Mom and Dad,
My sentiments match yours. Great scott! What happened to January?
Sorry Papa, my apologies. It's actually koukan, but when I write romaji by hand rather than doing an ou for the long o sound I just write an o with a line over top. So I didn't notice that it might not make sense. Koukan is just the word for exchange, and it's used for douryou koukan meaning companion exchange. It was just a companion exchange.
Sono toori! (That's exactly) It's the same Elder Nakatsuka in the Area Seventy who will becoming Sapporo's new mission president and who is my former companion's father. As it turns out when he was on his mission he was companions with the father of Sister Daniels - one of the current sister missionaries in Toyooka. Part of the reason he said he chose to come visit Toyooka was to see us. We had a bit of a modified fast and testimony meeting to accommodate for him to have time to speak. It was way amazing to hear him talk. I'll be honest, the way he talks makes me think he's like a Ni Hon Jin (Japanese) from Chicago or something. The way he speaks isn't weird at all, but it's just a bit unique, I like it. Anyway yesterday was a bit of a long day, though. We had 3 hours in church, then right after there was a 2 hour car ride to another area for a District Leadership training that Nakatsuka Choro (Elder) did. We went because of our callings in the Branch, it was way awesome and we learned so much. That meeting was about 2.5 hours, and then right after it was another 2 hour car ride back home. Needless to say, my butt is a little sore, and listening to church speakers speaking in Ni Hon Go for that long kind of wears on the mind. Through the meetings I'm juggling looking up words in my dictionary, making sense of what's being said, and taking notes of the thoughts that float through my mind and the impressions I have. Church speakers use big words and cool examples and stuff, it's definitely good brain aerobics, but my head was about shot by the end of yesterday.
The weather here has actually been ridiculously warm this past week. It's been sunny for most of the days, and temperatures have climbed up to 10C. It feels like spring, and the smell in the air is getting spring-ish too. It feels and smells a lot like when I first got to Japan - it's kind of weird to be honest. I'm pretty convinced all of this good weather in the winter months is some kind of omen for some sort of weather cruelty to come, but for now I have nothing to complain about.
This last week has been excellent in terms of the work. Lessons have picked up, we've found a new investigator, and are looking good for 2 more this next week. We've really honestly just made a little crank in the mindset we take and the level of faith we choose to have. It goes back again to what I said last week about the difference between our best and all things we can do. We've been really focusing on just cheerfully doing all we can and seeking the Lord's way in all things. It's proved for fun work, and results.
I'm having so much fun and love being a missionary so much. About the package - the insoles I have are still fine, no problems at all. If I could make any o-negai it would be more protein again. I probably already o-negai-ed that, and stuff, but I really love the stuff. It seems like I go through about a bag in a month, and it's so good on granola and corn flakes with milk in the morning after a good workout. Otherwise there's really nothing else in particular that I can think of I want or am in need of.
Elder Kyle Hutchings
Toyooka missionaries with Nakatsuka Choro and his wife.