Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Fun Week Here on the Coast

Dear Friends and Family,

Its been another exciting week down here in Yokosuka. It sure has been really busy this past week due to all the things that I have to do as a Zone and all the things that Elder Ford has to do as a  District Leader. President Wada really has us all working our butts off to ensure that the Tokyo South Mission runs well and without any sort of hiccups.

This past week the Zone has really been focusing on how to help others overcome their problems with specifically the Word of Wisdom. In all of the District meetings that I attended with Elder Ford this week I had the chance to practice teaching about the Word of Wisdom to many different missionaries and even some non-members. What I did find out through my own personal studies as well as through teaching that a lot of the Word of wisdom (like not drinking Alcohol and also not doing drugs) is for our own benefit. The Lord has commanded us to not partake of any harmful substances that might inhibit us in our progression. It was just a thought that occurred to me as I was helping to train the other missionaries on how to properly teach the word of wisdom -dom.

This past Thursday we had another Mission Leadership Council conference in the mission home. It was really good to see all olf my missionary leader friends and get to spend the day discussing how we can better help those in our zones as well as our district leaders better fulfill their purposes by inviting them to come unto Christ. Elder Young was there, he said that one of the friends I had back in Tokorozawa (Christian, i may not have mentioned about him in earlier emails) really really really wants to get baptized. Christian is from France and has extremely large faith. He wants to learn so much about the church and really loves reading from the Book of Mormon. He should be getting Baptized within the next couple of weeks. I am so excited to see him progress and hear about how things are going with him from Elder Young.As for Yokosuka, things here are REALLY slow. The area has not seen any success in several transfers and the branch is really small. I talked to President Wada about it a little bit in one of my weekly letters and it seems that we just need to hit it hard and work smart and inspired in order to find those that will receive us. I really think that we can see miracles here in Yokosuka but its going to take a whole lot of faith and a whole lot of God's hand in directing us to where we should go.

This week we met with a potential investigator named Yamauchi. Yamauchi is a 22 year old guy that works at a factory making scaffolding. I think that he really enjoys what he does. he is full of energy and LOVES to talk. Elder Ford thought that he spoke really really polite Japanese on the phone but when i met him, it turns out that his Japanese is just really really un-polite and that's why Elder Ford couldn't understand what he was saying.

Brother Smith, our ward mission leader in the Yokosuka branch sat all the missionaries down yesterday and we talked really long and hard about how to work more effectively as a team and how we should be using each others talents in order to help people. He talked a lot about how serving a mission in Japan has really blessed him in his life and how if he didn't smother his talent of Japanese he would probably not have the good job that he has working for the military that he has now. It was a really good talk and its important that we make sure that we know what were good at and strive to develop that which we are not good at in order to make us better individuals.Brother Smith has two daughters that just recently returned from their missions. He had all of us missionaries go talk to them after church and all seven of us had a really great conversation about what they had learned so farr in their missions. They both said that they had learned a lot about themselves but mostly about patience and that no effort is wasted. They both served in Japan. It was a really good little discussion. You could feel the spirit really well in the room.

Well, that's all there really is for this week. We are meeting with the areas only investigator this week on Wednesday so hopefully we will be able to make some progress in helping them along with their progression. I'm just really excited to meet this family that ive heard so much about. I think that were most likely going to go eat some good Japanese food and have a quick lesson or something like that. I don't really know. However I think that it will be good no matter what happens.

Shout out to Cathryn DeLong for entering the MTC on Wednesday to start her own little adventure as a Sister Missionary. Please make sure to write her and send her emails!

Oh, and at a members house this week one of their kids pooped on the floor while we were all eating dinner. It was hilarious. At another members house we were talking all about where each person would like to go on a mission. The 12 year old son said japan, their 8 year old daughter said South america and their 4 year old son said "THE JUNGLE OF DEATH!!!!" as he punched a clenched fist into the air. I couldn't stop laughing and his parents were super embarrassed because they didn't know where he learned " The jungle of death" from. It was too funny. I he too wants to go to South America I guess...Well that's all that happened this week. I think that it will be an even better week his upcoming week. I look forward to hearing from all of you in the next couple of weeks.

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hello from 横須賀!

Dear Everyone,

I am writing from confines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church building located in Yokosuka Japan! I'm am only a two minute walk away from the gates to the US Naval base and let me tell you the area is absolutely beautiful. Its not quite as beautiful as Annapolis is at night but its pretty stinking pretty. Our apartment is about a 1 minute walk from the shore so if a Tsunami comes in were probably toast but it's okay since were missionaries and what not. The Church looks out for its own. Especially the missionaries that are here in Japan. Even if it looks like we might be trouble the church will have us evacuated out promptly!

So on Monday we got our transfer calls and Elder Young and I were really saddened that we were going to be moved around the mission and not see each other. I think the biggest part of our transfer was that we were not going to be able to work out as hard as we had been last transfer with newer, less-motivated as we, companions. But its okay because my "new companion" Elder Ford really enjoys running and working out. We did sprints our first day together and I nearly killed him with how many we were doing. We did push-ups this morning and he just about died at 1000 while i continued and finished off the remaining 1000. Its certainly a change from having a Olympic qualifying companion to a non-Olympic companion. But please don't get me wrong, I love Elder Ford regardless of his Olympic entering chances! He and are are going to have a great time together I know it!

The Japanese ward he is rather small. Actually its only a branch of about 10-15 active members. Its a really small unit with its number of active members slowly dwindling. There is a lot of work to be done here to help not only the branch but also the people whole live here in Yokosua learn about the Church. God thing that President Wada sent a team of expert-missionaries. Along with Elder Ford and I are the Senior Military Relation Missionaries, Sister and Elder Addinton as well as two other Sister missionaries, Sister Dansie and Sister Hurlbut. Everyone is really great and i think that it should be a pretty good transfer for pretty much everyone. I don't foresee any problems. There aren't really any people who the elders were teaching when I transferred in so its going to be a whole lot of talking to people and knocking on doors to find the prepared. I think that a lot of our focus this transfer is going to mainly consist of us visiting the members and helping to strengthen the members that we do have and work with and through them to help find people to teach. It certainly is going to be a very interesting transfer here in Yokosuka. I'm certainly excited to see what kinds of miracleswill occur in the next couple of weeks!

One highlight of the Week was that one of the Members in the branch's son got baptized. on Friday we went to the base to go and watch it and there was this random Japanese man who had happened to show up. He knew a little bit about the Mormons on an very simple basic level such as that we didn't smoke Alcohol or Drink Tobacco. We ended up teaching him a very very simple lesson while the entire service was going on and he got to experience a little bit of what it is like to be a member. He says he works up in Tokyo so hopefully hes not too busy for us to teach him later on. he was a very eccentric man so teaching him about the restored Gospel should be pretty fun! That's all for this week, I hope you all have an excellent week! Oorah.

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Pics: Me and elder young in front of Tokorozawa's church, weird poster is that man hiding amongst others' meat?, Lunch! Chicken!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hello Everyone

Hello Everyone,

I can't believe that it's been six weeks since Elder Young and I got called to work together here as Zone Leaders in a Tokorozawa. It's been a really busy time here as Zone as Leaders but it's been fun none the less.

We have spent a good portion of our week this week teaching one of our friend Christian about the gospel. We have been doing a lot of work with him in helping him learn about both the importance of the Bible and also the Book of Mormon.

