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!