Friends and Family,
I think that this is how I'm going to do the weekly emails from now on, at the close of each day I'll write a little bit about what happened and cool stories from that day that way when it comes time to email I won't blank out on the previous weeks activities And you'll be able to get a better glimpse of how we do things as missionaries here in Japan.
Monday was my birthday. We really didn't do much since it was Pday. We woke up and had a normal morning, then we went out and bought groceries for the week. The weather was really nice so we rode our bikes. The streets and roads were packed with people so it took longer than normal to ride back from the grocery store to the apartment. As soon as we got back, we got a surprise phone all from Elder Call, the AP for our zone. He had our transfer informations for us a whole day earlier than expected. Elder Barker transferred to Kawasaki and is training a new missionary with Elder Berube. I and Elder Christensen are staying here in Kamakura and also getting new missionaries straight out from the MTC in Utah. It's very exciting hopefully I get a cool companion. Maybe a native speaker! After transfer calls we cleaned the apartment and also set up tables and desks that had been sent to a Farr "Cool-San" by the comissarian in the mission office. We set them up and I made a huge batch of scotcharoos. It was a lot of fun being able to make and share such a delicious treat with elders Barker and Christensen. We ate too many scotcharoos because we got pretty sick later in the evening. After dinner, we went out and hit the streets. I guess I partied too hard and was absolutely exhausted by the time we got back. Monday was a lot of fun.
Tuesday was just as much fun as Monday. We studied in the morning and after lunch we rode our bikes to zushi city to proselyted there for the day. We walked around for a while and talked to a lot of people. We went and visited a less active member but he wasn't there and we left him a message reminding him to watch general conference. He email us in the evening that he got our message and would watch general conference in two weeks! Even though he wasn't there we were still able to have fruitful labors! We passed out a lot of flyers for the free English class that we teach and also saw one of our English students that been in town buying a CD. We came home, had dinner and went and played table tennis at the church. It was a lot of fun! One of the guys who came is really into the military and especially guns. He wants to join the Japanese self-defense force when he is old enough. He showed me some pictures of his guns and his shooting team and I showed him some pictures from my time at the Academy. He's taking us to a curry festival on the Yokusuka Naval base in a month or so. Apparently in the Japanese navy every Friday on the ships is curry night! Anyways, Tuesday was a lot of fun. We did our best and brought lots of people closer to Christ!
Wednesday we prepared to take in our new Trainees. We cleaned the house until it shone while Elder Barker packed. Afterwards, we walked around to the beach and talked to a bunch of really cool people. There were a lot of Americans walking around. But it started to rain so only the people left at the beach were the wind surfers.
Thursday, we got our new trainees. Elder Barker, Christensen and I woke up around 5 to take a train all the way up to Tokyo and then back down to Kichijoji for the Trainer/Trainee meeting. We got there around 8:00 to a wonderful Pancake and fruit breakfast made by Sister Wada. The whole day we did a lot of trainings and talked about expectations and responsibilities as trainers and trainees. President Wada talked a lot about raising the bar and setting the standard for the incoming missionaries. Younger and younger missionaries are being expected to step up to larger leadership positions earlier on. We had lunch with our trainees, took some pictures, and then left Kichijoji around 5:30. We got home, had dinner, and unpacked a bit. It was pretty chaotic on Thursday, but the new Trainees in this area, Elder Busteed and Elder Terry both look like they're going to see a lot of success in the up and coming 6 weeks!
