Monday, December 5, 2016

This week

Date: 11/27/2016
Place: Shizuoka
Companion: Elder Nakatsuka
On Monday we celebrated Inouye Shimai's birthday! Then we started an exchange and I went to Fuji with Elder John! He's a way fun guy and we had a good exchange. This was easily the best I've eaten on an exchange in a long time. Elder John likes to cook :). We woke up in the morning, did our studies and went outside and talked to people as we visited less actives. It just happened to be a cool, clear day (Shizuoka is usually cloudy) and I got to see see Mt Fuji up close. ITS BIG. ITS REALLY REALLY BIG. ITS HUGE. It was capped with snow and looked like something from a Japanese postcard. It was awesome! We ended the exchange and Elder John went back to Fuji with his Trainee, Elder Reis from Brazil. Elder Reis is a nice guy but he doesn't speak a ton of Japanese or English yet so it's a little hard to communicate. But he's cheerful and works hard so I'm not worried for him :). After ending the exchange we rode back to the apartment and dropped off my exchange bag. Elder Tayler had a minor medical procedure done on his foot so he was laid up for a day. He's ok! Then we rode up to our appointment at the bishops house with the shimai. We got lost in the maze of danchis and so did they haha! Eventually we both found each other and the bishops place and they fed us amazing chicken katsu. We talked about sharing the Gospel and used Elder Christensen's 7 Lessons on Sharing the Gospel. We talked about step 2, which says that in sharing the Gospel there is no correlation between the closeness of the relationship and the likelihood of them accepting the invitation to hear the Gospel. 
The bishop's family is amazing! Love those guys. 

Right now I'm in Fukuroi on exchange with Elder Orellana! He's the Chilean legend of the mission. We had a good day of training and hunting down more less actives. Today we experienced a bit of a cold snapって言うか IT WAS MISERABLE COLD! And it was raining too so my hands almost froze and fell off while we were biking. It was worse than Matsumoto cold because it was wet! We came back and taught Eikaiwa, which was fun because it was mostly Brazilians so we just talked about feijoada and Brazilian Christmas parties. I was surprised to find Imamiya Shimai teaching kids Eikaiwa! Her English has gotten really good and now she can teach lessons in English! 
A few things I've learned: if you want to learn a language, don't be afraid to make mistakes. Just talk. Also learn how to pray and then pray as much as you can in that language. Something that elder Taylor said was, "Your Japanese can only be as good as your prayers." 
We had DTM in Fukuroi and then I got to go back to Shizuoka with Elder Nakatsuka. Dendoing with him is a dream! It's so fun and we work really well together. 
On Saturday we went to the gym with Naoki (our new investigator)and had a good lift. He's a way nice kid and he started reading the Book of Mormon! Then we went to a park with all six missionaries and I played violin while everyone handed out Christmas concert fliers (the sisters made us some awesome fliers) and it was way cold. 
This morning we biked up to the top of a mountain to do our studies! 
Life with Elder Nakatsuka has been grand :) 
It's helping my Japanese so much! We're best friends and have a ton of fun together. 

Sorry it's short but that's all I have time to write for the week! 

Love y'all! 

Elder Johnson 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My companion gets stolen by the mission home

Date: 11/14/2016
Place: Shizuoka
Companion: Elder Taylor and Elder Handley

We met mister miyagi again

The Last Run

Soooooooo. A ton of stuff has happened and I don't even know where to start. 
Ok so all of the madness started with Zone Conference, two weeks ago. Not gonna lie, preparing training for the whole zone can be pretty nerve wracking, especially when you know that President Ishii and the APs are going to be there. Zone Conference went very well though and right afterwards we had our exchange with the APs. The APs brought their giant Book of Mormon stand and we hit up the train station! Shizuoka 2 and the sisters came (they were also on exchange that day) and so we had a total of 8 missionaries! We passed out over 30 Book of Mormons in 2 hours! It was so much fun! Elder Baldwin and Elder Coleman are awesome guys. I love our APs. 

