Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Junkai and a chocolate fast

Transfer calls. They will come in a few hours. I don't know if I want to stay or go. I mean this area has been rough but I have been able to learn so much from it. Elder Jensen is so incredibly hard working. He is always working. I haven't ever seen him stop. He is always doing something. The only time I don't see him doing something is when I can hear him fall asleep during morning prayers. That just makes me giggle. We are working so hard and this transfer seriously disappeared.

This week, nothing really happened until the past few days. On Friday we had another junkai. I went with Elder Nara and we had a blast. I asked this lady what she wanted to become when she was young, (she has depression issues) and she said she wanted to die. I just slapped my head and said no that's not what I wanted to hear. She started to say how she was bullied and other stuff when I started to explain how I was bullied as a kid and that through the gospel she can find hope. She really liked that.

This weekend we met a quite a few people. One of which was an old dropped investigator. Her church and our church kinda has the same tree of life story. She said she really liked that part. We asked her to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.

We had a 2 hour lesson of Q and A with this guy whose name is H. He Can speak pretty fly English so 99 percent of the lesson we can understand. It was great! At the end we got him to pray. He said how grateful he is for our kindness and that we are so patient. My favorite part is that he said "God don't be mad at me if I don't believe"

We went on a long bike ride to the north. We didn't know if an investigator would be home but we just tried. She was home! We taught lesson 3 and invited her to baptism. She said she can't because she can't come to church but maybe in the next two moths she will.

So recently Elder Jensen and I were on a chocolate fast. (They were fasting from chocolate to help a member break her addiction from coffee.) We broke it last night. We called S, the mother of the less active and she told us she dropped it. We asked her if it was hard and she said it wasn't at all. We celebrated and went home and ate tons of chocolate. I got sick but it was a joyous occasion! (Most of his Christmas package was chocolate!)

If I stay for another transfer, we have a ton of people that are just on the line. They just need that witness. JUST COME TO CHURCH as the girl from the district says. They just need that extra witness. I've been thinking of picture models I can draw on the spot to help explain things. I've done one for prophets and prayers. I think that will help. I'm currently thinking of one to use for church. Hopefully things will go well!

SO our zone has been trying to read the Book Of Mormon in this past transfer. I have 3 pages left. I've read the 528 pages in 31 days. I completely blasted through it but I've found so many great scriptures. I have my Preach My Gospel open next to me and I'm just putting in all these references to use. I want to start using scriptures more in lessons to try to show the importance of the scriptures. It has been great!

Jameson 長老

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Miyako!

This, of course, was a long week. But there were some amazing things that happened. Probably Friday was the best day out of the entire week.

SO my 12 days of Christmas people are doing great! We kept stopping by with a scripture about Christ. If we had enough time, we would share part of lesson 2 with him. But we kept giving the children candy of all sorts. Sometimes we would give them presents.

The kids drew some pictures for us and gave us balloon animals. But in one lesson we taught the plan of salvation with Him.... he said that he wanted to be saved! At the end of the meet, he said the prayer.

We met this man named H. He can speak English pretty well. He also teaches volleyball at a local middle school. So this week we went to the school to play volleyball with the kids. We were so bad and all the kids laughed at us. But then we were able to start playing well and then they started to cheer. The kids asked H who we were and he said that we were his brothers. I liked that a lot. He called us yesterday and asked us to help with an English contest. He wants us to read off a story so his students can try to sound like us.

It was a rough week because our amazing investigator S. seemed to just lose contact because she can't be baptized. We went to visit her but the man she is living with said she doesn't have interest anymore. That made me pretty upset.

But yeah, this week was better. I just have to push through it. I don't understand but I just keep talking. Things are hard but We have hope things will be better this next transfer.

On top of what happened this week, we had a lesson with our investigator S. (Same name as our beloved S.) She is the mom of a less active. We taught the word of wisdom. She had a problem with coffee. Well she said she just likes to drink it. So in order to help her stop, we wanted to stop eating chocolate. It was great to help her but we soon realized that a lot of stuff we eat is chocolate... so that was a little awkward. especially because half of my Christmas package was chocolate.

