Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week Seven...

おはようございます!
皆さんは元気ですか?皆が本当に素晴らしい週間とたくさん面白い事をしたとお願っています。今私は十二転勤の七週間です。多分つくばで、最後の週間かもしれません。来週は転勤発表ので、僕と僕の同僚は一所懸命働いてたくさん人々と会って見ています。そして神様の助けによって先週一杯奇跡を見ました!これから英語でその奇跡について話します!日本語で書く事はすごい難しいのでタイプ事はとても遅いです!大変ですね!lol

Translation:
Good morning!
Everyone is how are you? Everyone I am your hope to have a lot interesting things and really great week. I am seven weeks of twelve relocation now. Maybe in Tsukuba, it might be the end of the week. Because next week relocation announcement, I and my colleagues have seen met with a lot people worked very hard. And I saw a full miracle last week by God's help! I will talk about the miracle now in English! Since it is amazing difficult to write in Japanese type it is very slow!

Hey Everyone! 

How did you like the Japanese section of today's email?
It doesn't really say too much but if you want to read it, maybe you
can type it into google translate and it should be a little close to
what it really says.  I would write more, but it takes forever to type
in Japanese and I only have 90 minutes, so I'll just leave it at that for
now.  We had another great week this week.  We met with
lots of people, and went on splits in Mito.  I got to spend the night there
which was really fun!  The missionaries in Mito have a couch in their apartment which is
so nice!  I'm so jealous!  And we were able to bring some friends to
church on Sunday which was awesome!  All in all a great week!

Just some highlights of the week.  I got to play my violin for Church
yesterday.  It went really well, especially for the one hour of
practice that I was able to squeeze in throughout the week.  I decided
to play the "Did You Think To Pray" song and I wanted to record it so
you could all hear it, but my companion was busy with all of our
friends at church at the time and wasn't able to do it. I'll have to
play it for you all when I get back.  It went really well and I was
able to use it as the incentive to get some of our friends to come to Church.
Yesterday we had 2 friends come.  One was B..., our Nepalese friend
who had to go back to work halfway through the song, and the other was
named K....  He is from China but is different from the K... that I
knew back in Togane.  He is a friend of one of our old investigators
and came to play ping pong with us last week.  At ping pong he didn't
get too much time to play because he kept asking us about the Church.  We
finally invited him to come and the cherry on top that made him want to
come was the violin song I was going to play. I guess it was a good thing I learned how to
play.  Thanks mom and dad!  Lol. He loved church and wants to come
again.

Also yesterday we went to visit one of our friends named M....
He is Japanese and loves talking about really hard confusing random
stuff.  So he likes our discussions about God.  We taught him about
the restoration and asked him to read the Book of Mormon and pray to
God to know if it is true and if Joseph Smith really was a true
prophet.  His answer really surprised me.  He said that he didn't need
to pray because he already believed that it was true.  Wow!  That has never
happened to me before during the first lesson on the restoration.  We
were a little taken back, but then challenged him to keep reading the
Book of Mormon.  We are going to visit him again this weekend
with a member who will help with the Japanese stuff.  I don't know why but before
we left he started talking about quantum mechanics and all of
Newtons laws in Japanese.  He kept asking us if we knew what a word
meant and we kept saying no because we had to look up every other word
in our dictionaries.  It was pretty funny, but I felt like my Japanese
wasn't as good as I thought it was.

As for this week, it was pretty exciting because I get to go to Mito again
to give a baptismal interview. Those are always so spiritual and I
always learn so many things about the soon to be converts that helps
me to grow my testimony as well.  There are just so many awesome
people here who want the gospel and are willing to follow it no matter
what the cost.  There are things that we can all learn from the recent
converts here.  The only problem is that it costs a lot of money to
get to Mito and I am almost out for the month.  I guess that means no
more Costco trips for me until February.  Lol. I guess I can wait for
a little bit before I go back.

Thanks for all the well wishes for A....  We still call him every
night to see how his smoking is going.  Last time I checked with him,
he was down to 6 cigarettes a day which is huge progress. His plan is
to stop smoking by the 31st of January forever!  The other elders
pushed his baptismal date back to the 22nd of February so he can have
more leeway for the smoking problem.  So that means that he is getting baptized on your
birthday Alexa!

Well I gotta go now.  Love you lots everyone and have a great week!  I
will talk to you all soon!

Loves,

スティーブンズ長老
Eric Stevens

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Transfers! Fooled You... Not Yet. One More Week!

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the 6th week of the transfer!  Guess what that means?
I still have one more left!  Whaooooo!  Sorry my email is two days late.
We spent all day Monday at the temple in Tokyo, and yesterday we were super
busy on splits with the other missionaries in our Zone. 

I just love these long transfers because it makes me feel
so much more attached to my companion!  I hope we get to
stay together for another one but I've already been
here for 4 transfers so maybe not.  My companion is super cool though and we are
the best friends ever!  Except for some reason, he seems to think that
France is better than the U.S.  I keep showing him how America is the
promise land in the Book of Mormon, but he doesn't seem to believe me.
I'm still working to convert him to America, but he is my hardest
investigator yet!  Just kidding!  We have so much fun together!!

Anyways, this week was great!  Like every spare moment that we had was
filled with teaching people!  Seriously, we didn't have any free time
this week to do any finding or contacting of any kind.  It was just
lesson, travel, lesson, travel, 10 minute dinner, lesson, and then crash
for the next day.  I was about to die on Sunday because of all the
rushing around.  It was really fun though and we made lots of really
cool new referral friends that we are excited to meet with in the
future.  I'm starting to realize the importance of getting referrals
from investigators when you don't have time to find at all.  It was
sad though because we had to say good bye to one of our friends,
A... on Saturday.  He lives outside our area so we finally
referred him to the Elders in his area.  We had a big lesson with us
five missionaries and him and he was so happy!  Then when one of the
other Elders asked him if he would come to their church this week, he
said yes.  But then he turned to me and asked if I was going too.  I
had to tell him that I was going to Tsukuba still and he then told
everyone that he was going to go to the Tsukuba church with me.
Telling him that it was best for him to go to the other church was so
hard to do!  He took it well though and we are still keeping in touch
over the phone every night to check up on his smoking.  He has cut it
in half from 40 to 20 cigarettes a day now.  He is progressing a lot
and it looks like he is going to be baptized soon!

In good news, B... our friend from Nepal was able to come to church
for the first time ever on Sunday.  He loved it and felt the spirit so
strong!  It was such a miracle that he could come!  We told him that
if he wanted to get baptized that he needed to come to church.  So,
he cut some time out of his schedule in the morning so that he could come
for 30 minutes of sacrament meeting.  It was sooo good to see him there.  He
is a pretty good singer!  I showed him the photos that you sent me of
Nepal the other day and he looked at them for a good 45 minutes.  He loved
looking at them and he told me lots of stories about life in Nepal and
a lot of the legends and stuff they have there.  It was really
interesting to listen to him.  I'm so excited for him to get baptized on
Valentine's Day this year!  I just hope that I don't transfer out
before it happens!

This week I also got to go on splits with a brand new missionary right
out of the MTC.  He is named Elder Mützelburg and he is from
Australia.  It was really fun to work with him because of his raw
missionary drive.  He didn't know the language, he didn't know what he
was doing, but he still wanted to get out there and do what he could to serve God.
It reminded me of me when I was a new missionary.  Just going and hitting the
streets, not knowing what was going to happen but just trusting that
it was going to be okay.  I learned a lot from him, mostly that I need
to put more trust in the Lord instead of just relying on all of the
skill and knowledge that I think I have.  I hope that I get a chance
to be a trainer sometime before I leave.  You can really learn and
grow so much from new missionaries.  I hope that I get to work with Elder
Mützelburg again sometime!

Well anyways, that's all folks!  I've got to get running and take a nap!
I haven't done that in so long!  Have a great week everyone and I love
you lots and lots!

Love,

スティーブンズ長老
Eric Stevens

Ps I have another story that I wanted to share with you.
I learned this week when I was on splits about the importance of the
individual in missionary work.  It goes along with what Bishnu said
in his testimony to you when you were in Nepal, that each person can make a difference.
So last week I went on splits with Elder Mützelburg like I said.  He
had just arrived from the Missionary Training Center five weeks ago and he was
still trying to learn what to do as a missionary and how to speak Japanese.  We
had a lesson that day on the law of chastity prepared for one of our friends. So
we prepared a lesson for that, but not as well as we should have,
especially on the Japanese front.  I thought it was going to be an
easy lesson.  I didn't think there would be any problems with it.
I was ready and prepared to teach the lesson, check it
off of the to-do-list for baptismal requirements,
and call it good.  But when we got into the lesson things didn't go
according to plan.  First of all, he didn't understand the Japanese
that was written in the Japanese pamphlet for the lesson.  That's how
I learned all of the Japanese for the lesson plan.  So we had to wing
the Japanese and hope that he understood.  Then I found out that our
friend had many more questions and concerns than what we were prepared for.
I didn't know where to go from there.  I didn't prepare for that at
all.  I turned to my first transfer companion, translated for him, and
asked him what he thought we should do next.  Just then, he began to
bear a super strong testimony about the power of the atonement of Jesus,
and how the atonement can help us be better and improve our lives.
It wasn't in the best Japanese ever, in fact I couldn't really
understand too much of it, but the spirit of that testimony struck our
friend, and the lesson went smoothly from there.  I learned from that experience
that everyone can play a part.  Everyone can make a difference.  Even
a first transfer missionary fresh out of the MTC can teach with the
spirit.  Everyone is a son or daughter of God and should be treated as
such.  We are all equal and because of this, we need to respect and
love everyone.