Book of Mormon Destruction at the train station!! Also some random lady that got sucked into taking a pic with us haha 

The next day I got sick and was laid up for a few days. Elder Wilson and I were both losing our minds of boredom (One thing I've learned on my mission: If I spend more than two or three hours trapped behind a desk, I start to lose my mind). By Friday I was feeling well enough to go to english class. After English class we came home and suddenly, got a surprise phone call from the mission president. I wondered what it could be about as I answered the phone. President Ishii asked for Elder Wilson and then I knew. ELDER WILSON BECAME THE NEXT AP! So two days later the APs came and picked him up and stole him away to the mission home. The sisters were way thoughtful and threw together a cool bye bye present from the Shizuoka missionaries. Elder Wilson has been a very influential companion in my mission. I'll miss him but he'll make a great AP! Because APs transfer a week earlier than the rest of the mission so they can be trained, I've spent the week as a trio companionship with Elder Tayler and Elder Handley WHICH HAS BEEN AWESOMELY FUN. I love these guys! 

We had a lot of random stuff happen. I had to go to Numazu to do a baptismal interview. Unfortunately their baptismal candidate got overpowered by the Jehovah's Witnesses and his wife. He has a testimony but everyone around him put so much pressure on him that he was pretty much forced to stop taking the lessons. So sad! I felt way bad for the Numazu guys. They were pretty bummed. And then I came back to Shizuoka and was reunited with the guys for a little bit. 

Then I got to go on splits with Brother Sasaki. Wow that was an adventure!  Bro. Sasaki is an elderly member. He's a good hearted, simple fellow and is willing to help the missionaries with anything! As I was leaving with him, I asked him if he was a priesthood holder (We can only go on splits with Priesthood holders). He told me he couldn't remember in his gruff, 900 year old Japanese man voice. I LOVE BROTHER SASAKI! Haha we had a great time visiting less actives together and had some great adventures in his tiny japanese utility truck. There was a bunch of stuff that he kept in the front seat so I rode the whole way with my knees pressed against my chest. We got a lot of work done! Also we did confirm that he is, in fact, a worthy Priesthood holder. Also he likes bananas. 

Bro. Sasaki!

Then the next day all three of us went to Fukuroi to do another baptismal interview. We got pretty lost on the way from the train station to the church but we found it eventually. Their baptismal candidates car broke down and he ended up not being able to come so we ended up sprinting all the way back to the station in order to make it in time for the train. We got back in 15 minutes! It was a miracle! We ran onto the train just as the doors were closing. We made it home before 9:30! 

And then transfer calls came! Nearly every companionship in the zone changed! Two of our District Leaders became zone leaders in other areas and we are transferring pretty much everyone to the Kanazawa zone. THAT'S FAR AWAY. So transfers are going to be an adventure tomorrow! 

Mt. Fuji

So as far as news for the zone, Hamamatsu 2 is opening! We are getting three new bean chans straight outta the MTC. Elder Dana has finished his mission and will be returning home :(. I'm gonna miss him so much. We have all new District Leaders and all new Sister Training Leaders. Elder Taylor went District Leaders and Sister Tsujimoto went Sister Training Leader! Haha so a lot of the zone leadership is very concentrated in the Shizuoka area so coordinating things will be A LOT easier! 

Last one with Elder Dana. Man I'm gonna miss this guy

MY NEW COMPANION WILL BE ELDER NAKATSUKA!!! I'm so excited! It seems like not that long ago that we were both young missionaries in Matsumoto in the same situation, only now its flipped! We were both junior companions living with the zone leaders. Now the roles have changed. And the sister missionaries in my MTC group go home at the end of this transfer.... That's so weird. As much as I hate saying it I'm becoming "one of the old missionaries." 

11/11 was Pocky Day!

I'm so blessed to be serving with the guys. Man there is nothing greater than missionary work. My trainee, Elder Gubbay just got a half baked bean chan,which means I'll sort of be a grandpa! He went straight from being junior companion in Inuyama to being senior, District Leader and trainer all at the same time in one of my old areas! He's going to Kariya! I'm happy for him. 

So as far as actual dendo goes, we taught Morita san for the first time this week. Elder Taylor and Elder Handley are both masterful teachers. We gave him a tour of the church and he really felt the spirit in the Chapel and at the baptismal font. He didn't accept the invitation to be baptized yet but don't worry, we'll get him. Hara san came to church! The members made good friends with him and he loved it! Keep praying for him! He's progressing so well and told me that he reads the Book of Mormon every day and is praying so he can find God. Also we taught Nonaka san this week and he came to church. I still am really confused about his situation but we reset his baptismal date for Christmas day! 

