Monday, November 6, 2017

When the tag comes off....

Today I started Transfer 17, of 16.
     But that’s because the secret is that missions never end! I may be only a few days away from getting released and no longer being a full-time missionary, but I can still serve full-time. When you leave the mission you leave the field, but you take the mission back with you. Because you yourself have changed your world around you seems to have changed. I probably won’t be running around in a white shirt and tie on a bike but I will still have opportunities to stand for what I believe and talk about my religion in a respectful and non threatening/pushy way. It will be a lot more relaxed, which I’m very thankful for. Fast-paced religion is so tiring😂

     This was my last week, this was my time to go way hard! But in actuality I hardly left the apartment all week. Elder Otani got sick at the beginning of the week on like Monday or Tuesday and the doctor made him sleep until Wednesday. Luckily we had Splits and I got to leave the apartment while another Elder took care of Elder Otani. On my day out of the house we went and visited Takashi, ate at the Chinese restaurant again (without hurting ourselves), and taught the English class. Tomorrow will be my last time doing that class. It will also be my last time visiting Mizuno Shimai at the top of her crazy steep mountain.
     Then as soon as Elder Otani got better.................I got a fever 🤒
So for the remainder of the week I was the one the doctor forced to sleep. It’s so boring sleeping all day until it’s time to sleep. You run out of things to dream about if you’re not creative like me. And then you just wake up. I wish I could’ve been doing something else but I think I really needed a few days to just crash and not do anything. I slept for like 3 days only getting up to eat or go to the bathroom with no problem. I did not realized just how beat I am. But hey, at least I know I gave it my all. I’m glad I got to come out and serve the Lord for a good 2 years. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t always sunny, it was cold more often than not, but it was all worth it.
     In my last testimony for the members yesterday I talked about how when we sacrifice for God it’s not even really that hard of a sacrifice. We KNOW we’re going to get blessings for it. In most people’s minds I think they imagine giving up something and getting something of approximately equal value from God. Maybe it’s like a 10 or 20% increase. I don’t know how everyone thinks 🤷🏻‍♂️. But in reality the Lord said that whatever we give up for His sake shall be rewarded unto us 100fold! That can hardly be called a sacrifice, that’s a scam! “I’ll give you $1 and then you give me $100.” Yeah. And yet, sometimes it’s really hard to give him the dollar. Because we can’t see that He’s got a Franklin behind His back. I know when we have faith and we’re able to trust the Lord that good things will come. He’s never like that one kid in 4th grade that just can’t seem to remember borrowing five bucks from you. He keeps perfect track of us and he’s always got enough to pay you back, with interest.
     I know God loves each and every one of us. I know He cares about us and takes care of us. I know He’s in the big and little things of our lives. He’s in the good, bad, and in between times if we let Him. He is our best friend and my biggest support. He is my friend and I love Him. I’m so grateful that because of my service as a missionary I feel I can say that. Because of my service here I feel that I really do have a personal connection with my Heavenly Father, and that it’s a good one. I invite everyone to reach out to Him and make or strengthen your own relationship. You won’t regret it. 

Elder Rogers

Monday, October 30, 2017

Still not trunky

Hello everybody!
This is not quite my last email. It's my second to last. But I'm still not trunky. Funny enough I did pack my suitcase today. But I've still got the missionary mindset! I'm all in for the last week! It's funny to think how I thought that 2 years was going to be like this eternity and it would never end.....and now it's about to. I'll talk about that later.

     For this week it was still raining a lot, which has become my least favorite thing ever. We couldn't find anyone outside and people didn't want to come to the door so we figured they must all be inside playing on their phones. So we looked through our records and started calling all the people that used to have Baptismal dates or were really good investigators. Most of them were still really cool! They remembered missionaries and were happy to talk again. Almost all said they'd love to meet again sometime and if we can get a specific date on that we'll really have something going! One lady we called came to our Halloween party and brought cupcakes!
     Even though it was raining we decided we'd better go visit our friend Lee at his work, Bamboo Grill. So we went just as his shift started and there were no customers. It turns out that even though he starts work at 6 most people don't come until 9 or 10. So he just sits there bored. He was way happy to see us and naturally he fed us for free again. I wonder if I'll ever have to pay there? I asked the price and was happy it's always free. We were able to answer some of his questions about Resurrection vs Reincarnation and Degrees of Glory vs just Heaven or Hell. He said he'd love to meet again and keep learning!
     One annoying thing that turned into a miracle happened on the day we had scheduled to do District Meeting with the Zone Leaders. I went to get on the train and this lady who was probably a new worker at the train station runs down the stairs and stops me from getting in the train. She said You're not allowed on this train! When I asked her why she told me I had to break down my bike smaller so it could fit in a suitcase. That's not a thing by the way. Japan makes bags specifically for putting bikes that don't fit into suitcases in. Anyway, I told her I had done this at least once a week for about a year in Kisarazu and never had a problem. Plus, the bag I had was made in Japan for that purpose. She still wouldn't let me on the train and so I decided I'd just run around once we got to the meeting because we had to go. I asked if I could leave my bike and board the train without it and she made me take it out of the station to a parking spot. So of course we missed the train and I had to put my bike outside. We come back and the next train gets us there late for the starting time of the meeting. So I call the Elders and ask them how we should work it out and they tell me there's an extra bike at their apartment but I'll have to run over to get it. It's a 10 minute run if you go pretty fast in church shoes. So I made the next train and ran to get the bike. We made it to the meeting an hour late. And I was in charge. Whoops! We subsequently ended late, but only a little bit. Then we went out to eat at a place of my recommendation together. While there this lady sat down at the counter next to me and another Elder I was eating with. As we walked out of the shop she followed us all and said, Are you Mormon? In the end she became a new investigator and decided to come to church! If I hadn't missed the train and been so late we would've never crossed paths with her! There really are no coincidences.
     Then to finish off the week we had our Halloween party. Takashi and Elder Otani worked way hard to make a riddle, puzzle, Book of Mormon story game and it turned out way awesome! There was food, costumes, a hard mystery game, it was sweet! I made pumpkin pie with the can of pumpkin my mom sent me last year and my own recipe I made up and it was not disgusting! It was actually surprisingly good. I'm sorry, I don't have any of my own pictures. I only have pictures I got from other people.
     And today we went with Brother Sugimoto to collect spring water for his family. Then he took us for a drive to a famous waterfall that looks like a heart when the light comes in from the right angle. After that he drove us down to see the ocean in Kamogawa, they'll do the surfing Olympics near there. The we went around to Tateyama to get Sushi. And finally he drove us back home and we saw Mt. Fuji. Then I was full and tired and fell asleep in the car. It was way nice and I was so happy he did that for us.

 I love the people. I love the place. I love the weather today (unless it's raining right now and I don't know it). I love that my friends are here and that they're so nice to me and fun to be around. I love that I still get to be a missionary and serve the Lord full time for the little time I have left. I'm so grateful for the 2 years I've been blessed with and even though I complain about it being cold and wet a lot I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm glad I decided to come, and I'm even more glad I decided to stay. I try hard not to cry when the young missionary in my District makes jokes about me ending because you really do get attached to the lifestyle of a missionary. You don't want to stop helping people. But the truth is it has to end sometime. The good news is that you never have to really stop helping people because anyone can make a good difference in the world. You don't have to be rich, famous, or wear a white shirt and tie. Just bringing a little sunshine wherever you go is enough to brighten someone's day.

Elder Rogers






Monday, October 23, 2017

Rain rain go away

     So it’s been raining for like 2 weeks straight with only one day of sun. That’s absolutely devastating as a missionary for several reasons. For one, you almost HAVE to go outside your apartment unless there’s a natural calamity of the 2nd coming. If it’s just freezing cold rain that’s 100% sure to make you sick, nope that’s not an excuse, you still have to go out. And even though we have to go out, no one else has those kind of rules so there is NO ONE outside no matter how hard you look. You just go freeze and get wet. So you figure everyone must be inside and it would be a good idea to knock doors. Well, Japanese people are probably clinically certifiably allergic to rain. They will not touch it or go near it. They’ll cancel everything for a few drops. So when you knock on their door they’ll just ignore it. So yeah, we had some rainy days. I personally don’t mind rain at all, but there could be absolutely nothing worse for missionary work.
     Today it’s a typhoon day and it blew in last night making it quite impossible to sleep. But today’s Pday and we’re locked in the apartment so I think I’ll get a nap. Or I’ll deep clean.
     Alright I’ll rewind to the beginning of this week. On Tuesday we went to Tateyama to see Takashi and teach some English. We walked into the mall where we usually eat lunch with Takashi but he wasn’t in our usual spot. I could see the whole food court and knew he wasn’t in there, but I felt like I needed to walk towards the back of the food court. I thought “that’s a waste of time, you’re just trying to avoid work” but my legs moved me over there anyway. It turns out that it wasn’t so much about me looking for something as being looked at by someone. I heard a lady say in perfect English, “Elder!” What? I didn’t know anyone besides Takashi that could speak English here. So I look to see who the miracle lady is and the next thing she says is, “where’s the church around here?” Words every missionary loves to hear. She introduced herself as Sister Shimaura from Thailand and she had just moved here from near one of my previous areas with her Japanese husband. 2 new Branch members! And one of them already has the priesthood! The Branch had been praying for that actually because (this is a secret) our Branch President is moving out and so is one of our old guys.....and Takashi is moving in with me so....they’re low on priesthood holders. How low? Like final round limbo low. There’s the 1st councilor, his 13 year old son, and one more old guy in his 60s? That’s pretty few. If one family got sick the Branch disappears for a week! So they said, “missionaries, you’ve got to find us some priesthood holders.” So when we fatefully ran into Sister Shimaura it was the answer to a prayer!
     We also had Splits with the ZLs which was a huge miracle day. Miracle number 1 being that it didn’t rain (every day before and after it’s rained). The first guy we stopped to talk to spoke Japanese a little funny. When we asked him where he was from he said China. I thought that was an awesome chance to practice Chinese so I tried it and it worked! Score for gift of tongues when you just really need it! Then we found 2 college kids who became new investigators and want to come to church. Then we found another college kid who took a Book of Mormon and became a new investigator. So many miracles! (That’s not all, there were a lot more but if I tell you everything now you won’t have anything to talk to me about in 2 weeks).
     I had a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday and I didn’t know how many other speakers there were. So I decided I’d better prepare a lot of material in case I got nervous and talked fast or if I needed to fill a lot of time. I was the second speaker and I thought I was also the last but then the Patriarch came and they asked him to talk to at the end. So I thought I’d just get done and whatever time was left for him he could cover. So I intended to leave him a big chunk of time but instead I started talking and then realized it had been awhile since I looked at the clock, I looked and there were only 5 minutes left of sacrament meeting! So I paraphrased and skipped what was left (which was a remaining 1/3 of my talk) and let him speak. Turns out he wasn’t the only speaker waiting! Sister Sensui stood up, said she had no time so she’d give it to the Patriarch, and sat back down. Whoops 😬. Never thought I’d be that guy. After church we got rice balls from Sister Higashi which were really good. I ate one and then she gave me another one. Then I realized Wenting hadn’t eaten anything so I started to give it to her. But Sister Higashi’s daughter, Ibuki-chan, decided to spit up on it (it was wrapped up in plastic so it didn’t get ruined). We cleaned up Ibuki-chan and Sister Higashi and the rice ball and then without thinking I gave it to Wenting anyway. The rice ball was still fine but it was probably weird knowing Ibuki-Chan just threw up on the wrapper. Wenting ate it though, lol. The Sophie came for her Japanese Lesson even though it was typhooning way hard. At the same time Takashi came down from his Patriarchal Blessing and so we talked a little about that. My first question was, “did you cry?” No. So my next question was naturally, “how many kids are you gonna have?” To which he replied at least one. Takashi wants like 10 kids by the way.

It was a good week. It rained on us a lot and I froze my butt off because my bike seat loves to fill with water and make me have a wet butt all day, but(if I were talking this would be punny) it was still a good week because we had a lot of fun. We even got to celebrate Jonivar’s 27th birthday with him at King BBQ! That’s an all you can eat meat etc. place and he loves to eat! We went way hard and hurt ourselves a little bit in the best way. Personally I never ever ever want to make myself hurt from a meal ever again after my mission but during my mission my body is not mine and it gets abused to make others happy. Whatever. It’s been a good experience so far.

Elder Rogers

Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 4 of 6 of Transfer 16 of 16

This week was good.
Highlight Reel One day:

We went and got Chinese buffet with Takashi and he treated us so hard. He bought so much that we almost threw up and had to recover afterwards. Then we went to Tateyama English Class and Elder Otani taught the adult class (Wenting had the day off and came!) and I taught the little kids. I don't know what they did in the adult class but it must not have been as fun as the kid class because they only laughed a couple of times and over in the kids side we played games, sang songs, and laughed at our teacher....me! Fun times.

Another day: We went housing all day for Splits in Chosei and since it's super country we found free fruit trees and stuff and brought home a fruit feast with variety! Yummy! We also got ahold of Liu and she's read all of the missionaries' pamphlets...twice! She apologized for not finishing the Book of Mormon yet, lol.

One more day: we had church and afterwards our New Zealander friend Sophie came for a Japanese Lesson. We were teaching her and then she just randomly asked how the church was organized. She usually has random questions but that one I was super prepared for. We ended up basically teaching her all about the Restoration and Joseph Smith and President Monson. It was cool. Then Jojo fed us. Pictures below.

