Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween!

First off, Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you had...wait, it's not even night yet and I'm like 15 hours ahead of America. Hmmm, hope you WILL have a happy Halloween! They don't really do anything for it here. We went to the supermarket and they played KidzBop Halloween songs but that's about it. This week we talked to a lot of school kids. We made friends with some but none are new investigators yet. One older guy called us and asked if we were the English teachers. We said yes and ran down to meet him and teach him. His name is Matsuo Suzuki if you do it family name last like an American. He's 56 and retired. He met missionaries a while back and recognized our nametags and uniform. Since he's free and likes to read we have him a Book of Mormon. He thought it was pretty cool and we even read some with him. No new young investigators but better late (in life) than never! We visited the Nakazatos after a while and Moe-chan was feeling better. So good that she was actually heading out with her big group of friends. We were told where they were going and what they were doing, but not officially invited so we didn't go. We thought about crashing the party but couldn't decide so we had a blessed coin toss decide for us. We didn't crash the party this time. Maybe next time. Jonivar got assaulted at work. Luckily he controlled himself and didn't snap the other guy in half over his knee. He's big and tough so he only had a slight headache. He also got a few days off work. We visited him and brought him some candy to numb the pain. He was very appreciative. His doorbell is broken so we actually broke into his house and just walked around calling his name until he found us. He was so surprised and happy. He's been studying the Bible and Book of Mormon A LOT recently and we had a big miracle happen actually. He has a new scripture of the day, obviously every day. Well one morning he calls us to share his scripture of the day with us. We meant to give him a reading assignment last lesson but forgot. He opens up and starts reading and it's the exact scripture! I was like, "how did you find that scripture!?" He didn't know, he just felt like he should read it. He also feels like God is telling him to get baptized. Before he had trouble accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet but now he completely accepts him as a prophet. We asked him if there was anything that would keep him from getting baptized now and he said, "nothing." We set a new baptismal date for November 27th, the same day as Yi! Speaking of Yi, she's going to start coming to church next Sunday! She's the #1 investigator in the mission and I'm so glad Sister Domino told me about her. Recently Sister Domino has been sending me a lot of people's information so I could contact them. I got ahold of 2 of them already and they both want to come to church! Sister Domino is a miracle worker! I really wish she could be here to see how her former investigators are doing but we'll see if she comes back. For now it's just me and Elder Wilcox. Anyway, back to Yi. She's way cool. She read all the way up to the Isaiah chapters and then decided to start asking a lot of questions. I showed her a verse in 2Nephi chapter 25 that says that if you aren't a Jew you won't understand and that made everyone feel better. It also says you'll understand it as it happens so there. I had her skip the Isaiah chapters and focus back on the "plain and precious truths" of the gospel. I'm so glad I've been blessed enough to work with Yi. She's really as prepared as you can possibly get. She was practically a Mormon before I started teaching her! Mikami is my farmer investigator friend. He's like 53 years old or something but something about working in a rice field all day makes his muscles just huge and rock solid. I'm supposed to be in my prime but here I am looking at this old guy wishing I had a body like him! Anyway, we rode our bikes way out to his house the other night and talked to him about how he was doing with reading the Book of Mormon. He was worried because it seemed hard. I asked why and he said it was pretty thick. He thought I wanted him to read the whole thing between visits! Ha! I told him not to worry, it's ok to just read a few pages at a time. That made him feel better. We read Moroni 10:3-5 with him and taught him how to know the Book of Mormon is true through prayer. He thought it sounded good so he agreed to read and pray every day. And finally, the Halloween party. We spent all week inviting kids to the party. Night and day we worked. Blood, sweat and tears were shed. People may have died, I don't know. No, it wasn't that serious. But despite our best efforts no one came. Which is a shame really because it was totally awesome. There was a costume contest (I went as a missionary and nailed it), musical chairs to KidzBop Halloween songs, donut eating races, etc. At the end there was even a surprise Russian Roulette game where everyone ate a cream puff at the same time. 3 of them had Wasabi in them. "Trick or Treat!" Elder Rogers PS - I'll send some pictures later, sorry I don't have them now.

