rally wanted to meet with us, although he was super busy. He said that he would make his best attempt to come to church the following Sunday and that we could meet with him the next week for Lunch and to talk about Jesus a bit.

Emo’s reception to our visit was remarkably positive. Following our visit we had better success as Missionaries. We found out that one of our less-active members had been practicing the piano hard so that he could come to church and play the piano at priesthood meeting. He seemed so excited to be able to use his talents to help benefit others. I wonder how different our experience with Emo as well as the conclusion of our day would have been had we not asked our Heavenly Father to help us out with his work. This just goes to help strengthen my testimony that prayer is crucial to our work as missionaries.

Pretty cool stuff huh? I like to think so.

I haven't eaten anything super odd this week. I did have amazing potatoes and a roast at a members house this past Wednesday after church. #perksoflivingnexttoaUSbase I am going to be so sad when I get transferred out. But that just means new adventures and whatnot.

But that's whats going down here in Fussa. Thanks everyone for your support and your prayers. They're definitely being felt over here in Japan.


Elder J. Alan Farr

Attached is a picture of me and my District! Elder Merrill (not pictured)

Also, if you are sending packages please please please don't put my name anywhere on the package. No "attn: Elder Farr" or things like that. Just address it to the Bartons and everything will be alright! Thanks!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend Report

Dear America,

If you are going to send me a package though the Barton's APO mailbox please please please PLEASE PLEASE PLELASE! do not address it to me. Address it to the Baton Family, Mr. Barton, Bryce Barton, ect... They got a package addressed to me and told me Sunday that they could lose their mailbox if it happens again. Please do not do this. I beg of you!


Things over here have been pretty relaxed. I am sitting here at the computer absolutely freezing because in Japan they don't believe in central heating. As a result I spend a lot of my time wrapped up in a blanket trying not to freeze to death. So if my emails don't make sense its the cold getting to me.

The last time I emailed was on Thanksgiving and not much has happened in the past couple of days so I will give you a day-by-day breakdown.

Thanksgiving was AWESOME. I am so glad that the Brooks family was able to have me and Elder Merrill over for Dinner. They're a really nice family. They had over several recently-moved-in members as well as a family who weren't members. One of the members gave Elder Merrill and I each a sweet picture of the Bountiful temple printed on a stainless steel sheet of metal that stands up on this clear acrylic thing. Its kind of cool looking. It currently sits on my desk. After dinner, we were able to share a spiritual thought with the family and the non-members could totally feel the spirit. It was pretty cool.

On Friday Elder Hill, one of the zone leaders in another part of the mission, came over for the day to dendo (proselyte) with us. We decided to go to a park on the area map that we thought would be cool. Turns out that that was in fact a great idea! We met with over 15 people in that park. Some of whom were Highschoolers who were riding ripsticks (total Asian move I know) in the park. Elder Hill rode one and they were all REALLY impressed by him. Knowing me, I would probably fall off. We talked to them about the church but ultimately they weren't all that interested. The park was huge however, and we talked to person after person after person. In the middle of the park was a HUGE hill-thing with a gazebo on it. We went there and you could see Mt. Fuji clearly as day. It was pretty cool because normally you can't see him due to clouds or smog or whatnot. Mt. Fuji looks cold. It absolutely towers over the other mountains that surround the city of Fussa. The smaller mountains are in our area so we are planning on going there sometime soon to hike up them. In all, I learned that missionary work doesn't have to be work at all. Its lots of fun and if you're having fun then people will notice that and be more willing to hear you out and listen to your message.

Saturday was super hectic. We had 3 appointments with investigators and a less-active member but only one didn't fall through. It was with the less-active. We met in Akigawa station in the middle of nowhere and walked to a McDonalds to have a lesson because he was cold and didn't want to stand outside talking. We sat down and  said that he would get us something to warm us up. Usually he buys us fries. Saturday he bought us Tea. You see, the problem is he was telling us that it was ok and that it was lemon tea but it didn't smell anything like lemons nor did it have pictures of lemons on the package. Plus the whole thing was written in Japanese and as Americans Kanji is rather hard to decipher especially with knowing the language for only a few months. Luckily, since he is a kind of an all-over-the-place kind of guy he didn't notice that after we had made our tea that we didn't drink it. Maybe our next lesson with him will be about the word of wisdom. Later that day we took a bunch of Anpan (these fish-looking) waffles things with a bean paste in the middle to Sato Kyodai (another less-active). His face lit up. He loves anpan apparently. He also came to church the following day and set up an appointment with us to teach him.

Sunday was fast Sunday. We had Yamada-san show up and Kim-san both of our investigators show up as well as another man who normally comes to English class.  Nobody was going up to bare their testimonies so I got up in both the English and Japanese Wards and bore my testimony. The Japanese testimony wasn't as long as the English one but the spirit was just as strong! After Fast Sunday, we walked to the train station with Yamada-san and came back to all the tons of food that the members brought us. We took it home and made pancakes and eggs for dinner. My companion and I have this sweet deal. He does dishes and I cook. It works out really well because he can't cook and I rather not do dishes! Our companionship is pretty much perfect.

So that was how the last few days went by. Life as a Missionary isn't so routine as I thought. Its hard work but its also a great feeling passing out in my bed after a long days work. Very fulfilling indeed.

Stay Genki.

Elder J. Alan Farr

 Attached: Elder Merrill in a park in Hamura

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in Japan!

Dear all,

Today is the 28th of November 2013. Or in America, Thanksgiving. Luckily for me, I have been blessed with the chance to live within a mile of a USAF Base. This afternoon I will be privileged to go and Eat dinner with a couple of families from the Ward and their Guests. I am so happy and thankful for their generosity. I am also really thankful for heated toilet seats in Japan. Its getting pretty cold nowadays and its reassuring that when I use the bathrooms the toilets will be heated.

Its been a crazy week and a half here in Japan. Elder Evans from the 70 came and spoke to both missions (Tokyo and Tokyo South missions) about the work and how to be a better missionary. I also had the chance to see MIDN 3/c Allred there too. It was a pretty cool reunion. Afterwards my companion and I headed out. I have a new companion now. Elder Merrill. He is really cool, albeit a little quiet. His Japanese isnt as good as Elder Nuttall's so im really having to step up to the plate now and talk more in Japanese. He is however much easier to get along with than Elder Nuttall (not that I hated Elder Nuttall) but he just wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with me. I love him to death regardless.

Two really cool things and one not-so-cool thing happened to me this week...

On 19 Nov 13 Elder Nuttall and I had planned to street down to the Kabe eki and kubari there after lunch. The walk was rather long and we had several people talked to but nobody was really willing to listen to what we had to say. Most people politely apologized and went on whichever way could get them the furthest from us the fastest. Elder Nuttall stopped and suggested that we say a prayer. So we found a slightly secluded part and I offered a prayer for help.

We continued on our way down this main road without having much success. We passed out a few flyers and even a Book of Mormon but still nobody was fully willing to listen to us. After an hour and a half or so we finally reached the city of Kabe. We stopped at a street corner and rested for a few seconds as we decided our next move. Elder Nuttall spotted a rather large apartment building across the street that allowed solicitation. Suprised by this, Elder Nuttall said to me that it probably gets Housed all the time by salesmen and also by other religious missionaries. Our chance at finding success there would be slim. He turned to me and asked about what we should do. I suggested that we knock on the doors of the top floor of the apartment building and that if there was no positive reception then to leave.

