Monday, September 26, 2016

Step 1: Follow the Kokoseis Home

Hello all of my peoples. Today, marks my last time I get to spend September 26 as a missionary. Well, from now on, all of the days are like that. And all of the days after the fifth have also been like that. Weird right?!?! 

Anyway, this week was great, we spent a lot of time inside though. Shoutout to everyone in the MTC! Hahaha! Anyway, on Monday we had to go give a training with Elder Tokuzawa in Nagoya and so our Pday was gone and also Monday night. So no real dendo on that day. Then, since we got special permission, we were able to do all of the things we couldn't get done on Pday; i.e., shopping and cleaning and the like, we got to do that stuff on Tuesday. So that was pretty much all of Tuesday because then we had a typhoon that night and we were told not to go outside, so we did a lot of phone calls and more cleaning and stuff like that. Then on Wednesday, we had to do our weekly planning and we had a lesson! First lesson of the week was on Wednesday! Crazy.  It was great though! We got to teach Tezuka about the Law of Chastity. Which is still kind of a weird thing to teach about...especially to a woman. We had some great members there though, so it was great. Actually to be more accurate, we were at their house. Really good though, she agreed with everything and will have no problem following it. She still isn't sure about prayer though. This week, she will pray. 

On Thursday, we still didn't really get to dendo. We had interviews with Ishii Kaicho and then we had a lot of missionaries from the Nagoya area come to Hamamatsu (we had the interviews in Hamamatsu by the way) and they sang for us and stuff. We had to leave early to go teach eikaiwa. We had a party in eikaiwa so we only got to see a little of "The Mormon Show." We got to go to Fuji's eikaiwa and have a Hawaiian party. We sang a song from New Zealand and passed it off as Hawaiian and then we had some people that do ukulele and hula dancing come, and a girl in our ward that served her mission in Hawaii gave a presentation on the culture. It was fun. 

Then on Friday, we had DTM, so we were, once again cut out of some of our dendo time. Afterward, to make up for it we had a blitz koukan in Fuji with the zone leaders. So we had two hours of double dendo. So that was good. And we had a pretty normal day for the rest of Friday. Then on Saturday, it was our first normal day. We got to do our studies like normal and then we got to dendo right after lunch. Of course, we had a ton of lessons on Saturday, it was awesome. Also it rained pretty hard on Saturday. 

On Sunday, we had a good ol' time. We went to church and neither of us had to talk, so that was a change. And then we had shokujikai after church and it was really fun! Then we got to go housing and talked to a lot of people. It was really good to be able to go out and really work. 

Today we had District Activity and went to Atami to the beach.  It was way fun and we got some cool shells. I once again proved my worth in Frisbee and found out I am really good at finding small things and animals in the ocean. Unfortunately, we couldn't go swimming, you know, missionaries dakara. Even with a lifeguard. 

Have fun my friends.    

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

One day I will get it right,

However, today is not that day.

Hello everyone!
        I'm sure you are wondering why I'm emailing so late. Well, this morning, we got to go to Nagoya in order to give a training to all the youth in the mission about family history.  Pretty cool right, also with Elder Tokuzawa of the Seventy we got to teach.

        So this week was pretty good! We taught a few lessons that were awesome! We got to teach Mizusawa on Tuesday and for the first time in my mission, I had a Shimai as the tachiaied. We had Wakatsuki Shimai come and help us teach, it was awesome! We talked about tithing and so
in order to get the point across, we used the time old classic of dumping candy on the investigator. Or in other words, we give them ten yen and ask for one back and will will give them lots of "blessings"
if they do. So they give you one yen and then your companion dumps a whole big bag of candy righty in front of them. It's a really good way to visualize what really happens with tithing. And he was so funny with it, I said ok, now give me one back and he was like, "for you I will give two."  So that was fun, and then after we gave the candy, he said this is all for one yen right? And he was like, what if I give you another one? He is the funniest guy ever! I love him! He is literally so awesome. And he has been so prepared by the Lord. He was talking about when he was young and it reminded us and Wakatsuki Shimai of Joseph Smith. It is super cool to see the different things that the Lord puts in our path so that we can do the things that He would have us do.

        The other awesome lesson that we had a member present was with Tezuka! It was super great! We taught the Word of Wisdom and then at the end of the lesson, we ended up committing her to read and pray every day this week rather than to follow the word of wisdom. And this time she said that she really wants to know, and that she will do those things more seriously so that she can receive an answer if it is true or not. We were so excited that she would finally accept our challenge to pray.

