Monday, June 23, 2014

June 22, 2014

Transfer 8, Week 1

Guess what!  I got transfered again!  Surprise! 
I was so sad to leave Yanai.  Yanai was such a great place and I really loved the people there too.  Instead I got one last call from my trainer (Mukaitani Choro) and was told I was needed in Kumamoto.  So yeah.  I`m now in Kumamoto, Nagamine Ward.  Apparently there are about a hundred or so members of my ward, which is awesome.  I look forward to meeting all of them and I think it will be a great experience.  Yesterday and Saturday were Stake Conference, a special dendou one on Saturday and yesterday a conference that was broadcast from Tokyo and featured some of the church leaders including a member of the twelve (sorry I forgot who).  Was interesting but we didn`t really get to meet any of our members because we helped out the Nagamine Sisters with a lesson and there were just so many people that we couldn`t tell who was from where.  Exciting stuff. 
So, Kumamoto.  Really big city and really cool.   It has four wards (Tsuboi, Shimizu, Kumamoto and Nagamine) and each ward has a set of Elders and Sisters.  It`s ridiculous.  There are only two church buildings though, so Kumamoto and Nagamine share a building and the other two share a building.  I am sure when next Sunday rolls around I will be very confused who`s in which ward (Nagamine or Kumamoto).  But this area is much less rural than my previous areas.  The funny part is that it`s still the most rural out of the four area`s in Kumamoto.  We actually are emailing in a library in Tsuboi area because we came over with the Zone Leaders (who are in our apartment) and checked out the huge mall (called a shotengai).  We also ate some really good chicken tonkatsu, which is like a way to fry meat, and so far this P-day has been super fun.  I hope I will be able to enjoy this area as much as my last. 
As far as investigators and whatnot, apparently we have some, but the previous Elders left us almost no information, so we haven`t really been able to meet any yet.  But hopefully we can find some off our own steam soon.  I am really excited.  My new companion just came from Yamaguchi-ken, Shimonoseki, which is right at the bottom of Honshu (the biggest Japanese island).  He is actual my doki (same missionary age) but we never met in the MTC.  His name is Kirkham.  He was a wrestler, likes Pokemon, is a decent nerd and is actually rather quiet.  But we have gotten along well so far and I forsee no problems into the future. 
Which leads me to my next comment; Whitewashing.  Yes, I am again whitewashing.  This is a little different though, because unlike Yanai where the previous Elders left us with nothing, and Iizuka, where we made it fourman so there was nothing before us anyway, Nagamine has some investigators.  Actually apparently we have one with a Baptismal Date.  However we haven`t talked to him yet and don`t have a phone number.  We finally got the address and tried to visit last night, but he wasn`t home.  Hopefully he is home tonight.  But yeah, so fun stuff.  In a couple of weeks I hope we can check out Kumamoto castle and I`ll send you some photos, but that brings us to my last problem.  No, I did not forget my camera today.  The library computers don`t have an access function.  So next week (we normally email at the church so it should be fine next week).  Hope you guys have a good time in San Diego, say Hi to Colin for me.  

Love you,
Elder Lee

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014

Transfer 7: Week 5

Let me first apologize for forgetting my camera.  Sorry.  I didn`t realize until about 2 seconds ago when I started emailing.  That is really lame.  Ok.  

This week was rather interesting.  Last week I didn`t really have much to say, but now I have a decent amount (i really wanted to show some photos though).  We went to Ooshima, an island connected to the mainland by a large bridge, and took lots of pictures.  It was lots of fun.  It took us about 35min to get to the island, where we decided to climb a mountain to get the best photos.  There was a lookout point on top that was pretty cool, but it took us another 35min to get to the top.  We would have been fine, but as soon as we started our descent, Anderson choro got a punk (flat).  So we walked our bikes down the mountain.  We then walked to the train station in the hopes of catching a train, but they don`t allow bikes on board.  So we walked back.  It took about 2hrs and 15-30min to get back to the apartment (from top of the mountain).  We were exhausted but then had to ride to an FHE activity that the ward held because our eikaiwa (english class) students were there.  We actually had a really good conversation about the gospel, so turned out well.  But unfortunately I have been tired this whole week because of that trip.  

The second good news is our new investigator.  He is in his twenties and loves to swim.  We found him on Thursday while we were knocking on doors.  He came out to the door (which is unusual) and then invited us into his house.  I was immediately suspicious because every time this has happened in the past, they didn`t want to hear our message and then asked us to leave (which is really awkward and then your like, "why`d you let us into your house if you didn`t know who we were?" Just really weird people).  Well this time was legit.  He said he had seen the missionaries a lot before because they met with his older brother.  His brother speaks English apparently and loved the missionaries, so this guy, kurusu-san, was influenced by the missionaries too.  Kurusu said his curiosity was peaked by those missionaries and lately he has thought a lot about God and what He is and how he can know for himself.  We shared with him the Book of Mormon and our testimonies of how we came to know it is true.  He was excited and really wanted to meet again.  Kurusu is really cool and might come to eikaiwa too.  We are super excited to work with him.  

