Monday, March 28, 2016

Transfer Calls!

So everybody,

     I'm transferring to Ushiku!  Most of you don't know where that
is.  It's ok, I didn't either until I looked it up on Google Maps this
morning.  It's Northeast of Tokyo and about an hour and a half from
Sakado, my current area.  My new companion is Elder King.  He's an
Aussie!  I'm so excited!  Ushiku apparently has a few old people
getting baptized soon.  So President Nagano said where I'm going
should be really amazing.  I'll be heading over there by myself on
Wednesday morning.  My companion has been here for 3 transfers (4.5
months) so he told everyone he was leaving and I was staying.  I
thought it was hilarious because everyone will be like, "Why are you
still here?  And where's Elder Rogers?"  Funny how that works.
     Anyway, since I won't be in this area I can tell you all a story
that I couldn't before because I didn't want my momma to worry.  But
I'm leaving on Wednesday so I can tell it now.

    It was a dark and stormy night (really), the Elders were in their
apartments settling down for the day and studying like good little
missionaries before bed.  All was quiet.  Elder Rogers and Elder Lewis
were trying to learn Japanese out of textbooks, Elder Mutzelberg had
just arrived a few days before and was in the back room, Elder Oldham
was in the shower.  When all of the sudden, they got a phone call.
Now that's not unusual, missionaries talk to lots of people and give
out their phone number freely.  This got the missionaries excited, A
new Investigator!  Not so.  The voice on the other end of the phone
was one they knew, sort of, it was a little bit slurred and angry and
in Japanese so it was hard to understand.  The only thing they could
make of it was that this person was angry and he wanted us to stop
being so loud.
     "What?  Was that the neighbor downstairs?"
     "Yeah, he wants us to be quiet.  I think."
     "We're you making noise?"
     "No.  I haven't said a word or moved in 20 minutes."
Footsteps coming up the stairs.
     "Did you lock the door?"
A rush as I run to lock the deadbolt and chain in place.  Quiet again.
     "Is someone out there?"
     "I don't think so."
     "GET OUT HERE!"
Confused missionaries look at each other, wondering what to do.  Elder
Lewis asks the man to repeat himself.  Again the answer is the same,
though barely understandable and followed by other drunken ramblings.
     "We can't do that.  We have a curfew and we need to go to bed in
a few minutes.  Can we talk tomorrow?"
     "COME OUT HERE RIGHT NOW!  YOU'RE MAKING TOO MUCH NOISE!"
     "We can't do that."
BANG!
Fear shows on the missionaries' faces.  He's trying to break in!  What
should we do?
BANG BANG BANG BANG!
That door doesn't sound like it's going to hold.
     "Please leave or we'll call the police."
     "COME OUT HERE!"
So the police are on the line...now what?  How do you say, "a drunk
guy is trying to break into our apartment"?  They didn't teach us that
in the MTC.  Worry starts creeping in a little bit.  We explain the
best we can but they don't seem to understand.
BANG BANG BANG!
The pulling on the door is getting more and more furious and the door
does not sound like it has much time left.  Call the mission
president?
     "Yup I am calling right now!  President Nagano!  There's a man
trying to break into our apartment right now!  Help!"
Mission president to the rescue, he explains the situation and the
police are on their way.  But will the door hold that long?
Missionaries can't be violent and this person is looking for a fight.
BANG BANG BANG...silence.
Are the police here?
Knock knock knock.
     "Who is it?"
     "The police."
The door is opened a tiny crack.  It is the police.  They have the man
under control and are talking to him downstairs.
     "Are you ok?  What happened?"
The story is told and the police escort the man back to his apartment
downstairs.  They tell the man to stay there or he will go to jail and
then tell us to have a good night and leave.  No one slept well that
night.  Every noise was another attempt to break in to the worried
missionaries troubled minds.
A few days later President and Sister Nagano come over to talk to the
man.  Me and Elder Lewis come with and sort the whole thing out.  All
tensions are done away with and everything is resolved.