Monday, October 24, 2016

I'm staying!!! :) :) :)

So I already spoiled it. We got transfer calls today and I'm staying in Kisarazu! President Nagano kept his word and saw fit to leave me here for a little longer. Actually maybe a lot longer. I may spend half of my mission here. I'm so happy I can stay here and actually finish up some of what I've started. Something you might find interesting is that once you get decent at one language it's really easy to pick up on other languages. I'm teaching myself Tagalog and Chinese. Now the crazy part is that Chinese is waaaay easier for me. Kanji and everything. I just can't do the Tagalog thing very well. It's even written using our alphabet and should be the far easier one to learn. I mean Chinese has like 9 tones! But to me Chinese is actually easier. The grammar structure is the same as English so I just have to memorize words and how to say them. I think despite what everyone says about Chinese, it's probably in reality easier to learn than Japanese. Now I'm not sure, that's just what I think. Anyway, the reason why I'm trying to learn these additional languages is because I am now teaching a few people from both groups, Chinese and Filipino people. There's some cool stories behind that that I'll get to later. So from the top, last P-day Jonivar came back from Saitama. We went out to lunch with him and a member for his birthday. At the restaurant we went to there was this group of middle school girls staring at me. Now that's not unusual, I'm white, so I just kind of ignored it but then one of them was like, "Do you remember us?" No. I see so many Japanese schoolgirls everyday there's no way I can keep track of them all. Then she's like, "we met over there and I showed you how to get to a park." Then I remembered. Elder Purba and I had met them like 3 months ago while we were lost and they gave us directions. They go to the same school as Moe and we talked to their principal about volunteering there. Unfortunately the principal didn't need our help for anything and we couldn't start volunteering at the school. Oh well. Maybe next time. We had a conference with Elder Bednar and all of the missionaries in Tokyo and Tokyo South came. There were like 300 odd missionaries there. Actually not odd, we come in twos. Anyway it was really awesome and Elder Bednar can read minds. He's also really funny when he doesn't have to behave the same as at General Conference. He told jokes and messed with some of the missionaries and it was funny. He didn't make any missionaries do anything but he looked at one Elder and was like, "Elder, what is you're name?" Then he said, "Ok, so I just asked this Elder his name. I haven't even asked him to do anything hard or to even do anything and he's already shaky and sweating a little bit!" So Elder Bednar knew it made people uncomfortable to be called on so he never called on anyone in the conference. Lots of missionaries asked good questions and got feedback from him and other missionaries and it was really cool. We had Splits this week with the Chosei Elders and Elder Johnson and I went down to Kamogawa. That's where Yi lives and we taught her a lesson with the Branch President's family. It was really good. Yi's testimony is so strong now. She said, "I used to be confused and not know why I was here. But now I've learned and prayed and I KNOW that what they've taught me is true. I KNOW God loves me and I KNOW what my purpose is." She said it in Japanese though. She's super cool. She's my new best friend because I've never met anyone as prepared as her. No one I know of in our entire mission is as amazing as her. We taught her all of the lessons in 3 days! She's reading the Book of Mormon with me (we're racing) and she always wins. Since I'm staying for at least one more transfer I get to baptize her too! How sweet is that! This Sunday Iwasaki Kyoudai, Jonivar, and Sanae all came to church. Iwasaki is semi less active but comes when we remind him. Jonivar just barely got back from Saitama but made it to church. Sanae has only ever been to church 1 time before but wants to start coming regularly! Amazing! Things are just working out great here in Kisarazu and I'm so blessed to be here right now. I'm getting real close to my year mark now. It's amazing how fast it's gone by. I can already tell it's going to be over before I know it. I love this work. I know I'm exactly where I need to be. I know that what I'm doing as a servant of the Lord can and is changing people's lives for the better. I've seen the power that comes from being faithful and obeying God's commandments. I know that doing so is the only way to find true happiness. I've seen the change this gospel brings into people's lives as they come to know the truth. I love being a missionary. Elder Rogers
Yi is in the middle.  On the left is Liu and we will be teaching her soon.
Cutting my hair at Jonivar's house.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I'm Thankful for....

