Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ups..and Downs


Hello wonderful bamboo shoots! In one of my favorite dishes, abura soba, they have these things called menma. It's basically boiled bamboo shoots. They've kinda got the texture of a rubbery, boiled carrot. I thought it was pretty weird when I first tried it; I didn't think you could eat bamboo like that. But it's good. 10/10 would recommend :)

We went to an area called 星川(Hoshikawa) on Tuesday. Before I proceed, let me tell you a bit about the area.  星川 literally means "star river". Most of the buildings in that area are pretty tall; some 20 stories high. You can definitely see stars better at night. And right in the middle of the town is a river. So it lives up to its name. Anyway, we decided to house a 12-floor apartment building. We knocked on about 30 doors starting from the top and decided to go back streeting. We came across and older guy; we greeted him and he stopped. We mentioned that we were missionaries and that we teach about Jesus Christ. He told us that he normally wouldn't stop and talk to people like us but he felt something special this time. He also said he was drunk :p. But he wanted to meet again so he gave us his number after taking a Book of Mormon. He works night shifts and he sleeps in the day, so he's a bit hard to contact. But hopefully he is as sincere about meeting when he was drunk. 

We went to a number of places for finding this week. In the end, we were able to talk to a lot of people and get a new potential investigator each day. It was a lot of fun. With LINE, getting contact info has never been easier! We are trying super hard to contact these people as much as we can and set up some lessons. 

On Saturday night, we took some time to prepare for the Christmas open house held at the mission 本部 in 吉祥寺(Kichijoji). There will be Christmas decorations, including nativity sets, from 60 countries. Warnick姉妹 loves and collects nativity sets. All the missionaries will be working hard to make this two-day event full of Christmas spirit; it'll be a great introduction to Christ and Christmas for the people here. My district and the Kamakura district were asked to sing for 30 mins. So we practiced singing some Christmas hymns that night. We practiced today as well. I am super excited!

So Sunday morning, we received a referral from the Japan Fukuoka mission. This referral was met on the airplane to Japan, by one of the new missionaries straight from the MTC. That's so cool; props to that missionary. As with all referrals, we tried to contact them ASAP. We called and emailed; no response. We decided we would try to visit the guy then. Only thing was that he lived at the lowest point of our area, with no train to get down there. Our options were to take the 40 min bike ride or pack up our bikes, take a train to the closest station, unpack the bikes and bike for about 10 minutes to his house. We went with the second option. We packed up our bikes and got on a train. After we got off, we started putting our bikes together (mainly just the front wheel to the frame). I finished my bike then looked at my companion. He said he couldn't find the axle for the front wheel. We searched in his bag and couldn't find it. We assumed it was left on the floor before we got on the train. We called Don兄弟 and asked if he could drive us because he lived close by. He agreed and off we went. We arrived at the address but one problem. It was all apartments and the address we had didn't have an apartment number. So we called again; no answer. Then we knocked on all 12 doors; no one with that name. We then drove back and thanked Don兄弟 and headed back home on the train. When we got to our station, we surprised to find that the front axle was nowhere to be found. That was a lot of disappointment for one night, so much for our Sunday. I trust there was reasoning for all that though. 

Last thing, I'd like to share some stuff from my studies this morning. I was reading the Book of Mormon and "Our Search for Happiness" by M. Russell Ballard. I came across 3 Nephi 13:20-22 while reading the Book of Mormon today, which reads:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
In "Our Search for Happiness", Elder Ballard shares the same words, but from Matthew 5:19-21. That was a really cool connection between from the Bible and Book of Mormon. 
Anyway, I want to share some insights. There are a lot of things that bring us happiness and joy in this world. Food, games, sports, money, friends, the list goes on. But true happiness comes from living the gospel. Non-worldly things. Eternal families, loving others and being loved. I know that as we place our treasures in the eternal aspect, we will be full of light and we will be able to share it with others. 
I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday as well. I don't remember everything I said but I had mentioned my grandpa that passed away last August; he had Parkinson's disease. Rather than sorrow, I was filled with peace knowing that I will see him again after this life and that through the gospel, we can overcome trials. A couple members came up to me with tears in their eyes, thanking me for my words. I know it was the spirit that guided my words though. I love the mission so much! また来週ね!

