Monday, January 20, 2014

I Made a List!

So, I made a list of stuff during the week that's interesting or funny so that I didn't forget any of it when I write today. So this week, you're going to get a letter full of the weird and cool things that have happened.
One thing that I found out soon after I got to Japan is that the Japanesization of "Mueller," is "Myura," which is really close to a name that is an actual Japanese name. "Miura." Weird, huh? A lot of the time when I'm introducing myself to people, because I don't have a nametag with both English and Japanese on it yet, they will ask me if I'm Japanese. And of course I say "no," because I'm not. But, I found out the Kanji for the name and it looks like this : 三浦. It means "Three bays."
So, I neglected to tell you that my mission president is actually one of the Seventy as well. And he spoke in General Conference in 2011. You should go watch the talk, even if it's just to know what my mission president sounds like. His name is Kazuhiko Yamashita.
Last Tuesday, Elder G and I took the train to a town called Gotemba so that we could visit some people who used to come to our English class. It's a really pretty place with a much better view of Mount Fuji. But it's kind of in the mountains, so it's significantly colder than it is in Numazu. Not that Numazu is very warm either. Gosh! I can't wait for spring! Mission work will be so much easier once March comes. Anyway, while we were walking to where we wanted to go, I looked at a vending machine, and they had Dr. Pepper! I was so excited! They have a lot of vending machines everywhere here with various drinks, hot and cold, but this was the first time that I have seen Dr. Pepper, so I bought it and it tasted soooooooo good. Wow. I forgot how much I liked that stuff.
On Wednesday, we had a lesson with an "eternal investigator" who's name Y-san. He is actually a Bhuddist Priest who invites us over to the place where he lives which is also a temple so that he can learn about our religon. Elder G really wants him to take a leap of faith so that he could find out if it is actually true, but I'm not actually sure that is going to happen. Every time that the missionaries visit him, some kids come to play with the missionaries and it is really fun. We played a matching game with them, and then we took our train back home.
One thing that's amazing about my area is the sunsets. They are gorgeous. Because the ocean is so close, there are lots of beautiful clouds, and as the sun sets, it illuminates them with the prettiest of colors. I'll take a picture for you so that you can see this week.
Every Thursday, we have a lesson with a different eternal investigator who has us call him "T." He's a funny old man who loves the missionaries and loves the church. He wants to come to church and he has a goal to be baptized, but his wife doesn't want him to be baptized because her family is part of a radical Bhuddist sect that really doesnt't like Christianity and she doesn't want them to get angry at her. When I met him a few weeks ago, T-san described himself as an "underground Christian," jokingly. He used to come to church and to English class, but a few months ago he had a stroke and his wife doesn't really want him to leave the house, but Elder G says that he seems a lot better than when he met him, and that he moves a lot faster now too. I really want to see him baptized before I leave the area, and I pray for him a lot, and I really thing that it could happen.
I've noticed that here (and probably other places too, I've just never noticed) there are just lots and lots of people with stories that are kind of sad. And it makes me want to help them, but sometimes you don't really know how you can help, or even if there is anything you could possibly do to help. And so you just try to help them partake of the Gospel so that they can have the blessings and joy of it and often that is all you can do. And often, for some reason or another, they don't want any of it. And so all you can do after that is just love them. That's it.
On Friday, I had my first exchange and so I went to the city of Fuji, which unfotunately has a lot of industry, so it isn't very pretty and it doesn't smell very nice. The Elder I was with is nice, but he has a lot of trouble taking care of himself. And he's also only on his second transfer. I am really grateful that I'm where I am and that I'm companions with Elder G. We get along so well and can talk about so many things together. And this area is so beautiful, and I know that that God blessed me a lot. Maybe this is a bit of a reward for enduring the MTC.
Oh! I finished the Doctrine and Covenants! It was amazing. I would suggest to anyone who has yet to read it to do so. So many things make more sense after reading it.
The last thing I want to write about that happened is something that happened yesterday, on Sunday. We finally got to go to Ward Council Meeting. The missionaries in Numazu haven't been invited to that in a very long time, and I think it's a sign that the ward is coming to trust us more and wants to work with us, which is a very exciting thing, because it means that we're a lot more likely to find people who will want to listen to us and also it will strengthen the ward a lot too.
This next week, Elder G and I have been invited to go perform in a "Ongakukai" (that means "music meeting") in Fuji. We found the music for "Claire de Lune," so I'll be playing that, and I'll also be accompanying Elder G in an really pretty arrangement of "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul." I think it's going to be really cool.
Well, that's all  I have time for this week. Next week, I'll talk about what kind of things we do every day, and what being a missionary is like.
I love you all! Jesus is the Christ, and His Gospel is still true!
-Elder Alex Mueller

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