     So that was the story I've been holding out on for a while.  It
was pretty exciting and made for a great journal entry really.  The
guy is totally nice now and he's only like 5 feet tall and 95 pounds
anyway.  So nothing to worry about there.
     This week has been less thrilling as far as attempted break-ins
go.  We had lunch with some guys who knew the missionaries and they
were really cool.  That same day we had dinner with a Chinese lady who
let me pray in front of her family and openly talked with me about the
Book of Mormon.  She was previously dropped by us but she's getting
better.
     We had splits on Tuesday and it was a lot of fun.  We got 2
people's numbers and I stopped a bus full of soccer players.  They
were all very energetic and happy and wanted to hear what we had to
say.  They all took flyers and we invited them to church.  They kept
calling us "Mormon!" And one guy kept saying that he was a mormon too.
     We taught a lesson to the Ooishis and it went really well.  They
even fed us ice cream and waffle cones for lunch afterward.
     We met with a less active and he really wants to come back to
church but can't because of his work schedule.  He asked us to pray
for him to get work off.  We were expecting him to have problems with
the church but he just had work on Sundays.  We visited the Ito couple
and had a lesson and dinner with them.  It was great.  He was a dendou
shunin which I don't know in English but it has to do with missionary
work.
     We visited lots of members since we've been told to strengthen
the members ad it was close to transfer calls.  We visited a lot of
people and helped out an older man with his farm work for a few hours
and then taught a lesson.  It was really weird to wear normal people
clothes.
     On Sunday at church we heard about Heavenly Mother.  It also
happened to be the week that one of our investigators decided to come
back to church.  So that was a little funny.  After church we got to
go to a family home Evening with the Hirai Family and my goodness!
Their Family Home Evening was awesome!  We sang and then we read from
the scriptures about the Good Samaritan.  While the dad read the kids
acted it out with little stuffed animals and it was so funny!  We
played some games after that and despite it being in Japanese and
playing against Japanese people I tied for 1st place!  I lost the Rock
Paper Scissors for true winner though.
    That was basically my week.  Since I'll be transferring on
Wednesday morning I've been packing and it's going to be tight getting
everything in my bags.  It's doable though and I like puzzle
challenges.  Bring it on, suitcase.

Elder Rogers

Monday, March 21, 2016

BBQ and Zone Splits

For all the fans worldwide tuning in for this week's adventures I say...
It was pretty much just the title. There's a couple extra things that
went into this week but those were the main 2 events.
For those who are still interested, here are the details.
This week there wasn't much going on for the first few days. We
just went about as usual trying to meet people and check up on
investigators and members. We visited a lot of members who weren't
home but we left them notes saying that we love them and are ready to
help them if they need it. Since this could be our last week here we
are trying to meet with the members and get pictures with them and
help them and such.
On Thursday when we were visiting one of these families my back
tire blew out. So we were like 45 minutes away from home by bike.
That's pretty far walking and we had a PMG class to teach so we needed
to get it fixed or catch a ride. Some kids were playing basketball
nearby and started talking to us in English so we were like, "Forget
the bike, let's go talk to them." They were 8th graders and were
interested in the church and English class. We gave them flyers and
invited them to stuff. They were really cool and we were instantly
friends. After that we really needed to fix my tire so we started
calling members and asking people where the nearest bike shop was.
Nobody could tell us anything other than we were basically out of luck
and we needed to start sprinting to PMG class and come back for our
bikes another day. So after about an hour we finally get some helpful
information. Someone gives us directions to a bike store and as we're
walking there...WE SEE THE KIDS AGAIN! It was crazy. They came over
and helped us find the store and waited with us until the tire got
fixed. It was super cool. After that we booked it back to our PMG
class and had a great time teaching the youth.
We had splits on Friday with the Zone Leaders. I went with Elder
DiCastri. He's tall, blonde, has blue eyes, and is Canadian. So he
stands out pretty well. We had a great time riding our bikes around
and talking to people on the way to an appointment when suddenly...my
back tire blew up again! I had it fixed the night before! Anyway we
had to go to the appointment by foot. We got a lot of people to
commit to come to activities on the way. We got me a new tire and
everything all fixed up. The bike shop guy gave us free towels too
because he liked us. It was a good day.
On Saturday we had a BBQ at the Bishop's house for an
investigator named Daigo. On the way can you guess what happened?
I'll give you a hint, it has to do with my bike. I got into an
accident with a car. I put a little tiny scuff mark on the guy's car
and then we made sure to call the police and insurance companies and
what all. It wasn't really a big deal though, he started wiping it
off with his hand. THERE WERE NO INJURIES MOMMA. That made us
fashionably late to our own party and Daigo thought it was a cool
experience. We had a great time at the BBQ and Daigo made lots of
friends. Me and Elder Lewis ate a ton of chicken and birthday cake
because one of the girls there has a birthday this week. We took
Daigo back home and he said he had a great time and was glad the youth
were so nice to him.
Sunday we had 2 new investigators come to church! They seemed to
have a good time and learned a lot. They liked all the members. Then
we did hometeaching with Morishima Kyoudai the Elder for the Furugawa
Family and it was great. The Furugawas have 3 kids, an 8-yr-old girl,
a 5-yr-old boy, and a 2-yr-old boy. They are pretty crazy but very
cute and nice. We gave them some candy after the lesson if they
behaved.
Latest News:
And that brings us to today. Today we met up with Kazu. Kazu
is awesome. Kazu owns the most popular bar/restaurant in Sakado. He
brought one of his employee friends and took us to lunch. He speaks
English suuuuper well. He practically only spoke Japanese when
talking to his friend. He was very excited to meet us and really
wants to be our friend because he was friends with another Elder
awhile back. Anyway, he took us to an expensive restaurant where he
bought us some delicious eel. No that is not sarcastic it was
amazing. Then he and his friend said they want to meet with us again
soon and they'll be coming to Eikaiwa(English class) on Wednesday! He
Skyped his friend and we set up an appointment with him too. That
makes 3 in one day! Tonight we're having dinner with another one of
our friends at her house with Masaaki Kyoudai. Today is just a really
nice day to go check on everybody and make sure they're doing all
right. Of course we'll share a message too, that is the main reason
we do things. I just really love the people here and I love being a
missionary.
Elder Rogers
"BBQ"


