Sunday, January 31, 2016

01/31/2016 | Baptisms, and Broken Backs :)

I swear the subject lines just keep getting better and better don't they?

I am sitting down to write this after what seems like it has been a really long week, for the most part though it was actually short. We spent Monday and Tuesday, finding like normal, and just like last week weren't able to find anyone. Not even a potential investigator was added to our pool. There are just times like that as a missionary though. Sometimes you feel like you are giving your all, and you are working really hard, being extra obedient, and nothing comes. It can be frustrating, but it just reminds me that God is testing us. Does it really matter to us? Or are we only trying super hard because nothing's coming.

Well we kept going, on Wednesday I got to go on splits with my Zone Leader, Elder Heslop. Brought him down here, and we went and hung out. Of course we did dendo. We talked a lot about dendo. We tend to do that though. We get into a lot of good conversations. One thing we talked a lot about was our English Class. We worked together back when I was in Abashiri, he was in my district for a few transfers. Back in Kitami, and Abashiri, the English Classes went pretty well. And his English Class up in Eniwa is also doing super amazing. Our English class had kind of died, before I came here, and currently there are 2 students, and sometimes some members come. 

In talking with him, I decided we needed to kick it up a notch. So I have a request for as many people as can take 1 minute out of their lives for me. I want to make the class more inviting, make it a little less boring, so that when new people do come, they want to come again.
 As part of that I want to use my IPad to make us look all technologically advanced, and not the monkeys with sticks that missionaries used to be (not meant to be offensive, just a stupid joke). 

So I am now asking each one of you, to take 1 minute out of your life, and send me a video of you giving a Self Introduction. I want to know:

Your name
Where you are from
  1. What 3 of your hobbies are and tell me why you like one of those hobbies
  2. Tell me what your favorite food is
  3. What your job is
  4. If you are in school
  5. What you want to do
  6. Tell me about your job
  7. If you are in school, tell me what grade you are in, what you are studying, what your favorite class is, and things like that. 
  8. And then say something awesome. Anything's ok. 

If you could get those sent to me before Thursday that would be awesome, Thanks.

Aaaaanyway. So on Thursday we didn't get to do a whole lot, we did service at an old folks home (we dry the hair of old people after they get out of the bath. Actually not nearly as gross as you'd think) and then we did some planning, and went to a members house that night. On Friday we started putting some stuff together for English class to kind of spice it up, and then English class. It went over fairly well, but we are still just in the beginnings of it. On Saturday we had Ritsuki kun's baptism. It went over flawlessly, and he was way happy to finally be able to be baptized. His family even came to watch it, so it was a very good day for him. We rested the rest of the day, and I'll tell you why a little later. On Sunday, we came to church, and had Ritsuki kun's confirmation, and then I had a talk in Sacrament meeting. I spoke largely about Light, and the same things I talked about in last week’s email, and told everyone to shine. It went over ok, and I think it was good. 

Another really cool thing we got to watch yesterday was a presentation on the area plan for the Asia North Area. It is interesting that this year, the First Presidency has instructed the Area Seventy presidencies to one shorten the area plan, and make it more of a foundation to build off of, and 2 to tell all of the members in that area. That way each area can become more united it all that they do. It was interesting to watch the video, and see just how much people are catching on to it. It is the most simple thing in the world, but it could help this area so much. They basically came out with a theme "In order to live together with Heavenly Father again, We...
  • Love
  • Elevate
  • Simplify
  • Strive
  • Strengthen
  • Invite
And Find Joy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then with this theme, they have shown people how to make goals, and how to work to do these things, in order to reach the center of it all, which is returning to live with Heavenly Father. It was a really good presentation, and I hope everyone remembers it.

So yeah after that was all done, we once again returned to the apartment to rest. I guess I can tell you why. First of all don't freak out too much, I am still alive, and I'm not dead. As of Wednesday, my back had been giving me some pain. I noticed it, and it wasn't that bad, and sometimes as a missionary you just get that. But it continued to get worse, and finally I was complaining about it on Friday, and someone suggested I call Honda
姉妹 who is kind of like the medical missionary. Basically right now, if I have weight on my spine, if I am standing or sitting, it starts to hurt. So if I'm not laying down I'm in a lot of pain. We still aren't sure 100% as to why, but for now I have been resting, taking medicine to help with the pain, and I will be going to check things out on Wednesday at a hospital. I don't think it is super serious, but we will find out. If I don't find out anything from the Hospital on Wednesday, then President Nakatsuka 会長 will be taking me to see a Chiropractor in a week or two when we go to Sapporo. I am doing ok, but I could use your prayers on my behalf. I feel like I could go out and dendo and just deal through the pain, but I am being told to rest, so that is what I am doing. It does mean though that I don't get to go and find people, so I am praying for a miracle right now. I will let you know a little more next week on the details of things, but for now I am down and out for the count. But I might still sneak a few hours of dendo in this week ;)

Aaaaaand yeah that about fills you in, and brings you up to date with me. If you want a cool scripture, one that I have found comforting through this time is Ether 12:27. It is an interesting one to ponder about. The other thing that I have learned through these past weeks is that it is important to have faith even through the tough, and the dark times. Job went through a lot worse that I am right now, and kept the faith. Maybe God's just testing me like he did Job. I won't lose!!!! This gospel is the most true thing out of anything on the earth, and I know it. It doesn't matter what happens to me, I will not lose the faith!!!!
Have a wonderful week
Elder Eliot

Sunday, January 24, 2016

01/24/2016 | Light, and Dark

Hey how's everyone doing. I feel like that's one of the things that I say a lot. So how was everyone's week? I know mine was strange. I had a very strange week. So basically right now we don't really have a ton of strong investigators besides Ritsuki kun who is getting baptized this Saturday!!!! Yay!!! But because of that it means we have to do a lot of finding. All of the other investigators we've had, are just to busy to meet, dropped off the face of the earth, or just won't progress, so we are out looking for more. Elder Bailey is great. He is full of fire, and wants to talk to literally everyone. Not just so that he can tell the message of the gospel, but also so that he can practice his Japanese so he can get better at telling the message of the gospel. However the only bad thing about this is we are now at the point again where we are literally pinging door after door after door, and not finding anyone. We are talking to everyone, but no one wants to listen to us. It was one of those weeks where you are literally out everyday, and no one says yes. That happens sometimes as a missionary, and it can be a little discouraging sometimes, but the nice thing to remember is that we are trying. As long as we are trying, we won't lose. If people don't listen than I guess that's just too bad for them, but it does make one a little saddened to have the truth, to be full and ready to burst to tell people about it, and then be told that "I have no relation to that" It was a little more of a Dark week in that regard. I'm doing ok, don't be worried or anything like that. Everyone has those days, and everyone has those weeks sometime. The bright side of things is that Ritsuki is getting baptized. He is going through a lot right now actually that I can't mention, and to see that he is pushing forward, and trying to make this covenant with God, and really knows this is right, is honestly a testimony strengthener for me. Though he could use your prayers for some of the trials he is going through right now.

Now I want to take a moment and talk about light. We had interviews with President Nakatsuka 会長 this last week, and one of the main things we talked about together was light. Light is a pretty incredible thing when you think about it. Specifically we talked about the light that is in each of us. We each have the light of Christ, but there is something more. (I have also been studying this a little more myself, not all of this was discussed during our interview) Imagine someone you know that is just always happy, always kind, essentially the most Christ-like person you know. They just have this light about them do they not. Almost like an aura. You can see it in there eyes, and around about them. They are just good people. On the opposite side if you think of someone who is usually not all that happy, and isn't very kind (let's face it those people are out there) there isn't so much of a light that you see. It's like the difference between the Sun, and a glow in the dark sticker. Ever since I came out here, I have had a lot of people tell me that they can just see a light coming from me, and of course, I didn't think that was true. I'm not that kind of person, but something I've realized is that missionaries in and of themselves have a special light. A 伝道 (missionary) Light. Almost like a beacon, or a lighthouse to tell people to come home. So I've decided that rather than running away from that light, and telling myself I don't have it, I'm going to try to discover how to harness it and use it in 伝道. I want to be able to try to send it out, and show people the way home. I think that it will make finding more effective in general, and make me a better person as well. If anyone wants to try to do this with me you can. I basically read the talk that President Monson gave at the last general conference about light, and have been following his advice. He uses 2 specific scriptures that I've built on. Check out some of these scriptures and just see what you think.

Matthew 5:14-16 with emphasis on 16
1 Timothy 4:12
D&C 50:23-24
D&C 88: 40

Just read those, and maybe write down your thoughts somewhere. You can tell me what you think about them if you want. I'm still studying about light and things, and would love some of your help.

I think that's about all I can think of to write out this week. It just happened to be one of those busy things with nothing to write about XD  I guess that happens sometimes.

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful last week of January. Fill it up with fun, and remember after the storm comes the calm (I think it comes before too, but meh)


Sunday, January 17, 2016

01/17/2016 | Earthquakes, and Transfers, and other happenings

Well Everybody. I apologize for lack of an email last week. We had a special "party" with the Muroran Ward (church), for the new year, and then had to go up to Eniwa for a zone meeting and we just didn't have time to do email :(  It was fun though. For the New years SHINNENKAI we did a Mochitsuki (you pound rice with a giant wooden hammer until it becomes this chewy substance called Mochi) and then ate it with delicious stuff. It was great. We then had a great Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday learning all about teaching with the spirit, and working together, and the like. It was fun.

I'm sure lots of you heard about the earthquake that occurred as well. If you hadn't, now you are. We had an earthquake on Wednesday the 13th at 12:30ish. The epicenter was off the coast of a city called Urakawa, it was rated at 6.7. We were just finishing lunch, when my phone beeped to tell me about a natural disaster warning. I was thinking it might be about the blizzard that we were supposed to have, so I opened my phone to check the mail, and suddenly it started shaking. It was quiet at first, and then it got pretty violent. Our heater turned itself off, and everything on my desk fell. We were hanging out in the door of our entry hall, when it stopped, and I look down at my phone to see it tell me "Get ready for an Earthquake" It made us laugh. There wasn't a lot of damage, and injuries were minimal, but it was a little scary. The church building did receive a small crack in the floor, but aside from that we are all AOK.

I guess I do need tell you about the transfer that we had. So against all odds, I went trainer again. That's right. My new companion is a bean (new missionary). His name is Elder Bailey, and he is from Las Vegas (sort of) His family is military so really he's from all over the place. Elder Pace went ahead and moved on to an area called Suehiro. If you look it up on a map it might be hard to find, because it is part of the city called Asahikawa. His new companion is a good friend who's name is Elder Johnson. He is way awesome, and they seem like they are having a great time. 

The very sad thing about this transfer, is that my 1st companion, Elder Rostedt finally finished his mission, and he is now down hanging out in the sunny summer in Australia. I can't believe just how fast he went home. He was a lot younger (mission wise) when he trained me, and now he's already heading home, it makes me realize just how little time I have. I am still hanging out in Muroran though for what looks like another 2 transfers. It makes me very excited, and I am so happy to do so. This is a very special area, and I'm so excited to get to work here for a little longer, and try to help it just a little more. And then the last surprise is that I am now the District Leader here. I get to help teach all the missionaries in the Muroran Area, and the Tomakomai area now. It is a new responsibility and I'm enjoying it. I'm doing my best to work hard and help each one of them. I have gotten to the point that I am the oldest in my district. I'm at Transfer 11 (transfers happen about every month and a half), Sister Naganuma (who served with me before in Shinkotoni) at transfer 9, Sister Yoshimura is on transfer 8, Elder Dupuis at transfer 8, and then Elder Martinson (Elder Paces MTC companion) at transfer 3, and then Elder Bailey at Transfer 1. 

