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!

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