Anyway life is beautiful, Christmas is coming, Elder Nakatsuka is coming and we are working hard. 
Just do the basics. Read your scriptures. Go to church. Pray. 
It works every time. And when i say pray, ACTUALLY PRAY. Pray like you mean it. You'll get answers. 

Aight I gotta go

Love Y'all!!

Elder Johnson 

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Swim Team

Date: 10/31/2016
Place: Shizuoka
Companion: Elder Wilson


Well. Existing has been fun lately.
We went on a walk with Brother Kita at about 6am earlier this week. He
really enjoyed the company so we walked all the way to the ocean with
him! It was cool and we took some good pictures with him. I love that

Bro. Kita- love this guy!

We also got to meet with Sasaki Kyoudai this week and help him
with his computer.
The halloween party was this week! We decided the be the Shizuoka
Synchronized swim team and had a great time! We got some swim caps and
goggles at Daiso and put them on. Pretty quickly we realized that we
looked more like thugs than swimmers but oh well. It was fun. 

The crew

All six missionaries and Airi chan

The Halloween party was awesome! Okumura san brought his wife and son! I
want to teach them so bad! I think the trick for them will be working
through their 17 year old son. Some Eikaiwa folks came as well! We
played games and did a trunk or treat (we just passed out candy from
our helmets). Japanese kids are adorable enough normally but they're
SO CUTE when their parents dress them up for Halloween! Haha we tried
playing a game with them but I think the swim caps and the goggles and
the fact that there were four weird looking white dudes over six feet
tall kinda freaked them out a little. (In japan we are scary enough
without the costumes) They didnt cooperate to much haha but it was
fun. The member had a great time as well!

We also spent an entire day inputting all of them member records for
Shizuoka into our maps program. THERE WAS A TON OF THEM. We put in
over 400 records but we got it done!

Our less active map #gottacatch'emall

Also we continue to go on morning adventure runs for our workout time!
Today we went all the way to the top of a mountain nearby and took
pictures in someone's tea field. It was awesome! Good views of Fuji
from up there. 

Mount Fuji on the way out to Brother Kira's place 

Other than that we have been spending our time trying
to convince our investigators to stop being busy and meet with us.

We had an interesting encounter with a kid from Thailand. He just
showed up at the church! Turns out he is a recent convert and is here
on an exchange program of some kind! Way nice kid! So we taught him.

We also finally found Ikeyama san. We taught him twice this week and
he is progressing slowly but surely. Hara san has just been really
busy and cant meet. But we did have an interesting meeting with
Cheryl, our South African less active member. Long story short, we
spent several hours with her at the police station while she was
trying to talk to the detective about some guy that she used to know.
I still have no idea whats going on.

Also we went as a big group of six missionaries down to the main train
station and handed out a ton of fliers for english class! It was way
fun! I got sworn at in english for my first time! Two new people came
to english class this week! One from that and one was an internet

Anyway life is going well out here! Its starting to cool off a bit and
get kinda cold some today we are going to hit up the recycle shops and
look for sweaters for all of us.
Oh! Also we are starting to teach Iwano Shimai's son! He's 17 and has
quite a personality so please pray for us and him as we start teaching

Love you all!

Elder Johnson

Homeless hair + Fuji san 🗻

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Iranian Karate Masters

Date: 10/24/2016
Place: Shizuoka
Companion: Elder Wilson


Tsukemen (noodles)with the guys #pday


    Hey friends and family I still exist! Sorry I haven't written in a long time. I'm making this entry from Fujieda right now. I'm on an exchange with Elder Espinoza. He's transfer 5 and he's one of the best guys the Lord's army has to offer. We pretty much had a whole day to ourselves with no appointments so we hit the pavement and visited a less active Brazilian lady (Patricia) who lives really far away. She happened to be home and we set up a next appointment. We talked to just about everyone on the street and found a good handful of people willing to meet and got a lot of phone numbers. We did some housing and found another couple guys willing to listen to our message! It's was great! Also we stopped at a Brazilian store for dinner and had some great sandwiches and guaraná. 

