I'm finally out of my first area and into my second. It's crazy just how time flies when you're having fun! I moved to Kamakura on Thursday and even though I've only been here a few days, I think that I'm going to love the place. It's exactly what I imagined coming to Japan would be like. The city is great, Elder Christensen has yet to show us the whole area, but extrapolating from what I've seen, the whole area is amazing. The best part I think, is that a lot of American tourists come from the Naval Base in Yokosuka therefore I have an instant connection with them. It's really easy to get meaningful conversations with the tourists because they all speak a language that I fully comprehend.
Elders Barker, and Christiansen are both super excited for the work. They're both full of energy and eager to hasten the work of salvation. I expect there to be many miracles in the up coming weeks. We have some pretty lofty goals for this transfer, but we believe that if were strictly obedient, uplift one another and most importantly follow the spirit, then we will be able to have a baptism this transfer. As long as we do everything that we can to be worthy of those who are seeking the truth.
This week I had a pretty cool experience regarding faith. After transferring in, Elder Christensen informed us that they were behind on their 'Meaningful Contacts' and that we needed to get over 25 that day in order to meet our goal for the week. We tried our best our first two days to make up the difference and meet our goal, but to no avail, we couldn't meet our goal, and the number of meaningful contacts needed on Saturday to meet our goal was 25. It seemed like a daunting task, but all three of us press forward with faith that we could do it. We wanted to get at least 20 before dinner so that we could get the last 5 afterwards while housing some apartments close to our house. Luckily for us, it had snowed heavily the day before and there were plenty of service opportunities for us to do.
We went to 青木姉妹's house one of the members who lives near by and asked if we could borrow shovels. Something about three large Americans with shovels opens people up to service. People were coming up to us asking for our help. We helped lots and lots of people. And indirectly helped even more by clearing out snow from several small intersections and pretty sharp turns. We were heading back to 青木姉妹's house and were kind of bummed out because we didn't get 20, we were at 19. We went to return the shovels, and talked to her neighbor for about 30 seconds saying hello and what not but weren't really able to make it any sorts of meaningful. Then we went to 青木姉妹's house to return the shovels. While we were talking to the member, her neighbor walked by asking if she could pay us to help,her shovel a parking lot that she owned close by. 青木姉妹 explained that we were volunteers and that we would probably be more than glad to help out. We offered our help, and did our absolute best clearing out the parking lot. We were able to talk to her about what we do and a little bit about our church. We got 20 before dinner, and were able to get five more afterwards as well. Even when it looked like we weren't going to be able to make our goal, we pressed forward with faith and made it. It seemed like all he people who would be willing to hear us were placed in our path that day. It strengthens my faith that this is the Lord's work.
I was told that I would face many challenges on my mission. I've faced a lot of difficult things, like being reject and yelled at, sleeping in a room with no heat, and even having conversations with people where I can't fully understand what is being said. Even though these things are annoying and sometimes a little anger-inducing, I have begun to learn that by leading a more Christ-like life, that I can go through these trials more easily. I think that enjoying every moment and learning to find the good in situations as well as in people helps us to have a more enjoyable lifestyle. That's definitely one thing that I'm starting to get better at. I don't think ill ever master it, but I can try my hardest to come close!
Being a district leader now, I have this burden of responsibility placed upon me to do certain things. People often think think that because they are placed in a leadership role they have to change who they are to fit some mold that pertains to that role. I for one, don't think that this is so. I believe that ones individual personality, as well as their skills and talents are best used to help that role. As District leader, I plan to use the skill set that I have been gifted with I order to help those in my district to be the best possible missionaries they can. To not only fulfill their purpose and invite people unto Christ, but to learn to have fun and enjoy their work. I feel that if we're having fun, then the gospel becomes, in the eyes of non-members with whom we talk to, as this desirable trait and not some commodity that we, as missionaries, are trying to sell. If I can do that, I think my service as district leader will have been a success.
Elder Christensen and Elder Barker are both amazing missionaries and also really good at Japanese. I know that I'm going to learn so much from them. I am naturally very competitive and so I will be trying my best to reach the level of missionary that they both are at right now. I know that as we progress, we as a companionship will become ever better than we were only just a few days ago we we transferred.
It's been a fun few days here in Kamakura. I'm loving the place, the city, the nature, and most importantly the members and the residents of this great city. I am super excited to see what kind of miracles happen over the course of the next 6 weeks!
Elder J. Alan Farr
Pictures: Kamakura Station, Hachimangu Shrine it's a very famous shrine in Kamakura, Gate to Kamakura from the Hachimangu shrine, Hachimangu, A Kotasu, it's a headed table with a hole in the ground for your feet. It's the only thing keeping me alive in our apartment since it's so cold and we can't run all the heaters for fear of the breaker shutting off every three minutes. I love our Kotasu.