Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Japan - Week 9

Hello everyone!!
Guess what?? I am emailing from our brand new computers in our apartment!! We also got portable DVD players!! :) haha We are so excited to have such cool technology and be the only mission in the world right now. We are the pilot mission and will last a year or so to see if the computers are worth it and bring more people unto Christ. So Cool! Hopefully we can learn how to use them effectively.

Sorry we only have a few minutes today cause we have so many things we needed to do sorry :( I will put photos on and hopefully they can do more talking than me this week. haha  I hope some of these will be better. I will write more this week. Thank you for all your love. I will write everyone next week I promise!!! <3<3<3
Love Elder McKinney

Monday, July 18, 2011

Japan - Week 8

Hey everyone!!

Things are going great here in the Shibuya area. We have really explored it. The buildings are so tall, like everywhere, and the streets are super small and there is no extra space here. haha

Well this week we haven't seen much success as far and investigators goes, but that's mostly because we have been busy with the rescue mission that the Japanese Ward has. They want us to visit all the less active members and stuff, so we have been busy with that. Also, we try to focus more on getting new people to our English class because most people become an investigator, and so it makes it easier to find those who want to be taught. Especially since everyone is so busy here! 

So I got the package from you guys but I forgot to bring the cord with me today :'( I am so sorry. I will remember next week, I promise, and will get some photos to you.  I dont really need anything right now except maybe some more short sleeve t-shirts because I only have two and it is super hot here right now and it's only supposed to get hotter in August. haha  It's about 85 or so with humidity. Anyways that is way cool to hear about Brett Paulsen, and that he reports just before my birthday. That seems so far off!! Also, has Pedro got his papers in yet?? 
Ohh you didnt really respond to what Jon Sugata said on the blog. I never got anything from him or you about it. If you could send that again or something. Also, yesterday you will never guess who I ran in to!! It was Jon's Grandpa and Grandma!!! Way crazy, we were waiting at a station to meet with a guy to get to know him better. And these two old people start walking towards us and started talking to us. I was like, who are these people? Because no one ever comes up to us first, you know?  And then he said Jon's name, I was so surprised!! I couldnt believe it!! So they took a picture and he said he would send it to Jon on Facebook. So you will need to ask him for it. HAHA Crazy stuff!! 
So we get to go to the temple every transfer, the week before the tranfers end. So in about two weeks we will get to go. And also next week we get laptops!! Not sure how we will be able to use them, but will make it easier hopefully.

This week I went to other English branch by the temple. The other English branch and Japanese ward meet at a  different church. So we have to split up to go to the wards and branches.
The most spiritual experience I've had?  Hmmm, most memoriable has been going to Sendai for sure. But spiritual would have to be when we taught a lesson to a less active woman and she said her biggest concern was about eternal families. She doesn't like her parents very much and she said she doesn't want to be with them forever. But we explained that we are all children of God and therefore we are one big family and can live with our church friends forever too. She then got so excited about the Plan of Salvation after that and it was so great. 
Well that's all I have time for today!! Keep the letters coming and remember the gospel is true and everyone is a missionary!!! 
Love you all!! Stay healthy and safe !! <3<3<3
Elder McKinney

Monday, July 11, 2011

Japan - Week 7

Konnichiwa! こんにちわ!!
Things here are going pretty good in Shibuya area!! Me and Elder Abraham are doing really good. We get along really well but we have not see much success yet! :( 
Anyways it's a way different life style here. Everyone is always on the move to somewhere. No one stops for anything so we have to think of ways to catch people while they are stopped and make it more like natural conversations that lead to church stuff. Unlike my last area where we did the whole stop someone on the street and start talking about church stuff thing. A little different approach here just because everyone is so busy. So yeah just have to re-adjust to new approaching styles.
Ohh also the Mission President sent us a link to send you guys about our trip to Sendai -
(We think we can see Nate around the 10:40 mark, but we're not sure - let me know what you guys think?)  So you can see the kind of stuff we did. I dont think I was in any of the pictures but maybe I am. HAHA I will also send the ones I took when I receive the camera cord.
Your missionaries sound pretty funny from the way you described them. Very old skool!! :)
I should probably join them on that "who can loose the most weight" I am starting to get a belly!! O.o Super Scary!! Its just cause we eat pretty big meals here. I should probably not eat so much but the food here is so delicious.
Anyways my Japanese is coming along. I am starting to understand people more but don't know enough words to speak back fluently. I need to study more of the words and need to make a system to learn more words. 
Ohh me and my comp got library cards and are going to start reading children's books so maybe that will help learning basic words. Ohh and to answer your question of how to say "I love you" it is: "aishite imasu." (literal meaning: I am currently loving you)  あいしています。the kanji's writting  is 愛して行ます。You can add "watashi wa anata o aishite imasu." but they are just implied when you say "aishite imasu." Alot of things are implied in Japanese.
Anyways the food is awesome here very simple but delicious. We have an English branch and so we got invited to their house on Sunday. It was ham and cheesy potatoes. So good!! Felt like being in the US again!! At our apartment we fix things like noodles and pot stickers. We had some MRE's from some member which were'nt too bad. They are the military meals that can last for like 20yrs and all you need is some water to make everything. Way cool!!
So my first Sunday at the English branch was interesting. I had to give a 10min talk about my testimony and how it has grown. But I only found out the night before church so I kinda just made it up on the spot since it was in English. Ohh and we have to go to both the Japanese and English wards so we have a long day at church on Sundays. We are there by 830am till about 430pm. HAHA But its all good.
So my apartment is just a little small and set up different but it does seem more open. It is more like a square so the rooms feel a little bigger while as the last apartment was just long and narrow. So it felt like the rooms were crowded. I don't know if thats true or not. We still have 4 Elders in our apartment. So me and Elder Abraham and then Elder Miura and Elder Ruppe. Miura is Japanese but forgot where he used to live, he is from the group ahead of me so I saw him at the MTC. Then Elder Ruppe is from Utah and is an Aggie! He went to USU and seems to love it there.
Yeah we felt the earthquake. We were in  the Japanese ward sacrament and the building just started swaying a bit and went on for about a minute. The speaker was a little older and thought it was just him shaking from giving the talk but realized it was another earthquake. I heard it was about a 7.2 up in Sendai again. But was really far off the coast so it wasn't going to make any tsunamis which is good. Only about a 1ft high wave.
Well I hope everyone is doing well!! Keep up your hard work and the lord will bless you!! 
Love you all and keep your letters coming!!
Elder Nathan Phillip McKinney
(Makkini Neisan Firipu Choro)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Japan - Week 6


