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!