Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Coming To A Close...

Hello everyone, and welcome to my last email from my mission in Japan.  The time
has gone by fast and my 2 year mission has finally come to a close.
Crazy stuff right?  I can't believe that in just 4 short days, I will
be able to see mom and dad and the rest of you will have to wait for a
few more weeks.  But it's coming fast!  By the way, I'm sorry that my
last email is late this week. I will explain later in the email.

So my last week was pretty intense.  Like I said, I was
able to go on splits with my district leader and we got to
eat Taco Bell.  So good!  I'll have to go again soon!
Next was temple day.  We were able to meet with a lot of our old missionary
friends and to say good bye to all of them before I leave.  We went to
eat at a place called burger mania where they are famous for their
cherry burgers, maybe we will have to go after the temple session mom
and dad!  They are pretty good!  The following day not much happened except plenty of lessons.
It's so much easier to set
up appointments when you have the, "I'm going back to America in a
week so you'd better meet with me while I can," card. lol  We were able to
teach 16 lessons this week which is the best that I have had in a
while.  Maybe I should leave to America more often!

So now for the good stuff.  You know how I set a goal to get 10 people
to church my last Sunday.  Well I was close.  I didn't hit 10, but we
got 8 of our friends to church!  This area is a little bit weird
because we go to 2 sessions of church, the English church in
the morning and the Japanese session in the afternoon.  So we had one
of our friends come with us to the English church in the morning and 8
in the Japanese session.  (One of our friends liked me so much he came
to both sessions of church).  Elder Free and I sang in the Japanese
Ward and it was amazing!  He is such a wonderful singer.  We had so
many members come up to us afterwards and say it was good.  But
besides that, we had so many miracles.  The night before church I got a call
from one of my friends named S....  I don't know if I told you about
him, but we met S... at a park a few weeks back.  He was playing
guitar and since I love guitar, I asked him if I could play too.  We
played for a while and talked about what we do as missionaries.  He
has been baptized before in another church but he loves Christians so
he said he would come to church with us sometime.  Last week, I sent
him a message telling him I was going back to America soon so he
should come to church this week.  Well, he called and said he was
coming and that he was bringing a friend.  (The word for friend is
tomodachi in Japanese but that also means friends too.  They don't use
a real plural way of saying friend so you have to pick it up in
context.). Well needless to say, I thought he only meant one, but boy
was I wrong.  Elder Free and I had finished singing and sacrament
meeting was almost over.  I was sitting next to a foreign lady
translating the meeting for her because she couldn't speak Japanese
and my companion was sitting in the back with 4 of our other
investigators when I got a message.  I looked at it and it was S...
saying he was here.  I open the door to the chapel and wave him in.
We sit in the front row and after I got situated, I turn to look at
S... to find that he has 3 women following him into the chapel.  He
didn't just bring one friend, he brought 3 women friends!  Elder Free told me
afterwards that when I sat down with all of those women, the speaker
stopped to stare at us and pretty much everyone in the congregation
was staring at us too.  They were probably wondering why I knew so
many 25 year old Japanese women.  I was surprised too!  Well, the
meeting ended and I started to talk to all of them and they all loved
church and how nice everyone was.  All the members started talking to
them too so they made lots of friends!  But to make things even
better, S... pulled me aside and asked me if our church did baptisms
for people.  I was sorta taken aback because maybe in Brazil and
Africa people may ask missionaries that, but this was the first time I
had ever been asked that before.  I was speechless for awhile but I
finally said yes.  He had me explain what our form of baptism was and
then about the gift of the Holy Ghost.  He said that he had already
been baptized and one of his friends had been too, but his other 2
friends hadn't been yet and they wanted to get baptized as soon as
they could.  Well, there were too many members trying to say good bye
to me to teach them then, but I got all of their contact information
and set up an appointment for the next day to talk about baptism.

 That day was probably the biggest miracle that I have ever seen on
my mission, besides the big day where we had 50 people at church in
Togane one week.  God really does bless the leaving missionaries as
long as they try hard and keep working to the end.  8 people at church
and 2 people who really wanted to get baptized.

Well, that's not even the end of the story!  The reason it was hard for
me to email today is because we met with all four of them and had a 4
hour lunch dinner lesson where we talked about baptism, why it's
important, how we need to get the gift of the Holy Ghost after
baptism, and we were able to set 2 baptismal dates with 2 of his
friends, A..., and K....  They are all super nice and
I was able to exchange some information with them so I'm going to keep
teaching them even when I get back to America.  I can't believe that
I'm leaving right after such a big miracle!

Well, I hope that you liked the miracle of the week.  It was the last
big miracle that I will be able to write about so I hope that you did.
It was seriously so cool to see such a big miracle right before I
left!  I will definitely have to keep in touch to help them reach
their baptismal dates on the 22nd.

Anyways, I think that's all I have time for tonight it's almost our
bedtime.  I would just like to say thanks to everyone who has taken
part in supporting me though my mission these two years.  I always had some
sort of email or letter to look forward to.  So thank you so much.
Even though I am ending my full time mission this week, I will still
always strive to be a good example to those around me and be the light
set upon the hill for all to see.  I love you all so much!  I will see
you soon!

Elder Stevens, signing out!  Love yah!

 
Sunday Visitors


 
English Class, Tokyo, Japan

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The End Before The End...

Hey Everyone!

You know what's happening this week?  I started my last week of my
last transfer!  And boy are we going to be busy.  As soon as the
Bishop in both wards announced to everyone that I only had 7 more days
in the ward, everyone started inviting us over for lunch dinner
appointments.  I feel so popular because this is the most member
lessons that I have ever had.  Pretty fancy!  But this last week has
really crept up one me.  During weekly planning, my companion brought
up, hey, so you need to start packing this week.  When are we going to
do that?  And it hit me, dang, I really do.  It's going to be fun to
try to make my bags under 50 lbs each.  But enough about that, let's
get into the good stuff.

So last Sunday was awesome at church.  President and Sister Nagano
came and gave our ward a surprise visit.  Yes, they are both from Japan
but their English is amazing!  We were so surprised to see them but it
was even better because we had tons of people at church!  Between the
other Elders and us, we filled a whole bench!  So it was me, S...
(investigator), Elder Hardy, Brother G...(member friend of the
investigators), A... (investigator), Elder Free, J... (investigator),
 Elder Nukaya, and K... (investigator).  And the Naganos were sitting
right behind us and we're super happy.  They told us to keep it
up!  I love it when we get caught having success in missionary work.
But next week should be even better.  Elder Free and I are going to be
singing together so we have like 5 people who are coming for sure
right now and we are working to get even more people!  Should be a
great last Sunday.

