27 November 2011

Letter from Matlock - 11-21-2011

Dear Family,

    Things are going pretty good here in Kichijoji. There’s a lot to do here and so it’s unfortunate that we haven't been able to do anything yet. Just as my companion recovered from his sickness I came down with my own and so we haven't really been able to go out and do anything yet. On Friday I slept in really late and felt pretty dumb for not being able to do something as simple as get up at a reasonable hour. Then during the course of the day I developed a sore throat, runny nose and ended up back in bed by six. Didn't feel so bad after that. On Saturday I wasn't feeling any better and it was pouring rain outside. I decided to quit while I was already behind and we didn’t' go outside that day. Then on Sunday I fought through my first church meeting in Kichijoji avoiding shaking hands with everyone with a tissue box by my side at all times. I'm hoping this week we'll finally be able to thrust in our sickle and reap kichijoji until there’s nothing left of it but brand new chapels all over the place.
     We had district meeting, and it went really well. Except for my companion and I every companionship has a brand new missionary in it. One is a tank. After district meeting one thing led to another and I ended up pressed up against the ceiling. No joke. It was the coolest thing to happen to me since Dad threw me up in the air and caught me some 15 years ago. Not to say you've been replaced Dad it’s just...
       Some good news, first I'm not in Adachi, second one of the investigators who one of my former companions and I found in Tokorozawa is going to be baptized in another week or two. Third I finished reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese! It was just like reading it in English except I understood a lot less. Now if I can just get some Japanese people to read it, maybe they'll understand it a little better.
       Right now we're working with a guy who is about 30 years old and 10 years of that was spent in solitary confinement in his home. He went to America and got into some stuff he shouldn't have and now he's not in good shape. My favorite still has to be a scots man. He’s in every sense an old Scottish man. During English class when I teach English phrases he explains them with English phrases that I have never heard before. It’s really funny! Have you ever heard "stand a mile" or "stand head to shoulder"? Didn't think so. He said that he will read the Book of Mormon for us, he doesn't think it’s actually at all important but he will read it because we want him to. I asked why he would read it for us and he says that we are good guys and wouldn't steer him wrong. So we've at least got the trust down. I really enjoy working with him, despite how weird that may sound. Maybe it’s because most Japanese people just don't think about anything and don't have opinions or wouldn't tell you even if they did. When it comes to discussing religion it’s hard to find anyone who will give you their two cents.
       Well, hope all is well on the home front.
                   Love you all!
                   --Matlock Wyman

Letter from Matlock - 11-14-2011

Dear Family,

     I'm not sure how I feel right now. There is a Burger King in this area and they have a special all you can eat whopper burger special going on this week. We went and now I’m not sure how I feel. I'm sure they could never get away with something like this in America. Then again there’s a lot of things that happen in Japan that you couldn't get away with in America.
     My companion got sick this week so we didn't really leave the apartment. He caught a cold and it destroyed him so I got to see lots of the inside of the apartment. Other than that things have been really good. Kichijoji is a really busy area which really just means there’s lots of interesting people. I could never get bored of this area. 
     There’s two sister missionaries here as well. One is fresh from the MTC and is actually from the exact same town as my companion. They went to the same church building but a different ward- a phenomena that doesn't occur back in the east. He also trained his cousin last transfer, his distant cousins live in this ward, two friends from school are also in this mission, his girlfriend worked at the bookstore- there’s no end to this. I was never graced to live in Mormon world so I consequently have to forge my own way here and create brand new acquaintances. 
     You won't believe what happened the other day, except you probably will because it’s not that unbelievable. We started walking towards this guy and he just started flapping his arms at us indicating that he couldn't hear. He initiated the contact mind you. We started doing sign language to him and either he doesn't understand or he’s crazy but he just waved his hand at us indicating that he wanted nothing to do with us. See learning all that sign language did come in handy after all. 
     I don't think I mentioned this before but I found soy ice cream in Japan! It was in a grocery store near the apartment in Adachi. Since coming here I haven't found it but I'll tell you it did taste pretty dang good. Not as good as American soy ice cream but I think it’s the best I'm going to get for a while. 
     Despite not having my ice cream this area is really good. The air is cleaner, the apartment is HUGE, and the eikaiwa is also huge. We split everyone into three classes and there are 10-15 people in each class. I teach advanced which means they are good enough to be able to call me out on things. When it comes down to it I don't know English well enough to really explain it, so I just teach interesting sayings and phrases to distract them from actually having to learn anything. So far so good. 
     Also had a stake conference and I got to see a lot of members from Tokorozawa! I was surprised that I could remember all their names. That was the miracle for the week. 
                      Love you all madly-
                       --Matlock Wyman

13 November 2011

Letter from Matlock - 11-8-2011

To whom it may concern,

     Transfers happened this week and you’re not going to believe what happened, because I don't believe what happened. I transferred out of Adachi (Hallelujah!!) and went to Kichijyouji. This is pretty much the center of everything. Most conferences are held here, it’s the stake center and it used to be the mission home. My new companion is my old MTC companion! The very same one that I slept under, waited in line for the showers for, raced up five flights of stairs every day, and practiced hiragana flashcards with for 3 months in the MTC. It’s weird. I think we must have both grown a lot or something because it’s a lot more fun now than it was a year and a half ago. I'm really looking forward to it. He is the district leader over a district full of spanking brand new missionaries so we're thinking of ways we can mess with everyone. I wouldn't call it hazing it’s more like initiation.
     I am so, so glad to be out of Adachi. I didn't tell you this earlier but Adachi is among the most dangerous cities in Japan, and has the highest crime rate in Tokyo. In my opinion it’s the dirtiest place too. My health was starting to decline. I left with a bang with our Halloween party on the 4th of November. A bit after the fact but I suppose the logic behind that is that no one can use a Halloween party as an excuse to get out of going to a Halloween party after Halloween. We made a maze which people had to navigate through in the dark while we jumped out and scared them. While poking around a dollar store we found these balls that you can stick glow sticks into and make it... well, glow. So we got three of them and I juggled in the dark. It was the funniest thing ever! I have to get my hands on some light up balls when I get back.
     The last day in Adachi however didn't make me sorry to leave. Not when I was heading back to the apartment at 9:00 with dead legs, sharp pain in my stomach, light rain and a flat tire. It was one of those moments. My moment of serenity was when I went to the temple last week. It was amazing how I was able to utterly and completely separate myself from the uncleanliness and ungodliness for those moments in the temple. Unfortunately I just stepped back into them upon returning to Adachi. That’s why we have transfers.
     Thank you everyone for everything! 愛!
--Matlock Wyman

Letter from Matlock - 11-1-2011

Dear Family,
     I miss my sticks!
     Well there goes October. Yesterday I remembered two times during the day that it was Halloween. We happened to be in a mall and they were taking down decorations already. Halfway through the holiday they're moving on. Obviously Halloween isn't a big deal here. Same with Christmas unfortunately, and Thanksgiving.
     This week is a very special week because this week is the week that I found a juggler. We went to a train station to meet with a woman who had met with the missionaries before and had a little interest in the church. Since we were pretty early we decided we would pass out some English class fliers. Outside the station there was a street performer standing on a trunk doing some balloon art. I thought that this must be good and naturally stayed to watch. He broke out some devil sticks which are like the juggling sticks I used except a little different. Basically they don't have the tassels on the end and go a lot faster. He was really good! It was so good to meet another soul who cares about juggling! After his performance I talked with him and I showed him what I could do with his stuff which wasn't really anything. We traded numbers and everything so I want to be around the next time he gives a performance. Any chance you can send my sticks over here? I can't decide whether or not it would be worth it but it would be really cool to toss sticks around with him.  I miss my sticks! (I typed that and then wondered what it would sound like out of context so I put it at the beginning of the letter.)
     After wards we met with the lady and talked with her for a bit. We had an opportunity to share a really good testimony of this gospel and it really seemed to touch her heart instead of falling short at the ears which happens more often than it should. Unfortunately she is really busy so we can't share more at the moment. She said she would read the Book of Mormon but that’s what she said last time too....
     In other news, we got our hands on a Swedish Book of Mormon! I probably mentioned this already now that I think about it. We will get that in the Swedish student’s hands this weekend and build his faith! He told us that he is afraid of being compelled to believe, or as I think the concern is eventually convincing himself that it is true. I think once we can get him into the Book of Mormon he will realize that there’s a lot more to it than convincing yourself its true. I've had a hard time forging revelation from God to myself and other people. a.k.a. I can't do it.
     Things keep on moving. Went to the temple today and it was spectacular. I can try to go into detail in explaining it but I'll just leave it at "super good feeling".
                     Love you all!

