Sunday, May 21, 2017

Back to the edge of the earth

Date: 5/15/2017
Place: Ise
Companion: Elder Buchanan

Wrote part of my weekly on the train ride home from Udono since we had about four hours. 

I'm sitting on a tiny, diesel local train headed for Matsusaka. We came down this morning on a fast diesel train and got off at Kumanoshi. Our appointment with Akasaka wasn't for 2 hrs so we made a desperate attempt to bike two pocket towns north to go visit the only other less active we hadn't visited in the area. We quickly ran into an impassable mountain and couldn't get anywhere so we pulled off and practiced for Akasaka's lesson on the cliffs by the ocean (a place called 鬼ヶ城). 
Then we went and found Akasaka's house. Turns out her mom was the one that we had talked with on the phone and she was friendly but Akasaka herself was extremely hostile and wouldn't give us the time of day. She informed us that she had joined a Protestant religion and couldn't even talk to us. Never mind the fact that we had just spent over a hundred dollars and an entire day traveling just to see her. She wouldn't even open the door for us but just kekkoed (shut the door on) us through the window. Her mom apologized to us with her eyes as Akasaka asked us to leave and never contact her again. To be honest I was pretty angry that she wouldn't even talk to us for a second after we had just traveled over a hundred kilometers to see her. We left a nice note and a Restoration pamphlet and left. 

As we were riding and trying to figure out what the heck we should do with our lives now, a car stopped and someone rolled down a window and asked us if we were Mormon missionaries. We were very excited and thought "this is the reason we came down here!" and she pulled over and we started talking. Turns out there used to be this little branch in the Kobe mission (not far from where we were) called Shingu. She used to go to their Eikaiwa and Christmas parties and such and also took some lessons at one point. She told us the names of a bunch of her old missionaries and we were really excited to find someone who wanted to talk to us! We then asked if we could exchange numbers and maybe meet up sometime but she pretty much just said no and wouldn't give us her number. So we gave her an Eikaiwa flyer and walked away feeling really down and confused. Maybe it will turn into something later. 

Members of Ise Branch

We had some time before our train so we decided to punt it out about 20 kilometers down the coast to hit the last less active in the area that we still had not contacted. We booked it down as fast as we could (I nearly died. That was definitely one of the hardest rides of my mission) and finally got to the area where he lived. We only had about 20 minutes before the train came (they come about every two hours out there) so we booked it up the side of the mountain in the crazy unorganized mess of Japanese roads. The roads proved to be too tangled and we couldn't find his house in the short amount of time that we had. We had to abandon our idea of finding this guy and scrambled back to the station just in time for the train. We got on and I started talking to some high school kids. They were some of the funniest guys I had ever met and we had a really good time while they were on the train. It cheered me up after a really hard day. After a while they got off and we stayed on the train for another 3 hours as it stopped at all 31 stops. 


About three or four hours later we finally rolled into Isuzugawa and booked it straight to the church for our appointment with Bro. Hamaguchi. He was actually really nice, had a testimony, prayed with us and set a next appointment. We were both so hungry and exhausted that we could barely string sentences together but we had a good lesson with him. What a good way to end the day. By then it was 8:30 and we hadn't eaten anything since that Sukiya we had at 11am so we pounded it over to the ramen shop by the apartment and asked for the biggest, hottest, fastest bowl of ramen they could whip up. We ordered our kaidama in advance, pounded it all down and got home before 9pm. Win. 

The next day we taught a temple prep class to Bro. Ota. Way psyched for him. Then we went out to ramen with John and he finally became an investigator! Sort of. We'll get him though. 

We had a good DTM with the guys in Tsu, then we cycled clear back up into the mountains to our appointment with Fukumura, another less active. He stood us up and wasn't home. So we ate another combini (convenient store) dinner sitting on the curb in the parking lot of a Circle K up in the mountains, then booked it home (probably 1hr and a half ride)
So far we are about 1/140 contact attempts in the less active department. 

Saturday we spent the day trapped at the church and got a ton of planningorganizing, data input, record keeping and everything in between DONE. 

