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