21 July 2011

Letter from Matlock – 12 July 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese Characters),
            There’s been a lot going on this week! And you get to hear a condensed less interesting version in this letter. Enjoy!
We’ve had a lot of people to work with this week. One new investigator tried to drop us after she read about Nephi decapitating King Laban. I don’t know what she’s talking about- that’s the best part in that chapter! Just wait until she gets to the end and 230,000 Nephites fall by the sword. Anyways we talked it over with her and convinced her to keep reading.
            Then we met with an American who hasn’t really been to church since he was ordained a deacon. He’s thought a lot about whether or not the church is true and so in order to find out he turned to the internet. Great! We got to answer some pretty interesting questions, some of which we told him to set aside and not think about it until he understood some more basic principles first.
We found a Japanese class this week that costs 100 yen. Turned out to be a really good idea! I talked a lot with one student who is from China and she actually teaches Chinese class every Friday. We are so there! She also wants to practice her English so we could be seeing her 3x a week at English, Chinese and Japanese class!
Also new this week, there will be family home evening every Monday, and the advisor for this activity will be making a blog for it! I’ll keep you posted with the URL for that when he makes it.
            Almost forgot about the coolest stuff that happened this week! We were walking down a bazaar when we found a guy with a magic stand. We talked to him for a bit, he did some magic for us. It was decent. I’ve seen better. And done better. Afterwards I said I did magic too and some juggling. He asked to see some juggling so…I showed him. He thought it was just like a pop-tart- crazy good!
            From there we went to district meeting. In my district is an Elder who just came from Togane. Togane! He said they’ve been working with one of our investigators a lot. He was one that my former companion handed him an English class flier and so he started meeting with us to learn English. He didn’t believe in God nor did he care to learn more but the whole time I was there he was growing very slowly but very steadily. He’s kept up the pace and knows the church is true but is still keeping that slow steady pace towards baptism. I was simply thrilled to hear about that! I’ve really felt that God’s wisdom and guidance has been helping him along. So exciting! I get so pumped when I think about it.

Love you all,
(Elder Wyman in Japanese Characters)
Elder Wyman

15 July 2011

Email from Mission President!

Japan Tokyo Missionaries:
   Below is a link to a YouTube Video of our trip to Tohoku.  You may want to send this link to your families so they can watch it.  Have a great week.


Pres. Albrecht


Letter from Matlock – 5 July 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese Characters),
            So I think my most prized possession right now is a half-eaten box of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.
            We had transfers!  And I am the lone man standing in Tokorozawa.  Our count went down from 4 to 2; which is good because now we fit in our futon room.  I don’t have to worry about kicking someone in the head, or playing footsies with someone else, or snuggling with any one left over; plenty of space and peaceful rest at last.  My new companion is from the Cahoon clan!  That’s right, I’m with a fellow scot!  At last someone who understands that kilts are the garb of men, and that music isn’t music if it doesn’t come from the pipes!  I think this will be a good transfer.
            Right before transfers however another Elder and I went to a bible group.  This church turned out to be Pentecostal.  It was an interesting experience to say the least.   They started off with a prayer and I wasn’t sure if the pastor was praying to God or trying to summon him.  Then we sang hymns…maybe I wouldn’t go so far as to call them hymns – more like campfire songs.  Pastor was jamming out on his acoustic and everyone was singing along and shouting “Hallelujah! Amen”.  It was so much fun!  Then he kicked off his sermon.  He was supposed to be teaching from the bible but I was afraid we were going to get a bible thrown at us!  It was interesting.  I thought it was a good experience.  Check out the other churches…see what we’re up against…ha ha just kidding.  It was a reaching out and educational experience.  Yadda, yadda.
            In other news I spaced out while riding my bike, clipped a pole and flew over my handle bars.  I was perfectly fine aside from being embarrassed for running into a bar.  Wait, I probably should have thought of a good “walking into a bar” joke.  Once you walk into too many bars it’s hard to think on your feet.
            I noticed something interesting in Sunday School; Ether 12:27 talks about overcoming weaknesses.  Take two steps back – the first thing in that verse – it says if men come unto me (Christ) I will show unto them their weaknesses.  I really felt like I understood -  that verse really hit me.  Before I came on my mission I had no idea what my weaknesses were.  What I consider my weaknesses now I thought were strengths before I came to Japan.  I had no idea who I was.  Now I have a little better idea, and the second part of the promise is hopefully quickly coming into effect. – for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Gospels true!
Love you all,
(Elder Wyman in Japanese Characters)
Elder Wyman

Letter from Matlock – 28 June 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese Characters),
            The highlight of this week by far has to be splits with another Elder.  He’s just so full of love and so darn funny.  While we were on the train going to our missionary conference a man standing next to us read his nametag and asked what matsa jitsu meant.  He told him that matsu jitsu meant latter day and that seito meant saints and so all together it means latter day saints.  Then he said if that’s too bothersome you can just say LDS.  By way of definition he just translated it into English!  So funny!  Then later the man said something to the effect of “Oh, God, I don’t believe.”  Then the Elder said, “You don’t believe?!  If you don’t believe there is no way you can go to the Kingdom of heaven!”  I didn’t catch much of what he said after that because I was cracking up!  The man that he was practically condemning was laughing too, when he got off the Elder said – “You’re getting off?  That’s too bad, this train is going to heaven!”  Hilarious!  Simply hilarious!  I love him!
            Later on splits we just went to a park and I juggled while he blew bubbles.  He would blow some bubbles and then exclaim – tanoshii!  (fun!)  It actually wasn’t too long before there was a large group gathered around us despite hardly anyone being at the park.  So basically the best splits of my mission.
            Sunday was very interesting.  A new lady came to church found me and my companion and said, remember me?  You knocked on my door!  I didn’t remember and obviously hadn’t expected to see her again.  I spent all 3 hours of church and then some trying to remember where in Japan we ran into her.  Now if only I could remember her name….
            Also new to Tokorozawa, a member and his family from my first area, Sakado.  His brother and his family were in Togane and I also went to his sister’s wedding.  I’m going to end up following this family around until I go back to America!
            One last interesting tidbit.  As we were showing the church introduction video to an English class student I realized that the church in the DVD was the same building we were sitting in.  On top of that I knew everyone in the movie. Surprise. Surprise.
            Ok, one last tidbit, I finished reading Jesus the Christ!  Only took me forever, excellent read, I highly recommend it to everyone.
Love you all,
Elder Wyman
(Elder Wyman in Japanese Characters)

03 July 2011

Letter from Matlock – 21 June 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
            This week I set food on American soil!  And the best part is, I didn’t have to break any major rules to do so!  I went on exchanges to Fussa which happens to be an American military base branch.  The missionaries cover a Japanese branch and a foreigner branch which is mostly for the military families.  A family invited the missionaries over for dinner and so we went.  American apartments are in every way different from Japanese apartments.  It was such a culture shock!  They had carpet!  And couches!  And furniture!  So weird!
            On the way to exchanges I actually met an American missionary for a different Christian church.  We talked a little and then he pulled out his Bible and bashed me with it.  Ouch.  Apparently I’m accursed.  Look it up it’s all in Galatians Ch. 1.  He may know the bible inside and out but he needs to work on his people skills a little.  Reminded me of how the fullness of the Gospel is proclaimed by the weak and simple.  Don’t need a college degree in theology when you’ve got the spirit.
            Sunday by far had to be the most interesting day this week.  We went to visit an inactive family.  I knew absolutely nothing about the family when we went over there.  The father came out and started talking with us.  He told us how he hasn’t been coming to church because he has a problem with the commandments.  Then he told us he knows the church is true and told us he wants to come back so back.  He was testifying and crying that was a very sudden yet very powerful experience.  Apparently he’s reading the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants every day as well as going on the church homepage.  He’s a really great brother and I’m thinking as hard as I can of what we can do to help him.
            This was all done in English by the way.  In fact this week about half of all the people we’ve met on the street and half the members I’ve talked with have spoken English.  I’ve probably used more English than Japanese this week.  That’s fine with me – it is my stronger point after all.

Love you all,
Elder Wyman

Letter from Matlock – 14 June 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese characters),
            So remember how when I first came to Japan they announced that we were going to get computers in just a few months?  A year later we’re actually getting them!  We’ll be the pilot mission for the church so basically if we mess up missionaries around the world will not have computers to use.  I can just feel the pressure already.  My fingers are just itching to jump onto Facebook the first chance I get!  Just kidding, I’ll be good…come to think of it having not used it for over a year Facebook isn’t even that exciting anymore.  We’ll look at what happens.
            Speaking of good news, we have a fantastic ward mission leader.  He’s brother Honda.  I just realized all you non-native Japanese people may find that amusing.  Honda is actually a common name, as is Suzuki.  Mitsubishi, however, is not a name.  Anyways – he’s going to America soon for a business trip and offered to bring back something from America.  Now this is the moment of truth.  What one item from America do I want the most?  The answer is – Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.  I’m salivating already.  And I will praise Brother Honda’s name for many a breakfast!
            Overall things are going pretty good here.  I’m working with my companion on his English a lot.  It has a lot to be desired but is very good compared to some of the new foreign elders in the field.  He just needs the motivation to really buckle down and he’ll be fluent by the time he goes home.
            It’s a very good thing my companion didn’t go to America though.  We went to Costco today (J) and as I put food in the cart all the said was Eww!  What’s that?!  We don’t need that! Gross!  That’s way too much!  He would die in America.  I’m actually trying to talk him into visiting America so I can purge him.
            It may be mostly due to my experience with my companions but lately I’ve really felt just how weak I am and how little I can really do.  In turn I’ve discovered just how wonderful the atonement is.  Those times when we’re at our lowest there is a hand there to lift us up and when our all isn’t enough there is someone to take us the rest of the way.  Looking back, that’s probably the only way I survived him…by trusting in Jesus Christ.  I’ll be slow to forget now where my strength lies.
Love you all,
Elder Wyman