"Tutoring at the church last night."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Seminary is over 9,000!‏

Hey guys,

     So this week not much actually happened.  Except that we got 2
new investigators for us and 2 for the other Elders!  Yeah, that's
actually pretty awesome by the way.  Most of our appointments fell
through because people don't like to do things when it's raining.
Even if we bike to their house and they don't have to go anywhere.  So
we didn't meet with people very much.  We did, however, start a PMG
class with 3 missionary-age young men in our ward and they really like
it!  We took one of them with us to a lesson and he liked it and the
investigator liked it!  So everything worked out.  We are trying to
get more appointments so we can take the others out sometime too.
    Bishop has proposed that we have a BBQ and invited lots of people
and give them a good experience being around members.  I totally
support the idea, and not just because he always gives us the best
food either.  I think it will actually get a lot of people together in
a nonthreatening atmosphere.
     So that brings us to today.  We had seminary this morning and it
was awesome!  The youth were for the most part awake for all of it!
And that was just the beginning.  There were 7 teachers and 7
students.  The teachers had each prepared a short lesson, they would
teach it, and then they would swap off.  It worked so smoothly and I
learned a lot despite it all being in Japanese.  They also suit it
very well to the youth and keeping them interested and involved.  They
had movie characters on cards in front of you, I have no idea why
though, but they were cool.  They had Stitch, the Chechire Cat, Chip
and Dale, and I had Perry the Platypus.  We read Moses 1:11 about how
Moses saw God but couldn't do that with normal eyes.  So that led to
Raiders of the Lost Ark.  You know, the part where the guy opens the
ark or something and his face melts off?  They said that's what would
happen if he saw God without his eyes being transfigured, or in other
words spiritually boosted.  Then they showed us a picture of
Super-Saiyan Goku and told us it was something like that.  Yeah,
Japanese seminary uses anime in lessons.  Despite all the funny pop
culture references it was still really spiritual and a very good
lesson.  Too bad missionaries can only go once a week.  I never
thought I'd be going back to seminary but here I am, going back next
week to give them a 2-3min devotional.  I look forward to it.
     Well that's about all I've got for this week, hope you enjoyed
it.  I love you guys.

Elder Rogers
"Breakfast for dinner with the whole apartment."

"Me and Masaaki Kyoudai the Angel.  He is buying us food and helping us all the time."

"More members from our gospel principles class"

"We had seminary this morning.  These (and others) were on the desks and I have no idea what purpose they serve."

"We met with the lady today who used to be the Chairperson for the Board of Education in LA."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Scripture Challenge

Hey guys,

    In for another week of awesome and exciting stories from the life
of a well dressed 18-year-old kid who's constantly riding his bike
around with his friend?  Well sorry, because this week I don't have
any of those.  There were however some very good experiences.  Our
golden investigator is still golden despite being sick.  (She's an
illness researcher who deals with finding cures and stuff so it's kind
of ironic).  Anyway, she's been reading chapters of the Book of Mormon
every single day!  And get this, she calls us to tell us what she
thought and felt about it!  That's awesome.  We wish she would teach
our other investigators how to investigator.  She's been invited to
activities and she's accepted the invitation.  She's making friends!
Oh, they grow up so fast.  So that's about it really.
    Since there's not much to write about I just want to invite
everyone reading this to try something for me this week.  Of course
you have you're agency so you don't have to, but I think it would be
very beneficial and everyone would gain from it and have a good
experience.
    I want everyone to read the Book of Mormon everyday for 10 days
and write down how you felt while you read in a little journal or
something like that.  Now you don't have to go reading for like 3
hours or anything, this will not interfere with your schedule, I
promise.  Everyone has at least five minutes a day where they aren't
doing anything, so in those five minutes will you try this?  I know
it'll bring a change in your lives and you will love it.
    I love you guys
Elder Rogers
"Japanese snacks.  There's a Kappa Papa, a Shrimp Mama, and some kind of mixed children."
"A cool scripture I read recently."
"Indo curry today."
"P-day stuff on the way to visit people."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

金人!! KINJIN!! Golden Investigator!‏

Hey guys,

 This week was just the best. So there have been a lot of hard
 things going on lately, but I won't tell you much about that because I
 really want to focus on the MIRACLE that happened recently. All
 right, get ready for another week in Sakado (my area).
 Last week we visited a lot of people and brought them little
 presents and cards because they are just such awesome members and they
 always feed us and help us with our teaching. So we visited a lot of
 amazing people and I just love them to death. They let us practice
 teaching with them and then gave us really good advice. So great. :)
 We had a Zone Conference and it was the funniest thing ever. The
 Naganos gave trainings and they're so funny. They showed us a
 training video they made that started with like the Star Wars intro.
 It was hilarious. We got lots of trainings on how to be better
 missionaries and I learned a lot. We also got to hear the returning
 missionaries' testimonies which was just fantastic. They are so
 awesome and I want to be just like them.
 We walked our hurt friend's crazy dog again and then it rained
 hard and cold on us for the hour long bike ride back. We did,
 however, get to help someone along the way. There was an umbrella in
 the middle of the road and an old guy looking very wet, cold, and sad
 that he dropped his umbrella. So I grabbed it and ran it across the
 busy street and gave it back to him. He needed some help closing his
 weird gate so I did that for him and then offered to help him anytime.
 He knew we were missionaries and we had actually talked to him the day
 before. He doesn't want to meet with us but at least he knows who we
 are.
 We've been streeting and housing by a college for the past few
 days. Lots of people are busy though. We get a lot of "kekko"s,
 which means "im fine." Yesterday we actually found someone who took a
 Book of Mormon and has agreed to meet again! And then we found
 another guy the next day! It was awesome. We also found a guy who
 knew exactly who we were, and the moment he opened the door he was
 like, "Noooooo! NononononoNO!" We were just like, "so you've met
 missionaries before have you?" I thought it was hilarious.
 We had a lady call the church building one night and I answered
 the phone luckily. She's a self referral! She was like, "Hi I want
 to come to church and take the lessons is that ok?" I freaked out a
 little bit but I controlled myself and said, "That would be fine, I
 look forward to meeting you." And then I threw a party with everyone
 else in the building. She's soooo kin (golden). We showed her the
 church and taught her a lesson during Sunday school that we made up on
 the spot. We did it in front of all the members too. She understood
 everything and wanted to learn more so we taught her again after
 church. Then she met us again last night and we taught her the Plan
 of Salvation. She loved it and we really loved it too. We got her to
 agree to calling her every night (to check up on the daily scripture
 study we committed her to), meeting 3 times a week (we're meeting
 again tomorrow), and we set a baptismal date with her! All in the
 same lesson with absolutely no problems. WOOHOOO! She is so
 prepared, we didn't even teach that well. But the Spirit told her
 what we were saying was true and she listened.
 I went to the temple today for the first time since getting here
 and it was great. I had headphones so I could listen in English but I
 did most of it in Japanese anyway. It was such a good experience. We
 got to see all the other missionaries and even some missionaries from
 Tokyo South! The place was packed with missionaries. Oh, did I
 forget to mention that we found ANOTHER NEW INVESTIGATOR! Yeah, we
 kind of did and he wants to meet with us again like, on Friday. So
 that's something. After that me and Elder Lewis just went and got
 some Indo curry to celebrate and break his diet again. Totally worth
 it.
 So yeah, this week was pretty good. I've had a lot of fun.
 We've made peace with the man downstairs but his wife seems to hate
 us. Whatever, I guess. Can't win 'me all. The Naganos visited our
 apartment to give us pads for the floor so we'd be more quiet and then
 we went into peace negotiations with the guy downstairs. He's
 actually a really little guy, not scary at all. So all's well in our
 area once again and things are getting better. Also, we did the
 fastest clean up you have ever seen, Best Two Years style, right
 before the Naganos came over. (That's my mission President by the
 way). There wasn't actually that much to clean though, but we wanted
 it to look perfect for them. It was great, Sister Nagano about had a
 heart attack it looked so good. That's about it. Love you guys, take
 care.

 Elder Rogers
 
"Saitama Zone Conference"