03 July 2011

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)

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