The district


    Ok back in Shizuoka! This week was crazy! We had two exchanges so I was in Fukuroi on Monday and Tuesday, then I came home and stayed the night at our apartment and then went to Fujieda Wednesday to Thursday. I got to exchange with Elder Banks and Elder Espinoza this week, both of whom are awesome missionaries and fun guys to work with! Lately I've been feeling the Spirit more strongly in the work. We had one particularly good OYM where we both felt the Spirit testify to this college kid as we talked to him on the street. He actually had genuine interest in improving his life through the Gospel and the Spirit backed us up as we testified to him. It felt really good! He was a little too apprehensive to give us his phone number but he asked us for a pamphlet. I know he's being prepared and when he's ready, he'll give us a call. 

    He next day we taught a Chinese guy named Ohaku. He was found by Elder Mitchel a while back and we picked him up through the phone. We got to know him and then taught him about God and the Book of Mormon. He was very interested and said he would read the Book of Mormon and get baptized if he felt it was true! The Spirit was also very strong in that lesson. 
We have been meeting with quite a few members lately, which has been really fun. I love this ward! On Tuesday, on my brief break from exchanges, we visited the Nakayamas who live out by the ocean. They were really nice and we had a good Gospel discussion. We will be going out to visit some less actives with them next week. We also got to meet with the Tsuchiya family on Thursday. They were so fun! Sister Tsuchiya can make a mean chicken katsu. Brother Tsuchiya is really funny and we had a great visit with them and a good spiritual message afterwards. Then on Saturday we met with Nagakura Kyodai. We played guitar and sang old Beetles songs with him and then had a Spiritual thought. He's a great guy but he's going through some tough times and so we're trying to get him moving along the covenant path. We also met with Kita Kyoudai who was found and baptized just a couple years ago by Elder Jacob Yamada. Kita Kyoudai's also going through some rough times right now so we're trying to help him out. We nice guy. 

    One of our YSA guys, Okada Kyoudai, came back from Okazaki yesterday and came to church in Shizuoka! I got to talk to him a little bit and found out that he spent a year studying in Spain and actually speaks pretty good Spanish! Haha so we had a good time hanging out in Spanish after that, him with his Japanese/European accent and me with my garbled, broken Portuguese/Spanish. Haha that was one of the weirder experiences of my life. I love Brother Okada! 

    The zone is doing way good! The guys in Fuji are busy plowing through tons of less actives (There's a TON in Fuji due to some special events that happened back in the day). The Numazu guys had a Sri Lankan family come to church along with a few other Japanese investigators which has gotten the ward really fired up to help out! The Fukuroi Elders have a Brazilian guy they were teaching and this week his whole family decided to get baptized! We also had two guys wreck their bikes and go to the hospital this week but everyone is ok and still working hard. Everyone seems to be doing pretty well :). Shizuoka is a pretty warm place so we don't really get winter here. Right now it's cooled off quite a bit and it definitely feels like fall but all the leaves on the trees are staying green. 

    We have been going on "Adventure Runs" in the morning as a 4 and it's been way fun! We live next to a little mountain so we usually run up that a few times every week during morning exercise time. Today we started off early and made it to the top, stopped by at a little shrine and met this grandpa that we have decided to call "Mr Miyagi." He climbs that mountain every day for exercise because Japanese grandpas and grandmas are indestructible. We saw Mt Fuji and the ocean from the top! Also we hit the city gym with the bishop this week, which was way fun! Elder Tayler and I did burnouts on the bench so now I can't move my arms. 

We ran up a mountain in the rain for this mornings exercise! It was fun and we almost died 

The good stuff

We met a lot of interesting people this week. In Fukuroi we talked to this Nepalese guy, who was a bro. Then on the way home we talked to some Iranian guys at the train station. They all had this blue uniform on so we asked what they were doing in Shizuoka. They said that they were here for a karate world tournament of some kind. It was then that I turned around and saw a massive wave of Iranian karate masters converging like a giant blue wave on the Japanese train station! Scariest thing I've ever seen. They were all way nice guys. 
Also we ran into a guy from Bangladesh last night. He was cool.  

Anyway it's been a great week of hard work, good weather and missionary success! 
Love y'all! 

Elder Johnson 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pics from this week! 今週の写真

Date: 10/10/2016
Place: Shizuoka
Companion: Elder Wilson


Watching General Conference
Some dudes we met on the train and ate muffins with!
Mission Leadership Meeting 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Reinforcements 助っ人

Date: 10/3/2016
Place: Shizuoka
Companion: Elder Wilson


Sorry I haven't written in a while! Life has been really crazy! So the highlights of last week is that we had the Mormon Show, Interviews and the ward concert! The Mormon Show is a traveling band of missionaries that President Ishii has put together, and they all came to Hamamatsu and did a performance! As always, it was top notch. We have a lot of great talent in the mission! Interviews went well, even though we took the wrong bus to the Hamamatsu church so we had to walk for a kilometer or two to find the place. The Hamamatsu church looks like a giant block of tofu. 

