Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 24, 2014

Hey Everyone!

So this week not much exciting or fun happened so it'll probably be a little shorter than usual, but more interesting than hearing about me waking up and studying ;):

Monday: Today we actually went to the Asahiyama Zoo which is the most famous zoo in Hokkaido. It was actually a lot like an American Zoo... Except all of the animals were sleeping so it was a little disappointing, but we did get to see a hippo run back and forth right in front of us, as well as watch penguins walk past us. We also went to a restuarant for lunch which had all you can eat curry, so I definitely took advantage of that one! ;)
Tuesday: We were asked to come to a funeral today. We went to a lady's funeral who was in the ward, but since she was old, she wasn't able to come to church really... But it was a church style funeral, so no new customs I got to witness, but I did get to help mourn with those that mourn, and I thought a lot about life and the meaning of our message with the plan of salvation.
Wednesday: Ya we'll just skip Wednesday.
Thursday: Ya Thursday too. They were just a lot of finding. We did find some cool people, and if they become investigators I'll tell you about them.
Friday: Today we had Eikaiwa which was fun. I've really gotten to be friends with the Advanced class members and they seem to like me a lot. We talked about goals and dreams so that was kinda fun cause we talked about what dreams they had when they were young, and what dreams they still have. Then they asked about my dreams and found out that I want to ballroom dance on the BYU ballroom dance team and seemed to think that that was super super cool... Who knew Japanese people liked Ballroom dancing so much. My companions have all said that it's not really big here, so I figured it wouldn't be that exciting... ;)
Saturday: Today was a little interesting. We talked to two different investigators but both of them have studied religions and stuff for a long time and their intent was basically to weaken our faith in the gospel, but through talking with them, I realized how strong my faith really was. It reminded me of the '' When there is the most resistance, there is the most growth'' quote. Very interesting...
Sunday: Today was good. We talked to an investigator who is really into Yoga and like different Power Spots but is listening to the gospel. It is funny to talk to him cause he's trying to get us to do Yoga and stuff, but since we're missionaries we can't and we tell him, but everytime he does the exact same thing... But really good guy!
Love you all, sorry for the shorter email this week, but I hope your week went well!

Elder Bickel

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

Hey everybody! 

The Asahikawa music night was this past Saturday, and it went very well! I learned a song this past week so I could be one of the 5 missionaries singing it, and I got it well enough to make it seem like I knew what I was doing. I also had a duet on Nearer My God to Thee in Japanese and I actually hit some relatively high notes. Katherine would be laughing at how low they are, but for a low bass they were definitely a stretch. But it's finally over so that stress will be gone and I'll be able to get back to focusing on dendo!
We had a really good Zone Training Meeting on Saturday before the Music Night. Because of both of those things we didn't get to dendo at all, but we learned a lot about Unity and Baptisimal invites by the ZL's, AP's, and the STL's (Sister Training Leaders), so that was way good. They talked a lot about loving your companion and trying to teach half and half which is hard for an American speaking a foreign language when they're with a Japanese person, but I'm working hard and we're seeing success from going more 50% each.
Investigators. Right now we actually have a super strong investigator. He is in the Japanese Special Forces (JTAI) but he is super interested and has a strong desire to be baptized. He's only been to Church once, but he actually asked us today if he could be baptized this coming week. Sadly we had to tell him no, but he's willing to keep on working to get baptized soon! He is actually fluent in English and wants to become a professional English speaker and is now trying to change his job because he feels like it is the right thing to do and it'll make it easier for him to be a member of the church. He's absolutely amazing!
Today we went to the Asahiyama Zoo, which was fun! It turns out that Japan's zoo's are very similar (exactly the same) as American zoo's except everything's written in Japanese ;)  We're working hard lately to find a lot of prepared people and it's been going well! We want to keep on finding more prepared people, but really want to focus on one's who have that desire to be baptized!
My companion is even cooler than I thought last week! He is fluent in English but since I've had companions who weren't and we always talked in Japanese, we still just talk in Japanese. Except for in busses. We're hoping that speaking in English in busses will turn into a missionary opportunity. But he's teaching me a ton of how to dendo better and is really helping me with my Japanese since he can explain the harder stuff in English!
So that's the basics of the cool things that have been happening this week! Love you all lots! 

Elder Bickel

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 10, 2014

Stephen has been sending recordings each week instead of letters.  He just got another Japanese companion, who he really likes, and he loves the area he is in now. It was Jeff's favorite area when he served in that mission.  Stephen really enjoyed meeting a family who remembered Jeff.  When they saw him they said he looked just like his dad.   The family was baptized just before Jeff was assigned to that area, and he got really close to them in the five months he worked there. 

Stephen wrote a little bit about this weeks miracles….

So while we were streeting we found a really cool guy who stopped and listened to us and talked to us for about 30 minutes during a crazy snow storm. Also while we were housing, we kept on getting the door slammed in our faces without even being able to say the name of the church or our own names. But then we knocked on this last door, and a young guy opens up the door, and he starts talking to us. We talked to him for about 45 minutes, taught him about what we do and teach, and gave him a Book of Mormon saying if you read this you can know this church is true. Right now he's listening to a bunch of different churches, but he said he'd read the Book of Mormon and set up a time to meet again. So cool!

Also we got a baptisimal date with one of our investigators!  The Spirit was so strong in the lesson, and he actually told us that he was considering changing his job from J-TAI to being an English translator. He said he still wasn't sure if it was what he was supposed to do, but he said that he felt like the environment wasn't the type of place he wants to be because the higher rankers want to drink with the lower ranks to create bonds and he doesn't want to drink anymore, so it was really cool. In the same lesson we talked about how miracles still happen in our day and that we can see them everyday. He then asked if through this church and learning about the church, if he could see miracles, and when I told him that he could, the spirit flooded the room and it was really neat!