Monday, December 10, 2012

   Hey there everyone! So I have some interesting news for you. Sometimes, in Japan, the ground moves. It's this crazy thing called and earthquake. Woah. So, as I'm sure you may have already heard, there was a 7.3 earthquake in the Tokyo area. You may not have already heard, but all the missionaries are safe, so it's all good. We were actually in our apartment eating dinner when it hit, and over where we were it was only about a 2, maybe a 3, so we didn't even think about it. About 10 minutes later we got an email from the mission home informing us that parts of the mission just experience a 7.3, and told everyone to check in with their zone leaders and let them know if we were ok. So, in our case, it really wasn't all that exciting. What was really fun though was a few weeks ago when we were at a member's apartment and we had a 5.0 earthquake hit. Yeah, things did a little more than just shake a little bit. That was interesting. But, Japanese buildings are designed for these sorts of things, so there probably is no safer place to be in the world during an earthquake than in Japan.
   Other than that, things have been pretty busy this last week. Christmas is coming up soon, and Elder Nakamura and I decided we want to make Christmas cards for all the families in the ward. We took some time to buy paper and some markers and a few other things, so we're going to be spending a little time over the next couple days getting those all put together. Other than the typical activities of teaching investigators and trying to find new people to teach, there have been a few good highlights. For example, we went to a wedding reception on Saturday. It's really kind of interesting being a missionary in Japan actually. In the states you see the missionaries at church, you invite them over for dinner once in a while, and you don't really expect to see them much more than that unless you see them riding around on their bikes. Here in Japan (or maybe it's just the Yamato Ward), the members always invite us and expect us to come to ward activities, ward parties, and apparently even wedding receptions. So that was fun.
   One of the members in the ward, Brother Akasaka, has a less active son that we've been trying to contact for almost as long as I've been here. He's a high school teacher, so he's really busy all the time. Well, we managed for finally make contact with him on Sunday! Brother Akasaka is a way cool guy, and he's really nice, but if I didn't know already that his son is his son, I don't think I would have ever guessed. They don't look anything alike. He seems like a really nice guy like his dad though, so that's good. We're hoping we can start meeting with him once in a while, and hopefully he'll start coming back to church. That would be great to see.
   On sunday we also watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Basically it's just a small devotional from President of the church and his two counselors. They each share a 10 minute message themed on Christmas, and there's also music and singing. I highly recommend watching it. Here's the link:  There was some really good stuff that was said. I especially like Uchtdorf's message. Many times in an effort to improve ourselves and focus on giving, we almost become trained to think that receiving a gift is a bad thing, and we forget how important it is to be a grateful recipient. As he said in his message, there is no joy in giving a gift if the recipient is not grateful for receiving it.
   So, I've been waiting some time now for this legendary Japanese fall that I always hear so much about. You know, red leaves and all that. The kanji for fall is actually the kanji for tree and fire combined, so that should tell you something. Well, now that we're in December, we finally found some red trees. It's actually kind of interesting, because some of the trees just had their leaves die and fall off kind of like in Arizona, and thy already have no leaves left. Then there's these trees with all their red leaves, and then there are other trees that haven't even started changing colors yet. So I'm not entirely sure when fall actually started around here.
That's about it for now! Oh, and one last final thought. I can't remember where I heard this, but there's quote that's been bouncing around in my head for a couple days. "There are two types of people in this world: those who say to God 'Thy will be done,' and those to who God says 'Alright, have it your way.'" Humorous, but I think it gets the point across. So yeah, take care everyone! More adventures to come next week!

Elder Blake

Captain's Log, Entry 12.3.12

   The weather has been really nice since about October, but the last week or two the temperature has started to drop some more. I'm quickly finding out that humidity is a double edged sword. During the summer you feel gross, and during the winter it makes it feel twice as cold as it really is. But yeah! At least we have seasons in Japan!
   It's been pretty uneventful this week. Not much went on in the way of exciting news. There were a few highlights though. Last Monday, we were invited over to the Anderson's home on the base for dinner and Family Home Evening. The Andersons are a way cool family, and it's always a treat when they invite us over. Well, for Family Home Evening we got to participate in one of their family traditions that they do for Christmas; we got to help set up the nativity scene. The way they do it is pretty cool. The pieces are all wrapped up in newspaper in the box, so you can't really tell what the pieces are until you open it up. You go around the room, everyone taking one piece at a time. You open it up, share a little bit about what its significance is in the story of the Birth of Christ, and then place it on the table where the nativity would be displayed for the rest of the Christmas season. Some pieces are obviously less obvious than others, like a cow for example, but it was really interesting to hear everyone share their thoughts on the birth of the Savior and what we can learn from all the different players that took part in the event.
   So there's this sister in the Yamato Ward, Nami, who referred a friend to us about two months ago or so. This friend of hers lives nearly an hour away by train though, so we ended up passing him off to the Elders over by where he lives. I was talking to Nami at church the other day, and she told me that this friend of hers has a baptismal date now. Awesome! He's looking pretty solid too, so we're all expecting it to go through. The best part about it is that she only recently returned to activity in about July, shortly before I arrived in Japan. It's been great to see her coming back to church and already getting involved in the work. There are so many of our Brothers and Sisters all around us with so much potential to serve the Lord and receive the blessings he has to offer, but sometimes they just need that helping hand to get back up and moving on the path. It's really great to see the difference and improvements that can be made in just a short time.
   As we approach Christmas, as a mission we're focusing on two things. First, is what each of us, individually, is giving to Christ every day as we enter the Christmas season. Secondly, we're focusing on recognizing the miracles that we are blessed with every day as we serve the Lord. One of those miracles that we've had recently just happened last night. We have an investigator named John who we haven't been able to make contact with for nearly two months. He's Phillipino, married, and has 3 young children. The thing is, he works construction 6 days a week, and his schedule is always changing. He was having phone problems, so he got a new phone with a new number so we haven't been able to call him. The only way to get in touch with him has been to drop by his apartment and hope either he or his wife would be home. Well, as I said, this went on for nearly two months. Last night we get this impression that we should try to go visit him again, despite having just dropped by the other day. Well, when we went by, as we were parking our bikes, his wife walks out the front door. "Hey, is John home?" "Yeah! come on in!" Awesome. We were able to find out that he now has a regular schedule, so we can start meeting regularly again, and we have his new phone number. Hopefully things will continue to go up from here.
   Other than that it's been fairly routine this last week. Rations are running low, the weather is getting colder, and I've heard rumors of mutiny among the crew. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Captain Elder Blake
--End of Entry--

