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!


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