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|