Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Party all week!

This week was a party down here in Kisarazu. It was so awesome for just about every reason there could be. It was fun, we got lots of free stuff, investigators are doing good, we found new investigators, etc. etc. So, let's get started. Last Sunday we went to a Festival. One of our investigator friends, Moe (pronounced like "more eggs" minus the re and ggs) got a job working at a game stall in a bunch of festivals so she told us about it and invited us. There were a lot of them and it was in a different place each time so she'd get there and walk around and tell us what was close by. Then I'd look at Google Maps and try to find it on there. After a few games of 20Questions I'd figure out where it was and then we'd go visit her. We'd sit by her and teach her a little bit, then walk around and talk to new people, then come back and talk some more. It was really fun and really good for missionary work. For some reason being Christian is really cool when you're at a Shinto party. Everyone was like, "You're Christian? Wow! So cool!" We traded phone numbers with 5 people the first night. The second time we went a group of kids started talking to us and I started teaching them about God. They had never heard anything like it before and were super curious. Pretty soon we had a crowd around us while I taught. It felt really cool and when I asked if I could teach them more sometime they were all like, "Yes!" That must be how Alma and Amulek felt except they did it with whole cities. On Monday we spent P-Day helping a member move into her new apartment. The longer we stayed and helped, the more members came to help out. After a while we had half the Branch helping out! It was super cool to see the members come together to help out. Now, you have to understand, my companion is very tall and can grow a beard twice a day. He's a man. When we went to buy a bike for him they didn't have one big enough so they had to order one and it would take about a week. Luckily Elder Purba left an extra bike here so we could still get around. Well on Tuesday our luck ran out. Elder Wilcox broke his bike and we needed a new part to fix it that they wouldn't have for 2 weeks. We were stuck. Our area is too big to walk anywhere. We needed a miracle. There was absolutely nothing I could do but pray his bike would get next day. So that's what I did, and as soon as I said amen and opened my eyes I got a phone call. A phone call letting me know that they had his bike. I know God hears and answers our prayers. I know He takes care of His children. I know He gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. I know that as we look to recognize the blessings He sends our way we'll be able to see just how blessed we are. Because we were able to get a bike for Elder Wilcox we were able to make it to English class. And it just so happened that at that English class the students wanted to know what kinds of things missionaries teach people. So we taught them and our member who was there shared her personal experiences and testified with the spirit. It was amazing. God works by small and simple things. This week we had interviews with the Mission President and his wife. It was such a great experience this time. In the past I've been given plenty of improvement points and told to be better and on and on. But this time they told me I was doing really well. That I was doing what I was called here to do. That I was fulfilling my purpose. They were really happy with what has happened in this area. When I got here there were 0 investigators and basically 0 of everything else. Now we have 15 investigators and the stats are the highest they've ever been. I am so pleased that God has seen fit to bless me so much with so many miracles each day. I know that none of it is really me and that I can't do anything on my own. The Lord has just seen fit to send people my way and for that I am eternally grateful. President Nagano gave me some really good news during interviews. Until now I've only been in each area for 3 months each, however, since this area is doing so well President Nagano said he might have me stay for 9 months! I could honestly spend the rest of my mission here and just be happy out of my mind. I feel like this is my 2nd home and a lot of people have offered to let me move in after my mission. :) I don't quite know about all that yet but I do like it here! We had a pretty awesome Saturday. We had a Talent Show and I sang a couple Children's Hymns in Japanese that I had memorized. We all sang some traditional music together, except I didn't know the words or tune so I just banged on a drum they gave me. After that we went to see Moe at another festival and it was super cool. Everyone was super nice and for some reason they all spoke English really well. This old lady took us around the place and everything was free. They gave us food, drinks, candy, etc. all for free! It was awesome. I invited her to meet again and learn about our church and she said yes. She came over Sunday night to the church building and said she'd try to make it next week. She's also bringing a friend to our English class. On Sunday we went to church and the Branch is super excited about missionary work now. Hey always ask if there's anything they can do to help. Well..... yes! I asked them if they could give our investigators rides to church and they all happily agreed. We're also going to try to do more activities so these investigators can feel accepted in the Church community. Sister Domino, a friend from the MTC who used to be here when I first got here, sent me a referral who is super cool. She's a 19 year old Chinese girl who's super interested in the church. She's actually coming next week! I'm so excited! From what Sister Domino said, she should have no problem getting baptized. We went to another festival with Moe that night and it was again amazing. She's going to try to come to church this week and I'm going to do everything humanly possible to make that a reality. I don't WANT these people to come to church, I NEED them to. There is an actually physical need to see them at church for me. I can't explain it very well but it's no joke, I NEED them to come. You know how in the Book of Mormon they say they can't even write a hundredth part of all the things that happened? Well that's me right now. There's so much more that happened this week but this email is already long so I'll just stop here. I'm so glad I was called on a mission to Japan and that I got to come to Kisarazu. I absolutely love it here and I never want to leave. Hopefully President Nagano is able to keep me here for a long time. I love you all, Elder Rogers Sorry the pictures aren't so good.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Goin' off the rails on a crazy train!

