Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas!

This week was way awesome. I even have more than one picture this week. (Whether the quality is good or not I don't know but...the experience was great!) Our friends, the Sugimotos (the one family able to feed us because they live close), took us out to the mall in the middle of the Tokyo Bay on Monday night. It was really cool, he night lights were awesome to look at. Unfortunately my camera wouldn't really pick it up. It was cool. If you come with me on my Mission Tour I'll take you there sometime. You just have to be there. We had interviews with the Naganos and it was really good. Sister Nagano spoke peace to my soul as she handed me one of her famous cookies to top it off. President Nagano also helped me and gave me direction for my area. He didn't give many hints about transfers although he usually tells me upfront what he wants to do. He asked me how long I'd been in Kisarazu. "4 Transfers. This is my fifth totaling up to 7.5 months". Then he said, "Wow! That's a really long time!" Most missionaries stay in an area for about 3 months total. I've got no chance. I knew this day would come, but I still don't like it. I do feel like I did what I was sent here to do though. Of course there's much more for me to do, but I don't know if I'll pass the torch along or if President Nagano will just leave me here for half of my mission. Lol. I think he's still confused himself. We had a Christmas Party/ Birthday party on the 23rd. It was Elder Wilcox's birthday and apparently he forgot because when I started singing to him in companion study and throwing Reese's at him he looked really confused. Hahaha. The party was great. There were tons of kids running around and for some reason one girl decided to follow me around all night and hug my leg and then the others decided to do the same. After playing with kids for awhile I wanted a snack so one little girl went to the snack table and got one for me. I ate it gratefully so she got me another. And another. And another. Every 5 seconds for an hour. There was no stopping her, she was too cute and surprisingly forceful for a 3 year old Japanese girl. After the party we went to visit Jonivar because he called us on over. We went into his room and all the lights were off and a birthday cake was sitting on his table. The candles were lit and everything. "He could either be somewhere else in this house, or he's hiding in this room." I jokingly checked the closet and he jumped out and gave me a gorilla hug. It scared the crap out of Elder Wilcox and he jumped about 3 feet in the air. Jonivar planned a surprise party for Elder Wilcox and it was awesome. Yesterday at church I gave my second talk in a row (our Branch is small). It went well, no one booed me out or rebelled so I'd say it was a success. Our one youth told me my Japanese has gotten a lot better. So I'm either good or I was terrible. I guess it depends who you ask. After church we had a surprise Branch Christmas party that was way fun. We got to hang out with e members and just have a great time with them on Christmas. Higashi Kaicho interviewed Yi and Jonivar for going to the temple and they both passed so we get to take them sometime! After he party died down and most people went home I got to call my family. That was way awesome. They got to meet my best friends, Yi, Jonivar, and the Higashis, so I was really happy. I realized today that I only have one more call home left. After that I'll BE home. Wow. Missions go by really fast. Before I know it I'll be off my mission, in college, and have triplets named after the apostles! JK. I've still got plenty of time right here. I'm looking forward to my time continuing here and whatever my next step is. (Eventually I will be kicked out of Kisarazu) Until then, Ganbarimashou! The English for that is tricky. It's like "I'll do my best/give it my best shot/work hard/be lucky". Yeah. That. Whichever one works. Love you all! Elder Rogers

Monday, December 19, 2016

I get to be Santa!

So I don't remember what I told you all last time so I'll just start from last Monday. Elder Wilcox and I went down to Kamogawa for a Chinese party with Yi, Tai, and their friends. Yi and Tai cooked a ton of Chinese food for us and it was soooo good. There wasn't a man in emir apartment when we showed up so we went on a little walk while we waited. While we were walking around the neighborhood we noticed a cool spiral staircase on the side of a neighboring apartment building. Kamogawa has a pretty beautiful view of mountains and the ocean, which I really like, so we went up the stairs to take a look. Once we got there we noticed that the stairs had a little slide attached to it in case of an emergency like a fire....or missionaries that can't go to amusement parks and will take the next best thing. So we rode the slide down and this one old lady inside just gave us this look as we went by. Probably wishing she was doing it herself. We had temple P-day on Tuesday and it was good. I don't know what else to say about it other than it was a spiritual boost. We had District Meeting in Chosei and basically I just opened up a discussion and told the other missionaries the story of my (mission) life. I talked about all the hard times and the unpleasant feelings etc. etc. and then how I personally overcame it and was grateful for my experiences. When I get home maybe we can do the same thing. Apparently they really liked it and took it to heart because every day since then hey went out and found a new investigator! They're so awesome! We had our apartment checked by some senior missionaries this week and usually it's an unpleasant experience for missionaries. But not this time! Our apartment is spotless and they had no improvement points. Ok, they had one. I got into the food storage and ate some of it because I ran out of money and was pretty much fasting for a few days at the end of the month so they laughingly told me to save that for emergencies. But other than that we were good. My mom sent me like 3 months worth of spaghetti and pancake mix so I won't ever go hungry again. Thanks Mom! We went finding around our neighborhood and just started knocking on apartment doors nearby. One lady didn't have interest, but she gave us a giant apple! Later on an old man gave us a big bag of oranges from the tree in his backyard. We usually don't get food when finding, but God was looking out for me and provided something yummy. Cooler than food was we knocked on this one lady's door and she came out to talk to us. Her name is Miki, they're the Miki family, and she used to go to a Christian church and read the Bible. She was actually looking for a church to take her kids to and we were like, "Have we got the church for you!" She should come after the holidays because she's visiting family. We teach little kids English once a week and since my family sent me a Christmas package with candy in it I thought, why not share it? So I handed out some candy to the kids if they got an answer right and apparently they don't have minty stuff in Japan. This one 3 year old girl had never tasted mint before and lost it crying like I had poisoned her. I felt so bad but at the same time completely lost it laughing. Bad teacher. Our Branch does caroling once a year down in front of the train station. Luckily I got to be here for that because it was kind of fun. We went right after church so there weren't really very many people but a few people stopped to listen. Right as we were starting this group of girls from Shorin High School (a school I've volunteered at a few times) walked by and recognized me. They stopped to listen for a few songs and even clapped for us. This old white guy stopped and listened and he clapped too. There were only like 10 people that listened but it was really fun. Oh yeah! We busted out the Santa suit for this year's Christmas party and since it fits me just right, I get to be Santa this year! I get to bring unspeakable joy to the children of the world this year! They can't sit on my lap and if they asked me for a present I might not understand what they want, but I can say "Ho Ho Ho" and hand out candy. Easy stuff. I'm really excited for this Christmas season. I've been asked to give a talk on Christmas about what my family does on Christmas. We open presents and then play with those presents. Luckily I have a week to think about it. My challenge to you all this year is to remember the true meaning of Christmas and try to spend this Christmas not wrapped up in the commercialism, but really focusing on what matters most. Since next time will be too late... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Elder (Santa) Rogers

