Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 4 of 6 of Transfer 16 of 16

This week was good.
Highlight Reel One day:

We went and got Chinese buffet with Takashi and he treated us so hard. He bought so much that we almost threw up and had to recover afterwards. Then we went to Tateyama English Class and Elder Otani taught the adult class (Wenting had the day off and came!) and I taught the little kids. I don't know what they did in the adult class but it must not have been as fun as the kid class because they only laughed a couple of times and over in the kids side we played games, sang songs, and laughed at our! Fun times.

Another day: We went housing all day for Splits in Chosei and since it's super country we found free fruit trees and stuff and brought home a fruit feast with variety! Yummy! We also got ahold of Liu and she's read all of the missionaries' pamphlets...twice! She apologized for not finishing the Book of Mormon yet, lol.

One more day: we had church and afterwards our New Zealander friend Sophie came for a Japanese Lesson. We were teaching her and then she just randomly asked how the church was organized. She usually has random questions but that one I was super prepared for. We ended up basically teaching her all about the Restoration and Joseph Smith and President Monson. It was cool. Then Jojo fed us. Pictures below.

Most days (including today): it rained and was cold.

Elder Rogers

Monday, October 9, 2017

Short and sweet

Not really much happened this week.
I’ll just write a little about one event I guess since it’s like the only thing I remember.

We went to Tateyama with Takashi and invited him with us to a Mizuno Shimai’s house, the old lady who lives at the top of the mountain I crashed down.
We had lunch with her and shared a message. Then we started coming back home. I told everyone not to go too fast and crash down the mountain because that’s bad. I told everyone about 15 times. Takashi flew past me at like 40 somethin’ kms an hour and I told him, “slow down!”
Apparently the wind was in his ears and he couldn’t hear me.
When I got to the bottom of the mountain I saw him laying on the side of the road.
I thought, there’s no way he really crashed. I told him not to.
But the skid marks and the scrape on the guardrail proved that he had in fact crashed. We checked his damage out and it was actually fairly minimal, just one long scratch.
He survived better than me and he’s completely fine now.

That’s about all the stuff I can remember from this week.
Sorry 😐 my memory is bad plus this week really was just super boring.
I’ll try to be interesting meet week.
Until then, please still love me.
(Don’t unsubscribe, lol)
Elder Rogers

I got hungry for pizza one day.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The miracle of sacrifice

