Monday, September 29, 2014

Transfers!!

Hey everyone!

Whats up?  Right now I am on a train to Tokyo so that we can go to
the temple!  From Tsukuba where I am right now it takes about 2 hours
by train to get there so we have a long ride ahead of us.  I'm really
hoping to get some inspiration at the temple today for a big
Christmas devotional that we are hosting this Friday.  It's really
important because it's the meeting to start out our big Christmas
miracle.  We are going to have 100 baptisms from now to Christmas.
That's going to be huge!  But we need to make sure that the meeting
goes well.

So we just got our transfer calls yesterday and I am really surprised
because I am actually staying.  My companion is leaving though to open
a new area for Elders.  It's pretty exciting!  I will be getting a new
companion named Elder Scoville!  He is from Sacramento, California and
he is amazing!  He was actually one of the district leaders who I
have been working with in the zone last transfer.  I actually was
hoping to be his companion this transfer.  This will be his first
transfer as a zone leader.  It will be a joy to work with him because he is
already an amazing leader, so he won't have to hard of a time learning the ropes.  The only
downside is that since we don't get together till Thursday, we have to
plan for our Christmas meeting over the phone which is pretty annoying
but this is going to be a fun transfer!

I'm sure that you all remember how busy I told you my week was going
to be last week, so I won't go into too much detail.  We traveled a lot
and it was really good to finally sleep in my bed again on Saturday.
We saw tons of miracles though.  Elder Jacox and I were able to meet
tons of cool people while on the blitz.  Actually the pic of us and
those too huge sports players was while we were in the Ushiku area.
They are from Fiji and Samoa and they both play rugby.  We were just
walking down the road trying to find a college in the area and the guy
on the left of the pic named Joe yelled out to us, "Hey, God bless you,
are you the Mormons?"  We said yes and he told us that there was a
Mormon living with him.  So we went and started talking to both of
them.  The Mormon was less active because all the rugby practices were
on Sunday but he and his friend want to meet with the missionaries
again.  It was pretty sweet because we found out later that we were
going the complete wrong way to the college so God was definitely
guiding us that day.  And that was only one of the miracles.

So you've all heard about the volcano?  Well it happened in Nagano
which is west of where we are living right now.  I don't know too much
about it because we don't watch the news, but we haven't noticed any
difference at all in the weather.  There isn't any ashes or smoke or
anything like that.  We didn't even know there was one until on Sunday
when a member told us.  I hope everyone is ok.  I have some friends
living in Nagano.

Ok, well I hope that you all have a great week!  I love you all and I'm
really jealous that you got to talk to Andrew on the phone.  I was
hoping that I could as well.  Have fun and I love you!

Eric Stevens


 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Busy Week!

Guess what, another transfer is almost over!  This is our last
week till I'm a transfer 10 missionary!  Crazy right?
This week went pretty well but it was so stressful.  Have any of you
had to plan for a zone meeting with the sister training leaders, plan
for a baptism in Japanese with the ward mission leader, and plan for a
big 3 day zone blitz with the district leaders?  All I can say is that
it was pretty stressful and I am glad that it went well.  The
baptism was amazing.  My companion did the baptism correctly the first
time and do you remember Elder Alred?  He was my companion last
transfer in Tokyo but he came to the baptism because his companion
used to live here and taught T...  It was really good to see him
again.  The next day we had the confirmation which was also very
stressful but I did it right and everyone said that they were amazed
at my Japanese and how it was so good.  I'm telling you it wasn't me cuz
the whole time during the prayer I was shaking so bad because I was so
nervous.  I'm glad it went well though.  T... also had his interview
with the Bishop to get the priesthood yesterday so hopefully he will
be getting it this week.  He is a total gem!  Too bad his school
starts up this week so we won't be able to meet with him as much.
Also last Friday we had a zone meeting in Ushiku.  It's a 20
minute train ride from Tsuchuira station.  The meeting was good and we
gave lots of random trainings on how to improve the work, how to be more
unified as a zone and as a mission, and we learned a lot about
Japanese culture so that we can amaze the members by how Japanese we
are.  The meetings are usually 3 hours so at first I was worried that
we wouldn't be able to use the time but it seriously flew by so fast!
But guess what, we have another one in 2 weeks so we have already
started planning for it.  I'm so excited for all of the new
planning we have to do.  lol
So this week is going to be pretty sweet too!  I'm so excited!
Unfortunately we don't have any baptisms planned, but we
are going on a huge zone blitz to every area in the zone! Tonight we
are going to be staying in Ushiku and then meeting people there all
tomorrow.  On Tuesday night we will be staying in Mito and teaching
there all Wednesday.  And on Thursday everyone but us in the zone will
be helping in Tsukuba.  On Thursday my companion and I will be going
to Tokyo again for another meeting.  The following night we will be
back in Tsukuba on splits with the assistants to the president and then
on Friday night we are spending the night in Matsudo to meet with the
Stake President.  So this week we will only be in our area on Thursday
night, Saturday, and Sunday.  Should be a busy week!  (You should look
up all these cities on the map cuz it's cool to see all the places
around the mission I get to go to all the time!:)
Ok, well I'm going to wrap it up now.  Everyone have a great week!  I
love you all!

