Dear Family and Friends,
This past week has been good. We had zone conference (Where half the mission comes together), as usual that was pretty good. On Wednesday we were riding our bikes and it was starting to rain hard and since we hadn`t brought rain jackets we decided to stop and do some housing. We came across a really nice lady who agreed to let us come back and meet with her again on Sunday. The lesson with her went really good but she`s very Buddhist, and a basic Buddhist\Japanese belief/proverb is that all roads lead to the top of the mountain. In other words any religion/belief is good and will allow you to reach exaltation. It can be hard to get them to realize that there is a true church and that path is the only path that will reach the top of the mountain. Anyways she was really nice and we might drop by again sometime.
On Thursday we met up with Miyake Yuki again. We committed him to baptism and he agreed to be baptized on April 25. Honestly I think we may end up having to move it back a week or two but I really think he`ll be baptized. Every time I think of it I`m amazed that we found him. I mentioned this before but we met him while just riding our bikes around and got his phone number. A couple weeks later we got a hold of him and set up an appointment. I think we`ve taught him 5 times now. The really surprising thing to me is that his parents are less-actives. He already knows a lot of the gospel and is very willing to experiment upon the word. He`s only 17 years old still.
On Thursday I went on an exchange down in Higashi Osaka (East Osaka). Unfortunately on Friday when we ended the exchange I didn`t get my bike keys back. We had an appointment in less than an hour that we couldn`t walk or take the train to so we decided to pray about what to do. After praying it occurred to us to go and see if we could get the old beaten up bike downstairs to work. We had always assumed it was broken. Amazingly after pumping up the tires, putting the chain back on the gears and oiling the chain it worked. It wasn`t a great bike by any means but it was able to get us to our appointment that evening.
The appointment we set up with the guy we found on the way home from the baptisms the other week went very well and he really wants to learn more now.
What were your favorite talks from conference? When/where did you get to see conference? I haven`t seen conference yet. I actually will be seeing it this coming Saturday and Sunday. Since the sessions aren`t live they`re spaced and timed slightly differently. Saturday sessions are 12-2, 3-5, 6-8. Sunday is 10 AM-12 PM, and 1 PM - 3 PM.
How's your bike holding up? It`s holding up pretty well. I haven`t had any major problems with it.
Have you gotten more mail this past week? Yes, thank you. :)
Do you still have 4 missionaries living together? Yep. I should take some pictures of my current living quarters. I hear 8-10 Elders used to be here. That would be too many in my opinion.
The address labels without a name on them are for my weekly president letters and other missionaries.
Common Japanese boy and girl names? I hear last names pretty often and I`m really bad at remembering Japanese names but the ones that come to mind, though I don`t think they`re really common are Ai (Love) and Kokoro (Heart) for girls. And Taro/Ito for Boys.
Do people in Japan talk about economic recession too? Umm... a few months I was hearing a lot about some sub-prime loans being bad and that because America`s economy was getting worse Japan`s was too. I don`t really pay attention too much. It`s hard to understand that stuff in Japanese and I have no way of finding anything out for myself.
I got on my Becu account and created a CD. So don`t worry, $1500 didn`t just magically disappear out of my accounts. I made Dad a joint account holder so he should be able to see it.
Transfers will be April 30th so that shouldn`t be a problem. You will be calling a cell phone this time though. I don`t know if that changes anything for you or not.
If you sent a hashbrown recipe and a simple microwave peanut butter fudge recipe (You could send them with the others) it would be nice.
Things are going well in Japan and the work is moving forward faster and faster. It`s only April but we`ve had almost as many baptisms so far this year as we did for all of 2008. The missionaries in this mission are learning more and more and becoming better people and more effective missionaries. I`m so glad to be here as a missionary here and now.
Remember to read the scriptures and pray often.
Elder Andrew West.