Friday was really interesting. We got up and studied as a companionship and then after lunch we went to the church to plan for the week and the rest of the transfer. It was a really really really good planning session. Afterwards I felt impressed that we would see many miracles in these upcoming weeks. We went out and walked around Kamakura not really talking to anybody since people didn't seem to want to stop for a bit and talk to Americans today for some reason. We ate dinner and We wrote a small note for one of the members who lives close to us. We took her the note and I introduced Elder Terry to Sister Aoki who has done so much for the missionaries. He said hello, bore a brief testimony and we said goodbye. The rest of the night we went from house to house spreading the message of the restored Gospel. I felt kind of bad for Elder Terry. I threw him into the deep end of the pool with regards to talking to people in Japanese. It was awesome to see how much better his Japanese is coming out of the MTC than mine was. He and Elder Christensen's new companion are both super awesome missionaries. They might be young, but they're full of faith. I'm so,excited to be serving in Kamakura with such amazing Missionaries. My first full day as a trainer went unscathed. Well see just how the rest of the week goes by. But in all honesty I think I'll be fine training wise.
Saturday, I conducted my first district meeting of the transfer. It was interesting to say the least. The zone leaders were there and pretty much took over the meeting. They left 2/3 of the way through and the whole meeting fell to pieces. My entire district lost total focus and wasn't taking the meeting seriously. It was very frustrating. I'm still trying to figure out how to make the meetings interesting and effective. As district leader I have to cover a lot of things in a short amount of time so often everything gets rushed. It's an interesting balancing game. After the district meeting Elder Terry and I went to a nice cream store to meet two guys that said they wanted to get ice cream and talk about our church. Unfortunately, they never showed up. It's probably because it was super duper hot in the afternoon. Elder Terry and I went to the apartment and had lunch and wrote a quick spiritual thought in Japanese and gave it to one of the members. While trying to find the members house, we got really lost, but were able to talk to lots of people. We turned a "Crisis" into an "Opportunity!" Later in the evening, we went and passed out flyers at the train station. On our way back I spotted a man who looked like he spoke English waiting for a bus so I approached him and asked how he was doing. We talked for a bit and he said that he wanted to come to church. Of course, we invited him! Hopefully he comes on Sunday!
Sunday was super interesting with four missionaries. Elder Terry and Elder Busteed both bore their testimonies in Church. They were much better than mine was coming straight out of the MTC. Elder Christensen and Elder Busteed both went to Normal Sunday school and Elder Terry and I went to Gospel principles class. We talked a little bit about the word of wisdom. The member leading the discussion kept asking us all these questions about deep doctrine and got annoyed when we could understand what he was saying, or even trying to get at. I still have no idea what anyone is saying. I don't think that that'll change any time soon. Japanese is a very hard language. After church we set up several Practice lessons with members and went out to the street to proselyte. We met a bunch of cool people, one Guy who spoke fluent English but was crazy kept asking us all these silly questions trying to trip us up. We didn't give him anything to work with and he gave up. We ended up having a great conversation about the church. He wouldn't give us any contact information, but I feel like we will cross paths soon!
Since Tuesday is temple Pday we proselyted as normal on Monday. The morning was not very eventful with studying and lunch and more studying and what not. However, afterwards Elder Terry and I wandered the back roads of Kamakura. It was interesting to see how much houses and their states change only a few blocks away from the tourist parts of Kamakura. The Sakura is pretty much in full bloom and as a result the streets were packed with tourists. This morning, they were filming a movie on the Main Street and hundreds of people were watching. We couldn't really see what was going on but it looked cool since they had lots of cameras! Perhaps another Wolverine movie in the making? But with missionary cameos. In the evening we went to go visit one of our investigators Ōkubo but when we finally visited his house, he rushed out on us and said that he was super duper busy and would talk to us later. I introduced Elder Terry and we left him a small spiritual thought on a piece of paper we finished the night with housing. Elder Terry kept scaring old women because whenever they walked past he would yell "こんばんは!" and nothing is scarier than two white men saying good evening to you on a dark street. That comprises the things of nightmares. Well that is what we did this week, we talked to a lot of people. A lot of people talked back to us. We tried to understand. In all, we had a blast this past week spreading the message of the restored gospel to those who live in the Greater Kamakura area. Thanks for all the birthday wishes and emails last week!
Pics: Sakura x4, New trainee Elder Terry eating Nattou