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I don't speak Chinese

Hey folks, I'll keep it pretty short this week. We rode our bikes waaaaaaay out into the rice fields to go see Mikami for a lesson. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and what he has to do to get to heaven. The we showed him a video about baptism and he thought it was cool. He believes everything we've told him so far is true. We invited him to start praying every day and he said he would the next day. "I'll pray tomorrow" is Satan's favorite phrase because it really means, "I won't pray." As missionaries we know this fact well so we tried to find out why he didn't want to pray. He didn't know how and felt nervous doing it in front of us because he thought he would be bad at it. I explained it like 9 different times to him how to do it, why we do it, that it's ok to just say what you're feeling, etc. and he just wouldn't pray. I was ready to call it a day and try again later but Elder Wilcox decided to give it a try. He explained it one time and invited him to pray and then he did. I tried like 9 times! It just went to show me that I need to be humble because sometimes I'm just not going to be the one that can do it. Sometimes the person has to hear it from someone else. I'm glad Elder Wilcox didn't give up and taught me a good lesson. We started teaching Yi's roommate Tai more this week and she surprised everyone. She may not have a Christian background (no one does here) but she believes everything we tell her and has a strong desire to follow God. After a lesson with her, Yi taught her how to pray. After that Tai prayed and it was amazing! I actually thought they had been practicing together! It was her first time praying and she went for a few minutes and it was so sincere. After she got done we we all just looked at each other like, "What just happened?!" Yi got the gift of the Holy Ghost this past Sunday and said she felt like she got a spiritual boost. Now she's got a ton of spirit power. She was super spunky and just way happy that now she can go to the temple soon. I'm pretty excited myself. We asked her out of curiosity what her favorite thing to do was and she said, "read the Boom of Mormon." And we were like, "no really. Not just church stuff, like anything." And she was just like, "yeah! Read the Book of Mormon!" She's such a cool example. Yesterday we went down to Kamogawa to visit our Chinese friends for a Chinese party. It was at Yi and Tai's apartment with their friends Liu and Okada. Sister Higashi also came and brought a cake. Yi and Tai worked way hard and made us a ton of food. It was sooooo good too! I definitely ate too much but Yi just kept giving me more and saying "Eat it!" I mean, how could I say no? Their friends were really nice too. We got along really well and of course taught them about what missionaries do including baptism. They really liked us and want us to come again soon. I don't think that's a bad idea either. And today was temple P-Day. We went to the temple in Tokyo. It was much needed. I did the whole session in Japanese for the first time. What surprised me was that it wasn't actually too hard. If I do it a few more times it may actually be easier than English. Elder Rogers

Monday, December 5, 2016

我很开心❗️

For those of you who can read Chinese, you may know what happened with Transfer Calls this morning. For those of you who don't, you just have to wait a minute I guess. All I can really say about this week is that, for some reason, God really really loves me and likes giving me blessings. I know God loves me because He keeps making good things happen for me. Now do I deserve it? Probably not, but He does it anyway and it makes me want to serve Him that much more. For example, this week one of our investigators named Mikami told me that he wants to keep reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. He also wants to come to church and get baptized. That's what I'm talking about. We also went on Splits with the other Elders in Chosei and normally the District Leader does it in his own area, but I wanted to see their area for myself so we did it there. Elder Kashiwa and I were able to find a new investigator! We taught him the First lesson, gave him a Book of Mormon, and invited him to come to English class. He was excited about everything and agreed to it all. He's a Senior in High School by the way and his name is Suzuki. That was another little miracle. Now for a big miracle. Yi got baptized last week. She brought a friend to her baptism too. Her friend's name is Tai and she felt good (the Spirit) during church and the baptism. She decided she wanted to start learning for herself and be baptized too! We ended up teaching her 3 lessons already and she's way excited to be baptized. Her friend Yi is just such a strong example for her and always there to support her. We set a goal for all of us to go to the temple together next year. (That was while we were still assuming we'd still be here) Not that important of an event but a fun one all the same; we had 8 new students at our Kid's English Class! Usually there are between 3 and 5 students but for no apparent reason, this week 13 people showed up! It was the perfect day for it too because we had planned a treasure hunt for the day's activity. We hid candy all over the church and the kids had a great time. We even put some in our hand made font just so the kids would be used to it for when it was their turn. Lol. The kids were more than happy to jump right in and their moms helped them do it. Speaking of English students, we went down to Tateyama to help Takashi write some essays so he could get into BYU and while we were there we saw one of our students! She was holding a cake and after saying hi to us looked at the cake....and then at us......and said, "Do you like cake?" "HECK YEAH! I mean, yes ma'am, if you're offering." She gave us the cake. It was such a delicious cake too. God just kept giving me presents this week to make me happy. Maybe to prepare me for a hard time ahead? We did have Transfer Calls coming up so I was worried he might be doing it to soften the blow when I got transferred. I mean, I've been here 6 months already. That's a quarter of my mission. I was more than a little worried about what today's Transfer Call would bring. Apparently I wasn't the only one either. Yesterday on Fast Sunday I found out that a lot of the members were praying and fasting that I would stay in Kisarazu. That floored me. I had no idea. Members kept walking up and saying, "I'm praying for you! Please don't go yet." My Branch President told me to debate it with President Nagano and rebel. I was moved. I didn't know anyone felt that way. When I left my other areas no one cared or even noticed. But here, it was different. It was easy to honk about leaving my other areas because no one was opposed to me leaving. But after hearing how everyone felt it pulled some heart strings and made the idea a hard one to accept. I did NOT want to get transferred this time. To top it off were the Recent Converts, Jonivar and Yi. When I told Jonivar I might be leaving it was heartrending. That last hug was hard to let go. Even harder was when I told Yi. She's a girl so she cried. That was a hard night. I knew what I wanted, but I also knew that since God had blessed me so much I had to submit my will to what He wanted. So I got down on my knees and just pleaded with Him to give me peace with whatever happened. He gave me the peace I was looking for. I didn't know what would happen, but I knew that I would be able to handle it, whatever happened. Now here's where I get to say that God loves me more than I could have ever anticipated. He let me stay. All of those blessings weren't just to soften the blow, they were truly just because He felt like blessing me. I can't understand what I did to earn such treatment but I am overjoyed to be the recipient of it. I know all I can do now is my very best to repay Him, if only in small part. I know God loves me. I may not be able to express it well with my writing but what I can say is this: He cares about us and wants to bless us. He's that dad that likes to give you stuff just because you're His kid. He's the dad who loves you even when you make mistakes. He's the dad who knows exactly how to cheer you up and make you happy. He's the dad that I get to tell people that they have. Because of Him we can overcome our imperfections. Because of His love we have a Savior who makes it possible for us to return to Him as an everlasting family. I'm so thankful to be a part of God's family and I'm thankful that I can spend my days as a missionary, helping others join in. I'm so thankful for my mission and I wouldn't give it up for the world. I'm also so thankful that of all the places in the world He could've sent me, God sent me to Kisarazu. I'm looking forward to continuing serving here and seeing more miracles. 頑張りましょう! Elder Rogers

Monday, November 28, 2016

Why it's called The Best 2 Years

Hey everybody. This week is a particularly special week but I'll save he best for last. First off, I have a pointy nose. I've been told over and over and over again that it's my best feature. I now look at it in the mirror all the time and since I'm surrounded by Japanese, Chinese, or Filipinos who all have cute little button noses, I feel like I have a giant nose now. Never felt that way before but with all the talk that goes on about people coveting my nose it just feels too big for my face now. Anyway, thought you might find it interesting that my nose of all noses is the most desired for miles and miles in any direction. This week we had Splits with the Chosei Elders. They came up and we had a great time. Elder Hiatt and I rode our bikes out an hour into the middle of nowhere to teach one of our investigators who is preparing for baptism. His name is Mikami and he's a rice farmer. Now you probably have this image in your mind of a scrawny, hunched over man wearing the pointy hat. No. He's stereotypically short, but he's got giant solid muscles. He may be 60something years old, but he could still beat me up and kick me out of his house if he wanted to. Luckily he likes whenever I come visit him. He invited us in and in our previous lessons with him we had kind of just taught him any principle that seemed to apply to the moment. But this time we decided we were going to teach a full lesson from start to finish with no breaks or side tracks. So we sat down and taught him the Restoration in full. All important details added, invitation to church, teaching how to pray, everything. Of course we didn't just shove it all down his throat, we had a discussion and he asked really good questions. We were able to help him understand why we're asking him to do certain things like read and pray and so he was able to fully accept our invitations. He's getting baptized on Christmas and if I'm still around I'll get to do it. I love getting to bust out the font. Which brings me to another funny thing. Our Branch is small so we don't have a real building. That means no font. However, we do have a big box. And in that box goes a kiddie pool. And in that kiddie pool goes the new convert. I dare say that that kiddie pool has helped more people receive salvation than any other kiddie pool. Anyway, we built the font on Saturday and it was the most fun I've ever had blowing up a kiddie pool. They have a foot pump instead of an electric pump so you kind of have to jump up and down (with excitement) over and over again for like 10minutes. It was way fun. Finally, Sunday morning came. And it was raining! I had prayed for this for weeks. I was so happy. Since that probably sounds weird to you let me explain. Jonivar is a painter. He paints giant electric towers outside. If it rains he has the day off. So God rained down the blessings and Jonivar came to church! Yi also came to church but more what made it cooler is she brought a friend! Her friend's name is Tai and she had never been to church before and was pretty confused. I'm the Gospel Principles teacher so if an investigator shows up I get to have a lesson during church in front of all the members. Well Tai came so that's what happened. Now usually Elder Wilcox and I teach together, but he has trouble with the Gospel Principles lessons because they're hard so I just have a whiteboard companion once a week. That and I can call on any random member as a temporary companion at a any time. It's awesome. Anyway, the Branch did really well at helping me teach her. They kind of threw a lot at her all at once but it was good because she looked at me completely and totally lost. Thus giving me the opportunity to say, "I know it's a lot fast, but we can teach you any day of the week with your friend Yi. Would you be interested in that?" Well she doesn't want to be confused forever so of course she agreed to learn more. She participated in church and really enjoyed it despite being a little lost. After church got done she came over and asked, "Would it be ok if I came again?" "YES! I mean, yes you are free to come anytime." After church was the baptismal service. We all got in our white clothes and sang together and Yi kept telling me, "I don't know why, but I'm nervous." And I said, "You think you're nervous? I freaking out over here. But I'm excited and it's a good nervous." I got to baptize my best friend, Wenting Yi, and it was honestly the most fulfilling moment of my life. Right afterwards I was able to see Elder Wilcox baptize another amazing friend, Jonivar Layang. Everyone was so happy and Yi's friend, Tai, was crying though she didn't know why. After we changed and dried off we got to hear Yi and Jonivar's testimonies. It was such a blessing to see how pure they both are as they stood there testifying of their beliefs. Jonivar tried hard not to cry, and while he may have done it I sure struggled. It was just such a special experience that I don't know how to describe. The feeling just filled me up and I had complete and full joy. This is why I came here. To find my friends who have been waiting to hear how much God loves them and wants them back. To teach them how to do it. And then to walk with them on that path. I'm SO thankful to be here at this time. A lot of people kept saying, "Congratulations congratulations" but none of it was me. It was all them. I'm just so blessed to have been around to see it. I know this church is true. I know this is God's work for the salvation of His children. I know that I'm exactly where I need to be right now and I'm unspeakably grateful to be here. I love you all. I love this church. And I typed all this from the pulpit over here in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Emotional Roller Coaster (the worst/best day)

Hey everybody, This week was pretty normal until yesterday. We had Temple P-Day on Tuesday and it was great. We had a District Meeting and it was all me this week. I didn't assign anyone trainings until last minute so I decided I'd just do all of it. It actually was pretty nice. Everyone learned a lot as we had a nice discussion and it was fun. Next week the Zone Leaders will be coming so that'll be extra fun. I'm friends with the English teacher for an International Private School so I called her and asked if she had anything we could help her with and she was like, "Yeah. We have an English debate coming up soon and if you could come listen and judge, maybe give some improvement points, that'd be great." So I thought, "Oh, that's easy. Anyone can do that." So we went and I was wrong. Horribly wrong. I was expecting some Middle/High School Japanese kids who couldn't get Ls and Rs straight to mumble through some debates. Not at all. They compete on the National level and are all fluent. In fact, they started and went back and forth so fast I couldn't keep up with the notes I was supposed to be taking. I was like "Woah! You guys can talk circles around me in my own language!" Then they laughed and continued being smarter than me. For some reason we were invited to come "help" again next week. It was fun but I don't think we were really that much help. I'm grateful for the opportunity to go back though. On Saturday we had a concert that all of the missionaries were required to go to because we were invited to sing a song with the guy. I was not very smart and procrastinated memorizing the song until the morning of. Luckily I actually was able to memorize it because I was front and close to the center (I'm short). It was fun. I do not have pictures or a video. Sorry. You just had to be there I guess. Now for the emotional roller coaster. I have an investigator. Her name is Yi. Yi is the BEST investigator. She took all of the lessons in 3 days. She is a third of the way done with the Book of Mormon. She comes to church every week. She has been the #1 investigator in the Zone for over a month. She came to church yesterday morning and wanted to talk to me about her baptism. Perfect! "Wait right here, I forgot something. I'll be right back." So I go get said forgotten item for her. It was her birthday and I just so happened to have found a Triple Combination in Chinese. So I bought it and wrapped it up and forgot it in my apartment. So I went home, got it, and came back. I gave it to her and she was very grateful. "Now, what is it about you're baptism?" "I can't get baptized next week. And I have to stop coming to church." Sacrament starts. "Let's talk after church." I got sit down and FLIP OUT for the next 3 hours. What happened!?! Did I do something!? Satan!! I sit there and think about what happened and what I can do to help her for 3 hours and then finally church gets over. I go over and ask her if we can talk for a sec. "I understand you have some questions or concerns about getting baptized?" She has this big Japanese test coming up in 2 weeks and really needs to pass it or she can't become a nurse. She's failed it a couple of times before so she's really worried and wanted to focus on studying. She also was stressed out and said that if she got baptized now she wouldn't be able to appreciate it as much because she was stressed. But she was also worried what people would think if she changed her baptismal date and wasn't sure what to do. She could get baptized as planned and receive the Holy Ghost to help her with her stress, or she could wait until after her test so she could really appreciate the day. I was ok with either way as long as she got baptized sometime and felt comfortable with it. She was so confused as to what was the right thing for her to do and there was so much going on that we decided there was really only one way to know: pray about it. So we found a quiet room and knelt down together. She said the most heartfelt prayer I've never understood. It was all in Chinese and she said a lot. She was really looking for that answer and I was hoping she would be able to find it, whatever it was. If she had to postpone the chances were that I would be gone and not get to baptize her. Heartbreaking as it was I knew it wasn't about me, it was about what was best for her. So I kept my mouth shut and just accepted whatever would happen. She took a long pause after she finished. Probably 2-3 minutes but it felt like five-ever. Then she looked up at me and said the most beautiful words ever. "God really loves me. And you all really love me. And I need to be baptized next week!" Higashi Shimai gave her a hug and here were tears and I gave her a firm handshake and then a first bump for good luck. Higashi Shimai brought out a secret birthday/baptism cake and it was the best cake ever. The Zone Leaders walked in and took Yi staging into her baptismal interview, which she passed easily. In fact she made Elder Hirao cry with her testimony and story. Jonivar also passed his interview and the Branch just freaked out. Jonivar has been an investigator for who knows how long and usually those people never get baptized. But not him! He's getting baptized next week! And since there's 2 of them and 2 missionaries, Elder Wilcox will get his first baptism! I'm so excited!!! It was a rough start to the day, but a great finish! Elder Rogers, the happiest and most blessed missionary ever!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Some heart stopping news

愛する皆様こんにちは!今週私は日本語で書きます。(笑) ずっと前に「日本語を勉強した方がいい」と言いました。だから今理解できなければ、あなたのせいですよ。 JK Hey everybody! I'll just get right into it. This week we had a presidential election. It was just about the only thing I heard about from my English students. They were all like, "Do you know who won? Who do you support?" yada yada yada. I did NOT know who the president was but I was soon informed by 6 different people that Donald Trump is he new President. Ask me how I feel about that and I can't tell you. Not just because I'm not allowed to, I haven't watched tv in a year and know absolutely nothing about the debates etc. Moving on. We were sitting in the mall one day when this Japanese guy walks over to us and says, "Hey, are you the Mormons?" In perfect English. Woah! When I see a Japanese person in Japan I automatically think they're Japanese. I mean it's pretty safe to assume. But this guy was actually an American. We went from really excited that an American recognized us as missionaries, to really confused very fast. This man spent a lot of time on YouTube watching conspiracy theories. And boy did he have a lot to say. He went from Isis to the Ark of the Covenant and all over the place. It was way weird. He had a little bit of interest in Joseph Smith so Elder Wilcox almost gave him out number but I gave him a hard NO! and that man got no contact information. I later explained that no matter how interested a crazy person is, they are still a crazy person. And we don't talk to crazy people. So now he knows and won't try it again. We had 2 new students come to our English class in Tateyama that same night. It was a mom and her almost 3 year old son. He was so cute. I would talk to him and he would always respond, "yeah." I thought that was great. He brought a big thing of chocolates for everyone to share. Hmmmmm. "Are those chocolates good?" "Yeah." "Did you bring those to share?" "Yeah." "Can I have one?" "Yeah." "Can I have all of them?" "Yeah." "Thank you!" -"No!" (His mom) I was so close to getting a ton of chocolate. The mom had actually read e whole Bible and was looking for a church to come to. Ours is a little far so she doesn't know if she can make it but she wants to come if she can. "Your mom likes the Bible, right?" "Yeah." "Do you think she'd like this book?" [holds up Book of Mormon] "Yeah." "Will you give it to her for me?" "Yeah." I'm telling you, this kid is the key. Lol. We hadn't seen the Nakazatos in a while so we decided to go pay them a surprise visit. Miyuki came out (the mom) and when she saw me she was like, "I'll go get Moe." Because we pretty much just go there for her most of the time. Moe's the boss when it comes to deciding when we'll do stuff together with their family. Anyway, Moe was doing nice and looked great, ......and had some weird bandage wrapped around her fingers? She passed out on her way to school again and fell and broke her fingers. It was a compound fracture. Yikes. For those of you who don't know, a compound fracture is the kind where your bones come OUT. Yeah. It was bad. She seemed ok about it though and actually tried to give me a fist bump with said hand but I refrained. She spends all of her time not in school at the hospital or sleeping. They run tests on her head all day every day. I told her one day she just needs to escape the hospital and we can pick her up and take her to the church instead. She quite liked the idea and I'm a little worried that even though I told her it was just a joke she might be seriously considering it. She is a high school Freshman and at that age no one wants to be stuck in a hospital. We'll see if we can bust her out sometime. We had splits with the Zone Leaders this week and it was pretty fun. I went with Elder Law and we walked around in the rain for many many miles. We don't know how many miles but we traveled across the land searching far and wide. Elder Law did jiu jitsu or something for 3 years and I my dad's a Marine so the elders wanted to see us wrestle. Unfortunately, Dad's bootcamp wasn't genetically passed on to me. I rolled him up in a ball and pinned him in 3 seconds but we were going for tap out. I am ashamed to say that I was put into an inescapable position and tapped out. My little brothers would be ashamed. BUT, he said that was the hardest match so far so I'm not a total chump. I'll take him on again next splits. I invited one of our English students to come to church and on Sunday she came! It was way cool. She came by herself this week but next week she will try to bring her kids and husband too. Yi also came to church this week and everybody has started calling her Sister Yi. They say it in Japanese but that's what it means. She's getting interviewed for baptism on Sunday and the next week I'm going to baptize her! I'm so excited!!! I'm so thankful that I could be here at this time in Kisarazu where so many miracles are happening. I know this is exactly where I need to be. Funny story about that: I was doing some Missionary paperwork before bed one night, minding my own business, when I get a call from the Zone Leaders. They only call me if it's an emergency or really important. So I answer it, "Hello, how can I help you tonight?" "Hey Elder Rogers. Sorry, but you're getting emergency transferred to Tech Staff in Tokyo." "....................." "Elder Rogers?" "No I'm not!" [the laughter of an entire apartment full of heartless missionaries who took one prank too far] "Come on Elder Law, you can't do that to me!" I panicked so hard. My voice was calm but there was a storm inside. He broke my heart in 3 seconds and then laughed it off like it was nothing. I frankly forgave them but it freaked me out. I'm looking forward to NOT transferring and spending a good long time in Kisarazu where I can see a ton of cool miracles! Elder Rogers

