Sunday, August 28, 2016
Hello from the beautiful city of Okayama! This past week was transfer
week, and I got transferred back to the other side of the mission! One
thing that I have learned on my mission is that when I transfer, I
transfer far!! Nara was short, but it was a great experience that
really changed the course of my mission. The people that I was blessed
to meet there have changed my life, as well as working with Vui Choro
again. I learned so much and I will now apply it to the Okayama Nishi
area! My new companions name is Elder Korth! He is a 5th transfer,
stud of a missionary from Springville, Utah. I am excited to work with
him this transfer and learn from him as well. We were blessed to see
miracles this week, including finding 3 new investigators in 3 days of
work! I know that we will work hard here, and Korth Choro and I will
be able to see this area strengthen.
Well, it's been a year out on the mission! It's been the hardest,
funnest, and best year of my life. I never thought I would make it out
this far! There were days I didn't think I would make it through, and
there were months that flew past. I felt like My year mark would never
come. But now that it has, it has made me realize how short missions
really are. Sometimes the time is very slow, but in the long run, the
time is going to fly by! I want to make sure that I am working hard
everyday and making the most out of the time that the Lord has given
me. Okayama is a ward of about 50 active people, with lots and lots of
less active that we need to bring back! They seem to want to help us
with missionary work, and I am excited for that.
I'm grateful to be serving in an area that my dad served in and to be
able to help my Japanese brothers and sisters come into Christ in the
One cool side note is that there are 2 areas that are in my mission
boundaries that my dad served in. (Okayama and Imabari). One of my
good friends from high school, Tanner Olsen Choro is currently serving
in Imabari, and I am serving in Okayama! How cool is it that we are
both serving where my dad did!? It's such a blessing!!
Lastly, I read this poem this past week and thought I would share it.
I love you all so much!! Have a good week and be safe!!
"While in the pre-existence amongst our friends so dear.
The Lord got us together, for a special plan to hear.
A world to get new bodies; but some of us�fd get lost.
To bring them back the Lord had said,
�gSacrifice is the cost.�h
The Lord did see us one by one and told those who would stray.
They bowed their heads and understood, then continued on their way.
You stood next to your dearest friend, awaiting for your turn.
As the Lord approached you two, your heart began to burn.
The Lord spake first unto your friend and told them that they�fd see.
Into a place without Christ�fs word, was where their birth would be.
As tears began to cascade down upon your dear friend�fs cheeks.
They bowed their head and understood their odds were very bleak.
Into a world with population seven- billion plus;
How would they get Christ�fs Gospel and once again be blessed?
The Lord then spake to you your fate and told you that you�fd see.
Into a place filled with God�fs word, was where your birth would be.
But since you�fd be born to a place filled with God�fs love and light.
You were tasked to teach the others with all heart, mind, and might.
Your friend ceased weeping, cleared their throat, and raised to you
their head. They looked deep into both your eyes and these next words
�gPlease learn God�fs word, prepare your- self, and search for me, my friend.
You are my only hope to get God�fs glory in the end.�h
You took your friend, embraced them close, and accepted their petition.
You let them go, looked in their eyes, and agreed to fulfill your mission."
(a note from Stacie. This poem came through the email with all of those weird diamonds in it. I decided to leave it as he sent it, instead of guessing what they were supposed to be. Hopefully it doesn't loose it's meaning.)
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Last week with Elder Vui
Well, my 7th transfer is now in the books! It's crazy how time works
on a mission. But I'm truly grateful for these last 7 transfers and
for all I have learned and all the great people I have met. This past
week in Nara has been action packed so it went by super quick. Because
it is transfer week this week and we got a nice phone call from
President Welch this morning telling Vui Choro that he is staying in
Nara and training a new missionary! I will be transferring, but I
won't find out until tomorrow where I am going. So it looks like mine
and Vui choro's time working together has come to a close. We have
worked 3 transfers together in 2 different areas on opposite corners
of our mission. We've seen weekly miracles, wards strengthened,
baptisms, temple dedications, less actives come back, and seen each
other learn and grow. It's been an honor to work with Vui Choro, and
I'm grateful for all that he has done for me. He is going to be an
This week, we as the Nara district have been focusing on teaching
the message of the restoration. It is the special message that we
have. I have studied the restoration deeply this week and really
enjoyed it. So for district meeting we learned about the restoration,
and practiced teaching it. I was grateful that we practiced it,
because after district meeting we taught the message of the
restoration many times. One of these opportunities came when we
decided to teach the message of the restoration to one of our older,
active members. She is very strong in the gospel, but while we were
planning for the day, we had a prompting that that was what we needed
to share with her. As we opened up our teaching, we started to share
the restoration with her and she stopped us. She told us that the past
couple days she had had some doubts that Joseph smith REALLY saw
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Then, the morning of the day that we
came, she was reading the scriptures and the story of The first vision
came up and she had a good feeling about it. Then as we came for our
appointment, we had the same message. Through that it was an answer to
her prayers, and she was reassured of the truthfulness of the message.
