Monday, October 27, 2014

高山 Takayama

Hello from Gifu-ken!

I was really sad to have to leave Ueda. That place felt like my home. I already miss seeing M...zumi-kun all the time. But Takayama is really great.

On Tuesday, Elder T...yama and I went to Nagoya and parted ways. He was difficult to live with, but it was sad to have to leave him. He was always a good friend, and I truly grew to love him. But it was time to go. And so he returned to Ueda with his new companion, and I set forth into a new land. Venturing forth to an new journey, filled with new perils, new monsters, new friends, and new weather patterns.

My new companion's name is Elder W. He is only one transfer behind me, so our time at the MTC overlapped a bit. He was in a different zone though, so I didn't really know him at all. He's from a very small town in northern California. And well, I still haven't found much I have in common with him yet. He's already been in Takayama for 3 months, so he is the area senior, but I have the calling of Senior companion this transfer. But there are two companionships in Takayama, so we share an apartment with two more elders. Elder W was actually in the other companionship last transfer, so we are both new to the investigators. But because one elder here threw out his back really badly about two weeks into the transfer, they weren't able to do much for a month, so we are trying to get things up and running again. And there is definitely some slow acceleration that we are going to have to go through before things return to normal again. Last week we didn't get much done. 

One thing that is really nice about coming here, is that I just finished spending all day, every day with a Japanese person who spoke limited English, so I got really good at Japanese during that time. So that is a great blessing from the Lord, and really helpful since my companion is not very good at speaking Japanese. It's a little strange, because it feels like I'm with a missionary who hasn't been out for very long, but in reality, he's been out for only six weeks less than I have.

Our apartment is really big compared to Ueda's aparment. But I don't have a real desk. Elder W and I use two tables and we sit across from each other.

The other two Elders in Takayama are Elder V and Elder H. Elder V spent a long time in Ueda a few months before I was there, so I felt like I knew him a lot better that I did before now (I had only met him once) just from reading his name on records so much. Elder H was just a Bean-chan in Numazu -- my bean area -- so we have a lot to talk about. Elder V is the district leader, and our district is just our area, but he was Elder W's companion last transfer and so he's already helping a lot.

One thing that I really want to overcome this transfer is my aversion to talking to strangers. I have spent too long, both before my mission and during it up to now, being afraid of talking to people that I don't know. Talking to people that you don't know is hard enough for me already, but then that feeling is compounded by the fact that I'm supposed to talk to people about religion, something that most Japanese people do not want to talk about at all (probably because most of the religions here are crazy cults. Like the Ma-hikari who have their big headquarters temple thing just up the hill from our apartment here), and the fact that I have to do it in Japanese, which is a really hard language. BUT! I've been trying to overcome these feelings for a long time now, and this is the place where it's going to happen. I just have to stop freaking myself out. It's all just a mental game.

With love,

Elder Mueller

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Day of Goodbyes and the Night Before a New Adventure

Last Saturday was the day of transfer calls, and as everyone expected, I am transferring to a place called Takayama, in Gifu-ken. Even though I'm sad to have to leave Ueda after being here for 6 months, I'm really excited to have a new adventure and take the next step on my mission. 

My new companion's name is Elder W. Our MTC times overlapped a bit, so I've seen him before, but he was in a different Zone, so I didn't know him that well.

Takayama is notorious for getting lots of snow. One of my companions was there last winter and he said it was so bad that they couldn't use their bikes for a really long time. So when some of the Ueda investigators heard I was transferring there they brought me nice gloves and a scarf, and M...ami-chan brought a scarf, so I should stay plenty warm.

We also had the music night in Ina last Saturday. It was really nice, and quite a few people showed up, mostly non-members and investigators. There was no sheet music, so I had to improvise everything, but it went much better than I expected it to!

I had to say lots of goodbyes yesterday. I always knew that I really loved the members and investigators here, but I didn't really realize how much they loved me until yesterday. 

But the thing I like less about transfers than goodbyes is the fact that you have to pack everything up and move. It is extremely annoying to have to shove everything in two bags and send it off, and then pack up a bike and haul that all the way to Nagoya. Transfers are really the only time I wonder if I should have made a different bike purchase. My bike is really heavy!

Well, next time I e-mail you, I'll once again be in a new place. I'll talk to you then,

-Elder Mueller

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

General Conference

Hello, everyone.

This last weekend, all the members and all the missionaries in Nagano prefecture gathered in the Matsumoto branch building and watched General Conference. It was wonderful to be lifted and inspired by the words of the servants of God that we are so lucky to have guiding us by the inspiration of the Lord. I also thought it very interesting that all of the speakers now have the option of speaking in their own native language. Especially since now I am in a country where English is not the native language, so I have seen a lot of the difficulties of having to give talks in a language that is not your own!

Another really cool thing that happened just yesterday is that Elder T...yama and I met with a girl who just came up and started talking to me while I was on an companion exchange a couple weeks ago. She saw that we were foreigners and wanted to speak English. It turns out that she really likes philosophy, and has studied a bit about Christianity. And she is in an orchestra here and plays the violin. Crazy, right?! She's not an investigator yet, but she has a lot of potential. We talked for a while about philosophy and God and fate and things like that, and she seems to be really open-minded. I think she will be really sensitive to the Spirit.

The other way cool thing that's happening, is that we are going to a music night in Ina city on Saturday. Elder B....ers is putting on this way cool thing about the Book of Mormon and I get to play the piano for it! I'm really excited. 

This Saturday is also the day of transfer calls. So I'm just a bit nervous about what is going to happen next transfer. But I'm not all that worried. I know the Lord will have me go wherever I am needed.

With love,
Elder Mueller

Monday, October 6, 2014

A couple of Things

A messages from Alex's mom: This is a very short message from Alex, but I thought I would let you all know that Elder Mueller's grandfather passed away on Sunday. Although Alex is secure in his knowledge that his grandpa is now free and happy, I'm sure he could use your prayers this week as he is far away from home. :)

This is a really good talk that I heard


This is a picture of some people in my district. I think it looks like an album cover. 

Left to right: Elder B..well, District Leader; Elder M..ara, a Japanese Bean missionary; Me; Sister M.

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