Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Japan - Week 5


Thanks everyone who sent me letters/emails!

Today we went and played dodgeball with a lot of the missionaries from Tokyo it was way fun!! This week we didn't find anyone new to teach. We are only teaching one guy, Aoyama-san. He is starting to read the Book of Mormon and prays sometimes. We are working on that. He has been to church twice already so he is doing pretty good. The one guy who had a baptismal date we haven't seen for about a week and half. He wouldn't show up to the lessons so we set up a normal meeting just to get to know each other better before we start teaching again. So he wont be baptized since he hasn't been to church either. Hopefully soon. We are just working with the people we have right now to get them to come to church first. We have been over to two member families home's for dinner a few weeks ago. The food was so good!! The language is slowly starting to get easier but just need to study more words to be able to talk about more things!

During the week we aren't supposed to write letters, we are supposed to focus on missionary work so it is hard to write everyone in one day! I am trying to do as much as I can. We don't have a set time to write but its just we only have Tuesdays to do it and so it's really hard to write everyone back.

Mom & Carissa - sounds like you had fun in Colorado and did a lot of stuff! I wish I could have gone with!!  I don't know what kind of adapter is needed for my camera. But Carissa said she might send a package so maybe you could put it in there along with some snacks and maybe even the post card from Mary and just split the cost or something. That way its cheaper for everyone!

So yeah, not much happened this week but we are working hard! It is starting to get really HOT!!! Like in the 90's already and rains a ton too!! Really bizzare weather here but we are having lots of fun!! I will be sure to take more pictures so I can send you guys.
Ohh my companion wants to write some stuff to you.. . .
Konnichiwa, my name is SHITAMI.  McKINNEY choro is awesome. Thank you for sending him on the mission. I am very happy and I learn from him.
Thats all he wanted to say, haha, I love you all!! Thank you for your support!! I will write more next week because again, I don't have much time to write. Hopefully I will still be in the same area because next week is transfers!! Scary!! (KOWAII!!)

Love, Elder Shitami and McKinney!! <3<3<3

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Japan - Week 4

Hello everyone. How are things going?? This week I don't have a lot of time to write because the other guys need to write still too. Sorry I won't be able to write back to everyone that wrote me.  

We went to the temple today!! We get to go once a transfer and they had a special missionary session at 10am today. Normally the temple doesn't open until about 2pm ever since the earthquake, not sure why. 

Thats awesome to see the pictures, keep sending more. Sorry I can't send mine yet.  I need to go to a printer shop because I don't have my adaptor to hook it up to the computer. If you send it to me maybe that would make things easier and I could send you way more photos that way too!!

So this week went by really quick. I can't believe I am already be in Japan for a month!! And already 1/6 done with my mission. It's crazy to think how fast time flies. 

So we found another investigator this week and started teaching him. He is about 26 and really nice. He came to church on Sunday and seems really interested in the church. We will have to see if he will keep his commitments to read the Book of Mormon and pray about Joseph Smith's experience in the grove. We also found a guy who was super excited to meet us and really want to learn more too. We are going to visit him again today and see how things are going. He is about 70 years old and was jumping around and super crazy. Funniest Japanese guy ever!! People here are so nice but when we bring up the the name Jesus Christ (Iesu Kirisuto in Japanese) they almost always smile and just wave their hand in front of their face and walk off. But we keep going to each guy we see and can stop. We are not allowed to talk to women because they don't want us to get into any trouble or anything. Only if we are knocking on doors are we allowed to talk to them and start the conversation with them. Little weird rule, but makes sense because they don't want them to like fall in love with a missionary and not the church. Anyways they did have Father's day here but not very big, only in church and all they did for it was put flowers next to the pulpit. HAHA So no, they don't really celebrate it here. We have a really small church here. Its about the size of the Irvine's Chapel size only. So pretty small.

Sorry they need to get on now. Next week I will write more!! Love you all!! Things here are going great!!
Love, Elder McKinney <3
P.S my guess for  Nick is Brazil Sao Palo

Monday, June 13, 2011

Japan - Week 3

Konnichiwa!! ;D
Things are going good this week, we have had a little more luck. The opportunities are really starting to open up now. 

It always has a chance of rain but it doesn't rain a whole lot yet. We don't even look at the weather forecasts at all we just base it on how it looks outside.
Thats awesome to hear that Zac and Miriam got married. I feel like just a few weeks ago I was sitting in Idaho talking with them, time is just flying by here. I can't believe three weeks has already gone by here in Japan. 

