Sunday, May 29, 2016

Aomori Transfer 11 Week 3

Hi y'all!

Hope you all had a good week. With school coming to an end and only two more weeks left til it's summer break, exciting stuff! By the way, talking with some people here about school vacation time- American schooling has roughly 1/3 of the year off due to vacation, not including weekends.. Japan has school year round with limited and spotty vacation periods plus their weekends more often than not have schooling, sporting and cramming school events. So be grateful for Americas schooling program:)

We had a really good week. Found some new peoples to teach, got to see all my friends in the mission and had the opportunity to see and hear from an area seventy, a member of the Presidency of the 70, and an apostle! 

On Monday we had some extra time before dendou for the rest of the evening so we went to the basketball courts to see a PI and play some basketball. By doing so, we found a new investigator and ran into the sister missionaries investigator and her daughter and got to talk a lot with them about good wholesome, deep things. Then we headed to the church and had a lesson with Fujita San.

Tuesday was a long meet with Fujita San. He made us food. Then him and Elder Okamoto had a jam session at a nearby park. Picture attached below. Had a lesson later that evening with a new investigator named Miura. Single guy, works at the prefectural office, pretty solid lesson, we're meeting with him again on Thursday.

Wednesday was the big event. The one time of year where the whole mission gathered together to hear from church leadership. We grabbed the morning bus to Sendai, grabbed some lunch at my favorite gyuutan place as an apartment (cow tongue, famous in Sendai) then headed to the church to be spiritually fed. We first heard from our President, Pres Smith and his wife. They bragged about our greatness in front of the other leaders present. We then heard from a member of the area presidency and his wife- the Yamashita`s (same ones that visited our mission in Januray.) They are so solid and full of character and just way genuine and fun Japanese people. We then heard from Elder Gong of the Presidency of the 70 and his wife. Although he has an asian name and face, he is very very english. Powerful man. We then sang as an entire mission of about 110 people "As Sisters in Zion, Armies of Helaman EFY Medley." Brought the house down. I couldnt sing for parts of it cause I was crying. Afterwhich, we heard from Elder Gary E Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12 and his wife. He is the youngest member of the 12 at 61, but is already so wise and powerful and just comfortable to be around. His wife is way cool too.

There was obviously a ton I learned and felt from all of these great leaders in the short 2 hours we were with them. Short, but filled with the spirit and packed with things that matter. I can share with you all about the things we need to do better to find and to help people be baptized but since most of that doesn't pertain to most of you, I will tell you the part I thought was way cool.
Elder Stevenson and President Smith both served in the Nagoya Japan mission. They served at the same time. They served in the same district. My mission president was older than him in the mission as to make him the senpai but I think they were both just stud missionaries. When president smith picked him up at the airport on Wednesday morning, elder stevenson mentioned it was like the sons of Mosiah reuniting in a good cause, but 40 years later instead of 14. What elder Stevenson told to us clearly and powerfully and sincerely is that he looked up to President Smith as a young missionary and still does today. He sees him as an example in his life. I thought that was so cool and so powerful for an apostle to be humble enough and sincere enough to pay such a compliment. And I feel so blessed to have President Smith as my mission president.

It was a great meeting and a powerful experience.

We set up a baptismal date for the middle of July with one of our new investigators named Takeuchi san. Way solid guy and he`ll make a great member. Sotoyama san came to church for us for the first hour then left for his animae event. Good week and the zone is on fire!!

Well, this is already long enough, so here`s some pictures.

Have another great week!!!

Elder Robins

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Aomori Transfer 11 Week 2

Friends and fam.

It's summer. We are down to just white shirts and slacks up here in Aomori. Yesterday as we got into a members car, it was a very nostalgic feeling of getting into my big black suburban in the middle of the summer after it's been sitting in the sun for hours. The air inside like an oven and the leather seats- hot plates. I can't complain though. I'm in the best place to be to stay cool in the summer. Which means once I get transferred, it can only get worse. 

Anyway, we had a great week. An unreal week. Best week either of us have had on our missions in terms of seeing growth and success. It was hard work but we kept it fun and entertaining and it paid off. We have really gotten our finding approaches (approaches we use on the street to random people that will spark interest in hearing our message- a very technical formula here in Japan as most no one has interest in religion let alone Christianity) down to a science and it's been working really well in finding those who the Lord is preparing to receive the message of the restoration.

Had splits this week with Elder Kudo! The stud "bean" in the district. A son of a stake president down in Osaka, 2nd largest city in Japan. He's not perfect, but he's a stud for being as young as he is. Kind of like Bryce Harper was. Young, but mature and knows how to play. We had a fun split and put in some good work.

Trying to put what we do on a day to day basis is way too hard to describe effectively. But very basically, we ride our bikes...We talk with everyone we see to give them the opportunity to change their lives and salvation. We visit members who haven't been coming to church. We teach an English class twice a week. We teach our investigators and members about the gospel. We plan. We prepare. And we ride our bikes some more. Then we sleep for 8 hours and do it all again the next day.

I'm having fun. Working hard. Trying my best. But in the end, it's all just a humbling experience that is helping refine me into who the Lord needs me to be.

Read your scriptures, say your prayers, go to church and it'll all work out. 

