15 May 2011

Letter from Matlock – 11 May 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),                                     2 May 2011
 It is officially rainy season!  Or as I like to call it, May madness.  If only I could get brackets going it could be just as fun as March madness.  For those of you who don’t know how to play here are the rules for May madness.
1.      You are allotted a maximum 1 minute interval between clear skies and pouring rain.
2.      If you forget your rain gear it will rain.
3.      No time outs
4.      Have fun!
No one really follows the last rule though…
Speaking of having fun I managed two more flats on my bike tire.  I think there’s more patch than tube in my back tire now.  Someone has yet to tell me the most patches you can put on a tube before you have to buy a new one so I’m just going to keep going.
This week brought a lot of ups and downs, starting by meeting the biggest jerk that I have ever had the misfortune of crossing paths with.  He was so rude that my companion thinks he’s part of the Yakuza or something because normal Japanese people are simply not that rude.
In contrast to that we were able to teach a lesson to our new investigator!  She liked everything she heard and wants to dive right into the Book of Mormon.  We set a baptismal date for the 21st of this month.  Whether or not we can do it by then is another question.  Whether or not we will even still be her by then is also a whole other question.  Apparently those rumors circulating around the “mom network” are actually pretty accurate.  Today half of the Tokyo missionaries are returning to Tokyo.  I am in the half not going back to Toyko.  I’m glad too, there’s still some work to be done here in Suzuka!
We were able to have a great meeting with another part member/less active family.  The father was baptized but went inactive when he went into high school and so the mom and children are not baptized.  We had a really great time talking with them.  Apparently he has a friend who teaches at BYU and he got a Christmas family letter type thing from them but since it was all in English…he couldn’t understand any of it!  So I translated it for him and he was very happy to know what his friend told him.  Then he played some guitar for us and he is really, really good!  Afterwards I got to talk with the mom a little and it turns out she likes sewing and cooking.  Especially cakes!  So I offered to get (and translate) some cake recipes from my American mother.  J  Thanks mom!  Sorry but if she makes me your cakes you may get temporarily displaced…kidding, kidding , love you mom!  They invited us back over to eat yakisoba sometime before we get shipped off to Tokyo, so exciting!  Coolest family we’ve found yet.  In Japan that is.
Love you all,
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)

3/18/2011 - excerpts from email from Nagoya mission president

Dear Parents of Missionaries serving in the Japan Nagoya Mission:
We are grateful for your example of love and service. Your example is evident in the lives of your sons and daughters who serve here. THEY ARE REMARKABLE! They are without doubt the finest young people in the world and the best missionaries in the church. Their lives of faith are a reflection of your own. Thank you.
All of the missionaries are safe. Sister Baird and I are sensitive to the trust you place in us by sending your children into our care and keeping. We love them. We rejoice with them in their successes. When they have difficulties and trials we weep with them.
As you know the church has a world class risk analysis system and they carefully tune to events and conditions around the world. The Brethren are particularly concerned for the well-being and safety of missionaries wherever they serve. From the time Christ’s Church was restored in the modern era, missionary work has been a part of the fabric of who we are and what we do. The Church is very experienced with all manner of natural and political disruption. The pattern of decision making, no matter what conditions our missionaries face, has been to focus on the safety of the missionaries.
We welcome many missionaries previously assigned to the Japan Tokyo mission. The pattern of caution and prudence for which the church is known, led to a decision made by the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency to reassign missionaries serving in Tokyo to the Nagoya Mission as well as other missions in Japan. The press statement made by Church is informative and represents the policy of the church regarding the safety of missionaries. Though you have probably heard or read it, I include it again at the end of this message.
In addition to the direction we receive from Church Headquarters, each mission has emergency response procedures. These procedures are developed locally based on principles guided by the Church’s long years of experience and research in such matters. As you know, Japan is an earthquake prone nation. Aftershocks are common following large earthquakes. Aftershocks of varied intensity are understandable. We take aftershocks seriously. Missionaries are asked to report in subsequent to each occurrence. There are multiple means of communication with each set of missionaries including local members who love and watch out for the missionaries. We stay abreast of and follow warnings from local agencies and governments. Being prudent qualifies us for the protective powers of heaven.
A final note includes our respect for the people of the nation we serve. In many places in the world, natural disasters are viewed as a license for looting, theft, vandalism and other criminal acts. The human effects can compound the severity of the event. I am not aware of a single incident of this type in Japan. There may have been some, but the Japanese people are patient, frequently waiting in long lines for scare basic necessities including water. If supplies run out there is no fight or contention simply patient waiting. They are tolerant and kind. Though there may be panic in their hearts, there is calm in their demeanor. We admire them. We love them. We would rather be in Japan, in such circumstances, than any place else in the world. Your prayers on behalf of the missionaries in Japan are powerful and comforting. Thank you. President and Sister Baird.

Concerning parents of missionaries who were in Japan Tokyo Mission;

Following a 5 hour bus ride we safely arrived at the Nagoya Mission Home where we were greeted graciously by President and Sister Baird; and many of the Nagoya missionaries.  We felt their love and testimonies and we are excited for the work.

Elder Bullock
Former Assistant of the Japan Tokyo Mission

01 May 2011

Letter from Matlock – 30 April 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),                                     25 April 2011
 We went to our new investigator’s house for lunch and she kept talking to my Japanese companion like he understood English.  She is the lady from Africa (specifically Nigeria) that we met our first week here.  She’s married to a Japanese person and if you’re wondering how that worked out, so am I.  At least I was.  So he moved to Africa and lived there for 25 years while he learned Swahili, an African language, and English.  So because of his parent’s failing health he’s come back to Japan to look out for them.  Interesting right?  So she is Christian down to her bones and the husband is Christian also.  Unless he’s with his mother, then he’s Shinto.  So in other words…who knows?  It was so funny.  I would at times translate for my Japanese companion who would then laugh even harder.  Despite not being able to understand, it was still amusing him!  We watched some conference with her then she showed us clips of the astounding poverty in Africa.  People are just living in slums fighting for survival every day.  There’s not a whole lot I can do for them but that definitely gave me some more perspective on things!
On that note…
Love you all,
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)