Monday, February 24, 2014

Hey everyone! Love you guys! Thanks for the emails! I'm sorry this is
kinda lame and just a short video. More next week!

Elder Blake

video

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hey Everyone!

It's been a really good week this week. The first part of the week was
really busy. I had to get Elder Yagui all caught up on his
responsibilities as recorder. It was especially busy because of all
the new missionaries coming in.

With the new missionaries in the mission home, we took them all out on
Wednesday to go street contacting as always. The new missionary that I
went out with and I had a couple of neat experiences. There was a
crosswalk guard that called out to us. He was a pretty cool guy. Way
nice guy.

Yup, so now I'm here in Yamate with Elder Call. It's a ton of fun! I'm
in a four man apartment now. The other companionship is Elder Young
and a new missionary, Elder Moua. It's a crazy fun apartment. Never a
dull moment. It actually snowed again this weekend, so we got a good
opportunity to do some service and shovel a bunch of snow.

Typing on an iPad is really obnoxious and annoying, and it's kinda
killing my thought process. sorry that it's short and jumbled. Love
you guys! talk to you all more later!

Elder Blake

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hey everyone! We had a pretty busy week over here. some crazy weather,
some crazy people, and lots of prep for the upcoming transfer.

Let's see, what is there I can share... well, to begin with, It's been
really busy because I've had to train Elder Yagui on his
responsibilities as recorder, which means everything takes longer than
it normally would.  One thing that we had to do that actually isn't
part of the normal schedule is preparing all the bike bags for all the
missionaries. When we transfer, you have to put you bike in a bike bag
to take it on the train. For various reasons, lots of missionaries
didn't have bike bags. I took the head on that one, and had to order
bike bags, draft a policy on how to manage them, make a system to
track who has which bag, and then get them all distributed to all the
missionaries. There are still quite a few bags we need to number, but
we got enough done to get bags to all the current missionaries. It was
nice to finally get that all finished up.

Friday we went over to Yamate to open up the sisters' apartment for
next transfer. We weren't able to find a new apartment for the
sisters, but we found a new one for the elders (they're going from 2
to 4), so we're putting the sisters in the elders' old apartment
temporarily. It was pretty funny when the Yamate Elders showed up to
help. They got there to help after we were already mostly done because
they had a meeting. They walk in, and were completely shocked at how
nice the apartment was. They said that it felt like a completely
different place. The only thing that changes though was there was no
extra junk and trash al over the place. Amazing how much difference
that can make, huh?

Saturday was a crazy snow storm! It was the worst snowstorm in Tokyo
for the last 40 years is what I was told. the wind was blowing all
day, and it was continually snowing. There was about 30 centimeters of
snow in alot of areas! The AP's went out to the park and asked some
guy walking by if he was busy. He said no. They asked him if he wanted
to build a snowman together. He said, "why not?" So they built a
snowman together. They invited everyone walking by to help out, and
soon had a small crowd gathered,l and they were able to talk with
everyone.

Early in the afternoon, the Bishop called, and gave us a short list of
names of people he wanted us to go visit and shovel their driveways.
One problem: we didn't have any shovels. Sister Wada looked at Seiyu,
and they were all sold out of shovels. We tried calling around, but
everywhere we called was sold out. We eventually were able to find
someplace that had some shovels. Elder Konishi and I went to pick them
up. Driving in the snow: check. That was pretty fun. by the time we
got there and back, the day was pretty much over.

Church was cancelled because of the snow, so we spent a majority of
the day getting those houses that the bishop asked us to do. I decided
that driving in a snow storm is much more fun than driving on day old
icy snow. But, we got work done. It was pretty fun.

Then today rolls around. Transfer calls were this morning. I'm
transferring to Yamate, and I'll be companions with Elder Call (not
the one currently in Kichijoji). He's actually only one transfer ahead
of me. We were in the MTC at the same time when I first went in. What
that means is I'm guaranteed to have at least one more companion
before I go home since Elder Call goes home next transfer. I wonder
who it will be...

Well, that's about it for this week. Hope you all have a great week! 
Talk to you all later!