Monday, November 7, 2016

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

So a few months ago we set goals as a mission for how many baptisms we each wanted to see by the end of the year per area. Then we work our butts off to hit that goal. This week put me really close to hitting that goal and passing it. This week was an pretty off week because we weren't in our own area for over half of it. On Wednesday we went down to Chosei for District Meeting. I was notified afterwards that that District Meeting was unnecessary but it was still awesome. I set the vision for the District and told the missionaries what we were going to focus on to see baptisms. It turned out to be exactly what we talked about in Zone Conference and Zone Meeting so I guess I wasn't wrong. Anyway, we're planning on seeing a lot of baptisms by the end of the year down here. This area hasn't seen a baptism in years, and all but one of them have disappeared off the face of the earth. But not this time! We have 3 investigators with baptismal dates by the end of this year! We actually set our third last night. SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO ELDER PURBA Hey, you remember Mikami? The buff rice farmer that lives out in the tambos. We visited him last night and asked if he had read the Book of Mormon we gave him. He had but didn't understand anything because he was reading in the guide at the back. We read the intro and talked about how to know if it's true by reading and praying about it. Then we showed him Nephi, who makes much more sense than a dictionary/guide. We asked him if he would be baptized if he knew it was true and he said, "ii yo." Which basically means no problem, I'll do it. We set a baptismal date with him for December 25th, Christmas! My personal favorite investigator of all time, Yi, came to church for the first time yesterday. It exceeded her expectations and the Branch just adored her. She even fasted because it was fast and testimony meeting. She was too nervous to bear her testimony this time but said she wants to next time. She's not even a member yet! She's getting baptized on November 27th right after church. Jonivar is working for that same day. Anyway, some smaller miracles. On the way to Zone Conference we noticed a Nepalese woman who seemed very lost. We went over to help her and it was her first day in Japan. Knowing the feeling, I volunteered to help her find her way to work. We were heading to the same place so we just went together and talked on the way. Her grandpa, dad, and brother were all Christian missionaries! She traded phone numbers with us so we could call her again. During Zone Conference we did a role play of introducing the Book of Mormon and inviting someone to read it. After Zone Conference we took a wrong train that took us out to the middle of nowhere and got us stranded for an hour. There just so happened to be one other man stranded with us so we started talking to him. Elder Wilcox explained the Book of Mormon and read some with him. Then he gave it to the man and invited him to read it. The man willingly accepted it and it was awesome. He lives in Tokyo so we'll probably never see him again but it felt good to help him. Because we had taken the wrong train we were going home later than planned. That turned out to be part of God's plan because we ran into the Nepalese lady again! And this time she had a friend with her. What are the chances of running into the same person twice on a train in Japan!? I'll tell you. Zero. Unless God sets it up. So of course we talked to her and her friend and we hope to be able to teach them more in the future. In Zone Meeting we talked about getting high school kids to come to our English classes. This has been a stress point for me for the past 5 months because it's nigh impossible here. I won't tell you all the details of why because it just stresses me out but I'll just leave it at "I have less than a 1% chance of ever succeeding." Well I was blessed to beat the odds! 2 high school girls came and had a really good time. They're going to go to Okinawa next week so they won't be able to come then, but they may be able to meet my Momma. That's almost better. No, that's definitely better. As kids start seeing these girls at our class I hope to see more come. If we just had a ton of students that would be great. There's a lot of amazing miracles going on here right now so I can't even write a hundredth part. But what I've written sufficeth me, and I make an end. Love you! Elder Rogers PS - Thank you all so so so so so much for sending me your love and support! I actually almost cried but I'm not a Sister missionary so I didn't. I didn't know there were so many of you who cared. I won't let you down!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween!

First off, Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you had...wait, it's not even night yet and I'm like 15 hours ahead of America. Hmmm, hope you WILL have a happy Halloween! They don't really do anything for it here. We went to the supermarket and they played KidzBop Halloween songs but that's about it. This week we talked to a lot of school kids. We made friends with some but none are new investigators yet. One older guy called us and asked if we were the English teachers. We said yes and ran down to meet him and teach him. His name is Matsuo Suzuki if you do it family name last like an American. He's 56 and retired. He met missionaries a while back and recognized our nametags and uniform. Since he's free and likes to read we have him a Book of Mormon. He thought it was pretty cool and we even read some with him. No new young investigators but better late (in life) than never! We visited the Nakazatos after a while and Moe-chan was feeling better. So good that she was actually heading out with her big group of friends. We were told where they were going and what they were doing, but not officially invited so we didn't go. We thought about crashing the party but couldn't decide so we had a blessed coin toss decide for us. We didn't crash the party this time. Maybe next time. Jonivar got assaulted at work. Luckily he controlled himself and didn't snap the other guy in half over his knee. He's big and tough so he only had a slight headache. He also got a few days off work. We visited him and brought him some candy to numb the pain. He was very appreciative. His doorbell is broken so we actually broke into his house and just walked around calling his name until he found us. He was so surprised and happy. He's been studying the Bible and Book of Mormon A LOT recently and we had a big miracle happen actually. He has a new scripture of the day, obviously every day. Well one morning he calls us to share his scripture of the day with us. We meant to give him a reading assignment last lesson but forgot. He opens up and starts reading and it's the exact scripture! I was like, "how did you find that scripture!?" He didn't know, he just felt like he should read it. He also feels like God is telling him to get baptized. Before he had trouble accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet but now he completely accepts him as a prophet. We asked him if there was anything that would keep him from getting baptized now and he said, "nothing." We set a new baptismal date for November 27th, the same day as Yi! Speaking of Yi, she's going to start coming to church next Sunday! She's the #1 investigator in the mission and I'm so glad Sister Domino told me about her. Recently Sister Domino has been sending me a lot of people's information so I could contact them. I got ahold of 2 of them already and they both want to come to church! Sister Domino is a miracle worker! I really wish she could be here to see how her former investigators are doing but we'll see if she comes back. For now it's just me and Elder Wilcox. Anyway, back to Yi. She's way cool. She read all the way up to the Isaiah chapters and then decided to start asking a lot of questions. I showed her a verse in 2Nephi chapter 25 that says that if you aren't a Jew you won't understand and that made everyone feel better. It also says you'll understand it as it happens so there. I had her skip the Isaiah chapters and focus back on the "plain and precious truths" of the gospel. I'm so glad I've been blessed enough to work with Yi. She's really as prepared as you can possibly get. She was practically a Mormon before I started teaching her! Mikami is my farmer investigator friend. He's like 53 years old or something but something about working in a rice field all day makes his muscles just huge and rock solid. I'm supposed to be in my prime but here I am looking at this old guy wishing I had a body like him! Anyway, we rode our bikes way out to his house the other night and talked to him about how he was doing with reading the Book of Mormon. He was worried because it seemed hard. I asked why and he said it was pretty thick. He thought I wanted him to read the whole thing between visits! Ha! I told him not to worry, it's ok to just read a few pages at a time. That made him feel better. We read Moroni 10:3-5 with him and taught him how to know the Book of Mormon is true through prayer. He thought it sounded good so he agreed to read and pray every day. And finally, the Halloween party. We spent all week inviting kids to the party. Night and day we worked. Blood, sweat and tears were shed. People may have died, I don't know. No, it wasn't that serious. But despite our best efforts no one came. Which is a shame really because it was totally awesome. There was a costume contest (I went as a missionary and nailed it), musical chairs to KidzBop Halloween songs, donut eating races, etc. At the end there was even a surprise Russian Roulette game where everyone ate a cream puff at the same time. 3 of them had Wasabi in them. "Trick or Treat!" Elder Rogers PS - I'll send some pictures later, sorry I don't have them now.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I'm staying!!! :) :) :)

