Monday, April 28, 2014

So Little Time...So Much To Do!

This week was way crazy!  We are meeting with a ton of Chinese students and helping them learn English and Japanese for the various tests and stuff that they have for school.  Unfortunately, they are not so interested in learning about the gospel at this time.
T... keeps telling me that it is only a matter of time and when they finish their tests they'll be more
Elder Maki is doing a wonderful job teaching, even when we teach almost everyone in English.  His English is way better than my Japanese.  It's not fair, we need to find more
Japanese people to teach! Tell Andrew that side bags aren't that bad.  But no one in Japan wears
them but us.  Also, we have to wear helmets when
we ride our bikes, and no one, I mean no one, wears helmets
here.  For English class we usually teach in just English and hope
they pick it up by listening.  Probably not the best way to teach English but we are
teaching it for free, and don't have many resources.  But we have a book
that we follow a lot when we teach.  It's pretty easy to teach.  And
just a random note, I haven't sent the kendo sword home yet, I am
waiting to get paid again this week on the 1st of May so that I have
money to send it.  It's terrible not having a steady job that pays
Our district is doing awsome.  We are very busy and have lots to do. Our district
meeting went pretty well last week.  Our district consists of:
Elder Young ZL 15
Elder Pelfrey ZL 5
Elder Maki 3
Elder Stevens DL 6
Sister Tan STL 8
Sister Nakamura STL 9
Sister Snow 7
Sister Yasui 1
ZL stands for zone leader, DL stands for district leader, and STL
stands for sister training leader. And the #s are what transfer we are
on at the moment.  I have a stacked district with all of the leaders.
Tons of pressure!  But they are all way cool and I learn a lot from
them everyday.
We are still waiting to get Facebook.  We are supposed to be getting it soon. 
Make sure you all friend me when I get it!  It's going to be
really weird cuz I didn't have Facebook back in the states so I have no
idea how to use it!
This week I was able to go to the temple with my recent convert and friend
T...  he was the one doing baptisms and I was the witness.  It
is super amazing to see how much T... has progressed in the gospel during the past month.
Who knew it when we knocked on his door that he would be going to the
temple just a month later.  Crazy.  I'm going to miss him when I
transfer.  But this transfer is weird for some reason and we stay here
for 7 weeks instead of 6.  Idk why but not complaining!
Well, I love you all and I miss you tons!  Thanks for the package with
all of the granola bars.  For some reason they don't have those in
Japan.  Thanks again!  I'll talk to you next week!  Love

Eric Stevens

Site Of New Olympic Stadium 2020.  Taken From Train During Trip To Temple

Missionaries In Our Togane District Having Fun Dressing Up In Kimonos
Photo Courtesy of Sister Snow

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sunny Japan!

Hello everyone!
Once again this is Elder Stevens reporting live from Japan.  And I
have breaking news...I have been asked to be senior companion to my first
Japanese companion and I am also the district leader of the Togane
district!  My new companion Elder Maki, is from a place near
Okinawa and looks pretty gaijin.  His English is pretty good so
whenever I have no idea what is happening he switches back to English.
But I need my Japanese to improve a lot so I try to have him speak
Japanese all the time.  Unfortunately, he wants to get better at
English too so he speaks in English a lot.  There are 8 missionaries in the Togane
district, 4 Elders and 4 Sisters and they are all super amazing!  The
scary thing is that I am older than half of the people in the district
and I'm not even that old!  I've been out for less than a year and I am
one of the older missionaries in the mission.  Wow!  Also its scary
that I have both the zone leaders and the sister training leaders in
my area so it's tons of pressure to be a super amazing district
leader.  I hope I can live up to their expectations.  But working with these wonderful missionaries
is super fun!  I love being able to talk to everyone in the district
and get to know them better.  I call all of them every night and get
to talk to them about how their day went.  It just blows me away the
trust they have in me.  They come to me with all of their worries
concerns and problems and they ask for my help.  I want to help them so
bad!  Especially since we have a brand new 1st transfer missionary in
our district.  She is Japanese and can't speak English at all.  It's hard
to talk to her, but I want her first transfer in the mission to be
Working in the district is a ton of work but so much fun!  You get to worry about
other people so much that you can barely worry about yourself. 
Well, I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter.  Our ward said that
there was going to be an special Easter program at church so we
invited lots of investigators.  And by special they had normal church
and an extra song for us to sing.  A lot of our friends were
disappointed but some really liked it and are coming again next week!
yeah!  So, Ian that was the extent of our Easter.
Well, I gotta go and plan for the district meeting this week.  Love you
all lots and lots! 
Eikaiwa (English Class) in Toke



