Monday, August 25, 2014

Week One In Tsukuba--It Has Begun!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Goodbye To Tokyo & English:(

Hey everyone! This will be the last email that I send you from Tokyo,
because I am going to be moving to the more rural area of
Tsukuba, Japan pronounced scuba. Not only am I leaving Tokyo but also my
English ward, my lovely district family, and my district leader
responsibilities. I'm really going to miss being a district leader even
though I was always busy. I loved getting to know everyone in the
district and it seems as soon as I get really close to the district I
have to leave. I'm so sad.  Oh well.  In other news, I'm no
longer a district leader anymore because I was just called to be a
zone leader for the Matsudo north zone which consists of 2 districts
of about 16 people. I'm a little nervous because zone leaders have to
be awesome missionaries and I don't think I measure up yet. I hope I
can get the zone as unified as this district was this transfer.  My new
companion is transfer 10 and his name is Elder Jacox.  I'm not the senior companion
but I'm excited to learn from someone with more experience again. But
he's not too much my senior because I'm transfer 9 now. That's weird to
say because we only have 15 or 16 transfers here in Japan.
This week was pretty normal but not as busy as last week. We had a
lot of people cancel appointments on us, some without even telling us.
Which is very frustrating sometimes. We met with a new cool guy named
E...  He is from Cameroon and his one big question for us was
whether or not he had been baptized the correct way by being
sprinkled. He told us that he was worried that it was done wrong and
he said that he would get baptized into our church if he had been
baptized wrong. We are meeting with him later today.
This week we also had district lunch which was awesome! We went to an
all-you-can eat pizza place to eat, and unfortunately they had weird corn,
mayo, squid, tuna, and other interesting combinations Japanese people like to eat.
What I wouldn't do for a papa johns here. But luckily we don't have
district lunches for the food but for the company. I'm telling you I
have too much fun with our district.  I don't know if it is legal to have that
much fun as a missionary. Also while we were there we met a sweet
Brazilian family that we are referring to the Tokyo South Mission
For those of you who dont know, this week in Japan was a holiday that
they call Obon. Pretty much it is a holiday where Japanese just go
back to their home city and remember their deceased
ancestors for a few days, and have a big secular and
spiritual family reunion. Pretty sweet right? We need to do that in
the states. The only down side was that literally everyone was on
vacation this week so it was hard to meet people.
I had the opportunity to give a priesthood blessing to someone in my
district this morning. I love giving blessings cuz of the spirit that
you feel during them. I never understood how in the scriptures it
says that the "words that the prophets or apostles heard couldn't be
written in words or spoken" until today when I gave the blessing. I
started the prayer and I had tons of feeling and things that I felt
like I should say but I couldn't find the words for them. It took me
awhile to be able to phrase it all but I still feel like I couldn't
quite get it exactly right. I hope she felt what I was trying to say
during the prayer.
Also on a lighter note, we have a sweet place where we go to dendo.
It's a barber shop owned by the sweetest black guy that I know, L...
His shop specializes in giving black haircuts so everyone there is
black and loves Jesus. We always get tons of numbers there and have
tons of cool, and interesting conversations. One of them involved L...
telling everyone that Jesus wasn't coming back because he had already
finished God's work for him. He then told us that God will not forget
us though and he will send us another messenger like Jesus soon in the
future. When we asked him who it would be he said, well it's not
going to be me for sure, my guess would be it's either going to be you
Elder Stevens or Barack Obama. Wow, I've never been compared to Obama
or Jesus.  Like I said, very interesting discussions at L... shop. lol
Well with that I'm going to have to leave you now. I gotta pack and get
all ready for this Thursday. I don't like transferring. I love you
all and I will talk to you next week!


Eric Stevens

Ps it is still super hot in Tokyo right now but luckily I'm
transferring up north more by the ocean so I hope it get cooler up
Pps we went to the temple last week that's why I emailed on Tuesday
instead of Monday. Now I'm going to be pretty far from the temple.

I  Will Miss Our Tokyo District!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Crazy Week!

