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

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Note: If you would like to receive my fun emails DIRECTLY, just email me at jfarr@myldsmail.net and say so! I check my email on Tuesdays.


Today is my first official P-Day. I have P-Day every Tuesday so that is why I haven't responded so timely. Thank you for your letters I got the Dear elder one and the one from Mom in a timely fashion so both services work well.

I have been at the MTC for over a week. I reported on Wednesday around 11:45 and was immediately shuttled to and from place to place getting all my issued gear. I got my name tag (in Japanese of Course) as well as my huge pile of Japanese Books.They took us right into the classroom. Its crazy because as soon as I arrived our sensei (teacher) started talking to us in Japanese. I had zero Idea what he was saying. He has spoken English all week and I still don't know what he is saying. We spend about 6 hours in the classroom having Japanese rammed at us. Its quite fun not knowing whats being said. I can say a basic prayer, share a basic testimony and make very very very simple sentences. Equipped with this knowledge I have been able to teach an Investigator over 3 times in the past week. Crazy Huh? The Spirit here is super strong there is no way I would be able to learn this much Japanese with its help. I was able to learn the entire Hiragana Alphabet and be able to read and write it in only a few hours one day!

The food here is good I try not to eat too much because its really easy to gain weight. I'm following a strict diet of whatever looks good. Haha. But seriously the MTC is great they even have homemade Ice-Cream. I eat most of my meals with my district (12 Missionaries) as well as my Companion. Everyone here is SUPER Mormon and from Utah, no joke. You think i'm joking but i'm not. Everyone in my District is either from Utah or from Idaho. I'm from the furthest east.

My companion, Elder Hernandez is pretty cool, albeit young. He's an 18 year old recent graduate from the American High School located in Okinawa. Hes lived on bases there his whole life and doesn't know a lick of Japanese or Spanish either. Hes young but full of energy. So are all the other Missionaries here I out age them by over 1.5 years on average. But in the class room that does not really mater. I love them all and cant wait to see the progress that we will all make in the coming weeks.

Sunday here Was really cool. We had Sacrament meeting in Japanese and the only Word I could Understand was Morumon Sho (Book of Mormon) and Amen (Amen). But it was a good meeting regardless. Following church services I was able to attend a fireside given by the director of the MTC where he gave a good talk about the purpose behind the purpose of the Missionary. Followed by a recording of an Address by Elder Bednar entitled "Character of Christ" it was REALLY REALLY good I recommend you watch it one day because its that good plus its Bednar so you know it'll be pretty good.

I've seen all the Mids except for Wilson Rydalch because he lives on the West campus of the MTC. Hopefully I will see him tonight for our devotional. William Allred lives two doors to my right and Diaz a floor below so we see each other frequently through out the day which is good. Often we well just congregate around the pull-up bar and workout whilst conversing.

The Language is Hard. But I know the Lord will provide a way because I know that I was called to this mission for a reason. I'm amazed at the progress that I've had in the past 6 weeks. The missionaries that about to leave (dai sempi) are well versed in the language, I cant wait to be able to form well thought out sentences in Japanese. Hopefully all is going well. Send letters and packages :) Its always good to hear from you.

I have attached a few pictures, I haven't had much time to take many but I'll try my best to send a few each week!

Elder Joshua A. Farr
Japan Tokyo South Mission

Elders Farr, Allred, and Diaz

Elders Hernandez and Farr