This week went by pretty fast, as usually. I really feel like time just flying by. I feel like by the end of my mission I wont even know it is coming. 

Well we had transfers this week and . . . . . I am moved to SHIBUYA!!! It is the downtown heart of Tokyo!! So there are super huge buildings and tons of people. I have to make sure I don't hit anyone with my bike!! We got the call on Friday night to find out if we were staying or not. I was a little sad to leave my first area though. I felt I had done so much work and was really starting to know the members and then BAM!! Transfers! So now I kinda feel like i'm starting all over again!!  Shitami Choro and the other Elder there are companions and they aren't replacing me or the other elder who went home today because they opened up more of the northern part of Tokyo mission. There are a few areas still not open but all the zones are open now. So a lot of people were moved to brand new areas this transfer. So Saturday we spent most of the day cleaning and packing my stuff. Then Sunday was church and said goodbyes to the members and had dinner at the Mission Leader's house. It was super good!! People really know how to cook here! Ohh and the mugicha stuff. It is tea made from wheat and really does smell like cigarettes but it is ok tasting! I haven't had anything gross to eat yet thankfully, or maybe I just didn't know what it was! haha 

Then yesterday was transfer day. Spent about an hour on the trains. Then talked with some people who from my MTC district and met my companion who has been here for about 5 transfers and really knows what is going on. His name is Elder Abraham and is from Utah. He has been out for a year. And really seems like a football/army kind of guy. So very straight faced and doesn't really smile when he laughs. But he is a good missionary so I have been told.

Its weird to think I will be gone for two years. I feel like time doesn't even matter any more. Kind of a weird feeling. Like if you don't have a calendar in front of you, I feel like time just flies by cause you can't look back and compare time. Ohh and also I think my watch is kind of broken but I tried to fix it once and it started working again. But now it only works sometimes not sure why. I don't think the battery is already worn out but maybe it is, i don't know.

Ohh another thing about transfers is the mission headquarters pays for the shipping of two bags. But usually you have three cause of your bike, which you take apart a bit and put in a bike bag, pretty nifty. Also all the cars here are super small! Like imagine the scion XA or XB type cars but everywhere and thats Japan. There are so many different styles of cars but all the same shape. And Toyota has probably over 60 different type of cars here. Insane!!! :D Also the front emblem on them is different on cars but the back one is the same as the one for US. Really weird! I don't know why they they do it.

So Shibuya is full of many different kinds of people. We have a Japanese ward that seems to be decent sized and then two English branches. Plus we have the temple in our area! But we are only allowed to go once a transfer when all the missionaries go! :*( I wish we could go every week on P-day but oh well. Thats about it so far from only being here for about a day. I feel like I am in New York just cause of all the chaos here. So many people, super tall buildings, and a mix of different people. Mostly Japanese but there are way more Americans here than in Sagamihara. Kind of different. Plus way more people speak English which I am not used to. I always want to say "konnichiwa" even if they are white now!! My mind is kind of going crazy with all this Japanese stuff and translating in my head. Its hard sometimes but will get better the more I hear and speak it. Plus from studying Chinese I know some characters but not many that I know what the meaning is. I don't remember how to say them at all which is kind of sad, but that was almost 9 months ago. Wow that is longer than I thought!!. Time is flying by!! To think a year ago next month I was in Taiwan. Crazy stuff!!!! Well I think that is it for today and this week. Nothing too crazy happened before transfers at all. So if you have any questions let me know!! 

Please keep the email and letters coming. I love to hear from you all!! Stay safe!

Elder McKinney