Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Akita Transfer 1 Week 6

Konnichiwa minasan!

Exciting week we got here- transfer calls! I'll cut to the chase- I'm staying in Akita but for Elder Hoskyns, he's outta here heading to Hachinohe to finish up his mission. Hachinohe is a northeast city in Japan and a place where they use a lot of sign language! So  he'll be learning a bit of Japanese sign language which is sweet.  He's been in Akita for the last 4 transfers (6 months) and he now has to say good bye right as things were really getting good here. But a thing about Elder Hoskyns- he has been an incredible blessing for my mission. He's the guy known throughout the mission as the nicest, most friendly and loving elder so I feel very blessed to have had him as one of my trainers. We got along perfectly, had a lot of fun and saw tons of miracles. Gonna miss him. My new trainer is elder Michael Andersen. From Elder Hoskyns, I've heard he is AWESOME. A big basketball guy, super nice, super friendly and easy going, and a really good companion. So as sad as I am to see Elder Hoskyns go, I am pumped to work with Elder Andersen starting this Wednesday! 

This week elder Hoskyns and I went on splits with the Zone Leaders! I was with Elder Reynolds, a Utahn. We had a blast! and had another "sports taikai" where we go to the public gym and play badminton, basketball and ping pong. It was super fun. Reynold's uncle is the CEO of the 76ers in Philidelphia  which brings me to my next announcement- My older brother Jake is getting home from his 2 year mission in Philidelphia this week! So exciting. His homecoming talk along with Ryan Nearon and Kira Stone's farewells are on May 10 - should be a pretty sweet Mother's Day sacrament meeting! Proud of them and their choices to serve the Lord.

In other news, we got our iPads on Wednesday- the last group in the whole mission to get them but hey- the first shall be last and the last shall be first - Matt. 20:16. The mission work here in Akita is really heating up! Our district of 6 has a possibility of 5 baptismal dates within the next month or so, which almost itself exceeds the goal of our whole zone! So really, things are great right now and the three missionaries transferring out of Akita are pretty bummed they're leaving at such a prime time. #CropHarvester 

Elder Hoskyns and I had a dinner last night with our favorite investigator Jerry! He took us out to a sushi place where I tried I think 12 different types of fish/sushi. Some of it was scary looking but none of them My favorite was the torched eel! おいしい ね!Jerry is so awesome. On the car ride home he was just expressing all the love in the world to us, especially to Hoskyns since he's leaving and won't be coming back. This next week is "Golden Week" which is I guess Japan's country wide equivalent of a spring break during which Jerry will be going home to Korea to see his wife, kids and the rest of his family. We mentioned whether he would want to talk to them about church and he's like "I definitely want to tell my family about church and will try to find a church building to go to in Korea.." Like wow. That kinda explains how perfect he is. We don't even have to bother him to do all of these great things. They come naturally to him. He's the best. Our other investigators are also great but not as perfect as Jerry :)

Good stuff. Love hearing from yall and now that I have an iPad, I'm able
 to check my email every day! (but still only allowed to respond once a week)  but feel free to shoot me an email if you have extra time! Love yall tons. Enjoy the presence of Jake Robins back in Danville!

Elder Dallin Robins
Robinzu Chōrō

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Akita Transfer 1 Week 5

Konbanwa everyone! 

One of those weeks that seemed to come and go! 

This week had some fun adventures for sureee. Tuesday, I was on splits with Elder Erickson, who has only been in Japan for two more months than me... therefore, neither of us can really speak Japanese. That is also the day we had our first lesson with Ritsuko (the woman we found housing last friday) so I was super nervous. Since none of us could speak well I was actually pretty scared for the lesson. I was afraid we'd blow it and that she wouldnt be interested anymore.. That wouldve been unfortunate. Luckily, we got a member to join! Which means we had someone fluent to help! He was a great help of course in clarifying things we were trying to say and helping to smooth it out a little bit (who am I kidding, he completely carried it! All we did was steer the conversation) and now shes an investigator for the sister missionaries! Erickson chourou and I had two other lessons that day that went really well actually! We were able to stay pretty busy- definitely a fun learning experience for both of us.

Took another trip to Morioka on Thursday for a rather vague training session on health. The MHS (Mission Home Squad) came from Sendai - nothing too interesting happened except for the fact that the group that came in with me in March finally got our training that we were supposed to get the first day we got here! That was a really good experience and learned a lot what our mission president (President Smith) is like and what he's about. We had to watch the Japan government's video on bicycle safety since we ride our bikes everywhere and it was hilarious- a nice teenage girl is riding her bike with her friend and out of the blue gets nailed by a car and goes flying. It was just so random and unexpected even the mission president couldnt help but laugh.

Last week at our english class, Elder Mailes apparently told all of the Japanese students that I liked umeboshi- pickled plum. Japanese love their umeboshi and its pretty rare that they hear a foreigner likes it... So at the end of class, five people came up to me and gave me jars and packages of this plum thing.. I acted grateful of course but was very confused why theyre giving me all these gross looking ball things. The worst part was they wanted me to try it right there and then! Luckily I had an excuse that I had a lesson to get to! All those plum things are still sitting on our counter at the apartment unopened and no ones planning on opening them...

I unfortunately dont have more time to write this week and unfortunately didnt write any of the spiritual experiences I had this week but I have seen God's hand in my life this week. Whether it was being able to find someones house in a foreign area or hearing something that I needed to hear or just being able to connect with investigators without speaking the language well, His hand is there, its always there, you just have to be looking for it and ask for His help.

Love always,

Elder Dallin Robins

Here's a picture of the beautiful pond/lake in front of the Morioka church building on Thursday.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Akita Transfer 1 Week 4


Its been a really great week! Seems like the immense amount of blessings aren't cooling off which is amazing.

Thursday was the highlight of the week. And it was a day I had been looking forward to for 2 weeks. Why? Because thursday night was our Sports Taikai! Or sports night for mission work! Which means we got to play basketball! So the days before Thursday I was really working on getting my hematoma leg ready to work and play and by wednesday, it felt great and ready to go! So Thursday night rolled around after a great day of mission work and I found myself starting from airballing a lot of shots and moving half speed (excuses: havent played in nearly 2 months and the balls werent very good ;) ) to playing a fun and light 5 v 5 with the other missionaries and 3 japanese people we invited to play with us. It was SOO MUCH FUN. Loved it. We talked with those 3 we invited to play with us afterwards and played some ping pong with them and introduced our free english class we teach on wednesdays and they said they'd go! But ya being able to have a fun time with everyone in the gym was really a blessing, a highlight of the month. 

On the way home, we were riding our bikes and found ourselves stopped at a stoplight next to this other foreigner! An american! They pop up every now and then but not often. Anyway, I asked him where hes from and he said California, I asked where, he said Sacramento! I told him I'm from Danville and he was like wow, I know exactly where that is. We both said, well, this is kinda weird. He then, seeing my Golden State Warriors sweatshirt and beanie, said Go Kings! as he rode the opposite way. Haha the odds of two Northern Californians running into each other at a stoplight at night time in a random city like Akita in a foreign country of Japan. Pretty funny.

Elder Hoskyns and I had an appointment cancelled on Friday night and had an appointment scheduled an hour later so we decided to do housing for that extra hour. After 3 buddhist houses, some nice to us and some not so nice, it was my turn to do the door approach. The house was pitch black inside and I was wondering why we were even ringing the doorbell, assuming no one was home and there was no point. But I rang anyway, a moment later a light turned on and a younger woman came to the door. I gave my pathetic and poor japanese door approach but much to my amazement and awe, the door stayed open. Hoskyns then took the reigns of the conversation once she started responding and all of a sudden, 5 minutes later, we had an appointment! We're meeting her tomorrow and we were both so excited to find a success. Door approaches are generally the least effective way to find new investigators, especially in a buddhist country like Japan, but God decided to keep pouring blessings. WE are truly blessed.