Sunday was the usual Sabbath day madness. We got up, went to church and did the usual Presidency meeting and stuff, set up the church and had sacrament meeting. We probably had about 8 or 10 people or so. Then we had ward council meeting and planned a bunch of stuff with Kashima Kyodai (our high counselor) for Branch Conference

Apparently we are getting a senior couple this weekend and I will be released! Then we went to go visit Bro. Hayashi but he wasn't home. 

On the way out to another members place we found a Vietnamese kid. He was really nice and we took him all the way back to the church and played ping pong. He said he will come to church next Sunday! 

Life is good. Life is real good. 

Love y'all! 

Elder Johnson 

Transfer 16. Still Alive!

Date: 5/8/2017
Place: Ise
Companion: Elder Buchanan

Hey all! Sorry I've been lost to the world for a bit! P Days are seriously the worst. 

I'm pretty sure this futon was ours....

So here's a quick life update: transfer calls came last week or two weeks ago (can't remember) and I will be staying here in Ise with Elder Buchanan. Sometime during the transfer I will be released as Branch President because we are getting a Senior Missionary Couple at the end of the month and he will take over Branch President duties. I GET TO BE A NORMAL MISSIONARY AGAIN! 

So we had trainer's review two weeks ago. It was great to see all of the old guys (Elder Taylor is the new AP - the third in a row from Shizuoka!). I'm not surprised at all. What a great guy :). Then President and Sister Ishii came all the way down to Wagu and visited the Dejis. They prepared a feast from the sea (the best sea food I've ever had) and we had a great lesson about prayer. The Ishii's worked their magic and the Spirit was so strong! 

The boat ride out to Wagu

We have started trying to teach this kid we found at the Oyaji Band. He's cool and open to listening to what we say. He's 20 and is really cool. We went out to eat with him twice. We talked about God and the Book of Mormon. He accepted a Book of Mormon so we'll see how things work out. He's part of some kind of ancestral worship group so he's not a real investigator yet. But we'll get him :)

The crew meets the Dejis

We went over to the Yamazakis and hung out with Enoc for a bit. He's 16 and is the only youth in the branch. We played ukulele for a while and then talked about anime for a bit. Then we cut down all the weeds in the Yamazaki's back yard. 

Then we had an exchange with Elder Meyers and Kojima. Elder Meyers helped me with some branch president stuff and suddenly everything clicked. I don't know why this hadn't occurred to me before but church leadership is exactly the same as missionary leadership. Branch president is the same as district leader. Zone leader is the same as stake president. APs are general authorities and auxiliaries. I came into Ise with a Zone Leader mentalitythinking that I had to build something, build a direction and training based on the Area Plan. Nothing was quite clicking in my head and I was having a hard time laying down a solid direction for the branch. Nothing was working or progressing and for two transfers I felt kinda lost. Finally I realized that as a branch president I don't need a Zone leader mentality but a district leader's. I'm not supposed to build anything new, I'm just supposed to personalize the stake goals for Ise. So on Sunday we had two Presidency meetings and made plans for the branch to accomplish all of the stake goals. It feels really good and everything feels right. As a branch we are planning family history workshops and a temple trip in August! We are also trying to get everyone to read the Power of Everyday Missionaries this month. We have also had a ton of interviews this week. I love interviews. It's really fun to get to know the members and help them on a one on one level. I finally feel like I know how to be a branch president. 

On Monday we went to the national candy festival with Bro. Ota! It was pretty cool! The next day we visited Sis. Nakamura. She's cool. 

Then we went back to the church and we called almost every less active in the church records. We called over a hundred people and most of them kekkoed us and said they didn't want to have any contact with the church because they had reverted to the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct. It's sad to see so many people who no longer want to be with us. We have about 150 members living within Ise boundaries but only about 15 or so are active. But the good news though is that we were able to get appointments with about 5 people. Most of them live pretty far out past the edges of civilization so this will be a fun week. We have one lined up for each day of the week and it's going to be a full day trip to see each one. I'm way stoked! We are so blessed. 

We got to spend a little time with Tetsuya. He's a lot more mobile than I thought. He can actually leave the house and go around town so we went to Geku with him. 

