This is Kobe, Japan.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

27 March 2011 Uwajima Japan

Week 39
Mission Log
Everything is going very well out on the island.  We`re working hard.
Yes, I do know Elder Andrew Berhold quite well. 
This week was pretty interesting.  I found out that we`re actually
over two branches.  The one that I went to last week that had 17
members and another one that`s really far away.  We went there this
week.  We had to sit on the train for an hour to get there.  It cost
us like forty dollars to go there and back.  It`s really far.  There
were six adults there and three children.  They said they were
surprised at how many people came this week.  They were expecting it
to be four people, (including the missionaries).  I had to bless the
sacrament.  My companion and I both had to speak in sacrament meeting.
 It was weird, because when I looked out at the congregation, there
was only my companion, two sisters, and two children.  And, none of
them sat together, not even the children.  It was a very interesting
We essentially only have one strong investigator right now, but she`s
doing really well, and we`re working really hard to find more people
to teach.  Everyone in the branch here plays ping pong and eats snacks
together every Friday night.  It was really fun.  There is a high
school girl who is like national champion or something.  So she can
just destroy anyone.  At ping pong this week, Brother Mori (a mentally
handicapped member here)  decided that he wanted to perform a baptism.
 He started asking everyone there if they`ve already been baptized.
Three people were there that weren`t members of the church and
therefore haven`t been baptized.  He then started trying to get them
to get baptized so that he could perform a baptism.  It was kind of
awkward, but also pretty funny.  Everything worked out alright.
We basically can`t do any work on Wednesdays anymore, because it takes
up our whole day to go to our district meeting and come back.  They
used to just have district meetings over the phone here because it was
so far from all other areas, but the missionaries started to get
depressed being cut off from everyone else.  Now we ride the bus for a
couple of hours each week to get to district meeting.
It is very pretty here.  There are mountains everywhere.  There are
big palm trees all over the city.  We`re along the ocean.  It`s
usually sunny.  It`s a tropical paradise.  I really do like this
I have to get going now.  Keep up all your good work at home.  I love
you all.  Bye.
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, March 21, 2011

Japan 21 March 2011

Week 38
Mission Log
Everything is going pretty well here.  How are things back at home?  I
had a somewhat eventful week.
Monday was Preparation Day.  We just went and saw a cool old temple
that I've seen before.  I've been in Kyoto longer than most of the
other missionaries.  So, Ive already seen most of the places they
want to go to.  After that, we taught a lesson to a man named Fuji.
It was good.
On Tuesday we taught an investigator in the area from long time ago,
named Yamashita.  Around noon, we had an appointment with someone who
didn't show up.  And, at night we had dinner at a member`s house.  It
was delicious.  They were very nice.
Wednesday:  We had district meeting in the morning.  The district
leader and his companion were really late though.  After that, we
went out to eat as a district (it`s a weekly tradition), at an all you
can eat chicken place.  After that got done, we had a companion
exchange.  Sometimes we switch companions for about twenty-four hours.
 My companion went to the neighboring area to work with the district
leader, and the district leader`s companion came to my area to work
with me.  It was snowing all throughout the day.  That night, I got an
interesting phone call.  It said, "The Sendai and Tokyo missions are
closing.  All of the missionaries from the Sendai mission are going to
the Sapporo mission, and the missionaries from the Tokyo mission are
getting divided up among the Nagoya, Kobe, and Fukuoka missions.
Instead of the normal transfers in fours weeks, transfers will be on
Friday morning.  You`ll get a phone call tomorrow announcing whether
or not you`re transferring."  The call came from my companion.  He
said he was calling on behalf of the district leader because he was in
the bathroom.  At first I was way surprised.  Upon thinking about it
further, I started to wonder if it was actually just a joke.  I
wouldn't be surprised if my companion wanted to play a joke on me.
Then we went to English class.  In English class we made origami
together, and I announced all of the instructions in English.  It was
really fun.  I had to tell everyone that origami in English is just
origami.  We say the same word.  Then, we went back to the apartment
and went to bed.  At this point I was about 66 percent sure that the
phone call was just a joke.
Thursday:  In the morning I was about 83 percent sure that it was just
a joke and the transfer call wasn't coming.  I couldn't help but
wonder about what would happen if it was real though.  He said that
forty new missionaries from Tokyo were coming.  So, lots of areas
would have four missionaries now instead of two.  I figured we would
get two more missionaries in the apartment if the transfer was real.
My companion (Elder Bennion) had only been in Kyoto for about two
weeks and didn't know anything about the area.  Therefore, I have to
stay there.  I was in the process of trying to forget about those
ideas all together because it was clearly a joke, when the phone rang.
 Elder McClaws, Assistant to the President, was on the line.  He was
calling to announce the transfers to us.  He then says to me, "You`re
going to be pretty surprised to hear this, but we are going to
transfer you.  We think that your skills are needed in Uwajima."  I
was completely shocked.  He then asked me, "Do you know where Uwajima
is?"  "Yes," I responded.  Everyone in the mission knows where Uwajima
is.  Uwajima is quite famous, or imfamous, in the Kobe mission.  It`s
the farthest area in the mission out on the island of Shikoku (not
the main island).  There are basically no people there.
     I packed my bags as quickly as I could and called the company to
have my luggage and bike shipped to Uwajima.  My companion and I went
out to a final dinner together at a Korean style all-you-can-eat meat
restaurant, I carved my yearly St. Patrick`s Day potato, and we went
to bed.
Friday:  We leave in the morning and take the long (two hour) train
ride to The mission home in Kobe.  At the mission home I got to see a
lot of missionaries that I haven`t seen in a long time, and I got to
meet all forty of the new missionaries from Tokyo.  It was really fun.
 I then boarded the even longer train (three hours) to go to Okayama.
There I met up with my new companion, Elder Gardner, and we got on the
bus to take a two and half hour bus ride to Matsuyama.  It was cool
because we got to go over a giant crazy looking bridge to get to the
island.  We spent the night in the apartment of the Elders who live
in Matsuyama because it was too late at night to get to Uwajima.
Saturday:  We got up in the morning and took a two and a half hour bus
ride to get to Uwajima.  Because of all the weird transfers, my
companion has only been in Uwajima for one week and he doesn't know
very much about the area.  When we got to the apartment, he told me
everything that he knows about the area, the members, and the one
investigator we had.  We went around the city.  There is no one here.
Sunday:  Before church we went and gave a blessing to a member of the
branch that neither of us knew.  After that, we went to church.   Our
investigator, Sister Misaki, came to church.  They had met with her
once before and explained what church is.  We were able to teach her a
lot at church and it went really well.  She`s planning to get baptized
on the third of April.  I hope she can make it by that date.  There
were 20 people in church, including the two missionaries, an
investigator, and someone from the district presidency.  After church,
we taught a class about missionary work to all of the church members
who wanted to come.  Our investigator came too, and it was a little
awkward.  After that we went out on the streets and tried to find more
investigators, but there are no people here.  We went to bed.
Monday:  We studied in the morning.  Then, we cleaned the apartment
for an hour.  Now we are emailing in the city hall building.  The
building is closed and there is no one here.  I don`t know if we`re
supposed to be here, but the doors weren't locked.
My companion is now named Elder Gardner.  He is from Utah.  He is only
on his sixth transfer.  I`m on my fifth.  That means that we are both
really young missionaries.  We are co-senior companions.  I knew him
before because he worked in Kyoto for part of the time that I was
I have to go now.  I don`t know if we`re supposed to be here.  I`ll
write again next week.  Bye.
-Elder Isaac Swift

