Monday, July 27, 2015

Misawa Transfer 4 Week 1

Friends and Family:)
It was transfer week so things were a bit all over the place. Last Monday night was so awesome! The ward put together a last minute get together barbecue/dinner at the Base Beach. We showed up kind of early and there wasn't really anyone there and so we were speculative if there was going to be many people there but by the end there was over 75% of the ward there with their families all together chatting, eating and having a good time. It was awesome getting to watch the strength and love of these younger families and to see them all together socializing, the kids playing with each other in the sand, waves of parents and kids going out on the boat and jet skiis (that part was actually way tough to watch actually, not being allowed to go out on the water! definitely made me miss it). Another cool part about it was that our recent convert that we're working with- a young, single, awesome super cool dude- since he works for the beach activities department, he was kinda of in charge of the whole thing. So it was awesome getting him involved and talking with the members of the ward. Overall, a heartwarming and super fun activity- makes me miss my family and home ward! 

Wednesday and Thursday- said goodbyes to Elder Suzuki and Okamoto as they headed to Akita and Yokote. Elder Erickson had to receive some leadership training in Sendai, so we had to head down south for weds and thurs. Down there, I had the amazing opportunity to spend one last night with not one but both of my trainers! Elder Hoskyns and Elder Anderson! They were both there for their last nights in Japan as they prepared to return home. It was great to get to talk with both of them one last time - but also very very sad to say goodbye... I'm going to miss them- they were amazing people and fantastic servants of the Lord. 

Elder Erickson and I got back to Misawa Thursday night and got right to work. we will have pretty packed schedules from here on out. Lots of work on our plates now that we're down to 2 elders, but it'll be an awesome growing period for us both! The Japanese is coming along and I feel like I improve each week but it is no easy language:) 

Misawa had a festival this weekend that was pretty cool! A lot smaller than the Akita one, obviously, but still super well decorated and a lot of fun for the 10 minutes we were there. It was cool to see a lot of the people come out wearing their kimonos and all Japanese'd dressed- even some of the americans!

Oh and the weather... It's a sweat shop over here. The humidity mixed with 85 degree heat- you can't run from the sweat. You go to the bathroom and come out dripping in perspiration. After a shower- sweat. Walk outside completely refreshed and a minute later- sweat. AC is a luxury here- so really the only escape from it for us is at the church. But ya, lots of sweat! Definitely something I'm not used to being from a hotter, but a lot dryer of a climate. 

Hope y'all are doing well and soaking up your summer. August is this weekend which means your summer days are coming to an end :( so, enjoy!


Elder Dallin Robins
Robinzu Chōrō

Beach Party #raw

beach party sunset! 綺麗ですね!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Misawa Transfer 3 Week 6


Hit my 6 month mark this last Tuesday. Time is flying. We had some awesome fun and good food this last week. Learned how to play racquetball, got to play basketball inside on a real court (first time in a while), had a homemade steak dinner at a members house and a whole lot more of good things. Went on splits with one of our zone leaders, Elder Takeda, in Aomori-  the northernmost city of our mission. That place is awesome and so much good fun. We were able to hand out 9 Books of Mormon! Pretty uncommon here in northern Japan, so that was a faith builder. I had so much fun doing missionary work up there with Elder Takeda and learned good techniques and tips on how to do mission work better. One of those tips is called "Gaijin power." Gaijin= foreigner == me. This really is a tool us gaijin use when finding. We use our lack of knowledge and our american-ness to our advantage. If you're a native, you have an "awkward" barrier upfront but when you aren't a native, that barrier isn't there. It is your best tool as a young missionary and I'm learning I shouldn't be afraid or embarrassed to use it. Isn't that neat?? haha
Transfer calls came: I will be staying. [Intense, I know. You can wipe the sweat off your forehead.]
Elder Suzuki will be going to Akita! My first area! Super cool and I'm so excited for him even tho he's very upset to be leaving the "wonderland" as our mission president calls it, of Misawa. He'll soon be working with my old friends there in Akita and hopefully knock some sense into Jerry who still isn't baptized... Elder Okamoto, a STUD third transfer missionary will be headed out and our area is now down to two elders, as we predicted- those two elders being Elder Erickson and I! This will be our third transfer living together so we're already pretty close and know a little bit about how we work together. I'm way scared to be honest. Elder Erickson is only going to be a 6th transfer- still very young in the language and he and I are left to fend on our own to teach what used to be 2 companionships worth of people who used to be taught by experienced or at least native missionaries. Elder Erickson will also be District Leader in charge of 2 areas and 6 missionaries. He's such a stud. Super diligent and very focused on using every minute of time wisely. 

