This is Kobe, Japan.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

25 Sept 2011 (26 Sept in Japan) Imabari

Week 65
Mission Log
Hello, everybody.  How are you doing?  I am doing quite well here. 
This morning I got a phone call from the mission president announcing the transfers.  Elder Burner will stay in Imabari.  I however, will be leaving to a place called Wakayama.  The zone that I`m in right now is called Matsuyama zone.  Matsuyama zone and Wakayama zone are the farthest places from each other in the whole mission.  It will probably take me a couple of days and a lot of money to get there.  Also, I`m going to be a Zone Leader now.  I've never been a zone leader and Wakayama is the biggest zone in the mission.  It has eleven areas in it.  Each area is one ward or branch and they all have two missionaries in them.  My companion`s name is Elder Burhoe.  I heard that he`s pretty good.  On Wednesday I will begin my long journey out of my beloved Imabari and into the land of Wakayama.  It`s pretty exciting. 
This week was pretty good.  We visited one member twice who was in the hospital.  He just got out and was able to come to church on Sunday.  We had a really good lesson with a guy named Watanabe Ryosuke.  We were teaching him about the commandments and he was saying that they seemed pretty hard and he didn't think he could do it, but we committed him to keep them all for one week and promised him that he would see the blessings that come and he would feel the Spirit testify that they are true commandments from God.  It`s been five days now and it seems to be going really well.  We have another investigator who had met with the missionaries back in high school and she`s remembering all of the things that she learned and felt.  And, we`re teaching a referral from a member named Nishida Lisa and she`s already said that she wants to get baptized and she`s just working to prepare herself so that she can.  We have a lot of good investigators here, but I`m sure that we`ll be able to find a lot of good people in Wakayama as well. 
We had to cancel our English class this week,  because of two big typhoons that came through, all of the English classes in Japan were canceled.  Normal schools and stuff were canceled as well.  This year has been really bad in Japan for typhoons. 
I went on another companion exchange in Niihama.  It was pretty fun.  I`ll let you know what Wakayama is like after I get there.  Talk to you next week.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, September 19, 2011

18 Sept 2011 (19 Sept in Japan) Imabari

Week 64
Mission Log
Things are going well here.  Next Monday we will get the next transfer announcements.  It`s pretty exciting.  I probably won`t be a trainer again.  I`ll probably transfer out of Imabari.  I`m ready to go somewhere else.   It has started raining quite often again.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was raining when I got done emailing. 
Yesterday, there was a Priesthood Preview meeting.  It was a meeting for people getting the Priesthood.  Ken Takabayashi went.  He`s a Priesthood holder now.  It was a really cool meeting.  There were only ten people there.  Three people getting the Priesthood, the branch leaders, and us.  Each of the leaders in the branch (branch president, Elder`s quorum president, etc.) spoke about the priesthood at the meeting.  It was really cool.  I felt the Spirit and it helped me.  I hope that it helped Brother Takebayashi as well. 
We`re working really hard and teaching a lot of good people.  There`s one American in our branch.  His name is Brother Scott and he`s from Minnesota.  Not much other stuff really happened this week.  There may be another typhoon coming soon.  Possibly even today. 
I`ll write more exciting stuff next week.  I love you and hope that you are having a wonderful time and enjoying every day.  Talk to you later.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, September 12, 2011

