Monday, August 28, 2017

Another Day in the Life...

Another week is in the books and, thankfully, it was another good one.  There are frustrations, as you will read about, but the good outweighs the bad.  Thanks for reading and enjoy.

Missionary life is great because while there are still ups and downs, the ups are much more frequent than the downs. I love being a missionary!!

Why do bad things happen to good people?
This thought provoking question is the question someone asked me last week. Mizuka, an 18 year old Japanese girl, came to English class and after class we got talking. God was brought up and I asked her if she believed in him. She said, "No, but I use to." This is such an unusual answer so of course I asked why. She told me that her really close friend to abused by her parents and if there was a God then why would he let that happen. She then asked, " If there was a God, Why do bad things happen to good people?"  I have been a missionary for over a year, but somehow had no idea what to say. I knew we had the answers, but I just stood there in shock. I composed myself and said that I would love to answer her question. We set an appointment and she was excited to finally have her question answered.

Fast forward a few days, and we teach her the answer to the soul wrenching question. We taught her the plan of salvation with an emphasis on agency. God gave us this special gift of agency to let us all make decisions for ourselves. Sometimes those decisions aren't good, and sometimes they effect other people, but we have the power to make those choices. However, God knows everything we do. We will be rightfully judged and either rewarded or punished according to our actions. We explained the wonderful plan that God has for us and explained that even though bad things happen to good people, that Christ suffered for them, and knows exactly what it's like. She was mesmerized. Some of the questions she asked actually made me think she was the one who got abused, for example, she asked, "What if my parents did something really really bad and I yelled at them, would that still be bad?" We then explained it's more how she feels after she does it and that there are some grey areas. I won't explain the whole lesson, but it was one of the most powerful lessons I've been apart of. I saw her heart soften in the lesson and I saw the light in her eyes as we told her about the plan of salvation.

The struggle of getting investigators to church:
Okay story of my mission life. As a missionary, we plan and try and help people come to church all week long. Let me repeat: all week. So it can be a little frustrating when someone doesn't end up coming. First you get the investigators that say, "oh yeah maybe I'll come," and aren't too convincing of that fact. Then you get the investigators that say, "Oh dang I have work on Sunday, sorry." Dang well then. Then you get investigators that say, "yes, I'm for sure coming." And then they don't show up. So frustrating. Not to mention we have to constantly talk to members to get them to befriend the investigators and it's a little awkward when the investigator doesn't show up. Just thought I'd let you in on a little bit of the daily struggles of being a missionary. When all was said and done though, we had 2 investigators come to church. Not what we were hoping, but it was still good.

Ryoko has a baptismal date:
So we had a couple lessons with Ryoko this week. During the first lesson she said that she never had interest in learning about Jesus Christ until coming to English class. Well not only does she have a ton of interest now, but she also has a baptismal date!! She kept all of her commitments from the first lesson and just thinks everything about the church is amazing. She is coming to church this next week (hopefully) and she said she wants to be baptized. So originally we asked her if she would get baptized on October 8 and then she looked at her calendar and said she would be out of town and then she asked if she could be baptized this next week. We told her that sadly she could not and explained that there are a few steps she has to do before getting baptized -church, the lessons, baptismal interview - and she said okay so we settled on October 29th. The amount of faith she has is completely mind blowing. She just has the strongest desire and even asked us how she could be a good example to her friends.

Just Japan things:
•Japanese people are obsessed with melon. There is melon flavored soda, melon bread, melon candy, melon ice cream, you name it! Melon flavored soda is sold everywhere, McDonald's, convenient stores, restaurants, vending machines, everywhere. It's a melon world here.
Loving life, loving the mission, loving Jesus, loving Japan, loving all of you beautiful people. Lots of love.
Wunderli 姉妹

1. Comp and smoothies equals happy Wunderli Shimai 
2. Ryoko❤❤
3. Tokyo zone conference
4. Exchanges round 100 
5. Comp and melon soda 
6. No table no problem 
7. We got a new fridge but it had the mold of a 30 year old fridge so we did some cleaning
8. Exchanges round 10000

Thanks again for your thoughts, prayers, emails and snail mail.  She appreciates it all.  Until next week, make it a great one.