Now it's time for the miracle update of the week.  We found a sweet
new investigator.  His name is S... and he is golden!  We were in
Gotanda, a huge train station going to visit a recent convert who had
a birthday, when we got there he wasn't home but while we were
leaving, a guy saw us and quickly turned away.  Because of that, we
just had to talk to him, but before we could, he turned around again
and began talking to us.  He speaks awesome English and he is learning about
the Church in his college classes and he said that he wants private English
lessons.  He came to our English class, then the ward bbq, and then to
church.  It was pretty sweet!!  We are actually going to
meet him again today so he is the best.

Besides that, I was able to go on splits with our district leader last
week.  Elder Nukaya is super cool and we were able to teach lots of
people.  Also, we had the opportunity to eat dinner at Taco
Bell!  Yeah that's right, they have a Taco Bell in Shibuya, Tokyo!
They just built it a few weeks ago and it was the first time that I
have had Taco Bell in 2 whole years.  I got the quesadilla and the
taco supreme as usual.  Unfortunately, they didn't have baja blast but
it's good to know that Japan is slowly modernizing and getting lots of
great amazing restaurants.

Well, I think that's everything for this week.  I love you all tons and
tons!  I'll see you all again really soon!  Until then, God bless you!

Love,

Elder Stevens
 
Tokyo, Japan




 
 
Ward BBQ

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Fond Farewell To President And Sister Budge!

Hello Everyone!  How's it going?

I guess to start off, I'll explain the title of the email.  After two
years of working with our beloved President and Sister Budge, they
have gone back to their home in America.  It was so hard to see them
leave and I can't imagine having another mission president for two more
weeks.  It's hard to fill such big shoes so I wish President and
 Sister Nagano good luck!  We had a conference where the missionaries
in the Tokyo area met together to welcome President and Sister Nagano
to the mission and that was pretty fun.  Their English is so good I
was really surprised!  We pretty much had a big question answer
session and after a little bit we went back to our areas to teach
English class.  I'm looking forward to talking to President Nagano
more during our interview coming up in a few weeks.

We also had a really fancy fast and testimony meeting last week and
after the meeting, I realized that it was my last sacrament meeting in
Japan!  Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until after the meeting
and since I had just given a talk last Sunday I didn't get up to
speak.  It was a really spiritual meeting and the bishop heard me
singing and asked me to sing in my last sacrament meeting in Japan.
Elder Free and I are going to sing a duet together as a final farewell
to the ward.  I'm pretty excited because I love singing and music,
so it should be fun!

As for the rest of the week, rainy season has finally started, a
little bit late but with all of its fury.  I feel sorta like Andrew
did a few weeks ago.  We still had lots of fun and I even got to
go on splits with my old MTC companion Elder Free which was super
awesome!  We had a few lessons that day and we were so unified in
teaching.  Any of you who have been to the MTC probably realize why,
because we teach a lot together.  I guess all of our winging it lessons
worked after all! Lol

Well anyways, I think that's everything for this week.  It's hard to
believe that I will only have 2 more pdays left before I leave for home.  So
anyone who wants to email me before I go home better do it now!  Lol
Have a great week everyone!

Love you,

Elder Stevens

 
Soccer In The Rain With the Young Single Adults

Monday, June 29, 2015

Keeping Very Busy...

Hey everyone!

How's it going for everyone?  We had a pretty fantastic week this week.
Actually it was one of the most busy weeks that I have ever had while
in Senzokuike!  We were able to find 5 new investigators, teach 14
lessons, and 3 of our friends were able to come to church.  All in all
a great week!  At the beginning of the week, I  was looking through my
journal that I kept while I was here a year and a half ago and I came
across a family from Ghana who was investigating the Church when I
was here before.  I just had a feeling that we should go over there
and visit them so I looked up their address in the areabook and went.
Well the address was totally wrong but luckily I was able to recognize
the place where we were and from memory I was able to guide us to
their house.  It's seriously so amazing that you can remember things
from that long ago.  But when we visited them, they invited us into
their home and wanted to hear our message right there!  And they even
had 2 other friends from Ghana there with them and they wanted to
learn from us as well. So it was a super huge miracle that I was not
only able to remember them, find their house by memory, but also was
able to find and teach 2 new investigators.  God really does guide and direct us.

I was also privileged to give a talk during our Japanese service of
church yesterday.  They gave my the theme of talking about how we as
members can grow a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ and it went
really well.  I was able to invite a lot of our investigators to come
and see it and we were able to have 3 of them come.  And a less active
friend of ours came as well.  It is the busiest that I have ever been
during Church meetings.  We also had some friends come to the English
church with us.  So it was great!  I have a goal to get 10
people to church my last Sunday here so we just need to keep working
hard to be able to do that!  The Senzokuike area is really looking up
recently and I hope that we can even have a baptism before I leave as
well.  We only have 3 more weeks though so we better work hard!

In sad news, our beloved Mission President and his wife will be
leaving us to go back to America in a few days, and
we are really going to miss them a lot.  They have been my mission
president for pretty much the whole 2 years of my mission and it seems
so strange that just 3 weeks before I leave that I will have to have a
new Mission President.  I'm sure that he will do a great job, but we
will just have to see how the next few weeks play out.

Well, I think that's everything for this week.  Thanks again for all of
the love and support this week and always.  Hope that everyone has a
great week!  Love yah!

 Elder Stevens

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Palace Adventure...

Hey everyone!

How's it going?  Well another week has come and gone with a lot of
sweet adventures.  I would like to talk about 2 of them in this email.
As some of you have probably noticed on my Facebook page, we went with
one of our investigators to tour the Imperial Palace and it was so
sweet!  It's in the middle of Tokyo and it is so weird when you first see
it because it's just a big forest and lawns in the middle of these
huge skyscrapers.  They showed us some of the old guard towers as well
as the old Imperial Tower where the emperor lived in a long time ago.
Unfortunately, it had been burned down so only the foundation remains
today.  What I loved most about the tour however was all of the old
stories that they told us.  The first one was about 47 Samurai
warriors.  Their master was a warlord but he offended the Emperor by
trying to kill another warlord who hurt his honor.  The Emperor
commanded the other warlord to commit suicide.  He did and his 47
samurai didn't have a master anymore so after years of planning and
preparing, they attacked the other warlord that had hurt their old
warlords honor.  They succeeded in killing him but when the Emperor
heard about it, he commanded them to commit suicide too.  So they went
back to where their master was buried and committed suicide, all 47 of
them.  It's a sad story, but the Japanese people love it because it
talks about how loyal the 47 warriors were to their master even after
he died.

The next adventure that I went on this week was I cut my companions
hair.  It was the first time that I had ever cut anyone's hair and I'm
surprised that he actually let me do it!  I wouldn't have even trusted
myself to do it!  It turned out pretty great not ganna lie.  I felt so
powerful with my companion sitting in a chair and me holding a razor,
getting ready to cut everything I could!  It was a great bonding
experience.  I also got my hair cut this week, but I paid someone to
do it because I'm not as trusting as my companion is.