Well I feel like I just wrote to you all yesterday and that I've already told you all of this but maybe that's just me. Things have been speeding up recently. This is already week 2 of the Transfer.
      As far as events for the week go, not much happened. We didn't really go anywhere. We just stayed right here in Kisarazu. We did have a Family Home Evening with some of the Branch members and it was way fun. We picked the song and prepared the lesson and chose the activity but we had Umetsu Shimai run the show and bring the snacks. We talked about how are bodies are gifts from God and we need to take the best care of them possible, then we gave them donuts. Lol, missionaries.
     Now I'll talk about the miracle of sacrifice everyone wants to hear about. Last week Saturday we went with Takashi and Wenting to the temple in Tokyo for baptisms for the dead. It was such a great experience right before the temple closed and Takashi really liked his first time. After we got done with baptisms we went out for a day in Tokyo. I wanted everyone to have fun so I had planned on treating them to a good lunch and stuff. Well because Wenting is Chinese and she can't go onto American soil unless she asks 30 days in advance we had to change plans and I felt bad. So I took them to a different restaurant that I knew was really good and I'm friends with the owner. We went and got some really good Turkish food and then I rushed to pay for everyone. I got the missionary discount but it was still expensive to pay for everyone. I still wanted to make it up to everyone so I bought them some ice cream too. I didn't tell them how low I was on cash, I just wanted them to have a good time. So I went back to the American hotel and bought them some American snacks from inside. Then I was really low on cash. They tried to pay me back but I told them it was my treat and I'd get blessings for it so not to worry. However I knew I would probably go without some food on a couple of meals that week because of it. But hey, they're my best friends and how often do you get to go to Tokyo and show them a good time? The answer is once in 2 years as a missionary. So I figured it was worth fasting a little, fasting is good for you anyway, right? Now my mom is worrying that I'm an idiot but it really wasn't that bad. I would've been able to survive until the end of the month when I got my allowance.
      Anyway, I was fully expecting the blessings received to come in the form of them being happy for that day. I was right and wrong. They were very happy that day and we all had a great time. BUT, what I didn't know was that God would take care of all my needs because He takes care of His missionaries. I did not go hungry this week. In fact I was fed so much I started to worry about my health a little bit.
      First we were invited over for lunch with our friends the Padpads before our Japanese Lesson. They gave us all you can eat Filipino food. Then that same day we were invited to a wedding reception at Bamboo Grill. We got there and Jun, the owner, had set out a spot for us at the bar with a ton of food. He told us to eat as much as we wanted and then the groom had us eat some more after that. While there we talked to the chef, a nice young and handsome Filipino guy named Lee, and became friends. He actually had interest in missionaries and opened up to us enough that we found out he's looking for purpose in his life. He became a new investigator. When Jun saw that we were serious and actually worked even at a party he came over and gave us another referral on the spot! The next day I still had no money and couldn't buy groceries but Jonivar invited us over for lunch. We made a feast together and it was so good! He stuffed us until we couldn't move and then we just sat there and taught him and AB Lesson while we recovered. After that Lee invited us back over to Bamboo Grill and while we talked he made us some Chinese and Filipino food. I didn't have the money to pay but before I could even say that a lady sitting in the restaurant said, I"ll pay for those missionaries! Let them eat as much as they want! What!? That never happens! We got free food again! The Sugimotos invited us over for dinner. We had Family Home Evening and the Tandas brought actual food without being asked. They just said, we thought someone might need this. Missionaries, do you have food? How did everyone know!? On top of that this Sunday our fruit basket was overflowing so members had to stuff the fridge full of stuff for us as well. Miracle after miracle after miracle! How!? I'll tell you. God rewards us a hundredfold for every good thing we do. I bought a couple people lunch ONE time, I was fed for a week. Why did that happen? Because God really loves all of us. He knows our circumstances and our needs and He is so eager to help us. He can set anything up He wants to and He set me up to be in the right place at the right time with the right people so that I could get my food for the day....for a week.
      God really does care about even the little things and the little people. He knows and loves each and every one of us. I know that's true. I know He lives and that He has given me this opportunity to go on a mission so I could get closer to Him. I'm so thankful for running out of money and food so that I could see once again how much my Heavenly Father loves me.

Elder Rogers

Monday, September 25, 2017

Transfer 16/16

The time has come. I am now the oldest missionary in the Mission. Except for the ones who either fast-tracked or extend but I won't count them.
      So if the new transfer started that means Transfer Calls were this morning. They called us early and said that Elder Otani and I will be staying together and I will die here in Kisarazu! Yay! It's a dream come true! Did I doubt it? No. My faith was sure, never wavering. I was not driven like a wave driven with the wind and tossed. Ok, that's enough of whatever that was. So main point is I get to finish my mission here in Kisarazu and probably baptize Liu and my new Filipino family called the Padpads. That's pretty cool.
     This week was just a great week in general due in at least part to good cooking. On Monday we went to have Family Home Evening in Kamogawa with the Chinese YSAs and had some authentic Chinese food which is way better than the stuff we get at restaurants I can tell you that. We had a way fun day together although Tai was unable to come due to a biohazard incident at the hospital with a misplaced syringe. That was an interesting call.
"Hey Elder Rogers."
"Hey Tai, what's up?"
"Sorry, I can't come to FHE tonight."
"Why what happened?"
"I'm in quarantine right now because I was cleaning up used syringes and....yeah."
*Chinese friend steals phone and starts going off at 200mph in Chinese*
Elder Rogers, "I'll let you handle that one."
      Well, Tai was fine but someone else may have gotten infected so she had to sit around in the hospital instead of coming to FHE. Bummer. The rest of us had fun. We were having so much fun we lost track of time and thought we might miss our train. Takashi didn't bring his bike so I gave him mine and sprinted for the station. That station is FAR from their apartment! I ran just barely under a sprint for like a mile and a half! It sucked but we made the train with time to spare. We were originally all walking to the train together but after checking my watch I decided it was time to book it and said we'd meet them there if the train hadn't left and then took off. I made it there first followed by Elder Otani and Takashi on bike and was soon followed by Wenting who also decided to run. Liu and Kin made it just before our train left so we were able to say good bye and shake sweaty hands.
      I taught a lot of little and not so little kids English all week long and though it's tiring I think it's really fun and am definitely considering being an English teacher instead or in addition to a PE teacher. I think I just like teaching. Kids, investigators, English, gospel, whatever. So yeah, being a teacher is my dream. I got to teach a Filipino family Japanese he other day and in return they fed me authentic Filipino food! So yummy! I don't think I like any particular food, just about anything will work for me. And to think I used to be so picky. If my mom could see me now!
     Liu is getting ready to be baptized soon. Not much to say other than she's awesome and I'll do my best to send a picture with her in front of the font next month.
     Saturday we took Takashi and Wenting to the temple for Takashi's first time doing baptisms for the dead before it closes on the 30th. I went first and then got to watch Takashi. I changed fast enough that I got to see Wenting and Kaira get baptized too. It was Kaira's first time too since she just turned 12. After we got done with the temple we tried to get food at the American New Sanno Hotel but they told Wenting she couldn't come in because she was Chinese and needed to do a 30 day procedure. She said we should go back again and say she was Japanese later but it wouldn't work. As we were walking away from the gate she said in English loud enough that the gate guard could probably hear, "I hate you." It was pretty hilarious because whenever she speaks English she has a strong Chinese accent that just makes it funny for no reason. Also she's too nice to actually hate the guy. I apologized for my country and ran in with Elder Otani who is Japanese and bought everyone Snickers and Beef Jerky. Then we were all good. We pretty much just wandered around Tokyo looking at cool stuff and having fun. We were all dressed up nice and we looked pretty international: American, Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese so we got a lot of second looks. It was just a great day with my best friends.           Sunday morning I got to Skype in to another baptism! Kuriyama from Mito got baptized on Sunday morning! She had to be baptized 3 times but they say 3rd time's the charm, right? The Elder who baptized her is Elder Hales who I was his first Zone Leader and he actually is joining my District this Transfer! He'll be here on Thursday so it'll be cool to see him.

