Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013 - Week 46

Mom and Dad,

This last week has actually not been quite so bad weather wise - hasn't rained much and it's mostly been sunny.  The days have been mild, but the evenings are still down right chilly.  I've realized this last week, though, just how much my attitude has changed about things.  I've come to quite enjoy and love the challenges that come from things like uncomfortable weather, etc.  The more I've come to feel in my heart and let the fact that this work is about helping those around me gain Eternal Bliss through Jesus Christ, I can't help but just smile at everything and see the opportunity and beauty in it all.

It was a bit crazy this last week with transfers and all.  Eikaiwa (English class) on Tuesday night was way fun.  One of the members brought treats and we had a mini-goodbye party with the Eikaiwa students for Kawabata Choro (Elder), Uenami Shimai (Sister), and Petit Shimai (Sister).  It was a lot of fun.  I'll send a picture if I can.

On Thursday we went down to Kobe and I hooked up with Hoshino Choro.  Hoshino Choro is only 6 weeks behind me in mission age, and one of the coolest people and incredible missionaries I've ever met.  First off, he's got this deliciously smooth and low voice.  He is an incredible teacher and is loaded with stories and examples, pictures and diagrams which he uses (I'm certainly going to morau (borrow) as many as I can).  Beyond that, he is wicked fun.  He went to BYU Hawaii for a semester before his mission (he's 22 right now) and so he's full of the Aloha spirit.  He also worked at the PCC.  He is going to be the investigators Zone Leader for this transfer and I'm going to be the Training/Missionaries Zone leader again.  

Something I've been learning from Elder Hoshino is to create success.  I feel like I was good at having an attitude of creating success rather than being a creature of circumstances before, but I've realized that just this past transfer I kind of got complacent and haven't been as proactive in finding ways to more effectively move forward God's work.  It's so important that we are always striving to improve and never settle for good enough, always search for a better way and to be as efficient as possible.

It's so crazy to think that Lily is 3!  It's also drawn my mind back a year ago.  If I remember correctly, it was just before we headed over to Craig and Whitney's for Lily's party when I got and opened my Mission Call.  Odoroku beki desho?

I wait in anxious anticipation for the package!  Tanoshimi ni shite imasu!!!  Thank you so much for always sending me stuff!  If I could make some onegais (request) for the next one:  toothpaste, razors, more of the CO Bigelow shaving cream, and protein powder.  Hoshino Choro was a rugby player before so he loves working out, and I've been working out harder since this last transfer and I've been making green smoothies lately, so I think some protein would probably be good to throw in.

I love you!  I'm having so much fun and I absolutely love what I'm doing!

-Elder Kyle Hutchings

PS.  Just thought you should know Mom, little sis, Whitney and Brittany, just about every female lately who has looked at my pictures and seen you always says, "Ah!  Kanojotachi wa bijin desu ne!"  Bijin means a beautiful woman, and the kanji is literally beautiful and person.  You're all beautiful!  Love you!
One of the members made us hats.  This is how we normally look in our house until the heater gets going.  Woot!

The Eikaiwa (English Class) goodbye party!

More fun from Eikaiwa (English Class)!

We ate dinner with some members at a less active/part member family's house.  Hoshino Choro is on the far left.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013 - Week 45

Mom and Dad,

Holy cow!  It's transfers week again!  I've been in Toyooka for 6 weeks, and now I'm in my 7th transfer.  After another transfer, I'll have hit my halfway mark.  It's so crazy to think of how quickly the time goes!

Elder Kawabata is going to be transferring to Shimogamo in Kyoto prefecture, and I'm going to be sticking in Toyooka and my new companion is named Hoshino Choro (Elder).  He's Ni Hon Jin (Japanese), I'm pretty sure, and I'm going to be training him on how to be a Zone Leader, should be fun!