Monday, November 26, 2012

   Well hello! Another week has gone by here in the promised land, also known as Yamato. Things have been fun, that's for sure. There have been quite a few different things going on. To start out, there's a Peruvian invasion going on right now in Yamato. There's a Peruvian woman who started coming to our weekly english class a few week ago, there's a peruvian man that we found on the street who's family are members but he isn't (he came to church with us last week), and we found another Peruvian man while we were knocking doors earlier in the week last week. Oh, and here's the best part; all 3 of them are fluent in Japanese, so I can still talk with them even though I don't know spanish! Although, it does help that I know the few simple phrases that anyone who's lived in the southwest for any period of time will pick up. You know, things like gracias, como estas, that sort of thing. But yeah, 3 Peruvians. In Japan. And none of them know each other.
He carved the turkey and there's nothing left!
   Thanksgiving was pretty good for us this year. Seeing as how I'm in Japan and Thankgsiving is an American holiday, it was a bit different than usual. However, depite being in Japan, we celebrated Thanksgiving twice. How? Well, allow me to explain. First, on Thursday, we went on Atsugi Base and had Thanksgiving dinnner with the Smith family. That was really fun. The Smith family is awesome. Elder Nakamura has never celebrated Thanksgiving before, seeing as how he's Japanese, so I tried to explain the holiday to him. It went something like this "What's Thanksgiving?" "Well, it's a holiday to express thanks for what we have. Give thanks." "ok. so what do you do?" "umm.... We eat alot?" Haha! Yeah, I don't think he was prepared though. You could tell he was suprised at the staggering amount of food: a typical Thanksgiving dinner with potatoes, stuffing, corn, a dozen other dishes, and of course turkey. So that was our first Thanksgiving. Our second Thanksgiving was on Friday. The Kaimori family from the Yamato Ward invited us over for their Thanksgiving celebration on Friday. Why did they celebrate on Friday? Well, that's because in Japan Thanksgiving is actually on Friday. It's just a calender holiday though, nobody really does anything. But, Brother Kaimori's wife is American. That means that they celebrated the American way: eating alot. So that was our second thanksgiving. It was really fun.
   We've been able to visit quite a few of the Yamato members in their homes recently, which has been really good. We're trying to get the ward members more involved, so what we've started doing is we're passing around a calender for them to sign up and have us come over and teach a practice lesson with them. These practice lessons usually end up turning into us going over for dinner and then having a practice lesson. But hey, I'm not complaining. Since our focus is to help involve the members, we keep our practice lessons really short and simple, as a way to demonstrate that sharing the gospel doesn't have to be really lengthy or complex. It's been having some effect already, we've had some members really get excited about missionary work recently. Speaking of which, President Budge spoke at the adult session of Stake Conference for the English speaking stake. He shared about a friend of his who keeps a Book of Mormon with him at all times, everywhere he goes. That way, if he ever finds himself in a situation where he could give someone a Book of Mormon, he has one available to do so. He then went on to explain that many of us pray for missionary opportunities. But if two people pray for missionary opportunites, and one of them has a Book of Mormon and the other doesn't, who is the Lord more likely to send that prepared person that would accept a Book of Mormon to? He then challenged everyone to do the same, and keep a Book of Mormon with them all the time, in the car, in your bag, or somewhere. I also find it important to note that his challenge didn't have a deadline. He also didn't challenge everyone to give away a certain number of Book of Mormons. He simply challenged everyone to keep one on hand at all times so that if you have an opportunity to share, you are prepared and able to act on that opportunity.
Funny Engrish! Not sure what a rordside is...
   Sunday was also a good day. Sister Ishihara was baptized and confirmed. There was a really good turnout from the ward, which I was really grateful for. The Yamato ward is a really friendly ward, so I expect that Sister Ishihara will be well taken care of. Pretty soon, we may be able to start teaching her sons. In the last couple of weeks before her baptism she refered both of her sons to us, and one of them actually came with her to a lesson. If we could start working with her family and they get baptized too, that would be the best. After all, the church is all about uniting families for eternity. We're praying the Lord will open their hearts to the Gospel.

   That's about it for this week! I hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving as well! Oh, and guess what? Christmas is coming! What will you give to Christ this Christmas?
Elder Blake

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today is the start of a new transfer, and I've once again made it through unscathed. I'll be staying in Yamato again this transfer, along with Elder Nakamura. That means I'll be here for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm excited.
So it's actually been a rather interesting week this last week. To start off, on Monday we went to a train station out on the edge of our area that we've never been to before. As we were out and about, we heard some music playing that sounded really interesting. It was definitely live, but we couldn't figure out exactly what they were playing. We decided to investigate. As we got closer to the sound, we realized it was coming from off the playground of a preschool. Well that was odd. What reallly caught us by suprise was that not only was it coming from the preschool, it was being played by preschoolers. A preschool marching band. And they were really playing, it wasn't some recording. Wow. I definitely wasn't expecting that. I wasn't sure if I should be impressed or depressed. Whatever I was though, it was pretty big.
Since it was the last week of the transfer, we went to the temple again on Tuesday. After the temple, we went to eat lunch with a few other missionaries. We decided to go get shabu shabu at a fairly well known place (among missionaries) over in shibuya. If Shibuya rings a bell for you, or even if it doesn't, Shibuya is home to the world's largest crosswalk. I'm not sure how accurate this is, but I heard that Shibuya is considered the most urban place in the world. I'd believe it. The buildings aren't as tall as you would expect, like in Manhattan or someplace, but there were literally people EVERYWHERE. It was ridiculous. That was really fun.
Later in the week we found a young man by the name of Scott. He called out to us as we rode past on our bikes, so we stopped to talk with him. He's 19, and he's American, but he's never been to America. How is that possible, you ask? Allow me to explain. His dad is navy, and Scott was born in Spain while his dad was stationed there. They went straight from Spain to Japan, and a short time after that his parents divorced. His dad went back to the states, but he and his mom stayed in Japan, where he's been ever since. Yeah. Strange, but true. Anyway, Scott's a pretty cool kid. We're planning on meeting with him again soon, and hopefully that will go somewhere. It was actually really funny when we traded numbers, he told us that he wasn't very smart but if we ever needed any help with anything like moving heavy stuff or something to give him a call. In my head I was just like "Hey, that's our line!" Haha! He's a really nice kid.
Oh, this one's pretty fun. So I don't know if you remember anything about Eduardo, the Brazilian we found a few weeks back, but he's the one who's lived in Japan for 20 years, married a Japanese woman, and he's pretty much fluent in Japanese and English, and he's wicca. So he's a really nice guy though, and we've been trying to meet with him for a while. We actually had an appointment set up, but when we went to visit him, nobody was home. We came to find out that he had thought we would drop by his work, and we misunderstood him and went to his house. So, after we got that straightened out, we set up another appointment. He asked us to come by on Friday when he had some free time, so that's what we did. Well, it wasn't until we showed up at his work that I remembered that he told us he was a tattoo artist. Yeah. So we had a lesson with him inside his tattoo shop. Hopefully next time we can have a lesson somewhere a little more conducive to the spirit...
So, this might be kinda random, but I saw an ad in a train that I though was pretty funny. It's just a picture of a guy wearing a really nice suit, staring off into the distance with this look of deep thought on his face, while he's holding a can of beer. The only other thing on the ad is a caption which says 「ビール好きなあの人に」, which means "To that guy who likes beer..." I'm not sure why I thought it was so funny, but maybe you'll get a laugh out of it too.
Anyways, those are some of the more interesting bits of the week. Other than that, things are going well. Ishihara has her baptismal interview on wednesday, so if everything goes the way we expect she'll be baptized on Sunday. This next week looks like it's going to be pretty busy. Yamato is really taking off right now. I'm glad I get to stay for one more transfer and be a part of it. I'll be sure to let you know all about it! More later!
Elder Blake