Eric Stevens

ps attached are some pics of the baptism with T...
pps next week is temple pday so I will be writing my email on Tuesday
not Monday.
ppps I love you all a lot and I hope to hear you all soon!

 
Table Tennis Night


 
Tsukuba District


Monday, September 15, 2014

Happy Respect For The Aged Day!

Hey Everyone!

I don't know if you got my facebook post or not but today in Japan we are
celebrating respect for the aged day!  So no mom, since you are 29,
you don't count as aged. lol  I just didn't have any other pictures of
my grandparents so I just added that on.  So everyone have a great
day!  Also today is the 15th so that means that tomorrow is my 1 year
anniversary of living in Japan.  One year ago tomorrow I was stepping
off the plane into a very strange new place that I had only dreamed
about.  And now look at me, I can get around just fine.  It's crazy how
much you change in a year.
This week, mom was totally right, we had a big all day meeting again.
This time it was for 4 zones so we had over 1/3 of the mission attend.
I got to sing in an octet with a violin and a piano so it was pretty
fun.  The bass part was more of like a tenor part so it was a
little hard for me, but also for the real tenors. I don't see how
anyone but Justin Beber can hit high A's.  The conference was pretty
much focused on mission unity, especially in our companionship.
It really helped because we have been having some trouble in our zone
with unity so it was exactly what we needed.  I wonder how President
knew that...probably revelation.
After the meeting I went on splits with one of my old friends from
Niigata and we had a fun time up in Mito.  Mito is only 70 miles south
from the nuclear power plant that melted down in Fukushima.
Apparently the radiation is still really bad up there so I hope I'm
still ok...  We had lots of fun and found some cool new people for the
sisters to teach up there.  So an update on T...  He passed his baptismal interview on Saturday
so he is ready for his baptism this Saturday!  He asked my companion to
baptize him and me to give him the gift of the Holy Ghost.  I'm sorta
nervous because I've only given the gift of the Holy Ghost in English
and this one is all in Japanese!  I'm really excited for his baptism
because it will be my first baptism in 6 months that I have had in my area where
I haven't had to leave before the baptism.  Things are starting to pick up a
lot so I'm excited to see even more progress.
Well, thank you all for your prayers for the talk that I gave
yesterday.  I don't really remember much of it but everyone that I
talked to said it was really good.  So idk if they were serious or just
trying to be nice but I feel like it went ok.  I wanted to kick myself
because I got up there and I forgot how to say the word convert in
Japanese.  I just stood there for a few seconds thinking for awhile.
It's kaishusha by the way.  Besides that it went really well.
We had a lot of time this week to go find new people.  We met a ton of
sweet people and we have been able to meet with a lot of them since
then.  A lot of the people that we meet are foreigners, mostly Chinese
or African, but we are teaching a fair amount of Japanese too.
But there seriously is a ton of foreigners here so I have to force myself
to keep practicing up on my Japanese so it doesn't get too rusty.
I'm glad to hear that everything is going well for everyone back home
with school and everything.  I hope that Alexa can make it through the
rest of her math classes without me.  I hope you do well because I'll
probably need your help when I'm trying to remember everything when I
get back.  So good luck!  Also thank you for the package!  The cookies
were amazing!  My apartment mates want me to express their thanks too.
Also, I found out that we have a Michigan football fan in our apartment
so the Ohio State t shirt is causing a little rivalry.  Also one of
the Sisters in the ward is from Michigan so I'm excited to show off my
shirt during the next zone pday next week.  Can't mess with Ohio State!
Well everyone have a great week!  I love you all and I am excited to
hear from you again soon!  Minasan Ganbatte! (Everyone work hard!)

Eric Stevens


ps the pic is of our apartment and my companion holding up a box of
freshly bought American muffins from Costco.  Guess what we are having
for breakfast tomorrow... :)  Dad can you find the apartment from
google maps?  Good luck!  Hint, it's really far away from any of the
train stations, but it's only a 4 min bike ride from the church and the
Tsukuba University.

 


 
Stevens Grandparents
 
 
Kaldahl Grandparents

 
My 29 Year Old Mother
 


Monday, September 8, 2014

Mission Travels, Baptism Preparations, and Gold Origami Cranes

Dear Family,

We had a ton of meetings this week which made the days go by really
slow but for some reason the week has already ended.  weird.  One of
the meetings was in Tokyo and was called Mission Leadership Council.
It is where all of the zone leaders, sister training leaders, and the
assistants to the president meet with President Budge to talk about how
we can improve the mission.  It was really weird to be sitting next to
all of the crazy good missionaries who everyone has heard about.  I
felt a little out of place but it was ok because I saw a lot of my
friends from the MTC for the first time in over a year.  Even my MTC
companion Elder Free was there, on skype.  He is currently back in
Niigata where I used to live and it is so far away that they just have
them skype into the meeting instead of taking the long bus trip down.

