Sunday, May 29, 2016
I want to apologize in advance because this weeks email is going to
be super long. I'll try and make it very easy to scan over, because
long emails are rough to read sometimes!
Once again I am absolutely exhausted from a week full of buses,
trains, meetings, and missionary work. In the last week and a half, I
have had the opportunity to work in 5 different areas in the Kobe
mission including Matsue, Okayama, Kobe, Yonago, and Izumo and I have
been blessed to see miracles!
Straight from Kobe on Monday, we headed across the mission to the
area next to Matsue called Izumo. It is the top left corner of the
mission. There we did splits with the zone leaders and it was a very
humbling experience. Izumo is an area that is full of brazilians, so
most of the zone leaders teaching pool are brazilians. I was
companions for the day with Madruga Choro who is from Brazil. Me and
him were in charge of teaching and talking to all of the Brazilian
investigators and members. My Portuguese is obviously really good, so
I understood everything that was said! (Not) -I didn't understand a
word the entire day which made me feel like a green bean again! It was
so much fun, and a really humbling experience. Madruga Choro is an
amazing zone leader, and we had a great time together and I learned a
lot from him. It was a great experience to go to Brazil for a day :)
One cool miracle that I want to share from when I was in Izumo is
a couple named Omar and Paloma. They came to English class for the
first time and saw a picture of the Tokyo temple. They are from Sao
Paulo Brazil and they speak Portuguese and a Omar speaks a little bit
of English. They were so excited when they saw the Tokyo temple, so
they said "we lived across the street from one of these churches in
Brazil and we loved going over there and looking inside because it is
so pretty! We have a picture of that church on our fridge at home, we
really want to go inside!" My companion was so excited, and now they
have an appointment to talk about the gospel this week, I am so
excited to hear what happens with Omar and Paloma!
On Wednesday we finally got back to Matsue for the first time since
the week before. We got straight to work because we hadn't been here
for about 5 days. On Thursday, we worked again, and then at 8pm we
caught a train to Yonago, which is the area on the other side of us,
because we had splits with our district leader, and a district meeting
on Friday. So Friday I was companions with my good friend and district
leader, Miller Choro who was my zone leader in my last area. We had a
good time together and got to play with a member family with a bunch
of cute kids!
On Saturday I was companions with Miller Choro's companion, Inaba
Choro who is a first transfer (just got to the mission) missionary
from Tokyo. Me and him stayed in Yonago for a while to do a service
project while Vui Choro and Miller Choro got on a train and went over
to Matsue to get ready for the culture party that me and Vui Choro had
been planning. After Inaba Choro and I were done in Yonago, we got on
a train and headed over to Matsue to help prepare for the party and
visit a couple investigators. Inaba Choro and I talked to Anzai San
and had a really good meeting with him. Anzai has picked June 18th for
his baptismal day, and it's looking like he will be ready! So we are
super excited for him!
Saturday night we had all the missionaries in the district, and some
of their members come into matuse to do a big culture party with us.
We did Samoa (Vui Choro), America (the rest of the missionaries),
Brazil (Members from Izumo), and Japan (members) for the activity and
had all sorts of food and dances and performances going on. There were
lots of people there, including a couple investigators, and non
members! It was an awesome way to get everyone together, and inside
Last week, we all went to Kobe for a meeting with Elder Gary E
Stevenson from the quorum of the twelve apostles. As soon as he walked
into the chapel, you could feel how much of the spirit he carried with
him. I want to share a little bit of what he talked to us about. He
assured each one of us that we were called to this mission for a
reason through revaluation. He talked about different experiences he
has had from assigning missionaries to missions, and that we are all
here to find our "corianton". He said that there are people out there
waiting for me to specifically help them. It really gave me the
motivation to want to get out on the street everyday and talk to
everyone so that I don't miss out on finding the person that I am
supposed to help. As I thought about this, I thought about how each
and every single one of us have different talents and abilities. We
need to use those talents and abilities to help Gods children. There
are people out there that need you, and they need your talents. Use
those talents to bring them, closer too God. I know that there are
people out there for each and every single one of us. So here is the
challenge! While you're at the store, or out doing different things
during the week, don't miss the opportunity to find the person that
God needs you to find, and invite them to come closer to Christ! You
never know how big of a difference that can make!
Thank you all for all you do for me! I love Japan and I love this
opportunity to serve these amazing people! Tomorrow is transfer
announcements, so I'll let you know what happens with that! I love you
all so much! Have a safe week!
From Matsue Japan,
On the train in Kobe
Pday in Kobe
Alex with Elder Inaba
Sunday, May 22, 2016
This week has been crazy and sadly today, don't have a lot of time
to email. I will try to quickly just let you know what we did this
week! We were in our area for only 2 days! We left Wednesday morning
to take a bus down to Okayama for zone conference that was on
Thursday. From Matsue to Okayama it takes about 4 hours to get there.
On Thursday President Welch and Sister Welch gave us a really good
zone conference. I learned a lot but sadly I don't have time to talk
about it this week.