Most days (including today): it rained and was cold.

Elder Rogers

Monday, October 9, 2017

Short and sweet

Not really much happened this week.
I’ll just write a little about one event I guess since it’s like the only thing I remember.

We went to Tateyama with Takashi and invited him with us to a Mizuno Shimai’s house, the old lady who lives at the top of the mountain I crashed down.
We had lunch with her and shared a message. Then we started coming back home. I told everyone not to go too fast and crash down the mountain because that’s bad. I told everyone about 15 times. Takashi flew past me at like 40 somethin’ kms an hour and I told him, “slow down!”
Apparently the wind was in his ears and he couldn’t hear me.
When I got to the bottom of the mountain I saw him laying on the side of the road.
I thought, there’s no way he really crashed. I told him not to.
But the skid marks and the scrape on the guardrail proved that he had in fact crashed. We checked his damage out and it was actually fairly minimal, just one long scratch.
He survived better than me and he’s completely fine now.

That’s about all the stuff I can remember from this week.
Sorry 😐 my memory is bad plus this week really was just super boring.
I’ll try to be interesting meet week.
Until then, please still love me.
(Don’t unsubscribe, lol)
Elder Rogers

I got hungry for pizza one day.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The miracle of sacrifice

Well I feel like I just wrote to you all yesterday and that I've already told you all of this but maybe that's just me. Things have been speeding up recently. This is already week 2 of the Transfer.
   
      As far as events for the week go, not much happened. We didn't really go anywhere. We just stayed right here in Kisarazu. We did have a Family Home Evening with some of the Branch members and it was way fun. We picked the song and prepared the lesson and chose the activity but we had Umetsu Shimai run the show and bring the snacks. We talked about how are bodies are gifts from God and we need to take the best care of them possible, then we gave them donuts. Lol, missionaries.
     Now I'll talk about the miracle of sacrifice everyone wants to hear about. Last week Saturday we went with Takashi and Wenting to the temple in Tokyo for baptisms for the dead. It was such a great experience right before the temple closed and Takashi really liked his first time. After we got done with baptisms we went out for a day in Tokyo. I wanted everyone to have fun so I had planned on treating them to a good lunch and stuff. Well because Wenting is Chinese and she can't go onto American soil unless she asks 30 days in advance we had to change plans and I felt bad. So I took them to a different restaurant that I knew was really good and I'm friends with the owner. We went and got some really good Turkish food and then I rushed to pay for everyone. I got the missionary discount but it was still expensive to pay for everyone. I still wanted to make it up to everyone so I bought them some ice cream too. I didn't tell them how low I was on cash, I just wanted them to have a good time. So I went back to the American hotel and bought them some American snacks from inside. Then I was really low on cash. They tried to pay me back but I told them it was my treat and I'd get blessings for it so not to worry. However I knew I would probably go without some food on a couple of meals that week because of it. But hey, they're my best friends and how often do you get to go to Tokyo and show them a good time? The answer is once in 2 years as a missionary. So I figured it was worth fasting a little, fasting is good for you anyway, right? Now my mom is worrying that I'm an idiot but it really wasn't that bad. I would've been able to survive until the end of the month when I got my allowance.
      Anyway, I was fully expecting the blessings received to come in the form of them being happy for that day. I was right and wrong. They were very happy that day and we all had a great time. BUT, what I didn't know was that God would take care of all my needs because He takes care of His missionaries. I did not go hungry this week. In fact I was fed so much I started to worry about my health a little bit.
      First we were invited over for lunch with our friends the Padpads before our Japanese Lesson. They gave us all you can eat Filipino food. Then that same day we were invited to a wedding reception at Bamboo Grill. We got there and Jun, the owner, had set out a spot for us at the bar with a ton of food. He told us to eat as much as we wanted and then the groom had us eat some more after that. While there we talked to the chef, a nice young and handsome Filipino guy named Lee, and became friends. He actually had interest in missionaries and opened up to us enough that we found out he's looking for purpose in his life. He became a new investigator. When Jun saw that we were serious and actually worked even at a party he came over and gave us another referral on the spot! The next day I still had no money and couldn't buy groceries but Jonivar invited us over for lunch. We made a feast together and it was so good! He stuffed us until we couldn't move and then we just sat there and taught him and AB Lesson while we recovered. After that Lee invited us back over to Bamboo Grill and while we talked he made us some Chinese and Filipino food. I didn't have the money to pay but before I could even say that a lady sitting in the restaurant said, I"ll pay for those missionaries! Let them eat as much as they want! What!? That never happens! We got free food again! The Sugimotos invited us over for dinner. We had Family Home Evening and the Tandas brought actual food without being asked. They just said, we thought someone might need this. Missionaries, do you have food? How did everyone know!? On top of that this Sunday our fruit basket was overflowing so members had to stuff the fridge full of stuff for us as well. Miracle after miracle after miracle! How!? I'll tell you. God rewards us a hundredfold for every good thing we do. I bought a couple people lunch ONE time, I was fed for a week. Why did that happen? Because God really loves all of us. He knows our circumstances and our needs and He is so eager to help us. He can set anything up He wants to and He set me up to be in the right place at the right time with the right people so that I could get my food for the day....for a week.
      God really does care about even the little things and the little people. He knows and loves each and every one of us. I know that's true. I know He lives and that He has given me this opportunity to go on a mission so I could get closer to Him. I'm so thankful for running out of money and food so that I could see once again how much my Heavenly Father loves me.