        If the other things that happened this week were that we had a koukan and it was way fun! Elder Ootsu and I had a good ol' time in Fuji and went to a lot of people's houses to see if they still live there. It was good. And we also had sports night on Tuesday and it was way fun! One of the member's son-in-law came and it was way fun! He is from Indiana and served a mission in Sapporo. And he's really good at basketball. We had a good time. And then we had been focusing really
hard on family history in order to prepare for the training that we were giving and saw some cool miracles through that.

        Well I hope you all are having fun and remember, it's not about who is there at church each week, it's all about who should have come and who wasn't there. Let's fill all the chairs, and if we have to buy some more, that's probably a good thing.

        Have a good time and really on the One that can get you though it. (I'll give you a hint, it's not you).
          Elder Richardson
Rice Field

In Japan, we have earthquake proof trucks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

When Life Gives You Lemons. . .

     Actually, I have never understood that phrase. I like lemons, and lemony things. Of course if we are talking about life lemons, they are pretty lame.

        Well, this week was really a tough one. We worked really hard and luckily for us, it is getting a lot cooler. However, this week, we didn't get to really teach anyone. We only got to have one lesson. At the beginning, we had a lot of lessons scheduled, then a lot of people were called into work, their family had a baby, you name it. It happened and made it so we couldn't meet. So we got to have a lot of time to try and find some people.  Unfortunately, this week, we didn't do much finding, we did a lot of looking. We talked to so many people, and had some great conversations about the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and they just wouldn't meet with us again.

        All that being said, this week was great and we saw many small miracles! We found that the key to these miracles is, you guessed it, obedience. Usually when we think of obedience, we think of rules and the commandments and such. However, this should not be the case!!! We have a great promise in D&C 130:21 (many people think this must be my favorite scripture, I use it a lot) that says, "And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." So if we think of obedience, we should think of blessings! You want to gain the blessing of feeling the spirit more, you should testify and share the gospel. You want to be more healthy, you should obey the Word of Wisdom, not just the part that everyone follows, all of it! If you want to have a better relationship with your family, try family home evening, family prayer, and family scripture study!

        So we tried obedience at the beginning of the week. And we have been studying the missionary handbook more and there are so many blessings we can gain from that little guide. Then we looked at what our missionary leaders have asked us to do and thought, have we been doing everything we can for that? NO! If we had then everything would already be done. So we worked a little harder on all the commandments, rules, procedures, and all the things we are asked to do. Although, we didn't see any huge miracles, we have felt the greater outpouring of the spirit that is promised throughout the scriptures.

        I'm sorry that this email is a lot shorter and a lot more preachy than my previous emails, but you can all deal with it. So we have worked on that this week and I invite all of you, no matter where you
are, what you are doing, and what you are supposed to be doing, to come unto Christ and be perfected in him! Work a little harder to be that person that you have the eternal potential to become! In the words of President Hinckley, "Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike.

        Let us do these things that the prophets have been asking us to do for as long as they have been prophets! In order to do this, we need faith, not a "perfect knowledge of things;...[but a] hope for things which are not seen, which are true." And now I say with Alma of old, "Now, as I said concerning faith--that it was not a perfect knowledge--even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge. But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." Try it, if you don't believe it, try it out, if nothing happens, go on your merry way, however, if something does happen, then
keep going, because then you can know that it is true. If we don't try it, then our "faith [having] not works, is dead being alone." So I challenge you to try it.

        Try not only the commandments that seem hard at first to people who don't know them, like giving up coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and tea; but try the little ones too. Those little commandments are what lay that foundations of faith in Christ so that "when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you."

     And so I now leave you with the final counsel of Alma to Helaman, "O my [family and friends], do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever. And now, my [beloved family and friends], see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. [And now], farewell.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Whoah, we're halfway there...

Whoah, livin' on a prayer

        Well I go home in one year from today. Weird. How time truly flies.  I'm sure that time has gone a little differently for others, example: mom. At the same time, though the time has taken a really long time. I almost feel like I haven't been home in years. After all, it feels like I have been in Fuji for about a century. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome, but it has just been a long time.

