Monday, April 28, 2014

I can see the want in their eyes

My body is starting to decay. I'm so tired all the time. No matter how hard I work out in the morning, it doesn't compare to what i can do in the gym. When I come home I'll probably be a little scrawny. I hope that won't happen.

I did get the package. Elder Lee scoffed at the socks and said they were too girly. I saw him rocking them out during personal study the other day. I giggled in the inside.

The bike for Knighton helps so much. We are able to visit so many more places. The only bad thing is sometimes Elder Lee rides so fast, he can't stop to contact people. My  bike is actually really small because that was the best I could buy on Miyako. I can't go all that fast. I get to contact the people he passes by and I get to meet some awesome people. I contacted this old man who actually has been to our church and liked our teaching. The only thing is that he feels he hasn't received direct help form God. I told him that most of the time God helps us through other things and people. I told him to think of cases like that. Then he went on his way.

This week we went to more of the college students apartments. We don't want to make a sudden attack of all the houses. We gradually want to work our way in. We contacted a man on the street where we set an appointment for Wednesday at 6. His name is Y. He is Christian and he wants to talk more about Christ. He is a college student as well.

College students are either really friendly or just straight up weird. The friendly ones I have great conversations with. But the weird ones either try to outsmart you (on beliefs of God... which is funny because they actually know little about the subject) or just sit there like a brick wall. But they all have great hearts and I can see the want in their eyes. It just sounds weird to them.

The other day this 60 year old woman let us inside her entry way. She gave us milk. (which was the bom-dot-com) We talked about God a little bit but what she was really interested in was trying to set us up with her 30 year old daughter who is a nurse and apparently pretty good at English. When we told her our age she giggled with embarrassment.

We had a lesson with the mom who loves video games. It was awesome because Elder Knighton had some great idea how to involve it. Because of him we have a lunch appointment with her later today.

A did not come to church. We did eat lunch with her and got to know her pretty well on Saturday. The thing is, I don't know if we are just becoming friends and we can't share the gospel. We want to share it but we don't want to be overly persistent. We are just looking for the right time to open it up to her. I want to do it in the next two weeks.

Over all we were able to visit some potential investigators that we haven't been able to visit in a while. One of which is a family named K. it turns out that the family is just an older sister with her two younger brothers. They in turn like to hear us and things are going well with that. The girl, I think, is providing for the family so its near impossible to meet. She is the main focus with regards to that family.

Yesterday we met with that less active who we found by accident a few weeks ago. She was super genki. She said that she is Protestant because the churches where she lived (she went to college in America) were all Protestant. There wasn't really any church members. She also said that she thinks since all Christians believe in the bible, it doesn't really matter what church she is in. So we just want to teach her more about the Book of Mormon again. She said we can teach her less active son who apparently rejoiced that the fact he saw the branch president, and also her 11 year old daughter who has not been baptized. Things look good for that.

I want to stress the importance of updating records. I went to talk about some less actives with my Branch President and he said that they either moved away or this or that happened. A lot of the records don't have information about them since 2002. That's kinda hard to work with. I'm going to review all the records with Tanaka Kaichou soon.


Jameson Choro

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

There WAS Christianity in Japan!

Sorry I didn't email yesterday. We had interviews with President and we moved our pday to today.

When I look back on this week, we didn't have a lot of time or rather a lot of things did not occur.

I do want to say something that happened from last week that I forgot to say. We had a man call us randomly and said he wanted to meet at the church. Apparently awhile ago he took lessons from the missionaries and looked at the font. He has been searching in Kumamoto some old ruins. These ruins dated back to around the time of Christ. In these ruins, there were font replicas. He showed us some pictures and they looked almost like out font except that it was made out of stone.

It goes to show that there was Christianity in Japan years ago. Christ did visit these people and they did teach his doctrine. Not only that but the Japanese people have relatives that have a burning testimony of Christ. It's just finding that connection through all the lost generations.

We did a lot of finding this week and we were able to meet some awesome people, one of which gave us 30 dollars to offer to God. We denied it at least 8 times but she started to get really offended so we gave it to the branch president on Sunday.

Since the college has started up again, we have been starting to house at the college apartments more. We have some young potential investigators and they are super fun. I feel bad now because I almost only want to talk to young people because honestly they aren't nearly as rude as the older people. Actually they aren't rude at all. We say we are from a Christ church and they say "oh really?" instead of "go away". It opens a lot more opportunities to share the gospel.

There was a drunk man that ripped poor Elder Knighton apart. I kept defending him but Elder Knighton had a hand in his pocket and was in a slacked position. Because of this, the man became really offended and got in his face. I tried many times to turn the conversation away from it but he kept going back and started to shove an umbrella at Knighton. As i recount it, i honestly am really frustrated thinking about it.