Besides that, we met with one of my old friends from 2 years ago named
the Prince family.  They are from Ghana and they love the Book of
Mormon and the Bible so much!  They just dropped off the map when I
left, but we got in contact with them again and we are meeting with
them to talk more about the restoration and how it can
help them.  It should be fun!

Just before I close, I would like to wish my dad and brother Ian good
luck with their 300 mile bike trip this week from Kirtland, Ohio to
Dayton, Ohio.  I pray that everything will go
well and that there aren't a lot of hills.  Those aren't very fun.
To bad they aren't having the trip in 5 weeks or I could come!  Have
fun and remember, you got this!  Love you all everyone and I hope you
have a safe week!

Love,

Eric






Soooo Trusting!


Monday, June 15, 2015

My Thougths On Being Cooked!

Hey Everybody!

How's are things back home?  I hope everything is going
great and it's not too hot or too rainy.  I suppose that a lot off you
are wondering about the strange title that I used to open this email,
so let me simply explain.  It is super hot!  So hot in fact, that even
while taking a freezing cold shower, I am still sweating like crazy.
The good news is, it is going to get worse as July and August
come around.  It may not look that hot on the weather app, but since
all of Tokyo is a massive sheet of unending asphalt, it absorbs
all of the heat so it is literally like living in a oven over here.
But life goes on:-)

This week I had to say a very sad goodbye to my Canadian friend and
companion Elder Faganello.  I am sending this email to him too so
maybe I should give him some compliments so he doesn't feel bad.  Lol.
Just kidding I love yah Elder Faganello!  He was a great companion and
we had so much fun together last transfer!  I'm going miss him a lot
but I hope that he has a fun time in Tsukuba.  Of course he will, I
was there and I left a fun area for him!

Elder Faganello and I had lots of fun adventures last week until
he left us forever.  My new companion Elder Hardy came
in and we have been having some adventures of our own.  He is from
Texas and super buff!  And he has me on a work out program with him so
hopefully I'll be buff too when I come back.

One of the adventures that we had this week was with our investigator
K....  Elder Faganello knows a lot about him, and you will all know
more when I get back home.  But, sufficeth for me to say that for
every lesson we have with him we have to have a member there, just to
make sure that we keep to the lesson.  So when we met him on
Saturday, my bday, we didn't just have one member to help us, we had
3! The lesson went really well and K... even came to church
yesterday.  He says that he loved it and he felt like his parents were
right beside him because he felt so good.  We have been able to teach
him a lot in the past week because he calls us at least 3 times a day,
so hopefully he will start progressing really well soon!

First of all, thanks to everyone for the bday wishes!  I got tons of
emails and Facebook messages so thank you so much!  For my bday, we
taught English class and one of the students, T..., knew I liked
sharks so he bought me a magnetic sharks head that I put on the
fridge.  The sharks mouth is open so I use it as a storage place for
my keys.  It's really nice because the fridge is right next to the
door so I never forget my keys!  After class we met with K... and our
3 member friends for a lesson.  The member friends were all super cool
and the lesson went amazing!  K... has so many questions and we have
got the answers for him! (Well the Spirit does). Then after that we
took a long train ride to a place called Koiwa where a Chinese night
party was being held.  There I got to meet a ton of my old Togane
Chinese friends like K..., W... C..., and C....  The best part was
that I got to play the violin as a special musical number for the
event and I also got to be the leader for one of the rotation lesson
activities.  I couldn't speak Chinese so Elder Lee, my old companion from
Hong Kong, translated for me!  Just like old times.  When the party
ended, I got to eat some Cheetos and Hershey chocolate so that was the
best present ever!  American candy and snacks are a rare expensive
commodity here.  By the time it was over, we had to rush home to be on
time for curfew.  So all in all it was a super fun bday!

Well, I think that's everything for this week, besides that I got to
see my friend F....  He was the very first person that I saw baptized
so it was awesome to see him again.  Well, thanks again for all of the
emails and bday wishes.  Love you all lots and lots!

Loves,

 Elder Stevens



 
Elder Faganello Saying Goodbye

Monday, June 8, 2015

Last Transfer

Well the final die has been cast.  I just got my very last transfer
call in Japan.  Elder Faganello will be
transferring to Tsukuba and I will be staying in Senzokuike for my
last transfer and my new companion will be Elder Hardy.  It's really
funny because I was his district leader 3 transfers ago when I was in
Togane with Elder Lee.  He is a really hard worker, so we will be
flying like rockets this transfer!

Oh, and one more thing, do you remember Elder Free my MTC companion?
Well, he will be staying in the same apartment as me for our last
transfer together!!  I was so excited to find out about that!  We are
starting our mission together and ending it together!  I guess we'll
get to see how much we have changed these past 2 years.

Well enough about transfers, let's talk about last week.  It started
out amazing!  We were able to find 2 new investigators right off the
bat. It will be interesting to see how they will progress.  I will keep you posted.

 The music concert went awesome!  I played the songs O Danny Boy, and
the Celtic melody that we used to always play as a family.  I borrowed
a violin from one of our investigators, Kobayashi, so he came to the
concert with us and loved it!  I was really nervous though because
right when I started to tune the violin, the string broke!  So we had
to quickly go buy a new string in the 20 min before the concert
started.  We just barely got back in time to perform. And the best
part of the concert was afterwards we got to bike back to our
apartment in the pouring rain!  And it's like a 40 min ride through
the endless hills of Tokyo.  I'm praying for you Dad and Ian so that
you don't have to do your bike ride in the rain because it's not fun.

Well, I think that's everything for this week.  I'm hoping to have lots
of sweet updates for you next week!  The end has begun!  And it's
going to be a fun ride!  Love you all!

Eric Stevens

 
Music Concert



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Temple Day!

Hey Everyone!

Sorry to keep you waiting for the weekly Stevens' report this week.  We
had our end of the transfer temple pday today so we had pday on
Tuesday this week.  I'll tell yah, it's so nice living really close to
the temple.  In Togane, we had to wake up very early in the morning to
get there on time for the session.  But this time, we woke up at 6am and
rode our bikes there.  The temple was a soothing experience as always.

