zondag 7 december 2014

Goodbye Kurashiki # HelloTokushima

Hello. How is everyone doing?
Last week, during my final days in Kurashiki, I've felt so much love from the church members, investigators and all our other friends -- I was really in awe! A lot of investigators wanted to meet up immediately once they heard I was leaving that Friday. One of our investigators even gave me a a very nice and warm scarf, so that I wouldn't catch a cold.It was really heartbreaking to say goodbye to all the wonderful people in Kurashiki. I will never forget them and what they did for me.
And then I was in Tokushima. I met up with my goofball of a companion -- Powell chourou. Before leaving the apartment after having dropped off all of my stuff, he gave me a brief summary and description of all of our investigators in the area. After that, we took off and went to dendo!! That very day, we assisted an english class by a different organization as volunteers. The day after, we had a weekly branch gamenight, where we played different kinds of board games and ping-pong. It's a very good idea: members can invite their friends to come over and play -- and they also get a chance to meet us, the missionaries! We can also bring our investigators to become friends with the members! It was a lot of fun!!
The Tokushima branch is amazing! There's over 100 members here, and they are all really nice and loving people. I'm truly blessed with the opportunity to serve with such wonderful people here! I really want to strengthen and help them out as much as I can!
Also; today we climbed the Bizan mountain at 5 o' clock in the morning. After a long climb in the cold and dark morning hours, we got to the top and I layed my eyes upon one of the most amazing and breathtaking views I have ever seen. I saw the iconic Japanese red sunrise with my very own eyes. It was beautiful! Not only that, but we also passed a lot of cool ancient shrines on the way down. Japan is AWESOME.

Thank you so much for reading! I will see you all next week!
~Santos chourou


Whoa! Hey there! How've you all been?
The day has finally come. Last transfer, it started to dawn upon me that I would most likely move out by my 4th transfer. I'm leaving. The Kurashiki era is over. From now on, I will be serving in:
On a little island called Shikoku...
I'm going to miss Kurashiki so much...
And at the same time I'm really looking forward to whatever awaits me over there, in little Shikoku!
This week, here in Kurashiki, has been tough. We haven't seen much success at all. We've been searching all around, trying new contacting strategies and we even tried visiting former investigators and old less active members. Our efforts seemed fruitless. Numbers have reached a new low and I grew a tad grumpy.
A good thing to know, though, is that my efforts may have seen useless, but they were not in vain. Our zoneleaders kindly reminded me of that in our follow-up calls: they quoted various general authorities when talking to me. We are actually planting seeds for future missionaries to harvest; it really cheered me up and made me feel at ease. That's the power of the words of the prophets. Not only in the scriptures, but also the speeches of our modern-day prophet, his counselors, the Twelve and all the other seers and revelators chosen by God. They guide us in our lives and strengthen us. I'm extremely grateful for these exemplary men who share revealed truths of God with us.
Also! We've seen yet another baptism here in Kurashiki yesterday! The other elders -- elder Beck and elder Hansen -- found him 2 months ago, and he'd been making remarkable progress up until the very day he joined the flock. He's a really nice guy: he'll definitely become a strong member and a huge addition to the Kurashiki ward. It really made me happy to see our Chinese recent convert help the new one out before the baptismal service as well. So proud of him! Hehehe.
And what made that day even better was elder Hansen's birthday! We all came together after the baptismal service and ate some super tasty cake (a savory one at that -- kind of like shepherd's pie, but then... shepherd's cake). See the pics. Delicious!

That kind of sums things up. Thank you so much for reading! I love you all!
Stay strong,
~Santos chourou

Kurashiki, peaks & valleys

Hello, dear people!
This week has been like the mountains here in Kurashiki: high peaks and low valleys. Climbed and traversed through all of it. It's been one of those weeks. I'm super exhausted, hahaha!
Started off with a bang on monday. Preparation day was over, and it was time to do some dendo. For some reason, I was on fire (not literally) and feared no man we came across in the streets. We stopped every single moving thing to talk about the Gospel. I had never felt such courage and desire to serve before in my missionary life! We may not have found any people that day, but I was glad. I was glad because I knew that on that day, I did my very best and I knew that God is proud of me.
We've also visited less active members this week! Some of them were our kyuudousha already, some of them weren't. Those who are our kyuudousha are making a lot of progress. This week we visited one of those less actives again. As we shared our testimonies and experiences with them, he really seemed open and willing to make an effort in order to strengthen his testimony. He still hasn't come back to church, but we're getting there. We also visited another less active who hasn't been to church in a few years. We really focused on reading scriptures from the Book of Mormon with him. When we shared a scripture about how much God loves us with him, the Spirit really touched his heart and moved him to tears. He really desired to talk with God again in a long time. It was super swell!
And finally: this week I've had another koukan. I worked with Sorensen chourou, our District Leader, in Kurashiki. We had a full day planned out with lesson appointments. I was really confident that it was gonna be an awesome day and that we were going to get a lot of work done... until our appointments were cancelled. And then I lost confidence, and crashed emotionally. But I truly believe that God put Sorensen chourou in my path... because he lifted me up and taught me like no other. Sorensen chourou had been a victim of a negative mindset as well and he knew exactly how to help me. We may have taken a huge chunk out of the day just for training, but I feel like it changed me for the better.

