21 March 2011

Letter from Matlock – 18 March 2011

 Dear (Family in Japanese characters),                                     8 March 2011
 I just finished eating a spam and egg pizza.  Please, anyone who’s seen Monty Python have a little laugh with me.
A lot happened this week!  My former companion came with his parents to a church activity on Thursday.  That was crazy.  It was pretty cool to meet them.  How many times do you get to meet your companion’s parents on your mission?  (So far the answer is twice.  (Or should I say twice this week?)  We also went to a temple marriage for my current companion’s older brother.  That’s the first time I’ve been to a temple marriage and I’m afraid to say I think I understood less than half of it.  The cool thing was, I knew the bride and her family!  She and Her family were in my first area, and her brother and his family were in my second area!  Also the bishopric from Sakado was there!  I knew everyone!  I’m glad that was the case because I would have felt so weird going to someone’s wedding and not knowing a single person on top of not knowing the language!
Then on the way back we ran into the bishopric from Oyama ward!  It was crazy!  Afterwards I talked to my companion about that was the first kiss I’ve seen since becoming a missionary.  In Japan, no one kisses!  No one!  He didn’t believe me when I told him people do it all the time in America.  They teach that it’s against the law of chastity here and you have to get interviewed by the bishop if you do it!  I normally wouldn’t be writing a lot about kissing in a missionary letter but it’s so ridiculous!  Just bear with me here.  I had him go talk to the Brazilian Elders during a training we had and they told him the scoop on Brazil.  You get interviewed by the Bishop if you’re not out kissing girls.  My companion can still hardly believe it.
Ok, Moving on.
            Things have been going really well with my new companion!  We’re both working hard on following the rules.  In fact I think I’m more obedient now than I’ve ever been…we’ve really been seeing the results from it too.  On Sunday we went to visit a member after church.  We visited, shared a short message then asked her to pray with us before we went out and housed everyone in her neighborhood.  Then we went out and knocked doors for a few hours.  We found a family!  We talked to a man and he’s actually thought a lot about God before!  I’ve never met a Japanese person like this before!  He said he’s thought about the earth, and humans and thought, well there must be a God, how else could all of this be?  He invited us back to talk to his family!  One awesome thing about that was, when I rang his doorbell and talked to him through the intercom box my Japanese flowed smoother than it ever has.  I didn’t stumble over words or mess up the pronunciation or anything.  Just incredible.  Made me think about how I do have the gift of tongues and about how it’s made manifest when it really counts!  After we finished the neighborhood we told the member we had visited after church about how it went and said another prayer with her.  It was fantastic.
            Afterwards we still had some time before when we had planned to break our fast so we called up a recent convert and asked if we could meet with him and do a mock lesson.  He said yes and we went and prepared for that.  The spirit was so strong during that lesson.  He definitely felt it.  He told us he was going to go home and pray about Joseph Smith again to strengthen his own testimony.  We gave him a Book of Mormon, a church DVD and a postcard of the Tokyo Temple along with our written testimony to him and challenged him to use those items and bear his testimony to someone therefore strengthening his own testimony.  He was overjoyed and even invited us to his house right then for dinner!  So we went and ended our fast at about 8:30.  I felt the spirit so much that day I wasn’t even hungry.
            The best part is we’ve only just begun this transfer.  It’s going to get a lot better!
Elder Wyman

17 March 2011

17 March 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  What a wonderful surprise we received a short phone call from Elder Wyman!  It was wonderful to hear his voice!  He is fine...maybe a little stunned at the quick turn of events and many changes this will bring for him and all the missionaries of Tokyo and Sendai.  He has been reassigned and the new city he will be in is Suzuka.  There is a new map on "Where in Japan" - but you may get a better view of his new location by putting Suzuka in the google maps search engine.  Thanks again for all the concern and well wishes!
- Matlock's Mom

16 March 2011

Email from mission president 16 March 2011

Wow!  The following is an email we received this morning from the mission president.  Elder Matlock Wyman is being reassigned to the Nagoya mission.  When/if his address changes I will post it...until then feel free to continue to use the contact information here on the blog.
Thanks for all your concern, prayers and well wishes by email or phone! - the Mom

