Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29, 2016--Week 4!

こんいちわ 私の かんぜん ママさま,
(konichi [sic] wa watashi no kanzen mamasama)

Saturday is the official halfway point! Of my MTC stay. And Friday is the official 1/24th mark of my mission! ;)

Yeah I'm so excited to meet with Taylor! So last Sunday, President Mehr, our MTC district president (he's over all the Japanese Branch Presidents, so I guess that makes him the equivalent of a Stake President?) said that President Weaver had sent him my request to meet with my brother. So he asked me, "is your brother a good missionary?" And I said, "he's the best missionary of all time," so President Mehr said he would let us meet. He told me that they discourage family visits as a general rule, but that's because they don't want missionaries to be distracted. But, he said that talking with my brother super fresh off the mish, especially just a few days before I head out to the field, will help me to be excited and motivated to be a great missionary, so that's why he felt like it would be a good thing. 

28 new missionaries...the day we welcomed them in, it was basically chaos. We were supposed to work with the STLs to give them orientation and a tour of campus, but one of the STLs is very very very detail-oriented and was kind of having an anxiety attack with so many variables to control at once. It was fine though, we made it through. Nathan Choro and I tried to just be friendly and help them have a good first night. I felt like they were given a huge overload of advice from the STLs and us ZLs, but I guess too much is better than too little. I just feel like we've only been here for 3 weeks more than them, so it's more important for us to be their friends than to attempt to be their MTC "trainers." Nathan Choro and I have gotten to know almost all of them pretty well, so that's good. There is an Elder McColm who is from Highland, I guess he took Japanese from Uncle Matt so he always calls me Pasuketto Sensei in his honor. He said he knows Todd too. And he has a twin (also Elder McColm) who also took Japanese from Matt and is also going to Japan! He's in the other zone though.

Having so many kohai has been way fun! They appreciate our singing. What was super funny is that the second day, some elders were singing in a quartet and some sisters in our district walked in to listen. They all stopped suddenly and looked at them scared, then said "oh, we thought it was the zone leaders." I guess they thought we would be mad at them for singing during study time and they were like, "do you even KNOW our zone leaders?" But now they know that singing is ok. Nathan Chōrō and I actually planned our entire lesson yesterday purely through song.

Sounds like the matsuri was fun!! Even if it was in a parking lot in Ontario. And having 6 Japanese speakers there (counting Uina) was probably way cool! Did you get to talk to any Japanese employees? I remember how shocked that dude at Olive Garden was when Dad started speaking Japanese to him. Someday I'll get to do that too ;)

So all of the new mission presidents and the quorum of the twelve were here this last week, so the main building was on total lockdown. We even had to go the front desk once to get something for Pierre Shimai (the sister who twisted her ankle) so we were walking there and a security guard told us we needed to leave and come back later. So they purposely made sure that none of the apostles got mobbed by fans, but we did end up seeing Elder Rasband. We had lunch at the Morris Center at BYU on Sunday and when we were walking back, a security guard stopped me right before we were going to cross the road (the road inside the MTC campus, to get to our classroom). They stopped us to let Elder Rasband and his wife drive by, so he rolled down the window and said hi to us! First time I've ever seen him wear sunglasses. And I was right on the front row, Man, it's good to be alive.

Also, apparently Elder Oaks came and hopped in to the class right across the hall from us!! They had all the mission presidents come to the classes and teach us, and I guess he decided to just hop in and observe. Barely missed him. But my friend Frank Shimai was in that class! She said one of the Brazilians in their class didn't know who he was and gave him a fist bump when he walked in.

Having the mission presidents come in was way cool. Ours were going to one of the missions in Honduras. You could just feel how passionate they were about the Gospel, and how much they loved the missionaries. It makes me excited to meet President and Sister Smith in Sendai!

On Friday, we had our best lesson yet!! The lesson right after our worst one. It was with Asuka-san again, and it was so cool. She was not easy on us at all--we were going to share the restoration lesson, and we were reviewing what we learned last time about the plan of salvation. But then she stopped us and said that her parents never believed in Christ, so according to what we had taught her, they can't go to heaven because we can only return to God's presence through Christ. The gift of tongues was so real in that moment--I started rattling off some Japanese about ordinances for the dead and agency and how her parents can still choose to follow Christ in the spirit world. If I had to explain that to you right now, I couldn't without looking up some words. But I just said it without even really thinking about it--I was thinking about answering her question and resolving her concern, but not even a little bit about Japanese. Cool right?

So we were sharing the restoration lesson, and it was going well, but when we introduced the Book of Mormon as a testament of Christ when he visited the Americas, she asked if Christ visited Japan. We explained that we read that he visited "other sheep," and that he came to lots of God's children in addition to the ones in America. I said that we don't know where for certain, but I personally believe that he went to Japan. Same thing there, where I didn't even have to think about Japanese. I think that the gift of tongues comes when we 1) stop worrying about speaking the language and 2) focus on loving and helping our investigators.

