Sunday, April 26, 2015

04/26/2015 | My First Bike Crash


My First Bike Crash

Hey everyone. That subject already has you confused doesn't it. Don't
worry, it wasn't to bad.

This week was kind of crazy. We were in Kitami most of the week, and didn't get to do a lot in Abashiri. We went down on Monday, and had a Yakiniku party with our district. (Yakiniku literally just means, cook meat. It was essentially a BBQ where you take the meat directly from the BBQ) Then we played a few other games for the rest of P-Day. Then we went on splits the next few days. Elder Francis is the District Leader, so I got to go on splits with everyone. I went with Elders Call, Stephens, and Tsutsumi. We had a lot of fun. Me and elder call taught this guy about the restoration, and it went over pretty well.

Anyway I know you're all dying to hear about my crash. So me and Elder Tsutsumi were on our way to a less active members house. We were in the middle of the street riding down, going pretty fast, and my bag, per usual, was sliding. So I took one hand off to slide it back, and the next thing I know I'm on the ground. I didn't run into anyone, I didn't run into anything. I'm not sure exactly what, or how it happened, but I fell of my bike going pretty fast. In the end it wasn't too bad. I've got some nasty road burn on my knee, and my elbow, and then I hyper-extended my other elbow. It still hurts a
little when I stretch it, but it's doing better. The largest damage was to my clothes. My shirt, and my pants were destroyed. The first clothes I had to throw away. I had a little bit of a ceremony with it.
Some tears were shed. (I just threw them in the trash while I was pealing an onion...)

But then we did eventually make it back to Abashiri. We did a little bit of Dendo here, and then Yesterday (Sunday) we had district conference in Kushiro. That is far away. There's a picture to show you.

Route from Abashiri to Kushiro
We went down with a member, Brother Tomita, and on the way down, he showed us off in the distance a "secret" lake. We decided if the weather was good we'd go check it out on the way back. We got to district conference and got to hear some good talks from President and Sister Nakatsuka, and the visiting Area 70 Elder Aoba. They were some pretty good talks. After that, Brother Tomita had a priesthood leadership meeting he had to attend. So we went to a near by park, and helped entertain some kids for a while. It was fun. We got to teach them American games, and they taught us some Japanese games. I haven't played with little kids in a park in so long. It was fun. So after Brother Tomita came back from his meeting, we all piled into the car, and headed for lake Mashu. Apparently it is. Famous lake in Hokkaido, and it is far out of the way of any of the missionary areas,
so I got to go see a beautiful lake, that most missionaries will never get to see *fist pump* It was very beautiful, and I got some good pictures.

Lake Mashu

After that we returned to Abashiri, and went and visited one of our investigators. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation, and it went alright, but in the end, he doesn't want to do anything religious wise. He's more than willing to listen to us, and he likes us, but he won't pray, or read the Book of Mormon, or come to church. I still feel like we can get him to do it, we just need to push a little. With that, some faith, and some prayers, a miracle can occur I know it.

Well this week is transfers. There's a good chance I could be leaving Abashiri. I really don't want to. I love Abashiri, and I love Elder Francis, but if the Lord wants me somewhere else, I will go and... (1Nephi 3:7) with a smile on my face.

Hope you all have a good week. It's warming up here. Hope it's doing the same for you. I'm praying for everyone. Lots of love.
Elder Eliot

Sunday, April 19, 2015

04/19/2015 | Call the Police!