That's it for this week. Thank you so much for reading this. Whoever you are, I truly appreciate you. Truly!

Have an amazing week,
~Santos chourou

zondag 23 november 2014

LOVE koukans

Hello there, peeps!
Can I start by saying that I absolutely LOVE koukans? Because I absolutely LOVE them. This time I went on a koukan with Mizuguchi chourou, an Okayama Nishi Zone Leader -- it was on a Wednesday. Before then, I'd been feeling kind of lost. Our investigator pool is sukunai (with old investigators being dropped here and there), and our finding efforts seemed vain and useless. I was starting to lose hope. But then, during that koukan, I learned a lot from Mizuguchi chourou's example, about being more active and, here it comes, BOLD. It seems I keep forgetting that I need to be BOLD. Mizuguchi chourou made me take the lead in some teaching opportunities. Even though I kept claiming that I can't speak Japanese well enough, he insisted that I actually could and that I should have a little confidence. Just do your best and be an active missionary, instead of a passive one. I left Okayama reinvigorated, with a roaring fire in my heart to preach the Gospel again! WHOOHOO!
We also had the baptism and confirmation of a 9-year-old kid we'd been teaching for a while. It was amazing. And we also managed to get his itsumo isogashii mother (who is a less active member) to come see both the baptism and the confirmation of her son. Finally, after pushing back many baptismal dates and facing diverse complications and problems, we did it!! Take that, Satan!
District meeting was awesome. Learned a lot from it. I'm also really looking forward to the Zone Conference this week.
Time is short, gotta go.
Thank you so much for reading! Have a great week!

woensdag 12 november 2014

Lost and found in Misushima

Hello, tomodachies.
This week has been very good. (I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of having a Japanese companion, hahaha!)
We finally had the baptismal mensetsu done for our shigansha. Our district leader, Sourensen chourou, did a koukan with one of the Kurashiki yonnin in order to get this done. There was no time to waste -- our schedule was really tight, so we had to go at turbo-speed, especially because our shigansha lives about 40 minutes away from Kurashiki eki. Sorensen chourou and James chourou, the district leader's companion, deserve props for their extreme efforts to make it in time. A lot of weight fell off of my shoulders and I could rest easy again; I was actually really worried we wouldn't make it in time and whether our shigansha would pass the mensetsu or not. The night before I prayed about this matter, hoping that my mind could be at rest once I did. The day of the mensetsu was hectic, but it went extremely well. I'm really grateful that everything went right. God really listens to our prayers!
Also; getting lost is good! Wait, what? Let me explain: one day, we had a lot of time on our hands. We decided we wanted to visit some old potential investigators in Mizushima. "I got this", Santos chourou said to himself while he lead the way to Mizusima. And totally got lost. But in being lost, we we're able to do finding in areas we had not been to before. And we found someone with genuine interest in the gospel -- he even wanted to meet up at our church to talk about what we share. Isn't that just marvelous?

And then there's kaki. You know kaki? I know kaki. I imagine it's the closest you'll ever come to tasting of the fruit of the Tree of Life.
Yes. I like it that much. And guess what? It rained kaki this week. Too hard to believe? Let me tell you the story of how we received kaki from members of the church, random people we don't really know and vague acquaintances. That's... the story. There's still a lot of kaki in our fridge. My companion was wondering if kakibread would be as tasty as it's banana-ey counterpart. Yatte miyou ka?
One thing that I've learned this week is to have confidence. A zoneleader told me the exact same thing. Even though I thought that our shigansha's mensetsu would fail or that I would never find that place in Mizushima, it all worked out. The Lord's got my back, after all. It's best if we don't forget that.
(Don't have pictures, so sorry, busybusybusy.)
Thank you so much for reading. Have a nice week!

Bijschrift toevoegen

zondag 2 november 2014

Yamaguchi in Kurashiki

Hello there, friends of mine!

Another week has passed and I'm exhausted. Which is both good and slightly less good (but mostly good, so don't you worry).