That really strengthen my own testimony of the spirit and of the
restoration. I truly know that what Joseph smith said is true. He is
not a liar. Joseph smith translated the Book of Mormon through the
power of God. The fullness of the gospel has been restored to this
earth today. And I couldn't be more grateful to be part of this work
Yesterday we were able to watch the dedication of the Sapporo Japan
temple. Wow, was the spirit so evident. As soon as I walked into the
building, I could hear hymns being sung and immediately I could feel
the presence of the spirit. Luckily! We were able to watch the
dedication in English upstairs so we understood everything that went
on in the dedication, even though translation was a little slow. It
was still a blessing to us.
It has now been 10 months since I've been to the temple, and holy
cow I sure miss it. I sure will be going back to the temple as soon as
possible when I return home. I hope you all take advantage of having
temples so close to you. Please go. The temple is the best place to
be. And I hope you all realize and take advantage of the blessing of
having temples so close. So here is the challenge!! GO TO THE TEMPLE
THIS WEEK! Have a question in your heart and ask God with an open
heart. He will answer you. The temple is the best!!
I love you all and am so grateful for all of your love and support.
Until Next Week!
Monday, August 15, 2016
District meeting in Nabari
This week was full of traveling, splits with missionaries, and flat tires!
On Thursday, I was able to go into the heart of Osaka and do some
work there with Ray Choro and Nevarez Choro. We worked as a
tripanionship for the day and it was a good time. Doing missionary
work in A tripanionship is definitely a little harder than was
expected, but we made it work and had a good time with it! It was
really fun to be in the city and get a little different side of
missionary work in Japan!
Then on Friday we went to Nabari for district meeting, and then
after district meeting we had splits with the Nabari elders. So Vui
Choro stayed with elder Drewes there, and Elder Peacock and I returned
to Nara to work here. We got to do just about every aspect of
missionary work when we got back to Nara including finding, meeting
with members, and recent converts, and eating good food. (McDonalds) I
knew elder peacock from the MTC so it was really good to catch up with
him, and work together here in Japan. He has come a long way and is
becoming a great missionary! It was a great day to learn from him.
One day earlier in the week after doing some streeting, Vui Choro
and I walked back to our bikes that were parked at the train station.
I noticed that my mud flap on the back was moved off to the side, so
when I went to put it back where it belongs I saw a gold tack stuck in
the top of my bike tire! I then pulled my bike out to look to see
what happened, and we noticed that the front tire also was completely
flat with 2 tacks in it. YAY BIKE PROBLEMS! So after a long walk to 3
different bike shops, and a nice bill to go along with it, we were
back on the road with nice new tires. That slowed us down a little
bit, but we pushed through it and made the best out of it that we
Nara is a very touristy area, so we have a lot of English speakers
here. I remember a week or so ago when Vui Choro and I were sitting
down taking a little water and ice cream break (because it is so hot
and humid) when a man walked passed us. He said, under his breath,
(not very quietly) "...oh...it's the Mormons...." When I first heard
him say this, it made me angry. But as I have thought about his
sentence the last couple weeks, it's made me glad to be a Mormon. I'm
glad that I have the gospel. I know that through the gospel, we can
find the most happiness in this life. I feel bad for those who turn it
down or for those who don't like the church. The biggest thing that we
can remember is that the church is perfect, but the people in the
church are not. In Japanese, "fukuin" means gospel. If you look at the
kanji for "fukuin" (福音), it literally translates to "good news". This
gospel truly is "good news" and I'm so grateful for this opportunity
to work everyday to share this "good news" with everyone.
Thank you all for all of your love and support! Have a safe week! And
please don't crash any more dirt bikes!!
I love you all more than Vui Choro loves Nebraska 🔴⛳️
The last of the candle festival. It ended yesterday.
The view from the front door of the Abeno Elder's apartment.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
The Nara candle festival with Vui Choro
This week I would like to share another story with you all. This one,
of course, is also about two charming missionaries that are serving
missions in Japan.
Well, these two charming missionaries decided that they wanted to do
something nice for a recent convert who had just been in the hospital
due to her head. So they concocted a genius plan that no one had ever
thought of before. They brought out all the tools in their little
toolboxes and decided that what they do, would be to give the sweet
sister a picture of Christ (hand designed by one of the (Samoan)
charming elders), as well as 2 nicely written letters of
encouragement, and lastly some pretty flowers to put the cherry on
top! (Because flowers always do the trick for women...right?)