After the temple, my companion and our apartment mates, and I went to
the big shopping town of Ikebukuro to visit the Pokemon Center there.
Ever since I arrived in Japan, people have asked me if I have visited the
Pokemon Center yet and I never had.  So we visited it today.  It was pretty
cool, but I didn't get to look that much because I noticed that a young lady
was staring at us, so I just had to talk to her.  It's a good thing
that we did because she had lots of interest in the gospel and we had
a 40 min gospel discussion right there in the Pokemon Center.  Of all
the places to talk about Jesus Christ.  We became Facebook friends and
she says that she wants to meet with the Sister missionaries.  Awesome
miracle!  And to celebrate I bought some real Japanese Pokemon cards.
They were so cheap I just couldn't resist!  I also went to a piano
sheet music store and bought a big piano arrangement book from a really
famous animation company in Japan.  It's seriously like the Japanese
version of Disney in America.  I don't know if any of you know it but it's
called Studio Ghibli.  My companion says that the music is really
pretty so I'm excited to start playing!

On the investigator front, we met with our friend K... last week.
Former missionaries that he has spoken with said he couldn't
get baptized, so we decided to ask him again to be baptized.  And he
said yes!  I was so surprised that I nearly fell out of my seat.  He
said that he felt recently that baptism was a good thing and that he
wants to get it.  We tried to set a date for him in July but he said
that he would need some alone time to pray and think about it, but we
are meeting him again so we will see what happens.  It's just
amazing how the Lord can change someone's heart like that.

Well, I think that is everything for today.  Thanks again for all of
your emails and love!  Hope you have a great week!  Love you!

Eric Stevens



Monday, May 25, 2015

What, Week 5?

Hey Everyone!

As you can see from the title, the transfers are already coming to a
close!  Only 2 weeks left till we get the call to see if my companion
and I stay together.  I hope so because we have had lots of fun
together.  It's been a great transfer so far and I'm excited to see
what happens for the next 2 weeks!

Last week we went back to Odaiba and got to see some cool
things that we missed last time.  They have a big transformer statue
outside of a huge transformer mall and I just had to get a picture of
me giving it a Book of Mormon.  It goes really well with the picture
that Andrew took with the Book of Mormon overlooking Taichung city.  I'll
send it to you today.  This may be a little boring for some of you,
but it was amazing for me.  They had a Krispy Kreme on Odaiba too.  As
soon as I saw the advertisements for it, I just had to go and I bought
a dozen doughnuts, for over $16.  They are so expensive here but so
worth it.  I hope that we can go again sometime soon.

Also, the Wind Symphony from Brigham Young University  came and performed close to
where we live, so we got some tickets and went with an investigator to
see it.  The investigator loved it and we had tons of fun as well.
They had some saxophones play in a quartet during the performance and
it made me remember of when Brent, Tim, Andrew, and I used to play in
a quartet together.  I want to play the saxophone again so bad.  But
it's so hard to find a sax in Japan that isn't crazy expensive.

Then to end off the week, my companion and I participated in a
kenketsu (blood drive) at the church.  Unfortunately we couldn't
actually donate blood, but we were able to
hand out some flyers to promote it and we talked to lots of great non
members who wanted to participate.  Halfway through though, my
companion got really sick so we had to head back to the apartment and
he slept for the rest of the day while I tried to make myself useful
for the whole 8 hours of just sitting around the apartment.  After
about 2 hours you have called everyone in the phone and the area book
and then you have nothing to do but to study.  I got to practice a lot
of the Japanese characters which was fun.  I'm starting to learn a lot
now so hopefully I can write a lot by the time I get back home.

Thanks again for all
of the emails of love and support.  I love you all and I wish you all
an amazing week!  Love yah!

Elder Stevens


A Wonderful Tokyo Zone




Monday, May 18, 2015

Our Hero!

Hello Everyone,
In case you were wondering, we have meet a hero as the title suggests.  I'll talk more about it later, but I just wanted to get that out there so you weren't too confused.
What happened this week?  It was mostly just a normal week.  We had our stake conference this week for the English ward.  Next, I guess something that was fun that happened this week is we had a typhoon.  We had 2 appointments set up in the evening but almost simultaneously both of the people called us and promptly canceled their appointments because of the typhoon that was going to be coming in the next few hours.  We looked up the weather on our iPads and it said that it should be fine so we thought that the people just didn't want to meet with us.  So we decided to go venture out in the farthest part of our area, about a 45 min bike ride that we have never been to before.  When we got there, we started contacting until we started to feel some rain drops.  We were stunned.  And five minutes later, it was just pouring rain and the wind started picking up.  My companion and I looked at each other and just had enough time to say, "Oh no!", before we both started running to safety.  My companion was a little prepared with a rain jacket.  But I had nothing,  no coat, umbrella, or pants.  We talked together and decided to go back to the apartment as fast as we could so I would hopefully not get too wet.  Well, I'm here to tell you that it didn't help much at all. 45 min later we were at the apartment and everything was soaked through.  My companion wouldn't let me back in the apartment because I was so wet.  Yeah, that was a fun adventure and I learned not to trust the weather app that we have.  
So besides that we met with our friend H... yesterday.  We made some hamburgers together and then had a lesson with him.  He has been an investigator for awhile now, and before he said that he wanted to get baptized.  But then he went to Utah for a home stay and we lost contact with him.  But he has been back for a few weeks and every time we tried to start a lesson about the Church, he would always change the subject or say that he didn't want to talk about it. 
But we decided we were just going to be super bold and what do you know, it worked out!  We were able to learn lots of things about his concerns and even set up a time to meet with him again.  We learned that the thing holding him back from baptism is he doesn't know if Jesus is our Savior or not, so we now know his concern and can help with that.  We are really excited to meet with him again soon and prepare him more for baptism!  He is so cool and such a bro!

Well, I think that's everything for this week.  Tonight we are going to go and hear the BYU Wind Symphony play in Tokyo with one our recent converts and it should be really fun.  Can't wait!  Well, have a great week everyone! Love you lots!

Elder Stevens

Ps here is H... and us eating hamburgers together!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Hello Everyone!

To start off the email, I would just like to make a shout out to the
Mothers that have really effected me in my life.  Mom, of course,
Grandma Stevens, and Grandma Kaldahl.  Thanks for always being there
for me and spoiling me as a mother or grandmother.  It's been a great
life so far, and I am excited to see you all again soon.  I hope that
you had a great, wonderful, amazing Mother's Day.

For my Mother's Day it was amazing to be able to skype with my family.
It's been five months since I have been able to do that and the time
has flown by.  The time just seemed to go too fast.  I can't believe
that we were talking for an hour.  But I guess all good things have to
come to an end.  Besides seeing everyone, I especially liked singing
the song "Secret Prayer" together in Spanish.  Music always really gets
me.  I guess I'm just a musical person, but whenever I hear a song like
that, the memories just come flooding in as clear as if I am actually
sitting there and reliving them.  Music is such a wonderful gift that
God has given to us.  Thanks for singing with me everyone.

