Monday, November 19, 2012

We Meet Again

Hey guys,

Well it's transfer time. I have been called to (drum roll, please) FUJI! Yep, gonna be at the foot of a volcano just in time for it to blow up on December 21st! No probably not, but I really get to see Fuji like ereday. I have also been called to serve as district leader over Fuji, Shizuoka, and Numazu areas. 6 missionaries, 4 Elders, 2 Sisters, in total. My new companion will be Elder Perkins from Arizona. He came to Japan the same time that Gillespie Choro did. It's gonna be fun! Of course it's sad to say goodbye to Nakatsugawa when I'm so darn in love with the place, but Fuji will be sweet.

So this week was great. We had some good progress with our Chinese investigator, O-san. He is probably ready to be invited to baptism soon. Ishida-san came to church yesterday as well.

There is a Thanksgiving party here in Nakatsugawa that they are gearing up for, but I don't know what's going down in Fuji.

We got an email this week saying that 7 new missionaries were assigned to our mission this week. It usually ranges from 0-2. One is an 18-year-old Elder and another is a 19-year-old Sister. Neat-o!

This letter might turn out to be shorter than usual. Transfers make you think about 10 million things at once, so I'm not super focused.

The package with my coat got here yesterday and the Honbu (mission office) is holding the second one because of transfers. But no worries because we are having a special mission conference tomorrow with all 100 or so missionaries in Meito. So I will pick up my package then. I get to have a sweet training for my birthday.

Okay that's kind of it. Yep. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, November 12, 2012

And the Beat Goes On


We had another good week. It was sempai week for Elder Gillespie, so he took lead in the teaching, planning, and finding. He did really well despite saying he was really nervous. I think one thing we both learned from it was how important the Spirit is in our work. There have been many times where I go to an investigator's or potential investigator's door with no idea how to start the conversation or the contact. Then it just comes to me. It's really cool.

This week we had a really good lesson with O Ryoku-san. We did how to begin teaching and then taught about the Holy Ghost and Prayer. He prayed at the end of the lesson too. We have another appointment with him tonight. We also had a couple lessons with Ishida-san. This week we had a lesson centered on the Book of Mormon and how we can follow Christ. We then invited him to baptism, but he is hesitant because of his age. We also learned about another concern he has with prayer, so we are going to teach about that on Tuesday.

We found another new investigator this week! We spent an entire day in Ena (the neighboring city in our area) dendo-ing, contacting potential investigators, and visiting less-actives and formers. It was a long day, but so worth it. Our new investigator's name is Miyuki. She is about twenty years old and has great interest.

This week I noticed how real life is kind of like the video game "The Sims." Maybe that's why it's called that, but I noticed this week that you can't just get people to do things you ask them to without some trust and familiarity in your relationship. It's like the relationships between people in the game, but missionary style. That would be a killer video game. Missionary Sims. Copyright that stuff right there.

So anyway I was craving some Christmas music like crazy this week. Everyone should be surprised because I'm the first one to complain about Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I think it's because Thanksgiving is just a hiss and a byword in Japan, so I'm just thinking about Christmas. I did hear some Christmas music at the super market last week, but it was just the tunes, no words, done with some synthesized instruments.

I was doing service at my branch president's house when they were tallying up the votes for the President. So at first I was really nervous for about three seconds when I found out Obama is President again. But then the Spirit said, "No big deal." I'm glad to see that virtually everyone else has adopted the same idea. This isn't our world, it's our Heavenly Father's. He has a plan for it and for us. That plan is specific. We can take confidence in the fact that Heavenly Father is there and hears our prayers. He answers them, too. I would like to quote a statement from the email I got from Dad this week. He said, "I'm pretty much over it - I say what ever happens - bring it! I'll tackle it head on, I'm not gonna let an inept President and corrupt congress dictate my happiness or affect how I care for my family." I really like this. It is pretty much my same opinion. I would like to point out the word "my" said twice in that sentence. Go ahead and re-read it with a little emphasis on the word "my." This is Heavenly Father's plan and it is for us. We have control of our realm. We can't control everything, but for what is in our control, let's take control of it!

