Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014 - Week 99 (Last week in Japan)

Mom and Dad,
I'm going to be headed over to Kobe today to receive my interview from President Welch and what not.  Then I'll be going back to the honbu (mission home) on Friday evening to eat dinner there and stay over to fly out on Saturday.
I still don't know what will be happening between today and Friday, but I'll probably hear more about that today.
I would write more, but I've got to go back to our apartment to wait on the people to pick up my luggage.
I love you.  I'll see you on Saturday!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014 - Week 98

Mom and Dad,
It's strange that you mention Lilia's birthday party.  Do you remember 2 years ago how just before we ran out the door to go to Lilia's party I opened my mission call?  Crazy to think it's already been two years since that night.
It's strange to think that this week is my last week as a missionary.  It's looking like a busy week.  We've got appointments with two people we found last week, a meal appointment with an investigator and a member, I have a Leadership training meeting to attend on Tuesday, an Eikaiwa Activity on Saturday, etc.  We've been keeping pretty busy all along, but this week is looking particularly full.
This last week we attended a Zone Conference in Kyoto.  It was great to see President and Sister Welch and the Assistants (one of which is my dear Hoshino Choro).  I sat with Elder Asai and we switched off translating every 30 minutes of the meeting.  It was strange getting up at the end of the meeting to bear my last testimony (which Asai Choro translated) and then translating Elder Asai's testimony.
I still haven't slowed down yet, nor do I intend to slow down at all.  Sorry this is a short one again, I've got to get a few things taken care of before next week.
I love you,
Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014 - Week 97

Mom and Dad,
Life's been good this last week.  It's definitely been busy and getting chilly here too.  It hasn't been too bad in terms of the cold, and I'm surviving.
This last week I had a chance to go on an exchange with Elder Donaldson again.  It was great to be able to spend some time talking to and working with him.  Had a great time with the other Elders living in Hirakata, Elder Moos from Spanish Fork is one of them.  I'll attach a photo if I can.
There's truly nothing more important in this life and in this work than love and having the Spirit.  If you are filled with love, you will have the motivation and will to do all you can to help others and to give yourself to God.  If you have the Spirit with you, you'll do the right things at the right time.
Sorry, this week's e-mail is a bit short.  We've got to go get my companion's bike fixed.
I'm doing great and still love life.  I can't believe how close I'm getting to the end of my mission, but I'm not slowing down, nor do I intend to!
Elder Kyle Hutchings
Me, Elders Moos, Donaldson, and Spilker.  We got some soda and steak sauce at an import store.  It's been a while since I had root beer!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014 - Week 96

Mom and Dad,
Fun to hear about the baby shower and that Lillie and Mimi will be going to play with Grandma and Grandpa.
愛する父よ、もし私は漢字で書いてもまだ読める?私はRAGNARで走りたい!(In case you couldn't read that, yes, I would be very interested in running in the Ragnar).  Also, we haven't been going very far on the distance - my companion brings a soccer ball and practices kicks and drills while I do pull-ups and dips on some exercise bars in the park.  We also do stairs and sprints sometimes.  I love getting up and moving!
It's been another good week.  Things are starting to get a bit chilly around here, but not quite as bad as where you are.  It's nowhere near as bad as it was in Toyooka last year either - Osaka has probably been the nicest area for weather for me on my whole mission.
Last Friday we had a Zone Training Meeting.  It was awesome because Elder Hapi is also in this Zone so I had a chance to talk to him.  It was a bit strange because I'm going back one transfer sooner than he is.  He said he's considering coming to BYU Provo for school, but he's not how much he wants to live in America.  Hapi Choro is such a hoot.  It was also strange because I was invited to give a returning missionary testimony at the end of the meeting.  I remember when I first got to the mission and went to a meeting or conference and saw the returning missionaries give their testimonies.  I always thought that it would be so far away.  But here it is, and it's a sprint to the finish.
The Eikaiwa (English conversation class) in this area is awesome!  I've been having fun doing the kid's class, and last week two more families came with kids.  They were invited to come by the students already coming.  We're working with the ward now to plan an activity outside of English Conversation class to try  make it easier to bring in a Gospel introduction.  We're excited to see where things will go with Eikaiwa.
We've received a challenge from President Welch to read the Book of Mormon by the end of February.  I'm excited to begin the Book of Mormon again and deepen my own testimony and conversion.
I love life and I love being a missionary.  It's strange to think that in just a few short weeks I'll be seeing you all, but it makes me want to sprint harder and harder.  I remind myself that the only way I can hold my head high breaking through the finish line is if I finish pushing my hardest.  In Helaman 16 (maybe it's 15) it talks about how after Samuel the Lamanite flees from the Nephites, he goes back to his own land and keeps preaching.  If sharing the Gospel is what you're supposed to do when you go home (which I think it is) then I've got no reason to stop doing it or slow down now!
Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014 - Week 95

Mom and Dad,
Working here in Sekime is a lot of fun.  Elder Eberhard has been awesome enough to go running with me.  We run through the park not too far from our apartment and he brings a jump-rope to use while I do pull-ups and dips.  This last week has been full of good things to do and I really feel like I've been able to effectively fulfill my purpose to invite others to come unto Christ.  Every Monday a brother in our ward from Africa named Brother Usman holds a family home evening.  Basically all that we do is get together with some ward members and investigators and read together from the Book of Mormon then we eat food.  It was so fun this last week, and there was such a sweet Spirit there.   On Wednesday I taught the kids class in Eikaiwa.  There are so many people who come to Eikaiwa here!  It's awesome!  I had a lot of fun just being crazy and trying to teach all the little kids English.
I've been thinking a lot this last week about love and repentance.  It's been interesting and educational having a chance to serve as missionary.  I've really come to see how the Gospel and the example of Jesus Christ are so necessary to have any sort of meaningful influence on other people.  When you are full of love for others and patiently and kindly teach and invite them, then you can effectively help others repent and come closer to the Savior.  At the same time, when you have a love for Jesus Christ and truly believe in His power, you personally will not hesitate to make the necessary changes in your life to draw unto Him.  When people know they are loved and understood, they are much more willing to accept an invitation to draw unto Him.  The Gospel truly works for anything and any situation in life.
I love being a missionary.  I love life!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014 - Week 94

Mom and Dad,
Sekime is in the middle of Osaka.  It's a big city area.  I think that just in this area, there are over 9million people or so.  That may have just been for one of the little sub-cities in this area.  In any event, there are a lot of people!  Just yesterday we went up to the 14th floor of an apartment building to visit a former investigator and we looked out to see buildings as far as the eye can see.  Osaka Umeda station and Universal Studios Japan are also in this area.  There are a couple of sisters in the ward from America who work at USJ at the new Harry Potter thing they've got there.  There's also a large African man who was converted about a year or so ago who's been faithfully coming since he was baptized.  He and those 2 sisters don't speak any Japanese.  Elder Eberhard has been translating for them for the past little while, but I gave him a break and did some translation yesterday during church.   Last Saturday the ward had a Halloween party, so I was able to go and meet a lot of ward members right off the bat.  It was really fun! 
Elder Eberhard is a great guy.  He's originally from Colorado, but went to high school in Ogden and his family is still there I think.  We should be in for some fun times and good work this transfer.
I'm still a little bummed out that I was transferred out of Matsue, but I know it's not for nothing.  There's a reason why I'm here, and whether I see that reason now or if it takes until after I die to know, I don't know.  But it doesn't matter.  God has revealed to all men the biggest "Why?" of all - and that is that He loves us and wants us to be like Him.  All things God orchestrates in our lives is to help us personally, and help us help others, get to that goal.  As much as I want to know the smaller "Why?"s and the reasons behind things, I know that it's all in God's wisdom to bring about his great and eternal purposes.
I love being a missionary!
Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014 - Week 93