Dear Family,
Like I said in the title, this was a fancy crazy week. Fancy cuz of
all the miracles and crazy because of how busy it was. Especially
this weekend. Since I serve as the district leader I get to go on splits
with all of the elders in our district, and this Saturday I went with
my friend Elder Chugg. We taught 4 people, went to a, oh no,
I don't know how to say this in English, a dendo Chosei shukai
meeting, and to game night in one day. We skipped both
lunch and dinner and made it home just right before curfew. Crazy
days like that are always the best, except that you are usually really
hungry during them.
Also on Saturday we went to a fun place called roppongi. This is a
dangerous place at night and if we don't have a lesson appointment
there we are not allowed to go there as missionaries after 6 pm. But we
had a lesson there so we went. We met our friend J... there right
outside his work (a club) and started teaching him about missionary
work. Next thing you know we are surrounded by black people who work
at the different clubs all around roppongi asking us what we were
doing. When they heard that we were preaching from the Bible and the
Book of Mormon they called all their friends over and told us to
preach on. By now we are surrounded by like 20 black guys who are
shouting hallelujah and praise the Lord because of
all the righteous scriptures that we were sharing with them. I felt
like I was seriously in the middle of a huge church revolution
or something, and more and more people kept comig to hear us expound the
scriptures to them. Afterwards, we challenged them all to meet with us
again and to think and pray about some of their friends who might need to
hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ and to refer them to us. It was
seriously the best night ever!  We had another miracle yesterday on the
train. We saw this gentleman and he asked if we were Mormons and we
said yes. Then he asked us if we could teach him the proper way of
baptism because he had been baptized by sprinkling. But some of his
friends said that that wasn't the right way to be baptized so he was
worried that he needed to do more to go to heaven. He told us that if
he had been baptized the wrong way he wanted us to tell him and he
would get baptized the right way. We told him that he came to the
right place and we are meeting him again next Monday. And that's only
one of the great miracles! We were feeling discouraged last week
because of somethings that were happening, but it seems like God has
pressed the restart button on our investigator pool and we are pretty
much working with all new people now. But they are all super nice people.
Thanks everyone for all of the job advice that you have been giving
me. It's crazy that I already need to start working on my college
acceptance essays and stuff. Time is flying by so fast. We have the
start of a new transfer next week and I'll be transfer 9 out of 15.
I'm one of the older missionaries in the mission now, crazy.
Well I hope everyone has a great week! I love you all and can't wait
to hear from you next week!

Eric Stevens

Ps Happy Bday Ian! Have you watched any cool movies yet?
Samari Warriors, Tokyo, Japan

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Fancy Week

Another great week this week!  We had two baptisms this Saturday
that we attended.  Both people who were baptized were from Vietnam and
they were so excited to be baptized.  As the district leader, I have
the privilege to interview anyone that is getting baptized in the
district.  I love the interviews because they are seriously the most
spiritual experiences that I have ever been in.  One of the candidates
was unable to speak English or Japanese so we had to have a translator
for her via Skype.  That was an interesting experience because I didn't
really know what was going on.  I really had to rely on the spirit for
the decision on that one.  The baptismal service was great and they
both asked me to bestow on them the Holy Ghost.  That is the first time I
have ever done that and it felt really good.  I hope to do that again
really soon!
We had our second district meeting as a district last week and it went
really well.  I asked another missionary to give training on how to not set
baptismal date goals and it was hilarious.  He is going to make a
great district leader someday.  Since it was fast Sunday I asked the
district if they would all fast so that we could have the spirit when we teach,
so that we can get more people prepared for baptism.
And guess what, yesterday we had 2 companionships in the district set
baptismal date goals.  It was really amazing!  I have a big testimony
of unity now!
We have had a great opportunity to go to some pretty sweet shrines in
the area of Tokyo.  Today we were going to visit our friend in the
hospital, we found out that he had gotten out a while ago but had
"forgotten" to tell us.  However, on the way we found a cool shrine with
huge statues of samurai soldiers.  Don't worry, I got lots of pics dad
and as soon as I get internet on my camera I will send them to you.  I
wish that I could study more about the culture and the history of
Japan.  It's sweet to see all of this culture.
Last of all I would like to make a shout out to grandma Kaldahl, I got
your letter this week, thank you so much for sending it!  I will try
to write a response soon!
Well I love you all!  Have a great week and I hope to hear from you soon!

Eric Stevens

PS:  I'm so proud of my brother Andrew for serving a mission to the Taiwan, Taichung Mission.
He will be a great missionary and I love him very much!

Baptism Weekend

Elder Decker, Osborne, Andrew Stevens, Pearce, Rosen
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