Monday, July 25, 2016


Dear family and friends,
This week may have been the best of my mission so far.

  I will start with the spiritual things that were really awesome.  We
saw soooooo many miracles this week, and not just in our area.  Our
whole zone started seeing miracles everyday after we told them about
ours.  So let's get started.
  First off I have to just say that this week I was really discouraged
and sad.  I've been out for about 8 months and have seen almost
nothing for it.  I can count the number of actual investigators I've
had on one hand.  Let's just say I was struggling.  So Elder Purba and
I were praying really hard for something to happen, but it didn't look
like anything would.  We went out everyday and worked our hardest
and......nothing happened.  And then one day, SOMETHING(S) HAPPENED!
  Remember a couple of weeks ago when we went to a private Middle/High
School called Shorin?  Well I traded Facebook and emails with the
students in hopes that one of them would want to meet us.  Well, one
of them did!  His name is Haruto and he's super cool.  He wanted to
meet us on Thursday at 5pm.  We were so excited but for some reason we
forgot about it.  Typical 18/19-year-old guys.  Anyway, we were
sitting around the apartment doing weekly planning and feeling bad
that we had no one to teach when I remembered something.  I say
remembered but I would speak in other words, the Spirit whispered
something to me, "Don't forget about Haruto."
  "Elder Purba!  Haruto!"
  "Oh shoot.  When were we meeting him?"
  "Today's Thursday!  What time?"
  "5 o'clock."
  "It's 5:04!"
  We botched it.  I text him really fast like, "hey, we're still
meeting today right?"  And he texts back, "yeah, I'll be there in 15
minutes.  Looking forward to it!"
  Now back to panic mode, but this time there's some hope.
  "Elder Purba, we have 15 minutes!"
  "I'll look up the train!"
  We get on our rain gear (for it was raining at the time) at record
speed of under 30 seconds and bike to the church where we look up the
  "It leaves in 4 minutes!"
  We sprint to the train station at a speed The Flash would envy and
make it to the platform as the doors are OPENING.  We did it in under
a minute.  I remembered that Haruto told me he lived in Sodegaura so
we headed that direction.  We get there just before the meeting time
and he's not there.  Ok, were still good, we just have to wait a few
minutes.  5 minutes.  10 minutes.
  Text: Where are you?
  Us: At the station.
  Him: Me too.
  We quickly run around the station thrice but not once see him.
  Us: Uuuuuuhhhhh, which station?
  Him: Kimitsu.
  ACKK!  We screwed up again!
  Him: I have to go now.... :(
  Us: Wait!  Where are you going?
  Him: Home in Sodegaura.
  Rejoicing and joyful noises foreign to the land of Japan filled the
station that day.  We had not failed!  JK, we failed hard.  More than
once.  But God does not let His children fail.  If someone wants to
hear the gospel, He will make it happen.  No matter how many times his
missionaries slip up.  I know He planned that whole day out and made
it possible for everything to work out.  But we're not done yet!
  We meet him at the correct station this time and since it has become
dinner time we take him out to dinner.  He calls his mom to ask if
it's ok and she comes by to give him some money.  We see her briefly
and she is completely fine with him talking to us!  That never
happens!  Mothers drag their kids down the street to stay away from
us, but not his miracle child!  We go to a nearby restaurant and get
some good food to eat.  We talk to him about life and what he wants to
do now that it's summer break, etc. etc.  We get real close with him
and now he loves us.  As we talk we teach about the Restoration and
Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  Then we give him a Book of
Mormon.  He says it's super awesome and he's so glad he has one now.
He still goes to school even though it's summer break because Japan so
I asked him how long it takes to get there.  It takes him 1 hour or so
by train to get to school each day.  I asked him what he did on the
train and he spoke music to my ears.
  "I listen to music and play game on my phone.  But now, I read this
Book of Mormon."
  He's so prepared and ready to hear the gospel.  He's willing to act
on our message too which, by PMG definition, makes him one of the
elect.  It took 5 weeks of disappointment but it was so worth it.  We
will be meeting him again soon and we will probably talk about

  Aside from miracle-boy Haruto we've seen some other cool miracles.
A couple of weeks ago as we were coming back from a District Meeting
in Chosei we met some college tennis players on the train.  I started
talking to them and all of them were pretty interested in 'the
missionary life.'  One of them was the #1 player in all of Kanto and
he had the most interest.  He wanted to come to church and meet us to
learn about Jesus and we were happy to oblige.  Only one problem, he
lives in Tokyo and he's busy until September.  So actually 2 problems.
The good news is that he wants to learn through email in his free time
so we will definitely do it.  When we get his specific address we'll
send the appropriate missionaries to visit him.