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kyoto Japan 13 March 2011

Week 37
Mission Log
Everything is perfectly fine around where I am.  We couldn`t even feel the earthquake.  We just continued doing our missionary work as usual.  The earthquake, of course, is all that anyone is talking about.  Some people claim that they could feel it. 
The missionary work is going pretty well.  I was sick at the beginnning of the week.  So, it was difficult to work really hard, but I`m better now.  We had three investigators come to church yesterday.  It was great.  They all had a good experience.  We sang "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" in sacrament meeting again.  It was a little weird. 
I don`t really have anything to write about.  Compared to the big earthquake it seems like absolutely nothing happened to me this week. 

I hope that everyone back at home is happy and having a good time.  I`ll write you next week.  I love you.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, March 7, 2011

6 March 2011 Japan

Week 36
Mission Log
How is everything going back in America?  Things are going well here.  I am staying in Fushimi for another transfer.  I got a new companion.  He is half Japanese and half American.  His name is Elder Bennion.  He is from Seattle.  He looks really Japanese.  So, people here think that he`s Japanese when they see him, but he`s lived in America his whole life and he didn`t speak any Japanese before.  I`ve switched companions every single transfer. 
This week was cold.  We got snow on Thursday and on Friday.  They say that it`s just going to get warmer from now on, but I don`t know if I trust them. 
I went to the coolest restaurant in the world.  It was called Ninja Kyoto.  They have one in Tokyo and one in New York too.  It was really hard to find because it was in an alley type place behind some other stores.  When we were trying to leave the place, we were wandering through some dark alleys and we suddenly found ourselves in the back of a shoe store.  It was weird.  The whole restaurant is dark and ninja themed.  The waiters and waitresses were dressed like ninjas and they would put on little ninja shows during your meal.  It was super cool.  The gift shop had all kinds of swords and throwing stars and ninja books and the like.  Then, there was a maze.  You have to go in a passage leading underground to get to the maze.  At the entrance to the maze they give you a small flashlight that doesn`t work very well and a card with Japanese characters to find in the maze.  It`s really dark and the flashlight doesn`t work very well.  Also ninjas often jump down from the ceiling or pop out from behind hidden compartments in the walls.  It was the coolest place in the world.  My companion was freaking out. 
On Sunday, during the Preisthood and Relief Society time, we did a fireside.  It was pretty good.  It was a little stressful because Elder Kawamura was going to do it all and he had the whole thing planned out, but then he transferred.  Elder Bennion and I made it work though.  It was a little awkward because it was a fireside on missionary work and we had two investigators in church that week.  It`s ok though.  Neither of them thought it was that weird.  The work is going really well here.  Our area is always leading the zone in new investigators found each week.  I`m hoping that we can break the mission record for most investigators found in one week. 
That`s about all I did this week.  I will write to you again next week.  I love you all.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift