Monday, May 23, 2016

P-Day Email 5/23/16‏

This week was fun. We mostly did a lot of streeting, but I did get to meet two of our investigators, Abel and Rowanna. They are both way cool. They are from the Philippines, and work in a shop that sells Philippine food. They are totally spiritually prepared. Abel's visa is causing some trouble, since it expires soon and the government is being difficult. One time when he tried to submit his request for a new visa, the guy at the office literally refused (Illegally, I might add) and told him 'You are a foreigner, and you shouldn't be here'. About fifteen minutes later on his way home, he felt he should go back. He did, and instead found a lady at the desk who, upon hearing his story, said 'That's terrible! He didn't even have the right to reject you, let alone a reason! I'll submit it right away!'. Need I say any more to prove the Spirit is helping us? :P

We found a Subway! I know that seems really commonplace, but they basically do not exist in Japan, and I have been wanting a legit Subway foot long for so long now. It was seriously a blessing. Here's a picture!

We also found this. You take a picture, and they will (for about $40) make a perfect plastic mask replica. My companion wants to get one so he can wear it. Imagine waking up and seeing your companion wearing it and looking wide awake. So creepy.
Apart from that, we haven't done too much. I've met much of the ward and they are all awesome. Anyway, I'm almost out of time, and basically out of things to say for this week. Sorry for being so quiet this week, I'm sure there will be more next week.
See you guys later!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Kisarazu Apartment Tour

We'll start downstairs, shall we?

This is the main living room:

This is our kitchen area and Elder Purba adding dishes to the sink

Here's our washing machine...

And our palatial shower!

This is all you get to see of the bathroom - the door....

The genkan (entryway)

Now let's go upstairs!

Almost there!

That was exhausting.  Here's where I sleep.

And here's my work area...

And thus ends the tour of the Kisarazu missionary apartment!

Elder Thomas Harper

P-Day Email 5/16/16‏

Today's email will be short, because I don't have much time and I haven't been in Adachi for very long yet.

This week I got to my new area, Adachi. It is way awesome! We actually have investigators, and I don't have to bike nearly as much since the area is so much smaller! My companion and I get along great, which makes me really happy. The ward members are all really nice, and I am really looking forward to serving here!

I'm really surprised I didn't get lost trying to get to Adachi. Here, when you get transferred, you simply get on a train and go there by yourself because of how large the mission is. So, imagine me, with my bike, carry on suitcase, a sack full of snacks, and no sense of direction trying to find my way from Kisarazu to an area right in the middle of Tokyo. I also can't really read anything yet either. It's a miracle I didn't get lost.  <Dad Note: I think they ship the rest of your luggage?>

We also gave a blessing to a sick member. He has liver cancer, and can barely eat. Basically, his liver is growing and pushing everything else around, so his stomach is squished up and food can't get through, so it is incredibly painful to eat or even drink. The doctors said that his mortal residency is probably only for another couple of weeks. It was way spiritually powerful when we gave him a blessing. My companion did the actual blessing, and the Spirit's presence was so strong! It was more a blessing of spiritual healing and comfort than a blessing of physical healing, but it seemed to be exactly what he needed. He was laying on the bed the entire time, but right after the blessing the pain abated somewhat and he actually sat up and smiled! It obviously still hurt, but it made me happy to know it didn't hurt as much.

That's pretty much everything for this week, I think, and I am still running low on time. I love you all, and wish you good luck!

Sent from my iPad that I wish was a Surface
Elder Thomas Harper

Monday, May 9, 2016

P-Day email 5/9/16

The week started off wonderfully. On Tuesday, my bike decided it wasn't done messing with me. I was riding along, no bumps or anything, and suddenly my back tire exploded. So, we walked for about an hour and a half to the member's house where we were planning on going and left our bikes there. Then he gave us a ride back to the apartment. We then spent the rest of the evening 'fixing' the tire by applying a patch to the inner tube and liberal amounts of glue to the rubber as a temporary solution. The entire following day was spent going to the member's house via train and reattaching the tire to my bike. Then we slowly and carefully(To avoid re-exploding my tire) went to the only activity for the day, which is kinda like free tutoring for high school students that we run. While we were doing that, we dropped my bike off at Asahi(The bike shop I bought it from) and they fixed it for free because of the warranty.

There is a group of kids who live near our apartment who routinely visit us and ask for candy, and on Thursday I made the mistake of giving them some Jelly Bellies my parents sent me. I think Japanese kids are far more affected by the sugar contained in American candy due to Japanese candy having less sugar, as they acted as though I gave them a cup of pure caffeine. They were insane. I also am almost out of jelly beans now. They do have jelly beans here in Japan, but they aren't the same. They're more savory than sweet.