(But still cool)
  So we've been trying super hard to get people to come to our
tutoring for like 5 weeks.  We handed out somewhere near 800 flyers
for it to kids and their parents.  I mean it's free, other places can
cost over $100!  This should be a no-brainer, right.  Well apparently
not because no one came, BUT, one day a mom called us asking if we
could teach her son English!  We said yes, set up a time, hung up the
phone, and then FLIPPED OUT!  Finally!!  So we met the kid and taught
him English and he had a good time and learned a lot, for free.  He
should be coming often now and we're excited for it.
   We have 2 youth in our Branch of 17 people and one of them is
leaving on her mission to Hawaii next week.  So we have 1 youth.  His
name is Takashi and he's pretty cool.  On Sunday after church we were
hanging out in the park 3 steps in front of the church because it was
nice weather.  He looked at me and said, "Can you teach me how to do a
backflip?" out of nowhere.
   "Yeah, I know how to do it."
   So I explain all the parts and tell him 'just don't freak out.'  15
minutes later with no injuries he can do it fine!  Super cool.  He
even went out and did it in the street which I thought was crazy.
Anyway, through this experience we really bonded and he grew to like
and trust me.  We also got to have fun in the process and now he has a
cool party trick.  Working with the youth can be pretty cool
   Another thing about working with young people; President Nagano
wants us to really bond with the young people so they'll know they can
trust and rely on us.  We're supposed to spend as much time with young
people as possible, doing what they want to do.  Note: it must always
have a missionary purpose and we are not just there to be their
"bros".  We do everything as missionaries and teach them as we go.  We
did this on Saturday by going to all the parks in a city close by.  At
one particular park there was a big open space with kids playing
soccer.  We joined in with them and kicked their butts as we taught
them.  We'll preach and teach and SCORE as missionaries do. :)  We had
a great time and invited all of them to learn more with us.
   Now, for the title.  Something big has happened in Japan.  I'm
talking bigger than SkyTree.  I'm talking bigger than Tokyo.  I'm
talking bigger than RICE!  This is the greatest thing since sliced
bread (and I learned how to say that just because of this).  It's
Pokemon.  Nintendo just took over Japan with their new game called
Pokemon Go.  It's like Google Maps but there's Pokemon all over it.
Anyway, Japanese people like their Pokemon so it hit hard over here.
I mean everyone has it.  Everyone.  Teenagers, little kids with their
parents, 45-year-old Japanese businessmen, 105-year-old grandmas.
Everyone is doing it.  People do it while they ride their bikes,
people walk around and do it, I've seen people playing it while they
drive, it's everywhere.  It has changed Japan overnight and I'm happy
to say in a very good way.  For some reason Japanese people sit in
their houses all day, don't have any friends, and are super grumpy.
BUT, now everyone is on the streets from dusk to dawn and dawn to dusk
(seriously, I asked people and they stay up until 3am to do this).
Why is this a good thing?  Since everyone is out on the street, people
run into each other and become friends.  BOOM!  Japanese people now
have friends and are happy.  2 birds, 1 stone.
Aaaaaaand...missionaries spend all their time on the streets trying to
find people.  Now there are people to find!  And their phone is in
their hand so they can't tell heir usual lie that they don't have one.
But for some reason everyone is happy to talk to us now, no one tells
us to get lost or anything.  Something coincidentally cool is that at
some monuments you can get free stuff for the game.  Well, at the park
in front of our church we have one of those monuments!  So people
wander around our church all the time!  If we wanted to we could sit
on it and talk to people as they come by.  To give you an idea of how
big this is I'll use some numbers.  Before Pokemon we would talk to
maybe 7-11 people a day.  After Pokemon came out we talked to 51!  And
that wasn't even everyone.  So yeah, because of Pokemon of all things,
we've been able to find more investigators and do missionary work more
effectively.  God sure does work in mysterious ways but hey, take what
you can get, right?

So that was my crazy week.  I love you all, take care.  Gotta find 'em
all! (Investigators)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Let me explain....No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Hello everybody!
This week was crazy.  I took a ton of pictures and tried to send them
out but it was too big so I'll have to send out many small emails this
week, sorry.  This email will be the events and maybe a couple of
pictures, the following emails will be the remaining pictures.
Ok, let's get started.

     So this week we had Temple P-Day.  I think I wrote about it
before, but I'm writing about it again because it was cool.  We rode
the AquaLine to get to Tokyo.  It's this cool underwater highway that
goes across the Tokyo Bay.  There's a mall out there too.  Sometimes
it leaks and fish fall through...just kidding!  It's perfectly safe.
But you know that game where you have to hold your breath while you're
in a tunnel?  I died.  Several times.  It's like a 40something minute
ride.  After we got to Tokyo I was feeling a little fishy...we went to
the fish market.  They kicked us out and said it wasn't open until 10,
so we had to leave.  We went to the temple and had an awesome session.
There were a lot of missionaries, probably over 40.  Then we grabbed
some other Elders, Elder Roberts, Elder Sharp (they were with me in
the MTC), Elder McCune, and Elder Ishikawa.  Naturally Elder Purba and
I were the leaders even though we were just as clueless as everyone
else.  I've spent all my time in the rice fields, I don't know the
city!  But they let me lead the way and we didn't get lost.  We went
to the zoo and it was pretty awesome.  We got there in time to see
them feed the penguins and then it started to close.  We hightailed it
all over the place, taking pictures as we went and then made a mad
sprint for the pandas before they kicked us out.  It was fun.  After
the zoo we went to the Hard Rock Cafe.  One small burger cost me
almost as much as a week of groceries!  Luckily I had a lot of money
saved up.  After dinner the other elders went home.  Elder Purba took
me to a giant lantern and then we went to SkyTree tower.  We didn't
have time to go up but we saw the bottom.  Then we sprinted across the
city, saw the sister training leaders and smiled so as to appear not
crazy, and then jumped on a train to a bus to our bikes back home.  It
was an awesome day.
     Then, that same week we went to a private Middle/High School
called Shorin to volunteer to help the students with a BYU speech
contest.  It was really fun and we helped a lot of kids.  Now here's a
miracle to go with that.  I traded emails with some kids and wrote to
them and one boy wrote back saying that he wants to meet us!  This
week!  I'm excited, he's a really cool kid.
     Oh, something that I've noticed is that my emails seem to have
become more like Nephi's large plates: just the history and not the
spiritual.  Sorry, I will repent and start putting at least my
testimony in every weekly email.  Anyway, for this BYU speech contest
the kids were supposed to write about families.  Let me tell you,
Japanese kids cannot write a happy story, especially about families.
All of their stories were about how they have terrible relationships
with their families or how they never see their family because they're
at cram school or work.  It was super sad.  It made me think about my
family and how grateful I am to have a family who loves me.  I have
lots of great memories of spending time with my family and having fun.
We take care of each other and care about each other.  We aren't
afraid to say that we love each other.  I wish everyone could have a
good relationship with their family.  Now this might sound like I'm
just saying it because I'm a missionary but it's true, if these kids
had the gospel in their life they would be happy.  They would know
that they can be with their families forever and how important they
are.  They would know that we're all part of one big family and that
God is our Father.  They'd feel loved and important.  They just need
to know.  I try to tell them all the time but they just don't seem to
have any self esteem.  I wish they would listen so they can feel the
Spirit telling them that it's true and that God really does love them.
After being around them I thought a lot about families and how
important they are.  I don't remember where it's written but some cool
guy once said, "The home is the only place that can compare to the
temple in sacredness."  Two songs I thought of about families were
'Love at home' and 'Families can be together forever.'  I really like
those songs because of the simple message they teach and the hope they
bring.  You should listen to them or sing them sometime.  (That's not
for a specific person, you should all do it ;) )  I guess the point is
that families are important.
     Throughout the week we go out and look for people to 1) become
new investigators and 2) at least come to our free tutoring.  We have
been doing this all day every day for nearly 4 weeks with no results,
until now.  We had someone come!  It was an old man that Elder Purba
met five-ever ago but he still came and had a great time.
     We had splits with the Zone Leaders this week.  Elder Viehwig and
I were together and we talked to everyone by the train station.  We
got a little bit lost but it turned out to b a good thing because we
found an 18-year-old kid who is interested in the gospel.  He doesn't
have time but we told him that when he does some missionaries like us
will probably appear and when that happens, he should listen to them.
We also met a cool firefighter who became a new investigator!  We're
meeting him on Wednesday and he really likes Jesus because he helped
everyone.  He became a firefighter so he could help people so he
really looks up to Jesus now.
     On Sunday we had a surprise.  We were supposed to teach the
Sunday School lesson but completely forgot!  It was about the
importance of work and how to balance it with recreation and
relaxation.  A funny thing I'd like to point out, Japanese has 3
alphabets.  One of them is designated for foreign words.  Relax is
spelled using that alphabet.  Yeah.  Anyway, I just went for it and we
had a good discussion.  It turned out really good.  After church we
had a Branch (more like a Twig) lunch.  We set everything up and
comfortably fit all 17 of us in and then we sang for a girl who will
be going to Hawaii on her mission next week.  So lucky.  You have to
be the luckiest person alive to get called to Hawaii.  Anyway she was
happy and cried and gave a speech and it was awesome.

