Sunday, February 16, 2014

More Snow

I had a really busy week as usual, but this time it was a bit more
like a big snowy adventure. We got another 5 inches or so and they are
saying that it's the most snow in this part of Japan for a 120 years!
we're expecting another storm on Wednesday.

This week was Mission Leadership Council. President Budge talked to us
a lot about our vision and purpose as missionaries. Elder Whiting told
him that we needed to raise our vision. President Budge, however, felt
that that wasn't really the problem. Our standards of excellence are
really high and we aren't even succeeding in reaching them yet. He
talked to President Heaton of the MTC about it and President Heaton
talked about our focus. He said that becoming consecrated, trying to
reach the standards of excellence and focusing on baptisms were all
good things. However, if missionaries really focused on their purpose
and there role in this work that we wouldn't need to focus on any of
these other things, they would naturally increase as missionaries
focused on helping others.

In D&C 88:73 it says that The Lord will hasten his work. HE will
hasten his own work. It doesn't matter whether we are here to help or
not, the work will be hastened. Our purpose is to focus on the people
and help The Lord help them. A lot of missionaries are struggling
because try as they might they don't see a baptism their first two
transfers or they worry about their Japanese skills etc. They get so
caught up in these things that they can't help anyone. Elder Neil A
Maxwell said that we often "get caught up in the thick of thin
things." I feel like that statement is really profound. Our goal is
not to learn Japanese, or to fix a wards' problems, it's to help
others come unto Christ. Our entire focus as missionaries is helping
other people. That's why they call it "SERVING a Mission." Our
Re-Vision is that we need to take the pressure off of ourselves and
start focusing on the people behind the numbers. They are there!! They
are waiting!! President Budge talked to us about the Leadership Model
and how we as mission leaders would help everyone make this 2 degree
adjustment. He talked about how after we had a Re-Vision that we
needed a Re-Alignment, followed by a Re-Charge and a Re-Model. The
Re-Model was probably the most important part. We as Zone Leaders need
to be asking the right kind of questions to help the missionaries we
work closely with help others progress.

The question that President Budge posed was a great one. he said, "Who
is God working on in your area? What do they need?" He then talked to
us about the Circle of Revelation and how it all begins from heartfelt
prayer. We also receive revelation during our personal study, our
companionship study, our language study, during our planning sessions
etc. As missionaries we have to act on this revelation in order to
better help our friends. It was an incredibly enlightening conference.
I feel much more capable as a missionary because I feel like this
conference really helped me focus on my purpose. It was simply the
basics, Re-Visited. I'm excited to share this with the zone.

Exchanges this week were really fun. I had a chance to work with Elder
Kitagaki in Okegawa. Because it was Valentines day and because it was
snowy and cold we thought we should do some sort of fun valentines day
dendo to cheer everyone up. Elder Kitagaki had the great idea of
buying chocolate and giving it to people on the street. In Japan there
is Valentines Day on February 14th and there is White Day on March
15th. On Valentines Day the women give the men stuff. On White Day men
give women stuff. Anyway we decided to give out chocolate and stop
people on the street. It was nearly impossible with the snow, but we
managed to stop a few people. It was really fun actually. A lot of
people took the chocolate we gave out and listened to our message. We
still didn't find anyone but we had a lot of fun. I think that's the
most important part.

Yesterday all the Sakado Elder's went to help a family in our ward
who's car port hd collapsed because of the snow. I wish I had taken
pictures. It was a sight to see. The 4 of us in our suits and ties
walked an hour in the snow tear the thing apart and then walked about
an hour back, all before Sacrament Meeting. If that isn't missionary
work, then I don't know what is.

Well that's the update! Here's a couple snapshots of the week!

Elder Chen and I at the Temple

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snow in Tokyo

This week wasn't that exciting but we did have some exciting weather! Here's the view from the back of our apartment. We got 4 inches of snow! In this part of Japan that's a super rare thing. Yesterday our church meetings were moved back to 1:00 so that we would have time to shovel the roads and parking lot, etc. It was a blast. It's really funny when snow falls like this in a place where snow doesn't usually fall. The people seem totally lost, they have no idea what to do. Trains stop and everything. It was super fun, but It was probably the most unproductive day of my mission. All I did was shovel snow with the other Elders in my apartment and dream about Utah Snow. That's just about all that happened this week, but now we have ipads! Elder Chen and I had to spend an entire planning session trying to figure out how to use them. It's odd to have technology like this after a year of not using high tech stuff. It's really sleek though. Everything is now done from the ipad and we even use them when we are streeting or housing to share scriptures and videos etc with the people we meet.  It's great! The only thing I don't like about it is that it can be a colossal waste of time if you don't use it the right way. We get to do some trainings on them in the next few weeks. We're excited about that.

Sakado is picking up momentum! Last week we found a super awesome investigator named Li. Yesterday he came with us to church and to a baptism in Urawa. he loves the Book of Mormon too! He says there are a lot of things he doesn't understand but that he feels like it teaches good things. Elder Chen and I weren't able to set a baptismal date yet, but we have an appointment for Tuesday. We're excited. We think he'll make it by the 23rd. The Ward needs it. I have faith that it will happen. 
not much else this week. I guess you can take what you like from this email and post it on the blog. I don't really feel up to writing another long email explaining the same stuff. 

Also if you can find any pictures of me Snowboarding and swimming I'd love to add them to my picture book that I show people. I feel like it lacks variety. Thanks mommy!

I got the package! Thanks so much! Those Red Velvet M&Ms are celestial!!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Things have been crazy busy and crazy cramped in this small apartment and we've been sacrificing p-day time to get things done.
We also went the Aquarium yesterday. I'll send pictures as soon as I can figure out how to send them from an ipad.

We get ipads today! All the missionaries will be trained on how to use them as new tools to help the work move forward!! We're excited I'm thinking that a lot more will get done. It's going to change the way the mission operates! I bought myself a bluetooth keyboard so I can email from my ipad. It's cool I'll be able to see the missions performance statistics in real time. I'll also be able to seet the statistics of each companionship in my zone and it'll give me a better idea of what I need to follow up with. As for the work it's as hard and rewarding as ever. The other day Elder Chen and I went out to do some streeting. We met a Black Man named Martin Reverend and had the opportunity to bear our testimony of the restoration to him in English. He didn't become a new investigator but Elder Chen and I both felt that we taught by the spirit and that he felt it as well.

It's an incredibly opportunity to do this for 2 years of my life. I feel that sharing the Gospel with people who don't know about it, but that need to hear it, has helped me become a man. If the Lord wanted to see millions of Baptism he could send the 12 and the 70. Instead he calls inexperienced young men and young women who are in the middle of discovering themselves and puts them to work in his vineyard for 2 years. The purpose of the missionary program is not just to baptize the nations. It's to shape us into future church leaders, worthy priesthood holders, fathers and mothers. It gives us a form of Job experience and language experience and gives a new perspective on the world around us, and of course it also gives us an opportunity to learn more about the gospel. I'm so glad I made it back to Japan just over a year ago.
It's changed my life.

Thanks for all the pictures Mom! B sent some great ones as well. Sounds like things are going great for the family!

I'll try to send a more comprehensive email next week (from my ipad) with pictures if I can, but you'll get to see me soon enough. ;)