We are finding some very kind people. Very kind people. We went with the branch president on Sunday and visited that less active we found weeks ago finding. She was sick but we met the member son J. He came to the door and was super genki. He almost freaked out because he remembers Tanaka Kaichou from when he was a boy. He has Sundays free and he might come to church. He would also be a perfect base to start up the young people in the ward and would be a great friend for A. san.

Speaking of which, she didn't come to church on Sunday. I think she found her Catholic church. She can still be baptized on the 10th but that means she has to come to church the next two weeks and take all the lessons in that time. I don't want to rush that and I want her to have a lasting conversion. But we have a lunch appointment with her on Saturday. Hopefully we can get some message in and through that she can start to develop that faith.

Things are starting to move I think. Its hard to look at the numbers at the end of the week and see no progress. But from president's wife, she said to us, "sometimes you are called because of your love and patience." Maybe I have been called to love every area. Then when it needs to be, the ward will grow.

Speaking of which, I don't know if I said this already but I heard from Elder Jensen that the mom of the less active in Miyako came to church the other week. Soon I hope she will be baptized!

Please pray for the work in Japan!

Elder Jameson

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sensei, the two-cylinder nihonjin

My area is about a 40 minute bike ride away from our house. Elder Knighton, being the large man he is, we still don't have a bike for him. probably through this next week as well.

With that we have a pretty good week to tell you about.

First on Tuesday, we went on a hunt for a bunch of Potential Investigators that Mabuchi left behind for me. I used the gps function on the phone so much that it ran out of memory. I never knew you could do that. But all of them were duds. At one house we saw this guy ride by in a poncho. we thought "hey, that kid looks cool, lets go talk to him." So we walked over and the kid turns out to be a college student! In our city there are 2 and a half colleges.... well like 3 but the third is a special college. This past week we met lots of students, but he just graduated. As we were talking to him his room mate comes over and starts talking to us in English. Apparently the kid was taking English from a Russian woman. They were pretty sweet kids and they might come to eikaiwa (English class) soon.

I teach a kids English class on Wednesday because Elder Lee doesn't want to deal with the kids. It is so hard. Probably one of the hardest things I've done yet. I mean I love it but its incredibly difficult.

Thursday we taught A again. This was our best lesson with her. She opened up a lot and asked a bunch of questions. If she keeps progressing the way that she is now, she will be baptized soon.
We also found a lady named Nakamura. She was raised how to pray and realizes the importance of it. We may go back to her today or tomorrow.

Friday was probably one of my favorite days. First we went to visit a less active named Shiraishi. She called us because we were late. (She lives around 4 kilos away from the house and we were walking to it.) I told her we were walking and she starts yelling telling me how stupid we were. She then picks us up (because there are 3 of us its okay). We go into her home and it turns out one of her friends are there so we talk with both of them. We also get to share a little message of the Restoration with both them as well.

Here is probably one of my favorite parts of the week. We started to walk by  a elementary school. Some of the kids I teach ran out screaming "sensei sensei sensei!" they start freaking out and saying oh my gosh I cant believe its you. I high 5ed them. It was a joyous event. Because of that a huge group of children were around us asking us questions. Let me tell you, there are 2 people in the world that are almost impossible to understand. Old people and children. But it was fun. They kept asking me if I was Japanese. I used a joke I learned from Brother Sherman. In Japanese there is a counter for cylindrical objects and legs are cylinders, right? Wo when you have 2 cylinders it is nihon. Well the Japanese word for Japanese people is nihonjin. Jin being person. So I played the joke saying I'm a 2 legged person but it could also mean I'm Japanese. The kids loved it.

The best part about it is that there was this old man that spotted us from afar. I saw him and knew he was bad business. I would be too if I saw men talking to little children, especially about going to a free eikaiwa class. So the man came over and told the kids to reject us. Our thought was "man we can understand that you are telling these kids to reject us." But the kids were freaked out by the old man and said "why should we? They just want to teach us English. Please go away." I  had a happy smile inside. :)

Because we had walked a far distance, I noted to Elder Lee that we were actually pretty close to the area where Mabuchi and I did a lot of dendo. So we walked over and we taught a lesson to an investigator. It went really well and it seems she is starting to like it.  We went to another investigator. He wasn't home but we met the mom. That is exactly what I wanted. Before when we went, I saw a statue of Christ in the house. The kid said it was his moms. She came to the door and (at this point we have gotten really good at noticing if people are Japanese or from the Philippines) she was from the Philippines. "Perfect" I thought. 9 times out of 10 a Philippianjin is Catholic. She said she was busy.... in perfect English.... and we asked if we can come share a message about Christ... in English. She said, "yeah I'm usually free on Sundays"... in English! So we are going to teach her soon. Hopefully in English :).

A and R. The conference miracle.

We have been praying so hard to baptize someone on the 10th of May. Every prayer at church and personal prayer. We have been working so hard and talking to almost everyone. Before conference started on Saturday, we dendoed for 2 hours of morning dendo trying to get a last chance in. No luck. So we prayed right before the first session asking to send someone. Half way through the first session our door opened.

