Tuesday, June 28, 2016

So many missionaries!

Hello everyone, sorry you won't get this until Tuesday but P-Day was
crazy today.

     This week was pretty amazing. For my last day in Ushiku Elder
O'Connor and I were setting goals and we realized we hadn't been
finding a whole lot of people. Then I remembered reading last week's
email about some missionaries setting high goals and getting 6 people
at church and what President Yamashita said, "Think big!" So we
decided that the reason we weren't finding people was because we were
limiting ourselves and we needed to think bigger. So we went out to
find two new investigators that day and we did! We found two middle
school kids who can meet with us (Elder O'Connor and his new
companion) and they seemed really interested. One of them actually ran
over to me after just to confirm the time and he'll probably be coming
to Eikaiwa or Eiken too!
     We also had transfer calls and I was so excited to come here to
Kisarazu and work with Elder Purba. We were in the same apartment when
I was a beanchan so we get along really well. What's better is that we
dendou really well together. We can practically read each other's
minds and just have such good unity. There hasn't been a lot of
success lately in this area but I remembered that the only thing that
had limited me before was not thinking big enough. So we set higher
goals and went out to achieve them. On Saturday we found: a new
investigator (not sweet spot but still pretty sweet), 3 new PIs with
contact info (sweet spot and close to it), and a family that's very
interested in FREE Eikaiwa. It was just a miracle day. We talked to
everyone and we were blessed for it. It really built our faith and I
think we can get this area up and rolling.

     So as for this P-Day, we went to Tokyo for the BYU Hawaii
Concert.  It was so fun!  Missionaries from Tokyo South came too.
There were so many missionaries, easily over 100.  I haven't been
around that many other missionaries since the MTC.  It was really good
to see a lot of friends from the MTC and from previous areas.  The
concert was really great too.  BYU Hawaii's got talent.  We got to see
so many awesome performances.  I also got to see President and Sister
Nagano.  It was super cool.  We didn't have any time for anything
today so I'm writing this email on the bus on the way back.  It's
11:40pm right now but it's ok because we're on our way back with a
member.  President Nagano offered to let us stay at the honbu but we
have places to be tomorrow.  Oh well, sleepy dendou (proselyting) it
is tomorrow.  I'll attach lots of pictures and maybe that'll help me
remember what happened this week.

I love you all,
Elder Rogers

                                                              My last night in Ushiku



I caught two lizards, and thought Scott might think it was cool.

Guess where I went.....Tokyo!



Thought Grant might like these cars.

Momma, look who I found!

This is my new area.  I snapped the sign as we were driving by on the expressway. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What I did besides prank this week ;)

So, you all probably think I'm just a pranky little punk, BUT I have
news for you...
I actually did some missionary work as well this week.