Elder Blake

     末日聖徒
イエス*キリスト
        教会


This is a small parking lot in front of a member's home that I cleared with Elder Konishi on Sunday. Fortunately it was later in the afternoon, so a lot of it had already melted off.

Monday, February 4, 2014

Hey Everyone!

It's been a pretty good week here in the office again. Lot's of the same stuff, but there were a few other interesting things that happened as well. 

Let's see... well, first of all, we've been pretty busy opening up new apartments for new missionaries still. President Wada showed us some of the numbers, and over the course of the next two transfers we have to find at least 12 new apartments. That's one per week. Tha'ts alot of work and time. We'll see how that ends up going. I won't have to worry about it too much though. I'm transfering out in a week. Elder Yagui is already here being trained to take over as recorder next transfer. He cameon Thursday. I still don't know where I'll be going to yet though. President Wada is making me wait until transfer calls like everyone else. So, all I know is that I won't be recorder next transfer, but I still don't know where I'm transfering to. I'll find outnext Monday

Saturday we went out to the park near here to do some contacting, and we were able to get some of the easiest contacts I've done so far. At the park there's a pretty large lake, and the lake has been drained for the first time in years for cleaning. They found alot of trash on the lake bed. Cell phones, shoes, and even whole bycicles (over 200 of them!). There's a bridge that spans a portion of the lake, and there were dozens of people all on the bridge leaned up to the rails, watching the people clean the lake and looking at all the trash. So, we decided to pull up a spot on the rail too. The people next to us would be talking together, saying "woah, look at all that trash! It's so dirty!" Then we would say to them, "yeah, it is way dirty!" They would look at us kinda strange for a moment, then start talking with us about all the trash.From there it was easy to shift the topic and have just a normal conversation, which always ultimately led to them asking who we were. Perfect. Usually people on the street are way busy and don't want to talk. All these people had nothing but time (hence they had nothing better to do than go look at trash in a drained lake), and were all already talking anyway. It was really fun! Elder Yagui and I even talked to one man who had lived in Awatuki for a while. He knew about Gilbert, and said that he has many friends there. I of course showed him some pictures of the new Gilbert temple on my iPad after hearing that.

Oh yes! iPads. We got iPads in the Tokyo South mission this week. All the computers in the apartement have been switched out for iPads. Since the Tokyo mission was the only mission in the world with computers in the apartments before they started giving missions iPads, that means the set up was a little bit different for us. There was extra effort spent to make sure our existing mission portal would be supported on the iPads, for example. When we were given iPads, they were all set up with emails for each area, but since we had computers, that means we already had area emails. Now they're trying to figure out if we should keep using the old emails, or transition over to the new ones. If we switch over to the new ones, we have to re-enter all of our contacts, as well as make sure to tell all of our investigators and ward members our new address. Either way, there's work that will need to be done. 

Sunday was an interesting day. We were supposed to go over to the Saito family's house for dinner, and we had invited Brother Takahashi, a less active recent convert, to come with us. He said he would come, and we arranged to meet at the church at 4 then drive to the house together. However, he didn't go to church that day. He also didn't pick up his phone when we called. Eventually we just decided that if he didn't pick up his phone or come to the church by 4, we would just go directly to his apartment and knock on his door. That's what ended up happening. We drove to his apartment, rang the doorbell, knocked on the door, and nobody answered. That's only slightly concerning. He wasn't anwering his phone all day, and nobody answered the door at his place. I hope he's ok. We ended up just going over the the Saito's without him. But, it ended up being a good dinner appointment anyway. Good food, good people, good atmosphere. It really was too bad that Brother Takahashi missed it. It would have helped him so much.

That's about all I can think of for now. I'll let you know where I'm tranferring to next week!

Elder Blake

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hey there everyone!

