Loved ones around the world,
Elder Robins tuning in here from Japan. To answer some basic questions from y'all, here in Japan we watch general conference (one of the two times a year the prophet of the Lord and his apostles address the church) a week later, so I haven't seen it yet but am pumped for it! It will be my second to last general conference as a missionary! The food is great and not always as Japanese or Asian as you might think, although we do eat a fair share of raw fish, rice, and other strange foods. All of which I love (for the most part)!
My companion, elder Okamoto is a stud and I am learning and growing so much from him already! He's one of the older missionaries in the mission because of his early on commitments to attempt to get into the best musical college in Japan. He is a musical genius- specializing in the clarinet. You name a tune, any tune at all, and he can play it just about flawlessly, even if he doesn't know it! Don't know how... He's a great companion, way mature and thorough in the work, and I will learn lots with him in the days to come.
Weather report: A couple days this week of beautiful temperatures- brisk but sunny. Rain for a day or two. Still a bit chilly outside but overall it's getting better!
Elder Okamoto and I had some interesting and memorable first couple of days together. We had a day where it was raining so we had to walk and we decided to go visit a less active way out there. We walked probably about 2 hours to arrive at this mans door. He obviously had no idea who we were but when we introduced ourselves he, without any hesitation, yelled "DAME DA!!!," (... Doesn't translate well but pretty much NOOO!!) slammed the door and locked what seemed to be three or four locks "click, click, click, click." We stood there with smiles on our faces, said "arigatou gozaimasu, genki de!!" (Thank you! Take care!) Gave eachother a high five and walked home.
Plenty of other interesting and unusual experiences so far with elder Okamoto!
My birthday was another rainy and busy one, a few hours spent on the train, just as last year's was! However, this time around I wasn't sick as a dog which was a sure blessing. For my birthday present from God, I was blessed to be able to go to Misawa, a prior area, and attend/witness a baptism for Nakabayashi San! An investigator I began teaching when I was there back in September. Although we had to run for 20 straight minutes in the rain, in suits and coats, sweating quite a bit to catch our train, it was so worth it! We got there an hour or so early, which meant the military members were still there! Got to see and greet almost all of them again which was so great! Elder Okamoto worked here as well last summer so it was a good and fun experience for him as well. We then taught young men's on the spot and had a good lesson about baptism, the Holy Ghost and how to invite it more into our lives, and enduring to the end. We then had the baptism! Besides the fact I had to give an on the spot talk about baptism at the service and that Nakabayashi San almost hit his head on the faucet on the way down into the water, it was great!! We then attended the sacrament meeting for Misawa Japanese branch and got to see some old faces of those I worked with and loved. The old women are my favorite part- although they don't remember my name, they remember my face and the fact I remember their names makes them so happy:) love Misawa. We visited our ward mission leaders house on the way home which he said never happens (he lives so far away) and taught about finding joy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Got back on the train towards Aomori, walked home doing some finding on the way, and finished some studies and on to reporting for the remainder of the night. Busy but good birthday!
Learned from this birthday experience that focusing less on yourself and focusing a whole lot more on others WILL bring you more peace and joy than if the day is spent celebrated on you. That was what the day was like yesterday as there was close to no celebration on my behalf but much celebration, service and love on the behalf of others. And man was it a rich experience, I wouldn't of had it any other way.