    Once every month we have a Family Home Evening for all the old
folks in our Ward.  We like to go to that.  This week Brother
Nishihara brought a giant jenga game and we all had a ton of fun with
it.  Then we had a super cool lesson about the Spirit.  It was a great
night.
    We went up to HitachinoUshiku to visit Sister Imamura and her cute
little family.  They always love when we come over and share messages
with them.  We usually focus on families with our lessons because they
really like family.  She told us her mom has cancer so, you know just
in case, she wants to learn more about God.  That's great for us!  We
hope nothing serious happens to her besides her changing her
lifestyle.  We're going to meet with her and teach the Plan of
Salvation.
     This week for Eikaiwa we talked about our hobbies and the
students all were very interested in what we did.  They were
especially interested in my life for some reason because I moved a lot
and lived in Okinawa.  They just kept asking questions about Okinawa.
I told them about my volleyball parties and snorkeling trips.  They
thought it was amazing.  It felt really good to tell the students who
I was and that even though I'm a missionary, I'm a person too.  They
have this image in their head that members have nothing in their lives
except the church.  While we should have pretty much everything
related to the church somehow, we aren't always sitting in the chapel
memorizing scripture masteries.  We're supposed to go out and do good
for others and apply what we've been taught.  We need to be in the
world but not of it.  We are full time members so we don't just take a
break after Sunday, but we do everything with Christ's name in our
hearts with the purpose of bringing others closer to Christ.  I don't
know if I'm rambling or not, it made sense in my head, but I just
wanted to show them that you can be a Mormon and still do things.
Mormons are regular people, they're just regular people who know who
they are, where they're going, and how to get there.  I hope they were
able to learn a little from me, especially since it was my last time.
     Oh yeah, I guess I just gave it away but I'm transferring.  I'm
going to Kisarazu in Chiba.  I'll be with Elder Purba, my old
apartment mate.  He was in my first area, Sakado, at the same time as
me.  Anyway I'm really excited to be working with him.  I have one
more day here in Ushiku and then I'll be getting on a train to
Kisarazu.  Elder Furniss is transferring too to the same zone and
we'll be on the same train together.
     The three most awesome teaching experiences his week would
probably be: 1)working with our golden investigator Kaoru, 2)Tajima
being cool, 3)Visiting the Comba Family.  So Kaoru-san is a lady who
comes to our area on the weekends to visit her dad and learn English.
However, after teaching her a lesson as English practice she has grown
to have an interest in the gospel.  She really wants to learn more and
we're excited to teach her.  I wish Elder O'Connor the best of luck, I
think she'll get baptized.  Tajima was recommitted to live the Word of
Wisdom and he's been doing great.  He's also trying to live like a
member so he came to all of church and he even wore a white shirt and
tie.  He's never done that before and I was very impressed.  We
visited the Comba family and we have a good relationship with them.
They're such an amazing family.  We invited them back to church and I
really hope they come.  We also invited them to join the Book of
Mormon challenge with us.  Read the Book of Mormon starting 6/23
ending 9/14.  I'm looking forward to the challenge and I know anyone
else who does it will have a great experience.
     That was about it.  It was a great week.  I love you guys, take care.


Elder Rogers

Monday, June 20, 2016

Itchybuttitis

Hello everybody!  This week was pretty hilarious.  I told you that I
love messing with the other elders, right?  Well this week was
unbelievable.  I got Elder Lee and Elder Furniss so many times this
week.

     The first was the watermelon story, which I sent out in a
separate email because it was just that special to me.  The next is
something that was never actually intended to go so well.  It started
off just as a joke, a play on words, but Elder Lee totally missed it
and we got a great story out of it now.
     So this week Elder Lee seemed a little more scratchy than usual,
if you know what I mean.  So Elder Furniss asked him, "Hey it looks
like you've got a case of itchybuttitis.  Are you ok?"  Now keep in
mind that Elder Lee is from Hong Kong so English is not his native
language.  He is fluent in English for the most part but some things
trip him up in hilarious ways.  This was one of those times.  So Elder
Lee's like, "What's that?" and we just go with it.
     "It's when you feel more itchy than usual.  This is due to a
slight fungal growth just beneath the skin.  It's pretty common and
most people get it many times throughout their lifetime.  In most
cases it is pretty minor, rarely do people die from it."
     And he just freaks out.  "How do you know if you have it!?  I
feel a little sick but it's not too bad.  Am I ok?"
     We calm him down and tell him he probably is just a little itchy.
He probably doesn't have a serious case of itchybuttitis.  So he's
calmed down a little bit but he still thinks it's a real thing.
     A few days later we go out to play basketball.  We have an
outdoor court and it's pretty sunny.  Elder O'Connor puts on some
sunscreen and doesn't rub it in all the way.  As we play he starts to
sweat and it starts to come off a little bit.  Elder Lee sees his skin
is covered in this white goopy stuff and he says, "OH!  What happened
to your skin!?  Are you ok?"  Very concerned for his health.  I see
this as a wonderful opportunity and jump in and say, "He's got
itchybuttitis.  He has a pretty serious case.  We're actually going to
call the doctor in a minute.  Elder O'Connor has some pills that take
care of minor cases in his bag so he should be fine."
     Again, he totally buys it.
     Later that day he asks us what the doctor said and I have him sit down.
     "We've got some pretty serious news.  Elder O'Connor has Stage 3
itchybuttitis, and I have Stage 1 from being around him 24/7.  In my
case I'll just feel a little tired and sick but I'm not contagious.
However, Elder O'Connor has it a little more severe.  He's contagious
within a 3 foot radius or so.  You can get it by touching or breathing
the air around him etc.  We don't know all the details about it but if
he hits stage 4 he'll have to go home."
     This is devastating news to our poor naive friend Elder Lee.
He's an emotional wreck and his heart reaches out to us.  His body,
however, recoils halfway across the room in trembling fear.
     "You're not going to get anybody else sick, right?  It'll just go
away later?  How do you get rid of it?"
     We tell him this big long list of side effects and lead him on to
believe that he already has it.  It was poetic.  It was beautiful.  It
was terrible and terrifying for Elder Lee.  Elder Furniss just stood
in the back trying his very utmost to not break face or laugh,
unsuccessfully.  We usually have a group hug at night before bed but
there was none of that this week due to Elder Lee's undying fear of
the dreaded disease "itchybuttitis".
     Today we told him that itchybuttitis isn't a real thing but we
had him so convinced that he didn't believe us.  I also had him
convinced for the longest time that cooties was a real thing and that
it was dead serious.  We told him that none of it was real but he's
still careful around women and pretty skeptical if he feels a little
itch.