Today we got transfer calls. I'm going to be leaving the Tokorozawa area. I'm going to be a zone leader in the Yokohama zone and be working in the Yokosuka area! My new companion is actually one from the past. Elder Ford! I worked with him during my last transfer in Fussa back when I was only on my third transfer. I'm really excited to see just how much he has changed in six months. Hopefully it's just as fun as when I was with him last!

I'm really sad to be leaving all my friends here in Tokorozawa especially my companion Elder Young. It's going to,be weird moving to my fourth area in only eight transfers. Also, moving to another military base Ward will sure be an interesting experience. I haven't gone to church in English for such a long time! I'm sure there will be lots of miracles to be seen as I begin working in the Yokosuka area! I'm just not very excited to pack... I'm going to be doing a whole lot of packing today to get ready for the move on Thursday. I'm traveling from the most northern region of the mission to the most southern area. I'm guessing total travel time will exceed two and a half hours of just being on the train. It should be a blast. I'll definitely write about that next week!

 One really cool miracle that happened this week is that we met this guy named Friday on the street after one of our morning runs. We talked to him a little bit and found out that he had just recently lost contact with some missionaries that he had met in the northern Tokyo mission. We talked a little bit about the church and asked if he wanted to come to church or meet sometime and he said yes! We parted ways and then realized that the other missionaries in our area had received a referral for a guy named Friday from Chiba, Japan that they hadn't been able to get in contact all week. We had met him at a stoplight! It just goes to show that God always has a backup plan!

Anyways, it's always a pleasure hearing from you! I hope that everyone has a great week!

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

I haven't found any roaches in our apartment all transfer!


This week has been kind of crazy. Yesterday was temple Pday but since I'm a zone leader our schedules are always hectic and time to write our emails disappeared. Elder young and I took a little bit of time today to send out a couple quick emails to our loved ones to let them know that we are still alive and doing well.

I'm still alive and doing well.

We finally have an AirConditioner in our apartment and man does it do wonders! I'm finally able to sleep normally at night and Elder Young and I haven't been exhausted all week. We can work hard from sunrise to sunset without having to worry about us getting burnt out by 1400.

Since Elder Young and I are zone leaders, we spend a whole lot of our time training the other missionaries in our zone how to work effectively and how to be better missionaries. We also use our time with other missionaries to help learn more about them and how we can help them reach their full potential and achieve their own personal goals.

I went on splits with Elder Crandall and Elder Miyazawa in Hibarigaoka and Fussa respectively. Elder Crandall and I played a whole lot of basketball (Stereotypical Missionary work, right?) and met a lot of really cool kids. We ended up,getting a return appointment with this guy and his younger brother to meet for lunch and learn a little bit more about coming to church and each other. I'm really excited to see what kinds of good things will come forth from that meeting.

In Fussa I was able to relive my first couple of transfers with the district leader there, Elder Miyazawa. We went to a small city by foot to see if we could locate a less active member. We were walking and talking to people since we got kind of lost and couldn't really remember where the less active was. We eventually found him in his house and talked to him through his kitchen window as he was making ramen or some sort of noodles for lunch. He kind of ignored us but it was okay because he said we could come back another time and go to lunch with him. I think that if we can help him get more friends then maybe he'll be more inclined to come back to church!

Yesterday I taught a lesson to one of our investigators Christian. We talked a lot about having charity and how if he is a good example to his non-Christian parents then they will see the good example he is putting forth and he will be able to help,them become more Christian-like people. Christian is really cool and really wants to help out his family. Were meeting him later this week and it should be a really good lesson.

Well it's good to hear from you all, I hope that everyone has a great week filled with lots of delicious cheeses!

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hello y'all


I can't believe that it's been a whole week since I last wrote. It feels more like three weeks. This week for some reason has dragged on and on and on. So much has happened since last time I wrote so let me tell you a little bit about what I did this week:

Last Tuesday was the Zone Conference. It was super long to say the least. I think we went a whole hour over because of all the trainings going Farr too long than they were originally expected to go. We talked a whole lot about the Book of a Mormon and teaching the first discussion (The Restoration) to people. We spent a lot of time talking about faith and having the spirit with you when you teach and interact with a bunch of people.

I talked about the role that the Book of Mormon has in conversion. In the scriptures it says so,etching about "Take no thought about what Ye should say beforehand or something like that" I was a little worried about what was going to happen to my presentation since I had a bunch of notes from the preach my gospel book and my scriptures but I still didn't know how I was going to fill up a whole 30min with what I needed to present on. As I started talking, the ideas and the scriptures on paper all started to flow together and what resulted was a pretty good presentation. The spirit was definitely present there in that room.

As soon as I was don't with the conference I went on exchanges with the assistants to the president. I hung out with Elder Rockwood for a day in Kichijoji helping him with the Assistant duties that he has. We did a TON of paperwork. We wrote a bunch of emails and papers and made some phone calls. It was a whole lot of fun. We taught three lessons in the 24 hours that I was with him and read a lot from the Book of Mormon with the three people that we taught. They're all really cool people so it will be cool to hear from the Assistants later to see how they're progressing.

While at the Mission Office we got notice that the typhoon was going to hit earlier than previously expected. As a result, I had to draft an email and ensure that everyone in the mission was prepared for the storm. We had to make sure that everyone had all their bikes inside of their apartments and bunkered down for the strong winds. The Hurricane was supposed to hit around midnight that night while everyone in the mission was asleep. However when I woke up the next morning at 5:33 with little to no signs of any damage. It was a false alarm.

Sunday was super duper hot. I don't think it ever dropped below 80 degrees in our apartment. The day that we get air conditioning in our apartment will be a day of much celebration. At church we had a lot of people come who were members. Unfortunately none of our investigators showed up. After Church, Elder Young and I helped one of the members with an English essay and we taught a lesson to one of our investigators that we happened to have run into at the park. It was a really cool experience just running into him. We have a lesson with him next Wednesday.

Elder Young and I taught a lesson in Japanese, Spanish, and English to one of the members last night. It was really weird but still a really cool experience!

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Zone conference in Kichijoji! Our recycling. Have I sent this one before? Elder Yoshino and his companion some random Texan

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Hello Everyone!

I hope that everyone had an excellent week this week over in their respective parts of the world. Things here in Japan have been relatively calm. The rain season officially ends in a couple of days. Soon the days of being completely soaked while riding my bike back to my apartment in the evening will be over. The next part of the Japanese season will be the extreme heat and humidity that results from being stuck on an island in the pacific.

Currently our apartment has no source of cooling other than a small electric fan that we are borrowing from another missionary apartment. It is so hot in our tatami room that we sleep in at night. I can't imagine what it would have been like to be a Japanese person living in Japan  before the invention of the AirConditioner. Fun fact: Here in Japan, people don't believe in central heating and cooking. They use many, small wall-mounted units to provide the cooling air to the rooms in homes and businesses.

Things here in Japan as a missionary have been super exciting. Ever since The Tokorozawa area has gone from 6 missionaries to 8 missionaries (and soon to be 10 missionaries) this area has seen a whole lot of success. As missionaries, our main purpose is to invites other to come unto Christ. This seems relatively easy however, for a nation with not much exposure to basic Christian backgrounds it's a whole lot harder. It's fairly common to talk to someone on the street that has never heard of the Bible or of Jesus Christ himself. It's up to us as missionaries to help teach and better the cities and areas in which we are chosen to work in.

