Mom and Dad,
This last Friday we went to Kobe and there was a taikai (conference) where Elder Whiting of the 1st quorum of the Seventy visited and taught us. It was an excellent conference, and it was a wonderful opportunity to hear from a special witness of Jesus Christ and receive revelation. At the beginning of the conference, as always, 4 companionships were assigned to recite the Missionary Purpose, The First Vision, the Mission Theme, and D&C 4. We were assigned to do D&C 4 and I'm not going to lie, we rocked. We were last, and while the last 3 companionships weren't bad, they weren't anything special. For the past week we had been planning and practicing what we would do, and it cracked out like this. We walked up to the pulpit and Elder Hoshino curled the microphone all the way down. To start, rather than saying the first line of the scripture and then "San hai" like most companionships do, I led off in English by saying "Doctrine and Covenants section 4" took a breath and then we just jumped in. Elder Hoshino led off the Japanese recitation in likewise fashion. My voice isn't necessarily weak or high, but Elder Hoshino's voice is where it's at. With his deep voice we filled the chapel and it made for quite a powerful funiki (atmosphere). I was quite satisfied with our performance. Also, Elder Whiting mentioned that hearing Elder Hoshino speak made him feel like he was watching a Samurai movie or something. My companion's voice is the bomb.
After the taikai (conference) Elder Whiting interviewed 10 missionaries, and I got picked to be one of them. We had a nice chat for about 7 minutes. I just asked him about what his vision as a member of the 70 is, and what his duties entail. After that we concluded with a prayer. He lived in Hawaii for many years I found out.
Weather has been nice this past week. I'm experiencing no health problems. I did get sick for a few days a couple of weeks ago, but it passed and I'm fine now. Really no worries about the asthma or allergies or anything at the moment. Sleeping on futons has become something I quite love. Not sure I'll know what to do with a bed when I come back to America. I got the package by the way! Thank you so much! I'm so happy for to have stuff! Also Hoshino Choro says thanks for goodies and for feeding his snack addiction. He was way happy to get it.
In terms of stuff and stuff, I am on the lookout for a suit. It's not like I have a huge need for another one, but the knees on the pants of one of my suits are getting worn, and the color is starting to go weird because of it. Dry cleaning doesn't seem to help it either. There are a lot of suit stores in Japan as it were. I'm trying to snag one on sale or on clearance, because you can get really good suits that were $300 from ￥8000 even down to ￥1500 sometimes. Even in the full-priced suits, though, it's a bit of a game finding a suit long enough for me. The build on most of the suits in Japan fits me great, they're just not long enough most of the time. So I'm on the hunt for a suit, but other than that I can't for see any other large expenses. I take out a little here and there when reimbursements don't come in fast enough, but like always, I hope that's not the case for this next month.
I'll make sure to keep an eye out for the Debit Card. My current card expires this month.
The branch is doing great. The branch president's name is Tada Kaicho (president). He's really quite an incredible man. This branch needs priesthood holders so bad. We were talking with one of the members the other day and he said he's really concerned about us transferring. He said the members are so grateful for what we've done so far for home teaching and conducting and teaching in church meetings and that it's been so helpful. That's something Zinke Kaicho actually talked a little bit about with me at the Whiting Choro taikai. "What's going to happen when I move you out of Toyooka? Have you found your replacement yet?" We're trying so hard to bring in some less-actives and to find some strong good converts.
Elder Kyle Hutchings
PS. Just offhand, but I've recently been directed to find out when the UVU semester starts next January in 2015. As much as I hate to think about it, if you could look that up and let me know I would appreciate it. Thanks!