Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February 22, 2016: First Week in Odate!

View from apartment
Hello everyone it's a nice zero degrees Celsius here in Odate!  The nice constant wind really caps of my first week in Odate!  (ha ha)  All jokes aside; I really do love it here!  It's a nice break and I feel like there isn't a lot of noise here in this small town.  It is nothing like Izumi where it was constantly busy and there were people walking around all the time.  It reminds me of some parts of Utah.  It's all covered in snow and quiet which really reminds me of that feeling I got back home.  I guess that I have been in Japan long enough to consider it home. 

So my first day here in Odate we went around trying to visit old Q'S and we couldn't meet with any of them.  By the way it took all day because they all live really far away from each other and the area boundary here is huge!  So we were walking around all day and finally headed back to the church to have Eikaiwa.  We get there, set up and wait for it to start. We wait an extra 10 minutes and nobody had come!  I was like, yay Odate fun fun!   After a while one person came out of the blue!!  Yay party!  Really fun activity and really fun day over all!

The following day we had 3 lessons!  One with a guy who has a baptism date but we really don't know if he has real interest or not.  He loves to talk with the missionaries and he also smokes like a chimney!  So most of my cloths smelled like smoke.  Oh by the way my boots hadn't arrived by that time so I was wearing my regular beat up shoes.  Water has gotten in my shoes everyday... So yea I guess you can say I am living the dream!!! My shoes probably will die at the end of this transfer but we are good!
Signs all over the city
 "Christ bore on the cross everyone's sins"

Elder Taneda from Kobe Japan
I have been nothing but tired this entire week!  It's really draining to listen as hard as I can to Japanese, think in Japanese, and be walking around everywhere in the snow!  I couple times this week I have fallen asleep while trying to say my nightly prayers.   Funny right!  We also got a good lesson with an investigator that is showing great promise but might be moving to Tokyo in the next month.  Why???  He has read the entire bible and likes it and intends to read all of the Book of Mormon!  Yay. Oh by the way we went to go visit another investigator.  He answered the door in his underwear!  So that was pretty cool!

Elder Taneda and I almost got the standard accomplished in the 5 days we were working here in Odate!  It was a really fun week.  Oh I want to tell you about church!  At church there were a total of 13 people with 4 missionaries were included in that number!  I blessed the sacrament and the branch president passed the sacrament to all the people present.  It reminds me of a story from a member in Izumi.  She tells about when she was a brand new member and the missionaries ran everything in the branch.  It also reminds me of D&C 64:33 “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.  And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”   Japan is teaching me a lot about the small things that need to be done before the big miracles everyone loves to talk about. I guarantee you that in the future when talking about growth of the church and missionary work, they will talk about miracles in Japan and how it is exploding with the work!  But before that, the small things need to be done.  All the missionaries in Japan are doing that right now!  Doing the small and simple things!

Love you all and have a good week!!
The best investigator ever, Elder Mimaki and I leaving for our new areas. 
The investigator drove us so we didn't have to buy a train ticket.
Church is on the 2nd floor of the office building.

Monday, February 15, 2016

February 15, 2016 Transfers! ODATE

So yesterday I got my transfer call.  I am getting transferred to a place called ODATE, it's in the 青森  zone.  It is a branch that has around 9 members, my companion and I will be 2 of the 3 priesthood  
holders in the branch. The other is the branch president.   I will become the 2nd councilor in the branch presidency.  I am really excited, I believe it will be a great learning experience and I will be speaking a lot of Japanese there!  So please pray for me!  My new comp is from first Nihongi companion.
Last dinner together
Izumi Elders

Other than the weirdness at church, the week was really fun!  We had a record for lessons, we got 12 lessons this past week!  And a lot of Book of Mormon handouts which is always great!

Splits with Elder Larson
 A really cool experience I had this week is when I was on a split with Elder Larson.  Before we went out for the day he said "Let's go make it fun.  Let's put on a smile and have fun". After he said that, the day we had was really a good one!  We had a mogi lesson with a member that day and it was awesome.  Even though I was making mistakes it was alright because I was having fun with it!  It was so much fun to go on the split with him!  It reminded me of when I was in the MTC and my teacher said that if you feel good going into a lesson, you will have the spirit!  Just be happy, put on a smile and it will all be good and fun! 

Love you all!  I don't have a lot of time because I am going a long way for transfers!!  I'll be on a bus pretty much the entire day.

Love you all

Elder Halverson


Sent from my iPad

Bodhisattva statue

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February 8, 2016 - 3rd Transfer Week 5

It was a little of a bummer week.

Waiting on the laundry
On Monday we had all that fun P-day stuff and I am sorry mom I was busy and couldn't email.  Monday was probably the most successful day of the week.  We went streeting in front of a shopping mall here in Izumi.  We were able to pass out 2 Books of Mormon in the time that we were there.   I was really fun and really cold at the same time.   I realized that we as missionaries can almost accomplish anything.  I was thinking back before my mission and I really don't think I could have learned a hard language or woken up at 6:30 or earlier every single day.  It really is true the promise in 1 Nephi 3:7  "...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know that the Lord giveth no commands unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way.."  It is true in the mission field.

Tuesday we had zero success.  Since we recently dropped 2 of the 3 investigators we have been focusing hard on finding new investigators and trying to pick up new, old ones as well.  But all day, either streeting or visiting old Q's, they said either kekko, keare, moved, or dead.   So thus far in the week we had zero going for us.  It was a very difficult day to say the least.

Wednesday was more of the usual, we walked around Izumi trying to find a single soul to make contact with, but as usual we didn't find anybody.  But we did have Eikaiwa which is where people come to the church and learn free English.  It's always a blast!!  Izumi has the best Eikaiwa.  The secret to teaching Eikaiwa is just be genki as you possibly can and people will feed off of it.  Wednesday was the funniest day of the whole week.

Thursday was the most successful day of the week.  We were able to meet with two of the less actives.   Earlier in the day I made a goal to focus on the spirit and be a true disciple of Christ.  Usually when we meet one of the less actives, I have zero idea what they are saying.  During one of the visits I was getting really frustrated that I couldn't understand anything (btw he doesn't have any teeth, so literally I can't understand a thing),  but I remembered my goal for the day.  I then had the words to speak and words to teach the restored gospel.  It was an incredible testimony builder that even though I don't understand everything that they are saying I have the best secret weapon (sacred weapon) the Holy Ghost and all of its many and wonderful blessing and gifts.

 My comp became really ill Friday to Sunday and we had to stay in the apartment all day.  But it's all good because I got to watch the Testaments video about 15 times :). Almost got it memorized in Japanese now.  :)

 Love you all

From the Land of the Rising Sun

Elder Halverson ハルバソン長老


Sent from my iPad

February 1, 2016 - Too Busy

No news is good news
A picture is worth a thousand word
Still wish I would have gotten more than pictures.  Glad to see his happy face.