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!



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!


 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