Thursday, June 14, 2018

Week 75

Hello!!

This week we got transfer calls and I've been asked to leave Iwaki. But I'm really grateful for the time that I've been privileged to spend here. I was here for four transfers, or six months in normal people time units. I've learned a lot from my time here and come to love a lot of people here. Some of the things that I appreciate the most about Iwaki are these: The Sisters in the branch sometimes have cute little arguments (this actually only happened once but it was pretty fun) about who gets to take the missionaries out to eat on pday, there is a member who works at Mister Donuts and frequently shares her spoils with us, we have a fantastic grocery store within three blocks of our apartment where we can comfortably purchase all of our fresh produce, we have a nearby restaurant with 540 yen lunch days on Tuesdays and Fridays, we have a rather wide selection of hills to suit my various moods and thirst for reckless speed, our mission leader recently gave us 25kg kettle bells to amp up our morning exercise, the church is within five minutes of the apartment if we're really interested in getting there quickly, we have several housing developments that I haven't had the chance to visit because our area is so big, and there is an interestingly large number of exotic supercars that can sometimes be spotted disturbing the peace in downtown Iwaki.

We also had a conference with the President of the Asia North Area. He advised us all to eat natto in order to improve our Japanese ability. Natto is fermented soybeans. I think the idea is that we'll better understand Japanese culture and have a stronger connection to Japanese people.

Have a great week!!
Elder Mitchell

Excerpts from a letter to the family. . .
Hey,

Sorry this email is a little late. I hope that everyone is doing okay. I don't have quite as many emails from family members as I normally would at this time of day. I am healthy and happy. A little bit more so since we have an investigator that took us out to eat. It was ridiculously good tonkatsu and it was pretty dang big too. It was funny because his plan was to pay for us but then his friends own the store so they paid for him. So we had a double cover for not having to pay for ourselves. :)

You may have seen the transfer post that President Sekiguchi put on Facebook the other night. I'm supposed to head to Morioka tomorrow morning. I'll be the district leader again there and I'll have ten people in my zone. I'll have two of the four APs in the mission, my companion and I, a sister currently on a plane on her way to Japan and her trainer, a sister who finished her mission in Tokyo South and is here to help with an odd number of sisters in the mission and her comp, and then the Elders in Miyako where I served for two transfers with Elder Reber who is still not married. I'm not quite sure why that is.

I just told mom I'd have this done in three minutes so it's wrap-up time.

We had a conference with Elder Choi who is the area president of the Asia North area. He's a pretty cool dude. He was a bodyguard for the Korean president or something like that. He spent some time telling us how we need to all eat natto in order to get good at Japanese. Natto is fermented soybeans. But since he promised blessings I plan to eat more natto in the remainder of my time here in Japan. That will be fun.

I love you the most,
Benny Boy

Week 74

This week was okay. We had our last DTM. It was only our third one. We normally have them every week but for some reason they cancelled the first one, the third one conflicted with what they called MLT (Mission Leadership Training which basically meant that they were worried that all of the District Leaders were bad at their jobs and needed help), and the last one is cancelled due to a visit from the Area President. It was a good DTM though. We took a picture of the senior companions carrying the junior companions. That was an idea had I believe mostly for my benefit. My companion is a little bit bigger than I am. :P

We also had our two district splits this week. I didn't get any pictures with them. Oops. They're the other two Elders in the DTM pictures. They're pretty fun. I do have a little bit of beef with one of them though. He likes to tell everyone that he doesn't have any money. And it's true. He spends it all on candy and ice cream. And that's his excuse for not participating in apartment food purchasing. So then he just sort of bums off of everyone else and also buys a bunch of candy and ice cream at convenience stores while we run out of money on regular groceries. I might have to fight him.

We get transfer calls this week. I've been here for four transfers. That means that my possibility for transferring is what the members here call "abunai". But one of the members realized that and is too nice so she planned a BBQ for all of the missionaries. And is inviting all of her non-member friends so that we can all come. She's one of my favorite people.

