Saturday, September 16, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
As the great singer Frank Sinatra sang after every show, "and now, the end is near."
I'd like to say I did the past two years "my way" but anybody relatively involved with missionary work knows that missionary work is the Lord's work.
Yes the time has come for my final email. My final week was pretty good. It was full of helping Elder Price and Elder Otani take over the area. And of course I played basketball. I'll spare you the details of my life and just give you a general overview of my mission in general. Here we go!
September 23, 2015. I entered the MTC. With a group of guys all destined to head to Tokyo (with the exception of a few). We all were very in over our heads.
Nine weeks later we land in Japan. Everybody but me wanted their first companion to be Japanese. However, in a crazy turn of events, I was the only one with a Japanese trainer. This started my time with Elder Yoshino in Okegawa. We didn't see much success, but I'm eternally thankful for the example he taught me. Then my next companion Elder Sato came. Another Japanese companion. We saw even less success, but we had a fun time doing it and that's all that matters.
Then I was transferred to an area that changed my mission. I went to Urayasu, within a very large spitting distance of Disney Land. My companion was Elder Masterson, and I struggled very hard with him. We had one investigator the entire time who I love to death, but just wouldn't commit to be baptized. My companion wasn't the nicest person on earth, but I loved the area nonetheless. Then something amazing happened. I got a new companion! His name is Elder Kenley and is by far one of my favorites. I got to see him before he went home and took a picture. We had very many adventures in the short time we were together, then I was sent to Kiryu.
My first impression of Kiryu was "this place is hot, and it's a dump." It's a town settled between two mountains which I would learn to appreciate due to their wonderful typhoon blocking capabilities. My new companion was Elder Lewis, a human tank, who I grew to love very much. I would eventually move on to see my first baptisms in Kiryu, some about a year after I left. Shout out to Shuma Tanaka and Aoi Sakurai!
But my short time in Kiryu was replaced by an even shorter time in Abiko. I was there with Elder Swenson for four weeks, when we baptized another man named Hiroki Nakazato, who is the Bee's knees. We had a blast and actually changed the mission with our success. We started a mission-wide phase of trying to get into college campus English clubs due to our diligent work and charming personalities. Then I got emergency transferred up to Nagaoka.
Nagaoka is pretty much Sapporo but more south. Farm based community, tons of snow, lots of old people. I got my first two sons, Elder Titel and Elder McIlrath while I was there. It was my hardest area on my mission. However, I learned a lot about who I am, and what I'm doing. It may have been the hardest, but it certainly was the area where I learned the most. But I was pretty happy to transfer out.
That's when I came to the promised land of Oyama. Those of us serving in Kiryu east zone (and especially Oyama) know it's pretty much the garden of eden. I worked with an elder who came to Japan with me named Elder Sharon. I promised him we would be companions in the MTC. We worked hard and he went home due to a freakishly large kidney stone. What a beast. Then I received another son, Elder Watanabe, and finished his training. I finished my time in Oyama with Elder Peterson, a very loving and hard working Elder, and we made Oyama a land flowing with milk and honey. We baptized a boy, Ruka Ogawa, while I was there. Then I transferred to my grave.
It turns out I'm dying in Urayasu. My companion is Elder Otani, my longest companion. Also one of my hardest ones. These last two transfers have been some of the most stressful and challenging on my mission, but we changed the area. We put in work. Just straight up grit and sweat. The kind you see at weight lifting competitions. I also get to spend a week with Elder Price, which is a nice rest.
That's my mission in a nutshell. If I were to write everything I learned you wouldn't even be one fourth of the way done with this email. Maybe we can talk about it some day. I will end with this though. I have been spending the past two years of my life inviting people to follow Christ. However, the most important impact I made on my mission, the most important conversion I've seen, is my own. I've done incredible things on my mission. I've seen miracles, and I've been an instrument in performing miracles. But one thing is clear. Christ is my savior. I think the words of a hymn I've grown to love on my mission explain these last words well enough.
I believe in Christ, so come what may.
See you in a few days,
|Hitoshi and the gang|
|Ex elder Mccune and I|
|my guy Keita|
|Ex Elder Kenley|
Friday, August 18, 2017
Hello Everybody! Can you believe it? You only have to receive one more
email from me after this! Then we can talk whenever we want! I have
quite the week for you full of ups and downs so sit back with a cup of hot
chocolate (of course) and your reading glasses.
