Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Christ's Grave and More!

Hey everybody, this week was good, like most others!

First of all, Fox Choro and I went with the Japanese sister missionaries and the Yamanaka family, one of the pillars of our branch, to Christ`s grave! I`ll send pictures, but it`s pretty much just a cross on top of a mound. According to the legend, it wasn`t actually Jesus who was crucified but his little brother Isu Kiri. After that, Jesus dragged his brother to Japan, lived here for a while, and died. Also, apparently, Jesus spent ten years in Japan learning about theology before even going to Jerusalem. Yeah, it`s pretty much the most ridiculous story ever, especially with the English brochure flat-out admitting that it`s a completely made up story. It`s pretty nature at least.

After that, we ate horse meat at a yakiniku place. Yakiniku, by the way, is Korean barbecue, though everyone in Japan loves it. I mostly ate the beef, but the horse was actually pretty good, with a rich flavor and slightly chewy texture. I think it looks pretty gross, especially when it`s raw, but it was a good experience to have a chance to try it!

On Wednesday, we had our taikai (conference) in Aomori. It was really good, but because of when it ended, we weren`t able to catch our local train to Hachinohe. Instead, we had to take the shinkansen again. We were confident of making it to Eikaiwa on time, but the shinkansen got delayed for about twenty minutes, so we missed our connection in Hachinohe. We had to kind of scramble for a bus to the church and we still ended up nearly half an hour late. It ended up being a bit more expensive, so I`m hoping that the five thousand yen someone owes me comes sometime soon, or these last few weeks of the transfer will be a bit hard.

That`s pretty much it! Hope you all have a great week!


Elder Earl

Monday, September 15, 2014

September in Hachinohe

Week two 

Mori-Mori Taikai, Shinkansen, Respect for the Aged Day, etc.

Today, as you can probably tell, I`m on the computer unusually early. We woke up at 5:30 and got to the church right at 6:30, when seminary is supposed to start, but apparently it got canceled without anyone telling us about it. Well, at least that means we`ll have plenty of email time!

This week, we had our long anticipated Mori-Mori Taikai (AoMORI and MORIoka missionary conference). Returning to Morioka, the zone I spent eight transfers in, was pretty exciting, as I had the chance to see missionaries like the Hills and others. We were also privileged to hear from Elder Whiting of the Seventy. He pretty much told us to trust our mission president and told us a lot of spiritual stuff. I felt like doing better as a missionary after he spoke to us. I was glad we got the opportunity to gather and learn from him.

When we were returning back to Hachinohe, we were just going to go on the local train all the way back, but the sisters were late getting to the station, and it wasn`t too expensive, so we rode the Shinkansen (bullet train) back to Hachinohe! It`s amazing! Rather than spend nearly two hours on a slow, winding rail trip, we had a smooth, comfortable half-hour journey back to Hachinohe. The inside is similar to that of an airplane, though rather longer than most airplanes. You hardly realize how fast you`re going because it`s so smooth, unlike the normal JR trains. It`ll almost make it harder to use the local trains again after experiencing the nicer option.

We`ve been trying to get up to teaching twenty lessons a week, but it`s still pretty difficult to find people. However, we have at least two new nonmembers that we should be able to start teaching soon, so that will be nice. I can understand the reasoning for wanting extra teaching experience by us missionaries, and I hope that we`ll be ready for any investigators. Our current investigator is still pretty much the same as always, we taught him about the restoration and he acted somewhat uninterested, but he said he`d pray about whether it`s true, so that`ll help no matter what.

Anyhow, today should be pretty exciting! Today is Respect for the Aged Day here in Japan, so a member is going to drive us to Christ`s grave later this afternoon, followed by eating at some meat place. All I know so far is that they have horse meat, so I`ll be sure to tell you how that is! Hopefully we can tell the visitors to the grave about the real story of Jesus!

Anyhow, that about sums up my week! 愛しています!日本の伝道は素晴らしいです!敬老の日おめでとうございます!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Another week in Hachinohe

Hey everybody!

There`s not too much to talk about this week. We`ve had trouble meeting with investigators because they`re all busy. We`ve also recently been told by the mission to teach twenty lessons per week, though they can be with members, LA`s, anybody. Since the focus is generally to improve our language skills, it`s a nonthreatening way to teach people who don`t really believe they have interest at this point. We were able to teach one woman in our Eikaiwa class through this program, and she was very willing to listen properly to what we said, though she told us plainly that she`s `mushukyou` (nonreligious). We`re going to try to see how we can get more lessons, but for now it`s pretty difficult.

On Sunday, the missionaries were in charge of teaching during third hour block, so we helped them learn about how to be effective missionaries. Members need to realize that they are actually the ones in charge of finding; missionaries in developed countries can really only do so much on our own. You`ve probably heard how housing is the least effective way to find people, yet if members don`t help us, then we have no choice other than to do that.

So, Elder Fox made a great video detailing what we do as missionaries! We wanted to show that it`s not just constant housing out here, because that is the image most members have, which might explain why they find member missionary work to be so `taihen`. We`re hoping that once they realize how easy and fun missionary work can be, they`ll be more eager to do it! It`s harder in Utah, but hopefully you`re doing your best!

Love you all!


Elder Earl

Last week of August in Hachinohe

    Picture is from his last area but I love it!          

Hey everybody! This week, like pretty much every other one, has been pretty good!

First of all, we have started going to Japanese class here. Not only is it a good way to improve our language skills, but we`ve also been able to meet lots of new people and have a chance to share the gospel with them! It`s generally easier to talk to other foreigners about the gospel, not really for language reasons but because of the cultural background. It`s interesting how most foreigners know who we are and what we do, but the Japanese are generally pretty unaware of what it is we do. The good thing is that we can talk to the teachers and other Japanese volunteers as well, so I think that this class is going to really help a lot! Our `shuwa` class has also been good for getting to know new people. I was able to talk about prayer to one of the other students, and during the time after class where everyone talks about what they did and what they liked (I call it `akashikai` or `testimony meeting`), the student talked about how she enjoyed our discussion on prayer. It was cool to have a more natural way to talk about what we believe.

Unfortunately, we weren`t able to teach any lessons at all last week. "A" san fell asleep in our first visit, and the second time he had visitors come, and since his apartment can only fit about two people at a time, we had to `shitsure shimasu`. We`ll have plenty of chances to get him taught this week at least!

We also made a new Eikaiwa poster! I had to wear it, I think to emphasize my gaijin height, and we went to the main street here and tried to bring anyone we could to Eikaiwa. We had a kind of crazy guy talk to us, he said that we were weak people because we`re religious. My companion said good-bye to him in the middle of his rant, which really confused the guy. We also had the infamous `pink house guy` come to the church and complain about everything. Branch leaders say that he comes every year, basically opposite Christmas. So, yeah, along with Hayakari Kyoudai saying things that we couldn`t understand, we`ve had an interesting week of crazies. Thankfully, though, we got our hometeaching finished yesterday and got pizza in return for teaching a lesson! I love good cooks!

That about finishes my week, but feel free to send any questions! Aishiteimasu!

Elder Earl