That's me on the board in the Mission Office.
I`ll start off by answering the questions that you sent:
Q: What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this month?
A: M 兄弟 took us out to eat Okonomiyaki as somewhat of a farewell gift for Anderton 長老. It was one of those places where they cook it in front of you and you eat it directly off of the grill. It had pork, shrimp, and squid in it and it was unbelievably good.
Q: Do you go to Mr. Donuts frequently? I miss that place.
A: I go at least once every time its 100円 week. I have a point card that expires in February. I`ve got 210 points. I get a prize when I turn in my point card.
Q: Who is your new companion? Are you going to get along with him?
A: Good question. My new companion is Elder Dustin Tsuyoshi Nukaya. He is from Idaho Falls, Idaho and is 100% Japanese, 101% American. Really though, his blood is 100% Japanese, no corruption. Does he speak Japanese? No. Neither do his parents, or even his grandparents. We are going to get along perfectly fine. He`s actually really, really similar to me. It`s kind of scary. To be perfectly frank, it`s no fun to look Japanese and not speak it. It`s hard. It`s something you can`t understand unless you`ve been through it and I`m glad I can help him through it and give him advice as someone who`s situation was very similar to his. It does also mean that there will be some special challenges, for sure. Every new missionary and trainer has them. It`s almost like all of the things that I worked so hard to conquer at the beginning of my mission are going to come back to haunt me through my companion. I`ve got my work cut out for me, but it`ll be great. He`s a great missionary and has a rock solid testimony. He wants to work hard, and really that`s all that is necessary. Worthiness and willingness.
Q: Do you ride your bike a lot? Are you tired of that yet? Are you being careful?
A: Yeah, I don`t see myself dying to get on a bike when I go home. Biking here isn`t too bad. Kobe was really full of hills; Himeji was huge and we had hour long bike rides sometimes; Shingu required biking up mountains (really) nearly everyday so I have nothing to complain about. I`m being careful, especially with a new missionary. He`s still weirded out by being on the left side of the rode and how narrow the rodes are.
Q: What are your thoughts on your mission president's monthly training he’s been giving you?
A: He`s completely reformatted the way the monthy training and focus gets to us. It`s extremely heavy on the Spirit. Basically everything has been about the Spirit since President Zinke got here. It`s a really important element of missionary work. I`m anxious to see what else he will train us on...or if we`re just going to be talking about the Spirit for the next year.The way I work has slowly changed and I have to say, I like it. I like where the mission is headed.
Q: Are you happy? (That’s the one parents worry about the most.)
A: I`m happy. Missionary work can be fun, sometimes it`s not.
Q: Is there anything scary that’s happened to you? The kind that would make Mom freak out?
A: I think I`m safer here than when I was grocery shopping in Provo, Utah.
Q: Finally – do you feel the Spirit in your work? Is He guiding you? Has your testimony grown?
A: I think so. My testimony grows most from my observation of others. I do think I have a way to go in terms of being "guided." Sometimes I feel like I need to be seeing a miracle every second or I`m not suceeding. But then again, what`s a miracle? It`s all about perspective.
We spent the beginning of the week getting Anderton 長老 all prepped and ready to be white-washed into Kouchi. This was his first area. We went and said goodbye to a lot of the members.
On Thursday morning I headed out to Kobe to go and pick up my new companion. I was half an hour late because the group that I was going to Sannomiya with all showed up 20 minutes late. I had to take a taxi from Sannomiya to the honbu (Mission Home). I still saw Myagmarjav 姉妹, Shumway長老, and Ewer長老 at Sannomiya. I love seeing my MTC group in the field. Myagmarjav 姉妹 is now in Tokushima and guess who her companion is? Yep, Ilch 姉妹. They`re reunited. I can`t wait to hear about the kind of miracles they work together, again.
So I told you about my new companion. He`s great. It was so bizarre being in that Trainer/Trainee meeting sitting on the other side of the chapel. I remember so distinctly sitting in there, so nervous about which person was going to train me. It still hasn`t quite hit me yet that my companion has never been to Japan and is straight out of the MTC. I still feel like that`s me sometimes.
There is a new program for new missionaries that requires two hours of companionship study and an hour of language study everyday. I feel like we have no time. I`m not sure what to do with the time. I`m going to have to really re-evaluate how we plan and how we spend time if we want to get anything done this transfer. It`s really different. It is a good program though. President Zinke described it as a "learner`s permit." It restricts you time wise, but really teaches you how to be a missionary. Every new missionary has to do it for their first 12 weeks (two transfers) so I will most likely be here in Nara for at least another transfer (until Christmas).
I guess that`s all I have time for. I`m glad you enjoyed General Conference. We do indeed have to wait until next weekend to see it. I hope all is well at home. Until next week!
So last Monday, Elder Anderton and I went to see Yakushiji and Toshodaiji. In one transfer we saw all 7 of Nara`s World Heritage temples. These were the last two.
Yakushiji, built in 698AD.
Toshodaiji was built in 759AD.