Things are going great and I almost couldn't be happier. It's just such a blessing to be here I can't put words to it. I wish I was a writer so I could make an attempt but I'll just say: gooooood!

Love, Elder Rogers

(Please ignore that we all look fat in the picture with Tokyo Tower in the back. None of us are fat)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Two missionaries walked into a bar....

Let me start the week with an unexpected miracle.
     We had Splits again in Tateyama and Elder Matsuda and I were eating lunch at the mall. Taki Shimai called me and asked if I could visit her kids that night at 5 because she was doing temple work and was worried about them. She wasn't asking for much, just to go visit the kids and make sure they're ok. That and she's a good worried mom so I told her I would do it. We had the other Elders teach the English class and we went back to Kisarazu to check on the little angels. They were fine, especially when we had brought candy. Because we changed plans and went back to Kisarazu we didn't have English class and we didn't have to ride a long train back home at night, which turned out to be a miracle because Liu was available to talk right at the time we would have been stuck on the train! That was set up pretty nicely. We called her on LINE and did a video chat Lesson. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she had already read the pamphlet we gave her but she said it was different when she studied it with us. It had an impact that wasn't there before. She says the lessons are helping her find peace and hope and we set a Baptismal date with her for November 5th, my last Sunday! I'm so excited for her!
     Thursday we had Emergency Splits with Chosei because their companionship unity just went down the toilet. One of them was just feeling so bad and depressed that President Nagano decided he should work with me for a day. Yeah, like that'd help. Lol. He's done that a couple of times though. Anyway, they had a powwow with President and Sister Nagano that night and it turns out that all of these bad feelings hinged on a big misunderstanding because one of the Elders is Australian and speaks English and the other is Japanese. The Japanese Elder misunderstood one thing his companion said and it had a bad impact. When President Nagano heard about the misunderstanding he explained the whole thing to them both and Sister Nagano just laughed really hard. That's why PMG says to study your mission language and English. So you can have at least one language to communicate with your companion. Lol.
      Oh yeah, the bar thing. So when I first came to Kisarazu over a year ago a Less Active Filipino man approached me at the supermarket wanting to talk to missionaries again. Well, he started talking to missionaries after I left and has been in contact with them since. He owns a bar (which isn't a sin or against church policy actually, I checked. Crazy right?) and wanted to meet there. It's actually just a restaurant that serves alcohol so we went and visited him.....and took 2 Recent Converts with us. Haha! Yeah, 2 missionaries walk into a bar, AND bring their Converts with see the owner who is ALSO a member! A whole bunch of Mormons hanging out at a bar. What a sight. No one else was there so it was just a restaurant for a while. The. This other guy walks in for a drink and starts talking to us and becomes friends with us and starts hearing about our church! We were proselyting in a bar! Like Jesus going among the sinners. Anyway, that was a fun story but the best part was that the owner told us the reason he wanted us to meet was because he had a Filipino family that just moved here and needed help. So we are teaching them English and invited them to church to meet our Filipino members and learn and they said yes! They are coming next week! God works in mysterious ways. (I hope my mom doesn't freak out and think I've gone apostate).
      And that brings us to today. But I'll actually start with yesterday. Yesterday we heard there was supposed to be a big typhoon today. Today we were planning on going to Kamogawa and spending our Pday with Takashi, Wenting, Tai, Liu, and Kin and having Family Home Evening with them since they're all YSAs and the Branch asked us to. If a typhoon came we'd still go (as long as the trains were still running) because everyone planned a month in advance to get today off but it would suck. So I prayed the typhoon would go away or speed up and blow over last night. Well, it sped up and blew over us, then turned away north. So yesterday it sucked because it was windy and rainy while we still had to work but today it is beautiful and sunny! So we get to go have fun! I'm so glad God cares about us and the little things we like enough to move storms and so on. I love the Mission and all the amazing lessons I can learn about God first hand here. I'm so excited for my brother Dallin to get his mission call soon!
Elder Rogers