From the mission pres:
Dear Parents and Friends,
Many of you may have already seen the press conference that Elders
Holland and Evans held about the recent news regarding the
missionaries in the Tokyo and Sendai missions.  Here are a few more
details to their announcement.
Your missionary is going to be relocated to one of the following three
southerly Japanese Missions; Fukuoka, Kobe or Nagoya. The list
attached tells you which Mission they will be assigned to.
Tomorrow, starting from 09:00am all the missionaries from this mission
will board one of three buses, each going to one of those
destinations.  We expect your missionary will contact you once he or
she has made it to their reassigned mission area.  The length of this
reassignment is still not yet known due to the unpredictable events
that have resulted from the recent earthquake.  There are a number of
factors that prompted this action. Risk of increased radiation levels
reaching the Tokyo area, predicted shortages of fuel, food, and water
following transport disruption and panic buying are factors that have
most potential for health risks, and the health of these missionaries
is the priority. Also, the church wants to provide a place so the
missionaries can continue to work. By moving missionaries we will
relieve the members of the burden of helping missionaries if anything
serious happens.  We would like to reassure you that your missionary
is safe.  There is nothing more important to us than the safety and
happiness of your missionary.  We also want to thank you for your
sincere prayers and concern.
Very best regards,
The Tokyo Japan Mission Office

Email from Matlock - 15 March 2011

Dear Family,

Yeah so things are a little crazy! I`m emailing today because I think the postal service just took second priority here in Japan. We didn`t suffer any lasting damage from the earthquake besides from having to spend a day without electricity. Needless to say that was the biggest earthquake I`ve ever been in. We were on the street talking to people and I was just about to stop someone when it hit. I decided not to talk to him. You could see the buildings clearly shaking and the light posts were swinging so violently I thought for sure they were going to break off and go flying. Oyama had some minor damage but not too severe. We went to the church building afterward because we were at a loss of what to do and no communication could get through from the mission home. The church was a little messy so we decided to clean up a little bit. There was a lot of cracks in the walls and plaster was everywhere. We still had aftershocks while we were cleaning. Some of them were big enough we would run outside until it was finished, then continued cleaning. Right as we finished cleaning the church the bishop came and we went with him to visit members to make sure they were alright. Right as he was telling a member that there was absolutely no communication via cell phone we got a call from the mission president. We both tried making calls afterward, but it didn`t work. No communication blackout can stop a mission president! I also got calls from two other missionaries making sure things were ok. Other than missionaries I don`t think there were any calls getting through.
       We just had another earthquake/ aftershock while I was typing this. They haven`t stopped since Friday. Its so frequent at times that I get kind of motion sick. You know phantom ring where you think you feel your cell phone vibrate but its really not? I`m starting to get phantom earthquake, where I think there might be an earthquake, but no, its just me.
      On Sunday we were at a members house and I saw the footage up near Sendai and Aomori. Its terrible! I had no idea it was that bad! It really affected me, complete towns got wiped out! They showed clips of townspeople up on a hill watching the town fill up with water and cars and homes being washed away. I want to do something to help but there's not a lot I can do right now. All of the missionaries up in that mission however are accounted for. Through similar miracles all the missionaries were in the right place at the right time and got a call from the mission home confirming that they were ok.
       Then that evening we got a call saying not to leave the apartment on Monday since their would be acid rain due to the nuclear power plant explosion, but the next day we got notice that we were too far away to be effected. So we went out and proselyted. Entirely ineffective. No one was out, and there was still possibility of blackouts so no one was really willing to talk. That and the train station was shut down! The thought of no trains coming or going from Oyama was not exactly comforting. Shutting down a station is like the equivalent of shutting down a highway. It just doesn`t happen. I don`t know if its up and running right now but if not... we`re slightly limited in our travel options.
       Were going to try and buy some food today, if there is anything left. All the shelves cleared up pretty fast last weekend. We bought some rations to last us awhile but I`d like to get a little more.
       I really don`t know whats going to happen in the future. For sure the Sendai mission is going to change completely, probably become a service mission or something like that. I don`t know what Tokyo is going to do though. I`m still expecting more instruction. Right now were continuing on as normal for the most part but I don`t know what we might be doing in the near future.
I`m still safe and plan on continuing to be safe. Thanks for all you prayers and concerns.
Love you all!
Elder Wyman
p.s. My companion`s family is all alright. They live way down in Okinawa so they were as far from it as they could possibly be. :)

