This week has been fast and blessed! It is hard to believe it went by so fast and smoothly!
After personal study we headed over to the mission office so I could watch a video about some website changes the church wants to make worldwide, they asked for my input on it, so that was kind of fun being able to give direct feedback to Headquarters. They want to allow every mission to have their own "portal". It looks pretty and will be very user friendly as well. After that presentation we went to the mochitsuki! It was a lot of fun! We were able to fellowship with the ward a lot! There were a ton of non members and less actives that came and the ward just ate them up! At one point it was the High Priest Group (yes all of them) with me and a nonmember. My head was spinning they were speaking so fast, but it was awesome getting the ward involved on a deeper level. We made mochi (smashed rice into a play dough like mixture then eaten) it is a lot of fun, you use a big hammer and slam it into this pot to make it. It felt like swinging an axe, a neat cultural celebration. After that I found my companion sitting at another table talking to some Chinese people, I introduced myself to them and we began talking, they are awesome! One of them was baptized a month ago in Hiroo and the other wants to be baptized soon. It was a neat experience talking to them and comparing what we knew about Chinese with them, what I found really humorous was when we were comparing borrowed words like Google and names. Google has its own character for pronunciation however what I found hilarious was that Facebook is the character for face and book hahaha! I like the creativity in that. After the mochitsuki we went to the Honbu to email, mostly so we would look bad emailing in some room of the church. While we were emailing we got a call from Adachi San who had fallen off the map, turns out his phone was broken and he called us from a pay Phone! The office Elders had staff meeting so after they were finished we went out to dinner and did some shopping. GAP was having a giant sale so we all bought some clothes there. When I was checking out at the register the woman checking me out said in English, "your a missionary for that church over there right?" Uhhh....yes? It was a great question because we were able to have a conversation, turns out she used to come to Eikaiwa and not only that but she home stayed in America with a family that are members of the church! Imagine that! Talk about inspired shopping! We shopped around, bought groceries and called it a night.
Elder Gerard and I split around 1:30 with Elder Ford and Elder Mukai. Elder Ford and I were together in my area. After we split we went to the Yamashitas apartment to try and fix their modem however we realized it was a problem with their telephone company and not their box, so we left and went to Michaels. There we worked on helping him clean up his apartment. There is a noticeable difference from round 1 up until now! Sadly no treasures to take home but we found his butterfly knife for hi so that was pretty cool. We also found out he lived in Russia during its Soviet years! Pretty cool stuff! We taught him tithing and fast offerings and he ate it up, he loves earning about the gospel and is completely ready for baptism! After the service and lesson we went home ate dinner and finished planning out Michaels baptismal program and sent that to the ward. Then visited a young man in our ward and a neighbor before returning home!
After studies Elder Ford and I had our splits review, after which Elder Gerard and I split back, planned a little for the day, then took off to Michaels (we are working on teaching him everything else he needs to know before baptism). At Michaels we helped him clean up more of his apartment, we found more pictures of his European excursions, and maps. It was pretty impressive with everything that was there. Most of the box we re-boxed were in Russian. After our cleaning we taught him about Priesthood keys, Temples and Family History, and a few other gospel topics. Then speeded back to the house for dinner, which turned into 10min because we had a lesson with Kajiura Kyodai, so we split with the other elders, they went to the lesson and Elder Yamada and I went to the office to get some forms ready for PEC. After we had Eikaiwa! It was a blast! We taught about fashion, we also had a lot of new students, so that was a lot of fun, it's hard to believe I have been teaching the same class since July! After Eikaiwa Elder Mukai and I went to PEC and discussed about our investigators and baptismal dates, it went well. They are a lot friendlier than the first week I was there. Nice to see some progress being made in that area.
After Companionship study Michael called us complaining of some deep pain in his leg, so we offered a blessing. On the way over all the traffic lights were green! Talk about a tender mercy, when we arrived we found he had changed into a shirt and tie! He looked great. We gave him a priesthood blessing and left so he could rest. We then went back to our apartment finished getting ready then left to the church to meet Josey and get some lunch. Josey is doing great! He is slowly but surely improving and gaining greater trust with us as missionaries. After lunch we held our weekly planning session, which turned into us calling some old investigators. I talked to a man from Tanzania, who referred to me as his brother! It was pretty great. We called a few Nepalese people as well, being able to teach many of them over the phone. Then the zone leaders came and Elder Christensen and I went back to Michaels Baptismal interview! He passed! Yay! We then went home and I called the ward mission leader who gave us a lukewarm "great" and assigned us to make the program we asked him to make, he must be having a hard time, so we will just have to bless his life next. We then went to sports night and played some basketball. It was fun, I have developed a lot of friends from going to sports night over the past few months.
