Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

Hey everybody! This week went way well! It was also Transfers so that was kinda cool...

Monday: Today we didn't have music practice! But we still went to Sapporo to email and talk to people at Honbu (mission home)... We also went to another famous Ramen place in Sapporo so that was kinda fun too! We then went home, and had dinner with the ZL's and a member at the way good Kabob place! But other than that it was a pretty normal day...

Tuesday: Today we got Transfer calls! If you haven't heard, I'm going to Asahikawa and will be serving in the 2nd ward! The area is so big they split it into two, and there is a ward in each with a lot of active members which is great! My companion is F Choro, a native Japanese Elder and he is super awesome! It is a two man appartment though so that'll be a bit of a change for me... ;) Then we went and said goodbye to a few investigators and members and then had Eikaiwa (English class) which was super fun! Then I packed for a bunch of time tonight!

Wednesday: So today was more packing, visiting more members and investigators and more packing! One of our investigators actually gave me a little bye bye present that was a Koi(the type of fish) sweatshirt that is super cool! I'll try to remember to send a picture! ;) But ya today was a lot of packing...

Thursday: Today was transfer day as well as music practice and we were supposed to have all of our music memorized! Well I definitely got close for a few of the songs... ;) In my defense though, I have 5 to memorize, they are in a different language, and I have no time to do it! My solo is memorized though so that was a relief. I didn't say it was good, but it's memorized... ;) Then we took the 3 hour bus ride to Asahikawa and I'm very excited for this transfer!

Friday: Today was pretty good! We had DKK (Companionship Meeting) where I found out about our investigators, we planned for the week, and set goals for the Transfer! We also had Eikaiwa, so my 2nd time this week, and went home and did the usual. The Asahikawa Eikaiwa has some really good English speakers! It was kinda fun to hear English a little more than Japanese at Eikaiwa... ;)

Saturday: Great day again! We went to an appointment with a team up which happened to be the Stake President! The appointment fell through, but we went with him to visit some non attending members. Then we went to this street called Kaimono Koen which is basically a bunch of shops and we tried to street there. It was a pretty fun day! 

Sunday: So today I had to give a little self-intro as well as a little talk in Sacrament meeting, and it just so happens, that even after being Darcy in front of a bunch of people, I still have stage fright! Who would've guessed? ;) I wrote down a bullet point list of what I wanted to say and really thought it out hard, and then I got up there to speak and it was all gone. I got out a small portion of what I wanted to say, and pretended that I just didn't know enough Japanese, and went back to my seat. ;) Then we had a Takoyaki party with the Young Single Adults after Church which was fun, and had an appointment with a really cool investigator with the Dendo Shunin(ward mission leader) who is going on his mission to Kobe in March! Fun stuff!

Well my week went well, I hope all of your's did too! Talk to you soon! Love you lots! You're in my prayers!

Elder Bickel

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

Hey everybody, I've got a little more time this week!  So here's how the week went!

Monday:  So today like I said was Music practice, which meant basically that we had no P-day... I did go on splits with K Choro so we could make it to practice on time, and it was pretty fun! I did feel bad for the tiny email though.

Tuesday: So today we had a great DTM (District Training Meeting) on finding people's needs when contacting and then teaching to it. It went very well and then the ZL's ran off to go to Wakkanai for splits. So for DTM lunch, we and the other elders ran off to a college in Bun Kyodai for one of our appointments. The appointment didn't show up but we had lunch in the cafeteria anyway and it made me pretty excited for college, but it can definitely wait until after my mission! I also learned a great lesson today. If you or your companion, or even friend, are having a hard time, do something to show them that you want to work on the relationship and do something to make them laugh. Things'll go better and you'll both be happier.

Wednesday: Today we made a Baptism date with one of our investigators which was super exciting!  My first companion and I found her housing.  She is about 40, has 3 kids, but her husband died last year.  We also had a lesson for the Free Family English Program thing, which went really well! We ended the lesson by giving them each a Book of Mormon and they said they'd try to read it. Fun day!