And then after the concert we had AP exchanges, which was really fun! I love our APs! Then we had the ward concert! A surprising number of people showed up! 11 nonmembers came and 3 of them even performed in the show! We played several hymn arrangements, a Beatles tune, the Shimai did a dance to a Disney song and the members played a few songs as well! Tatsu kun played a rock song on the guitar that was awesome! He got a good response from the audience and I think it made him feel really good. He came to church the next day in a white shirt and slacks, just like he promised. 
Elder Wilson bought him a really nice tie, which Tatsu kun LOVED. It was awesome! 

This week we saw a ton of miracles! (Cue the Prince of Egypt music) 
We sent out a text to every person in the phone asking if they wanted to talk about Jesus. A 19 yr old kid named Hara did! We taught him on Sunday, then again on Wednesday, then on Friday he accepted the commitment to be baptized! We also found three investigators for the Fujieda elders! We have had a lot of success through finding this week and have been doing a lot of work with members. 

We had two exchanges and then had transfer calls! 
We are getting reinforcements! We are becoming a six missionary area! So Elder Wilson and I will stay, as expected. Elder Taylor will be joining us and getting a trainee street outta the MTC! And then Sister Tsujimoto will be getting a trainee (again)as well! 

Sorry a ton of other stuff has happened that I just don't have time to write about! 
Love y'all! 

Elder Johnson

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pics from Shizuoka 静岡からの写真

Date: 9/26/2016
Place: Shizuoka City
Companion: Elder Wilson


AP exchanges! APの長老たちと交換!
Nice folks. 

Colorful apartment building とってもポップな団地

Got lost in Jurassic Park looking for the Hamamatsu church building.

They did a Mormon Show in Hamamatsu and I got to meet Elder Sheppard 

and Elder Johnson  ジョンソン長老とも会いました。
Bro. Goto - He was my mom's youth leader. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

More interesting things to look at in the zoo in Japan

Date: 9/19/2016
Place: Shizuoka
Companion: Elder Wilson


Hey guys! Sorry j don't have any time to write today because we're
going to the zoo with Nagakura 兄弟! 


The weirdest thing at the zoo? White people. People probably looked at us as much as they looked at the animals!

Random nice people we met 通りすがりの人々たちと

Bro. Nagakura + orangutan 永倉兄弟とオラウータン

So basically a lot of great stuff
has been happening this week! We met with Moe, our Swiss friend, with
Brother Chikano on Tuesday! It was way cool and chikano 兄弟 bore the
strongest testimony I've ever heard in his simple English. He's a
boss! (And he has a superman jawline, which is also awesome). Moe went
back to Switzerland so we are trying to get into contact with church
leaders there. Haha this is weird!  


Nagata family! Love them. 

Then we visited Ikeyama San with Suzuki 兄弟, who is a psychiatrist, 
so we could learn a little bit more about his situation. 
It went over super well and we're super grateful
for Suzuki 兄弟. Lately Ikeyama San hasn't been meeting us or coming to
church so we have been a bit worried. But after this lesson we are
starting to understand his situation just a little bit more. He's such
a nice guy! We had some great finding experiences this week as well! On Saturday
we found a couple new PIs who are way cool.

I WANT TO HOLD A BABY MONKEY SO BAD (my first son will probably look something like this)
A lot of fish 

One of the biggest things that happened this week is all of the phone
calls and communication that has been happening between us and the
APs, and then on to the District Leaders. THIS MISSION IS CHANGING SO
FAST. Especially starting from next transfer, things are going to
change a lot. The bar is being raised and our vision elevated. We are
cleaning out everyone's iPads, cleaning up language and Japanese use,
elevating effectiveness and pushing for consecration. The new
missionaries are going to grow up in a very very different Japan
Nagoya Mission than I've known. We've kinda just stopped speaking
English lately as well. The mission, as a culture, is changing and
it's awesome! All of this is coming from the honbu.
Ok I gotta go!

Love y'all!

Elder Johnson