Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week 26

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This was an okay week. We had our last zone conference with our
current mission president before he goes home. That was a little
rough, especially for some of the older missionaries who have had him
as the mission president for their whole mission, but we all survived.
Our new president will take over on the first of July, and our first
opportunity to meet him will be on the seventh.

We also had district splits this week which just meant that I left the
apartment with one of the other two Elders that isn't normally my
companion. It was pretty fun. Elder De Leon told me that my Japanese
was good for being fourth transfer. I'm not exactly sure how I should
feel about that because I know that my Japanese is garbage. I guess
all I can do is keep improving little by little...

We also had a bit of an interesting housing experience this week. I
guess someone really important showed up and told my mission that
singing is a really good way to help people feel the Spirit and
recommended that we sing for people on their front porches (I said "I
guess" because this is all stuff that I heard from my companion, who said
it happened before I was in the mission). So he decided this week that
we would sing on someone's front porch if we got the chance. So I sort
of got roped in to singing "I am a Child of God" with Elder Reber, in
Japanese, on some random old lady's front porch . I thought it was a
rather poor performance, (Those of you who know me well will also know
that I don't claim to be any kind of proficient at singing. In fact if
I had to rate myself on a scale from 14 to 47, I'd put myself somewhere
around 19) but Elder Reber seemed to think that it had gone well.

Last thing: I'd just like to share a scripture that I think explains
the reason for missionary work pretty well. It's Mosiah 2:41 which
says: "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the
blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.
For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and
spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received
into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of
never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are
true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."
I've experienced the blessingsof living by the Gospel so I'm trying to
give other people the opportunity to try it for themselves.

Have a great week,
Elder Mitchell

 - Elder De Leon: He has some rather shiny sunglasses.

 - Me: Not dead yet.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 25

Hello world,

I suppose some of you may have assumed that I was dead after going two
straight weeks without receiving any communication from me. Or perhaps
that I no longer loved you. But fortunately I am still alive and I
still love you all.

So first I guess it would be appropriate to explain the rather long
vacation that I took from emailing. As a missionary in Japan I've had
a Samsung Galaxy tablet that, until about two and a half weeks ago, I
emailed from every week. I loved that tablet. But it seems to have
died slightly. On the day of it's passing I had been using it as I
normally did, had set it down for a moment to do something else, and
came back to a non-functional tablet. I tried several different
troubleshooting methods, but to no avail. It was not saved. I believe
that it's currently somewhere in the US on it's way to a Samsung plant
where they will rip it apart and diagnose the reason for it's death.
But until then I have an Apple iPad that was lent to me by the
mission. I'm not really enjoying the learning curve after having
already figured out how to use the Samsung, but I'll probably survive.

So I don't recall exactly what I talked about in last update, but I
guess there are a few things that I can talk about. One of the members
in my current branch is an Indonesian lady that apparently has more
money than she knows what to do with. And she loves the missionaries.
So she has taken us out to eat probably 6-8 times in the four weeks
that I've been here so far. And she takes us to some pretty nice
restaurants too. It's a bit of a luxury. :)

Also worth mentioning is the fact that last transfer was only three
weeks because of the upcoming change in mission president's that I
believe happens at the beginning of July. So that makes my current
transfer nine weeks and it means that I'll be killing Elder Reber. For
those of you who are not familiar with the ins and outs of missionary
life, that just means that my companion will have completed his two
years of service and will be returning to America. There actually
won't be anyone dying... probably. :)

That may be all that I have to say this week, so I guess I'll leave
you all there. I love you all and hope that you all have a great week.

Keep up the good work,
Elder Mitchell

A couple of pictures:

One that I got of my comp at our house the day that I got the loaner I-pad.