Monday, November 12, 2012

Well, the weather is still trying to make up its mind over here. Earlier in the week it was cool enough that wearing a suit was comfortable, and then Saturday was warm enough that I went back to a short sleeved shirt, and now this morning (Monday morning) it's dropped again and is pretty chilly in the apartment when you first wake up. It now makes sense why so many people get sick during the turn of the seasons.
So it's actually been a fairly eventful week. To start with, last Monday, Elder Nakamura and I went to Enoshima Island with Elder Burningham and Apalonio. It was actually the first time Nakamura and Apolonio had been to the island, and they really enjoyed it alot. It was a little different with only the four of us instead of the whole zone, but in some ways it was kinda nice. It was much easier to spend time in the places we wanted to see and skip over the less interesting bits since there were only 4 of us. Also, with the weather cooling off, there were far less people at the Island this time too, so we could go see pretty much anything we wanted to.
Tuesday was an interesting day. One of the people we're teaching, Yohei, is about 17 or so. His parents are actually members of the church, but haven't come in a really long time, but he's never been baptized. Well, his Grandfather passed away last week, and the funeral was on Tuesday. Elder Nakamura and I went to that to pay our respects and show our support. Not only was it my first time to attend a funeral, it was a Buddhist funeral. It was pretty interesting. Considering this is my only experience with attending a funeral, I'm not sure how much is pretty much standard and traditional, and how much was unique to this particular funeral. For the viewing, they brought in the casket while everyone was already there. He was covered with a white sheet, and the only thing showing was his face. There was nothing else inside the casket. They passed around these booklets with different well-wishes and sentiments written in kanji, and people would tear out pages they liked and placed them in the casket with the body. After that, everyone took flowers that were provided, and placed them inside the casket until the casket was pretty much filled with flowers, but the face was still uncovered. When they placed the lid on the casket, everyone stood around the casket and placed a hand on the lid and lowered it together. Some words were said, and then the body and the direct family headed off to the crematory.
Wednesday we had a pretty interesting experience during district meeting. Towards the end of the meeting, this guy walks in and just stands in the doorway. He starts talking about how he came by, saw the church, and decided to go inside and talk to whoever was there. He then pulls this really gnarly looking Book of Mormon from his bag, then bowed and thanked us. We tried talking with him to figure out who he was, where he was from, etc, but he kept dodging our questions. I'm not quite sure if he was all there in his head from the way he was acting. The only thing we were able to figure out for sure is that he's not a member of the church. He wouldn't give us his contact info before he left, but we did trade his really nasty Book of Mormon for a new clean one. I really want to know who that guy was...

Seeing as how Elder Nakamura is the district leader, we've been going on splits a lot this transfer. So on Friday we went on splits again. This time we went on splits with the Hodogaya missionaries, and Elder Gallacher came here to Yamato with me. Elder Gallacher was Elder Crandall's (my MTC room mate, just as a reminder) trainer. He's a really cool guy, and a great missionary. I found out that he's actually from Mesa. And not only that, but I've actually probably seen him before I left on my mission. In fact, If you've been to the Hale Center Theater in Gilbert, you've probably seen him too. He used to work there. And he's done everything there. Ushering, ticket box, backstage, light and sound boards... everything. So yeah. That would explain why he looked so familiar the first time I saw him.
Saturday was a busy day. In the morning we went to help the Yamato Ward clean the church. Pretty much everyone who saw us there was surprised we came. I'm not really sure why. We use the church too, so it only makes sense that we help clean it. This was a little different from the regular weekly cleaning though. I guess in here in Japan they do a really thorough deep cleaning once a year. The whole ward was invited, and we had about 30 people show up. We did everything from vacuuming, to washing the windows, to pulling weeds out front, and there was even a group with a small steam cleaner cleaning stains off the chairs. Elder Nakamura and I ended up washing most of the windows, because as Sister Honda said, “Elder Blake is tall and he can reach the tops more easily.”That was really fun though, and there was even lunch provided. Saturday night we went to Fujisawa for a baptism. Hirokazu, Elder Jone's and Fuller's investigator, was baptized Saturday night. The whole district ended up going, because he's almost like a district investigator. Elder Fuller and Jones taught him 99% of the time, but I've taught him before on splits, and everyone else knows him really well because he comes to sports night every week and participates in other stake activities. It was a really good baptismal service. There was lots of support from the ward that came, about 40 people or so. We were all really excited to see Hirokazu get baptized.
That's about it for now. As you can see, things are going well. I hope things are well for all of you as well! More to come later!