On Thursday night, we headed back to Matsue. When we were leaving
the Okayama mission home, we went to get on a train. Vui Choro pulled
out our phone, and just as the train was pulling in, the phone fell
onto the train tracks. We were already in a hurry to make it to our
bus on time, so we left the phone and two missionaries stayed back to
get it. So....we didn't have a phone on Friday while we were in the
area which made meeting with people very hard. But we made it work! We
at least made it on the bus with one minute to spare! So that's all
that matters right? Haha
On Saturday we got up and got on another bus and took a 5 hour bus
ride down to Kobe. We stayed in the Kobe mission home that night with
20 other missionaries and then Sunday we went to the Kobe ward for
church. After church we had a mission wide conference with Elder
Stevenson from the quorum of the twelve apostles. Not only did elder
Stevenson come, but the area presidency came and talked to us as well.
It was awesome!
Since there wasn't a bus to get us home Sunday night, we had to stay
at the Kobe mission home again last night, so we are doing P Day here
in Kobe today, and heading up to the area called Izumo, next to Matsue
(but farther) for splits with the zone leaders.
This week again, we won't be in our area. We have splits with the
zone leaders tomorrow and will get home on Wednesday. We will work in
Matsue on Wednesday and Thursday, and then we will go on Friday to
Yonago to do splits with our district leader and his companion. We
will do that on Friday and Saturday, and then Saturday night we have a
culture party in Matsue so will head back for that that night.
Next week is also transfers so I'll let you know what happens for
that! But these last two weeks of the transfer have been crazy!
I'm sorry that this email is crappy this week! I'll make up for it
next week. I just wanted to let you all know that Prophets and
Apostles are called of God. They are on the earth today, and I was
lucky enough to sit at the foot of one this weekend. I sustain each of
them, love them, and am grateful for their service! I will write about
what I learned from his conference next week!
Love you all so much!
Sunday, May 15, 2016
I love the feeling when we come in on Sunday nights absolutely
exhausted because we worked so hard throughout the week. That's what
kind of week it was this week, and I like it that way!
We taught 26 lessons this week, and met some amazing people! One
thing that I have loved about this area is the amount of foreigners
that we have been able to meet and get to know. I have met and talked
to people from all around the world, including: India, France,
England, Ireland, China and Australia. That has made me think a lot
about how we are all gods children, no matter where we are from in the
world, we all are here for the same purpose and we are all brothers
and sisters. I have loved the opportunity to meet so many people, from
all around the world.
This past week, I was able to skype my amazing family. It was an
amazing time and I love them so much. They are all such amazing
examples to me, and I couldn't be more grateful to have such an
amazing family. Thank you family, for such a great time last Monday!
As far as investigators go, here is a little update on each of them!
Anzai-San (who has had many different baptismal dates since I got
here): After not meeting him for a week or two, we met with him twice
this week. We did kind of a make it or break it lesson with him. We
told him our goals, and we tried to understand his goals for meeting
with us. He told us that he does still want to be baptized and learn
more about the gospel. I sure love the guy, and hope that he will
start keeping the commitments that we are giving him so that he can
experience the fullness of the gospel.
Suzuki-San (who was the only other investigator when I got here): we
haven't met with her for 53 days. Because she is so old, we think she
got sick and has been in the hospital. Please keep her in your
prayers. She is such a sweet lady and really loves coming to church.
Fukushima-San (we found him 2 weeks ago): we had a meeting with him
this past Tuesday, and he now has a baptismal date. It is for the end
of this month, but we still have a lot of work with him to do. But he
has a desire to change, and wants to follow Christ! So we are excited
to work with him! Please keep him in your prayers as well!
Hisako Tako (the lady that works at the juice shop that we found a
month or so ago): She is such a happy lady! She loves learning about
Christ, but she has an image that this gospel is only for sad people
to become happy. She thinks that because she is already so happy, she
doesn't need the gospel. So we are trying to get her to understand
that the gospel is for everyone!
Jo: Jo has been an investigator for a long long time. But he had been
dropped by missionaries because he has been so busy that he couldn't
meet. We picked him back up a couple weeks ago and We were finally
able to meet with him this week, and he felt like a member. He knows
pretty much everything about the church, and he carries around a
binder for work that has quotes by president Hinkley on the front of
it. He is fluent at English so that's why he goes by "Jo" but his
really name is actually Daisuke Furata! He isn't a member yet, because
of his extreme work schedule. But we had a great meeting with him.
Pray for him that work will slow down so that he can get baptized and
come to church!
We have 4 other new investigators, but they are still at the
beginning stages of learning about the gospel. But they are doing
well, and all have a desire to learn about Christ and Heavenly Father.
This area is starting to pick up! We are finding new investigators,
which is awesome. When I got here we had 2 investigators. Now we have
9! We have worked super hard, and we are hoping this area will turn
into a power area soon. This week we also did a lot of planning for
our culture party that me and Vui Choro are doing here in Matsue in 2
weeks. We are trying to get lots and lots of people to come see what
the church is like! Planning has been a little stressful but we are
hoping for a good turn out! I'll update you more on that when it
Last week, during Vui choro's skype, I learned a lot from his dad.
His dad is not a member, YET. But they have hope that he will
eventually become a member. But he was talking a lot about attitude,
and how attitude is so important in all that we do. He said
"Everything we do in life is depended on one thing- attitude!!" It
reminded me a lot about what my dad would tell me in the middle of my
basketball games, when my red headed bad attitude would come out. He
would always tell me that when I get frustrated, it throws off my
game. My job is to stay calm and focused. He would always remind me to
change my attitude, so that I could play to the best of my ability.
Attitude is a decision. If I would have had a better attitude in those
basketball games, I would have played a lot better. This applies
really well with missionary work and life as well. We always have to
have a good attitude in all that we do. As missionaries we experience
a lot of rejection. But if we just sit and whine about getting shut
down by an investigator, that's not going to help you find someone
new. You have to take rejection, learn from it, and move on happily!
If you do that, you will definitely find someone new! I'm grateful for
a dad who understood my red headed temper, and always reminded me to
change it. I'm also grateful for the little reminder from Vui choros
dad this past week. So here is the challenge: look at things
positively this week! It all starts with your attitude! And don't forget to smile!
Much love from Matsue, Japan
I have no idea who this kid was, but
he became my friend!
A swan hanging out by the water...no big deal!
We ate the biggest Ice Cream that I've ever seen in my life.
Monday, May 9, 2016
Eating a really good kakiboushi (good luck saying that) with Elder Olsen.
Hello there all you amazing people! It's been a good week, and I'm
utterly exhausted! Let's just dive in to what we did this week: We
found a couple new investigators this week, which is awesome because
this area is really starting to get strengthened. And we are starting
to find lots of people to teach! On Wednesday, the wind was blowing
harder than I have ever seen in my life, and it was the day that we
road 35-40 kilometers so that we could visit a family (Kuwatani
family) in our ward. They live WAYYYY out in the middle of no where,
but we had a good time riding out there, even when the wind was
knocking us off our bikes (literally). During that trip out to the
family, we were able to stop by the Sea of Japan, but the wind was
blowing so hard, we didn't stay for long.
On Thursday, we got on a bus and headed down to Okayama for Zone
Training meeting that was held on Friday. On Thursday night there were
about 20-30 (I don't actually know how many) elders sleeping in the
Okayama mission home. It was a great time to get to know a lot of the
missionaries that I am serving with, and gave me lots of motivation to
work harder! On Friday we had an awesome zone training meeting where
we heard from our zone leaders, Madruga Choro, and Griffitts Choro.
They gave us very good instruction and focused a lot on baptisms. In 2
weeks, Elder Stevenson, from the quorum of the twelve apostles is
coming to our mission, and we have all committed to see a baptism in
each of our areas before he comes. It's going to take a lot of work,
but I know that through our faith, we can accomplish this!
Anyways, this week as we were riding the 35-40 kilometers in the
crazy wind on our bikes. I said a prayer to Heavenly Father to "GET
RID OF THIS WIND!!!" After saying this prayer, I continued on my bike
for a little longer, and then the Holy Ghost gave me a little punch in
the face. I immediately said another prayer, but this time, I asked
for the strengthen to get through the wind so that I could continue
on. This made me ponder a lot about my prayers, and what I am asking
for. Am I being selfish in my prayers and telling Heavenly Father to
take away the challenge that he is giving me? When I should be asking
for the strength to endure and to move forward? -I honestly don't know
where I am going with this thought... But here is the question: In
your prayers, are you asking Heavenly Father to take away your
affliction, or are you asking for the strength to endure? I know that
through my own experience this week, I was given the strength to push
through the wind and endure the rest of the bike ride. All the
challenges we are given are there so that we can learn and grow. So
instead of asking for the affliction or challenge to leave, ask for
the strength the learn and endure.
Lastly, I just wanted to thank my amazing momma for all that she
does for me. My mom is sure a trooper. She took on the challenge of
raising 5 crazy boys. She has taught me and my brothers the ropes of
life, and how to become good people. She has sacrificed so much of her
dreams, goals, hopes, and desires, so that she could give my brothers
and I, all that she could, and more. (And she has earned 4 Eagle Scout
awards! Pretty soon, with Tyler's Eagle Scout, she will have earned
5!) Thank you mom, for your unselfishness, your sacrifices, and for
your true love, so that you could give me and my brothers so much. I
love you and am so grateful for you. I want to make you proud! I have
the best momma and I can't wait to skype with her and my family in
just a little while!
Happy Mother's Day to all you other mothers out there! Have a safe
week, and tell your mothers you love them!
With love from Japan,
Zone Meeting in Okayama
The Kuwatani Family.
The sea of Japan, Korea is on the other side
My cute biker boy!
on a 35-40 Kilometer bike ride