We've seen old investigators of ours rise from the dead and people whom we've met with before reemerge and have interest in meeting with us. Having a new companion truly is a blessing. Every time you transfer to another area you bring knowledge and a different perspective of でんど with you. Yamaguchi長老's arrival in Kurashiki was really refreshing and it offers me a total new way to look at the Lord's work. Plus, he speaks Japanese fluently, which makes phone calls and visits to people much more effective. Nice!

We've also been part of the confirmation of our Chinese investigator, who was baptized last week, as an official member of our Church. He also immediately received the Aaronic Priesthood! How cool is that! I truly believe that he is laying down the path to true happiness for himself and may to follow. I'm happy!

And now... the slightly less good stuff. (But still good... only slightly less.)

My new companion and I are still trying to find the "balance". We get along very well with each other, but preparing and teaching lessons is still a work in progress. The language barrier is probably one of the bigger reasons.Contacting people has also leveled up in difficulty. Since there's now a 日本人 they can talk to, they've ceased to speak  "かんたん語" and have switched back to normal 日本語. Following conversations between Yamaguchi長老 and someone else has become a little bit VERY HARD. If my Japanese won't skyrocket while working with Yamaguchi長老... well, that'd stink.

I have received some wonderful advice from the district leader and zone leaders concerning the sudden change of responsibility and companion. Whenever I get advice I can follow clearly I feel much more secure: I have a better perspective on how to become better in different ways. So I'm really looking forward to the coming week!

Sorry for the lack of pictures. Emailing times have been halved because of problems with the computers.

Thank you so much for reading! See you all next week!

maandag 27 oktober 2014

New companion, 1st Baptism & Halloween


This week has been hectically awesome.

First there was transfer day. The day had finally come for me to say goodbye to my trainer Carlile長老, who has taught me a lot these past two transfers. It had been a blast. After that, Yamaguchi長老 came in. He is an amazing missionary. I'm really glad I got the chance to have a 日本人 companion. All of that Japanese is making my brain work in Japanese more and more. Which is weird. But really cool!

Then there was this amazing ward activity: we had a Halloween Party. Preparing for the party took a lot of time and was also a little tough, but it was a heck of a lot of fun! We even got our investigators to come and it seemed they were having a good time! I love Halloween.

Also: one of our しがんしゃs was baptized yesterday (Sunday). I got to perform the baptism itself and thus I was a tiny bit nervous beforehand. By a tiny bit nervous I, of course, mean LOADS OF NERVOUS...ness. But it went really well and I'm excited to announce that the Kurashiki ward now has one more member. He's Chinese, by the way, and he's an amazing person: very kind and patient. How wonderful!

Another thing that made me stress out a lot this week was the fact that I have now become the "area senpai".Because my trainer and another missionary, Koyama長老, have transferred to different areas, I have "the most experience and knowledge about this area", so I have to take the lead in introducing Kurashiki to my new companion. Truth is, I don't really know a lot about this area or the people who live in it, heheh. It was tough. But we'll get there. Just a rough start.

Speaking of which, this is our 四人 in Kurashiki right now:
Beck長老 (Big American)
Yamaguchi長老 <> (Japanese master-chef)
Hansen長老 <> (He likes cats -- also, he's from my MTC district. REUNION!)
Yours truly (Mister Sandy Toes)

This week has consisted mostly of me curled up in the corner of my room, sucking my thumb and rocking back and forth anxiously. Quite stressful. But in the end, this week... 't was a good one!

Thank you so much for reading this, whoever you are. You are beautiful. I'm serious.

'Till we meet again.


Which way do you face?

Hello, ladies and gents.

This week has been really exhausting. You know how many people find out more and learn about the existence of God on their mission, right? I'm also learning a lot about Satan. This week I have felt Satan making me struggle more than ever before.

Like God, Satan is real. And Satan also has a purpose: to make us miserable, like he is. He is constantly trying to find ways to eliminate us, the missionaries, and to keep us from bringing ourselves and others unto Christ. His primary weapon? Our weaknesses. He uses those weaknesses and tries to paralyze us with lies and unwholesome whispering. He discourages, brings down, and makes us forget the miracles and tender mercies we've witnessed from God.

I know that God exists. I have known that for a pretty long while. I know He is our Father in Heaven and that he watches over each and every one of us. This is the very foundation of faith and hope. But what if you forget? What if you forget that He has always been merciful to you? What if you forget that He knows you -- better than you know yourself? What if you forget? Satan wants you to forget. And when you DO forget, he wins. When you DO give in to his lies, he wins.

