Monday, June 29, 2015

Misawa Transfer 3 Week 3

Ai suru tomo yo, Konnichiwa.

I failed to write an email last week, sorry! These past 2 weeks have been nothing short of awesome. Last Friday, we gathered as Aomori (northermost zone) and Morioka (my last zone) zones in Morioka and got to hear very personally from Elder Michael T Ringwood and his wife, who's the daughter of the apostle Russel M Nelson. It was such a cool experience. They were so cool; very personable, they were able to remember our names very quickly in just the couple of hours we were together; and their message was eye opening for me! President Ringwood talked about the 4 parts of faith- desire, belief, hope and action- an awesome topic that I will surely use when teaching my investigators and other lessons. At the conference in Morioka I also got to see my two trainers- Elder Hoskyns and Elder Anderson who will be returning home this transfer- picture attached.

Last Sunday in the Japanese branch I gave a talk. Well, you can call it a "talk" or you can call it 15 minutes of brutal Japanese practice. Either one is accurate. It was super funny- since the branch is so small and not threatening, whenever I didn't know the word I was trying to say I would just ask Elder Erickson over the pulpit, in english, and he would help me out. The talk went okay though despite the language barrier.

So basically our schedule here in Misawa is studies, teaching lessons to investigators or RC's, attend meetings, teach either Japanese class for the americans or english class to the Japanese students (Tues and Wednesday nights) then head to dinner on base at one of the Military members homes. The food is usually succulent and delightsome to the tastebuds. On Sundays we go to the Military ward from 10-1 and then to the Japanese Branch from 2-4. 
So, nothing too special happened these last few weeks besides that except for the storm we had yesterday and Saturday, it was insane. It was rain and very strong wind for those two days without end, yet, was not a typhoon. We got pretty wet doing our missionary work, it was exhilarating. As far as I have experienced so far, it makes you feel like a savage missionary when you're out doing the Lord's work in the rain or during a storm late at night and in harsh conditions... I may be speaking too early cause I haven''t experienced northern Japan's winter yet..

I've been able to meet the coolest people these past few weeks and have been blessed from their experiences and wisdom. This past Saturday, Elder Suzuki and I went to help a member move places (a few hundred yards across the street.) Although the wind and rain was crazy during the move we were well covered and it didn't hinder progress. There was a large showing and a lot of support from the ward and afterwards, Brother Hilton, the Colonel of the medical force here in Misawa and in charge of the on base hospital took us out to lunch at this place called Lakeview Grille. It was so. dang. delish! He was so cool tho. Has a family of 6 and currently has a son serving in El Salvador, a year out, and the rest of his family is back in America supporting the birth of his second granddaughter. In a somewhat similar stage of life as my family is right now! He's got 3 more weeks of being away from his family, 6 weeks in total, until he moves out of Japan officially and finds his final destination in Ohio serving Air Force. (There's always families moving in and out during the summer, getting reassigned and moved around.) So he was feeling a bit lonely I think, can't blame the guy! But I mention this because of how impressed I was that even with his high rank and success, he is a man of humility, kindness and genuine demeanor. He loves his family and does the right thing, and I have learned a great deal about the military and all the benefits that come from it. But it impresses me when I find these people with on the move lifestyles and a lot of chaos going on around them but are able to maintain their focus on Christ and the gospel.

On Saturday evening, the Bishop from the military ward texted and asked for a favor- you guessed it, he needed me to give a talk. I didn't have any time on Saturday to sit down and start writing it so I spent an hour and a half on Sunday morning, right before Sacrament meeting, preparing my talk. I spoke about what President Ringwood had taught us about faith and then went on to address the three questions "what is faith, how do we build our faith and why we should care about growing it." God definitely helped me out in the situation cause the talk ended up going rather smoothly despite the mere preparation and showing up to church right at 10 with soaked pants and shoes :)   

Well, other than meeting and eating with a lot of new people and a lot of awesome families, these past two weeks have been full of fun and good growth. I love you all, do your personal best this week to think of all of the blessings in your life!

Elder Dallin Robins
Robinzu Chōrō

Monday, June 15, 2015

Misawa Transfer 3 Week 1

Greetings from America.

Here are the highlights of the days of this past week.

Monday- packed my stuff, played some good ping pong, said goodbye to some people.

Tuesday- last work day in Akita. Met with our new investigator- Hayato, the 21 year old english tutor. He's way fun and way tuned to hear the gospel. We taught him about God and prayer. He actually knew quit a bit more than normal Japanese people about Christianity - we found ourselves teaching stuff we don't usually teach, like the difference between Catholics and other Christian based religions from ours. It was a great lesson! He prayed to end the lesson and everything, it was very very good. And afterwards, he introduced us to his friend! Who could also turn in to a new investigator. We had some fun, the four of us went to "purikura" and for those who know what that is, it was only for the sake of BRT (build relationship and trust) :). That was a lot of fun. The rest of the night was a bit of a bummer for me.. we had an appointment with Jerry, our rockin investigator, my last time I'd see him. So I was planning on having a memorable goodbye and all but he called and said he couldn't make it... I was so bummed. Love that guy so much and have grown so close with him but never got to say my goodbye. Hopefully the next time I see him, he'll be baptized and a good, active member. We'll see what God has planned for him. 

