Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Good Times‏

Hello everyone,

     This week was pretty awesome.  We did some of this and some of that and had a great time.  Me and Elder King went to Tsukuba for splits again.  I went with our district leader Elder Nielsen.  We went to teach a practice lesson with a lady on her doorstep, but her nonmember husband was there so it turned into an actual lesson.  It was awesome.  It went really well and he really liked having us there.  Then we went and did some service in a lady's garden and just talked to her while we pulled weeds and such.  It was really good talking to her, she had a daughter that served in Fukuoka!  (That mission includes my homeward). So it was really cool.  We had JSL, Japanese Sign Language, and it was a ton of fun.  I actually retained a bit of it and it was really interesting.  I was having people explain a language (JSL) to me in another non-native language (Japanese) but I actually understood and had a lot of fun.
     We did Eikaiwa (English conversation class) on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon all about food and everyone really enjoyed it.  One lady even wore some special earrings shaped like hamburgers and hot dogs the first time and then oranges the second time.  Apparently old people like natto, fermented beans.  Why?  I don't know.  They're supposed to be healthy for you or something but I don't know why that would be true.
     We had a dinner and practice lesson appointment with our Bishop.  We thought it was on Friday night but he called us Thursday night and was like, "It's raining so I'm going to drive you to my house.  Come downstairs and let's go."  So we went.  Bishop knows I'm pretty new to the mission and so he wanted to test my teaching skills.  He practically ignored my companion and just kept addressing everything to me.  We taught him about the importance of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how we need to be baptized to receive it.  Him and his wife were pretending to be investigators.  She was good cop, he was bad cop. :). He asked a lot of questions trying to throw us off, but we withstood him in all things and were not confounded of men.  We also taught a really good lesson.  Every hard question he asked we just built the explanation into the lesson.  It was really fun.  Afterward he said we were really good teachers (pointing at me and only actually talking to me, he was ignoring my companion because this test was for me). He told us to keep doing what we were doing and he'd love to have us over again sometime.
     We also set a baptismal date with one of our investigators!  He's an old guy who teaches English and he's been taught everything the missionaries teach.  He comes to church all the time and he really wants to be baptized and get the priesthood.  His wife is strongly opposed to him being baptized though.  He's dealt with this for a while now and he was finally just like, "I'm going to show my faith and go for it.  My wife will change her mind if I'm a good example."  We were so excited for him.
     We visited a less active family and played with their 9-yr-old boy and helped him with his homework.  Then we shared President Monson's talk "Choices".  The dad is a less active member, his family is not.  The dad asked us if he made mistakes could he still come back to church.  And we were like, "YEAH!  *clears throat, becomes dignified once more*  Of course you can.  God loves us and will always allow us to come back to Him."  He asked us to sing the children's hymn "I am a Child of God" for him because he hadn't heard it in like 20 years.  We decided we would sing it with him and his family and he really loved it.  I love his family and think they're great people.  They plan on coming back to church for the first time in 20 years next week!
     And last but not least, we had a party last night.  The Tobe family invited us over for an event last night.  There were 20 or so people and we were going to have dinner and practice English together and talk about the link between psychological health and religion and then talk a little about the church and what missionaries teach about.  It went beautifully.  We talked about positive and negative thinking and where it comes from.  *Cough* Holy Ghost=positive *cough*. Everyone there was interested and wanted to know more.  Isn't that great!?  It was also a couple people's birthdays so we had cake and sang too.  Missionaries can take out a 2 cakes in about 3 minutes it turns out.  Sister Tobe let us loose and told us to clean up anything and everything left over.  It was great.  Oh yeah, Sister Tobe is friends with one of my friends from my last area, Brother Ito.  They both love missionaries and I love them right back.  I won't say they're my favorite people so far because I love everyone equally, but they are favored in my sight and I don't mind spending extra time with them.
     So I didn't think a lot happened this week until I started writing this email but now I see that I've been so blessed here.  I didn't even write everything!  But I really like the people here and how open and incredible they are.  I've gotten close with a lot of people here already and I really hope I get to stay here for a little while longer.  I don't want another surprise transfer just when I'm getting settled in.
     I love you all, thank you for brightening up my day by being awesome people and whatnot.  Y'know, feel free to write me back anytime really.  My email isn't just for my family (although they will take precedence you if I'm limited on replying time (: ).  I love you guys and take care.