Elder Blake

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hello everyone! It's November! October went by way fast. Oh, and as of Friday, I've been out for 6 months. That's crazy... It's been a pretty good week here in Yamato though. To start with, Halloween was on Wednesday. This year for Halloween I was a missionary! I know, big suprise, right? Bet you didn't see that one coming. Halloween is actually a really interesting holiday in Japan. Everyone knows what it is, and you can buy Halloween decorations, candy, trick-or-treating bags, etc, but nobody actually knows what you do on Halloween, and nobody goes trick-or-treating. It's actually really funny. However, we did end up celebrating Halloween. Since Halloween was on Wednesday this year, and the weekly English Class we teach is on Wednesday, we had a halloween party after class. So I was able to put the box of Hallowen brownie mix that was included in my birthday package to good use. Everyone enjoyed them. I can't remember if I mentioned this to you all already, but since we don't have an oven I ended up improvising and cooking the brownies in the rice cooker. My Mom was slightly suprised by the idea, but the idea wasn't really mine. I'd heard from other missionaries that you can bake cakes in the rice cooker. I figured brownies and cakes are fairly similar, so it should still work, right? turns out it does. You just have to run the rice cooker through 5 or 6 cycles, and it takes a couple hours.
Friday night Jun came to sports night. I usually sit on the side and chat with the members and investigators, since sports night is actually code for basketball night. Jun made a comment that he wanted to see my play, so this time I brought my stuff and actually played a few games. It was pretty fun, but I still don't like basketball all that much more than I did before. What was really good about sports night though, is that one of our investigators who we haven't seen for a while ended up going, so we were able to talk with him a little bit. After sports night we went on splits with the Zone Leaders. I went back to Yamato with Elder Jones, and Elder Nakamura went to Fujisawa with Elder Fuller. We both ended up learning alot, and it was a really good day for the both of us. Elder Jones is a fantastic missionary.
Sunday ended up being fairly interesting. We were temporarily made into a trio for the day. Elder Call, a first transfer missionary, came to Yamato and stayed with us Saturday night through Monday morning while his companion Elder Vandegraff went to Sendai with another Elder Watanabe (a Senior Missionary) for a baptism. I was really curious as to why a missionary would be going all the way to Sendai (a 6 hour bus ride) for a baptism, so I asked about the story behind this guy being baptized. It's actually really cool. Elder Vandegraff found this guy about 6 months ago in Tokyo. He said that he actually lives in Sendai, and was only in Tokyo for the day for business. He was willing to have a lesson on the spot, and said that he'd be coming back for a day the next week and wanted to meet again then. They did this once or twice, and then this guy told them that he would only be coming back to Tokyo one more time, so he wanted them to teach him everything. At the time, Elder Vandegraff and his companion were still pretty young missionaries, and didn't speak Japanese that well, so they needed some help. The gave Elder Watanabe a call, and asked if he could help teach this guy. The next week rolled around, and they spent pretty much all morning and a bit of the afternoon teaching this guy all the lessons. Now here we are, six months later, and this guy is getting baptized. Crazy.
Those are most of the highlights from the week. I've gotta get going. Elder Nakamura and I are going to Enoshima Island today. He's never been there before, so it should be fun!
Elder Blake

Monday, October 29, 2012

Seeing as how we don't have an oven,
we got creative and cooked the brownies
in our rice cooker

Well hello again. Yet another exciting week here in Yamato. So, I had a strange realization not too long ago. This friday is my 6 month mark. Even though it feels like I've been gone for quite some time, it really doesn't feel like I've been gone for 6 months... wierd.
Anyway, Elder Nakamura and I had a chance to use the party in a box that my family sent me for my birthday. We were planning to use it last week on p-day, but that ended up changing when we were invited to go bowling with the Elders in Fujisawa. Bowling was way fun, and it was good to spend some time with some of the other Elders in our District. What ended up happening with the party in a box, however, is we post-poned it a day, and had a short party during lunch. We blew up all the balloons, hung up the lanterns, then ate the brownies that were baking during study time. We of course had vanilla ice cream to go with them, compliments of missionaries past who left it in our freezer. We didn't quite finish it off, but I'm sure we will someday... maybe... But anyways, yes! We had brownies, icecream, and Dr. Pepper. The rest of the district helped us finish off the brownies at district meeting the next day.
The rest of the week has been fairly routine. Lots of finding, a few lessons, english class, and more finding. There were some interesting things of note however. One of the members in our ward, Sakuma Takuto, hasn't been coming to church for a while. I thought that was strange, because he's a pretty solid guy. We have an investigator that we thought Sakuma would be able to get along with and help out really well, so we tried to get in touch with him. When we called, he didn't answer. That was slightly dissapointing. Well, out of the blue, he shows up to a softball activity saturday morning. He apologized for missing our call, and explained that he's been really sick lately. He also said he was intending to go to Church on Sunday, which he did. Awesome. I don't think it's any coincidence that he just happened to come back to church the very same week we thought about him and how much help he could give our investigator.
We don't normally eat on the floor. I promise.
Also on Saturday, the Yamato Ward had a halloween party. We were invited to come. Well, that sounded like fun, so of course we decided to go. We invited Jun to come with us, and figured it would be a good opportunity for him to meet some of the members. Well, what they neglected to tell us when we were invited, and what we didn't find out until we showed up, was that the Halloween party was actually a Primary Halloween party. Yeah... That would have been nice to know before we invited a 40 year old man to the party. Haha! He laughed it off, and we ended up just having a chat off in the corner while the kids had their party. We did get some cake though, so I guess Jun enjoyed the party anyway.
Sunday ended up being really fun too. This week was the Yamato Ward's primary program. That was really fun. Some of the kids in the Yamato Ward are really funny. There are some kids in the primary that really remind me of the kids in my ward back home. Later that night, Elder Nakamura and I had dinner with the Gunn Family from the Zama Branch. We had tacos. Delicious. Well, that was really fun, and then something that's amusing in retrospect happened. First, I suppose I should explain a little bit so this makes sense. A vast majority of the members of the Zama Branch are military personell, and live on either the Sagamihara Housing installation or one of the two bases in our area. To get into any of these three areas, you need a sponsor to sign you in, and you're given a visitor's pass. We have to do this every time we go to visit any of the members that live on base. The Gunn family is one of these familes. So anyway, as we're leaving, Brother Gunn takes us to the pass office, we sign out, then he goes home and Elder Nakamura and I go our merry way. Well, as we're getting on our bikes to leave, I realized that my bag was still inside Brother Gunn's car. Well, we can't go back to his house to get it, because we need a sponsor to sign us in. We couldn't call him, because their number wasn't in the cell phone (and since we confirmed our appointment at church, we didn't call them earlier, so the number wasn't in the call history either). I had their number written in my planner, but my planner was inside my bag... along with my scriptures, my camera, my electronic dictionary, pass along cards, and pretty miuch everything else I typically carry around with me. The only thing we could do was go back to our apartment and look up their number on the meal calander. By that time, it was too late to do anything about it that night, so I had to wait until today to get my bag back. Oops. Haha! yeah, that was slightly embarrassing.
Anyways, that's about it for this week. I hope you all are doing well! More to come next week!

Elder Blake

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hello everyone! This last week has been fairly exciting. Due to the season, the weather is at that awkward stage where sometimes the mornings are cold enough that you kinda want warmer clothes, but the afternoons are still hot enough that short sleeves are the way to go. Yeah. I've been told that once winter hits it'll be pretty cold though, so we'll see how that goes.
So almost exactly a week ago, last monday after emails, we had a dinner appointment with the Bishop family on Zama Base. They took us to eat at the food court, and when we walk in this man walks over to us and says "Elders! Hey, I have a question for you." Well, you can imagine we were quite suprised, and a little excited. Well, it turns out that this man's name is Rick Taylor. He's only in Japan for a couple of weeks to teach some kind of class, and he was wanting to know when and where to go for sunday services. We of course told him where the church was at and everything, but in the course of our conversation, found out that he's from Gilbert. Cool, right? But that's not all. I after hearing that he's from Gilbert, I of course told him that I was also from Gilbert. Well, after talking a little more, it turns out that his cousin, Sister Crocket, lives in my ward. Haha! wow. The world has gotten smaller, once again.
Me, Rick Taylor, and Elder Nakamura
Sitting on a chair at a train station.. Elder Apalanio's
chair broke so we brought him a new one
Tuesday was pretty fun. First of all, it was my birthday. Several people asked me to let them know what I did to celebrate, so here it goes. First of all, Elder Nakamura and I made a card for Elder Harrison, whose birthday is also the 16th of October. When we left the apartment for the day, we went and bought some treats for the Harrisons, then took them over to their apartment. They weren't home because they had some meeting, so we stuffed Elder Harrison's card and gift into the post box. I'm sure they weren't expecting that when they came home and checked the mail. Haha! So yeah, after that, we went out and did work. Our day was completely open, except for a dinner appointment. That means we had almost 6 hours to do some finding. As you can imagine, 6 hours is a long time to be trying to find people interested in learning about Christ. So, about halfway through, we stopped at a 7-11, grabbed some drinks, and took a quick break. Yay! Birthday treats! After that, we had our dinner appointment with the Smith family. They're a way fun family. And they have a hairless cat. So I got to hold a hairless cat for my birthday. When we went back to the apartment at the end of the day, there was a bag hanging on our doorknob. It was filled with various candies, and a card. Wouldn't you know it, the Harrisons attacked us while we were out too. Yes, that was my birthday. A gift... exchange? of sorts with the Harrisons, 6 hours in the streets, a quick break, and a hairless cat. Exciting, right? Right. Oh! And that night I also opened the birthday package my family sent me. It was a "Party in a Box", with balloons, brownie mix, candles, some candy, a few gifts (most of them were somehow related to ninjas) and letters and cards from quite a few friends and family members. I haven't had a chance to use the party in a box yet, but I'll let you know how that goes once I do. My favorite part though was easily the letters and cards. So to everyone who wrote a letter or card for my birthday package, thank you. You're the best!
Elder Nakamura enjoying the dinner that I made for us
So, as far as the rest of the week goes, it's been more of the typical missionary schedule. Ishihara and Jun are both doing really well. I'm excited to keep working with them and watch the progress they've been making. General Conference was also a great help. They were both really impressed with it. I hope that their experiences with General Conference will give them the boost they need to keep progressing. On Sunday, Elder Nakamura and I went back to his old area to attend the baptismal service of one of his former investigators. That was way good. It was exciting to be able to go and watch that. The man who was baptized is actually from Gana, and he seems really solid. He's a good addition to the ward out there. Hopefully there will be some baptisms in the Yamato Ward soon too.
So those are the highlights for the week. Maybe by next week we'll have had a chance to use the party in a box and I'll be able to let you know about it. Anyways, until next week!

Elder Blake

Monday, October 15, 2012

   Hey everyone! It's been a way good week over here in Japan. It's been great having this opportunity to work with Elder Nakamura. He's a great missionary, and a fun companion. I'd have to say the highlight of the week was definitely general conference. It was a little different watching it a week late, but the talks were all still great. I was able to watch it in english, but I ended up watching about half of it in Japanese so that we could sit with a Japanese investigator who came. I'm really glad they came, because the talks during the session they came to had alot of things in them we had been preparing to teach them anyway.
   So, I still need to read the talks that I watched in Japanese, (I understood enough to get a general idea, but that was about it. After all, general authorities do tend to use some elevated language at times.) but my favorite talk so far was Elder Russel M Nelson's talk, "Ask the Missionaries! They can help you." It may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I'm currently serving a mission. Haha! But it was my favorite, mostly because he so clearly and directly spoke to those who were watching who were not members of our faith, which obviously includes our investigators who came. Haha! I find this slightly amusing. You all watched conference last week, and have already finished discussing your favorite bits, and here I am and that's all I can really think about to share. Well, I guess you'll just have to put up with it.
   Um... what else is there... Oh yeah! So I neglected to tell you about our new investigator that Elder Christensen and I found the last week before he transferred. His name is Eduardo Suarez, and he's Brazillian. He's lived in Japan for 20 years though, is married to a Japanese woman, has a son, and speaks fluent Japanese. Oh. and he's wicca. Yeah. We have a wicca investigator. This should be interesting. Anyways, we haven't been able to meet with him yet, because Elder Nakamura and I have been so busy with his new responsibilities as the district leader. Well, when we went grocery shopping today, guess who we saw at the store? Eduardo. Guess who we're having a lesson with this wednesday? Eduardo. I'm excited.
   So I recieved a birthday package from my family this week. No, I have not opened it yet. I've been a good boy, and I'm waiting until the 16th to open it :P It's been sitting on the extra chair in our apartment all week. I'm not sure if I've already mentioned this, but I actually found out that Elder Harrison actually has the same birthday I do. So tomorrow we'll be celebrating a double birthday! well... Ok, I'm not sure if we'll be doing anything special or not (probably not), but both of us have a birthday tomorrow! I'll be sure to let you know if anything exciting ends up happening though.
   Here's an interesting story that's actually from my Mom's email to me this week. She got me pretty good. As I was reading through, it said that my brother Jared had a new room mate, I was just like, "ok, cool. That's new". And then the email referred to the new room mate as "she" I was just like "What!?!? This will be good." Then I kept reading and found out it was a cat... haha. Yeah, she got me. Well, my family can enjoy their new cat. I'm just grateful that I won't have to live with it for the next year and a half. Most of you probably already know, but I really am not all that fond of cats.
   So yeah. Those are the big things from this week that come to mind. I appreciate all the support from you guys! I'll be sure to fill you in on our crazy adventures some more next week! Later!