Wednesday- Took a bus from Akita to Sendai from 10:00 - 1:35. Walked to the church, saw and talked with all the other missionaries transferring and exchanging, reunited with Erickson chourou (in my apartment my first transfer) and walked to our bus stop where I then reunited with Elder Hoskyns! (first trainer). He will be in our zone. He's training a new missionary in Hachinohe, south of Misawa. We took the 3:10 bus to Hachinohe and arrived at 8. Said bye to elder Hoskyns and his new missionary. Erickson and I hopped on a train to Misawa, arrived around 9! Long day of travel thats for sure. Met my new companion, Elder Suzuki.

Thursday, Friday- Got our passes to go on the Air Force base. Ate amazingly delicious, authentic american pizza. Ate cinnamon toast crunch for breakfast. Met new people and had english class.

Saturday- Suzuki choro and I drove to Aomori for the Aomori district meeting. That was an all day event. Got home at 945. Long day full of straight Japanese- exhausting. 

Sunday- Met with all the people I could! In the morning, President and Sister Smith came and spoke at the second part of the Aomori district meeting. Luckily, the meeting was held at the Misawa building so we didn't have to make that drive again. That was really good,, got to meet and strengthen relationships with new missionaries I haven't met yet and with the Misawa church members I will be serving for the next part of my mission. 
After the Japanese district conference, the Military ward had their church. I LOVE THHESE PEOPLE! Probably because I'm able to express myself now and can actually talk with them since they're all American, but nonetheless, they are still very cool people. The Tokyo Stake President for the military wards in all of Japan happened to be in town, President Madsen. I was able to meet with him and built a good relationship! He knows where Danville is cause one of his companions on his mission was from Danville. He had all 4 of the Misawa missionaries get up and bear our testimonies. Self intros, why we are serving a mission, and how we can get members involved with our online proselyting (Facebook). So it was good to get to bear my testimony and put myself out there in front of the ward! So excited to get to meet with, work with and have american food with all of them! Thats the blessing of Misawa- the only place in the mission you'll get fed every night of the week. Such a blessing. Sunday night we got to meet the missionaries best friends- the Mahlums. We had hot dogs, Dr Peppers, and other fattening foods. To end the night, we held the monthly traditional with them of eating a whole Habanero pepper- straight up. It was BRUTAL. The first 3 minutes are nothing short of h-e double hockey sticks. lava just flowing down your throat. The heat remains for the nexthalf hour, even as we chug down milk to cool it down. Made me drool and cry and all that jazz. The burning lasted all the way to Monday morning when it came out the other end, whoops! TMI. Sorry, not doing that again. I would take that out but I find it necessary information to better inform everyone of the effects of the habanero challenge. 

Monday- So far, we've played soccer, which is a weekly thing, with a bunch of moms! Its actually crazy competitive! After a couple of hours indoor soccer we go get lunch at the onbase food court. It's amazing. Taco bell, subway, Charleys, Pop Eyes, and Pizza Hut. And then we go to a members house to email and eat more food. I am going to get fat. 

This week there's been some amazing personal revelation which has helped me to better understand the Atonement and why it was truly necessary. Very deep, very exciting doctrine. The talk that enlightened me was called "The Atonement" by Todd Scouses or something like that. Ah such amazing insight. Anyway, if you have time to read it, I highly recommend it, completely changed my perspective on life. 

Misawa is great. Im so stoked to be here. My companion is hilarious and doesn't speak really a lick of English so looks like I'll be learning a lot of Japanese this transfer. There's a lot of cleaning up to do in terms of changing some bad habits set by two dying missionaries that were here last transfer, the ones that Elder Erickson and I replaced. But Elder Erickson and I are doing our best to fix things up, stay focused on the work and change things to be more effective with our time. Misawa is a blessing, I'm excited to be here and excited to do my best to turn this place into a better missionary focused area. Love all of you! Enjoy summer:))

Fun fact: you can now send me anything for the normal price of sending something to america! If you're interested, shoot me an email. Okay! Go warriors:)

Elder Dallin Robins
Robinzu Chōrō

Monday, June 8, 2015

Akita Transfer 2 Week 6

It's been another awesome week! 

Today, I officially ended "bean-hood." Being a bean (or "greeny") is the first 2 transfers, or 12 weeks of your missionfield experience. Basically the baby of the mission. But ya, that officially ended today- legitly felt like it was my birthday this morning it was such a feat. Yay

On Tuesday and Wednesday morning, we had a mission wide 24 hour fast. The purpose of it was to pray that God will bless this area of Tohoku (known for it's lack of numerical success) to open the hearts of the people and be more receptive to our message AND to help us as individual missionaries to become more consecrated and "full-purpose" (involved not only with investigators but with all members and projects of the church) missionaries. It was a powerful experience and I grew a lot from it. Our district of 4 broke our fast on Wednesday by riding up a big hill in a park, on empty stomachs, to a nice secluded place surrounded by nature. We all bore testimony, opened our hearts and committed to be the best missionaries we could be. Afterwards, we rode another 4 miles on an empty stomach to an all-you-can-eat meat place called stamina. It's the sweetest place ever- I'll attach a picture.. by the time we left, we weren't feeling very hungry at all and had to ride 5 miles back home in the rain feeling like whales on bikes.