It's been a chilly week.  Haven't gotten snow yet, but temperatures have been dipping down to about 40F lately in the mornings and evenings.  Had a couple of days with some really chilly.  With the humidity, even just 40 feels pretty nippy.  

It's been a really good week.  I've learned a lot about just how powerful sharing personal experiences this week.  I wish I had more time to explain, but the computer I'm using is really slow.  Essentially I've come to see how when we open up our hearts to others, they'll open up to us.

Smart Choro?  I want to say he's from New Mexico.  He's going to be a District Leader in place of my beloved Barney Choro.  Barney Choro lives in West Valley I think, and he's going to be returning.  He's been a District Leader in this Zone, and he was my Zone Leader when I was in my 2nd and 3rd transfers in Kochi.  I'm sad to see Barney Choro go, but he's returning in honor.

Sorry, this computer is slow and my companion has to pack.  I apologize for the really short email.  I'm happy, healthy, and I love what I'm doing!  I'm looking forward to the package!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013 - Week 44

Mom and Dad,

It's been another excellent week in the Lord's service.  I love the work and I feel so privileged every day to be called and set apart to preach the Gospel.  This week we've had quite a few days that were rather nice weather wise.  Mild and sunny in the day, but quite chill in the mornings and as soon as the sun starts going down.  Since Saturday we've been having some stormy weather come in, I'm not sure if there is any relationship with the storm in the Philippines, but it rained all day and was pretty windy yesterday and it's raining pretty good right now.  Speaking of the Philippines, we found a Philippine-jin investigator this last week.  She's really nice and speaks pretty decent Japanese.  She gave us both those little cans of coffee and we told her we don't drink coffee but she insisted we just take it and give it to our friends or something.  So right now we've both got a can of coffee on our desks at home.  We feel pretty wanapaku.  Haha!

Last Monday and Tuesday the Assistants came and did a kokan with us.  It was so much fun!  They came Monday night and stayed over, then Tuesday we split up to work.  Elder Kershisnik went with me and we went to the church and he gave me some training on being a Zone Leader.  Through his training and example, I feel like I learned so much about being a missionary and a leader.

Elder Kershisnik gave me a homework assignment this week about "Who called you here? and What are the implications of that?"  He assigned me some scriptures to study and pray about.  I've come to realize more powerfully that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ called me to this work.  I've also come to feel just how close my relationship with Deity should be.  I've realized that my working relationship with Jesus Christ needs to be closer.  Working with Jesus Christ shouldn't feel much different than working with my companion - because we are promised repeatedly in the scriptures that He will be with us.  Through realizing this about myself, I've come to realize how it relates to me as a missionary and a Zone Leader.  As a True Disciple Missionary I need to help the investigators here understand their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ didn't just save all of humanity, He saved and suffered for them personally.  Also, that as a True Disciple Leader, I need to help the missionaries under my stewardship understand and strengthen their relationship with their Redeemer and the great Commander in this war.

I'm so grateful for the examples that are all around me.  The examples of companions, church members, mission leaders etc.  The examples around me are a lot more real and relate-able to than trying to meet the lofty standard of "What would Jesus do?"  Sometimes that's a rather difficult question to answer straight off.  But when I first ask questions like "What would Day Choro do?" or "What would Kaicho do?" I'm better able to understand how I can become more like Jesus Christ.  I hope that makes sense.

I don't know if I already mentioned it, but we've got one investigator who is in his 90's and is a genki little guy.  He has fields and works and farms most of his days.  This last week we got to help him harvest edamame.  Basically just gathering up the plants then picking off the decent sized bean pods that haven't been eaten by bugs.  It was fun!  After we finished helping him we taught him a bit about the Plan of Salvation.  We have to basically shout at him because he can't hear well.