Matlock Wyman

Letter from Matlock - 10-26-2011

Dear 家族、
      Had a pretty decent week last week. Just a decent solid week. Started with splits which went really well. I went with one of my companion’s past companions. We went out to sushi and I convinced him to eat something besides the salmon and maguro which are basically the only two things that are considered safe and guaranteed to taste good. With every weird looking thing that went around I asked if he wanted a plate until he caved and ate one. Turned out to be clam. I tried one too and it was pretty good. I'm going to eat more clam in the future. I've missed out on clam chowder all this time I never really knew what I was missing out on. And all of you don't know what you’re missing out on until you eat it raw!
     After sushi we found a guy on the street who is interested in religion. Not necessarily interested in joining on but he is interested in learning. Hey good enough for me! Gave him a Book of Mormon and scheduled a time to meet the next day. Later that day I saw a blonde haired blue eyed guy crossing the street and so naturally I had to talk with him. The general rule is if you meet another foreigner in Japan you have an instant bond and connection. Unless that person is from America and is living in Japan. Then they automatically don't want to talk to you. In fact that is the last thing they want to do. I lucked out, this guy was from Sweden. He is a college student and came to Japan to... well learn Japanese. Sounded like a good reason to me. He used to be a believer but as time went on faith lost to science, but science hasn't completely dominated as it cannot explain everything. In other words he has some dormant faith which we intend to revive. Yesterday we got our hands on a Swedish Book of Mormon and will hand that to him in due time. We also taught him the next day. It went so, so good. He was really interested and he knew what we were talking about so we basically took the pieces of the puzzle and put it together for him. Usually we have to put the pieces of the puzzle on the table ourselves. We taught someone with a Christian background in English and it was amazing. It was SOOOOO much easier. I cannot express how much easier it was than teaching someone brought up only knowing that Christians like crosses, pray a lot and go to church with big stain glass windows. Missionaries in America don't know how easy they've got it.
      Our first new investigator’s lesson went pretty well. He doesn't intend on being baptized or anything (yet) but he is super interested and wants to read the whole Book of Mormon. If he reads with sincerity he won't make it to the end of that book without experiencing a lot of goodness. Cause that book’s awesome!
     Later that week we had splits again, this time with a bunch of prospective missionaries. This is to give them some experience and up their desire to serve. It happened to rain that day so not all of the young adults came that they were expecting. As you can expect as many missionaries as intended to come, came. A little bit of rain doesn't stop us. Unfortunately however this meant we had more missionaries than we really needed. So we paired of and split amongst ourselves. Guess who I got to work with? My very own MTC companion. First time since we left America. It was really good, we both had a great time, much better than we did in the MTC. I could probably even be companions with him again.
     The other big news was, my companion and I got pretty sick, I think it was a cold. Spent a day or so sleeping and crawled out of bed only so we could teach English class. We got there, set up and were actually making plans to end the lesson early and hand things off to our roommates while we went back to rest. When we announced that in the beginning one of the members who usually comes and helps out said that he would teach the class for us so we could go back and rest. I haven't felt that much gratitude for someone in a long long time. Nicest guy ever. We got out of teaching class and got to go home and crash.
      The end.

love you all!
--Matlock Wyman