Monday, September 30, 2013

Teach people and not lessons

This week has been crazy. We haven't been able to get much done because we got a call on last Monday night that we were going to Okinawa for president interviews. There I got to meet my district and zone. I also bought my rain gear which came in handy yesterday when it was raining hard.

I love Gandy chourou and he is amazing. He has taught me so much about working hard. He worked so hard that he has a cold now. We couldn't do anything except contact 1 person and go to church yesterday.

On Tuesday I went fishing with a less active.
It was so much fun and I caught 3 of the most pathetic looking things in the world.

So this week`s amazing miracle and week`s sad lesson.... let's do the lesson first.

So the lady asked us what the significance of religion was. We sat on the question for 2 weeks before we could visit her again. I said we should base it off of Ether 12:4 - hope. Religion gives us hope for the unknown and through that hope we need not fear. That's basically what we taught her. I related how grandpa died and how I know I will see him again. Gandy`s father died when he was 14 and he used that as well. We said we have this hope and faith because of our religion. We asked her iF she wanted something like that. She said it sounds great. Gandy held out a Book of Mormon and basically said, Would you try your faith and read this book. She said she thinks it would be too hard and doesn't think she can do it. I think we won't visit her for awhile, but it was such a powerful testimony that I can't explain with words.

Miracle: S again!!!!

So this lady is straight from a gold mine. She comes to church on Sunday with her sister. She is a better member missionary than the members are. But we followed up on the lesson 3 pamphlet and 2 Nephi chapter 31. She said she thinks baptism is essential and enduring to the end is hard but she thinks she can do it. We then taught her about commandments and the W.O.W. She accepted and said she would follow it then and there. Not only this, her sister was in the lesson as well. She said she wanted to try to live it and she wants to investigate the church. But she lives on Okinawa. So we had to call the sisters in her area. But still, its amazing that the W.O.W got her excited about the church. It goes to show that you need to teach people and not lessons. Not everything is for everyone.


I have not gotten anything from anyone except Brittany. I"ve gotten two great long letters from her! Where are my friends? I want to talk to people! Its hard only just having Gandy to talk to. (I love him, but regardless, its nice to hear from others.)

My friends have forgotten about me :( my family too! Nara chourou got this huge package from his family last night. it makes me saddddddd!


Ill talk to you next week. Here are some photos. The spider one is of Gandy.

The spider is the size of his face.

Jameson 長老

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baptisms in Miyako!

Hello from the strange land of Miyako! Where you can never tell when it is going to start to rain, or stop.

Seriously that has been one of the biggest annoyances here. It starts to rain so we pull off somewhere and put our rain gear on and then it stops raining. Then we are wet and hot inside our rain gear. (Which by the way, I still don't have because I can't buy any around here!) (As a mom, I am tormented with the desire to fix this problem for my boy. BUT, I kinda' think he can get a Japanese rain suit much easier than I can!)

I never cook because the Asian here is a master cook. He won't let anyone else cook.

Gandy and the Asians and I play ping pong. We are actually extremely good and it gets pretty serious.

So to be completely honest, this week has sucked. A lot. Like none of our investigators pulled through. We made about 60 percent on our goal to contact. We didn'st have any sudden lessons or really found any new investigators (besides ones that became new investigators that we found from other weeks.) We had almost everyone reject us. Haha one case though, we ran into this old man and he said he didn't want our religion but he thought we were so handsome. His words were "why are you two so handsome:" And one investigator asked us if were married (the statement before that was that we were so handsome) and I'm not sure if she meant to each other or not. And Gandy thought the same thing. So he said we weren't married and that we only work together and that he has some girl at home. Then he said that I had choices and one of which looks like she might become a girlfriend after the mission. Then she asked us what our ages were. He said 20, I said 19 and she was like "ehhhhhh wakai desu yo!" And she had us guess her age. Gandy guessed 29. I guessed 33. She was 40 with a 16 year old daughter.

But now its time to be serious. Do you remember that woman I talked about a couple of weeks ago? She asked us to come back on the 19th? Well, we came back. And it was as Gandy said "one of the most spiritual experiences on his mission." As soon as we talked about how God was our Heavenly Father, she started crying. Then we continued throughout the whole first lesson. (Which is interesting thing. Gandy and I were going to teach the second lesson because of her dead son she told us about. But that morning we both agreed that we felt the first lesson and the restoration was what we needed to talk to her about.) She had this bible that she bedazzeled, which I thought was cute. But cool fact. The bible we use in Japanese is not the same one we use for English. For copyright problems, we couldn't use the King James version. And the bible the church uses in Japanese is the one she had so it made things easier. But anyways, we went through the lesson and everything was great. I got to testify of the Book of Mormon and how if it was true then God truly restored His church in these days. I said we can know if it is true through prayer. So we gave her a Book of Mormon and asked her to pray.

