06 February 2012

Email from Matlock 6 February 2012

 Dear 家族、

     Well its February.
    Took a nap last p-day, which turned out to be a mistake. I was more exhausted after the nap than before. I learned my lesson. Received a three hour professional cleaning service coupon from our ward mission leader. Think he's trying to give us a hint or something. Had transfers and a Japanese Sister came in place of an American. Her bike had a few problems so I taught myself how to fix a derailer. Now that I've got it figured out I'm thinking about taking a look at my own gears... I haven't been able to use the highest gear for over a year now but I never worried about it cause since leaving Togane with that massive hill I haven't had a need to use that gear. Speaking of Togane, I miss that place! I'm slowly coming to the realization that the promised land of Kichijoji is more like your modern day Babylon. We spent a whole day stopping people on the streets and preaching the word with very little to show for it! There were some cool things that happened however.
     On Wednesday after some long hours of getting rejected on the street we started heading back to eat and get ready for English class when we ran into a Brother from the ward. He was heading out to eat at a Chinese restaurant that I had thought about going to before so we just went along with him. Now I think the closer you get to China the more authentic the Chinese food gets, cause its nothing like the places you find in America. I hear it’s still not quite like real Chinese food though. I'll have to get my hands on some of the real McKoy someday. Anyways, after we finished eating the waiter (Chinese) came up to me and said he saw that we were Christian and he was interested in Christianity. He then asked if he could have a card or something. In my experience as a missionary I've had more luck with the Chinese people than the Japanese so this may be a good sign. Another day we were all passing out English fliers at the station but I was pretty tired of that so I tried to tell people about the Book of Mormon and pass out Book of Mormon pass along cards. The only people who would talk to me were two girls from China. My patience is running thin with the Japanese people!
      English class was pretty interesting this week. Two native English speakers+ two Japanese speakers/ 3 English classes= 1 slight problem. One of the Sister missionaries taught the beginners class and I took over intermediate. I have now taught every single class here at Kichijoji. Intermediate is... fun. Unfortunately we didn't have any new students and as far as I can tell we've gotten no new people from the tissues. What a shame.
     Every companionship in the district got changed and after our first district meeting I'm starting to really miss the old district! I got a new companion and the other companionship in the apartment got a new companion. I haven't met him before but I do know he's on transfer 11. He is pretty interesting. He made a big deal about how he was on transfer 11 and how he was already an old missionary and he just couldn't believe it. He's trunkier than I am. I didn't have the heart to break it to him that he still has 7 months left. He also regaled us several times about how he gained a testimony of kanji study because thanks to kanji study he knew how to say the word cell in Japanese and use it to testify to someone on the street. We're all proud of him.
     Speaking of interesting people we were invited out to lunch by an English class student. I took that as a sign that he wanted to be convinced to believe in God. Apparently that’s not exactly what he had in mind. He said if there was a God how come so many bad things happened, surely he would stop such things? Fair question, except I have yet to meet someone out here who will accept the answer. We explained the fall of Adam how we are living in an imperfect state and this is so we can know good from evil and gain experience, learn and grow. Shared from the scriptures the need for opposition in all things and the whole time he just shook his head in exasperation as if he expected us to say, "oh good point there, I guess there is no God!" No, I will debate this with you all day my friend because God being there is the only logical answer, and once you realize that your life will be happier and have more meaning. In the end I assigned him 2nd Nephi chapter 2 and told him this would answer all his questions about why there are wars, famines, 9/11's, sicknesses, and accidents. You think he would read it right? We'll find out when we see him next English class.

