Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21, 2016: Week 5 in Odate and it is warming up!

I've been studying Alma 26:22 a lot lately. During the week I read it multiple times and really pondered the true message of the scripture.  When I read "prayers continually without ceasing" it makes me nervous because I am still 19 and I start to think how can I dendou if I am praying all the time.  Then the other day I remembered what Pres Smith said an interview.  We didn't open a meeting with a pray because he said that we didn't need to because we always have a prayer in our heart.  Now whether that is a hymn, verse of scripture, or a silent prayer for these next couple of minutes.  But we are human we make mistakes and our thoughts wander.  We think of sports or something else that doesn't relate.  How can we be this super hero type missionary if we can't stay focused?  How can I be perfect at everything?  I had this question in my head and then I read the verse again.  "He that repenteth and exercise the faith".  Isn't this our purpose, to become like the Savior?  Make the mistake, repent and continue in faith.  (Ex. think of sports etc.  Yes I am wondering what is happening with March Madness!).,  I need to do my best and let the Lord intervene when I fall short.  Remember "doing good works and prayeth continually without ceasing".  Long story short I learned that this verse is a lifelong process.  And progress is made every single day and we are all on the Lords time.  We must try our best because he has given us everything we need to succeed.  When we make the mistake, he is there to heal and make us better!  Make us into that super hero missionary or person! 

The other day I had the opportunity to go to Hirosaki and work with 太田原長老! (Otahara). Sadly he is an old missionary (leaving soon) but he's a great missionary.  I learned a ton about being yourself when you are dendoing!  I have lately been spending too much time saying the same thing over again because I am a little scared of making it up on the fly.  Especially housing, actually really on housing because we have little time to spark an interest before we get rejected.  But Otahra was slow and calm, changed his approach for every person.  It was cool!  We were able to pass a couple pamphlets through the door and make some PIs.  Now when I tried it,  I wasn't as smooth cause I am still learning!  He has tons of practice and that is the point.  We weren't walking when we were born.  We had to experience the trail of failure first.   Same with the language, housing, teaching, dating, etc.  it's all practice and the really skilled ones are the people who have practiced, failed, tried, failed and yet again try.  And the best part of it all when we fall, we have the Savior to help us out.  He will help us up, brush us off and watch us as we continue on!

 Love you all!  Have a great week and smile!


Elder Halverson

Investigator send off

Local Temple

Interior of temple grounds

Inside the temple

Loving those Akita's

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 14, 2016 - Akitas to the rescue

Alright I am going down the list of the days cause they all have a story!

P-day as usual... just relaxing hanging out, went window shopping where we could walk to around 大館!  Found this awesome sweets shop.  Bought this chocolate fudge ice cream thing that was out of this world!  Relaxing and stuff all that good p-day stuff right??  So here is the story.  After p-day ended on Monday we continued our Monday routine which is searching for old Q'S and posting.  After there wasn't a soul to be found while we were searching for old Q'S.  We started posting this area which seemed like a good idea because there are a lot of apartment buildings and should be some people when we follow up right?  So we are posting and the only person I have seen all night is my companion.  We get to this apartment building and we are using a flash light to get around cause it was so dark.  We walk up and in the dark there appeared to be a pile of garbage, only it turned out to be the only soul we saw all night.  This man stands up and makes the craziest sounds I have ever heard.  I turned and ran as fast as I could.  Didn't have to worry about my comps safety because he was doing the same as I was. We went to a different building cause that one was haunted.  (Partly didn't want to go back cause we were so scared).  So that raps up Monday!

During streeting, 種田長老 and I were walking around this block of schools.  We finally see some little kids walking around. I say こんにちは and we start talking.  Btw they were your average hyper crazy little kids.  They ask where I am from and I say that I am 日本人(Japanese) they are so surprised.  Then I tell them to count my legs. Side note, in Japanese they have a counter for long cylinders and two long cylinders are called nihon which is the kanji reading, also the kanji for person is jin and when you put the two words together you get nihonjin.  Kanji is different but it's all the same when you speak it.  Back to the story, they count and then I point at my body and say"Jin". They start laughing and it was awesome!  They wanted to learn English also!  My eikaiwa flyers and my Books of Mormon are in the same bag so when I open the bag, the kids saw the Book of Mormon and took it out of my bag!  I look at my companion, he said injanai basically means "sure" kinda can't really translate it. Haha. And the kids start to read the book on the street out loud helping each other understand it!  Haha missionary work just became easy I thought.  Good day!