So this week was crazy.  President Nagano decided I should become
District Leader and Train at the same time.  So this week was pretty

     The first couple days I was still with Elder Purba.  We packed up
all of his stuff and then went to the beach town of Tateyama to visit
a member.  She made us food and we just talked to her.  She was there
when they built the Tokyo temple!  And she worked in it for 30 years!
She's awesome and I'm so glad we get to go visit her every week.  We
also visited an older lady we met last week and she was so nice.  She
let us in and let us teach her a little bit.  We're going to go visit
her again next week and teach her some more.
     Then Transfer Day came.  There was much crying.  Elder Purba just
couldn't bear the thought of leaving me (;  I dropped him off at Koiwa
and then continued on to pick up my Trainee.  I happened to run into
Elder Rhea on the way so we just went together.  It was nice seeing
him again.  We made it to the Mission Home safe and sound and mostly
on time.  We got to introduce our areas and even though I did a poor
job of it and left a lot out, I think it still sounded pretty cool.
Yup, Kisarazu is definitely my favorite area so far.  Thankfully I
will stay here for another 3 months while I train my new
companion.......Elder Wilcox!  He's a big boy, 6 foot and 180lbs.  He
can also grow a beard twice in a day.  He's actually so big that when
we went to go buy his bike, they told him they didn't have one big
enough and had to order one.  Lol.  We're currently using one of Elder
Purba's bikes he left behind.
     On his first full day as a missionary we were able to have a
Skype lesson with Jonivar, our Filipino investigator.  Not that first
time but the next time we called him, we were able to set a baptismal
date with him!  Woohoo!  That was super cool.
     Like I said, this week was super busy.  We had a lot of meetings
to go to.  I had to go to District Leader training one day, Zone
Meeting the next, and then they sent out a PDF on how to teach
yourself to be a trainer.  Every minute of my day has been packed full
of things to do and everything is fast paced.  It's probably just
crazy because it's the first week.  Things should calm down after a
little while.
     They've been teaching us a lot of new ways to teach and find and
do both at the same time.  I didn't know if I could do it, but with
some practice it's really starting to pay off.  We've found a lot of
new people.  Something they suggested to us was asking people on the
street what they think is most important.  It's a good question and
9/10 people I've talked to respond with "family."  I think that's
really cool because our church believes in eternal families.  When I
tell people about it they think it's really cool and a lot of people
agree to meet and learn more.
     This week Moe told me that she was going to a Matsuri.  I love
Matsuris so I was all over that.  After many confusing texts and much
searching of Google maps, I found the location and we were able to go.
Elder Wilcox had never been to a Matsuri before so I thought it would
be good for him.  Matsuris (festivals) are really good for
missionaries because there are a lot of happy people all in a small
space.  They're much more approachable and since they're happy, much
more likely to listen to you.  We were able to trade phone numbers
with 5 people including an English teacher who may be able to get us
to volunteer at his Middle School!  We talked to a ton of people.  Moe
was there working one of the game stalls and she made so much money.
She says she just sits there all day and it's pretty boring so we'll
probably try to go again and teach her and talk to her soon.  We were
able to teach her a little bit and she said she'd help Elder Wilcox
learn Japanese since he's new.  At the end of the day the men got
together and ran up a mountain with the Ark of the Covenant and Elder
Wilcox thought it was pretty cool.  I got too caught up in the moment
and forgot to record anything or take pictures.  Sorry Mom.