This week Satan had convinced me that I am a weakling. He told me many times, over and over again, how it's impossible for a weakling like me to be a missionary. And you know what? I gave in to those lies. And it weakened me even more. I was having a hard time keeping a smile on my face, knowing that "I'm a miserable failure of a missionary". But then I remembered. "Which way do you face?" A phrase that stuck with me after the General Conference (see last week's post). Are we supposed to listen to Satan? Or are we supposed to listen to God? At the end of the week, I finally ignored Satan's whispers and finally tuned in to God. As I focused on everything He has given me and what joy I've felt by relying on our Lord, I was lifted up, strengthened and fortified.

God brings joy and rest. Satan brings sorrow and unrest. Which one do you chose?

Thanks for reading my rant. Sorry for the lack of pictures. I hope you've had a wonderful week.
Please take care,

maandag 20 oktober 2014


Do you like rollercoasters?
If you do, I have both good and bad news for you.

THE GOOD NEWS: this week has kinda been like an amusement park with
different, crazy rides every day.

THE BAD NEWS: this isn't an actual amusement park. I'm so sorry.

Here are some of the rides I went in this week:

It was just a regular day, until the skies grew dark and the moon was
visible. At first, it seemed like there was just a huge cloud covering
part of the moon. But the dark spot on the moon became bigger and
bigger! The first lunar eclipse I had ever seen! Not only was it a
beautiful sight to behold; many people were out on the streets, just
gazing at the moon. Apparently, when a lunar eclipse occurs, people
become philosophical and ponder deeply about life. It's at that time
that finding becomes really effective. We have answers to the
questions of these people, and we're here to share them! We've found
some interested people, whom we will meet up with soon.

(I tried to take a picture of the moon in Bikanchiku, but ended up
making a picture of the beautiful environment there)

"Reverse finding" is rare. We were trying to find some potential
investigators on our bikes in Tamashima, when suddenly we get a call
from this old man who wants to meet
up with us... IMMEDIATELY. That isn't unsettling at all! So we did!
Turns out this げんき ol' man was eager to know more about our free
english conversation class. He invited us into
this nice little bar he owns and talked to us a bit to find out who we
are and what we do. He
offered us a free meal in return for free english! Would you say no to
that? I didn't! We got a return appointment for the coming week. Yosh!

So on Saturday we had this big meeting at 12:00. Since we would be
taught a lot of stuff during that meeting, we decided to skip our
study-hours in the morning and just go straight to FINDING. And it was
GOOD. There actually were people roaming the streets for once, all
going to school and work. We stopped a lot of people and talked to
everyone we could. We found so many people who want to hear more about
Jesus Christ! It was insane! We decided we should do "morning でんどう"
more often.

These were some crazy rides indeed, but I think my favorite ride was
The meeting I talked about in "THE MORNING STAR" was the General
Conference, where everyone in the world gathers in their meetinghouses
and watches a broadcast of our president of the church -- our prophet
Thomas S. Monson -- and other apostles and general authorities
speaking to us. These only happen twice a year. We watched all of the
sessions (both Saturday and Sunday). The talks and speeches really
lifted me up, addressed my fears and struggles and gave me a better
vision as a missionary. I feel all charged up and ready to go!!

(We also went to Papa Pedro's Pizza Parlor on preparation day to make
and eat some delicious home-made pizza. I would say that no sandals
were harmed in the making of the pizza, but I'd be a big stinkin' liar
if I did; we hid one of our companion's sandals in the microwave-oven
the day before. You can figure out the rest.)

It's been a very eventful week, and I'm glad I get to experience
weird, crazy new things every day; things that are funny, things that
are less funny and things that fortify me and make me stronger
everytime. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to serve here in
the wacky lands of Japan.

Thank you so much for reading this!! I hope to see you all again next week!

Have a great one!


maandag 6 oktober 2014

Rainstorm & "Walk with Me"

Hello, my beloved brethren and sisters!! Art thou げんき??

It came to pass that I, elder Santos, have witnessed the passing of a
wondrous week, which doth fill mine soul with exceeding よろこび.


So yeah! It's been a good week, if you can't tell. Let's dip our toes
into the pool that is the pool of this week's happenings, SHALL WE?!

FIRST OFF! It was a beautiful Thursday. It was the day we were going
to visit one of our investigators with a baptismal date. She's been
wanting to be baptized for a loooong while, but she's always had
personal struggles and problems which made it so that she couldn't be
baptized. One of them is a so-called "はんたい husband": her husband is
completely opposed to her being baptized. We spoke to her about the
matter and decided to give her time to find out what the next step
should be. That Thursday we went to see how she's doing and to find
out what she wanted to do next. She told us that she wants to wait.
She doesn't want to step on her husband's toes. The baptismal date has
been erased and she's now in a state of baptismal limbo. Or something
like that.

