Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Week 52

Hello World,

It has been a long time since I have composed one of these weekly messages. For now, it sufficeth me to say that much has transpired and that you will be privileged to hear about some of it if continue reading this email. Hopefully there is still a chance that I will be forgiven for my lack of writing and that I haven't caused anyone to take too much offense. I still love you all dearly.

The first thing on my mind right now is Christmas. With Christmas came the special opportunity to Skype my family for about 40 minutes. I say Skype, but that's only because it sounds better than saying 'video call'. We actually used Google Hangouts because I prefer it to Skype. So there. Anyway, we had a great discussion and really enjoyed hearing one another's voices for the first time since Mother's Day. At the end some of had eyes that became what some of my younger cousins might call 'juicy'. Others might have observed that we were suffering from allergies.

I got several presents from people in America. A lot more than I was expecting. I'm really grateful to everyone that did send me stuff. I felt the love as I opened everything up and read notes from people.

I ran twice this week. Elder Hall came to Iwaki for splits and has a similar best mile time to what I had. So we ran together both mornings that he was here.

On the subject of Iwaki, I guess that you all probably haven't heard yet (since I haven't yet told you) that that is my new place of residence. I transferred here about two weeks ago from the Mission Office. So now I'm an eighth transfer missionary and I've been in six different areas. Maybe I'll stay here for a while. Maybe not. But I do quite like Iwaki based on what I've seen so far. We have really nice branch members and this is the warmest area in the mission. It's affectionately referred to as 'Hawaii' by missionaries who are familiar with the weather or have had the opportunity to serve in this branch. It's not actually warm. But I haven't seen snow since I've been here, so I guess an accurate description of the weather would be 'a little bit less cold than everywhere else in the mission'.

My new companion is Elder Warner. He's from somewhere in Utah. He's been in Japan about six months longer than me and is half Japanese. His Grandpa lives in this mission and Elder Warner got the opportunity to meet him a couple times. Pretty cool.

Something interesting that I've noticed recently is the fact that a lot of the missionaries in this mission are the oldest child in their respective families. I don't have real stats or anything like that, but I would say that probably 75% of the missionaries here are oldest children. The only reason I can think of to explain this phenomenon is that oldest children are way too prideful and they get sent to Japan to help them out with their pride issues. If you have another explanation that you'd like to share, please do so. I would enjoy hearing it.

I've thought quite a bit about my effectiveness as a missionary lately and ways that I can be more effective. A very obvious way is a drastic improvement in my Japanese speaking ability. But another thing that I've come to realize the importance of recently is talking about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Earth. As far as I know, our church is the only one that claims to have the complete gospel of Jesus Christ on the Earth. And that started with the appearance of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith. So my invitation to all of you is learn a little bit more about the restoration. Maybe read Joseph Smith History or have a discussion with your local missionaries. Missionaries are great resources, even if they are just some punk kids from Utah. They're punk kids with a purpose and a message that changes lives.

I love you all and hope you had a Merry Christmas. It's a very special opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

My next email will be in 2018,
Elder Mitchell

The pictures are of: 
 The temperature here in Hawaii.
 The bag of oranges that we received from the members.
Some noodles that I was very proud of. 

Week 51

I was thinking about what to send you in your Christmas package today and I went to a few different stores and I've decided that there isn't a whole lot of Japanese stuff in Japan. I couldn't find what I was looking for at all. I might have to just tell mom what I was looking for so that she can order it for you all on the internet because the one that I found was 1. Not terribly Japanesey 2. about twice as expensive as I wanted to pay for it and 3. Huge so that my package shipping costs would probably have tripled or quadrupled. So I gave up. Sorry. I'll just send the other little things that I have already. And maybe some other of my stuff that doesn't really fit conveniently in my bags.

Question:  What were you planning to get us? 
That is a good question. I was thinking about getting a shogi board but it seems like it might be a pretty involved sort of game. There were a couple versions that were fairly small and cheap, but those only had the kanji written on them and not the move options. I figured that I didn't even want to figure out those kanji and their respective move capabilities so you all probably didn't want to either. But the ones that did have the move options on them were way big. So I'm sort of at a loss. Ordering it on the internet wouldn't quite be the same and I don't actually know how to play shogi.
I'm also sorry that I haven't sent anything already. Last transfer was a little bit hard to do anything on Pday because some other missionaries were pretty intent on doing things like shopping at malls, eating at super-fancy restaurants, and laying in their futons.