Hey so I know it's not even Halloween yet but right now I'm living in Thanksgiving. Not because I'm eating a lot, I'm just thankful. There's so much to be happy about right now so I'll just get started. This week was not only really fun but also full of miracles. On Monday last week we went to Sea World. It was way fun. They had dolphin shows and a backflipping killer whale etc. It was probably the most fun I've had on a P-Day. I'm actually thinking of going back again. We were able to talk to some people here and met a family who recently moved in pretty near our apartment. They think we're pretty nice and cool because of our white skin and high bridges. We invited them to come to our English class and they said they'd love to talk to us again. That wasn't actually the cool part though. Our Chinese investigator, Yi (it's pronounced EE but spelled with a Y. I don't know), lives like 5 minutes walking from Sea World so it was easy to visit her. We actually went there for her but Sea World just happened to be there so we went. Anyway, we visited her with our Branch President and his wife. Turns out they're neighbors and work in the same hospital! We taught Yi the Restoration and the Higashis (Branch Pres. and wife) are PERFECT missionaries! The lesson was the best I've ever seen and Yi loved it. We gave her a Chinese BOM and she's been reading it every day. I asked her if I could Skype her every night and she said ok. We ended up teaching her all of the lessons in less than a week and had to move her baptismal date sooner. She's getting baptized on November 26th now and I'm so excited! She's already so pure. When I taught her the commandments she's like, "I can do that. Doesn't seem to be a problem." She's really changing her life and she's just the happiest person you could know. She's definitely my favorite investigator so far. But don't tell my other investigators that. One of our other investigators, Jonivar, is doing ok now. He's been in Saitama for a while which is really far away so we haven't been able to meet but we can skype. He had a baptismal date for last Saturday but he wasn't here. We'll have to reschedule for a day he will be here. He's doing pretty good and has also been taught all of the lessons, we just have to check at he really understands all of it. His native language is Tagalog and even though he's really good at English it can be hard for him sometimes. We're going to hang out with him today and help him understand some things he's confused about. Moe-chan has me worried right now. She passed out in the street and rode in an ambulance 3 times last week. She's stuck at home resting for a while. I really want to help in any way that I can and offered her a priesthood blessing but haven't gotten a response yet. I know it would really help so I talked to my Branch President about it and he taught me how to do it in Japanese. I just want to do everything I can to keep these people safe and offer them all the blessings that this gospel has made possible. They don't know how many ways this gospel can really help them. We've been going around to schools and talking to principals trying to set up appointments with them. We're trying to volunteer at the schools and work with the students more. I talked to one principal and he said it was ok as long as I could get the Board of Education's approval. O-Kaaaaay. He gave me the address and I said a prayer then went on over. I threw out every qualification I had and asked if they were ok with me going into schools and they said sure. WOOHOO! I just have to go individually talk to the principals and if they give me the green light I'm good. We went to a festival down at a beach town in our area with our youth, Takashi. Apparently I looked a lot like a regular college student because usually people are semi nervous about talking to me. Not this time. I got several people asking me for my number but they were all girls and I don't think they were interested in what I had to say concerning the church. Now I know why they make us white guys wear white shirts and ties. Lol. It was fun to see the crazy Japanese culture including parades, samurai fights, and Arks of the Covenant.

Monday, October 10, 2016

第二ふるさと

We weren't in our area for about half of this week but it was
still way awesome!  We had Zone P-Day last Monday and we went bowling.
After that we had 2 crazy miracles.
#1 - Jonivar had been gone for work for a month but had just come back
that day and we were able to meet him!  He's doing really well and
wants to get baptized.
#2 - We got ahold of a referral from Sister Domino named Yi.  She's a
Chinese lady who's super duper nice and ready to hear he gospel.  We
even set a baptismal date with her that night!
     We had Splits with the Zone Leaders and it was pretty cool.  I
personally prefer my own area and don't think there's another in the
world that can top mine but theirs was ok.  I learned a lot from them
and had a good time.
     On Thursday we were going to Skype Yi again but Sanae-san wanted
to meet too.  We asked her if she'd like to join us and talk to Yi and
she said yes.  So our progressing investigator Sanae-san helped us
teach our new investigator Yi.  It went really well and we taught her
some of the Restoration and how to pray.  After we got done teaching
her Jonivar called and since Sanae-san was already there she helped
teach him too.  We taught him why there are so many churches and how
we can know at this one is right.  When I asked Jonivar if we could
pray about it together he thought it was a good idea.  As soon as I
started to pray though, the connection cut out.  The connection was
completely fine before then.  I called again and it was fine so I
started to pray again.  The connection cut again.  This process
happened 5 times in a row exactly the same.  It would be fine and then
as soon as I started praying it would cut out.  Satan.  He sure was
trying to stop me.  I said a prayer that the connection would work and
the next time it did.  Ha!  Take that Satan!  Jonivar felt he spirit
and knew what we had taught him was true.
     One of our Less Active members has become active again because we
kept telling him we love him and invited him to church with us.  He
participates in all of the lessons and really is changing.  He even
came and watched General Conference with us!  Most of the missionaries
had completely given up on him but if we withhold judgement and really
treat people the way God would, they often become what you expect of
them.  I think he will be a great member and even be able to bring
others into the church.
     Can I just say, THIS CONFERENCE WAS SO GOOD!  I absolutely loved
it!  If you haven't watched it, go home and watch it.  If you don't
have time to watch all of it, watch it one talk at a time.  I promise
it'll be worth it.
     Our Branch President and his wife are amazing.  This Sunday
Higashi Shimai brought food and made lunch for us.  It was taco rice
so I was way happy.  They also helped us teach Yi today.  We took a 2
hour bus ride down to Kamogawa and visited Yi at her apartment.  The
Higashis helped us teach her and they are perfect missionaries.  They
made friends with her right away, found out her religious background
and built on  similarities, found out what she wants most in life and
taught how the gospel helps us achieve our desires, taught her really
simply and made sure she understood by asking good questions, and even
brought a present!  I was so surprised, they were absolutely
perfect!!!  We gave Yi a Chinese BOM and she said she'll read it and
pray every night.  She's such a perfect investigator!
     On a less important note, we also went to the Kamogawa Sea Workd
since we were already there.  We got there just in time to see all the
shows.  There was a beluga whale show, a dolphin show, a sea lion
show, and even a killer whale show.  Hey we're all awesome, especially
the killer whale show.  I didn't actually see the killer whale show
very well but I know it was awesome by the way all the people in front
of me were "ooh"ing and "ahh"ing.  It was really fun and made me want
to look into getting a job at Sea World where I can ride a whale.  If
I could just do a ton of different jobs just for fun... well I guess
that's what Heaven is for, right? :)
     It was a great week and I love it here.  I love the people so
much.  They're my BFFs.  Best Friend Forevers?  You know what I mean.
I don't know where I'm going after my mission but I know I want to
stay close.  As for right now, I just want to stay here as long as I
can.

