26 September 2010

Letter from Elder Wyman 14 September 2010

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
I suspected that I would get transferred this week so I spent some of this week saying goodbye to people.  We called up our investigator and told him that I might be leaving and we want to meet with him one more time.  I also told him we were sorry if he felt pressured or uncomfortable during our lessons and that that wasn’t our intent.  So we went out and got lunch and just chatted with him and smoothed things over.  He brought a bunch of old family pictures and war items from his father when he was in the military.  He also brought two stories for us which he translated into English from the original Japanese.  (One of them was about a group of Samurai style suicide – really gruesome.)  He was talking about war and then he paused and I began to feel the Spirit and I wasn’t sure why – I hardly knew what was going on.  Then he said he wanted to say a prayer for all of those in the military who had been killed.  So we did.  It went well and after I knew where I was going and told him he said he would see me at church!  I also told our couple investigators that I was leaving and that they should come to church to see me off.  And they did!  At church I found out that our investigator had sent a letter to the church addressed to a member family explaining why he had cancelled the dinner and why he didn’t want to hear lessons.  Then the member family called him and they worked everything out.  I don’t’ know what the problem was but its fixed now!
Do you remember the guy we met or the train who sings in multiple languages?  Well we went down to Urawa so we could meet with him.  He took us into this large mall and into this small French place to get a drink.  Well the only things on the menu were tea, coffee, beer, and cakes, milky cakes.  So I was limited to an orange juice and a grapefruit juice.  I hate grapefruit so I got the orange.  This orange juice cost seven dollars!!  Just one glass!  Outrageous!  I could buy two gallons for that price in America!  Good thing he paid for us or I would’ve put a little dent into my travel money.
Oh on the way home from a stake activity my companion saw a girl he knew from high school.  That was weird.  I can’t even imagine how weird it would be running into some of my old friends as a missionary.
So Togane!  Apparently this is the absolute best area in the mission.  It’s got a few record setters as well – it has the largest hill in the mission and the highest apartment of all the missionary apartments.  We’re on the 12th floor and I hear that earthquakes are the funnest up here as well.  I’m excited to be working here!  The apartment isn’t a piece of junk as well which is a huge step up from Sakado in that respect.
Love you all,
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)

21 September 2010

Letter from Matlock - 7 September 2010
Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
Well, our investigator dropped us.  We had a lesson with him Tuesday which went fantastic.  We taught him about prayer and he said he liked how God is so close to us since we are praying directly to him and not through someone else.  He said he would read and pray.  We had a dinner with him and a member family after which we had a lesson where we watched a film about the restoration and then talked about Joseph Smith and the power of prayer.  We challenged him to pray about Joseph Smith but he said he didn't like being told to pray about other people.  He also told us about many past experiences with Christians and missionaries that had ended unfavorably.  Later after that he called us and said he didn't think he'd like to go to the dinner another member family invited him to.  We said, ok, we'll see you at church then?  But he replied that he didn't think that would make him happy.  What. The. Heck.  It's as if I'm not talking to the same person anymore.  How on earth can you say that when just less than a week earlier you said church gives you energy?!  For crying out loud, he had a dream telling him church would make him happy!!  How on earth can you forget about all of that as well as the spirit burning in the bosom which I know he felt during our lessons.  How can all of that change in one day liek the flip of a switch!?  I can't fathom what more I could have done for him.  He's had so many trials in his life and even still he has struggles he's facing today.  If he would just accept this message I know he would feel a peace, comfort and sense of security he's never known before.  In case you can't tell...I'm frustrated!
Even though our investigator didn't come we still went and had dinner with the member family.  The wife is among the first baptisms in Okinawa Japan, and she showed us a picture of her family.  All of their children and grandchildren.  They have a huge family, and all of them are members of the church, and all of them have felt the joy of having the gospel in their lives, from one baptism.  Many of them have already served missions and many will serve missions.  That heightened my resolve.  If that can happen from one baptism then who's to say what's a waste or not?
People keep telling me I look or sound tired.  In a lot of these instances I feel perfectly fine.  My hypothesis is a missionary's definition of tired is different from a normal persons definition of tired.  So a normal persons tired is the missionary average, which makes a missionaries tired, well - extremely tired.
I suspect I'll be transferred at the beginning of this next week.  As great as Sakado is I'm ready to leave.  I need some new people and new scenery.
Well this week wasn't too exciting - next week will certainly be more interesting.
Love you all,
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)

14 September 2010

Email from Elder Wyman 9/13/2010

I did get transferred! I’m now in Togane, which is basically on the very corner of the mission- right on the coast! yes! My new companion is Elder A and he has two transfers left on his mission. So it looks like I’ll be sending him home. I think I’ve grown enough since coming out here and I’ve caught light of what missionary work can do for people enough that I won’t want to go home with him like I did with my first companion. But Togane! I’ve only heard fantastic things about this place! So my MTC companion- his older brother served in Tokyo and he was in Togane and it was his absolute favorite. He loved it so much that my MTC companion wants to go there more than anything. Anyone I’ve talked to says it’s the best area in the mission. The mission president before our current president said that it has the best ward in the entire mission. Apparently the missionaries are had over for dinner multiple times every week. So I’m feeling rather privileged to be in the coveted area of the mission.
Letter from Matlock – 30 August 2010

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
This has been a crazy week. We’re still catching up on church introduction lessons for the recent influx we’ve had in eikawa. Last Wednesday we taught a man an introductory lesson. He is 66 years old, doesn’t have a job or a family, and therefore has lots of free time. When we taught the intro lesson the spirit was among the strongest I’ve felt it. He said of course he would like to take the missionary lessons. We invited him to church the next Sunday and he did come and stayed for all 3 blocks of it. The 3rd block was combined for some emergency prep presentation and a ward member (sister) sat next to him and they became great friends! They talked a lot and she answered all of the questions he had. Then afterwards she arranged with her husband to have him and us over for dinner the next week, as well as to teach a lesson. Right after they set that up he turned to me and said – I had a dream last night. And in that dream a man came up to me and told me that I would meet lots of nice people at church the next day. I was astounded! I asked him if he thought the dream had come true and he said that it had! We’ll be seeing him a lot this week – we have a lesson tomorrow, eikaiwa, and 2 dinners/lessons with members set up. It’s fantastic! After church we sat down with him really quick to answer questions, talk about his experience, etc…Another member was there two and he apologized since he lived so far and he came by bike and church was long so he was probably tired. He said, no way – this place gives me energy! We gave him a Book of Mormon with a not in it from each of us and he accepted it graciously and was excited that we had addressed it to him. We think we can challenge him to baptism next week.
We had another interesting experience – we were biking along, when a man driving a bus full of mentally handicapped people hails us and pulls over to talk to us. He came out of the bus with a photocopy sheet of cards from old missionaries, notes they wrote him, and a pre drawn map to his place. He gives it to us and tells us to come next Monday at 11:00 and also bring our cards. (The business card type thing we have.) These missionaries are from before Japan Tokyo South and North merged into one mission. So we went today and found out it’s a bakery/sweet bread shop, and he has handicaps help him run the place. Well, he gave us lunch then had us help with some chores. He wants us to come for 3 hours at a time once a week but quite frankly if there aren’t any lessons involved I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Oh- we went over to a member families home to teach a short English lesson since we couldn’t do it at the church. We stressed that we didn’t want her to feed us since then it would turn into some 2-3 hour thing and we had plans right after anyways. Well despite that she still brought out some fruits and snacks. Then she brought out two fish. I mean whole fishes. There have been several times on my mission where I’ve stared at a piece of food and thought “do they really want me to eat this? Do I really have no way out of eating this?” This was one of those. I still don’t know what I think about it. It was just some fish, but it was the whole fish. The tail was the worst part I think. Never considered eating that part before, but on the other hand I never considered eating 4-5 other parts on that thing…..
Well - Love to you all,
Elder Wyman