But I did get the 12 Days of Christmas that you sent me!! I've already eaten some of the granola and fig bars. And we had Day 2 for lunch the other day. :) I actually didn't get the package until probably Friday or Saturday, whichever the 16th was, so I got to open the first three days at the same time. My most recent one this morning was the hot cocoa. Yesterday was the taco seasoning. And I didn't even look at the customs declaration. I taped over it. Someone should be proud of me. :) I've also gotten packages from Grandma and from the Mellor's. I'm feeling the love. :)

I am currently in the warmest area in the mission. It is known by some as "Hawaii". It's not terribly warm. Being in our mission makes it still colder than all of the areas in Tokyo, Tokyo South, Kobe, Nagoya, and Fukuoka missions. But that's okay. It supposedly doesn't really snow here.

I love you the most and I think that the latest plan is to call at around 11am my time which I think would be 6pm your time. That would be the 26th for me and the 25th for you. I'll probably use google hangouts again. I think Skype is a little questionable.


 The tape over the customs declaration. 
Cooking the noodles you sent me for lunch.

Week 50

Hello Mommy,

I have not yet gotten a package from you although I did get one from Levan. I think that I'll probably just open one (present) a day since that's what it sounds like I'm supposed to do. I would believe that you had a lot of fun putting stuff in my package. And I think it's funny that Amy thought you could fit "just one more thing". I'm pretty familiar with that line of thinking. I used it plenty when I wanted to eat more than I could fit on my plate with just one level of food. :)

I'm not quite sure how I feel about transferring again. My first one-transfer area was quite the surprise because I thought that didn't really happen. But I'll be an eighth transfer missionary in my sixth area. One of our current APs who will be dying this transfer only has five areas... Hmmm.

I'm not in Iwaki yet. I'm supposed to train the new commissarian tomorrow and head to Iwaki after that. I've seen my new comp a few times and he seems like a pretty nice guy. Also Sister Lor who was in my MTC district is in Iwaki, so that will be fun.

I think the plan is for us to call on your Christmas.

I love you the most,

Hours later. . .
This is your favorite missionary speaking. I'm in the middle of a van on the way to a restaurant which is apparently twice as expensive as the one from last week. Elder Sato wanted to go out with a bang on his last pday. So we're going to some all-you-can-eat place that's apparently famous among missionaries. It makes me wonder a little bit how missionaries can justify eating out this much. I suppose eating fancy food is one of the quickest ways to feel joy as a missionary.

I bought some fancy thermal stuff today. It's a few weeks late, but it seems to be some pretty high quality stuff. I might not freeze to death now. That would be good.

I'm moving to Iwaki tomorrow. I'll probably finish packing tonight.

I was pretty impressed by Anna's gymnastics. That was pretty legit. I wouldn't mind learning how to do fancy stuff like that. Maybe Anna will teach me when I get back. :)

This restaurant is really far away.

I'm really excited to Skype in just a couple weeks. I think I told mom, but it might be good if you all made a list of things that you want to talk about. We don't need a program or anything, but just a couple things that we for sure want to talk about would be good.

For some reason I thought I had sent this already but it was still in my drafts box rather than the sent one.

I love you the most,

Week 49

Hello family,

I'm in the back of a corolla with two other elders. I think that puts about 470 pounds in the back seat. And the two in the front are probably about 400 together. There's not a whole lot of air in this car right now. It's pretty full of young men.

Now I'm waiting to get a haircut. I'll probably go for 15mm again. I quite like short hair.

We find out transfers tomorrow. Since I live with the APs I have heard a little bit about it. They don't say a whole lot, but they seem to be pretty excited about it, so there might be some crazy stuff happening. You'll probably find out on Facebook before I email you again next week.

I have some pictures from last week when we went to the zoo. Or I thought I did. I have some grossly expensive (but delicious) katsu and the bottom of our fridge before we cleaned it out.

The whole mission is going to Misawa tonight and staying on the base with American members. I'm pretty excited. I was only there for one transfer, but I haven't gone back to any of my areas since I've left them. And English class in Misawa is tonight too, and one of my favorite people will probably be there. I did watch a few of the videos (Light the World) though and if I remember right my favorite ones were 6 and 8. 6 is the pole one that you recommended to me I think. I don't remember what 8 is right now. It just sounds like the sort if number that might be one of my favorites.