Oh, just something funny I think I forgot to mention last week.  During the Saturday evening district conference, Zinke Kaicho spoke and had all of the missionaries stand up and introduce themselves.  After the meeting was over, the District President came up to me and said: "Gee you haven't even been out a year yet and you're a Zone Leader, you must be pretty namaiki."  I understood him all except for namaiki.  My companion and one of his counselors that lives in Toyooka both laughed and agreed when he said it.  I was still in the dark, so I pulled out my dictionary and looked it up, and it was translated as meaning: "saucy".  The members around these parts are so much fun!
About the hat, a Nylon and Grey would be great.  A large would probably be best.  Please send that face mask too, I would appreciate that.  One other thing could you send me some more contact lenses?  I haven't really been wearing contacts until lately - but it's been better to go with contacts as things have been colder and wetter here and glasses fog up easy.  I've got enough to last me another month or two, but it would be good to have more on hand.

I love you, thank you so much for all of your support!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013 - Week 43

Mom and Dad,

This last week has been a lot of fun! It's been ridiculously humid in Toyooka lately! It makes it feel really cold in the evening and the morning, and it's pretty warm during the day. On the big bridge next to our house there's a sign that tells the temperature so people can use caution in case the temperature gets to freezing. The other day we had to go to the church in the morning. Everything was foggy and chill and the sign said 8C on our way out. When we were coming back to our home the skies were clear the sun was shining and the sign displayed 20C. We've still been having some rainy days lately, but from what the members say it should be turning to snow before too long.

I've been doing just fine with money. I've been doing a lot of traveling here and there for meetings, but it's just how the timing of everything worked out lately. This last month I got a little less money in my MSF account, and where I transferred this last month and had all of the meetings (and beyond just traveling to the meetings, there's buying lunch and what not too), and went on an exchange, my cash ran short quick. The way reimbursements work is that you fill out a paper form with a list of travel expenditures and mail it to the mission office. It's a bit of a pain for me and the mission office to go through a lot of those, so usually I wait until I have a more substantial reimbursement before I send the form. It usually takes about 4 days for it to get processed and the money to get into my account. I'm really doing all right on money. I get about $300 every month in my Mission Support Fund account. Between Elder Kawabata and I we're able to eat tons and have surplus on less than $50 of groceries in a week. I'm really doing fine, it was just a bit hectic this last month.

I'm all right with sweaters and scarves - I can just get those here.. However, if I could make an o-negai (request), it would be one of those...what are they called?...mad bomber hats? (I think that's what they're called, you know, with the fur, ear flaps and what not?). I haven't been able to find one here and I'd like one for the winter. Also, I had a Saucony runner's beanie at home that would probably be nice for wearing under my bike helmet when we're riding in the cold. If you can find that and send it that would be great, if not, don't worry about it.

Mission Leadership Council was very good. It was awesome being in a room with the leaders of the mission and with Zinke Kaicho and being able to spend time discussing how we can better help move the Lord's work forward. It was at the honbu (mission home), and we got to eat Costco pizza for lunch. Oishikatta desu! (delicious)

This last Saturday and Sunday there was a District Conference. It was awesome to hear from the District President and some of the other church leaders over the district. I found out that the Relief Society President here is the oldest woman serving as a Relief Society President in the world. She gave a talk and it was rather difficult to understand what she was saying, but there was a powerful spirit and sweetness in her words. Zinke Kaicho and Shimai came for the meetings on Saturday and Sunday, it was great to see them again and hear from them. During the Priesthood meeting on Saturday and the Sunday Morning meeting and the Dendo (mission) Fireside Sunday afternoon, I translated for the younger missionaries and a couple of foreigners living in some of the branches around here. Translating what people are saying from Japanese to English on the spot is so hard! But it was fun and I feel like it really pushed my language skills.

Thank you so much for all of your love and support. I'm so happy and I love this work!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

p.s. We made a pumpkin cake last Preparation Day in our rice cooker. Sometimes my companion is just as weird as I am (but usually he's the one throwing me the "What on earth are you doing?" look). It's great!

Elder Kawabata with our pumpkin cake