On Friday we had the stake 大運動会 (Sports Day) at Yokkaichi dome. The church rented out Yokkaichi dome! It was massive and hundreds of members came from all over the mission. I got to see a lot of old friends from Inuyama and Nonamiwhich was so fun! It was great seeing everyone. Some of these friends I haven't seen since the beginning of my mission and I was way happy when they still remembered me! It was such a fun time. We were able to convince two of our members to come from Ise and we had a great time with them. 

Meeting old friends at the dome 

On Saturday the new Rogue AP's, Elder Porter and Elder Bradshaw came down for a visit. We went out on splits and Elder Porter stayed at the church with me and I interviewed Bro. Tou and the Yamazaki family. Elder Bradshaw and Buchanan got to go do some finding which sounded way fun. We had a good night catching up and talking about old times in Suwa and Kariya. Then on Sunday they gave the branch a training fireside, which was awesome! The branch loved it! Then we got on a train to Kashikojima and took the little boat out to the Wagu peninsula, where the Deji's welcomed us with a seafood feast. We taught them how to pray again (they like praying but they're old so it's hard for them to grasp the whole concept of prayer) and then taught them the importance of coming to church, reading the Book of Mormon and praying. They love listening to the Gospel and feeding us tons of fish. It's a great situation :)

Anyway it's been a good start to the transfer. I'm hoping once I'm released that we will be able to do some more finding. Before I get released I hope to do what I can to lift the members and help them find the joy of living the Gospel and dendo. Life is hard out here but it's so so rewarding. I love Ise! I love helping these people. I love being a missionary. 

Love y'all! 

Have a fantastic week 

Elder Johnson 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Nose Hairs, Tree Lady and more Old People

Date: 4/17/2017
Place: Ise
Companion: Elder Buchanan

Sorry folks, I got myself sick again so this week's mail might be kinda all over. 
Haha I've reached the "ripe old age" of mission life where your body just starts falling apart. And also all of you gear starts falling apart and all of your clothes are destroyed. 

Our public relations activities in Ise are really starting to take off and get us some traction. We went and did service in the rain at Tree Lady's place. It was kinda cold so all of us huddled around a wood burning stove under a plastic/wooden shelter they had built while we carved branches into wooden mallets. It was way fun! Some of the guys there are deaf and it's really fun to try communicating with gestures and stuff. I love our Tree Guys :). 

The next day we had a curry party at our hotel Eikaiwa! But they didn't bring a Tachiai (we've been talking about this to them for a bit) so we still need to get that worked out. Afterwards we went to the church and had another intense round of ping pong with Shinji. Then we ate the best ramen in the world and made it back to the church in under thirty minutes, in time for Eikaiwa! Our Eikaiwa continues to grow. And by that I mean that all of our moms keep inviting more moms. We need sister missionaries here so bad! 

On Thursday we went to Nagoya for Zone Conference. Since it was a combined conference with Yokkaichi and Fukutoku zones, I got to see a lot of old friends. Sometimes in Ise, you forget that the rest of the mission exists. It was really good to see everyone and to hear from our leaders. Our leaders truly are, "mighty men of God." On Friday we got to go help the Yamazakis move a bed down the stairs and then did a bunch of work out in their rice field! It was way way fun and it felt good to be back out in the dirt again. My mom told me several years ago that I'd be dumb enough to get sunburned really bad at least once a year before I would remember to wear sunscreen. So far she has proved to be prophetic on all accounts and this year was no exception. So after getting roasted at the Yamazakis we ran home, showered, and then turned around and booked it out to a far away FI and invited them to next months stake 運動会(athletic meet). It's going to be epic. Then we went to Oyaji band (Old guys band) practice. 

The next day we went to the city hall and one of the oyajis (old guys) picked us up and took us out to the old folk's center where we got to perform with the band! It was so so fun! This is definitely the hand of the Lord. The Oyaji band is simply a band of random musically talented peeps who just get together and put together concerts so they can go perform for residents at old people homes. We had a great performance and, since Elder Buchanan and I are foreigners, they LOVED us and we made some friends. Turns out that one of the workers at the old folks center used to be an Eikaiwa student! She asked us for our flier so she could come this week. Also one of the band members took the missionary lessons twenty five years ago! We'll see what we can do;). All in all we have made a lot of connections and those connections are making more connections and we are starting to get our faces, and the church, out in the open. 

