Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas from Japan!

Merry Christmas from Japan!

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas, and that you all were safe
traveling to different Christmas parties! This week my companion and I
taught 20 lessons, and we weren't in the area for 2 days, so we are
going to see if we can do lots more this week! On Wednesday it was our
wards Christmas party, so we were at the church all day setting up,
and then after, taking it down. We had a lot of our investigators
there. And one of of investigators brought 2 of his friends! So we
talked to them and taught them about the church during the activity!
On Thursday we went to Kobe, which is about an hour away by train. In
Kobe we had a big Christmas activity with 2 other zones in our
mission. We played sports, and then watched this years mission video!
After that we had American tacos, because our mission president is a
stud! And then had like a fun talent show, which was a lot of fun.
That took all day, and then we went back to Okamachi.
On Christmas Day, we were pretty busy. We had district meeting and
then went out for sushi as a district. Then we did some mission work
and visited some people. Then for dinner, a couple in our ward Invited
my companion over to their house. We were able to teach a lesson to
them and it was a fun little night! But it definitely did not feel
like Christmas! Christmas is pretty much just another work day for the
Japanese people. But we still made it a fun day! On Friday we helped a
less active in our ward, build a flower bed in her backyard, and
shovel a bunch of dirt. It was fun to actually do some service here!
Then I got to call home to the fam which was awesome! On Sunday, all 6
of the missionaries in Okamachi went to a members house for dinner!
They cooked American tacos!!! That was so fun!
Today, we went to a big park and played a big game of tag with the
other ward and their missionaries and youth! It was so fun! Sorry that
this weeks email is short! Ill send lots of pictures! Love you all!!
Evans choro

Alex and his Christmas tree, and all of the presents

A beautiful day in Japan

Playing at the park

Elder Evans and Elder Barton

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Transfer week!!!