And that's the week.  Now, like I promised, a brief testimony.

     I know now more than ever that this church is true, that God is
at the head of it and that He is completely and totally in charge.  He
is hastening His work in all corners of the Earth.  He has promised us
that if we do our part well in helping build His kingdom, we will have
a place prepared for us in it.  I know President Thomas S. Monson
receives revelation for us as a church that we can know how best to
fulfill our purpose.  I know we all have a purpose and that God really
does have a plan for all of us individually.  We may have our own
plans that we think will make us happy but I promise that His way is
better.  He sees what we can't see and He knows what's best for us.
If we are humble enough to listen to Him when He speaks to us, whether
that be through a prophet, the scriptures, or just a feeling, that we
will receive guidance and support. He gives us exactly what we need to
get through each day.  I know this church is true and I love it with
everything I am.  I say these things in Jesus' holy name, amen.

Love you, take care and be good!
Elder Rogers

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Temple P-Day!

Hello once again friend, family, and others that my mom asked be put
on the list,
(Just kidding I love y'all)

     So, first off for this week I had splits with Elder Ito.  He's
Japanese and I actually knew him back in Sakado, my first area.  So
we're practically best buds.  He's really cool.  We spoke Japanese all
day together and it was really cool to see how far I've come since the
MTC.  I'm still at a lower level than a 6-year-old but I can survive.
We worked hard all day trying to find people and we talked to
everyone.  We traded phone numbers with 3 people who said they'd want
to meet again!  And then yesterday I saw one of them on the street
again!  He was still interested and we're going to do a church tour
with him.
     We had a really cool District Meeting that my companion set up
and I learned a lot of good skills.  I just want to continually try
new things and improve.  Elder Purba is a little self-conscious so he
asked me if his training was boring.  I'll send you a video of how he
took my answer.  ;)
     We visited the Kisarazu Bad-Daddy, Brother Sugimoto, this week
and I love him!  He is super funny.  He lives right down the street
from a really big, really nice, great and spacious, Yakuza (Japanese
Mafia) house.  He says they're not that bad of neighbors actually.  He
even used to be friends with some of them but then decided against it.
     We went to do volunteer work at a Private Middle/High School
twice last week.  We were helping students with their English BYU
Speech Contest about the importance of families.  It was really good,
except I discovered that families are absolutely destroyed by Japanese
lifestyles.  Families never spend any time together, and when they do
they don't know how to act.  Honestly, everyone just needs to hurry up
and join the church because it would fix every single problem they
have.  But anyway, we helped them out and they love us now and we're
going back two more times this week.
     And finally, we met with a guy who wanted to learn about our
religion.  Or so we thought.  He brought a friend, which we thought
was cool until we realized that neither were interested in our
religion at all.  They kept trying to convert us to Buddhism but we
were like, "Why would I ever give up my happiness and salvation to
live a life full of sadness and loneliness like you guys?"  Well we
didn't convert, but they sure didn't either.
     Today is temple P-day and Elder Purba and I have quite a day
planned.  We're going all over Tokyo and hitting all the cool spots.
I'll send lots of pictures.  Love you all!