Finally, I have a new companion!  No it wasn't transfer week (that`s next week).  We had an emergency transfer and Yanagida choro came to Yanai.  yes, he is Japanese; his kanji means willow field.  He is coming from Mihara, Hiroshima and whats more, Tenney choro and Parker choro and Robinson choro were in his last district (two of my best friends in the mission whom I roomed with and my previous companion, all of whom I love).  One poor elder got sick and went back to America, so Yanagida choro came here and now we are three man.  It is interesting and I am excited to get to work with a new elder (particularly a Japanese elder) but I don`t really like working as a threesome; I had enough of it in Iizuka.  But we have had a good time so far and I am looking forward to the next week.  Most likely someone is transfer and it will be twoman again, so I am not too worried.  

I have come to really love this branch.  The people are awesome and some of them are just so cool.  We are trying to get a better relationship with the youth and maybe we can find some new young investigators.  Fingers crossed.  Love you guys and hope you`re well.  I promise I will send lots of pictures next week.  I wanted to just send photos with descriptions instead of this normal email but alas, my memory sucks.  Hope Wyatt has a good time at EFY and whatnot.  Don`t hold back, it's all fun.  

Love you,
Elder Lee

(PS when you guys called me Iain on the phone I was super weirded out.  It will be an adjustment getting called by my first name again, but I think I will enjoy it).  

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 1, 2014

Transfer 7: Week 4

Well I finally feel satisfied with a p-day.  Last week we walked around what they call "White-Wall Street".  It has some interesting history and stuff, so we walked around and took some pictures.  It wasn`t the coolest thing I`d ever seen, but they had some old stuff that was at least worth while.  I have just had so many companions who don`t want to do anything interesting, it`s nice to have a comp. who doesn`t want to waste his p-days either.  Today we might go to the nearby island, if it`s not raining.  Otherwise we will go and check out a cake shop that a member told us about.  I meant to send some photos, but I forgot my camera at the apartment.  Next week for sure. 
Lately I have done a lot of study from the Old Testament.  Anderson Choro has a bunch of talks from Education Week (at BYU) and some other places.  I really like this one guy named Michael Wilcox (for future note I also like Scott Anderson).  He gave a talk called "Treasures from the Pearl of Great Price" or something like that.  But he spent about 40 minutes just talking about Moses Chapter 1.  It is amazing.  But he said something about Moses and how God prepared Moses to deal with the children of Israel because they were not obedient.  I decided to read Moses` life story and have found that there are so many things to be gained from him.  We aren`t all that similar, but I feel that sometimes I can understand and/or relate to him which makes the story really interesting.  It is amazing that no matter how many times God performs miracles through Moses, Israel still complains.
Moses at one point says dealing with Israel is so hard that he would be willing to die if God willed it.  God obviously tells him no, but I thought that was really interesting.  Prophets sometimes have a perfect appearance, like there is no way I could ever be like them, but you can see where Moses faulters and he just seems like a real person, so I feel like he is more relatable.       

Hope you guys have a good week.  Love you.  Sorry I didn`t write much.  I don`t think much happened this week.  But I will send photos with explanations next week, promise.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

May 25, 2014

Transfer 7: Week 3

Hello!  It`s raining again.  The law of Monday rain has finally carried over from Amami.  I think it`s a Japanese problem.  Seriously every Monday (sometimes Tuesday too) it rains.  I can`t decide whether it`s Japan or that God just has a good sense of humor.  

Anyhoo, we handed out copies of the Book of Mormon!!!  Woo.  It`s actually been quite a while since I`ve done that.  People in Japan just don`t like taking stuff for free.  Particularly because if they take a Book of Mormon they think they are obligating themselves, something which they don`t like to do.  Admittedly they are obligating themselves due to the fact that we really want to teach them about the gospel, but they should be okay with that too.  

Now the big news of the week.  I have been bursting with this all week.  Last monday, after email, we met an older man by the name of Sakae-san.  He knows people living in CA.  Guess what town they live in.  Nope, Woodland.  They live in Woodland.  His sister is apparently a Christian and has Mormon friends.  She would be around 70`s and her son (I think, maybe Grandson) lives there too.    Her name is Shimada, Sayoko.  Her son (grandson) is Jeffrey Hendrick (again not exactly sure if that`s right).  He sad they might be Mormon (I don`t think so) and they definitely have Mormon friends.  You should find them.  I`m not sure how, but you should.  How many Japanese people could there be in Woodland.  Just go knocking on doors until you find them.  If we work on both ends we`ll create a strong mormon family (baptism!!!).  

We went on Junkai (exchanges) with the Zone Leaders.  It was interesting because the one I went with didn`t seem to have a lot of dendo fire, but he contacted every person we could.  I took that and decided that even though I am not the most enthusiastic about contacting, I can do the same and talk to everybody.  

Also, yesterday we took over church.  We were asked last week by the Elders Quorum President to teach in Elders Quorum about love (Pres. Monson`s GC Talk).  Then we got a call by the Branch Pres. last minute to teach the gospel principles class.  So we taught during 2/3`s of church.  That was interesting.  We also didn`t have a lot of time to prepare because Kaicho (mission Pres.) asked us to do a special study assignment this week.  And we had to plan for a lot of PI`s (potential investigators) so we had no time at all.  But looking back I think we should and could have done more prep. and I feel bad about that.  So will do better next time.  

Also you guys should read Elder Ballard`s talk about Following Up for FHE.  It`s awesome and I think you would enjoy it.  Love you and have a good week.  

Elder Lee