Monday, September 29, 2014

31st Week in Japan, 39 Weeks

SO tomorrow we have transfer calls! I will most likely stay her in Takikawa for another transfer and Elder Hirata will transfer somewhere else. But he really doesn`t want to transfer, and I really don`t blame him. Takikawa is such a great place to dendo. It is a town smaller than the size of Kingman (my hometown) but because we are in Japan, the population is just a little bit larger. So its a cozy little place, but nothing exciting happens here. So when a gaijin shows up at your door, people want to talk to you! It is great! So if I transfer I won`t be the happiest person.

This week we were really pushing church and trying to get people to come to church. Yesterday we had a mission goal to have 60 people come to church. So all this week we taught church, church, and a little more about church. By Friday night we had 7 people who were going to come to church. By Saturday night, all of our investigators canceled on us. It was really a bummer. So yesterday we had the parents of a part member family come, and then an Eikaiwa student come to Church. So in the end it turned out all right. I showed the branch how to make tortillas and we made tacos! I would have included some pictures but my hands we covered in flour and trying to run a kitchen in a different language was really difficult, so I apologize. 

Although not very many people showed up to church, through our efforts in trying to get people to come to church, we were blessed with finding a lot of good investigators. For example にわ was a former investigator who was seriously thinking about getting baptized. But he ended up moving to China for a while and couldn`t meet with the missionaries. So he got married and had a kid and moved back here a few months ago.  When we went and visited him, it was like we were meant to find him. I haven`t met a nicer Japanese person as of yet. So I really want that to go places. Like to the baptismal font and then to the temple;)  Oh and I found out that I won`t be here for the dedication of the temple so I will be planning a trip back here very quickly when I come home:)

Well I hope you all are doing well and love hearing from you! Remember that God loves you and and wants you all to be successful, so if we keep the commandments, all of them, that will happen!

Love Elder Swenson

Monday, September 22, 2014

30th Week in Japan, 38 Weeks

Hello Everyone!

So this week has been a blast! But it has rained 6 out of the 7 days this week:/ The temperature has cooled down as well. We are back in our long sleeve shirts and starting to wear thermals at night now:0

Monday- Ate the best rated ジンギスカン in Japan. (Lamb)
Tuesday- Met a family all about basketball and might want to take the lessons!
Wednesday- Had a member come and team up with us on 2 lessons and both of them are progressing now! 
Thursday-Had my first hamburger sushi...
Friday-Went on splits with Elder Sakae and accidentally housed a members home, recieved a member referral (really rare), got to meet with an investigator who we normally cant meet with and gave her a BoM,   made a baptismal date with a 19 year old.
Saturday- During housing met a lady and talked with her for 2 hours so we didnt really house, got dropped by one investigator, met 2 nice PI`s, and talked with a drunk NA.
Sunday- Talked to a Canadian who was Philippine, to a Philippine in Japanese, and taught the Sunday school class. We are currently in the old testament. I had lesson 36 which is the first 6 chapters of Isaiah. Yeah we will just say that the members of the church are really nice:) 

Right now we are pulling some of the highest numbers in the mission. Elder Hirata is a great missionary and because of his hard work I was able to come in and be a part of it this transfer. We get our transfer calls next Tuesday so I will probably stay and Elder Hirata will transfer so I am gonna have a big responsibility soon. 

This week I got a lot of spiritual messages from all you guys!! Thank you so much! Please continue! Missionaries love nothing more than hearing testimonies and spiritual things! 

I dont have time for a spiritual message today but I will say this. General conference is coming and that means we all have a chance to hear from the Lord`s servants. Don`t miss a minute of it.

Elder Swenson 

The food Jingusu kan.

I found this guy in a bathroom at a convenient store. I think you will catch my humor.

Monday, September 15, 2014

29th Week in Japan, 37 Weeks


How is everyone doing this week? Fantastic? I thought so! This week has been a little different but a lot of fun! On monday we had a district Taco Party! We made tortillas, taco meat (thank you Costco for having Taco Seasoning), cheese (Japanese cheese is not the same but we work with it), and some chunky salsa! I have to say I was pretty happy to have a fellow missionary from las vegas who knew what I was talking about when I said, "Hey, should we get mango`s for this salsa?" and he replied with, "Yes! But they are expensive so we can just do without them." Mango salsa is the best thing ever! If you have access to this blessing, thank your Heavenly Father for it!  Tuesday we had DTM and on our way to go eat we played a ukulele and sang the whole way to Tsukiya! Music Dendo (missionary work)  totally works!  We ran into a guy who had a ukulele, but he didn`t want to listen to our message. Thursday some gnarly storms went through Hokkaido and we couldn`t go outside for a while. Luckily we had Weekly Planning Session(DKK) anyways so it all worked out. During DKK we found a mis translation in PMG which caused about a 40 min. discussion on how we should be teaching our investigators. I am so thankful that Joseph Smith was truly a Prophet of God and translated the Book of Mormon 100% correctly as to have no confusion and unity between church members. That is why Heavenly Father gave us the Book of Mormon, to "confound false doctrine" and have God`s will. Friday I went on splits with Elder Fukushima and we ate at Marlins again. That place is ridiculous. The food is just too much. (And that is coming from a missionary). So we wont go back there again. But Elder Fukushima taught me that a happy missionary brings more people to the Gospel. His smile and his kind loving Japanese completely changed our housing results. Plus we were able to talk with everyone we had planned to meet with. When people see us they always say that they are busy, but they aren`t a lot of the time. They just dont want to talk. But, because of Elder Fukushima`s kindness, everyone made time for us! It was a great split and I am very lucky to have gone with him.  Sunday we had a Branch Counsel meeting and I didn`t understand about 80% of what was going on. For 2 hours my brain was mush.  Next thing I knew, I am being assigned to make another Taco Party for the Branch "come to church" day on the 28th. So, Looks like ill be very busy that day. 