So we took the Elevator to the 5th floor and began to knock on doors. The first two doors we had no success. Either the people weren’t home or they were avoiding us. Both very probable. The third door however was different…

It was my turn to knock and see if anyone was interested in our message. The door opened and the man who lived there cracked it open. I quickly introduced myself as a missionary for the church. The door closed. I was sad because I didn’t even get to say anything about why I was there.

Suddenly, the door opened wide and the man stepped out! The man introduced himself as Okuda-san. He had met with the missionaries about 20 years ago and was taught by them. They had given him a モルモン経 but he was tripped up by it since it was so hard for him to read. We gave him a copy of the モルモン書 and explained that it was an easier-to-understand version. He gratefully accepted it and we continued to talk about various church related subjects. His knowledge about the Church was amazing. He absolutely loves Utah. And said that if there existed a true church on the Earth, it probably would be the Mormon Church. We had spent over an hour talking to this man at his door and we had an appointment to get to. We apologized for having to leave and traded phone numbers.

Housing might not be the most effective form of finding people. However, we must utilize ALL of our resources in order to find those that are patiently waiting in their homes for us to answer their prayers. We acted on a prompting and as a result we found someone!

A few days later...

22 Nov 13 was a rather interesting day filled with many miracles for Elder Merrill and I. We origianlly had three lessons planned for the evening and were really excited to teach our investigator. We spent our companionship study time getting ready to teach each of these people what we felt impressed to teach them. For one of our investigators, Yamada-san we weren’t really sure what we should teach him. We ultimately decided to go over the word of wisdom and introduce some more of the commandments.

We called our other investigators later that day to confirm that they were still good to go for that evening. Unfortunately, the other two investigators cancelled. We were devastated! However, because they had cancelled this meant that we could spend more time with Yamada-san for his lesson if needed.

The time soon came where we needed to start heading over to the church. We decided that we needed to bike over so we went to where our bikes were locked up and started to unlock them. Elder Merrill was able to unlock his but when I put the key into the lock of my bike, the key snapped inside the lock and I wasn't able to take it out to try the spare. I turned to ELder Merrill and said, “We better get running!”

The Fussa Church is maybe a less than a mile away from the Church. But with stoplights and crosswalks and Trains it a rather lengthy journey. The entire time, I was praying that Yamada-san would be a little late to his lesson and that he wouldn’t have to wait out in the cold for us. As we approached the chapel, we broke out into a full-out sprint. Luckily the Lord had answered my prayers and Yamada-san was just barely walking up the driveway into the church parking lot. We were able to let him in right away!

We walked into the church and remembered that at the same time that a Baptismal program for one of the Base member’s children was at the same time. Elder Merrill and I felt impressed that instead of teaching Yamada-san a planned lesson that night that we needed to go and to watch the Baptism instead with him. We wanted him to come out from the baptism having felt the spirit and be super excited about getting baptized next month.

The baptismal service was not going to start for a little while so we sat around with Yamada-san and talked about him and his life and his interests since ELder Merrill had just transferred in and wanted to get to know Yamada-san a little bit. Yamada-san told us that he loved to sing and that he really enjoys kicking it back and doing some karaoke. Earlier that day while in Kichijoji, I had felt impressed to ask for a flyer for the “Little witnesses” concert in December. I had thought nothing of it until this point in time. I took the flyer out and showed it to Yamada-san. He was super interested in it and we invited him to go. He agreed and we made plans to get to kichijoji with him.

The service began and Elder Merrill and I sat on both sides of him so that we could talk to him while it was going on. The opening song was “When I am baptized.” They only had english copies of the hymn but with the help of Sister Jones we were able to procure a Japanese copy of the song. As we sang, Yamada-san was a little apprehensive at first, but halfway through the first verse he gave in and sang the rest of the verses with us in Japanese.

The song was followed by a talk about baptism. In English of course. I wasn't sure what to do so I started to translate it for him with what little Japanese I knew. To my surprise he was understanding what I was saying! Between me and Elder Merrill, we were able to help Yamada-san understand the talk and helped him to understand better the blessings associated with being baptized as well as receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. He was totally feeling the spirit.

During the actual Baptism, Yamada-san got up and went to the edge of the font with all the other children and watched the ordinance being preformed. Afterwards, we were able to sit with him and read from the Book of Mormon more about baptism as well as explain how the sacrament ties in with it as well. This was followed by another talk and another song.

After the Baptism, we went to the foyer and debriefed what had happened. Yamada-san had enjoyed the service and had felt the spirit. He had gained a better understanding of why such a seemingly simple thing has such big and everlasting effects. He left the church more excited about his baptismal date than he had entered.

Had the other investigators not cancelled, Yamada-san would not have had the opportunity to watch the Baptismal service that evening. It was such a humbling experience seeing how through several very small miracles, the Lord had helped one of his children out on the path back to him. It’s motivating. Also, hes totally stopped smoking. He says that whenever he gets tempted to smoke he eats chocolate. Its super cool seeing how driven he is to follow the commandments.

Now for the not-so-cool thing:

Elder Merrill and I were passing flyers in Akishima near the Mall that is right by the Eki. I put my backpack down so it wasn't in the way and this woman came up to us and told us she was a less active member and really had interest in getting back to church. We got her number and referred her to the sisters and she says shes coming to church this next week (week after fast Sunday). However, After talking for her for several minutes I looked at where I had set my bag and noticed it gone. Somebody had stolen it! Who does that? In Japan of all places! So we cut the conversation short and apologized and found the nearest police box. We reported the bag stolen. They made me describe the bag, its contents, and pretty much everything else. We didn't get back to the apartment until late. Around 11pm because the police officers had so many questions. One of them was really really interested in the gospel and so we testified to him and told him what we were and what we were doing in Japan. He seemed really interested  but couldn't take a book of mormon because he was in the line of duty or something. But when we got back we realized that our apartment key was in the stolen bag. So we had to stay the night at another missionaries apartment. It was quite the interesting night to say the least. There was nothing of real value in the bag. I had both my Journals stolen, my photo Album with pictures of Family, Cathryn,  USNA,  and my interests and what not. So I have no pictures now... Also my really nice Japanese Book of Mormon was stolen too along with my watch which was attached to the outside. As well as my whitehandbook, my clip-on nametag ( I was wearing my magnet one) and my only 3 Pokemon cards! Hopefully I get it back soon or something. That would make a rather nice Christmas present.

Funny story. So last week at our Free English class one of the students asked Elder Nuttall if he wanted a girlfriend. He declined. I thought it was really funny because the question came right out of the blue. That's the first time I have seen something like that. Elder Nuttall was so shocked.

Other than that not much else has happened here in Japan. I haven't eaten any weird foods lately but when I do ill let you all know!

Elder Farr

Attached: Elder Nuttall and I with Sato-Kyodai, a less-active member we've been working with. And me next to a squid/lobster/fish crane machine game that we saw outside of a supermarket one day.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Transfer 1: Complete!


Greeting's from Fussa. Today marks the first day of the Second transfer! How crazy is that? I've made it six weeks. Saturday we had transfer calls. We got ours in the morning during our personal study time. And.... I'm staying in Fussa! Elder Nuttall is being transferred out to be a zone leader on the other side of the mission and I am getting a new companion. Elder Merill (I think that's how you spell it). Its been a crazy 6 weeks but I am super excited to see the next 6 weeks unfold and see what cool things the Lord has in store for us Missionaries here in Fussa, Japan!

