Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013 - Week 11

Mom and Dad,

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.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013 - Week 10 - Wow. I'm in Japan

Mom and Dad,

Wow. I`m in Japan! It`s absolutely amazing to be here and doing the Lord`s work! The area I`m in is called Kochi. If I`m not mistaken, it`s the largest area in the Mission. Getting here took about 5 hours on a bus from Kobe. The weather has been nice, it`s not super humid here, but humid nonetheless. It`s been pretty clear this last week, but it`s been raining pretty good today.

At the moment I`m in a threesome. Elder`s Day and Nakatsuka. Elder Nakatuska is called to a mission in Florida, but he hasn`t been able to go to the MTC in Provo because of an issue with obtaining a visa. He`s been in the Kobe mission since January, I think. He`ll be leaving for the MTC next Sunday. Elder Nakatsuka is Ni Hon Jin and is an amazing missionary. He`s so much fun and he works very hard. His English is excellent, and he`s a pretty good cook as well. Elder Day is my Trainer. He is awesome! He is a very relaxed fellow, but works hard and has been a super good example for me. He is from American Fork and will be returning home in June.

The apartment is pretty semai (small). I didn`t expect much, but Elder Day even said it`s the smallest apartment he`s been in. There`s a room for the toilet, another for the bath and shower, a small kitchen with a small 2 burner stove, another room where we sleep, and another room with 2 desks where we study. It was pretty dirty though, so we spent a little extra time this morning doing some cleaning. I forgot to take pictures of it, but hopefully I will before next Preparation Day (which, just FYI are on Mondays).

Things have been good and busy this last week. We`ve had lessons everyday this past week. The first one I got to teach in was on Friday. We taught an older lady about the Plan of Salvation in a member`s home. My Japanese is far from perfect, but I was able to bear my testimony about how a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation has helped me and how prayer has helped me. The second lesson I got to teach was on Friday and it was with a middle aged man at the church building. It was in English and that was a little strange because I didn`t practice many of those in the MTC. He`s from Congo and in Japan getting his PhD and studying cancer or something (he`s super smart!). His first language is French, so his English isn`t perfect. It was such a sweet experience though, when at the end of the lesson as he was leaving he said his heart was full and he is always so happy after meeting with the missionaries. We were able to bear testimony that those feelings are from The Spirit.

Streeting and Housing has been good. It always makes me a little sad, though, that so many people shove us off when we are offering them truth. We are offering them happiness, peace, hope, and most importantly eternal salvation. However, I take comfort in something I heard from the last fireside and from a video of Elder Holland I watched while in the MTC: The reason why people aren`t lining up outside of the door of our apartment to receive the truth of the Restored Gospel is because salvation is not a cheap experience. It never has been, and it`s not intended to be. Something Zinke Kaicho has had a huge focus for us is on gathering the elect. As it says in D&C 29 (I think) that we are supposed to gather the elect, or those who are prepared to receive it. We will find, or the Lord will bring to us, those who are prepared to accept the Gospel and enter by the gate of baptism on to the straight and narrow path.

It`s so good to hear about everything and everyone at home! Have fun in St. George, and tell Marisa I say good luck! Tell Josh French Ganbate for me! Kelsey`s going to California? Sugoi! That`s so exciting! Tell her I say congrats and good luck! Anyway, I`m doing just fine. I`m happy, healthy, and doing the best work there is to do!

Love you!
Elder Kyle Hutchings

P.S. It`s all right for my siblings and Grandparents to e-mail me. Everyone else should send a letter. Just another reminder that if you`re going to send anything to the mission home, it needs to be done through Government mail services only.

Sunday, March 17, 2013 - Japan Kobe Mission Home

Dear Brother and Sister Hutchings,

Your son has safely arrived in the mission and is in his new area with his trainer. It was a pleasure to spend some time together with him in the mission home. We will let you hear the details directly from your missionary, but we are sending you a picture of your missionary with us and one with him and his trainer.

We have also attached a map of the mission with the names of the different areas.  

Also, please feel free to visit our mission blogs to see additional pictures of your missionary and other happenings in the mission. The web addresses are:

Thank you again for sending us such a wonderful missionary. We look forward to working with him in the coming months.

President and Sister Zinke
Japan Kobe Mission

Kyle with President & Sister Zinke

Elder Day, Elder Hutchings, Elder Nakatsuka

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday, March 13 - Made It to Japan

Hi Mom and Dad,

Just sending an e-mail from the honbu (mission home). Just letting you know that travels have gone splendidly and I'm here safe. My luggage and everything made it fine. Zinke (it is pronounced zeenkee) Kaicho (President) is amazing!
I'm so excited to be here! Know that I'm well and everything is fine!

Love you,
Elder Kyle Hutchings

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - Week 8

Mom and Dad,

Sorry, no Ni Hon Go this e-mail.  This computer doesn't have the same capabilities.  Anyway, it's so great to hear about everything.  So good to hear about Auntie Laurie and Uncle Paul.  Tell them Aloha for me!  Tell Auntie Laurie thanks for her letters.  They're inspirational and have been very helpful.  I've appreciated letters and packages from everyone.  Unfortunately, I won't have room to take them all with me, so I'm going to be sending a big envelope of some of my letters home soon.  Please just put it in my room somewhere.

So, I got my travel plans!  We're leaving SLC next Monday the 11th and flying Delta to LAX.  We've got about a 4 hour layover there, and then we fly to Narita on United Airlines.  In NRT we have about an hour layover and then we go to Osaka, ITM on All Nippon Airways.  So exciting!  I am completely ready for travel and everything.  I've got everything I need and should be good to go.

Stevens is going to Sendai!?  Honto ni?!  Sugoi desu yo!!!!  Saiko!  Subarashii!  ii desu yo!  Yoshi!!!!!!!  I know he'll make an amazing missionary for Japan.  He's definitely more than capable of picking up Japanese.

I have had amazing opportunities to hear from some amazing people this past week.  This last Sunday I got to hear from the Provo temple President and his wife, Brother and Sister Daines.  To start off, yesterday the Head/President of International MTC's, President Mills, came and had a meeting for the Japan going missionaries.  He served in Japan when he was young and as a mission president, so that's why he does it just for the Japan bound missionaries.  He talked a lot about expectations.  He talked about how sometimes going to a country people tell us how it is there - not many baptisms, how the members are, etc.  Essentially what I learned and what he taught is that we can't let anyone tell us anything is going to be any way.  If we do, then  our thoughts, actions, and feelings are hindered.  The only expectations we should be worried about are God's.  Mills Kaicho talked about many of the prophecies regarding missionary work in Japan.  He showed us pictures of Chapels in Japan, built multiple stories high.  But right now, they only have one ward meeting in them.  He told us we need to see Japan as God envisions it, and to work to fulfill the expectations God has.  He also urged us to seek God's expectations for us through fasting, prayer, scripture study, and reading our patriarchal blessings.  Something very insightful he said is to talk to those with keys and allow them to turn them.  Our mission presidents, branch presidents, bishops, district and stake presidents in our areas are entitled to receive revelation for the work of the Lord, and that is something we should seek after.  They can help us to know of God's will.

Another amazing experience was last Tuesday.  I was privileged to hear from Elder M. Russell Ballard.  He is such a gentle and sweet man, and he reminds me of the Savior in those regards especially.  He spoke about how God has always trusted young people.  It is so true, isn't it?  From David in the Bible to the 2000 stripling warriors, God has always entrusted the young to do His work and work for righteousness.  Another thing I found particularly insightful was that we know the Gospel.  We've heard it from the time we were children.  We must have confidence in our knowledge, and we must draw upon the personal experiences we have had living the Gospel.   PMG is the efforts of the Prophets and Apostles to condense and simplify all of the essential doctrines and principles.  It's more a refresher for us, and a guide to make sure we are teaching all we should.  But, we shouldn't worry too hard about learning the lessons in PMG, because we really do know it.  The apostles are so wonderful, and I have been so lucky to be able to hear from 2.

I am so excited to go to Japan!  I love you all, and I thank you for your support.  I might be able to call you from the SLC airport depending on how the timing works out.  I'll probably call the home phone if that's the case.  Just FYI.

I love you,

Elder Hutchings.