07 September 2010

Letter from Elder Wyman – 17 August 2010

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
This week the district leader did splits with us. I went out to Okegawa and the district leader’s companion came to Sakado. These splits were the funnest thing I’ve done in a long time! Right as we got off the train we met this guy from Nigeria. He was so cool! That was the first time in my life probably I’ve heard someone on the street say “Man, I love Jesus! These Japanese people need to hear about him – It’s a good thing your doing out here.” He was awesome. The Elder C. from that area is actually getting in touch with him again. Oh, wait a minute, back up to before all of this – on the train on the way to splits we met another guy. He was extremely extroverted and friendly and probably a little drunk. He kept saying “I…speak…Japanese very well!” He also kept singing songs, such as old Japanese and American folk songs. We exchanged phone numbers and he wanted to take a picture with us once we were in the station. He was hilarious! He actually called us a few days after and came all the way to Sakado to talk with us. He printed off the pictures he took with us and had sent them to the church address which was on the flyer we gave him. He wasn’t drunk this time but he was still singing. He knew songs in German, English, Spanish, Italian, French, and maybe more I don’t know.
Well – back to splits – Elder C. also loves ping-pong so we went and played it at the church in the morning for exercise. Oh and dad – just to let you know – I’m going to destroy you in ping-pong when I get back. The Japanese play ping-pong more than football I think.
That day we went and met up with the sister missionaries so that we could plan the lesson we would be teaching. We were going to a member’s house to teach their friend with two pairs of missionaries. This would be the first contact she had with missionaries and it was guaranteed to be spectacular. We had lunch together (delicious by the way) and then we established the expectations for our meetings and the guidelines so she would know what to expect from us. Then we taught about God and a few other principles. The lesson flowed smoother than warm butter down a slip and slide. It went exactly as planned, and after she said she had a warm feeling. I think I can take a stab at what that was!
Then. When we were in the train station Elder C. showed me this American import store and I found Deep River Snacks! Those are the chips that I ate all the time at work. The company is based in Old Lyme, CT! How on earth did they end up in a small pharmacy shop in Japan?! Either way they were delicious!
I don’t know if you remember the musical couple we gave the Book of Mormon to – they came back from their 3 week trip to Kobe! They had us over and taught us how to make takoyaki! It was great – we brought some hymnbooks because that’s what they wanted to do. She plays the piano, so she was going to play the hymns. I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to play the hymns without any practice but she opened up a hymn book and started singing the tune! She can sight read perfectly! It was fantastic!
It’s funny that you should mention Ramune (a Japanese soda his sister is hooked on) - the same week you asked about it I tried it for the first time. Ever since then it seems like it’s shown up everywhere!
Elder B. had a language confusion that I thought was very amusing. Someone called us and said he wanted to meet today. Kyo (with a line over the o) is today and Kai is meeting. But he thought he was saying we wanted to see the church or KyoKai.
Love to you all,
Elder Wyman

04 September 2010

Letter from Elder Wyman – 10 August 2010

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
So last Wednesday we decide to visit some members who are on the other side of our area, and consequently that was one of the hottest days that week. Despite these facts I only brought a liter of water with me. Well – that night I did not sleep great at all. When I did get to sleep or even half asleep I had such fit full dreams that I’d be jolted back awake multiple times. When 6:30 rolled around I thought “Hah! Yea right!” And went back to sleep. I woke up with a fever of 100 degrees F and a pounding headache. I slept in until the afternoon and then we went out and did missionary work (of course). That’s about how the routine went for the next 3-4 days. I’d wake up feeling like crap, get reasonably better in the early afternoon only to have most of my symptoms return before we came back and so I’d head straight for bed. Oh, and on day 3 or so I added diarrhea to all of that. No idea where that came from. This week was fun I guess you could say….I really enjoyed sleeping in so much I just wish I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Somehow feeling like death takes the fun out of relaxation. Don’t worry I’m all better now though – I’ve even returned to a normal bowel movement.
Well this week we got a lot of things fixed in our apartment. We reported everything that was broken to the mission office and they sent some people to take care of it. We got a new breaker so our power isn’t shutting off all the time, new wallpaper in the bathroom as it was peeling like no one’s business, a new mirror/hygiene box in the shower so now we can actually see in the mirror and open it to put stuff inside. Then they also put a cover over the electrical socket in the kitchen as it didn’t have one previously. Elder Bishop and I also went and bought some drain soap to take care of the smell in the kitchen sink and some new pillows to replace the ancient ones that were heavy with the drool of generations of missionaries. So the apartment is looking a little better, much closer to being habitable now.
Love to you all,
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)

More Festival Video

Festival video

Video Yay!! Posted by Elder Wyman's younger sister!

Festival Photos

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Showing off his apartment.

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Is this a bathroom for men or two headed aliens?  Air freshener or something for privacy?

The English translations must amuze him.

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Interesting English translations.

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A beautiful park and a couple of crazy Elders.

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Modes of transportation?

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Ping pong escapades.

Is the bicycle photo a complaint about the weather?
I hope he used some optical illusions taking the last photo!