So we decided to return to our apartment and call it a day, WHEN SUDDENLY--

"A wild RAINSTORM appeared!"

It was POURING. It was a 45 minute ride to our apartment. I was so
wet; the seas should've been ashamed of themselves. But hey! At least
my tire didn't pop! Hahahaha!

My tire popped.

Luckily, there was a bike shop just a few streets away. Still pouring.
We got some nice face-towels (Japan only) and got to chat a little bit
with one of the workers there. A patched tire and lighter wallet
later, the friendly man who fixed the tire offered us free カッパ. Or
rather, plastic bags with holes in them (made by yours truly). Made a
picture, had a laugh, got back home. What a day!

SECONDLY! We had another one of those lovely Zone Training Meetings. A
new mission theme has been revealed:

"True disciples -- one and all"  ===>  "Walk with Me"

I think the new one is better. The first one seems a bit focused on
the missionaries themselves and what they have to become, whereas the
second one focuses more on Jesus Christ and what we do as
missionaries. Our goal is to help others come unto Christ. As we
follow His example, we teach those around us how to do walk with Him.
I like it!

The meeting itself had a huge emphasis on Christ and His Atonement as
well. I personally think it was one of the best Zone Training Meetings
I've had so far. The zoneleaders talked about the importance of
strengthening the members in our church and taught us about being
loving and bold when extending commitments to those you find and
teach. I have personally learned a lot and my testimony if Jesus
Christ was strengthened and fortified.

At the end we also took a picture with our zone!

A lot has happened this week. A lot of progress has been made once
again, both personally and our きゅうどうしゃ made progress too! It's always
beautiful to see people so prepared to follow Christ and willing to
follow Him. It truly brings tears to my eyes. It's been a very
successful week!

I hope you've all had a wonderful week as well and I'll be seeing all
of you next week!
Well... actually I won't... 'cause... you know... I'm in Japan 'n' stuff...


zondag 5 oktober 2014

A mission is good for everybody...

ヘロ! ハウ アー ユ?

This week has been spiritually exhausting!!

I think it's safe to say that this week's highlight was the visit of President Ringwood, one of the General Authorities of our church, who has been touring a bit in Japan before he came and gathered with us in 岡山. That 大会 really reminded me of the good old not-so-distant MTC days in which we had Tuesdaynight Devotionals. Remember those? Ahh. なつかしい! It was a really good conference. Many notes have been taken and many things have been learned! One of the things that really stuck with me is when he said:

"A mission is good for everybody... but not everybody is good for the mission."

Oof! I beat myself up over that one! This is a reminder that we have to give it our all, or else we're just being a waste of space. Can the mission do this without you?

We had two こうかん this week. First I went to 福山 and served there with Weir長老. It was good: we found some people who had interest and taught a few lessons. Weir長老 really helped me during the こうかん. He taught me well during companionship study. He seemed to be a bit down though, but I later found out I "caught him at his worst". He is a hardworking missionary. It's no wonder he's been seeing so much success lately. (We also saw the Fukuyama Castle! Just look at it! And then at me! Back at the castle! I'M SO TINY!)

In the second こうかん Sproat長老 and I served here in 倉敷. I had to be in leader's position this time, as I supposedly know more about the area than he does. It was a tough こうかん. It went okay, though. Didn't find anyone, but Sproat長老 seemed glad he got to work so hard that day (we'd been biking all over the place). I guess it was kind of satisfying just face-planting on my futon that night. Slept like a baby.

Ran out of time. I have to go now. I hope you've all had a good week and I'll see you next time!


maandag 22 september 2014

To Joe

Hey there, lovely people!

I hope you like hearing about こうかん... 'cuz there've been two more last week! This time, they were 外人, just like me!

FIRST! I had a こうかん with Sproat長老. From Hawaii, he is. Very げんき, he is. Like Yoda, I speak. All jokes aside though, he is such a powerful teacher! Here's a cool story: we were just doing some street contacting in the evening, near the 福山(Fukuyama) えき. We came across an awesome kid, Ohio Guy (obviously not his real name), who was just heading to the library to study for his math exam. Completely ignoring his homework, we asked if we could join him and talk a little more about God. And so we did! And it was amazing! Even though we just met him, we all felt a strong connection to each other. The way Sproat長老 taught him about the Restoration just sent chills down my spine -- chills of awesomeness! Not only did Ohio Guy feel the Spirit, but so did I. It was amazing.

THEN! I had a こうかん with Durin長老, from California. That one was really tough, because this time, the こうかん happened here, in Kurashiki. That basically meant that I was in charge of being "the leader" that day. I screwed up a lot. But in the end, it was super awesome. He's a super swell guy. His Japanese is amazing, too!