Of course we played basketball last week. I was on fire. Unfortunately
too on fire. I pulled a pretty good fake and my companion rolled his
ankle so that slowed us down this week. I've started the long process
of packing this week.
Tuesday was pretty busy and fun. We met the koiwa elders to meet a
referral they gave us. He only has one leg so we had to go on an
adventure to find a wheelchair somewhere. We ate curry and had a
wonderful lesson. We also helped out at the disability center and
unfortunately it was my last time there.
Wednesday was full of planning and stuff. We also had a lesson with
Keiichi and some of his concerns came up. We also taught Eikaiwa. We
had to do some preparation to run down to Koiwa the next day.
On Thursday I got to go on splits with my trainee, Elder McIlrath! Do
y'all remember him? It was just like old times except he speaks more
Japanese and I speak lots of Japanese. He's my zone leader now. We
found a guy on the street who met us and was like "did you come here
for me?" And all we could do was stare at him and say "yeah." But it
was really fun. Really long and tiring day but we had a good time. Sad
knowing that was my last exchange but at least it was with my own son!
Friday was a day of getting back to Urayasu and doing more stuff. I
gave my last District Meeting as District Leader and it was pretty
good I think. We all learned a lot. Then as per tradition we ate curry
as a group of Elders.
Saturday was a busy day. We worked out with our ward mission leader
and had a lunch appointment with a member I helped bring back to
activity and sort of a bye-bye thing. Had way tasty sushi. We also
were supposed to have a lesson with Keiichi but he didn't show. Turns
out he doesn't want to learn from us anymore so there goes our
baptismal date. Unfortunate really.
Sunday was spiritual. I had to bear my final testimony this week. I
told myself I wouldn't cry but I did it again. On the bright side lots
of other people cried as well so that's a win. I'm heading I tot he
final week of my mission! Let's hope it's a good one. Oh we also had
transfers. My replacement is an elder named Elder Price, so I get to
show him around for a week. He's my 14th companion.
|This store has the same name as me!|
|Splits with my boy!|
Thursday, August 10, 2017
It's quite the sobering fact knowing I not have to write like 2 more
of these emails.
This week was a busy and effective one. We were able to meet a lot of
our investigators and teach them. We set a baptismal date with Keiichi
for the 27th of August which means I won't be here for it but it
doesn't matter. I'm just glad he's progressing.
I'll spare you the details of last Monday. I'm pretty sure by now
you've all figured out I basically just do basketball on mondays.
Tuesday was a rainy day but that didn't stop me! We serve dat our
disability center place and it was fun as usual. They had a dance
party and the Japanese elders got dragged into so we laughed pretty
hard. I was also able to see Tomoki if any of you remember him. He
just walked into the restaurant we were eating at.
Wednesday was fun I guess. I don't really remember. We went to a place
in town and passed out English fliers. I'm the king at passing stuff
out. We also taught Keiichi. He's a good dude just a little weird.
Thursday was our adventure day. We went down to a place called toyosu
(the rich side of town) and did a lot of stuff. I'm sorry I just don't
have much motivation to write these. Just know we work hard.
Friday was meetings and lessons and Saturday was also lessons and
English classes. That's when we set our date with Keiichi. Then on
Sunday we had 4 people come to church WOAH that's my new record! The
ward was speechless. It was also my last fast Sunday so that's pretty
sad. Anyways I hope you have a good week. Not many pictures but I did
take a video of me interrogating a bag of rice. Enjoy!
Yep that time has come. I can't think of a good title. You already
know it's hot, and that I'm tired and all such so I'll spare you the
We had a pretty good week. Got to teach some lessons and such. I like
teaching much more than I like finding, but in order to teach you have
Last Monday we just had a normal p day. Of course played some
basketball and stuff. Did that today as well. It's pretty much the
Elders p day tradition here but it's fun. I didn't really enjoy
basketball before my mission but I'm actually enjoy it now.
