Ya, yesterday was really good. Only 3 members of the branch know I'm leaving, and two of them knew for all of Sunday. Got to avoid the awkward "you're going home" stuff.
As for M, he's great. Very interested in the Gospel. Spent all of yesterday doing church with us. After the 3 hour program we had a big meeting at the District Center and he came to that with us. He's gotten able to realize for himself when he feels the spirit. He has a baptismal date for the 30th of this month, and I'm sure he will make it.
I'm going to try selling the bike today, but I'm not sure how much I'll get, or even if I can. I was able to sell the guitar to one of the students at the guitar class.
As for the (bus) trip (back) to Tokyo, the mission pays for the bus ticket. And, if I remember correctly, a small pillow like thing was given for the flight between Japan and America.
Sounds like it will be a party when I get back (with the few close friends who will be at the airport with us). You (mom) get the first hug, dad gets the second hug.... (then Kathryn and Lewis will group hug)
Elder S (Colter's now former companion there in Nagaoka) actually got called down to the mission home to work as an office elder, so I've been companions with Elder U and Elder L. (Elder U has reached the end of his mission and is going home this week)
For the next week and a half I'll still be with Elder L and helping him train a new missionary. Should be an exciting time.
I arrive at the mission home sometime next Thursday, do all that final stuff, and then go off Friday.
(During church) on Sunday it seemed like my mission had just begun. I will use what I've got from my mission and continue to help others, even more than before.
(Colter with his companion Elder S, next to him,
and the other companionship in their apartment in Nagaoka)
We found a couple of new investigators this past week. Two said they would come to church, but didn't, and one of those two doesn't have a phone to call, and speaks Portuguese more than Japanese. We do have an appointment this week with someone that we found last week. This will actually be the first time for me to meet him, since he was found on splits, but it sounds interesting. Now, for pictures....
our apartment building
view from the apartment
walking with Elder "U" from the other companionship
After spending 1/4th of his mission in one area, Elder Abercrombie was transferred this week!!! He went back to Nagaoka, where he spent 6 weeks in the cold weather and deep snow back in December '15/January '16. Now he'll be there in the heat of the summer. We're so excited he's going back to an area he's already familiar with and to members he already knows. =) We'll post photos as soon as we get some, of course.
This week we did a lot of preparation for moving the apartment, and working in other places. It's been pretty good! Found a new investigator, who didn't come to his appointment, and we got a referral from some elders that came here for the Elder Choi conference. The referral had taken lessons about 26 years ago and came to church, but stopped. Now it's our turn. We'll be meeting with him this Wednesday. Looking forward to it!
Also, tomorrow and the day after, President Nagano will be coming in, tomorrow being Zone Conference and the day after for interviews. Last week was supposed to be temple pday, and I emailed on Tuesday like a normal temple pday. But, the Sunday night of two weeks ago, right before we went to bed, the assistants sent out an announcement from the missionary board that temple pdays are to be once every other transfer now, so my last temple pday got moved up fast. Gotta prepare myself to do it all in Japanese.
This is with the Saitama, Matsudo and Kiryu zones in the Tokyo mission....after a conference led by Elder Choi. He spoke in the recent General Conference and instructed us to look up when it rains, which happens often in the Tokyo area ;)
I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of conference this Saturday. Probably my favorite talk I've seen so far has been Elder Holland's, especially the part about coming as one is, but not trying to start the same way one is, but how either way every single one is needed.
I do hope you manage to get the members working closer to the missionaries. It really is so tough trying that from the missionary side.
Our week....we got to meet with an investigator for the first time in a while. His name is Mori, and says he has the desire to be baptized, and he's reading the Book of Mormon fairly seriously, but he's just so hard to meet because of school stuff. It was spring break, so he could meet, but now he seems back to being ridiculously busy.
The past three days or so have actually been a lot of rain. It does look like the rest of this week won't rain as much, but I know we're only about 3 months away from the rainy season.
It will be about August 18, yeah.....that's the day we get on the plane, and I think the way the Prime Meridian works it will still be August 18th that I arrive (back home).
The English classes over here are effective, just not for every missionary. There's a couple that want to learn but, but the ones that do in this area are working with the other elders or sisters. Though recently there has been such a huge push on the English classes that I sometimes can't tell if I'm a missionary teaching English, or an English teacher that's just a really active member missionary. ;)
My companion and district are ok. It's the leadership district, so it's hard for it to not be ok. :)
This past week has been fun. We had Zone Conference on Tuesday, which took all the day, and then on Wednesday we used all the time we had to complete this sign that we use for advertising our English classes. We tried it out a few days ago and it went pretty well.
It's interesting that no matter what one's position is in the church, each calling is focused on the same outcome, bringing others to Christ.
I have thought about going into Japanese when I get back, but I don't know how deep I'll go into it.
I will be meeting with the Mission President tomorrow. We have Zone Conference, and then the day after we will have interviews.
In mid April we'll get to do a conference with one of the Area Presidency. Looking forward to it.