Monday, August 21, 2017

I'm Officially Old

Well it was another great week in Tokyo, Japan for Sister Jordan Wunderli, as per her email.  Great stuff is happening for her and the people she is serving and she loves her new companion.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

This week, I think I had my mid-mission crisis and then it became worse when I realized that I'm in fact 3 transfers (4 months) past mid-mission. In normal people terms, it would be like having a mid-life crisis at 70 or so years old. I am now transfer 9 and want more than ever to make the most of this short 18 months as a missionary.

My cute comp:
First off, I would like to formally introduce you all to my new companion, Sister Morelock. Sister Morelock is your typical Hawaiian girl (she makes me wish I was from Hawaii). She surfs, makes delicious smoothies, has long blonde hair, she is super good at drawing, she can hula dance (harder than it looks), and is perhaps the sweetest person ever. She is 19 and went to BYU-Hawaii before her mission. We got along right from the second we met and have been having fun and working hard ever since. I'm so excited for this transfer with her.

The phone call:
Sister Her and I were in our apartment at 8:45pm doing some study when the phone rings. It's a random number. Before my mission, I would've let it ring, but as a missionary we always pick up because well it might be a kinjin (golden person). Well it was a kinjin. We picked up and before we could ask her name or introduce ourselves, she immediately said that she wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ. Before we could answer she says, "So Jesus Christ is the son of God, right? Can you tell me more about Him?" Woah. We were a little in shock. We then asked her name and she told us it was Ikumi and then we asked if we could set up an appointment with her. She asked if we could meet the next day.

During our first hour of being companions, Sister Morelock and I taught Ikumi San a lesson. We felt super unprepared (we had only been companions for 10 minutes before Ikumi San came), but it all worked out. We taught her about God and Jesus Christ and she loved it and after the lesson she thanked us for a solid 10 minutes. We taught her about prayer and how we pray in the name of Jesus Christ and she also loved that and said that she would do it from now on and thanked us for telling her. To say were excited to teach her more is an understatement.

The less active that came to church:
During mine and Sister Her's past two transfers together, we have been working with a less active named Amanda kubo. We've actually only gotten to meet her once and the rest of the times, she either wouldn't answer the door or wasn't home, so we would just leave her notes. Well before church on Sunday, we get a text from her asking us what time church starts. We texted her back and said 10:00am and asked if she was coming. She came with her two daughters and the ward members were so excited. The ward mission leader was so surprised when we told him that they were coming and her visiting teachers thanked us so much and started jumping up and down for joy. Apparently the less active hadn't been to church in 3 years. She stayed for all of church and the ward really welcomed her. It was such a huge miracle! I really felt like all of mine and Her shimai's visits and bike rides to her house and time paid off. Please just make the missionaries' jobs easier and go to church because they will visit you until you go anyway!

Just Japan things:
-No one wears deodorant here and you can't buy deodorant in the stores. Japanese people sweat but they just carry sweat tells around everywhere. Also, it's not like they don't stink..

Everything is going great here in Nakano. Investigators are doing good minus some stubbornness here and there but what're you gonna do? Hope you're all doing good in good ole America.
Wunderli 姉妹

1. Dinner with some newlyweds - holy cow they are cute and we had pizza and root beer whoa. Yum.
2. Just in case you were wondering what Japanese money looked like
3. Sushi with Eri and the new comp
4. The best young women ever
5. He's so cute with his building blocks 
6. Ice cream 🍦🍦🍦

We are back from vacation and settled in so I'll be back to the regular schedule going forward with one possible delay during hunting season.  I hope you enjoyed this email.  Please keep Jordan in your thoughts and prayers - she appreciates them so much.  Thanks for your emails and snail mail, she loves them.  Make it a great week.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Flying Cockroaches (with lots of good news)

As I mentioned in the blog post last week, I might be a little late with my post this week do to our vacation in Canada.  While I got to enjoy reading Jordan's email when it came (it came about a day late due to how busy she was with transfers and such), I wasn't able to get to the blog until now - sorry.  We got back late last night and I am happy to share a BUNDLE of good news with you.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Well well well.. We had transfer calls today and I'm staying in Nakano for another one. My new companion will be Sister Morelock and the funny thing is, she was Sister Her's companion before Sister Her became my companion. She is from Hawaii and is really tall; that's pretty much all I know about her right now so more to come next week about her.