Imabari Japan 11 Sept, 2011

Week 63
Mission Log
My plan to infiltrate the Japan Kobe Mission Infrastructure and become accepted as one of them so that I can learn what they`re really up to is almost complete.  This week, I even got to travel quite a bit to go to some of their top secret meetings and conferences.  On Monday, I took a trip to Matsuyama which is a couple hour away by train.  I spoke with some people there and then went immediately to Okayama without even coming back to my base in Imabari.  Okayama was a few more hours by bus.  There we had a private conference with about thirty people that the President chose to share his secret plans for the mission with.  I wrote down some notes and locked them up back at my base.  I think they`re really starting to trust me, because after that meeting I got invited to the even more exclusive meeting with the President.  There was about six of us in that meeting.  There, he told us all of the real hidden motives behind his actions and informed us of the devious plans and happenings that are about to unravel.  I haven`t blown my cover yet.  I`ve nearly assimilated myself into their structure well enough to begin forming alliances and thwart any evil plans that arise.  Also, on Friday and Saturday I spent some time in Niihama (two hours by train) instructing some missionaries about many important secret plans that have been formed and helping that sector of the mission to become a greater ally to my cause. 
Last preparation day, I got to see a really cool castle in Matsuyama while I was there.  It`s up in a mountain and you have to take a chair lift to get up to it.  Also, inside the castle, you are able to try on some samurai armor.  It was really cool.  When my companion and I had it on, several different Japanese people that came by wanted to take pictures of us, but none of the Japanese people wanted to try the armor on themselves.  It was kind of funny.  It`s a little weird to think of how many people that I don`t even know have taken pictures of me in the last year.  It`s strange thinking that there are tons of pictures of me floating around in the hands of random Japanese people.  It`s like I`m a celebrity ;). 
It`s weird that I have so many relatives that I haven`t even met yet.  Next summer, we`re going to have to have a family reunion or something so that I can meet everyone.  It`ll be interesting to see how everyone has changed over two years.  I think I`ve just been getting fat.  Maybe I need to ride my bike more.  My legs have gotten really musclular from all the bike riding, but my abs have just gotten worse, I think.  I`ll try to start doing sit-ups in the morning from now on. 
I don`t really have anything else that I can say this week without jeopardizing this entire mission.  I better sign out before this line of communication gets tapped and everything I`ve been working for goes up in smoke.  Show this to no one.  I dont know when I`ll be able to make contact again.  Be careful.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Imabari Japan 4 Sept, 2011

Week 62
Mission Log
Everything is going really well here.  My old companion, Elder Gardner, is now in the area next to where I`m at.  I get to see him now and then.  It`s cool to see an old friend from the past and reminisce together about the good experiences you had.  It`s good to look back to good times and remember all of the miracles you've seen and the blessings you've received.  You can look back to the times that you were happiest and learn from them.  Why were you happy at that time?  What was different then than other times?  The time that I spent in Uwajima was some of the best time of all my mission.  But, it wasn`t a time that we were finding a ton of investigators.  It wasn't a time that we had very many people to teach.  For the majority of the time, we had no investigators or only one investigator.  It was the hardest time of my mission, but it was the best.  We cared about each other.  We cared about all the people there and they really cared about us as well.  We overcame new challenges by working together and relying on the mercies of the Savior.  Happiness isn't a result of circumstances or anything that comes our way.  Happiness is an attribute of our personality.  It is a virtue within us that we can choose to develop.  The happiest times aren't when you see the most success.  The happiest times are when you choose to be truly happy and you choose to love the people around you. 
This week was pretty good.  A huge typhoon came to Japan.  On Friday, we were all (10 missionaries) in Matsuyama for district meeting.  That`s when it came.  Two missionaries weren't able to get back and had to stay in Matsuyama.  We got back just fine and two others did as well.  Two missionaries had their bus rerouted because some bridges were taken out by the storm.  The trip that normally takes them two hours ended taking about five hours.  Upon getting home, were were all asked to stay in our apartment.  The rain was pretty heavy and the wind was strong enough to shake our apartment.  It was constantly howling quite loudly.  All of the missionaries were OK though, and we went out the next day.  It was still pretty windy and rainy.  Some missionaries had to stay in their apartment the next day as well.  All of the rivers were huge and powerful.  Right now, it`s nice and sunny. 
English class has gotten pretty good.  I don`t think people really learn that much English, but they all have fun.  We spend a lot of time playing games line "Simon Says. . ."  or "20 Questions".  In Japan,  everyone takes English in Jr. High and High school, but hardly anyone can speak any English.  Everyone just knows a couple phrases or words.  I meet English teachers that can`t even speak English very well all the time. 
On Friday, we had ten people lined up to come to church this week.  On Saturday, four of them contacted us and said they couldn't come.  One person texted us during sacrament meeting and said they couldn't come.  Another person texted right after church and said they were sorry the couldn't come.  The other people just didn't show up.  Nobody came to church this week (I mean investigators.  Of course the normal members came.) 
I hope that all is going well back at home.  I have to go to Matsuyama again today.  So, I`ll get going now.  Love you.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift