Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013 - Week 24

Mom and Dad,
I'm glad to hear you had a nice birthday, Mom. I apologize for failing to wish you a happy birthday. So...Happy Birthday! Dad, It's good to hear that Ragnar went well. I'm envious that you got to go do it, I really enjoyed running the Ragnar. It's great to hear that you will be going camping soon. I sure miss all of the fun activities that come in the summer. Even so, I love being a missionary!
That's very exciting to hear that Marisa will be receiving her Patriarchal Blessing soon. It's proven to be an invaluable source of strength, guidance, and comfort for me as a missionary. I've been able to learn more personally of what the Lord expects of me as a missionary as I've repeatedly read and pondered it.
It's been rainy a bit cooler these past couple of days, but I don't know how long it will last. Elder Ogasawara says Hokkaido is definitely not as hot as Kochi. He says even though the winters get to be pretty nasty, the summers in Hokkaido are very nice. He's on his seventh transfer right now, so he's been out for nearly 1 year. It's been different being with a Ni Hon Jin companion. We're not able to talk and communicate as easily, but we're getting along just fine and we're working hard.
On Saturday we attended a the wedding of a member at the church. It was kind of weird being a missionary at a wedding. Especially at the reception right after, I just kind of felt different being at a wedding reception with music playing and food and all of that. It was a good experience though.

Finding this last week has been okay. We were able to meet with an investigator (I may have mentioned about him before) who recently returned to Kochi after having to go to a place around Tokyo for work. He was gone for about 2 months and he said he wasn't able to meet with the missionaries in that area. I was a little concerned that after so long his desire may have dropped or he may have forgotten the things that he had been taught before, but that was not the case. He actually contacted us to meet, and he remembered things well and still has desires to improve himself. He's still not entirely sure if he believes in God or if the things we've taught him are true, but he has a desire to know if they are and he said if he receives a confirmation that they are true that he will receive baptism.
We had a great lesson yesterday with a lady, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. The baptismal goal date we set is in July. She seems to just be honestly looking for what is true, so we feel quite good about her potential to receive baptism.

What advice would I give to Matt Stevens? I think it would be good for him to be prepared for the fact that Japanese is backwards from English. I've found beyond speaking and thinking, listening in particular is a different ball game because you don't really know if the whole sentence is in negative or past tense until the end of the sentence. Also, something you'll probably hear a lot is that as a missionary you should be yourself. I wholeheartedly agree with that, but, it's different at first being yourself in another language that you're trying to learn. Something that I've found quite helpful is that when I'm with other missionaries who can speak English, using Japanese words in normal English conversation and listening to them do it too. Japanenglish has helped me to get a better feel for which Japanese words are more "me"...if that makes any sense. Sorry, that's about all I can come up with advice-wise right now.
Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013 - Week 23

Mom and Dad,
Things have been good here. It's been so much fun working with Elder Ogasawara. It's been quite trying on both of our parts language wise - but we're both helping each other to improve. The work is going well here. We've been focusing a bit more on finding right now. Last week 1 of our investigators dropped us, and we dropped another one of our investigators. Also, lately, quite a few of our investigators haven't been replying to e-mails and phone calls, so we haven't been able to meet with them. We've had a lot of time for finding, and we've been really praying for the Lord's guidance in helping us know where to look for those who are prepared to receive the Gospel. He's granted us a little success as tonight we have an appointment with a man we met on the street. We're hoping and faithful that we will continue to have success in finding.

I think it's still technically rainy season right now, but I'm not sure. It absolutely poured on Saturday. It's getting so hot and humid here that it almost doesn't make a difference if I wear a raincoat and rain pants - if the rain doesn't soak me then my sweat nearly does. It's getting to the time of year where it's just hot and humid and uncomfortable. I think it's still technically rainy season right now. One of the Eikaiwa students told me that rainy season came a bit early this year and I've also been told it lasts about a month, so I'm under the impression it should be coming to an end soon. We've had a sunny day or two lately. It's warmer under the sun, but it's nice because it's not quite as humid.
Yesterday after church we went out to Nankoku Shi to try and visit a former investigator. We ended up getting lost because it's way rural. We probably rode our bikes at least 20 kilometers yesterday in the humidity and heat. It was hot and tiring, but the physical discomfort is a small thing in the cause of truth and the salvation of souls.
Health wise I'm doing fine. During April and most of May I had some allergies. My eyes and the roof of my mouth would be itchy, and I would sneeze. As of late I've been doing all right. Asthma wise I haven't had any problems. All of the biking and activity hasn't bothered me at all. My joints and feet are doing fine, and I'm doing all right in general.
Elder Kyle Hutchings

P.S. Elder Ogasawara is from Hokkaido. I don't remember where precisely.
Also, last week because we went to Matsuyama on Monday we went to Matsuyama castle. I'll send you some pictures. The picture with this message is of Elder Ogasawara, which I took of him when he wasn't looking. Haha!
Elder Ogasawara

The castle - on a hill/mountain

Ogasawara Choro and I banging on a door.

