Monday, January 23, 2017

Homeless Missionaries- We Live out of a Backpack for a Week

Date: 12/11/2016
Place: Shizuoka City
Companion: Elder Nakatsuka

Mt. Fuji squished

This was probably the craziest week of my mission so far! It was SO FUN! We saw ridiculous miracles! Elder Coleman and Elder Pennington came on a super exchange and stayed the week. Elder Nakatsuka and Pennington stayed and 伝道ed in Shizuoka for the week and Elder Coleman spent the week training and sending in various areas throughout the zone. On Monday after Pday, I packed my backpack and we rode down to the train station. We met Coleman and Pennington Choro there and I went with Elder   Coleman to Numazu with our bike bags. On our way there we ended up talking to an interesting Canadian chap. We got off in Numazu and then I realized that I couldn't remember how to get to the Numazu elders apartment. Haha we rode around a bunch in the dark until eventually we found it. We got home really late! So we camped out with the Numazu Elders that night and I got to work with Elder Legault for a day! The last time I got to work with him was when I follow up trained him back in Kariya, almost ten months ago. I LOVE ELDER LEGAULT. 

The legendary Pokémon himself, Elder Coleman

In the morning we got up and I gave them the zone training. We discussed missionary work in Japan and the reality of our situation. We talked a lot about personal conversion and giving ourselves to the work. Then we biked all the way to Mishima and visited a bunch of folks and had a lot of fun. We stayed one more night with the Numazu guys and then headed off for Fujieda. The Numazu guys don't eat as much rice as we do so they were kind enough to give us 10 kilograms out of their massive stockpile. So we packed all of our gear, bikes and 10 kilos of rice down to Fujieda. I got us lost on the way to the apartment again, which lost us a little bit of time but we got there! We did training quickly and then I went out with Elder Carvalho (say Carvalyo) to dendo and hunt down some less actives. I love Elder Carvalho! He's a small, cute little guy from the Amazon. He's been in the mission for just a few weeks! His english is pretty good and his Japanese is getting there. We had fun together! Then all four of us; Me,Coleman, Carvalho and Espinoza to a members house to give his mom a blessing. It was reminder to me of how important it is to have the blessings memorized in Japanese. I should probably get on that, haha. 

THE FUJIEDA ELDERS MADE US BEANS! I haven't had BEANS in almost a year. 

Then we went to a Peruvian birthday party at a less actives house. IT WAS AMAZING! I'd forgotten how much I love South Americans. It reminded me of all the South American dendo I got to do with Elder Gubbay. IT WAS SO FUN!! The Dad of the family is a master on the classical guitar and he serenaded us with lot of cool Spanish/Peruvian folk songs and we sang happy birthday in spanish for the birthday kid. And then we ate an absurd amount of delicious Peruvian food and layered chocolate cake covered in something that resembled brigadero topping. IT WAS GOOD. One of the funnest nights of my mission  for sure! Then we booked it home and barely made it back on time. 

We got up the next day and headed out for Hamamatsu. There were six missionaries in Hamamatsu. So we went with Hamamatsu 1 and I guess Fukuroi was also having an exchange with Hamamatsu 2 so it turned into a huge mixing bowl of missionaries from other areas! We got everyone together at the Hamamatsu apartment and did zone training. There are so many ideas and things that we are trying to push through and get people to learn this last transfer and Hamamatsu seemed to absorb it all pretty well. I love those guys! We had a great discussion on what needs to be done in order to make missionary work go in Japan. We started with the reality of the situation of the church in Japan and then we moved on to what we need to do to fix it. We talked about how we need to increase overall personal conversion in everyone, starting with us. We talked a lot about how we can increase our faith and help the members. It was a really good discussion. 

The Zone

Then we all went out and dendoed! Elder Montoya and I had plans to hit up Daiso for some stuff we needed and then go and visit members to follow up on a ward project that they are doing. But we really wanted to go hard on finding people so we talked to everyone we could. It was AWESOME! We started seeing miracles right away, so much so that we never made it all the way to the members houses. We spent all of our time actually having good conversations with people and even found a golden investigator! He's a less active Jehovah's witness so he already believes in God! He accepted a Book of Mormon and a next teaching appointment. We taught him the Restoration right there on the street. Then we went and taught Eikaiwa. Afterwards we had seven minutes before we had to be in the apartment so we dropped our bikes and set off on foot to try to find someone before 9 oclock. We ended up talking to these really cool guys in front of a photo studio and they both became potential investigators! 

