Monday, April 19, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

How are all of you? I'll give you a more in-depth summary of my week this time.

On Tuesday we prepared the program for Nagai's baptismal service. We also met with Hata, someone who lives about 80 minutes away by car. He's read the whole Book of Mormon but has trouble meeting because he's busy with work and it's a long drive as well as not feeling like he can give up smoking. We watched a General Conference talk with him, discussed it, and then watched another General Conference talk. In the late evening we had pancakes at a member's house and taught him a lesson from Gospel Doctrine (We don't have Gospel Doctrine class in our branch) It's been really good going through it with him and learning together with him.

On Wednesday we traveled up to Wakayama for the night. At one point in our journey we had the choice between transferring to a different train to get from Tanabe to Wakayama or transferring to a bus. We decided to make a dash for the bus which left as soon as we got on it. There were only 4 people on the bus including the driver so after checking if it was okay with us, skipped the rest stop and we got to Wakayama a little early. Elder Mizuguchi for some reason wanted to eat at the infamous 'Stinky Foot' Ramen shop, that's what missionaries call it at least. We went in and it did indeed smell like stinky feet. I can't really say I enjoyed my meal much.

On Thursday we had zone conference. I found out that Yanagihara Naoya who I had taught before transferring to Shingu had been baptized last month. Anyways at Zone Conference we focused on chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel and learned about having goals and visions for life, prioritizing what's important and what's not, as well as what's urgent and what's not. It was really good and inspired me to raise my vision. Even though I wrote a few pages of notes I don't think I'll include them here.

On Friday on the way home from Tanabe, Elder McKeller and I (Companion exchange) hopped off the train half way to visit Hataさん. It was raining so we bought cheap umbrellas, unfortunately it was also windy so we didn't use them much for fear of them breaking. Actually Elder McKeller's did break on the way back to the train station. We had a nice chat with Hataさん and were able to get to know him better, it was the first time we've visited him.

On Saturday we had Brother Nagai's baptismal service. We held the opening at the church, drove down to the ocean held the baptism, and then held the closing at the church. On Friday the weather had been cold, windy, and rainy. Saturday was the opposite, warm, calm, sunny. After the baptism we changed in a little portable changing tent.

On Sunday Brother Nagai was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I think about where this small branch could be in a year I'm amazed. Everyone is trying so hard. During Sunday School we were talking about how Shingu was the smallest branch in Japan. One of the members said this 'When I've gone up to church in Osaka people will say they're grateful for this opportunity to speak and that it's been two years or so. Here we're lucky because everyone gets to testify/speak in church every month.' That's a really wonderful way of putting it I think.

Well This past week was good for me, I hope it was good for you as well. Take care of yourselves.

Elder Andrew West

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