-Elder Chab

View from 12 stories up

Picture from last transfer with the Yamazaki family!

Banana 伝道

I love bananas. Minions love bananas. 

Our meeting with the drunk guy!

Searching some addresses at the 7/11! 

Minion Christmas

We stumbled across an American house with amazing Christmas Decorations

Nothing better than Darth Vader and Christmas

A New Species

Winter brings out a new species of missionaries :p (Don't worry, we didn't go out like this)

Dendo Mania

Out on lunch break! Chinese food!

Singing practice!

Sunday's bike train adventure!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Light the World..Again!

Christmas season again, and just like last year the church has put out the Light the World program. I love it! More ways to spread the Christmas spirit and most importantly, word of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

A lot of things happened within the last few days so I'll just try to sum it up quickly. On Thursday night, we went streeting with 高村兄弟. He is amazing and taught us some lessons on stopping people for first contacts. As we've applied them, we've seen a lot of progress! We then had stake conference on Saturday and Sunday. Normally we don't go to the Saturday sessions but it was a special request from the stake president. I understood most of it and I learned so much! We heard some great talks and testimonies and I got to see a lot of members from my previous areas, Shonan, Kamakura, and Atsugi. The stake president spoke at the end. I'm not sure how what he spoke about was related but he made some pretty funny faces as he imitated experiences from his mission. He's so awesome! I am so glad I get to work with such amazing members! 

I had some left over thoughts from last week, so here we go. (日本語も書いてある)

Last Sunday, we had the opportunity to go to primary. They asked us about how we prepared for a mission. Buying clothes, studying, helping the missionaries, and waking up early were some things we mentioned. All great things, but I think one of the most essential things you can do to prepare is to gain/recognize/increase your own testimony. There will be a lot of great experiences that will increase your testimony on the mission but there are also some that may cause you to question yourself and your beliefs. I remember one day as I was passing out fliers, some lady came up to me, yelling "Jesus Christ is dead! This is Buddha's land! Stop what you're doing and go home!". I was quite surprised and thought about what she said. Then I shook it off and realized that the gospel is even more true because there are people trying to stop me. It's times like that where your testimony plays a big role. 

Whether or not you serve a mission, or if you are not a member yet, a testimony is key. I remember President Monson's words this past April when he said "If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one". Going to church, reading the scriptures, praying are some ways. But don't just do them; do them from the heart, with real intent to know. A testimony won't come in an instant, neither will it come only to the mind. Rather, it'll come to your heart, through the Spirit. And when it does come, as the Prophet says "a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study". I know President Monson's words are true. I know the gospel and Book of Mormon are true. I invite you to follow our beloved Prophet's words and find your testimony. 



I recently received a parcel from my mom. It contained letters that the members from my home ward wrote for me. As I read them, I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed with their love and support. I am so thankful for each one of them! I'd also like to thank those that have been contributing to my mission funds. It's such a blessing and I know that every one that has will be blessed in their own lives. 

As we get further and further into the Christmas season, please do your best to light the world! Find someone to serve! Today, we went to a conveyor belt sushi restaurant with the Yamato/Zama districts. Some of us participated in a contest. Whoever could eat the most didn't have to pay. I only got to 16 plates, or 32 pieces. Ramos長老 got 35 plates and Harrison長老 got 33 plates. Too much sushi haha. On a side note, happy birthday to my grandma and sister! また来週ね!

-Elder Chab

Before FHE at the 本部 on Monday night, we went to a Chinese ramen shop. I got the spiciest. My stomach was on fire for about 30 minutes after eating it. It was pretty spicy, even for a Thai person :p

We got to ride a brand new train!

Some scenery while on the train

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Life in Japan

Classic Japan

Mitsukyo Station 

The aftermath. Half of the people left before we could take the picture unfortunately.