13 October 2010

Letter from Matlock – 5 October 2010

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
Wow, what a week.  Ok, so…
We had a lesson planned with an investigator so we were trying to figure out what to teach him.  Last time we taught all of lesson 2, the plan of salvation so naturally we figured we would move on to lesson 3, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and ask him if he would like to get baptized.  Well – while we were planning for that we were having the hardest time figuring out how to teach this.  And lesson 3 is not complicated – it’s already planned out!  Yet we could not for the life of us figure out how to do it even with the lesson plan opened right in front of us.  It was in every sense of the word a stupor of thought.  I’ve never felt at such a loss before.  At this point we decided that we need to completely rethink this.  So we do some thinking, pondering, discussing, confirmed our conclusions through prayer and ended up re-teaching some of lesson 1.  Mainly Joseph Smith and the power of the Book of Mormon in peoples lives.  We realized that you probably need a strong grounding on the Book of Moron before being baptized. Ok, definitely need it.  Boy, what would we do without the spirit?  I’m telling you, I’d already have come back home if it wasn’t for the spirit.
The next day we go straight from the apartment to eat sushi with a member from my companion’s old ward.  He gave us each a Ute’s (University of Utah) hat from his trip to America.  I thought it was fantastic and absolutely cannot wait to wear it around BYU campus!
After that we tried to find some people who expressed interest in the gospel earlier, but the apartment we thought it was, was someone else but he agreed to let us come back.  Then afterwards we went to knock a few doors and the only person we talked to agreed to meet again!
In Sakado, I feel like we had to go finding for hours and hours every week to just get a slim chance of getting two return appointments!  Just incredible!
Then we visited a member who is struggling with a few things and tried to help her, then went out to eat again with a pervious investigator, after that we had some time left so we passed out English class fliers at the train station.  There was a man just standing there and I asked him, well tried to ask him, how you say “vest” in Japanese since he was wearing one.  He shut me down somewhere along the lines of “I’m find I don’t need your religion crap” so I tried to explain  that it was a simple Japanese question.  He answered somewhere along the line he used before.  Extremely rude!  Then, the next wave of people to get off at the stop, were not much nicer!  I was starting to glare back at some people.  I was about ready to pop someone in the jaw!  That was the angriest I’ve been in quite a while.  Then luckily two people saved me.  Two foreigners from Canada and America walked by and we started talking a little bit. Turns out they both have LDS friends and were very supportive and had some good words of encouragement.  Then they hopped on a train and we were about to head back to the apartment but I wanted to get out a few more.  Then I met this high schooler and we talked a little and I ended up giving him a Book of Mormon.  I was exhausted after all of that!  Talk about an emotional roller coaster…
So yesterday we were going to visit a few people before FHE at the church but none of them were home so we had a lot of time to kill.  Neither of us had any idea what to do so we decided to go back to the church to try to figure something out. Hanging on the gate to the church was big plastic bag.  We both thought that was a little odd, so I go over to check it out.  I peek in and there was a kitten inside!  In the rain none the less!  We were completely perplexed!  So we spend most of the rest of the evening taking care of this wet hungry kitten. Then halfway through FHE the woman who left it comes back!  Apparently she found it and then left it on the church gate.  The she grabs the kitten and runs off with it again!  We had no idea what to think!  And I’m still confused….
Well, that’s all for now
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)
P.S. I’m really excited for conference but I just found out that it already happened!  Apparently it shows in foreign countries a week late!  I watched a talk by Pres. Monson and thought it was fantastic!  Can’t wait to see the whole thing.

10 October 2010

Letter from Matlock – 28 September 2010

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
We went on 2 day splits with the zone leaders and those splits helped me in about every way possible. He revised my language study plan and basically amped it.  He pointed out that if I consistently study at least two Kanji a day, I can be fluent up to a 6th grade level, by the end of the mission, which is basically all you need to read anything.  He also pointed out that if I find the right book I can study vocabulary that’s in line with the TOIEC test, the Japanese language proficiency test.  So basically he said do this and this and this and then be amazing at Japanese when you go home.  Heck.  Sounds good to me!  I’m terrible right now.  I have come leaps and bounds from were I’ve started but I still see this mountain towering over me.  But despite this I think my language capabilities should progress rapidly over the next few months.  I hope.
I was going through our member record book and I turned the page to find…Jackie Chan!  Apparently one of our members was good friend with Jackie when they were both younger and they would practice fighting together a lot.  And they’re still good friends! How crazy is that?
Every week we go visit an old folks home.  We were talking to an old lady and I was not paying much attention that is until a realized that the conversation was beginning to repeat itself!  I thought that was pretty amusing.  Then my companion plays this old man at Shogi or Japanese chess. The man never says a word but he destroys anyone at Shogi.  That really makes my companion frustrated.
Other interesting tidbits – while we were housing we found a reverse doorbell.  Instead of ding-dong it went dong-ding!  We rang it twice.
I also got cussed out by a drunk guy for the first time.  I also say a lady walking a 3-legged cat.  That was weird.
Oh- back to splits actually.  We worked on finding a little bit.  I got some really great ideas from him.  In fact I think finding may become more like the F-word – Fun!
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)

Letter from Matlock - 21 September 2010

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
Well I wouldn’t call this week a smooth transition.  For most of the week I just missed Sakado.  My companion in Sakado was fantastic – he really taught me a boat load about how to be a really effective missionary.  We worked hard and we saw the results. The members saw that we were working hard and they loved and depreciated us for it.  Our district especially was extraordinarily effective.  Our district leader was a fantastic district leader (probably too fantastic since they made him AP this transfer).  We set goals together and we strived to reach them together.  Our meetings were spent in mighty prayer, inspired discussion, and we left recommitted to our goals and to missionary work.  We all saw miracles. 
The zone leaders came and gave a short training.  My new companion is a great guy – he’s very nice and has a lot of love and concern for other people. 
In other news me and my companion have the same toothbrush….I found that out after I had used his once or twice.  Still haven’t told him…
I spent the afternoon scouring the apartment with the vacuum and some dusters getting rid of all the dust.  My allergies didn’t let me off easy on that one!  And I’m still not done!  Sometimes I wonder what missionaries do all day…
The members are amazing here.  We’ve been fed 5 times since I’ve come here.  My companion’s idea is to start using all this down time with members to teach them about Preach My Gospel – but the ward doesn’t have any copies that we can give to people.  We’ll have to work with the bishopric here a little especially since we have some prospective missionaries in this ward.  So some interesting tidbits – so far all of the investigators and less actives that we’ve worked with so far are from the Philippines.  Three more walked into church last Sunday and wanted to go to a service while they were in Japan.  There are a lot of college students from Norway here.  And – the ward mission leader here is the son of one of the families back in Sakado.
Well that’s all for now. 
Love you all,
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)