14 March 2011

11 March 2011 - email from Elder Wyman

Thanks to all who have called and expressed concern.  Sorry I didn't share this piece of good news sooner!
---The Mom :)

hey- so we had a huge earthquake yesterday. I mean really, really big. All the power went out, we couldn`t use the phones to call people or to email, the train system shut completely down, and apparently a pretty big tsunami hit the east coast of Japan. It was intense. We still were having pretty big aftershocks up till about this morning. It seems like its died down, we haven`t felt anything for awhile. The powers back on and we can use our phones with no problems. We`re about to go get food once the stores open up. There's a possibility that there will be a difficulty getting food and the water may or may not stop working so we are going to take those precautions. I think we`ll be ok since we`re pretty far from the coast and everything seems to be going back to normal. But yeah, were ok out here, didn`t get hurt at all.
They had to evacuate all the elders near the coast and bring them into the mission home. If I were still in Togane things would be more interesting.
oh- having an aftershock as I`m typing this. Not done yet I suppose.
well take it easy over there, everything's fine here.
Elder Wyman

11 March 2011

11 March 2011 - Word from the mission office

Yes, there was an earthquake in Japan of magnitude 8.9 on the rector scale.
The following email arrived early this morning:
Dear Parents of the Japan Tokyo Mission Missionaries,
Inspite of the severe earthquakes experienced throughout the day, particularly the large earthquake at 2:46pm off the coast of Miyagi, North Eastern Japan, all of the missionaries in the Tokyo Japan Mission are safe. We have contacted directly each of the areas in the mission and have heard from each and are assured that all are safe and unaffected.
All the trains in the Mission area are currently unusable, but otherwise there have been very few other effects that will influence our missionaries. There has however been many serious effects in other areas of Japan. 
We are grateful for your constant prayers for your missionaries and ask you keep them and the people of Japan in your prayers particularly at this time.
Best Regards,
Japan Tokyo Mission

Letter from Matlock – 8 March 2011

 Dear (Family in Japanese characters),                                     1 March 2011
Well, my companion finished his mission.  This week was pretty interesting.  Tuesday we went to the temple and there were a ton of missionaries there since it’s the last week of the transfer.  After that we went to Akihabara.  Akihabara is the place to go if you’re looking for any type of electronic on the fact of the planet or if you’re up to no good.  I don’t think I would mind not going back there.
Other than that we didn’t really do anything.  I did hit my year mark though.  Half way.  That’s crazy.  I hear that the second year goes a lot faster than the first which I believe cause nothing could have been slower than that first year.  I did have a dream I went back home though.  Before you call me a truncky piece of scum, let me explain the dream.  I went home but in the back of my mind I was thinking, well I grew a lot, and learned a lot but not nearly as much as I expected…Almost like the glass was only half full.  Oh – one year, ironic…I had the same going home dream when I had barely come out into the field.  In contrast with my current dream the thought in the back of my head was, well I haven’t really done anything, or learned anything but….fascinating how things progress.  No matter how much I want to go home sometimes that desire is outweighed by my desire to fulfill a whole two year mission.  So I want to go home in one year more than I want to go home in one month.
            That and I’m done with not wanting to be where I am.  In high school I just wanted to finish and go to college.  In college I just wanted it to end and go home.  Once home I wanted to go enter the MTC.  In the MTC I wanted to be out in the field.  Then I wanted to be back home.  Some Elders get off their mission and want to be back in the field.  Heck, I’d go back to high school if you let me!  I’m not doing this anymore!  When I’m on a mission, I’m on a mission.  When I’m back in school, I’m back in school.
So back to the mission.  This Sunday was fantastic.  Our new investigator came and had read about 17 chapters from 1st Nephi!  The night before we had dinner with two high school girls from eikaiwa and one of the girls’ mom.  They’re all former investigators and the two girls came to church the next day!  Then after church we had a potluck or (Japanese characters).  3 more people from eikaiwa came to that!  We’ve been able to build really good relationships with all of them and it’s going really well.
Well times running out.
Love you all
 (Elder Wyman in Japanese Characters)

