Monday, January 25, 2016

Still Teaching

So this week was pretty cool too.
We went to District Meeting and I gave a training during that.  It
actually went really well and I think everyone enjoyed it and learned
from it.  We did a lot of mogi lessons with members and we're getting
better at teaching.  We've started meeting with a less active and he
is a delight.  I love this guy.  He knows so much about the church and
he speaks English!  We always have good discussions with him and he is
visibly reactivating.  We invited him to ping pong and he's interested
in that.  He also has a few friends that go to our church so that's
good.  We had them invited him to a karaoke activity and I think he
liked it.  We also invited him to come to church with us and his wife
too.  They are very promising and I'm really glad we met them.
People have been feeding us a lot lately even when it's not mealtime.
They just give us food at random times in the day and they without
fail give us mugicha every time.  I don't actually mind it but a lot
of people say it tastes like dirt water.  It does but whatever.  I
just make sure that whatever they put in front of me gets eaten.  Then
they assume that I'm starving and will bring me more and more until
they run out.  I just sit there and politely eat all their food like a
typical American.
We met a sister who just got back from a trip to China and she's this
close to baptism. (Pretend you can see me holding me fingers close
together). I'm excited for her.  We're going to meet with her a lot
and make sure she's ready.
All's good here in Sakado B, Saitama West, Tokyo, Japan Mission.
We're doing good and having fun along the way.  I really love the
people here, they're so nice.  I love all of you guys, stay safe.
I'll write again next week.
Elder Rogers

"Monkey Bread from one of the Sisters in the Ward."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Japan is really Chill:)

Hey 皆 (everybody)
    This week has been interesting.  We have been calling a lot of
people lately and talking to literally everyone on the street.  Nobody
gets past us.  Sadly, a lot of people don't seem to care that I'M
OFFERING THEM SALVATION.  Whatever, they have their agency.  There has
been some good stuff happening lately though.  We called one lady and
she told me the usual, "I'm busy right now and pretty much forvever"
but I wasn't having that this time, someone was going to hear the
gospel from me.  So I asked her if I called her back if she would talk
to me then.  She said she would and when I called her again we set up
an appointment to meet on Saturday.  I'll talk more about her later,
but for now on with the rest of the week.
    So we had a zone conference and I got to see lots of other
missionaries.  Moore 長老 (Elder) was there and I got to talk to him for
like 3 minutes!  It was cool.  We learned about how to be better
missionaries but I won't spoil it for you guys.  If you want to know,
the answers are in PMG and the scriptures. ;)  So we've been doing a
lot of もぎs (role plays) lately and they're really fun. We learn how to
better teach each time.  We also taught 英会話 (English class) and that
was great.  I did a self-Introduction but in English this time.  It
was weird.  My name is apparently hard to pronounce so one lady kept
calling me, no lie, Elder Gorgeous.  Not because of my looks but she
just thought that was actually my name.  I told her I was flattered
but that wasn't actually my name.
    We had splits on Thursday with the 川越 (Kawagoe) Elders A and it
was a lot of fun.  I went with my District Leader Elder Turley and he
got to experience a day in the life of ロジャズ長老 (me).  His bike busted
about 5 minutes in and we had to go get it fixed twice.  We asked an
old man for directions to the bike store and tried to teach him a
little about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He then proceeded to preach
to us the gospel of the Olympic Bike Store.  This went on for about 20
minutes longer than it should have, is taking small steps away from
him the whole time and him following.  Eventually we escaped and got
Turley 長老's bike fixed.  After that we ate dinner and went bike