Okay okay, this week was great. We are continuing to work with the amazing investigators that we have, as well as being blessed to find a few new ones. We also had an American party after eikaiwa and we (the sisters) taught everyone how to shoot a gun (a nerf gun, but a gun nonetheless). They all loved it and the Bishop's wife was actually surprisingly good at it. We also had a water balloon fight with the young women this week - nothing bonds people faster than throwing balloons filled with water at the other person. Other than that we taught lots of lessons!

Investigator updates:
•Miyuki: Miyuki is the miracle lady who came to church and loved it even though she was super confused. We had a lesson with her where we talked about what we as missionaries do and who God is. She loved it and just expressed her sincere desire to find out if God is there and to learn more. She told us she's going back to her hometown to visit her family for a couple of weeks (way sad because it means we can't teach her for a couple of weeks), so we gave her the plan of salvation pamphlet for some reading on her long trip. She messaged us that same night and told us she read the whole thing, and that she wants to do family history so she can take her ancestors name's to the temple to help them become clean again. I was in shock. When I read Google translate, I thought that it messed up on the translation, but when I checked it, it was indeed right. Woah. We told her that we would teach her the steps to get there when she comes back (for example she had to get baptized first), but she really wanted to get started on family history and the process so we sent her the website.

•Uyen: From vietnam, 17 years old, moved to Japan 3 years ago with her family, fluent in English, Vietnamese, and Japanese. I love uyen. We were able to meet with her and talk a little bit about the same things we talked about with Miyuki and she just loved it. We also talked about the Book of Mormon (we had previously given her a book of Mormon in Vietnamese). She said that she really wants to read it and that her dad saw it on her desk and said that she should read it and he wants to read it after. She told us that he is really interested in the church and so is she so were hoping that will be able to teach him as well soon.

•Akane: This week I really learned about teaching to the needs of the investigator. This message is the same in the sense that the doctrine is the same, but how it works with people and how it applies to people makes the gospel so individual and so personal for everyone. Akane loves music and movies so we decided to watch the restoration together and we sang a few hymns together. She loved the lesson and felt like it was exactly for her. I feel that during that lesson she was really able to see the gospel in a way that was closer to her. We taught her the restoration last week as well, not in the same way, and she just didn't connect with it like she did today, and that connection (the the feeling of the Holy Ghost) is so important. On Sunday, she came to church for the 3rd week in a row and she even brought her daughter. Her daughter will also be coming to the next lesson.

Erika is Engrid's daughter (recent convert from kumagaya). She was baptized this past Sunday and thanks to modern day technology, I was able to Skype in and be there for the service. It was a beautiful service and I am sooo happy that she was able to make this step to follow the savior. Engrid was also in heaven during the baptism and had the biggest smile on her face the entire time. The next step is for them to get sealed in the temple for eternity! I'm so happy for them. The gospel truly does bless families.

Just Japan things:
- The cockroaches in Japan fly. There was a humongous cockroach in our apartment and when we tried to kill it, it flew around the room. We spent 30 minutes trying to kill it. Not to mention, we got a little scared when it started to fly...
- There are earthquakes all the time here. I can't even count the amount of earthquakes I've been in. We will just be studying and then our whole apartment starts to shake and we're like hmm, another one. They usually only last 20 seconds or so and we've gotten pretty use to them.

Until next week my friends.
Wunderli Shimai 

1. I ❤ Nakano 
2. Erika's baptism (President and sister Nagano went)
3. DISTRICT LUNCH sushi woohoo 
4. Uyen💕
5. Post-waterballoon fight pic 
6. Just loading the nerf guns 
7. Our cute little kitchen

 There you have it.  I hope you enjoyed her email 1/10th as much as I did.  I'm excited to go visit Japan and meet the people she got to teach and the ward members whenever we go - possibly next year or in 2020.  As always, thanks for your support and prayers.  She loves all the emails even if she doesn't have time to respond to all of them. I'll be back at the regular time next week.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rockstar Investigators

I love it when I read emails like this from Jordan.  It sounds like this was her best week yet on her mission.  Lots of great stuff happening with a number of investigators.  I want to play guitar with the one investigator.  :)  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

What a week. Honestly I'm overwhelmed with how much there is to write about. I want to tell you all of it, but I just can't put it all into words. This week we were blessed with so many people to teach. We were able to see God's hands in so many individual lives, including our own. 

I'm just going to give you all a brief run down of all our investigators. I just seriously feel so blessed right now because when I came to this area a short 3 months ago, we had no one to teach and now God has blessed us with so many people to teach. 

•Akane: Remember the cool miracle I told you about last week, about the mission school student who came to church when we weren't there? Well we had a lesson with her this week and we were able to teach her how to pray to her Heavenly Father and then hear her first prayer to him. There is so much joy in hearing someone's first prayer. She also bought a dress just for church (she didn't own a dress before this), and wore it to church in Sunday. She said she absolutely loves church and wants to bring her daughter. On the flip side, Akane also loves rock and playing the drums. There's a drum set at church so she comes to the church to play sometimes and we get to be her groupies. She is so cool.

•Amparo: Probably the most frustrating lesson of my life was with dear Amparo this week. Amparo is from Columbia but she has lived in Japan for 33 years (she's 55). She is fluent in English, Spanish, and Japanese. We met her at one of our English classes that she came too. She is a hard core Christian and is in love with the bible. Sometimes teaching people with a Christian background makes it easier, but sometimes it makes it about 10x harder. Amparo told us that she's interested in the Mormon church and so we met her for a lesson and introduced her to the Book of Mormon. She would reject most everything we said and was convinced we didn't need the book of Mormon. We then used scriptures from the bible to testify of the book of Mormon and vise versa and by the end of the lesson she said she would read the introduction to the book of Mormon, would meet with us again, and she's going to bring her daughter. I left out more of the frustrating side of the story because well it would take too long to write, but let's just say I'll be praying for more patience before the next lesson.

•Miu: I also mentioned Miu not too long ago, but we haven't been able to meet with her for a couple of weeks until this week. She is 19 and the cutest thing ever. This week we had a lesson thst explained more of who missionaries were and she thought it was the coolest thing ever. She told us that she wants to become like us. She said she really wants to learn about Jesus Christ (before she came to church a couple of weeks ago, she had no idea who He was). We were also able to teach her how to pray and hear her first prayer as well.

•Sara: Sara is the referral from the assistants that we received a couple of weeks back. We were able to teach her for the first time this week. She first messaged us and asked us if we could meet up for dinner so we got dinner and then we watched the Restoration with her. After the movie she said that she wants to read the entire Joseph Smith History, so she is currently reading that.

•Miyuki: Prepare yourselves for a miracle. Miyuki just randomly showed up to church on Sunday. She had no idea about anything revolving Christianity or God or anything, but showed up and stayed for 3 hours of church. During the 3 different meetings, i would ask if her if she new what a word meant, (priesthood, prayer, the millenium etc.) and she would look at me and just shake her head. I would give her a brief definition and then she would thank me. When we were talking to her after, she said she was confused about a lot of things, but she just felt so good that it didn't matter. She said she wants to continue coming to church and we are meeting for a real lesson this week. 

•Kirin: Kirin is from China and she is 22, and she is living in Japan for work. I mentioned Kirin a few weeks ago and how she was so prepared and willing to meet with us again. Well she proved my point yet again. She just accepted everything we said. We talked about the Book of Mormon and she said that she would read all of it. She speaks fluent English and asked what our church's name was in English and goes, "Oh so you believe in the last days?" We said yes and she said she does too. After we explained the book of Mormon, she goes, " Oh so this book will prepare me for the last days and to meet God." She is seriously so prepared, the only said thing is she is going back to China for a short 3 weeks, but then we'll meet with her again. 

Sorry for the extra long email this week, but I just had to share about the people we are teaching. I love each one of them so much and I know that they are all daughters of God. There is no greater joy than sharing this gospel, so please share it with someone. 
Wunderli 姉妹

Too many pics for descriptions, but we went to Korean town which was cool. Also we went and saw fireworks and there were so many people there. Yup basically it. 

Thanks again for reading.  I hope you enjoyed that 1/10th as much as I did - I have the advantage since I'm her father.  As always, thanks for your support via your kind thoughts, prayers, snail mail and email.  She loves and appreciates them all.  I will be on a family vacation to Canada this coming week so next weeks email may be late depending on our schedule and internet connection but I will get it up sometime.