Monday, March 2, 2015

Endoshima, Transfers, and a New Area



火曜日 Tuesday
After our studies we went to Endoshima for the day! Endoshima is a
famous island in the south part of my mission. When we arrived we
walked the boardwalk to the island. We talked to a few people here and
there. We then went to the various tourist shops around. I love how
much they tailor to Americans and foreigners. When we spoke to people
in Japanese they were so excited! They responded with Thank you in
English! We continued on our journey up the mountain. Oh the stairs...
There were probably a thousand. There were a lot of temples and
shrines as we walked up, they are so beautifully decorated and taken
care of. It was sad to see things so sacred to a people become a
tourist exhibit though. The views from the island were breathtaking,
we would get a glimpse here and there through a gap in the trees. When
we got to the top of the island we got ice cream and went to go look
off an observation tower. As Elder Kennedy was telling me how
beautiful the view was, mid sentence a hawk swooped down and took his
ice cream cone right out of his hand! It was pretty intense! He then
concluded the view wasn't beautiful enough to have his ice cream
stolen. There was a street performer there doing yo-yo tricks! It was
pretty impressive. I was more impressed he didn't konk himself with
the yo-yo. As we continued our journey we went down a million stairs
to the other side of the island, which faces the ocean. It was an
awesome view. On the other side of the island there is a cave! It was
a walk through cave that was well lit and paved, but it was still
really pretty. There is a waterfall in it with plexiglass splitting it
so you walk right under it! There was also a dragon statue. It is said
that the cave connects all the way to mount Fugi! It is pretty
impressive, but I don't know if it really does or not. After leaving
the cave we went to the rocks and took pictures next to the ocean. We
talked to a group of college students doing a photo shoot they were
super excited we could talk to them and asked if we would join them!
We then made our way back to the train station and went home. On the
way home my companion taught the entire first lesson to the man
sitting right next to him, it was pretty cool. After getting home we
went to the store to buy groceries my then elder Bennion and I stayed
in so we could pack our bags for transfers.

Last night during nightly planning we both had the prompting that we
needed to go down to minami machida. We both had no idea why but we
obeyed. So after lunch we biked down to minami machida. Then it
happened. A miracle. As we were paused at a cross walk then from
another direction a man comes pedaling on a bike toward us. We offer a
hello where are you from? Since he looked either Nepalese or another
middle eastern race. He said "Oh, hello!" Then we stayed and talked
for a few minutes, it turns out he is from Iran and is moving to Utah
for his PHD in April! We asked him about religion and he told us he
was Muslim but then mentioned his mom is Christian and he is very
interested in Christianity! It was such an amazing miracle we biked
over to the seven eleven across the street and bought ice cream. It is
moments like these that makes being in Japan completely and entirely
worth it. After we continued to minami Machida to go to the park which
was a total bust, no one was there and the one man we talked to got up
and left mid sentence. So we left and housed an entire apartment
complex and no one answered! We didn't give up though. We kept walking
and we saw a man who was putting fliers in people's mailboxes. We
talked to him and he was super interested in our message! We gave him
a Book of Mormon and he said that he was given one 15 years ago by
some missionaries but he lost it when he moved and hadn't been able to
read it since! It was way cool! After biking home again we ate dinner,
I made some banana brownies, and cow tongue stir fry. Odd combination
I am aware. We then went to Eaikiwa! My students were awesome! One of
them is half Brazilian half Japanese! I teach advanced class so I get
to teach a lot of phrases. We had the traveling Eaikiwa man come today
his name is Rocky, and he has no accent. After class all the
missionaries transferring said there goodbyes, it was weird saying
goodbye even though I am only moving the town above. After class we
went to the Japanese elders apartment to say goodbye to Elder Fukuchi!
We got one last picture together and wished him the best of luck. When
we got home the other elders had gotten back from the bishops house.
The bishop just got home from a business trip and bought the
missionaries Mac n cheese and American snacks! It was so nice of him!
It was an awesome note to leave the area on. Goodby Machida, you have
been a good area to start off my mission.

Wow, what a long exciting day! I woke up and finished my packing we
did our personal studies then we had to drop of Elder Bennion at the
train station for his transfer to tokorazawa. We then went back to the
apartment to eat lunch. Then off I went, carrying my suitcase and
carry on bag in the rain through the train station by myself. It was
weird being all by myself to transfer. I was told that Elder Naganuma
would pick me up in Kamakura. So I went there and I waited. And
waited...and waited. After about 15 minutes I lugged all my stuff to a
pay phone and called my old companion. Thank goodness I wrote the
number down enough to memorize it!! He called my companion and let him
know where I was. He then came and we carried my bags to the new
apartment, and the moving company had already dropped off my bags for
me. When we got to the apartment the previous elders had left it
pretty messy. So since we were both new to it we unpacked and cleaned
in order to make the apartment more conducive to the spirit. It sure
does look nice now. It is very very Japanese style. We have a big
tatami room and I get to sleep of the floor for the next transfer on a
futon! The other missionaries in the area live two doors down from us.
We visited them after cleaning and unpacking then went back to our
apartment to weekly plan. I was amazed at how much I was picking up
on. My companion speaks very little English. Sorry if this isn't very
coherent right now. My brain is pretty fried from all the Japanese. We
weekly planned and talked about people we are working with, there is a
lot of people! We then went out to dinner as a district to a ramen
shop in the area. There are two brand new missionaries in my district.
One is a Japanese elder and the other an American sister. It feels
good not to be the youngest anymore. My district is relatively young
though. My companion has only been out for 7 months now. After dinner
we went back to the apartment and called people in the area book since
we are the oldest companionship in the area, meaning Tama A
companionship has been around longer than Tama B and C. We then
planned for our day tomorrow. This area has a lot of exciting things
going for it.