One of our investigators that said he'd come to church didn't come, and when I messaged him asking if he had work that day, he replied only with "sorry" and nothing passed that. But, on the other hand, one of our investigators came back from no contact to meeting with us, and being able to contact us.
Transfer news.....my comp and I are staying in the apartment, but he is becoming the zone leader, so pretty much I am just switching desks. Next companion is Elder Watabe. He's half Japanese and one transfer above me.
The work is going.... Lost an investigator, met another investigator for the first time since the street. He's an interesting guy...seems to have some sort of social disability, but is really interested in the message. Looked stuff up on Mormons, and since he didn't immediately drop all contact with us, that's a positive. Haven't worked with Chinese people in a while, but they are fairly prevalent within the missionary teaching pool.
The changes (he talked about last week) are ok. There really is so much less stress, not stretching in so many different ways to get members present lessons, less active lessons, and new investigators. We still do those, but now that it's doing it literally just to help them and not for numbers is a lot better. And there is so much time to adequately rest on P-day. Really a day to prepare mentally and physically, along with apartment-ally.
As for the work, we have been really pushing as a mission to start up more English teaching programs so that we can achieve the vision that President Nagano and the Area Presidency have for us. This past week was the official start for it in Urawa, and it went really well. And while not connected to the mission school stuff, there's a less active youth who is no longer less active now. He's the son of the 2nd counselor in the bishopric, and the whole family except the mother is a convert. The son really participates in church activities and it was great yesterday to see him prepare the Sacrament.
I'd say my fitness level is doing fairly well. We still do exercise every morning except Sunday and Monday. We still do Monday exercise, it's just not a necessary thing anymore. Still thinking about doing p90x with or without you when I get back. Prefer with you, but that's all on how you feel.
This past week has been a lot of meetings and scheduling things. We found two new investigators, who are both pretty cool. Look forward to how they continue doing.
As of last week the missionary schedule got changed hard core, and Pday gets a lot of changes to it. It used to be that we'd study for 2 and a half hours starting at 8 am, do shopping, cleaning, emailing, and relaxing before 6 pm, and then work (or move the 3 hours of work to other times and do other things at that time). But now we get up at 6:30 am like normal, but we are finished with study by 8 and from then until 6 we can do whatever is in the rules. So, today we got pizza and watched The Testaments, Legacy and stuff like that for relaxing.
To explain more of the missionary stuff changing, (in case you haven't heard about it from missionaries in your area) missionaries plan in the morning, personal study, have 30 extra minutes before 10 am then can choose between continuing study, having a half hour lunch, or working. Dinner remains an hour, then return at 9 to go straight to journal and sleep prep, and can choose as a companionship to go to sleep anywhere between 9:30 and 10:30. Being in the area with the zone leaders it was funny to see their reactions.
I translated again yesterday too. They seem to be trusting my ability more and more, because the first week the speaker looked over to me to translate every couple words, but yesterday the speaker said a 2 minute sentence and then paused. It was fun.
Yeah, the temple cleaning was fun. In 2 hours I and my cleaning buddy (not my companion) only got through one row of lockers, but then they fed us Dominoes pizza and all we could drink root beer.
The Portuguese is so hard to pick up, even when I try to learn. It doesn't match the grammar system that I know in two languages, so I struggle through 2 grammatical mazes to understand how something in Portuguese or Spanish works.
We actually started this week off with going to the temple to help them clean. Was pretty crazy. This past week has been a lot of meetings in trying to get new English school programs started within the ward. So busy, never resting. We actually passed through the mission home today to give some stuff to the office, and Sister Nagano was there and told us that we really need to find some time to get some good relaxation on Pdays, which we haven't really. I've also become the official unofficial translator for our international group. The past two weeks I've had to translate a talk from Japanese to English. That's stressful.
Yep, it's transfer week. I'm staying, but another Elder in the other companionship is transferring. They're the Zone Leader companionship. At the moment, all the elders in the apartment are ending their mission at the same time. The elder coming in is also ending at the same time. So, we're all kinda wondering how the next couple of transfers will pan out, since we can't all be in the same area at the end.
This past week we haven't actually been able to do much work in our area. Wednesday we had zone meeting, Thursday we had to travel to another area for my companion to do a baptismal interview in Portuguese, Friday we went to the temple with a recent convert for baptisms for the dead, and Friday was filled with meetings with ward leadership. So, all in all it's been a pretty good week, with a lot going on on the chess board.
(sorry this hasn't been updated in a few weeks.....) Yeah, next week I'll email you all with when we'll do the Skype call. Once again, I'm using another area's Skype account. It really is strange that i'll be 20. I was musing it over today and thinking how, even though i'm already an adult by American standards, i'm not by Japanese standards, and how even by American standards, being 20 is like another level of adulthood. though with +20 years on me, you've probably thought about stuff like that many times.
This week actually we have a FHE with Spanish and Portuguese speakers, so if i don't learn a new language, I'll be relying on my companion to translate for me.
Unfortunately, our deaf investigator more or less put everything on hold until at least January.
Anyways, I love you all and I hope that this week things'll be good for you all.