These next 6 weeks are going to be hectic. We will have a very tight schedule, jam packed with lessons, visits, meal appointments and finding. I feel lots of challenges, hard times and growth are ahead of me personally and for us as a companionship, but I'm ready for the challenge. Reliance on the Lord is going to be key.  
Yall are awesome. 

Elder Dallin Robins
Robinzu Chōrō

Good portion of the Misawa Japanese branch. Yep, pretty tight bunch :) Love them so much!

Elder Suzuki and I in the middle and two awesome brothers on the outsides. Left one is a return missionary the one on the right is 18 and doing a stellar job preparing for a mission a year from now. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Misawa Transfer 3 Week 5

Konnich- Elder Robins' incorrect abbreviated version of hello!

Been a fast 5 weeks here in Misawa! Holy smokes.. We had a very good week and have been working hard in the heat and humidity. I'll go ahead and update you on my day so far- had our weekly soccer game with the american moms on base this morning, always a good time. Then went to Kappazushi for lunch- conveyer belt sushi place- super tasty. And now I'm here at the church. That's my day. 

This week, my testimony of prayer was strengthened as Suzuki chourou and I made some ambitious goals. In order to achieve those goals we knew there was no way to do it without fully relying on the Lord's grace and mercy to lead us to people to talk to. I said personal earnest and fervent prayers for the Lord's guidance, power and courage. The goal we focused on was handing out Books of Mormon. The first day we aimed for 4 during our somewhat small amount of finding time. During that time we were unable to find anyone to talk to and all of a sudden it was 7 PM coming from a dinner appointment. We stopped at a conbini to use the bathroom and there were 4 high school boys there. We were able to start a conversation and relate the gospel to baseball, the sport they all played. We handed them each a copy and a card with our number and it was very cool to still be able to reach our goal when it was dark and the day was coming to an end. This then happened a couple of days later with the same goal- we found 4 high school girls at the park. We asked questions and they listened about God then we gave them each their own copy of the Book of Mormon and specific places to read and also gave them our cards with our number. Although we didn't get any contact information both times, I believe we helped plant seeds in these young people's lives and I continue to pray that they will read and want to hear more and then be urged to contact us, if not now, sometime down the road.

Although we had some numerical success this week, there was also some points of learning and growing. Working with Elder Suzuki is a great learning experience and its good to be surrounded by Japanese and his very powerful personality, but it isn't easy. Communication and planning sessions has, several times ended in frustration for me this week where all I want to do is talk to someone in English (which is great with Elder Erickson in the apartment). I studied up on patience and am trying to do better to stop him and ask when he's talking too fast or saying words I don't know. That has been helping a lot! Simple, but effective. Overall, good growth and learning experiences for me here, early on the mission, but it's getting harder! 

We're currently working with 2 women in their 50's and 60's. Tsumoto struggles with her testimony of God's love for us and doesn't seem very motivated to do her commitments. Our other investigator, Kimura san, struggles with the belief of Jesus Christ. She has great morals and agrees with a lot of our standards but seems a bit too prideful to experiment upon the word and ask God if it's true. We aren't currently teaching any americans but we are working with Recent Converts and Less Actives. 

So there's this big wave of missionaries that are about to end their missions here in our Sendai mission- a group of around 25. With them leaving and receiving not nearly as many as are leaving, the mission areas are going to change quite a bit this next transfer- most areas will be going down to 2 man areas.. So, although I've only been in Misawa for 1 transfer, there's still a decent chance I'll get moved around somewhere else... We'll see, stay tuned next week! (I find out on Saturday)

PS: I haven't mentioned this yet but Misawa is known for it's very steep and hilly landscape. The church (the central place to be) happens to be right down in the bottom of the valley, surrounded by huge hills on all sides. We don't have cars in this mission, it's all on bike. And I found out yesterday that professional bikers from all over Japan come here to train on these hills! These hills that we go up and down several times each day in button up shirts and slacks in the wonderful summer heat! Anyway, thought I'd mention that to those complaining about not having AC in their cars :) :)

Love you all, miss you all a bunch, enjoy the summer fun!
Elder Dallin Robins
Robinzu Chōrō
a rare sight in Japan- bless.