Thursday: Today we had DKK (companionship meeting), a few appointments that went well, and also found a few cool people. We also went to Heart Attack a member, but he actually pulled up in his car as we were on his street traveling to his house. Kinda awkward... But then we talked to him for a while, and then once he thought we had left, we did the Heart Attack anyway!

Friday: Today I had kind of a rough time. I did make a lot of progress though with quite a few things. Just goes to show you that when there is the most resistance, you grow the most! Also today was the mark of my first 6 months on a mission! I can't believe how fast time has flown! It's just flying by, and I've heard it goes even faster… 

Saturday: So today we went to Ping-Pong with an investigator which was pretty fun! Then we went to an appointment with a member! The investigator has graduated college studying about religions so it's a little difficult sometimes, but it went well! Then we went to a member's house to say Happy Birthday. The Birthday person wasn't there, but we talked to the dad for a while and it was really good!

Sunday: So today went pretty well! I wrote the Progress Record about our investigators, which is all in Japanese so it was kinda cool to see I could do that. Then we went to church and I was super tired! I almost fell asleep way too many times!  Then we went to the apartment, I studied the songs I need to memorize, and then we went to Dendo! We found a really cool kid while streeting home.  I taught the lesson by myself and got his number and it was way cool! Then we went Home Teaching with a member which was pretty fun! Great day!

Sakamura Choro actually gave himself a haircut with a haircutter that one of the members gave him, and it ended up with him getting a buzz, and then President Evans came to church on Sunday... By the way, if you didn't know, buzz cuts are not allowed for missionaries so it ended up being pretty entertaining, but don't worry he's fine now! ;)

That was the week for me! I hope everyone's doing well, and that you're all loving life! 

Elder Bickel

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Hey sorry, I've got like 20 maybe 30 minutes total today cause I've been at the Honbu practicing music for the music fireside.  

So Monday: Today we went to Asahikawa for our ZTM the next morning. We partied there for the night with a few other elders and got to catch up on what's been going on and it was great.

Tuesday: ZTM was great, it was all on planning and being more effective with it. I also got to sleep on the bus ride back so it was great to get a nap.

Wednesday: Today I had Splits with H Choro again and it was super fun! We had a great time and found some really cool people!

Thursday: Today we got to shovel snow off of a member's roof! It was actually really fun and I got to be on the roof and throw snow off so it was pretty cool!

Friday:Today we went and visited an Investigator, as well as we got to go to a member's house and have Genjis Kan again and it was great!

Saturday: Today we had a Mochi Suki which is basically where you make Mochi(rice cakes). It was super super fun and I had a ton of rice. I actually probably had about 11 cups of rice total so it probably wasn't healthy, but I still feel fine so I'm sure it'll be fine!

Sunday: Today we had Ward Mission Council, as well as had two Member Team Up lessons which was good! 

Fun week, again sorry I've only got like 30 minutes, so I'll try to talk more next week!
Love you lots!

Elder Bickel

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 6, 2014

Hey everybody! I hope everyone's week went well again! Here's how mine went:

Wednesday: Well as you know from last week's letter, today was our P-day because of New Years celebrations. Sadly I was really sick which wasn't very fun, but I made it through the day. Today we mostly just looked around in stores, not really doing anything or buying anything, just looking. It was kinda boring... Tonight I was supposed to go with S Choro to a member's house for dinner, but since I was sick and his 88-year old mom was going to be there, we thought it best that I go on splits and let someone else go instead. Kinda sad, but it happens.

Thursday: Today was our Deep Cleaning Day. Basically we spent the whole day cleaning our apartment from top to bottom. We took one small break for lunch and to go to a Shinto temple which was kinda cool, don't worry, I took pictures. I just forgot them today. And then we went back to the apartment and kept cleaning. Also I wrote down a list of scriptures I really like so if you have some time and want to see some amazing scriptures... Mark 5:36(2nd Half of it); D&C 112:10; Alma 31:34-35; and 1 John 3:22. All of the scriptures are great, but these stood out to me recently...