                        Love you all!
                         Elder Wyman

01 February 2012

Email from Matlock 30 January 2012

Dear 家族

     We passed out all the tissues! Went through 363 in one hour. 686 total. Plus about 2 that I used myself makes 688. The most intense hour of my mission. It was pouring rain, dark, cold, wet, clammy and we were just passing out these tissues left and right. Pure insanity, I thought to myself a few times that surely this was the end I was sacrificing myself to free English class in Japan with no more than 50 people in attendance. In the end I made it out alive, though my nametag didn't. Lost in action, may it rest in peace. It’s all just premature preparation for going home that’s all. I still have to order a new one actually, I keep forgetting. If I don't order it now...
     Right after our hour of insanity I decided we were going out to eat at this place near the station. I deserved it after all. While we were eating the rain turned into snow. Really intense snow. So once we finished our extreme dinner we headed out into the intensely radical snow blizzard and had a precariously insane ride home. No I'm not exaggerating.
     In the end all our efforts got us three new people at eikaiwa. All of whom came from different sources. Of course. I'm waiting on bated breath for this week, and if no one shows up with a tissue packet in hand then I'm bagging the tissue idea.
     We didn't find any great people on the street but we did hang up some eikaiwa posters. Hoping that will prove to be more effective that passing out 1,000 tissues in a week. One place we went was a dollar store and the girl working there said we could hang one up outside. We didn't have any tape but luckily we were already at a dollar store. Then when we went to staple the map to the poster we realized we were all out of staples. But luckily we were already at a dollar store. Then I got kind of thirsty, but luckily...
     There was a special conference this week for all the new missionaries and their trainers so I we ended up going to that. It was held in the morning at Nakano which meant Tokyo morning traffic. Ugh... The first stretch we crammed in to what would be the equivalent of a mash pit except everyone’s still half asleep and not excited to be there. You couldn't fall over if you wanted to. Upon elbowing our way out the door for our first transfer my companion wryly commented that it was so crowded that someone stole my tie. I laughed and said yeah it was terrible. Then ten minutes later I realized that I was in fact not wearing a tie! Oh goodness! Disaster! I'm not sure if the mission president’s long suffering extends quite that far! I kept my coat zipped up, put on my neck warmer and snagged an elder from the mission home and had him get me a spare tie from the apartment conveniently located right above the mission home. He'll never let me live it down either...
     The conference went ok. Afterwards I went on splits with a Japanese member who is actually due to enter the MTC in about 3 more weeks destined for the Seattle Mission. Kirkland is just outside his mission boundaries! I taught him a bunch of useful English phrases like "speak of the devil" "out of sight out of mind," distance makes the heart grow fonder," and how TP is a noun AND a verb. It was a blast. While on splits it was the day before my birthday so we all went out to sushi. Can't go wrong there. The next day at district meeting they all made a big card and the sisters made a cake, so it was a really great birthday. Best one I think I'm going to have all year.
     Back when my former companion was here, he called someone that was found by some other missionaries trying to set up an appointment. The appointment he set up was for two months in advance on the 28th of January. I called to confirm the appointment and it was still ok. He actually showed up! We taught him a lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon. His name is Yamashita and he is a college student. He's not super interested but he also doesn't know anything. For the first time on my mission I met someone who hadn't heard of the bible before. I was so taken aback I hardly knew how to explain it to him. Perhaps he will turn out to be really good.
     We got transfer calls and everything, and one of the Sister missionaries is transferring out and another Japanese Sister is coming to Kichijoji. That’s great and all but it throws a wrench into eikaiwa since we have two native speakers and three classes. I'm thinking it'll work out ok, we'll just need to borrow missionaries from surrounding areas. Definitely mixes things up for the next 6 weeks at least. Now if I end up getting replaced by a Japanese missionary then they're really in trouble.
     Toodle-Oo everyone
Love you all!
--Wyman Choro