Thanks for the call! Please send everyone my love!

A Christmas morning tradition. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Who knew! Hours of video games paid off!!

So to be completely honest, nothing happened all this week up until Friday. So I've been having it hard lately but we had a companionship exchange with the district leader. We got absolutely nothing done the entire day. But I learned something very important from him. I expressed my concern with the language. And he said "well when we go to church or when we hear conference in our own language... how does that feel?" I of course say it feels great. He responds "that's what we are doing for these people. We are trying our hardest to tell these people in their own language how amazing this gospel is. We in a way are suffering the pains of having to do this. But if you think about it, Its kind of like the atonement. We are suffering the confusion of the language just so others can enjoy it"

Since Friday I have had a better time with the work. Yesterday Elder Jensen said it was one of his funnest times he has had dendoing in a while.

We had a couple of investigators drop this week. Mostly because we accidentally ran into a slightly mental apartment that all wanted to hear the gospel but they couldn't function apparently. So when we went back we were yelled at.

Another case is that a mother was really hantai and she controlled her 30 year old son into calling us to say he wasn't interested. But we asked him if it was because of the mom and he said yes.

But we found this man from New Zealand yesterday. We stood and talked to him for about an hour yesterday. And get this, all those hours of watching those video games paid off. I looked into his house and saw his tv. I saw a pause screen and asked him if it was a certain game. He said yes it was and then we talked about video games for about 20 minutes after that. But we had a great talk. He is brilliant at economics as well so we hit off on that. And he said that we can come over sometime to have some real food because the Japanese skimp out on the "good stuff" as he says. But I'm really excited to be able to start to teach. I think he will like the gospel.

WE visited a less active randomly and he let us in. I was super surprised because I myself haven't visited this guy. Apparently he has forgotten pretty much everything about the gospel. Even how to pray. All he says is that he believes in Christ. But we gave him a Book of Mormon and set a return date. I think he can come back to church. It was a great opportunity.

Lastly last night we met one of our investigators when it was pouring and super windy. When he opened the door he commanded us to come in. It was awesome because we got to meet his wife and enjoy the comfort of indoors.

We have started to do a 12 day of program with 2 investigators. One with our S that for some reason has dropped all communication with us. But we come by and drop off a talk about Christ in her mail slot in her door. I think she reads them because the one from the day before is gone. Another investigator is a man that has had the Book of Mormon for 10 years. We give his kids candy everyday. At the end of the visit we give him a scripture within the Book of Mormon about Christ. I think it is going well because the kids are excited when we come. The man seems happy when we come. Hopefully they are filling Christ's love a little more.

Jameson 長老

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Super Genki and Dendo Fire

This week Elder Jensen and I were hoping someone would come to church so that we could have a December baptism. well... that didn't happen. On top of that, only 8 people were at church today. 4 missionaries and 4 members. The lowest that I have ever seen here in Miyako. S didn't answer any of our phone calls. When we went to visit her she sent someone else to the door.

Things have just been a daily continuation of trying to just find someone to listen. And it seems to not work. We just try so hard everyday. We talk to everyone on the streets, we try to help people with anything we can.

We did that last week and it actually turned out well. We talked to a lady for 40 minutes. But as soon as an opportunity to talk about religion came up, she shut us down. But she is happy when she sees us.

We have this investigator that is amazingly old and has every problem that you can imagine. I forgot to mention this last week but Elder Jensen and I gave her a blessing. We came back the next week... and she wasn't healed, but she was like 20 times happier and super genki.

Something cool from this past week is our meet with Y, this guy Elder Gandy and I found like 3 months ago. He received the Book of Mormon 10 years ago. But every time we met we couldn't get off a message. So I wanted to review lesson one with him. And during the lesson I asked him if he read the BOM at all. And he said a little... but. And of course I asked him how it went. He said that he received a feeling like when one of his children was born and he knows that feeling came from God. So that was the happy story for this week!

