Thursday, April 25, 2019

Sherwood Chourou - Week 7

Konnichiwa again, Mina-san!

I've had a pretty decent week, so that's nice. My new companion and I are getting along about as well as most introverts are capable of, which I'm perfectly happy with. I actually took a photo this time, so ye. We heard from Elder Renlund last night about how we missionaries aren't just inviting people to church, we're building up everyone already in it. T'was great.

T'is short and simple, but that's okay. Hope you're all well! Please remember to email me!

I'm including some fun things I made during spare time I thought you all might enjoy!

1.Me and my companion
2.Cool scenery from temple
3.Dendou (mission) fire!!!
4.Heavenly Father Loves Us visual aid

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Sherwood Chourou - Week 6

Konnichiwa again, my tomodachitachi!

Last week's slump is over, and now I have some things to talk about! First off, last Sunday we got to hear an awesome musical performance entitled "Lamb of God", which gave an amazing telling of the stories of the people around Christ during his life on Earth. They even had a group of ASL "singers" to give the deaf missionaries a chance to enjoy the music that everyone else got to! Yesterday we got to hear from Brother Clayton of the Seventy and his wife. They talked about the importance of using the Book of Mormon when teaching interested friends and that we need to preserve the spiritual structures in our lives via regular assessment, maintenance, and repairs.
On a separate note, my companion and I resolved the issues we had last week, and not long after, we ended up having a companionship switch, so now I have a different companion, Leech ちょうろう (Elder). We met a return missionary who took our photos at the temple, so I'll send you all those when we get them. In the meantime, I have a few photos I took earlier this week.
Hope you're all doing well, and please remember to email me! I've only heard from a few of you and would like to talk to everyone at least a bit.

1. Spring?
2. Billy the Apathetic Snow Friend
3. Evil water fountain
4. I was bored before class

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Immediate Goodness of God

Konnichiwa minasan! 

We've finally reached the end of the line (in four days haha). I'm not really sure what happened, General conference just kind of eclipsed everything. It was really good and I took a lot of awesome notes. But the best part of this week was honestly just all the progress Myoujin Kyoudai has been making and so that's all I really wanna talk about.

You see, he got a new job the week before last that made it so he couldn't come to church, which, for obvious reasons, made us very sad. Church that week was significantly more lonely. But then on Tuesday we get a random message from him asking if we were planning on being at eikaiwa a little early that day. We said yeah, and asked why, and he hedged about and said "oh I just wanna talk." so we pressed a little further and lo and behold, the greatest miracle: "I said I wanted to talk, but really I just wanted to tell you I can come to church Sundays again. Long story short, I decided I hate having to work instead of coming to church." It was at this moment that I understood Alma 29:16. We probably sent him like 15 different rejoicing stickers and also a voice message of us screaming in joy. He laughed. It was great. And it doesn't stop there!

The next day we and the elders had an appointment with him again to help him out with his apartment, and we had decided to give him a new copy of the Book of Mormon with the Jesus Christ challenge and some colored pencils. And since then he's been reading and marking stuff that he's liked. He even brought it with him to game night on Friday so he could show us. He said he's trying really hard to really understand what Nephi is trying to teach in 1 Nephi, and I'm so proud of him for trying so hard. But wait! There's more!

I had told him to do his best to take notes during general conference on Sunday, and he actually did! He had like five separate notes on his phone, and he told me "I've never focused so hard in my life. I understood like half of the talks. My head hurts now." It was super cool too because out of nowhere he started looking through our LINE conversation for a scripture I had sent him last week, D&C 58:42, and said that he really liked it and was glad I sent it to him. It made me very happy. He's been doing so good. All the stuff that's happened with him has reminded me of Elder McKay's talk from general conference. None of these things are necessarily huge things, but they manifest the immediate goodness of God and how much He loves his children. The miracles are always there, it's just up to us to notice them. 

Other stuff happened too, most notably visiting Yabuuchi Kyoudai on Friday. He lives far away, but he's really cool and we felt like we should visit him, and man oh man did that become an adventure. I swear the man is a literal Disney princess. He's a bit of an interesting soul, and when we got there so I could give him my meishi before I left, we found out that missionaries hadn't visited him or given him a meishi for three years, so he was so happy we'd come to visit him. We had a lovely little lesson with him about peace in Christ, and we were able to set up another appointment with him to make baked potatoes. And then he was worried about us going home so he biked with us all the way back to the church, and it was even more of an adventure. He stopped randomly once and plucked some seeds from a dead plant and told us they were asagao seeds. How he knew, I have no idea. And then he stopped randomly again, did a bird call, and a whole bunch of birds answered him back! Apparently it was a really famous bird too. It was wild. It was really quite the day. 

