Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016 Windy Night

The wind blew so hard last night, it was actually moving the apartment building.  I looked out the window and you could see crap blowing all around the city.  I wasn't feeling great, so I skipped the video I know you would have wanted mom.  Maybe next time.

So our investigator named "Itou San" smokes regularly and sometimes during our lessons with him.  The first time I had a lesson with him he smoked the entire time and his jar of ashes and cigarette butts was filled to the brim!  He loves to talk about random things on top of that, but this last time there was a change.  He only smoked once and even then he put it out almost  immediately.  When I saw his jar there was little to no cigarette butts in the jar!! Yes he still did talk about his dog and other things but he is progressing little by little.  It's great to see the little progress he is making while we are not at his house!  Just a little bit at a time he is coming around!

 Also a funny story of the investigator we found last week. You remember that we talked to him on the road and broke the ice talking about his dog.  We gave him a BOM and he tells us his address (literally just points at his house). We go to follow up and I start to talk to him and he starts to laugh and says (cmon I haven't read it all yet please give me some time!).   Really funny, just a little stop by and we gave him some chocolate and in return he gives us this huge sack of groceries.  It was great and we felt bad about having to throw out the coffee.  We would have given
it back to him if we would have looked sooner. Haha.  We will teach him about the word of wisdom no worries!

The other day we had zone conference in Aomori!!  President Smith is a genius.  It's crazy how it seems like he knows the scriptures like the back of his hand!  I want to be like that someday.  But the theme was "light".  He talked about being a light to the people of Tohoku (Sendai mission area).  I want to be a light to these people and be truly changed by this experience.  The mission.  Becoming more like Christ, more like our Heavenly Father.  I pray to be able to listen to the spirit more and represent the light of the gospel, the beacon of hope and be charitable to the people of Tohoku japan!  We can all do it, it's simple!  Obedience to the commandments, STUDYING the scriptures, and doing what we are told by the Lord and His Prophets and Apostles!!

 Same number attending church, hoping to get more attending.  No worries, we are working hard. 

Heard through the grapevine about the earthquakes, pray for them.

 Love you all and have a great week!!



Elder Halverson


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 11, 2016 - We got a referral that lives 22 kilometers away!

This week there was a lot of miracles in disguise.  This week we received a referral from the church head quarters!  It was crazy Elder Sato and I couldn't believe it.  He wanted English missionary pamphlets which we think is the lessons in English.  We are not completely sure however.  Another problem is that when we received it, it was late at night and the next three days were completely filled with meeting and gen conf.  And the other thing is he lives 22 kilometers away and the address isn't completely correct.  We are supposed to contact as soon as we can.  It was making things really hard to plan, then Domon Kaichou said that he would give us a ride to the place after church next Sunday.  So what seemed to be an almost impossible way to contact turned into a incredible blessing.  We are getting a ride, building our relationship with Domon Kaichou, he goes with us to visit, and can have the possibility to pick up a new investigator.  Win Win  The miracles and blessing are here, we just have to do some looking and looking undercover to find them.  So next Sunday we are going out there!  Into the boonies!     Funny thing is when we were talking about the referral, the branch president said, "it can't be that far!" We pull it up on the map and show him, he goes... "Hmm ok that freaking far".

Haha had a good laugh.

 This week was also great we were able to meet with our two investigators.  Both good lessons.  I am not so sure on their interest and we are still deciding whether or not to drop them too.  But again we are working as hard as we can to help them and trying to figure out what they need.  We also found a really strong pi!  Just by talking about what kind of dog he was walking.  I gave him a Book of Mormon and instead of having to ask if we could meet again to talk about it.  He pointed at his house and told us his address!  Also this man is from Israel and came in contact with us.  Apparently he sees me walking around Odate a lot and wanted to talk. (I guess because I am a big white guy or something)  He had a lot of questions and seemed like he wanted to learn more.  Another investigator stopped me when we were coming back from ZTM, this guy also knows the less actives wife who speaks Spanish.  Small world! I believe the Rock is falling here and we are going to uncover more and more miracles!

 On Monday after emailing we went to the Akita Dog museum.  First it was 200 yen and it was kinda a buzzkill, but what can you really expect for 200 yen.  It was kinda cool actually, just one floor of dogs from the area and history in pictures.  Probably a good thing cause kanji is a challenge.  But still pretty fun and I got a nap on p-day!

 On Sunday we went to one of my favorite places in the mission!  青森! There we had ZTM where I learned a lot about how to help people endure to the end and really understand the power of repentance and the atonement.

But here is the cool part.  Everyone always says be yourself and you will find success in the work.  And in a prior email I wrote that when I was comps with taneda chourou I was trying to find my self and fasted for it.  Because I really wanted to see success here in odate.  I was talking with a good friend in the zone Price Chourou.   We started talking and he told me about how he has found happiness in being himself.  I asked how he did it.  He said that he doesn't try to be someone else.  He just is himself, he talks how he would in English,  he just doesn't try and become something that he is not.  He said "failing sucks but when you are trying to become something that you aren't then when you fail it brings more unhappiness because you are you and you can be someone else, and it will always bring unhappiness.   And it's true.  Just be yourself!  If you don't understand yourself ask your father in heaven, he understands  you!  It will take time (maybe) for the answer to come but it will!
Also I want to end with gen conference.  I got to watch it in English on my iPad in the branch presidents office.  It was a wonderful opportunity to hear the Lords words.  I could talk a lot about general conference but there is one thing that I really learned from it, we all learn differently from general conference.  I could write for days about what I wrote cause I wrote a lot!  But I invite you all to reread or watch your favorite talks.  My suggestion is the final one by Elder Holland! It's great!
Love you all
Elder Halverson


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April 4, 2016 大館 五転勤 二 週

The first two days of the week I was in Hirosaki with Elder Barton while we waited for our comps to arrive. They were coming from the bottom of the mission to the top. We had a really good day in 弘前. We saw a lot of people which was a "long time no see" type of experience.  At around 6 we went over to the train station and waited for our new comps!  We had about 45 minutes so we decided to get all of the pass along cards we had and just give them to everyone that would take them.  Just 30 quick minutes of passing around eikaiwa, BOM, and pass along cards.  Was really fun actually.

