Monday, December 31, 2012

日本の冒険!Week 24: Baptism And Confirmation バプテスマと確認

 So I had a great Christmas. I feel so loved. I have so much junk food. So maybe everyone is actually trying to kill me. But I feel loved anyway. haha ^^

For Christmas Eve, since it was a Preparation day, we went to a castle. Can`t say I`ve ever spent Christmas eve in a castle. It was kind of cool, but the inside is all modernized and turned into a museum with old stuff behind glass in it. It was pretty cool still though.

On Christmas, we woke up and opened some presents when we were supposed to be exercising. haha. oops. It was the only time we had to do it. Pictures will follow so you understand the magnitude of the junk food I received.

That afternoon, we had some open time, so we went to the train station and sang some carols to the people there for an hour. A few people stopped to listen, not a whole lot though, and some people went away a lot happier than they approached. Most people just looked at us like they had never seen white people singing in a weird place in Japanese. Because they probably haven`t. haha. It was fun though.

In the evening, we went to the 水田家族`s house. (Mizuta Family) Their family was there, and also Jason, the Filipino from the ward and 2 of his work friends. It was way fun! We made お好み焼き again, and he even had us make some too! It was pretty tricky, but it was way fun and delicious. (^o^) We taught a message after, and it was a little different than first lessons with Japanese people, because they have a Christian background. The message went well, but they live pretty far away.

Thursday was the big meeting in Okayama, the Christmas Gathering. We played some Dodgeball and Capture the flag, they told us about the new English class program, the new Mission Training Plan for January, we had a good lunch, and watched a year-end movie of pictures from around the mission. (everyone submitted 3)

We had a companion exchange directly after that. I stayed in fukuyama with Elder Rassmassen. (probably slaughtered the spelling of his name) He is a great Elder and we were able to get some good work in. Well, everyone is crazy busy with the year end approaching and we hardly talked longer than 15 seconds to anyone, but it was good anyway.

The Baptism on Sunday went very well. Elder Hunt performed the baptism. A lot of the branch was busy and couldn`t make it, but it was still a good program.  After the baptism, he bore a powerful testimony. He also talked about when he went under the water, he still had his eyes open, and as soon as he entered the water he looked up to heaven, and all the noise of the world was gone. He felt quietness. It was a great night.

The next day, I performed the confirmation. Usually a member of the ward does it, (I think?) but he wanted me to do it. It was a really cool opportunity.  He says he feels like the Gift of the Holy Ghost has given him the power to endure to the end.

At church, the members talked about the goals for the coming year. The branch set a goal to become a ward by 2015, increasing attendance by 10 a year.  (5 being converts, 5 being re-activated members) There was also a family from Seattle (the Father was Japanese, Mother was American) who are part of the ward mission efforts in one of the fastest growing stakes in the world. They had some great tips from the ward and emphasized the importance of ward cooperation with the missionaries. The work in Fukuyama is going to explode here soon. We already had a member tell us a day they are free and offer to go teach with us. Exciting stuff!

Last night, we had dinner at 広兼家族`s home again. (Hirokane Family). It was way fun! all the young single adults were there, plus 2 young couples and part of the family from Seattle.  We had a meal called Nabe. Basically you just throw a bunch of stuff in boiling water and eat it. It was way good. ^^  It was really fun just to talk with some of the members and some people from the states. Afterwords, we taught another spiritual message, and invited everyone to talk to their friends about the gospel. I`ve never taught so many people at once. haha.

Well, this week is going to be crazy I`ve been told. The new year is a pretty big thing in Japan. ^^ Plus transfer calls are on Wednesday. So I might have a new companion next week. Or not. I have no idea really. haha.

Love you all.


ummm..... don`t ask. I don`t know either.
There is this place people can get married. That is all it is for. haha.
It has all these crazy fountains and stuff. This picture is from the top of the castle.
Japan is still pretty green! it is way more green in the summer though.

A picture of one of the main roads from the top of the castle.
The castle is right in the center of this big city.

Here it is. Without any weird red-haired people blocking your view. haha.

Present from the branch! I think like everyone gave us something! Holy cow!

Christmas. Oh my gosh candy.

Yeah this drawer is still full today even. haha.

Wait.... I have to flip this?! sure.......... no problem.....


