Konnichiwa everyone! It's been another really awesome week here in Oyama, and I'm really excited to tell you all about it. I had a really awesome birthday here in Japan! Can't believe I'm 19, but you know, what can you do! Haha, Elder Howard took me out for what is called Shabu Shabu! It's kind of hard to explain, so you'll have to look it up! Needless to say... It was amazing. So dang good! Basically the Rodizio's equivalent in Japan terms, haha. I'm so glad to hear you are all doing well. Tyler, you'll be pretty stoked to know, this week we found 3 new Brazilian investigators that are so excited to be taught by us, and I'm now learning REALLY basic Gospel Portuguese. They really are such a prepared people.
This past week we were able to see so many miracles, and in about 2 weeks I'll be heading back to Narita for hopefully... 3 baptisms I was able to set dates for and teach! I'm really so excited and so thankful Heavenly Father has blessed me with this success so early in my mission. His hand is really so evident in all that we do here as missionaries. I'm so stoked every day to put on my tag, and go work in His vineyard. As well this week we taught our new investigator family, the Bryce's! The Bryce family consists of Rob and Sachie, Rob who is from Canada and Sachie who is from Japan, and their 2 little girls. Can't lie, half Japanese kids are the cutest kids EVER. They were cracking me up so much, and when we were able to teach about eternal families, the Spirit was so strong there. I just had this picture in my head of this incredible little family going through the temple together, and that just made me so thankful to be a missionary. Missions are hard! But I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this has been the greatest decision of my life. I feel as though I have changed so much for the better already, and I know my life will be shaped by this time for the rest of my life. I love the Japanese people! They really are so amazingly kind and generous, and the ward members here in Oyama are so excited about missionary work. Our 17 year old investigator named Shun has also told us he really wants to get baptized, rather surprisingly, so we are so excited to go forward here in Oyama. Elder Howard is an awesome guy, and such a great companion! He works so hard, and he's got that awesome vision of seeing success in Oyama. Oyama in the past hasn't seen too much success. Elder Howard and I were talking the other night, and apparently Oyama has been the place of Wampaku (disobedient) missionaries for a few transfers, but President Budge wants that changed immediately. As we've been working hard, apparently the numbers from before have doubled, and success is really happening here in Oyama. I feel so blessed to be sent here and help change this great area's past, and help make it once again a successful area!
Some cool stories! So... I want you all to know that I have changed so much for the better, but please know I still got my sense of humor. ;) Last night, I was stopped by a Police Officer, which happens a lot because we're foreigners, and he asked me what I was doing. I explained who I was, what I was doing very politely, and he asked to see my ministerial certificate. However, he couldn't believe it when he saw I was only 19! He was totally taken aback, and he instantly started joking with me, singing happy birthday, etc. So! Near the end, I just thought, "Go for it!" and I taught him a simple Gospel principle, invited him to chek out Mormon.org to see more, and gave him one of our chidashi's (fliers) and he really excitedly took it and said thanks! I even got a high five! Elder Howard ran up laughing, and said he's never seen a police officer listen to a missionary principle and take a chidashi before. I was a first! Haha, I was so stoked, and my mind went back to all the jokes we made about when I would be a missionary... Super funny. :) Another cool story! The other night we taught with Shun, and since he loves guitar he and I played together, and it really invited the Spirit. Afterwards Elder Howard and I had an idea to start doing a music corner apart of our Eikaiwa (English class) and so we asked President Budge... And he said yes! So, every so often, I will go total flower child and teach the Japanese people how to sing in English, with a guitar and such. I'm really stoked for that!
Missions are hard, but the Lord has truly been blessing me so much! I feel so lucky to be here in Oyama and have this opportunity to serve. Elder Howard only has a few months left until he goes home, so he talks about home quite a bit, and he always tells me how the time flies by. It's so true! I can't believe I'm already so close to 4 months, I feel like I left yesterday! The Lord has blessed me so much, and I'm so thankful to be a missionary, and every day I feel myself becoming more of who He wants me to be. I've really loved deeply studying the Book of Mormon and finding those questions of the soul. They really are there, and I've really enjoyed teaching the Book of Mormon to the Japanese people. It really is that physical evidence we can hold in our hands that this message is true. Ahh, I love the Book of Mormon, I have seen really so many great miracles from it.
Well, I best get going, but know I love you all so much, and I pray for you daily! Anyways! Back to the awesomeness that is missionary work! I love you all! Hurrah for Israel!