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!
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!