        This week we got to see a lot of miracles. It was great. On Monday, we had an awesome lesson with Mizusawa, who's real name is Masoud Hejazi (he's from Iran), and Matsumoto Kyodai came and helped out. It was a great lesson and we got to talk about God's plan for us. So cool that we know exactly why we are here and what we are supposed to do. At the end of the lesson Mizusawa San had a ton of questions about funerals and things as a member of the church in Japan. So we were glad that there was a member there that could answer those types of questions.

        Then on Tuesday, we had a good ol' time and got to teach the Uematsu family. They were happy to see us, as always, and even though they weren't coming to church on Sunday, they agreed to fast with us for fast Sunday! That day we were on fire! We would teach and in the middle of the lesson they would say something and we would switch and talk about that and then at the end of the ressun we even had a reading assignment for them that we had agreed on without saying anything. It was really cool to see the spirit guide us when we taught that day. While we were on the way to teach that great family, we stopped a high school student that was walking home from his club. He was great! We talked about the Book of Mormon, and he even took a copy and made a next appointment with us to meet the next day and he gave us his phone number! We were pretty excited! Unfortunately, he called later that day and said that his mom wanted us to erase his number from our phone and didn't want him to meet with us. #momblocked

        The next day, we went down to Mersy Shimai's house! It was awesome! Her husband was there and everything! We got to talk to them and we shared a message about fasting and how it can help us. We committed Mersy Shimai to fast and to share her testimony at church. She was a little worried to do that because she thinks that her Japanese isn't good enough. So we told her that she could just do it in Spanish if she wanted and if she did, we would go up and do it in English. We told her that even though people won't understand the words, the cool thing is that they will understand the spirit that they feel. So that was a great experience on Wednesday.

        Then on Thursday, we had to go to Numazu again to help with their eikaiwa class. We went to Indo curry and found out that you should never go for dinner time. It is expensive and they don't have the set we like for dinner, it's a lunch only one. So we got the lady's set and all felt bad that we couldn't finish it. Then we got to teach eikaiwa! I love teaching people English, and it really nice because it free, so people don't have much of expectation for it. Just that we speak English and so they will get better than they were before.

        Then on Friday, we got to go to a great training in Shizuoka and they talked about our commitment and consecration to the work. It was a really good meeting and the spirit was really strong. It was cool to see how our goals for the zone this transfer came from us individually
(as companionships of course) and how huge of a goal it can become if we all do the things that we are trying to do for our own areas. That day was also one year from when I entered the MTC so it was super weird to think of that. So we went and got pizza. I know, super Japanese.

        Then on Saturday, we did a less active member blitz! We just made a route and visited a bunch of people! It was way fun, a lot of biking, but super fun! And we got to meet with a less active member that we haven't been able to get a hold of forever! And on the way, naturally, we were talking to people and met a guy that was interested! He lives really far, but maybe we can get someone to drive us! Hahaha!

        On Sunday, it was fast Sunday and it was great! We had Mizusawa come to church and also Mirai! And a lot of people shared their testimony in sacrament meeting and Mersy Shimai got up and bore her testimony! In Japanese, I was excited to hear the Spanish, but Japanese is good too. It was really great and our investigators said that it was really good and they could definitely feel the spirit. That night we got to go housing for a long time and we found a person to teach! She was way excited to see us and at first thought we were Jehovah's Witness, but then we said we were a little different and so she wanted to listen to us. We told her about eternal families and we have an appointment for
today and we are hoping we can teaching her family! That would be so great!

        So in other words, this week was fantastic! There was one point that some guys from the nichiren sect of Buddhism told us that Jesus had no power because he died and that only from their religion we can be happy. It was pretty similar to what we say, except we don't yell at people when we are telling them about our church. It was interesting to see the scriptures about still small voice and loud voice being fulfilled. It was really interesting to see as well the perception that they really had of Christ.  For one thing they were misinformed and thought that he had his head cut off. So we got to explain that that was a different prophet named John the Baptist. So in other words, Matthew 16:14 is still true. We had a great week and got to testify about Christ's power many times and feel it in our lives. After all, we are here and speaking Japanese. If that's not Christ's power, I don't know what is.

      I hope you all have a great time this week and remember that the most important part of Language Study, and any other study for that matter, is prayer.

Elder Richardson

Pics or it didn't happen:

 Oceans are neat
 Shizuoka zone: Codename C.C.Lemon
This is one of the most Japanese commercials ever
They said Jesus doesn't have power... Lol as if