It's another beautiful day in Japan! πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ A LOT has happened this week so let's see begin! Last Monday I found out that I was being transferred to the smallest area in the mission! I was really excited, but really sad to leave my branch in Nishiwaki. I absolutely love the people in Nishiwaki!! So Monday, I spent the day packing bags and getting them ready to ship to my new area! On Tuesday, we spent the day meeting with members, and letting them know I was transferring, and sharing a message with them. Our branch president also took us out to sushi since I was being transferred. Everyone was really surprised that I was transferring already. Normally you stay in an area for approximately 3 months (2 transfers), but the longer you have been in the mission, the longer you stay in areas. Nonetheless, I was really surprised to be transferred, but I was super excited as well! On Wednesday, we shipped my bags to Okamachi πŸ™ŒπŸΌ and then we drove with Mirata Kyodai to Susayama (which is a 2 hour drive, but it is in the Nishiwaki area) so that we could teach a member's Eikaiwa (English conversation) class. We shared a Christmas message and had a lot of fun! When we got back to Nishiwaki, we got a call from Kamurazaki Shimai (a member in our branch) and she asked if we could come over and eat dinner with her and her family and say goodbye to me. The Japanese people are honestly the nicest people and the most generous people and I am so grateful for all that the Nishiwaki people did for me. On Thursday, we got up early and our branch president picked us up and took me to the train station.  Brother Inoue and his wife, and brother Mirata and his family, and the branch president and his wife were at the Eki (train station)🚊to see me off. I sure love those people, and want to go back to see them!! 🐡
We got on the train and headed to the transfer point in Sanomiya. Which is in Kobe. In Japan, you put your bike 🚲in a bike bag, and carry it with you when you transfer. In America you can pretty much just ride your bike onto the train, but in Japan, it has to be in a bike bag. (LAME!!!) It sucked to carry that bike around all day, and cram it onto PACKED trains. When you get into the city areas in Japan, trains are PACKED! Everyone is standing and squished in. So getting a bike on the dang train was a pain in the buttπŸ˜‚ After we went to Sanomiya, and met up with a travel group, we went to tannoji, where I met my new companion who will be finishing up my training with me! His name is Barton Choro and he went to Olympus high school! He is an 11th transfer, and his Japanese is really good! He is AMAZING at the guitar!!!!! 🎸He had a band while he was in Utah, and also taught people how to play. So he is dang good. He is 6'4 and I am about 6'2, so we are two HUGE gaijin (foreigners) walking around a huge city. We get a lot of funny looks, and it actually helps to talk to people πŸ‘πŸΌ In Okamachi, there are 4 elders and 2 sisters. So In our apartment, there is me and Barton choro, and then Hashimoto choro and motsumoto choro! It's such a fun apartment, and it's nice to have 2 Japanese elders living with me! My Japanese has already improved so much, just in the couple days I have been with them. Though, both of them can speak a little English. 
On Friday, we did our first full day of missionary work. It's completely different than how you do missionary work in Nishiwaki! Nishiwaki is country, so there isn't a lot of people to talk to.....but.... Now I am in COMPLETE CITY. It doesn't get more city than this πŸ˜‚ We did some streeting which scared me to death! There are people everywhere, so riding a bike through the city is a little sketchy, but dang fun. My companion stopped the first couple people, and then he said I would be doing the next one, but he helped me to know what to say when I stopped the person. So I decided just to do it, and not freak out about it. So I stopped a guy and started talking to him. He was a really cool guy, but not really interested. We did finding most of the day which turned out to be pretty fun! Later that night we taught a lesson to a guy named chinsei at the church about the Book of Mormon. He is struggling to understand the spirit, and to get an answer to his prayers about the Book of Mormon.✨πŸ“– It was a little hard to teach him, but I was able to do a lot of the talking. My trainer is really good at teaching and giving me solid time to speak. 
Saturday, we had plans to meet with about 5 or 6 people and ALL of them canceled 🚫on us. It was kind of disappointing but we ended up doing some finding! We found 3 possible investigators. Later in the day, we were going to the church to prepare for a sports activity, and we saw a dude dressed in full star wars gear walking down the street past the church. We were actually pretty scared of the guy at first, but decided to go ask him for a picture. He turned out to be one of the nicest guys I have met and we ended up teaching a lesson right on the spot! The guy has interest in the church and wants to come! So Barton choro and I were really excited. And it was kind of funny to teach a dude in full stars wars gear. After that, we went to the church for SPORTS NIGHT!!! I have missed playing sports so much! But we were able to play some basketball!! I am in one of the few places that has a basketball court in my mission, so I feel super blessed! πŸ™ŒπŸΌ
Sunday we went to the church at 8 am for the people that have to work on Sunday. So before work, they hold a mini sacrament. Me and Barton choro were asked to pass the sacrament to them. In Japan, people are constantly busy with work, the Japanese people work themselves to death! The only way for some of them to be able to partake of the sacrament is if they come early before work. Then we had sacrament meeting where I had to introduce myself and share my testimony.  In Okamachi they are a ward not a branch, so it's a little bigger than I am used to, so I was a little nervous, but I did it! Then that night we helped the ward decorate for the Christmas party on Wednesday. It's been a very eventful week! But I am loving being a missionary. Today, my companion and I are going to go get me a guitar at a recycle shop so me and him can jam together. πŸ€‘πŸ€—He is sooooo good!!! Maybe we will do a little guitar dendo (mission work)as well this transfer ;)! We are also expecting to see a couple baptisms this transfer which I am soooooooo excited for!!!
There are lots of pictures attached, sorryπŸ˜‚πŸ˜… Exciting weekπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ
I hope everyone has a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! Through all of the presents and everything, try and remember the real meaning of Christmas and the amazing gift Heavenly Father gave all of us, in Jesus Christ. Everyone have a safe Christmas, and eat some amazing American food!!! 
That was pretty much my week! ζ„›γ—γ¦γ‚‹γ‚ˆ!!!(love you) 

エバンズ 長老

Monday, December 14, 2015

First Transfer

Hello Everyone!

Today was transfer announcements and I found out that I will be transferring already! Our transfer day is on Thursday, and I will be heading down to the Osaka North zone. My area is called Okamachi. Osaka is the 2nd biggest city in Japan, so it'll be fun to be in city. My first area (Nishiwaki) is country. So it'll be a big change, but I'm looking forward to it. But today, I have to pack so I don't have too much time to email. So this one might be a little short! 

