|Elder Hamada and me on Temple Day!|
Konnichiwa everyone!! It's been another gnarly week here in Oyama, and I just got back from temple day, so I'm so stoked to tell you guys all about this really great week! First off, I want to say hello to my favorite girl! No sorry ladies... I wanna say hi to Virigina! I'm so glad she's still waiting for me, I hope she knows I pray for her everyday, and that whenever I feel a little overwhelmed, I just say, "Blah, blah, blah..." and get right back to work. You keep me going strong Virginia! Keep the faith, and know I love you!!
So this week has been pretty amazing! A little bit of a rough ending though. First, both of our baptisimal dates may not be happening this weekend like we had planned, but that's okay. The Lord prepares everyone at His own time, so it's just pushed back a little bit. Basically what happened with our super awesome investigator Okenchu was during the week, he suddenly stopped answering our calls, and he didn't come to church . So we were getting really worried, so we decided to email him, and he explained to us what was going on. He recently lent his friend about 2,000 dollars in Yen, and found himself in quite the pinch. He had to find a job, and the only job he could find was at a local club here in Oyama. He felt so bad about having this job, because he knows it's wrong, so he kind of ran away for a few days from us feeling we would be mad at him, and wouldn't want to be his friend anymore. As soon as he said that, I grabbed the phone and called him up. He was close to tears when I called him on the phone, and we talked for quite a little while. We read some scriptures together, and I told him that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and we, would always love him. We agreed to meet up with us this week, and right now we are praying that he can find a new job. He said if a new job arises he would switch, so we're just praying for a miracle! Please keep him in your prayers. He's such an awesome guy, and he's really close to baptism! This is just kind of a major setback as we weren't able to teach him some of the commandments because he couldn't meet with us. Our other investigator Shun, who wanted to wait until after school to be baptized, recently started keeping his commitments again, and is progressing really well! Hopefully we can see a change of heart in him as well. :) This Gospel is really so amazing, and I know that it is true. The experiences that I have seen here as a missionary has solidified that belief into a sure testimony. The Savior loves us all so personally and deeply. It pains Him so much when we decide to follow other sources in this life, but His loving arms are always outstretched to us, and His call is always sounding. I felt so blessed to teach Okenchu that over the phone, and I know he could feel of the love his Savior has for him. Keep him in your prayers! I really love this kid, and I know that if we have faith, work hard, and it is the Lord's will, he will be baptized soon!!
|Ward BBQ fun!|
Another way cool experience that happened this week was the other night we were walking through the streets of Oyama, and this old man looks at me and says, "Morumon kyou desu ka?" Which meant basically, "Are you Mormons?" I instantly said, "YES!" and went into telling him what we were doing in Oyama. He got really excited all of a sudden, and because of the pouring rain, told us to come into his little clothing shop. We walked inside where he handed us a really sketchy looking drink. We were a little hesitant, but he said it didn't have alcohol, and it wasn't tea! Apparently... it was Turtle Extract!! Pretty tasty actually, and it knocked a cold I was having right out! Anyways, so we asked him how he knew we weren't supposed to drink alcohol and tea, and he started telling us that he met with missionaries 25 years ago!! He said he remembered how nice they were to him, especially when they brought him scrambled eggs and orange juice in the morning. He had read entirely the Morumon Ke, which is basically the original translation of the Book of Mormon in Japanese, which is CRAZY hard, and had been taught some of the lessons. So! We joined this awesome man's missionary legacy! We met with him last night, and had a great little lesson, and then some WAY cool guitar playing from him. I really want to learn how to fully play Enka on the Guitar. It sounds so cool! But we are going to continue teaching him, and I feel there could be some really awesome miracles in store with him. There has to be a reason he stopped us! He could have let us walk right by in the rain, but instead he stopped us, and let us into his little store. That's honestly been my favorite thing about being a missionary. Seeing these experiences where you know that the Lord is guiding you to His children so that they can hear the Gospel. I feel so lucky to be that mouthpiece! It seems crazy it's almost been 5 months since I first put on the tag, but I feel like a new person. I've changed from who I used to be, and I feel so much better now. I feel so much more happier too! I'm crazy tired all the time, but I love it. :) Being a missionary is just the best thing ever.
|Shohei in his Michael Jackson jacket|
I'm so stoked you saw Shohei Yoshida!!! He is the bomb. He's kind of a legend here in the Tokyo mission, as he had 20 missionaries at his baptismal service, and he was an eternal investigator. Tell Whit she should totally look for him!! He's in New York this week actually, and you can totally message him from my Facebook! Speaking of Facebook, please accept all friend requests!! I'll check them in about 2 years, but for now, accept them all please. :) Okay, now I'm thinking this could be way cool, Whitney go meet Shohei this week! He's in New York this week! Message him on facebook or something! He's so nice, he's your age, and he speaks perfect English. Also... His secret talent is that his idol is Michael Jackson! And he dances just like him. Not even kidding, the guy is a beast at dancing! If you're super busy in NYC that's cool... But! You should totally try to meet up with him. It's not a coincidence that you're in New York the same time as he is! :) Anyways, just a little thing I think you should do! Go meet my Japanese best friend! I seriously love Shohei, he's the bomb!
|Prepping for Halloween, missionary style|
It sounds like you all are doing so well, and that makes me so stoked! Just want you to know I pray for you all everyday, and that I'm having the time of my life as a missionary. Yeah, a lot of days are crazy hard, and sometimes a little emotionally trying, but I love it. Today at temple day, my trainer Elder Hamada is going home after 2 years of honorable service, and he said some really nice things about me. I know that if I had not decided to serve a mission, I would have never met him and Elder Burgin, or as well all the incredible missionaries and investigators that I have met so far in my mission. At the major meeting with Elder Nelson a little while ago, he apparently said that missionaries called to Japan are truly special. He said that the Japan missions are some of the hardest in the world, and that the fact we were here was a testament of our diligence and courage to serve. I loved that!! I feel so lucky to be a missionary in the Tokyo Japan mission, and especially to be serving at such a historic time! I love this Gospel, and I love all of you! I should be having a baptism in Narita pretty soon by the way!! That will be a story for next week, but just wanted to let you know. :) Elder Burgin and Elder Hamada continued to work so hard with our investigators after I left, and a lot of them should be receiving baptism really soon! I love this Gospel!! I miss you all so much, but I know that this is where the Lord wants me, and there's no where else I would rather be than right here in Oyama Area! I love it!! Hope you all have an awesome week, and WHITNEY HAVE A BLAST IN NEW YORK! TEAR THAT CITY UP! Tell ol' Opie I say hello, and that under the baseball cap... We all know there's no hair there anymore. And MEET SHOHEI! Love you all!