This is Kobe, Japan.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Imabari Japan 29 May 2011

Week 48
Mission Log
This week went pretty well.  The rainy season has definitely started up.  It rained every day this week until today.  Yesterday we actually got a phone call with orders from the mission president that everyone needed to go back to their apartment because there was a typhoon.  (Typhoon is actually a Japanese word, but it doesn't really have an "n" at the end of it.)  We have to wear our rain suits all the time every day.  Today actually happens to be pretty nice though.  It`s sunny and warm and really windy. 
The transfer calls came on Tuesday and on Monday I transferred to Imabari you can`t really zoom in on it on Google maps either.  It`s only two areas north from Uwajima.  It`s in the same zone, but a different district.  It has a few more people than Uwajima, but still not very many.  My new companion is named Elder Tukukino.  That`s a New Zealand name.  His parents are both Maori, but he was born in Australia and lived his whole life there.  He`s 19.  His birthday is in July.  He is pretty tall.  He has only been in Japan for five weeks now.  I`m teaching him everything I know.  He`s way fun because he`s from Australia and therefore loves Tim Tam Slams.  The branch here has about 27 people in it each week.  It`s bigger than Uwajima, but it`s still pretty small.  Also, I`m the district leader now.  It`s way harder being district leader and senior companion and stuff.  It was so relaxing and nice when I was just a junior companion and I didn't really have to worry about much. 
I don`t think I`ll be able to get to go to the temple at all while on my mission, but I would love to go to the Tokyo temple with you when you come up here. 
Yeah, people on the streets do get angry or try to argue with us sometimes.  People in Japan are generally really embarrassed or scared to tell people if their in a religion.  It`s kind of looked down upon by a lot of people here.  Some people say they don`t want to meet with us or they don`t want to join because they`re afraid of what their family and friends might think.  It`s kind of sad.  So far since I've come to Imabari we got stood up three times.  Our person who was getting ready for baptism called us and canceled her appointment.  One appointment only opened the door six inches, said two sentences, and closed the door when we came.  One person gave a Book of Mormon back to us because her family was yelling at her for having it.  On Saturday we found the nicest women and her son and they were interested and planning on coming to church the next day.  That night she gave us a phone call.  She said, "My husband came home and got way mad.  I`m not going to be able to come to church or meet with you again.  I`m so sorry."  I wish everyone would just accept the gospel. 
I bought a kendo stick.  It`s way cool.  I`m planning on buying a MegaMac after we get done emailing.  It`s like the BigMac except it`s bigger and better.  Do they have it in the US? 
That`s pretty much all I have to say this week.  I love you all.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac  Swift

Sunday, May 22, 2011

JAPAN 22 May 2011

Week 47
Mission Log
I`m doing very well.  My companion is doing well.  The branch is doing well.  The investigators are doing well.  Everything is great.  It has actually started to rain a lot here.  I believe that the rainy season has just started up.  It may rain most every day for the next month.  It`s a good thing that I came from a rainy part of the world and I`m used to it.  It seems like most missionaries can`t stand the rain.  
I did see the picture of Scarlett on the bookshelf by clicking the link and it opening a word document, but I couldn't see the three pictures that were just in the email.  I don`t know why they didn't show up.  The one of Scarlett was probably the cutest thing that I've ever seen in my life.  It`s just ridiculous how adorable it is.  That picture could be in a magazine or something.  Doranda is really good at picture taking, I mean photography.  Wow, my English is really bad now.   It`s weird to think about how big Scarlett will be when I finally get to meet her.  My companion wears glasses sometimes, but he does not have anything on his hand. 
My apartment is at Japan, Ehime-ken, Uwajima-shi, asahi-machi, 2chome, 3 ban, 1 go, dai 5, tonemaru haitsu.  I think that`s what it is.  I know how to write it in Japanese, but I`m not sure how it would be in English.  However, Google Maps can`t zoom in very far on Uwajima.  It`s too remote of a location.  On the church website, they have a thing powered by Google maps, and I can`t get it go in very far on anything in Uwajima.  Sorry, you probably won`t be able to see my apartment or the church building. 
Brother Otsuka was baptized yesterday.  It was great.  On Saturday night he finally got the signature from his father and on Sunday morning at nine o`clock we had the baptismal service.  I had to do it twice because he didn't get all the way in the water the first time.  We had to go the church at six in the morning to fill up the baptismal font.  They just have a large bathtub like thing.  In order to fill it up, we connect a hose to the sink and fill it up with the water from the sink.  Unfortunately, there is no hot water at this building.  So, we got pots and pans and boiled as much water as we could to pour them in the font and hopefully warm it up.  It helped, but it was still pretty cold.  He was confirmed in sacrament meeting and after church he had an interview so he can get the Aaronic Priesthood next week.  He goes to a special school for super smart kids.  He`ll make a great member of the church.  I think he can do a lot of good for the church.  He`s planning on going on a mission. 
Tomorrow morning we get the phone calls announcing the transfers.  It seems pretty likely that my companion might transfer.  I hope that I can train a new missionary.  I think that would be awesome.  But, it`s all up to the Lord.  We`ll have to go souvenir shopping for bullfighting statues today.  I`d like to get a bookmark from Uwajima because I collect those now, but there doesn't seem to be any bookmark for sale within a hundred miles.  I think that it`s because nobody reads here.  Perhaps all of Uwajima is illiterate.  It be cool if Jarom got called to Japan and when he came in, I was his trainer. 
That`s about all I have to say this week.  I love you all.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, May 16, 2011