And then we had a good jam session with Tou Kyodai. 
And then we got sick and had to stay inside for a whole day :(. We didn't even get to go to church on Easter! And we had to cancel our appointment with the Dejis and with Hayashi Kyodai. It's ok, we'll make up for it later in the week. There is so much to do! 

I seriously love being a missionary! This is the funnest, most rewarding thing I've ever done. The Lord has changed me and rescued me time and time again. I'm grateful for a loving, merciful God that lets us keep trying over and over again. 

Ok love y'all! 

Elder Johnson 

Ps: they sell these jelly sodas in the vending machines here and I'm totally addicted to them. 
Aight love y'all

Oh hey random funny experience! Last week after emailing, we went to get hair cuts. While we were there, I saw a sign advertising their nose hair service (where they rip out all of your nose hairs. Yeah. That one.). This is Elder Buchanan's first haircut in Japan so he didn't really know what was going on. So I ordered a nose hair service for him without him knowing 🤣. And because it was cheap I got one too. It scared him so bad! Haha seriously the greatest haircut I've ever had. Elder Buchanan forgave me afterwards haha. I love this kid. 

Ok sorry I'll shut up now 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Shark in my fridge

Date: 4/9/2017
Place: Ise
Companion: Elder Buchanan

Well it was another grand week here on the Pacific. 

On Tuesday we tried out a new service activity that we picked up from an NPO fair we went to a couple weeks ago. There's this family that is restoring a forest and is running this NPO that cleans up trash, cuts out dead bamboo trees and is turning the place into a park/campground of some kind. The lady who runs it is really nice and she LOVES us! I call her Tree Lady. So we went there on Tuesday and helped pick up rocks and stuff. We made friends with the guys who work there and invited some of them to eikaiwa. Tree Lady loves us so much that she took us out for lunch afterwards and we got to have some very legit Japanese food. 

Then on Wednesday one of the workers that we invite actually came to Eikaiwa!! This is going to be a great service activity! It was so fun! Other then that we just did a lot of branch president stuff in the office. (And by Branch President stuff I mean I spent a ton of time trying to decipher the emails that the stake presidency keeps sending out. WHAT THE HECK DO THESE SYMBOLS MEAN?!) We had a koukan with Tsu. I got to teach their Eikaiwa, which was actually really fun!! 

Then on Friday we had our Hanami party! ONLY WOMEN SHOWED UP. This is our biggest problem in Ise. WE HAVE NO MALES. All of our dudes bailed on us last minute so we just had moms and grandmas. Also it rained so we couldn't really do a proper Hanami. The flowers were breathtaking though. The members spoiled us with tons of food from the street vendors so that made it worth it. 

Then the next day we had Conference. For the first session we had 7 people. By the second session we had a solid 4 people. By priesthood it was just us and Brother Higashimoto so we played ping pong for a bit and then watched priesthood. General Conference was the best! But as Imura Shimai says, "The same people who always come, come. And the same people who don't come, just don't come." 

