Monday, June 30, 2014

Facebook

So first of all I want to tell my dear brother Andrew something.
Guess what I just found out, missionaries in Taiwan have Facebook! I
can't believe it.  I thought Japan was supposed to be the first mission
outside the U.S. to have Facebook. It's not fair!  But I guess this
means that when we start teaching more Chinese people you can
Skype in and help us out through Facebook video chat, so make sure you
have really, really good Chinese in the next few months. I'm just
telling you this now so you can prepare for this big responsibility by
making a Facebook page now. So make sure you make it really good with lots
and lots of pictures that don't include you and just a girl so that
other people can see you before your mission. Facebook is pretty sweet. At
first I was a little worried that Facebook would be very distracting
for me because I've never used it before. But never using it before
really helps me a lot because I don't know exactly what I can do.  Therefore,
I've been spending a lot of time learning about it.
I don't think I've been wasting much time on Facebook because I still
have no idea what's happening. Thank you everyone for liking and
commenting on my page it really just makes me feel special inside when
someone "likes" the picture that I have posted. Maybe this is what makes
Facebook so addicting for some people.
But guess what. This Sunday we had some very, very special
speakers speak to us in the Tokyo first ward. The speakers were the
former president and president's wife of the Sapporo Mission.  I
didn't know them very well, but as soon as they found out that my last
name was Stevens they're asking me if I am from Ohio.
Apparently they know uncle Alan and aunt Denyse very, very well and they
went to the same church together. I also met a really cool guy named Jamie
T... who apparently went to high school with Geoff Stevens and even
played golf together sometimes.  We are now friends on
Facebook.  Facebook is so useful!
But that wasn't the only miracle that happens this Sunday for church.
We had four people plan to come to church this week but none of them
came at all.  This made us really, really sad but Heavenly Father like
he always does made up for everything. Out of nowhere we had
four nonmember referrals and a new investigator come to church.  One of
them was Jamie T... one of them was a prince from Ghana whose name is
M... ,one was a person from Taiwan, and one from Japan
just came to church.  It was such a crazy day yesterday that we didn't
even have time to eat breakfast or lunch. I love those days when you
don't have any downtime but you're always working.
We are all looking forward to having amazing beautiful
miracles again this week. We are starting off with a lesson already
today starting in about 20 minutes so I'm going to have to cut this
email short but it's with a really cool guy named T...  I remember
his name because it's pronounced su casa like in Spanish.  He is
Japanese but he speaks amazing English and his main dream in life is
to be a professional beer brewer.  Don't worry we haven't taught him the
word of wisdom yet, we will get to that later.  But we are doing a
lesson about building his faith on a firm foundation like a rock.
Which is Jesus Christ and his teachings of course.  Should be a fun
lesson that includes sand, rocks, little people figures, two big
containers, and lots of water.  I'll let you guess what happens for
the lesson.
Well have a great week.  I love you all very much!  Thanks for all of
your love and prayers!  I will talk to you soonish.

Love you tons!


Eric Stevens

 
Missionary Gathering Tokyo, and Tokyo South Missions

 
A Visit From a Good Friend From Togane

 
Weekly Ping Pong Challenge




Monday, June 23, 2014

皆さんこんにちは

Sorry, just practicing my Japanese typing because I haven't had to do it
in a long time since I've been in Tokyo. My Japanese is slowly
slipping away! Oh no!!!!!!!!!   We had a pretty great week.  A lot of the people that we are trying
to meet have just been in the hospital which is really weird. We are going to try to
visit them there soon.
We have done lots of train dendo! Since we are now in the rainy season of the year
we have been very creative in how we find people. Instead of just
streeting, we ride trains and dendo in barber
shops so we don't get wet and so people aren't running away from us, and
the rain, when we talk with them. And what do you know it, densha
dendo is awesome! Train dendo to use English. But speaking of rainy
season, I thought we had it bad in Japan but I was looking at the
weather for Taipei since Andrew is going there soon and they are
getting way more rain than we are so good luck Andrew! Try some train
dendo when you are too soaked to walk any more.
Teaching English class here in the big city is so much more fun than
doing it in Togane. Seriously, in Tokyo we have like 50 people of
all different age groups and English levels. I teach the intermediate
class which means I mostly talk in English. Every class I always draw
a big American flag picture with a sign that says "Welcome to America"
on it. Our only rule in the class is no speaking Japanese. They love
how strict I am. Lol
You know what is really annoying? My keyboard just broke last week
randomly so the only thing that I can use right now is the iPad
keyboard that doesn't work very well. Idk how the keyboard even broke.
Just randomly half of the keys just stopped working. So if there are
a lot of mistakes it's because of auto correct so don't blame my bad
English ok?
Only 5 more days until we get Facebook. It's totally not fair because
we are the last zone in the mission to get it. But I guess that gives you more time
to set it up. Pretty much the way we use it is we friend all of our
investigators and all of our friends that we have made in Japan and
everywhere and just teach lessons through it and try to set up
appointments with it. It's going to be way easier than with phones
because everyone loves Facebook and is on it checking it everyday. A
lot more effective. We are allowed to be on it for an hour a day, we
actually are strongly suggested to use it everyday.
Woo about the World Cup...a lot of people are really sad about Japan
not doing so well with their games. I hear everyone talk about it all
the time. I guess it's not as big as with Brazil but people still get
fired up. Most people here spend their evenings now watching the
games at the bars and drinking. In our area we have a big strip of
stores that is really famous. It's called 六本木 (Roppongi-which means six trees) and it is full
of foreigners so we go there all the time to find and visit with people. But unfortunately
it is also filled with bars and strip clubs so we are not allowed
there after 6pm unless we have an appointment to teach a lesson.  I've been there after 6pm
for an appointment and I can tell you, it's really sketchy. We
actually have lots of places in our area that we can't go to because
they just aren't great places to be. I never thought they would have
places like that in Japan.
Well since I don't have a keyboard anymore it is extremely hard to type
so I will end now. I love and miss you all and I can't wait to see
you all soon and hear from you again next week. Thanks for everything
that you do and thank you grandma Kaldahl for the wonderful package.
I use the the dried fruit for my oatmeal
everyday! Love you!