By the way you can see Fuji from where I live on a clear day

Monday, September 11, 2017

You ruined the surprise!

So I talked about how Kisarazu is the best because the people here are angels that like missionaries right? Well this week they did it again and made me feel even more special.

I'll talk about the rest of the week first.
      First thing was we had the Emergency Transfer and traded Elder Smith for Elder Otani. It also happened to be our Splits day. So I said hi to my companion, took his bag, gave him to another Elder for the day, and told him I'd see him later. We met up at the apartment that night but he did a Splits Review for five-ever with his temporary companion and I had Reporting so we actually didn't talk. But the next day we were able to talk and he's a pretty cool guy. We only speak in Japanese which is awesome because usually my companions won't do it even though it's a rule or they just are unable to understand me when I do it. So that's cool. It hasn't been all Japanese though because we have some Filipinos we work with here. There's our Recent Converts Jonivar and Arnold, and this new kid Rio that Elder Purba found a year ago that the missionaries re-found! We had a good Restoration with Rio and he seems promising.
     Jonivar got us dinner twice and the Sugimotos gave us cake and root beer (that's super rare in Japan) to celebrate Sugimoto Shimai's birthday. Turns out they were from the same Stake as Elder Otani back in Osaka and their daughter knew his brother! Small LDS world, huh?
     We went finding and ended up talking to a group of like 20 high school students. I don't know what it is about me and group dendo(proselyting), it's just so delicate because nobody wants to commit unless everyone does. You just have to find the leader and convert him and it's all good. You also have to be super fun and interesting to keep them there long enough to sledgehammer them with the Spirit so they'll meet again. It's fun but nerve-wracking because you have so much potential and don't want to mess things up. Anyway, I didn't do it. I didn't get 20 new investigators in one swoop, but it was close. Maybe next time.
     We got ahold of Tai and she hasn't been to church since the sixth month. That's June in English right? So that's a little while. She wants to come back though and since she's looking for a boyfriend right now we mentioned that we have a young reasonably handsome Chinese investigator coming to church right now. If she can get off work she wants to come, probably mostly to see Yoshi-kun, the Branch President's 2year old son, but that's fine. She'll remember the Spirit when she gets here. We also got ahold of Liu and she's ready to move on with the lessons. Wenting gave her all of the pamphlets so we'll need to start doing some 'splainin' soon. And I got ahold of Yang, our young reasonably handsome Chinese man. I say reasonably handsome but I have no idea because I've never met him. But I got his contact info from Elder Smith before he left and was able to contact him and fool him into thinking I speak Chinese! It worked! So now he likes me cuz I'm a Chinese bro but not really. He just thinks it's cool I tried.