I love you the most,

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Week 48

Hello World,

I had two Thanksgiving dinners this week. One very Japanese one put on by the ward here, and another mostly American one put on by the senior couple in the office with the best they could get at Costco. Both were very good.

I also had an interview with my mission president this morning. Last night I made a bit of an attempt to guess at the things that he would say and some of the ways that I might respond. I think I'll share a couple of those here.
Things I thought President would say:
Hello, how are you?
Carry on my wayward son
You are loved
Let it go
Don't stop believin'
If you need me call me

Things that I planned to say:
I just wanna run
All my friends are heathens
I've got oceanfront property
I am a Child of God

That's basically how the interview went. As you can all see, I was exposed to a rather wide variety of music before my mission. Maybe that makes me a cultured individual. Maybe not.

We went to the zoo today for district P-day this afternoon. It was pretty fun to walk around the zoo with our group of nine missionaries, eight of whom were from somewhere in America. I think that we had the most fun at the monkey exhibit. I might get the pictures that the sisters took at English class tonight and send them in next week's email. Today all you get is the selfie I'm about to take. Sorry. I really need to be better about picture taking.

Lots of love,
Elder Mitchell

Week 47

Hello World,

Some of you are already aware of this fact, but my favorite number is 47. If you didn't know you can now consider yourself informed. :)

This week I learned that Costco can be ordered online and dropped off at our mission office. All I can say about that is that it blew my mind. I can't think of very many things cooler than Costco ordered on the internet. One would be Koenigsegg's fancy pneumatic valve system, and another would be the brand-new kerosene stove that we got for our apartment this week, but that's all I've got.

This transfer is a short one. It's only five weeks. So with the recent pace of my transfer calls that means that I just have three more weeks until I get a new area. Lol hopefully I stay here for longer than that.

I'm starting to settle in as an office worker. I'm not totally caught up yet but I'm close. For some reason there was a huge flood of missionary orders, phone problems, and a couple other miscellaneous things that came in the first week I was here. And I didn't really know how to take care of any of it. But I think I've mostly learned now.

I don't think that I've really said anything about my new companions yet. Elder Ito used to do some hip-hop dancing and karate before the mission. Elder Nathan enjoys eating and is about 6'4". He is very talented at playing the piano and can supposedly play the viola very well too. I'll attach a picture of the three of us today.

Love you all,
Elder Mitchell

Monday, November 20, 2017

Week 46

Week 46:
I'm now in the mission office. It's a blast. We just took a picture. It's a little blurry. Also I didn't pose very well for it. I'm actually in a trio right now but only one of my comps was in the picture because the other one was busy. So Elder Dance bravely served in his place. I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Mitchell

Excerpts from a letter to the family:
Being the commissarian is interesting. I updated the phonebook this week with a file that I was given from the previous commissarian but it had a few problems with it. And then the program that we use to update was being a little finicky too. And a few missionaries messed it up on their individual phones so I had to resend it to each of them individually. It was a little inconvenient and I still have several things to do to fix it this week. Today is P-day so I don't have to do anything today, but it will probably take several hours this week. And I'm way behind on sending out missionary orders. I'll probably survive though.

I'm currently in the back of a corolla with four other missionaries. According to my best estimate, our combined weight is about 860 pounds. It's pretty fun. I'm in the back middle. We're on our way to some mall somewhere so that a couple Elders can go shopping. You can imagine that I won't be participating. For one I don't have any money and for two I don't hate myself. I don't know why people like shopping. It's okay though. I can still be friends with people that do like shopping.

We are in Aeon mall. I am sitting on a bench waiting for one of the Elders to finish shopping . . . .

I'm about 15 pounds lighter than I was when I left the MTC. It's only half by choice. Eating in Japan is very difficult.

I have a bed. It's pretty okay.

I spend a decent amount of money on Apple juice.

I don't know if I can be friends with shoppers anymore. We've been inside this mall a really long time. And there's no Wi-Fi.

I remember why I don't go shopping.

I might actually die if we don't leave this mall within the next 30 seconds. I think I'll have to hire a fashion person to go shopping for me when I get back too. This is unbelievable. Stores are the worst.

We are out of the mall. It's 4:45. I don't want to say it was a day wasted (yes I do), but we did absolutely nothing.

Back in the apartment. Finally. It's almost 5:30. I think mom wanted to hear about my area, comp, and something else but I don't remember what. My area is good. My comp is funny.