We went back to the apartment and had a little bit of time to hang out with Elder Coleman. He has so many crazy ideas and dendo plans and so much dendo fire! We talked about a lot of things we want to change in the mission and how we can make things work better in the zone. I learned a lot about what has been working and also not working in the zone this transfer. I've now exchanged with everyone companionship in the zone except one. It helped me see how much information flows down to the guys and what they understood and didn't understand. 

Then we got up the next day and went to the Shizuoka Specialized Zone Training. President Ishii and the APs were there (btw ELDER PORTER IS THE NEW AP). I was pretty panicked because I wasn't able to go home like we had planned so I didn't know what we had planned to train everyone on. But Elder Nakatsuka and the STLs got everything well taken care of! They were so prepared! It went really well! I had been praying really hard that I would be able to say something meaningful at the conference. I hadn't even seen my companion or been home for a whole week so I was pretty out of the loop but God gave me the words to say and the testimony to bear at the conference. That was another tender mercy. After the conference we took the whole zone over to Hamamatsu Eki where the Mormon Show was setting up for one of their final performances before they break up the band. They drew quite a crowd, which was great for dendo! We talked to a ton of people! And the Mormon Show CRUSHED IT. They get better and better with every show and they really are professional level. It was incredible! I love those guys. 

Then we hopped on a train and finally returned to Shizuoka! We booked it to the church and set up for the Eikaiwa Christmas concert. It went really well! Also Hitoshi san, a guy who called us up earlier in the weekcame to the concert! He travels the world and bumped into the sisters at temple square, and then attended church in Germany and met the missionaries there. He called me up out of the blue and said he wanted to meet and learn more about the church! After the Christmas concert, we taught him a lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon. He's SO PREPARED! Please pray for him! He wants to come to church, he wants to learn more, he's just really busy with his job. 
After all that, I finally got to go back to our apartment and get rid of that 10 kilograms of rice. Just in time. We were running out haha. 

Then on Saturday all six of us went to Fujieda for a PTA performance thing. Basically Takai Kyodai in Fujieda hooked us up! We got to perform Christmas music and talk about the reason of Christmas (Specifically Christ)in front of a few hundred kids and  a bunch of parents! It was awesome! 


More PTA madness!!

Then on Sunday, President Ishii came to our ward! We had three investigators planning on coming but two of them bailed last minute. But we did get to meet Ou Haku San after church and taught him a lesson. He's doing really well, just needs more time off to take the lessons and such. His lesson cut about an hour into Stake Missionary Coordination Meeting. After we finished with that we went to the meeting. President and Sister Ishii were there as well. Our new stake president is Suzuki Kaicho and he's such a boss! We discussed member/missionary relations and talked about Ward Council. Basically we need to just get members and missionaries to understand each other more and communicate. We learned a ton of stuff in the meeting and felt incredible support from the stake and from the Mission Home. There are a lot of things that we want to help missionaries do better and the stake is helping the members with a lot of things as well. There's going to be a lot of changes coming from both ends and I'm so excited to see the outcome! It's quite an experience getting to see ward leadership and missionary leadership working so hard for each other. Our leaders are great men of God. Afterwards Elder Nakatsuka and I took a couple of whiteboards and hashed out all of the ideas discussed in the meeting and decided on the direction for the zone this transfer. We also made plans for our area. It's going to be an exciting transfer! 

Oh, also we had transfer calls! 
I'm staying here with Elder Nakatsuka, Elder Taylor and Sister Inouye are staying. Elder Handley will be going to Ise! (Good place to be for New Year's) And Sister Tsujimoto will be going to Toyota to train AGAIN and be in a trio with her best friend, Harada Shimai. It's going to be a great transfer for those guys! It's way sad to see them go. Sister Brown is coming to be with Sister Inouye and Elder Taylor will be killing Elder Crippen. 

Anyways it's been an incredible week! My faith has been strengthened so much by this awesome experience. I learned so much from Elder Coleman. 

Love y'all! 
Have a great week! 

Elder Johnson 

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