This week we had several miracles occur that just prove that the Lord puts the prepared in our path. But the biggest one involves a man named Tito:
Elder Nuttall and I had just returned from our zone meeting in Kichijoji and after loading up with Books of Mormon decided to head out and street to a nearby Eki and kubari at said Eki. Along the way we talked to many people and even gave out a few Books of Mormon. We got a number or two from people as well but not as much success as we would have liked to have. As we approached the last segment of our dendo-journey to the Eki, Elder Nuttall felt inclined to turn down a road saying that he felt impressed to walk down it. There was nobody on the road. After walking for about 30 seconds down said road, a man appeared. Elder Nuttall turned toward me and said that it was my turn to approach him and make the initial contact. So as we neared each other I called out “Konnichiwa!” he looked at me and stared. I stopped and asked him where he was headed (All of this in Japanese of course). However he didn't understand and responded that he couldn't speak much Japanese. Elder Nuttall asked him where he was from. The man replied that he was from Peru and spoke only spanish. Being raised in a bi-lingual English-Spanish household I (Elder Farr) immediately jumped into action and introduced myself as a missionary for the Church. He seemed very interested. As I talked to him he asked about the services and when they were. I told him where and when he could attend church as well as that we had interpretation into Spanish as well. He said that he would bring his wife and kids to church the next Sunday. We traded numbers to get a hold of him later and went on our separate ways.

Even though my Japanese is not the best. The Lord has prepared people for us to find and help. It doesn't matter what we can or cannot do, if we have faith and trust that the Lord, then we know that we cannot fail for the Lord is on our side! Its awesome that Tito was so responsive especially since it was freezing outside and I certainly wouldn't have let two white dudes talk to me about church when I was trying to get somewhere, but good thing the Lord was on our side this time!

After a hard Kubari session at the Hamura Eki we decided to start making our way over to the Apartment so we could get on our bikes for a dinner appointment. We had to wait for cars to stop coming before we could cross the street so as we waited we talked to a man on a bike. Turns out that he is a member! How crazy is that?!?! He was baptized a few years back but fell away from the church. We invited him to church and he said that he would come. The ward knows who he is so in the next few weeks Elder Merril and I will be trying to re-activate him. I also met a Peruvian man named Adolfo at the Eki this week too. We talked in Spanish for a little bit and I invited him to Eikaiwa (Free weekly English class) this upcoming Thursday. He said that he would come! I am so excited to be able to interact with all the Spanish speaking people of Fussa. Its odd but I'm glad that I have this opportunity. I now carry a Spanish copy of the Book of Mormon to give to people in case that I need to!

This week's food has been rather tame. I did however go to a ramen bar in Kichijoji two nights ago where the ramen was to die for. The noodles were amazing, the broth too. There was also bits of pork cutlets in it. Yum! I know that people often joke about eating lots of ramen on missions but i am totally down for eating ramen if its all going to taste like that! This week Elder Nuttall and I also found a package of "Jello" or something like it in our pantry. We made it and it turned out to be this blueberry type thing. However it wasn't the best. I give it a 6/10 for taste and a 9/10 for effort.

Today for P-day we went to Kichijoji as a zone and played Dodgeball in the gym. Its crazy just how competitive missionaries can get. They really know how to let of a little steam! All the old missionaries leave this week and the new ones get here tomorrow. I am so excited to see them all here and sad for the others to leave!

It's been a fun week here in Fussa. I look forward to all the teaching I have this upcoming week as well as to my new companion! Thanks for all the support that everyone has been giving me. Its hard at times but I know that I have loving friends and family suppurating me from across the globe. Plus I'm on the Lords errand so nothing can go wrong!


Elder Farr

ps. If anyone wants to send me care packages a member on base offered to let me use their APO box as a destination for the mail. This means that the obnoxious over seas package costs will be gone since its being shipped to a US military base. The price would be the same as if you were to ship a box from Ohio to Maryland! Email me and I'll send you their address.

pps.  I have accumulated, thanks to the generosity of several base members, the ingredients for scotcharoos! I need the recipe! I'm pretty sure I have it memorized but help a brother out!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Weekly update


I am not dead. It happens to be that the last week of a tranfer we go to the tokyo temple to do a session. And because the temple is closed on Mondays P-day is moved to tuesday for that week. Sorry if anyone thought I was dead. Funny story, last sunday we had an Earthquake that the members told us that they could feel. My companion and I couldn't feel it. Apparently there have been several of them this transfer but we haven't felt them!

Its been a crazy week for Dendo. I dont really know where to begin. Last P-day my companion was sick so we took care of him. Luckily I haven't had to deal with being sick at all. I guess its all mental afterwards! We did however lose Elder Thurman. He was emergency transfered to Fuchu,Japan because one of the Fuchu missionaries was transfered early to be trained in the mission office and his comapnion needed someone to stay with him in Fuchu for the remainder of the week. So its Just me and Elder Nuttall holding down the fort.

I went on Splits with Elder Otsuka (Oat-ska) in Fuchu as well this week. It was a lot of fun he is from the northern region of Japan where it snows alot. His english is sup-par at best and so I had to rely on my broken Japanese to communicate with him. He made me Ramen for dinner the night I stayed at his place. It was AMAZING. Japanese ramen is far superior than American Ramen.

This week I was witness to one of the coolest things in my mission thus Farr:
Elder Nuttall and I had an appointment on Thursday 7 Nov 13. Sadly, the kid called us and told us that something had come up and that he couldn’t meet with us then. We decided to make the best use of our time and go streeting. We walked to the Yokota Air Base, and gave a Book of Mormon to a Potential investigator and bore our testimonies to him about its truthfulness. He said he would read it. After this we weren’t really sure where to go so we started to walk to the Higashi-Fussa eki because we saw a lot of people going in that direction that we could talk to. Upon arriving at said eki, we decided that it would not be the best place to dendo. We did however see a gigantic map of all of Fussa next to the station. We looked at it for a little bit and Elder Nuttall asked me where I wanted to go. I saw a huge tree on the map at a specific intersection and said that there is where we should go. So we went there. We got to the the place where the big tree was supposed to be but no big tree could be found. Elder Nuttall nearly cried. We were about to head out when out of the corner of my eye I saw a college-aged kid who I called out to. Kodai was super receptive of the gospel, we talked to him for quite a while. Afterwards, Kodai said that he would definately be interested in talking to us again some other time. #MiracleNumberOne After talking to him we set out towards the Hamura eki to kubari before dinner. The very next person who we saw after talking to Kodai stopped and talked to us for nearly 15 minutes. He was interested in the gospel as well as how the Book of Mormon related to the Gospel. We gave him a chirashi and invited him to Church. #MiracleNumberTwo After talking to him we continued on our way to the Hamura Eki. We were stopped at a crosswalk and started taking to a kid on a bike. Turns out that he used to attend the Fussa Ward with a friend for about a year but then something happened and he didn’t continue going. We got his number and invited him to church. #MiracleNumberThree

We were able to see the hand of the Lord in our work. It was quite amazing to behold susch miracles unfold before our eyes. It just goes to show that God places prepared people in our paths.

Today we went to a Sushi-go-round where they place sushi on little trays that go around and you pick the ones you want off the conveyor belt and they charge you by the plate. It was delish. Speaking of delish. Japan has a cake-like dish called Mushi-pan. Its amazing. Its kind of like a cupcake but lighter and just as sweet. I am a big fan of the Mushipan.