September/October Pictures

Someone took us out bowling for our dinner appointment one night.

The new clock for our apartment

My birthday package came!! I waited until my birthday to open it though.

Monday, October 01, 2012

   Well, to start out with, let me just say that I can now take riding my bike in a typhoon off of my mission bucket list. Haha! Yeah, that was way fun. We had a typhoon blow in last night around 7. We had received instructions from the mission home earlier in the morning to make sure we were back in our apartments before the typhoon hit. Well, Elder Christensen and I were with Brother Foster until about 6, so while we were riding home, we got caught in the beginning phases of it. It was pretty wet and windy, let me tell you. When we got back to the apartment, we were so wet we might as well have just jumped in a pool. But, all is well though, as we were home safe and sound a good 45 minutes or so before the really crazy wind hit. It's so windy we could feel the apartment start to rock from time to time. Glad I wasn't out riding my bike during that. Haha!
   So yeah, other than the typhoon, things were still really good this last week. I have 3 really exciting things to share this week. Ready? Cuz here we go. So, first off, you need to know who Nami is. She's a member who comes to our weekly English class, and recently starting coming back to church maybe less than half a year ago. Well, she brought a friend with her to English class last week, and introduced him to us. This friend of hers is named Shun, and he's pretty interested in learning more about the church. He seems really open, and I'm excited to start working with him. What's even more exciting though, is to see the progress that Nami has been able to make in strengthening her own faith, and watching her get to the point where she is now comfortable sharing about the gospel with her friends.
   Second thing, Saturday we had a lesson with Jun that went really well. Elder and Sister Harrison joined in on it, and it was great. So, lessons are exciting right? Well, what's even better is that Jun finally came to church yesterday for the first time since we've met him. It was really good to see him there, and Elder Christensen and I are incredibly grateful to have such an awesome branch to work with. I don't think there was a single individual that saw Jun that didn't take a second to introduce themselves and welcome him to church. Fantastic. We're hoping that Jun will continue to progress.
   The third thing is our new friend Ishihara. She just showed up at church yesterday out of the blue. She had heard from a friend about the church, and wanted to check it out. Well, during sacrament meeting the Spirit pretty much smashed her in the face with a 2x4. She's really spiritually sensitive, and it was easy to see that she was able to feel that. After sacrament meeting we had a quick lesson with her, and we'll be meeting with her again later this week. I'm really excited to see where this one goes. She's truly been prepared by the Lord.
   So, those are my three exciting bits of news from the week. Other than that, there was a talent show on Saturday hosted by the Fujisawa Ward. We ended up going to that with Jun. It was really fun. There was some singing, a few hula routines, a magic routine, and a group even did the Thriller. It was good to be able to spend that time with Jun just doing a fun activity like that.
Well, that's about it for now. More adventures to come next week!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hello everyone! Thing are finally starting to cool off here in Japan, and the humidity is now no longer quite as ridiculous of a problem as it was before. Hopefully things are starting to cool off for you guys back in Arizona as well. It is almost October after all.
Well, things have been good this last week. We've been meeting alot with our investigator Jonas. He's doing well, and he's hoping that he'll get his work permit this week. We were also able to meet with Jun again after he got back from his trip to Korea. We've also been able to get to know some of the members a bit better over the course of this last month, because we've been able to have dinner with 2-3 familes a week lately. The members here are great. They're all super willing to help out, and they do a great job of befriending anyone we bring with us to church.
So even after I've left the MTC, the world still isn't getting any bigger. This last week we did exchanges with the Zone leaders, so I stayed in Yamato and worked with Elder Fuller for the day. He's from Idaho, but it turns out that his uncle lives in Gilbert. Not only that, but his uncle actually lives less than two miles away. Pretty crazy, huh?
This weeek we also went and visited Brother Foster, a Nigerian brother that was baptized earlier this year. He made some Nigerian stew for us. The stew was pretty spicy, but it was really good. I guess in Nigeria they usually eat it with a banana. I never would have thought to eat spicy stew with a banana, but it was actually really delicious. I'm definitly going to be playing around with that a little bit.
Um... well, that about sums up the highlights from this week. haha! doesn't really sound like a whole lot happened, did it? Well, It was still a good week anyway, and we've been working hard. Maybe next week I'll have some more interesting stories to share. I hope everyone is doing well! Thank you to those of you who have sent letters recently! If you haven't gotten a response back yet, it's either in the mail or will be soon! More later!
Elder Blake