I love you the most,

Week 45

There was a bit of a disagreement between my mother and I about what week I'm on. She thinks I'm still on week 45. :)

Anyway, this week was transfer calls and I'm transferring again. Yes, this will be my fifth area. And yes I will be a seventh transfer missionary. And yes that is a little bit strange. Usually missionaries stick around for a while in each area. But it's okay. I'll be working in the mission office so I'll get to party with the mission president and the senior couple that work there on the daily! This will be my first experience working in an office, so I guess I'll get to see whether or not it's anything like the TV show that I watched so much of with my roommates at BYU. :)

The highlight of this week was our meeting with the other American missionary couple. It was a little bit of a challenge to control the balance of the conversation because they had so much that they wanted to say, but in the end we got in a quick explanation of The Book of Mormon and a commitment to read it. They didn't go for a return appointment (I think partly because they're scared that if they meet with us again they'll want to join our church:)), but they said they'd keep our phone number. Either way, it was my last time meeting with them since I'm going to Nagamachi. But it was a really good opportunity to help them understand a little bit about how our church is different. And if they really do read The Book of Mormon with a sincere heart and real intent then they'll know it's true like I do.

We also got an announcement from the mission office saying that we should throw away the old pillows in our apartments and they'll give us new ones. That's a well past-due announcement. Some of the pillows look like they might have needed replacing 25 years ago. :)

Lots of love,
Elder Mitchell

A picture of a car held together with zip-ties. I think I can sort of picture in my mind's eye the look that he was going for, but I think he missed it. In more places than the zip-ties. Maybe if we talk to him we can convince him of the need to repent. :)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Week 44

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Yesterday we ran into an American couple who are here as missionaries from their own church! It was really cool to talk to them in English and also hear some of the things that they had heard in the past about Mormon's. They were some pretty chill individuals and seemed down to have us come back again sometime in the near future. We're super excited to talk to them again talk about our church.

We also had a fireside with the mission president this week. It was for investigators/recent converts/friends of missionaries and it was pretty fun. We all had dinner together in the mission home and then had a message from President Sekiguchi. I think that our RC and his friend both really enjoyed it.

Our ward halloween party also happened this week. It was pretty fun. I wore six ties and a pirate hat. I might have had the scariest costume at the party.

And we have a mission photo shoot this week. I think the results are going to become our new mission pass-along cards.

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

 My fancy new badge in English.

Our costumes for the Ward Halloween Party.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Week 43

Ladies and gentlemen,

The week counter on my emails is pretty close to the percentage of my mission that I've completed. So at 44% I guess I'm almost half done. That's weird.

This week we had zone conference and mission president interviews. At zone conference we got new nametags. Our mission president decided that having our nametags written in Japanese was counter-productive so he got us all English ones.

We also had a really good after-baptism lesson with our recent convert, Brother Takuto. Brother Konno, a super cool member in the ward, joined with us on it, and we had a really good restoration discussion. This same recent convert has also talked to a friend of his at college and they will be coming together to a fireside this week. We're pretty excited to see how much interest his friend has in learning about the gospel.

Have a great week and share the gospel with a friend!

Lots of love,
Elder Mitchell

For P-day, we went on some island somewhere and one of the sisters took a lot of pictures. I might get them eventually. I took one. For some reason I couldn't really get the running pose right. I guess I haven't had enough practice running. We also went to a little Ramen shop. It was okay. Nothing worth writing home about... lol

 (Ben's picture was in response to this one his sisters sent him 
from Seaside, Oregon, a few weeks ago.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week 42

Hello world,

It has been a little while since the world has had a confirmation of my existence. In fact, I think it may have been three weeks. I'm sorry about that. Fortunately, not a whole lot has happened over the last three weeks, so there's not a whole lot that I need to write. :)

I am now in Izumi which is an area in Sendai. I think that Sendai might be comparable in size to Seattle. I'm not exactly sure though. Anyway, there are several times more people here than there were in Misawa, Miyako, or Hirosaki. So that's good I suppose. The pace of life is quite a lot faster here.

I also have a new companion. He's half Japanese, but speaks it natively. His English is really good, but obviously not his first language. He's a really funny guy and a really hard worker. He's actually a really old missionary and will be dying after next transfer. So the middle of December I think.

Something of note: the apartment that I currrently reside in has a three-part mirror so the two sides fold out. So this means that I can look in the mirror and see myself from three different angles! I really appreciate it. Maybe a little too much. :)

I love you all,
Elder Mitchell

The pictures:

Hot dogs that were given to us by a member.
All of the really cheap juice that I bought last week. We ran out on 
Sunday so it's been a juice drought for the last two days.