At Eikaiwa (English Class) an investigator brought me a tray of Umeboshi to eat. Its terrible. Never Eat it if you are given the chance. Ugh. I cringe at the thought of ever eating it again. I was DEFINATELY not a fan. But now I know that I dont like it!

Some funny things about Japan...

On the way back from Splits my companion and I boarded a train to return to Fussa. I wanted to go to the backmost car to look out of it and see the train tracks. We had to move between cars to achieve this. My companion accidentially left the door between the cars open and we didnt realize until much later. However, when I looked back the doors of the trains of the last 3-or-so cars were open all because we had accidentially left ours open. The Japanese are very comformist. They're not keen on tipping the scales or changing the status-quo which is funny when because of that things like leaving the other train car doors open happens.

I met a man on the train that had lived in the US for several months. His english wasn't half bad. Except that he had lived in Kentucky. So he spoke English with a rather hard southern accent. I had to use every ounce of my concentration to not laugh at his english. I guess he didnt realize how funny he sounded. I guess thats Ok because my japanese has been learned from white guys in Utah. So I have no room to Judge.

In all its been a really fun. Spirit filled week. Ive taught a lot of people. Talked to a lot of peaople and eaten a whole lot of really really good food. I love you all and really love hearing from you too!

Best Wishes,

Elder Joshua A. Farr


3.View from the back of a crowded train in the morning. They have people specifically assigned on the platforms to "politely" shove people into the cars. 1. What the train cars look like from the front. 4. Me infront of the Sign thats infront of the Tokyo temple. 5. Fried chicken Sushi 4. Angel Moroni on the Tokyo Temple 2. Me with peanut butter 7. Sushi-go-round

Monday, November 4, 2013

What's up America?!

Hello from an island!

I hope everything is going well back over in the states. Things have been great here in Japan. Except for the rain. The ran takes the temperature down. like wayyy too farr down. But other than that the weather has been delightful.

I invited my first person to baptism this week! Kim-san! He is a Chinese/Korean man who is also fluent in Japanese. We taught him about the restoration (or I think we did, we had that pamphlet open!) but my companion Elder Nuttall turned to me and said, "invite him to baptism!" and so I did and he understood and he said yes!! His baptism date is tentative for the 14th of December. I'll definitely keep people updated.

Funny story. We ride trains here in Japan A LOT. Like a lot. Most of our funds allotted each month are for travel between cities in our areas. A lot of other people travel by train. When they are packed, you can barely move. But luckily for me I can breathe since I'm pretty much a whole head taller than everyone else. This one morning the trains weren't too packed but there were a lot of middle schoolers and highschoolers going to school. So I said really loud to them "Whats up!?" they all turned to me and I began a conversation that involved a third of the train car. Japanese people usually sit quietly and ignore others. Japanese culture is very inward. But at least 20 school kids were talking to me and I to them about different things. Some middle schoolers from the other car saw the conversation from the other car and crossed train cars and joined in on the conversation.Even some old guys joined in because they saw all the fun everyone was having. At this point there were TONS of Japanese school children listening to me. I showed them my Pokemon cards and explain what I did as a missionary.  I lost track of time and It was almost their stop so I invited them all to come to our free English class on Wednesdays. Hopefully they come! But that was the craziest story of the week.

I went on splits this week with Elder Orton from Kunitachi. I lived there for about 24 hours. Elder Orton is a zone leader. If the Church was the USMC then he would be the equivalent of a Platoon Officer. But he taught me how to be a better missionary and how to approach the Japanese people and talk about the gospel in a non-threatening manner. For lunch we splurged and went to SHABU SHABU. The greatest invention ever. Its so great its illegal in 'murica. And this is why:

Its an all you can eat meat restaurant. What they do is cut up meat into thin ribbons and bring them to you on these trays. In front of you is a pot of boiling water broth mixture which is extremely hot. you can add in things to make it a soup of some sorts and what not. What you do is take a slice of meat with chopsticks and put it into the boiling water to cook it up. After a second or two it changes color. You pull it out, dip it in sauce and eat it! I ate about 20 trays of pork, beef, and chicken. It was SOO GOOD. That's this week's cool food.

I also talked to a Peruvian man for about 20 minutes on the street. My companions had no idea what the conversation was about but we invited his friend to come to church and he came! It was a lot of fun. I sat with him in the Spanish translation room and also went to the Spanish Sunday school with a member as my companion. I guess I'm speaking a lot more Spanish than I thought I would here in Japan. The Lord works in mysterious ways...

Japan is a lot of fun. The people are hard to talk to because they're so set in their ways. But I know that there are those that have been prepared. I cant wait to find them and teach them about the gospel!

Elder Farr

Attached: The Fussa Missionaries: Me, Elder Nuttall from Idaho, Elder Thurman from Utah, Sister Thomas from Utah, and Sister Kawajo from Okinawa!

Monday, October 28, 2013



How is everything? Things here are pretty hectic. But as is life in Japan. Last P-day I went to an all you can eat pasta and cake restaurant. It was AMAZING. I had so much cake it was hard taking the train back to Fussa. It was my trainer's trainer's birthday so all of his friends and a couple of the new missionaries went. It was a lot of fun. Missionaries sure know how to eat! Today I had nikuman, its a poop-shaped rice-dough thing filled with meat. It was super super super good I had another one afterwards, but this one was filled with pizza things. It was good too!

On Tuesday, we had zone conference the whole day. It was ultra long but it went by so quickly. We learned a lot of things about how to be better missionaries and there were a lot of presentations on health and wellness of missionaries and how to stay healthy so that we can get all of the work done without killing our bodies.

We went on Tuesday to a recent convert's home. His name is Kenji. He is a half Peruvian/ half Japanese man. It was excellent because he SPOKE SPANISH! I think that that's the first lesson that I've truly understood here in Japan. My Japanese is progressing slowly but I'm sure that in a few transfers or so that I will be able to do lessons in JAPANESE!

Wednesday was boring.

We do our weekly planning on Thursday so that took up most of our time and we had a lesson with an investigator named Yamada-san. He is a really cool guy but has problems giving up smoking. For dinner we found this restaurant that sells really really good friend chicken, ham, and burgers. For about 240 yen i was able to stuff myself with the best that Fussa has. It was delish.

Friday, We taught a recent activated family names the Perkins. They were super cool as well as they were ultra young. They're recently married as well want to come back to the gospel. They took us to the E-club on base. Brother Perkins is an E-3 and a mechanic. He is planning on commissioning very soon! We had ALL YOU CAN EAT AMERICAN PIZZA at the E-club. It was soooooo good. We also saw a poop-ton of members at the E-club too. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday was the Halloween party with both the Japanese and the English ward. They had chili for dinner. I ate a lot of it. I am beginning to see a theme within this weeks letter. American food is so good. I'll be saddened when I have to leave this area. We had several investigators come to the activity as well as members of our free English class came as well. It was a good time. I met a lot of 0-5's as well as JAGS. There are about 4 JAGS in the ward. I talked their ears off. But they respect me because I come from Annapolis. And I respect them because they are O-5's.

My companion elder Thurman got sick that night and on Sunday he had to sleep in a bit. Elder Nuttall got approval to go to church with another member as his companion and helped our investigators to learn about the sacrament. After he slept through Japanese church we both walked over to English church and watched the primary program. It was super cute.

Anywho, that's what happened this week!

Elder Farr

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another week in Japan!

Howdy from the Island in the Pacific,

This week has been lots of fun. Here’s a quick recap of all the highlights:

Last P-Day we had a gospel Concert in Kichijoji with a J-POP group called Blessed4 which preformed. It was really cool and the missionaries were allowed to go! We tried to get our investigators to go but they couldn't. At the end all the missionaries got up to the front and sang called to serve.

We taught an investigator this week named "Dee" I’m not sure what his name was. He has like 8 different names he wants us to call him. We had a lesson at an "all you can eat Pizza" place. Japanese pizza is super gross. One of my slices had octopus in it. I didn’t realize until I was at least 15% of the way done with the slice. Oh wells. Silly Japan...

It’s been raining ALL week in Japan. Last Wednesday we got hit with a typhoon and were supposed to get another one later this week. All that happened was that it was crazy windy and that it rained a poop ton. I got soaked from the walk to the Church on Sunday. It was pretty funny. But I found my rain jacket so I should be good for the next rainstorm.

We had a cool opportunity to help serve the People of Japan. In the Eki (Train Station) for Fussa, Japan we usually pass out flyers for free English class. We saw this one guy taking down these HUGE poster sticker things from the walls that advertised sports day. We offered to help and spent ~25 minutes taking down the posters. The man was so thankful that he offered to help us out by taking our pamphlets to other Ekis and passing them out. That’s the first "real" service that I’ve done here. Japanese don’t really like being helped from what I hear.

We had a zone meeting on Tuesday. It was cool. We went over a lot of things that I have already heard. Also, I got pretty motivated about talking to people about the church. OORAH! On the Way back I had my first full conversation with a Japanese man in which I understood EVERYTHING. It was soo cool. It would have been even cooler if it had been in Japanese and not in Spanish. I've spoken more Spanish here that I would have ever thought.

We went to Itsukaichi one of our days. It’s super pretty. Very mountainous and green. However everyone there is ULTRA Buddhist. It’s funny because everyone has blood donation stickers on their doors in Japan to scare away the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But the area is super inaca (county-like) and so we didn’t get to see many people. So we left after a while. But I did take some sweet photos!

On Saturday I had the chance to escort two seniors in Highschool for the day as "mini-missionaries." It was a YSA activity. They didn’t speak any English. It was rough but when we went out dendo-ing (proselyting) they were super successful and we were able to communicate fairly well by the end. They'll make superb missionaries!

Sunday was loads of fun! I went to 8 hours of church including meetings. It went by super fast! I bore my testimony in the Japanese ward. Needless to say I made a fool of myself. Luckily everyone there is super nice and no one laughed. I also bore my testimony in primary about missionary work. Apparently I said something along the lines of "If you share the gospel then you will die" or something similar. The faces of the people were priceless.

That’s the week!

Elder Farr

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hello From Japan!


It is so good to hear from all of you! Tomorrow marks one week on this island in the middle of nowhere.

I’m going to skip my last week at the MTC because its super boring plus if you watched conference then you know exactly what I did Saturday and Sunday last weekend and the weekend before that.

After an 11 hour flight from LAX to Narita airport I finally made it to Japan! And boy is everything Asian. We stayed the night and Wednesday night at the mission home. It wasn't too crazy just basic information about the mission and what not. On Thursday we got our trainers. Luckily for me I have two! Elder Nuttall and Elder Thurman. They’re both really cool. Elder Nuttall has been out for 10 transfers and Elder Thurman for only one. They’re both super cool. Since there are three of us I apologize if my emails are really short because we have so little time to spell check or even email.

I am located in Fussa, Japan. It’s a cool little country-side of a Japan. Very Suburban-ish. There’s a train nearby. We are the area assigned to the Air base close by so not only do we have English investigators but Japanese ones as well. It’s really cool. I actually have a dinner appointment with a member family tonight on the base. It should be a cool experience.

The first few days here are pretty crazy. I don’t know Japanese and people talk sooooooo fast. Plus everyone sounds super different when speaking Japanese. I had McDonalds the other day and said what I wanted but as soon as the cashier started talking to me I didn't know what was happening. Thank goodness for trainers. It’s easy saying things to the Japanese but extremely hard when they start talking back! I’m sure I’ll get it eventually.

As for the food, the food is amazing! I've had more rice than I think I've ever had in one week before in my life. My first night here I went to a sushi-go-round restaurant where you sit at a bar and sushi just flies by you and you grab it and eat it. It was AMAZING. Sushi that comes to you! Who would have thought?!? That has to be illegal in the US. I also had Udon noodles those were really good too.

We passed out flyers for English class just about every other night because that’s the biggest source of new investigators. It gives me a good chance to practice my Japanese. It’s just scary that they sometimes talk back.

Nothing much has happened because I've only had one full day as a missionary because of conference and what not. But I’m sure I’ll have some crazy cool stories in the weeks to come. I’ll send them your way.

Love you all!

Elder Farr

P.S. I had natto for breakfast on rice the other day. It’s surprisingly tasty. No joke. I loved it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

6. More. Days!


I cant believe that the time has finally come! I only have six more days at the MTC and I leave for Japan on Monday October 7th.

On Monday we were privileged to hear from Don R. Clark of the Seventy he was a pretty good speaker. He talked about missionary work. Go figure... But it was a fairly enjoyable talk. Refreshments afterwards would have helped out a lot more for sure.

On Wednesday I had the chance to host new missionaries. I helped out  sister (sister Jones) with one of her 60 lb bags that has busted a wheel and she couldn't get it up the hill to get checked into the MTC. Turns out she lived in Maryland and went to the kentlands ward for a bit! Small world!

Thursday we had a district splits session. We each got temporary assigned new companions. I personally was with Elder Barker. He is a very quiet guy who enjoys sitting around and working which was fine by me! We got a whole lot of work done and even bore our testimonies at the end of the day with several random missionaries in Japanese! Oorah!

Friday we got our travel plans! I leave here on the 7th and arrive the next day around 5 in Narita Tokyo Airport. I think total our air time is ~18 hours. That should be fun. lots of time to convert a plane-full of investigators! Plus they cant run away!!

Saturday was a lot of fun. We worked on teaching our investigators and learned a lot about the culture of Japan. I got this huge letter from 5th company and it made my day! Shout out to all those who were involved. I'm going to try and write all the plebes back, not individually but address some of the common questions and concerns that they had. Stand by for that letter '17.

On Saturdays we also teach members. I taught a wife and Husband who were converts to the church some 60 years ago. They were super old and SUPER Japanese. The Husband looked like Mr. Miyagi. No joke. I should have taken a picture or something! Oh wells...

Sunday was mission conference and Fast and Testimony meeting. WE had a two hour conference about missionary work as an MTC led by the mission presidency. During Fast and testimony meeting I bore my testimony and was able to feel the spirit pretty strongly. All the departing missionaries sang 'God be with you till we meet again' in both English and in Japanese.

The last two weeks of the MTC we get native Japanese missionaries who come only for 2 weeks and then go back to Japan with us. They're absolutely hilarious. Our Japanese is terrible and their English not so good either but somehow we manage to communicate. Just give us a few weeks in Japan and well be on the same level of communication. I've decided to talk to anyone and everyone about anything but most importantly the Gospel. Because if not I am going to be bored and all the Japanese people will be unhappy without the knowledge of the Gospel. And that would be a shame.

This week on Wednesday my district will be skyping Investigators in Japan and teaching them the first discussion. It should be a lot of fun actually being able to speak to someone who has feet on Japanese soil. It will be hard but I think that as a district we can succeed.