This week we had the special opportunity to attend the Summer Concert of a pretty famous (in Tokyo, Japan at least) LDS Young single adult choir called the "Little Witnesses." They're comprised of institute students who gather in Shibuya and spend some of their free time putting together a concert/small play that helps to explain basic beliefs and practices of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. We spent the last week, making flyers and inviting people to attend the concert as it was a great non-threatening way to introduce the fundamental beliefs of our church to non-members. We had an investigator, 岩澤さん, come to the concert. It was a really good experience for him. Afterwards we talked to him about how he felt during the concert and invited him to sacrament meeting the next day. He came! Were going to start teaching him more about the Church in the next up and coming weeks.

One thing that I've thought is really interesting about the Japanese culture is the aspect of conformity that runs throughout the whole country. All the school children wear pretty much the same uniform, businessmen and women wear essentially the same kinds of suits. School children all wear the same colored hat to indicate that they're small children (as if someone one couldn't tell by looking at them). When we talk to people about religion they usually talk about how they are actually "Buddhist" even though it's been generations since someone in their family has practiced anything resembling religion. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that conformity is a bad thing, I'm just merely stating that it plays a very interesting part in how things are done here in Japan. The streets here are Spotless, the trains are essentially silent regardless of how many people are on board (it's a different story if there are large gatherings of High school students on board. Japanese kids LOVE to talk, especially talk loud. ) the streets here are absolutely spotless. Also, everyone here is extremely nice. I love Japan. The people here are the best!

Today Elder Young and I went to Kichijoji today to practice our presentations for Zone Conference with the other Zone Leaders from the Musashino North Zone. We spent about an hour practicing what we were going to present and how the Zone conference was going to be run. Tomorrow, Elder Young and I are going to present to about 50 missionaries throughout the Musashino North and South Zones. As a mission leadership-team we will be teaching for over six hours covering a variety of different topics covering from basic emergency preparedness to using the Book of Mormon to help investigators with their problems. It should be a whole lot of fun!

For the Fourth of July this week, we sang the National Anthem in two district meetings, pledged allegiance to the Flag and ate American food that has been re-packaged and labeled for consumer use here in Japan. It was a fantastic Fourth of July considering the fact that were about as Farr away from the United States as you can get! You can take the Americans out of America but you can't take the American out of the Americans!

It's been a great week, I love you all!

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Pics: Recycling is hard in Japan, check out what I found in Japan, zone meeting, on splits in Hibarigaoka, Elder Crandall

Hello Again from 日本!

Friends and Family,

I'm still alive! It's been a crazy couple of weeks here in Tokorozawa. Here is what's happened:

The biggest thing that's happened since I last wrote is that Transfers happened. I am no longer companions with Elder Connell. We got transfer calls about two weeks ago and he moved to Yamate. My new companion is Elder Young. Elder Young and I are both very similar in our way of thinking. It's only been a few weeks that we've been working together but it's been loads of fun nonetheless. He is currently training for the next summer Olympics.  He is a runner and if he can drop .03 seconds of his 100m time then he will make it in. We've been pushing ourselves pretty hard every morning to get better. My PRT race time is dropping like crazy.

The rain here is relentless. It continues to come down regardless of how much I want to keep dry. This past weekend really off and on. On Saturday Elder Young and I ran pretty early in the morning and afterwards,mad we were walking up,he stairs to our apartment, it started pouring SUPER hard. It was obnoxious how hard it was raining. We were both really grateful for how lucky we were to not get caught in the heavy downpour.

Last week Elder Young and I ran the first of ten different training briefs for our zone members. President Wada is doing this ten week training program that is supposed to help boost everyone's teaching abilities and help everyone to gain more confidence in their skills as missionaries. It was a really good training. We talked a lot about faith and how to work Hard, Smart, and Inspired. We read a lot from the Book of Mormon together. I tight from Alma 21 about being good missionaries. I think that everyone came out from the training with at least something new. Or I sure hope so...

There is this park by our new apartment in Shin-Tokorozawa called Koku Koen. It's gigantic. It used to be an old airport of some sort. I think that it it got destroyed during he end of the second war and afterwards they didn't know what to do with it so they turned it into this gigantic park. Elder Young and I walked around and talked to people about the church at the park. We did however meet these two people who used to be colonels in the Japanese military back in the day. One was a Jet fighter and the other was in the Japanese ground forces. They were really cool. I talked to them about how I was at the Academy and how afterwards, I'm planning on going back and joining the elite fighting force that is the United States Marine Corps. They thought that was pretty cool. We were able to have a really deep conversation about religion and the purpose of life. It was really really cool. They come to the park super often so next time were there we plan on giving them both Books of Mormon.

This week on Saturday, the Ward put together their own rendition of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." They have been practicing for weeks and weeks to perfect it, and they went all out in making flyers and spreading that word. There were even a bunch of members going door to door to generate some interest! I have no idea what the play was about. Shakespeare is hard to understand in my own language let alone in Japanese. It was quite the sight to behold. The whole time I laughed at how ridiculous my situation was. There I was an American, in Japan, watching a Play, written by Shakespeare, preformed in Japanese. I just laughed when everyone else did and did my best to keep my eyes open. After the play, the Ward threw this HUGE curry and rice party for all those people who had decided to come and watch the play. It was a really good time to be able to build friendships with the members and meet some cool non-members as well! In all, Saturday was a success!

Elder Suzuki, our Japanese missionary here in our District has really been taking a bigger role in leading the missionaries based here in Tokorozawa. We had a district meeting last week where all eight of us Tokorozawa missionaries sat down and planned out how we wanted to focus in the members this transfer and help bring them unto Christ individually. Were trying our best to work as a whole unit so that we can maximize the good that we do here in Tokorozawa!

Well that's all I have for now. It was good hearing from everyone either via email or letter this week!

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Please enjoy this picture of Chicken that I found at the store this week while doing grocery shopping.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hello everyone, it's not raining today! (for now)

Friends and Family,

This has been a really fun week here in Tokorozawa. Despite the turn in the weather, Elder Connell and I have really been able to make some progress in advancing the work of Salvation here in the Tokyo South region. Let me tell you a little about what we did this week!

Tuesday was Temple Pday. We took the train to Tokyo to attend a session at the temple and afterwards we went to an Indian curry restraint that was next door for lunch. That evening Elder Connell and I, as well as the other Zone leaders from the zone next door got together and prepared a presentation to give to the Stake Presidency about how the wards and the missionaries in the stake are doing. We had a discussion with about 6 or 7 members of the stake presidency and other auxiliary leadership positions. It went really well. I think. Their Japanese is really good. Luckily we had Brother Stevenson who is an interpreter for the Church to help,us out when we had no idea what they were asking or saying to us. It ended up being a great experience for everyone and the Stake presidency has our back. They want us to put together a large presentation that we will give for about an hour and a half to all the priesthood leaders in the Musashino Stake about missionary work.W That'll be in the coming weeks. I don't think I've ever given an hour and a half presentation let alone in Japanese before. This should be a very good experience for me!

This week on Wednesday we also had interviews with President Wada. I was able to sit down with him for about a half an hour and talk about the members of the zone, their concerns and how to become a better Zone leader. We talked about how to show people under your command that you care for them without having to tell them every single day that they mean a whole lot to you and that you care about them. As I try and apply this new approach to leadership, I hope that I can take the skills learned and apply them to the Military one day.