So I already spoiled it. We got transfer calls today and I'm staying in Kisarazu! President Nagano kept his word and saw fit to leave me here for a little longer. Actually maybe a lot longer. I may spend half of my mission here. I'm so happy I can stay here and actually finish up some of what I've started. Something you might find interesting is that once you get decent at one language it's really easy to pick up on other languages. I'm teaching myself Tagalog and Chinese. Now the crazy part is that Chinese is waaaay easier for me. Kanji and everything. I just can't do the Tagalog thing very well. It's even written using our alphabet and should be the far easier one to learn. I mean Chinese has like 9 tones! But to me Chinese is actually easier. The grammar structure is the same as English so I just have to memorize words and how to say them. I think despite what everyone says about Chinese, it's probably in reality easier to learn than Japanese. Now I'm not sure, that's just what I think. Anyway, the reason why I'm trying to learn these additional languages is because I am now teaching a few people from both groups, Chinese and Filipino people. There's some cool stories behind that that I'll get to later. So from the top, last P-day Jonivar came back from Saitama. We went out to lunch with him and a member for his birthday. At the restaurant we went to there was this group of middle school girls staring at me. Now that's not unusual, I'm white, so I just kind of ignored it but then one of them was like, "Do you remember us?" No. I see so many Japanese schoolgirls everyday there's no way I can keep track of them all. Then she's like, "we met over there and I showed you how to get to a park." Then I remembered. Elder Purba and I had met them like 3 months ago while we were lost and they gave us directions. They go to the same school as Moe and we talked to their principal about volunteering there. Unfortunately the principal didn't need our help for anything and we couldn't start volunteering at the school. Oh well. Maybe next time. We had a conference with Elder Bednar and all of the missionaries in Tokyo and Tokyo South came. There were like 300 odd missionaries there. Actually not odd, we come in twos. Anyway it was really awesome and Elder Bednar can read minds. He's also really funny when he doesn't have to behave the same as at General Conference. He told jokes and messed with some of the missionaries and it was funny. He didn't make any missionaries do anything but he looked at one Elder and was like, "Elder, what is you're name?" Then he said, "Ok, so I just asked this Elder his name. I haven't even asked him to do anything hard or to even do anything and he's already shaky and sweating a little bit!" So Elder Bednar knew it made people uncomfortable to be called on so he never called on anyone in the conference. Lots of missionaries asked good questions and got feedback from him and other missionaries and it was really cool. We had Splits this week with the Chosei Elders and Elder Johnson and I went down to Kamogawa. That's where Yi lives and we taught her a lesson with the Branch President's family. It was really good. Yi's testimony is so strong now. She said, "I used to be confused and not know why I was here. But now I've learned and prayed and I KNOW that what they've taught me is true. I KNOW God loves me and I KNOW what my purpose is." She said it in Japanese though. She's super cool. She's my new best friend because I've never met anyone as prepared as her. No one I know of in our entire mission is as amazing as her. We taught her all of the lessons in 3 days! She's reading the Book of Mormon with me (we're racing) and she always wins. Since I'm staying for at least one more transfer I get to baptize her too! How sweet is that! This Sunday Iwasaki Kyoudai, Jonivar, and Sanae all came to church. Iwasaki is semi less active but comes when we remind him. Jonivar just barely got back from Saitama but made it to church. Sanae has only ever been to church 1 time before but wants to start coming regularly! Amazing! Things are just working out great here in Kisarazu and I'm so blessed to be here right now. I'm getting real close to my year mark now. It's amazing how fast it's gone by. I can already tell it's going to be over before I know it. I love this work. I know I'm exactly where I need to be. I know that what I'm doing as a servant of the Lord can and is changing people's lives for the better. I've seen the power that comes from being faithful and obeying God's commandments. I know that doing so is the only way to find true happiness. I've seen the change this gospel brings into people's lives as they come to know the truth. I love being a missionary. Elder Rogers
Yi is in the middle.  On the left is Liu and we will be teaching her soon.
Cutting my hair at Jonivar's house.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I'm Thankful for....

Hey so I know it's not even Halloween yet but right now I'm living in Thanksgiving. Not because I'm eating a lot, I'm just thankful. There's so much to be happy about right now so I'll just get started. This week was not only really fun but also full of miracles. On Monday last week we went to Sea World. It was way fun. They had dolphin shows and a backflipping killer whale etc. It was probably the most fun I've had on a P-Day. I'm actually thinking of going back again. We were able to talk to some people here and met a family who recently moved in pretty near our apartment. They think we're pretty nice and cool because of our white skin and high bridges. We invited them to come to our English class and they said they'd love to talk to us again. That wasn't actually the cool part though. Our Chinese investigator, Yi (it's pronounced EE but spelled with a Y. I don't know), lives like 5 minutes walking from Sea World so it was easy to visit her. We actually went there for her but Sea World just happened to be there so we went. Anyway, we visited her with our Branch President and his wife. Turns out they're neighbors and work in the same hospital! We taught Yi the Restoration and the Higashis (Branch Pres. and wife) are PERFECT missionaries! The lesson was the best I've ever seen and Yi loved it. We gave her a Chinese BOM and she's been reading it every day. I asked her if I could Skype her every night and she said ok. We ended up teaching her all of the lessons in less than a week and had to move her baptismal date sooner. She's getting baptized on November 26th now and I'm so excited! She's already so pure. When I taught her the commandments she's like, "I can do that. Doesn't seem to be a problem." She's really changing her life and she's just the happiest person you could know. She's definitely my favorite investigator so far. But don't tell my other investigators that. One of our other investigators, Jonivar, is doing ok now. He's been in Saitama for a while which is really far away so we haven't been able to meet but we can skype. He had a baptismal date for last Saturday but he wasn't here. We'll have to reschedule for a day he will be here. He's doing pretty good and has also been taught all of the lessons, we just have to check at he really understands all of it. His native language is Tagalog and even though he's really good at English it can be hard for him sometimes. We're going to hang out with him today and help him understand some things he's confused about. Moe-chan has me worried right now. She passed out in the street and rode in an ambulance 3 times last week. She's stuck at home resting for a while. I really want to help in any way that I can and offered her a priesthood blessing but haven't gotten a response yet. I know it would really help so I talked to my Branch President about it and he taught me how to do it in Japanese. I just want to do everything I can to keep these people safe and offer them all the blessings that this gospel has made possible. They don't know how many ways this gospel can really help them. We've been going around to schools and talking to principals trying to set up appointments with them. We're trying to volunteer at the schools and work with the students more. I talked to one principal and he said it was ok as long as I could get the Board of Education's approval. O-Kaaaaay. He gave me the address and I said a prayer then went on over. I threw out every qualification I had and asked if they were ok with me going into schools and they said sure. WOOHOO! I just have to go individually talk to the principals and if they give me the green light I'm good. We went to a festival down at a beach town in our area with our youth, Takashi. Apparently I looked a lot like a regular college student because usually people are semi nervous about talking to me. Not this time. I got several people asking me for my number but they were all girls and I don't think they were interested in what I had to say concerning the church. Now I know why they make us white guys wear white shirts and ties. Lol. It was fun to see the crazy Japanese culture including parades, samurai fights, and Arks of the Covenant.

