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