Elder Rogers

Monday, April 18, 2016

Interviews with the Mission President‏

Hey everyone,
     This week was pretty uneventful.  We missionary-ed just like
usual.  We rode a lot of trains and it was pretty fun.  I like trains.
We had a Zone Blitz.  That's when all the missionaries in a big area
come to a small area and just proselyte like crazy.  You end up with
like 16-24 missionaries in one town and everyone freaks out wondering
what's going on.  I went with Elder Watabe and we talked to people by
the college.

This is half of my zone. Elder Beckstrand, Elder Lee, and Sister Solomon are here!
We had a zone meeting too. Me and my companion taught everybody how to missionary and then everybody went out for lunch together. It was a great experience.
A couple of days ago I got to have an interview with President and Sister Nagano. I got to ask questions about how to be a better missionary and get great feedback. Sister Nagano taught me how to be a good person and be healthy. Then she gave me a brownie and a cookie. :)
We played basketball with the guys in the area and it was a lot of fun. We're going to try to start a tournament with people in this area and maybe other areas too every month or so. We think it'll be a good way for everyone to make friends (or enemies ;) ) and have a lot of fun. It should also be a great way for us to find people to teach. That's about it for his week.
I love you guys so much, take care.
Elder Rogers
View from the apartment.

My desk is the brown one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Another 2 investigators have been baptized!‏

Hey everybody it's been an exciting week!
     So we've been talking to this lady who is super into the gospel
and her sister and a couple days ago she
said.................................her and her sister have already
been baptized!  So that's two investigators who've been baptized!
Yeah, we didn't have any baptisms here this time but that's ok.
     We taught some old guys and a young guy this past week.  It all
went good.  We played some basketball with some other people because
the church parking lot doubles as a bball court.  That was a ton of
fun but I discovered that I'm not nearly as good as I used to be.
That's one thing about me that was better in middle school.
We had splits and I went with BECKSTRAND CHŌRŌ! It was awesome!
We worked together really well, just like in the MTC. We did a lesson
with an older couple and we made the lady cry.  The man didn't because
he had hearing aids and probably just didn't hear us enough, I dunno.
But they gave us a referral and said they'd try to give them a Book of
Mormon for us!  They said our Japanese wasn't perfect (it was just
pretty good) but the spirit was.  That's the important part anyway.
So we were super happy about it.  We visited some less actives who
weren't home so we left them notes that said we loved them and wanted
to talk.  While we were biking around we talked to a lot of people and
most were actually interested and took our phone number!  I stopped a
biker gang...of elementary schoolers, and gave all of them fliers.
The trick is to find the ring leader and get him to take one, then the
rest think it's cool and want one too.  It was really great to be with
one of my MTC companions again and we had a lot of fun and a lot of
success.  We had a TimTam Slam to celebrate.  If you don't know what
that is you'll probably be ok.  It just about gave me diabetes in one
night.  It's an Australian snack that is basically chocolate wafers
with chocolate cream in the middle, then you bite the corners and suck
up hot chocolate through it and have a sugar overload.
     We had General Conference on Saturday and Sunday.  I was so
excited for that for weeks beforehand.  I was anticipating it more
than Christmas actually.  We had our own room for English and all day
to watch it.  It was fantastic!  If you haven't watched all of it I
highly recommend it.  President Uchtdorf gives a hilarious talk during
priesthood.  There are also really powerful stories and experiences
shared.  I like the one about the little girl's writing assignment.
She is told that she drank a witch's brew and then asked to write what
happens.  She says, "I will die.  And then I will go to heaven.  I
will be happy there because I will be with my friends and family
forever."  It was just great to me that even a first grade girl knew
God's plan for her and could share it with those around her.  It also
made it all the way to conference, just going to show that the most
powerful messages don't have to be elegant or flowery.  I know I'm not
the best writer or Japanese speaker, but I can do what that little
girl did.  I can tell people what I know is true, the very best I can,
and it will be enough.
     Today was temple P-day and it was awesome.  That's about it.  Go
to the temple as often as you can, it's great.  I love you all, take
care, make good choices.

Elder Rogers

Monday, April 4, 2016

First few days in Ushiku‏

Ushiku is pretty awesome!  The members are nice and the investigators
are super cool.  We have a few people ready for baptism so I'm
expecting good things and really looking forward to it.  I don't have
a lot to write this week but here's the highlights.
Kappas are everywhere and they are cool.
This is a kappa rock.

I went to the biggest statue in the world and saw my MTC companion!

And we went to see Cherry Blossoms.


It's been a great time so far but that's all I've got.
Love you all

Elder Rogers