Elder Rogers


Monday, September 12, 2016

District Leader AND Training!

When I first came to Kisarazu this area had nothing going for it.
Now, we see crazy miracles almost every day!  This past week was a
great way to end the transfer.

    To start the week we went to go visit a new investigator (we're
getting a lot of those now) that Elder Purba found during a split.  We
went to his house and he wasn't there so we decided we'd just look for
him on the ride back home.  Well, as we were riding down the street
Elder Purba sees Souken (the guy we're looking for)!  We talked to him
and went to a park together.  We taught him some basic skills like
giving/receiving directions in English, introductions, and how to
throw a football.  It was really cool and he wants to meet us every
week now!
    One of our progressing investigators (we have 4 now, which is 4
more than before) is reading the Book of Mormon and praying every day.
I call her every night and explain a scripture story to her, then she
reads it and prays about it.  She's doing really good right now.
    We had a going-away party with the Nakazatos for Elder Purba just
in case he left.  He's been here for 7.5 months!  We went to Sushiro
and had a ton of sushi.  Naturally, Miyuki wouldn't let us pay and
forced us to eat more than we wanted to.  She's so nice it hurts
sometimes.  My stomach and her wallet.  Speaking of which, we moved
Ichihara Shimai's furniture around for her and then she literally
dragged Elder Purba (I had to follow) into a buffet and made us eat a
ridiculous amount of vegetables.  It was good but I didn't really need
6 plates of it.
    We had splits and Elder Watabe and I were together this time.  We
ran into a Less Active member that Elder Purba and I had been trying
to contact for 3 months on the street and I was able to introduce
myself to her.  We invited her to church and she said she'd try to
start coming again.  I Facebook messaged a college student I met a
while back asking if we could meet again and he said yes!  We're
mutually very excited.  Elder Watabe and I visited another Less Active
named Jun and invited him to church and he said he'd try to bring a
friend too!  Elder Purba and Elder Johnson managed to find a new
investigator during the splits and called a Former Investigator who
wants to meet again and learn more!  While Elder Purba and I were
trying to find the new investigator's house we accidentally messed up
and knocked on the "wrong" door.  A college girl came out and we were
just like, "why not?  Let's try to teach her."  Turns out she has some
interest and wants to learn English from us.  We asked if we could
come back and she said yes.
    And lastly we have Jonivar.  He's a jacked Filipino guy who has a
crazy job that keeps him from coming to church sometimes.  He flies in
a helicopter to the top of electrical towers and paints them.  But if
the weather is bad he can't do it and gets the day off.  Well the past
2 Sundays it's rained so he came to church.  This week we taught him
how to pray and he said he'd pray every day from now on.  We also
talked about the Restoration and asked him if he believes it.  He said
yes and wants to get baptized!  We just have to make sure he
understands everything first and is ready for baptism.  I think he
will definitely get baptized.  :):):)  I've been waiting a long time
for this so I'm going to work really hard to get him ready.
    I forgot to mention Transfer Calls.  Elder Purba will go to Kiryu
West and become Zone Leader there.  His area will be Koiwa, which is
famous for its big and supportive Ward.  The #1 most supportive Ward
in the mission.  As for me, I will be staying in Kisarazu because
President Nagano still has work for me here.  I'm the new District
Leader and I will also be training.  It's a lot of new
responsibilities at once, so wish me luck.  I'll need it.  My District
has changed a little bit.  Elder Purba and Elder Watabe are both
becoming Zone Leaders somewhere else.  Elder Johnson and I are staying
and training.  Also worthy of note, Elder Beckstrand and Elder
Jackson, my MTC companions, both became District Leaders!
     I'm looking forward to a great next transfer and hope I can
improve enough to handle it.  Wish me luck!

A store at the mall where Ichihara Shimai took us to get lunch.
Elder Purba's Catch of the day.

The whole Sugimoto family.  This picture in itself was a huge miracle because the daughter on the far left never come inside if the missionaries are over.  She did this time. :)

Elder Rogers

Monday, September 5, 2016

Beach Olymipics for Zone P-Day

I'm just going to start off by saying that I am very satisfied with
how this week went.  It had its ups and downs but I'd say the good
outweighed the bad.

     Last week we found some Potential Investigators during splits and
this week we went to visit them again.  One of them sadly chose to
quit Christianity, however, the other is a young mom and her mother
was Protestant so she's open to learning about Christianity.  She's
fine with us teaching her.  Yay!  We had English Class and our artist
friend came.  He draws comics and then gives us the rough drafts.  We
also had a new student named Haruka come and she was interested in the
church too.  Our artist friend started to teach her about Joseph Smith
and the gold plates.  We didn't even know he knew that!  One of our
members who was there decided to join in and they started teaching
Haruka right there!  It was super cool and because of it Haruka wants
to meet and learn more.  After English Class we went to visit a Less
Active member named Jun.  He owns a karaoke food bar by the station so
we went there to see if he was working.  He was there and he sat us
down, fed us, and told us that he wanted to come back to church.  He
also is going to bring some friends with him!  Ever since he met us a
few weeks ago he's been telling his friends about us and inviting them
to church.  He's super cool.
     We pull weeds for service sometimes and this week we pulled weeds
for Sanae-san.  She used to be an investigator years ago so we had
hope she could start learning again.  We shared a message with her
about God lightening our burdens when we pray and she decided she
wanted to start praying every day.  She also likes the Book of Mormon
and wants to read it every day.  I call her every night to see what
she learned from her reading and she told me she really wants to be a
Christian.  We've got a lot of hope for her.
     Elder Purba found a golden investigator on splits last week but
hadn't been able to meet him since then.  We stopped by his house but
he wasn't home and he wouldn't answer his phone.  We feared the worst
and decided to try to visit him one last time.  On the way to his
house we saw him biking down the sidewalk and were able to talk to
him.  His parents are super opposed to the church because they're
extremely narrow minded but he likes us and wants to meet anyway.  He
will be meeting us every week from now on to learn English and gospel!
     It was fast Sunday this week and we had an investigator show up
to church.  His name is Jonivar and he was an investigator like 6 or 7
months ago but finally got work off and made it to church.  He's a
jacked Filipino guy and he's super nice.  He stayed for all three
hours and spent some time with us after church.  We broke the fast
together and then taught him.  We started from the Creation and went
up until the Restoration.  We went really in depth but he got all of
it.  Takashi, our only youth, helped us teach a little bit too.  We
asked Jonivar if he wanted to follow Jesus by being baptized and he
said when he's learned about Joseph Smith more, yes.  Super happy
moment. :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Well that's about it.  Lots of awesome things happened.  Now we're
going to Beach Olympics for Zone P-Day!.........Ok, so we went to Zone
P-Day and we did a beach olympics.  There was volleyball, a football
throw, a sandcastle building contest, and a dizzy relay race.  In the
end, our District came out victorious!  We got a traffic cone spray
painted gold for it.

Elder Rogers