This week has been pretty interesting. Quite a few twists and turns to keep things spiced up. On Wednesday morning we went to the Temple. Because the Tokyo Temple will be closed for 2 weeks, the day we would have gone normally as a zone got moved, but it was moved to the day that we have to go pick up new missionaries from the airport, so we went on Wednesday with just us in the office along with President and Sister Wada. It was really good. In the temple, after we got in I noticed that there was a tv set up in the corner for sign language interpretation. There was a deaf woman who went through in the same session we did. After the session ended I was able to talk with her a bit, and found out that she knows Sister Matsunaga in the Fuchu Ward. It seems like all the deaf members in Japan know each other. Every time I meet a new one they already know the others. So anyways, that was really fun. What a treat. Oh, and as a random side note, the interpretation was actually ASL with Japanese captions. I thought that was interesting.  I guess there isn't one in Japanese sign language.
Our office temple day.

A majority of the rest of the week was opening new apartments and moving missionaries into bigger ones to accomadate the increase in missionaries. Thursday night we did have sports night like always though. The last couple of weeks there has been a group of 5 Jr High kids coming that all play basketball for club at school together. We let them play together, and they just destroyed us. It was pretty funny but emberrasing at the same time being completely outplayed by a bunch of these little Jr High kids. We had reach, strength, and size on our side, but they could play the game alot better than any of us. When they first came they were playing serious, keeping in formations, only taking safe shots, stuff like that. But after coming once or twice, they caught on that we just play for fun and to have a good time. I noticed that they started playing more relaxed, started trying to show off a little, take a couple of crazy or just silly shots for fun. After all, it's not practice, so coach isn't going to yell at them for missing, right? It was good to see them be able to loosen up and just have some fun. 

Aki's Baptism! LtoR (Back): Toru, Elder Fernelius, me,
 Elder Medeiros, Elder Call. LtoR (Front): Elder and Sister Yamashita,
Aki's friend, Sister Wells, Aki, Elder Crandall,
Sister Feist, Elder Fukuchi
Sunday was a really good day this week. The sister's investigator, Aki, who is actually Mongolian, was baptized. We had been working together as a district to plan the baptism, and everything went smoothly. Aki brought a friend with her to church and to the baptism, and now her friend has a Book of Mormon and wants to learn more. There was wonderful participation from the ward, and lots of people came to support Aki. We were even able to have another investigator (Toru) there, and he really felt the spirit very strongly at the service. In an attempt to help a certain member who feels like he doesn't have very many friends, we introduced Toru to him. That's when we found out that apparently when Toru stayed in California for 3 months, he stayed in this member's home town! That was a good conversation starter for them. It was just one of those days were you plan for the worst, hope for the best, and then everything ends up working better than we hoped for. It was really nice. 

Well, that's about all I can think of for this week. I hope you all have a great week! Talk to you all more next week!

Elder Blake

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hey Everyone!

It's been another good week here in Japan. Things were pretty interesting for a while. Really busy and whatnot. Let's see what sort of things I can think of to tell you all about.

This last week Elder Fukuchi and I spent several days looking for new apartments (again). Between now and the end of the year the mission will increase from the current 120-ish missionaries to 205. That means we gotta find places for them all to live. So, as you can imagine, that takes alot of time. Earlier on in the week on one of those days, we got to the area we were looking for an apartment for, and ended up waiting on the real estate agent. While we were waiting, I looked at the clock, figured out how long it took us to drive there, looked up train times on the phone, and found out that it takes almost the same amount of time to drive as it would to take the train. I pointed this out to Elder Fukuchi, and seeing as how the real estate agents drive us around in their own car after we meet up, there's really no need for us to bring out own car. We could just as easily meet them up at the train station after all. We decided that unless we were moving or opening an apartment that involved carrying lots of stuff, we should just ride the trains so we can talk with people. After all, it's not very easy to do that in a car. We got a chance to try it later in the week when we went to Tokorozawa and Yamate. Just from riding the trains and talking with people on the way, we were able to take a day of looking at apartments (which usually means no time for contacting) and turn it into a day with 11 good contacts, and we were even blessed to get contact information from a couple of people too. 

Thursday we had a zone conference here at Kichijoji. It was really good. There was a big focus in the trainings on how to turn potential investigators we've already found into progressing investigators. The thing that stood out to me the most from the trainings is the emphasis they put on how you don't have to have a formal sit down with somebody to invite them to hear lessons or talk about the gospel. Right now there are alot of really new young missionaries, and I'm sure that will be something that will help them alot. After all, what better opportunities are there to invite people to hear lessons than after an activity at the church when everyone is mingling and having a good time? 

