Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014 - Week 90

Mom and Dad,

So, guess what?  I'm going to be coming home on December 3rd.  I received an e-mail confirming that my release date has been changed.  After some thought and prayer, I feel like that's a good time for me to come home.  It for sure is crazy fast.  

President Ringwood conference was great.  Elder Asai and I switched off translating during the whole thing so I was able to think and listen a little bit.  Normally, though, whichever of us wasn't translating was on edge to look up scriptures that the speaker was going to share in Japanese.  What stuck out to me the most from what President Ringwood shared was about progress and improving daily.  He said that we should be the very best missionary we are on the last day of our mission because everyday we should be improving.  He also gave a very good explanation about hope and faith.

This last Saturday we went and did some rather unique volunteer service.  We received a call earlier in the week from a sister in the ward indicating that she wanted us to participate in singing a song for something.  We went to the place - which was this large and very nice building a little ways up a mountain, filled with many conference rooms, etc. - and met up with this sister and a few other members.  The man who worked at the place started explaining to us what was happening.  They were working on translating an old American movie and were making it so that those who are deaf and blind can enjoy it as well.  He explained that it's the first time this movie has been translated into Japanese and done with voice overs, etc. so it's a bit of a historic work for Japanese film history.  I was still pretty clueless about what movie it was until he started to explain the story.  He said it's a really really good story which can really help people who feel down about life - something about a guy who doesn't feel like he's helped people in his life, and who was going to commit suicide but he's stopped by an angel who then makes a world where he didn't exist or something...and then it finally clicked for me that he was talking about "It's a Wonderful Life."  They wanted people who are Christian to come and sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Auld Lang Syne" in Japanese for the scene in the movie where all of the people are singing.  It was way cool.  We went into this really cool recording studio and stuff.  Last Saturday was just the practice, and next Saturday will be the real deal.  I'll probably be able to get a copy of the finished DVD.  Pretty sweet, eh?

Our 17 year old investigator is doing well.  He came to church again yesterday.  He really really likes church.  It sounds like one or both of his parents don't really have a good image of religion, so we're going to give him a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet to give to his parents next time we see him.  Otherwise, he's going to be coming to church in another couple of weeks.  The work is going good in Matsue and we're having a lot of fun.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014 - Week 89

Mom and Dad,

Good heavens!  My my, how that little girl is growing up!  Tell Marisa she's gorgeous!  And dear heavens!  Is that really the entry hall?!  I was trying to figure out that picture was taken.  It looks good!

Well Papa, funny that you ask about when I'll be coming home, because there's a really big possibility that it will be on December 3rd.  It's not set in stone, but President Welch said that if I'm going to be attending the Spring semester that I'll probably be going home a transfer early, and Sister Welch called me yesterday to confirm that I will be trying to attend the Spring semester.  Like I said, I still haven't heard anything definite, but it's looking a lot like next transfer may be my last.

Yesterday, our 17 year old investigator came to church for the second time.  He really likes church.  He's quite an interesting fellow - he reads books like most kids eat candy.  He usually reads about 300 books in a year - just about a book every day.  He's read a lot about religion and has a lot of interest in Christianity.  He doesn't really know what to think about all of the religious texts he's read so far, so he loves it when we very simply explain to him and teach him about doctrine and how it applies to him.  He loves to sing and thinks it's the best thing in the world that we sing 3 times during sacrament meeting.

Tomorrow we're going to get a chance to hear from Elder Ringwood of the 70.  He's the president of the Asia North area.  I'm very excited to get a chance again to hear from a special witness of Jesus Christ.  Incidentally, I got a call just now from one of the Assistants.  I'm going to be helping Elder Ringwood with translation tomorrow.  Translating for a member of the 70.  No pressure, right?

The weather here has been absolutely beautiful.  Clear skies and temperatures at 25C in the day and down to about 17C at night.  So nice!  I love life!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014 - Week 88

Mom and Dad,
This last week was really really good.  I can't even put my finger on why, it was just a really good week.  Hashimoto長老 and I have been having plenty of fun out dendo-ing.  He's been working hard to learn English, and he's getting pretty good.  

This last week there were a few things that happened that were just funny that I thought I might share.  First of all yesterday we were knocking on peoples' doors and contacting.  The usual sorts of things - really nice people will probably become investigators, people who say kekko (no thanks), really nice grandmas, and people who are interested in English class.  We come to a house that has 2 cars parked beside it and ring the door bell.  Out of nowhere, we hear "What the heck are you doing?!  They're not home!  Nobody is there!"  We turn around to see an elderly gentleman with an angry look on his face leaning out of the window of the house next door.  We just said "Okay.  Thanks!"  and tried not to laugh as we walked away.  That sort of thing has happened to me so many times.  I don't understand what warrants that kind of reaction.  There's absolutely not reason to be angry or tell us off of his next-door neighbor's doorstep.