There's not much else to share because each week here is pretty much the same. Lots of Japanese, lots of reading the scriptures. If you want to follow along with me back home I'm currently at Alma 13. and will be trying to get to 3 Nephi by the time I touch down in Japan, if not to finish the rest of the Book of Mormon. Ill let you know next week how it goes!

Thanks to everyone who has been writing me and keeping in contact. I love you all. You're always in my prayers. I cant wait for next week when I can write you all from a computer in Tokyo, Japan!!!


Elder Joshua A. Farr

PS. I have a poop-ton of pictures but the camera I have wont upload ill send them as soon as I figure out the problem!

[Note: don't send him anymore snail mail. He leaves next Monday and it probably won't get to him. Start sending stuff to Japan. DearElder will still work because it's next-day deliver. Send him some DearElder love. He'd appreciate it.]

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another week down. Two to go!


I cant believe that I only have 14 days until I leave the US for 22 months! The MTC is just flying by. The rumor mill states that we will be getting our travel plans for Japan this week, Fingers crossed. My district has decided that on our layover on the west coast were going to eat as many hamburgers as possible before we leave the good old US of A. I've already shown them my eating abilities. They're going to get crushed in the future burger eating competition.

Now for slightly more serious things...

Last Tuesday night I was privileged to hear from Elder Schweitzer (emeritus General authority) he talked about becoming a missionary and gave a poop-ton of really cool stories of missionaries teaching people and people finding the gospel. It was a great talk. You could really feel the spirit. Afterwards we watched Legacy as a district. Its super cheesy. I prefer the new Jesus movies the church has put out. If you haven't seen them they're pretty cool. Whoever plays Jesus does a great job! You all should check them out.

This week I discovered Mormon Channel. It was an answer to my prayers. Now instead of sitting in an empty classroom with my companion reading the scriptures I can do it while listening to the Mormon Tabernacle choir! How cool is that?!? Very. At this point any music is fine by me. Especially MOTAB.

Wednesday I helped clean rooms in another building in anticipation of the incoming missionaries. I helped to host them when they arrived later that day. I welcomed about 7 new missionaries to the MTC. Showed them around, and got them all situated with thier schedule. They all leave the MTC before I do. How crazy is that? I've seen so many people come and go it will be fun when its finally my turn to leave. 14 days... So many mothers Cried as I took their children away from them into the MTC visitors center to get their name tags and other things. I had no mercy. Just kidding it was sad. Sort of. Also the new Japanese missionaries arrived on Wednesday. Its awesome because they dont know Japanese and I know a little bit more. Its crazy to see just how much i've learned since I first arrived.

Thursday was kinda boring not much happened. One of the elders in my district has been showing me how to draw. Its a good stress reliever and helps to keep me awake during the long days and also pay attention. Normally  I would stand up but our classrooms are so small I would be in the way of 2/3 of the district. I drew a cool picture of a covered wagon. If i can figure out how to upload pictures ill send it your way.

Friday was tons of fun. I ran a lot in the morning as well as I took a PRT. I skipped the run because I had no way of keeping track of distance other than using the 1/10 of a mile track that 25 people use at a time. There was NO WAY I was going to try and pass people for 15 laps on a tiny track.  Ill re-do it in Japan. My score for those counting was: 101 sit-ups and 93 push-ups not bad for a strength. I think that's an A on the PRT strength portion but there is no way I can be 100% sure. We played a silly telephone game in class on Saturday. Telephone is hard in English let alone in JAPANESE. I don't know what our sensei was thinking by making us play it. Oh well...

Bow to your SENSEI!

On Saturdays Members come in and we teach them. My companion and I taught a man from Canada who went on a mission to Sapporo I believe. He was really cool. We were able to eek out a message about the restored gospel and remind him about it again. We challenged him to share the message with another friend who was a non-member this week. Hopefully he does!

Sunday was a lot of fun too. My companion and I gave a lesson to our district about the spirit and receiving revelation for about an hour. It was really good and the member of the branch presidency who sat in on the lesson commended us afterwards on our preparation as well as how well we did teaching the lesson. During Seisankai (sacrament meeting) I was not randomly chosen to give a talk but the Elder who was forgot to write one so he babbled for a few minutes in very broken Japanese. Our branch president thought it was pretty funny. I did too.

Yesterday our District had an Eigo (English) fast. We weren't allowed to speak English for ANYTHING. It was slightly hard and our district was a whole lot more quieter than normal but I know that it was because we had trouble expressing what we wanted to say. We were stretched in our language ability yesterday that's for sure! We closed the fast by singing traditional P-day eve songs and praying. It was a good day and a realization for may of us that we only have two more weeks and need to pick up our feet and kick some Japanese language-study butt!

The MTC has been a great so Farr. Only two more weeks and Ill be thrown into the world that is the Japan Tokyo South Mission. I've had a blast here but the time to go has long since past!

Love you All!

Elder Joshua A. Farr

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Week 6 Report

Hello from the MTC!

Tomorrow marks 6 weeks into the MTC. How crazy is that? The weeks fly by. It seems like yesterday that I was writing an email to everyone. Not much has happened this week except I broke my leg yesterday. I fell over a railing in the residence hall. Its just a hairline fracture. Nothing a few weeks can't fix. Just kidding. I'm perfectly fine. I'm not stupid and jumping off of things or climbing the walls like Joel is.

The MTC is still as Fun as ever. Everyone here has already left and I am the only Midshipman left to fight against the oppression that are Zoomies and Whoops. Please pray on my their behalf that they will be spared and not have to learn of the true nature of youngster martial arts. IN all seriousness I'm good friends with a few they all good people. I met the Sister and Elder Richardson equivalent to the USMC base in Quantico, they're all really really cool. They introduced me to the senior military liaison officers for Japan. They were really nice, I hope I get to have a lot of interaction with them over in Japan.

I've continued to make more progress with the language over the past week. I wrote a talk in Japanese for Sacrament meeting but didn't get called to give it. (It was amazing by the way) also, I gave a lesson to an "Investigator" without notes so that was pretty cool too. Its moving along just fine. On Saturday I memorized 100+ vocabulary words. I'm so glad that Plebe rates have helped me to learn the Language!

On Sunday, we were privileged to hear from the guy in charge of all the LDS movies (ie. Testaments, Legacy) He was really cool and shared a lot of stories and clips about his new movie that helps to portray the struggles of the Martin Handcart company, Very inspiring. I enjoy hearing about the extreme faith that the early pioneers had. I could never do it, I like having my limbs.

Now that the senior missionaries have left on Monday I am now the top ranking Japanese speaking Missionary here at the MTC. I(ts a great feeling but also nerve-wracking because in 3 weeks ill be in Tokyo!! I have a lot to work on but I know that if I am diligent and obedient then I will be blessed with strength as well as the gift of tongues.

There isn't much to talk about, the MTC is very very very scheduled day-to-day schedule rarely changes. However, these three scriptures really define my last week here at the MTC:
Jeremiah 4:19, Isaiah 16:11, and Acts 1:18
Hopefully Japanese Natto and rice fixes me right up!

We got our Katakana Name-tags this week too. Mine says Fua- Choro pronounced "Fa Choro" but its all in Katakana and Kanji, ill try to send pictures but the computers here only work half of the time.

Anyways, I am almost out of time. Its good hearing from everyone And I enjoy all the dear elders and Letters and emails. Thanks for all the support.

Talk to you all in a week!

Elder Joshua A. Farr

Jeremiah 4:19 "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war."

Isaiah 16:11 "Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kir-haresh"

Acts 1:18 "Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out."

He sounds like he's having fun.]

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Family and Friends,

Its week I have zero idea. Four? Five? Six?!? All the weeks are starting to meld together its beginning to be troublesome. I do know that I rank up to DISempi (basically seniors) next Wednesday and that marks three weeks left of this place that they call Paradise. Some people refer to the MTC as Spirit prison but I don't see why that could be because the food here is sooooo good. I had 6 boiled eggs for breakfast. The best they've served yet.

Side Note: This computer has a right clicking feature meaning I can spell check!

Anywho, this past week has been just like the other weeks filled with classes, church and lots and lots of Japanese. Like I said last week I have trying my best to speak the Language as much as possible. The fruits of my labors were evident when during an investigator lesson I was actually able to understand what the investigator was saying, answer her questions, and say things that I think made sense. It was a great feeling being able to Speak somewhat better than last week.

We got a native speaker as a new sensei. Our old one's BYU schedule got changed and Tsukamoto-San took over. She speaks REALLY REALLY REALLY fast. Its kind of crazy but just the few days that she has been with my district has been really beneficial to the group both spiritually and Language-lly. She has challenged us to learn over 60 vocabulary words a day as well as multiple grammar forms. Its impossible but slowly and surely im able to get closer and closer to achieving this goal. Kracken-based grammar has helped the district really grasp hard-to-understand grammar concepts and principles. I'm considering patenting it when I get back. Ill call it hooked-on-Kracken: The easy way to learn Japanese.

The Lessons are in three hour blocks but are broken up into language and Gospel. We spent half our time now preparing to be effective missionaries by learning how to invite others to Christ and prepare ourselves as well as study methods to increase our productivity. Its cool to see how putting the gospel in your life has such a direct correlation to success in other aspects. I'm beginning to see it take shape. Pretty cool. The rest of the third hour block is devoted to Grammar and Language practice. Yesterday we memorized how to invite people to get baptized its both Language and gospel! Unfortunately we mostly focus on the gospel side of language so I can bear my testimony but If i were to ask where to buy  milk I would be hopelessly lost. I guess that's why there are Trainers in the Mission field.

I passed the sacrament in Church last Sunday its was a cool experience hearing the prayers one in Japanese. I CAN ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND THE TALKS.I never thought this day would come but I don't just sit in sacrament meeting just twiddling my thumbs and looking up words that I think I heard I can actually get something from them. Its really cool. The way talks work here is that they randomly pick two members from the zone to give the talks on a prepared subject. So every week we have to write our talks just in case. There's a big sigh of relief once the person conducting the meeting has said who is giving the talks. So far I have not been chosen but I'm sure knowing my luck that I will soon!

Life as a missionary here isn't too bad. I don't understand how dad was so skinny when here was here 60 years ago because all they serve is fries and ice cream. Honestly, its a little disgusting. I think on average the District has gained at least 8 pounds. Im trying my best to combat this lack of Physical Exercise.

I have more than Tripled my max pull-ups since arriving. I guess its easier to get big when the Lord is your spotter. That might be a little irreverent. I apologize. One of the gym employees commented that hes never seen a district of missionaries work as hard in the gym/physical fitness center as mine has before. I pride myself in knowing that I nearly kill 11 other missionaries on a daily basis. Today we got up at 0530 to go a lower body workout. Needless to say, it'll be tough for them to walk up any stairs for a while.

Today my companion will get his first haircut from a barber.; He has never in his life been to one. I am so proud of Elder Hernandez for taking this big step into adulthood. Ill see if they'll let me take pictures and document this big moment in his life. Ill make sure to keep everyone updated. They say you grow up in the MTC but I doubt he expected this kind of change.

Because I cant train Plebes at the academy I have taken akin to training younger missionaries. I make sure that everyone is abiding to the standards and the rules set by the MTC handbook. But because this is the MTC I do so in a loving manner rather than yelling and dropping the messed up Elders. That's a big difference between here and there. Definitely the yelling.

I can't think of much else to say, the MTC is great but I cant wait to get to Japan. That's when the fun will really begin. I can't wait. Until then, I am just going to better myself so that I can be the best missionary that Japan Tokyo South has ever seen!

Farr ちょろ

Tuesday, September 3, 2013



Tomorrow marks the end of my fourth week here at the MTC. It has definately been a pretty crazy one at that. I am almost half way done with my stay here at the mtc and I still feel like I don't know a lick of Japanese. I'm sitting in the huge laundry room writing this email. Its kinda crazy loud missionaries are loud. I guess that is a good thing.

Every Tuesday We have a devotional as a whole unit. My companion and I as well as another companionship in my district out ran numerous missionaries to get front row seats at the devotional. Good thing too because The guest speaker was Neil L. Anderson! After his many words of wisdom they wouldn't let us leave because a HUGE thunderstorm had come through and it was pouring and thundering like crazy (its been doing that all this week). SO they had all the missionaries sit and sing lots of hymns to pass the time as we awaited the storm to pass by. Neil L. Anderson came down and started shaking peoples hands. HE SHOOK MY HAND. It was crazy. He is a lot shorter than I. Plus he probably uses lotion because his hands were super soft. Thats  the first general Authority that I have touched. That sounds odd. But its true. I might get to sing in Conference. Fingers crossed! Afterwards they released us however, it was still pouring so my companion and I sprinted to the residence hall (about 3/4 of a mile run) in our suits in the pouring rain as the other missionaries walked back. I guess thats but a small taste of what monsoon season will be like in Japan.

Side note: Mom, my shoes are waterproof. Also 5/6 of my district has the same Ecco brand shoes as I.

So Tuesday was pretty cool. The rest of the week was fairly basic with classes nd lessons and teaching investigators nothing really too crazy. Cathryn sent me a workout the "Spartacus Workout" and I have been beating my district to death with it three times a week. I woke them up today at 0530 to get the workout in before P-day started and before breakfast. I've gotten everyone to wear their watches correctly and eat healthier meal alternatives. They're all basically mini-Midshipmen.

My companion and I taught an "Investigator" two days ago. We had what we wanted to say in Japanese written out but it was quite amazing since we really didnt need it. We were able to form essentially understandable sentences and bear our testimonies of the church and the power of prayer. I still don't understand how we were able to accomplish that. I guess its perks of being a missionary.

I made a vow two days ago only to speak Japanese from breakfast to bed every day except P-day and in the Gym . Today is the first day that I've spoken English to any of the missionaries in days! The classroom is a whole lot quieter since i'm not talking so much. I guess thats a good and a bad thing. The new phrase of the week is "When you release the Kraken you..." and the sentence is filled in accordingly. I am so glad that the word for "Kraken" will help us out in Japan especially if it decides to invade Tokyo South. District 27 will be prepared to warn all the Japanese of the impending danger.

Overall the MTC has been a great experience thus far. I have had countless opportunites to serve and feel the spirit as well as better myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Its not quite the Naval Academy but it has a similar purpose in developing young individuals into people who can go out and represent what they believe in. Its awesome. Plus here you can untuck your shirt when you workout too! One thing that i have been struggling with is comapring myself to those around me. Its hard when others are picking up the language faster than you are. But after much pondering I have come to the conclusion that these two years are no longer about me. I cannot learn Japanese by myself I need assistance from our Father in Heaven. Without him there is no way that I would be able to accomplish as much as I have so far. I have changed my perspective this week and it really has made a HUGE difference in my life its awesome.

Thank you for all your letters and packages. Ive gotten so much love from back home its awesome. Also, Elder Hernandez has enjoyed your letters too he really appreciaes it even though he has zero idea who any is! And to whoever sent me a dear elder to Japan... Nice one. Haha.

I brought my funky pants that I got from Grandpa. They're a hit. Everyone is super jealous of them and they're writing home to have their parents send them a pair. Everyone wishes they were as cool as Farr Choro. Snaps to Grandpa.

Joshua A. Farr

Oh and here are some pictures.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Third of the way done!

Family and Friends,

Tomorrow marks the conclusion of my third week at the MTC. It’s crazy just how fast things are moving here. The weeks fly by. Tomorrow is when the next wave of Japanese missionaries arrive. The Senior Japanese missionaries left early this morning. A lot has happened since I last wrote:

I have gained a better understanding of the Language. I can barely understand but I’m getting there. Everyone speaks so fast. I can understand words like: "Prayer" and "Let’s go to meal". Some of the most common phrases.

This week I had the opportunity to teach a volunteer member who came just to help the Japanese Missionaries get ready for Japan. Her name was Uema and she is a student at BYU. She served in Japan I wasn’t able to understand her. My companion did most of the translation and I bore my testimony. This week I challenged one of our "investigators" (really our sensei acting) to read the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately for me and my companion we forgot to bring one to give him and he didn't have one on hand either. Whoops.

I learned the word for pants: zubon, and have started making sentences along the lines of: "If you wear pants, you will be blessed." Or "Because I wore pants, I can go to church." It’s a great way to help me work on my grammar. Also, the rest of the district has joined in in making silly sentences with words. I’m not so sure what our sensei thinks of it. Although he has come up with a few. Please don't think I’m being irreverent mom, I’m not.

Side note: I'm slowly losing touch with English. I know my emails are starting to show this. Please forgive me. Also the right mouse button doesn't work on these computers for some reason.

My roommate keeps knocking things off his bed and they fall onto mine since our bunks are pressed up against the wall. I’ve had books, alarm clocks, pens/pencils, pants and last night a full bottle of water exploded when it hit me. If he wasn't 300 pounds I might kick him out of the room. I’m sure that’s the best course of action. I'm just glad the bunk hasn't broken. Yet.

They have gluten free bread here, Jacob can eat his heart out when he comes.

My schedule is super exciting: I wake up, workout, eat, go to class, eat, go to class, eat, and go to class. It’s kinda routine but my district is really really cool so were able to make it an enjoyable experience. We played a game last night in the resident hall after class got out called "Fruits and vegetables" it’s a total Mormon game but hilarious none the less.

I was saving the scotcharoos that Aunt Ruth made me for the flight to Japan but I caved in last week and ate half of them and gave the rest of them to my district. Needless to say, they definitely age with time. Also, there is lots of peanut butter here so I've been trying to fill my 2 year quota on peanut butter. I think I am nearly there.

Shout out to the Young women and Men of the Dublin ward I and the other elders enjoyed your letters. Also, Elder Hernandez enjoyed them too. He thoroughly enjoyed the drawings attached. One of the elders in our district received a letter randomly from a young women’s group in the west who sent mail to the MTC and then they were randomly assigned from there. We opened it up and it looked like a ransom note with Mormon lingo. Sort of like: "Baptism", "Happy", "Church." It’s hanging on our classroom wall right now.

My senseis that I have had are: Sensei Anderson, Sensei Horne, Sensei Gregory, and Sensei Holbrook. All Male. We have zero sisters in our district. I haven't talked to a girl face to face in weeks.

The MTC is full of music. I didn't bring my ukulele and can’t sing so I’m stuck with whistling. Good thing I’m above par with it so I can get by. Every morning you can hear the Elders whistling a tune to some hymn and then it’s stuck with me the rest of the day. I’m getting pretty good at it though. I’ll be a professional by the end of the MTC stay.

The Japanese Missionaries from Japan arrived last week. They are pretty cool. It’s hilarious because they walk around in their suits since they are freezing. I'm not looking forward to going to Japan because I'm going to sweat out my guts. If that’s even possible. They eat all the rice in the dining hall. They stack their plates with it. I don't know why I am so surprised by this. Also, all the Senseis have told us that Natto is gross but they learned to love it. I'm sure the Japanese don’t think the dining hall rice is good. I can’t wait for authentic Japanese food. At least twice a day someone in my district mentions Japanese food and how excited they are for it.

It’s super exciting to be here at the MTC. You can feel the spirit everywhere. Also the food is pretty good. It’s going by so quickly. It'll be done in 6 weeks!


Elder Farr
All the mids (except Elder Rydalch)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I still have no idea what is going on, but it's great!


I made it through week two. Crazy huh? A lot has happened since I last wrote. I have spent a LOT of time in the classroom learning Japanese. I still have no idea what is going on. I know a few words in Japanese but I just sit in class and wonder what the heck the sensei is saying. Luckily we have our very own missionary who has taken a few years of Japanese. Without him then we would be out of luck. Who knows how we would function without him.

Last Tuesday my companion and I lined at the gate to the MTC 60 min prior to the Tuesday devotional. As soon as the gates were I opened we quickly walked to the Marriott center passing several hundred missionaries. It was good because it turns out Elder Richard G. Scott was speaking and my companion and I were able to sit in the first row of missionaries in front of him. He looks really old. He talked about prayer and how prayer can be effective. He also talked a lot about his love for the missionaries and the Church. The spirit was really strong. The devotional was broadcast throughout the world at all the MTCs. If you watch it you can see my head multiple times throughout it. 

I've met several zoomies this week. They are all silly. I was running this morning from breakfast in my PT clothes and one of them told me to "Keep on running Plebe." Probably one of the funniest things today. It’s okay because I give them even more of a hard time. 

On Sunday we watched a church movie in Japanese. I just sat there and tried to figure out what they were saying. It was like a reverse dubbed Japanese Movie. Pretty hilarious. I probably shouldn't have been laughing in the back of the room but oh well...

The missionaries in my district are all under the impression that Cathryn and I are both trained killers. This is accurate. I have them all wearing their watches inside out and eating healthier meal alternatives. I lead about 5 of them in a workout yesterday morning. I would consider myself a leader among all these 18-something year old's. They all keep referring to themselves as "Farr Choro" And using my name in various songs and phrases. It’s silly and flattering at the same time. 

To help me learn the language I have been carrying around index cards in my shirt pocket with 20 vocabulary words on it. Every day I write down new words and the next day I learn them. My comprehension has improved. It’s crazy how in 9 weeks most missionaries can get by with what they have learned. Only at the MTC.

My branch president is President Mack, a balding man. He and I both can relate to the struggles of hair loss. Dad would probably like him too. I wrote him an email asking for permission to shave my head. #FingersCrossed.

Thank you all for the letters they are so uplifting and help to keep me motivated throughout this trial of my faith. Thank you all for your support and love it can be certainly felt here at the MTC. 

Side note: my companion, Elder Hernandez has not gotten any mail or packages. The chance on him getting any is 2% for all his family lives on a base in Okinawa. If you have the chance please send him something his address is the same as mine but his name is: Elder David Hernandez. That would make his day. Thanks!

I hope everything is going well in the real world I love you all.

Best Wishes,
Joshua A. Farr
Elder        LDS