でんどうing (proselyting).  We talked to everyone and gave out a ton of
flyers and a モルモン書 (Book of Mormon).  It was a tough day but a really
good one.
    On Friday my どうりょう (companion), Elder Lewis, got really sick and
Nagano 姉妹 (sister Nagano) banished us to the apartment.  Before that
we did manage to meet with a lady who was interested in the
discussions and even fed me for free!  Seriously, every time we go
visit older ladies they always feed me specifically for free.  It's
awesome because I'm always hungry.  More importantly though she's
interested!  Yes!  Score for the せんきょうし (missionary)!  While we were
stuck in the apartment we took a nap.  I slept for about two hours and
Lewis 長老 slept until dinner.  I did get to clean up the apartment in
that time and set up my study desk so it was time well used.
    On Saturday we had the もちつき(Mochi making activity) at the church
from 9-1.  That was a lot of fun.  A lot of people came and of course
they fed me.  Someone did give me なっと though.  It's not actually as
bad as everyone says really.  I'm not saying it's my favorite by any
means but it isn't the devil's food either.  After that we had another
もぎ and it went not so bad.
    Now, the moment you may have been waiting for, "what happened
with that lady you called?" I'm glad you asked.  We set up to meet at
the church on Saturday night after she got off from work.  She was
late.  By 3 minutes.  Then 4.  Then 7.  We were just wondering after
about 11ish whether she was coming or not when BOOM!  In she walks and
we just start talking.  She has interest and has met with missionaries
before.  She wants to meet with us more and we had a great どうせき(member
present lesson) with her.  We are looking forward to meeting with her
again and teaching her more.  We're also getting her a Spanish モルモン書
because that's her native language.  I'm excited.
    On Sunday we had ワード大会(ward conference) and it was really cool.
We got pamphlets with the coming unto Christ triangle on it and we
talked about that a lot.  Our bishop talked to us too.  The one who
doesn't actually speak 日本語(Japanese) in Japan.  It was cool because he
showed us a poster for Tomorrowland and talked to us about it.  He
said that this place was great but we could do better.  He then
proceeded to tell us about Zionland and how we needed to start
building it now.  I liked it.  That night we did tutoring for a few
people and the aforementioned bishop gave us a ton of candy.
    Yesterday we visited 高橋姉妹(Sister Takahashi) and 町井兄弟(Brother
Machii) came with us.  町井兄弟 is the man by the way.  He is always there
for us and I love him.  He walked like 3 miles through the snow for
us!  And he's old!  Oh yeah, it snowed here.  Like a lot.  People
drive crazy in the snow so it was pretty あぶたい(dangerous) for us.  No
not that dangerous Mom.  I'm still safe.  It was interesting because
my bike really just doesn't do snow.  So I just did my very best to
not fall off.  I was not 100% successful despite my best efforts but I
was not injured and that dent in the truck will probably pop right
out.  Just kidding.  You can guess which part ;).  We met with a
couple last night.  They're the 森島ふふ (Morishima couple) and they're
きょうかいいん(church members).  We taught them a lesson and showed them a
video, Earthly Father Heavenly Father.  Turns out he's the guy who did
the Japanese voiceover for that video!  Of all the people in Japan!
It was super cool.
    Then we come to today.  Today was supposed to be a temple P-day
but I decided to get sick last night for some reason and sleep in
until 10:30.  Yeah.  :/  So that's that.  Anyway, we took the
opportunity to clean the apartment up a lot and it looks fantastic.
It's never looked this good.  We also got a ton of groceries and
precariously brought them back on our bikes on the icy roads.  Totally
worth it.  Tonight we have a baptism for きみこ姉妹(Sister Kimiko). She's a
79ish year old lady and she's super funny and nice.  I'm actually
going there, right now.  Love all of you guys, I'll send another
letter soon.
"Kimiko's Bapism"
"The Mochitsuki"
"Another view of my area"
"It's snowing"
"My desk and pictures from my family"
"Splits in Yanasegawa.  Turley Choro by himself.  Me and Lee Choro."

Monday, January 11, 2016

I FINALLY made it to Japan!‏

So, minasan (everybody),
My first week as a missionary has been pretty interesting so far.  To
explain all the unusualness I have to go back to right after I left
the MTC.  We all got up at zero-dark-30, that's 2:30am for you
non-military folks back at home, and piled on a bus.  This bus took us
to a train and we were on that for about an hour.  Naturally the
people right next to us were super excited, I mean who wouldn't be, we
escaped the MTC!  We were set loose on the world to baptize everyone
we saw.  Anyway, they were singing White 'n' Nerdy and show tunes,
really loud.  After what seemed more like 3hrs than 1 we made it to
the airport where we immediately got split up.  This was somewhat
scary for me because for the past 9ish weeks I've had not 1 but 2
doryos.  It was a little weird being by myself.  Anyway we ate a
healthy breakfast of Cafe Rio while we waited for our flight, which
was delayed an hour. Sasuga United.  Anyway because our flight was
late by an hour we were gonna have to book it to our next flight.
So we slept on the plane but when we touched down in San Fran it was
go time.  We were on the opposite side of a seemingly never-ending
airport.  It was probably about a mile plus a little.  Anyway, we get
off the plane, grab our bags, Beckstrand Choro starts talking to a guy
on a Segway, we don't know why at the time but apparently Segway guy
is Mormon and wants to help us and will take us to our gate.  Sweet!
So Segway guy takes off and we start chasing him.  People move out of
the way of a speeding segway but were less eager to move for us.  So
we're some random well dressed group of airport runners chasing down a
guy on a segway and we're trying not to run over anybody, which is
hard when you have your bags too.  Luckily, we made it to our gate
pretty quickly with no injuries to any of us or any member of an
outside party so no charges were pressed.  However, only after making
it to our gate, sprinting the whole way in our best sunday clothes
while carrying our bags, do we discover that our plane had left 2
MINUTES before we'd even arrived.  So we sat our little group down and
started teaching everybody around us because we thought, "hey, if
we're stuck here for a little while, we might as well do what we came
here to do"  So we actually found like 6 or 7 people to talk to!  I
didn't actually teach anyone.  I watched the luggage mountain.
While I was standing there with my bright and shiny nametag on, no
less that 4 Chinese people came up to me asking me where their gates
were.  Now, I don't speak Chinese, and I don't work at the airport.  2
big problems.  They didn't seem to pick up on either and were
persistent that I had the answers.  I just took their tickets and then
pointed towards their gates.  It was weird.  After we'd been dendouing
for a while the other elders got us a hotel.  We all rushed out to get
ourselves in a shuttle and on our way to food....when disaster struck.
Aoyama Shimai needed her bag.  It took them 2.5 HOURS to get 1 bag!
we dondoued then too.  Hipps Choro got a book written and signed by a
lady he talked to.  He's not allowed to read it for 2 years, but he
has it.  We also met a bishop that served in Japan like 20 years ago.
It was pretty fun I guess.  Then we stood out in the rain while we
waited for our shuttle.  The guy who drove it spoke, guess what,
Chinese.  That was interesting too.  We did make it to our hotel
though.  Against all odds.  But, because our trip hadn't been
interesting enough, they'd lost our reservations.  So we had a weird
phone call with the church asking if we were at the right hotel.  We
were!  And they let us stay!  Thank goodness.
We walked down to a gas station Wendy's for dinner and didn't even
get any weird looks.  12 well dressed teenagers walk in speaking
Japanese to each other, no one bats an eye.  Anyway it was delicious
and we slept like rocks that night.  The next day we showed up 3hrs
early to make sure we didn't miss our flight.  We made it.  Hipps
Choro had his birthday somewhere over the International Date Line, but
since we were all split up we didn't get to sing to him.  Zannen.  We
landed in Tokyo safely and quickly got our bags and met President
Nagano.  Everything was smooth sailing with him.
We had 2 vans for all of us and our bags so we packed one with bags
and one with people.  There were only 3 seats in one van, enough for
the companionship that was driving and one other person.  Can you
guess who that person was?  I'll give you a hint, they didn't speak
english.  It was me.  I got to ride with 2 Japanese elders for an hour
and a half.  It actually was super fun.  I can sort of speak Japanese!
We sang some hymns and talked about our hobbies etc.  I liked it.
Then we made it to the Mission home, had an awesome dinner, and went
to bed.  The next morning we played a crazy version of dodgeball
(elders only by the way) which was waaaay fun.  After that we had
breakfast and then training all day.  We went streeting for a little
bit and I loved that.  We talked to a lot of people.  After that I met
my companion, Elder Lewis.  He's super cool.  He's a Texas state
wrestling Champ and a semi-pro fighter.  That's why Nagano Kaicho put
us together.  I am very grateful for that.
We get along really well and we're going to teach a LOT of people
this week.  He also helped me get a bike.  Funny story, we were trying
to make it to this awesome bike shop that we had no idea how to get
to.  So I tried to talk to this one guy on the street, and he walked
us ALL THE WAY TO THE STORE!  It took like 30 minutes too!  We just
talked to him about everything we knew how to the whole way.  We got
his phone number and we're going to try to meet him again for lunch.
We also talked to a lot of people on the trains and gave out a decent
amount of BoMs.  It's been fun and super busy so far.  Oh yeah, I
introduced myself in church yesterday.  I think it went well, they
laughed at all the right times.  I told them I was super new, straight
out of the MTC.  I'm what's called a Bean-chan.  I told them I was
here to help even if I couldn't understand their Japanese.  I also
told them that since I just got here from America I was tired.  I
wasn't really but I needed an excuse for my Japanese and I thought it
would make them laugh.  It did.  Elder Rogers for the win!  We talked
to a lot of people at church and I don't remember very many of the
names.  When I said Dad was a Marine they made a joke that I thought
was super off-limits in Japan but I guess it works like black jokes
and Mexican jokes.  They said that if anybody messed with me that Dad
would fly a plane over here and drop another bomb.  Wow!  Some of the
people here are definitely old enough to have lived during that time
but I guess it's ok if a Japanese guy says it.
It's been a little weird riding around on my super sick bike in a
suit but I kind of like it.  It's probably for my own good that I'm
eating differently than at the MTC.  There I got to eat 4 all you can
eat buffets a day.  But it was bulking season, and now there's just
more of me to love.  I'm living the broke missionary life now,
surviving on rations (just kidding Momma, I have plenty of food) but
it'll be good for me.  I'm not stuffing my face constantly and sitting
around all day, I'm eating regular amounts of food and biking and
walking places.  So I'll probably look like Bruce Lee again in no
time, right?  Anyway, it's been great so far and I love it.  Thanks
for tuning in this week, I'll try to send some pictures soon.  I love
you guys.
Elder Rogers
"Us in Ito Kyodai's van"
"The restaurant Ito Kyodai took us to when Lewis Choro got strep"
"The 12 missionaries from the MTC"
"Our district building"
"My doryo"
"My super awesome bike"
"Dinner with Honda Kyodai"
"Gifts from Oldham Choro on my 1st P-day"