Monday, October 10, 2016

第二ふるさと

We weren't in our area for about half of this week but it was
still way awesome!  We had Zone P-Day last Monday and we went bowling.
After that we had 2 crazy miracles.
#1 - Jonivar had been gone for work for a month but had just come back
that day and we were able to meet him!  He's doing really well and
wants to get baptized.
#2 - We got ahold of a referral from Sister Domino named Yi.  She's a
Chinese lady who's super duper nice and ready to hear he gospel.  We
even set a baptismal date with her that night!
     We had Splits with the Zone Leaders and it was pretty cool.  I
personally prefer my own area and don't think there's another in the
world that can top mine but theirs was ok.  I learned a lot from them
and had a good time.
     On Thursday we were going to Skype Yi again but Sanae-san wanted
to meet too.  We asked her if she'd like to join us and talk to Yi and
she said yes.  So our progressing investigator Sanae-san helped us
teach our new investigator Yi.  It went really well and we taught her
some of the Restoration and how to pray.  After we got done teaching
her Jonivar called and since Sanae-san was already there she helped
teach him too.  We taught him why there are so many churches and how
we can know at this one is right.  When I asked Jonivar if we could
pray about it together he thought it was a good idea.  As soon as I
started to pray though, the connection cut out.  The connection was
completely fine before then.  I called again and it was fine so I
started to pray again.  The connection cut again.  This process
happened 5 times in a row exactly the same.  It would be fine and then
as soon as I started praying it would cut out.  Satan.  He sure was
trying to stop me.  I said a prayer that the connection would work and
the next time it did.  Ha!  Take that Satan!  Jonivar felt he spirit
and knew what we had taught him was true.
     One of our Less Active members has become active again because we
kept telling him we love him and invited him to church with us.  He
participates in all of the lessons and really is changing.  He even
came and watched General Conference with us!  Most of the missionaries
had completely given up on him but if we withhold judgement and really
treat people the way God would, they often become what you expect of
them.  I think he will be a great member and even be able to bring
others into the church.
     Can I just say, THIS CONFERENCE WAS SO GOOD!  I absolutely loved
it!  If you haven't watched it, go home and watch it.  If you don't
have time to watch all of it, watch it one talk at a time.  I promise
it'll be worth it.
     Our Branch President and his wife are amazing.  This Sunday
Higashi Shimai brought food and made lunch for us.  It was taco rice
so I was way happy.  They also helped us teach Yi today.  We took a 2
hour bus ride down to Kamogawa and visited Yi at her apartment.  The
Higashis helped us teach her and they are perfect missionaries.  They
made friends with her right away, found out her religious background
and built on  similarities, found out what she wants most in life and
taught how the gospel helps us achieve our desires, taught her really
simply and made sure she understood by asking good questions, and even
brought a present!  I was so surprised, they were absolutely
perfect!!!  We gave Yi a Chinese BOM and she said she'll read it and
pray every night.  She's such a perfect investigator!
     On a less important note, we also went to the Kamogawa Sea Workd
since we were already there.  We got there just in time to see all the
shows.  There was a beluga whale show, a dolphin show, a sea lion
show, and even a killer whale show.  Hey we're all awesome, especially
the killer whale show.  I didn't actually see the killer whale show
very well but I know it was awesome by the way all the people in front
of me were "ooh"ing and "ahh"ing.  It was really fun and made me want
to look into getting a job at Sea World where I can ride a whale.  If
I could just do a ton of different jobs just for fun... well I guess
that's what Heaven is for, right? :)
     It was a great week and I love it here.  I love the people so
much.  They're my BFFs.  Best Friend Forevers?  You know what I mean.
I don't know where I'm going after my mission but I know I want to
stay close.  As for right now, I just want to stay here as long as I
can.

I love you all too!

Elder Rogers









Monday, October 3, 2016

I need young people!

Hello family and friends,

    This week we had Temple P-day.  It was awesome.  We went out to
lunch with some other elders afterwards and had pizza.  Then we
basically spent the rest of the day coming home.  We were able to
contact a referral named Yi, graciously sent to me from my friend
Sister Domino.  Yi is a young Chinese woman.  We're not sure how old
she is, she could be 19, she could be 30, we can't really tell because
she's Chinese.  But she's super nice and wants to come to church when
she can.  Now I just have to find a way to get here there.  The Branch
President said he'd drive her because he lives right next to her, so
it shouldn't be a problem.
     We had lunch with one of our investigators, Sanae-san.  She's
really nice and wants to be Christian.  We taught her the WOW and she
thought it was kind of hard but understood why we have it and
committed to live it.  She even called me the next day to tell me she
hadn't drank any of the forbidden teas!  Here's something my American
friends probably don't know: Mormons can drink some teas.  The teas we
can't drink are the ones made from tea LEAVES.  So Oolong Tea, Green
Tea, and that British Tea are all bad.  But Mugicha and Sobacha etc.
are all ok.  They're ok because they aren't made from the harmful and
addicting part of the plant.  Weird right?  Bet you didn't know that.
Anyway, she's keeping the WOW and she's doing great.  We're excited
for her.  She also has a month off of work so we can probably meet
with her a lot.
     Our English class has basically turned into group lessons.  Our
students come in and start asking questions and then we just start
teaching them.  It's super cool.  One of our students was like, "Yeah,
Joseph Smith had a good bible right?"  And I was just like, "How do
you even know that!?"  Turns out he met the missionaries like 50yrs
ago and read some of the BOM.  He had lost it so I gave him a new one
and he said he'd read it.
     We're trying to find young people to teach (we'll take anyone of
course, I just prefer young people because they're the future) by
going to a lot of the High Schools around us and talking to the kids
there.  I've recently gotten better at getting people's phone numbers
so we traded phone numbers with a lot of kids.  I also talked to the
teachers and offered to come help teach the students sometime.  One
teacher told me to get lost but another teacher has worked with me
before and likes me.  Bruni Sensei said she'd look for something I can
do and then she'd love to have us come back sometime.  The kids really
like us and it's just good to be around them.  I miss being around
young people.  We only have one youth here right now so we're working
hard to change that.

By the way his email doesn't have to just be one-way.  You can send me
ideas for how to be better, tips to find more young'uns, activity
ideas, I'll take anything.  If you've got something you think could
help I'm all ears.
Love you,

Elder Rogers



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Party all week!