Elder Rogers

Monday, September 25, 2017

Transfer 16/16

The time has come. I am now the oldest missionary in the Mission. Except for the ones who either fast-tracked or extend but I won't count them.
      So if the new transfer started that means Transfer Calls were this morning. They called us early and said that Elder Otani and I will be staying together and I will die here in Kisarazu! Yay! It's a dream come true! Did I doubt it? No. My faith was sure, never wavering. I was not driven like a wave driven with the wind and tossed. Ok, that's enough of whatever that was. So main point is I get to finish my mission here in Kisarazu and probably baptize Liu and my new Filipino family called the Padpads. That's pretty cool.
     This week was just a great week in general due in at least part to good cooking. On Monday we went to have Family Home Evening in Kamogawa with the Chinese YSAs and had some authentic Chinese food which is way better than the stuff we get at restaurants I can tell you that. We had a way fun day together although Tai was unable to come due to a biohazard incident at the hospital with a misplaced syringe. That was an interesting call.
"Hey Elder Rogers."
"Hey Tai, what's up?"
"Sorry, I can't come to FHE tonight."
"Why what happened?"
"I'm in quarantine right now because I was cleaning up used syringes and....yeah."
*Chinese friend steals phone and starts going off at 200mph in Chinese*
Elder Rogers, "I'll let you handle that one."
      Well, Tai was fine but someone else may have gotten infected so she had to sit around in the hospital instead of coming to FHE. Bummer. The rest of us had fun. We were having so much fun we lost track of time and thought we might miss our train. Takashi didn't bring his bike so I gave him mine and sprinted for the station. That station is FAR from their apartment! I ran just barely under a sprint for like a mile and a half! It sucked but we made the train with time to spare. We were originally all walking to the train together but after checking my watch I decided it was time to book it and said we'd meet them there if the train hadn't left and then took off. I made it there first followed by Elder Otani and Takashi on bike and was soon followed by Wenting who also decided to run. Liu and Kin made it just before our train left so we were able to say good bye and shake sweaty hands.
      I taught a lot of little and not so little kids English all week long and though it's tiring I think it's really fun and am definitely considering being an English teacher instead or in addition to a PE teacher. I think I just like teaching. Kids, investigators, English, gospel, whatever. So yeah, being a teacher is my dream. I got to teach a Filipino family Japanese he other day and in return they fed me authentic Filipino food! So yummy! I don't think I like any particular food, just about anything will work for me. And to think I used to be so picky. If my mom could see me now!
     Liu is getting ready to be baptized soon. Not much to say other than she's awesome and I'll do my best to send a picture with her in front of the font next month.
     Saturday we took Takashi and Wenting to the temple for Takashi's first time doing baptisms for the dead before it closes on the 30th. I went first and then got to watch Takashi. I changed fast enough that I got to see Wenting and Kaira get baptized too. It was Kaira's first time too since she just turned 12. After we got done with the temple we tried to get food at the American New Sanno Hotel but they told Wenting she couldn't come in because she was Chinese and needed to do a 30 day procedure. She said we should go back again and say she was Japanese later but it wouldn't work. As we were walking away from the gate she said in English loud enough that the gate guard could probably hear, "I hate you." It was pretty hilarious because whenever she speaks English she has a strong Chinese accent that just makes it funny for no reason. Also she's too nice to actually hate the guy. I apologized for my country and ran in with Elder Otani who is Japanese and bought everyone Snickers and Beef Jerky. Then we were all good. We pretty much just wandered around Tokyo looking at cool stuff and having fun. We were all dressed up nice and we looked pretty international: American, Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese so we got a lot of second looks. It was just a great day with my best friends.           Sunday morning I got to Skype in to another baptism! Kuriyama from Mito got baptized on Sunday morning! She had to be baptized 3 times but they say 3rd time's the charm, right? The Elder who baptized her is Elder Hales who I was his first Zone Leader and he actually is joining my District this Transfer! He'll be here on Thursday so it'll be cool to see him.

Things are going great and I almost couldn't be happier. It's just such a blessing to be here I can't put words to it. I wish I was a writer so I could make an attempt but I'll just say: gooooood!

Love, Elder Rogers

(Please ignore that we all look fat in the picture with Tokyo Tower in the back. None of us are fat)






Monday, September 18, 2017

Two missionaries walked into a bar....

Let me start the week with an unexpected miracle.
     We had Splits again in Tateyama and Elder Matsuda and I were eating lunch at the mall. Taki Shimai called me and asked if I could visit her kids that night at 5 because she was doing temple work and was worried about them. She wasn't asking for much, just to go visit the kids and make sure they're ok. That and she's a good worried mom so I told her I would do it. We had the other Elders teach the English class and we went back to Kisarazu to check on the little angels. They were fine, especially when we had brought candy. Because we changed plans and went back to Kisarazu we didn't have English class and we didn't have to ride a long train back home at night, which turned out to be a miracle because Liu was available to talk right at the time we would have been stuck on the train! That was set up pretty nicely. We called her on LINE and did a video chat Lesson. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she had already read the pamphlet we gave her but she said it was different when she studied it with us. It had an impact that wasn't there before. She says the lessons are helping her find peace and hope and we set a Baptismal date with her for November 5th, my last Sunday! I'm so excited for her!
     Thursday we had Emergency Splits with Chosei because their companionship unity just went down the toilet. One of them was just feeling so bad and depressed that President Nagano decided he should work with me for a day. Yeah, like that'd help. Lol. He's done that a couple of times though. Anyway, they had a powwow with President and Sister Nagano that night and it turns out that all of these bad feelings hinged on a big misunderstanding because one of the Elders is Australian and speaks English and the other is Japanese. The Japanese Elder misunderstood one thing his companion said and it had a bad impact. When President Nagano heard about the misunderstanding he explained the whole thing to them both and Sister Nagano just laughed really hard. That's why PMG says to study your mission language and English. So you can have at least one language to communicate with your companion. Lol.
      Oh yeah, the bar thing. So when I first came to Kisarazu over a year ago a Less Active Filipino man approached me at the supermarket wanting to talk to missionaries again. Well, he started talking to missionaries after I left and has been in contact with them since. He owns a bar (which isn't a sin or against church policy actually, I checked. Crazy right?) and wanted to meet there. It's actually just a restaurant that serves alcohol so we went and visited him.....and took 2 Recent Converts with us. Haha! Yeah, 2 missionaries walk into a bar, AND bring their Converts with them.....to see the owner who is ALSO a member! A whole bunch of Mormons hanging out at a bar. What a sight. No one else was there so it was just a restaurant for a while. The. This other guy walks in for a drink and starts talking to us and becomes friends with us and starts hearing about our church! We were proselyting in a bar! Like Jesus going among the sinners. Anyway, that was a fun story but the best part was that the owner told us the reason he wanted us to meet was because he had a Filipino family that just moved here and needed help. So we are teaching them English and invited them to church to meet our Filipino members and learn and they said yes! They are coming next week! God works in mysterious ways. (I hope my mom doesn't freak out and think I've gone apostate).
      And that brings us to today. But I'll actually start with yesterday. Yesterday we heard there was supposed to be a big typhoon today. Today we were planning on going to Kamogawa and spending our Pday with Takashi, Wenting, Tai, Liu, and Kin and having Family Home Evening with them since they're all YSAs and the Branch asked us to. If a typhoon came we'd still go (as long as the trains were still running) because everyone planned a month in advance to get today off but it would suck. So I prayed the typhoon would go away or speed up and blow over last night. Well, it sped up and blew over us, then turned away north. So yesterday it sucked because it was windy and rainy while we still had to work but today it is beautiful and sunny! So we get to go have fun! I'm so glad God cares about us and the little things we like enough to move storms and so on. I love the Mission and all the amazing lessons I can learn about God first hand here. I'm so excited for my brother Dallin to get his mission call soon!
Elder Rogers

By the way you can see Fuji from where I live on a clear day

Monday, September 11, 2017

You ruined the surprise!

So I talked about how Kisarazu is the best because the people here are angels that like missionaries right? Well this week they did it again and made me feel even more special.