Last Wednesday our zone had interviews with our mission president in Fukuchiyama, so we had to go up there. Our interviews are only 15 minutes long, so you have to be prepared with what you want to talk to him about. The question I asked was how to take a step of faith towards Christ. He gave me some really good insight on faith, and how I can strengthen my faith in the Savior and take a step towards him. The time with the mission president went by really fast, but it was good to sit down with him one on one! He is a really cool guy.

On Friday, we had a combined district meeting in Fukuchiyama again, so we went back up there. The whole zone was there so it was a lot of fun! On Saturday, we were supposed to go to Toyooka (the other side of our area, 3 hours away) but our members needed us at a ward music night that they planned that we didn't know about. So we stayed and had some fun, and some of the members preformed instruments and stuff! 

On Sunday, we got up early, and left with some members to Toyooka. We had a combined sacrament meeting up there, with our branch and the toyooka branch. After the meeting, everyone had brought a lot of food, so we had a big lunch, and then watched the Christmas devotional. It was a lot of fun!!

I'm excited for my adventure in Okamachi. It'll be different, but I'm super excited! I hope everyone has a good week!
Evans Choro

I forgot to mention this in my regular email but its funny so....
On Friday, I was on splits with my district leader,(olsen choro's
companion) in Fukuchiyama on Friday. We had just finished up for the
day, and it was raining pretty hard, so we headed back to the
apartment. Japanese people ride bikes fast, so i stood up on my bike
to catch up to him, and the chain slipped, and the bike came out from
under me, and i went face first into the ground. I was luckily wearing
a helmet, which really saved me, 'cuz i slid across the ground a bit
haha. I was riding olsen choro's bike too. But i jumped back up. We
put the chain back on and kept going. Luckily, the bike was okay, just
a few scratches, and the helmet was okay, just a few scratches haha.
And me.. I was okay, just some cuts on my leg and ankle haha. and a
little bruise on my knee. Luckily I was wearing a helmet haha!! So
fun! ;)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Week 5 in Japan