We had a better turnout for Sunday conference but by the end of the second session our numbers had still waned just a bit. After Sunday conference we had planned to go to see the Dejis with Jone Shimai and Takayuki Kyodai but he said that he had worked night shift the night before and felt it wouldn't be safe to attempt such a long drive through the mountains. I can't blame the guy. So they went home and we decided to go teach the dejis on our own. We got lucky with timing and caught a high speed train dreaded south. It took us to the end of the line in Kashikojima. The Dejis still live clear out on the Wagu peninsula, which has no public transportation. So we waited at the boat dock until a boat came and caught the last boat of the day out to the peninsula. For those of you not familiar with the Shima region of Japan, let me explain what Shima is like. Shima is home to Mikimoto pearl, the worlds first and largest cultured pearl company in the world (or some I'm told). Shima is a tangled collection of crazy, puzzle piece shaped islands, guarded from the open pacific by the Wagu Peninsula. So we got on the boat and headed off for Wagu. We were the only ones on the boat so the driver let us go sit up top! The we got to watch the sun set over the mountains and the ocean as our boat dodged pearl rafts and wound its way between the little islands, some of which I think were not much bigger than my high school campus, as we made our way out to Wagu. Seriously the best ¥610 (about $6) I've ever spent. The Dejis picked us up at the little dock and took us home and fed us a luxurious, home style Japanese meal. It mostly consisted of various forms of seaweed, rice, bamboo shoots and fish. Some friends of theirs had gifted them a fresh Katsuo fish that morning so they gave us some incredible sashimi, and also treated us to a local Wagu delicacy; boiled cat shark. It was really good! 

The conversation naturally drifted to religion and we shared the message of the Restoration with them. They listened very carefully and accepted everything we said. That's incredibly rare among older Japanese people. They're so prepared! It's going to take a while to teach them but I believe they will change! The Spirit was present and the lesson felt very natural and comfortable. They gave us the leftover shark to take home. We gave them a Book of Mormon before we left. Deji san took us back to Kashikojima station (a good 20 minute drive) and we barely caught a train as it was leaving. 

Since we were the only ones in the station, the attendant opened for us a special gate and rushed us aboard just as the train left. We were told to purchase our tickets aboard. So we wandered the entire train to see what there was to see. This was easily the nicest train I've ever been on. We sat in first class deluxe seats until the train attendant came to sell our tickets. He then asked us to sit one car back (we were literally the only ones on the entire train!) so we went one car back which happened to be the "saloon seats." I thought they were nicer than our original deluxe seats. Haha so we traveled home in style. What an incredible day. God truly knows how to give good gifts. 

Love you guys ;) 
If you didn't watch Conference, don't be a shmeag! Watch it! It will help you in ways that nothing else can right now. 

Have a great week. 

Elder Johnson 

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Date: 4/2/2017
Place: Ise
Companion: Elder Buchanan

It was just another insane week in the life of a missionary. We've been getting way blessed lately. 

This week was pretty full of various teaching, service appointments and we saw plenty of miracles. A month or so ago, Elder Brown and I found Shizuya. He's 17 and he's pretty cool. We had a lesson scheduled with him this week so Elder Buchanan and I practiced his lesson and prepared really well. The lesson was picture perfect! We took him to the church where we played some ping pong and then taught him Lesson 1. At the end we showed him the 20 Minute Restoration video (I love that video because it brings the Spirit like no other video). After the part of the video that relates the First Vision, Shizuya turned to me and said "I feel something. It feels warm and good." After the video ended Elder Buchanan sealed the deal with a commitment to be baptized and we set his date. That was quite an amazing miracle lesson! All we need to parental permission. I'm really glad that Elder Buchanan got to have that experience in his first two weeks as a missionary. 

We also had interviews and Zone Training in Yokkaichi! So we got to see President and Sister Ishii and all the guys from around the mission! It was so good to see other missionaries! Seriously, in Ise we are in deep isolation. After the training we hopped on another high speed train headed south and went home. Kitamura san picked us up from the station in his car and took us out to go buy ping pong paddles at this tiny, remote little shop clear out in Meiwa. Again, we tried the Gospel on him and again, he blocked us at every turn. It saddens me to see such good souls who are so blinded and confused by the philosophies of men. 

Anyway we got some dope ping pong paddles for pretty cheap and then he dropped us off at the church and we got set up just in time for Shinji (Nicknamed John) to show up. We had a furious round of ping ping with our new paddles and had a great time together. We tried watching Meet the Mormons together but we had played too hard and were too tired for it to be really effective so we stopped halfway through and went home haha. 

Oh also my grandparents came down on Monday and took us out to sushi at the Kitamura san's brothers sushi shop! We did the 踊り食い (swallowing live minnows) again and they bought us Ise Ebi (shrimp)! It was literally the best thing I've ever eaten.

