Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Week of Miracles in Saijo!

Well this week has been an amazing week full of miracles and an awesome p-day!

For P-day we went to Miyajima, one of the most famous places in our mission and really in Japan. (its the place with the giant red gate in the ocean) It was so fun! We took a ferry to get to the island, and I felt like I was in spirited away entering the spirit world. Miyajima is a super old island with tons of really awesome shrines. It also is full of very domesticated deer that will come up to you, let you pet them, and then try to steal your food. Actually one headbutted me when I wasnt looking. It was quite a surprise! I will throw some pictures on so you can enjoy them too!

Also while we were heading back we found this place where you could have fish eat your feet for 10 min if you payed 5 dollars. So of course we did it. They are actually called doctor fish and they eat the dead skin off your feet and do a lot of good my feet felt so smooth and good afterward. It felt so weird and ticklish during it though, and looked hilarious with all these little fish eating at my feet, but it felt so good! It was such an interesting experience haha!

But the spiritual aspect of this week has been even better! We got 4 new investigators. One of which named Kojima san was really interested and we have a return appointment with. We also taught Sho san, a chinese college student. He is super interesting and asks the craziest questions (he asked us if we could read dreams the other day) but he is really interested and prays and reads the Book of Mormon everyday.

Gary is another chinese college student, and if it werent for his wife he would probably be baptized now. He has so much faith and desire for good, but his wife is really concerned about a lot of things right now, and doesnt think he should be joining a new religion. But he will be able to be baptized someday I know!

And there are several other investigators here! Its amazing how the work is exploding!

The best part is that in a few days we may get a place to have church here in Saijo next month! Its so hard to get investigators to church in Hiroshima, but if we had it here, the work could really explode! Pray that we can for us please!

This week has been filled with miracles too full too count! I felt so truly through the power of prayer God do miracles. And I know that if we rely on him he can heal anything, whether its a body, a soul, a heart, a family, a marriage, a companionship.

I love you all!

Elder Walton

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 2 in Saijo!

It's been a great week here in Saijo! All the leaves are turning and it's so so gorgeous. I cant help but be incredible grateful to be here. I was really hoping Id be somewhere north for the fall to see how gorgeous Japan is in the fall, and wow!
Some fun things that happened this week, we had a stake barbeque where we grilled up all sorts of delicious meats ourselves (really they were so so good) and had rice and other delicous foods and then played games, it was super fun! Also we wanted to meet an investigator so we ended up meeting him at this bible study. It was this group of christians who meet every friday to study the bible. It was really interesting being there. It was composed of two phillipian girls, a bunch of black people from various countries in africa, and one Japanese man playing the guitar called Farmer John. We sang for half an hour, and read the bible. I learned some cool things from them, but one thing I really learned and appreciated is how the Book of Mormon really helps us understand the bible. There were so many things they werent entirely sure about but the Book of Mormon answers perfectly!
Also we met with several investigators this week!
Gary is a chinese man (he speaks really good english) who has so much faith. He reads the Book of Mormon and prays everyday and he would probably be baptized now if it weren't that his wife wants him to be focused on work and school and not religion. But he committed to talk to his wife, and so doing we hope his wifes heart will soften. Gary is the coolest guy every!
Then there is Rueben (the investigator we met at the bible study) and he is from Sierra Leone studying peacebuilding at the university. He has a strong christian background and is so prepared. He just needs to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and everything else will fall into place.
And then we have Takamatsu who is our only real Japanese investigator (we teach so much in english) He is addicted to video games and smoking, but he wants to change his life. Hopefully we can help him make that change.
Saijo is such an amazing place I feel so humbled to be here. The lord is performing miracles here everyday.
Love you all so much!
Elder Walton

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Off to New Places

Hello Everyone!

Well something sad and happy happened this past week. After only 6 glorious weeks in Sasebo, I got transferred. I am almost on the other side of the mission, in the north most zone in Saijo! It was sad to go, but its going to be so great here! As my bus pulled away from Saijo a little 9 year old member named Yumeko (dreamchild) ran after my bus smiling and waving. I teared up.

Sajio is so great though! Its about a 30 min train ride just outside of Hiroshima. Which is actually where we go to church! Saijo is a town probably somewhere around the size of Provo. And it too has a really quite large University. The university has international students from allll over. So the investigators of Saijo include an iranian, a man from Sierra Leone, several chinese, several Japanese, and now one we found yesterday a man from Sri Lanka. We teach some of them in English and Some in Japanese so that`s exciting!

We are in a 4 man. My new companion is Elder Bloomfield from Texas! He has actually only been on his mission for 3 months (6 more weeks than me!). So between us we have not a whole lot of Japanese, but we have a lot of faith! The other elders are Elder Trane whos a really great missionary on his last transfer, and Elder Henderson who just got here from the MTC. They are both awesome missionaries and both ridiculously tall as is Elder Bloomfield. Im the only missionary that doesnt hit his head (in our tiny apartment) on a regular basis haha.

Saijo does actually not have a branch right now. There are only about 5 or so active members. But the Lord and the mission president really want a branch here. 2 months ago there were only 2 missionaries here. Then in one transfer it became 8! We have 4 elders, 2 sisters, and a senior couple. Saijo is on fire right now. It had two baptisms last transfer and it has so many investigators. Its awesome here!

Also today for P-day we went to the Hiroshima peace park (the memorial of where the atom bomb fell) I will probably send some pictures next week of it. But it was a really beautiful and reflective, but sad place. Im glad I got a chance to go to it.

Fight hard, Press on and Keep the Faith. Love you!