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The End Of Sakura:(

Hello Everyone,
This is another report from yours truly Elder Stevens. Japan hasn't
changed much this week except that all of the cherry blossoms or
Sakura have died. :(  It was very sad but I am glad that I was able to
see them. How have all of your weeks been? We officially got transfer
calls this morning and guess what, Elder Cannon is leaving.  I will miss playing music with him.
We met with another Chinese person yesterday named W... He is super nice and is getting
baptized on the 11th of May. He is really good friends with K... and I think this is going to go by very smoothly. Fingers Crossed.
We set the baptismal date with him yesterday when we were teaching
him with K... I think that this helped K... a lot because he asked
us what would happen if he couldn't get baptized because of his
parents. I think that it probably put baptism in the front of his
mind again. Yes! We haven't had any baptisms yet this month or since
T... was baptized March 2nd so we have been having a slow time for
awhile. But B...came to church for the first time yesterday so he
only needs to come two more times before we feel he can be baptized so we are
getting really close with a lot of people.
I will be sending home my kendo sword in the mail soon so be looking
for it. It looks pretty cool and it is real sharp so don't let Ian hurt anyone
with it or anything. lol The Kanji on the hilt of it means Dragon, in
case you were wondering! lol
Well I'm going to wrap this up.  See yah and love yah!

Eric Stevens
Togane, Chiba District
Chiba Zone, March 25, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sakura Festival!

Dear Family,
Well it has been another wonderful sunny day in Japan today.  For the
past few weeks the weather has been getting better and better so now I
don't have to wear a jacket or anything.  The only downside of all the
sun is that I'm getting a white shirt collar tan.  It looks pretty
weird. lol  I'm sure the fam will be happy to know that I have started
a diet because I want to start getting in shape.  I'm
not very happy about it but I've sworn off carbs, (mostly bread from
the amazing bread shop in our apartment) and sugar.  That means I can't
eat rice, spaghetti, udon, or yaki soba!  those are like the missionary
staple foods in Japan.  But I bought a lot of vegetables  and tofu so
whenever my companion eats food on rice or any other of the forbidden
foods I just put the food on Tofu.  It's actually not that bad.  You'll
be very proud of me to know that all I had for dinner last night was
vegatables with salsa as dressing.  None of that creamy dressing for me.
lol  I wonder how long I can keep this up because everyone in my
apartment is trying to break me.
Guess what this week was, the sakura festival!  For those of you who
don't know what sakura is, it's the cherry blossoms.  Don't worry I took
a lot of pictures.  We went up with a lot of our Chinese friends, most
of them can't speak English or Japanese which is really hard, but we
had T... there to translate for us.  We got a lot of traditional
Japanese foods like yaki soba, chocolate covered bananas (it's healthy
cuz its bananas right?) and even some non traditional food like curry
flavored french fries.  I guess the curry is Japanese. lol  But the
flowers were so pretty!  Why don't we have those in America!
Speaking of T... he is a total boss!  He is going to baptize one of
our friends named B... in a few weeks! He is inviting so many friends to
church and activities that we can't keep track of them all!  The worst
part is that we can't really speak with them which makes it really
hard to build friendships.  But we are playing lots of bball with them
and ping pong so I think it's going ok.  We seriously need some Chinese
speakers up here.  Andrew hint hint, wink wink, nod nod, cough cough.
lol  We are working really hard with K...this week.  Even since his
parents said no to him about being baptized he has pretty much shut
off. But we will keep in touch with him.
Well I hope that you all have an amazing week!  love you all. Loves,
Eric Stevens
Sakura Festival, Togane, Japan

Chapel in Togane, Japan