Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

So, youtube videos haven`t really loaded on these computers until today. I just watched Randy sing "Fly Me to the Moon" for the first time. Pretty good! I`m impressed with how much confidence you have in performing.

Apparently the news of the Book of Mormon musical has made it out to Japan as well. Our branch president was talking about how he saw it on the news. You know the last musical that those two made was the same story. It was extremely offensive and swept the Tony`s as well, but it actually didn`t make a lot of money and people stopped going to see it so it only stayed open for a little over a year. Hopefully this one is the same. I would hope that the average American is smart enough to know that comedy, especially parody, is never based on fact.

I`m jealous of all of the missionaries that get to wear the helping hands shirts up in Miyagi. Apparently a lot of the Tokyo missionaries were sent up there as well. That`s just an army of people doing good, on-lookers can`t deny that. At the very least, they know that they are good people. I`m sure they will have lots of success through that. At the very least, they`re making a great name for the church.

I don`t have my journal with me so we`ll see how much I remember.

On Tuesday we met with President and Sister McIntyre for the last time. We were really worried that we weren`t going to be able to stay for the whole thing at first due to how few trains there are. We ended up taking a super express train back that was double the cost. It was our only choice, really. Anyway, it was really great. He decided to just give us some training which was more or less, his last words for us as missionaries, but even more so as people. He talked about things that we can carry with us into the next life: Christ-like attributes. Basically, he just told us to choose what kind of people we ought to be and that in the end, it`s our choice. We choose the attributes we develop and everything else will be brushed off of us as we pass through the gate. It was really awesome. Since the Japanese missionaries were in the majority, he did the training in Japanese which was a first. Man...he`s fluent. He has lived in Japan for a really long time though. He told the Japanese missionaries to 優しくしてください ("Go easy on him") when they write their first letter to their new President. He hasn`t been to Japan since his mission 40 years ago so Kanji might be a little difficult I suppose. The McIntyre`s gave us contact information for them and said that we will all certainly be seeing them after we return.
 About half of our zone with President and Sister McIntyre for the last time. From left to right: Elder Burhoe (Wakayama zone leader), me, Elder Kuroda (Sennan), Elder Suzuki (Wakayama zone leader), Elder Schramm, Elder Cardoso (Sennan, I exchanged with him a couple weeks ago), Sister Sato, President McIntyre, Sister McIntyre, and Sister Kadekaru.

That night, we had a game night with the branch and the turn-out was fantastic. We had nearly all of the members and one member and her entire non-member family. Little things like that give the branch a nice push every now and then.
This is Takamaru 姉妹 - a really great member out here.

We`re still trying to get Bisunu from Nepal to church. As soon as he can, he`ll probably be baptized....it`s just next to impossible for him to get to church. It`s a different world our here. No young people...and everybody works a blue collar job like a slave.

We discovered the 2010 and 2011 For the Strength of Youth videos and oh my goodness those things are amazing. Do you use those? You should. We don`t deal with anyone under 40 out here, but we`ve still used them multiple times this week. There are solid testimonies on there from young people all over the world. We showed the 2010 theme to Tsuboi 兄弟 at family home evening and he absolutely loved it. The theme is Joshua 1:9, "be strong and of a good courage for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." It really had a powerful application to him. There was nearly a two year period where he attended sacrament meeting alone with two missionaries. In many ways, he`s still alone out here. It`s hard not to feel lonely out here, I`ll admit that. He lives by himself and has no one to share the joy of the gospel with...in fact, he goes housing like missionaries do just because he has nothing better to do and has that much desire to share the gospel and socialize. I can`t even imagine the rewards that are waiting for him in heaven.

Yesterday the stake president and one of his counselor`s and his whole very young family came to church and it was awesome. There were 18 people crammed into the church and I think that might`ve been a record. The counselor`s young family set such an incredible example. The young husband and wife bore amazing testimonies in sacrament meeting and the husband gave a fantastic sunday school lesson where he questioned the members, put them on the spot, and really strengthened their faith. Their three daughters (the wife is pregnant with a fourth), the oldest being 8, were reverent through the whole day, even sitting through an adult Sunday School. Really, really impressive. Families can set such an example for members. I wish they could just move out here.
This is what the inside of the Shingu church looks like. This room is the chapel. We move the tables out from the back room to do English class and stuff.

The Stake President also had business to take care of. Schramm 長老 became the first counselor in the branch presidency. It`s about time. It`s been really difficult knowing how to help the branch when all of the authority is three hours away. It`ll be really great for us to coordinate things together and so much easier to strengthen the branch now.

It`s raining like crazy right now. I don`t want to go outside. It rains basically everyday and we`re basically just always wet. Being dry has become a joy.

Well, I guess that`s all. It`s been a pretty normal week. Hope all goes well at home.

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