And you know, at the end of my mission, I really feel like the best part has always been these relationships with people that I've been able to create. There are days I will never forget simply because they deeply involved people I can never forget. There are eternal friendships I have forged with people here that bring me indescribable joy. It's feels a little silly to say, but it's the moments where someone I worked with and care about so much sends me something as simple as a shrimp emoji out of nowhere that really make my day. It's the simple but significant things, when the brother you've been working with tells you “I didn't think I had any eternal friends, but now I know I have one” or when a sister tells you that what you said was exactly what she needed to hear. It's visiting the brother who lives an hour away by bike to give him a meishi and finding out that he hasn't been visited or given a meishi for three years. It's when a sister who's been investigating the church for years invites you to come with her and her family to visit the grave of her father. It's seeing a brother use the note you gave him encouraging him to go to the temple as the bookmark for his Book of Mormon. I love these people so much, and being with them, serving them, and loving them has brought me so much joy. There are so many amazing things that happen, and so many tender mercies every day, I can't list them all even though I want to. But being with people and sharing love with them, whether it be a spiritual moment, or when a 6 year old tells you he wants to serve a mission in Disneyland, has really made my mission the joy that it is. It's hard to leave, but that's okay, because relationships are among the things we can take with us after we die, and even when we move far away. They really have become one of my greatest treasures. 

See you all in a few! 

Sherwood 姉妹

1.) we found old glasses in Myoujin kyoudai's apartment and Dettmer Chourou looks like a professor lol
2.) Yamatokoriyama district #squad
3.) the best dying photo ever
4.) we found prickly pear
5.) sakura! 
6-7.) yabuuchi kyoudai, the man, the myth, the Disney princess
8.) biking with yabuuchi kyoudai

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Sherwood Chourou - Week 5

Konnichiwa mina-san!

Sorry, but this week's letter doesn't have any pictures. I'm kind of low on things to talk about too, as not much out of schedule has happened. My companion hates me because I was harsher than I should've been about a particular rule he kept breaking.
The MTC experience itself is just fine, though, and we got to hear from Sister Cordon last night. She talked a lot about how we as missionaries need to really think about why the Lord called us where he did. I can't wait to find out the answer to that particular question.
That's about it. I'll send more if anything comes to mind or improves. Remember, I can read everyone's emails at any time, so please email me whenever you can! I can only reply on Wednesdays, but I still enjoy hearing from all of you. Thank you everyone for your support!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Dobby's Apartment is Filled with Dingsbums

Konnichiwa minasan! 

Not gonna lie, I'm kind of excited to die just because it means I don't have to write long emails to everybody anymore. "But Sherwood shimai," you might protest, "you don't have to write that much anyway." to which I would answer that yes, technically, you may be correct, but if I did that I would feel bad about it so I can't. And thus here we are, with the second to last email.

Tuesday was great, though ridiculously busy. After district meeting and interviews, we tried to hop on a train back home but it turned out that the train line we were going to take was down because of an accident. This was worrying because we and the elders had an appointment at 3, which had just become impossible. So we, thinking it would be faster than waiting for the trains to start up again, hopped on another line going a more roundabout way. It did not end up being faster. We ended up getting back at the same time as the elders, who had just waited for the trains to start up again. Low key salty about it. But it ended up being okay because we were able to move our appointment to 5. What was this appointment, you might ask? Well, we and the elders teamed up to help our beloved friend, Myoujin kyoudai, more closely follow Brother Brigham's old addage that cleanliness is next to godliness because he'd just moved into a new apartment filled with all sorts of dingsbums (Dettmer 長老 taught me this word. It's the German equivalent of thingamabob and it's my new favorite word in the entire world) that weren't his. It was way fun actually. Hine 長老 was really good at finding all sorts of treasures, including, but not limited to, 34 yen, probably like 30 lighters, a weird thing that may have been an electric eraser but we aren't really sure, and enough socks to dub the room "Dobby's Apartment". Dettmer 長老 did a really good job of dusting all the books and also the light fixture because he is very tall. We invented a new Safety Zone video topic called "Don't throw lighters into the trash can while your companion is sitting in front of it." Tobler 姉妹 threw away a bazillion useless random things. I wrote a small essay in my head about the importance of keeping your cords clean and organized. It was a blast. We're going back again this Wednesday.

We also had a koukan on Wednesday with the Abeno shimai, and Magistro 姉妹 and I decided to travel to the farthest less active member on the map. It was an adventure. We found out the ever so important information that the member had died, but her mom still lives there, and is actually a community volunteer (if I understood her Japanese correctly). She was way nice, if a bit confused as to why we were there, and we're planning on going back to see if we can't get some sort of service project started up with her. 

On Thursday, Tobler 姉妹 contracted a pretty bad cold, which got aggravated by us being out and about on Friday. But it was made slightly better because we got to go to a cool Relief Society activity where we went to the ruins of Yamatokoriyama Castle and saw lots of sakura and goldfish. It was great. And then we had an awesome lesson with Yoko san where we taught her how to pray, and she actually told us stuff that she legitimately wanted to pray for! It was so cool to see her exercise faith like that. We're really excited about it. Also the elders were super nice and brought us ginger and orange juice and a bunch of fancy German cold medicine. (Dettmer 長老 says colds are his specialty. He's basically become area dad. It's pretty funny actually)

Saturday was great too. We found a new person to teach at eikaiwa, and Fukuda Shimai bought us bread. We also got to help Ejima Shimai weed her garden, which was super fun, and we learned that when the Ejimas have random food packages written in English that they don't want to bother remembering the name of, they just call it "katakana." It's really funny. Ejima Shimai actually ended up telling us about all the things she's been learning through the Come Follow Me program and it was way cool. I think we got to build some really good kankei with her. We're excited. She's way cool.