I'll talk about the rest of the week first.
      First thing was we had the Emergency Transfer and traded Elder Smith for Elder Otani. It also happened to be our Splits day. So I said hi to my companion, took his bag, gave him to another Elder for the day, and told him I'd see him later. We met up at the apartment that night but he did a Splits Review for five-ever with his temporary companion and I had Reporting so we actually didn't talk. But the next day we were able to talk and he's a pretty cool guy. We only speak in Japanese which is awesome because usually my companions won't do it even though it's a rule or they just are unable to understand me when I do it. So that's cool. It hasn't been all Japanese though because we have some Filipinos we work with here. There's our Recent Converts Jonivar and Arnold, and this new kid Rio that Elder Purba found a year ago that the missionaries re-found! We had a good Restoration with Rio and he seems promising.
     Jonivar got us dinner twice and the Sugimotos gave us cake and root beer (that's super rare in Japan) to celebrate Sugimoto Shimai's birthday. Turns out they were from the same Stake as Elder Otani back in Osaka and their daughter knew his brother! Small LDS world, huh?
     We went finding and ended up talking to a group of like 20 high school students. I don't know what it is about me and group dendo(proselyting), it's just so delicate because nobody wants to commit unless everyone does. You just have to find the leader and convert him and it's all good. You also have to be super fun and interesting to keep them there long enough to sledgehammer them with the Spirit so they'll meet again. It's fun but nerve-wracking because you have so much potential and don't want to mess things up. Anyway, I didn't do it. I didn't get 20 new investigators in one swoop, but it was close. Maybe next time.
     We got ahold of Tai and she hasn't been to church since the sixth month. That's June in English right? So that's a little while. She wants to come back though and since she's looking for a boyfriend right now we mentioned that we have a young reasonably handsome Chinese investigator coming to church right now. If she can get off work she wants to come, probably mostly to see Yoshi-kun, the Branch President's 2year old son, but that's fine. She'll remember the Spirit when she gets here. We also got ahold of Liu and she's ready to move on with the lessons. Wenting gave her all of the pamphlets so we'll need to start doing some 'splainin' soon. And I got ahold of Yang, our young reasonably handsome Chinese man. I say reasonably handsome but I have no idea because I've never met him. But I got his contact info from Elder Smith before he left and was able to contact him and fool him into thinking I speak Chinese! It worked! So now he likes me cuz I'm a Chinese bro but not really. He just thinks it's cool I tried.

So now for the cool part about the surprise.
     This past Sunday was the birthday of one of the girls in our Branch. She turned 12 so she's going to go to the temple before Tokyo Temple closes. Anyway, we were going to celebrate her birthday after church with a cake and stuff. I was in charge of making a back up/extra cake and not letting her find out. So I made 2 cakes because I go big and I get to clean up leftovers anyway. So Higashi Shimai tells me to go get the stuff and set up secretly upstairs so Kaira doesn't find out. We're also celebrating Wenting passing the hardest Japanese test in Japan so it's supposed to be a big party. Anyway, I'm running around the church like a ninja setting up decorations while Takashi distracts her in another room. I go and grab the 2 cakes I made out of the fridge and put them upstairs. Then I come back a second time and grab Higashi Shimai's cake. I'm taking it upstairs and notice that Kaira's name is not the only one on the cake, it also says "E. ROGERS!" What!? My birthday was like 2 days after I got here and nobody noticed.....but they did! And I was setting up my own surprise party!! No way! I was so touched (I don't know if that's actually a thing we say in English but it's the equivalent of what I would say in Japanese. Or maybe moved is better.....hmmm). These members are so nice to me! So Higashi Shimai sees me walk in holding her cake looking at it and says, "No! I told you not to grab it!" I ruined my own surprise party. But it was ok, I still enjoyed it. It was a great time with my good friends and lots of love and CAKE. There were 3 cakes!
     They asked me what my goals were for this next year of my life and I said finish my mission. Apparently that wasn't enough so I added that I wanted to get into a Japanese college. They seemed a little more satisfied but then gave me another suggestion. "Elder Rogers, give this cake you made to a girl and marry her!" Hahahah! My mom sent me cake mix that was so easy to make not even I could screw it up. There was no cooking skills involved whatsoever. But then they kept going on and on about my qualities and so I had to tell them, "Hey! You're 2 months fast!" First is the remainder of my mission, which I am ready to enjoy to the fullest. I don't want it to end, so I'll just have to not waste any time!

Elder Rogers





Monday, September 4, 2017

Another Emergency Transfer out of Kisarazu....

     So Emergency Transfers are never fun so we'll put that off to the side and talk about the positives first. We got to spend some quality time with our Recent Converts this week reteaching them some of the lessons and talking to them. They're so amazing and pure. We got to spend a day teaching Takashi to prepare him for the temple so we can go with him at the end of September. We got to go down to Kamogawa, the most beautiful spot in the whole mission, twice this week. While there we saw our long lost less active doctor Branch President. He's been living at the hospital for like 2 months unable to come to church but we saw him just as we were walking down the street. Then on Sunday he came back to church! I was able to meet his new baby daughter for the first time and she is so cute! And I saw Yoshi-kun and he has gotten bigger. He runs and even talks a little bit now! What added to that was when the Higashis came to church they brought a ton of food for us! But they weren't he only ones this week, everybody wanted to feed us. On Wednesday Wenting fed us lunch AND bought us dinner! Two meals in one day! Then Thursday the Sugimotos fed us dinner at their house. Friday Jojo walked in to District Meeting holding McDonald's he had brought for lunch. Then he made us dinner too! My Recent Converts are angels. They both fed me lunch and dinner in the same day and neither of them knew the other had. They both just spontaneously did it of their own will. We met Tai during one of our trips to Kamogawa and she bought us snacks and really good grape juice. We just got some much love food put into us this week! This did not happen last time! I'm just surrounded by angles here that are almost too nice. Actually, buying me a watch and feeding me twice in a day might qualify as too nice.
      Our investigators are doing really well. Mikami is almost done with his rice harvest and then he decided to work on his own so he can pick his schedule and come to church! Yay! If he starts coming to church he can be baptized! We also ran into Liu in Kamogawa and she showed us that she was carrying around the triple combination we gave her and she was reading it all the time, even at work! So cool!
   
      Now for the Emergency Transfer. Sunday night the Assistants call us and that's never good. They probably don't like it but missionaries hate calls from the Assistants because they're so busy they'll only ever call you for something bad. Sorry, the truth probably hurts from their side too, nobody wants to talk to them. Anyway, they call right before bed on Sunday night just like they always do for emergency transfers and I know that's the only thing it could be. So I answer the phone kind of confused and scared. But they ask for my companion so I relax a little but am still disturbed because I know something is about to go down. Elder Smith is going to Urayasu, that's in Tokyo, tomorrow. My new companion is Elder Otani, my very first Japanese companion. Also, he will be my last companion and get the honors of killing me.