FINALLY! We had a TTT meeting (Trainer Trainee Training). I got to see my MTC district! I don't think I have ever experienced such sudden glee! I was jumping up and down so much -- they must have thought that the mission had made me crazy, hahah! It was a very educational meeting and I'm super grateful for the opportunity I've had to meet my friends again!

Ran out of time, gotta go. Love all of you. Yes. Even you, Joe. Even you. 

(I don't actually know who you are, Joe. Sorry.)

Have a great week!

Personal Improvement

Did you know? 今日は(konnichiwa) literally means: "As for this day". Now imagine everyone saying that to each other all the time. Yeah. Japan is crazy. It's crazy and I love it.


I hope your week has been great, because mine sure has! So... let's eat this pie, shall we?
FIRST OFF! We've had some wonderful きかい to help some 教会員 this week. One of them is a very kind おじいちゃん who now lives in a hospital owned apartment. He's very さびしい, so we decided to drop by and read with him in the Book of Mormon. It was a nice experience and he really seemed happy afterwards! Ah... there's nothing like happy old people. Yosh!

THEN! We had another one of those lovely こうかん with the zoneleaders. Crook長老 is an amazing missionary. He has given me a great example of BOLDNESS and PERSISTENCE. Those two are essential to be a successful missionary. This is what I learned:

When contacting strangers, you shouldn't be afraid to open your mouth, even if it's in 日本語. Dodgeball, remember? You have the ridiculously skilled kid on your team. You can do this, as long as there's teamwork. If you aren't willing to pass the ball to him, you won't be pummeling the other team. Make sure the other team gets a good pummeling. With a side of scrumptious defeat. おいしい!
Don't forget.

But that's not all! Crook長老 also helped me overcome some inner trials I've been wrestling with for a decent amount of time... I have received answers and help for personal improvement and I'm really grateful for that!

ALSO! We had a greater focus on visiting less-active 教会員 this week. We have been able to speak with them, get to know them better... and invite them to pray once again and dust off the good ol' Book of Mormon and give it a read. All of the people who we're teaching and who are investigating the church seem to have made progress in one way or another. It's been a very productive week and I'm glad our hard work is paying off. It's thanks to that and, of course, our Heavenly Father, who has been listening patiently to my prayers and answering them in different ways.

(We also got some sweet Japanese flutes called しゃくはち from one of the less-actives. He made them himself. He had a few he needed to get rid of, so we got them as a gift! SWEET! Our neighbors are gonna be so happy!)

That's it for today. I hope you all are doing great!
See you next time!


Teaching & Biking

Hey there! How have you been?

This week has been super tiring!! Even though it's been an average missionary week, we had a ton of stuff to do!

IT GOT PHYSICAL! We went up and down, climbing countless mountains on our fragile little bikes. I wouldn't be surprised if I'd have bodybuilder-legs after my mission. It was exhausting.

IT GOT SPIRITUAL! We taught a ton of lessons. Remember how we found those interested families last week? We taught 'em all this week. Whooh.

I FOUND ANOTHER MONSTROSITY! It's a cute little lobster thing in one of the channels on the side of the road. I wonder if it tastes good.

WE SWITCHED ELDERS! Because it's a new transfer, Hayashi長老 (the one being carried by us) went to Himeji and we got Beck長老 in his place! He's big, he's blond, he's macho, he is awesome. He's from Utah, by the way.

I ran out of time! Sorry for the short update! Have a great week!


dinsdag 9 september 2014

Bold & Fearless


This week has been a BLAST! We've had an EXPLOSION of experiences! Being a missionary truly is the BOMB!

Let's quit the lame jokes and begin, shall we?

FIRST! We've had another こうかん! I went to 福山 to work with James長老. He's a funny guy, that James長老. While working we were just always joking and being a jolly pair of missionaries. It's been fun! I also learned a thing or two about being BOLD. COURAGEOUS. HEROIC!! 

As missionaries, we are called of God to serve as Jesus Christ's representatives. We have the authority to act in His name. Isn't that amazing? We're entrusted with such an important task! God trusts that we can do this! He's on our side! Can you imagine?! It's kind of like playing dodge ball at high school and having that one kid who's substantially better than everyone else, on your team!! We can do this!!

THEN! We had a Zone Training Meeting! The major topics were being bold and fearless (deja vu?) and involving the church members more in our work as missionaries. It's been very educational. The "being bold" thing is something I still have to work on. But it's getting there! Thanks to the ZTM, too! Oh -- and the mission president decided to drop by and attend the meeting with us. What a pleasant surprise!!

ALSO! My first てんきん is over!! Transfer announcements came in today. We got to know where we'll serve next! Santos長老 will be serving in...