It's been raining all week like none other. As a result, I've been SOAKED all week. I finally found my rain jacket that I lent to sister Nara since she didn't have any a few weeks back and she left in the church. I'm so glad that now I can face the terrifying weather without fear.

I went to Kichijoji yet another time this week for what's called the Mission Leadership Council with President Wada. Basically all the missionary leads get together and talk a lot about the mission and do a lot of training and what not. Then we go and train all the other missionaries and fun is had by all. It was a good time. President Wada is really having us take charge of all the other missionaries here in the Japan Tokyo South mission area. My zone is in charge of training the whole mission on how to find people to teach using the tools that we have. It should be a lot of fun developing and running the mission wide training program. It'll be a whole lot of work, but it'll be fun.

Next week Monday is transfer calls, I can't believe it's been another six weeks! Time is flying by oh so quickly! Hope I get to stay in Tokorozawa for another transfer or two. Well see soon enough! I love you all! Talk to you next week!

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hello Again!

Family and Friends!

Another week has come and gone here in the Land of the rising run. Today was probably the first day that I've actually seen the sky go from dark to light. Normally by the time I wake up at 0530, the sun is already up and everything is light. However, today was a little bit different.  We got up at 0400 in order to be ready by 0530 to take a train into Tokyo so we could go to the Temple. We wanted to skip the packed morning trains and got to Tokyo pretty early. The differences between downtown Tokyo and Tokorozawa are crazy. Tokyo is a whole of of fun but I'm glad that I'm not a missionary there. I'm grateful to be in beautiful Tokorozawa.

This week surely was quite the adventure. Firstly, a lot of the members of my zone have been super sick. My companion, Elder Connell was super sick early on in the week and so we stayed inside for pretty much the whole day. He slept while I studied and did other productive things. He really wanted to sleep and get over his sickness mainly due to the fact that later in the week our schedule was supposed to get pretty hectic. I've been taking a lot of Vitamin C supplements and hydrating like none other so I think I'll be good. But from the reports that I've been getting from all the other members in the zone, a lot of other missionaries are becoming bed-ridden.

I had the chance to spend a day in Kichijoji receiving training from Elder Call one of the APs. We worked together really well and had a blast proselyting in the evening. AP life is extremely busy, I don't think that I would ever want to be AP mostly because it's all run here run there and they don't get as much time to proselyte as do the other missionaries. I think Zone Leader is an appropriate position for me. Not too much paperwork, some. But,mi still get a lot of time to go out and help people. Seeing a lot of the behind-the-scenes of the Tokyo South mission really helped me learn to appreciate how much work goose into making sure that things around the mission go smoothly.

A really good defining moment of the week was Saturday. For several weeks, actually for most of the transfer Elder Connell and I have been working on putting together a singing group comprised of our zone for the mission talent show that was held on Saturday in Machida. We sent a good portion of the day talking to people and traveling to the church where we the. Participated in the two hour program that consisted of missionaries, members, and non members demonstrating their talents for all to see. The acts ranged from a New Zealander Elder doing the Haka to a missionary improvising songs from the children's song book (which by the way was phenomenal). We sang a song called "I marvel at the Miracle" if sang correctly it would certainly bring the spirit into the room. However I'm a fraud that we accomplished quite the opposite at the talent show. Good thing they put us towards the middle so it turned out okay.

On Sunday and on Monday, all six of us missionaries had a meeting with brother Kurita, our Ward Mission Leader. He talked a lot about his vision for missionary work in the area as well as how we can work with the Ward to accomplish their goals. He is a very interesting man. He's a kendo instructor by profession and very disciplined. I think that he and I will get along very well. I believe that as we use him as the valuable asset that he is, we will be able to better serve the members living in Tokorozawa. We established a plan for this week and are going to work our absolute hardest to ensure that we can get done as much as we possibly can!

It's been a great week. Hectic at times. But in all,mi think that I've learned a whole lot this week that'll not only make me a better missionary but also a better leader in the future.

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

The district, we helped some Australians!, same ad on the train everywhere!, us at the temple!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Moshi moshi!

Friends and Family,

This week was a lot of fun. Despite the obnoxious amount of rain that we had this week we were able to do a lot of really really cool things. Here is the condensed version of what happened this week:

This week I went on exchanges with one of the district leaders over in Hibarigaoka. It was a lot of fun. We went out and proselyted as usual. We also found a lot of people who had interested in meeting with us and learning about the gospel. Elder Scott has been out a little longer than me but it's awesome being able to go on splits with lots of missionaries as Zone Leader since it gives me a chance to learn with them how to be better missionaries. Apparently Elder Scott has an interest in Joining the Marine Corps after the mission so we talked a lot about that. Missions are definitely the place to gain those much needed skills for leading as an officer. It's all about peer leadership out here in the mission field!

The best thing that happens this week was that An Apostle of The Lord, Elder Cook, came and visited us. I was fortunate that I was able to see him speak twice! He held a special missionary devotional for both of the Japan Tokyo missions. He and an area seventy talked a lot about doing missionary work and especially how to become better missionaries by working more effectively and inspired. He looks a lot different in person than on TV for general conference and what not. He talked specifically on the importance of the first vision and the Prophet Joseph Smith. And how most people won't remember exactly what they were taught, but they will remember the first vision because it's such an import piece of what makes our message so unique! So I'll definitely be trying to do better with that. The second time he talked to all the members of the Kanto Region at the Kichijoji church. It was just as good but instead he talked about families and temple attendance it was really cool being able to hear from him twice! The second time he stood with an interpreter next to him and it was pretty cool being able to understand a good portion of what the interpreter was saying. Mostly because the translation was said just a few moments before.

That's the big highlight of the week. It was a whole lot of fun being able to run around and preach the Gospel here to those in Tokorozawa. It's always a blast hearing for you all at home. Have an awesome week!

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Pics: Homemade Gyoza! (Pot stickers), the district on the train! Left to right: Elder Connell, Elder Suzuki, Sister Harper, Sister Nara, Elder Strain is out of the picture and I'm taking it!

It's getting hot in Tokorozawa


This week was super hectic. Being a zone leader is a whole lot more work than I originally thought it was going to be. Zone Leader life is a lot of Meetings and phone calls and Emails and running around from here to there.

Tuesday I had the privilege to go with Elder Tipine on splits in my first area Fussa. It's was super weird being able to walk around Fussa. It's like I never left Fussa! We spent the day in Akishima. As zone leader, I was I charge of helping Elder Tipine with his basic training and his desire to become a better missionary we talked a lot and I helped him set goals and plans for the next six weeks of the transfer to help him become a better missionary. He is still a little rough around the edges from just finishing up training but I feel as if his new companion Elder Miyazawa will be able to help him get better.

Wednesday, we had my first phone call with the Assistants, the other Zone Leaders and President Wada. We talked a whole lot about how to help the mission as a whole and about how to,help those that are ready to receive the ordinance of baptism. The phone call was rather long but it was good being able to see just how things are done in the background with all the mission leadership.

Thursday was kind of rough. We woke up and after personal study we went and ran over to the church to make it in time for our district meeting. It was an interesting experience. Our district Leader, Elder Suzuki has a lot of big plans to get our area into action. I'm really excited to see all the miracles that will happen here in the coming weeks. His plans are to help the Ward gain a better desire to serve with the missionaries. His biggest desire is to help strengthen the relationship that exists between the members and the a Missionaries. Afterwards we ran to catch a train to Fussa to supervise their district meeting. When we got back we had dinner and then went to the church to teach a recent convert Sister Midorikawa. It was a super hard lesson about going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. Luckily one of the members of the Elders quorum volunteered to help us in the lesson so it turned out really good. He was really able to help fill in the gap for us.

Friday we helped set up the Apartment for the new sisters in the Area. We spent the whole day moving heavy appliances, putting together things, and stocking the house with food. There was so much to do it was crazy. We didn't even get to eat lunch we were so busy! The sisters really appreciated all that we did for them. Now that they have all the necessities taken care of, I'm sure that they'll be able to hit the ground running while taking care of the Lord's work. Afterwards we went to our weekly Activity with the community where we made some Hiyashi rice. It was really really tasty. Everyone had a really good time and were able to see that us missionaries aren't weird people.

Saturday we proselyted as normal, my bike blew a tire while I was riding it so I had to find a bike shop that would repair my inner tube. We help the sister missionaries find their away around the area and showed them where the church and other things were so they wouldn't get super lost their first couple of days in the area. In the evening we had dinner with the Bishop, his wife, and the rest of his family. The food was really good. We were able to show him that we meant business when it came to working hard in this area. Elder Suzuki was able to present our  ideas for making Tokorozawa a leader in the mission and the Bishop really like what we had in mind and our plans. I really think that were doing really well with winning the trust of the Bishop.

Sunday at church was fun. It was a normal church day. It was really cool. Two of our investigators came and it was a great experience for all of them. In gospel principles, we had a good time teaching Sister Midorikawa about the being honest with people. We had really good discussions concerning Honesty. After church we went to a Buddhist temple for this samurai thing that was happening with a potential investigator. The whole time we thought we were going to die because of his crazy driving. But luckily survived. We were able to learn a lot about him and his thoughts on religion. I think that he will become an investigator in a little bit. After our near- death experiences with the samurai man. Elder Connell and I rode our bikes to a nearby park. I met a Japanese couple there who lived by the Walmart by Tuttle Mall in Dublin. I was freaking out the whole time. They said that they lived in the US, then in Ohio, then in Columbus, then in Dublin. The entire time I was absolutely stunned.

Well that pretty much covers my past week here in Tokorozawa. It was a great week bring people closer unto Christ. I really hope that things are well over in the States!

Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Life in Tokorozawa

Weekly journal

Momday and Tuesday: Pday, hung around, did some cleaning, slept a lot, Tuesday packed pretty much all day, went and streets for an hour or so. On the way back got stopped by a man who spoke the foams test Japanese that I've ever heard. It was crazy. His English was super crazy too and he went back and forth between the two so it was impossible to understand.

Wednesday we finished up packing. I spent a quite a bit of time trying to,figure out how to take my bike apart so it would fit in my issued bike bag. After finally figuring out how to get my bike into it's bag, we left the house and decided to do one last big loop of Kamakura taking in everything before we were supposed to,return home for dinner. We crossed the train tracks and headed over towards the big Buddah. At the big Buddah we talked to a friend Muhammed who owns a kebab store. I told him goodbye and we took some good pictures and then left. We walked around the beach for a little bit since it was nice out and then we met up other our foreign friends who enjoy hanging out on the beach Phil and Merrick. Phil, the retired Marine told me stories about TBS and his experience in Vietnam. We talked for a long time and then I gave them all my business card and they gave me their emails. They're not so much interested in the church as more about making good friendships and learning from each other. They want to know what'll happen to me in the future I guess? We walked home, and spent about 40min getting the whole place ready for the two new elders who are moving in. Then we had dinner and went to English Class. It was kind of bittersweet knowing that this would be my last night with all the cool people that I've met here in Kamakura. But I do know that as one door closes, another will open. I'm excited to see what kinds of adventures await me in Tokorozawa.

Thursday was crazy. We woke up early and grabbed our things and headed but the door to the train station to make our respective trains for our new areas. I traveled with my bike and my silver small suitcase. It was awful being on the train. After two stops from Kamakura the train became completely packed. I felt bad because I took up a lot of room in the train car with all of my stuff. After I finally got to Tokorozawa (a whole hour later than anticipated) Elder Suzuki and Elder Strain came over and liked me up and took me to the apartment. It's about a 6 min walk away from the station. We set up our bikes, went to lunch at Sukiya and then we hit the ground running with zone leader work. I've never been so exhausted in my whole mission. Every second was filled with something or other. It was pretty ridiculous how much planning and paperwork and what not we had to do before we could go out and proselyte. It's crazy to see just how many things go on in the background. I can already tell that it's going to be a busy transfer. The word has some high expectations for us missionaries and now that I have a new responsibility with leading the zone it'll make for a whole lot of fun. I'm excited to see what kinds of miracles we will see this coming transfer. My new companion, elder Connell is really awesome. He is really soft-spoken but is a hard worker. He's not as intense as I am with things, a whole lot more laid back, but I feel that as we learn to work together well be a powerhouse of a missionary companionship.

Friday was extremely busy. We woke up and studied the Book of Mormon until about 6:15ish and then ran as a companionship. We then headed
out to the chapel to hold a district leader training followed by the real zone conference. It was really weird being on the other side of the zone meeting tables. I had to present several things to the zone. It's a whole lot bigger than I originally though 20 people would be. After the meeting, we had lunch in the kitchen and enjoyed some rice and curry. We met the new sisters in the area and went as a district to Tokorozawa to pass out some flyers. I talked to several people. It's hard talking to people about the gospel while passing out flyers about the Church/English class. It rained really hard before hand and it was super windy so a whole lot of Japanese people were walking around with broken ¥200 umbrellas. It was kind of amusing. After dinner, we went to the church to do this thing called "out-reach" it's where people come to the church and do different things each week. This week we played of bunch of rhythm games and hung out and ate food. We got home around 21:30. Then we planned and I crashed in my bed. Life is pretty active as a Zone Leader

Saturday and Sunday were a blur. Sunday was pretty crazy. The Ward is SUPER big and super nice. We went to church and met with the Bishop and the Ward mission leader. I didn't  have to speak in sacrament meeting because it was a special Mother's Day sacrament meeting but I feel like that I'm going to speak next week in sacrament meeting. After church we went and sat in the Ward council meeting for a bit and tried to organize some things for the missionaries here in Tokorozawa. We then went and passed flyers out in front of one of the stations and went and ate dinner at the Matsuoka's house. It was really really good. The spiritual message was about sharing our talents and our abilities with others. It was really good.

Pics: Sakura, us at the temple, me and Brother Adachi the recent concert, Me and one of our crazy English class students. A picture that one of his ancestors drew.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Last Week in Kamakura :(


This is what I did this week:

Tuesday was a really nice day the weather took a turn for the cooler side of things. It was really nice because our five mile run in the morning wasn't as sweaty as it normally could have been. After working out, cooking breakfast and doing our personal studies we went to the church after lunch and did an line course for managing stress as a missionary. Throughout the course, they told us many times that being a missionary is stressful and that we should learn to cope with stress. I think it's a good tool for missionaries especially younger missionaries like Elder Terry. Afterwards. we got a text from one of our investigators, saying that she wanted to play ping pong with us in the evening and since were not female, we needed to find another male to come and hang out with us. We spent 30 min trying to,call different members and see if people would be willing to come and support us. Afterward we decided to spend the afternoon calling old English class students end s and trying to,invite them to meet with us and or come to English class again. We didn't have much success with that. After several hours of that, we went out and walked around the streets of Kamakura for about an hour. We met this Taiwanese woman who,was lost, trying to,get to a certain shrine. We spent about ten minutes trying to help her find her way around. She eventually figured it out. We walked around for a little bit longer until it was time to return home for dinner. We got home and and ate a really quick meal and then headed out for the church so that we could set up for ping pong night. At first it looked as if we were not going to have anyone show up, but exactly at 6:30, people showed up and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We were able to spend some good quality time with our investigators and were able to learn a lot about them too. It was an evening well spent indeed. Afterwards, I wrote some emails for the district, and then We went home for the evening. In all, it was pretty crazy day. Definitely not as normal as most days as a missionary that's for certain!

Wednesday was wet. From our run in he morning to planning in the evening, it was super wet the whole entire day. We spent our afternoon in Totsuka which is maybe a 10-15 train from Kamakura, if that. Tuesday we made a pact to not let a single male-person walk last past us  giving them a chance to hear about the Gospel. We were super duper successful with following our plan. As we reached out to,every single person we were able to more fully feel the influence of the spirit and were able to have a lot more meaningful conversations with people on the street. As we walked around and talked to people, we found that a lot of people were willing to stop regardless of the fact that it was pouring heavily. Elder Terry and I didn't carry umbrellas and relayed on our rain coats to keep us dry. They worked and not having umbrellas helped us to be more up and personal with the people we had interactions with on the street. We walked around Totsuka for a little while and then decided that it might be better for us to try our hand at housing. We walked along his river that cuts the city in half until we found this huge group of apartment buildings. We took the elevator to the tenth floor of one of the big ones and began to knock doors down the apartment We didn't really see much success but we did however, find this Thailand man who lived there and spoke fluent English. He claimed to be a hard-core Buddhist and didn't have any interest in religion, but we talked for a good 15min at his door step about the church and what not he was a really cool, really down to,earth kind of guy.  He worked for Cisco and is marrying a Christian Japanese woman soon. Maybe he'd like to stay married for eternity? Haha. Anyways,matter we finished we turned to go home but took a wrong turn and got lost. We finally made it back to the train station and home by 1720. We ate a quick dinner and headed over to the church for our weekly English class. We only had 5 students because of Golden week but it was a very good one-on-one opportunity for the members of our class to learn how to soak English with us. Fun was had by all. We cleaned up,the church after English class and then ran back to the Kamakura house through the rain. In all, it was a pretty awesome, pretty wet and cold day!

Thursday I went on my last exchange as District Leader for this transfer. (By the way, transfer calls are on Tuesday this week) with Elder Brooksby. It was a lot of fun.  We met up at Yokohama, then came home and had lunch and went to Ofuna station to try and find the prepared. We originally saw a park on our area map and wanted to goatherd but upon reaching said park, we realized that we had to pay 300 yen to get in. We decided against going in and continued walking around in hope of finding people. We talked to several people and had good conversations about the church but no one had really any interest in meeting with us and talking more about the Gospel. We decided to go back to Kamakura and walk to the beach because Elder Brooksby hasn't really been able to see the beach much. We went up and talked to many people. And on the way home for dinner, we met this woman who I have met before and we talked for at least 15 min about being missionaries and what we do and a little bit about our church. She was really cool, hopefully we will meet her again soon! We had dinner, I did a quick inspection of Elder Brooksby's IPad and right before we were about to head out we ended up talking on the phone to this woman about her wanting us to visit her. But unfortunately, we weren't able to make it to her house in the evening like she requested. Then, on our way out, we ran into one of the other missionaries investigators Mr. Nakajima, for about 24 min about who knows what. He talked super duper fast and kept mixing English with it. It was pretty fun trying to figure out what he was trying to say. I did a lot of calling on the phone trying to coordinate district meeting in the evening as well.

In the morning I got up super early and ran to the beach while an in the morning. While we were finishing up our workout, we talked to a guy while doing strides who knew a lot about the church. He was really cool and hopefully well be able to see him soon! Elder Brooksby and I finished splits at district meeting which was a lot of fun. We had district lunch and it was a blast. We had a picnic at the park across from the church. I ate a lot of onigiri for lunch. Coming back to Kamakura was a little bit crazy because we took a train accidentally that took us to Kamakura but was SUUPER LONG. by the time we got to Kamakura we only had an hour or so to talk to people about the gospel. We met this group of four college aged students who were in Kamkura for the day. They were super nice and we talked to them for quite a bit. In all, it was a really good experience. After dinner, we spent the whole night panning

Saturday was really hot. After our morning studies Elder Terry and I decided to bike over to Zushi in order to see if we could find people in this park that we saw on our area map. The trip over was really hard since Kamakura and Zushi are divided by a fairly large hill. I thought either I, or my bike was going to die. Luckily neither of us did. We got to Zushi, parked our bikes, and made our way over to to the park. As we walked towards the park, we met this man from Bangladesh who was really cool. His English wasn't the best, so we conversed in Japanese. It was really weird talking to this man from Bangladesh in Japanese. I guess we get in weird situations as missionaries. We continued on our way to the park. It was a little bit further than we thought. When we got there we realized that it was a really really nice park and that everything was in different buildings and the walking paths were odd. We were able to talk to two kids trying to shoot baskets with soccer balls and their feet. We gave them flyers and then headed out to another park that we saw on the map. The park was on top of this GIANT hill. When we got there, we realized that it was a little kids park and that it was only full of women and their children. We're not allowed to approach women as missionaries for various reasons. Because of this, we quickly left. We continued up the hill until it became flat. At that point we decided to start knocking houses. It was weird housing because just about every house we knocked we were able to have really really good conversations about the church. The last house we knocked had a door plate that read Matsumura. But after knocking, an American woman answered the door. It was super duper weird. Apparently she's renting the house from Matsumura as she works for the Navy as a Jag. She just finished college and her first duty station was Yokosuka. We talked Navy for a little bit while Elder Terry kind of stood around. We said goodbye and left. It was crazy talking to an American. I haven't talked to any non-missionaries Americans while housing in a VERY long time. We walked down the hill, back to Zushi station where we passed out English flyers for about a half hour or so. Then we bought some vegetables for dinner and rode our bikes home. The conclusion of our night was filled with calling our investigators and writing the DCS form. In all, it was a good night.