Elder Rogers

Monday, August 28, 2017

Easy as Apple Pie

So last week I already wrote about but I want to talk about one thing that happened after I wrote that email.
      I got to meet up with Jonivar on my Pday the night before my 20th birthday. He's one of my recent converts and he's amazing! He's so full of love and light and such a kind person. Anyway, we wanted to spend some time with him especially since he was about to go on a work trip and it was almost my birthday. So we decided we'd go to the Outlet Mall and grab some grub together. We were walking around and he kept trying to buy me some clothes or anything for my birthday and I kept saying I'd let him get me something at the next store. Well we stalled him out and he didn't buy anything and we were hungry so we decided to just get dinner at a burger joint called Kua Aina (sooooo good!). He tried to pay but we stepped in and paid for ourselves. Yes! While we were waiting for our food Jojo gets up and leaves. We can't follow him because someone has to wait for the food and we have to stay together. So we ask the waiter if he knows where Jojo went and he points out toward a cake store. So we figure he's probably going to buy me a cake for my birthday and we feel bad because a little cake in Japan costs like $40! Well, he didn't buy me a cake. He's gone for a little while and our food comes and we just sit there waiting for Jojo wondering where he went and how much money he was spending. It was a lot. He came back with this little box and a really nice watch for me! He bought me a watch! Like, the nice kind! The ones that are super shiny and not plastic cheaply stuff! I don't know how much it cost but I was soooo grateful that he would do something like that for me. He's so nice and his heart is so big. He's definitely one of my all time best friends. I also got letters or emails from church members in Kisarazu, previous areas, and lots of family and friends back home. It was just so good and I felt so loved that I actually cried. Like, in the middle of a Seven Eleven parking in the middle of the day. I don't think I've ever been so happy that I've cried before but I did it this year. My companion Elder Smith was a little concerned because when he asked me what was up I just couldn't form the words to respond. So we just sat there while everybody walked past us and I cried in a parking lot. Eventually I pulled myself together and assured him that I was not sad, but actually really happy. That helped him feel better and we were able to go out and work for the day. On my actual birthday we visited Mizuno Shimai, the older sister who lives at the top of a mountain. We rode up there and she fed us and then we shared a message. She's like my Japanese grandma and she's super nice. Then Elder Smith bought me a Black Thunder McFlurry from McDonald's to top it off. We wanted to stop by Takashi's work and say hi to him but he was too far away. However, he booked it to the train station just in time to hop on our train, give me a birthday hug, and jump back off. It was so nice. I have the best friends!
     Some more good news, we've been helping Wenting (Yi Shimai) with her after baptism lessons and we taught her about Patriarchal Blessings. She said she wanted one ASAP and things worked out so perfectly that she was able to get an interview on Sunday and she will be getting her blessing this upcoming Sunday! So excited for her! She also passed the N1 Japanese exam which is the hardest Japanese test ever. So now she can become a nurse! She's unfortunately been unable to pass the test for the past few tries but we fasted and prayed together and this time she passed!
      Takashi also got sustained as an Elder and he received the Melchizedek Priesthood this past Sunday at Stake Conference! He's such a stud. We're helping him prep for the temple so he can go next month for his first time doing baptisms for the dead. He's also taken a couple of days off work here and there so we can hang out with him on Pdays or go proselyte together.
     Then on Sunday we had a huge miracle! Wenting came into church a little bit late and sat by me, which she never does, so something was up. Then she says, "Liu is here!" I don't know if anybody remembers or if I even said it before but Liu is one of Wenting's friends that I was almost able to teach last time I was here about 9 months ago. She had said she wanted to take lessons but was too busy with work at the time so I was unable to teach her. Well, she was at church! When I heard that I was like WHAT?! Where? So Wenting took me to the back so me and Elder Smith could sit next to her. We started explaining a little bit and then decided to just teach her in a separate room because that's what she came there for anyway. So we go into a different room and ask how she got to church and heard this cool story. She woke up and just decided she wanted to go to the mall in Kisarazu. That mall is like almost a 2 hour bus ride away. Anyway, she gets up and starts headed toward the bus stop and Wenting sees her. So Wenting asks where she's going and then invites Liu to come with her to church instead. So Liu says yes and comes to church! And now after a really long time we were able to start teaching her! And she is awesome! First we explained church and then we started teaching about the Restoration. Wenting was missionary-ing it up in Chinese to explain the things she wanted to know more about and it was really cool. She understood everything and really loved church. She wanted to learn more and wanted some scriptures. I remembered that I had bought a triple combination for Tai who unfortunately didn't accept it last time I was here. I had re found it just the other day and knew where it was in the apartment so we ran home, ran back to the church, and gave Liu that triple combination. She wanted it so bad and was jumping and clapping saying, "teach me! Teach me please!" She asked if she could be a member and we were actually the ones to say, "slow down just a second! We have to teach the lessons first!" She was happy with that and said she'd love to learn and then she thinks she'll join! Then I decided we needed to celebrate and so I checked the fridge and there was still the frozen apple pie me and Elder Wilcox bought last time I was here! Wenting had some doubts about it but it's frozen so it was still ok and we all ate the delicious pie together. It was just a huge miracle and blessing from God.
     This week was really just a big series of reminders that God is there and that He really really loves Elder Rogers for some reason. I'm a pretty average missionary so I don't know why but I guess I'm about to die soon so He's letting me die happy!

 Elder Rogers

Monday, August 21, 2017

Best Birthday Present EVER!

I got called back to the promised land of Kisarazu to finish out my days as a missionary!
I'm so excited! I'm not eloquent enough to put words to my feelings but I don think there really are words for this anyway.