Kurashiki. I'm staying! And so is my trainer, Carlile長老! Yay!

This week has truly been a blessing for me. We've seen a lot of success in our work and our prayers have been answered. It felt like all those weeks of hard work have paid off last week. As long as we're diligent in our work, we will see success. Our Heavenly Father will bless us. That's a promise!

I love you all. I hope you've had a great week!

maandag 25 augustus 2014

Probably Made In Japan

Hey peeps! Hope you've been doing awesome!

This week's gone by terrifyingly fast, somehow. My companion claims that it's gonna be even faster from here on out. Am I going to time travel?! はやい!

SO! Since I have the privilege of being the District Leader's companion (Carlile chourou is the Kurashiki district's District Leader). It means I get to go on more こうかん!! I got switched twice this week. Both 日本人. The struggle is real. We even did a lesson in Japanese sign language! It was CRAZY!! Sakamoto chourou (a Zone Leader whom I had a こうかん with) is a boss.

We also had a baptism this week! And by "we", I mean the other Kurashiki elders (there are 2 どうりょうぐみ here in Kurashiki). He was baptized yesterday. It was a happy day! The sad thing is: he left today. He is going to Sendai (further up north in Japan). I hope the church gives him a warm welcome, over there.

I've learned a lot, this week. Taking notes is important. Some of you have a journal, right? It's good to have a spiritual journal as well, to record any thought and impressions that come to mind during the week. I hadn't really done this as thoroughly as this week. Studying my notes really helped me to focus on my goals and gave me a good list of stuff to do in order to improve! I invite you all to keep improving actively. God will be able to strengthen you better!

Running out of time. Have to roll. Take care, everybody!

dinsdag 19 augustus 2014

Also made in Japan

Hey there! Good to see you! Long time no see!

Kurashiki 's been great, last week! I've had tons of fun! Here's why:

First! We had seminary with some members! We went so that one of the members wouldn't be alone. I learned something very important about the power of prayer, too. Through prayer, we can connect with God. We can gain strength for our trials, guidance for our everyday life and we can witness His love for us. This may not be new to you, but just in case you need some extra power: PRAY. Exhausted? Pray! Japanese is hard? Pray! No one listens? PRAY! You can do this! As long as you trust the Lord and believe that He will give you the strength you need to go on!

We also had a ward BBQ!! It involved meat, yakisoba, marshmallows and watermelon smashing! It was AWESOME!! (And also tasty, mmmmm)

We did some service for a member of ours! He had tons of wood to be lugged around! Hooray for lugging heavy chunks of wood in the searing heat, being roasted by the hot, humid air! I was boiled! But it was satisfying. Feels good to do good!

AND! We went to the Matsuyama Odori Festival! WE WORE YUKATA'S! WE DANCED SOME AWESOME FUNKY OLD CEREMONIAL DANCE! It was an amazing experience! I'm so lucky to be in such an awesome country with such an amazing culture!
(Plus! They filmed us because we we're gaijin, to hear our opinions about the festival. Just a short clip, though, haha!)

I have to go now! Hope you've all had a great week!

See you next time!


Japan Kobe Mission
4-6-28 Shinohara Honmachi
Nada-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ken
Japan 657-0067

(Voor het geval dat jullie mijn mail niet hebben.

Rijstvelden, Ward bbq (met een watermeloen pinata), en de Matsuyama Odori Festival!
(Starring: Carlile chourou! Ik heb teveel foto's van hem. Moet meer foto's van mezelf nemen!)

zondag 17 augustus 2014

Made in Japan too.

Hey there beautiful people!

My first full week has passed here in 日本. よかった です よ!

First off! Tuesday was my first time teaching 日本人 some 英語! I got to teach the advanced group, so it was easy as cake! For some reason I was really nervous. But it went great! (They said I'm a good teacher. SUCH FLATTERY.)

Then! We moved to our new apartment! The other one was 13 years old! すごく ふるかった!
We got a brand new, modern apartment! Even though it is smaller, it's super tidy and clean! すき です!

After that! We had our first Zone Training meeting on Friday! I got to meet tons of wonderful missionaries and our zone leaders! They're just superb! After a wonderful message about "Working with the Spirit", we went home with our spiritual batteries charged up!

And then! We had a wonderful "Music Afternoon" on Saturday. It was a concert (kind of like a talent show) organized by church members and it was held in the church building here in 倉敷! Eikaiwa students and other nonmembers were invited to perform as well! It was AMAZING! They even played Frozen's "Let it go!" 日本語 で!! And a ton of Studio Gibly sound tracks! AWESOMESAUCE!
(Oh, and us elders sang too. Can't say it was as awesomesauce as the rest)

Oh, and there was a typhoon here as well. Tons of rain and wind. No damage, fortunately. Well, my bike fell over, I guess.