This week we were also asked by Hayashi Shimai to give her son a blessing before he went into surgery. So we went to their house and we got to finally meet more of the family! We met the husband and daughter who are not members and of course, her son who is also not a member. They treated us as guests of honor. Wow that was quite an experience. We got to give him a blessing. The surgery went very well and he's already out of the hospital apparently. 

Yesterday was a typical Sunday. And by typical Sunday I mean an absolute train wreck or stress and trying to organize and run meetings on the fly. That's another thing I want to change about Ise. Literally just about everything we do is kinda on the fly. There's not a ton of organization. We had much better attendance is week. We had about twenty members or so and had a great fast and testimony meeting. Haha 

on Saturday we had come to the church and set up everything for the Women's Session of General Conference but NO ONE CAME! I was so disappointed but it's ok. We're going to spiritually nourish this branch, even if it takes a little force feeding. So we watched the Women's conference for 3rd hour in church. After church we stayed at the church for about five hours and got a ton of stuff organized,coordinated and planned. Then we went to the Fujitas! Fujita Kyodai and Shimai warmly welcomed us and we had a fun evening together. 

This week is looking to be another awesome week of adventure and dendo (missionary work). Being a missionary is seriously the funnest thing I've ever done. 

Oh! Also we went and visited out flute man who lives across the street from the church and he gave me another Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) lesson! Haha he's a way cool Japanese guy and pretty much told me I have to practice, practice, practice or I'll never live up to his expectations. I love this guy ;) 

I gotta go practice this tradition Japanese bamboo flute thingie now I guess. Love y'all! 
Have a great week! 

Elder Johnson

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ninjas, transfers and spaniards

Date: 3/20/2017
Place: Ise
Companion: Elder Brown

On Monday after we did our mailing, 大田兄弟 (Bro. Ota) took us out to Azuchi Momoyama Castle! We got there and the place was pretty empty. Turns out there's a ninja theme park that the castle is part of and Brother Ota took us in. The park was an old fashioned Japanese town with various attractions in each of the buildings. We had fun going through the various activities, getting lost in a maze, going into the castle (this one's a replica) and eating Ise Udon. But what really made the park awesome were the performers. There was a swordplay/dance group called Kenshin in town and they put on a very impressive show. We got to hang out with the crew just a little bit after the show and they we're really cool. 

Then we went to the ninja show. It was honestly the coolest thing I've every seen! The show house didn't have any seats but you took your shoes off and sat on the floor. At the front of the room there was a low stage, half of which protruded clear out into the audience. And since you're sitting on the floor, you can sit really close. The ninja show was an amazing, two-man performance complete with plenty of comedy, backflips, intense swordplay, people dropping in from the ceiling (right above our heads!), disappearing stunts and pretty much everything you could ever want or hope to expect from a ninja fight. I almost wet my pants and then vowed to become a ninja when I grow up. 

After the ninja battle (it was really long, maybe 30 minutes or more of straight fighting) they had a great comedy routine which involved a blow dart gun and they actually let me up onto the stage to shoot it! Of course it was just a toy but it was way fun. 
Anyway it was actually a very good, uplifting experience and it really did a lot to pick me up after a really stressful few weeks. Also I became a huge sucker for any ninja/samurai/old Japan merchandise. 

This week was Elder Brown's Senpai week, which means that I got to play Junior Companion ;). It was fun and he did really well! He made phone calls, taught at appointments and such. 

On Tuesday we went and saw Tetsuya. He's still feeling sick and is still smoking. He's going to need some time and a lot of prayers but he'll be ok. 

Wednesday we had a koukan (exchange) with the guys from Tsu and they went with us to our Toba Hotel Eikawa. (English class) It was really fun and the students loved it! Afterwards we had lunch with John (he's Japanese but asks us to call him John). John is an interesting character. He's very broad minded and open to a lot of things. He is studying Spanish and wants to travel the world. We were going to introduce the Gospel in our first time eating with him but the conversation took a wild turn and we weren't able to bring it back in track :/. My bad. I'll get him next time. 

