Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear family,
Happy Father's Day. I thought I had missed it, but it's still Father's Day over there for you.

I found a Dr.Seuss tree as well as a Ramen bus. The first one to figure out what the other picture is gets a cookie.

Yesterday we went to Stake Conference. This time it was one of the broadcasts from Salt Lake to all of Japan. Before they started the broadcast they mentioned there was a room to watch it in English. Figuring I'd rather here it direct without a translation in English we went to that room. Unfortunately it was full and we missed most of the first talk before they got another room set up. Elder Evans, the former North Asia Area President, was one of the speakers. He spoke in Japanese so we ended up hearing a translation to English... He spoke about the importance of deciding to serve a mission and shared some personal experiences. He also showed a video of a group of Japanese missionaries in the MTC right now. It was pretty interesting. One of the Japanese Elders said 'The best thing about the cafeteria is that you can drink all you want... And you can eat all you want... And you eat all the ice cream you want on Sunday and Wednesday. I really like ice cream. I love ice cream.' I think that made everyone laugh.

This morning I was writing down the words to the hymn 'Love at Home' in my planner so I could memorize it. I was just about done when I thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye on my desk. I dismissed it but imagined how bad it would be if there were a cockroach on my desk... A moment later a cockroach skirted out from under my hymn book and down the side of my desk.. It got out of my sight and I couldn't find it. After study I cleaned my whole desk out and wiped it all down but didn't find it. Still I imagine it's less likely to come back to a clean desk than one that's covered with dust bunnies along the back.

I went on an exchange to Awaji, the island in our mission, again. When we got there on the way to the apartment I saw a big snake crawl into some bushes by the sidewalk, I got the feeling it wasn't a friendly snake. This time I was with Elder Matsuoka, a Japanese Elder. We had a pretty good exchange together and were able to see some success. They're doing well down there.

Well I hope you have a great week,
Elder Andrew West.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family,

I hope things are going well for all of you. This past week was pretty good. The main thing of note was probably Lu's baptism. I think I mentioned him in my last email but he's a 25 year-old from Vietnam. He's been in Japan for a year and a half and has another year and a half to go. We started teaching him a little after I got here around May 22 and he's come to church every week since, twice in the rain. Fortunately we were able to find a Vietnamese Book of Mormon in our apartment and an old 1980 Vietnamese Gospel Principles book in the church library. He's really doing well and it's been great meeting with him. I look forward to continuing to meet with him from now on. He's pretty Tech-savy so I'll probably keep in touch with him on skype or messenger after going home.

Here's a simple translation of his testimony after being baptized. He's really trying hard with Japanese.

`Hello everyone. I've been in Japan for 1 year and 4 months. I still don't understand much Japanese so if I mess up please let me know.
I'm happy that everyone came here today. Today is the day I received baptism.
I'm very happy because through baptism my past sins have been forgiven by God.
Now I have a new life again. So following in God's way and so so I don't waste the things everyone has taught me from now on I'm going to do a lot of good things. I will follow the Lord's commandments.
(He read the 10 commandments here)
Besides these there's also some other various things but I'm going to do my best.
Next so everyone knows a little about me I'd like to introduce myself. I came to Japan last year on February 19th. I'm working here with the goal of helping my family and my future. Now I have another family, that family is all of you. I'm really happy.
I have 3 years to work here in Japan. After 1 year and 8 months I go back home. When I first came to Japan and lived in Kobe this lifestyle and environment was very interesting, big roads and lots of cars with beautiful scenery and good weather. There's lot's of places I want to visit.
However, after living here for a year I wanted to return to Vietnam but I had to continue working. But now I've gotten used to it and don't want to go home(early). So now with my remaining days here I'll work, study, I'll especially study Japanese, and want to talk with everyone more.
I want everyone to teach me. Please.
I say and testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.`

He's a wonderful person.

As far as going to Hiroshima goes, the chances are slim. I probably won't transfer again.

