Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 26, 2016: Nonmember gospel principles class!

What a week!  It's been a great week here in Miyako Japan!  First of all we have been teaching a family and we set baptismal dates!  I wasn't there cause I was on splits and in the other area so I don't know a whole lot but we are very excited for it!!

This week we had zone conference run by our beloved mission president in Morioka!  It was awesome!  The theme of the conference was "being lead by the spirit!" During the conference President Smith said "We are all on missions because we have each had a small or even big impression sent to us thru the Holy Ghost to be here".  That got me thinking.  When the age change happened, I was a sophomore I didn't think much of it.  I was had been a 16 year old for 3 weeks.  But that time has had a big impact on me now that I think about it.  I watched the example of the then seniors get their calls and leave to serve.  Then the next group of seniors leave and then it was my turn, I was the senior now!  I reflected on that time and started to think what lead up to it.  The small things that pushed me up to that point.  Dad talking about how fun his mission was, same with other neighbors talking about it.  All saying that they never regret doing it.  That is what pushed me over the edge along with the help of my friends being the example.  They were getting themselves ready and prepped to leave.  But it hasn’t stop with the impressions.  I am not going to lie, there have been some really hard times, some really "discouraging times" ( when I say that I am sure that everyone has experienced it or at least knows someone) but it's the whispers of the Holy Ghost that have pushed me to the next day, next person, the next next!  I have been blessed with those whispering for my whole life but it's been these last three years that I have recognized it the most.  Especially my companions that I have had helping me to not give up and keep trying, keep studying and pushing.  The spirit is always there if you are willing to hear,  it's helping you out of the dark!  I know that to be true that it is always there trying to help and bring you up out of the darkness into the light!

Yesterday at church among all the companionships, we had a total of 4 Q'S at church!  For our area, that is amazing. It was kinda funny cause we wanted to try to teach all of them lessons at the same time which proved to be impossible.  So we had a nonmember gospel principles class with our 4 investigators and 4 missionaries, two recent converts, Smith Kaicho and Smith Shimai and a member.  It was way cool to see that we could pull off such a thing!  We taught the restoration to all of them and they were way excited and really participating and asking questions and all that good stuff.  We weren't able to get a new bap date with Kawame San but she did come to church and was really enjoying the lessons. 

Speaking of baptisms, we are going to have two next week!  The first is on Saturday where the other companionships q will be getting dunked and the day after is a members 9 year old girl!  And even better than that Saturday and Sunday there all day matsuris.  So we go to a baptism watch it and then go party for two days in a row. 

Transfer calls are coming next week so I'll be letting you know what is happening!  Love you all bye bye! 

Elder Halverson 


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 18, 2016: Was taught in the ways of Shinto today!

This week we had a cool experience of being taught by an actual Shinto priest.  It was great to learn the ways of the Japanese people.  Why they say itadakimasu and how everyday life is influenced by Shintoism.  I feel it's been an answer to a prayer.  I've been wanting to know more about the culture and expand my knowledge of the people that we are serving.  This was a way cool experience.  We were sitting in the mountains around a fire and this priest taught us the basics of what Shinto beliefs are and a lot about the basic Japanese manners!  It was the perfect setting too, the shrine was up in the mountains and it was about 7:30pm.  It was amazing really. 

So things learned / Shinto stuff 

Itadakimasu means that we are thanking because God gave us life  (we would basically call it memorized praying)

In Christianity, there are sacrifices of blood and in Shintoism, they have sacrifices of life. 

For instance, God gives us everything that gives us life; alcohol, rice, salt, water, fruit and vegetables.  These are the only things we need to live. As such, whenever we eat we say we partake,  we are taking in the life of these other plants so that we may live. They have many different gods that are in everything.

When saying itadakimasu, it's not giving, its taking of the life that God has granted unto us. 

Now every day we have an opportunity in the morning to become anew, we start over and we start clean.  I face the sun as it comes and say whatever happened yesterday is behind me and from now on today is a new day.  We ask God to help and he does.  