Flipped it once!

Yeah. I`m pretty good with the camera timing. haha ^^
Flipped it again! Well...... It doesn`t look like the one the member made....
 but it still tasted good! haha.


He got a suit and everything!

The family that visited from the states

The group on Christmas ^^

my companion snagged a picture while we were at service! (with permission) 

We sang them some Christmas songs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day Phone Call!

This is Trevor's mom. I just wanted to share an update from our phone call. We were able to call his cell phone at 4pm our time which was 8am the next day for him.

Trevor answered the phone with a Japanese greeting that sounded great and we could tell it was his voice right away! So great to hear his happy voice! We were able to talk for 59 minutes. ;-) 

He told us that he received 3 packages that week and a Christmas card from home on Christmas day! He is feeling the love! He got the package from Todd & Janeen, Jeremy & Emily and ours. He loved the tie from Grandmom & PopPop and the letters from Grandma & Grandpa. Thank you to everyone who sent letters and packages. It is so great to feel the love and support!

We talked about mission life and what the Christmas season is like there. So different and yet he is loving every minute. We asked if he was missing any foods from home or anything and he said "basically, I'm just in heaven."

He sang "Silent Night" for us in Japanese and shared his testimony of Christ (in English). The joy of Christmas filled our home as we listened to our son and brother share these tender feelings of our Savior. I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present.

日本の冒険!Week 23: Christmas in Japan! 日本でクリスマスを祝う!

It was a fantastic week.

So we had a couple lessons we didn`t plan for, which was really cool. We were knocking some doors in one neighborhood and someone actually invited us in for the message right then! which was way cool. We taught half of the family, the other half was busy, haha. We are teaching the first lesson pretty well now as a companionship, I can feel the spirit testifying of the truth of our message. The Mother of the family must have felt it too, because at the beginning of the message she told us this would be a one time thing probably, and by the end she was telling us what time would be best to try to visit. So that was exciting. It was kind of funny actually. We asked if she could come to church on Sunday, and she said she was busy. Then her son said, no, all you do is sleep at that time mom! haha. He was awesome. Then when we asked if we could visit again sometime, at first she said she was too busy really, but her son was like, no, you aren`t THAT busy. haha. You`re awesome yuki-kun!! ( that was his name I think)

We also taught Brother Serita again. He is doing great! His interest is definitely increasing. He went from not having time to visit us to telling us any day is fine with him. So that was also exciting! We are meeting him again tonight (Christmas Eve!) and we are teaching about the kingdoms of Glory. We even have a member to go and teach with us. The Branch is starting to trust us more and more.

We have a baptism this Saturday! Brother Oo really is ready for this. He accepted everything so readily and had very few concerns with keeping the commandments, even though he had to change his life to keep them. He really was prepared for the message!

We had a Ward Christmas party this week! It was really fun. Songs, a Play, and of course food. Really fun to see the whole branch having fun. Unfortunately none of our investigators could come, but there were some ward members friends and some English Conversation class members there.

Funny stories of the week: So we were riding back from the Church one day, and we approached some road construction with a narrow passage, and there were some construction guys carrying stuff through. One of them saw us on our bikes, and called out in a voice worthy of a warning cry of a zombie invasion 「自転車!!」 (Jitensha! BIKES!)  It was way funny. They all ran out of our way like we were zombies about to devour them. haha.

The other one was while we were knocking some doors. We knocked one and this lady answers. She was pretty old. We explain what we are doing and she just says, no, our house doesn`t do that kind of thing. then she looks at my companion, and says `what country are you from? America?` and he says `Yes` and then she looks at me and says, `And you`re Japanese, right?` `uh............. no....... I`m from America too........` haha. It was pretty funny. Then she told us we were really handsome, and then said goodbye. It was a funny experience. haha ^^

Well, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! I know I will! We will be having Christmas dinner with a Member and Christmas Lunch with an Investigator, so it should be fun! Crazy to think Christmas is tomorrow, time is flying over here!!

Love you all!
Elder O`Reilly

I have presents under the tree! I am waiting until Christmas!
 (even though my companion couldn`t wait for his, haha.)

Probably the most festive missionary apartment in the world. (among Elders) haha ^^
 Feels like Christmas!