Besides the Skype call we had some other cool things happen to us.
Not as cool as the call though.  We have been working hard to set up
more appointments to teach the past week because right now, we don't
have too many people who we are teaching.  Actually today, I was able to meet a
really cool person named A....  Cool thing about him, when I lived in
Senzokuike almost 2 years ago, he was the first Japanese person that I
stopped on the street to talk to and he was the first new Japanese
investigator that I ever taught.  And so when I got back here, I
called him up and we were finally able to meet with him today.  We
went to eat some tonkatsu, a cut of pork with bread crumbs deep fried.
It's my favorite food in Japan, and I will be sure to have mom and dad
try it when they come to Japan to visit.  My companion is starting to
get sick of it because we have it so much.  Maybe I should slow down a
little bit with that.  I just want to get as much of it as I can
before I leave. 

Anyways, back to A..., we ate together and then
asked him about what he remembered when he met with missionaries over
a year and a half before.  He didn't remember that much but he said
that he wants to learn about it again, so we will be calling and
teaching him over the phone because he is so busy with work.  But we
got a photo- your welcome dad.  I'm pretty sure that I have sent lots of
pics.  Lol.

After the lesson we had a zone pday at Yoyogi Park and
ate tons of Costco pizza and played ultimate frisbee.  We were outside
for almost 3 straight hours and my face and neck hurt a lot, so I'm
pretty sure I got really sunburned.  Yeah, I forgot my sunscreen.  But
it was so much fun to play ultimate frisbee again.  Zone pdays are so
much fun!

Well, I think that's everything for now.  I hope that you all have a
great week!  Love you lots and lots!

Loves,

Eric Stevens

A..., my companion and me with Shibuya, the biggest most busy city
in the world, right behind us!



 
"Kids Day" Fish Flags


Monday, May 4, 2015

Tokyo Revisited!

Hey Everyone!

I'm back!  Yeah that's right, I'm back in the largest
city in the world and having a blast.  My companion is awesome!  We
get along so well!  We have the same sense of humor and he is almost
as sarcastic as me. The past few days have been so fun just going on
adventure after adventure in this huge city, talking to people,
meeting with less actives and recent converts, and just laughing with
each other.  I can definitely tell that this is going to be a sweet
transfer.  His name is Faganello Choro and he is from
Victoria, Canada.  I just keep working with people from everywhere but
America.

Our apartment is really cool as well.  We have Elder Nukaya
from Idaho, who was in my zone when I was a zone leader in Tsukuba.  He
is super hilarious as well, and at night we just joke around and tell
old dendo stories.  It's really cool because we have a lot of old
missionaries in our apartment right now.  I am transfer 15, Elder
Johnson, who is Elder Nukaya's companion, is transfer 14, and Elder Nukaya is
transfer 13, and my companion is transfer 3.  So I'm the oldest
missionary here transfer wise, and also age wise.  I feel so old!
It's also really nice because I don't have to make calls at night so I
get to have chill time to write in my journal.  I really miss
my district a lot and I pray for them all the time.  That's one of the
down sides of being a district leader.  You just get so close to your
district so that it's really sad to say goodbye.  I'm going to have to
have a district reunion at our house sometime.  But Ohio may be too
far away.

An interesting thing about this area is I'm actually in 2 areas right
now.  Just starting this transfer they combined the Tokyo 2nd ward and
the Senzokuike ward missionaries.  So we dendo foreign and Japanese
investigators.  And we go to both sessions of church.  So yesterday we
were at the church 10 hours.  We had a sweet miracle
at church yesterday where a member brought a
friend with him to church and we taught him afterwards.  He loved the
feeling that he felt at church and he even stayed afterwards for a
baptismal service that was being held and he said that it looked fun
to be baptized.  "Kinjin" (golden prepared person!). We are going to
meet him again to teach him.  We are also working with
lots of cool less actives and recent converts to invite them back to
church.  We need to start finding more prepared investigators but as
you can see from our new investigator, the Lord is definitely helping us out!

Just to answer some questions really fast, I didn't have to say a good
bye talk at Togane, but I meet everyone at the Olympic events and they
were so sad that I was leaving.  They all told me that I had to come
back when my parents came by to visit Japan.  We'll see what happens.
I did have to bare my testimony in both sessions of church
which was fun as always.  Luckily for me, I am not sleeping under the
table anymore in this area.  I upgraded to sleeping next to the table.
Lol. The only downside about our apartment right now is that it is
really dirty.  I got here and I was really surprised.  I've never seen
an apartment so bad, so the first thing I did when I got here was do
the mountain of dishes that we had in the sink.  It's going to be a
slow process, but I'm starting the big job of cleaning.  My roommates
are starting to help out a lot because we just discovered that our
apartment has lots of cockroaches, so the battle is on!  But besides
that I love the area, I love the people, and I love the missionaries
here.  I'm looking forward to an amazing transfer!

Well, I hope that you all have a great time this week!  I'm looking
forward to seeing you all this week on skype.  I love you lots and
lots!

Love,

Elder Stevens

 
Awesome Togane District

 
Togane Olympics
Elders Stevens, Free, Keith, and Nelson

Monday, April 27, 2015

Saying Good Bye To Togane

Hey Everyone!

Well guess what, it's that time again to say goodbye to another area.
Yep that's right, we had our transfer calls and I am leaving the
rolling hills and the rice fields of Togane to head into the concrete
jungle of Tokyo.  I was called to serve in the Senzokuike Ward which
is the Japanese Ward that is in the same church building that the
English speaking 2nd Ward goes to.  It's very ironic because the 2nd
Ward was my first area that I served in and the missionaries from
there and Senzokuike live in the same apartment.  So technically I am
going back to my first area, but to speak Japanese instead of English.
So I will be finishing my mission serving in the same place I served
when I first began.  It's funny how things work like that.  I will be
working with a new missionary.  He is from Canada and is a
transfer 3, so I get to follow up train again.  For the past three
transfers I've been working with transfer 3 missionaries so I'm
starting to sense a pattern here.  The only thing I'm
really sad about though is that I'm not a district leader anymore.  I
loved working with the district and I think one of the funnest things
I have done on my mission is be a district leader, so I don't know what I'm
going to do now as a normal missionary!  I'm a little sad to leave
Togane though because recently everything has been picking up a lot.

This week was great.  I was able to go on splits with Elder
Rasmussen, our zone leader, and we went on to "Operation Have Fun In
The Work".  And boy did we have fun.  We had no lesson appointments set up so we made our
own with new people that we found on the street.  We got 3 new phone
numbers which is awesome for one day, and found a really nice grandpa
who was just thinking about what church he should go to when we
stopped to talk to him.  Funny how things work like that.  He came to
church and had a great time and wants to come back again so
that was a huge miracle.  I was glad that we were able to
have splits.

