Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Week 37

Hello World,

Not a whole lot to say this week other than the fact that I'm still alive and mostly healthly. Also this transfer is going by really fast. I'm four weeks in and still feel like I just got here.

Other than that there's the fact that I was able to ride the bullet train this week. It didn't disappoint and delivered speeds comparable to those that I reached on the track in high school. Or even to the ones that I reached in the baby truck when I was late to early morning seminary. :) While I was transferring here, the bus ride from Morioka to Hachinohe was a little over two hours. On the bullet train the same trip was only 27 minutes. That was pretty cool.

There is also some uncertainty about what next transfer will bring. 17 new Elders are coming in and so I'll almost definitely receive a new companion and possibly another new area. Crazy stuff.

No pictures this week.  Sorry.

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

Pictures from the latest zone conference (acquired from the mission Facebook page)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Week 36

Brothers and Sisters,

This week went really fast. I feel like it was just yesterday that I waited 2 1/2 hours for an argument that cost me $10 and a bad haircut. But it was actually last Tuesday. It's crazy how that happens.

Since my last email we had a zone conference during which we learned that Facebook would be coming to our mission. It was funny to hear it from our mission president, because he seemed to have no idea that our mission was even being considered as a Facebook mission until he got a letter from church headquarters somewhere. It probably won't change my day-to-day life very soon, but it will be interesting to see how all of that plays out.

I also learned that for a mission conference we'll be having next week I'm supposed to say a prayer (fortunately they asked me this time. Usually I just show up and see my name on the program) and I get to ride there on a bullet train. So I will be arriving in style. :) I'm really excited because I haven't been on a bullet train yet, and it should be a pretty cool experience.

We also had an old investigator of this area call us and say that he wanted to talk. It was funny because my companion is the one who talked with him on the phone, but he thought that the guy sounded like a lady, so we both went to the church expecting to meet an old lady. When we got there, we were both quite surprised to find that it was actually an old man.

Our referral from the branch president's wife is progressing, but she's worried that she won't be ready by the date that we helped her set. So we might have to push her baptism back a couple weeks. She seems to be pretty golden though. She asks good questions and really wants to understand everything that we tell her.

That's all for today.  Sorry I don't have any new pictures this week.

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

Week 35


I am writing to you from the inside of a rather questionable-looking haircut shop about three minutes from our apartment. We are currently next in line, but all four seats are currently occupied by old women. Hopefully we don't have to wait too much longer...

Something interesting that happened this week was on our way back from a dinner appointment we saw a car on it's side. It looked like there were three cars involved and I'm not sure exactly what happened (it was a really low traffic evening on dry roads with a speed limit of probably about 30 mph), but the individuals involved seemed to be doing fine. It was recent enough though that the cops from around the corner hadn't showed up yet.

I'm converted to the idea of getting a motorcycle when I get back.

I was also complimented for being muscular this week by a 15 year old Japanese high school boy.

And finally, this Sunday my companion and I had the opportunity to teach a referral from our branch President's wife. This was the first time that I was able to meet her because last week she wasn't able to make it to the church. But the reason I bring it up is because we extended a baptismal invitation and she accepted it! We're really excited to continue meeting with her and seeing her progress in the gospel.

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

Two pictures:
One before I wrote this email
And one after :)
Still patiently waiting in the haircut shop...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Week 34

Dear friends,

I am writing to you from inside the largest church building in the mission. The branch here is only about 25 people or so, but the American ward meets here too so it's a pretty good-sized building. Missionaries here in Misawa are very blessed to have the Air Base here because it means that we get a lot of dinner appointments and a lot of real American food.

I am now comps with an individual known as Elder Jensen. He is probably about 6'4" and ways about 2 kilograms less than I do. He grew up in Tokyo, but his family is from Ogden(?), Utah. I guess there was some kind of English-speaking school program and that's what he went to. So he didn't speak very much Japanese before the mission.

I went for a run with my new comp yesterday. It was pretty fun. I'm glad that I've been able to run a little bit with both of my last two companions. It makes me feel like my physical condition isn't a totally lost cause. :)

I have had three dinner appointments so far and they were all really good. The first was with the Beavor's who fed us stew. Then with the Hafen's who fed us spaghetti. Then with the Woodburry's who fed us fajita's. I ate a lot of fajita's last night. :) The ward here is way cool and they're generally pretty young. The average age is probably in the mid-thirties. There are also a rather large percentage of them that took an interest in my best mile time. I suppose it makes sense because they're all in pretty good shape for the military.

Also while I was leaving Miyako I got a super fancy pen and notebook, a really nice grey tie, and a couple boxes of sweets. I love the members in Miyako. :)

Lastly, I would like to invite all of you to read The Book of Mormon every day. The Book of Mormon really does testify of Jesus Christ and it is the most true book that has ever been written. I recently read Alma 42 which is part of Alma's counsel to one of his more wayward sons. It talks about how we all have a need for repentance and that anyone can come unto Christ and repent through his atonement.

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

 Me and Elder Jensen

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Week 33

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This week was an interesting one. We got our first transfer calls from President Sekiguchi and they were a couple of days earlier than normal. Normally we don't have to worry about them until Sunday, but this week they were on Friday. And... I'm transferring. Miyako is dropping back down to a two-man area, so three of us are leaving and one is coming in. My current companion will be returning to America this week and I will be headed up North a little bit. I think my travel time is about six hours split between two different buses and a train, but the name of my new area is Misawa. There is a American Military base there so I get to go to an American ward as well as the Japanese branch. And supposedly I'll have meal appointments most days and will get spoiled like an American missionary. So that should be fun.

I also cleaned the sink earlier this week. I was so proud of it that I took a picture of the finished product. I like to think that I'm a charitable person, but if I had known I would only appreciate it for a couple days there is a high likelihood that I would not have cleaned it. :P

I would also like to put in a short advertisement (directed to all those who know any interested women... or anyone else living in that vicinity who happens to be interested in a missionary homecoming:)) for my companion returning to America:
He is single. He does Tae Kwon Do and is a blackbelt. He has gone jogging with me a couple times for exercise time and isn't half bad at that either. The only problem is that his English sometimes comes out a little weird. But I'm sure that with some TLC he will be back up to speed in no time. :)
Here's the info for his homecoming this Sunday: "My homecoming is 55 N. Main at 9:00 on the 20th. An open house will follow at 140 S. 200 W. in Springville, Utah."
The first address is also Springville, Utah. I've attached a brave picture of him. And one of the sink I cleaned.

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

 Elder Reber

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Week 32

Hello World,

So today is pday. We still don't actually know the real reason why pday has been changed to Tuesday because the AP's are some interesting people, but they listed a few of the side effects of changing pday to Tuesday:
1. About 40% of work holidays are on Mondays, so tracting will theoretically be a little bit more productive some days.
2. A lot of stores and haircut places are closed on Mondays
3. Also something about Elder Reber's group going home
Those are actually the only reasons I can think of right now. We assume that another resson is that President Sekiguchi likes to mix things up just to make sure that we don't get bored.

This week Elder Reber and I went on a local radio station. They didn't really want to hear about church stuff, but we just talked about our experience in Japan, things that we like and don't like, and hopefully some people listened and will be more friendly in the future.

We also had Zone Leader splits in Morioka. While we were there they had to fix the washer because some Elders put some really muddy shoes in it and clogged it up. We also tried to change a bike tube and then realized that they had bought one with an American valve and that we didn't have the right pump for it. Then we went to a famous bread place. Then we housed for a while and caught the tail-end of a matsuri. (Festival) There were a pretty decent number of people there. On our way back we were trying to find our bikes (which we had put next what we thought was a pretty easy place to find next to the biggest red building in the vicinity) and the building seemed to have disappeared among all the other ones. Morioka is quite a lot bigger than Miyako. We had to hustle on the way back.

We also had a testimony meeting sort of thing with our branch mission leader. It was above the beaches at Jodogohama. We talked about missionary work for the branch. It was fun. We took some pictures afterwards.

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 31

Hello world,

This week was a pretty good one. We had a way good zone conference on Thursday which happened to be President Sekiguchi's first ever. It was way good though. For part of it we had baptism invitation practices and we were divided up into groups of three. I was with a full-Japanese Sister and a half-Japanese Elder who is fluent in both Japanese and Portuguese. So I was the only English speaker. They both gave me some constructive feedback. :)

I've also been jump-roping a little bit since being in Miyako. I've decided that my current level of fitness is not satisfactory and jump roping is one of the ways that I'm trying to resolve that issue. But anyway, I have some pretty good marks from when I missed and got some backlash. They've mostly faded away by now, but they were pretty clear for several hours.

I also sewed a button on some pants.

And last but not least, I had my first investigator come to church yesterday!! He left after the first hour, but we're supposed to meet him again on Wednesday and it sounds like he'll probably come again next week!

Thank you for reading,
Elder Mitchell

Excerpt from the family letter: I've also decided that I can play another song on the piano and I'll probably send a video of me playing that today. I'm pretty close on 'God Be With You Till We Meet Again', but not quite there yet. Maybe by next week.

 The picture of my button.

The result of my disagreement with the jump rope.
Elder Reber and I after having triumphantly housed an apartment complex.