We don't need to fear, to quote Cori in her email this week. Sure it's disappointing to see something go wrong, but God has it in his hands. I studied Ether this week. I found some good verses. Ether 2:12 says, "Behold this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written."  and Ether 12:4 says, "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." There ya go, folks. Live the Gospel. Do what is right. Follow the Spirit. A million hymns just came to mind, sing those. We are in a time where solutions to the problems in this world can come by no other means than the Gospel. So live it!

I'm so grateful for the support you all give me back home. It sounds like Heavenly Father is returning the favor as he answers my prayers on all your behalf. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Suited Up!

Hey hi hello!

It's suit season here in the mission. It will be until next General Conference. This week was pretty chilly, but it's getting warmer. We'll see how long it sticks around. It was a really good week. We were blessed with two new investigators! One is named Shibata-san and the other is named Mizuno-san. They both have pretty young families that are likely to become investigators, too. Mizuno-san is a woman that teaches Kids English class, so she speaks pretty good English. Shibata-san works at the local Mitsubishi factory making electronics, I think.

Ishida-san came to church again! We also invited him to baptism this week, but he is a little hesitant because he is old. He thinks baptism is good, though. O Ryoku-san was a little hard to get in contact with this week, but we met him on Friday and set up an appointment for tonight! Wish us luck.

So after the Friday before Halloween, everything changed to Christmas. The ads on the trains, decorations at the store, even the Colonel Sanders in front of the KFC was rollin all Santa'd up. We were like, "Hey Halloween hasn't even happened yet." We thought Japanese people just assumed it was on Friday, so we asked our English class students. They knew when the day was, but everything's all Christmas-y. Our branch is having a Thanksgiving Luau though, so that will be fun.  It's in a couple weeks.

It's the second-to-last week of the transfer. I don't know if Elder Gillespie and I will be together for another transfer, but we both think it would be cool to be. Gillespie Choro and I get along really well. We have a lot of the same background and interests. He's from a family of all sisters and we both love to laugh and really like Star Wars. It's also very fun to make fun of Star Wars, too. We were kind of surpised by the new Star Wars coming out in 2015.

Well that's kind of it this week. Loves.


Elder Sanderson

Laden with Sheaves


We were laden with sheaves this week. Literally. We helped a member harvest rice. It was fun and a great service opportunity. I got to use this awesome machine that pulls in and cuts the rice stalks, binds the sheaves, and spits them out. It was way fun. But if you thought Takenami Eki had some spiders, woo boy. A freshly harvested tanbo (rice field) is literally crawling with them. You take a step and see about thirty spiders move.

We also spent some time preparing for the Halloween Party that our branch held. We had balloons with candy, a cardboard haunted house, bobbing for apples, and some sushi even made an appearance. It was really fun and it has opened the doors to our Eikaiwa students that came to hear the Gospel.

One such family is the Fuchino family. The father is pretty against the Gospel, but we talked to him yesterday about holding a Family Home Evening. He said that it would probably be alright! We are so excited because the Fuchinos have been in contact with the missionaries for awhile, but it has been difficult to get the Gospel in the door. We are shooting for an FHE on Sunday with them. Hooray!

This week while preparing for the Halloween Party, we had to blow up some balloons that came out to be as big as my torso. Shoda Shimai, Jindo Shimai's 95-year-old mother, was terrified of the balloons. Jindo Kaicho's son, Achi Kyodai, blew up a balloon really big and said, "Grandma, Look!" Were face turned to sheer terror and he started laughing super hard. Shoda Shimai was also our welcome witch at the Halloween Party.

We went to Jindo Kaicho's house for dinner on Saturday night with Kato kyodai and his family. Kato Kyodai, now Kato Choro, left for his mission this morning, so we had dinner with his family. During that time we were talking about Kato Kyodai's grandma that lives with them. She is 85 and Shoda Shimai said, "Oh she's a lot older than me." Jindo Shimai turned to her and said, "How old do you think you are?" (Believe me, it sounds nicer in Japanese) Shoda Shimai said "I don't know" then Jindo Shimai told her she was 95 years old. Then Shoda Shimai said, "Oh really?" It was really cute and funny.

I noticed that night at Jindo Kaicho's house what a profound love I have for Nakatsugawa and the people here. It's hard to discribe, but I love all of them so much. It's pretty crazy, really, this feeling is. Sorry for the weird sentence. Sometimes Japanese is spoken like that.

Well that's it for now. I read the other Elder Sanderson's blog and I'm happy to hear he is doing better. Good luck to him out there. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson