Sunday, October 25, 2015

Kamisugi Transfer 6 Week 2

Good morning!

Hope you all are doing well and swell! 
Elder Murakami and I have been working away, doing our best to find those the Lord has prepared for us to teach! But so far, no cigar. Gotta keep working!

A couple things to share: This week was our zones zone conference! That is the one that happens every month and a half or so where our mission president comes and inspires us, teaches us, and helps us be better. This was my 3rd time around and it was amazing as the other two were. The theme was The Book of Mormon. Learned a ton! 

Chiasmus. A form of ancient Hebrew poetry that is used in the Book of Mormon several times. The question came up, why didn't the Lord want the Book of Mormon to start at the climax when Christ actually visited the Americas?? The answer, the Lord made the order of the events in the book the way it is for a reason. And the center of the Book of Mormon is King Limhi saying he would do anything to give away his sins to know God- Emphasizing some of the main and central points to the doctrine of our church- Forgiveness, repentance and change. President Smith then went on to go through the first chapter of the first book of the Book of Mormon and pointed out like 20 different principles of the church all outlined in those short verses. It was amazing to see. The fact that the chiasmus is in the Book of Mormon is just another testimony that Joseph Smith truly did translate this book through the power of God. No way an uneducated man could make up such a book full of amazing truths let alone know what a chiasmus was and coincidentally form the book and the chapters in chiasmus form... Cool stuff! 

And I'm blanking on everything else I learned but just a super awesome experience getting to learn and grow so much in just a few hours. Definitely left the meeting inspired to teach and preach the greatness of the Book of Mormon and how it really is for everyone. I wish I could just have you all watch this conference! Full of amazing insight. 

Still loving the area! Trying hard to make an impact on the ward and influence them to get psyched about mission work. My vision of doing that is to find, teach and baptize very soon here, but its the Lords timing. We just gotta prepare ourselves better! 

Japan is amazing. The people are way fun. They love foreigners. They love practicing their English with us, which is one of our main ways to get people to talk with us haha. Love the culture. Love what I'm doing.

Yall are awesome. Everyone send me a picture of them in their Halloween costume and I'll hold a little costume contest and give the winners a shout out! 
Have a good week yall!

Elder Robins
Here's a picture of Elder Larsen and I on splits just getting done playing playground basketball with future kindergarten teachers!

A, what we realized, was a professional surfer here at the beaches of Sendai! It felt awesome running my toes through the warm sand probably for the last time until next year. Fun day! This was also on splits with Elder Larsen.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kamisugi Transfer 6 Week 1

Minasan ohaiyo gozaimasu!

Hope you all are enjoying the cooled down weather as I am over here! I'm way lucky so far with the locations I've been assigned. I've been in a middle-north city for spring, a northern city for summer and now a southern city for winter. Getting the mildest of seasons I can manage which is nice while the luck lasts.

I'm in my new area with my new bean Elder Walker Murakami. SUCH A STUD. Like already way fly at Japanese, he knows most all the terms and the do's and don'ts of missionary work and all the other stuff you learn much later as a missionary. Second transfer missionaries don't usually know as much as he does so I'm way impressed with how well he's killing it. Loving working with him, its the same as working with a 4th or 5th transfer missionary- way easy and smooth.

Kamisugi (downtown Sendai) is way awesome! People everywhere always available to talk to, the environment is easier to work in and there's always effective things to do! Im in my first actual "ward" as a missionary here in Japan which is so different from what I've had up until now. In Misawa there was a branch about 22 members at church each week, in Akita, a branch about 45 and here, a ward of 100. Its awesome. Church yesterday was a blast. The YSA (young single adults, basically the college students who aren't married) are so funny and active and awesome. The other members are the same. Just a bunch of fun loving people. They all have what we call "dendo fire" - means they are all-in for growing the kingdom, getting involved, being behind the missionaries 100% and they themselves inviting their friends to Come unto Christ. Its an awe inspiring enthusiasm. 

I was put here at an incredible time period as well. The ward mission leader and bishop have been working on this ward mission plan for what seems like the last couple years all designed to have an amazing impact on the ward members and the missionary work here. From it, they expect to see tons of new members and growth for the area. It should boost success through the roof. Way exciting. They're calling it a "dendo (missionwork) explosion" and they're launching it in December, which, assuming Ill be here for another transfer or 2, will be in the heart of my time here. I am definitley blessed but also very unqualified to be here at such an awesome time but I am so pumped! This area is awesome, full of energy, and full of focused fun.

This week we met with one of our investigators named Aratani san. 86 year old, fluent in English through teaching himself and loves reading, sleeping and meeting with missionaries. He's been meeting with missionaries for like 20 years or something crazy like that, has met with nearly 100 different missionaries, has a huge stack full of their business cards, its nuts. So, my first time meeting with this guy who's had tons and tons of lessons but not budging on baptism, was a wayyyy spiritual one. We were able to dig right to the core of what his hangup, his concern is with getting baptized. From this lesson, I found an answer to a personal question I've had recently which is "why is having a testimony in Joseph Smiths experience and the restoration of this gospel so crucial for conversion?" I learned personally the power and importance of this very thing from this man. The thing this sweet man is lacking is an open heart to accept answers from God, whatever they may be, and to realize that someone has had the same exact questions of "why are there so many religions, especially within Christianity, and which one is true!?" that person being Joseph Smith. Joseph acted on his question and received an answer! That answer is answered in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. That's it in a nutshell. And my purpose right now is to share that with as many people as possible. Its why its called the gospel- it is the good news! Knowing that Joseph Smith established Christs church again here on the earth is key to progression towards Christ. Thats how it works out in my head of why having a testimony in the Restoration of the gospel is important!

Being back in a 4 man apartment is awesome, always getting to interact with more people than just one. My zone leaders are way sweet. My companion is an awesome missionary. The ward and people are awesome. Loving the city life so far. 

Until next week, know that I love you all and pray for your growth and safety! 


Elder Robins
a beautiful Old lady in the new ward who found success bobbing for them apples!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Misawa Transfer 5 Week 6

Hello everybody, excuse me for not sending out an email last week, trying to figure out a new system dealio.

A lot has happened this week. We had our little trip to Oirase Gorge last Monday followed by an awesome dinner and message about Gideon and his 300 which afterwards we had a super intense and spiritual-but-no-cigar lesson with a less active. 

Tuesday was more or less the same as any other Tuesday I've had here for the last 4 months. We visited the sweet old Kashiwazaki Shimai, read with her and she fed us junk food and showed us around her garden. Then we headed over to Uno Kyoudai's home. He was a convert of a few years so he hadn't yet been to the temple! Well, he went to the temple the weekend prior and that's what we wanted to talk about- his experience. My favorite thing he said was that all the tension and uneasiness, the pain in his shoulder and the anticipation of what was to come from this new experience that he had before walking in to the temple flowed out of him as soon as he entered the doors. He said all the noise and commotion from outside in the land of Tokyo was silenced once he entered and he felt an overwhelming feeling of "wow, I'm in a good place surrounded by good people." It was awesome to hear. Following that was the next thing that always happened on Tuesdays. Pizza night at the club with the Mahlums followed by Japanese class at the church. 

Wednesday was splits with my long lost friend Elder Erickson! We did work! Our plan was to visit 3 people- 1 Recent convert, 1 investigator and 1 potential investigator we had never met before. They were all up in the air as to whether we'd be able to meet with them or not which is why we had plenty of backup plans but miraculously, much to my enjoyment, we were able to meet with and have a lesson with all 3 of them! It was a small miracle but a faith-building one nonetheless. Then we had dinner at the Mahlums and a lesson with our American recent convert, Matt. He's been doing practice lessons, we call them "mogis" where we role play and practice teaching. He's great at it and it was fun!

Thursday was good.
Friday morning was zone training meeting in Aomori, a little funky having it on the day of transfer calls cause they make all these announcements and zone goals to a bunch of people who may or may not be there for the next transfer... It was super good though and full of much needed training. Always love zone meetings for the social aspect too! Afterwards were some adventures on the train ride home- left a package a fellow missionary wanted us to send off for him on the train. As it sailed off to Hachinohe, we had to talk with a guy to get the package off the train in Hachinohe, then we had to travel down, pick it up and head right back to Misawa. 2 hours later, what was going to be our time to do weekly planning turned into preparation for our lesson for dinner that evening. Dinner was delicious- with a part member family the wife is a korean and gives us SO MUCH FOOD. Its quite ridiculous matter of fact.

But yes, TRANSFER CALLS came in HOT right after that dinner appointment. The phone call started off, "Elder Robins, I wish I could keep you in Misawa forever but..." at that point I knew my stay here in Misawa was over... I'll be heading down to a place called Kamisugi- downtown Sendai! I'm pumped, I think I'll do well in the city setting, being able to talk with everyone I see and making lots of contacts. There'll be tons of people to talk to all the time, tons of people to teach and we will stay busy no doubt. I'll be second half training Elder Murakami. He was first half trained by who is now the new AP (trained well..) I hope I don't ruin him:) We will be in the apartment with the zone leaders down there- a couple super cool and fun guys. 
Mixed feelings about leaving my home and people here in Misawa as we've seen a lot of success and a lot of potential recently. But I guess the Lord needs me elsewhere! I will go to this awesome area and try to fill in some shoes way too big for me but as I rely on the Lord I'll knoww what to do, how to do it and I'll have a lot of help. 

On Saturday, we did our best to get our general conference sessions in but stayed busy setting up projectors, a member taking us out to an all you can eat meat restaurant and with a lesson with our new investigator, Nakabayashi san!

Japan missionaries recently got new pamphlets that run through three things simply and clearly, and, in Japanese. They go over what to expect from meeting with the missionaries, Who is God? and Who is Jesus Christ? They. are. awesome. So handy. This week with Nakabayashi san we ran through the Who is Jesus Christ pamphlet. We had our branch president and a recently returned missionary join the lesson with us and it was so awesome. He committed to baptism and we were going to set a date but he works on Sundays right now (you have to go to church 3 times before you can be baptized) so he said he'll do his best to make it work. Keep in mind; every time he meets with us in Misawa, he's driving down 3 hours from Mutsu on his little sit down motor bike in coold weather. Commitment. He's awesome and man, he is SOO prepared. The Misawa missionaries should see him getting baptized in the next transfer or two. 

Just got done playing some basketball with some authentic black people. They were blasting some of the music I listened to in "the life before", all kinds of hilarious slang and sayings and man could they jump. So happy I got to ball out one last time! It'll be a while til I'm able to have competition like that I'm sure. 

Alright, well, Misawa has been tons of fun. Seen a lot of people come, a lot of people go, met tons of people, taught a lot of lessons and ate a lot of delicious food. Gonna miss it but I'm excited to move back into what missionary life is really like here in Sendai, Japan. Until next week,

Love you all!

Elder Robins
 my main man Matt


Sho and Ko Sasaki

our pday soccer gang!