We don't have a lot of time today because Elder Jensen and I went to visit a less active this morning. It went pretty well. It turns out the less active speaks pretty fantastic English. So we talked to her for a long time. Interestingly enough, she actually asked us how the branch was doing. For example, how many members are in the church. We were able to explain to her about the situation of Miyako just a bit and we were actually able to talk to her about her conversion experience. She said she can remember the feeling of when they placed their hands (she remembered the names too, and it was over 40 years ago) on her head and she said she actually felt like she was part of the house of Israel. Not only that, when we blessed the investigator, she said she felt comfortable and something familiar came over her.

The thing is we have a lot of people saying that they felt good when they tried to pray and they had a great experience with it. We testify of what it is but for some reason they don't connect the dots. They say it was great but they still lose interest. I don't know if it is me or my teaching but we do exactly what we need to do with regards to the lessons and it still doesn't work out. That is what is so frustrating right now. Elder Jensen and I only got 3 lessons this past week. 2 amazingly of them were member present and all 3 of them are progressing investigators.

Recently we have also been trying to get the members more involved with missionary work. The members here in Miyako look up to the missionaries so much. They talk to us in the most polite form time to time. So I was thinking if we get more of them involved in what we do, to see that we need their help, maybe the branch will grow. I've been asking members about less actives and investigators, asking them to call or visit them to ask them to come to church. And to get the members excited for missionary work, I give them Helaman 5:23-50 to read. Its when the one "less active" member helps the missionary effort and 300 people are baptized. The members love the story and hopefully I can get some dendo fire in them.

Jameson 長老
Elder Jensen. Maybe?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nothing but beach


Sorry about the pictures. There really isn't anything except the beach here. So if you want dirty rusty apartments and the same looking beach for pictures, I can take more. Other than that there really isn't anything on Miyako.

So. This week. We had a pretty good week. At least we taught a lot of people. We gave out some copies of the Book of Mormon. We did everything we could. We had a baptismal date but that dropped due to her not coming to church this Sunday. But we did get another date for the 4th of January.  

My new companion, we have had lessons with pis and investigators, we really mend well together. we have taught some good lessons. We have a lot of people who are starting to, I think, recognize the importance of this gospel. But they are all stinking scared to come to church! "Oh I can't I got this, I can't, I'm going here, I have my job" Just come to church! We had our lowest church attendance this past week. 10 people. (At the beginning of sacrament) The week before the couple and Gandy and Nakabe left, it almost broke 20. 

SO I have sad news about S. I asked the church member that always joined with us to teach her to call her. Apparently she said that S said she can't come to church because she isn't baptized. Is so amazingly frustrating. Not only that, the member told her that is not true but Elder Gandy and I have told her countless times.

Jameson 長老

These are my hope scriptures from this week.

John 14:15
Joshua 1:5
1 Nephi 20:10-11
1 Nephi 21:14-16

There isn't anything but the beach here..... poor boy! ;)

Do you feel sorry for him yet?

He is eating steak!

New dictionary

Branch President's bike, borrowed since his was shipped with Gandy's

English class

Monday, November 25, 2013

Transfers, Senior Companion, and a very heavy heart

Sooooooooo Gandy transfered.

And here is the sad thing about it. My heart is heavy. And all I can keep thinking is "I'm sorry I wasn't the best companion and didn't learn everything I could from you."

He transferred to Yamaguchi to be a zone leader. He was an amazing trainer and missionary. He has taught me so much and done so much for Japan. But he said he thinks he was called to prepare Japan. And he thinks that I was called to reap that of which he has sowed.

And here is why I need a dictionary. (An electronic dictionary. They cost around $250.00. Sigh.)

Gandy is gone. And I have a new companion. His name is Elder Joshua Jensen. Joshua Jensen and Jarom Jameson. :) The great thing about this is that we sat next to each other on the plane ride to Uapan. So yeah, he was in my traveling group. We are both senior companions and both transfer 3. 

Who in the right mind would put two extremely young missionaries together like this? 