Hey everyone. What a week. I'll just describe it day by day.
P-Day. We went to an Iceberg museum, which actually turned out to be really lame, but I got a cool souvenir so it worked out just fine. Then we went and did some shopping for the apartment. On the way to the shopping areas we saw this big slide in a park, and of course we just had to go down it, so we did. It was fun. Yes I still am a child. Deal with it. Kids have more fun in life anyway. So then we went and got our shopping done, and came home to drop stuff of and go start Dendo, but we get to the door and lo and behold, my keys are gone. I have my keys on a keychain that has a zipline, and the line had busted at the slide. We didn't realize until it was to late. So we dropped our stuff off, and hopped on our bikes to try to find the keys before it got dark. We got up to the slide and they weren't there. We went and checked all the other places we had gone to, but they weren't there either, I decided we should go to the police station and see if anyone had turned some keys in. We went, and there hadn't been (at this time we were also in a hurry to try to catch the train to Kitami) but we did get a description of the keys written down, and left our contact info with the officer, who turned out to be really cool. As we were leaving, he of course asked us what we were doing in abashiri, so we talked, and somehow the topic got changed to Football, and then this women came up (I didn't see her) and scared the crap out of me. In being startled, I started to fall down, I kicked the door, almost hit her, ran into our bikes, knocked them over, and fell onto the ground next to the bikes. This lady was probably wondering why these drunk Americans were being let out of the police station. So I'm on the ground, and the cop starts talking to her, and she says "hey I found these keys...." He gets them, looks at them, and goes "woah" shows them to me, and Elder Francis, and then takes us all back in. We start to fill out a ton of paper work, Elder Francis says a quick prayer of gratitude, and we get my keys back. Then we proceed to teach the cop about priesthood blessings. My oil vial was on the key chain, and he asked about it, so we taught him. Then he started asking us other questions, and we wound up teaching him about the word of wisdom. So yup. We missed our train, but I got my keys back. So that was my miracle for this week.
We went to Kitami, and did splits this day. I went with Elder Kojima, and we visited this crazy guy named Fujino San. He was really funny. He believes in a religion called "S Sensei" they believe that Jesus Christ wasn't really "Jesus Christ" he was a good person, but the real Savior, and prophet is S Sensei, who is currently living in Okinawa. Basically we didn't even get to teach a lesson. We sat there while he told us all these things about S Sensei. He had 6 or 7 notebooks, all full of quotes fro, S Sensei. I'll admit, while sitting there listening to him, I actually fell asleep. Oops. The best part is though that he didn't even notice. Lol.
Anyway after that we came back and went to teach English class in Kitami.
We went to Obihiro this day for Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) we left from Kitami, on a local bus, and went to Rikubetsu. Come to find out, Rikubetsu is the coldest place in Hokkaido, making it the coldest place in Japan. We then went from Rikubetsu to Obihiro. It was not a fun ride at all. Several hours in local buses. Not nice traveling buses like we take to Sapporo, but awful, cramped, regular buses. But we did make it to Obihiro safe and sound. It was down pouring however, so we were running to and from buildings. Apparently in Obihiro there is a place that sells famous "Butadon" (A Japanese dish that is basically pork on rice) so we decided to try to get that. We wound up going to this place that was very fairy like. We all got expensive Butadon that was small, and while it didn't taste bad, it was pretty normal. Nothing special about it. So disappointed, we headed to the Obihiro apartment.
We went to Obihiro Church for ZTM. We learned how to Dendo better, and received iPads. YAY!!!!
Already they are so useful. So many books that are just not needed anymore. We don't have to carry around scriptures nearly as often anymore. We also have several videos and other things at our disposal. Including an amazing Japanese tool called Imiwa. It is an app that helps with study so much. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to learn Japanese. After ZTM we went to a restaurant called baby face planet. We all ordered Omlet Rice, that turned out to be HUGE!! It was so hard to finish it. So much rice....
Then we headed back to Kitami in the same awful buses.
We came back to Abashiri, and did weekly planning. Once again we have a week where we will be in Kitami most of the week. It makes me sad, because there is a chance that I will transfer out of Abashiri this transfer , and I really really don't want to. If I do, I only have a few days left in Abashiri, because we are working nonstop in Kitami, because of splits. Anyway we also did English class in Abashiri that night. That was fun
We went out to a an area called Shari today. We met with a cool family that had met the missionaries several times before. Sadly enough it seems like the last missionaries that went there weren't really teaching them, so they don't have much interest in the church. The good news is that they do have a really good relationship with the missionaries, and we were able to become there friends, so it could turn into something. For now, Shari is a pretty ways out of Abashiri so we aren't going there to often, especially since we aren't going to be in our area to many more days. We then tried to visit some less actives, but wound up not being able to find any, so we went to our branch presidents house to see if he could help us find some, and he wasn't home. So we started to head back when his wife pulled up to us on the street. She told us to go back to her house, so we did, and he got home, and then they took us out to dinner, and gave us a ride home. They are very nice. I really don't want to leave Abashiri. Everything here is so awesome. The members, the apartment, the area, the investigators. I love it all.
We had church today. We had a member of the mission presidency come to church, as well as a family that was visiting from Obihiro. Lots of fun getting to meet new people. We then went to try to visit some of our investigators after church, but none of them were home so we just pinged some doors. Not a lot came out of it, but that night we got to go have dinner with a family in the branch. They made us pizza and Takoyaki (with Kia instead of tako) and it was really yummy then we shared this video with them.
This is a really good video to just help remind us all of what Jesus Christ did for us. You should check it out. It is a very simple video, but I can feel the spirit testifying to me when I watch it. Along with what I said last week pertaining to finding the strong point of your testimony, try to now make the strong point of your testimony. With something to fall back on just in case, try to gain more faith in Jesus Christ. He is our savior, and we need but look to him to be saved. That brings me comfort in this fallen world that I live in.
Well that's about it. I hope everyone else had a wonderful week. Please pray for me and Elder Francis, and the area of Abashiri. We aren't going to be here that much this week either so we are going to work hard the few days that we are here. Your prayers could go a long way in helping us.
Remember that God loves all of you. He is your Heavenly Father and he wants to help you. All you have to do is ask.