After waking up and having personal study we went to the church for
district meeting! It was great! I have a really neat district this
transfer, we have a lot of baptismal dates in our area, which is a lot
different than my last area. After district meeting we came back to
the apartment for lunch. After lunch we went out to meet up with one
of the youth in the ward and go have a lesson with an older man who is
an investigator. He is great, it was a weird realization when you
realize he was my age around world war 2! My Japanese was kind of
funky so I wasn't able to say many coherent things. My companion is
great he told me the best he could in English that if he were in
America on his mission right now his English would be where my
Japanese is. He is really understanding and helpful. After we walked
over kingdom come talking to people along the way we bought the young
man with us some black thunders and dropped him back off at home. Then
we went to the bike shop so my companion could give his bike a tune
up. They have the equivalent of Home Depot in Japan it is called D2. I
don't know what happened to the R2 part though haha. We then came home
for dinner. After we went to go visit so,e less active members, sadly
all of them moved so we housed in the area. This area is beautiful,
there are trees and bushes lining all of the streets! I can't wait til
it starts warming up, it will look beautiful! After getting home for
he night we planned and I started looking through the million people
in our area book. A lot of it is in English so it is falling to me to
contact them, but it's okay. It is exciting.

After personal study we had companionship study which turned into a
giant language study where we worked on his English and my Japanese.
It was a fun session. I think we are going to learn a lot from each
other this transfer. After lunch we went to pick up his bike from the
D2 store, then went to the police station. His real bike was stolen
and so he needed to report it. His new bike is a missionaries bike who
went home this week. At the police station they took up in an elevator
up to the second floor than put us in an interrogation room for about
15 minutes where we waited. Finally a man came in and helped my
companion fill out some paperwork for his stolen bike. We then rode
the bikes to asahi. It was a good bike ride away. When we got there
we brought our bikes in and they did the maintenance for free! I got
my bike all pampered up, it was great! While they were fixing it all
up we went to find a less active. However it turned into a giant wild
goose chase, we didn't end up finding the person, but we found a super
kind older lady who my companion talked to for an hour. I didn't
understand much of the conversation after a half hour or so. We then
went to pick up the bikes and go to a potential investigators
apartment. It turns out hey moved so we housed a 10 story apartment
building! It was fun, but it took a while. We then came home for
dinner. Then Kondo called saying he had some questions. So we went to
Tama Center to meet with him. He wanted to know the church's stance on
gay marriage. My companion had no idea. But thank goodness I was able
to explain how Christ's plan is focused on agency and the love
Heavenly Father has for his children. he lived in Arizona so he spoke
fluent English. The spirit was the real teacher in that lesson, it was
neat to recognize the experience. When we left he told me he wants to
receive baptism! Wow! My companion and I then went out and bought
crepes and went to the church to put the lesson into our area book.
When we got home for the night my old apartment called asking me how
to use the microwave to make bread! It was good to talk to them.

Today we woke up and walked over to the church! It is a five minute
walk away! We had Ward council then DCS (dendo chunin shokai). As my
companion was calling people for scaremongering meeting, I noticed a
member of our Ward struggling to help her handicapped daughter up the
big hill. I ran down to help and helped push her to the elevator. The
building is about 3 years old so it is really nice. The sacrament room
is on the second floor, which is new to me, and we basically stay
there the whole time, we just move walls around. During sacrament they
asked me to bear my testimony last. Interestingly today is my 5 month
mark of my mission, so it was neat to go up and speak and be
understood. Especially since 6 months ago I couldn't even tell you my
name in Japanese. After church there was a talent show meeting so we
went to go pick up an investigator who lived in New Orleans for a year
who will be playing the blues during it. That'll be cool! On our way
to the church we talked about all kinds of old music he likes to
listen to. While my companion was in the meeting I had the opportunity
to go to choir practice, that was fun. Singing in Japanese is a lot
different that English, you sing sounds not least that is
what I was doing. We then trudged back to the apartment in the rain
and got our rain gear to go visit an investigator. When we arrived she
was just leaving to go shopping! It was a little disappointing that we
had just ridden our bikes for half an hour in the rain for what seemed
like nothing. But we had companion after she closed the
door, said in Japanese, "I think we need to go to the 4th floor of
that apartment." So we did and we met a teenager who we taught the
whole first lesson to! It was amazing! We then came back to the the rain. I made us curry for dinner, and Elder
Naganuma called people to come with us for a lesson we had that night.
After dinner we went to Minamiosawa, and met one of the youth in our
Ward to come with us to the lesson. When we got to the apartment and
the women opened the door I suddenly recognized who it was! It was the
women who's daughter I had pushed in the wheel chair that morning. She
was recently baptized and her husband has a baptismal date! We sat
down and started talking then the sister brought out some soup for us,
which was way nice since we had no intentions of eating. Then she
brought out rice, then fish....10 courses later, I kid you not we had
our lesson. She just kept bringing out food, it was so kind of her! We
had a great lesson, I lost track of the conversation after the first
hour though. We showed the video "my new life" I think that is what it
is in English. During the lesson they asked about where I was from, so
I got to show them pictures of the farm! The member who we took with
us said he has always wanted to live on a farm! He asked if he could
someday visit the farm! It was way cool, he said here he doesn't have
the opportunity to grow things like we do in America. The lesson ended
super late, we got home at 10 p.m!



Elder Nathan Dunn

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