It's been a pretty eventful week!

Oh! Also, the food's been awesome! Here's a list of おいし たべもの I ate so far:
カツ丼 (カツどん)
牛丼 (ぎゅどん)
たこ焼き (たこやき) <<== See picture!

And I have another monstrosity to show you! It's a せみ! It's huge, it's loud, and It's out to kill us all! (They're harmless). They are everywhere! Especially during Summer!

Whelp, that's all for this week. Thanks so much for reading! I will see you all next week!

Love you all!

Made in Japan

~Week 1~

Tuesday... Woke up. 2:00 AM... Time to go!!

After a ton of heartfelt さよなら-s (sayonara) and two arduous plane flights, we finally arrived in 日本! As soon as I stepped out of the plane, I found out that I was swimming in a pool of my own sweat. It's a little hot here. すこし だけ。(Google Translate this if you cant read it!)
First, we went to the mission home in Kobe and met with our Mission President and his Assistants. We stayed there for two days. HAD SOME REAL FOOD FOR ONCE! IT WAS DELICIOUS. We did some exercise, did some RADIO TAISOU. I think I speak for all of the senkyoushitachi when I say it's the MOST AMAZING MORNING-WORKOUT-STRETCHY EXPERIENCE EVER!! (It's basically just a fun morning workout radio program. They broadcast it every morning at 6:30-ish.) We also explored a little around the area. We went up a mountain and took pictures of the view. It was amazing.

After some training and orientation, we got assigned to our trainers and areas. I'm in Kurashiki! Look it up! It's a really big area! Really nice, too! Didn't have too much time to take pictures. Except for this crazy huge moth thing. みて ください。 By the way, that hand in the picture is my trainer's. A courageous lad, he is. He is also extremely すてき and likes to draw cartoons. He is really funny. I really like him! He is a great example and I can learn tons from him, heheh!

So far it's been really tiring. And fun! A lot of doors have been slammed shut in front of my face, haha. I truly believe that there's someone in Kurashiki looking for the light, though. A little rejection ain't gonna stop me. I have to give it my all.

I'm running out of mail time. Love you all! See ya next week!
~サントス 長老


vrijdag 25 juli 2014

Jumping with Joy

"Hello there!

How are you? Ah, great. Oh, me? Oh, you know, I'm just FLIPPING EXCITED. In 5 days, I'll be in a plane. But it's not just any plane. It's a plane heading to 神戸(Kobe)!! I can't wait, haha! We got our final itineraries last week. I am currently jumping with joy as I write this.

This week's been very special. I got the opportunity to go to Temple Square! Whaaaa? Let me explain: international missionaries get the chance to visit the Salt Lake temple in their last weeks at the MTC. So they get one whole morning off so they can tour around Temple Square. Unfortunately, the temple was closed so we couldn't go inside and have a session. But we still got to see it from up close. SO COOL. MANY PICTURES WERE TAKEN.

The devotionals this week were pretty awesome as well! In one of them T.C. Christensen s, a movie director, spoke to us (The one who directed "17 Miracles". Remember that movie?)
He spoke about his experiences while directing that movie and why he made certain decisions. The main message of that devotional was: "Live your life in such a way that you can be ready to serve the Lord at any time." In the other devotional, The Ellis family spoke to us. What? Family you say? Yes! Family! Not only did Stanley G. Ellis and his wife speak to us, but their 8 returned missionary sons and daughters as well!! Crazy! They all bore their testimonies and missionary experience. The devotional as a whole focused a lot on obedience and hope. And I really like how it kind of linked to the previous devotional by T.C. Christensen: by following the commandments and rules, you'll be ready to serve the Lord and claim all His promised blessings." Like a jigsaw puzzle! Heheh.

We also demonstrated "How to begin teaching in front of tons of new missionaries. I was really scared for some reason, but it went really well and we learned a lot!

I learned so much here in the MTC. I'm grateful for all of the experiences I've had, be it good or bad. It has really strengthened me. This is my last post from the States.The next blog entry will come from Japan, haha!

Please note: p-days (in which I can update this blog) will change to monday and the mailing address is changed as well. From now on, please use my new address in Japan if you want to send me something awesome through mail, okidoki?

Elder Pedro Serra Santos
Japan Kobe Mission
4-6-28 Shinohara Honmachi
Nada-Ku, Kobe-Shi, Hyogo-Ken
Japan 657-0067

Use only 'Japan Post' ( no Fed Ex or UPS, etc.) to send your letters or packages.

I love you all and I hope to see you next time!!