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.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Week 30

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This week was a rather interesting one. A few days ago Elder Reber and I were on our way to check on one of our people and we saw this guy sitting on a bench in front of a grocery store. So we stopped and talked to him for a while. After half an hour or so we asked if his house was nearby (assuming that it was because he seemed to have walked) and he actually just took us to his house. We talked for a bit there and got a return appointment for two days after the initial contact. Since then we've seen him every day and he seems to be progressing pretty well.

I also saw a Ford Escape and a couple small Chevy cars. They were all a little different than the ones that you'd see in America, but it was nice to see a little American influence.

On Friday Fatoma shimai called us right after we had just had some instant ramen and said that she was with the other Elders at an all-you-can-eat curry place. We couldn't tell her no... so we had two lunches that day. :)

We found a little store near our apartment that sells a bunch of fresh produce. So we visited that this morning and got quite a few vegetables. I'm pretty excited to eat them all this week. :)

We also heard from the ZL's that the office Elders in Sendai got arrested for trying too hard to talk to people. I don't really know any of the details, but they were just hanging around the train station and someone didn't like it so they called the cops. We all thought it was pretty funny. :)

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

An excerpt from the family: Okay so another thing that might be worth mentioning is the kekko challenge that we had this week. So President Sekiguchi has heard of other mission presidents doing like a "new investigator" challenge but the missionaries haven't really liked it because it's too depressing. So he decided to make it a challenge of how many people could reject us. It's sort of funny in a rather far-off and removed sort of way because all of the missionaries were using the words "contact" and "kekko" almost interchangeably. Kekko just means "I'm good" with the implication that they don't want to listen to you. Apparently it's supposed to be a really polite thing to say. But anyway, the numbers of rejections and contacts were very close. We had about 300 contacts this week and got four people that were willing to talk again. The one in the first paragraph was the first. His name is Sugimoto kyodai. The other three are a little questionable, but we got the go-ahead to come back again which apparently makes them investigators.

Week 29

Dear friends,

I got my tablet back on Tuesday, and then was able to reinstall all of the missionary stuff back onto it on Thursday while waiting for interviews. I have been happily using it ever since. Some of you who know me well will also remember the fact that I have a rather strong bias against apple products, so the return to Samsung was very welcome.

We had a branch party that about 30 people came to and only about half were members, so that was pretty cool. I'll probably send some pictures of that. At that party, a potential investigator (who happens to be young 20s) came and even brought a friend. The friend didn't seem too terribly interested, but it seemed like the PI might be down to learn more. We'll see how that goes I guess. Interestingly, she told me that I was fluent. All I am going to say is that if there were one demographic who would be the most likely to tell me I was fluent in Japanese, it would be the young female demographic.

I also gave a talk this week in Sacrament meeting. I talked about how I'm trying to spread happiness as a missionary. I said that I find joy in running, but I don't go around as a missionary telling people to run because I know that not everyone enjoys that sort of thing. I said that we're all children of God, so we can all find joy through the Gospel. I think some people liked it. They also told me my Japanese was really good and that Elder Reber was a good... example I guess. They said senpai which I guess just means that he's senior to me. But anyway, all of their compliments were out of pity.

I also had my first three experiences with Sushi in the last two weeks. All of the other Elders were like 'dude how have you not had sushi yet?' and I was like 'dude no one has bought me sushi yet'. But now three people have bought me sushi. Two of them actually made it themselves. It was okay. The last one was at a members house and it was actually pretty good. I voluntarily ate a couple of extras.

Have a great week,

Elder Mitchell



  A few pictures of the branch party that we had.




  A couple pictures of a car that we passed when we were a little early to a 
lunch appointment today. Not really something that I would drive but it's 
quite a lot more interesting than most of the other cars that I've seen lately. :)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Week 28

Hello friends,

This week was rather interesting. We had the opportunity to meet our
new mission president. He's a really cool guy and it looks like he'll
do a great job. He already has several different things that he wants
to try out. He's also way into cycling and has done several really
long bike rides including one across the entire United States. I'm
pretty excited to work with him.

Another cool thing that happened this week was my companion's
birthday. I have a video of a restaurant full of Japanese people
singing happy birthday to him in English with karaoke. I think he
enjoyed it. :)

We also had a service project for a less active sister in the branch.
She had us move some rocks from a pile that she had across the street
from her house. It was a bit of an adventure. The rocks were just up a
dirt road far enough that it was rather difficult to carry them all
the way by hand, and the wheelbarrow that she had us use seems to be
made out of the super thin metal stuff that you might find on a
dollar-store broom handle. But we survived.

I've also been reading through 1 Nephi a bit and it's interesting to
me just how obvious it is in the Book of Mormon that righteousness
brings blessings and that rebelling against the commandments of God is
always a bad idea. Laman and Lemuel are a pretty good example of this
principle. :)

Have a great week everyone,
Elder Mitchell
The last one is my comp and I just before we left to see our new
mission president.
The first couple pictures are from the rock moving service project.



My comp and I just before we left to see our new
mission president.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Week 27

Hello everyone,

This was an okay week. We had zone leader splits in Morioka which meant a two and a half hour bus ride each way, but it was pretty fun. I got to work with Elder Price for a day. He's pretty cool and we had a really good lesson in the morning. Other than that we pulled weeds for a service project and then went finding in the evening.

We also had our switch of mission president's this week. As of the first of July we now have President Sekiguchi. We will get to meet him at a short meeting in Morioka this Friday. That will be pretty weird. I only had President Smith for about four months, but I had still gotten used to his way of doing things. It will be an interesting adjustment over the next few months.

And finally, I finished The Book of Mormon again this week. This time reading it for some reason was a lot more meaningful to me than other times when I've read it. It really is an incredible book and you can learn so much from it. As the missionary that I am, I would like to invite those of you who have read it to read it again; and those of you who have not read it to start reading it. The Book of Mormon is most of the reason that I decided to serve a mission and I really believe that the things it contains are true. As they say in Japanese, 読んでみてください. :)

Have a great week everyone,
Elder Mitchell