Our rescue dog
Wednesday started out pretty rough, nothing was going right.  I couldn't focus all that well.  Honestly it started like a pile of crap.  Before we headed out the weather finally was good enough to ride bikes!  But we had to put mine together because it was still in the bike bag!  It took about 30 minutes to do it and it was a rush job.  But we were finally off!  And after a while I feel a pop on the bike and then when I try to brake there are no breaks!  Stop myself with my shoes and inspect the bike and both bike brakes were undone and no way for fixing them!  I'll be honest, at that point I was ready to throw my bike into the street!  Finally get the Q'S house and I am still mad.  I said a quick prayer that I could receive the spirit and calm down so that we could help this Q.  The lesson was hard to understand but I understood enough to help this man to learn about God and finally get him to come to church!  The thing I learned was if you’re mad you don't have the spirit, if you’re afraid you don't have it, but if you are confident in God's help and humble, you have it!  You can do your best and the Lord will help you out!  Also we rescued a dog today!

Thursday we found out that a less actives wife is from Spain and doesn't speak Japanese or English very well.  So we are thinking of getting her a Spanish Book of Mormon.  And also thinking how the heck she is in Japan when she lived in Los Angeles.  The whole situation doesn't make any sense.  They are great to teach though.  We are hoping to get them out to church this week.

Friday is our weekly planning and then a small lesson with a 14 year old.  Then we played ping pong the rest of the night!!  With the kid of course!! It was tons of fun!!


A lot of the time is spent in meetings or on trains!  That took most of the day and then we had eikaiwa to finish the day off.  Eikaiwa is always fun!  I love eikaiwa!

Sunday was awesome.  Our investigator came to church and is coming next week.  Next week we will have another investigator attending!!  Two investigators is amazing and we believe we are seeing the fruits of our labor.  We have been working hard!  We had 18 people at sacrament!  Which is a record since I have been here in Odate!!

Love you all and have a good week!

Elder Halverson

Abandoned baseball field - the outfield is 400'
Narrow streets of Odate
Youth Choir from Izumi


Monday, March 7, 2016

大館. 青森: Tough Week

This week was a grinder, no doubt about that.

After p-day ended and by then it is time for the sun and all the lights to go out, so it makes it very hard to do anything here in Odate.  We trying to visit some old Q'S and less actives.  And of course they are either dead, the building doesn't exist, or not home.  So we just went around and posted all that we could.  By the way it was the coldest day by far.

Tuesday was a busy day.  We went streeting around a local school and as we are walking kids are talking to us for the first time in forever.  They are saying that they have a Book of Mormon and sometimes two of them.  Apparently past missionaries have given all these kids a book.

Literally by running up and down the street giving them out like candy. We ask if they read it and they said a little because it is so difficult to read in Japanese.  Nobody gets the concept of the Book of Mormon, let alone God.  But we got 5 follow ups in 5 minutes.  Then we found another kid walking around, we stopped him and talked for quite some time and gave him a book.  He said that he has seen the missionaries before but didn't talk to them cause they were on bikes.  But we talked with the kid for a long while and found out that he knows more about Christianity and God than most people we talk to.  Also we got a new Q through the free family English program, 30 minutes English and 30 minutes gospel.  Oh and he is as tall as me and he plays basketball so hopefully we can apply the gospel to ball. 

I wanted to share the story from ZTM on Friday.  The sister training leaders compared the experience of receiving mission calls here on earth to us receiving our calls in heaven.  They said that just like on earth, there is a mission call season in heaven that we all went through.  In heaven as we received our calls to the earth and serve our missions for Heaven Father, all of our friends gathered round us to know where we are going.  Just like on earth, we were very grateful for the opportunity.  Everyone is on the edge of there seats wondering where they will go.  I pull out my paper and read that I am going to Bountiful Utah to a family that knows Christ and is happy in the gospel.  Everyone rejoices to the fact that I will have a knowledge and love of the gospel when I am on the earth.  Time passes by and lots of other friends are receiving their calls and they are going to places like New York, Japan, Mexico, etc.  All to places that are filled with the gospel.  Everyone rejoices.  But we all know that not everyone was sent to these same conditions.  Our heaven friends opened their calls with everyone gathered around and our friend read "Sendai Japan" to a family who didn't know the gospel.  Everyone became silent and very sorrowful for our beloved friend that wouldn't know the gospel.  But then everyone gathered around our sad friend and said that, "There is no worry, I will find you my friend".   I will be honest I wanted to cry, I know without a doubt that we are trying everyday to find our eternal friends.  Not only that, but the people we work with are also eternal friends like ward members, branch members, investigators, and comps.  When I left Izumi I was very sad at the fact that I might not see those wonderful people again but it's been soothing to know that if I never have the chance to go back to Izumi that I will see all of them in heaven one day.

It also helped me recommit to opening my mouth and finding those people that are eternal friends that haven't been rescued yet.  This doesn't only apply to missionaries, but to all of us.

Take advantage of the daily missionary work that you can do!  Remember the saying, "Every member a missionary".   We are on the eternal timetable  so keep trying, always searching and always improving. 

I love you all and hope you all have a good week!



Elder Halverson


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February 29, 2016 大館 Week 2

This week was one of the rougher ones thus far in the mission.  After I finished emailing last week, Elder Taneda and I were out trying to find and visit old Q'S around close to where we live.  Not a soul to be found...  Either moved or not home!  It's ok, it's the usual around here.  Never very many people out on the streets during the day!  When the sun goes down, it's like the whole city turns into a ghost town!  No lights and hardly any people.  It's like Bear Lake at night.  Cold nothing around, really cool actually!

Tuesday we tried to have two lessons with investigators that are showing little to no progression.  The first investigator was battling with us saying that he can't come to church because he doesn't own a suit.  He tried to explain to the guy that it's ok if you don't have a suit.  It's written in the pamphlet to make sure that when people show up to church they aren't wearing anything crazy like a feather hat.  Weird because he loves talking with us and then he fights us on the message we share, then invites us back.  Saying the same thing over again and answering a question and then he comes up with another dumb excuse.  Same with the next investigator we visited.  He loves talking and has a baptism date BUT....  The date is for this week and he completely forgot all about it.  He can't be baptized because he has to come to church 3 straight weeks and that hasn’t happened and then there is the fact he smokes.  I wasn't here when they set the baptismal date, so I think that will be postponed for a while.  He also loves talking to us and the feeling he gets hearing a message.  YEAH INVESTIGATORS RIGHT??   Fun but frustrating.  Oh yeah it snowed all day too and for the 3rd day in a row!

Wednesday is FHE, investigator lesson, and a less active!

First of all the less active.  He is like our investigator from the day before.  He is really stubborn, he owns a little shop on the corner of a street and every time we meet he always comes up with some sorts of lame excuse of why he is busy.   Today when we tried to visit he said that he was too busy to talk, when in reality I could see him watching TV in the back room.  YAY LESS ACTIVES!  I think by the end of this week as a companionship we have been really good at beating dead horses.  I’m joking.  Next we had FHE with a member, the other male member besides the branch president!  It was really fun!  Played cards shared a nice message!  Good time!   Finally a lesson with an investigator that shows serious promise to be baptized!!!!  YAY INVESTIGATORS!!  But there is a problem.  He is moving to Tokyo for school at the end of the month...and he can't come to church because he has work on Sunday.  But he said that he is wants to meet with missionaries in Tokyo!

Thursday was an all-day travel day to Morioka for a special conference .... 7 hours of train rides.  Nobody on the train either!!!

Friday was a conference was given by Elder Choi who is a member of the area presidency (the Asia north area). He is from Korea!  One of the best things I learned from him was just to open your mouth.  When you do, the spirit can testify to the people.  He gave an example of himself!  English is his second language.  He gave the entire training in English.  He said that "my English is not perfect' I make mistakes right!?!"  He made all of us agree with him.  Ha Ha   Then he goes on to say "but you can understand what I am telling you and the spirit is feeling you truths that I am teaching!"  "so just open your mouth, it doesn't matter if you mess up, I am messing up right now!" "Don't waste your time being afraid of the mistakes, use your time the best you can!  Use all your time serving the Lord!   Last thing I want to share from him, he said he learned English on his mission for the kingdom of God!  To benefit the kingdom he needed to learn English!!

And that punched me right in the face how true that was!  I want to be fluent in Japanese, I want to be good!  However, I did lose track of the fact that I am learning Japanese for the kingdom of God!  After that it really lifted all my stress that I had been experiencing over the last few days!  I can't explain it but it just gave me a boost to get going in the work and try that little bit harder!  What a great day!

Saturday is weekly planning and eikaiwa. That really is all that was Saturday those two things!

Sunday was Progress!  We had a member move into the branch from Sapporo and the attendance at church was up to 16!  And we handed out 3 Books of Mormon to the 4 people we saw on the street!!  Whooyo!! 
That is all for now love you and have a good week!!

Elder Halverson


Local basketball team with Kobe Bryant on the logo

Met up with my trainer at the conference

snack after lunch

Packing the bike for shipping

I keep trying to send him shoes, he is showing me he doesn't need them.