So now for the cool part about the surprise.
     This past Sunday was the birthday of one of the girls in our Branch. She turned 12 so she's going to go to the temple before Tokyo Temple closes. Anyway, we were going to celebrate her birthday after church with a cake and stuff. I was in charge of making a back up/extra cake and not letting her find out. So I made 2 cakes because I go big and I get to clean up leftovers anyway. So Higashi Shimai tells me to go get the stuff and set up secretly upstairs so Kaira doesn't find out. We're also celebrating Wenting passing the hardest Japanese test in Japan so it's supposed to be a big party. Anyway, I'm running around the church like a ninja setting up decorations while Takashi distracts her in another room. I go and grab the 2 cakes I made out of the fridge and put them upstairs. Then I come back a second time and grab Higashi Shimai's cake. I'm taking it upstairs and notice that Kaira's name is not the only one on the cake, it also says "E. ROGERS!" What!? My birthday was like 2 days after I got here and nobody noticed.....but they did! And I was setting up my own surprise party!! No way! I was so touched (I don't know if that's actually a thing we say in English but it's the equivalent of what I would say in Japanese. Or maybe moved is better.....hmmm). These members are so nice to me! So Higashi Shimai sees me walk in holding her cake looking at it and says, "No! I told you not to grab it!" I ruined my own surprise party. But it was ok, I still enjoyed it. It was a great time with my good friends and lots of love and CAKE. There were 3 cakes!
     They asked me what my goals were for this next year of my life and I said finish my mission. Apparently that wasn't enough so I added that I wanted to get into a Japanese college. They seemed a little more satisfied but then gave me another suggestion. "Elder Rogers, give this cake you made to a girl and marry her!" Hahahah! My mom sent me cake mix that was so easy to make not even I could screw it up. There was no cooking skills involved whatsoever. But then they kept going on and on about my qualities and so I had to tell them, "Hey! You're 2 months fast!" First is the remainder of my mission, which I am ready to enjoy to the fullest. I don't want it to end, so I'll just have to not waste any time!

Elder Rogers

Monday, September 4, 2017

Another Emergency Transfer out of Kisarazu....

     So Emergency Transfers are never fun so we'll put that off to the side and talk about the positives first. We got to spend some quality time with our Recent Converts this week reteaching them some of the lessons and talking to them. They're so amazing and pure. We got to spend a day teaching Takashi to prepare him for the temple so we can go with him at the end of September. We got to go down to Kamogawa, the most beautiful spot in the whole mission, twice this week. While there we saw our long lost less active doctor Branch President. He's been living at the hospital for like 2 months unable to come to church but we saw him just as we were walking down the street. Then on Sunday he came back to church! I was able to meet his new baby daughter for the first time and she is so cute! And I saw Yoshi-kun and he has gotten bigger. He runs and even talks a little bit now! What added to that was when the Higashis came to church they brought a ton of food for us! But they weren't he only ones this week, everybody wanted to feed us. On Wednesday Wenting fed us lunch AND bought us dinner! Two meals in one day! Then Thursday the Sugimotos fed us dinner at their house. Friday Jojo walked in to District Meeting holding McDonald's he had brought for lunch. Then he made us dinner too! My Recent Converts are angels. They both fed me lunch and dinner in the same day and neither of them knew the other had. They both just spontaneously did it of their own will. We met Tai during one of our trips to Kamogawa and she bought us snacks and really good grape juice. We just got some much love food put into us this week! This did not happen last time! I'm just surrounded by angles here that are almost too nice. Actually, buying me a watch and feeding me twice in a day might qualify as too nice.
      Our investigators are doing really well. Mikami is almost done with his rice harvest and then he decided to work on his own so he can pick his schedule and come to church! Yay! If he starts coming to church he can be baptized! We also ran into Liu in Kamogawa and she showed us that she was carrying around the triple combination we gave her and she was reading it all the time, even at work! So cool!
      Now for the Emergency Transfer. Sunday night the Assistants call us and that's never good. They probably don't like it but missionaries hate calls from the Assistants because they're so busy they'll only ever call you for something bad. Sorry, the truth probably hurts from their side too, nobody wants to talk to them. Anyway, they call right before bed on Sunday night just like they always do for emergency transfers and I know that's the only thing it could be. So I answer the phone kind of confused and scared. But they ask for my companion so I relax a little but am still disturbed because I know something is about to go down. Elder Smith is going to Urayasu, that's in Tokyo, tomorrow. My new companion is Elder Otani, my very first Japanese companion. Also, he will be my last companion and get the honors of killing me.

Elder Rogers