Our investigators are doing great. We had all three of them come to church (Sunday Morning General Conference broadcast) yesterday! I wrote in my journal describing the situation that it was like being a host for a house party- pretty overwhelmed with the number of people there that I had to try to please and on top of that, I had to please them in a foreign language! Luckily though, conference started soon enough and they were all seated and amused for the following 2 hours. Jerry SOAKED IT UP! He took some crazy mad notes and was really affected by it. He felt the Spirit. This morning, Hoskyns and I decided to push Kenjiros baptismal date back a few weeks for various reasons but plan on setting baptismal dates with the other two investgators- Jerry and Oshima - for the month of May. 

A lot of other good happened this week and I learned and grew a lot from the messages from General Conference. 

Commitment for the week: Say hi and smile to someone that looks a bit down. Its easy and it will change their life.

I love you!
Elder Robins

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Akita Week 3 Transfer 1

Hello friends and fam!

Its been a pretty fun week here in Akita! Ill skip to the interesting stuff that i can remember-

Caught a nasty cold on the second:] and was treated on my birthday to wake up at 5AM to catch a 6AM train to our first zone conference in Morioka! Trains are so exciting like wow. Luckily the train ride there is about 3 hours long so I got some solid nappage time that I took good advantage of. We got to Morioka, it had been pouring rain all day and - spoiler alert - it rained HARD all day long and all night long, but we took a bus to take us to the Morioka church building which is usually sweet looking but since it was raining and cloudy that day it wasn't as pretty. The building is just right across the street from a nice big pond/ mini lake with a bunch of swans and pretty trees, the swans out there having a good time just floating and making noises cause of the scary rain. It was definitely the sweetest venue for a church I've seen. 

Zone conference was great, Elder Hoskyns and I celebrated the 19th bday by walking/ getting drenched over to a sushi conveyor belt place where I had some great authentic Japanese sushi! And some not so great authentic Japanese sushi... I had the wonderful pleasure of trying out squid sushi and nato sushi. The squid was a white and very tough and chewy meat, not something Id eat again. The NATO. This is a monumental and must-do for Japan missionaries. It is this infamous food- fermented soy beans. If you search it on google, it looks like this disgusting bowl of snot. So it took me a long and dramatic 10 or 15 minutes to decide to put it in my mouth and then another minute and a half to eat it and get it down with out throwing it up, gagged about 4 times before I was able to throw it back. It was disgusting but awesome!
The train ride home was like 4 and a half hours long. My cold and the long day made me pretty exhausted so I slept the majority of the train ride home as well.

Other than that, our investigators are doing very well, we set a baptismal date with Kenjiro for the first week of May! Jerry is still progressing and soaking up our message, we got him to tear up in a lesson :] and Oshima is a being a bit of a twit.. but we think we'll be able to set a bapt date for him this week, perhaps the same day as Kenjiro!

There's a hilarious, classic, white guy in our ward that made us delectable homemade waffles saturday morning! Stuff like that is rare so i feel that may have been the greatest blessing ever, they were very satisfying.

They dont really celebrate easter here in Japan.. not even the church members do really. All they really did was acknowledge its easter and the rest was just like any other sunday. A bit different but it was still and us americans still valued the message of the day. :]

Been having a lot of success and a lot of fun so far here in Akita! Finishing up getting over the cold today, The people are great and have an awesome district. A bit scared for later in my mission when things arent as awesome haha but Im looking forward to another good week!

And thank you for all of the birthday wishes!! You are all the best and I love you all so much!

Have a good one!

Elder Dallin Robins

PS sorry this email was so long! Dont like doing that to yall

Authentic Japanese family- the Shindo Family. Elder Mailes and I were on splits for the day and were treated to some good old homemade japanese mexican food for dinner on Saturday.