     So first thing that happened was I got on a train to my old stomping (or is it romping?) grounds in Kisarazu and when I got there.....no one was waiting for me. So I waited for a little bit, thinking maybe eh we're just late, but they never came. So I built my bike and rode out to the church.....and no one was there. So I pedaled on over to the apartment....and no one was home. So then I went back to the station and bought a crepe.......and the crepe guy didn't remember me! I thought we were tight man! Just kidding, but anyway I went to a payphone to try to call somebody but no one picked up. I decided it was time to start looking for someone I knew so I went over to Sensui Shimai's house and she let me right in and gave me melon pan and milk and talked to me while I waited for someone to come looking for me. I called my companion again and he sent the rescue squad, Takashi and Jonivar. We hugged and then hung out at the church while I waited for my companion to come be united with me. He had waited at the halfway point for me and I had gone the whole hundred! Whoops! But then we went and got dinner together and it was so awesome! I really missed these guys.
     The next day we were able to bike out rough the mountains to an old investigator of mine, Mikami the rice farmer! He's doing so well! He's taken almost all of the lessons and come to church twice! If he starts coming consistently he can be baptized really soon! I saw 2 different people I knew just biking down the street and they both said hi to me. One of them drove past and pulled us over to talk. We had to send a Elder Atkinson's bags to Tokyo but didn't have slips for he moving company, but luckily the moving truck just happened to come to our neighborhood and we flagged he guy down and he took his bags right then! Miracle! We also got to go over to the Sugimotos' house for dinner and the Kisarazu Bad-daddy was just as cool as ever.
     Sunday may have been the best day I've had since I left here. It started off kind of weird with me having to go pick up a lady I had never met at the train station with one of the members because my companion was giving a talk. I saw Wenting in the station on her way to church and said a 2 second hi as I went up and she went down. She looked kind of confused so I just kind of laughed and went on to pick up the mystery investigator. Well we picked her up and took her to church and then had a lesson during second hour. She's Taiwanese so I snagged Wenting out of Gospel Principles and took Takashi with me too because I like him and Umetsu Shimai knew I would need all the help I could get so she came too. I ended up having zero prep time but no one else wanted to take charge so I just opened up the manual and started teaching a super awkward lesson because I knew nothing about his new woman. She waits until the very end to say, "I thought we were going to study English." WHAT! What did you let me go on so long?! That was painful because it's not a normal missionary lesson I teach! What didn't you say something?! I held my tongue but felt like the biggest idiot ever. She went home and I apologized for my ignorance to everyone and they all forgave me. Whew. Then we taught Wenting an AB (after baptism) lesson about baptism and she's still super cool. She literally shines with the spirit, not exaggerating. There is actual light that comes from her! During the lesson though I asked her a question and she zoned out and so I asked what was up and she just pointed at Takashi's shoes. They were the most tattered, destroyed shoes anyone has ever seen! The tops were turned into Holy slippers and they were barely hanging onto he soles by a few threads. Mid-lesson we all just lose it and can't stop the laughing. Once we manage to bring it back I just realized how good my life is here. When I was a kid I loved the Disney movie Hercules. In that movie Hercules feels pretty left out and weird no matter where he goes or what he does. He sings a song that I have identified pretty strongly with for a long time. He says, "I have often dreamed of a far off place where a great, warm welcome will be waiting for me. Where the crowds will cheer when they see my face, and a voice keeps saying this is where I'm meant to be. I will find my way, I can go the distance. I'll be there someday, if I can be strong. I know every mile will be worth my while. I would go most anywhere to feel like I belong."
      That's how I've felt for most of my life, but here is home. These people are good and I belong with them. I'm so happy to have met them and to be blessed to be around them again. They are like an extension of my family. I can't wait to introduce them to my family too! Anyways, I love it here and I love these people with all my heart. We called Arnold, a recent convert, and taught him an AB lesson and he's amazing. We were able to visit Jonivar too and have dinner at his apartment and teach him an AB lesson. The amazing thing was that they are all different people of Chinese or Filipino backgrounds but their experience with the gospel was the same. They all felt the spirit the same way, they all get answers to their prayers, hey all are supported by God, everything was the same! And we didn't practice answers with them beforehand or anything! That's because it's TRUE! All of it! The gospel is true and it is amazing what it can do for us.
     I know I'm meant to be here. I'm so happy I get another 2.5 months here and I'm already scared at how fast that's going to go by. I don't ever want to leave, I want to staaaaaaay. But I need to do my best now and obey what the Lord tells me. Who knows, maybe I'll get extended or something. I don't know, anything could happen. All I know is that this gospel is true and it has brought me the greatest happiness that I never knew I could feel. It has increased my capacity to reach out and love people more than I ever thought I could love. I just can't get enough of this gospel because it just keeps on giving!

Elder Rogers

Monday, August 14, 2017

One foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel

So I'm Transfer 15 out of 16 now.
I'm also on my last area.
     We had Transfer Calls this morning and we were actually like the first call of the day. The Assistants sent out the email that they would start calling everyone and then we got a call right after that. Forgetting the suspense, Elder Christensen is staying and I am transferring............ back to Kisarazu! It's a dream come true to die there!
     We basically spent all of our time finding and we found a new investigator! Finally! He's a college kid who's interested in eternal families. We also found out that there's a really good place to find young people out in the rice fields as far as we can go while staying in our area. Who knew?
     We had an Obon party, which is like Japanese Day of the Dead, and ended up answering our English students questions about the church and teaching a lot. There weren't a lot of big events but it was a good week.

Elder Rogers





Monday, August 7, 2017

Bad boys😎

Next, on COPS
*intro theme music*
   Bad boys bad boys
   Whatcha gonna do?
   Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
   Bad boys bad boys
   Whatcha gonna do?
   Whatcha gonna do when you've got curfew?

     You might've guessed but I had a run-in with the cops. But I'll talk about that later. First off we had Zone P-day on Monday. I probably wrote about it but just a recap because if I forgot it someone else might have. We went with all the Elders in the Zone and played Jackpot with a football and frisbee. It was way fun. I wore my Dragonball Z shirt but managed to suppress the urge to go Super Saiyan. It was way fun to spend a few hours with friends.
      The rest of the week was scheduled to be festivals every day, but instead it decided to rain all week. And Japanese people are allergic to rain. Not only we're all the festivals cancelled, no one was on the street and they wouldn't even come to the door. The Sisters saw a lady on the street and tried to talk to her while it was sprinkling a little bit. She had an umbrella and everything but she said, "I can't talk! It's RAINING!" Water was falling from the sky! I don't get why us Americans don't freak out enough about that, lol. But anyway, that meant that we got soaked a few times and spent a lot of time looking at empty roads. We tried to go to a few colleges but they kicked us out within seconds of entering the front gate.
      We did have some really good things come out of this week too. We visited Wakutsu-san who has met with missionaries for like 15 years but never got baptized. He didn't even know he was a child of God! The missionaries never actually taught him the lessons! They just stopped by and said hi and read scriptures to him or something! So we taught him a lesson and it turns out he wants to be baptized! We set a date for November 5th, which is actually my very last transfer call. The one where they tell me I'm going home and my next companion is Sister Rogers and then laugh like they're hilarious. Anyway, since it rained all week I read the reports of everyone in our Areabook since the beginning of time and made sure to call lots of them. One less active family we were unable to contact but we kept thinking about them for the week. Then one day when we went to visit a member family, the Nemotos (they're my favorite), they asked us to go visit the same family! So we took off and visited the family and they want to come back to church! When we told the Nemotos they were so happy and made us a feast! They even gave us corn from Hokkaido which had to be flown in. It was the best corn ever! We got invited over to a lot more members' houses for meals than at the beginning of the transfer which must mean we either look too skinny or they just like us now. I liked looking skinny but I also really like the food. Decisions decisions.
      And lastly, we were coming home one night when we noticed 2 cops waiting for us on the side of the road that leads to our apartment. They pulled us over and asked if we were Christian volunteers. They also asked for our Green cards. So.....discrimination but ok, the whole country's like that so I can't complain. They start writing us a ticket for our eyes and noses being too big or something while someone in front of and behind us is breaking the law for bicycles but they get off free. However, I remained pleasant in this situation because I get blessings every time I get picked on for being a missionary. I've got curfew so I've got to end this quick. I started talking to the guy and explaining what we do and start proselyting him while he writes me this ticket. He starts laughing and pretty soon we're buds. He gives me the ticket, tells me I can throw it away and there's no record, and let's us off with a warning. Yeah. I think I'll hold on to the ticket though just because it's a cool reminder of a funny story.
      I know as we're kind to those around us even if we don't feel like they deserve it or aren't worthy of our love that it can change hearts. As we love those who are hard to love our capacity to love increases. Jesus said that we should love our enemies. For if we love only those who love us, how much better than sinners are we? But if we can love everyone regardless of how they treat us, then we are really like Jesus indeed. Be like your Father in Heaven. Don't let the actions of hose around you decide how you are going to react. We can always choose to break the chain of negativity and be positive. One kind act can lead to another and everyone's happy. So choose ye this day to be happy, no matter the circumstance. We have the power to do that so use it.