Letter from Matlock – 7 June 2011

Dear (Family in Japanese characters), 
            Wow, so much has happened since I wrote last.  And it doesn’t help that I didn’t have time to write last week.
            Well, I’ll take it from the top.  I’m not in Nagoya anymore.  My old companion from Nagoya went to Togane!  My favorite place in Japan!  And he went there with Elder Johnson.  He’s in the group who came with me to Japan.  He’s a good guy. 
            Now I’m with a new companion, also Japanese.  However – he is normal.  I like him a lot, cause he talks and does other normal things like that.  We are in the same apartment as two other elders.  They’re both hilarious so we’re having a blast over here. (Two American Elders and two Japanese Elders in the apartment.)  The two Japanese Elders in our apartment are from different parts of Japan and therefore speak different languages.  Every once in a while they debate over what’s Japanese and what’s not.  It’s amazing to say the least.
            I must say coming back to Tokyo was just like coming back home.  Once I stepped into the mission home I felt like 2 months of stress and anxiety just washed away.  Needless to say it was very nice.
            The biggest event however was when we went up to Sendai.  I wish this would be a big surprise for you but I’m sure the missionary mom network stuck their fingers into this pie and you know everything down to the itinerary.
            So the whole Tokyo mission went up to Sendai for a day to volunteer as the ‘Mormon helping hands’ or as it translates into Japanese  - ‘Morumon herupingu hanzu.’  I think it sounds better in English personally.  The trip was fantastic though!  We mostly just shoveled mud.  Mud that had been mixed with gasoline and tar and then washed into everyone’s yards, homes, streets…It’s pretty messy up there, they really do need a lot of help.  One of the biggest problems was that the tsunami came and …destroyed everything.  I was going to write something else but then had a “duh!” moment.  One small problem they have is the tsunami washed into everyone’s homes, soaked through the tatami or bamboo mats, and dumped a bunch of mud down there.  So we would tear up the mats, take out the floorboards and dig all the mud out.  It was fantastic; all of us have been itching to go get our hands dirty ever since we had this disaster.  After it was over they took us about a mile or two closer to the shore to see where the real disaster was.
            Even seeing it in person I couldn’t believe what I was looking at.  It’s just all chaotic obliteration.  Most of the homes are flattened right down to the foundation, cars and boats are scattered across fields and roads.  It’s hard to know just how to feel when you can’t comprehend what you’re looking at.  It was a very still and solemn moment.  One thing is for sure, I’ve been praying much more sincerely for these people of Japan since seeing the damage with my own eyes.  If I can’t be up there every day shoveling dirt then I can at least pray for them!
            Afterwards we went to a church building a ways away to eat some bento’s and a member we knew showed up!  How crazy is that?!  His college may or may not have been destroyed, but he’s still studying and helping out when he can.
All in all it was a good trip.
Everyone thank you for all of your prayers – (something in Japanese Characters)
(Love you all in Japanese Characters)
(Elder Wyman in Japanese Characters)

Email from Matlock – 23 May 2011

Dear Family,

I am so happy right now you have no idea. So when I left Togane I lost contact with a good friend. I had an email address but I didn't know if it was correct or not since he wasn't replying. Well, I just got an email from him! Turns out he was just so absent minded he didn't check his email for several months. He was very apologetic but I thought it was hilarious since that’s exactly how I remember him. Very, very absent minded. I missed him so much, I'm simply ecstatic that I'll still have contact with him. I was beginning to wonder if there was any way for a person in America to find someone in China when they didn't even know how to spell their name. Dodged that bullet!
     Second big item of rejoicing- we got the announcement and we are going back to Tokyo this Thursday! This is like the light at the end of the tunnel, I'm so happy to go back.
     Third item of interest- I came to Nagoya for about two months which was about long enough to land myself on TV. No I'm not kidding. So. It all started with another Elder receiving a name from a member. They told him they know a kid who is training to be a motorbike champion and wants to learn English because he's going to become a world champion and needs English to do so. So this Elder went and would teach him English once a week. When I came he told me that since I was the native speaker I should go teach him. So I've been teaching him English since I got here. Apparently he really is on his way to being champion because he just won a huge race, and they are making a small documentary of him to put on TV. Well, he mentioned that in order to become a world champion he's taking English lessons from some missionaries from America and Brazil. Now, the TV people want to film us teaching him English. Isn't this a scream? I haven't even made it on TV in America yet! So pumped. Tomorrow we are going to go teach him and there will be a television crew there. I hope after this I can go knock on doors and have people say- "hey- I've seen you before!"
      Speaking of which someone did say that to me yesterday. We housed into this guy who says he's seen me before up in Yokkaichi which is the area just north of us. We talked for a long time. I mean a long, long time- about two hours. Turns out he's really interested! Interested in what we're doing as missionaries, and how we do it. He just kept asking question after question and somehow we got into the missionary schedule and how we pay for all of this. We did however talk about the gospel, and he was in fact interested in it. After it got a bit late we traded phone numbers gave him a Book of Mormon and beat it home.
      And that is why I'm ecstatically happy right now.
     Where is Elder Wyman off to next? To find out- stay tuned till next week!
Love you all!
Elder Wyman