Monday, August 4, 2014

Hachoji is where Adam landed! Aug. 4, 2014

Adam's first apartment in Hachoji

Parade in Hachoji
Dear Family & Friends,
Gaia, there's so much to say, but I want you to know that I love all of you more than you know!

Monday: Waking up really early is never fun, but when you're about to leave for Japan, nothing can dampen that excitement! We gathered all our things, said goodbye to those who weren't leaving yet, and hopped on a bus to the train station. 

 We actually lost most of Monday and Tuesday while we were flying to Japan, but I'll share what happened anyway! The plane ride was pretty normal except for the occasional Japanese announcements, which I still couldn't understand, but I did try! Customs was actually completely empty so we made our way through and met President and Sister Wada, the AP's, and some of the missionaries who were about to head home. Right away, I knew that was going to love the Wada's! I couldn't have been blessed with a more amazing mission president, and I can't wait to learn as much as I can from him and Sister Wada! They were both fluent in English, which was really helpful. He worked in the US for several years, went to BYU, and served his mission there too! It was a pretty long drive to the mission home from the airport so our AP outlined the schedule for the next couple of days and gavels a mini tour of Tokyo as we drove along. Honestly, I had a massive headache for most of it and just really wanted to sleep, but I really learned a lot and felt a little felt about the next several days. We arrived at the mission home after dark (Japan doesn't have daylight savings ) and when we arrived, there was a dinner of hot soup and rolls ready and waiting! Have I already said that the Wada's are amazing?! We had some training after dinner, but we were definitely ready to sleep after that!
On Wednesday morning we went for a run with President Wada and ended with some Radio Taiso, which is pretty much the most fun way of contacting ever created. Every morning, a ton of elderly people go out to the parks, turn on their radios, and do a stretching/exercising routine. Breakfast for the first few days was basically giving us one last taste of American food and we had pancakes and French toast on Thursday, which wasn't exactly Japanese, but I didn't really mind because they were delicious. After some training, we went streeting for the first time. My temporary companion's name was Elder Clements, and together, we set out. Most people were a little peeved/confused when we tried to take to them, but we managed to have a couple solid conversations in the hour that we were out. Looking back after a week, there were definitely some things that I would have done differently, but it helped build some needed confidence.
ThursdayThursday was special because I got my new companion, Elder Tipene, who is from New Zealand, and got settled into my new area in Hachoji or 八丰子. He's been on his mission for several months so he's pretty experienced. Most of the missionaries are still pretty new though. He showed me around the main part of the city and we met with one of our investigators, Wei, who is from Hong Kong. There are 10 missionaries in Hachioji.  6 elders and 4 sister, and one of them, Sister Gazdik, was in my district!

FridaySaturday, and Sunday were all a little different that's normal because the Hachoji Matsuri, a huge festival, was going on! Most of the people from the area moved into several city blocks, which just happened to be in a place where we aren't allowed to actively proselyte in. We visited the festival for a little on Saturday, but mostly, we spent time with investigators, members (one of my favorite members is Misu Kyodai/brother), or trying to find contacts using the English class that we offer as a conversation starter. Most people don't really care that much about learning English, but occasionally, we found people who were interested and will maybe come to the class this week! 

This Sunday was both one of the most nervous and exciting times of my entire life! They actually have a ton of members here so there is a ward! I really wanted to make an impression on the ward members during that first meeting so that they would welcome me with open arms. Since I still can't speak very well, I was worried that people might avoid me because I couldn't say very much, and at first, that seemed to be happening. After bearing my testimony in Testimony Meeting, though, many more people came up and introduced themselves, and I just hope that I'll be able to remember them all! That night, the missionaries from our area were all invited to one of the member's homes for dinner and a lesson, and it was an amazing experience! They made an incredible meal complete with root beer to drink and cheesecake for dessert! We played some church vocab games, and when it was time to end, we sang a couple hymns! They even had me sing a solo because I went to choir practice and said that I love singing! The members in our ward are really incredible people! They role play with the missionaries to help with lessons, drive us to activities, organize food drives for the missionaries, and are just perfect examples of disciples of Christ! There's still so much that I need to learn and improve on, and sometimes, it feels like things are moving so slowly. I haven't really had the opportunity to teach very much due to many different conflicts. Most of our investigators have either received all the lessons and don't want to be baptized or still have no desire to really learn about our message, but I know that if they can feel the joy that comes from living gospel and feel the power of the Spirit, they will gain that desire over time. Charity really is the most important aspect of the gospel. Without it, there is very little that we can accomplish (Moroni 7). 
I love you all and can't wait to hear from you again!

Elder Christensen

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