Boise Boys

Boise Boys
Me, Elder Meyer, and Elder Grange

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

7-9-08: Progress

Monday, I took my trainer back to the mission home. It was really weird and I had a bad feeling weighing me down as I left. I was really sad to see him go as he has pretty much taught me everything I know about being a missionary and he is a mission legend at that. For the last 2 days I was with another elder whose trainer also went home. So that meant that the two of us had been in country a combined 4.5 months. We were on our own in his area and I didn’t have Elder McGuire to rely on anymore so I had been really praying that the Lord would give me the gift of tongues and He really did! I didn’t always understand everything they said but I found myself understanding a ton clearer and when I spoke it was very clear and the pronunciation was much better! I talked to as many people as I could and was amazed every time I did.

Today I got my new companion, Elder Kindt. He is really cool. I had met him earlier this last transfer. I’m staying in the same area--which is exciting because we have 2 baptisms scheduled for this month. The language improvement has stayed like I prayed it would. It has given me a lot more confidence so I really think that Heavenly Father put Elder Miller and me together for those 2 days so that he could help me with my language and confidence. I have been talking to a lot of Japanese missionaries today and they are all really surprised I have only been out 3 months. I’m really being blessed for sure. Just like in my blessing when I was set apart as a full-time missionary I was told I would be able to speak like a native, it’s starting to come to pass one day at a time.

For the 4th of July we went onto the American air force base for about an hour and I had culture shock. We go on the base quite often but only to members’ houses and we don’t see many people, but there were tons of people and they were way loud and it was really weird, to be honest. Also, when I see Americans out on the streets I don’t like it, but the teenage kids I hate because they do way dumb stuff that is offensive to Japanese people and are just way obnoxious and then Japanese people associate us with them and think we’re up to no good.

It’s really super hot over here and humid too. I think the rainy season is almost over but summer is just beginning, I’m told. August is supposed to be killer.

I don’t know how much longer anybody will be driving the way gas is going up in price. That’s ridiculous, for sure. I’m just gonna ride my bicycle everywhere, I guess. Speaking of bikes, you wouldn’t believe what it’s like riding a bike around here. Sometimes the 2-way streets are literally one American lane wide. The bus drivers and dump truck drivers are nuts and swerve in and out going way fast and cut into the bike lane to avoid hitting each other. Sometimes you could reach out with your elbow and touch them as they whiz by. One of my buddies here got hit by a car this last week, crazy huh? Don’t worry though I’ll be safe.

Things are going really great here. The other day I spoke in Sacrament Meeting with Elder McGuire and I spoke about the Atonement and he about missionary work and I was getting nervous because I didn’t think I had enough material, but when I looked at the clock I had already gone 10 min over my 15 min allowance so I had to cut a bunch of stuff out. But it was really good, I think, because McGuire said he felt like he needed to talk about something a little bit different anyway.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Little Update

We have two baptismal dates set, one is a kid named Levin. His mom won't let him get baptized yet so were working on that, but he is way humble and does everything that we ask without asking why or anything. Yesterday, he wanted to be a missionary for a day so he came with us and helped us teach etc., it was way awesome.

I ate sushi and salmon eggs at a dinner the other night. It was actually pretty good but probably because I prayed I would be able to get through it.

I will get a new comp next week; hopefully he is Japanese--that would be great for my language skills for sure.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

No, Missionaries Can't Date

Well it has been a good week. I just got done at the temple and now we’re at the mission home so my companion, Elder McGuire can get some things worked out for BYU Idaho. He is leaving in about 2 weeks to go home so I’ll get a new companion for sure. I’m hoping to get a Japanese companion but to stay in the same area for at least one more transfer. So I have been trying to take President Hill’s advice and enjoy the ride. I have had a lot more fun and my Japanese has been improving when I haven’t been overly worried about it.

Yesterday after our district meeting we went to this super massive park and were in there about 5 minutes when we said hello to this Japanese kid around our age. He said hello and then asked if we wanted to go to his barbecue. So we did and met a bunch of his friends and they were asking all sorts of questions about being a missionary and when they found out we couldn’t date some of the girls were looking a little disappointed that they couldn’t date my companion.

We have been teaching a Philippino kid named Levin. He had a testimony of The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith the day after we taught him. He knows the Church is true now so he is coming to a baptism for somebody else in our zone this Friday night. I think that will get his wheels turning. We have already talked about it a bit and he likes the idea.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Japanese is Tough!

It has been raining here almost every day which is getting kind of annoying. Not really much new has happened since last time. Some of our investigators are progressing nicely which is good. On Saturday, I’ll go back to downtown Tokyo to the mission home for a meeting with all the new missionaries. The Japanese language is pretty much impossible. I was talking to a lady through her door and she yelled at me to Speak Japanese! That got me a little ticked off and very frustrated. Hopefully it will get easier.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

6-3-08: Frustration and Hope

Well, I’ll be honest; the Japanese has kind of been getting me down lately. I was feeling pretty good until a lady yelled at me to speak Japanese and turned off her intercom that we were talking through.

We are meeting a lot of cool people though. Last night, we met a guy from Peru who is a body builder and knows Mr. Tokyo and his dad was Mr. Peru! The dude is pretty short but super thick. He said he could bench 250 kg and squat 500 kg, and by the looks of him I could see it.

I guess you and your thesis and me and my Japanese are kind of similar. I bet Josh K. went through this same thing, but I feel like I am just tagging along a lot of the time. The vocab and things just don’t stick in my brain, and a lot of times I will recognize a word but I can’t remember the meaning. I’ll keep you in my prayers for sure. Somehow we will both pull through.

Take it easy and don’t forget to get out and have some fun once in a while. That’s something that I have a hard time remembering when I’m frustrated that I can’t say what I want to say to the Japanese people.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

5-29-08

This last week on Saturday we met with a kid for the first time. His name is Takeshima. We were talking with him about the Church at a donut shop called Mr. Donut. He said he had never been to church before so we walked to the church building and gave him a tour.

It just happened to be district conference for the military branch that night and our mission president and 2 General authorities from the area presidency were there. They all talked to him in Japanese and everyone was really making him feel really welcome so he decided to stay for the meeting.

My companion translated it into Japanese for him. When Elder Evans, the general authority, gave his talk he talked directly to Takeshima. He talked about the Book of Mormon and about Moroni’s promise. Then he had the Elder Iwagawa, the other general authourity, read it (Moroni’s promise) over the pulpit. It was really cool because the meeting was being broadcast to only Americans and Takeshima was the only Japanese person there, so it really made him feel welcomed. He was really impressed at how nice every one was and we are meeting with him again on Saturday.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

5-22-08

I had a really cool experience with a guy named Suzuki san. He is our investigator with a baptismal date.

So almost 2 weeks ago, Suzuki san disappeared off the face of the planet. For some reason the phone number we had for him didn’t work and he didn’t show up for our meeting or church meetings. So we made several rescue attempts trying to find him at the park we first methim at.

Finally one day my companion had the feeling we should ride the 40 min to the park from where we were at. On the way we usually talk to all the men we ride past but that day there weren’t very many. So we got to the park—and it’s a pretty big park—and my comp wanted to use the restroom so we were walking over that way and we saw Suzuki san! He was jogging and didn’t see us and was about to leave the park and jog home. So we had to run after him and chase him down.

We had challenged him to stop smoking but he said he tried and just couldn’t, so he didn’t think the Church could help him. We told him to listen some more and if he wants to stop smoking later we can talk about it then. I think he just felt a little pressured. I can see that; Americans are a lot more upfront than the Japanese who will tell you they want to meet again so they don’t feel rude but when you call they have no interest. So it was a really cool thing to see the Lord’s hand in this. If we would have talked to one more person, we wouldn’t have gotten there to see him. It was a good day.

The Japanese is ok. It’s frustrating at times but then I find myself having a good conversation with some random guy on the train and it lifts my spirits. I’m trying not to worry about it though; I know it will come with time.

My area includes an American Air Force Base called Yokota airbase; I go to “America” all the time to have dinner with the branch members there, which is nice. My area is a most coveted area for sure.

We just ate at a tabehodai. It’s an all you can eat buffet. They have a hot plate in the middle of your table and they put a pot of water on and get it boiling and then bring trays or really thin beef and pork that are raw. Then you go and get whatever veggies you want and you have 2 bowls of sauce and a larger bowl of rice.

When the water is really boiling you start dumping stuff in and it cooks the meat really fast and the veggies can be left in if you don’t want them as crunchy. Then you dip it in the sauce and eat it over the rice so the rice catches all the drips. It’s very good and we ate a ton of food. The only stipulation is you only have 90 min. It was awesome! And actually, since it was only meat and veggies with a little rice, it is pretty good for you too.

Transfer calls are Saturday, but I don’t think I’ll be transferring. I would like to stay for 1-2 more transfers in my area. Tonight we teach eikaiwa or English class to get Japanese people into our church buildings and around the missionaries. To be able to take the class they have to listen to the first lesson at least, so it works out for everybody. It’s a lot of fun too. Anyway everything is good.