Mom and Dad,
So, as it were, I'm getting transferred for my last transfer!  I'm headed back over to Osaka to a place called Sekime.  I'm getting paired up with an Elder Eberhard.  Hashimoto Choro is going to be transferring as well and they're going to be bringing in a couple of other Elders in to replace us.  I'm excited to head back to Osaka.  Sekime is a very tokai area from what I understand.  It'll be fun to spend my last leg of my mission in the big city!
Due to transfers and missionaries heading home, etc. I'm actually e-mailing in an internet cafe in another area.  One of the Elders here is heading home and got on a bus alone to head home this morning, and so another Elder from Matsue and I came so he wouldn't be alone.  We'll be headed back to our area sometime soon so that I can pack up, etc.
Because of all of that this is where I'm going to be ending my e-mail.  A bit short, I know, but we've got to go do stuff!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014 - Week 92

Mom and Dad,

I'm curious now about who Whitney talked to.  Any other details about what he looked like?  Where they are from?  How long they've been off their mission?

Do I need to start registering for the Spring Semester right now?  I wasn't sure if that would be something I would need to do until I got home.  If I need to, I can request permission to visit the UVU website and take care of business.

This last week was pretty hectic.  I did 3 companion exchanges.  One on Wednesday with the Elders in our area, one on Thursday in another area, and then another on Friday after District Meeting with the Zone Leaders in their area.  Then there was General Conference on Saturday in the Zone Leader's area, and everyone from Matsue and another area in the Zone stayed over to watch conference again on Sunday.  Conference was so good - I loved how they had some of the Seventies speak in their native languages.  I just really hope sometime soon they throw in Yamashita Choro or Aoyagi Choro and have them speak in Japanese!

This week will be some crazy busy fun too I'm going to be doing another couple of exchanges this week, and there's also Stake Conference on Saturday and Sunday which will require us to travel a couple of hours away to attend.  Thankfully the members will drive us, and it won't be quite so expensive for us, but it's still quite a bit of time.

It's strange to think that this is the last week for two of the missionaries in my district.  They've been working hard and don't show any signs of slowing down.  They're going to keep on working to the end and beyond.  It's also really strange to think that after this week I've only got one transfer left as a missionary.  I really don't know how I should feel about it, so I don't really think about it much and just keep working like I am.

There's a pretty good storm that's blown in today.  It's a typhoon, and it's supposedly come in pretty close to our area.  It was nuts going out to go shopping this morning, and the winds and rain haven't let up a bit since then.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014 - Week 91

Mom and Dad,

Wow, it's really strange to see that travel itinerary.  It still hasn't quite sunk in for me that I've only got two months left as a missionary.

This last week was a bit frustrating.  We had a lot of appointments that fell through.  Last Saturday, for example, we had about 4 appointments to meet with people.  2 of them cancelled, but thankfully rescheduled.  However, the other 2 just didn't show up and haven't been answering phone calls.  There's really not much more we can do than pray and go look for people who will meet when other people won't.  We try to keep a good attitude about it and not let it affect our faith.

Among the frustrations, thought, we did have a pretty cool experience last Wednesday.  We had the feeling that we should go try to visit a former investigator.  This person lived pretty far away by bike - it took us around 40-60 minutes to bike out to where they live.  It was in the dead middle of nowhere about 7km south of the main city in our area.  We got there and there was an elderly woman on the doorstep.  We talked to her for a bit and she just said, "Oh, I normally just turn down all of you Christian people.  I really don't get anything because I'm old." (tons of old people in Japan say that).  Before we let her get away, we asked her if her family still lived there, and she said yes.  With that we said we'd try visiting again.  As we returned to our bikes which were right next to this house, I was thinking, "Oh great, we came all the way out here for nothing."  I just wanted to jump on my bike and get moving to the next thing we had planned, but I felt like I should check my phone, so I pulled out it out and noticed that I had missed a couple of calls and received an e-mail or two on the bike ride over.  Even though I still just wanted to go, I felt that it wouldn't hurt to return the calls.  While I was talking on the phone returning the missed calls, a young woman walked up the street with her dog and started talking to my companion.  As it were, she and her mom had been the former investigators, and they hadn't met with the missionaries for 3 years.  They stopped meeting because she started going to college.  She had also been to Utah and homestayed with an LDS family during that time.  She was delighted to meet us and she asked if we still did English conversation class, and then excitedly agreed to come.  We're hoping she comes to Eikaiwa tomorrow - and even if she doesn't we switched contact info so we'll be able to contact her again.  Things like that don't happen by chance.  We were in the right place at the right time, because we followed the subtle promptings of the Spirit.

This last Friday we went to a Zone Training Meeting.  It was wonderful.  For a lot of it, we just had a really big discussion/testimony meeting about the Atonement.  There were many missionaries there who are getting up there in transfers and drawing near to returning home - and so it was awesome to hear all of their experiences which they've had over the course of their mission with the Atonement.  I was translating the whole time, so I didn't get a chance to share or testify much, but I didn't mind.  The Spirit in that room was powerful, and it bore powerful witness of the reality of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

I love being a missionary.  I'm so excited for the opportunity to watch General Conference this next Saturday and Sunday.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

We found this shop named Satan.  So I took a picture with it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014 - Week 90

Mom and Dad,

So, guess what?  I'm going to be coming home on December 3rd.  I received an e-mail confirming that my release date has been changed.  After some thought and prayer, I feel like that's a good time for me to come home.  It for sure is crazy fast.  

President Ringwood conference was great.  Elder Asai and I switched off translating during the whole thing so I was able to think and listen a little bit.  Normally, though, whichever of us wasn't translating was on edge to look up scriptures that the speaker was going to share in Japanese.  What stuck out to me the most from what President Ringwood shared was about progress and improving daily.  He said that we should be the very best missionary we are on the last day of our mission because everyday we should be improving.  He also gave a very good explanation about hope and faith.