Wednesday was the first full day with Elder Sato in 大館!  Had a FHE lesson about blessings.  We shared an article from the 2016 April Liahona.  It's a real good one I would advise you all to read it!  Called "Measuring blessing in Madagascar!"  So the member we shared the message with has the strongest Japanese accent!  My comp who is fluent in both English and Japanese said that he could understand about 40% of what he said.  I believe that's the miracle that I needed to hear!  One day you think you have the language down and then you meet someone that speaks the "Old Man Japanese". (that's what they call it) and you wonder what you were thinking. 

Also today I decided to focus on God's hand in our daily life!  Today was a good one.  This week starts the new month, that means that we need a baptism goal for the month.  We decided to fast for the goal.  At the beginning I was fasting for two things and by the end of the day, before I was to break the fast, I realized I couldn't remember the other thing.  Only the one goal came to my mind and I believe it was the answer to my prayer. I need to just focus on the work and others.  Everything will fall into place in its time.  Maybe God is telling me to let go of my personal worries and desires.

April Fool's Day!!

The name of the day is exactly how the day went!  Weekly planning and then with the rest of the day we had 1 lesson and only q searching.  Long story short, we were fooled at every turn.  The iPad map was leading us astray all day and the investigator didn't show up to the lesson.  Human mistakes on top of that made it a learning experience, definitely!

Ok people repentance. What do you think about the word "repentance".  Here in Japan there are cars that drive around and say "Kuiaretamenasai" (Repent!!!!!). It's really strong, powerful word in Japanese.  But it's not what everyone thinks!!  It's a blessing for us so that we can be better people!!  Being a young missionary, I've made my share of mistakes with language and investigators, and feeling some guilt from it.  Wishing that I could have said something a little better or opened my mouth sooner.  As I was reading recently, I felt I needed to just get on my knees and asked Heavenly Father to forgive my selfishness and mistakes.  After that, the day was a great one.  We were able to hand out Books of Mormon and some pamphlets.  Repentance is a great thing, it is a part of the plan of salvation (plan of happiness) therefore a good thing!  Oh btw Elder Sato and I posted a BOM!  Haha the lady through the kekko box told us to and it fit and we gave a BOM through the door slot! Haha good day!

We worked hard, hard, hard this week and we got the Standard!!!

Love you all and have a good week!


Please remember that God loves you!

Elder Halverson



March 28, 2016 But wait...we have a lesson

Last night we received our transfer calls and I am not transferring however my beloved comp is.  He is returning to his bean area which is Kamisugi.  First of all I am really excited and jealous (cause he is going back to his bean area!). My new comp is Elder Sato!  He is Japanese, however he lived in Chicago for most of his life and is fluent in both languages and he is a transfer behind me.  I haven't meet him yet I won't till tomorrow but I am really excited.

This transfer is the most crazy out of all of them I feel like.  In a letter to all the missionaries, President Smith said that just a few missionaries would be transferred.  That was wrong!  It's like he took the board with all the missionaries and just shook it around! Missionaries are flying all over the place!  

It's been a good week with some interesting events.

We had planned to do some streeting and housing on Tuesday, but it decided to rain buckets.  We started out with all of our rain gear on and no one was around.  He walked all over Odate trying to find someone, even went to places that we hadn't gone before.  Still nobody.  But here is where the happiness comes.  After we go to the apartment to change cloths we start housing again before our appointment.  We get rejected a few times then finally we house this mom.  She takes a hallelujah card and says ちょっと待ってね (just a second) goes inside comes back out with two apples and give both of them to us!!  I was so happy haha Japanese people are so nice!

On Wednesday we did have some success with the cards we have been handing out.  Then we headed over to hasebe whose Japanese is incredible, I can't really understand anything that he is saying!  Sometimes it seems like he is speaking a language that anybody knows!  Then eikaiwa, ok well were to start??  So occasionally these two little girls come to it and they destroy everything.  And guess, what they came...  glad the sisters were also there and they took them into another room while we taught eikaiwa. 

We took the train to Hirosaki on Thursday for the DTM.  At DTM we focused on Christ like attributes. I feel like the one I need to work on the most is patience.  I have been thinking about it a lot over the past couple of days and studying.   This has helped me and taught me a lot about God's heart.  After reading a lot of talks I've concluded that patience boils down to constant effort, humility and never giving up.  Like President Uchtdorf's General Conference talk!  It's excellent !

Friday I did splits with Elder Barton where we were able to hand out a Book of Mormon and got two lessons in!  Funny story about the first lesson.  We say the opening prayer and the investigator gets up and starts to leave saying that he is going shopping!  He knew full well that we had a lesson!  We were lucky enough to get the lesson in but he gets distracted.

 It is warming up here and we are able to ride our bikes which is great.  We had a good attendance at church with a couple of our investigators coming.  The goal is to just keep pressing forward and staying focused on the work. 

Keep praying!

Elder Halverson