Yup.  That's my other story for this week.  It was pretty great and
very entertaining.  I hope you enjoyed it!
Elder Rogers

PS - we did actually do missionary work this week, this email's just a
little long so I'll talk about it in another one soon.




Pictures we took for the mission President wife.  It was her birthday last week and she is always telling us to eat healthy, exercise, and keep the house clean.

Watermelon Story

I have a wonderful story to tell you about last week.  It's about
watermelon and may be your favorite story yet.

     So we live in the heart of Japan, where fruit is ridiculously
expensive for no reason whatsoever.  A handful of strawberries will
cost like ¥500.  So when we buy a watermelon it's a big deal.  It's at
least ¥2000, or about $20.  So Elder Furniss bought a watermelon once
and it was the best thing ever.  None of us had had watermelon in over
7 months or so, some longer.  So we got this watermelon and went to
town on it.  It was wonderful.  Never has a fruit been more loved that
watermelon by us 4 fruit deprived missionaries.  That's the backstory.
     So we had a Zone Meeting last week and we had to make an early
train.  So me and Elder O'Connor rushed out the door, down the stairs,
and to the station.  We made it there in time, but...I forgot my keys
in my other pants (I changed into a suit right before leaving) so we
had no way to get back into the apartment without the other Elders.
Anyway, they show up just in time for the train but they don't have my
keys.  So we decide they'll just get a ride back in the Shigematsu's
car and unlock the door for us.  At least that was the plan.
     We go to Zone Meeting and at the end we remind them to unlock the
door for us.  There should be no reason for them to forget, right?,
they only have a 30 minute ride.  Well, we get back home...and the
door's locked.  What're we gonna do?  I don't have any keys and we
live on the 7th floor.  Our windows have bars over them prison style
so we can't get in that way, but wait!  Maybe...yes!  My pants are on
my dresser, the keys are in my pocket!  We can get in, if I can just
reach my pants.  Weeeeell....I have short arms.  It's a no-go.  I
can't reach my pants.  BUT, I see a clothes hangar on the curtain bar
thingy.  So I grab that.  Hm, it's got a little hooky thing for
holding pants onto it.....maybe I can hook a belt loop with it.  I
reach through the bars with my newly found breaking and entering
master tool.  It's just out of reach.  STREEEEEEETCH, BINGO!  I got
it!  I reach in the pocket and get the keys, we're in!
     We come in and sit down in the apartment and were like, "what if
we couldn't get in?  We don't have money for a restaurant and the
other elders aren't here.  We'd just be starving."  So we both look at
each other with a mischievous glint in our eyes.  We're on the same
page.  We looove messing with the other Elders.  So we sit down and
call the other Elders to find out where they are.
     Ring ring ring.  Ring ring ring.  "Hello this is Elder Furniss."
     "Elder Furniss, where are you guys right now?"
     "Uh..we're at DokiDoki (fancy restaurant) with the Shigematsus."
     "You mean you went to a fancy restaurant?  Is that right?"
     "Uhhh..ch...errrrm...yes."
     "Well can you guess where we are?  We needed you guys to unlock
the door, remember?"
     "Oh...cha...ummm...eh.....sorry?"
     "I'm glad you're sorry, but how are we going to get our lunch?
You decided to go to a nice restaurant and leave us with no lunch?
Don't you love us!?"
     "I'm so sorry.  We'll be back soon."
     "No no no.  Take you're time.  We can wait.  You just enjoy that
meal.  Think about us and how we're hungry while you're there."
     "I promise I'll make it up to you."
     "Good, you could buy a watermelon or something.  We love made up things."
     Hang up.
At this point me and Elder O'Connor lose it and just bust up laughing.
The other elders completely bought it.  So we go on with our day and
have lunch and call people etc.  We're sitting in the back room at
this point.  Then we hear the other elders come back.  We don't say
anything, they just walk back and see us there.
     "HOW!?  How did you get in here?"
     "Guess."
So they guess all sorts of amazing things, from scaling the building
to picking locks.  Eventually we tell them and they're just blown
away.  They can also smell the lunch we made so they knew we had
totally messed with them.  Elder Furniss had already made it up
though.  We went into our study room and there's TWO WATERMELONS!
That's $40 worth of fruit!  They were sitting in our chairs as little,
actually pretty big, peace offerings.  We were so excited!  That night
we had watermelon aplenty.  Everyone got some beautiful fruit of life.
We were so excited actually that I had a rather brilliant idea.
Downstairs in the mall they have this cool clock.  Every hour between
10am and 6pm these little Japanese cute monsters come out and do a
dance.  I decided that we should copy it with watermelons.  It's hard
to explain with words, which is why I have a video.  I hope you all
enjoy.