This last Saturday we went and did some rather unique volunteer service.  We received a call earlier in the week from a sister in the ward indicating that she wanted us to participate in singing a song for something.  We went to the place - which was this large and very nice building a little ways up a mountain, filled with many conference rooms, etc. - and met up with this sister and a few other members.  The man who worked at the place started explaining to us what was happening.  They were working on translating an old American movie and were making it so that those who are deaf and blind can enjoy it as well.  He explained that it's the first time this movie has been translated into Japanese and done with voice overs, etc. so it's a bit of a historic work for Japanese film history.  I was still pretty clueless about what movie it was until he started to explain the story.  He said it's a really really good story which can really help people who feel down about life - something about a guy who doesn't feel like he's helped people in his life, and who was going to commit suicide but he's stopped by an angel who then makes a world where he didn't exist or something...and then it finally clicked for me that he was talking about "It's a Wonderful Life."  They wanted people who are Christian to come and sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Auld Lang Syne" in Japanese for the scene in the movie where all of the people are singing.  It was way cool.  We went into this really cool recording studio and stuff.  Last Saturday was just the practice, and next Saturday will be the real deal.  I'll probably be able to get a copy of the finished DVD.  Pretty sweet, eh?

Our 17 year old investigator is doing well.  He came to church again yesterday.  He really really likes church.  It sounds like one or both of his parents don't really have a good image of religion, so we're going to give him a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet to give to his parents next time we see him.  Otherwise, he's going to be coming to church in another couple of weeks.  The work is going good in Matsue and we're having a lot of fun.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014 - Week 89

Mom and Dad,

Good heavens!  My my, how that little girl is growing up!  Tell Marisa she's gorgeous!  And dear heavens!  Is that really the entry hall?!  I was trying to figure out that picture was taken.  It looks good!

Well Papa, funny that you ask about when I'll be coming home, because there's a really big possibility that it will be on December 3rd.  It's not set in stone, but President Welch said that if I'm going to be attending the Spring semester that I'll probably be going home a transfer early, and Sister Welch called me yesterday to confirm that I will be trying to attend the Spring semester.  Like I said, I still haven't heard anything definite, but it's looking a lot like next transfer may be my last.

Yesterday, our 17 year old investigator came to church for the second time.  He really likes church.  He's quite an interesting fellow - he reads books like most kids eat candy.  He usually reads about 300 books in a year - just about a book every day.  He's read a lot about religion and has a lot of interest in Christianity.  He doesn't really know what to think about all of the religious texts he's read so far, so he loves it when we very simply explain to him and teach him about doctrine and how it applies to him.  He loves to sing and thinks it's the best thing in the world that we sing 3 times during sacrament meeting.

Tomorrow we're going to get a chance to hear from Elder Ringwood of the 70.  He's the president of the Asia North area.  I'm very excited to get a chance again to hear from a special witness of Jesus Christ.  Incidentally, I got a call just now from one of the Assistants.  I'm going to be helping Elder Ringwood with translation tomorrow.  Translating for a member of the 70.  No pressure, right?

The weather here has been absolutely beautiful.  Clear skies and temperatures at 25C in the day and down to about 17C at night.  So nice!  I love life!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014 - Week 88

Mom and Dad,
This last week was really really good.  I can't even put my finger on why, it was just a really good week.  Hashimoto長老 and I have been having plenty of fun out dendo-ing.  He's been working hard to learn English, and he's getting pretty good.  

This last week there were a few things that happened that were just funny that I thought I might share.  First of all yesterday we were knocking on peoples' doors and contacting.  The usual sorts of things - really nice people will probably become investigators, people who say kekko (no thanks), really nice grandmas, and people who are interested in English class.  We come to a house that has 2 cars parked beside it and ring the door bell.  Out of nowhere, we hear "What the heck are you doing?!  They're not home!  Nobody is there!"  We turn around to see an elderly gentleman with an angry look on his face leaning out of the window of the house next door.  We just said "Okay.  Thanks!"  and tried not to laugh as we walked away.  That sort of thing has happened to me so many times.  I don't understand what warrants that kind of reaction.  There's absolutely not reason to be angry or tell us off of his next-door neighbor's doorstep.

A day or two ago as we were headed back to our apartment around 8:30, we were riding our bikes across a bridge next to the eki (train station).  The bridge comes down to an intersection, which was stopped the way we were going and there were some people standing facing the other side of the street waiting to cross.  Among those people there were 3 kids.  One boy about 11, his little sister who was shorter than him, and one a really little brother.  I thought, "What on earth are those 3 kids doing out so late?  I know Japan's a safe place, but really?  What are their parents thinking?"  Just as the thought crosses my mind, little sister turns to the side to say something to big brother and I see her face.  Oh...hi mom.  Japanese people look so much younger than they are - especially from behind!  They're so little!

Today while we were in a shop, a lady walked up to me and said, "Hey, you should go talk to my son over there.  He went to Australia and wants to speak English with someone."  So I went and talked to him.  He's way cool, we switched numbers, and he'll very likely come to Eikaiwa tomorrow.  You never know when the opportunity will be given to you to help or serve someone.

I am so excited for General Conference!  It's hard to believe that we're already drawing near to that time of year.  This transfer is going to be pretty busy with meetings and such.  Next week Elder Ringwood is going to be visiting our mission.  The week following that there's probably going to be a ZTM.  After that week we'll watch General Conference, and the week following is going to be Stake Conference which we have to travel a few hours for the Saturday meeting and then about an hour for the Sunday meeting.

I love life and I love dendo!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014 - Week 87

Mom and Dad,

It's hard to believe that it's transfers week again.  Hashimoto Choro and I will both be hanging around in Matsue for another transfer.  Something that made me smile to see is that my old trainee and companion Elder Baldwin is going to be my Zone Leader this transfer.  I'm excited to have the chance to work with him again.

We've been working hard and things have been going well in Matsue.  3 of our investigators have committed to be baptized.  We're excited to continue working with and helping them.

We went over to a member family's house for dinner last night.  It was fun.  I threw a picture on.  Their youngest daughter is going to be leaving for the MTC next week, and their youngest son recently received his mission call to Australia.  They've got plenty of dendo fire and they help us out in so many ways.

Things have cooled down a little bit in Matsue.  Yesterday and today the skies have been clear and sunny, and it's looking like it'll be clearer this week.  Most of the time it's overcast and/or rainy in Matsue, so it's pleasant to have some sunshine and blue skies.

Lately I've been feeling a bit tired, stressed and just not myself.  I went on a companion exchange this last Saturday which proved to be very helpful.  I went with Elder Casper.  Elder Casper is my senpai (senior) by 1 transfer, so we knew each other in the MTC.  We've come to be pretty good friends as our missions have gone on.  As I was talking with him he gave me some good advice, and I've been led to re-evaluate a few things.  Above all else though, I've been thinking about the quality of my prayers.  The quality of your prayers have quite a big influence on just about all aspects of your life.  In order to understand what is true and correct in this life and in existence, you need to draw close to Heavenly Father.  God is either there, or He is not.  Answers to prayers are either truly from Him, or they are not.  How comforting and sweet it is to know that God is indeed there and He answers prayers.  In helping others draw closer to Him and receive answers to their prayers, it is so important that we ourselves draw closer to Him and receive answers to our prayers.  God's love is beautiful and is something that all can feel if they are willing to put their pride down and test Him.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014 - Week 86

Mom and Dad,

It was a good week.  We traveled to Kobe for a Trainer Trainee Training meeting.  We learned a lot about how to fulfill our roles better and how to make sure we're all doing the things which the Lord wants us to do.  It's crazy to think that it's already September!