The last thing of any notable things we did was on Saturday. On Saturday we met up with Motomu, a potential investigator, and taught him a lesson on why the gospel is important. That was really fun. Next, we went with Yuta, one of our eternal investigators, and essentially just hung out. We were going to go and capture some clams, but couldn't find anywhere to do it. So, he pulled out some dollar store water guns and we had some fun spraying each other. Then we went and got ice cream. Saturday was a good day. :P

I got a request from my dad to talk about how missionary work is going. The reason I don't normally talk too much about how the work is progressing is because it basically isn't in Kisarazu. We have no real investigators, so it's all finding. And as much fun as explaining exactly where and how often we go door to door or do street contacting, I figured I didn't want to bore everyone. (^ ^)

I'm also getting transferred! I'm leaving Kisarazu and heading to the Tokyo East area. The biggest section of it is called Adachi (足立 in Japanese), and it is an actual ward. It's a small area too, so YAY, LESS BIKING AND BIKING MISHAPS. My new companion is named Elder Merill, which sounds familiar, although I don't think I have ever met him. Should be fun!

The Bike of Doom!

I also Skyped with my family on Mother's Day, which was way fun! As much as I love Japan, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't eager to get back home and see them in person again! They also told me a very special secret, but I won't say anything more. The only hint I am going to give is that it doesn't involve cantaloupe.

Mother's Day Skype Call - Loving the Bike Helmet Hair

My scriptural thought for this week is from 3rd Nephi 13. Christ is among the Nephites, and He is talking about prayer.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

This is one of the things I really love about the gospel. Heavenly Father sees in secret, and can hear your prayers wherever or whenever you pray. It is very comforting to me to know that wherever I am, I can pray for help and be heard. The answers may not always come immediately, but they always come in some form or another.

I am glad you all like my emails so much. My dad told me he gets bugged about it when he doesn't post them to the blog as fast as he can, so I assume that means you all like them! Feel free to message me if there is anything specific you want me to talk about or send pictures of!

Sent from my iPad that I wish was a Surface
Elder Thomas Harper

"A mind is like a lemon, no matter how hard you squeeze it, you won't have honey. When you squeeze honey though, you get a sticky hand. And probably chased by a bunch of bees. And that sucks." -Elder Farnworth

Monday, May 2, 2016

P-Day Email 5/2/16‏

This week was interesting. I started it with basically no sleep, as you saw in my last email. I found out where they were coming from though. Someone had left the sliding door upstairs open just a crack, and the mosquitos had been coming through. The curtains were shut in front of the door, so we didn't notice. Either way, I got to sleep pretty well for about three days until something else happened. I'll cover that later though.

I went on splits on Tuesday with another elder. It was really fun for the first few hours, although later on I decided to argue with the road. It won. My bike hit a rock less than a centimeter in size, and it made the front wheel skid just the tiniest bit. Normally this would have been fine, although it made my front wheel hit the curb. The end result of this was that I was basically thrown from my bike, and while I was skidding on the pavement the bike bounced off of me. Kinda hurt just a bit. Either way, I screwed up my elbow and ankle pretty good, and ripped my pants, so we headed back to the apartment. I have been limping since, but it doesn't hurt nearly so much anymore, and I can bike decently now.

On Friday I went to a big field day that the stake was having. It was really fun, although I couldn't do much thanks to my argument with the road. Sadly, my true nature as a vampire decided to show through, and I did what all vampires do when exposed to direct sunlight. No, I didn't sparkle, that is the dumbest misconception about vampires ever. No, instead I burned. I got home and looked like a tomato. The red shininess emanating from my being would have put any tomato to shame. And as a result, I still am getting no sleep. Figures this would happen right after fixing the mosquito problem, right? :P

Last thing; I found kanji I can use for my name! If I change the pronunciation a little bit by making it from ha-pa-(Since that is the Japanese version) to ha-pa, it then has kanji. There are two. The first option (The one I am more likely to pick) means leaf. It would look like this: 葉っぱ. The second is this: 発破. That one means mining explosive. I.E., my name would be Elder Dynamite, more or less. I'll probably have my name tag be the first, and use the second for everything else. :P

I love you all! Thanks for all the emails you guys sent me! I got more than 35 emails for my birthday! I wish I had time to answer all of them! I don't remember if I already said this, so I figured that I would say it now! Talk to you guys next week!

Oh, I also changed my signature to quote something funny one of the elders in my zone said. What do you guys think about it?

Sent from my iPad that I wish was a Surface
Elder Thomas Harper

"A mind is like a lemon, no matter how hard you squeeze it, you won't have honey. When you squeeze honey though, you get a sticky hand. And probably chased by a bunch of bees. And that sucks." -Elder Farnworth