Dang time has gone fast. I feel like I say that often, but it's so true.

Well I guess that's about it for most of the happenings. Our baptismal dates for the 9th didn't work out, but we did rearrange them so that both we and the sisters will be having another baptism on the 30th of January. Being the District Leader also means that I will be performing Baptismal Interviews as well. The Elders in Tomakomai also found a KinJin (golden investigator) that is going to be baptized next month, so we'll get to go see that.

I think that's about it for an update. I hope you all are doing wonderful, and I once again apologize for the lack of a letter.  I'll try not to let it happen again, but if it does know that I do love you all.

I know that this Gospel is true, and I know that our Savior is at the head of it as well. He is here for you and me at anytime. Try asking him about it. I'm sure he'll let you know.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

01/03/2016 | Opps, I traveled so far...sorry

Hey everyone. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Sorry it's been so long. We had to skip P-Day last week, and it got switched to 1/1, but then we were way to busy that day to do anything, and so I didn't get anything sent out... ごめんね(^人^)

So there's been a lot happening. We had Shogatsu parties this last week!! Woot!! Shogatsu is New Year, and In Japan is probably the most largely celebrated and observed Holiday. It takes up 3 whole days, and honestly for missionaries isn't to different except for the fact that we all gain like 5 Kilos (sorry don't run on pounds anymore) from all of the food that we are given to eat. We had some wonderful days though where we got to eat with all of my favorite members, Including one who
normally lives in Muroran, but is currently up in Shinkotoni for work. So I knew him from before, and it was great to catch up. I'll talk about that night real quick. That was the night we spent with the
Kamada's. Brother Kamada is the Ward Mission Leader currently in Shinkotoni, and his wife still lives down here. They had us (and the Shimai) over for dinner at which we ate Okonomiyaki which is basically a pancake with cabbage, and all sorts of meat in it smothered with sauces. Its really good. We then proceeded to talk about the deep rich history of Japan and the Gospel. It is a lot of stuff that if you don't know Japan, or Japanese it wont make sense, so they'll have to be things that I explain when I'm home. Sorry, but it was sooooo cool.

Something Cool I learned from that night was really, it doesn't matter where you are in the world, This Gospel Has Proof. People tell us all the time that if they had proof they would believe, and the funny thing is, there is proof. But if we were to show these things to people, they still wouldn't believe it. I bore my testimony about this yesterday in church, and its so true. If you haven't received a confirmation by the spirit, if you don't already have a testimony, and faith in the gospel, than you wont understand the proof. Its all so clear to me, but other people just wouldn't be able to comprehend it.

So that cool stuff happened. And then Hey. Its 2016. あけましておめでとう‼️ Can you believe its already the year of the date on my plaque that means I'm coming home soon? I'm still in shock. I've gotten to the point that all of these new missionaries have come in, that I don't know everyone in the mission anymore. This week is transfers, and I'm going on 11. Don't worry Dad. I'll make it special just for you. But being on 11 means that there's only 5 left to go. I'm done on 16, and 5 transfers
isn't that long at all. I'll be out of here before I know it. That's so insane. I seem to remember writing about how fast it was going yesterday when it was my second week in the MTC. I guess that means I
gotta work harder. I'm a little nervous for this week. There's a High chance that I'm leaving Muroran, and I really don't want to. I have so much more I need to do here. This area could become dynamite, and I want to help get it to that point. I'm really nervous. I guess I'll let you know what happens.

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful year. Make 2016 the year to turn things around. Make the bads goods, and make the goods betters. You can do it. Ask for help. You'll get it. I promise! I know with all my heart that this gospel Is of God. He is the author of everything, and he loves us. He wants to help you だよ。
I can testify to that.
Aaaand that's where I'll leave it at.
Elder Eliot