Monday, January 27, 2014

Hello everyone from 日本東京都福生市!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful week this past week. I know that I for certainly had a fun time! This week has been wild to say the least. I cannot believe just how fast the week has flown by. Last Thursday marked 6 months being out on a mission. That's 25% done. I certainly hope that the last 75% goes a little bit slower, I would much like to soak it all up.

Elder Ford and I hit it hard on the streets trying to get those 70 meaningful contacts and turn people from random people on the streets into potential investigators and even actual investigators!

Since I am kind of short on time I'll just tell a crazy story!

During Japanese Church, I was sitting there in my own thoughts while the sacrament was being passed around. One of the passers came back to me and asked "Are you still good to talk in sacrament meeting?" I looked up at the bishop and he nodded his head. I said yes not really knowing what to talk about. I pulled out the program that I had taken and put into my pocket without even reading it. On it was my name saying I was speaking first! No one had told me that I was supposed to give a talk! (I actually got a call today from the brother that forgot, he was sincerely sorry and apologized at least I think that's what he said, I don't speak Japanese good. Nor English for that matter.) I walked up and gave a 7ish minute talk on faith that I had less than 2min to prepare. It was awesome. I was super duper impressed that I was able to accomplish such a crazy feat! Defiantly the gift of tongues! Its crazy how blessed one gets when doing things as a missionary!

Things are great in Fussa! I love it here. Hopefully I get to stay another transfer!

Elder J. Alan Farr

Monday, January 20, 2014


Hello Everyone,
I hope that the US is warm. But from the Emails I guess its sub-zero. Not much has happened this week in Japan. We had a Zone conference on Thursday where we spent the whole day trying to figure out how to be better missionaries.

The coolest thing that happened this week was that Elder Ford and I met a man in a park while walking around that wanted us to teach him English because he wanted to tell off all the American missionaries that were coming to Japan trying to convert him. How Ironic.

Elder Ford and I have been kicking our butts into gear. Were trying our absolute hardest to find the prepared as well as how to make our Japanese better!

Fussa is good. Emo and Dilan both have fallen off the face of the map. Elder Ford and I cant locate them at all. Its rather annoying. We've gone to their house every night and left a note one morning telling them that they're missed.

 We met with a man who was a Missionary in Fussa, Japan over 40 years ago. He was really nice and bought us Dinner. He said that he works for a company that takes him to Japan every so often.

The next night we spent a couple of hours with one of the youngmen from the Base who is getting ready to go on a mission. He enjoyed walking around and talking to people with him, however he was lost when we started talking to people. I imagine that this is what I was like when I first got to the MTC/Japan.

Other than that this week has been rather boring. Just a lot of hitting the streets and trying to talk to people. This week Elder Ford and I are going to see many Miracles!

Elder J. Alan Farr

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hello again friends!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful week this past week in the US and other parts of the world. Japan has been really fun. Needless to say, its also been really cold. I guess the weather decided to take a turn for the worse. The strange thing about Japan's weather is that it is super sunny and blue-skyish all the time but the wind and the coldness take away any hope of enjoying the clear sky. The one upside to the weather is that the smog that cloud our view from Mt. Fuji is essentially gone. This morning as I was running, I kept thinking to myself 'how cool is this? I'm running the streets of Tokyo-to within sight of Mt. Fuji as the Sun goes up?' Cant imagine a cooler sight.
Well for my week... Last Monday was pretty uneventful, after emailing and getting groceries we went to the USAF Base and had dinner with one of the members. It was really really good. I am going to miss the good old American-style food when I get transferred! After dinner we went and passed out fliers for our English class at the Fussa train station. We usually do this when it gets dark at night. No one wants to be approached by two big white guys in the dark asking to talk for a quick second. Its not the most effective method of spreading the gospel.
President Wada has this thing where as a Mission we have to get at least 70 meaningful conversations with people throughout the week. Elder Merrill and I had gotten close but never had managed to surpass. Its a lot harder to get people to stop and talk for a bit that you would think. But since Elder Ford and I are youngish missionaries we figured we were going to have a lot of trouble getting 70 people to stop and talk with us. We decided that it was necessary that we work hard to get these meaningful contacts in. It was cool to see that despite the fact that our Japanese isn't the best, we were able to meet and surpass the standard that our mission president had established for us as a unit.
This week finally ended the festivities for the new year celebrations. Everyone has officially gone back to work, the children are going back to school and the businesses are all open again! On Saturday the Church held a mochistuki. A giant gathering where everyone makes mochi as a part of the new years tradition. Mochi is sweet rice that is pounded down to make a dough and then filled and rolled and mixed with all sorts of different things. It was a lot of fun and a lot of non-members came that we were able to talk to.
Nothing super exciting besides that happened this week. It was a lot of hitting the dirt and getting down and dirty to find the prepared. We pray that the fruits of our labors will be seen in the coming weeks!
Elder Farr

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hello again from 福生市!