Then me and Elder Meyers went to the apartment and made some quick no bake cookies to take to a member. I had a lot on my mind and ended up just venting everything to him. Being Branch President isn't too hard, it's just dendo (missionary wrok) in Ise that's kicking my butt. He listened very well and then gave me good, down to earth advice. Actually things are going well. I perhaps get stressed too easily about things that aren't too important. He said, "just take whatever God gives you and run with it. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just work with what you have." It actually eased my mind a lot. God doesn't demand the impossible. He doesn't demand 110% of you or anybody else. Just 100%. He doesn't give us imperfect abilities, imperfect tools, imperfect circumstances and expect us to achieve perfection. He just asks us to do what we can. To take what we have and run. I had a good exchange with Elder Meyers. We rode out really far, delivered the stuff, then booked it back for Eikaiwa. (English class) Miraculously, a ton of new people came! Three business people in suits came, along with a mom wanting us to teach her two kids. It was awesome! 

The next day we went out in the morning with our new friend Shizuya. He's 17 and he already believes in God! He really has a desire to follow God and to do what it takes to become happy. He's really innocent and believes everything we say. We just met at a park and hung out for a bit. We prayed together and he said he felt something. He's going to be a great investigator and a fun one to teach I think :). We had some good OYMs home and then stopped at the drug store across from the church to get some allergy medicine for Elder Brown. We ended up becoming great friends with the grandpa who owns the shop. We got to talking and then I looked behind him and saw that he had a pile of Shakuhachi Japanese flutes! Those are super expensive and rare so I asked him about them. Turns out he has been playing for quite a while and is actually really good and now he makes his own flutes for fun! He offered to let us borrow one of his flutes and told us he would teach us how to play it! So now we have a super legit bamboo flute just chilling at the church. I can barely get it to make sounds haha! 

We had a good weekly planning session and got everything lined out and organized for missionary and branch presidency work in Ise. 

The next day, transfer mails came. Elder Brown will be bouncing out and going to Takabata with Elder Pope. I will stay here and IM TRAINING AGAIN! 

So after that transfer packing and stuff began but compared to other transfers, this on has been a very quiet one. It's kinda nice. We just went to see Tetsuya one last time and then ate out at Elder Brown's favorite restaurant (Champion Curry). 

Also we went to the city hall for a NPO gathering of sorts and we made a ton of friends and got a ton of phone numbers! It was actually a huge miracle is undoubtedly going to lead us to a ton of good opportunities. 

Today we had a great Sacrament meeting and then afterwards an awesome shokijikai (potluck). The members spoiled us way hard and brought tons of good food! We had to peel out a little early and hop on a train up to Yokkaichi for a stake bishop's meeting. On the way up, I was exhausted from Sacrament meeting and was dozing in and out of consciousness. After head bobbing for a bit, I suddenly woke up and smacked my head against the window. As Elder Brown and I were laughing about that, a kid sitting not too far from us who was also falling asleep, suddenly jerked awake and smacked his head against the window too! The lady sitting across from us got to see the whole thing and we all had a good laugh together.  

The bishopric meeting was good. I learned a ton and was blasted with a ton of high level Japanese. It was amazing to feel the love and the trust these guys held for me, even though I was just a kid in the room. They went out of their way to make sure that my voice was heard. I got a much better sense of exactly what it is I need to do in Ise and felt a lot of guidance. Also I ate their sandwiches and drank their peach water. THAT was awesome. 

Today we went to Spain mura, a Spanish themed amusement park, for district activity. It was pretty fun! We went with one of our Eikawa friends and had a good time. They had a circus, that was kinda over hyped, and a new rollercoaster which was cool but also overhyped. But they did have one actually big rollercoaster there that was awesome! We had a good time.

Tomorrow is transfer day. Elder Brown will be making a quick transfer to Nagoya. Then I'll go be homeless for a couple days until my bean chan (brand new missionary) comes to Japan! 
Love y'all! 

Elder Johnson 

Ps: sorry I can't respond to any iMessages right now. I tried factory resetting my iPad (its been pretty messed up for about a year now so I thought I'd finally do something about it) and it might have fixed it but it also messed up a bunch of other stuff. Hopefully I'll have it back to normal by next week :)