I thought I would write this story down and share with you
that small things can make big things come to
pass with the help of the Lord.  Love you lots!

スティーブンズ長老

 
All Mission Conference.  Look Lower Right

 
Elders Barray and Stevens Downtown Tsukuba. 

 
Zone Conference.  The Two Elders On The iPad Were Too Sick To Attend

 
Visit To Meiji Shrine.  Tokyo, Japan
 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Trip To Tokyo And More...

Hello Everyone!

How is it going for you?  Well guess what?  It is already week five of
the transfer which would normally mean that I only have 1 more week
till it's over.  But, luckily since we are having a member of the Seventy come
to speak to us in 2 weeks, they are making the transfer 7 weeks long
instead of 6 weeks. So I get at least 2 more weeks with my wonderful
companion.  Super excited because we are seeing tons of sweet miracles
as usual.

Speaking of miracles, we have been meeting with our friend A... who
will be baptized on the 31st of this month.  We taught him the word of
wisdom this week and we were a little worried because he smokes a ton,
but he loved it!  He said that he has wanted to stop smoking for a
very long time but he never had a reason to stop.  Now that he has a
reason, he said that with our help he is sure that he can do it.  We
met with him and some of the recent converts in our Ward who had to
overcome smoking as well, and they came up with a plan to help
him stop smoking.  Pretty much he is going to slowly ween off them by
smoking 2 less cigarettes everyday until he smokes no more in a few
weeks.  To help him not feel alone as he tries to stop smoking, we
told him that we would stop drinking soda, even though they have some
really good soda only in Japan that we love.  I was really sad to do
it, but if it helps, I will!  He was so excited and he said that he
would follow up on us everyday to check up on our soda progress
whenever we asked about his smoking.  It's amazing to see the change
that is taking place in him as he is continuing to meet with us and study the gospel.

Besides that, the only really cool thing that we did this week was go
to Tokyo again for a meeting.  (It's really weird how I talk about
going to Tokyo now so nonchalantly.  I just go there so much that it's
not as exciting anymore even though I know that there are tons of
people who want to go to Tokyo who probably will never be able to
go.). But it was pretty great to go back.  Everytime I go back to
Tokyo it reminds me of all the fun times that I had while living
there.  I hope that I transfer back there someday so I can see all
the cool places that I used to go to back when I was a young
missionary.  Speaking of young missionary, I just found out that one
of my missionary trainers just got engaged.  Crazy stuff!  It's weird
to think how I was his companion over a year ago and now he is moving
on with his life.  Sorry that was pretty random.

Well, I am glad to hear that everyone had a great time in Nepal and is
safely back home even though it is freezing cold over there now.
My companion didn't believe that it could ever get that cold anywhere.
The pics look amazing by the way.  I still haven't been able to meet
with my Nepalese friend since I got the pictures because of splits and
everything, but I will be sure to show them to him tomorrow when I see
him.  He is still excited for baptism but he is having trouble getting
work off to come to church so we will continue to work with him for
that.  He is following all of the commandments besides that so we
think he is still good to be baptized soon.  Keep him in your prayers
please.

Well, I better get going now.  Thanks again for all of the letters,
presents, and love that you always send me.  I really appreciate them
so much.  We are always praying for you back home.  I hope that
Grandpa does really well with his surgery and can recover soon.  We
are praying for you grandpa!  I love you all lots!  Have a great week!

Loves,

スティーブンズ長老
Elder Stevens



Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year...Again!

Hello everyone,

What's up?  I hope that everyone had a wonderful New Year's Day and a
safe fun New Year's Eve party.  It seems like the family had lots of
fun from all of the pictures that I saw in my emails today.  Thanks so
much for those.  We had a fun New Years time this year.  For the 31st
we had a full day of cleaning the apartment.  It was really nice
though because the apartment really needed it; and I got to wear
normal clothes all day which is a luxury that I have not had in a long
time.  The next day we had a full day of Book of Mormon reading.  I
read all the way to Mosiah but I had to stop because we had a dinner
party at a members house. 

To celebrate New Years here, they have a
tradition of eating lots of mochi.  I don't think they have an English
word for that, but it pretty much is a pounded rice ball cake thing.
They put it in pretty much anything from soy sause to ice cream and
seaweed.  We also were able to write our New Years resolutions on
fancy paper with the a real Japanese calligraphy pen.  I not going to lie, but
it was pretty hard and it took forever!  But it looks really cool.

Then on the 2nd or Friday, we went to Urawa for a mission wide
conference.  It was really cool because I got to see all of the Sister
missionaries that I knew at the MTC right before they leave for home
in a few weeks.  It's crazy how fast they are leaving.  It feels like
they just got here 16 months ago.  Well I guess they did. Lol. But at
the party we got to watch the "Meet the Mormons" movie which was sweet,
but I think that I was a little bias because it was the first movie
that I have seen in over a year.  But I especially liked the part
about the Nepalese guy named Bishnu because I knew that my family was working with
him probably at that exact second.  I really want to watch it again
though when I get back.  Can you buy it on video yet?  But that was
pretty much all we did for shogatsu (New Years).

Besides all of the activities that we did this week, we also saw lots
of success with some of our investigators.  Remember A...?  We we
met with him this week and set a baptismal date with him for the 31st
of January so really soon.  He was so excited and he also came to
church which was exciting for us because it has been a long time since
we have had an investigator at church. The thing with A... is that
he lives in another area so soon we will have to refer him over to the
other missionaries.  They will have it really nice because he will
already be prepared for baptism by the time he goes over there.  I hope
they let me go to the baptism.  He is way cool and he loved singing
the hymns really loudly, but he loved the feeling that he had at church
and wants to come again next week too.

Well I think that is everything for this week.  I love you all so
much!  I wish that I could have spent some time with all of you during
this special holiday season but come to think about it,  I will be
back home before you know it and I can share this time with you next
year.  Have another great week this week!

Love,

スティーブンズ長老
Eric Stevens

Ps I did get grandma and grandpa Stevens present in the mail last
week.  Thank you so much for that!  And don't worry, the food still
tastes amazing!  We had some to celebrate New Year's Eve with some
real ginger ale that we bought at Costco.  So much fun!

 
My First View Of Mt. Fuji.  Awesome!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone!

Wow, I can't believe how fast the Christmas season has flown by!  It
seemed like I was so excited to skype and now it's all over and done
with.  I guess there's always Mother's Day in a few months.

It was good to hear about all of
the fun things that you have been doing for Christmas and the New
Year!  How is Nepal going?  I bet it is really fun.  I really want to
show all of the pictures to my friend from Nepal named B...  We are
hopefully going to meet with him on Wednesday so I can show them then.
He is our friend with a baptismal date for the 14th of February but he
is still having trouble getting to church.  He works everyday all day so
it's really hard for him.  We need to help with him with that.

This week we were able to meet with a lot of new people.  There were
just tons of people that were in the area book that no one had heard
of so we called them up and set up appointments.  They all went really
well as you saw from the facebook post.  That guy was named Y...
He is an English teacher so his expectation was to meet and talk
English but since it was Christmas we had other plans in mind.  We
asked him what the meaning of Christmas was and he said Jesus but he
didn't know more than that.  He didn't have too much interest, but he
brought a Chinese friend who had tons.  The Chinese guy's name was Y... and we taught
him about the Book of Mormon.  They both want to meet again but for
different reasons. 

So funny story now, so you remember how earlier on in my mission, I
bought 20L of alcohol by mistake?  Well, I messed up again.  So we had a Christmas
party last week, and I was in charge of buying the American
refreshments.  Of course, since there was a Costco nearby, I went
there and bought a cake, the one with the cream and the
chocolate.  Since it was Costco and American, I wasn't very
careful in reading the ingredients and just bought 2 of them for $25.
They looked so good!  But I went to the church with them, and as soon
as I walked in, a member ran out telling me that those cakes were bad
because they were full of coffee.  At first I didn't believe them, but
then I read and bam, right there, in small Japanese letters, was the
word コーヒー(coffee).  Face palm.  Not again.  I'm just really good at
buying bad stuff in Japan.  They looked so good too.  It was just a
waste to throw them away.

Well, right now I am making the rice pudding right now and it looks so
good!  Here are some pic!  I gotta go right now.  Sorry this is so
short but Pday is really short this week.  I love you lots and lots!
Be safe in Nepal!

Love, Eric

 
Christmas Rice Pudding.  Yummm!