Monday, September 17, 2012

   Well another week has gone by here in good old Yamato City. So this last week has been fairly interesting, but also fairly quiet. Elder Christensen and I recently made friends with some bums who hang around the Yamato station. One of them is Brazillian, and he called out to us, so we went over and talked with him. Now every time we see him or his friends, we say hello and chat for a few minutes. so yeah, that's always exciting.
   This week we went on splits with our district leader. I went to Fujisawa with Elder Welch, who is actually on his last transfer right now, so he'll be going home in october. It was a really neat expecience to be able to work with him. He has a really interesting perspective and approach to missionary work. He really took it to heart when he was taught to use his talents to further the work in his own way. He's a really crafty guy, and likes making things. He's almost always making something as a gift for his investigators. For example, while we were out and about together, we were also keeping our eyes open for rocks we could use to make a prayer rock (you leave it on your pillow as a reminder to pray before going to bed) for one of his investigators. something simple, easy, and inexpensive. He's always doing little things like that. I think it's great that he's found a way to put his talents to use.
   Saturday Elder Christensen and I went to the flea market they have at the station every 3rd saturday of the month with some of the members from the ward. It's always fun to look around and see what kind of things will be there for sale. Alot of it is junk, a bit of it is overpriced, but there's alot of really neat stuff too. That night Elder Christensen and I went to kendo class with Iwano, one of our students in the english class we teach every week. He's a 7th degree blackbelt in kendo. pretty cool stuff.
    Sunday was actually a really great day. One of our investigators, Ito, dropped off the map almost 6 weeks ago. We haven't been able to get in touch with him or meet him except for the one time we ran into him at the station for a few minutes. He couldn't talk for long though, because he had somewhere he needed to be. So Sunday he shows up for church, out of the blue. What a nice suprise. He says that he'll be able to meet more regularly now, so I'm looking forward to that.
   So I have a funny story from today. When Elder Christensen and I were getting lunch, we were sitting down at this table next to a Japanese man and his teenage son. On the other side of this Japanese man, a woman and two boys about 5 or so come and sit down. While the mom is gone to buy food, these two little boys are being typical little boys and goofing around a little. The Japanese man is watching them, and when the boys notice, they start saying (in japanese obviously) "what're you looking at?". To which the man responded "you!" and started laughing. Haha! Those little boys were so funny.
   That's about all for this week. I hope everyone is doing well! Stay safe, and enjoy the weather as it starts to cool off!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Well hello everyone! It's been another week here in Japan, and things have been looking good. The weather has been fantastic the last few days, and just dumping buckets of rain in the morning. It usually clears up by noon, but it's been a change of pace from the sunny skys that we've seen almost every day since I got here in June. Now that it's September, the seasons should start to turn in the next few weeks. The tree right outside our apartment window already has a few leaves starting to change color. I'm not sure why, because it's still in the high 80's almost every day, but regardless! The leaves are begining to change!
So, just to go over a few of the highlights this week, first and foremost is Jun Granada. I mentioned him a few weeks ago. He's the philipino who met with the missionaries forever ago, and the very first sunday after we met him the missionary who first found him showed up at church while he was visiting Japan. Well, he's been pretty busy, but we were able to have a lesson with him, and has accepted the invitation to be baptized. Exciting, right? He's still got a ways to go, seeing as how he's only had one lesson, but it's a step in the right direction for sure. So that's exciting.
Everyone else is progressing well. It's a little difficult to meet with alot of them sometimes, because everyone is really busy, but it is Japan after all. Not many people have a whole lot of free time. I do have some good news about one of the new members in the Zama Branch though! Brother Mensah, one of the Nigerian brothers, moved to Japan around December of 2011. He was baptized in March, and has been struggling to find a job ever since he came to Japan back in Febuary. He was finally able to get a work permit, and he finally found a job! We're all way excited for him. His job is clear on the other side of Tokyo though, which means he's going to have to move. We're a little sad to see him go, but we're still happy that he was able to land a job finally. He's a really humble guy, and he's got a great spirit about him.
That's about it for this week. Everything else has just been more of the same. Thanks for all of your support! I got a few unexpected letters this last week, so that was really exciting to hear what's been going on with all of you. Responses to those will be coming soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Well hello! It's now officially transfer 2 for me here in Japan, and the work is going well as always. To start with, At district meeting last week, our district leader Elder Burningham gave us an assignment to study the Christlike attributes section of Preach My Gospel again, and to choose one that we would like to develop, then make a daily plan of how we can develop that attribute. I ended up selecting humility, because let's face it, I'm the most humble person you know, right? haha! So yeah. Something interesting that caught my attention this time around when I was studying the Christlike attributes is when it says that a characteristic of a humble person is they recognize the hand of God in their life. So I asked myself, "do I recognize the hand of God in my life as much as I ought to?". I decided then that my daily plan would be to write down at least 5 things in my planner at the end of every day the the Lord had done for us that day. The first couple days were a little tough, because all of our appointements had fallen through for those days. But over the course of just a few short days, it became much easier to think of things to write down, even on days we weren't able to meet with anybody. That's been a great experience, and I'm glad that Elder Burningham gave us the assignment.
Last Tuesday I had an opportunity to go to the Tokyo Temple. That was way aweome. It was good to be able to go to the temple after over 6 weeks of not being able to. Later that afternoon Elder Christensen and I went to Akihabara with one of the missionaries he served with that's actually going home tomorrow. Akihabara was quite the interesting place. I think I saw more references to anime and video games in the first 30 seconds walking around that district then the entire 6 weeks of living in Yamato. And people. Lots of people. More people than I've seen anywhere else in Japan so far. It was fun.
So, it's been a good week, but the weekend especially was great. There are some less active brothers in our ward, and one of them goes to sports night on friday night almost every week. Saturday morning there was a stake softball activity, so we invited him to that. We met up at the station saturday morning, and lo and behold he brought his brother with him! Great! So we have a great time at softball, and had a lesson with them afterwards. They both said they would come back to church, so we're lookig forward to seeing them next week. Later that day we had an appointment with another less active member. Before our appointment, we did some housing at the apartment complex he lives at, and found someone that we were able so set up a return appointment with. Not bad. Our lesson with the less active member that afternoon went fairly well. He can't come to church because of work, but he still reads his book of mormon and prays every day. Good for him. He wants us to start teaching his duaghter who is 24-ish and still living at home. We're hoping that will work out, because they could both really strengthen each other if she accepts.
Sunday was probably my favorite day this week. Saturday evening we had gone by our phillipino investigator John's house to try to visit him. We haven't been able to see him for almost 4 weeks because of his work schedule. He wasn't home, but his wife was, and she told us to come back sunday afternoon. So we did. John was home, and we were able to have a lesson with him. We found out that he got his work schedule changed up a bit so he's not working overnight anymore, so hopefully he'll be a little easier to get ahold of now. That was really exciting to be able to finally have a lesson with him after almost a month of not even being able to have a conversation on the phone with him. After our lesson with John, we went and had dinner with the ward mission leader from the Zama Military Branch, Brother Smith. It was a good time, and ended up turning into a mission business sort of dinner. We found out about one of his son's friends who went to youth conference just a few weeks ago, has been to church a few times, and has expressed interest in learning more. Right now the plan is to take him to sports night friday night, and if he can get permission from his dad we can start teaching him. So yeah, Sunday was a great day.
Those are the highlights for this week! It's been good to hear from those of you who have written letters the last few weeks! I appreciate the love and support! More to come next week!
   Elder Blake