First off let me explain the set up. The Japanese members were watching conference in the chapel. while the missionaries were tucked away in the smallest room in the church. Why would you try to open the door to the small room when the chapel has double doors and a lot of noise is coming from it?

Anyways we see this head pop into our room. A girl around 23 appeared. She asked us what our church hours were. Elder Lee and I were confused and thought she was a visiting member. She told us that she just moved in 3 weeks ago and saw that our church was open and came in. She is a Christian and she wants to make friends. Well I thought, you have come to the right place. So we asked her to come on Sunday. her name is A.

She came to church and she first started out by saying she is wrong. She isn't Christian but she is Catholic. I about freaked out because I thought she was going to leave. But it turns out a member was near by and she said "That doesn't matter come in anyways." She said she wanted to take her sister first. So she left and came back with her 19 year old sister R. They sat in on Bednar's talk but then came to the English room because they said they weren't feeling it go in. They wanted to study English instead. That's really sad. But afterwards I was able to talk to them really well and somehow they want to come back again. Hopefully they can be the ones we can baptize on may 10th.

Please pray for them!!!!!

Love Elder Jameson

Sunday, April 6, 2014

If you ever fall, we will come and pick you up

Our little outfit of 3 is pretty good. I'm not too great with asking questions to people, but Elder Lee is really good at that. I'm good with application and examples from my life, in which Elder Lee isn't the best at. We are having Knighton start contacts and as the contact goes on we urge him to speak. If he doesn't know, we just translate a little bit.

Fortunately for me, Elder Lee knows the area really well, I don't. To be honest Mabuchi and I only really went to one place all the time. A 600 apartment complex that we would hammer. Now we have many potential investigators and a few investigators there. (But it's kinda far by bike. Right now we don't have a bike for Elder Knighton because he is so huge so we are walking and it is too far to walk to.) So basically we are using Elder Lee's area mostly and finding in new places.

Unfortunately we don't have many investigators. Mabuchi did a lot of finding but didn't really find anything. The only investigators that Elder Lee has is ( what we believe to be) a mafia member and a prostitute. It's funny to joke about but in reality it's the people in the worst situations that can need to gospel the most.

Other than that we have this Chinese man that we can't really communicate with. We have to use both English and Japanese to explain things but i don't know how much he can understand.

Elder Knighton is adjusting really well. He has an incredible memory. He probably has a better understanding of the area than I do. He is actually leading us to places now. I got an extremely good bean. He is pretty good. He is blowing mine and Elder Lee's mind everyday.

This week we didn't have all that much luck finding mostly because we needed to meet certain potential investigators or investigators. Since we didn't have bikes it was a little taihen. But let me tell you about fast Sunday. That is something that really has been one of the best days in my mission so far.

So that "Danny" Nakamura leaves for America today and for a last effort attempt, he called one of our eternal investigators and a less active to come to church. Randomly that rich guy I told you about a few weeks ago showed up. He just comes to church randomly but since he has a sickness we don't know if he can be baptized. But at the end of church, well after the sacrament, the less active shows up. She walks through the door, (I didn't hear her but I heard the member next to me slightly turn and gasp) and I turned and smiled at her. She came and sat next to me. During the meeting all of the speakers addressed what I wanted to say to her so it was perfect, I just said "oh speaking of that blah blah bah." After church ended, the investigator showed up. It turns out the investigator and the less active are extremely great friends. They kept saying how they wanted to hang out and go to eikaiwa (English class) and maybe church together. We set an appointment to meet the investigator after eikaiwa on Wednesday.

After that, we came to a part of the church where the church members gather food for the missionaries on fast Sundays. They gathered so much food we only need to spend around 40 to 50 dollars compared to the 120 each week.

We started to dendo and sometimes I ask people "do you think God doesn't exist?" in oreder to get them saying possitive answers. One guy said "no I believe God is real. That he created out spirits and that we can receive help from him. It turns out his English is alright too so we invited him to eikaiwa and he said we can come back again. Please pray for Ryouta.

Then a house nearby a lady came to the door and smiled and said hello again! One second I'll be right back. She left the door and all 3 of us just looked at each other confused. She came back and said "oo my daughter, who is a member (of our church) is busy but please come again." Confused we said okay and walked away. Please pray for Mihou.

We dendoed more and met some more people. They all were very nice yesterday. One of our last contacts was an old lady who lives by herself. She says she often falls and can't get up so she stays there until someone comes to help. I gave her our number and said, "if you ever fall, we will come and pick you up" and shared a message about how Christ can do the same. I hope she can accept our message.

All in all we met a lot of amazing people yesterday. The power of fasting really does work. If you just go to work and forget that pounding headache and the grinding stomach, you can see many miracles.

Love you!!!