Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ups..and Downs

頼もう!

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
チャブ長老 
愛しています(^-^)



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!

頼もう!
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. 


先週日曜日私達はプライマリーに参加する機会がありました。彼らは私達が伝道に出るようどうやって準備しましたかと聞いて私たちは衣服を買ったり勉強したり宣教師を助けたり早く起きたりと答えました。全部はいいことですが自分の証を得、認め、強めるのは伝道に出るよう準備するために最も重要な一つのことだ私は思っています。もしろんあなたは伝道で自分の証を強めるすばらしい経験はたくさんあります。でも自分自身と自分の信じるものを疑わせる経験もあるかもしれません。ある日チラシを配っていたときにある女性が私の方に来て「イエス・キリストは死んでいるよ!ここは仏の国だ!あなたはやめて帰ってくれ」と叫びました。私はびっくりして彼女の言ったことについて考え始めました。気にしなくて私を止めようとする人々がいるので福音がもっと真実であることを気づきました。そのような場合で自分の証は大きな役割を果たすでしょう。


あなたは伝道にでるかどうか、あるいはまだ教会員でないなら証は大事なことです。四月の総大会からモンソン大管長の言葉を思い出しました。「これらのことについて確固たる証がなければ,証を得るために必要なことを行ってください。」教会に行ったり聖典を読んだり祈ったりするのはいつかの方法です。それらをするだけではなくて心から知る望みを持って誠心誠意にしてください。証はすぐに来ないかもしれないしそのうえ思いだけに来ません。むしろ、それはあなたの心に、御霊を通して来るでしょう。来るとき預言者が言うように「証を活気づけ,生かし続けるために,神の戒めをたゆまず守り,日々祈り,聖文を研究する必要があります」。モンソン大管長の言葉が真実だと知っています。福音とモルモン書も真実だと知っています。愛する預言者の言葉に従って自分の証を見つけるようにお勧めします。


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
チャブ長老 
愛しています(^-^)



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. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Transfer 10?? Ehhh?

頼もう!

We're pretty much in Christmas season now! I love it so much! I wish every day had the Christmas spirit!

After our P-day was over, we decided to head to the north part of our area. About a 30 minute bike ride. We tried to visit some less active members but they ended up not being home. Before we left, we picked one more family, the Okuda family. We had never met them before and no one knew them in the ward. We said a prayer before we knocked, hoping they would be home and would be open to us. Lo and behold, the daughter, Nana, answered! We had a good talk and learned more about their family. They hadn't been coming to church because they were busy and the church is too complicated to get to by car. We showed the Light the World video from last year. She prayed at the end and we set a small return appointment for later in the week when everyone would be home. 

We had interviews with President on Wednesday. Always a fantastic opportunity! I really appreciate all that he and his wife do for us! While waiting for our interviews, Warnick姉妹 taught us how to make origami Christmas ornaments. There were hot glue guns, paper, and more craft stuff. In the stars we made, you can put a message inside for whoever you decide to give it to. I made one for Don兄弟 and gave it to him on Sunday; he loved it! Again, I love the Christmas spirit so much! 

Thanksgiving Day came...but nothing special here. We did get KFC for dinner though. And after district meeting the next day, we got all-you-can-eat しゃぶしゃぶ(shabushabu), so I guess that counts as our Thanksgiving meal.

Ever since we got LINE, we've been encouraged to do a lot of online 伝道. My companion and I made a Thanksgiving post as well as a little video about this year's Christmas calendar. We had a lot of fun with it and it's really added to our ways to spread the gospel. I am super excited for what's to come! 

We ended up going back to the Okuda family on Saturday. The mom answered the door this time and started sharing stories from her mission. She got Nana to come to the door as well and we talked more about the new Christmas advent calendar and gave one to them. Just as we were leaving, the son came back from work too so we talked to him. They are a great family and they seemed pretty happy that someone came to visit them. We invited them to the Christmas party and they said they will come. I love working with members! 