TRANSFER CALL came in on Saturday. I'm leaving Akita unfortunately but heading to a place every missionary here wants to go, a place called Misawa! Small northeast city in Tohoku- an American Air Force base! That means there'll be American food, American people, American stores (something like Wal-Mart!) and a lot of things you can't get anywhere else in Japan! Super sick. I'm so pumped. My new companion is Japanese- his name is Elder Suzuki and heard he's a funny guy and that we'll have a lot of fun together and since he's Japanese, that means my Japanese will "grow in leaps and bounds" according to President Smith. Elder Anderson, my current companion, will stay and end his mission here in Akita. Akita, this past transfer, was made up of 4 elders and 4 sisters. 2 of those sisters just hardly went home due to health concerns, and the other companionship of elders is moving out and not being replaced. So what once was an 8 man area will now be a four man area and a lot more work for those 4 missionaries, ganbarimasho! 

Just got news that the Warriors lost by a smudge in game 2. Sounds like an exciting series. I think the Lord is laughing at me- the year the Warriors explode is the year I head out on my mission.. which means I can't watch them anymore.. Pretty sad but I see the humor.  

This week was also good because Elder Anderson and I worked our butts off and got some solid numbers... We found 2 new investigators. Both young, cool and super nice guys interested in english. So unfortunately, I won't be working with them since I'm moving to Misawa but for the brief time we got to know eachother, i really liked em a lot! My boy Jerry is very close to setting a baptism date; probably the middle of July. Bummed to leave him behind as well, love that guy so much. 

Anyway, hope y'all are doing well and getting ready for your summer vacations! Do your best with your school finals and at work! Love you all.

PS: Happy birthday to my dad this Saturday June 13th! He turns 39 for the 9th time... And happy father's day to him and to my excellent role model grandfathers I have. Love ya!

PPS: Go dubs!

Elder Dallin Robins
Robinzu Chōrō

Stamina: looks kinda gross but trust me when I say its succulent.

The 8 man. Top left to bottom right: Michioka, Mailes, Me, Anderson, Arashiyama, Ishikawa, Davis and Collyer. Collyer and Ishikawa Shimai went home :(

Monday, June 1, 2015

Akita Transfer 2 Week 5

Ohaiyo Gozaimasu!

This week was pretty incredible! I learned a lot, grew a lot, and had some good cultural fun.

 We had our first zone conference in which the mission president visits the zones in the mission and does a training to help us be better missionaries. He calls them "revelatory sessions" in which we are individually edified on ways we can improve and become a more "consecrated" missionary. That was the theme of this conference- The Consecrated, Full-Purpose Missionary. To make things short, consecrated means giving your heart and will to the Lord - which two things are the only thing we have that God doesn't own. It means giving up personal desires, unfocused thoughts and ulterior motives and then submitting fully to God's will for us and for His children. Yes, it is pretty much as hard as it sounds. It's no easy task, but it is motivating and the growth that comes from losing yourself is so very rewarding. I grew a lot from that conference.

Another thing I learned this week was one of the tougher lessons I've had on my mission so far- that my humor doesn't exactly work here like it works in America... Don't worry, I didn't make a fool of myself or anything publicly embarrassing like that, it was just a gradual thing that built up I think. But ya,, Japanese people don't understand sarcasm and they don't really understand joking around very well. Which, for anyone that knows me well, is PART of me. My companion was good in explaining it to me that you kind of have to adapt and learn when to use your humor and when not to. Hard stuff, but it's good I learned it earlier rather than later.

This past weekend was crazy sweet! Ever since the 2011 Tsunami in Sendai, Tohoku (northern Japan- the region that makes up the mission) has put together festivals that are aimed towards getting the people of Tohoku "genki" again, to make them happy and pump them up. There are 6 "ken"s or county's if you will, that make up Tohoku. Each ken has there own cultural festival thing. So Tohoku put this thing together that once a year, they have all 6 kens gather together in one of the 6 kens. Akita has it's own ken and I was very lucky to be here when it was Akita's year to host! We missionaries went of course with the focus of dendou in mind and talked to as many people as we could. We hung out all day with this super cool 18 year old I had met the day before at the train station, which was a miracle in itself, and we had a ton of fun. (That's a cool story to tell but too complicated to write out). Anyway, we were out and about from 12 to 8:30, watching a lot of cool cultural stuff, meeting a lot of people (there were around 3 million people in Akita this weekend, most of whom were out on the streets, super super crowded!) and soaking up the sun and fun. I'm definitely blessed to have been one of the lucky missionaries to be at the right city at the right time for the once a year in northern japan event.

That's about all for this week. Love and miss yall! Have a good one!

Elder Dallin Robins
Robinzu Chōrō


a competition they had where they balance these things that weigh 50 kilos (110 lbs) on their hips, shoulders, foreheads and even mouths, trying to get it as high as they could. Pretty cool/ random

still don't know