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.