After studies we went to the church and had District Meeting, it was great, I really enjoyed it. The District is doing really well, everyone is working hard and seeing success. After District meeting I created the Baptismal Program for Michael, that took a lot longer than I would have preferred but I was able to finish it and send it to the ward mission leader. After that the Tech a Staff had some issues with the portal so I helped them debug and fix a few things before meeting up with Kichihara Kyodai and going to get something to eat! We went to an American Burger shop, it was delicious! And about the same price as an American a burger shop too! After going there we went back to the church to teach a lesson, but on the way back we met our investigator walking toward the church! So we walked with him to the church! We met with Takikawa-San he is a business man in the Tokyo area. We met him at the Indiana Jones movie event the previous week and invited him to take lessons he accepted and we met with him the following Friday. The lesson was great! A little long,however we thing that we were able to get to his core and really have a good lesson. We will have to see what turns up of it.
After studies we went to the church to drop our clothes off before visiting Michaels house. We helped him with some more boxes. He was feeling a lot better which was grand! We also were able to help him find everything he needs for his baptism! After a short lesson about how baptism works we left and returned to the church to do weekly planning. We received a call earlier from another Elders companionship in the mission to see if I knew anyone that spoke Arabic. It didn't hit me til we were riding home that I did! One of the old members of my ward moved to the Middle East right before I left! I Facebook Messaged him and explained our situation, then set up a group chat with him and this other Elder and imagine that, they were able to figure out a way to communicate with this investigator. It is so cool to see first hand how the Lord uses technology to hasten his work. After that we weekly planned, and figured out our week, then cleaned the font! That was fun, I enjoyed cleaning the font. We then ate some abura soba with Ishikawa Kyodai, who just received his mission call to Fukuoka! He is a genius, literally, he goes to the number one college in school (like Japan's Harvard). It was awesome talking to him about our missions, and getting him excited about his.
We called Michael before church to confirm that he was coming and he was all good which was great! After that we went to DCS and discussed today's baptism as well as the one this next week! It was a good meeting. As we were greeting people we noticed Houta Kyodai was wearing matching pants so we knew something was up. At 8:57 Michael showed up in his suit! He looked like a normal member! It was great! Church was really good, a Chinese family showed up in the middle of church! The husband hardly speaks Japanese or English, but he got along alright. I have noticed Chinese people traditionally will wear either really bright flashy clothing or black. Usually men wear the bright colors and woman wear black, just an interesting observation. After church we changed and held the Baptismal Service. It was a great spiritual experience. I was able to perform the ordinance which was pretty special. After the baptism we shook ward members hands, there were a ton of people there! It was amazing! It is the most amount of people I had seen at a baptism in a while. Michael kept saying, "I feel so clean! I know my mother is proud of me." It was really cool. It was the first Baptism in the ward since May! After we went back to the apartment to eat some supper (guacamole and fried bread (not our greatest combination)). Then Elder Gerard and I went to a man by the name of Maeda's house to visit him. We sat down with him and the first thing we discussed was where he is right now, planning to teach the plan of salvation we scratched that and went to who is God because well, if you don't believe in Him, it is hard to believe in the rest. Sometimes I forget that I am training, but when we walked out Elder Gerard said, "we just taught people, not lessons!" YES! If you learn anything from this transfer that is it! Because we taught to his needs we were able to help him grow a relationship with God. We then went to the church to check up on the assistants who were in a buzz over the word that snow might be falling by morning. Then wrote our lesson reports for the week, and taught Ueki Kyodai about baptism before calling it a day.
Snow! We woke up to a white powdery blanket of 4 inches of snow! We also learned that the Tokyo area does not own snowplows, so walking to the office was a long slippery walk! Elder Yamada and I were on splits for the day, and it was also Sister Obayashi's birthday! We went out to Yakuniku as a district which was fun. Then Elder Yamada and I were in the office, it was a blast being able to help again. We changed a lot, we set splits up so I could train him on the work they do as tech staff. We also basically began and finished a new app for the mission! Talk about getting stuff done! After that we walked home for dinner but we were both stuffed still, so we just slept. Then we walked back in the cold to the church to meet up with the sisters. Their Chinese investigator had a baptismal interview scheduled, so we went to that. I was to perform the interview which filled me with anxiety, I think I was mostly worried about interviewing a woman. The interview went well, I'll tell you what google translate in inspired. I needed to ask certain questions that she didn't understand in Japanese or English! Talk about a little nerve racking. It went well, she passed, and will be getting baptized this Saturday! It was a great way to end a split!
Well my week has been busy and blessed! I love being a missionary and seeing the visual change in people's lives as they come unto Christ.
Our Chinese friends that came to the mochitsuki!
More non-understandable Japanese-English
This is from the window on the second floor! Talk about a lot of snow, it was raining on top of this!
Snow in Tokyo!
This is the church parking lot this morning, it is all ice!