Monday, August 20, 2012

Well, it's been another week, and things have been going well. It wasn't quite as exciting as last week, but there were still plenty of things that went on. I'm just gonna highlight a few things though for the interest of time. And it's hard to tell when things happened anymore anyway. All the days just kinda blend together now. Haha! So anyway, this last week while Elder Christensen and I are out streeting people, we walk by this small pub at about 7 or 8 at night. There was a table set up outside with 3 men and 1 woman, all between their late 40's to late 50's. They weren't wasted, but they had definitely been drinking. One of the men called out to us, and recommended the restaurant next door, thinking we were hopelessly lost tourists looking for some food. We ended up going over and starting up a conversation. That was probably one of the funniest conversations I've had all week. They were just drunk enough to be a little weird, but not so drunk that they didn't make sense. We found out that discussing religion with drunk people, while entertaining, doesn't really go anywhere very fast (hardly surprising), so after about 10 minutes or so we gave them some pass along cards and went our way.
Saturday the Atsugi Military base had a friendship festival thing, that's apparently only once a year. It was open base, so anyone with proof of residency could go on base. Elder Christensen and I went, hoping to meet up with one of our investigators. He ended up being a no show, but we went in anyway to see what we could see. It was a good thing we did, because we ended up finding a couple that had been stationed in Japan since March, and hadn't been to church since then. We ended up giving them the information about where the church was located, and they told us that they would start coming. So that was great. Other than that though, the friendship festival was essentially just a bunch of stands selling the same food lined up around a field on the base, and a stage with a concert set up on the far end of the field. It was really wierd after a month of being surrounded by Japanese people to go on base and see americans all over the place and hear random english conversations again. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like after two years of being surrounded by Japanese people.
Later that same Saturday, the Yamato Ward had a summer festival. The military branch was invited to attend, but only a few families from the military branch actually came, which is unfortunate because it was really fun. We had Okinawa Taco Rice, Shaved Ice, and some games and skits. Elder and Sister Harrison, the senior couple who work with the members on the base, brought a family with them, and Elder Christensen and I had an investigator that was able to come too. It was a great experience for sure. It was a great opportunity for everyone to relax a little and just get to socialize, and a good opportunity for our investigators to get to know some of the members a bit better.
Those are a couple of the highlights from this week! More to come later!

Monday, August 13, 2012

a hipster Buddha we found while out tracting

My scripture box that I made.
Well, hello again everybody! It's been quite the exciting week this last week here in Japan. Things are still hot and humid, but it's cooled down a little bit this week, so that's good. I'm hoping it stays that way. First interesting story of the week, a guy named Jun called and asked for me on tuesday. He said that he met me at the Yamato Station last week, but I couldn't remember who he was, or that I had even talked to him. Hardly surprising, considering we talk to dozens of people every week. Anyway, we set up a meeting with him for this past saturday. We found out that he had apparently met with the missionaries years ago before losing contact with them. We asked him who the first misionaries he met with were, and he said it was someone from Utah named Elder Lowe. Well, Guess who shows up at church the next day with his wife and kid? Elder Lowe, who went home 8 years ago, that's who. This was his first time coming back to Japan after he went home from his mission. Is it a coincidence that this guy just magically shows up the very first sunday after we find his old contact? I think not! I'm excited to see where this one goes.
So, backtracking a bit to Friday the 10th now. We had an all mission conference, which was really cool. We learned alot of great stuff, and it was really cool to see all the missionaries that I hadn't met yet. During the course of the conference, I was asked on two seperate occasions if I was half Japanese. Success! It probably helps that since we've been outside for several hours a day every day for the last month, I'm starting to get back my Arizona tan and I'm now about the same tone as most Japanese. So that was pretty funny. I also got to meet some of Elder Christensen's old companions, as well as all the missionaries I knew from the MTC.
After the conference as we were riding back to our area on the train, I saw this young woman, probably about 25, who clearly wasn't Japanese. I got this strong impression to talk to her, so I struck up a casual conversation. I found out that she was actualy from Romania, and was in Japan for a year long internship for mechanical engineering. Her internship was actually at its end, so she was being sent to the phillipines and Korea for a few days each (I can't remember what exactly for though). She was actually supposed to leave that day, but had been 6 minutes late for check in and they refused to allow her to board the plane. She told me that she didn't really believe in fate or anything, but she had this feeling that there must have been some reason she just wasn't supposed to go to the phillipines that day. Inside I immediately though "Yes! There is a reason! This is why! You stayed in Japan for one more day so we could find you!" I then taught her about the restoration, and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon (Elder Christensen had an english one with him). She seemed genuinely interested, but seeing as how she's already left the country I doubt I'll ever find out if anything comes of it. But! We shall see! Stranger things have happened.
Those are some of the highlights for this week. It's been great so far. I'm really excited to see what kind of stuff happens this week. More later!
     Radical Righteousness Rasberry,
       Elder Blake

Haha! I think I'll make you all wait a week before I explain that signature up there XD

Monday, August 6, 2012

One of the garage doors I talked about last week
100% free banana split! Inherited ice cream & nutella from last
elders and bananas were a gift

Hey, sorry everyone, but this week's email is gonna have to be a short one. I went with Elder Christensen to Yokohama today for p-day, and we ended up getting back later than planned, so now I'm writing this real quick after our daily planning. So! That being said, here are some highlights for you all. The work is going fairly well here in Yamato. The members are great, and are always very helpful. Elder Christensen and I are working hard trying to find some new investigators, and are still working with our current investigators who are for the most part progressing, but only slowly. The other day, we actually streeted an older gentleman who was riding his bike, and we had an almost 15 minute conversation with him. During the course of that conversation, we found out he was 82. I was impressed. how many 82 year olds do you know that can still ride a bike around town? Crazy. So yesterday, Sunday, one of the members (Brother Honda, the brother of Elder Honda who I became friends with at the MTC) shared his testimony during sacrament meeting, and related the gospel to Kung Fu Panda. It was probably my favorite testimony of the day. It was about the part when Master Ugway is talking about the peach, and how even if we can decide when to harvest the fruit or where to plant the seed, nothing we can do will change the fact that it will grow into another peach tree. Elder Christensen and I also got to go to primary for the 3rd block of church. That was way awesome. The primary in Yamato ward is full of some really great kids. I had a great time, and it really reminded me alot of teaching primary back home. Today for p-day, like I said Elder Christensen and I went to Yokohama. We went to a place called landmark tower, which has an enourmous mall on the bottom 5 floors. We went to the pokemon center, which is a store dedicated to pokemon and pokemon merchendise. As you could probably expect, since we're in japan after all, the place was packed, and the customers were literally all ages, from stroller aged kids to 30+. We then went to the Shonan Jump store, which carries merchandise for alot of the more well known and popular anime series in Japan. We then went to China Town just a few blocks away, and explored over there for a while. Oh. and while we were grocery shopping, I managed to find a pineapple. I'm excited for that, especially since fruit tends to be pretty expensive in Japan and I got it for a good price.

That's about it for now! like I said, I don't have a whole lot of time since Elder Christensen and I got back late. I'll try to get a more complete email to you all next week! Love you, and it was good to hear from you all!

      Elder Blake