Elder Rogers

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Surprises

So this week I don't remember more than a few events but here's the quick run down.

      First, we went to a big hill with an investigator family for fun sliding down it. We raced and had a great time and taught the mom on the car ride back while grandpa drove so she could listen. That was really scary by the way and we almost died several times so the mom decided it was better that she drive from now on. We unanimously agreed. Anyway, the first surprise was that a girl there fell in love with me in like 30 seconds and really wanted to hang out so she invited me over to her house. She's 3 years old by the way, I just think it's funny to make you all freak out for a couple seconds before you read the next sentence. Hahaha!
      Surprise #2! We were invited to an activity with a member that we didn't have much information about but basically what we thought was happening was we were going to go with this grandma member to a neighboring city and teach her friends. We have to skip District Meeting to do this so we feel a little bad but since we'd be teaching someone we knew it would be worth it. Well, it wasn't like that. Surprise! We got there and the member was like, "were actually volunteering to give some people I don't know a tour of this city that I don't know. And they're Filipino so it's in a language I don't know either." So basically she brought us along to give a tour of a city we didn't know to some strangers because we speak English and Japanese. Surprise! We didn't know anything about the area so we found a map and basically just walked around looking for cool stuff. We took them to a JAXA museum, which is Japan's NASA, and it turned out ok. We spent most of the day out walking in the sun which really didn't help with Surprise #3.
      I got food poisoning! First time in my life too. I'll spare the details because it was nasty but I ate something bad, ruminated it in my belly by walking in the sun, got sick, and lost a few pounds. I'm fine now. I slept on the church's couch while my companion and a recent convert taught some awesome lessons that resulted in a family coming to church!
      At church one of the speakers talked about bravery and helping others. It made me painfully realize how selfish and prideful I actually am. Which is fine to know because now I can work on it. I just need to not compare myself to others and instead focus on doing everything I can to help them. It really does help to look out from yourself and your own inadequacies and just focus on what you CAN do to help someone else in need. I've been looking at things wrong recently; focusing on improving myself so that I can help others but putting the focus on myself first. There are things we all can do without having to wait until we reach a certain point. Everyone can start from where they are right now and lift someone in need. There's no rule that says you have to be perfect to do good things. Anyone can do good things that can help someone else. So I just want to make sure that I, and anyone around me, know that we can start making a difference now. Elder Rogers

Monday, July 24, 2017

Insert title here (I don't know what to call this)

Alright, highlight reel of this week.
     We went finding. A lot. I'm pretty tan. I'm Tanner. Ha.
Alright enough of that.
      We met some firefighters for a check up of the church and they were cool. We rode our bikes out of the city and into the rice fields and I calmed down so much, and realized how much the city stresses me out and tenses me up like a spring. Anyway, if I need to go calm down we can always go proselyte to the farmers. It worked before!
     We had a Zone Blitz and I went back to my bean area, Sakado. Things were mostly the same. Except that it was summer instead of winter and the giant Pachinko(slot machine building) was gone. It's been like over a year and a half since I've been there so something was bound to change. I thought I'd get PTSD going back there but it was actually fine. It wasn't awesome but it was ok.
     We had a District Meeting and the Zone Leaders came down to participate this time. I'm their favorite District Leader. Probably because I'm so fit, and strangely charismatic😆. Anyway we all learned a lot and we're ready to go out and work hard! So we did and we sweat a lot and got good farmer's tans and learned not to put flyers in our shirt pockets because you just end up getting them a little moist... Point is, we work hard here in Okegawa!
     On Saturday we went to our little piece of Tokyo called Omiya. It was packed with people and I didn't know what to do because usually finding meant looking for where the people are, not just having three thousand people right there. So I struggled but were figuring it out. We just talk to a lot of people and do our best. It's faster paced than I'm used to but it's good.
     On Sunday I got to Skype in to Kisarazu to congratulate a recent convert on their baptism and gift of the Holy Ghost. His name is Aoi-kun and I used to be his primary teacher. That was a log while ago for a kid so when I called it looked a little like he didn't recognize me. I'm still not sure he knows who I am but oh well. The rest of the people knew who I was and it was good to see them. There was Takashi, then Tanda Kyoudai, then I wanted to see the Higashis' baby but they were in a meeting, then Elder Atkinson went and got Yi Shimai and it was just cool to see everybody. Jonivar was not there unfortunately. He was at work? I think. Japan will do that to you sometimes. But seeing at least a few of my best friends was really good after so long. I think it's been like 8 months since I've seen them. There was a bunch of people, bad connection, and screaming happy kids so not much conversation got through but it was still good. Tomorrow is interviews with the Naganos and I'm excited to talk to them. I love my special 10 minutes with them because I always walk away feeling so special. They believe in me and it feels really nice to have someone counting on me. It gives me motivation to not mess it up and let them down so I'm grateful for their high expectations.
     Well th-th-th-th-th-that's all folks!
Elder Rogers


Monday, July 17, 2017

I'm melting!

     So this week was pretty awesome. The Mission fire was turned up hot and we got tanned and found a lot of success. We found a TON of people to teach, and a lot of festivals. Things are looking good. So first off we had Zone Conference and it was great, I think. I was translating so it just went in one ear English and came out my mouth Japanese without too much thought. President Nagano apparently talked about me a little bit but I wasn't paying super close attention because I was just repeating it differently. I don't really know what he said so I can't tell you. I'd like to know too!
     We helped a member move and foolishly went in our regular Sunday clothes. We soaked through those pretty quick because they didn't have AC. So gross. They bought us four pizzas afterwards. We went to a ton of festivals this weekend and it was cool. Today we went to a shrine and then heard people screaming so we thought it was another festival. We went over and it was the High School National Baseball Tournament. So we bought some tickets and went in because who wouldn't right? Elder Rogers