Even though we are young, we have already seen so many miracles in the past 3 days. One of which is a lady we wanted to see if she read the Book of Mormon. We asked her how it went and she said she knows it is true. I was completely shocked because that was the first person we went to visit as a companionship. She didn't have much time but we gave her a pamphlet to read.

Another case is with regards to Gandy and reaping what he sowed. He went finding at a house and a lady answered the door saying that she was sorry she didn't read the book we gave her. We had no idea what she was talking about. She said about 5 months ago 2 white missionaries gave her a Book of Mormon. That was Elder Gandy and a zone leader during a companion exchange. 

And for some reason or another, I haven't had much success with the family worship religion (The religion the Japanese favor.) But we stopped this old man on the side of the street and he didn't really want anything to do with our religion. But some way or another he found some interest in the Book of Mormon and he then said he wanted to read it. 

I could go on about the little things that has happened but this really has been a crazy past few days. Even though my heart hurts because Gandy is gone, for some reason or another things are going great with finding people.

Funny story. so we are walking right now because... my bike was taken by the mail service. When they took Gandy`s bike, they took mine as well. And so my bike is on its way to Yamaguchi ken and we are left walking. We have walked so much these past few days but we are able to contact so many more people that way.

So cool fishing story. I was reeling in my bait after 10 minutes of nothing. And as it was about to come out I saw this huge 3 foot fish flying towards my bait. I stopped and that thing took hold of my bait. It pulled my rod and I pulled back. That fish went flying out of the water. It was like those pictures you see of amazing fishermen! But unfortunately because of that, mid air it came undone. 

That's all for now. And I promise I'll shop wisely. (For the $250 dictionary) I have an Asian with me :)
PS. Nakabe transfered to Saga. we have 3 Americans here. So I think we will go to KFC for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sore legs and amazing blessings

There is a lot of stuff that happened this week. First off Gandy and elder Nakabe probably will transfer.

Since Gandy has been here for a while we had to go to some further parts of the island this week. But for some strange reason, even though we used a lot of time traveling by bike, some amazing things happened this week. My legs are extremely sore because of it all but it's just a sign of hard work. We actually had the highest numbers this week compared to the rest of the transfer. We had a small amount of contacts but we still handed out a couple more copies of the Book of Mormon than usual.

So on Wednesday we called S and she said she took last Sunday off because she was thinking whether or not she should continue. She said she wanted to. But the fact she thought about that scares the living daylights out of me. We had a couple of great lessons this week and we also visited a lot of less active members. We had a companion exchange and I went with Elder Nakabe. We went and tried to visit one of my PI that we have not been able to meet since last transfer. And since Elder Nakabe didn't know him, he asked me to lead the conversation. The man, K, said he didn't really have an interest in God but after hearing a foreigner speak Japanese, he said he has some interest now. I don't know how that connects but I don't care, it is an amazing blessing.

We had to drop one of our investigators this week. We have been teaching her for around 4 months or so. We didn't know what to say to her anymore so we basically asked her if she believed in God. She said no. We asked her if she wanted to know if He exists. She said no. That no just killed me. It blew my mind away.

Anyways I forgot to tell you about how we ran into two people contacting who can speak English. One guy was white and from Canada. he opened the door and Elder Gandy and I just said nonni....... hello? It was awkward for a few seconds but we got to teach him. Sadly he doesn't have interest. But like 2 doors down we contacted this Asian that was from Australia. He lived there for 18 years or so and had a sick accent. Not only that he met missionaries a couple weeks earlier in a different city.

Funny story, we received a call yesterday for his referral and we told them we already contacted him before but we wanted to double check. Crazy thing is we found him on the street later that day. He came up to us and started talking to us. He is hilarious and he referenced a couple of American movies while we talked with him.

Anywho S didn't come to church this week again. It is really scaring Gandy and me.

That"s all I can say for now.

Jameson 長老

Monday, November 11, 2013

Companion Exchanges with Rogers Choro

Elder Gandy and I went to Ishigaki the other day for companion exchanges. That's the island where Rogers 長老 is so I got to be companions with him one more time. That was a blessing.

Elder Rogers & Elder Jameson
The first night we were there, we were heading back to the apartment around 8:55. So all 5 of us were outside the apartment. this random old guy starts to ask Gandy if God exists and said yes I do believe He lives and all that stuff. Then this man starts to yell at us telling us Chirst is down here (motions to the ground) and says that his religion is up here (motions to above his head) and commanded us to study his religion. But what was frustrating is that he kept saying that he didn't deny what we were saying, just that his religion was the best and commanded us to study it. It was sad because we had a Japanese companion with us and he starts to yell at him.

junkai Ishigaki
During the junkai Ishigaki saw so many miracles!
It wasn't fair! Mostly because we came home and nothing really seems to be changing. The couple missionaries said the branch is in a terrible spot and they said they felt bad for us because we are working extremely hard. Random note, it is still flipping hot. I'm sweating my eyes out still. when will it become cooler? (He is on a tropical island. The answer to that question is, when he gets transferred!)

I found out a lot about the less actives this week and for some reason all of them won't come back unless another one comes to church. We narrowed it down to one less active member. The thing is, no one knows what happened to him. It seriously seems like he disappeared. No one can find where he is or even if he is alive.

So some other news. The other day I talked about how we met the less actives mom when we went to visit him? Well she has received 2 lessons and she is thinking about baptism. But the thing is that the less active comes to the lessons as well and sometimes he isn't the most helpful person ever. Like us - "have you felt the spirit?" Him - "not yet", or us - "how did you feel after you were baptized" him - "nothing". It is really stressful. But it is good he is helping a bit.

Jameson 長老

Monday, November 4, 2013

Your faith is thin

I have always wondered what happened to the Miyako branch. 6 years ago there were a lot of members, around 40 or 50, but something happened and now there is only 15 or so are active. I keep asking what happened.

I actually started to read in the bible this week and I think it was in Matt 13 or 14 where the scribes say that Jesus casts out spirits by the power of the devil. And Jesus says to them something along the lines of "how can a house fight against itself? If it does that it will be destroyed." This is the same case as with Miyako. They need to be united before they can then grow.

One story I found interesting was the story of Jesus walking on the water. It is so simple but for some reason it hit me hard this week. It just says "lord, save me" and says and immediately he reaches out and catches him. and says you have little faith.

I read it in the Japanese bible and It kinda gave me a different viewpoint. It literally says your faith is thin, why did you doubt?

In some cases people think of it as Jesus kinda reprehending Peter. But this time I saw it as a sad story. Peter was doing something amazing and he faltered and fell. And Jesus said "why did your faith fail? Why did you doubt? You were going so far, you were accomplishing so much, you saw the things you were doing and yet why did you doubt?" It really pressed my heart as I read it. And made me think, why do we doubt? When we doubt, Heavenly Father and Jesus are always going to be there and will save us but they are sad that they had to. They are sad when we don't have the faith to continue on our own.

Some random pictures.

I caught a fish that has two eyes on one side.


Me in my rain gear.

Jameson 長老

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween on Miyako?

We are planning to have a Halloween party. So this week we went and visited a bunch of dropped investigators and so so investigators as well as our investigators and church members. We made invite cards and we are having an English Halloween party. We will teach kids so English vocab and have games. We think it will turn out great :)

Other than that. nothing really happened this week. We did see a miracle this week when we went to visit a less active. He wasn't there but his mom just returned home. We talked to her a bit and she was kinda down on life. We talked about how we can live with families forever and that made her really interested. So out of that she became a new investigator and I'll be teaching her tomorrow. Tomorrow we are having a companion exchange. Ill be with the other second transfer bean. But he is Japanese. Wish me luck.

S`s date dropped. We don't know when she can receive baptism. It can be anywhere from now and 4 years. Her daughter is the one it depends on. Because she wants to be married but can't. In Japan it is law to change your name if your parents marry other people. Unlike in America where you can keep your name. And her daughter doesn't want to change her name before getting married.

Here are some amazing photos.

Jameson 長老