Elder West

PS Tell Jordan I'd be happy to room with him.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear family,

Sorry about forgetting to send my email last week. I wrote it and then saved it in case I thought of anything else to write before getting off, and well...

These past couple weeks we've been having a lot of lessons with investigators and it's been good. I really feel like the Lord continues to bless us. It's not necessarily that we're working a lot harder than before, because the mission has been working hard the whole time I've been out here. But the Lord blesses us more and more as we prepare and increase our faith so we can receive his blessings and guidance.

I mentioned we've been working with a Vietnamese guy these past few weeks. Right now the baptismal service is scheduled for this Saturday at 3 PM. We're not quite done teaching him all the lessons, but I think everything will work out in time. On Saturday we taught him about tithing and the Word of Wisdom, mostly out of an old Gospel Principles book. We had him list up the things we're told not to partake of on the whiteboard and asked him if he had any difficulties with any of them. He said he used to drink alcohol at parties with friends before coming to Japan, but he's stopped that. He doesn't like the taste of coffee. Tea makes him sleepy. And he fully understands the dangers of misusing medicine or illegal drugs.

Yesterday my companion almost got hit by a car. We were riding our bikes along and went behind a car that was sticking out a little without the driver looking in our direction. My companion remarked on how it's dangerous to go in front of cars like that. Less than a minute later we came across another car where the driver wasn't looking in our direction. We both noticed it but... anyways the driver only bumped my companion a little bit, he didn't fall down fortunately. The lady driving was really surprised and worried but my companion was fine so after accepting a couple little bandaids I gave her a little flyer for our English class, maybe she'll come. I know I've sent one of those flyers home before, but I really like them because they introduce who we are, what we're doing, and a little bit about our message. I think the Spirit probably warned us through my companion to be careful but we didn't really think about it.

You asked how many people attend the branch here in Miki, I think it's around 20. If we bring some people with us it goes up a lot.

Elder Andrew West

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family,

It sounds like you're all doing well still. Things are going well here in Miki (The area I'm in right now). We're seeing a lot of success and it's really exciting.

Have you ever seen a popcorn vending machine? I hadn't until last week. Maybe if I go there again I'll get some popcorn.

This past week we've been pretty busy. Our schedule has been somewhat full, which I'm always happy about. We're still working with Lu, he's a great person. He struggles to communicate in Japanese but he's really able to understand and comprehend things well. He's a very thoughtful and nice guy.

I think next week's email will be a short one. We might head over to Osaka next week for preparation day. I might see about picking up some souvenirs if I see anything worth buying and bringing home. We'll see... let me know if there's anything you want. If not I'll probably end up just buying books.

Elder West

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's A Girl!

Happy Birthday Stephanie!  On this day way back in 1983, our one and only daughter was born.  I like to say that we must have gotten girls right the first time, since that's all we got...and she is "practically perfect in every way" (thank you Mary Poppins).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Road Trip

Last week, Keira and I took a road trip to Idaho.  We stayed with Nathan and Rebekah (thank you very much) and crammed as much visiting with Marcy in as we could.  I wish I had been able to take a few more pictures, but my camera decided to quit working on Saturday morning.  Keira's camera lasted until Sunday afternoon - when it decided to go swimming in the headwaters of......well, that's her story - so I'll leave it for her to tell.

On Saturday we all (including Marcy's husdand Wynn), went over to Jackson Hole, Wyoming...where I proceeded to fall in love...with cowboy music.  We had dinner at the Bar J Chuckwagon - which has an incredibly fun show.  I'd like to go back with Steve when we're out there in August (yes, we'll be going back to Idaho in August).  Maybe Marcy and Wynn can come again too...I'll keep my eye out for a Dolly Parton wig for Marcy - I mean, if you've got to wear a wig at a cowboy show, a Dolly Parton style wouldn't be out of place.  Or maybe a cowboy hat?  Whaddya say, Marcy?