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