Monday, July 28, 2014

Adventure To Togane!

Good afternoon everyone,
It is a beautiful day and I am reporting live from Tokyo, Japan. I
successfully made it back from Togane and am now in my home area. Well
Togane is technically my area because my close friends live there, but it's good to
be back in the huge city of Tokyo. I'm sure you're all dying to hear about
my adventure to Togane so I'll start with that. When we arrived in Togane, we
quickly went to our friend T... house because it has been difficult for him
to attend church. We went to his house and he met with us, and we had a
very wonderful half hour long discussion about lots of random
stuff. At first the discussion was awkward, but then we talked about the gospel
and I'm telling you we had the most spiritual experience I've
ever felt in my life. We shared a lot of our personal experiences with
each other including experiences Elder Cannon and I had while T... was
preparing to be baptized. We also talked about how he helped us through
our own conversion stories. Seriously by the end of it, pretty much
everyone was crying especially Elder Cannon and T... Because I'm a real
man I only cried a little, but it was a really amazing experience.
After these exchanges, we told T... that he is such an important member of
the Togane Ward family. We had to leave quickly so we asked him to continue to
study and pray with the Togane missionaries. After meeting with other friends
like K..., W... C..., M..., and K..., we left early the next morning
to go back to a big meeting that we had.  But today while I was
walking through a Japanese shrine I got a call from the Togane missionaries
and they told me that T... is able to come to church and other church activities.
What a crazy miracle! I'm so happy for him.
So this week is also going to be super amazing!  We have two baptisms
coming up this weekend.  They aren't people that I was working with
very closely, but since I am the district leader I get to do their
baptism interviews this week.  I'm pretty excited because they will be
in English.  Should be great!  Also, they have asked me to bestow the
gift of the Holy Ghost, and to play the piano for a special musical
number that they are going to be singing at the baptismal service.  It's all very
exciting.  I just wish that it was also M... being baptized as well.
We still don't have contact with him.  I really miss him.
It's crazy to hear about everything that is going on back home.  I can't
believe that everyone is on vacation right now or not even at home.  I
hope that everyone is having lots of fun and being safe.
Well I love you all and I hope that you have another great week!  Love yah
Eric Stevens
Meiji Shrine

Monday, July 21, 2014

Have a Great Mission!

I just wanted to start off this email by saying, "Have a great mission Andrew."
Have lots of fun and be looking for a
letter from me because I sent you one last Monday so it should be
there by now.  I hope you get it because I didn't know what unit you
were in, but it should get to the MTC. 
Things are going not to shabbily at the moment.  Unfortunately we have
not been meeting with our prince friend. The last thing we heard from him was that his
lawyer back in Ghana called him and told him that he couldn't get
baptized into a Christian church because he was a prince.  I found
out more about his situation, and it seems like he is a prince of a tribe up in
northern Ghana whose tribe has pretty much been wiped out by the other
tribes.  I think that his lawyer may be right about becoming Christian
because northern Ghana is unfriendly to Christians.  The Church
doesn't have any churches or missions in northern Ghana so IDK what we should do
to help him.  It's really sad though.  Why can't everyone just be
tolerant of other people's decisions?!
Some good news, we are working with a Japanese guy named T... who is
doing really well right now.  There is one little snag.  His whole life goal
is to become a beer brewer.  He is actually studying English right now
so that he can learn enough to move to Belgium to learn how to make
Belgium beer in Belgium.  That makes sense right?  We still need to
teach him the word of wisdom so I will let you know how that goes when
we teach it.
You know what's weird?  I think I may not like American candy now.  Or
at least, my body isn't used to it anymore.  For the past few days,
whenever I eat peanut butter it tastes really good but I get a head
ache.  Also, I had some cake at a member's house and I just felt sick!
I think it's because I'm not used to all of the sugar anymore.  I'm
turning Japanese! Gasp!
Ok, well I'm going to roll out now.  I just want to let you know that I
love you all!  Have an amazing week and Andrew, have a great two
years!  It's crazy to think that I've already been out for a full year
and that you are leaving in 2 days.  Time flies! It really does.
Love yah!

Eric Stevens
Apartment In Tokyo

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hot New World!