I'm not generally a soccer (or football) fan, but the inside 
of a track should be green. This is a screenshot 
from google maps of a track near where I live.

And the mirror that brings me joy. . .

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Week 41

Some highlights of the week,

There was a soup party sort of thing with the ward on some island. It was pretty dang good soup. :)
On the way back from the soup there was a Ferrari dealer. And a couple businesses down was Triumph motorcycles. And next door to that was Porsche. That was fun. Also I saw a Ferrari on the road the other day.
I've only been here a couple weeks and I've already made an appearance at five or six different restaurants.
There is a store of peanut butter in this apartment.
I have a brand new bike right now.
General conference.
I'm over halfway on my next piano song.

There were some pretty seriously good talks this conference. Like maybe more than I ever remember hearing at one time. That could be because I was paying closer attention, but I'm going to stick with the former option I think. :) If I had to choose one idea that was my favorite from the whole conference it would be from the eclipse talk. He said something along the lines of "Even good things, if you hold them too close to your eyes can block out the light of the Gospel". Also Aunt Katie sent me some really good pictures this week which are impossible to not smile at. And I took some pictures in the last couple weeks too.

I love you the most,
Elder Mitchell

 Pictures from Aunt Katie that were impossible not to smile at. . .

 The cinnamon rolls from a member which conveniently appear 
to be inside my stomach due to the reflection in the microwave.
 A bandaid from my blood test.
 A ramen shop.

Week 40

Greetings family,

I see that you found a picture of me on Facebook. That's pretty fun. I got to this area and was asked to perform the baptism and I was like 'Huh. The first that my family will hear about this will probably be the mission newsroom'. I guess I was right. How smart I am. :)

I was asked by some interested parties for some details on how the baptism went, and I can't say that I have very many details besides that the water wasn't quite as warm as it was when we finished filling up the font (In fact it was quite a lot less warm). Brother Takuto is a bro, and we went to get curry afterwards. Also, a member gave us about $30 because he said that he wanted to go eat with us but was busy. That was pretty cool. :) Brother Takuto is the guy that just got baptized on Saturday. He met with missionaries for the first time in January. 

Also of note is the fact that this area has a ward, rather than a branch. I'm in Sendai right now (which is a city-unlike the other places I've been living lately) so there are actually people here. Which is very nice. I think I'll come to like the change. :)

I love you all 5000000,
Elder Mitchell

Questions:  What is your new apartment like? Do you feel like you are living in down town Seattle? What is the area like as far as talking to people? How is the new ward?

Answers: The new apartment has a very strange setup and is a little small. It's on the first floor though which is great because that means that we don't have any downstairs neighbors.  I feel like I haven't spent very much quality time in downtown Seattle, but probably something like that yeah. There are a lot of people. And some of them talk. The new ward is super nice.

The pictures/caption below were taken from the Japan Sendai Mission Newsroom on Facebook.
A college student was baptized at Izumi Ward on September 30th. He has been taught the gospel of Jesus Christ by Elder Marshall, Elder Myers, Elder Crosby, Elder Payne, Elder Mason and Elder Mitchell.   #sendaimissionbaptism

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 39


This week we received our transfer calls and I'm going to Izumi!!!! It's one of the areas in Sendai, so that will definitely be quite a change from what I've been working with up until now. Supposedly, I'll actually have people to talk to when I walk the streets. That will be fun. I'll also have a native Japanese-speaking companion, so hopefully I'll be able to get a better grip on this language.

I'm sort of at a loss for what to do with my new Facebook privileges. If anyone has any suggestions for a missionary on how to use Facebook in order to invite people to come unto Christ, I would be glad to hear them at or on Facebook messenger. :)

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Week 38


The main thing to happen this week was definitely the arrival of facebook to our mission. We are very excited but have no idea what we're doing or how we should be doing it. So it will be a good learning experience to figure out how to reach people through Facebook. But as far as I can tell I'm allowed to be friends with whoever wants to be friends with me, so I will welcome all new friend requests. I think my name on Facebook is just "Ben Mitchell". :)

The other thing to happen recently is district P-day which took up all of my email time today. We went bowling and then walked through the American stores that they have on the military base. I happened to do very well at bowling and scored a monstrous 120 points. The nicknames on the Elder board are courtesy of the blonde one, Elder Fowler. He's a pretty funny guy...

Hope you all have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

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