Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week 5 in Okayama

Anthony Choro got to practice his chinese, Shu Kyodai (recent convert), Wong (new investigator), Jay (progressing investigator) They are all from China.  They are all here in Okayama for school.

Hello Hello from rainy Okayama, Japan!

     This week was crazy crazy busy! Korth Choro and I set a goal to have 10 member present lessons this past week. It gave us a crazy busy week of coordinating lessons with members and investigators. Some days everything went well with the members and the investigators showing up. Some days, it was harder and the member would show up and our investigator wouldn't. Other days, the investigator would show up and the member wouldn't. And we even got one day where both the member and the investigator didn't show up! It definitely showed me what I need to do better on my part of working with the members. We ended up having 6 total (investigator) member present lessons. And 5 other (less active) member present lessons. It was a great learning experience for us, and we hope to keep improving on our member present lessons. 

     Our teaching pool in Okayama is very diverse. We have 4 Japanese investigators, and the rest are all from either, the Philippines, China, or Africa! We love being able to meet so many people with so many different backgrounds and also have been able to teach the gospel in English! The interesting thing is, that out of the 3 Japanese investigators that we do have, 2 of them are absolutely fluent in English and the other one is deaf. So we rarely have the opportunity to speak in Japanese unless we are finding. So we also made it a point to find some new, Japanese investigators. So we did a couple days of really good finding! And guess what!? We found 2 new solid investigators!! But... they both are absolutely fluent in English! OF COURSE!! Haha! One of them lived in California for 4 years, and the other loved in England for 3 years. So we have decided that as the Okayama Elders, we will never be able to speak Japanese again! 

     Last night, we went to visit a less active that hadn't been contacted in a couple years. After searching and searching, we could not find his house. So we decided to do some housing. On one door, a lady answered and I asked her if she could help us find this less actives house. She looked it up, and gave us better directions. We thanked her for her help and started telling her what we do as missionaries. She broke out into perfect English and told us that she got baptized into the Mormon church in Fukuyama (an area in our zone) 22 years ago, but because of some of the commandments that she couldn't keep, she didn't feel worthy to be at church so she stopped going.  She told us that she reads the Book of Mormon everyday and loves it. We talked to her for a bit and invited her to church next week and told her that God doesn't expect us to be perfect, he just expects us to do our best. She said that she thinks we got lost last night just so that we could knock on her door because she needed to hear what we had to say. It was a miracle. And of course she is fluent at English, everyone seems to be, here in Okayama! 

     The highlight of the week was being able to be companions for a day with my beloved MTC companion, Anthony Choro. He is pretty much fluent at Japanese now, and just wants to be the best missionary that he can be. Talking to him throughout the day really gave me motivation to not just be on a mission, but to truly serve a mission and to just have fun! Anthony Choro and I were able to teach Takeo-san who is our deaf investigator. We were supposed to have a member come with us, but the member forgot so Anthony Choro and I were left we a pen and a piece of paper to teach a lesson to Takeo. It was so much fun!! We did a bunch of Streeting, and housing and talking to everyone. And at the end of the night, we had an appointment with one of our Chinese investigators, Jay. - With Shu, one of our Chinese members as the member present. Jay also brought one of his friends, Wong and Anthony Choro was able to practice his Chinese as we went out to dinner and played ping pong with them. Anthony Choro has grown to be one of my best friends on my mission. He is such an obedient, hard working missionary and I'm so grateful to be able to look up to him. I also sure hope to be as buff as him one day. The man is absolutely ripped people! 

    Last night as we were housing, I was talking to this old man through his cluttered window. He told me "go home!" Haha! I didn't know how to respond to that. But it made me think about that a little bit. Sometimes, us missionaries would rather be anywhere than knocking on some random persons door. It's hard mentally and physically to stay out all day on your feet talking to people in a completely different language... or even your native language. There are so many other things that cross your mind that you would rather be doing. It made me think a little bit about why I stay out all day and talk to different people. One of the things that makes me want to get out and talk to people is that I know there are people out there waiting for me. There are people waiting for Korth Choro. So we need to get out and talk to as many people as we can so that we can find those people! We can't miss an opportunity to open our mouths. So here is the challenge this week: Talk to the missionaries when you see them out on the street. Tell them they are doing a good job and to keep going! You never know who you could help out. 

Love you all so much! Have a safe week! 