A day or two ago as we were headed back to our apartment around 8:30, we were riding our bikes across a bridge next to the eki (train station).  The bridge comes down to an intersection, which was stopped the way we were going and there were some people standing facing the other side of the street waiting to cross.  Among those people there were 3 kids.  One boy about 11, his little sister who was shorter than him, and one a really little brother.  I thought, "What on earth are those 3 kids doing out so late?  I know Japan's a safe place, but really?  What are their parents thinking?"  Just as the thought crosses my mind, little sister turns to the side to say something to big brother and I see her face.  Oh...hi mom.  Japanese people look so much younger than they are - especially from behind!  They're so little!

Today while we were in a shop, a lady walked up to me and said, "Hey, you should go talk to my son over there.  He went to Australia and wants to speak English with someone."  So I went and talked to him.  He's way cool, we switched numbers, and he'll very likely come to Eikaiwa tomorrow.  You never know when the opportunity will be given to you to help or serve someone.

I am so excited for General Conference!  It's hard to believe that we're already drawing near to that time of year.  This transfer is going to be pretty busy with meetings and such.  Next week Elder Ringwood is going to be visiting our mission.  The week following that there's probably going to be a ZTM.  After that week we'll watch General Conference, and the week following is going to be Stake Conference which we have to travel a few hours for the Saturday meeting and then about an hour for the Sunday meeting.

I love life and I love dendo!

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014 - Week 87

Mom and Dad,

It's hard to believe that it's transfers week again.  Hashimoto Choro and I will both be hanging around in Matsue for another transfer.  Something that made me smile to see is that my old trainee and companion Elder Baldwin is going to be my Zone Leader this transfer.  I'm excited to have the chance to work with him again.

We've been working hard and things have been going well in Matsue.  3 of our investigators have committed to be baptized.  We're excited to continue working with and helping them.

We went over to a member family's house for dinner last night.  It was fun.  I threw a picture on.  Their youngest daughter is going to be leaving for the MTC next week, and their youngest son recently received his mission call to Australia.  They've got plenty of dendo fire and they help us out in so many ways.

Things have cooled down a little bit in Matsue.  Yesterday and today the skies have been clear and sunny, and it's looking like it'll be clearer this week.  Most of the time it's overcast and/or rainy in Matsue, so it's pleasant to have some sunshine and blue skies.

Lately I've been feeling a bit tired, stressed and just not myself.  I went on a companion exchange this last Saturday which proved to be very helpful.  I went with Elder Casper.  Elder Casper is my senpai (senior) by 1 transfer, so we knew each other in the MTC.  We've come to be pretty good friends as our missions have gone on.  As I was talking with him he gave me some good advice, and I've been led to re-evaluate a few things.  Above all else though, I've been thinking about the quality of my prayers.  The quality of your prayers have quite a big influence on just about all aspects of your life.  In order to understand what is true and correct in this life and in existence, you need to draw close to Heavenly Father.  God is either there, or He is not.  Answers to prayers are either truly from Him, or they are not.  How comforting and sweet it is to know that God is indeed there and He answers prayers.  In helping others draw closer to Him and receive answers to their prayers, it is so important that we ourselves draw closer to Him and receive answers to our prayers.  God's love is beautiful and is something that all can feel if they are willing to put their pride down and test Him.

Elder Kyle Hutchings

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014 - Week 86

Mom and Dad,

It was a good week.  We traveled to Kobe for a Trainer Trainee Training meeting.  We learned a lot about how to fulfill our roles better and how to make sure we're all doing the things which the Lord wants us to do.  It's crazy to think that it's already September!

It was great to go to that training in Kobe because I got to see a lot of the missionaries who were with me in the MTC.  I sat next to Hapi Choro for the part of the meeting I wasn't translating, and so we had a lot of good laughs.

Most of our investigators weren't able to meet us this last week.  It's been pretty hit and miss in Matsue with investigators meeting regularly.  We do our best, though, and keep working hard.

This last Saturday there was a fireworks festival in Matsue.  We went and gave a whole bunch of people fliers for Eikaiwa (English Class).  Also, that day we went to an Indo Curry restaurant that was way good, and the waiter worked at an Indo Curry restaurant in Toyooka that I went to quite a few times because we were friends with the son of the owner.  So long story short, I knew the guy and it was really funny and cool that we met up again.  We're definitely going to go back to eat at that place and see if we can meet up with our Nepali friend when he's off work.

I love you and I love being a missionary.  Things have actually cooled down a little bit, so the weather has been quite pleasant.

Elder Kyle Hutchings