Monday, February 22, 2016

I Love You!

Parts of Alex's letter to me:
My new area is good, and I am glad that I am here. Things are looking great. I hope I can set a good example for the other missionaries here in Aizuwakamatsu.

I love my area so far, as you may have read from my mass email. There is a castle here near our apartment, so we may go check that out soon. I'll see about other festivals and such. There was absolutely no snow in my last area, so I didn't have a chance for a snow festival. The snow festival is apparently unique to yonezawa though. Also, this area's city is right below Yonezawa city boundaries, so I'm super close to where I was a year ago.

My companion, Elder H. if I remember correctly is half Japanese, half Brazilian. He doesn't speak either of those two languages, because he's lived in America his entire life, and his mom moved to Brazil with her family when she was young.

Elder B. is from Oklahoma, and lived in Okinawa for a while. He is a half as well. Half American, and half Mexican. Doesn't speak Spanish, just like me. He loves star wars, and is a great guy.

Elder O. is Japanese, and from Okinawa, I believe. He's great at English, and a funny man.

As a district leader, I conduct district meetings whenever we don't have zone training meetings or zone conferences, or other conferences (next week in this case). I also have to collect everyone's numbers to report to the zone leaders on Sunday nights. I have to make sure our apartment stays clean. I have to make an example of my area so that others can model their area after mine. I have to do splits with the other missionaries, and help them learn, grow, and be happy. I also interview anyone who is ready for baptism that isn't taught by me in my area. That's about all I can think of right now.

Me and My New Companion, Elder H.
To Everyone:

You have a loving Heavenly Father who wants you to know that He loves you. He cares about all your problems, as mundane and insignificant as they may seem. He knows your name and what you need. He is so happy when you choose to follow Him and have true and lasting happiness, and weeps tears of sorry every time you choose otherwise. He wants you to return to His presence, and right now is calling you to come to His arms, into His rest. Please, accept his call!

Scripture of the week: Doctrine and Covenants 81:5 "Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees." God doesn't want anyone to be sad, and neither do I. I can't do too much to help you all back home lift your hands, or strengthen you in your times of trial, but I pray for you, and I know God joyfully answers those prayers.

Kanji of the week: 会津若松 pronounced "Aizuwakamatsu," and literally means meet at a safe haven of young pine trees, or something to that degree. It is the name of the city I live and serve in now.

Monday was packing, and in the evening we went to the mission home.

Tuesday was a meeting all day followed by a bus down to my new area. I had to go by myself to Aizuwakamatsu, and when I got there, I didn't see the other elders. I reluctantly asked a high school girl (it was dark and about 8 o'clock, not good for young women anywhere nowadays) if she knew where a payphone was. She didn't but lent me her phone. She was so nice, and I wish I had at least invited her to come to English class.
Ramen with Horse Meat
Wednesday was my first actual time of proselyting in Aizuwakamatsu. We spent most of the time in the city office and other places looking for community activities we can go to and get to know people who are willing to talk to us. We were walking due to the snow, and so we went and had dinner after that before going to the church for English class. The students here are about the same as in Furukawa, but they are all so fun. I am looking forward to working with them!

Thursday we had a lessons with an investigator in the morning, and that was mostly a bit of introducing myself, and reading from the Book of Mormon. We then went back to the apartment and finished studies. We tried Streeting, but not much success. After that we went to an investigator's house, and found out that he doesn't really have interest at the moment. He said that he still needs to think about things, but that if he decides to learn more, he'll come to church. In the evening we went to a sign language place that we found the previous day. It was great, and I loved the practice, but the set up here isn't that effective for our purpose, so we probably won't go again.

Friday we tried to get my bike fixed, because it didn't have good brakes, and we had a really weird time of trying to find one that had mountain bike parts. We ran into a few people that were really unfriendly and didn't want to help (one of them was a store owner who basically ignored us and told us to go away), but we also had a really nice man who does volunteer work help us find a shop (didn't have the parts we needed), and then another really nice high school boy who walked with us to a bike shop. We got part of my bike fixed, but it still needs some work. It's rideable though. After that we tried to street for a few minutes, but everyone seemed to disappear when we started. We had to catch a bus anyway, and we went to Koriyama for English class there. The missionaries aren't allowed to stay there because of radiation from an explosion back in 2011, but it's low enough that we can go there for short times and have no problem. The members there are great, and I had fun with the students there too. I love having two classes of English students!

Raw Horse Meat. It was really good and tender.
Saturday we had a lesson in the morning with a less active, and it was really great. We talked about love, and how we all need to share the gospel. He said that he actually has a friend he wants to introduce to us, so that's great! We then went home, studied and did weekly planning. Following that, we went to a lesson with our recent convert, and it was nice. We read from Alma, and had a fun time talking about that. Then we went with an English class student and a less active to dinner, and had a great time with them. They love the missionaries, and I hope that our influence will one day bring a change to their hearts.
Sunday we took a bus in the morning down to Koriyama again for church. I don't go every week, and probably won't go back there for the rest of the transfer. We had lots of fun, and got to know the members well. There is a deaf member there, so I got some more practice with sign language there. We also had a potluck lunch after church, and one of the members there, the district president, said that he wants to introduce us to a student of his and his family, and also wants to talk about the church with one of his friends that comes to English class every week. Things are going great in both areas! The rest of the day was studying.
I once again want to say how much God loves you, and how much He cares about you. I also love and care about you, to a much lesser extent, because I am not even close to a millionth of the perfection that is God. I hope you all have a great week.
Love,
Elder  
長老

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