It was great to go to that training in Kobe because I got to see a lot of the missionaries who were with me in the MTC.  I sat next to Hapi Choro for the part of the meeting I wasn't translating, and so we had a lot of good laughs.

Most of our investigators weren't able to meet us this last week.  It's been pretty hit and miss in Matsue with investigators meeting regularly.  We do our best, though, and keep working hard.

This last Saturday there was a fireworks festival in Matsue.  We went and gave a whole bunch of people fliers for Eikaiwa (English Class).  Also, that day we went to an Indo Curry restaurant that was way good, and the waiter worked at an Indo Curry restaurant in Toyooka that I went to quite a few times because we were friends with the son of the owner.  So long story short, I knew the guy and it was really funny and cool that we met up again.  We're definitely going to go back to eat at that place and see if we can meet up with our Nepali friend when he's off work.

I love you and I love being a missionary.  Things have actually cooled down a little bit, so the weather has been quite pleasant.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014 - Week 85

Mom and Dad,

This week went by ridiculously fast.  I went to Kobe for a District Leader Training.  Me and the other District Leader met up in a neighboring area, Yonago, and our companions went back to his area to work, and we both jumped on a bus for Kobe.  Or, we were supposed to go on a bus to Kobe.  The Kobe bus was full by the time we went to buy tickets, so we ended up taking a bus to Osaka and then taking a train from there to Kobe.  We left Yonago at 4:30 ish and ended up finally getting to the Honbu (mission home) at like 10:00 at night.  Travelling can be long, but it's always an adventure.  The District Leader Training was really good.  I ended up translating for most of it (English to Japanese), but I was still able to learn a lot.

We were also able to see some wonderful things done in Matsue.  On Tuesday a young man we met on the street has actually had interest in Christianity and has wanted to go to a church for awhile, but never had the courage to go look one up and find one for himself.  So when we talked to him, he was thrilled with the prospect of going to the church right then and having a look around.  So we went, taught him a lesson, and now he's an investigator.  The next day, we met with a lady we found while calling former investigators in our area book last week.  We had a really good lesson with her and a couple of members, and came to find out that she has a young daughter close to the age of a member's daughter in the ward.  Just the Sunday before, that member had requested that the ward pray to find a family with someone with a daughter who could be a friend for her daughter in the Young Women's program.  As of right now, that member's daughter is the only YW in the ward.  Truly an answer to prayers and a blessing from the Lord.  

Yesterday, the investigator who came to church last week ended up having to leave early so we weren't able to teach him.  It was a bit disappointing, but then after Sacrament Meeting, a member took us out to the foyer to meet a lady who said she had met missionaries before.  Neither I, nor my companion recognized her.  Neither did the other Elders in this area, so when I asked her where and when she had met us, she said it was when I was fixing my bike a few weeks ago.  Then I remembered.  A couple weeks ago my companion and I were out next to our apartment while I was fixing my punctured bike tube.  I said hello as she walked by, and then she asked me if  I was from a foreign country.  From there we had a simple conversation, and I invited her to come see the church sometime, because our apartment is literally right next to the church so it was hard to not talk about or point out.  She had a lot of questions and such about churches, because people from another church had visited her before and given her pamphlets which she described as grotesque.  (Grotesque, by the way is a katakana word.  グロテスク) I assured her our church is different and gave her a flier about our church and that was that.  As it turns out, she's had some troubles in her life, and she also doesn't really have much to do, so yesterday she remembered the invitation to come and just up and came.  We taught her with a member during the second hour of church, and she's planning on coming to sacrament meeting next week.

There are always wonderful things that happen in the Lord's work.  I love being a part of it.  Things like the above experiences happen, and I remind myself, "I just work here."  There's a lot going on in the upper management of this place that I don't understand.  I just work here.  Seriously.

Going to Kobe again this week for a Trainer Trainee Training meeting.  I may need to pull a little from personal funds to be able to make it there and back.  Thank you for all of your help and support.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

A picture of a really amazing curry restaurant a member took us last Wednesday.  It's in the middle of nowhere and basically built into part of somebody's house, so you would never expect/guess that it's like it is inside.  All of the wood furniture is crafted by the owner's husband.  It's amazing!  And the food was ridiculously good!

The main course

Dessert - The drink is some sort of Okinawan fruit juice.  Kind of lemonade-like.  Way tasty.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014 - Week 84

Dear Mom and Dad,

Good heavens this week went quick!  We had Zone Conference this week.  As such, we left Thursday afternoon and rode a bus for 3 hours to a different area.  Then we stayed over night, had the conference on Friday, and then I ended up going back with my Zone Leader to do a kokan (exchange) in his area.  We worked in that area on Saturday, and then I returned back to my area Saturday night.

Otherwise it's been a really great week.  We met a guy on the street who is about my age.  His hair is dyed a few different colors and he didn't really look the type who would be cool to talk about religion.  I've been having Hashimoto Choro lead on the bikes.  We pulled up next to this guy at a stoplight.  Since Hashimoto Choro was in the lead, he pulled up next to him first and due to his appearance he felt a bit of anxiety and doubt about talking to him, but then ignored that feeling and just talked to him anyway.  As it were, he's actually really been quite worried about what direction to take his life.  He really wants to grow closer to God and be able to receive guidance for his life.  We ended up going right to the church with him and taught him a lesson.  It was way good, and he really wants to meet again.

The other day we met a man who really wanted to come to church.  He came yesterday, and he was amazing.  He's even friendlier than the members and was actively shaking hands and introducing himself.  He has strong desires to learn about God and when we taught him afterward it was an excellent lesson.  He really wants to come again next week and is planning on it.

It's crazy to hear that school's starting again.  Tell Marisa good luck on another year of school.  Tell Shannon hi for me!  

Mom, to answer your question, sometimes it's one, the other, or both.  This last time it was just from English to Japanese.  Since most of the missionaries' native language is English, a lot of meetings are done in English and somebody just translates for the Japanese missionaries.  However, when the speaker is a Nihonjin and most of the missionaries are older missionaries,  they'll just speak in Japanese and somebody will translate from Japanese to English for the younger missionaries.  I've had to do meetings that are just one or the other, and I've had to do both as well.  It's way fun!

I love you,
Elder Kyle Hutchings

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - President & Sister Welch

We are happy to be here and serve with your wonderful missionary in the Japan Kobe Mission.
                 President & Sister Welch

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014 - Week 83

Mom and Dad,

It's crazy how fast things go!  I can't believe it's already been another week and that it's already the 11th of August!

We had a typhoon come through yesterday.  It's been windy and rainy the past few days, and we all figured a typhoon was coming, and then a member told us that there was a typhoon coming.  Due to the typhoon, yesterday the churches in this Stake were either cancelled or just had Sacrament Meeting.  We had Sacrament Meeting yesterday, and then were instructed to stay indoors and keep safe.  So we did.  I spent the whole day studying.  Being inside all day is strange.  I don't really like it.  I like being out and doing stuff.  The winds and rain were pretty nasty in the morning, but it quieted down by the evening.  Thanks to the typhoon temperatures have cooled down a good bit.