This week I did a lot of learning! Ill just start off on Monday! Monday- we met with an investigator named Ohara-san. I guess this guy has been meeting with missionaries for tons of years. Like 10-15 years. He randomly texted us and asked us if we could meet, so we thought, why not. This was my first time meeting him, and my companions second time. He has been taught everything, the problem is, he has his own ideas of EVERYTHING. When we met with him, he did most of the talking. He speaks in really hard Japanese, so I had no idea what was going on. So that was fun. We ended up meeting with him 3 times this week. So we will see what happens with him! We will also be meeting with him again tonight!
Tuesday- We got up and did some study, and then rode our bikes 30-40 minutes to Kato-shi to play tennis and talk to people with one of the members in our branch. After we were done, we started riding back but the wind was blowing so hard. I was getting super frustrated because it was really hard to ride. After that, we got out and did some housing. The whole day, people were very rude, and we got a lot of "Shuukyou wa dame desu!" (religion is bad) and lots of doors slammed in our face. Im not a fan of housing, so I am trying to figure out a more affective way to find people, other than knocking on doors. Then we went with our shibu kaicho (branch president) to teach one of his friends, and then right after that, we went to teach eikaiwa. So that day was really busy, but I had a lot of fun teaching!
Wednesday- I was able to go on companionship exchanges with my zone leader, Dale Choro. He has been in Japan for 15 transfers. He only has one more transfer until he goes home, but he has not given up on missionary work yet! He is a really hard worker! I actually felt like I was being trained with him! We did our studies, and then he helped me translate some things that we could use throughout the day while we were contacting people! For some reason, since I have been in Japan, I dont. stop. eating. and it has gotten really expensive! But for lunch, he took me to a restaurant that has a meal called "King Sized". It is pretty much a huge bowl of rice, with tons of meet piled on it. He told me that he didnt think I could finish it. Which was funny because I ended up finishing it way before he did, and I could have kept going if I had to ;) After lunch, we started doing some finding. He would show me, and then make me do it. One of the times, we knocked on some ladies door, and he told me I would be talking. She opened up, and I said my lines. I normally introduce myself, and then they just tell me "Kekko desu" (Im alright) but after I said my lines, she wanted to keep hearing more. I panicked and looked at Dale choro and said "HELP!" He laughed and said "Good luck, Keep going". So I panicked and just started teaching about the gospel. After a couple minutes of me struggling, he started to help and we were able to teach her a lesson for a little while. Throughout the day, Dale choro and I ended up teaching 10 lessons total and gave away 2 books of mormon! I really enjoyed my time with Dale choro and learned so much from him that day!
Thursday- We had a meeting with our Dendo Shunin (Branch Mission leader), Mirata Kyodai. I think I have talked about him before, but he speaks english, so that meeting is normally a mix between Japanese and english, which is really fun! And I actually know what is going on, so thats always nice. Then we went back to the apartment and had our weekly planning session. This past week I have really been focusing on following the promptings of the spirit and acting on them. I have done a lot of research and I decided that I wanted to be more of an instrument in the lords hands. At the end of the planning session, I had the feeling that we should call someone. I told my trainer that we should pray, and then pick two names out of our old investigators list, and call them. So we prayed, and then picked a guy named Inomi-san. Beck choro called him, and the guy was very happy to hear from us! He asked us if he could meet with us, and he set up an appointment with us for Tuesday at 2!! How awesome is that!? Then the next guy we called, wanted to meet with us, but he lives in Osaka now, so we were able to send a referral to missionaries in Osaka to meet with him. I was very happy to have acted on promptings from the spirit, and for those promptings to pay off! When we were about to walk out the door, the sisters in our area called us and told us a member wanted to pick all of us up and had a surprise for us at their house. They also asked if we could share a message. When we got to the members house, they had prepared a huge dinner for us. It was called Sukiyaki! Which is like a big pot that sits on the table that cooks the food right in front of you! We ate soooo much and it was OISHIE!! (Delicious)
Friday- We had a zone training meeting so we traveled up to Fukuchiyama, where we talked about faith, and taking that step of faith towards christ. The zone leaders  likened it to the story of Peter in Matthew 14. The lord walks on water out to the boat, and peter says, "lord if it is you, let me walk out to you" and the lord told him to come. Peter then, took a step of faith, and stepped out of the boat, and started walking towards the savior. After taking a few steps, he started to doubt and sink, but he immediately turned to the lord and asked for help. The lord stretched forth his hand and pulled peter back up. We can liken this in our lifes because 1. Peter stepped out of the boat, and started walking towards christ. He took a step of faith. And 2. Because as soon as he started to doubt, and had a problem, and started to sink, he turned straight to the lord, and the lord immediately helped him. In out life, if we start to sink, if we immediately turn to the lord, he will pull us back up. Our mission president has given us a new challenge as a mission. We are going to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and it has to be done by the end of December. I have really enjoyed this challenge! And as of right now, our mission is baptizing about 11-15 people per month. In a call with the area presidency, President Welch was impressed to promise the area presidency that our mission is going to double those baptismal numbers by May! I know that we can do that! There is a marvelous work going on in Japan right now, and I am so lucky to be a part of it!!
Saturday- Not much happened! We went home teaching with a member in our ward, to a different part of our area, and that was really fun!
Sunday- we had church, and it was fast sunday. I have really come to love fast sundays! During sacrament meeting, a lady named Mirata Shimai, got up and bore her testimony on missionary work. She said that when I first got here, she was kind of like "crap, he is young. We got a high school boy". She explained that she was really proud of me for all the work I am doing, and for connecting with the young men so well. It made me feel really good, because thus far, I havent felt like I have made a difference here yet. I really want to make a difference, and I felt like I had been too shy and not opening my mouth enough. So what she said was a big confidence booster.
Thats pretty much what happened this week! I hope you all have a safe and exciting week!  Be safe! Love you all!
Evans Choro

Pictures from a Zone Conference they had.

A Young Men's activity