Tuesday was a day of appointments. We helped at the service center
place as usual. Played uno with some kids and got absolutely
destroyed. We also had a meal appointment with a member who was less
active when I was here last year. Key word was. He came back to church
since I've been away and he took us out to eat to thank me for all the
times we met him. It's those ripples. At first it doesn't seem like we
do much, but somebody along the way gets helped and that's all that
Wednesday was interviews. It was also raining way hard. It sounded
like somebody was banging thousands of tiny hammers on hour door and
balcony. So I got to talk to president Nagano. I only have one more
interview with him and I'm out of this joint. But really it was pretty
sobering. I got my "dying letter" this week with instructions on how
to go home with my flight itinerary. We then ate some large bowls of
meat and rice and taught Eikaiwa.
Thursday was splits. I was on split with Elder Ogawa, the other
Japanese elder in the apartment. We taught a lesson to our
investigator Keiichi and it didn't go too good. He was a little
confrontational and anytime we had to take time to think about
something he started to get on us and ask things like "cmon don't you
know? You call yourself Christian?" Pretty intense. Elder Ogawa did a
very good job at keeping his cool though
Goodness this email is long. Friday was pretty much weekly planning.
Saturday was softball and mission school. Sunday was church. Pretty
good week. We hug out today with a less active in a place called
ameyoko, which is pretty much stereotypical Asian street markets.
Pretty fun. Hope everybody has a good week!
I don't have much time today sorry but just know I'm good. We have a
whole bunch of investigators. Som of them a little TOO enthusiastic to
learn. We get calls frequently now and when we don't answer they call
the honbu which is super bad so I get yelled at by the mission office
but I'm just busy so I can't talk.
We are very busy. We have lots of things planned. I'm going to build
up this area if it kills me, which it just might. I nearly cut off my
finger while making food this week. But nope only about one fourth of
the tip. It's doing better. That's what you get when you brag about
being the only one who can sharpen knives. God works in mysterious
Anyways again I'm sorry it's short we just have a lot to do today. We
had Zone p day and basketball so I'm pretty burnt. I ate a way big
bowl of meat and rice this week as well on splits. It was good but
towards the end it was not good. I'll include a picture.
Anyways that's my life. Things are going great. This transfer is
officially half way done! It goes by so fast. See you next week.
Hello Everybody it's me again. As you may be assuming from my email
title, yes Tokyo is hot in the summer. Who knew?!
Everything is concrete so it just heats up more and more throughout
the day. Then you add humidity and the fact I'm pretty much always
exercising 24/7 into the I tire and BOOM laundry loads double in size.
You'd think being a coastal city would give us a good breeze. I'm
pretty much always melting, but at least I get to be a missionary!
This week besides being hot was pretty cool.
On Monday we balled and got haircuts. Pretty basic stuff.
Tuesday was filled with helping at the disability center and passing
out fliers down in Shin-Urayasu. I got shaved ice out of the service
opportunity, which was very well needed. The heats been getting up
into 30~33 degrees Celsius lately, which with 90% percent humidity is
quite the foe.
Wednesday was Member visits and Eikaiwa. Yet again a hot day. I don't
know why I'm makin sure to mention the heat so much. Maybe to just
drive my point home.
Thursday was weekly planning. We got a referral while we were
discussing how to get more referrals so that was awesome. He's a way
cool guy but I'll talk about him later. Then we went outside and
walked around to visit members. Not as hot because night time is nice.
Friday was pretty fun. We went and played soccer at the local college
and we were making pretty good friends with these guys but then the
security came and kicked us out. They made sure to escort us so we
don't accidentally baptize somebody against their will on the way. It
was pretty frustrating. Just trying to spread English.
Saturday was Zone Conference and mission school. You probably saw
pictures but I'll attach some. I taught a guitar class. Everybody had
a good time and they want it to continue so that's pretty cool! Our
referral came and he's so prepared. He kept asking me to teach him
about Christ in the middle of class. I asked him how he was and he
replied "I'm good because I'm encircled in the arms of Christ's love
and mercy." Pretty cool guy. His name is Keiichi
Sunday was full of meetings. You don't need to know about those.
Anyways thanks for tuning in! Here's some pictures and have a good week!
|Met one of my sons at Zone Conference!|
|Zone Conference. Tokyo Zones|
I had to wear this stuff for a service project we did. We
cleaned a beach. You can see my nasty farmers tan!
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Hello everybody! It's that time of the week again! I'm back!
This week was a busy one and we don't even know why. All our
investigators are too busy to meet us. Monday was a good p day. We ate
okonomiyaki, which is just like and unsweetened cabbage filled
pancake, except better than it sounds. It's good and easy to make. We
went out with some members.
Tuesday was a day of helping at the disability center and then eating
some of the best meat I've ever eaten in my life. It was raining
pretty hard but we don't care. We went out with a member named
Sugimoto and he took us to a yakiniku place, but one of the expensive
ones. I've never had that quality of meat before, and especially in
the last two years. I was amazed.
Wednesday was transfer days. Even though nothing happened to my
companionship we still were busy. We had to babysit the other elder
until his companion came. We had a good time and then went tot the
mission headquarters for a violin concert. We brought our friend Keita
and I was able to meet a lot of old investigators from past areas. One
gave me chocolate!
Thursday was also busy. We had to go up to Koiwa for District Leader
training and that jazz. I have a lot of stuff to focus on now. Got to
see Elder McIlrath if any of you remember him. We then came back,
planned, visited members and the like.
Friday was District Meeting and Chinese class. Wuu is such a nice guy.
We were able to eat out with him this week and we talked a lot about
faith. He said he wants to believe in Jesus but growing up in China,
and pretty much having a background of no God makes it hard for him
but he has desire.
Saturday was exercise, and mission school. We threw a takoyaki party,
which is octopus rolled and grilled inside little balls of dough. You
eat it with sauce and mayonnaise. Easily one of my favorite foods.
Then Sunday was church and we had a member of the 70 and the stake
president there without any notice. One of my trainees trained and
elder who trained the 70's son, so I have a special connection I
guess. Anyways that's my week. Hope everybody has a good one!
|This is from last week at shabu shabu|
|Wuu and I|
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Beloved Mina-sama once again, hello.
This was the last week of the transfer. That's right, we received
transfer calls. As per custom I'll fill you in on what happens in the
end of this email.
We spent P-day the usual way. Played some basketball and just chilled.
We did go out to shabu shabu with the Yamashitas. Shabu shabu is a
dish where they fill a pot with boiling water or sauce and you take
meat and vegetables of your choice, dip it in for a few seconds, and
then eat it. It's really good.
Tuesday was a pretty good day. We were busy so that's cool. We did a
Mogi with Brother Tomita and helped out at the disability center. I
made a new best friend there. A little boy that's about 4 or 5 and I
played with a train set and from there he wouldn't leave my side. He
was the cutest little guy. Wish I took a picture.
Wednesday was a normal Eikaiwa day. Nothing really special to report.
I had a huge class at Eikaiwa which was pretty good.
Thursday was also just a normal planning day. We also went and visited
some members but some of them weren't home. It's been getting way humid
though. It feels like a wall of water every time we go outside.
On Friday we did interesting stuff. We had District Meeting and taught
Wuu. We also had Chinese class. We then went out to sushi with Bishop,
Wuu, and two Mongolian members. We all had a good time and I got some
good tuna. We then had to get home very fast but we live in the city
so everything is close.
Saturday was very busy. We started our day by exercising with Illya
and then we helped a member move his house. From there I went on a
split and Elder Morris and I had dinner with a friend of his from a
past area since he's going home this week. We then bumped into Elder
Morris's cousin which was weird. We also had mission school and that
Sunday was even busier. We had church, a baptismal service, a YSA
activity, and bye-bye party for a soon to be missionary and and old
friend from my EFY days, church AGAIN, and reports. That's just what
happens when you are a super star I guess.
Now moving on to transfer calls. We received an email with all the not
transferring areas which we weren't on so we assumed someone was
transferring. However when we got the call nobody had a transfer for
us so we're both staying. I will be the District Leader for this
I'm looking forward to this transfer. We'll see how it goes moving
into the hottest time of the year. Elder Otani nearly died today
playing basketball due to heatstroke/dehydration so that was
interesting. Anyways here's pictures of my week!
|All of us at sushi. Wuu is wearing the green shirt|
|Shehans baptism. He's from Sri Lanka|