After designing a majestic picture of Christ, and writing 2 well
thought out letters, the two gentlemen went to the store, using all
their knowledge about flowers (cool colors) that they had, to pick out
a perfect flower for this lady. When they thought they had found the
"perfect" flower (it had cool colors), they purchased it and dashed
happily to her house, excited to present her these gifts! They were
going to be heroes.
The woman was super excited to receive of these gifts, and the two
charming missionaries thought they had done the trick! When the elders
were mounting their bikes, getting ready to set off into the sunset as
heroes, the sweet lady said.. "Oh.. Elders.. Just so you guys know,
this white flower you gave me in the bouquet is a chrysanthemum.. And
in Japan, people place them on graves for dead people. So please
remember not to give these to other people, but I am very happy for
your hearts, and that you thought to buy me flowers." Well... In a
flash, there went the 2 "so called" charming elder's pride.. right..
out.. the window. These elders had just given "death flowers" to a
woman who just got released from the hospital!! - Whoops.... Heavenly
Father sure knows how to humble you quickly!
As always, Vui Choro and I knew that there is a way to apply this
story to the gospel! So listen! (Or read)
-Just like these cool looking flowers, Satan always entices us to
things that look good. Things that look fun. Things that have bright
colors and flashy signs. Things everyone are doing! But those thing
are, lots of times, different than we expect. Different than they seem
to be at first sight. How can we know what flowers are good and bad?
How can we know what is good and what is evil? First would be
studying, and getting to know your flowers. Just like the flowers, we
can study the gospel and follow the prophets counsel. The prophet is
there to show us the "right" flowers to pick. This whole thing can be
summed up from a quick quote that I received from President Daniels
this week: "Give Satan an Inch, and he'll be a ruler." Think about
that this week!
As far as the rest of the week goes, we biked back up to Vipheak's
house again. From the edge of the city where the canyon starts, it
took us 48 minutes to get up to his house. To get back down from his
house.... It took 6 minutes. I hope that shows what kind of bike ride
I'm talkin about here! The ride up is hard, but the ride down is a
blast. - We also could connect that too the gospel, but since this
email is getting long, I'll let you do that yourselves :)
A miracle happened while meeting with Vipheak. Vipheak invited his
friend named Chomreug in to the lesson and Chomreug has interest. So
we are very excited for him and hope to see him in good places soon!
It's a good time to be in Japan right now.
Well, that about sums it up for this week! Thank you all for all you do!!
I love you all more than Vui Choro loves smoothies 🍈🍉🍎🍌😍
More of the Candle Festival with Elder Drewes
Our weekly dinner with Brother Nagura
Monday, August 1, 2016
Konnichiwa family and friends!
Another week is done, which means it's time to write another
email. This week was a good week of learning for me. We had splits
with the zone leaders and I worked with Elder Takahashi for the day.
He is a great guy and we had a great time together. We went down to a
lower area called Asuka and worked there. It was also fun to have a
Japanese companion where I could only speak Japanese. Takahashi Choro
really knows how to teach and explain the gospel. So I was very lucky
to be able to learn from him.
We also had interviews with Welch Kaicho this week and it was
amazing. We talked about the atonement and how it's not just for us to
make our bad things good. But also to make our good things stronger
and better. One thing that I learned for sure is that me or Vui Choro
will definitely be transferring this transfer. We just don't know who!
Either way, we are going to work out butts off for the rest of our
This week as we met with Vipheak again, I got thinking about how
much faith Vipheak has. Vipheak literally lives on top of a mountain
in the middle of nowhere. He works daily at a cement manufacturing
company - lifting cement all day everyday. He is a year and a half
into a 3 year contract to work for this company. He left behind his
wife, and 2 kids in Cambodia and came to a foreign country to do hard
labor so that he can provide for his family. I am amazed at how he was
so prepared to receive the gospel that he would make that dreadful,
hour Long bike ride to come to church and to meet with 2 foreigners
who don't speak he same language as him. What a guy!
The week before his baptism, his family had some concerns with the
law of tithing and some of the commandments so they asked Vipheak not
to be baptized. But Vipheak had faith and knew that if he did this, it
would bless his family. So he went forth with the baptism and has been
on cloud 9 ever since. I'm so grateful to have met Vipheak and get to
learn so much from him. We can't communicate very well together, but
he is one of my role models and I love him so much. Another good thing
is that Vipheak doesn't have to ride His bike to church anymore!!!
Members are picking him up and bringing him now, so that makes me very
happy. Let's all show as much faith as Vipheak!!
Thank you all for reading this mess of an email this week. Have a good
week, and be safe!
I love you all more than Vui Choro loves Golf. ⛳️
Kuniom sulou lan nier (Cambodian for "I love you"- good luck saying it.)