On Sunday she showed up to church. We didn't even ask her to come. She came with the Book of Mormon wrapped up in very fine cloth to protect it. We taught her the second lesson during second hour. When we explained Adam and Eve, she said she loved that way of how it is explained. And when we got to the 3 kingdoms, she exclaimed how that's how she thought it was. God`s kingdom is the glory of the sun. Later she said how she thought her dead son was leading her to the correct church.

So even though Miyako has been dry for 2 years, we had a baptism for boys of church members who went to Youth conference. These boys are 14 and when they came back they wanted to be baptized. Not only that, the other companionship got 3 new people with baptism dates. I forgot to mention how if S came to know if the Book of Mormon was true, if she would be baptized. She said yes. So we have a baptism date for the 26th of October!

This is all I have time for. I love you guys and stay strong. the lord will provide for those who are patient.

Jameson 長老

Monday, September 16, 2013

Totsuzen and a heavily burdened missionary

Hello from an already heavy burdened missionary.

I looked in the mirror the other day... and I'm glad I'm wearing glasses because they cover up the bags that have developed.

It is so tiresome. We go sometimes 4 hours and only contact 5 people. But recently times have changed.
We have this thing called a totsuzen lesson (sudden lesson) where we teach like 2-3 concepts. We contacted 106 people last week. We taught 27 totsuzen lessons. That is - one in four people allowed us to continue teaching. A lot of them said we could come back. Out of those people (some carried over form last week) we found 6 investigators this week. 3 of them said that they would come to church this next week.

The other companionship here are two Japanese elders. Elder Bakabe and Elder Nara. (Onara is to pass gas so we poke fun of him sometimes.) They are both 20 and they are from around Tokyo. Nakabe Chourou keeps us fed so I'm not starving. I'm just thirsty all day long. I drink maybe 3-4 liters of water each day and I sweat it all out. As I ride my bike or I'm walking, I feel it running down my entire body. I swear when I come home and take off my white shirt, pants, and socks, there is just this death that is released into the air and man... it is horrible.

I forgot my camera at the apato. So yeah, no pictures.

My bike, the church here has their own transportation service they use so they will ship it for me.

Letters are going to be really hard because I seriously have less time than I did at the MTC to write. We have so much we have to do each week. I'll write you guys as soon as I get your letter. But I can't write for right now.

Speaking of writing, can you send Sarah and Dylan my address and tell them to write me? It's hard being on an island with only one person that can speak English (well except John, the English teacher who teaches free English on the same day we do.) (Sarah and Dylan are his very good friends from swim.)

Can you also get into contact with Amanda Sensei? I would like to get into contact with her. Could you ask her to email me? (Amanda Sensei is his Japanese teacher from high school.)

Also can you get me Masako`s email? I want to try to keep in contact with her. (Masako is our very dear friend who is from Nagoya.)

But no I want peanut butter and I can't just ask my zone leaders. I'm a plane ride away form Okinawa. They aren't going to buy stuff and send it to me. But maybe for Christmas you can send some. And I'm still being soaked with rain. (They have rain suits in Japan. It rains horizontally there and anything we sent with him would not have helped. Because of their flight delay, he was not on the big island long enough to purchase one. He is getting soaked!)

So there have been many things that have been really amazing this week.  The other companionship got 82 contacts in one day when we only got 23. They taught 8 totsuzen lessons, when we taught 9.

Uhhh what to say... we found this older lady who is completely in love with us. She thinks we are just the hardest working kids she has seen in her life. We always go to her house when we are feeling just completely awful and she always listens. She brought her husband out and asked him if we were just the cutest things. He agreed and it actually was a funny experience. They are 2 of the people coming to church next week. We found this old guy who is retired. We taught him a little bit and we had to go. When we were leaving he said that we can come back anytime since he was retired. He said he would love to talk. But then he noticed our name tags. He saw the kanji 長老 which literally means old old and it's used for old people. He said that's a really interesting name so we explained how it was a title. That made him want to learn more.

Another quick one. This guy, we only taught about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. We left him with a Book of Mormon. Usually when we leave stuff people never read it. (You know they are good when they read it) But he read all the intro and part of the Book of Mormon and said it's interesting. We invited him to church and he said he will try to come.