Hello Everyone,

I hope everything is going well. Things here in the pacific are cooling down. Literally. Its so cold here in Fussa Japan. But its almost Sakura season. I'm sure the cherry blossoms in Tokyo will more than make up for this cold windy season. As for my week, its been rather exciting. This week was New Years or Shogatsu in Japanese. Shogatsu is a week long thing which actually ended today. Most people are heading back to work and most of the shops are finally open again.

On the 1st I woke up extra early and ran several miles with Elder Merrill along this large river that cuts through Fussa. It was rally pretty and very very cold. There were so many old men and women just walking along at the crack of dawn. The Japanese are very very healthy people. After our run we studied a bit and went to our Ward mission leader's house in Hamura (羽村) city which is about a 5 minute drive from our apartment. We ate a traditional Japanese new years dinner with tons of interesting food. I had some beef in raw egg as one of the courses. It actually wasn't half bad! I was a big fan. We eat out of this huge bento box several small items each of which represent a different thing for the new year.We as well ate metric ton of sushi. There were a lot of people there and most of them spoke English but none of them would speak to us in English, they would help us with words here and there but pretty much it was all in Japanese. We taught the restoration from the pamphlet after dinner.

We taught Emo the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his home this week. We had a Chinese member come and help us out and explain things in Emo's native language. We made plans to climb a mountain together later this week with the sister missionaries so that Emo's girlfriend could get some exposure to the church. Were teaching Dillan the Gospel tomorrow.

This week marks the start of my third transfer in Japan. And also a new companion, Elder Ford! Hes from Salt Lake City, Utah (Big surprise right?) and he is a really good cook. Were going to be eating well this transfer. I guess all that I can do to thank him is the dishes! His Japanese isn't very good and neither is mine. Which is good for both of us. We will have to stretch ourselves in the language and step up to the challenge. I read with him message to Garcia the other day and told him how it relates to Missionary work. Were going to do great work in Fussa this transfer.

There are now 4 missionaries in our apartment so space is pretty cramped. Our futons are all interlocked like a puzzle and its hard to study since we don't have enough space for books and what not. Hopefully we get a new apartment soon!

Elder Soto is the new missionary straight from the MTC. He is really full of energy and ready to preach the gospel to all the people of Japan. Unfortunately he is still very very young and right out of the MTC and has no clue how to accomplish that. I like to think that I wasn't as clueless as he is right out of the MTC but who knows? All we can do is help train him to be a great missionary!

This last Sunday at church was fast and testimony meeting. All EIGHT of the missionaries in Fussa bore their testimonies in the Yokota Ward. You could feel the spirit so strongly when each of them went up to speak. I'm sure the rest of the ward could feel it as well. I'm going to try and bare my testimony each fast Sunday until I go home and keep that up afterwards!

Things are going great in 福生東京日本. Hopefully everyone is having just as much fun back in the states!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year Everyone!


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas it certainly was lots of fun here in 福生. On the 24th we went to The mission office in Kichijoji as a mission to have a クリスマス大会. Basically we had a testimony meeting for the Missionaries leaving at the end of the transfer. We sang a LOT of Hymns and songs in Japanese as well as had Santa come and deliver cookies to everyone. We had a huge lunch of Taco-rice and sat around as missionaries for an hour or so and enjoyed each other's stories from the mission so far. Afterwards, we had a huge white elephant gift exchange. I gave two picture frames with silly photos of Elder Nuttall in them. Apparently they were a huge hit since several missionaries came up to me afterwards and said that they thought it was a good idea. Elder Nuttall thought it was hilarious. I got a cool head band and a tiny tiny scarf that doesn't fit me. The mission took our stockings that we had brought the week before and returned them with lots of food and candy. However the coolest thing that we got was a case to put our mini-モルモン書's in. We had dinner at the Barton's house and read Luke 2 with their family. They're a really really really awesome family who do so much for the missionaries. I'm trying to figure out what we can do as Missionaries to say thanks for all their help. I need ideas so let me know!