At the shrines we give an offering to give back to God what he gave to us as well.  This gives Him life, that's why various things are put in front of shrines,  These are things that give life and God can partake of them. As the foods goes bad, it is being eaten by the gods. In return the gods also leave it for us to eat. Essentially God is eating the food and his salvia turns into Sake and we drink it and gain Gods power and renewal.  
There are many Shinto God’s.  We were told that there were originally two, they had babies and one baby was light, however light was attacked and died and went to the world of the dead. While there, light upset others and was freed and then started running around again and ended up creating the earth and all the gods around it.  That means everything was created by this first God. As such we owe our respects to him. 

Funny thing is after we worshipped at the shrine, it's a part of the ritual to drink some alcohol and basically by drinking it gives you salvation.  We were offered the Sake, but turned it down and also salvation!  I feel ok about that.  So for that reason temples are necessary! :)

That's basically it for this week!  It's an average Miyako week!  By the way, an average Miyako week is nothing compared to any of my last areas.  It's been great with lots of little tiny miracles and crazy things happening! 

Love you all and have a good one!

Elder Halverson 



Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016: 愛

Hello every one how are you all doing??  This week has been another day in the life!  Miyako is just like Utah in the fact that it is really humid and hot one minute then absolutely pouring buckets of rain the next. 

I want to start by talking about Kimura San.  So we found him a while back and haven't been able to meet with him since then.  BUT we saw with him twice this last week!  First he has questions about the Book of Mormon.  We tell him the story of the BOM by using the pictures in the front cover and shared with him the last two paragraphs of the introductions. Basically explaining its purpose.  Second time he sits us down and we start talking and he starts to say that he doesn't need the book.  We keep testifying of the importance and why it's essential.  Nothing seems like it is working!  Come to find out he wants like a guideline to the book like a flow chart type paper!  Like if you get in trouble or you need to repent, do this.    We give him what is in the PMG that outlines those questions but still he doesn't budge.  After a while my comp speaks up and says "Well, have you read it?"  He says "No I haven't!"  Then goes my comp says "Well if you haven't read it, why do you think you don't need it?"  He pauses it over and I have the thought that we need to give him a tour of the church.  We walk from McDonald's over to the church which is really close and my favorite member is there. He show him around our small but humble meeting house.   Iwama 兄弟 helps us out in teaching starting with the great apostasy to the restoration!  It was a great hour spent and a great testimony builder. 

If you don't know for yourself, read the scriptures and ask God.  It's that simple!  Just try!

Yesterday a past missionary serving in Miyako came back to visit.  When he was serving here, he taught this investigator who after receiving the lessons, quitting the lessons and finally came back and was baptized.  She is now a fantastic member. An angel actually!  But this missionary that found her is named Elder Nepia.  And the members name is Junko Shimai.  When Elder Nepia was here, he found Junko at the beginning of his mission and she was baptized at the end of his mission!  He gave her a copy (triple combination actually) with a note with his testimony written inside of it.  She spoke at church yesterday and read the Elder's testimony!  During her talk he started crying and when he talked she started to cry.  It was amazing to see the bond that they have for each other!  She is so very grateful for him and his sacrifice to serve the Lord and while he did serve he brought only one person to baptism and how grateful she is that Elder Nepia brought her the gospel.  That bond and friendship will last an eternity.  From the outside, seeing this, it made me want to have this experience but also made me realize of how much Heavenly Father loves all of us.  He places people in our path to help us.  I testify that this is the true gospel and it brings happiness!

Well that was the week!  And again is week we got wrapped into another assignment by an eikaiwa student.  When we were asking how everyone's week was he took his opportunity and ran with it.  Talked for 30 minutes of our hour long eikaiwa class.  "Again I thank you for this opportunity to talk about my week.  Today I want to talk about blah blah blah" .... 30 minutes later! Always a strange experiences in the eikaiwa class and I love it.

 Love you all


Elder Halverson