Evans Choro

Also, If anyone wants a good laugh at home. Go check this out 

Yes the mustache and sideburns are permanent marker

Okayama district

Teaching our deaf investigator - Takeo-san

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Okayama Mission Home

Konnichiwa everyone!

I first just wanted to say congrats to my brother, Mclean Smith on the
mission call to Uruguay. Proud of you and can't wait for you to get to
the field!!

This week was crazy busy. We got a call from the AP's on Thursday,
and they told us they we would be moving in with the Okayama elders
into the old Okayama mission home. From our church in Okayama west,
it's exactly a 30 minute bike ride. So Korth Choro and I are going to
really get to know our bikes well, as we will be doing a lot of bike
riding from now on! But it is fun to live in my dads old mission home.
I definitely didn't expect that to happen on my mission. Missions are
so full of change!

Our Filipino investigator, Jessica is doing super well! She had her
baptismal interview yesterday and did wonderfully! She loves coming to
church and just has such a desire to change and follow Jesus Christ.
I've been very proud of the Ward and how well they have fellowshipped
her. She already has so many friends in the Ward! Fellowshipping is
the way to retain others into the church! Having a friend at church
makes you feel so much more welcome. This Ward is really doing well,
and I am so glad I get to serve here! This coming week we set a goal
of having 10 member present lessons, and the Ward is way excited to
help us with it. It should be a good week!

  It was awesome to see the message of the restoration finally click
with Takeo-San, our deaf investigator. It's definitely a challenge to
try and speak Japanese and stay fluid with a member translating what I
am saying into sign language. But it gave us a great challenge! Takeo
said after the lesson that missionaries had tried to teach him that
before, but he never fully got it until this last week. It was a
miracle and he was so happy. The message of the restoration has so
much power!! He will be coming to church in a couple weeks with his
family when he has a day off work, so we are super excited for that!

  Jay, our Chinese investigator wants to be baptized! He just wants
to learn more about Christ beforehand. (Which is ridiculous! Who would
want to learn about Christ before being baptized!? 😉) It seems as if
past missionaries haven't done full lessons with him. They just touch
here and there in different doctrine. So we are going to start over
with him and teach the lessons. This week he is also going to be
praying about the Book of Mormon. Please keep him in your prayers as
he looks for his answer!

  We did have a crazy experience when we went to visit one of our
friends, Mohammed. We knocked on his door and he wasn't there. So we
knocked on the next door to introduce the church, when a lady came up
the stairs and started yelling at us and telling us to leave. I was a
little shocked, but we politely left the building. It makes me sad to
see that people have such bad images of the church. But it was a bit
of a humbling experience to have to stop what we were doing, and just
leave. Awkward, but humbling. Every single day as a missionary is
different. We talk to new people, learn new things, and have different
experiences and challenges everyday.  It's so fun everyday.

We are tired, happy, and breathing. So you could say life is going
great on this side of the world. I hope all is well at home. I love
and miss you all. Have a great week!!

Elder Evans

                Pday in Karashiki last week


Monday, September 12, 2016

Hello All!

This was a bit of a slow week here in Okayama due to sickness,
broken apartments, broken bikes, being out of the area, and lots of
cancelations. BUT! There were high points of the week, and we came
home completely exhausted last night, which always is the best.

  This week we had an appointment with one of our Chinese
investigators named Jay! He wanted us to teach him how to play
basketball. After we played basketball for a little while, we were
able to sit down and have a great lesson with him. We invited him to
be baptized to which he quickly agreed to. He is just worried that his
parents, who are in China, won't want him to. So during his phone call
with his parents on Tuesday, he is going to be asking them if it is
okay that he gets baptized. So please keep him and his parents in your
prayers this week as well!

  One thing that was great this week was that my friend, Kenedy who is
from Africa came to church again yesterday. He came to church last
week for the first time just because he wanted to, and he has such a
desire to learn about Christ and about God. He has been such a great
example to me because of how much he wants to put Christ and Heavenly
Father first. After church, we took the train to the other Okayama
church to show him where it was because it is closer to his house. But
while we were on the train, he said "I want to teach someone about
Jesus." To which I responded to "Okay let's go!" He, being a little
stunned followed me as I ran to a random 22 year old man on the train,
and started talking to him. It was fun to see Kenedy teach the gospel
with me and a good way for me to jump straight out of my comfort zone.
Kenedy is such a humble man, and I am so grateful I have the
opportunity to learn from him here in Japan.

  The highlight of the week was one of our investigators from the
philipenes named Jessica Unyesu! She lives with her 13 year old son.
She was found at the end of May, but was busy and wasn't able to meet
with missionaries after the first visit. The last few weeks we have
been able to set up appointments with her and she has also been able
to come to church 3 or 4 times! 2 weeks ago during a lesson with her,
we extended the commitment to be baptized and she said she wanted to
pray about it! So yesterday as we met with her again, we followed up
to see if she had received an answer to her prayers to which she said
yes and said she wanted to be baptized next week! The bishop wants to
wait until October 2nd for the baptism just so everything for the
service is planned out and ready to go. We are super excited for
jessica and her willingness to follow Jesus Christ. She had no problem
with the commandments and knew why we have been given them. She is
such a sweet lady, and I love being able to learn with her! Please
keep her in your prayers this week as she prepares for her baptism.

Overall, it was a harder week, but that's okay because there are
harder weeks here and there. But it is just giving us more motivation
for this next week! I absolutely love the Japanese people. I love
being able to serve a mission in Japan. I love being able to teach
people about Christ. I love being able to meet new people everyday. I
love getting out of my comfort zone, and doing scary things. I love
the Japanese language. I love sleeping on a mat on the floor. I love
not having proper air conditioning. I love tiny Japanese roads. I love
sweating all the liquids out of me everyday. I love working until I
can't stand any longer. And I love the gospel.

The work is moving forward rapidly here in Okayama! I am excited for
the rest of my time here, working with these amazing Ward members. -
Well, We are off to Kurashiki for P-Day with the other missionaries.
But I hope you all have a great week, and am grateful for everyone's
love and support. I love you all.

Ebanzu choro


Zone Conference in Okayama

Sunday, September 11, 2016

1 down, 1 to go

This is his hump day shirt, and he is at the office of his dads old Mission President.

Konnichiwa, from Okayama Japan!

  This has been such a successful week here, and we continue to see
miracles daily! This transfer, Korth Choro and I have decided to put
something to the test. Here in the mission it is called "Veins of
Gold". Pretty much what this is, is whenever you have an appointment
with an investigator, member, less active, potential investigator, or
ANYONE, you house and find around that area around the appointment for
a little while. Whether it be housing the apartment building that your
appointment lives in, or talking to people on the street right there,
you do all you can to talk to everyone in that area, and we did just
that this week! Through doing that we found 4 official, strong new
investigators as well as 4 more that have return appointments for this
coming week and next week. So really over all, we found 8 new people
to teach! Awesome!!!

  On Friday, I was able to do splits with Inaba Choro again! I served
in the same district as him when I was up in Matsue, so it was way fun
to work with him again. It was funny because as him and I were talking
about how it's important, even for Japanese Elders to write down
contact approaches, I said "if I was a missionary in America, I would
struggle to get my thoughts together to teach simply". Literally 5
minutes after I said that, we stopped 2 brothers on the street and
they were from the Phillipenes! I had to teach and talk to them in
English, which put what I had just said, to the test! It was a fun
little experience for me, and I was so proud of Inaba Choro, because
he even taught and testified in English! What a guy!!

  This week we also had Zone Conference! So we were able to hear
directly from President and Sister Welch, as well as hear from our
mission leaders. It was a great time to go back to the basics! Welch
Kaicho really focused on how we study, and how we can focus our
studies more on investigators and their needs! I love zone conferences
because the spirit is so strong and it always is good to see the other
missionaries and see how they are doing. I love being a missionary.

  On Sunday, about 30 seconds before Sunday school started, the
bishop asked me if I could teach Sunday school because they didn't
have a teacher. The bishop didn't have a topic, and just said to teach
about I wanted. One thing this taught me is that I need to always be
prepared to teach and testify. It was a good challenge for me to be
put on the spot, teachings the gospel. The cool thing is that I think
I learned more about the gospel through teaching it than the people in
the class did!

    I still have so much I want to do and learn on my mission, and now
it's hitting me on how little of time I have to do it. I am going to
work hard these last 12 months of my mission and leave it all out
here! I know that this church has the fullness of the restored gospel
of Jesus christ. I know that through his teachings, we can find the
most happiness in this life. Though other worldly things may look like
happiness in the moment, they will never give us the happiness we can
find by living the gospel of Jesus Christ daily.

Thank you all for your love and support. Good luck back in school!
Choose the right, and be safe!

Elder Evans

The back side of his shirt

          Zone Conference in Okayama

       Splits with Inaba Choro