Sunday was a good day. Unfortunately none of our investigators came to church. The Ward missionary correlation meeting was interesting to say the least. I spent the entire time stumbling with my Japanese. It's was super annoying to say the least. Hopefully my Japanese gets better sooner rather than later. We practiced teaching the first discussion in Japanese during Elders quorum. It was hard. Elder Terry and I struggled through the whole lesson. The members were nice to us despite our poor Japanese. After church we practiced a song that were going to sing in sacrament meeting. Then we left for the train station to take the train to Kita-Kamakura station, one stop away, to see what was in that area. We wandered around a bit, but found it hard to talk to anybody on the street since the roads were so narrow. We decided to go housing a bit. We talked to several people until we got to this one house with this old lady. She talked at us for about fourth minutes. Neither of us understood what the woman said the whole time. It was miserable. I think she thought we were catholic and or Italians. We tried our absolute best to explain things to her. But it was just so hard. Afterwards, we decided to head back home and see if we could find more success in Kamakura. On our way back home, I decided that I really needed to wash my hands in the water fountain. While washing my hands this old man started talking to us and invited us to his house. We followed him and we went into his house. His house was FILLED with pictures of him and other people. Turns out that he used to work for the UN and was some sort of ambassador for Japan. He had pictures of him with Jimmy Carter and others with Kruschev and other famous historical figures. We talked on his back porch a little bit and then he sent us on our way. His English was PERFECT. I'm still amazed at the series of events of the afternoon. He told us to,come back again soon. Were going to try and meet with him at the church sometime this week.

Today isn't over yet. But this morning we got transfer calls! I'm being transferred to Tokorozawa 所沢 to be companions with Elder Connell to be Zone Leader. It will be lots of fun. I'm sure that well see some crazy awesome miracles on the other side of the mission!

Well that's all I did this week. Thanks everyone for being so supportive!

Pics: the group of college students we met. Me with some Japanese Plebes.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Extra pictures!

 Elder Terry taking to a guy on his own, the beach, jumping with the Japanese, Japanese Harley Davidson, more Japanese friends


Hello everyone!

This is what I did this week. Sorry it's kind of long, Pday was all funky last week. Luckily it's all fixed today! Enjoy!

Thursday was interesting after waking up and kind of working out we all quickly had to get dressed and eat and out the door in order to catch the train that would take us to Yamato in time for our transfer Zone conference. Zone conference was about three hours long. We did a lot of trainings and a lot of different things as a a zone such as reading from the Book of Mormon together and talking about how we can help the people of Japan better. Elder Christensen and I demonstrated how to teach the first half of the 'Gospel of Jesus Christ' pamphlet in Japanese to the whole zone. Considering how little time we had to practice teaching together, it was amazing to see just how well we were able to teach through the guidance of the spirit! In the middle we took a quick five minute break. I took that as an opportunity to play the piano to ensure that everyone was able to retain the spirit that was present in the meeting as well as keep quiet. It's amazing how well music is able to impact people! The training as a whole was really good. The Zone leaders clearly put a lot of time and effort into preparing the meeting and making sure that it was a success. I was glad that I was able to help out with just a small portion. After the meeting, on our way out we passed by the relief society sisters who were making some Melon Pan. It was AMAZING. Melon pan is definitely my favorite pastry that I've had here in Japan. It's definitely something that I want to learn how to make and continue to make after the mission. On our way to the Train station we decided that we were going to have lunch in Yamato. We went to an Udon noodle shop. I couldn't read any of the signs. So I just pointed at something. Turns out I make a good guess. It was udon thankfully. After lunch we went to Ofuna to proselyte. There in the station we met a couple who were members visiting from Atlanta. The wife served,in Japan back when she was a missionary and they were visiting her old mission areas. They were really nice. ElderTerry and I decided that we wanted to be more effective with our proselyting than normal so we changed our streeting tactics slightly. The results were amazing. People were much more readily available to talk and converse about religion and the Gospel. We were able to give out a Book of Mormon and even set up an appointment to meet with another man on Saturday! Our afternoon was filled with Miracles. We then came home, had dinner and then went to the church in order to plan for next week. In all, it was an amazing day!

Friday was a good day. We went to the church after lunch to watch the first District using the church's wifi. After watching it we went out and hit the streets to talk to everyone! We decided that since it was nice out that we needed to go to the beach. We stopped by the bank to withdraw some money. While waiting we talked to these toe people from Texas. They were really cool. They were part of some English Tour of Kamakura however they must have gotten lost because there was no tour in sight. We then walked over to the beach and talked to a group of college sophomores. I think they might have been on a group date to Kamakura. But oh wells. They received us well and we talked a lot about college and Kamakura and Japan. I'm still amazed about how well people speak English in this country. It's really a blessing for me and even more so for Elder Terry who is still struggling with the language. I'm still struggling with Japanese, but on a whole completely different level of confusing. We walked some more down the beach and found a group of middle school students. They were really cool. They wanted to take a photo. So naturally we all had to jump. We took several photos until we had a good one where everyone successfully had accomplished the jump. We then talked to our friend Merrick from Poland for about 40 min about various things. We talked mostly about Russia and Life as a missionary. He says that it would be hard to be a Mormon Missionary and thus he could never ever join the a church. I think that he is a little bit too old to be a regularly proselyting missionary anyways. He is really really cool. I would definitely come back and hang out with him on the beach after the mission. After we finished talking to Merrick on the beach we doubled back and walked down the beach some more. We called the day before Brother Kamei to see if we could come and visit him a little bit and share a quick message. He drew us a map last Sunday so between the map and the GPS on our iPads we were eventually able to find the house of Brother Kamei. We stopped by, shared a quick message about being member missionaries and headed back home for dinner. The walk back seemed so very long. We must have walked at least 6+ miles between going to the beach, going to Brother Kamei's house and then going home. It was nice that Elder Busteed and Christensen had already made dinner because we didn't have to spend the whole time cooking and could relax for a little bit. After dinner we spent the rest of the night inviting investigators and potential investigators to the "Lets spring night!" Activity that we were planning on having on Saturday. A lot of them said that they would come so it should be a really really good turnout!

Saturday was a lot of fun. We woke up and watched the entire district for both personal and 12-week study. I think that it would be odd being a missionary and being filmed while doing normal missionary work. I don't think that I would enjoy it at all. After language study in the afternoon, we walked outside and saw that the weather was really nice. We had planned the night before to walk to the Big Buddah and return for spring night, but as we passed the beach we saw a ton of carp kites flying over the beach some took a detour and decided to see what has happening over by the kites. Turns out Kamakura has a kite flying club. We hung out with the kite makers and our friend Merrick. We didn't have to go around seeking to find people to talk to. People came to us and it led to natural conversations about the church and why there were two white guys flying giant Carp-kites on Kamakura Beach in Japan. It was a lot of fun and we got some cool pictures from it too! The only downside was the obnoxious amount of sand in my shoes from walking around the beach. I didn't get it all out until I returned home with Elder Terry. We were running low on time so we had to leave and start walking to the church to help set up "Let's spring night" We got there and decided that we really wanted to print off a copy of "The Questions of the Soul" Paper that we use in conjunction wih the Book of Mormon in English for Tai when he came to church for "Let's spring night" but as it was printing, the printer became jammed and it no longer worked. Elder Terry and I spent about 15 min trying to figure out where the paper disappeared to. We finally found a secret lever that exposed the innards of the printer to us. We finally fixed the printer and went down to the room where we were going to spring the night. Katsu and  Ookubo showed up. However Tai and Alexandru never showed up. The spring night was a blast, people did a lot lf things for the talent show such as singing or playing some sort of instrument. We sang Scatter Sunshine as missionaries in Japanese and in English. I'm glad that we weren't being judged. We also split into two teams and had cake making competitions. It was 'who can make a cake as fast as you can without making a gigantic mess in the church' type of contest. I think they announced the winner, but it was in Japanese so unfortunately, I didn't really understand. At the end we had some soup and some snacks. It was a great experience for all who attended.