Sunday was a pretty long day. 桝田さん came to church; it was the last time he could come this year because of his work. After church, we helped the Kofu sisters teach their recent convert from China via video chat. This online stuff just brings so many possibilities haha. Then we watched a YSA devotional featuring Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard. One thing that stuck out to me is that after the mission, we should keep doing the habits we built on the mission. Scripture study, waking up early, interacting with and helping others etc. That will help us to stay focused on God as well as enrich our daily lives. Definitely will do that! As for transfers, I am staying in Hodogaya with 楊長老! This transfer will be 9 weeks instead of 6.. exciting! I'm glad I get to spend this Christmas season with amazing people! また来週ね!

-Elder Chab
チャブ長老 
愛しています(^-^)



The Okuda's daughter, Nana-chan!





Coming back from interviews, we saw the couple missionaries, the Brashears!

Aang?




I had to do something with my baldness...But hey, melon pan!



Don兄弟 and his dog, Alex!



Found this on splits a couple weeks ago.. BELLFLOWER! My hometown ❤️

Thanksgiving Meal?




Nothing better than all-you-can-eat shabushabu! 



The church now has a Christmas tree! 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Umbrella Dendo

皆さん頼もう!

This week got a lot colder. I was quite surprised, but I love it! No more sweating! 

On Monday, we went to Asahi at the end of our P-day. My companion had to replace the brakes on his bike. Meanwhile, we housed the neighborhood nearby. Then out of nowhere, it started pouring rain. We didn't have umbrellas and we were wearing our brand new coats..So I got the idea to ask someone if we can borrow one. The last lady we housed wasn't interested in our message bit when I asked if we could borrow umbrellas, she said "Just wait here". Then she came back with two umbrellas saying "They aren't very pretty but here you go. Don't worry about returning them". We thanked her and went on our way. Of course, we plan on returning them soon along with a thank-you note! That was a nice, sweet little miracle!

We didn't have much success this week finding. A lot of rejections on the street and "kekkos" while housing. We did get to visit the 首藤 family though! Both the father and mother are super strong members and have done a great job raising their four kids in the gospel. One of their daughters, Erika, got back from a mission a few years ago. We asked them to think of people they can serve and ways to do it. And wow, they had a pretty good list! They have so much 伝道 fire! I love them so much!

We met with the こせき family on Saturday. It's been two weeks since the last lesson but they all remembered so much! Especially about the Book of Mormon. We taught the kids some emotions and then talked about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. We used the gospel art book to explain Jesus Christ. They love the pictures and were surprised to hear some of Jesus Christ's miracles. At the end, we asked them if they could come to church this week and the kids, Kaiin and Taiki were so excited that they pretty much begged their mom to come. The mom prayed at the end and then the 3 kids prayed together; they love to pray! Unfortunately the mom was busy on Sunday so couldn't come and bring the kids, but their desire is just awesome! I am really excited for them!

In ward council, we discussed our plan for White Christmas. That brought up a lot of ideas for the ward and how they can do missionary work. Then we talked to bishop after; we talked more in depth about the ward mission plan. A lot of it has to do with working with the members and reactivating the less actives. It's not going to be easy nor quick but with the bishop on our side, I know progress will come. When we have the bishop's trust, everything else falls into place. Missionary work is more than bringing people into church. We as members, know and have experienced the blessings that come from the gospel. So let us continue to work as members and missionaries together and share the gospel!

So out of the whole week, the worst thing was my haircut today. The last time I got a haircut, I showed a picture and the guy said "A 3 on the side and a 10 on top?". I said yes; it turned out ちょうどういい(chōdō ii- just right). Today, I went and told him the same thing. After a second of cutting, I realized it was a mistake. I guess he understood it as "cut 3mm and 10mm off". So now I'm nearly bald :l That's why I always use pictures and not numbers. Lesson learned. Anyway, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! また来週ね!

-Elder Chab
チャブ長老 
愛しています(^-^)




Our investigator, 佐々木さん, saw us in action and took a picture



The こせき family as well as 高村兄弟 and 田口姉妹



They are so awesome!


Japanese Walmart?



Ran into the sisters while shopping at SEIYU(Japanese Walmart) after my haircut



Yup. Too short. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

In Due Time

頼もう!

Well, nearly halfway through November. One interesting aspect is that time is a man-made principle. Because we are so close to God on our mission, we live by his time standards, if there are any. That's why time flies so fast, especially on a mission. This is by no means absolutely true but a lot of missionaries feel that way, including me! 