Eric Stevens
 
 
 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Togane Visit

Hey everybody!

How's it all going?  We have been keeping really busy recently.
Actually this week I have taught the most lessons that I have ever
taught on my mission so far.  Elder Tu'ua and I have been working really hard
and we have seen the fruits of our labor in Tokyo.  Tokyo's a great
place but would you believe it, I went back to Togane yesterday.  But
don't worry I came back to Tokyo again.
The reason I went back to Togane is because an investigator that
I was working with was baptized yesterday and she really wanted me to
come and see it.  So after a 2 hr train ride and $26 we arrived in my
old area.  She was so excited to see me that she forgot all
about the mission rules and tried to give me a big hug, but me being the
obedient missionary that I am, turned it into a handshake very
smoothly. Lol. Funny story, elder maki and I found her and talked to
her awhile about the church but she said that she wasn't interested so
we left.  But the next day the sisters found her again and she said
that she had felt terrible for rejecting us and she wanted to learn
more but she was just scared because we were elders instead of
sisters.  I never thought that would be a concern but yeah. And I
probably will be visiting Togane again soon because many of the
people I was working with are getting close to baptism.  It's so
exciting to see all of these things happening.  I wish I could still
be in Togane to see them all first hand.
My 20 bday was pretty fancy, we actually had so many lessons and stuff
I almost forgot about it cuz we were so busy.  But at night we made
some fancy food and sang happy bday while I opened all of my presents.
Thanks everyone for everything.  I started using the exercise bands
and they're pretty awesome not ganna lie.  Thanks!  I am still waiting
for the package from grandma Kaldahl but I'll keep my eyes open for
it.
Andrew and dad in the Caribbean?  No fair!  I guess I'm not the only
one on an island right now.  Make sure you try how to surf Andrew, it
looks pretty sweet!  And you better buy me a souvenir because I got you
all of those quick silver shirts last time.  Yeah Hawaii was a great
time dad.  Thanks for that it seems like yesterday to me too. Its cool
to know you are keeping up the tradition.
Thanks for all of the updates on the World Cup.  I heard that Japan
lost yesterday when we had dinner at a Japanese members house.  He
seemed pretty upset about it.  I hope the USA can pull through with
Ghana.  I have lots of investigators from Ghana though so idk what is
better. Lol
Well I have to roll out now.  No rest even on pdays. Lol  Have an
amazing week  and I look forward to hearing from everyone again next
week!  Love you all!


Eric Stevens

Ps dad happy Father's Day!  You thought I forgot didn't you.  Well I
didn't so thank you so much for all of the wonderful things that you
did for me throughout my whole life.  I really appreciate it and I
love you so much.  Enjoy your special day!  I totally wish we could
skype for Father's Day too.

Pps congrats Ian on winning in the IM swim event , you are a real man now!


 
Big "20"


Monday, June 9, 2014

Back To Tokyo, Sad Good Byes, and Birthday Cake!

Hello Everyone!