Sunday was a whole lot more normal than last weeks' Sunday. We woke up, did a little studying and went to church to have DCS with the Ward mission leader and one of the Ward mission leaders. We talked about our investigators and the success of the "let's spring night" event on Saturday and talked about the possibility of having other events like it in the near future. Church was really good. During sacrament meeting, the speakers talked about how the atonement of the savior has influenced their lives. The sacrament meting was really well done. The Kanagawa sisters came for sacrament meeting and brought Ykiko, a 19 year old girl who lives in our area but came to introduce us to her. Her English is really really good. The entire Ward thought the Kanagawa sisters were the new Kamakura sisters. I guess Kamakura Ward really wants sisters. They weren't this excited when they got four elders. Oh wells. I guess I'll never understand. But Yukiko is super cool. We traded numbers and she is coming to English class early so we can get to know her a bit before we start meeting with her and talk about the church and teach her. She seems pretty keen on learning about such things so it should be a fun experience. After church, we went to the apartment and ate some mochi mostly because we ran out of food Saturday morning and didn't plan accordingly. Luckily we had enough food to sustain us until Monday morning! Thank goodness for food storage and pasta! Once lunch was over we walked over to a park that we found on the area map in hopes to find people interested in the gospel. We got pretty lost and nothing really came out of us walking over. Although we were successful in talking to people along the way. Some man stopped his moped to come over and talk to us. Apparently he used to be a student of our English Class and wants to come back. Maybe we were supposed to be close to that park to meet him. You can never know! We walked back home, then had dinner and wrote our weekly emails to the president.

Well that's a week in the life of Elder J. Alan Farr. I hope you enjoyed reading!

Elder Farr

Pics: koi kite, regular kite, me with one of the koi for size reference, Katsu our crazy English student and the cake we made in ten min.

Monday, April 14, 2014

ハロー from Japan!

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone had a fun week. This is what I did this week...

Tuesday was a lot of fun. I went on splits with my old companion Elder Christensen and our trainees went on splits together (I bet that was fun). The day started off relatively normal, we went and did study and then went to the church to use the internet for our iPads to teach Elder Busteed and Elder Terry how to use Family History while proselyting. Afterwards Elder Christensen and. I went to Higashi Totuska because I've only been there three times before. We walked around for a little bit and found this park hidden in the middle of the city. We went there and talked to this old man who had no teeth for maybe 40 min about our church and where it is. He said that he was going to come to church so we'll have to have faith and hope that he will remember, and be able to make it this up-coming Sunday. We went back and met a woman who LOVED America. She was really adamant about her love towards America. She also said that she loved Ellen Degeneres. I think that that might have been the first time I've heard anyone in Japan say that. We also ran into one of our base friends named Malcolm. He was with his fiancée hanging out in Kamakura. It was super weird seeing him since we only ever talked to him for maybe 20 min like four weeks ago. He was super impressed that we still remembered his name. After dinner we went and street end around towards the beach. We met a man from Arabia who speaks fluent Japanese. It's crazy seeing how many people come to Japan for various reasons. I froze to death on the walk home. Luckily we don't have to live in Sapporo where the floors of their houses freeze over. He was really cool, he said that he was going to school in Japan to learn Japanese and is studying international business.

Wednesday was a lot of fun. Elder Terry and I reunited as a normal Missionary Companionship and resumed proselyting as normal. We went to Zushi and walked around the Zushi Ginza trying to talk to people. We also talked to some kids who played soccer. In Zushi there is this big bridge that over looks the river that leads to the Ocean. It was a lot of fun, but we then went home, had some food and afterwards we went to English class to teach some English. It was really fun. This wild man named came and it was a blast because he kept saying all these silly things to practice his English. He is really really good at English. Apparently he used to come to our English class back in the day, but no longer. Hopefully he comes again this following Wednesday! A lot of our normal students didn't show up to English Class so it was kind of Boring, hopefully EVERYONE shows up!

Thursday was really warm out. By then most of the Sakura trees are starting to lose their Cherry blossoms and bloom leaves. In the afternoon Elder Terry and I decided that we needed to go somewhere else for the day to try and find people who would be open for our message. We decided to travel down this really narrow road for a while until we came to this community of houses. It was Really Hot but we went throughout the neighborhood and knocked on every house door. We met a couple of people who were nice and willing to talk but weren't really all that interested in what we had to offer. We left the nice community and headed back toward our house and the the Church. We decided that instead of passing out flyers for an hour or so we were going to walk to the beach and see what was going on around there. We talked to a few people on the way, including this old man who was really keen on talking about whatever. After parting ways we eventually got to the beach. We met two Nepali men who had been living in Japan for many years and were attending school for international business management. They gave us some Japanese learning tips and then we walked around the beach for a bit. We saw some kids picking up trash so we asked them why and they told us that they were part of a service club. We asked if we could help. They seemed absolutely awestruck by such a request. They got us trash bags and grabbers. We picked up trash for about 29 min with the big group and then we parted ways. Were going to try and come back next week to pick up trash off the beach! We walked home quickly, had a very quick dinner, and spent the rest of the evening doing our weekly planning session. Thursday was long, but it was fun!

Friday we got up, and ran around to mark out the streets so that we can train more effectively in the mornings and know where we're running to instead of just having the watch tell us when we need to stop. I think it's better to have a visual maker, but that might be a personal opinion. After working out, we cleaned the apartment a bit. We showered, ate breakfast and then studied until about 9:40 where we had to catch a tran to Hodogaya so we could make it to the district meeting. The meeting was a lot of fun, we had the Zone leaders and the Sister training leader in the meeting so it was a packed house. But needless to say, it was loads of fun. Afterwards I went on splits with Elder Otsuka. We went to his house, had some chicken nuggets and then hit the streets after doing a quick mandatory apartment check. We walked around for a couple of hours and talked to a bunch of people. We gave out several copies of the Book of Mormon and then walked to a park. We met a man who loves to golf and we talked to him for   really really long time. Then all of a sudden he got up and left us sitting there wondering what happened. He probably forgot to do something. We spent a lot of time just walking around and talking to people, it was a lot of fun. We make a pretty good team. I would enjoy being his companion. Unfortunately his companion doesn't think the same thing...Haha. We came back to the apartment and had rice with some cheese and chicken sauce that I created. It wasn't half bad either! We finished eating and then we went out and headed to the train station to go and pass out English flyers. Apparently the Hodogaya Elders got banned from passing out flyers in a certain spot so we tried to find an effective spot to pass out flyers. We didn't really find any but did talk to a few people too so our efforts weren't in vain. We found a guy who really wanted to come to church, he said that he would come the next opportunity he had! For dinner I experimented a bit with chicken and the whole time Elder Otsuka was questioning my decisions. I guess the Japanese don't like to experiment as much with their cooking as I do. We had a lot of fun proselyting in Hodogaya. We saw a lot of miracles and helped progress the work. Hooray!

Saturday and Sunday we travelled by train to Shonandai to watch General Conference at the Stake Centre. It was a lot of fun! It was good being able to listen to the leaders of the Church in English. The Spirit really strong. Instead of the normal two hours in between sessions of Conference we only had one! Unfortunately none of our investigators came, but I'm sure they will come to Church this following Sunday!

Have a great week! Stay 元気!
Very Respectfully,
Elder J. Alan Farr

Pictures: New Japanese plebe friend, cleaning up trash on the beach