So, there's an Italian member here named Brother Buso. I think I may have mentioned him before... he served his mission in Arizona, and actually spent time serving in Gilbert itself. Anyway, he's a really nice guy. He invited me over to his place so that he could make us some real Italian pasta. We went over today. It was waaaaay good. Easily the best pasta I've ever had. Brother Buso is a great cook. And, the best part is, one of those contacts we got on the train is an Italian guy named Max. We're working on setting something up to have Max go with us over to Brother Buso's house. That should be good. I'm sure Max would have a great time. 

So, that's about all I can think of to write for this week. Just lots of the same stuff. I'm sure you don't want to hear all about the office work. It's not that exciting. Haha! Anyways, I hope you all have a great week! Talk to you later!

Elder Blake

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hey Everyone!

How are you all doing? It's been another good week over here. Lots of the same thing, but I'll see what I can think of to tell you about.

Dinner at the Stevenson's with Lily
and her dad. Lily's dad is the second
from the left in the back.
On Tuesday we had dinner over at the Stevenson's house. They had invited all the missionaries in Kichijoji over for dinner the week before, but Elder Fukuchi, Hosoda and I didn't go because we opted to stay behind and run sports night. So, the three of us got to go on Tuesday instead. We invited Lily to go over with us too, and her dad was visiting from China so we told her to bring him too. It was a lot of fun! The Stevensons are a great family, and they helped out so much. Lily had a great time, and her dad was way impressed. After dinner we shared a quick simple message out of the Book of Mormon about charity, and Lily's dad really felt it. We had brought a Chinese Book of Mormon for him that we planned to give him, but before we could tell him that we were giving him the book, he asked if he could keep it. He said that he wanted to take it home with him, and he is going to share the words we had shared with him with all of his friends back home. The rest of the night he kept thumbing through it too. I really hope I can find out what happens at the end of that story.

Elder Hosoda ended up having to go home on Friday. He was struggling with depression and stress, so now he's at home trying to recover. He says he wants to come back and finish when he gets better. I really hope he does. He had a lot of potential as a missionary. It's pretty different not having him around the office anymore. But, life will go on. 

The rest of the week until Sunday we were looking for new apartments pretty much all day for a couple of days. That's not too terribly exciting. But, it's going well. Elder Fukuchi has to find 6 new apartments before next transfer because of the increase in the numbers of missionaries coming in. That means he's way busy. Really, really busy. He's keeping up and doing a great job though. 

Elder Fernelius and me at the 
mochitsuki pounding that mochi. 
Sunday there was a new family that came that I had never seen before. After sacrament meeting I talked with them a little bit, and found out that the parents were from Kofu, but their son actually lives in Kichijoji for school. His parents came to visit him and brought him to church while they were at it. I started talking with their boy, Josey (his dad is American), and found out that he doesn't come to church because he works on Sundays. At least, that's what he says. The next day, Monday, was the ward mochitsuki party. I asked Josey if he had time, he said he did, I invited him, and he said he would come. Now today, Monday, we had the mochitsuki party, and Josey came! Found out afterwards that he had to walk for an hour to get to the church. What a guy. He's kinda quiet, but really nice. He just needs friends is all. He walked in, and when I noticed him at the mochitsuki party he was just standing there in the doorway, alone. Nobody said hello, nobody talked with him. It was sad. I went over and showed him in, and talked with him. Elder Call, Elder Fernelius and I were able to get a few members to talk with him too, and he seemed to have a good time. After the mochitsuki party, the missionaries were going to go bowling (since it's p-day) and bring some investigators with us. We invited Josey to go along too, and he just lit up. He had a really good time, and now he's got a solid group of people he feels comfortable with at the church. Now we just need to expand that circle to the members of the ward, because missionaries are always going in and out. It really showed me once more today how much people just need to feel wanted and loved. All we gotta do is just be friends with people, take that extra effort to reach out to them, and we can make a huge difference in their life. 

That's about if for now. Looking forward to another interesting week! More later!

Elder Blake