Elder Walton

Friday, October 11, 2013

Last Week of the Transfer!

Well I've now finished one transfer (6 weeks) Whoah!!
This week has been of week of Miracles!

This Sunday we were in the church when we got a call from one of our potential investigators and he said basically, "Hey I'm here outside the church." Which we were not expecting. So we took him to the end of sacrament meeting, taught him and he got to meet the entire ward council! It was so great! It was our first investigator at church so that was pretty exciting!

We also met another really great guy this week, but unfortunately he leaves today to go back on a ship (he's in the military) today. :( Literally the top 3 people we've met who have seemed most likely to listen and want to join the church have all been in the Japanese military and almost all of them have been there for just a short time and then leaving so we couldn't teach them. It's like "arrrrggh! You're so perfect, but this is your one day of leave in Sasebo. Whhhhyyy?"

Also this week me and Elder Rees (Another fresh newbie) did splits with each other here in Sasebo while our trainers went to Saga to do splits with elders there. Just so you realize it's two elders who have both only been here for a month doing splits together. But it was sooo fun! We talked to a ton of people (including one random basketball coach who loves the Utah Jazz even though he's never been to Utah) and we had so much fun! We also bought and ate some food we didn't know what it was from a street vendor. It was next to some fried brains. Yeah we probably shouldn't have eaten it. Turns out later it was fried squid so it wasn't too crazy haha.

This week we've been so blessed with miracles of meeting and finding people and just love in general. We somehow always manage to catch our busses just barely on time. And we got so much food this week from members (and a HUGE bag of frozen meat from Elder Kameta's mom. Yeah that probably wouldn't work from the states) it's a miracle.

Oh and yeah there's a typhoon coming today, but don't worry we'll be fine. :)

Love you all!
Elder Walton

-Yeah we're a little addicted to Black Thunders....

-A missionary caught in his natural habitat.

-A hilarious poster we found on a store window haha.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My First Last Week

Hello Everyone!

Well it's my first last week of the transfer. It's so crazy how fast time flies! Here are some of the things we did this week:

-Had interviews from the Mission president and training from the AP's. This was great because we'd previously only had like 6 words with the mission president because of the crazy circumstances of our arrival in Japan.

-We met 4 awesome people on the street at the beginning of the week who all gave us their phone numbers so we could contact them again, (it's usually quite hard to get phone numbers) one was an american named Ken that I could actually talk to! Actually since my trainer is Japanese and has never really shared the gospel in english before I did almost all the talking, It was so great to be able to share the gospel in a language I spoke!

-And so cool was yesterday we went and had dinner with a Japanese family called the Yasunaga's and his conversion story blew my mind away! Way back when (like 55 years ago) he was a young college student preparing to be a policeman, and his job took him to Fukuoka. He went to the Zoo and then across the street he saw a church and went to check it out. It turned out to be the Fukuoka LDS branch building (the only branch in all Kyushu at that time, which now has 6 stakes) But the building was locked up tight. So he looked in the glass of the building  and inside he saw a picture of Joseph Smith with his testimony. And when he saw that he said, "Now this is the true church." And it took him a while, but a few years later he found the church again and he was baptized by Brother Hara (Who was the first member in Sasebo and has been branch president like 4 times) It helped me to see that there really are people who are so ready for the gospel out there. We just have to find them! Sometimes it's hard to remember that, when we talk to people all day and they don't really want to listen. But I know they're out there, and I'm going to find them!

Elder Walton

Living and Loving

Well it's been a great week here in Japan!

Here's some of the things we've done this week.

Black Thunder Dendo (Dendo=Missionary Work) There's this chocolate called black thunder that is ridiculously delicious (I'm so addicted) it's like little chunks of oreo and some other stuff covered in chocolate in bar form. We've been using them in street contacting lately, basically go up to people and say, Have you ever hard black thunder? I know it's so good right! I love it! If you had a friend who hadn't had it before how would you describe it's taste to them? And usually they say something like "I'd have them eat it!" Yeah! Because you can't know how good it is without eating it right? Well we have another really wonderful thing that you can't know how good it is without trying it. It's called the Book of Mormon!" This actually has been pretty effective at getting people interested and it makes street contacting so fun! Usually at the end whether they want to listen or not we give them a black thunder and go away friends so it's great!

Also this week we went to a barbeque with the military branch at Saikin park, it was sooo beautiful and a huge park too! We did splits with the zone leaders, I gave away an english book of mormon! And we had dinner with two Japanese families with non members there so that was great!

Sometimes people have this idea that Japanese members are too shy to do member missionary work, or don't have a missionary passion in them. But here in Sasebo I see the opposite as being true. We visited the Hamaguchi family this week. (the father is the branch president) And I don't know if I've ever seen a family with as much dendo fire as them. His wife talked to us for so long about how we can get nonmembers and members meeting each other and interested in the gospel. Their son told us how he wants to invite his friend. And basically every sunday the branch president gets up and bears this powerful testimony that inspires me despite my inability to understand it on how important missionary work is. And also there's this young girl about 17 I think, named Satsuki. And I'm pretty sure she's done more member missionary work in the month I've been here than my whole life. And the area book is full of people she referred to the missionaries. She's amazing, she wants to serve a mission to, she'll be such a great missionary!

I love being a missionary! At first it was hard and sometimes hard to love being here. But I can feel how the power of the atonement has wrought a change in my heart, and has filled my heart with love for these people, even when they reject us my heart reaches out in love to them. That change didn't happen because of me or anything I did. I know it was through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. 

This church is true! Live and love it!

Love you all!
Elder Walton