清水さん went to China with his wife earlier in the week. We don't have him on Facebook yet and hasn't responded on LINE so we didn't get to help him progress as much as we wanted this week. That won't stop us though!

I had the privilege of going on splits with Harrison長老 this week. We focused on managing time and talking to everyone. It was great! Not many people listened to what we had to say but we did our best to talk to everyone. At some point, there were about 1000 middle schoolers(I'm not joking) in front of the library. They saw us and tried to speak English, although it sounded more like they were mocking us. Especially cause they all laughed after. Nevertheless, we still had a good time. 

I talked to Harrison長老 about some struggles I was having; personal as well as district/area struggles. We had a pretty deep talk. He reminded me of one thing. Sometimes, we will never see the effects of our actions/work. Perhaps some guy I try to talk to might meet missionaries down the road later in life and accept our message then. Or maybe my actions and efforts may affect how the ward interacts and does missionary work. But that doesn't mean I'll see it when I'm here. From that, I was also reminded that no effort is wasted and that I should do everything in my power to ensure that I leave every area stronger than I found it. I'm not completely sure how yet, but I really want to try. We are still trying to help the ward prepare to spread the gospel and do missionary work. It's a lot of work but everything will come in due time. 

On some spare time, I started writing a little rap about the mission. I've never liked rap before but this is a new me so why not? Congrats to Sister Sao from my ward back home! She just got called to the London, England Mission, Mandarin speaking! The mission is such a great experience; you can learn and grow so much with appropriate effort! Anyway, I hope everything is going well! また来週!

-Elder Chab
チャブ長老 
愛しています(^-^)



You can never have too much fun while housing!



Night time Yokohama! I love the Landmark Tower and ferris wheel in the distance!



People tell me I wasted my money on this invisible chair...I think it comes in handy!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Humbling Week!

頼もう!
Sometimes I wish this would write itself during the week; I get too lazy to write haha. I feel like Moroni when he mentions his "weakness in writing" in Ether 12. Nevertheless, I'll keep writing!

So I'll just hop right in to it. On Monday night, we tried to find some less actives near by. Then it just started raining out of no where. Despite having a raincoat, after about an hour in the rain, it doesn't do much good. I was kind of soaked when I got home. On top of that, I haven't been sleeping very well recently. So the next morning, I woke up with a cold! I didn't realize it at first; I thought it was just morning allergies. But after studies, I couldn't handle it. I went through an entire box of tissues. I called up Warnick姉妹 and then took a nap until 英会話. It was a bit difficult to teach but I managed. I took some NyQuil after the day was over and woke up better the next day. 

We had district meeting the next day; I gave the training while still a bit sick. It was about helping our investigators understand our purpose better so they can progress. I've learned so much being on the presenting side of trainings. The zone leaders brought some Domino's Pizza too! It was super good! Japanese pizza is waaaayyyy expensive though; no one really buys it. I'm looking forward to some $5 pizza when I get back haha. 

We biked all the way down to Hodogaya on Thursday; about 40 minutes. We tried to visit some investigators but they didn't answer. Then we went down to 保土ヶ谷駅 and tried to talk to some people. Most people ignored us; only a couple stopped. The ones that stopped preceded to tell us they weren't interested. I was a bit disappointed but eventually got over it.

On Saturday, we met with the mom and kids from last week. My first time teaching a family! The 姉妹 taught the mom English and 水落兄弟 and us taught the 3 boys. It's different working with kids; hard for them to stay focused...props to all the Primary teachers! After the English portion, we joined back together and taught them about God and prayer. They were way excited to learn! Especially when we told them that prayer is a way to talk to God! They also remembered everything the 姉妹 taught them about the Book of Mormon.  One of them read 10 pages by himself! I just love how kids are so open-minded and willing! They all have great potential and I am so excited for what's to come!