Papa, my nihongo is definitely not bad.  This last week we went to a Zone Training Meeting in a neighboring area.  I was asked to translate, so I did.  A large portion of the meeting was a big discussion about teaching by the Spirit and following in the Spirit in your work.  It's definitely challenging to translate a discussion.  In a discussion, the person talking changes every few minutes.  The topics that are being spoken about also change around and move.  When there's one person teaching for most of the meeting, it's a bit easier.  The pace of speaking, the cadence and rhythm of the talking, phrases and words that are used, and the topic are much more constant.  You're generally able to get a little bit used to that person's way of speaking and your mind isn't racing as much.  But when it's not like that in a big discussion, it's pretty hectic to be a translator.  Having Japanese companions and such has definitely helped a ton with my language abilities.  

I got the package!  Thank you so much!  I appreciate the goodies.  I'm healthy and doing well.  Miraculously, I've actually gained weight recently.  Last I checked I was 72kg rather than the 70 I've been almost all of the rest of my life and mission.  I love being a missionary!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014 - Week 82

Mom and Dad,

I can't believe it's already August!  It's been very hot and humid in Matsue.  Basically all I do in my free time is drink water.  It's my hobby during the summer.  Crazy to think that school is going to be starting back up for Marisa in another couple of weeks.  It's cool to hear that Kevin's switching jobs.  I hope all goes well with that transition.  Grandma Hutchings filled me in on Grandpa's condition in her last letter to me.  I always love getting letters from Grandama.  It's nice to get a taste of how everybody is doing.

I've been doing well lately and things have been going great.  I feel kind of bad for my trainee sometimes - I'm really weird and American and stuff.  At the same time, we have tons of fun and get along great.  As a trainer, I don't go very easy on my trainee.  I don't make his life miserable or anything, but I make him think.  Deeply.  A lot.  When he asks me a question, more often than not I fire a question straight back.   When you can get people thinking to answer their own questions, or work harder to answer their own questions, then they value the answer much more.  It provides a better opportunity for the Spirit to provide inspiration when the cogs and gears in the mind are spinning and they dig deep into their souls.  Sometimes I give hints, but those are also generally come in questions, and as such I'm able to lead them to a conclusion rather than just handing out the answer.  I do it a lot with my trainee.  It also applies for investigators, but I generally go a bit easier on investigators.  Asking questions that make people think deeply is a really convenient tool - basically people just end up teaching themselves.  I make Hashimoto Choro think a lot.  It's tough for me too, because I have to remember how much he knows and has experienced, etc. so that I don't ask him a question that just leaves him guessing or dead stuck.  Also, sometimes asking questions is tough in Japanese.  There are multiple ways to say why, how etc.  But it all works out in the end.

This last week was transfers week, and one of the Japanese Elders in our apartment transferred.  A gaijin came to fill his spot.  I don't really speak much more English than I did before.  The picture I attached is from before transfers.  It's kind of funny how much I'm leaning down to level out with everybody.  Also, I have pretty long arms.

I love dendo and I love being a missionary.  I feel a bit more tired in the summer because of all the heat, but there's a really sense of satisfaction in coming back to the apartment at night feeling worn out, hot, and sticky from sweat and humidity.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

PS.  Thank you so much for sending a package!  I'll let you know when I get it!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014 - Week 81

Mom and Dad,

Time is going by so fast!  I've already spent one transfer in Matsue!  It's crazy to think it's almost August!  We got transfer announcements today and it looks like Hashimoto Choro and I will be sticking around in Matsue for another transfer.  It's been a really fast 6 weeks and I'm sure the next 6 weeks will go by quick too.

My companion learned something about obedience this last week.  All throughout this transfer we've been struggling to find new investigators.  All this last transfer, Hashimoto Choro has also been struggling to get up at 6:30.  I connected the dots pretty fast.  When you're not obedient, God can't bless you.  It's that simple.  Every morning that he wasn't up at 6:30 (which was basically all of them) I would tell him to get up and get rolling.  I would often say, "Hey!  You're a missionary now!  You've got to keep God's commandments!"  Every week when we have our weekly planning session, I would ask him, "What do you think we can do to find new investigators?"  He would generally mention something about the way we were contacting people etc. and I would keep asking him questions until we came back to waking up at 6:30 and being obedient.  I would speak to him from my experiences so far as a missionary of the importance of obedience and how it would truly benefit our finding efforts.  He would (in a half-believing-it-would-help-that-much sort of way, may I note) commit to wake up at 6:30 and that was kind of that.  I didn't feel like I needed to force this issue any more.  I kept on like that - daily wake-up calls to repentance, as well as a weekly commitment to tighten up - and I kept praying that he would be able to learn the importance of obedience.  2 Saturdays ago I conducted a companion exchange with the two Elders we live with.  Elder Hiratsuka went with Elder Hashimoto, and over the course of that exchange Hiratsuka Choro talked with my companion a lot about faith and obedience.  He left him with a commitment to wake up at 6:30 - which was more seriously accepted this time around.  The next day (Sunday the 20th) Hashimoto Choro got up on time.  When we went out to work, we made 2 appointments with potential investigators that day.  Monday he woke up at 6:30 again, and the result was the same - 2 appointments.  On Wednesday he was obedient, and we made another appointment, and things have been picking up from then.  We found 2 new investigators this last week, and have more appointments for this week as well.  In District Meeting this last Friday I assigned Hashimoto Choro to teach everybody what he had learned about obedience.  He taught and testified well.  I'm proud of my trainee.  I'm not going to say that it's my trainee's fault that we didn't find much this last transfer, but I'm willing to say that things worked out how they did so that he could learn this lesson.  I've learned a few things, especially about patience and love, along the way too.

Being a trainer is a bit tough, but it's definitely very rewarding.  I've been trying hard this last transfer to help my trainee learn a lot of lessons for himself and come to conclusions for himself.  When he asks me a question, I return with a question and make him think deeper and harder for himself.  When he asks me how the best way to do something is, sometimes I just tell him, but more often than not I say, "Go try it yourself first."  Sometimes he looks at me like "Are you joking?" and then I look at him like "No, so go do something!"  And then while I watch as he squirms inside and goes and tries I offer correction and advice.  Part of me wants to always just give him the answer.  That would be easy, for me and for him.  But I know that won't help him to grow, and when I take a step back and pause, the Spirit reminds me, "You never learn too well when answers are just thrown at you, do you?  You've only come as far as you have because you've been made to think and try -even struggle- right?"  It's difficult sometimes to have to let lessons be learned.

Dad, are you familiar with the work trunky?  I don't even know if it's a word that's used in America.  It's a word that is used quite a bit in Japan, especially among missionaries.  It's kind of like homesick or just want to go back home to do something.  There are only 2 things that make me feel a little trunky - the temple, and the farm.  Boy gee, I can't wait to go back to the temple.  And as odd as it may sound, I really miss the hay hauling, weed whacking, and all of the sweat, dirt and work that come on the farm.  I know it's all waiting for me and I've got the whole rest of my life afterward to do both.  For now I've got nothing better to do than Preach the everlasting Gospel in Japanese.  Good thing Spencer is around to do the farm work.  Maybe after I've returned he'll come take my place in Japan!