Email from Matlock 23 January 2012

Dear 家族

Teaching English class got a lot better this week. I tried making a worksheet type thing to give to the students so they could follow what I was doing better. I lost about half the class the last few times talking about the most basic of things and was even wondering if I needed to go over the alphabet with a few of them. This helped out a ton and the students loved it. I'm trying to make my English class as fun and educational as possible because it’s a long painful hour and a half to spend each week if you’re not enjoying it. Things are looking good and I may have figured it out how to make it better just in time to switch classes again. Apparently there is a student in the Sister Missionary’s class who likes to take over and teach the class. If a taller stricter male English teacher with strong competency in Japanese comes and teaches that may put an end to all the problems in that class. It’s just speculation right now but things may change again. Anyways, there’s another story that goes along with the worksheet.
      I wanted to make the worksheet but we couldn't find paper anywhere for the life of us. So we started going through all the cupboards in the hallway trying to find where the paper was stashed. We found the paper but before that we found boxes and boxes of small pocket sized tissue packs with English class fliers in them. These were super, super old English class fliers mind you, back before the missionaries had cell phones. If you’re passing out fliers at a train station tissue packs are pure gold! If you want to get anything out in mass quantities all you need to do is stick a pack of tissues onto them. Elder Turley and I spent some time pulling out the old fliers and put in the newer more colorful ones with our phone number, email, all the church websites and everything. Then we went to a station and passed them out. We blew through those tissues! 269 packs in about an hour. Compared to about 40-60 in one hour. Smokes! We'll see how effective it is on Wednesday. There’s still a lot more tissues left so we're going to blow through those as well and try to get rid of all of them before the next eikaiwa to see how many people it can get us. Surely there is some formula to measure the ratio between runny noses wiped and new students coming to English class.
     We had a huge conference on Thursday which a member of the area presidency paid a visit. It was a really spiritual conference. He was pretty long winded and had a really dry sense of humor and his Japanese was hard to listen to but it was a fantastic conference! Afterwards I almost felt like I wouldn't mind serving another two year mission. Almost being the key word there. Maybe if I could get transferred to Brazil that would be a possibility. It was a good conference though. I, being the missionary in Kichijoji area ended up being in charge of getting bento's for the whole mission during the lunch break of the conference. We tried Hotto Motto this time instead of Orinjinaru bento hoping that they would be bigger and tastier. Ordering from Hotto Motto was such a hassle and in the end they wouldn't even deliver the bento's! I swore that I would never go back there until we actually ate them and then I decided to reconsider. But hey the next time these things need to be ordered I'm going to be far, far away. So it don't matter.
     After that conference the weather got really crummy. I don't mean cookie crum crummy, I mean just barely not cold enough so it the rain doesn't become snow crummy. Ended up spending a considerable amount of time not doing normal streeting. This is when we passed out 269 tissues. Can you imagine why they went so fast? When we were back in the apartment, after having called a bunch of investigators and potential investigators I had the impression to call this buy. He just comes to basketball and we were pretty sure that he had no interest in the gospel especially since half of what he says is "hey man, that’s good man, hey dude, yeah man...." I felt like I should call and see if he was going to come that night. He did and after catching up I asked when he was going to become a Christian. He said that he was actually 70% Christian and 30% Buddhist and he loved the book I gave him. That book was the Da Vinci Code. That was a joke. It was the Book of Mormon. Apparently he has more interest than I thought! Always good to know God's got my back on these things.
     Next day we were able to go out to eat with another investigator. He's been super busy so we haven't been able to meet but he says he still has a lot of interest and wants to learn more about the Book of Mormon. We agreed to tell him about it more on Skype because we're technologically savvy like that. I'm really excited. He's not going to New York anymore though he's going to Wisconsin which is quite unfortunate more for him than anyone else. He'll experience first-hand what it really means to live in the countryside.
     On Sunday we got our new Ward Mission Leader. He's really cool. He works for Microsoft here in Japan so he's really computer savvy just like us. It seems that every time I talk to him he tries to talk me into working for Microsoft in Japan in the future. Now that he’s the ward mission leader I may have to start considering it...
      All for this month.
Love you all!
--Elder Wyman

Letter from Matlock - 1-17-2012

Dear Family (in Japanese Characters),
            I can’t believe January is half over. Just yesterday I was looking at the calendar thinking “oh boy another long month ahead…” My how time flies.
            This week started off with a mission conference for which I had to bear my returning testimony.  Yep it’s that time.  I like to credit myself with giving the most original opening ever.
I quote –
            First off I’d like to say that I’m immensely fond of you all and two years is far too short a time to spend living among such excellent and admirable missionaries.
            I know half of you half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
            But – this is the end. I’m going now.
            Then I took the ring I borrowed from my companion out of my pocket and slipped it onto my finger.  At which point I disappeared and walked out of the room.  Ok, it didn’t actually work but it was still good.  Rest of the conference was pretty normal.  I’ve been to enough of these that their all starting to sound the same.  There were some good points though and on the spiritual aspect it wasn’t a waste.  I guess you could say as far as new information it was lacking but it did a good job of getting me pumped to go out and do some more proselyting.
            And proselyting we did!  On Saturday we traded contact info with two people we met and gave a Book of Mormon to one of them.  On Sunday we met two people who already had a Book of Mormon, then on Monday we gave out a grand total of 4 Book of Mormons. Starting to run out of them to be honest. If our order doesn’t come in this week we may be in trouble.
            In other news we made some takoyaki and it turned out pretty decent. Still not sure how I’m going to find octopus in America but I’ll see what I can do.
            Remember Nichirenshoshu?  They abducted another set of missionaries in the zone!  I’m going to type up a warning and give copies of it to everyone in the zone or surrounding areas.  They are absolutely ridiculous!  I can’t believe what they’re doing.  There are 4 different instances that I know of.
            Today we went up to the temple and it went really well.  Without fail I feel great inside the temple.  We came pretty close to the starting time so there was a huge line of missionaries ahead of us waiting to get into the session.  I was the very last person to make it in so they actually put us up in the very front row.  Come last, go through first, just the way I like it.
            Afterwards I was talking with other missionaries and followed a group of missionaries to go eat on the American base/hotel so we walked down there.  Once we got there they found out they didn’t have the necessary ID to get on anyways.  So we went instead!  I’ve eaten more American food than Japanese food lately!  Living the good life here in Kichijoji.
Until next time – adios amigos
(Matlock Wyman in Japanese characters)