The next day was Christmas. All the gifts and what not were cool but the best part of the day was being able to call home and talk to loved ones for about 40 minutes. Later that day we went out and hit the streets after skyping and had a lot of cool interactions with people on the street. The evening of the 25th we had a special English class (the last one of the year) which was all about how people celebrate Christmas in the US. Were not allowed to talk about religion in the English class (I'm not really sure why except that that's a rule) so we invited people to come to church the next day and watch Finding Faith in Christ with us to know what we believe. That next day was pretty boring except that about 4 or 5 people came to the Church to watch the movie with us. While we were waiting I taught myself a hymn on the piano and when they finally all arrived we gave them all a church tour and watch the movie. Afterwards, we ate junk food as a group (Elder Merrill and I have gotten so much junk food this past week. we've been trying to get rid of it to no success) and talked about random things. We ended getting two people to agree to meet with us separately to hear about the Gospel. So hopefully something comes out of that!

On 28 December 2013 Elder Merrill and I stared our day off as normally following our routine studying schedule. After lunch we left the apartment and got to work.  We had four lessons scheduled that day but two of them fell through at the last second. So we had all this time in the afternoon to work with. We decided that since it was a good day out, and since it was a Saturday, there would be lots of people out and about to talk to in the main part of Fussa. So we went streeting! At first it wasn't so successful but after calling out to 3 or four people we started to find the prepared. We only had a little less than hour or so before our first lesson and we were able to give out two Books of Mormon and have several meaningful contacts. The crazy thing was that almost all of the people we talked to had legitimate interest in the Church, some didn't take a Book of Mormon for various reasons but we gave them a chirashi and invited them to church. On our way to our lesson we met a Japanese man who was in the Navy and was stationed on a Submarine. He referred to me as his "classmate." He had a lot of interest in the church and we gave him a book of Mormon and a "Questions of the Soul", an insert that President Wada developed to use in conjunction with the Book of Mormon when talking to people. We actually saw him again on Sunday on our way back from church. He was in a hurry to visit his mother in the hospital but hopefully he comes to Church this following Sunday! Later that night we met with Dilan and he brought his friend Emo (who we've been trying to get ahold of for at least 2 transfers) and taught them the first Lesson. It was really cool and went really well they're both committed to Baptism on the 25th of January. I think they'll make it too unless something comes up and they get super busy. This is a frequent occurrence for most people in Japan. Work > Church. #FingersCrossedNothingComesUp

So the Second transfer of my mission is finally over. We got transfer calls on Saturday around 10:00am. And the verdict is... I'm staying in 福生! Fussa is going 4 Elders and 2 Sisters this next transfer. Elder Merrill and I are splitting up however. He is training a new missionary and I am getting a new companion. Elder Ford! Hes the same age as me in transfers so its going to be an interesting transfer. We are the youngest American companionship in the mission at the moment. Which means 1) Were going to have to work harder than we have to before and 2) I'm going to have to get my Japanese up quick if were going to stay afloat here in Fussa. But I know that President Wada knows what he is doing. I'm sure that we'll see some miracles here.

Yesterday after Japanese Church we were invited to a member's house for dinner. One of the members and his wife had invited a friend who was a less-active member that he had known on his mission in Hiroshima to eat and wanted us to come. Japanese houses are small. We sat around this iti-bity table and ate rice and curry and nikuman and some salad-type-things and had mugi-cha (wheat-based tea that tastes like burnt water). I was afraid that I was going to fall and break the table let alone the entire house. Everything was so small and petite. They took pictures of my hand holding a Nikuman. They thought that it was funny that in comparison my hand dwarfed the dollop of whatever filled with meat. Luckily we didn't have to seiza. That would have changed the night completely. But that was my first time being in a Japanese member's house! Its new years this upcomingweek so the whole of Japan will pretty much be shut down due to the celebrations. Its like Christmas but for a whole week! (and probably less cake!) Life should be pretty interesting. It'll definitely make for some good stories.

Love you all!

Very Respectfully,
Elder Joshua Farr

ps. I don't know if I've sent any pictures lately but here is one of me and  Vijay a former investigator and an omelette I made the other day!