I absolutely love being a missionary.  There are so many incredible blessings found in the Lord's service.  Dendo is a way of life.  I'm learning how to do dendo well right now so that someday I can do dendo while living a futsu civilian life.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014 - Week 80

Mom and Dad,

Dear heavens!  Miriam is already 2?!  I remember once not too long before I went into the MTC I was holding her sitting on the couch at home.  I looked at her and thought, "Don't grow up too fast, okay?"  But I guess she has!

 Wow, Kevin's car looks nice.  He looks pretty good too  It's good that Marisa will have a car to drive.  Today I went to a neighboring area to do a baptismal interview.  The person I interviewed was a 15 year old girl.  I'm glad to have a little sister around her age, because I feel like I know how to better deal with the silliness and giggles that inevitably come out of girls that age.  It was a good interview, and the girl passed.

  I appreciate the picture of the Honey Bucket in front of our house.  That really is quite the kitchen set up in the garage.  I would say I feel bad for you that it's hot and you don't have insulation, but I seem to find myself in quite the same circumstances.  Walls in Japan are really, really thin.  While we were housing yesterday we found out that the rainy season has finally broke - so from here on out it's looking like it'll just get hot.  Hopefully the humidity will drop a little with the rainy season going away, but I'm sure it's still going to be more humid than I would like.  But despite the heat, we're still dendo-ing and loving it!

This last week we went and got to talk with President Welch at interviews.  We also received some training and were able to get a really good taste for his vision and the direction things will be going.  I was translating the whole time, so I didn't get as good of a chance to think things through, but I'm really excited to be working under President Welch.

I love this work and I love living.  Time's going way too fast - I find it difficult to believe that it's already July 21st.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

This is the kitchen in our apartment

This is where 3 of us sleep.  The other one pulls a futon out onto the kitchen floor.  That fan is our best friend.

This a picture we took after District Meeting a couple of weeks ago.  My apartment-mates are the 3 Ni Hon Jin behind me.  The one wearing glasses is my companion.  I'm pretty sure he's on his tip-toes in the picture because he's not a lot taller than the Japanese sister in front of him.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014 - Week 79

Mom and Dad,

Things are going okay in Matsue.  Coming in on a whitewash, the investigator situation wasn't the greatest.  We've dropped quite a few of the investigators and have been focusing on finding.  We've been working hard, way hard.  Not much has been happening, but we're still confident that if we keep faithful and work diligently, it will pay off.  We've already got a few appointments with potential investigators for this next week.  It's been great to see the leaps and bounds of progress that my companion is making as a new missionary.

It's still been hot and humid.  We've had a good few rainy days as well - the members said the rainy season should break about July 25th for around where we are.  I've been making sure to drink plenty of water.  There are also quite a few little candies in Japan that are designed for athletes, etc. to supply electrolytes, so I make sure to always have a few of those on hand and eat those throughout the day as well.

This last week I've felt humbled at the great opportunities that I have to serve.  Lately I've been turned to remember the great blessings that I have as a missionary.  I feel so privileged and blessed to have opportunities to serve as a trainer and a District Leader.  The priesthood is definitely a power that is to be used in the service of God's children and blesses and enriches the lives of those for whom it is used, and those who bear it.  I'm grateful for the Holy Ghost which prompts me to do things that I wouldn't know is the right thing to do.

I love being a missionary.  I'm grateful for all of the prayers and support that I receive.  It's unfortunate to hear that Sister Christiansen's father passed away, and that Brother Lewis passed on as well.  But what great comfort it is to know that the separation is temporary - the sorrow and loneliness doesn't last forever.  What a great motivation it is to carry on in faith and endure well to the end - so that we can all meet again at the last day.  I'll make sure to remember them in my prayers.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

P.S.  If there's one other thing I could o-negai in the package it would be toothpaste.  I'm good and probably will be okay on everything else for here on out.

The picture is one of the lake right next to the city.  I took it from a building that I went to to do some service helping out an English class

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014 - Week 78

Mom and Dad,

Been a bit rainy the past few days.  It's been nice - the temperatures have cooled off a bit.  It's still summer in Japan, though.  Hot and humid.  Also, I'm getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.

The meet the President taikai (conference) was great.  President and Sister Welch are very loving and fun people.  He's fluent in Japanese - they've lived in Japan for quite a while.  He's been the head of Novell in Japan for quite a few years.  It's exciting to have the opportunity to learn from him.  Something else very exciting that he said was that before the end of this year we'll be getting iPad mini's to start using for dendo (missionary work).  I'm not sure when exactly, or really anything on the details, but it's sure an exciting prospect.

Otherwise my companion and I are still just chugging along here in Matsue.  Things are going great.  It's great to see how much he's learning and growing, and it's fun to be apart of the beginning of his mission.  It was a bit strange spending the 4th of July in an apartment with 3 Ni Hon Jin (Japanese).  But I got a video of all of us singing the National Anthem.  It's really quite entertaining - I wish I could send it but I forgot my SD converter.  If I can I'll send it next week.

Oh, if I can make an o-negai (request), I'm going to need some more contacts soon.  The pair I'm using right now should last me this month, and then after that I've only got one more pair.  If you could send me some more it would be much appreciated.

Crazy to hear about all of the changes going on with the house.  It's also crazy to hear how Marisa is growing up and stuff.

Sorry this e-mail is a bit short, really not much new to report.  Love you!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014 - Week 77

Mom and Dad,

Things sure are warming up here in the land of the rising sun!  It's starting to feel like summer in Japan!  The relentless heat and humidity which seems to attack you no matter where you happen to be.  I love feeling sticky and hot all the time!

Hashimoto Choro is from Saitama.  I'm pretty sure it's up north somewhere.  It's been great working with him so far.  He's adjusting to Missionary Life and learning like a champ.  He also really wants to learn English, so he's working hard at that too.

Haven't had a chance to meet Welch Kaicho yet, but we'll be meeting him this Thursday in Okayama.  It'll be fun because a lot of missionaries will be staying at the old honbu (mission home) there the night before, so I'll get to see a lot of other missionaries too.  After this week is over, President Welch will be doing interviews by Zone, so I should get another chance to talk to him in another week or two.

It's been fun being a district leader again.  My district has 12 missionaries right now, so I'm calling 2 people each night for follow-ups.  It's really a great opportunity for me to learn and grow where I have the chance to interact with so many missionaries.  This last Friday we had a district meeting as well, it was fun and spiritually satisfying to plan and conduct a district meeting again.  I've learned a lot and changed a lot since I was a district leader last year, and so it's nice to have a chance to see the progress I've been able to make.  The same goes with being a trainer and white-washing an are - I feel like I learned plenty of lessons last time and I've been able to learn from my experiences.

