So I got some news from the Mission President in our weekly e-mail! The Missionary Committee in the Church just adjusted the e-mail policy for missionaries. We're now able to e-mail any friends, family, recent converts, ward leaders - just about anybody. So instead of just being able to receive e-mails from anybody and then having to reply snail-mail, we can reply via e-mail.
It's been a great week! Elder Nakatsuka left for the Honbu just yesterday. It's sad letting him go and I'm going to miss him, but I'm very excited for him. Since he's already an amazing senkyoshi, he'll be a blessing to the MTC and he'll absolutely rock his mission in Florida.
I'm happy and healthy, but I'm not going to lie, this isn't easy. Japanese is definitely muzukashii. It's frustrating to me not always being able to communicate what I want to, and not being able to understand everything everyone says. At times I do feel a little overwhelmed with the thought that I'm going to have to learn this language and culture. But every time I look at my name tag I remember that I've been called of God to do His work. I feel faith that so long as I wait on Him, have patience with myself, and do my best, He will provide a way to accomplish those things. I'm also reminded that the language isn't the biggest barrier to bringing souls to Christ. Zinke Kaicho taught the whole mission something very amazing and true which I would like to share. It's about the enabling power of the Atonement. There are two sides of the Atonement - the cleansing power and the enabling power. Through the cleansing power we are freed from sin and are able to have the Spirit with us. After we have been cleansed, we qualify for the enabling power. That is the power that gives us the ability to do things in this work. After the Spirit has given us guidance as to what we should do, we are also entitled to have the power to do it. He pointed out that in Ether 12:27 when the Lord says that He gives men weakness - weakness in the singular. That weakness isn't that we're not good teachers, that we can't speak Japanese, or that we don't work hard enough. It's that we're mortal. Mortals in and of themselves don't have the power to do things of eternal significance. As missionaries we are engaged in a work of eternal significance - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. We don't have the power to change hearts to get people to begin to walk the straight and narrow path, but God does. In order bring souls unto Christ we need to access that enabling power of the Atonement, because without it, we won't be able to do this work. I wish I could go more into depth about this, but I haven't the time! Kaicho is absolutely amazing!
Anyway, on a lighter note, the food here has been splendid! The bread (pan) here is so oishii!!!! Elder Day knows how to cook the ingredients and things here so I've just been helping chop vegetables. But we've been eating very well - udon, soba, kimuchi, curry rice, etc. We've been out to eat once or twice - McDonalds and we ate at Sushi Ro (conveyor belt restaurant). We've been over to a member's house for dinner once. It was because they wanted to visit with Elder Nakatsuka for one last time. The members and people here are incredible kind. After sacrament meeting they always give us a basket full of food. They give us cans of food, fruit, bags of rice, sushi, and just about everything. We are very blessed!
The weather has been pretty nice. It hasn't been super humid as of late. Mostly overcast, and we had one rainy day this last week. The raincoat I have is great, and my shoes have been good with the water too. It's been a pretty pleasant temperature, probably 60's or 70'sF. Don't know the actual temperature it's been, but it's been great for dendo. It's definitely starting to warm up though, and I think that Zinke Kaicho said that around General Conference time is when we get the okay to take off our suit coats.
About my debit card. I was actually able to get a bike and a helmet from an Elder who was leaving at the same time I was at the Honbu a couple of weeks ago. I was able to buy it with the yen I had on me. I did withdraw about 12,000 yen this last Saturday, and there's a chance I might be using my card today for shopping - electronic jisho, dendo bag, etc. Please let me know what the balance is like by next week. I think I should have more than enough in there right now.
As it were, I think having things sent to the mission home is the best idea. I actually don't remember our apartment's address right now, but even so, in the letter we got from the Zinke's I think it said it's safest to just have things sent to the mission home because of transfers and things.
Mom, I also wanted to tell you about a mission-wide goal that we have. This last week we received a letter from Kaicho saying that as a mission we have a goal for every companionship to have a baptism on Mother's day. Obviously, the investigators are our number one aim and priority in this goal, but Kaicho said that we're also doing it for our mother's. In order to show my thanks to you for all of the love you've shown to me and all that you've taught me, I'm going to work hard to bring a soul to baptism for you. To start a soul on the path to eternal life and happiness, to say thank you to you. Please pray for me to be able to find, teach and accomplish this task.
Thank you for your love and encouragement. I don't think I need anything at the moment. I'm well enough and where I'm supposed to be.
Elder Kyle Hutchings
P.S. The sakura has been so beautiful! Haven't had a chance to take any pictures, but I will try to and share them next week! Last P-day was crazy with me being new and Nakatsuka Choro leaving, and this one has to be cut short a couple of hours because we're leaving tonight to go to the honbu in Kobe for a training session. We're leaving tonight and staying the night because of how long it takes to get there.