Besides that meeting we had a lot of other meetings.  And guess what, we
have another one tomorrow.  The life of a zone leader. lol  But
besides that we did a lot of other fun things.  Remember T...?  Well
we have been meeting with him everyday for the past week and he is
doing amazing.  We taught him the word of wisdom and when we asked him
if he would follow it he said, "Of course!"  No questions about it, he
was prepared by God!  We have his baptismal interview this Saturday
and his baptism the next Saturday.  Actually we just met with him
today and showed him the video Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the
restoration.  He loved it but he kept getting annoyed that they kept
arresting Joseph Smith and destroying all his property.  He kept asking why
people would be cruel enough to do that.  I never really thought about
it, but I am so happy that we don't have to worry about that in the USA
anymore.

Guess what I learned how to do.  I can now fold paper cranes.  I never
thought that would be something that I would ever learn how to do.
But something cool that we are doing in the mission now is every time
there is a baptism, we fold a red crane; every time there is an
endownment we fold a silver crane; every time there is a person who
gets the priesthood we fold a yellow crane; and every time there is a
sealing in the temple we fold a gold crane.  Then after we fold them
all we somehow link them into a long chain.  It's going to be part of
our Christmas miracle this year so I'm pretty excited.  I hope we get
to make some pretty long chains because they look soo cool!  And for
other reasons too of course.

Ok, lastly I would like to thank the family for the package and the
letters that I received.  I was supposed to get the package a few days ago
but that was the day I was in Tokyo so I missed it!:(  They are going
to send it again to me today so I'll get it later to night!  So
excited!  Also just to let grandma Stevens know, yeah one of the
Sisters that I am working with now was with me in Tokyo last transfer.
It was really weird because we transferred at the same time to the
same place.  That like never happens, ever.  But we are good friends so
it's all cool.

Well everyone have a great week!  And wish me luck because I have to
give a talk in sacrament meeting this Sunday for 15 minutes in Japanese.
It'll be crazy fun! lol  Love you all!

loves,

Eric Stevens



Monday, September 1, 2014

Zone Travels, Matsuri and More...

Hey everyone!
Were to begin...we were all over the place this week.  First off we
were off to Mito so we could attend a district meeting over there.
The first district meeting I haven't needed to lead in a long time.  It was still
pretty fun just sitting there and listening to the training.  It's
crazy how on my mission I have come to love meetings because
you can learn so much from everyone.  After the meeting in Mito
we went down south to Matsudo to have a meeting with the stake
president of the stake we are serving in.  Apparently the zone leaders
meet with the stake president every month to align our mission goals
with the stake.  The stake president was really cool and I learned
that my Japanese isn't that bad cuz I was able to speak during the entire meeting
in Japanese.  Gift of tongues!  Just wondering, dad do you ever meet with
the zone leaders in your stake at all?  How many zones do you have in
the stake?  It was really cool to visit all over the place, but it cost
a ton and took tons of time.  And it doesn't help that my bike keeps
breaking.  I just got the bike fixed last week and then the next day I
got a flat tire.  Idk if I'll be able to keep up with all the expenses if
my bike keeps breaking.
We also got to go to the summer matsuri (festival).  It really reminded
me of the popcorn festival in Beavercreek, but there wasn't any popcorn
just lots of fish!  It was raining but we still had lots of fun
at the parade and I won a Despicable Me 2 sticker book. Winning!  We
went to the festival with our friend T... who is getting baptized
soon.  He is so excited to be baptized.  He always is talking about it with us,
and we have his baptismal interview set for the 13th of September which is
less that 2 weeks away!  We are meeting with him everyday
and he is progressing excellently. He is a great guy!
Actually tomorrow we are going with T... to a Shuwa class (Japanese
Sign Language).  Some people in our ward can't hear very well so
everyone in the ward speaks Shuwa and a lot of the missionaries are
learning it too because there is a college for the hard of hearing
really close to us.  I've already learned a lot of Shuwa and it is completely
different than American Sign Language.  But hopefully I'll be able to
come back home speaking Japanese, Shuwa, and Spanish.
Speaking of Spanish, we are teaching a lot of people now in Spanish
cuz my companion speaks Portuguese.  I can barely understand or say
anything right now but I'm getting lots of practice for when my
companion transfers.  I'm pretty worried about him because he has
been in this area for a long time so you know what that means.
It's pretty dangerous for him being in Tsukuba this long so I had better learn fast!
I'm super excited for the package coming soon! Especially for the Ohio
State shirt! Lol  One of my roommates got a bottle of girls perfume
from home and he sprayed it and it smelled so nice!  They don't wear
perfume here at all!  I haven't smelled that in a long time and it made
me feel woozy!  It's crazy the simple things that you miss from America
that you dont even notice!
Well everyone I gotta go now.  I hope you all have an amazing week!
It's always great to hear from you!  I love you all and I'll see yah
soon!

Loves,

Eric Stevens


Appreciation Message For Our Bishop 


Summer Matsuri (Festival) With T... Tsukuba, Japan