We also had a breakthrough with our friend O....  He
is a Chinese investigator who has been coming to church for awhile but
no one has ever been able to teach him because he comes to church and
then leaves right after sacrament meeting.  Well, we finally convinced
him to come to church 30 minutes early and we got to teach him a lesson
about the restoration.  The discussion went all over the place but he told
us that he had tons of interest in learning about church and that he
had read some of the Book of Mormon while in China.  He had a great
time and we were able to set up good expectations to meet before
church again to talk more before church starts.  It's great how many
prepared people that we are able to meet with now.

Besides that not much happened this week.  I am looking forward to
Undo Kai (exercise festival). Pretty much it is a big
Olympics that the stake holds once a year and it happens the day of
transfers so I get to do that right before I leave.  What a blessing!
Well, thanks for all of your love and prayers! I love you lots and
lots, and I am excited to talk to you again soon!  Have a great week!

Love,
Eric Stevens

 
3D Pictures at Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan




 
 





Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Cool New Adventure!!

Hey Everyone!

You'll never guess what we did today.  We had our temple pday in Tokyo.
Afterwards, my friends from our district and I decided to go on
an adventure.  I haven't really done too much touristy stuff in Japan so
we decided to go all out.  We took a day trip to Odaiba.  It's a
little man-made island that used to be a huge military base but it was
recently turned into the biggest tourist hotspot in Japan.  You should
look it up!  We went to a really cool mall and visited a trick art
museum.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a museum
where all the art is 3-D so you can take pictures of yourself inside the
picture.  I usually don't like taking pictures, but I made an exception
for this because it was so neat.  I have them all on my camera so I have
to transfer them to the iPad before I send them, but I'll make sure to
get those to you asap.  While we were at the museum we saw Legoland.
It has been so long since I went to one, probably in the Mall of
America last July when we went and visited that as well.  We didn't do
much there because I didn't want to have to carry Legos around with me,
but here was a fancy photo booth with Lego backgrounds that we took
pictures with.  I'll have to send that picture to you as well.  But
there was so many other things to explore.  I wish we could have had more
time to visit everywhere.

The best part of the trip was when we were coming back though.  The
train that we take back to Togane from Tokyo goes right by Disneyland
and a young man got on the train on that stop.  We started talking to him
about Disneyland and the discussion turned to church and what we were
doing in Japan.  He was so interested!  His dad used to take him to
another Christian church but he started to have doubts about if God
was really here or not.  We told him about what we believed about God
and he said that he wanted to have a faith in God like we had.  So we
traded numbers and he is going to come to English class and
talk about it more.  He also likes playing pool so we are hoping to
play some with him.  But the trip to Odaiba and back was so awesome!
I'm totally going to do it again next temple pday.

As for the rest of the week, it was pretty normal.  We were able to
teach more people this week than we did last week so that was really
cool.  We also found some new interested investigators as well,
including a Korean student who just arrived in Japan and said that he has
been looking for a church to go to for the past few weeks he has been here.
We informed him that there was one really close and we are meeting him
again to show him around the church and talk about our
beliefs in Christ.  Wow, just thinking of all the sweet miracles is
making me excited for the next week of miracles!  Togane is starting
to look up a lot.

Well anyways, I think that's everything for this week.  Thanks for the
package of Easter goodies and letters from the family.  Everyone in my
apartment is so jealous that such an "old" missionary is still getting
packages.  My companion says thanks for the Marmite even though it
doesn't taste like Vegemite in his opinion.  Lol  Thanks also dad for
the Book of Mormon reading rooms.  A lot of people in the district are
really interested in using them so I'll be sure to pass them on.  Have
a great week everyone!  I love you lots and lots!  Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Stevens

 
Tokyo, Japan Temple


 
Rainbow Bridge (Looking From Odaiba Towards Tokyo)
 
 
Night Time In Odaiba, Japan

 
Gundam, Odaiba
 



Monday, April 13, 2015

The Mikan (Clementine) Of The Gospel

Hello Everyone!

How has your week been?  I've heard that there was a ton of rain last
week.  We had quite a bit as well so I guess we are in the same boat.
 But you know what they say, April showers being May flowers.  I wonder
if they have pretty flowers in May over here or if they are all gone
with the cherry blossoms.

 This week wasn't very eventful lesson or teaching wise, actually it
was one of the  slowest weeks on my mission, but we still had lots of
fun and had a great spiritually uplifting session of General
 Conference.  We had to take an hour and a half train ride to get to
the conference so it was really hard to get investigators there to
watch it.  We watched it with everyone in mind though, so the next time
we meet them we will be sure to show them our favorite talks.  What
was up with all the talks about getting married?  It was so awkward
for me because I was sitting right next to the sister missionaries
when they talked about that. Lol  Some of the Elders in my district
took the counsel very seriously though.  Every week we do something
in the mission called a call-in-summary report.  This is pretty much
where I call everyone in the district to see how they are doing and
then ask them for some of their personal goals so I can try to help
them.  One of the Elders companionship goals was to get married within
6 weeks of getting home.  This Elder goes back home in 2 months so I
guess I will have to follow up with that to see how it goes for him.  Lol

 We also had a zone meeting and a blitz in the Chosei area, the one
right below Togane in the district.  I gave a training on
striving to be perfectly obedient because recently in the mission
people have been asking the question if 5 minutes really matter.  Does it
really matter if we wake up 5 minutes late?  Or does it really matter if
we take an extra 5 minutes of lunch?  Well, I covered that and I hoped that
it was helpful.  After that we went on a blitz which is where all the
missionaries in the zone go finding in one area for a few hours.  I
was privileged to be pared up with a transfer 17 Japanese companion
for the blitz who will be returning home to Osaka in 2 weeks.  His
name is Elder Kondo.  He was such an awesome companion!  We worked
together so well and had so much fun.  But he taught me something very
important that I would like to share with you.  (And it goes with the
title of the email.). Where he is from in Osaka, it is very famous for
one thing, mikans.  Everyone in Japan has heard of the mikans of his
hometown.  And he used this to his advantage in talking to people.  He
would ask them if they had ever tasted a mikan from his hometown.
Most of them said no because they are really expensive.  He told them
that he had and that they were amazing and the best thing that he had
ever tasted!  He then told them about the gospel.  He asked them if
they had ever tried to go to church before.  Most of them said no.  He
then told them that he had, and that he felt so much joy from the
church, and it was the best thing that he had ever tasted.  After this
story he would relate the church to a mikan by saying that because he
had eaten one of the mikans before, he wanted to share it with
everyone, but not only that, because he had tasted the joy of the
gospel, he wanted even more to share that with everyone.  It was just
a simple example but the Japanese people understood.  They knew that
Elder Kondo wanted to just share the happiness that he had felt in the
gospel with them, and we were able to get some new investigators for
the Chosei area.  It was so awesome to hear the gospel put like that.
I may have to use it sometime!