This week was a party down here in Kisarazu. It was so awesome for just about every reason there could be. It was fun, we got lots of free stuff, investigators are doing good, we found new investigators, etc. etc. So, let's get started. Last Sunday we went to a Festival. One of our investigator friends, Moe (pronounced like "more eggs" minus the re and ggs) got a job working at a game stall in a bunch of festivals so she told us about it and invited us. There were a lot of them and it was in a different place each time so she'd get there and walk around and tell us what was close by. Then I'd look at Google Maps and try to find it on there. After a few games of 20Questions I'd figure out where it was and then we'd go visit her. We'd sit by her and teach her a little bit, then walk around and talk to new people, then come back and talk some more. It was really fun and really good for missionary work. For some reason being Christian is really cool when you're at a Shinto party. Everyone was like, "You're Christian? Wow! So cool!" We traded phone numbers with 5 people the first night. The second time we went a group of kids started talking to us and I started teaching them about God. They had never heard anything like it before and were super curious. Pretty soon we had a crowd around us while I taught. It felt really cool and when I asked if I could teach them more sometime they were all like, "Yes!" That must be how Alma and Amulek felt except they did it with whole cities. On Monday we spent P-Day helping a member move into her new apartment. The longer we stayed and helped, the more members came to help out. After a while we had half the Branch helping out! It was super cool to see the members come together to help out. Now, you have to understand, my companion is very tall and can grow a beard twice a day. He's a man. When we went to buy a bike for him they didn't have one big enough so they had to order one and it would take about a week. Luckily Elder Purba left an extra bike here so we could still get around. Well on Tuesday our luck ran out. Elder Wilcox broke his bike and we needed a new part to fix it that they wouldn't have for 2 weeks. We were stuck. Our area is too big to walk anywhere. We needed a miracle. There was absolutely nothing I could do but pray his bike would get next day. So that's what I did, and as soon as I said amen and opened my eyes I got a phone call. A phone call letting me know that they had his bike. I know God hears and answers our prayers. I know He takes care of His children. I know He gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. I know that as we look to recognize the blessings He sends our way we'll be able to see just how blessed we are. Because we were able to get a bike for Elder Wilcox we were able to make it to English class. And it just so happened that at that English class the students wanted to know what kinds of things missionaries teach people. So we taught them and our member who was there shared her personal experiences and testified with the spirit. It was amazing. God works by small and simple things. This week we had interviews with the Mission President and his wife. It was such a great experience this time. In the past I've been given plenty of improvement points and told to be better and on and on. But this time they told me I was doing really well. That I was doing what I was called here to do. That I was fulfilling my purpose. They were really happy with what has happened in this area. When I got here there were 0 investigators and basically 0 of everything else. Now we have 15 investigators and the stats are the highest they've ever been. I am so pleased that God has seen fit to bless me so much with so many miracles each day. I know that none of it is really me and that I can't do anything on my own. The Lord has just seen fit to send people my way and for that I am eternally grateful. President Nagano gave me some really good news during interviews. Until now I've only been in each area for 3 months each, however, since this area is doing so well President Nagano said he might have me stay for 9 months! I could honestly spend the rest of my mission here and just be happy out of my mind. I feel like this is my 2nd home and a lot of people have offered to let me move in after my mission. :) I don't quite know about all that yet but I do like it here! We had a pretty awesome Saturday. We had a Talent Show and I sang a couple Children's Hymns in Japanese that I had memorized. We all sang some traditional music together, except I didn't know the words or tune so I just banged on a drum they gave me. After that we went to see Moe at another festival and it was super cool. Everyone was super nice and for some reason they all spoke English really well. This old lady took us around the place and everything was free. They gave us food, drinks, candy, etc. all for free! It was awesome. I invited her to meet again and learn about our church and she said yes. She came over Sunday night to the church building and said she'd try to make it next week. She's also bringing a friend to our English class. On Sunday we went to church and the Branch is super excited about missionary work now. Hey always ask if there's anything they can do to help. Well..... yes! I asked them if they could give our investigators rides to church and they all happily agreed. We're also going to try to do more activities so these investigators can feel accepted in the Church community. Sister Domino, a friend from the MTC who used to be here when I first got here, sent me a referral who is super cool. She's a 19 year old Chinese girl who's super interested in the church. She's actually coming next week! I'm so excited! From what Sister Domino said, she should have no problem getting baptized. We went to another festival with Moe that night and it was again amazing. She's going to try to come to church this week and I'm going to do everything humanly possible to make that a reality. I don't WANT these people to come to church, I NEED them to. There is an actually physical need to see them at church for me. I can't explain it very well but it's no joke, I NEED them to come. You know how in the Book of Mormon they say they can't even write a hundredth part of all the things that happened? Well that's me right now. There's so much more that happened this week but this email is already long so I'll just stop here. I'm so glad I was called on a mission to Japan and that I got to come to Kisarazu. I absolutely love it here and I never want to leave. Hopefully President Nagano is able to keep me here for a long time. I love you all, Elder Rogers Sorry the pictures aren't so good.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Goin' off the rails on a crazy train!

So this week was crazy.  President Nagano decided I should become
District Leader and Train at the same time.  So this week was pretty
busy.

     The first couple days I was still with Elder Purba.  We packed up
all of his stuff and then went to the beach town of Tateyama to visit
a member.  She made us food and we just talked to her.  She was there
when they built the Tokyo temple!  And she worked in it for 30 years!
She's awesome and I'm so glad we get to go visit her every week.  We
also visited an older lady we met last week and she was so nice.  She
let us in and let us teach her a little bit.  We're going to go visit
her again next week and teach her some more.
     Then Transfer Day came.  There was much crying.  Elder Purba just
couldn't bear the thought of leaving me (;  I dropped him off at Koiwa
and then continued on to pick up my Trainee.  I happened to run into
Elder Rhea on the way so we just went together.  It was nice seeing
him again.  We made it to the Mission Home safe and sound and mostly
on time.  We got to introduce our areas and even though I did a poor
job of it and left a lot out, I think it still sounded pretty cool.
Yup, Kisarazu is definitely my favorite area so far.  Thankfully I
will stay here for another 3 months while I train my new
companion.......Elder Wilcox!  He's a big boy, 6 foot and 180lbs.  He
can also grow a beard twice in a day.  He's actually so big that when
we went to go buy his bike, they told him they didn't have one big
enough and had to order one.  Lol.  We're currently using one of Elder
Purba's bikes he left behind.
     On his first full day as a missionary we were able to have a
Skype lesson with Jonivar, our Filipino investigator.  Not that first
time but the next time we called him, we were able to set a baptismal
date with him!  Woohoo!  That was super cool.
     Like I said, this week was super busy.  We had a lot of meetings
to go to.  I had to go to District Leader training one day, Zone
Meeting the next, and then they sent out a PDF on how to teach
yourself to be a trainer.  Every minute of my day has been packed full
of things to do and everything is fast paced.  It's probably just
crazy because it's the first week.  Things should calm down after a
little while.
     They've been teaching us a lot of new ways to teach and find and
do both at the same time.  I didn't know if I could do it, but with
some practice it's really starting to pay off.  We've found a lot of
new people.  Something they suggested to us was asking people on the
street what they think is most important.  It's a good question and
9/10 people I've talked to respond with "family."  I think that's
really cool because our church believes in eternal families.  When I
tell people about it they think it's really cool and a lot of people
agree to meet and learn more.
     This week Moe told me that she was going to a Matsuri.  I love
Matsuris so I was all over that.  After many confusing texts and much
searching of Google maps, I found the location and we were able to go.
Elder Wilcox had never been to a Matsuri before so I thought it would
be good for him.  Matsuris (festivals) are really good for
missionaries because there are a lot of happy people all in a small
space.  They're much more approachable and since they're happy, much
more likely to listen to you.  We were able to trade phone numbers
with 5 people including an English teacher who may be able to get us
to volunteer at his Middle School!  We talked to a ton of people.  Moe
was there working one of the game stalls and she made so much money.
She says she just sits there all day and it's pretty boring so we'll
probably try to go again and teach her and talk to her soon.  We were
able to teach her a little bit and she said she'd help Elder Wilcox
learn Japanese since he's new.  At the end of the day the men got
together and ran up a mountain with the Ark of the Covenant and Elder
Wilcox thought it was pretty cool.  I got too caught up in the moment
and forgot to record anything or take pictures.  Sorry Mom.

Elder Rogers