We gave our testimonies on Sunday. I said most of the things I wanted to say but it was kinda all over the place, nothing specific.  Just kinda said all the things I knew were true to the ward and that's about it. One awkward thing I did though was I ended in a prayer. HAHA Just saying so many prayers that it is so natural now.  You only change the verb and I had forgot to change it but no one really noticed.
Everyone in the apartment is getting along good. One elder is from Denver Colorado named Bullock. He leaves to go back home in a few weeks, it's the end of this transfer. Then the other one is from Liberty Utah named Elder Loud. Both super nice and really happy to be out.
Things here are pretty tough. Tougher than I had thought especially trying to speak in Japanese. In English I would be fine, but Japanese I am not quite as comfortable with yet. We have finally taught an investigator that we found on the street. He is short like 5ft 2in. Ohh and I am not that tall here. Most guys are my height but all the girls are short. Any way we met him on Friday and taught a lesson to him on Saturday. We set a baptismal date for July 2. YAY!!  We just have that as a goal for him and us. We still have to teach him everything but he doesn't have a job or family so he has time to listen. I just hope he will progress. We will find out if so tonight. We also have about 5 potential investigators that said they want to hear more but we haven't got a second meeting yet. So hopefully those will come around. The work is really starting to come around and I am getting excited about it. I just wish I understood more of what was going on!! haha  But that will come with time and study. Just need to be more patient. Thats something I have really learned is that patience is everything. Just waiting for the Lord's time. Ohh another thing I have learned, is that they really are stressing the point of member referrals. They really want us to get to know the members and ask for referrals or set up a plan with the member of how to ask their friends to come to activities and such. So I want to make that a challenge to you, Mom, and everyone else who reads these. Try to share the gospel with someone this week or tell the missionaries about someone to share the gospel with. It won't hurt to try it, I promise. "It is their salvation that is hanging loose." thats a quote from Elder Holland. All members need to share the gospel not just the missionaries. We are all missionaries and can help spread the gospel. So please talk to someone this week about the church or invite them to an activity. I love you all!! This church is true!! Stay safe and remember who you are!!
Elder McKinney

Monday, June 6, 2011

Japan - Week 2

こんにちわ (konnichiwa)
How is everyone??  Well anyways, things are going good here! Elder Shitami and I have been working hard to find some people and have a few people that are really interested but still haven't found a real investigator. Hopefully we can soon. :D 

We went to Sendai to see all the things that happened, we got on a bus Thursday night at 10pm and drove all night. We got to Sendai at about 730am and it is really scary to think that it was three months ago the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. There was still a lot of houses and cars that have probably never been touched yet. There is a lot to be done still. We went to a man's house and cleared off the top soil around his house because it had all the ocean pollution in it and they wanted it out. You could see the water line outside the house and it was about 4ft maybe 4 and half feet high or so. Just incredible to see the destruction first hand. After doing that we went to help some other missionaries with all of the sewers. They are underground but just covered by small rectangles of concrete that can be removed to access them. They are only about 2 ft deep or so but they wanted us to clean them out and there was a lot of mud and other stuff that was in there that we had to remove so that the water and stuff could flow down it.  We had to shovel it out and put in bags where they would take them to a dump I guess. I don't really know the details of it but that's all we did most of the day. Then at about 4pm we finished our service and got to go closer to the shore and see more of the areas that were hit worse.  It was so sad to see all the houses and cars just flattened. Like nothing was there, only scraps of things. Even a pretty big boat, like a fisherman boat, was up past the houses and just sitting there in the dirt. We even saw a buoy sitting in an empty field. Crazy stuff happened. I took a lot of pictures of it but I don't know how I can send them to you. I check into that. After that, we stopped by a church and had dinner. Then drove all the way back to the Tokyo area and stopped at a church for a few hours to sleep until about 6am then got on a train to take back to our apartment.

So from the Mission home our apartment is about 1hr and half by train I think, maybe more. I didn't really keep track of time. The size of our apartment is probably about 600sq feet. It has a bedroom and a shower/lanundry/sink. Ohh and our washer is both a washer and dryer, super awesome!!! Then a toliet room. Two study areas where all our clothes go. And the smallest kitchen ever. Like only one, maybe two, people can be in it at once. We have two other missionaries that are there with us in the apartment. Very small living spaces. My bike is a GIANT type bike, a mountain bike. Bright blue with white handles and seat, not my choice of color but they had a very limited selection. Ohh I also just bought an electronic dictionary today because it is very useful to look up words quickly.

My companion knows the show ninja warrior but I think the place where they record the show is somewhere in Yokohama or something, it's not on a mountain. It's just a production studio in the forest somewhere, I think. But they call it Mt Modoriyama. (The green mountain haha)  His whole family are members of the church - 3 older sisters, 2 older brothers, and 1 younger brother. He is just a little shorter than me, probably 5ft 8in maybe. Before his mission, he went to college and worked as a mechanic, which is what he wants to be. He had his year mark last P- day - I found out after I had emailed you. Our ward is called the Sagamihara ward. HAHA, so original. There is one other white guy besides the missionaries. But he served his mission in Japan and is fluent. His wife is Japanese and I don't know how good her English is but that is about it. I didn't get to bear my testimony on Sunday because they are having us do it next week. But it will be very simple since I don't know a lot of words still. I can understand a lot more and get the jist of what they are saying but can't say a whole lot yet.

But things here are going good. Trying to spread the gospel, very tough work, more than I had thought, but still worth it. 

I love you all!!! <3<3<3<3 Please write everyone!! I would love to hear from everyone!!

Elder McKinney