Monday, June 13, 2016

Biking for days

Dear Friends and Family,

     This week was a little bit slower of a week but I think we still
did a lot of good.  I think I'll just keep this one short, sweet, and
to the point.  We had splits with the Tsukuba Elders and Elder Nielsen
and I saw a lot of miracles.  We went up to HitachinoUshiku because I
haven't been there since the beginning of the transfer and we thought
it would be a good idea to go up there again.  On the way to visit a
less active who lives up there we met a high school student named
Hidetaka who has interest in church.  He also really likes English so
he'll probably start coming to our activities.  We also were able to
trade phone numbers with him so we can call him anytime.  Then we went
and visited a less active member, Imamura Shimai, and she was busy so
she couldn't talk.  But, luckily (or unluckily, I don't know) her mom
has cancer and so she wants to have a relationship with God just in
case she dies.  So Imamura Shimai said she wants to hear the lessons
with her mom and wants us to come back soon.  Later we saw a man that
Elder King and I talked to last transfer who had a lot of interesting
thoughts about God.  So we talked to him and he remembered me.  When
we first met it was because he left work early and told us if he
hadn't left early he wouldn't have met us, so he thought it was a
sign.  Then we saw him again and he was super happy to see us.  We
talked to him for a long time on the street and gave him a Book of
Mormon with our phone number in it and he promised to read it every
day and call us if he had questions.
     Elder O'Connor and I called Ookouchi Kyoudai yesterday and asked
if we could meet with him this week and he was like, "Can you meet today?"  I was so happy because I haven't been able to see him in over
a month.  We went over and really built a good relationship.  We
talked to him a lot and he was very interested that my dad was raised
in Arizona.  I told him about Dad's hometown, Snowflake, and he was
like, "Can we move there?  Would it be weird if an Asian family moved
there?"  Then we taught his 9-yr-old son the Joseph Smith story and he
loved it.  He cheered and clapped at the end.  We invited them to come
to church with us today but Ookouchi Kyoudai is still a little nervous
about it.  We asked him why he felt nervous and it's because he hasn't
been in a long time and thinks it might be weird.  Elder O'Connor
suggested that we bring a member to our next visit so they can make
friends and that way when he comes to church he'll be less nervous.
We're going to try to bring a new member to each meeting so he'll have
people he knows at church when he comes.
     We went over to the Combas' house right after visiting the
Ookouchis and had a great time.  We just talked to them and built up
trust for a while.  They're a really good family and are very happy.
We showed them some of General Conference in Portuguese and then the
family had a discussion about it.  It was in Portuguese so I don't
know all of what they said but it seemed good.  In the end they
committed to look for the blessings in their life and choose to be
happy now.  We told them about the Portuguese class at church and
invited them to come.  They didn't come this week but I hope they are
able to come next week.
     We rode our bikes a lot this week.  We rode approximately
(complete guess) 85-90 kilometers.  We rode a 40 kilometer round trip
to a city way out in our area.  There wasn't anything there except a
horse training facility and a huuuuuuge track.  We also rode to
Tsukuba and back for District Meeting.  And then we rode bikes the
rest of the time at a normal missionary pace.
     And lastly, we had 2 meal appointments set up for last night, one
right after the other.  The first was with the Tobe Family, they
invited Kaoru, the new Eiken student who became a new investigator.
If she had come, we would've gone too and taught a lesson, but since
she didn't we went to the Ikenagas' for dinner with the other Elders
and their investigator.  There were a ton of people there and it was
like a multi family FHE with investigators.  It was really fun and I
really enjoyed it.
     That's about all the important things for this week, love you guys.

Elder Rogers




Monday, June 6, 2016

Elder Lee loooooves College ;)

Dear Friends and Family,

     This week was pretty good.  We've been trying to do more of a
variety of dendou tactics so we can get the good news out to more
people.  We've been visiting members, investigators, less actives,
potential investigators, and everyone we can in AreaBook.  We know
that by talking to everyone we can find new people to teach and see
cool miracles.
     So this week Tobe Shimai (I can't say enough about her, she just
dendous this whole area 24/7) invited us to come to her college class
and teach the students English and share a quick message.  So we went
up and there were 50+ people!  They were all girls so we were scared
we wouldn't be able to stay.  But then we noticed ONE man in the class
so we were allowed to stay and follow mission rules.  It was
interesting though because the girls asked all of us if we had
girlfriends and which girl we liked.  Japanese girls are silly and
like Americans.  We had a good time teaching English and at the end we
all shared our own short Eiken-style messages.  Some of the students
seemed to have interest so we gave out some flyers to them.  It was a
great way to work with a member and talk to a lot of people at once.
     We met with Tajima this week and he's ready to be be baptized.
He still needs to talk to his wife though.  We're planning on just
visiting his house with a member and setting a good impression with
his wife and working from there.
     We went out with Shigematsu Choro this week to visit as many
Women PIs as possible because we can't do it without a man.  Anyway,
we went out and visited people all day and then decided to visit a
member, Kuroki Shimai, just because we were in the area.  From that we
were able to get the address of one of her friends so we can go visit
them and teach them sometime!
     We met with a less active Brazilian family, the Combas this week
and it was great.  We introduced Elder O'Connor and offered to help
them.  Their daughter has an English test coming up soon so we offered
to teach her English.  She's going to start coming to Eiken but she's
shy, so she'll bring a friend!  We think that by serving their family
they'll feel more welcome at church and start coming back.
     Last week we met a punk rocker guitarist from Tokyo on the street
and gave him a flyer and a pamphlet.  Well today while streeting we
saw him again and he has questions about the pamphlet!  He said we can
meet again to talk about it and gave us his phone number and email.
He also seemed pretty interested in our church meetings.  We invited
him to come and he said he would if he's in Ushiku then.
     We also found 2 new investigators this week!  One is a sweet spot
college student named Tega.  I asked him if he had interest and when
he said yes I was actually pretty surprised and just kind of stared at
him for a second.  Luckily I got my wits back soon enough to set up a
return appointment for next week so we can meet him at the church and
teach him about Jesus.  Our other new investigator is not a sweet
spot, she's a 40ish year old woman named Kaoru who just came to our
Eiken class for the first time this week due to a newspaper ad
by....Tobe Shimai.  So she came and Tobe Shimai and I started just
English conversation with her.  She noticed my nametag and Tobe Shimai
just took it from there.  We ended up telling her all about why there
are so many churches and the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and
how to pray.  We just taught her a pretty in-depth first lesson.  It
was really good because she had a lot of interest and we gave her a
Book of Mormon and she's going to read it and pray about it!  Tobe
Shimai shared a personal experience about how she came to know the
Church was true and it definitely helped a lot.  Kaoru emailed Tobe
Shimai and wants to meet next week to talk about it more!
     I know there can be miracles if we do our best and work our
hardest...with the members!  Love you all.

Elder Rogers
My tan line