Well, we didn`t go to the ocean. We didn`t end up having time.
But we did see this one day while crossing a big bridge. Isn`t it beautiful?

The district all together!

The Church in Kurashiki. 2 stories. Pretty cool. This is on the second floor. You never really picture stairs or elevators in a Church until you come to Japan. This church I don`t think has an elevator, but some do, and all bigger churches are at least 2 floors, sometimes 3.

Went on an Exchange this week.... the other Elders in the district live in a house!
2 floors just for the 2 of them! Crazy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

日本の冒険!Week 22: District Responsibilities デイストレクトの責任

Yes. I know the title sounds boring. Get over it. They can`t all be equally awesome. Its raining outside.

So this was a pretty crazy week. Seems like I just E-mailed 2 days ago. haha.

Monday night I left for Kobe. I stayed the night there and had District leader training in the morning. It was a way awesome training. It was really the first time I heard the entirety of my responsibilities as district leader. There were a lot of things I had no idea that I was supposed to do, so now I`ll be a much better district leader. haha.

Nothing too crazy happened the next couple days. We heard a lot of `no thank you` and such. Did Service on Wednesday as usual. I played piano for them a little this time. ^^ I am more than a little rusty. haha. We also assembled a cabinet for them.

Friday was the first district meeting I was in charge of. A whole 60-90 minutes of training that I plan out. Overall, it went pretty well, but there is room for improvement for next week! ^^ I talked a little about having a vision for what we as missionaries want to become, and invited everyone to write down what kind of missionaries they want to be. The missionaries in my District are awesome. There are just 4 of us in the district, but it is an awesome district.

Taught a bunch of lessons and such Saturday and Sunday. Brother Oo, the Chinese progressing investigator, is doing really well! His baptism date is in a week from Saturday. His interview should be this weekend. All things are looking good! It was helpful to have a Chinese member sit in on the lesson on Sunday. It eliminated the time he looks up all the Japanese words he doesn`t know. haha. There is a little bit of a language barrier, but with electric dictionaries and such, we are able to teach.

Sunday night, we were knocking some houses. We first visited a Family PI we had. They didn`t answer the door. The light was on, but probably only the kids were home. So we knocked some houses a little ways away. The last door we knocked, (its always the last one) the door opened, I said we were missionaries, teaching about God. I asked her if she had ever thought about God. She said no. (That is the common answer. Crazy, right?!) I asked if we could share a 20 minute message sometime next week. She said yes. I was so shocked that I forgot to set a specific time! haha. We hear a lot of `no thank yous`, so it was a little shocking. We went back a couple minutes later and set up a specific time for Tuesday, when her family will be all home. We are excited to teach a family tomorrow!

Today we are planning to go to the Ocean! There is supposed to be some historical site there. It is in our area, and we are supposed to use Preparation days to see things like that, so we are planning on going. ^^

Well, a little short this week, but I think that`s all the crazy awesome stuff that happened. ^^ Get ready for next week`s installment of Adventures in Japan! In Japanese! haha. just kidding. Don`t freak out.

Love you all!

I was so excited to see the Akashi bridge out the window while on my way to Kobe!
This is the best shot I could get though. haha.
This is the bridge that was my blog`s original background, before I even got to Japan! ^^

I got a package from the Activity day Girls! I put up this tree right by my futon. ^^
Alright, lets start knocking. ^^

Me and my comp.

We went over a bridge last night. I took a picture. ummm....... yeah.
 Looks cool i guess? Maybe I should have stopped to take it.

My companion. Looks good, huh?

At District Leader Training (photo compliments of Sis. Zinke)

All the District Leaders (photo compliments of Sis. Zinke)
Trevor is on the far right.

Friday, December 14, 2012

日本の冒険!Week 21: Spiritual Power 霊的な力

This week. hmmmmmm. Well, Tuesday was interesting.

So we found a family! They were really nice. Wouldn`t set up a specific date for us to return, but we were excited just not to be rejected, haha. We will return this week sometime and try to set up a specific time.

Also on Tuesday, we were visiting some potential investigators. We arrived at one door. I asked my companion about who lives inside. He said, `This will be fun.` and rang the doorbell. The door opened, and the guy barely looks at us before he says Come in! come in! So we go in.  His apartment has nothing in it but a table, a TV, and a little Shrine-like thing. He was there, 74, and his son was there, about 40. His son was pretty drunk though. We sat down on the floor by the table and he offers us something to drink. We don`t know what it is so my companion looks it up on his dictionary. `Distilled Spirits`. ummmmm...... That`s ok.  We don`t need any. They poured it for us anyway and the son tried to explain to us that we had to drink it. For the most part we just pretended to not understand. He was too drunk to understand why we couldn`t drink it. haha. After a couple minutes, the Mother arrived at the home. She was very helpful in telling the son to be quiet and stop telling us to drink the drink. haha. We were then able to teach a quick lesson. It wasn`t too awesome because the son kept interrupting, but they were very glad we came a shared a message and told us to come back. so..... we will prepare carefully and return sometime this week.

Wednesday. I think I forgot to mention this last time, but here in 福山, we do service every week! It is a really cool opportunity.  We serve at a mental hospital / day care place. It is way different than everything else we do, haha. We come in, introduce ourselves to everyone, and talk to them and such. For the bulk of the time though, they ( the nurses ) asked us to paint a picture while they watched.  At first we were like....... what......? paint a picture......? Then they brought out a big poster with some really cool pencil drawing on it, and a bunch of paint. We were just like....... you want us to ruin this with our awful lack of painting ability....? haha. But we tried our best anyway. It is pretty fun, haha. One of the patients there is able to hold part of the brush handle and kind of help paint it, and so he really enjoys it. I think it just mostly makes them all happy to see strange guys come and paint a picture for them, they seem pretty excited when we come. ^^  The nurses are always telling us how skilled we are at painting, even though we know we are awful. haha.

Thursday we had a meeting in 岡山! (that is the zone I am in) (Okayama). Elder Yamashita (山下) from the 70s came. It was way good. He is actually way young and a really fun guy! He actually focused a lot on Japanese Culture, how we should treat people especially on our first visit and such. There was even a time where (when his wife was talking to us) we all had to leave for 15 minutes and talk to people! It was crazy! There were half the missionaries in the mission talking to people by the church for 15 minutes.  Poor people right by the church probably got contacted like 20 times. haha. Me and my companion said a quick prayer and walked straight for some nearby houses. We knocked on the first door. We talked through the little box thing for a while and then the guy comes out to talk to us. We talked to him for a little over 20 minutes. He told us that missionaries had come before but they hadn`t stayed and listened to him like we did. We got his name and address and then said goodbye, and then booked it back. haha. We got back like 20 minutes after we were supposed to.... they had already moved on without us. haha. We gave the contact to the missionaries in the area after the meeting.

The weekend was crazy... it always is. We taught 4 lessons, did a soccer activity with the ward and investigators and member`s friends, followed by lunch (sukiyaki!! YUM! ^^) at a members home, and a Christmas potluck party at a member`s apartment all in 2 days. Plus weekly planning, which takes 3 hours. haha. It was a little stuffed full.

Tomorrow, I have a district leader training meeting in Kobe. Yes, that is far away. I am meeting in Okayama tonight at 5:30, after an hour and a half train ride, and then taking the long train to Kobe, arriving at about 9PM. Well, good thing I like trains. haha. Sleeping with a ton of missionaries in one apartment is never fun though. They never go to sleep. :P

Well, it should be a great week. You all have a fantastic week. do something crazy. But not too crazy. Don`t want anyone to get hurt. haha ;D

Love you all!

Took this pic after E=Mail last week. Just a random road.
 Roads in Fukuyama often have a little stream next to them. very cool.

Housing adventures. Some big houses were up this little mountain.

This house was like a castle! This is one person`s house!
There was a MOAT around it! I was like.... WHAT?!?!

A random road we were on while biking out far one day

So.... when we went to Okayama, we had to go the night before because it was early in the morning. We got off the train a stop too early. We thought we were a stop too late. We started walking in the wrong direction for 15 minutes. Then I figured it out. And we all turned around and walked for like 45 minutes. Yeah, we were late to arrive that night. haha. But it was fun. This is from a bridge we crossed before we discovered we were going the wrong way. haha. Ignorance is only bliss until your Ignorance is obliterated by the triumph of Truth.