Well I think that's everything for this week.  Thanks again for all of
your thoughts and prayers.  We appreciate it as always!  Have a great
week everyone and I hope to talk to you soon!

Love you!

Eric Stevens

Sent from my iPad

(The General Conference Sermons that Eric enjoyed listening to can be found at:
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2015/04?cid=HP_SU_4-5-2015_dPTH_fGC_xLIDyL1-B_&lang=eng)

 
Mikans From Osaka

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week Of The Sakura!

Hey Everyone!

How was your week?  Mine was pretty fancy not ganna lie!  It all
started with a wonderful sign of Spring, the cherry blossoms!  They
started blooming a couple weeks ago but this week they were out in
full force!  Do you know what the cherry blossoms symbolize?  I didn't
either until this week.  The cherry blossoms always bloom when the
good spring weather is about to start.  I guess sorta like groundhog's
day except more accurate.  So when they bloom it symbolizes the start
of a new year.  Or a new beginning if you will.  They also have
another meaning though.  The Sakura blossoms only last for a week
before they die and turn into green leaves.  So to the Japanese people
this means that you need to enjoy all good things while you can
because they won't last.  And the Japanese people certainly did enjoy
the cherry blossoms before they faded away.  The festival was jam packed
while I was there!  I've never seen so many people line up to look at
flowers.

 A cool miracle happened with us and the cherry blossoms this week.  We
went to the festival with my good friend T..., I have pics that I will
send.  And while we looked at the flowers I told T... what the
symbolism is for the cherry blossoms.  He thought it was interesting
but then I related it to the gospel by challenging him to take a new
start with the gospel.  Try it again to see if it really is
true.  I don't know if it was the magic of the cherry
blossoms or the power or God, probably God, but he agreed! He said that
he is going to start coming to church every week now for awhile to see
if he can feel those good feeling of going to church again and regain
his faith in God!  I was so happy for him!  The cherry blossom season is
really magical I guess!

Besides that, the week was really slow.  School just started up for
all of the investigators who haven't moved to Tokyo so it made them
really hard to meet.  Actually to tell you the truth we only were able
to meet with five people last week.  It was pretty hard because we
were just straight finding for several days.  We found lots of cool people
this week though, so I'm hoping this week is full of more lessons and less finding.  I'm sure
the Lord will provide a way for us to teach His prepared people.  We just
need to be on the look out for them.

Also, this week I got an unexpected break. 
Two days ago I woke up freezing cold and
with a pounding headache.  I could barely get out
of bed!  But that is normal, so I just manned through it and started
studying as normal.  But when it came to companion study, we started
with a song and I discovered that I didn't have a voice at all.  It
was gone!  (Probably from talking too much this week lol). By this
time my companion was worried because without a voice, that
meant that I couldn't talk so he would have to do all of it.  We
practiced a lot of door approaches during the study time and planned for
our lessons so he could handle it with minimal help from me.  After
study, the Zone Leaders came in because they noticed that it was very
quite in our room and had me take my temperature.  It was 101 which
meant I had to stay home all day because I was contagious.  The
mission mom told me that I needed to get lots of rest to get better
for Church because we had 2 really cool people planned to come to Church,
so I took her advice to heart and slept for almost 7 hours
straight.  During this time my companion was working really hard and
trying his best to call all of the people in our area book.  So this
day was amazing for both of us.  It gave me the rest that I needed
after a long hard week and it gave my companion more practice speaking
 Japanese and improving his missionary capabilities.  I guess the Lord works in
mysterious ways to further his work and this time, he decided to put
me down for a day.  Luckily I did get better to go to church.  Actually it
was very miraculous, I went to bed that night with a 101 fever and I
woke up with a 97.8 normal temperature.  I guess that was God just
telling me that one day rest was enough and I needed to get back to
it.  Lol. I'm just glad that sometimes God lets us have a rest
when we are in the most need of it.  And don't worry mom and
dad, I am doing great now.  All I need now is to get rid of my runny
nose.

Well, I think that's everything for this week.  Thanks for all of your
love and prayers for me always.  I am really excited to watch General
 Conference this week.  I will definitely be on the look out for my
favorite talks.  Thanks for all of the recommendations on talks!  It
sounds like a great one this time.  Love you all lots and lots!

Love,
Eric Stevens

Sent from my iPad

Ps we got our new iPad mini 2 last week.  They are so fast!!

 
Sakura Festival, Togane, Japan




Monday, March 30, 2015

Short Sleeves!

Hello Everybody!

As you can tell from the email title, I can finally just wear my short
sleeve shirts with no jacket again!  I discovered this momentous
occasion a few days ago when I was walking around a Japanese cherry
blossom festival held in Togane with an investigator.  I
started off the journey with a jacket but then the sun came out and it
was just way too hot!  The weather is just beautiful right now and I
love it!  Too bad in just 2 months it will be back to being blazing
hot and muggy all the time.  I definitely don't miss those times.

So like I said earlier, we had our cherry blossom festival last
weekend here in Togane.  We went up there with a friend of ours named
Y....  He owns a tofu restaurant so we went there to eat right
before the festival.  Did you know that they have hundreds of
different types of tofu dishes?  Well, I certainly didn't!  Pretty much
as soon as we walked in, he started giving us tons of everything
imaginable made with tofu.  French fried tofu, ice cream tofu, tofu
pudding, pickled tofu, and so much more that I can't even describe.
And the worst part was, he wouldn't stop ordering more food!  I think
I felt like Andrew did so many times on his mission when members just
kept giving and giving food to him.  That happened to me this week.

After our tofu excursion, we took a 30 minute
hike to the festival.  I was not in the best condition to hike after that large
meal but it was a beautiful day so it made up for it.  We got lots and
lots of pics of the beautiful blossoms and of the activities I'll be
sure to send them to you sometime.  The festival pretty much reminded
me of the popcorn festival that we have every year in Ohio.  There
were lots of food and game booths that we could go to and lots of
music and lots of fun!  One of the booths that they had there was a
booth selling chocolate covered bananas.  They were like $3 for one
banana!  But when you buy one, you get to play Rock, Paper, Scissors and
if you win, you get another banana free!  And guess what, I actually
won!  So I got 2 bananas.  Idk why, but for some reason the Japanese,
including adults, love to play Rock, Paper, Scissors.  You
can pretty much walk up to anyone and they will play it with you at
least once.  But the bananas were really good and we even got a back
stage tour of the shrine that was holding the festival.