06 March 2011

Email from Matlock – 21 February 2011

Dear Family,                                                                           21 February 2011
            My companion wants to go to the temple for the last time tomorrow so we`re emailing today.
There are some interesting people in Japan for sure. We visited a member who showed us the cremated remains of her beloved ferret. We didn`t see but apparently there`s a shrine for it in the backroom. I just don`t know what to think sometimes. The worst part has to be that I`ve gotten so accustomed to this type of thing that it doesn`t bother me at all. People walking their dogs in strollers - completely normal. Doesn`t seem that strange to me anymore.
            Eikaiwa was probably the highlight of this week. We set up a time to do a church shokai (intro) lesson before class and the three people came along with three other friends! So we did a mass shokai lesson with three people there! The only drawback was that we couldn`t ask them all if they wanted to hear more, because there were way too many. We feared we would get a strong resounding NO. But perhaps we can get some of them to church for my companion’s last Sunday in Japan.
            Yesterday after church we went to a birthday party for the kid of a part member family. It was fun. I gave him some of the chocolate left over from a previous Elders Christmas and then taught him how to juggle. He got the hang of it pretty quick. I guess the name of the game here is to become good friends and pray for miracles. I`m going to have to get my faith up and going here....
            I`ve really come to understand faith a lot better recently. I thought I had a ton of faith when I went into the MTC. I figured I didn`t exactly know what I was doing, didn`t have a good rock solid reason for going on a mission or much of an idea of what to expect. So I thought, I must have stronger faith than anyone here, they all have strong convictions etc, etc. But really that’s not faith at all. Faith is power, and is strengthened by knowledge of the gospel, in particular the atonement. It’s strengthened by obedience and by putting off the natural man. Just not knowing yet still doing isn`t strong faith. Strong faith results in seeing miracles. That’s the kind of faith I`m trying to build know, having realized I didn`t actually have any of that faith coming out here. We`ll see where that goes.

Love you all!
Elder Wyman

Letter from Matlock – 18 February 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),                                     7 February 2011
Well this week was action packed.  We started off with splits in Oizumi.  That area is not in Japan, it is in Brazil.  The missionaries there are Brazilian and they use on a regular basis; Portuguese, Spanish, English and Japanese.  We went around and visited some investigators and I just sat there quietly and waited for the translation.  They’re building a branch out there so a lot of the normal rules don’t apply.  That was a lot of fun!  I met the branch president who speaks Portuguese, Japanese and all of the dirty words in English.  That was interesting.
Then it was the Zone p-day which consisted of sports ending with Brazilian food.  In this case Brazil is synonymous with meat.
After all of that I was wishing I had been called to Brazil!  The people have much more personality, are more open to the gospel, the language is easier and sounds cooler in my opinion.  But then I returned to Japan and life went back to normal.  I’ve been on 4 splits since I last wrote.  One was one of my MTC roommates.  During one of those splits we found a house that had a bag full of heads in their yard.  So creepy!
So my companion is pretty ready to go home – and I’m staring another year in the face!  Sometimes I think – this day is not fun I don’t want to do this anymore.  But then I think this transfer is almost over!  It felt like yesterday that I got here!  Feels like last week that I came to japan.  Time is going pretty darn fast.  And I think back to my first few months here and my feelings of not wanting to be a missionary back then were definitely much stronger.
And whenever I get to this point we see more miracles!  Somehow being able to reach out to one person makes even a difficult day worthwhile.  We met a guy housing.  He’s not Christian but really likes the bible and graciously accepted a Book of Mormon.  He’s pretty busy so it may be difficult to meet but if it works out that would be cool!
(Elder Wyman in Japanese Characters)