Monday, June 24, 2013

The Verdict

Everyone Ready?........
I've been called to serve in........
The Japan Tokyo Mission!
I made into the same Mission as Elder Healy! It is however
bitter sweet. I got transferred.
Elder Gallacher and I began our personal study on Saturday morning fully expecting a call saying one of us were transferring. What actually happened however was not what we expected.

"Elder Gallacher, good morning" "Good Morning president! How are you?" "I'm doing great Elder, how about you, you ready for transfers?....We have a transfer call for you and Elder Howard." "Ok President." "Well we're doing something a little different this time" "Ok..." "We're going to turn Okegawa into a sisters area" "Wow..That is different" "Yup so you'll be going to Machida to be a Zone Leader with Elder Newsom." "Wow ok." "It's a South Mission area, so we're sad to see you go but you'll always be in our hearts and you'll always be on our quilt." "Thank you president." "Thanks Elder. Will you pass the phone to Elder Howard so I can give him his new assignment?" "Sure thing, here he is." The rest of the conversation was similair.

I was assigned to Oyama, a North Area in a place called Tochigi-Ken. My new home for the forseeable future. My new companion is Elder Kim. He's a pretty cool guy. He's a Korean Elder on his last transfer. We're going to be working hard for the next 6 weeks. I've also been called as District Leader. A job that would normally be rather time consuming. As my entire district is sister missionaries I won't be doing any companion exchanges. All I have to worry about is nightly calls and trainings for district meetings.
It was really bitter sweet leaving Okegawa. I really fell in love with that area. We spent all of Sunday and Monday cleaning, updating records and coordinating with the ward so that the sisters would be good to go when they got there. I still can't quite believe they "White Washed" us. There is a chance I could go back though I still have a year. They're going to put Elders In again at some point soon, only this time they'll live in Omiya, not Okegawa. So the missionaries will be spread out across the area. That should be interesting. Sunday night was really great. Brother Kakiki got a bunch of the members together and threw us a farewell party. I'm really going to miss okegawa but I'm excited for new things to come. Hopefully after today I can settle in. I've heard a lot of great things about Oyama but for the past few transfers the missionaries here haven't really been following mission rules. I may have to do a little "area clean up." I am however excited to make new friends. Oyama is a big area. It's going to be a blast!
Well that's the update.I hope you have a great week!
I'll give an update on the area when I get more aquanted with it.
I love you all!
Love from Oyama

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"United in so great a cause" or "Divided in so great a cause"?

Hello Everyone!
I hope you are all happy and healthy and hopefully somewhere cool. It's hot in here in Saitama. Today we hit 81 degrees and keep in mind the humidity is at least 95%
I feel like I'm going to melt into a puddle every time I walk out of the apartment. Wearing suits on sundays is like being punished!
I should also say that while Tokyo and Saitama get very hot in the summer there is one place in our mission that is the hottest place in Japan. Kumagaya. And it's right next door. If we walk North about 30 minutes we're in Kumagaya's area. This summer is going to kick my butt if I stay here in Okegawa.
That brings me to my next topic of discussion. Transfers are upon us. I can't believe it. 5 weeks come and gone and we're barreling through the 6th. We will recieve transfer calls on Saturday and transfer next Monday. Neither of us have any idea of where we will go. I've only been here for 2 transfers so I don't think I'm transferring. Elder Gallacher has been here for 4! He however only has 1 transfer left so he's not likely going anywhere either. But simply because we've been together for 2 transfers already means that one of us is probably transferring. We'll see what happens. This next transfer brings with it the risk of changing missions as well. Wherever you are next Tuesday is the mission you are staying in. I could very well be writing you all all from a different mission next week .I'm not too excited at that prospect. I really would rather stay in the Tokyo Mission. I was called here not once but twice. I guess it's all in the Lords hands. Will Elder Healy and I be in the same mission next transfer? That's the real question.
Today was temple day and we had the opportunity to take a picture as a mission and see each other one last time before the split. It was a much needed spiritual recharge. I did have the cool opportunity to see an old friend on Sunday. We were at the church prepping a baptism for one of the 8 year olds in the ward. I walk out of the bathroom and there in the genkan of the church is Evan Albrethsen my trainer! I was shocked. He saw me at the same time. And we bro-hugged. It was so cool to see him! Seriously made my day. He came to the Temple with everyone today so I was able to get a picture with him. over a year since he trained me. It was a neat experience.

Well that's the update this week. I'm sure you will all be in suspense as you await the results of transfers.
Stay tuned!

Have a great week! I love you all!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Faith, Hope, Charity and Love

Hey all!
It's another busy week for me and I don't have a lot to write about, but I'm going to give you a little homework.

I'd like to commit all of you to read Moroni Chapter 7 in the Book of Mormon.
Faith, Hope and Charity are the main themes of this chapter.  My favorite among these is Charity.
Verse 46 states that "Charity never faileth."Faith may fail at times. Hope may fail at times, but Charity does not. If you have Charity then Charity never faileth.  Working among the people of Japan can be hard. There are often times we work hard for weeks and see no results.

My faith is weaker at times than I'd like it to be, and my hope that I'll see miracles waivers. My love for Japan however does not.

I love this country and I love teaching it's people. They're wonderful people.

We recently started teaching an investigator named Imai-san. Imai-san lives in a small "one room mansion" in an apartment complex.

Let me tell you. It's filthy. He's a smoker and from the ammount of cigarettes in his ash tray and the smell of his house he's at about 2 packs a day, unfiltered.

The wall paper is peeling off the wall and the sake(rice wine) bottles laying around are a clear indicator that he's an alchoholic. Whenever we meet him he wears the same shirt and pair of shorts he always wears and sometimes it can be hard to meet his gaze because he's got a crazy lazy eye and looks like Mad-Eye Moody from Harry Potter. Even talks like him sometimes. Despite all of this we have the opportunity to teach him. He has a baptismal date for August 4th and When we teach him I can't think about his dirty apartment or the smell of old cigarettes. The only thing I can care about is helping this man recieve the blessings that he wants. He has a lot of desire. We love teaching him because he's so faithful and receptive. Charity is the pure love of christ and I really love this man that we just recently met. It's the same for others as well.
When you are serving the Lord it's hard not to feel Charity and get caught up in the work.
Okegawa is a slower area than my last area in Tokyo, but there are people here waiting to hear the gospel. Elder Gallacher and I have hope that we can find those people and that the Lord is preparing them. I love this area.

I hope you all have a great week.
I want to hear your insights or favorite verses from Chapter 7