I love you all too!

Elder Rogers









Monday, October 3, 2016

I need young people!

Hello family and friends,

    This week we had Temple P-day.  It was awesome.  We went out to
lunch with some other elders afterwards and had pizza.  Then we
basically spent the rest of the day coming home.  We were able to
contact a referral named Yi, graciously sent to me from my friend
Sister Domino.  Yi is a young Chinese woman.  We're not sure how old
she is, she could be 19, she could be 30, we can't really tell because
she's Chinese.  But she's super nice and wants to come to church when
she can.  Now I just have to find a way to get here there.  The Branch
President said he'd drive her because he lives right next to her, so
it shouldn't be a problem.
     We had lunch with one of our investigators, Sanae-san.  She's
really nice and wants to be Christian.  We taught her the WOW and she
thought it was kind of hard but understood why we have it and
committed to live it.  She even called me the next day to tell me she
hadn't drank any of the forbidden teas!  Here's something my American
friends probably don't know: Mormons can drink some teas.  The teas we
can't drink are the ones made from tea LEAVES.  So Oolong Tea, Green
Tea, and that British Tea are all bad.  But Mugicha and Sobacha etc.
are all ok.  They're ok because they aren't made from the harmful and
addicting part of the plant.  Weird right?  Bet you didn't know that.
Anyway, she's keeping the WOW and she's doing great.  We're excited
for her.  She also has a month off of work so we can probably meet
with her a lot.
     Our English class has basically turned into group lessons.  Our
students come in and start asking questions and then we just start
teaching them.  It's super cool.  One of our students was like, "Yeah,
Joseph Smith had a good bible right?"  And I was just like, "How do
you even know that!?"  Turns out he met the missionaries like 50yrs
ago and read some of the BOM.  He had lost it so I gave him a new one
and he said he'd read it.
     We're trying to find young people to teach (we'll take anyone of
course, I just prefer young people because they're the future) by
going to a lot of the High Schools around us and talking to the kids
there.  I've recently gotten better at getting people's phone numbers
so we traded phone numbers with a lot of kids.  I also talked to the
teachers and offered to come help teach the students sometime.  One
teacher told me to get lost but another teacher has worked with me
before and likes me.  Bruni Sensei said she'd look for something I can
do and then she'd love to have us come back sometime.  The kids really
like us and it's just good to be around them.  I miss being around
young people.  We only have one youth here right now so we're working
hard to change that.

By the way his email doesn't have to just be one-way.  You can send me
ideas for how to be better, tips to find more young'uns, activity
ideas, I'll take anything.  If you've got something you think could
help I'm all ears.
Love you,

Elder Rogers