Friday: Today we had two meals with the members. Lunch was way good and they had us play this card game that is a new years tradition to play here in japan. It's called Karuta and we played the Hokkaido ben(Hokkaido dialect) version, which was kinda fun! Dinner was also great! I also got one of Mom's letters and it had the Christmas card in there, and I just thought I'd let everyone know that though in my parents hearts I'm still 10, I am actually 19 now... Crazy right? ;) haha I just thought that was kinda funny. ;)

Saturday: Today was actually a pretty rough day. We had some great meals with members, but with me being sick still, it kinda put a damper on things. My voice was also going away so I wasn't too happy about that either. Things just seemed like everything was crashing down around me. It was so rough that I cried for the first time in 3 or 4 years I believe... So I prayed. I really prayed to feel comfort and help, and almost immediately I felt the comfort. I was still sad, and could still feel those sad thoughts and feelings if I thought about it, but I definitely felt the comfort and I know that that comfort wasn't from me, it was from God. It was an immediate answer to my prayer and it was an amazing blessing. So remember, that when you're sad, God WILL comfort you, if you ask. And don't worry I'm doing ok now! :)

Sunday: Today I fasted for the 3rd time in 8 days! Crazy right? It was good though. Church went well, and after church we had this Mogi (practice) lesson with one of the members and it helped out a ton! Afterwards, he helped S Choro prepare for his Solo for the Missionary Music Night coming up so that was way nice of him. Then we headed to the apartment, called some people from the Area book, and went to the Bishop's house for an amazing dinner, where we had a really good time. Then we headed home and did the usual planning and sleeping ;) haha

But ya that was the week since you last heard from me! Things are going well for me, and I'm still a little sick, but I have gotten a lot better, so I appreciate your prayers! Thanks a ton! Love you all lots!

Elder Bickel

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1, 2014

Hey everybody! I hope everyone's Christmas went well, and that everyone's New Year is starting of with fun times! Here's the week for you!

Mon: Today was good! Since the ZL's are coming tomorrow we decided to open our stockings and stuff today, and I really enjoyed mine! So did S Choro, so thanks! Today was pretty regular other than that though... I did take a nap and it was super nice I'll admit!

Tues: Christmas Eve! Today we had the Honbu (mission home) Christmas Party and it was super fun! We played a bunch of games, a white elephant thing, watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, had dinner where I sat next to President Evans, which was kinda cool, and then went Caroling in Odori Park! Then we went home, and went to bed! Haha it was actually a really fun day.

Wed: Christmas! So today we were woken up by our ZL's wearing Santa outfits and yelling Merry Christmas.  A little unexpected, but fun nevertheless. Then we had DTM, went to sushi for lunch, went to a few appointments, went caroling to a member and non-attending member, and went to our Free Family English Program appointment which was super fun! Christmas in Japan isn't that big though... Kids still have school, and it just seems like a regular day... Kinda disappointing...

Thurs: Today had a lot of ups and downs. I felt like I could've been doing better while Finding but nothing I did seemed to be working, so that was a little rough. Soon afterwards I decided to pray to feel better, and then we went to an appointment with one of our investigators. It actually went super well, and I felt like I was able to do a lot, so prayers are really answered! But it was an interesting day...

Fri: Today just flew by. We walked pretty far away to visit an investigator we hadn't visited for a while, taught a lesson and had a small snowball fight with her kids. Then we went to this little planning session at the church to decide how we were going to strengthen the ward and dendo more effectively. Then we went Finding and the time flew by!

Sat: So today we had the Messiah Concert that I was singing in... During rehearsal today, I was kinda wondering how it would turn out. However, the concert went super super well! There was one little glitch in starting one song, but other than that it went perfect! And we had 4 investigators come to it so it was a huge blessing and miracle. We then had to walk for about an hour to get to a train station that actually had a train, and so we didn't get back to the apartment until about 11:10pm... Ya not good, but we got it ok-ed by the AP's cause we didn't really have a choice in the matter. But then we planned, I grabbed some food, cause I was starving after the performance, and then we went to bed.

Sun: Today was pretty basic, but dendo is a little difficult with New Year's coming up. Most people here in Japan have like week-long celebrations and get pretty drunk so dendo is super ineffective, which caused some schedule changes the coming few days... Also I'm starting to get sick so I could use some prayers again... Thanks!