Japan 15 May 2011

Week 46
Mission Log
Things are going well here.  No, Brother Otsuka has not been baptized yet.  We still don`t have permission from his father.  In Japan you become an adult when you turn twenty.  Anyone under twenty needs written permission from their parents in order to get baptized.  Technically, I`m not even an adult yet in Japan.  It`s a little bit annoying.  Sometime when I tell people that I`m 19, they say, "Wow, you looked like you were an adult."  It`s a bit frustrating.  I just want to yell, "I am an adult!" but I`m not. 
We have a Chinese investigator who wanted to meet with us, but she didn't know where the church was.  So, we decided to meet with her somewhere and ride our bikes to the church together.  It turns out that she had just learned to ride a bike a week ago.  It took us forever to get to the church.  If there was even the slightest incline, she couldn't get up it.  She said that in China she`d never ridden a bike before.  She also said that she`s never driven a car.  It just seemed strange to me. 
One of the really great things about being a missionary is getting to see how people completely change their lives when they accept the gospel.  When we met with our investigator Sister Saho, she said that she didn't even believe in God, but after we had talked to her for about ten minutes, she changed a lot.  We explain prayer to her and she got excited and asked "Can I do this anytime?"  She told us now that when she prays, she feels amazing feelings of warmth and happiness like nothing she`s felt before.  At our second appointment with her we told her about baptism and she`s excited about that too.  She wants to get baptized.  The mission is great. 
Yes, I am eating well here.  I`m not starving.  I've been in Japan for so long now that I've started wanting to put mayonnaise on everything I eat now.  I put mayonnaise on my tacos yesterday.  I haven`t put any mayonnaise or soy sauce on my cereal yet, but I think it`s only a matter of time until that happens.  I've been gaining a little bit of weight.  I`m about 207 lbs now.  I don`t feel like I`m any bigger though.  It`s weird. 
It rained a lot for two days because of a typhoon down in Okinawa and in my dream last night there was a huge tsunami that hit the town, but other than that it has been warm and sunny every day. 
We don`t have an oven.  So, my companion makes oatmeal cake (cake with oatmeal in it) in our rice cooker.  A member of the branch gave us a recipe for making a cheesecake in the rice cooker.  It turns out you can use the rice cooker for more than just rice.  I was pretty surprised. 
We started getting a cockroach problem here.  We keep the apartment really nice and really clean, but for some reason, a few cockroaches have still come.  Apparently the apartment in Uwajima always has cockroaches.  There are just a lot of cockroaches in Uwajima.  It`s pretty gross. 
That`s all I have for this week.  I love you all and I`ll write again next week.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, May 9, 2011

8 May 2011

Week 45

No letter this week.  Phone call for Mother's Day instead.   Next post in 1 week.

Monday, May 2, 2011

1 May 2011 Japan

Week 44
Mission Log
It`s really hot here all the time and it`s only just beginning to warm up. It`s usually pretty sunny. One day it was sunny in the morning so I went out in my regular short sleeved shirt and no coat or anything, but out of nowhere it just started pouring down rain. We had to run back to the apartment as quickly as we could and we still got soaked. It was when I was on a companion exchange in Matsuyama too. So, I didn't have any other white shirts or nice pants with me. It was a fun experience. They have a cool high tech shower that turned into a dryer and dried all my clothes so it was OK. Other than that day, the weather has been very nice.
On Mother`s Day evening you call me. It will be Monday morning here. I`m expecting you to study up on your Japanese between now and then. I`m excited to talk to you again. It feels like we just barely had the Christmas phone call though.
There is a giant bee wasp thing right next to me. It`s huge and it`s kind of freaky. It probably has poisonous stingers and fangs, and I don`t trust Japanese hospitals at all.
A lot of the Tokyo missionaries here went back to Tokyo yesterday. They should all be going back by the end of May. The mission President is going to change pretty soon. It`ll be sad. Everyone really loves President and Sister McIntyre. They were really really good. I heard that the new mission president doesn't have very good Japanese and his wife doesn't speak Japanese at all.
This week went pretty well as far as the missionary work goes. We`re plenty busy all the time. We have people to teach. We helped a less-active member come back to church here and we`re working with her family to see if they want to join the church. We taught a guy named Otsuka a couple of times. We went on a one hour car ride through crazy mountain paths with a member of the branch that drives like a maniac, driving us so that we could teach this one guy. It turns out he`s ninety-three years old and he can`t see or hear much at all. We probably won`t go back and teach him again. Sister Misaki came back here from school yesterday because it`s vacation.
This week is Golden Week in Japan. It`s essentially just a week of all holidays. They don`t celebrate any of the holidays or do anything special, but they get the whole week off from work and school.
We went to a Foreigner store in Matsuyama. It was awesome. I bought A&W and some sour gummy worms. They were playing sweet American music, too. It was basically the best day of my life.
What is Dad working on at work now? Is it something really cool?
I`m out of things to say. I`ll write to you next week. I love you. Bye.
-Elder Isaac Swift