Spiritual Thought
  If you obey "Every word that comes out of the mouth of God" you will be blessed immensely. If love for God can become your motivation for keeping the commandments their is a promise for you in John 14:21 that I think everyone wants have! (Look this scripture up, I am too lazy to type it out.)

 Till next week!
 On monday we had a district Taco Party! 
We made tortillas, taco meat (thank you Costco for having Taco Seasoning), 
cheese (Japanese cheese is not the same but we work with it), and some chunky salsa!

Monday, September 8, 2014

28th Week in Japan, 36 Weeks

Guess what? Really cool stuff happened this week:p

So Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we were in Ebetsu and Sapporo. On Tuesday we had splits and DTM in Ebetsu. I went with Elder Gubler, who is from Las Vegas so we understand eachother pretty well. During that split I was the language Senpai (higher level) which was really scary when I thought about it. So I prayed to Heavenly Father to boost our language skills so we could do his work. That day I understood 90% of the Japanese that everyone spoke! It was really a miracle! (Miracles always happen on splits by the way.) Wednesday we had to go to Sapporo for a leader meeting at Honbu. Because Elder Hirata is a new District leader he had to go. Because I am still a junior comp. I got to go on splits with the other new district leader`s companion. And guess who it was......ELDER HORNE! Ever since the MTC we always wanted to be companions so this was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father:) So we went to Shiroishi, the sketchy side of town, had sushi, talked about old times and dendo, and went to work. Although it was a really short split, I had a blast! That night we had to teach Eikaiwa without prep time, which is not normal, but thankfully one of the members showed up and really helped out a lot. She is a cram school teacher so she knows a little bit of basic English and helped to translate what I couldnt. The rest of the week just did some dendo (Missionary stuff):p 


In relationship to the Holy Ghost again, we need to have the Holy Ghost with us always. And how we can better do that is through obedience and "prayer of faith"(PMG Chp.4) . If we do not pray with faith, with earnestness, with desire, we cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Sometimes it is really hard to pray for things that you specifically want in a different language. I always pray in Japanese to help me learn the language, but sometimes I give up what I want to say because I am not sure how to say it right or I dont know how to say it at all. So my prayers have been lame for a while. This week I am going to really gonbarimasu and make my prayers meaningful. 

Love all of you peoples and please, dont have lame prayers like I do!

Elder Swenson

Monday, September 1, 2014

27th Week in Japan, 35 Weeks


How is everyone doing?  This week was a blast! 2 splits, Zone Conference and my  first Takikawa Eikaiwa! Tuesday we went down to Iwamisawa by train and I went on Splits with Elder Rostedt. He is a really fun Elder. He does his best to come closer to the Lord and have fun at the same time. Wednesday night we I taught Eikaiwa that only had 2 people come to it. That was a first and it is a lot of fun! When I teach I usually end with American slang and it makes me laugh so much hearing Japanese people ending all of their sentences with "man." (:  Thursday night we went to Honbu in Sapporo to spend the night because Zone conference was from 8-2.  It was so nice seeing so many missionaries again! That is the only down side about being in the country areas, you do not see other missionaries very often. Elder Whiting of the 70`s came and talked to us about how we can perform miracles and have the spirit more abundantly in our lives. It was a very spiritual Zone Conference. The next day we had splits with the Zone leaders and we had the largest meal I have ever had in Japan. This place called マリン (Marlin) gives these huge sized meals for really cheap. My meal could have fed 2 or 3 people. Elder Miyaki and I got sick afterward for about an hour. Yesterday President Nakatsuka came to the Takikawa Branch meeting and I was teaching a lesson from PMG to the members that day:o That was a little nerve racking. Thankfully the church has DVDs in Japanese which I gratefully used. After church we taught a lesson, reset a baptismal date, and made 4 appointments in a couple of hours. Takikawa is on fire with missionary work! I was definitely blessed when I was transferred here. My teaching abilities have opportunities to grow everyday now instead of once a week.


During Elder Whiting`s Q/A session, someone asked how we can know when to perform miracles and how to perform miracles. And everything was easily explained from the example of the Apostles in the new testament. During Christ`s ministry he sent out his apostles to spread the word of the gospel and to invite all to be baptized. When they returned they said that they could not cast out devils and do what Christ had done. Christ told them to do a few things, but the point was to be obedient and keep practicing the basic principles of the gospel, fasting, prayer and scripture study to name a few. But these were needed so that when Christ left the apostles could have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. After the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles received the Holy Ghost, the apostles performed many miracles.  We need to obey the rules to have the Spirit so we can be prompted to and perform miracles.

Mom: Yes I got my package! Thanks! The strawberry milk thing is awesome! And I needed an american tooth brush. They are the best!  We ship our bikes thru a shipping company and it is starting to cool down a bit. Takikawa gets a lot of snow fast so I expect to see snow in October. Sone san is 20 and only has 20% interest in being baptized, but he is too cool to not be baptized so it will happen.

Dad: Just wait! Jesus the Christ is awesome! I am almost done with it and I don`t want it to end!

Emily: I swear reading your email was just like reading stuff on FB and Twitter again. I guess I have been reading a lot of formal and confusing stuff since I have been on the mission. Way nostalgic.

I love you all and would love to hear from you!

Elder Swenson

Zone Conference