 One of me on the way back from a service project in front of a rather
fabulous parking spot marker. The kanji after his name is basically
just an honorific "Mr". But we decided that the owner of that parking
spot must just be a young single male who skips leg day and replaces
it with chest day. We're rather interested to find out what kind of
car he drives.
 And now a couple that I took just now. You'd think that I'd have more
pictures after three weeks of now sending any, but my old tablet also
served as my camera, and not having it meant that I didn't take any
The pink circles are pointing out how chubby my cheeks have
gotten since being in Japan. I've actually lost some weight since the
MTC, but I guess all of the rice is starting to catch up to me. :(

A tidbit from the family letter that gives a glimpse into life in Japan. . .
So I don't have a whole lot of interesting things to say at the
moment. I guess I don't really remember what you know. I remember that
a while ago the shower ran out of gas while I was in it and it went
from a little over 40 degrees Celsius to what I can only guess was
about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in about 12 seconds. 

When asked if the water heater had it's own gas tank. . . It does indeed have its own tank and we have to fill it up from some other tanks that we have. We just siphon it out of those little five gallon gas tanks. I think it's kerosene that it runs on. I actually haven't had to fill it up yet.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 24

Hello family,

So Im on the dumb public computer again.
so its been a while. im surviving tolerably well. in the last little
bit i recall someone asking me for names of members and investigators
in my weekly updates... so i might do that. im not sure how much i can
actually do though because there are supposedly some crazy weird
privacy laws in Japan and it makes it hard for us to even have our
electronic Area Book. so thats fun. I dont think that ill end up
getting out a weekly this week either just because this computer is
total garbage and I dont know where any of the useful puctuation marks

i got my transfer call yesterday and guess what... im staying. which
actually was a bit of a surprise. we had 9 missionaries going home
this transfer and only one coming in and so we thought that Miyako
would be among the first to drop to a two-man area since its so small.
but it stayed with the same four elders.

the new area is pretty good. its for sure a lot smaller than Hirosaki,
but still good. we still dont really have any real investigators that
i think are actually going to get anywhere, but ive kind of started to
be accustomed to that. the branch is about half the size of Hirosaki.
yesterday there were about 22 people and there are normally about 30
here. Hirosaki was generally between 40 and 50.

this might only be interesting to Poppy, but i also learned recently
that to have a comp for two transfers is borderline normal (on the
high side) and that to have one for three transfers is almost unheard
of. so missionaries just move around all the time here. maybe that
will change with the new mission president next month...

also Sister Young just called. it sounds like theyre going to bring me a temporary tablet from
the office this week.

i love you all the most,
Elder Mitchell

Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 23

Given the circumstances, I resisted my OCD urge to edit Ben's letter for the week. :-) Here's what we got from him. . .

so my tablet is pretty badly broken. i had it working on friday night and then i set it down and looked at something else and then came back to it and it was totally unresponsive. ive tried all of the restart buttons like power and volume down for all of the numbers of seconds and were on a public computer now with a bunch of japanese characters some of which i recognize and others of which i dont. and the keyboard has all of the letters in the right place but im not really interested in figuring out the punctuation on this thing so sorry about that. i just spent about an hour browsing the very slow internet at this place and they havent told me anything that i havent already tried. and ive tried everything that theyve said over again. so there you go.

all of my symptoms are
no lights
none of the buttons do anything
no sign of charging

so i may or may not send out a better email than this today. weve called the honbu but all the tech support they have seems to be an elder with slightly less tech saviness than i have who happens to have been called to work in the office for this transfer. he will probably end up calling someone higher up eventually and they might want me to send my tablet somewhere but im not really sure how thats going to work since the tablet belongs to me.

so i rerread the first paragraph and it was a little all over the place so heres what ive tried
all of the outside button combos and ive held them all down for plenty long. on my phone i believe it was power button and up volume for 6 seconds. the internet seems to think that for my tablet it should be power and volume down for fifteen. didnt work
i tried blowing on the charging port and charger because that might have helped the not charging if my tablet were dead somehow. but it isnt. it was at like 50 or 60 percent when the issue happened. but i did it anyway
ive tried all of the button combos while plugged into this computer and interestingly after holding them down for a while the computer will make a noise like it thinks there is a device connected. but still nothing from the tablet. it seems to think that i need to download software on the computer so i can get into the tablet from the computer but the downlad isnt working.

that might be all. also the live chat thing on samsung seems to be closed because its still Sunday in America. thats unfortunate.

i love you the most,
Elder Mitchell