The most exciting thing happening is Yamamura is getting baptized this weekend.

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This is a picture of us at a member’s house.

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This is a picture of my companion with a member. I didn’t know they were taking the picture.

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So the church just created 58 new missions in the world.  %*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (that is not swearing–that is what happens with you hold shift and type “58” with like six thousand exclamation points after it). So, my mission is splitting. They are turning my mission back into the Japan Tokyo mission and the Japan Tokyo South Mission. I don’t know where I am going yet.

So far with our investigators, things are going alright. There is this one guy, and his name is Yamamura and he is going to be baptized in like a month so IT. IS. ON. He seems to really love the church and everything, and he seems to get along with all the people in the ward too, so that is always good. But then there is this other guy named Takumi who is having a hard time. He just doesn’t seem to really have a desire to do anything. I am not really sure what I need to do better to help him have that desire. I feel like Clark Kent when he was trying to figure out how to help General Zod when he was trying to take over the world. Like, he wanted to help Zod, but he didn’t know how. He wanted to just destroy Zod, but Clark knew that it wasn’t the best way to do it. Anyways, that is kind of the situation that I am in. I could just destroy Takumi with a spirit bomb (that’s what I call it when you just testify their face off, until they get baptized), but at the same time, I feel like there is something better that I could do. So am trying to figure that out.

Elder Kerr’s breakfast of an onion bagel with frosting and sprinkles.

I got transferred.

My new companion is Elder Kerr and he is from Tenesensnenses. The attached picture is of him blow drying a window.

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This new area is pretty cool so far. We don’t ride our bikes nearly as much here and I realize that I actually do miss riding.

I saw Garrett the other day so that was cool.

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Oh! McDonald’s is doing something called the Mega Mac. Do they have that in America? The Mega Mac is basically two big macs in one sandwich . . . there are four hamburger patties. It is still not a very impressive hamburger, but the name is very awesome. Also Burger King here is awesome. About a month ago for a week, Burger King did a whopper buffet. The deal was if you buy a whopper meal, then for the next 30 minutes you can get unlimited whoppers, fries, onion rings, and drinks. How it works is you get your meal, and then you need to eat everything and once that is gone, you take the tray back up to the counter with you receipt and they make sure everything is gone and then you basically reorder. After the first time you don’t need to get a full meal (like, you could only get a whopper and drink if you wanted, or just more fries). You do need to wait each time for the food, but they were pretty fast so it was still awesome. I went, I ate, and I conquered. I ate three whoppers, two onion rings, two French fries, and three drinks. I could have done more whoppers, but I wasn’t totally sure about the rules and how it worked, so I accidentally ordered only a drink and a onion ring one time. So I think if had known what was going on, I could have pounded down another whopper.

Happy Holidays!

See if you can spot Elder Healy!

Everything is going pretty good. The investigators are doing good.  One of the guys that we are teaching has a baptismal date.  He has some mental problems.  He is about 20 years old, but he has the mind of about ten.  So we are teaching him and he really wants to get baptized, but we are waiting to meet with his dad before, just so we can make sure he has some help at home.

Another one that we have been meeting with a bit is a smoker and is having a really hard time stopping.  He stopped for about a week, and then after he met with some people from his church (his belongs to another Christian church), he started smoking again, and since then, it’s been kinda downhill.  I feel like he just doesn’t have any hope and doesn’t believe that he can do it and doesn’t realize how much faith he has.

The final investigator that we are working with a lot is black and from Cameroon.  He loves and God is absorbing everything that we are teaching him, but I don’t think his English is very good and he doesn’t speak Japanese at all, so sometimes I don’t think he completely understands everything that we teach him.  But he was already baptized and doesn’t want to do it again.

Those are the investigators that we are teaching a lot right now.  Two have dates for the end of this month.

Anyways, something that I have really learned a lot about is relying on Christ.  While reading in the Book of Mormon, I read about the vision of the tree of life.  I never really studied about it that much, but lately I have loved that vision.  In the vision it talks about the iron rod and the straight and narrow path leading to the tree of life.  I always saw the two things as the same, but in the chapter 8 verse 20, it says that the rod of iron came alongside the straight and narrow path.  They are two separate things.  I realized that they are different and, as such, have different meanings.  We are all looking for the path.  It says that too.  It says that there were “numberless concourses of people . . . pressing forward that they might obtain the path.”  We are all looking for the path and the path begins with baptism.  I think that’s how we enter the straight and narrow path.  And as we do all the right things, we progress on the path. As we keep our covenants, follow the commandments and follow the promptings of the spirit we progress.  It’s essentially enduring to the end.  And when we make new covenants (temple endowments and marriage and stuff like that) we take huge steps forward and progress even further on the path.  That is what the path is.  And the iron rod helps us stay on the path.  And like it says in the Book of Mormon and pretty much everywhere else, the iron rod is the word of God.  And everyone always says that the word of God is the scriptures, but it is SO much more than that.  In John 1:14, it says that “the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.”  The word is Christ.  Iron rod represents Christ and the scriptures teach us to turn to Christ and believe in Him.  When we press forward along the path back to God and we hold to the iron rod, we are holding on to Christ.  In 15:24, it says that whoever hearkened unto the word and hold fast to it, they would never perish.  That is a promise from God.  If we find Christ and follow Him and hold fast to Him and NEVER let go, we will never perish.   I never really got a lot out of the tree of life before, but now I love it.

Also I saw a movie poster for The Hobbit.  It was a little sad, but I am afraid of the day that I see a poster for the Man of Steel . . . I may embarrass myself.

My thanksgiving was good; we went to an American family’s house for dinner.  Japanese people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving at all.  But it was good; they had almost 20 people at their house, and it was super packed. We had two turkeys.

So this week was pretty boring.  I finished my first transfer (a transfer is about 6 weeks), and we had to move most of this week, so this week wasn’t super exciting.  We had some cool meetings, and at stake conference we had to the two Asian 70 members there, so that was cool.  It is strange to think that my mission is already like a sixth of the way over!  It has flown by and everyone says that the longer you are here, the faster it goes by.  So that is pretty crazy.

We have been having a good time so far here.  One of our investigators with a baptismal date has a huge problem with smoking and didn’t believe that he could stop.  He has been smoking for 23 years and smoked about 40 cigarettes a day.  He said he could do everything else, but he couldn’t stop smoking.  He didn’t believe in himself at all.  Yesterday, we had a talk with him, our bishop, and a member in the ward who used to smoke.  The member’s name is Brother Ishihara, and he is awesome. Right now, he is 70 years old and was converted ten years ago.  He loves his baptism.  He says that everything good in his life has come from that choice to be baptized.  He loves his baptism so much that he has decided that he wants to do 50,000 baptisms for the dead by the time he is 74.  So that 50,000 people who are in the spirit world right now can experience the joy that he has felt.  Anyways, he talked to our investigator and told him his conversion story.  He smoked and drank for 36 years and stopped because that’s what God asked.  He told our investigator that today is the day he stops smoking.  He just flat out said it.  Then the Bishop, brother Ishihara, Elder Rindi, and I gave him a blessing to help him.  After that he said that he was done smoking.  So far he hasn’t smoked at all.  I know it’s only been 24 hours, but for him that is really good, I think.

The laws in China are changing.  When I was in the MTC, a general authority came and spoke to all the Chinese-speaking missionaries. Apparently, China is open in an indirect way, I think.  I only heard rumors from people, so I don’t know how much is true.  But Chinese citizens can now leave China in order to hear about the Church.  Before, I don’t think they could do that.  I think if anybody talked about religion outside of their house then they could be killed. Also I think each family could only have one set of scriptures in their house.  But now I think they can have one copy of each thing (scriptures, PMG, etc.) and if they hear about the church in China, they can leave and go to Taiwan or Hong Kong and learn about the Church and bring things back to their home.  I know there are missionaries in China who are trained to wait at the temple and when people come looking for the church, they can teach all the lessons for baptism in one sitting. So I think a lot of missionaries are getting called to Chinese-speaking missions and depending on the need and where the most Chinese people who are interested in the gospel come, the missionaries may be reassigned.  I knew a guy in the MTC who was going to Tonga on his mission, but because he was already fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he got switched after that announcement.  So China isn’t quite open yet, but it is a big step towards that.

Look at that announcement combined with the age change; a lot of big steps are being made in missionary work.  The work is moving forward.

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<<about the pictures he sent>> One is a picture of mold. There are clearly at least two colors of mold: a green and a brilliant pink along with the white fuzz that is characteristic of mold.  That is what happens when you cook pasta and forget about it.

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The next picture is my leg.  And that is what happens when your companion is an angry farmer person who gets upset about stupid things like the breakfasts in the MTC.

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The next picture is a picture of “nato,” a fermented soy bean that smells like death, looks like snot, and tastes . . . Asian.  Japanese like it.

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This next picture is a picture of the rat traps we got.  They are sticky, and I’m pretty sure they don’t actually catch rats.  Also, there is a picture of old ladies who stand outside our house on the street and say good morning to all the people who pass by . . . it was nice at first, but now I want to throw our mold at them.

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