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, April 12, 2015

04/12/2015 | The Gospel is True


Hey everybody. How are you all doing. I'm doing pretty good. I hope you are all doing good too. Why am I doing good you ask? Well I just got to watch a bunch of Prophets and Apostles talk about awesome stuff the past few days. Yup that's right. I have gotten to see General Conference now, and I loved it. This is a twice a year church-wide conference where our leaders address us with faith promoting talks.  It was amazing. I loved how many of the talks were centered on the Atonement of Jesus. Kind of fitting seeing as it was Easter, but I have kind of unintentionally been studying a lot about the atonement lately. It is very comforting to see just how imperfect I am. I know that sounds weird, but it doesn't matter how imperfect I am. I just have to try my best, and continually try my best, and Jesus will make up for it. I have no Idea how he'll do that, I just know that he will. 

One of my favorite talks was from Rosemary M. Wixom (I think that's her name) She talked about the friend that she had that left the church because she wasn't getting the answers she needed. One thing I got out of that talk is that we don't need to know everything. It doesn't matter if we are slightly confused about the atonement (for example). We just need to focus on the things that we do know, and through those we will gain a better understanding for other things. 

Joseph Smith and the Sacred Grove/First Vision
I have found a lot of things in my studies that have brought up interesting questions of the truthfulness of things. Several of which have had me questioning this gospel. However every-time something like that comes up I am able to think back to the time I was able to go to the Sacred Grove. I remember just feeling the peaceful sacredness of the place that isn't just normal of a grove of trees. It was a powerful testament to me that God and Jesus did come to Joseph Smith in the grove of trees. Standing in the room that Moroni came to had the same effect. Through that I have gained a testimony that Joseph Smith really did see angels. The First Vision is one of the strongest points of my testimony, and whenever I have those doubting questions, I can always think back to that. And then from there we have the Domino Effect. Obviously if Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ, then the Book of Mormon was really translated by him, and is true, and he was a prophet, making Thomas S. Monson a prophet today, which makes this gospel true, which makes prayer real, which.... etc. It is very comforting to be able to have that. I challenge all of you to find that point in your testimony. Even when everything else is challenged, where is that one spot that you have to fall back on. Where is that "Zarahemla" that you have your strongest testimony in. Find that and hold on to it. I know that if you do this it will help you through those troubling times. I have seen it in myself, and others. I can promise you that it will help.

Sorry didn't get to tell you about my week this week. I'll let you know next week. We do officially get iPads this week, so this is the last email that I will send from a computer :) Next week it will be through an iPad. Yay. I am way excited. iPads are going to help move the work forward so much. It will make Dendo a lot easier as well. I think I've said it before, but with these iPads I will be able to receive email all week. I can only respond on P-Day, but I can read it any day of the week so you can send me whatever.

Well I'll let you know more later.
Lot's of love
Elder Eliot

Sunday, April 5, 2015

04/05/2015 | Well It's Been A Week

04/05/2015 | Well It's Been A week

Got his dads eyes!

Coming up with subject names is hard. I don't want to just have it be a week number, or day number or anything like that, that's boring (sorry for those of you who do that, it's just my opinion) but they are getting harder to come up with. Oh well 楽しみにしています

Soooo This week. It was... good? I guess. It wasn't like "BOOM MIRICLES EVERYDAY. PEOPLE BEING BAPTIZED LEFT AND RIGHT, HEALING PEOPLE LIKE IT'S NO ONES BUSINESS" But it wasn't a bad week either. just kind of normal.

On Monday, we had P-Day. We had some fun. We fixed up some old trashy bikes that some missionaries left here, and we biked 13 km to Cape Notoro to do some photography things. It probably would've been better if it were spring, or summer, it would've been prettier, but it was still fun. Elder Francis is way into photography so he has been giving me a few pointers, and the Pokemon you see in the pictures is some of my practices. He has a little box guy he uses to practice that kind of stuff, and I've decided to use Fennekin (フォーコ) The little Pokemon dude that I have. I'll probably be using him in other Photography things as well from now on, so you'll get to see Fennekin pretty often now. He is my Photo buddy. I have some other pics I'll try to send next week, but they are on Elder Francis's camera, and I haven't had a chance to get them off of there yet. Anyway then we biked another 13 km back home, and got changed into missionary clothes to go to a members house. We had delicious food with them there, and taught a lesson about Courage. If you haven't read the April Ensign/Liahona's (church magazine) First Presidency message yet, do it. It's good. Fun fact. In Japanese Sprit is "Yuuki" 勇気。 Literally it means "Brave Spirit" I like that translation, because it almost seems to me like it's saying, Be brave through the Spirit. That's what Courage is.

Looks Abandoned

Tuesday we went to District Training Meeting in Kitami. Nothing super mind blowing about this day (probably cause I can't remember it to well... tee hee) We came back and did Dendo, met some cool people, and that's about it.

With district in Kitami

Wednesday. We had a service opportunity this day, got to help sort a ton of Bottle Caps. (A TON. I think it might have litterally weighed a ton) That was fun. Then we went and tried to visit some appointments that we had made, but they all wound up falling through. No one was home. :(  Come on people. I can't save you if you aren't home when I come to talk to you. Kind of a rough day. Nothing really went to well for us that day.

This boy wants to be a missionary

Thursday. Also a day where appointments fell through. In the words of my companion it was a "Dead day" Just not a lot seen.
Abashiri by Sea

Friday. We didn't have any appointments, so we just did regular dendo. Still not a lot coming out of this day (when I go back and retell this it's slightly discouraging) Taught English class that night. That was fun. I love teaching English

New Photo Companion

Saturday. We went out to an area called Memanbetsu. There are some less active members living out there we went to try to visit. Didn't really get the oppurtunity because we couldn't find severel of them. We found one, but he was asleep, so we left a message, and left. Fun story though. We got on our train to come back, and Elder Francis just had a feeling that we should get off the train. We both kind of ignored it, because there was only one train, it said Abashiri on it, and we were both tired and wanted to just stay sitting. But then another train came right as ours was about to pull out. We got up so fast. We asked someone, turns out we were on our way to Engaru, which is 2 hours in the wrong direction. We got off that train and ran for the other train, and luckily made it. So yeah. Spiritual promptings. That happened

He is Risen

Sunday. EASTER. Yay. Happy Easter Everybody. We had church. No General Conference. We get conference a week late here in Japan, so we will see it next week. We did see some miricles this day though. This is what makes me know that our work the rest of the week didn't go unnoticed. Me and Elder Francis had just come from another fallen through appoinment, just to go to 2 more that also fell through. We were both very discouraged, very frustrated, so of course whats the best thing to do in that situation. Listen to the Spirit. Duh. Let's go Ping doorbells at this apartment. We caught 2 people right as they were going out the door and both said that they'd would be way down to talk about our message. They were leaving right then or they would've listened right then. Then that night, we were calling people, and I found a name, with a phone number, but no note about them. Thought "Heck why not" called this person, turns out that they don't know why the missionaries stopped visiting them. Set up an appointment with them, and we'll get to go visit them too. She was way nice, and I'm excited for it. The miricle was that I was the one that called her. I was the one that talked to her on the phone. No help from my senior companion, all in Japanese, and I could do it. Nice miricle filled day. I'm excited for this week to see how those miricles pan out in the end.

Well know that this church is true. I know it.
Jesus did live again. He was resurected, and because of that we can too.
We are saved by his grace.
This work that I am doing is for him.
Love it.

Have a wonderful week.

Elder Eliot

P-day at Cape Notoro