Besides that nothing really happened this week, except literally half
of our investigators moving to Tokyo because of the end of the school
year.  This week was sorta hard because we didn't have too many people
to teach because everyone had moved.  At first I was really sad that we
didn't have anyone to really work with, but then I remembered how
Togane was when I first got here a year ago.  There was seriously few
investigators then, and then I looked at the area now.  It has grown so much
since the first time I was here and that is a huge blessing to me.
And if we have lots of finding time, it'll be just like the old times
with Elder Cannon a year ago.  So there's nothing to be worried about!
Togane is doing great!

Well, tomorrow we have our big zone conference where we get our new
ipads.  I think I should be safe because I just transferred all of my
photos to a flash drive that I will probably be sending home soon.  I
hope that you have a great week everyone and I love you lots and lots!
Have a happy Easter Sunday and a Merry General Conference!

Love,

スティーブンズ長老

Ps I love General Conference because it is the closest thing we get to
a weekend as a missionary.  It's so relaxing to just listen to talks
for 2 days straight.  Be sure to let me know which talks you liked the
best so I can keep my ears open for them!
Pps this is for grandma Stevens, we wake up everyday at 6:30am.  Which
is later than we had to when I went to seminary.  But everyday at 6:30am you are still dead tired.  Idk how I get up everyday at that time but
I bet it's with a ton of the Lord's help!



 
Our Chapel In Togane


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring!!

Hello Everyone!

I hope that you all are having a wonderful week and are excited for
this week's email home!  I guess I'll start off with the mini general
conference that we had last week.  We had Elder Nelson from the Quorum of the
Twelve Apostles speak with us.  Yes, the one who had lunch with us a few years back.
We also had Elder Evans from the Seventies at the meetings as well as 3 other Seventy
members.  They gave us a huge training on how to use iPads as a
missionary and it went really well.  They talked a lot about how the
iPads aren't for helping the investigators.  No, not at all.  They are
to help the missionaries to prepare for the future when we are going
to use technology when we get back home.  They want to
train us about how to use technology in a safe spiritual way.  I was
very surprised to hear that.  Unfortunately, I have some bad news about
the iPads coming up in the next few weeks.  Because our mission is
ahead in the use of iPads, they want to hold us back a little bit to
let the other missions in Japan catch up.  So we will not be using our
Facebook and Facebook messenger for the next few transfers.
I posted this information on my Facebook page, and I will let you know when
we start using it again.

As for the rest of the week, it was full of miracles of course.  I
will share one with you quickly.  On Friday, we had tons of
appointments planned for the day.  It seemed like it was going to be a
great day, until everyone started changing the times that they wanted
to meet us.  So the way it turned out, we were at the church at 6 in
the evening, with an appointment at 7 and we hadn't eaten dinner or
studied Japanese yet that day.  We had a choice in front of us.  We
could either quickly go back home and eat dinner, or stay at the
church and study.  We both felt strongly that we should stay at the
church and study.  About 15 minutes into our study, a lady walked into the
chapel that we didn't know.  We started talking to her and she said
that she used to live here and met with the missionaries before she
moved and lost contact.  She was just about to move again so she
decided to go to the church one more time and pray for help.  She
asked where everyone was and we told her that she was lucky because
usually no one would be here at this time and the church would be
locked.  She seemed shocked and let us call the sisters missionaries to come over
and talk to her.  We found out later from the sisters that if we
wouldn't have been there and had the door unlocked, something bad
would have happened to her.  I don't want to get into it because it's
personal, but it was a miracle that our schedule changed the way that
it did to make it so that we would be there to help her.  She also
came to church on Sunday to hear my talk and she loved it!  The church
experience, not the talk. Lol. But the moral of the story is, if your
schedule changes like crazy randomly, expect a miracle to happen.
But beside that, everything is going awesome!  I'd like to thank
grandma and grandpa Stevens for the package of baked goods that you
sent me the other day.  They still taste amazing and I'm trying to
figure out if I should share or not.  Thank you so much!  Well, I
better get going now.  Thanks again so much for all of your love and
support.  I love you all so much!  Have a great week!

Loves,
Elder Stevens
スティーブンズ長老


Monday, March 16, 2015

Transfers, Zone Meetings, and More...

Hello!

So today was transfer day, and you know what that means, transfer
calls.  This time, I get to stay in my area but I have to say good bye
to my wonderful companion Elder Lee.  He will leave me to go to the
streets of Tokyo.  He is really excited.  He has been wanting to go to
Tokyo for a long time.  Replacing Elder Lee is a transfer 3 missionary
named Elder Mützlburg from Australia.  Actually during his first
transfer, I was his zone leader so we know each other pretty well.  He
is pretty awesome and I am excited to be able to work with him this
transfer.  That now makes this my 7th companion not from the United States. 
I'm very international I guess.  I'm just a little worried because I don't
speak Chinese, and Elder Mützlburg doesn't speak Chinese, and a lot of our
investigators only speak Chinese.  It should be interesting trying to
teach them. I will deninitely be praying for the gift of tongues a lot
this transfer.

So besides transfers we had a pretty great week. On Friday we had our
zone meeting over here in Togane.  It was nice to not have to be the
zone leader training for a change. But if I thought that I could have a break
and sit back and relax during this meeting I was wrong. The zone
leaders asked me to give a training about how to follow up with
our investigators.  Giving trainings and meetings is so
much fun, and I love doing it. But apparently the Bishop heard of my
training and decided to ask me to give a talk this Sunday in church.
I'm definitely really nervous because talking in front of everyone and
Japanese is still a little scary for me to do.  But I hope that I can
do well. Wish me luck!

Well, on the investigator front this week we also saw lots of really
cool miracles.  So last week I went on companion exchanges with Elder
Keith. Well, we were riding our bikes, and we stopped and talked to a guy
named C.... C... in Japanese means power.  So it's a really
cool name. When we talk to him it seemed like he didn't have too much
interest in the church so we just got his phone number and
forgot about him. But this week all of our appointments
canceled on us one day so we decided to go finding and guess who we
found again, C....  He had some time so he decided to come play
basketball with us. After playing basketball for a little bit we gave
him a tour of the church and invited him to come to church. He said
that he had been to another Christian church before so he said he'd
like to see what ours is like.  To our great surprise when Sunday rolls
around he not only came to church but brought one of his friends with
him.  After church we asked them how they thought church
was and they both said it was very, very, boring. But they said it was a
really great experience, and they felt really good when they're in the
church. C... was so surprised that you could feel so good at a place
that is so boring that he decided he wanted to come again next
week.  Score one for the Spirit!

Well that was pretty much everything for our week.  I'm also looking forward to
this week because on Wednesday, we have a special mini General Conference again.  I feel so
lucky to be living in Tokyo because it seems all the General Authorities
just love to come and visit.  Should be fun!  Well I love you lots and
lots!  Have a great week!

Love,

スティーブンズ長老

 
Togane District