I am finally in Japan after a VERY long week of traveling. As you may have heard, my travel group had quite a bit of problems getting here. On Monday, all of us Japanese missionaries got up around 3am and started our journey to the airport.We took an hour and a half front runner ride to downtown SLC, and then took TRAX from there to the airport. The travel plan we had said that we would fly to LAX and then to Tokyo Narita, and then to Osaka. When I went to print my boarding pass, it said "Sorry, a Agent will need to assist you." So I went over to an agent. Soon after me, 6 others from my travel group were with me talking to the agent. We found out, after about an hour of talking with the agent, that someone made a mistake in the travel department and our tickets had been refunded and they were sending us back to the MTC. That was probably the worst news we could have gotten in that situation. The other 10 Kobe missionaries had tickets and were already through security so they had no idea where we were. We were unable to say goodbye to any of the missionaries heading to other missions in Japan, and were also not able to tell the other Kobe Japan travel group that we would not be continuing on to Japan.
We got back on TRAX and headed back to the MTC. When we got to the front runner station, we waited 34 minutes for a train to get there. When we got on the trail, we were told that at the next stop (2 minutes away) that train would be heading back to the yard, and that everyone needed to get off and wait for another train that would be coming 30 minutes later. So we road to the next stop, and then got off and waited 30 more minutes for another train. In this time, we started talking to people that were at the train station with us. I started talking to a lady that was from Lehi. She told me her conversion story from 2005. She told me how god told her to go to the church across the street from her house just one time. And so she decided she would do it just one time. She went that following Sunday and felt the spirit so strong. So she went up to the missionaries and said "When can I get baptized?!" She was a golden investigator for sure! It was kind of fun being a missionary in SLC for the day because everyone wanted to talk to us. After waiting the 30 minutes for that train, we got on and headed back an hour and a half to the MTC. In all, it took us about three and a half hours to get back.
When we got back, they gave us new travel plans. Our new plans told us that we were going from SLC to Seattle to Tokyo Narita, to Osaka. They also got our keys reactivated, and got us new rooms. But for some reason, our keys did not reactivate so we could not get into any of the buildings, or even our own residence building. So that was a pain. We then, went to bed because we were all so tired, and had to do it all over again the next morning.
The next morning we got up around 3:30 and headed to the airport again. This time, our boarding passes printed. We checked our bags and called home. Then we got to get on the plane!! After sitting on our plane for an hour, the captain explained to us that this plan failed a engine computer test, which means that plane would not be able to fly to Seattle. They got us all off of that plane and had us wait and hour and a half for another plane. When we got on that plane, it took an extra half an hour because that plane failed a wing balance test. But luckily they fixed it and it was ready to go. But at this point, we were going to miss our Seattle to Tokyo flight. When we got to Seattle, we ran to the gate of our plane, where we found out we had not missed our flight, but that it would be delayed for a while. That plane was broken also, and they had to bring in a new plane and get it ready to travel over the ocean. After waiting in Seattle for a couple hours, they had to redo everyones boarding passes. But then we were able to get on the plane!
We flew 10 hours and 32 minutes to the Tokyo Narita airport. When we got there, we had missed our Osaka flight, but were told that we had been rebooked to a later flight. We got through Customs as fast as we could and started running to our next flight. We were met by a LDS travel agent who told us we would be spending the night in Tokyo instead of going on that later flight. So they loaded us up on a bus, and took us to a hotel. The hotel was super nice, and so was the breakfast. The next day, we got up super early again. We had to catch a bus to go back to the airport. We were then told by our travel agent that there were no flights going to Osaka from the Tokyo Narita airport but we would have to go to the Narita Airport to catch a bus that would take us to a different Tokyo airport an Hour and a half away. We passed the big city of Tokyo, and we also passed Disneyland Tokyo which was pretty cool!
We did end up making that flight! It was our first flight that didn't have a problem! When we landed in Osaka, we were greeted by the AP's, who loaded up our luggage and then Elder Evelyn, (A senior missionary who works in the office) drove us 30 minutes to the Kobe Mission home. We then met Welch Kaicho and Welch Shimai. Our mission president and his wife. They are amazing people!! After that we went to have lunch and we were able to talk to the other Kobe missionaries who made it to Japan on time! They were so worried about us, and so happy to see us! We then had lunch and training, and then had dinner at the Welch's house with all of the missionaries that were going home. They said that that never happens so we were very lucky to be able to talk to all of those missionaries about their experiences! After dinner we went to bed in a 2 bedroom apartment, with 21 missionaries. That was pretty crazy. I slept on the floor.
The next day we got up, and went to a park overlooking Kobe, and watched the sun rise and played ultimate frisbee. After that we had training, at lunch, and met our new companion and found out where our area would be. My new Companion is Stredbeck Choro. He is from Lehi, Utah. He will be my first trainer! We are serving in the NISHIWAKI area! Its about an hour and a half from the mission home in Kobe. It is just a town, not a city. There are 4 missionaries in the area which include 2 sister missionaries, and my companion and I. But the people here are so sweet and very happy to have a tall red head in their area. Currently we have 2 investigators and a couple potential investigators. Saturday we went to set up an appointment with one of our potential investigators. He asked us if we have seen Jesus Christ. We said no. So he told us the only way we could see christ was with "The White Powder" meaning Cocaine. That made me laugh a bit, and was definitely the highlight of the day. I also ordered a bike on Saturday and that will be coming on Tuesday or Wednesday!
I love Japan and am so excited to finally be here after that crazy adventure! It is great to finally be in the place that I have been called to serve! Sorry for such a long post this week. I hope it wasn't too boring. Thank you all for your love and support! Love you all so much! Have a safe week!
Alex and his friend Elder (Tanner) Olsen. Tanner has been in the country for about 6 weeks now. He is in the area just above Alex. They are in the same Zone and the same district. I'm sure it's nice to see a familiar face.
I have no idea what this picture is. Alex didn't include a description with this one. I can assume that it is a vehicle driving in a tunnel, on the wrong side of the road. he,he!
This is the view from his apartment. He thought the mist on the mountain was cool.
A couple of pictures from the MTC before he left.
The girl in the middle is Kawamura Sensei.
The girl in the middle is Kawamura Sensei.
The one in the Middle here is Holbrook Sensei.
This is lunch on Saturday. It was his companions birthday, so they went out for lunch.
It really looks good!!!! I think we need to plan a trip to Japan. :-)