Elder Robins

Throwback. Taito kun and I.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Aomori Transfer 10 Week 6

Highlights of the last week of the transfer:
Tuesday was splits with elder uehara down in a place called Nagamachi, where the mission home is. Worked with elder uehara, a stud missionary that gives it his all to do the work and to do it right! Learned a lot from him and we put in a solid day of dirty, hard work. Felt good.
Wednesday morning was, like almost all days we have a train or bus to catch, a hustle and very last minute. And it always seems to be pouring rain when we have to run to catch trains and buses, as it was this time. After a nice long run from the subway to the bus station, I was wet. Wet not only with sweat but with water too. Anyways, caught my bus back to Aomori and had a couple hours left in the day to dendou!
Thursday was splits with the district leader and my homie, elder diderickson! He and I have grown pretty close these last 12 weeks and its been a lot of fun spending time with him and getting to talk with him a lot. He`s also a big basketball guy, loves the nba and all that so ya its been fun. We had a day full of just good solid mission work. Made a lot of good contacts and had fun doing it.

Sunday was a great day. Sotoyama san came to church. Did a lesson with him before hand explaining what goes on during church and all that and then another lesson after church. He`s great. Still trying to get him to feel something instead of simply thinking about it and keeping it in his head. Very much so an investigtor of the church, testing out the word. It was a great meeting with tons of spirit. Although it seems Holidays on Sundays here in Japan are just as normal as any other Sunday,  such as Mothers Day and Easter, it was still a great day. Also got to meet my companions family while he skyped them last night for Mothers day! His grandparents are actually Buddhist and have had no past history hearing about the church. So what elder Okamoto did last night was bold and powerful- he committed them, as missionaries do, to contact their local missionaries and set up a time to hear about what they do for their work. Starting small but planting and preparing the way for them to perhaps eventually hear and accept the gospel.

Transfer calls were a time bomb last night but they came! I am staying in Aomori for my 3rd transfer, with my homie elder okamoto! We`re excited for this opportunity to stay together and put some finishing touches on some of the work we`ve done here. Things are starting to get good here in Aomori, we`re expecting some big results coming up here in the next couple weeks and months.

This morning I got to talk with my family! Always a huge highlight of the year as a missionary. My mommy and I cried an appropraite amount together, about 10 seconds, just feeling the long distance love of mother and son. Love my momma Laurie. Shes a saint, a kind and selfless woman full of love for those around her and for the Lord. Such a huge influence on me and my life as shes taught me countless life lessons I can write a book on. Just wanted to give her as well as the other women in my life, Grandma Hagen and Grandma Robins, my older sister Jessi, my aunts and all others who have been mother like figures to me in my life. Love you all and the person you have helped me to become! Never change!

Thats about it for this week. Really quite a solid week with plenty to talk about but for times sake, Im wrapping it up. I love the Lord. I trust in His plan. He has a plan for all of us to return to Him, we have to choose to do so!


Elder Robins

Monday, May 2, 2016

Aomori Transfer 10 Week 5


This week was another week of meetings, planning, and trainings but overall a great week and lots of fun! After our trip over to Hirosaki to see the hanami- cherry blossom festival - we boarded our shinkansen- bullet train - down to Sendai for a training. 

Had a lesson with Sotoyama San in which we had planned to set a baptismal date but after a long lesson that seemed to go all over the place with a lot of questions about just about everything, we felt it would be a bit too much to do so in that lesson. So, we're waiting until the time is right to commit him to baptism but... he's doing way well, learning and progressing slowly but surely. 
No contact with Fujita San this week, he's in Sapporo for "Golden Week". Golden week is every year on the first week of May and serves as a nation wide week-off pretty much. Always way good for finding cause people are happy & genki and willing to talk. Anyway, Fujita is still in Sapporo but we plan on getting him back on track, discussing some of his concerns and helping him be part of something great.

We titled our ZTM this Friday as "Our Commission" which in Japanese sounds pretty sweet~ 私たちの使命〜watashitachi no shimei. We made it very activity based with lots of participation from everyone in the zone which made it pretty fun. Our Commission was a wide-based theme aimed to get us thinking about why we believe in the restoration, what blessings God gave us through Joseph Smith and the Restoration, and our job as missionaries to help others as well understand really how much God loves us and all the blessings He is ready to pour on us if we simply choose.

This week too I've been thinking a lot about becoming that light and brightness for others in their lives. There are plenty of ways to become that light; the most central and important being to develop Christ-like attributes that help you become who God wants us to be. But perhaps more tangible ways of doing so are to smile at everyone- share your joy with everyone. Compliment someone who looks like they're not enjoying life! Like they're stuck in a rut and need something from someone else to get out, pay them a nice but genuine compliment, something you really do like about them. It will make their day if not week. Refrain from criticizing, even to those who may deserve it. Encouragement goes much farther and is much more effective all around than criticizing. Smile, compliment others genuinely, and encourage instead of criticize are the things I've been working hard on applying and forming into habits to slowly become more like our Perfect Example, Jesus Christ. 

Currently on another 5 hour bus ride to Sendai for companion exchanges with Elder Uehara but I hope you all have a fabulous week full of happy. 

Here are some pics!

Elder Robins

Hirosaki Castle last week

Other thought of the week- for those who have tasted of the fruit of the tree of life know it's the best and know it is God's pure love. But temptation and the aching need to be accepted of others can be deceiving. Stay strong, have faith in God and His plan for us and remember God's judgement is much more important to consider than the world's.