Here is another report coming to you from the middle of a land of
concrete and not much else.  I have finally gotten settled into my new
area but I still haven't had time to unpack everything.  The apartment
is so much smaller than the last one I was in.  Tokyo's going pretty
great but it was a really big shocker when I saw so many foreigners
just like me.  I'd forgotten how different it was to dendo gaijin than
it is to dendo nihonjin.  I need to hone my gaijin skills again.  Things are
a little slow in our area, but Elder Ta'ua and I
have some pretty amazing goals set up so we are going to see a big
change soon.
My companion Elder Ta'ua is pretty sweet.  He is transfer 6 so he has
been on his mission for about 9 months already.  He likes to joke
around a lot so we get along really well.  Actually one time while I
was in the bathroom, he hid himself so when I came out I couldn't find
him at all.  I started freaking out looking for him cuz I thought he
had been stolen or something but when I couldn't find him I started
looking for the phone to call the zone leaders for help.  Luckily I
found him hiding behind a bookshelf before I found the phone.  He's a
funny guy.  Looking at his name one would think that he is from
Hawaii, but really he is from Utah.  さすがね。(of course)  Everyone is
from Utah here.
So I'm a little freaked right now.  Why you may ask, well because I am
the oldest serving missionary in my apartment right now.  It's freaking
scary man!  I haven't been out for over a year but now I am the father
of the apartment as we call it.  I am now transfer 7 and serving with
Elder Ta'ua transfer 6, Elder Chugg transfer 5, and Elder Sugimoto
transfer 1.  That's right, a brand new Japanese missionary!  So I get
to keep up my Japanese while I am in the English ward!  The Lord
always provides.  But even though I am the Oldest in the apartment,
Elder Ta'ua is the district leader because he has been in Tokyo
1st Ward for awhile so he knows the area and the missionaries better than I
do.  Actually I don't know anyone here at all.
So as you know last Sunday we had 50 people in Church in Togane.  So
they are writing up a paper on it to give to all of the
other missionaries so that they can know what to do to help with
Church attendance.  I was totally okay for the idea until I found out that they
wanted me to write some of it up cuz I was the district leader.  It
was taking forever to write up so I decided to send everything to
Elder Young in Australia so that he could write it up cuz he has so
much more free time now.  But back to Tokyo, I was worried again
because at first we had no one coming to church with us Saturday
night.  To go from 50 to 0 in a week was really depressing to me so we
called like everyone and invited them but they couldn't come at all.
So Sunday came and we were sitting alone. :(  But after Sacrament
meeting, we found out that 2 investigators came to church.  We set up
another appointment with one of them for this week.  The Lord does
always provide.
Now to answer some questions.  I do have a canvass side bag that I
wear.  I have gotten both of the packages for my birthday.  I opened
the one from the family because I wanted to make the cake before I left but I
haven't opened the one from Grandma and Grandpa Stevens yet.  I decided
to wait to open the stretchy bands until it was my birthday so I have to
wait 4 more days!  The party was great and the cake was amazing!
Everyone loved it but it was also really sad because we ate it the day
before I left after English class, there were tears in my eyes and we
had to take lots of pics.  I hate pics!  But I will send you some of
the pics when I get some wifi.  We don't have it in the apartment.
Well I love you all!  Thanks for the FIFA World Cup updates dad.  I
hope U.S.A. beats Germany.  Have a fun week and I will email you again
soon!

love,
Eric Stevens

ps.  make sure that Andrew checks his missionary email.  I sent him
something there.

 
Last Day in Togane, Japan

 


 

 
One Last Togane District Picture.  What a Team!

 
I Will Miss My Good Friends


Monday, June 2, 2014

My Last Days In Togane

Hey everyone!

Well as you can see from the title of the message I am officially
moving from my home in Togane to the big city of Tokyo again. I am
working in the Tokyo First Ward which is another American ward that
just speaks English.  I'm super excited to be able to listen to
church again and know what is happening, but I really need to work on
my Japanese. I'm working with an Elder named Tu'ua and he is from Hawaii and he is super big and
buff. Work out sessions in the morning should be really good now.
But I'm really sad to be leaving Togane. It is a great place and
everyone is super awesome! I'm really going to miss all of my friends.
So guess what happened yesterday in our church. Believe it or not we
had 50 visitors attend church! It was a crazy miracle! It was crazy
because I was late to church because I was picking up some of my
investigators to bring them and when we got to the church there were
no seats left for me to sit in. It was so amazing we got a special
call again from the mission president congratulating us.  I don't
think there has ever been as many visitors at church in one area in
Japan ever!  It was a really amazing blessing from The Lord. I really am going to miss how
awesome our district is. I'm not going to be with any of them next
transfer so I'm going to have to make some new friends. But yeah, crazy
miracle!
Sounds like you had lots of fun at grandma's party! The cake looks
amazing! I wish that I could have been there. Guess what I am doing
right now... I am making that cake for my birthday! We are going to
have my party on Wednesday after English class. I'll make sure to take
lots of pictures.
Sorry mom, I don't need the simplified Chinese Book of Mormon anymore
since I am leaving this area. But thanks so much for
looking that up for me.
Congrats Andrew for graduating! The pictures look amazing! Way to
finish your last year of high school! I'm so proud of you! :)
Well I have to go now, we have a train to catch to a member's house to
my last family dinner in Togane! I love you all and I will see you
later!

Eric Stevens

 
Dream District, Togane, Japan
Back: Yasui Shimai, Snow Shimai, Stevens Chorro, Maki Chorro, Tan Shimai, Nakamura Shimai
Front:  Pelfrey Chorro, Young Chorro


 Happy District Leader


 
50 Visitors at Church!!