清水兄弟 came to church on Sunday! We talked to him during the second hour and were able to understand a bit more about what he is holding him back. As of now, he feels that he doesn't have a testimony and hasn't felt the Spirit. Then in the evening, we had dinner with him and his wife. We shared "To the Friends and Investigators of the Church" by Elder Costa from this year's April conference. We mentioned that he has progressed so much and is already doing the 4 things mentioned in the talk. We promised that he can recognize and strengthen his testimony by continuing. We then asked him to be baptized on Nov. 25. He hesitated to answer at first, but eventually said yes! We'll keep working with him so that he can be as ready as he can by that day! I know he can do it!

Throughout the week, I thought about the rejections and lack of success from finding. Also, I just struggled this week with 日本語. I either didn't know what to say or how to say it. I was a bit stressed. Halfway through the week, I decided to call one of our investigators, Roger. He is from  Africa and speaks English. He asked how our work was going; I told him a bit slow because no one has time to meet. I also told him about my language struggle. He then gave some advice that I really liked. One of the things that stuck with me was "It doesn't matter how the message is conveyed. The most important thing is the message". That's so true. We as member's of Christ's restored church have the amazing opportunity to share the fulness of the gospel of Christ. As long as we remember that and do our best, God will take care of the rest! (Oh it rhymes!) Sorry for the length of the post..Got carried away また来週!


-Elder Chab
チャブ長老 
愛しています(^-^)



Late Halloween party at 英会話!



One of the students dressed up as Hatsune Miku!

PIZZA LIFE




Domino's!



Neighborhood in Hodogaya!



Went to see Don兄弟 again!

Missionaries eat a lot!




Indo curry!



Teaching the boys English!



清水兄弟 and his wife Qiu姉妹!

Monday, October 30, 2017

COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT!

頼もう!

We did a lot of walking around in Yokohama again. We stopped by the Pokemon Center and the Ghibli Studios store as well. Everything was way expensive so we didn't buy anything. Nice sights though!

Zone conference was on Thursday at the Fujisawa stake center. I didn't realize how big our stake was. The focus was working with members; I learned a lot! One of the easiest ways to do missionary work is working with the members. They know the people that are ready. Our job is to give them that push to share the gospel. With our new, mission-wide "White Christmas" goal, member work is going to be essential. I am excited! 

As a start, we visited Don兄弟; he's been going through a lot lately, especially with the birth of his grandson. Although we usually go each week to go over Sunday school's lesson in English, we focused on serving him more. We got to help wash his car and then talked about church and how we can help him. It's tough for him because he doesn't understand much Japanese; we translate for him in sacrament meeting. But I believe he felt a little bit more at ease because he gave us a big list of his past English students. Yay referrals! 

We then met with 平田兄弟 later in the day. He was baptized last May. He's a pretty strong member and we've streeted with him a couple times. He's really excited to share the gospel with his friends and we are excited to work with him! 

The next day, we went to Machida with him to see the Machida Vivace Orchestra. We were invited by one of the members, 牛島兄弟, who plays trumpet for them. Before we left the apartment, we got a call from a lady. She said she wants to learn English with her kid. I told her we have 英会話 on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as the FFEP, which can be done any day. She said she would come. As we were halfway to Machida, she called again, saying she was waiting at the church with her son and his friend. Apparently she mistook my "Ka to suiyoubi", which is " Tuesday and Wednesday" for "Ka doyoubi", which is "Tuesday and Saturday. So she went to the church. I called the sisters and they went over. They taught them English and introduced the Book of Mormon, which they happily accepted. In the end, they set an appointment for this Saturday. 3 new investigators! This happened because of that misunderstanding over the phone. Also, the sisters wouldn't have been able to teach them if they went to the concert. Everything just fell into place, too easily for it to be "just coincidence". It proved to me that God's hand is evident in every aspect of our lives and He is guiding us! 

桝田兄弟 came to church on Sunday! We talked to him about his current situation and helped him understand everything does not need to be perfect for him to be baptized as long as he is doing everything he can. The members shared some of their experience and I think it really helped him. Again, I'm so excited for this transfer! I think that's about it for now. HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 


-Elder Chab
チャブ長老 
愛しています(^-^)



This just an absolutely amazing picture of Christ!



Zone conference!



Fujisawa Stake!

Hodogaya Members!




Don兄弟!



Still can't do funny faces.



平田兄弟!