We have quite a bit of people who are interested in coming to church. It's amazing to see how a branch who hasn't seen any action in 2 years has 20 plus investigators and 3 people with baptism dates (not us because the Japanese companionship got all of the progressing investigators when me and Nara Chourou arrived. Gandy Chourou and Nakabe Chourou were companions before I came here so they split the investigators to favor the Japanese because Nakabe is only on his 4th transfer). But we think we can have 4-5 baptized next month.

Anywho its time for me to say my goodbyes!

Jameson 長老

Monday, September 9, 2013

We can see the light in their eyes


So I have little to no time.

Miyako is hard. There hasn't been a baptism in 2 years. The language makes me so angry and frustrated. I want to help Gandy but I usually can't. In certain situations I just ask him to translate for me.

The people are hardened busy people. At least the older people. We don't even get done introducing ourselves and they ask if we are a religion and say they are good. We have had the most success with at home moms. We throw the pitch of families can live together forever and that usually tickles their fancy.

I want to share one amazing expereince I had this week. It was actually right after I emailed you guys.

We went tracing (since we don't have any lessons anyways) and we went to this one area. We only knocked on 4 doors since it was late. But one door this lady came out and we said we wanted to share a message about God`s love. She started to cry and she grabbed a necklace of the cross and told us how she has been investigating the Catholic church. She said she didn't believe it was true and that she had been praying for messengers to come to visit her. She was preparing dinner so she said to come again... but on the 19th. That was 17 days away. So we walked away saying "okay why that day?"

She caught us at our bikes right before we were about to leave. She started to explain why she asked us to come again on the 19th. Me being able to hear birthday I started to smile and nodding my head. But in reality she was explaining the death of her son and it was his birthday on the 19th. It would be 5 years since he died and he would be our age. So we reminded her of her son and she thought of us as angelic guides. Funny thing is, we came back to that same area and all the rest of the apartments were duds. And there were over 60 apartments over there. Its amazing to see that the Lord does prepare Gis people. We can see it in the eyes of the people right as they open the door if they will listen and be interested. There is a light in some of these people`s eyes.

Anywho, I want peanut butter. There are only two kinds of cereal. I'm hungry because I want American food.

Jameson chourou
Flying to Japan

His first squatter

I LOVE this picture of Elder Jameson and Elder Gandy. 

Elder Jameson and Elder Gandy, sent to me by Elder Gandy's mother. They are told they look quite a bit alike. What do you think?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Blue bees, giant cockroaches, and typhoons

Oh dear heavens Miyakojima Japan.... It is a little bit further south than the core of the earth, and a little bit more wet than the ocean itself. It is hard. Let me tell you something, even though the Japanese are really polite with their actions and their language..... they are masters at being passive aggressive. They have a smile on their face and light tone when they tell you get out of here. But hey that's old people for you. They are either really nice or just the reason their family doesn't live with them anymore.

It is so extremely hot. and wet. I have never felt sweat drop the way it does here. It also doesn't help that everything is on a hill. When you are going down hill the wind is pushing you back. When you are going up hill, well it just so happens the wind stops.

Well the people here are rough. We haven't had a baptism in over a year. the branch is dying. On Sunday we had 14 people there. The 10 active people and the senkyoshi. But its crazy. Gandy Chourou and I for some reason are having some what of luck running into potential investigators. Probably like 8 in the past 3 days. 4 of which we found on Sunday. One man we found already had a Book of Mormon.... from 10 years ago. Another had a friend in college who talked about it a bit. Another loves his family a lot and seems interested that we are God's children. Its interesting to see this side of Miyako, (the younger side) at least the younger side seems like they want to listen. The old people are either hardened farts or too nice to say no. They have seen the senkyoshi around the block once or twice.

Anyways the language is hard. apparently there is some dialect but I cant hear it. But I can't hear much. The nihonjin that live in our apartment barely speak English but they know a fair amount of words (since most Japanese go through high school learning English) and they help me and I help them. One of them is an amazing cook. I have eaten tofu without realizing it... and spam. And raw eggs. I just don't ask and I eat it. I asked him if he could teach me. But we have a lot of fun together because I confuse words and it sounds funny and they confuse words and it's hilarious. We are always just laughing and having fun at the apartment. Actually right now we are in the middle of a typhoon. And I don't have any rain gear that covers my shirt and pants. Apparently there isn't a shop here in Miyako for that.

Did you know japan has blue bees? and giant cockroaches?
I ran into that huge spider already. It was in a tree so I didn't need to worry.

Anyways that's all I can remember for now. peace out!

Jameson Chourou