I didn't know what heat and humidity were until recently this week.  It
has been 35 C here and 100% humidity for the past week.  Not very fun
for wearing church clothes around everywhere.  I feel bad for anyone
who works in missions more south than me.  What doesn't help is that
our AC doesn't work that well either.  We have two AC units but when we
turn both of them on we have to turn everything else off or else the
power shuts off.  Which is nice for the night time but any other time
we either have to be in the dark or the heat.  I guess I shouldn't be
complaining too much.  At least I get to eat lots of American food now
that I am in the English area.
Speaking of weather, we had some weird weather this week.
Unfortunately the typhoon happened during the night so I slept right
through the whole thing!  Too bad I wanted to see it!  Also the
earthquake happened at 4:00 in the morning so I didn't feel it.  We
have alarms on our phones that go off whenever there is an earthquake
and so the alarm woke me up with its crazy loud noises but I still
didn't feel it.  Lots of people the next day said that they felt it so
I cant believe that I missed it!  I hope another one happens soon! jk
But yes, I survived the earthquake and the typhoon.
We had another great week.  We are really working hard with M...
right now so that he can make his date.  They recently changed the
missionary guidelines so now we have to teach him another chapter in
Preach My Gospel before he can be baptized.  He is completely ready for baptism
and everything but we may have to push the date back because of the
changes.  He is having a big interview with
the Japanese embassy today to get a permanent visa so that he can stay
in Japan.  I hope that it goes well.  He said that he is going to call
us when he finds out what happened.
We also had another friend come to church this week.  I kid you not,
his name is n4.  What a sweet name!  My companion actually met him
in his old area.  He's a sweet guy from the Cameroon.  So many miracles!
So about my new companion.  He is from Texas, went to the naval
academy and has a dream to be enlisted in the marines as an infantry
officer.  He is super strong and he is not letting me get off easy
with the exercises in the mornings.  We run every other day and then
do intense marine  exercises the rest of the days.  Our only off days
are Sundays and the days that we have lessons at 7 in the morning. Very intense!
So in other news, I have just asked one of my roomates to help me
in the work of being district leader.  We have a really big district already and
what makes things harder is that some of the district goes to another
church in the area so I never really see them except for English class
and district meetings.  So I asked Elder Chugg who is also in the
other church to sorta be my eyes over there and tell me how things are
going.  Elder Chugg is more than happy to help.
Well everyone, it's that time again for me to say good bye.  I love
all of you and I miss you a ton!  Have a great week.
Have a fun vacation to Michigan everyone!

Eric Stevens

Making Rice Balls For The Homeless In Tokyo

Monday, July 7, 2014

Transfer 8, Day One!

How is everyone?

Well as you can see from the title of this email we had our transfer
calls this morning, which means I am now transfer 8, which means that I
am on top of the hill starting to go over it.  As for what happened
with transfers, I am staying in the English area but my dear companion
is going to take my place in Togane.  So jealous!  I'm giving him tons
of advice so he can hit the ground running there.  I was made a
district leader and our district is the biggest one in the mission.
We are starting something new in our district, having more sisters in
a district than elders.  It's the first time so I'm excited to
see what happens.  Do you remember Sister Snow from Togane? Well, she
is in the English ward with me.  I was so excited to hear that she
was moving here because she is awesome. Should be a fun transfer. 
But I'm a little sad because this will probably
be my last transfer in here.  There is a pattern that elders only stay
here for 2 transfers so I'm probably almost done.
Guess what, for the first time on my mission we were able to hit the
standard of 20 lessons in one week.  We have some guidelines for how
many lessons to teach and this is the first time I have been able to
reach them.  It's been a great week.  Remember that prince from Ghana, well
we set up a baptismal date for him on the 27 of July and he is totally
going to make it!  I'm so glad that I didn't transfer out before he got
baptized.  He told us yesterday that he hated how people who call
themselves Christians always drink and smoke, because he said that he
couldn't imagine God smoking or drinking so he never wants to do it.
He's just too prepared, lol. And he says that if I ever go back to
Ghana he wants me to come visit his palace there.  I am excited to
meet with him again on Tuesday tomorrow.
Today is going to be really busy again.  Actually it's so busy that we
are having most of our pday tomorrow because we just don't have enough time
today.  The rock, sand, and water object lesson I developed I have been using a lot.
I have also been using the object lesson book all the time for teaching.  It really
helps.  I have also used the mouse trap object lesson countless times.
Object lessons are the best!!
I just want to testify of the usefulness of iPads and Facebook in
missionary work.  I am currently teaching 3 people on Facebook
right now through messaging and the iPads are amazing for photos, and
videos that we show investigators all the time.  I personally think
that everyone should get one.
So dad we actually don't live in Shibuya but in the city next to it in
ebisu.  If you look up the ebisu station it takes like 5 min to walk
to our apartment.  I'll send you a pic of a map to our house if you
want.  I have seen the statue of the faithful dog in the station.
Well, I'm going to say good bye for now.  I can't wait to talk to you
next week.  It is seriously amazing to hear from all of you.  It
makes me feel like I'm not so far away.  Glad you had
tons of fun for the fourth of July.  We didn't do really anything for the
forth except go to an all you can eat meat place.  It was pretty
sketchy though so I hope that I don't get sick.  Well I love you
all!  愛しているよ!

Eric Stevens
Krispy Kreme Japanese Style!

Shibuya District