This is......? We don`t know. A member gave it to us at church yesterday. We do know that it is not green beans or soy beans.... but we don`t know what it is. haha. We asked how to eat it and she said you can`t. haha XD. Not sure what we are going to do with it yet. ^^

Monday, December 3, 2012

日本の冒険!Week 20: The Strength of the Lord 主の力

Merry Christmas!  It is so fun to see Christmas decorations up everywhere and to hear Christmas hymns everywhere I go. The houses don`t decorate a lot, but the rows of shops decorate a ton!

OK. It is officially cold. Yesterday was tough. haha. I forgot my gloves at the apartment. It was raining. We went to a place we felt we needed to go..... an hour and a half away on bike. haha. Fun! ^^ We uh, were rejected by absolutely everyone over there. haha. Well, as always it was a good learning experience. The ways of the Lord are mysterious, and his reasons may not always be apparent when we want them to be.

It was a great week! To save some time, I`ll do the whole paste the mission president letter thing again. Sorry for not being original. I promise my next letter will be way more entertaining. Just kidding. But you`ll probably read it anyway. ^^

It was a good week here in Fukuyama. I can already see the many ways that I can progress as a missionary here, as well as move the work along.

The investigators in this area are great! There aren't a ton of investigators yet though. We had a lot of time to find this week. Hunt 長老 and I have really figured out how to work together. We have had a little trouble finding people...... we have yet to find a potential investigator together, but we are learning how to deal with the rejection while keeping faith and hope high. I think the Lord may be testing our ability and Faith before trusting us with his elect. I also feel he is about finished with that and we will begin finding the elect soon. We have both been seeking revelation everyday for where to go, what to say, and what to do, and we feel we have followed that revelation, despite our lack of visible success. We have been noticing strange things.... For example, every time we go knocking doors, like literally every time, someone approaches the door we are knocking on.... from behind us. Sometimes up to 5 times in a couple hours. Not sure what it means yet, because the people don`t ever have any interest in our message, but we`ll figure it out soon hopefully. haha.

As far as teaching goes, Hunt 長老 and I have noticed an increase in the power of our teaching recently. We have been using TTS`s, teaching in a balanced way, and our investigators are accepting the message readily. We started teaching some of the commandments to one of our 約束者`s, and he accepted and committed to live all the ones we taught so far. I can feel the Lord`s hand in our lessons.

Well, looking forward to a week of Miracles.

TTS= lesson summary (topic teaching summary)
約束者= investigator with a baptismal date.

Other than that, we went home teaching, and had お好み焼き! Hiroshimi style! It was delicious! Honestly the first thing I thought of when I came to Hiroshima was お好み焼き, since Hiroshima is famous for it, and I was not disappointed! It was incredible! and the family we had it at set up the next home teaching appointment for Christmas day, so we will be eating a nice meal with a member on Christmas.

Well, have a nice week. If you were to ask if there was anything you can do for me, I would only ask for your prayers so that I can have the capacity to fulfill the responsibility I have been called to do. Thanks ^^ I`ll send some prayers your way too. ^^

Merry Christmas!

Just a little more... a couple excerpts from an email to his parents...

I am so grateful for your contribution and everyone`s contribution to my mission. Thank you so much for all you`ve done for me. The opportunity to serve a mission is incredible, and worth more than any worldly possession or wealth.

Yeah, generally speaking I can keep up with people. Sometimes I have to ask for a repeat. haha. I still lack a lot of basic vocab words that missionaries don`t use because of our focus on spiritual topics, like medical terms, sports terms, etc. Reading is my strong point. If I know all the kanji in a given paragraph, I can read it at a comfortable speed for a native speaker. Unless it is the  BoM, that is a little harder, it uses weird grammar and such, haha. But yeah, doing well. The Lord gives his servants the abilities they need to serve.

Yeah! Christmas!

Fukuyama is Pretty.

Kind of blurry, but you get the picture.
 Lots of cool bridges and rivers in Japan.

Home teaching! It was way fun.
 The 2 girls actually are from a non-member family,
 so it was a pretty cool teaching opportunity. But they are both under 8.

hmmmm..... maybe they aren`t home??
 Well, let's ring them all really fast and see if anyone answers.......
(notice mail hanging out of all the doors)

Companion`s study area. Right by mine. He wasn`t expecting this one. haha.