Mon: Today was not P-Day. Today was actually DTM, instead. DTM was on the Book of Mormon and it was really good. We also visited some Non-Attending members and had dinner with a member and his nonmember friend, which was fun!

Tues: New Year's Eve... it didn't really feel like it honestly. I can't believe how fast time is flying by. But anyway, today was our Book of Mormon reading day. Basically we fasted all day and tried to read the entire Book of Mormon. Yes, I did it! The trick is to read quickly, take it all in, and not fall asleep while doing it. Sounds tricky, but it's definitely worth it! I found some really good scriptures that I'm going to use a lot on my mission as well as just a bunch of good ones that I like. Also for new years, Japan has a pretty big tradition to eat Soba on New Years Eve at 12. So we actually got an Action Item this week (thing the ZL's want us to do to become better missionaries, develop better relationships with companions, etc.) on that, so we ate it. It isn't the best Japanese food, but I liked it!

Well that was the week! Again, I'm sick so prayers would be helpful, but I'll probably get better soon! I love you all, and Happy New Years!

Elder Bickel

December 23, 2013

Hey everybody, I hope that your Christmas plans are coming along nicely! Mine sure are, so I'm pretty pleased! :) Here's the weekly rundown!

Mon: Well today was P-day, but we had music practice at the Honbu so that took most of our time today... I did however get to go to this big Buddist Shrine temple thing in Sapporo that was pretty cool! That was the big cool stuff for today though...

Tues: So today was our first DTM this transfer as well as the first Eikaiwa. For DTM, we just have the ZL's double as our DL cause we don't actually have one... DTM went super well and I enjoyed it and learned a lot! We also went to lunch with the ZL's cause technically they're in our district now...

Wed: Today we had this really cool experience with this Free Family English Program. The family wanted to learn English and said that listening to a message would be worth it. So after the English lesson, we taught about God and how he can help us through prayer. And all of them seemed super interested and so I'm pretty excited to see where that goes...

Thurs: Today we had a lesson where we went expecting to just find out what they know, and do some How to Begin Teaching (PMG ch.10), but we ended up getting invited in, teaching basically all of lesson 1 and 2 as well as the Word of Wisdom, and they fed us dinner! It was super, super cool! That was basically our day...

Fri: Today I was thinking a lot about goals, and as missionaries we really try to bring people into the Church, which means Baptism. but I think our main focus should not be preparing people for baptism, but to go to the temple, and stay active in the Church. Cause if that's what we prepare them to do, then they’ll be baptized. It is just a step, not the finish line or goal. PMG doesn't put it first or last, so neither should we! :)

Sat: Today I got my Christmas phone call! It was a great early Christmas present, and I enjoyed talking to you all! We also went to a member's house for dinner tonight and we shared the spiritual message which I thought was pretty cool. So in John 21:5-6,11 it talks about Jesus telling the disciples where to throw the nets and then talking to them on the shore. But in it, it says the number of fish they caught. That means they counted how many there were. Now it's Christmas time and there are a ton of things to be thankful for, but sometimes we lose sight of that. Now the thing is, why would they put the exact number of fish that Jesus helped them catch? Cause they realized that it was a blessing, and they wanted to be grateful. Now the number of fish they caught was 153. Why 153? It seems kinda random, but in the Japanese hymn book, and Japanese only I assume, the hymn numbered 153 is Count Your Blessings. I just thought that was pretty cool! ;)

Sun: Today it snowed like crazy! But church went well, I taught a recent convert the After Baptism lessons, we got a bunch of Christmas presents from the ward and just had a good time! We decided to wait to open the presents until Christmas though... ;) I had the weekly Messiah practice and I assume we're sounding good, cause it's this Saturday... Pray that I'll do ok... I've been doing the same the whole time... ;) 

It was a fun week, and with Christmas this coming week, I can't see how it could be bad! Remember to feel the spirit of Christmas this year, and remember Christ's birth. I love you all and hope things are going great!

Elder Bickel