For the area president conference we're supposed to think of questions that couldn't be answered by anyone else. Just meaning that our mission president is going to be salty if we ask questions that we could ask him in a weekly email or zone conference. Do you all have any ideas? I'm kind of lacking good questions right now.

Lots of love,
Elder Mitchell






This picture was taken at an arm-wrestling activity that my 
companion wanted to do. We set up a table next to the train 
station and challenged high schoolers to arm wrestle us. It wasn't quite 
as effective as we had hoped. It was pretty fun though. 

Week 73

This week was pretty good. We had some ZL splits and they also crashed our DTM. They stayed for three nights so they could make all that happen and get in some splits with the other Iwaki Elders too. They usually like to get splits with all of the District Leaders and all of the new missionaries which qualified both of the companionships in my apartment. It was pretty fun. Our Zone Leaders are really funny. But I don't have any pictures with them from splits. Sorry. I'm not very good at getting pictures.

We also had a service day. It was fun. We got to hop in a car with a member and they drove us to Bandai. I think it's a volcano. Anyway, there's a place there that gets used by the members for youth conferences and missionary conferences and stuff like that so we went and cleaned it for a few hours. It was almost all of the missionaries from my zone and a few members from a few different branches. I think it started as something focused more on members but somehow all of the missionaries ended up getting invited too. The only picture I have is the one of just the missionaries.

We have a mission conference coming up pretty soon which will be visited by Elder Choi who is the Asia North Area President over the missions in Japan and Korea and maybe some other places. Japan is the most important one. :) We're supposed to learn how to sing Called to Serve in Korean because that's Elder Choi's native language. I'm not very good at singing. Singing even in English is pushing it. Japanese is a little bit worse. And I don't know how they think I'm going to sing in Korean. It should be fun though.

I've been reading in Mosiah lately. This may not be the most profound realization, but I've come to appreciate the importance of running away. There are three pretty good examples of people packing up and leaving in Mosiah. The first one is Alma taking his 450 people that he just baptized and heading off into the wilderness before King Noah's army gets to them. Then there's King Limhi sending a bunch of wine to the Lamanites standing guard over them as a present and leaving in the middle of the night while they're all passed out. And finally Alma picking up and bouncing again after the Lamanites find them and break a deal. We, like the people of Mosiah, may have things in our lives that seem unsurmountable. But it's not always required of us to square up and fight. Sometimes we can go for a change of scenery and find a place where our trials don't mean anything anymore.

Have a great week!!
Elder Mitchell



Monday, May 21, 2018

Week 72.5

Hello. I'm Baymax. How may I be of service?

I think that's a line from Big Hero Six.

I don't have too much to say today. I love my family. I love going fast. And I love eating food. Probably in that order.

I also love the gospel and learning more about Jesus. I feel like I don't know hardly anything about the gospel and somehow I got recruited to be a representative of Jesus Christ to share it with everyone in Japan. But there's a line in the scriptures somewhere that says that "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass". My being "fat and simple" should then theoretically increase my chances of bringing great things to pass. There are some other scriptures I like too. Like the "line upon line, precept upon precept" one in 2 Nephi 28:30. I think that means that if I study really hard for a little while then I'll start to be less simple. And Ether 12 says something about "weak things [becoming] strong". I think that means I still have a chance of growing into my white shirt sleeves.

I love running. I'm not sure why running was prematurely taken from me but I suppose there's probably some kind of reason for it or something that I can learn from not running. Maybe if I had kept running I would have gotten too full of myself and tried to skip a mission. Or maybe I would have broken too many world records and no one could have ever broken them again. ;) I'm not quite sure. But I do know that it was part of God's plan. And that there was a reason for it even if I don't understand it now.

I hate shopping. It's a miracle that I survived the shopping that I did today. I only had three short-sleeved white shirts and one got red white-board marker on it last week (or two weeks ago?). Anyway, I figured it would be good to snag another shirt or two. I ended up with three shirts for what would be $45 I think. I also got three pairs of socks. Because my current socks are pretty dang thick and I regularly sweat through them. But it was painful. And slightly mind-numbing. I plan on marrying someone who will do all of the shopping for me.

Just kidding I said a lot today. Oops.

I love you the most,
BeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeN

 The district

 FHE Minute to Win It at the church.
P-day lunch.
Mission Leadership Training

Week 72

Excerpts from letters from Elder Mitchell and his Dad in the fast few weeks. . 

Poppy,

I hope you had a good birthday and had a hot date with mom at some kind of fancy restaurant somewhere. I heard that you got some new blazers and white shirts. That's pretty cool. :) Unfortunately I've recently taken a little bit more interest in clothing. Not enough to actually go buy some though. I don't think my interest will ever overpower my dislike of clothing stores.

I love you the most,
BeeN


Thanks Benny boy!

I did have a good birthday. We went to Indian food about a week ago and got some Chicken Korma, Chicken Saag, and Chicken Hyderabadi. It was pretty amazing. I do love Indian food. Mom made 12 dozen cookies and brought them to Church to share with the Ward. She is pretty amazing. I did not expect that at all. That was quite the surprise. . .

Well, it is quite late and I need to get up early for a flight to Spokane tomorrow. Great fun.
I love you! Keep working hard and doing good!
Love,
Poppy

Poppy,

I did have one worry about something that I heard last week and it was that I would be driving the baby truck in Provo. I'm not sure that the baby truck can drive too much in the snow. As much as I love that silly mobile. Also it only has two real seats so if decided I didn't like my date partway through I'd be stuck alone in the car with her. Or I'd have to make her walk home. Have fun flying to Spokane!

I love you the most,
Ben

Benny Boy,

Good thoughts....which I have thought about too. Also the baby truck doors sometimes freeze closed. So what if we traded the baby truck in for a 4 door car (something sort of family friendly that a good potential wife might find reasonably appealing :) ) and then sent that down?

I love you!
Poppy


Poppy,

My thought had been that we might ask Grandpa Kenison very nicely to pick one out and deliver it to me at BYU. I hadn't thought about trading the baby truck in. That would be a little bit sad. I did win high school drags in that hamster driven example of American engineering. I think I would probably get over it though. That truck isn't getting any younger. It's older than Jessica. But I am a little bit worried about your " sort of family friendly" suggestion. I hope that is not an indication of 1/4 mile time or lack of a clutch pedal. I think that an STi would be a good option. I think it's a pretty good balance between a Toyota Corolla and a Honda NSX. And they're great for snow because they have AWD. And all of the good potential wives like Subaru. Brother Lewis will agree with me I'm sure. :)

I love you the most,
beN

Monday, May 14, 2018

Week 71

A good quote from my companion this week went something like this, "Elder Mitchell I thought you said elevators were for old pregnant children". This quote followed some whining about not wanting to walk up six flights of stairs and a proposed compromise that we take the elevator next time. My original statement was something like "Elevators are for senior citizens, pregnant women, and small children".

We had a new face at church this week! He's already a member, but he recently moved here from the Phillipines and didn't know where the church was until he saw us out knocking on doors and came over to talk to us. We talked to him for a few minutes and happily shared our church address with him.

We had district pday today and went to an all-you-can-eat place. We also went bowling. I bowled a solid 115. Not the best I've ever bowled, but I was still proud of myself. :)

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Week 70

A few things I've learned on my mission so far:
Japanese is hard.
Patience is more than just tolerance.
Eating good food requires a local restaurant or some branch members.
The Book of Mormon is as true as my high school car was slow. I love you mom. :)
Those who are actively trying to be more like Jesus Christ are happier than those who aren't.
Time waits for no one.
Successful missionaries (and people) are the ones that always do their best.
God loves all of his children. And he wants all of us to return to him.
Things that are hard are the ones worth working for.
Agency is a blessing.
Our time on this Earth is limited.
Shopping in Japan is slightly more enjoyable than shopping in America. But still unpleasant.

Here's a picture of four missionaries getting some curry this afternoon.

Lots of love,
Elder Mitchell

Elders Nashino, Parkinson, Bunderson and Mitchell