I love you!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014 - Week 76

Mom and Dad,

All went well with transfers.  I did have to take a good chunk of money out of personal funds to make it to Kobe then to Matsue.  Matsue is pretty far out.  It was about a 4.5 hour bus ride from Kobe.  It was definitely hard leaving Toyooka because I love the members there and there were a lot of stronger investigators coming up out of the wood works.  It's a bit strange now being in a different area.

Matsue is quite a bit more Tokai than Toyooka.  It's not full of people, but it's got a college or two and I haven't seen many rice fields around.  The apartment is right next door to the church.  You can see the church looking outside of the front window.  It's very convenient!  My trainee is Ni Hon Jin!  His name is Hashimoto Choro.  He's 18, and a nice fellow.  I haven't taken a picture with him yet, but I'll be sure to this next week and send it in my next e-mail.  It's kind of nice that I don't have to worry about teaching him Japanese.  He's been doing all right with dendo so far, and I'm hoping I can help him learn many of the things I have so far.  Our apartment is a 4nin, and the other companionship are both Ni Hon Jin as well.  I'm the only gaijin in the apartment!  It's fun because I learn a lot of Japanese, and I get to be as weird and gaijin as I want.

These last couple of days we attended Stake conference in a neighboring area.  It was fun and a very good experience.  A bit sad though, that we didn't have as much time to start dendo-ing in our area.

Zinke Kaicho is going to be packing up and leaving this weekend.  Welch Kaicho should be coming in on Friday.  Next week he'll be going around the mission and doing some Meet The President conferences.  I'm excited to meet him, and to learn from him.

On Thursday the mother of the kid we baptized last week took my companion and I and her sons to the beach in Toyooka.  We played on the rocks and then talked about the Gift of the Holy Ghost on the car ride home.  It was fun and very good.

I'm way excited to start digging in to rely on the Lord and start digging in to this new area.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014 - Week 75

Mom and Dad,

I'm transferring!  Headed to a place called Matsue.  I'm going to be whitewashing it, becoming a District Leader and trainer.  Just like what happened to me in my 4th transfer last year, except this time I've got a bit more experience.  I feel much more confident in my ability to rely on the Lord and work with the Spirit.  Should be fun!  It's nice because I'll get to see Zinke Kaicho one last time before he goes.

Because I'm going to be transferring I'm not going to take too much time to write, but I would like to share a couple of things that  happened this week.

This last week President & Sister Zinke did a Bye-Bye taikai (conference).  They went around to every zone and shared some parting thoughts and such.  It was really more FHE-esque than a taikai.  I was translating the whole time, so I didn't necessarily get to take notes, pay attention to what was being said, or relax in the nice setting, but it was good.

This last week on Wednesday we received a call from a Sister in the branch saying that her 10 year old son (one of our investigators) wanted to get baptized the next Sunday.  We had only had a chance to teach this kid once or twice, and we weren't thinking he was going to be progressing fast.  But, as it were, he wanted to get baptized, and so we took on the endeavor of very simply helping him understand the doctrines and principles needed to receive baptism.  We taught him, helped him, he was interviewed, and baptized yesterday.  There's plenty of other details I'd like to share, but I have to go pack so I'm just going to sum it all up by saying: I just work here.  Seriously.  I just work, do my best, be obedient, and the Lord lines things up.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014 - Week 74

Mom and Dad,

I'm in a bit of a pinch for time today.  So I won't be writing much.

But good heavens this week went quick!  Went to Kobe on Tuesday for Mission Leadership Council, planned and did a Zone Training Meeting for with everybody in the Zone.  It was a bit weird because lately in meetings I've been translating when my companion is presenting so the translator can learn and take notes too, so I'm in between presenting things and translating in a meeting.  It's hectic, but way fun.

We went on a companion exchange this last Friday, and then somehow I'm here e-mailing.  It's crazy to think it's the last week of the transfer and that transfer announcements will be next week.

Sounds like youth conference was a blast!

I love you,
Elder Kyle Hutchings

PS.  It's so natsukashii hearing about the hay haul.  I'm jealous you get to do it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014 - Week 73

Mom and Dad,

It's crazy!  The President and Sister Zinke will be going in another week or 2.  Things have been warming up quite a bit here!  It climbed up to about 35 degrees (celsius) here yesterday.

Mom and Dad I love my mission.  I'm learning so much and I'm honestly just so happy.  More than just happy, I feel fulfilled in my life if that even makes sense.  I honestly just feel like Nelson Choro and I are doing the correct things in life and like things are just right.  It's a weird feeling in a way.  I feel like I've just given up so many of my doubts and fears, and as though I'm like a little child.  Just joyfully going about my business delighted and curious about all of the wonderful things in this world.

We met and spent some time with a brother from Russian yesterday.  He was an amazing man.  He spoke like 30 words of English and 30 in Japanese.  But he loves his family.  He's working in Japan because his daughter loves to dance and working in Russia doesn't provide enough money.  He's a beast of a man.  I sent Jason a picture.

Yes Mom, I have eaten takoyaki.  It's the best!  The takoyaki in Osaka was the best, though.  If we come back someday we need to go eat food in Osaka.

Sorry this is another short one.

Love you!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014 - Week 72

Mom and Dad,

This last Saturday listening to Elder Christofferson was excellent.  We all got to shake his hand before the meeting.  It's interesting looking at Elder Christofferson.  When he first walked into the room, my thought was, "If I didn't know he is an Apostle of the Lord, I would probably just think and feel like he's the most pleasant person I've ever seen or met."  He is a True Disciple of Jesus Christ.  He is full of charity, love, power, and authority.  He, his wife, and Elder and Sister Aoyagi spoke.  It was so lovely and inspiring - the feel was almost temple-like.  One of the things Christofferson Choro said which impressed me the most, was that the Lord approves of us.  We as a mission are doing well, and that the Lord is pleased with what we are doing.  Just keep going.

A little while ago we ran into a brother from Nepal in the eki.  We switched numbers with him, and then we set up an appointment to meet him yesterday.  He told us he had a friend from New Zealand who also wanted to meet with us.  We met at the McDonalds next to the church and chatted for a bit, then we walked over to the church, showed them around and started talking.  It was the strangest thing - I was teaching people in English.  They weren't Japanese either, so cultural quirks and gaps in understanding that I'm used to having to maneuver around and break through in order to teach effectively weren't there.  It turned out to be a really good lesson, though and they both want to meet again.  It was just weird, though, teaching in English.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that I fell off my bike last week.   We were on our way home and not just a block or two away from our house.  The chain decided it would be a good idea to come from the big third gear to half-way on the first little gear and off the gear while I was pedaling. It jolted the bike, I fell down and the bike was on top of me and it cheese grated me against the road for a good 2-3 meters or so. I got some pretty nasty road burn on my left side, but it's been healing up all right.  The worst part of it all is that my pants are hashed and my white shirt got blood on it. Sometimes, stuff just happens in life. I love dendo.

Just a heads up, I've been taking out a bit more money lately so that I can get to taikais and still eat and stuff.  Sorry!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014 - Week 71

Mom and Dad,

Way excited to go this Friday and hear from Elder Christofferson!