A panoramic shot from up in the castle grounds

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - Week 22

Mom and Dad,

Sounds like the trek was fun! I'm glad that everything went over well and nobody got seriously injured or anything like that!

It's been a crazy week!

Last week as I explained I was working in Kakogawa. It was a great experience. Myself a third transfer missionary and Elder Casper a 4th working together were able to accomplish plenty of good things in the area. Your level of experience truly doesn't matter if you rely on the Lord!

As you may have noticed I didn't e-mail on Monday. My new companion Elder Ogasawara is District Leader and as such he needed to attend District Leader Council. Since DLC is only for district leaders, he had to get together with the other district leader in the zone and head to Kobe. The way it all worked out, we had no time on Monday for preparation day things and I ended up working in Imabari area with a completely new trainee missionary from Monday evening and through yesterday. Seeing as he just got to Japan this last week, he had little knowledge of how to navigate the area (and I had none) so it was a fun little bit of dendo. Anyway, it was a really good experience for me to learn how to navigate and lead out in planning and in dendo situations. Again, the level of experience makes little difference in how much you can accomplish if you rely on the Lord - we were still able to find some potential investigators and we taught a lesson.

I just got back to Kochi this morning. Had to get up at 5:00 in order to catch the train to the area to where we were meeting up with our companions.

It's been a crazy lately! But, it's been way fun! We're taking just a little time now for some Preparation Day things. I need to keep this e-mail a bit shorter. Sorry I don't have time to share anymore.

Thanks again for the package. Thank you for your love and support. I love you all very much!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013 - Week 21

Mom and Dad,
Wow that's so crazy exciting! There is so much going on at home. Oh my goodness Brent and Annie are married! I forgot that the wedding would be at the first part of June! That's so crazy! Tell Brent and Annie congratulations for me! That's way exciting to hear about Amanda Campbell and Spencer Stewart getting their mission calls! I'm glad to hear that the hay hauling went well and that it all got done. I'm way jealous that you're going to be going on the trek. I'm excited to hear about your experiences and how everything goes.
I got the package! Thank you so much for the shirts and for the candy and granola bars! Also thanks for the razors, toothbrushes, and toothpaste! It's so nice to not have to worry about buying those things for awhile. It's getting warmer everyday, and rainy season is definitely in swing. It's always cloudy and it's been raining everyday for the past week.

It's been a great week. This past week Elder Day and I went again to Uwajima so he could do baptismal interviews. The man in Uwajima who was baptized on Mother's Day has two young daughters (ages 9 and 13) who at first weren't sure about the church, but after they noticed the changes in their father they decided to hear more about the Gospel and wanted to be baptized. They were both baptized this last Saturday. Besides that, we had a meal with members both Saturday and Sunday evenings - the members here are pretty sad that Elder Day is returning to America. Both of those shokuji's were way good. At one we did a yaki-niku (I think that's what it's called). There was a big frying pan type thing in the center of the table and various meats and vegetables all around that everyone could cook and eat at their pleasure. Tabesugitta! (ate too much)
This morning we received transfer calls! I'm going to be remaining in Kochi, and I'll have a Ni Hon Jin companion! His name is Elder Ogasawara. I'm so excited! It's going to be difficult I'm sure and communication between us will be more difficult, but I know it's going to immensely benefit my language abilities. It's going to be an unusual week for me because Elder Day is returning. There's going to be no room at the Honbu (we're getting 30 or so new missionaries this transfer, 18 of which are shimai I hear!), so I'm going to be going to the Honbu with Elder Day tonight then I'll be going to Kakogawa. I'll be working with Elder Casper (he was my senpai in the MTC) in Kakogawa until Friday. On Friday (transfers day) I'll probably be going to Okayama to meet up with my new companion, then going back to Kochi. It's exciting and admittedly a little scary going into a new transfer with a new companion. I'll be the area senpai, so I'll be expected to lead around the area and things like that. It will definitely be a bit trying for me, but I know that I have a loving Heavenly Father who is ever willing to help and strengthen me. Something I've learned is that God didn't send us to this Earth to fail - and as long as you do your very best and follow His guidance, He won't let you fail. Success in this life may not come how or when you want it, but so long as you are faithful to Him the ultimate success of receiving Eternal Life can be attained.
Thank you so much for all of your love, prayers and support. Good luck with the Trek!
Elder Kyle Hutchings