But yeah that's the basic gist of the week. More to come as I attempt to use the fact that I'm leaving as leverage to meet with people who tend to be a bit flaky. Tune in next time to see what other treasures we find in Myoujin Kyoudai's house.

Sherwood 姉妹

1.) Im making shrink-a-dinks of the district (shh don't tell the elders. It's a secret)
2.) eikaiwa squad
3-7.) sakura at Osaka Castle 
8-10.) at Yamatokoriyama castle

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Sherwood Chourou - Week 4

email 1:

Hello again, mina-san!

Making these group messages is getting harder cuz nothing new is happening. Everythings all good over here, but it's annoyingly repetetive. On the upside, we do have kouhai (new missionaries in our branch) now! Hope you're all doing well and having fun back home!

email 2:

Ok, so I thought of other stuff to say. In last night's devotional, we got to here from Elder Wada of the 70 and his wife. The main point I got out of it is that we aren't going on our missions just to be friendly and talk about the gospel, we actually need to serve the people.
In class, we've started playing a game called "Tanaka-san", in which we all draw a card, and whoever gets the Tanaka-san card has to speak in as much Japanese as possible. At the end of the day, we try to figure out who was Tanaka-san.

I've got a few new pictures:

A gif of my sensei doing a "desu" drop (inside joke)
Neko-chan (the MTC resident cat)
A group photo of a few of our districts

Monday, April 1, 2019

Breaking News: Orange Lemon Water Makes You Tall

Konnichiwa minasan! 

Life after death as a missionary is fast approaching and it stresses me out so this is probs gonna be a shorter one. Gomen.

Lots of way cool things happened though, which was awesome. Tuesday ended up being crazy busy because we had three appointments. Busiest day we've had in ages. Just bounce after bounce after bounce to new people in new places. A real wild ride. But the lesson we had with this cute old lady named Yoko ended up going super well. We taught her about who God is and the Spirit was so strong. It was so cool bc she mostly just had interest in English but we could tell she really liked the message we shared.

Also we finally got to meet with Kazushi after like forever! Turns out he's actually really interested and wants to learn more about Christianity. We were very surprised. We got to tell him our experiences about coming to know the Church is true and he said he was really fascinated by them. We're very excited about it.

We also had a very fascinating appointment with one of the members in our ward, Kitamura Shimai, and had a really cool discussion about how we can learn different nuances from the scriptures in different languages. She talked about how the history of Japan gives the word we use for "endure" (taeshinobu) in the Church a bad vibe. And she told us that when we teach new people, they'll likely respond better to the word mochikotaeru (持ち堪える). It was very fascinating. Makes me really wanna read the Book of Mormon in other languages.

Friday night ended up being crazy though because we were planning on meeting with this one friend of ours, Haruka, and out of nowhere she just brings a friend visiting from Denmark who said flat out that she's interested in learning about religion and it ended up that they both came to game night. Long story short, it was a really crazy two hours. 

The coolest thing this week though is what happened with Myoujin Kyoudai in our ward. We had messaged him the other day just to kinda follow up with him about how his scripture study is going (spoiler alert: not the best) and he actually set up an appointment with us and the elders for the next day to do Come Follow Me with him, and it turned into this whole lesson about the covenant path and he really opened up to us about his desires and struggles with the gospel, and it was honestly so cool. We were really able to learn what he needed to progress along his path and how to help him. Bishop was way happy we got him to open up, because for a really long time, missionaries had thought he was weird and not worth working with, and didn't really have a good relationship with him, but we were able to really bond with him and be his friend, and it was just the coolest miracle ever. And the whole thing happened by us just asking him if there was anything we could do to help. He was so surprised that we actually cared and wanted to be his friend, and long story short, I can testify of the power of friendship, and that charity really does never fail. We're super excited to start working more with Myoujin Kyoudai and helping him out.

Sherwood 姉妹

Fun things:

Dettmer Chourou: I don't like sweet things. 
Tobler Shimai: well what do you like?
Dettmer Chourou: a little bit of orange juice, a little bit of lemon juice, and a lot of water in a glass. Delicious.
*five minutes later*
Ejima Shimai: Dettmer Chourou is all legs
Ejima Kyoudai: yeahhhhh I bet he's tall because he drinks that orange lemon stuff
Ejima Shimai: ummmm
Ejima Kyoudai: yeah I'll just start drinking that and I'll get taller perfect

Sherwood Chourou - Week 38 in Japan

Konnichiwa! We are back to the slowish days once more. We've been dendoing and teaching plenty, but nothing outstanding has arisen ...