Things have been going really well this last week.  Time is going by so fast!  We had Zone Conferences and got to hear from Zinke Kaicho and the Assistants.  I wish I could tell you more, but I'm in a bit of a pinch for time.  Zinke Kaicho talked to us about the priesthood.  It was mind-blowing - he's undoubtedly going to be a general authority someday.

The more I learn and the more I come to realize about life and about everything, the more I come to see that it all just goes back to following the Spirit and living the Gospel.  It sounds like a cop-out answer, but I understand in ways that I never thought I would just how true and important those 2 things are.

Fun to see that the house is getting ripped apart!  Also good to hear that you're enjoying yourself in Hawaii, Mom.

I love life!

Love you,
Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014 - Week 70

Mom and Dad,

Good to hear from all of you.  Nice to hear that everybody is still alive and genki.

Loved Marisa's prom pictures.  Looked like she had a good time.  I noticed that the truck is still there in one of the pictures you took of her.  I figured you would have destroyed it by now.  Ma, iinn janai.

I'll send a few pictures.  Love you all!

-Elder Kyle Hutchings

Sakura in Toyooka.

We met a guy this last week who's way cool.  He used to live in Toyooka and is 19.  He lives in a different area, but was visiting Toyooka so we had a lesson with him.  He's pretty much just waiting until he's 20 so that he can get baptized without his parents' permission.  He built this bike.  Including the design and painting.

The gyoza, spaghetti...feast.

Nelson Choro and I bought some ridiculous half-pants.  We're the bomb.

One time I also may have accidentally broken a chair at Eikaiwa this last week.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014 - Week 69

Mom and Dad,

So guess what?  I'm not transferring!  I'm going to be sticking around in Toyooka for a 6th transfer.  By the time this transfer ends I'll have been here for about 9 months.  But I love this place, I love the branch, I love the area, and I trust that this is where God wants me to be.  I also love my companion to death.  Nelson Choro and I are working hard and having way too much fun!

This last week went incredibly fast and was incredibly good.  We had MLC in Kobe on Tuesday, and then did a Zone Training Meeting on Friday.  It was such a good ZTM.  Nelson Choro and I are really focusing on getting everybody pumped up and doing more to point out the good that everybody is doing.  We're really trying to help everybody feel good and confident.  Another thing about ZTM that went incredibly well is that we were able to just show and teach everybody what we've been doing in our own area and such.  We've been working hard and doing all we can to work smart too, and as such we've been able to set an example for our Zone.  They all trust us and were way willing to listen to what we had to share.  Another part of ZTM we did was teaching everybody how to feel good while you dendo.  If I had more time I'd share more of the details of what we taught, but the spirit was strong in the meeting.  Overall, it just felt way good.  As we've been calling everybody in the Zone to follow-up on the meeting, everybody has said that it was just what they needed to hear.  It's so comforting to know that the Lord loves His children so much that He would work through my companion and I to help them.

It's way exciting to hear that Marisa got asked to prom!  I hope she has a good time!  It's crazy to think that May is already here.  It's also crazy to think that this will be Zinke Kaicho's last transfer.

I love dendo and I love life!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

April Mission Leadership Council - Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday, April 28th, 2014 - Week 68

Mom and Dad,

Just a little info about transfers.  The next transfer day will be Friday the 9th.  Next Monday I'll come to know for sure if I'm going to be transferring or not and if I am, where I'm going.  We still haven't received any word about what will go down for Mother's day calls.  I'll let you know what will happen as soon as I know.

About the discussion you had on "Hastening the Work", I have definitely seen some of the lack of communication skills due to electronics.  Beyond just being weird, I personally don't feel like I've had any struggles with face to face communication because of using electronic communication.  I feel like I'm just a strange person to begin with and would attribute most of my problems with face to face communication to that.  However, I have noticed some Elders and Sisters who do seem to have been affected by that.  Especially as a mission leader I've detected some of that coming through in some of the missionaries I've worked with.  It's especially apparent in those who dislike street contacting.  I feel like those with the electronic-communication dependency have a much greater problem opening their mouth and asking someone to talk.  Obviously what I've just said isn't the whole of the story because it's just been from my experience, observations, and perspective.

About following the Spirit in a conversation, that's definitely true.  Along with that comes what Zinke Kaicho has taught us about situational awareness/kuuki wo yomu.  I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Japanese concept of kuuki wo yomu.  It literally means read the air.  It comes down to really listening to what the other person is saying, paying attention to body language, the clothes they're wearing, etc.  Just as those in the military learn to be aware of their situation and pay attention to the details, we must also learn to pick up on signs and signals that those we interact with are giving.  Just as the lives and safety of those in the military depend on them being situation-ally aware, the eternal lives and salvation may depend on our efforts to truly understand the individual we're talking to and do all we can to seek God's guidance on what their current needs are and how to go about filling them.  With the Spirit, reading the air and situational awareness is how the great missionaries in the scriptures (for example Alma in Alma 32) blow minds and bring about mass spiritual good.  Without the Spirit and correct motives though (as we also find in the scriptures with the examples of priest crafts and such) it just turns into manipulation.  Anyway, that was a bit of a bara-bara explanation of it all, but it's something else to chew on.

Been another great week of working and loving it.  I believe so strongly in Jesus Christ and His gospel.  It works.  It's true.  I love being alive!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014 - Week 67

Mom and Dad,

Crazy that it's already Easter, eh?  It's funny how less big of a deal it is here in Japan.  I assigned the speakers for Sacrament Meeting yesterday to give talks on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  One of those speakers was my companion, and he mentioned that it was Easter when he was speaking.  Everybody in the tiny congregation kind of had an "Oh, yeah!  It's easter!" sort of look on their faces, and a few of them even shot up straight in their seats as if startled at the realization.

This last week has been absolutely splendid.  We had a chance to do exchanges with one of the District Leaders in our Zone on Thursday.  I worked with his companion, a Bostonian named Elder Carlile.  He's a great missionary, and it was incredibly fun to work with him.  We participated in that District Leader's District Meeting the next day, and then returned back to Toyooka.  That night, the Assistants to the president came to stay the night and then they koukaned with us on Saturday.  It was funny, because they got to the Eki at about 10:00 that evening and asked us to send them our house address.  We did, then got ready for bed, and jumped into bed at 10:30 with the assistants still not having arrived at our home.  We stayed up talking and wondering where the Assistants were.  Around 11:15 I get a call and they asked us to come out and look for them.  It was strange leaving the house at night.  It turns out they were just up the street, and all went well from then.  We stayed up until about 2 talking with them, then Elder Nelson and I got up at 5:45 to go running.  After a day of koukan-ing with the Assistants and then working, we were pretty tired Saturday night.

Elder Nelson and I are working hard and having a ball.  He's been my favorite companion so far.  Even though I've been in Toyooka for 5 transfers, I really wouldn't be opposed to spending another one here.  It makes me sad that Zinke Kaicho has pretty much already told me that I'm transferring.  I absolutely love this area, the people, the members, and everything here.

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Joy and happiness in this life and the life to come truly does come through faith, repentance, keeping covenants, following the Holy Ghost, and doing it forever.

Elder Kyle Hutchings