Elder Rogers

Monday, July 4, 2016

Me and my companion fight a lot

  Ok, hello everyone.  As you may know I am in a new area.  I
haven't said much about it as my Mom keeps reminding me so here's some
background.  My area is huge.  I'm talking you can't bike to the end
of it unless you're planning on staying the night.  It's bigger than
some zones in this mission.  It is mostly mountains, hills, and rice
fields.  There are occasional cities, which is nice.  There are a lot
of beaches so it feels a little more like home.  When we bike places
it's always uphill and always against the wind.  I'm serious, I've
been here for like 8 months and the wind is always pushing against us.
This area has a lot of famous high schools, lucky us, so there are a
lot of young people to talk to.  My previous areas have been almost
exclusively ancient people.  It's nice to see some young people
because that's who will talk to us and we're supposed to talk to them
because they're the future.  So anyway, on to the week's events.
    This week was really good.  We went down to Tateyama and biked
into the mountains to visit a less active.  She's less active because
it's really hard to get from her house to the church but she's still a
good member.  We did some garden work for her and then I got to know
her a little bit.  She gave Elder Purba a referral right before I got
here and we're planning on working together to teach the referral.
When we left her house (she lives in the middle of the mountains and
they're really steep) we went back down the steepest, longest mountain 40mph!  It was so fast.  Then I thought about a random
trivia fact I knew, race horses can run that fast.  How can an animal
go that fast!?  I was on wheels downhill and I barely did it.  And a
cheetah can go 70!  That's crazy.  God made some awesome animals.  Ok,
tangent over.
    We made a lot of special flyers with a schedule on it for all the
classes we teach, and then went down to the Eki to hand them out.  We
went right as the kids were coming back from school so it was perfect
for talking to sweet spot.  They just came in a never ending stream
for 4 hours!  It was awesome.  We handed out nearly 200 flyers and
some of the kids were very excited about it.  I never thought it would
work and personally didn't like doing hand outs.  I actually told
Elder Purba that I didn't want to continue after like 10 minutes of
people saying no but he felt like we should wait a little longer and
that's when we started finding people!
    And now for the big miracle.  Yesterday we were going to go out to
a popular beach area and go finding there.  It was about an hour and a
half bike ride so we stopped by a convenience store on the way to get
some drinks.  Out front there's a teenager sitting on a mamachari bike
and he looks like a punk.  But we're finding so we talk to him.  Turns
out he has interest and was eager to meet with us.  Elder Purba
invited him to come with us to the beach area for finding and he said
yes!  So we stopped by his house and he ate fast (I'm talking 4
minutes) and then we headed out for the beach.  He rides pretty slow
but it was ok because we got to talk to him on the way.  We learned
about his family and what he wants to do with his life.  We taught him
a lot on the way, pretty much a first and second lesson overview.  We
learned he got hit by a car, broke all of his ribs, was in a coma for
a week, and is completely fine now.  That's such a miracle.  We went
the wrong way and ended up back at home so we just took him to the
church instead.  We gave him a tour and he found a Book of Mormon.  We
talked to him about it and gave him one.  We probably spent near 3
hours win him so we decided to take him home and, plot twist, he's a
member!  Elder Turley baptized him about a year ago and he became less
active.  He's read the Book of Mormon before and is ready to come back
to church.  It was such a miracle that we were able to meet him.
    Yesterday was fast Sunday and I was fasting that we could find a
new investigator....and it worked!  We went finding and a 17? year old
kid named Takahashi said he was interested and that we could call him
on Monday night.  So he became a new investigator.  Then as we were
coming home is kid rode his bike up alongside us and started talking
to Elder Purba.  They had talked before when I wasn't here and the kid
was super interested in church.  He wants to learn more and is trying
to make time to meet with us soon.  Yup, this area is full of miracles
    And lastly today.  Today we had zone P-day.  It was my first ever
because my previous companions didn't want to go.  So today I got to
go to the beach with like 24 missionaries!  How cool is that!  Chiba
is the biggest zone so we had an awesome day.  We played volleyball on
the beach and it was super fun.  We also ran around the beach without
getting in the water.  I almost did a front flip on the beach due to
peer pressure (Elder Hipps, love him) but couldn't quite land it.
Then we played a missionary version of Mafia and it was super fun.
The apostates (Mafia) looked like they were going to win for a while,
but evil never wins, not even in a silly game.  We took a picture
together, sorry I don't have it, and then sang the national anthem
because it's the 4th of July.  Sadly some of us didn't know it because
they're not American and as for the Americans who didn't know it I
could only shake my head in awe and disappointment.  I got to see
Elder Furniss again, I missed him so bad.  He's the most interesting
man I've ever met.  Absolutely crazy, but cool.  Today it was
ridiculously sunny and hot.....for most of the day.  While we were
grocery shopping we heard thunder.  We ran out to check on it and it
was just bucketing rain like the 2nd coming or something.  There was
lightning all over the sky and the thunder was intense.  It shook the
whole...everything.  Luckily it cleared up after about 15 minutes and
there was even a double rainbow.  It was cool and we didn't even get
wet because we just waited it out.
    That's about it.  This week was pretty awesome, lots of good
things happening.  Let me know if there's anything you want me to
write more about.  I try to cover everything but sometimes I leave
things out.  If there's any aspect you want to hear more about, let me
know.  Seriously.
Love you all,

Elder Rogers