Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Elisa G Music

My amazing daughter Elisa has a YouTube channel to showcase her singing, and occasionally (not as often as I would like her to), she posts a new video. This is her latest one. She would LOVE if some people liked and commented on the YouTube video itself if you would like to.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Working Hard

Short email from Alex this week, but it came with a challenge to his family: 

I have recently been thinking a lot about temples, and how great they are. I am sure you are busy, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to all go to the temple together when I come back home. If possible, I would also like to do baptisms for our own family lines as a family. So I would like to challenge all of you back home to do family history work, and find at least one name each to take to the temple. I know that as you sacrifice time to save our kindred dead, your week will be smoother, you will have time to finish all that you need to do in the week, and the Spirit will be felt more strongly in the home. There is no better way of feeling the full blessings of the temple than to do work for your own family, no matter your age. We have the prophet's promise of that. A month should be plenty of time. :)
A picture we took because it looked cool, and we needed a picture to
send to Smith Kaicho for a Christmas project he's working on.

To Everyone:
This week has been tiring, but also very rewarding.

Scripture of the week is Job 5:17-18 "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole."

Kanji of the week: 痙攣 pronounced "Kay-ren" and means muscle spasm/twitch.

To be honest there is just too much to write about from this week. I
would like to assure you all that I had a spiritual week filled with
many miracles, and we were able to help lots of people. I hope you all have a good week!



A Japanese style pig in a blanket I got from a convenience store

A cool looking shrine

A drawing from English class that I drew as students told me body parts

Curry udon that I had for lunch while writing emails at the hospital
today (free wifi)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rather Slow Week

From Alex's letter to me yesterday:
The month mark is coming up really close. I already passed my 1 year 11 month since entering the MTC date this last week. I bet you'll be happy to see me again, as I'll be happy to see you all again. It will be weird to be the missionary returning after so many years of watching other missionaries come back home to their waiting and loving families.

(About his homecoming talk back in Utah) I hope I have enough faith to give a talk in front of the largest congregation I've been in for two years. And be able to put all I want to say from two years of spiritual experiences into a ten minute talk. If there's anything I'm used to doing though, it's definitely doing things while dead tired. Even though I sleep eight hours a night, I am still exhausted every day. Despite that, I am still able to do all things the Lord wants me to, because as Nephi said, "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way that they may accomplish the things which he commandeth them."

To everyone:

Takamatsu Lake, in Morioka
 This week was really slow. I don't mean it didn't have anything happen
in it, because it was really full, but it just seemed to drag on for a
long time. It's good, because I want as much time as possible here in
Japan, but was a really strange change of pace from the usual speed up
of time I've experienced my entire mission.

Scripture of the week is Mosaiah 4:9 "Believe in God; believe that he
is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth;
believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in
earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the
Lord can comprehend."

Kanji of the week: 伺う pronounced "ooh-kah-gah-ooh" and is a polite way
of saying "ask," "know," or "visit/come."

Monday was good, but I was sick all day. I had my voice back, but I
developed a fever that got pretty bad towards the evening. I was
feeling well enough to go visit an investigator, and so had one last
visit with him before Elder H left.

Tuesday was all travel. We went to Morioka, met Elder H's new
companion, and helped some missionaries get on their buses. One of
them was Elder A., my mission son, and it was good to see him
off to his new area, and probably where he'll be when I go back to
America. I also got to go a bit around Morioka before my companion
came and we headed back to Odate. Not much else was able to be done

A really big spider, but you can't tell in the photo
Wednesday we went and saw a less active. He usually has a shop open,
but he's closing it soon for a little while, and won't be able to meet
until October. He was going to come to Church on Sunday, but he
couldn't make it because of the festival that happened. We then went
and housed a lot, and even had some people listen to us for a while.
They were really nice people! In the evening we went to a member's
house as always, and had Family Home Evening with him. English class
was also fun, but not too much new to say there.

Thursday we had weekly planning, and after that we housed. We had lots
of more good conversations with people, and lots of people were nice
to us. There were also some really big Akita breed dogs, and they
weren't very happy. But they were in a cage, so everything was fine.

Friday was district training meeting. Our district leader is Elder
D (I can't figure out the spelling for the life of me), and
he's great. He's going home with me at the end of the transfer. This
last district is really awesome, and everyone is spiritually giant! We
housed a lot that day, but I don't remember any specifics. We met with
an investigator in the evening, and he was awesome. He still has his
troubles, but he's overcoming them all at his own pace, and that's all
we can ask. He want's to get baptized, and so hopefully he can realize
that soon.

Saturday was a bit of housing with not much that I can remember. It
was still fun, and we got lots of people to talk with us. There was
one college student who was really awesome, and we got lots of people
telling us to visit a family in the neighborhood because they are
Christian. They were busy when we went the first time, but we'll try
and go again. Then we had a great lesson with a different
investigator. He is really busy, but if he's ever home he's willing to
talk. It was a good get to know him lesson, and I feel like we were
able to help him out. English class was fun, especially because we
played "telephone," the game where you whisper a sentence into your
neighbors ear and see how much it changes by the end. It was really
fun, and the students liked it.

Sunday was good as well. I conducted the meeting again (my second
time) and did a better job this time. After dinner, we were able to
meet another investigator that we couldn't meet with for a while. He
was happy that we have been trying to visit him (he's really busy and
his schedule is not set at all). He's really nice, and wants to learn
more. Then we went to a less active's house and had a really good talk
with him about prayer. At the end he said a prayer that was really
good, and really heartfelt.

That's my week! Things are getting harder to write all in a short
paragraph, but I tried to share the most spiritual things that
happened this week. I hope you all have a good week!



A sign I made for Eikaiwa (English class)

Some jelly stuff a member made for us

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lots of Lasts

I have not been good at posting Alex's letters the last couple of weeks and breaking my computer didn't help. Here are his letters from the last 2 weeks.

To Everyone:
Sep 11 -- Last transfer call, last area, last companion, last transfer. Has it seriously been two years already?
Scripture of the week is 3 Nephi 16:13, "But if the Gentiles will
repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be
numbered among my people, O house of Israel."
Kanji of the week is: 喉頭炎 pronounced "koh-toe-en" and means laryngitis.
Monday was good, but nothing happened in the evening except for travel.
Tuesday was splits with Elder Livermore. He is a great guy, and is an awesome missionary. We housed a lot, and got not a lot of results. We did make a woman's day by commenting on her hair, and got told through an intercom to go away by a very angry and smart dog, so it was a good day. In the evening, we went an visited a family who's eight year old son just got baptized last month. We stopped by real quick to say hi, and to pray with them so that we could see success. The amazing thing is, that those few hours were more filled with events than the who rest of they day. God truly answers prayers. We even found a new investigator.
Wednesday we got back, studied, went to a members house for family home evening like usual, and then had English class.
Thursday was district meeting, and that was very spiritual. We had a
good training by our district leader, who left his departing words of
wisdom for us. (He goes home this week). I can't remember too much after that. We met with an investigator in the evening, and that was great. He's a good kid, and focused really well.
Friday we did weekly planning, and then once again my memory is fuzzy. In the evening, we met with an investigator (he came to church again this week!)
Saturday was mostly spent at a festival. We tried talking with people,
but not with too much luck. It was good for others to see us and have the open spirit to talk with us since it was a festival. We also saw a less active, who was doing announcing on one of the floats. I say floats, but they were like portable shrines. I forget what they're
called in Japanese. In the evening, we had English class. It was fun,
but my voice was really struggling. By the end of the night, my voice
was gone. (For those of you who have been following me for two years, I think it was the same thing that got me when I was in the MTC and couldn't talk).
Sunday was really great, because we had lots of people at church from all over the district (church district(like a stake), not missionary
district). I even saw some people from Hachinohe. I didn't have a
voice, but they all knew Japanese sign language, so we were still able to communicate. I am so glad that God helped me with that, because everything was so perfect. I lost my voice right when there were people who could still understand me that came to church. We also had a luncheon after church, and then a fireside that had to do with family history.
The rest of the night was studies, and packing. That's right, we got
the transfer call. I am staying in Odate, but my beloved companion
Elder H is going to go to Morioka. My new companion will be a 
Elder P. He is from Tokyo. He lived in tokyo for most of his life,
but he is not Japanese. He knows both languages, and a great person, from what I've heard.
I hope that you all had a great week. I pray that you will stay safe,
and that you will see God's influence in your lives.

Sept 4 -- This week was really great. I really learned a lot about how much
happiness can come to you from seeing others progress in their
testimonies and in a knowledge of the Gospel. We had an investigator
come to church this week, his first time, and he even bore his
Scripture of the week is Isaiah 44:21-22: "Remember these, O Jacob and
Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my
servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted
out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins:
return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.
Kanji of the week is: 台風 pronounced "tie-phoo" and means Typhoon.
Monday was district p-day. We went to get King parfait's at a shop in
Odate (I may have told you already), and the rest of it was spent in
the church playing Jenga and other games. At night we went and visited
an investigator, but not much else happened.
Tuesday we went and did service, studied, and walked around for five
minutes before the rain started coming down and the wind got really
strong. So, since we were asked to stay indoors if it got too
dangerous, we did. The rest of the day was inside, because of the
Typhoon that came. There was strong wind, and lots of rain, but we
didn't get the worst of it. We were pretty safe. Just not safe enough
to go outside. So we did weekly planning.
Wednesday we went and got my bike fixed because the tire got messed up
somehow and we didn't know how to fix it. We walked to a less active's
and talked with him for a bit, and then walked back to the bike shop
to pick up our bikes (Elder H's bike's tires were a little weak).
From there we tried to do some housing, but no one answered. Then we
had a lesson with a member. After that was English class, and that was
fun. There were only two students and us, so at the end of the lesson,
we played scrabble. It has been a while since I've done that.
Thursday was a really hot day, and no one was answering their doors.
Then we headed to the church and did some stuff indoors. After dinner,
we went and visited two investigators. One of them was just about to
leave to eat at a local restaurant, and was scared by us because right
when we rang the door bell he came out wearing earbuds. We had a quick
talk with him, and then visited another investigator. We talked about
church a bit, and he said that he would come (and did!).
Friday we went up to Aomori for Zone training meeting. It was great
and very spiritual. I got a short chance to translate while the
English translator was giving a training (he did it in Japanese), and
that was a really spiritual training. Not much else happened that day,
because I messed up train times, and we had a two hour layover in
Hirosaki on our way back home.
Saturday was good too, but not too much to talk about. English class
was fun, because there were lots of students.
Sunday we had an awesome time with being able to teach a last minute
Sunday school lesson to our investigator and one of the sister's
investigators, along with a few other members who joined in. There's
not too much else that happened for a while, because of studies and
the like. Then we were able to meet with lots of people in the
evening, and that was very miraculous.
So many good things about this week, and I can't even tell all of
them. I hope that you all have a good week. Love you all!


Elder H made some pancakes that turned out greener than he thought they would be, but were still good.

Utah Local: Rico Cocina y Tequila Bar

I wanted to find somewhere different to have dinner with my children, but it had to have food that all of them would eat. It's not easy ...