So we gave Pierre Shimai another blessing on Saturday, and we gave her companion one too. Pierre Shimai is from Brazil, so she is learning both English and Japanese here. I think between twisting her ankle and being in a different country and learning 2 languages combined with the normal stresses of the MTC, she was just feeling so anxious and overwhelmed. So she asked us for a blessing; Nathan Choro gave her a great blessing and I think it helped her so much. We were about to leave when her companion got emotional, so we offered to give her one as well. Her Japanese is super good, but I think she has just been overwhelmed with trying to make sure Pierre Shimai is doing ok. So I got to give her a blessing, it was way cool. 

We have to report all blessings we get to our branch presidency, and we found out our phone is even more useless than we thought. Earlier, we went to the front office because the previous zone leaders didn't type us the passcode so we can't view missed calls or listen to messages. But, they told us we're not supposed to know the passcode. I guess they don't want us to be able to see who we missed calls from. Or listen to their messages. They told us we just use it to call the front desk if we need to contact our branch presidency and that's literally it. So, we called the front desk, asking them to forward us to our branch president, and they told us for that we need to come in and use their phone. So the only thing we use the phone for is to call the front desk to let them know that we're coming to use their phone. Waste of tithing money, ですね ?

Saturday night, we interviewed the 4 district leaders. Now that there are so many elders, it actually has a purpose. Generally, everyone is doing fine, it seemed that getting everyone to stay focused throughout the day was a common concern. Most of the districts have 8 elders and 2 sisters, so that might have something to do with it. But yeah everyone is doing awesome in terms of psychological well-being.

Our sacrament meeting was combined with the 4th branch, another Japanese zone. Last week we had 10 people in sacrament meeting, this week there were about 80. Nathan Chōrō and I were assigned to do a musical number, which went really well! We weren't expecting to do it in front of so many people though. But it was fine, I was singing and Nathan Chōrō was on the piano. It was Come Thou Fount, one we checked out from the MTC music library. It was actually written for a girl, so I sang the first 2 verses down an octave but the last one up in the written octave. I thought it went super well, it was a very reverent falsetto. The spirit was way strong. Bro Turpin from our branch presidency was so stoked, he said he was trying to arrange a song for some elders but he was worried about it being too high, and now after hearing that song he doesn't have to worry anymore. Haha.

Sounds like girls' camp was awesome! What was the best part? And Dad came up for one night right?

That's so cool that Dannica is making good friends! I'm glad Tylor and Jake (and apparently Mitch) are taking good care of her. Tell her I loved her little note in the package :)

Love you so much!
ここら から、
Elder Paskett

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 22, 2016--Week 3!

My most きれい、かんぜん and あめいぜイング  ははさま、
(kirei (pretty), kanzen (perfect) and amazing mom)

To be totally honest, I can definitely believe I've been here three weeks. It feels like I've lived here my whole life. I don't even remember what my life was like before the MTC. The other day we saw over the fence and just stared in awesome wonder at the world that we've never known. JK it is going by really fast, but the days are long. It's so good though, I love it here. 

So the cell phone is just for emergencies, it can only call the MTC front desk. we are not allowed or even able to call any of our friends or family, or we definitely would have tried ;) Just kidding. We're obedient, I promise. I do agree that good mission prep would be knowing your way around technology... I think it is also important for people to learn how to use technology with a purpose. I feel like a lot of people are just used to pulling out their phones without really having a reason to. Its even a problem here--the teachers had a good talk with us about how we should only be using the iPads if we have a specific purpose in mind.

As a zone leader, we basically just interview all of the district leaders. Which is just one. And he sleeps in the same room as us. And there's only one other elder that's not a zone leader or district leader (we only have 4 elders total), so we basically just talk about him. As long as he's doing OK, the meetings go by in like 30 seconds. But, today we are getting 28 new missionaries in our zone. So we will have a busy week! There are 20 elders and 8 sisters, I memorized all of their home towns so that when I meet them I can pretend to know where they're from. Nathan Chōrō and I have a whole psych routine planned out. They will be amazed. Also, two of the elders are from Boise, so that is cool. Elder Dahl and Elder Schow are their names. I don't think I know either of them though. There are also two from Mesa, Arizona--Elder Frisch and Elder Johnson. You'll have to ask Kaitlyn Ray if she knows either of them (She's bound to know an Elder Johnson, right? I'm pretty sure half of the MTC are Elder Johnsons). Also, tell her she is a punk for not writing me.

Our quartet was asked to sing today! It will be for all the new missionaries that are coming in. I am excited, I'm grateful we got this opportunity. Also, there were at least three people I know that are coming in today so we will probably be singing for them (Maddy Mortell and a few people from my BYU ward). Today is actually the record high for incoming missionaries, 745 of them. This week is also a seminar for all the new mission presidents, so we will have a couple hundred of those and also nearly all of the first presidency and quorum of the 12 apostles. They had a talk with us about how we are not supposed to approach any of the apostles if you see them walking. But you KNOW that if I pass Elder Bednar or Elder Holland I am definitely shaking their hand. So yeah the MTC will be very crowded for the rest of this week! They even closed down the cafeteria and they're having us eat in the gym. 

Last week we had our first TRC which is supposed to imitate what it would be like to teach a member. The volunteers are usually returned missionaries from Japan, so we teach them a lesson in Japanese still, but it's as if they are a member of the church instead of a kyūdosha. The first one went really well, Nathan Chōrō actually knew one of the girls who we were teaching. They gave us some good feedback, they said we were really good at getting to know them before hand, and our companionship relationship was stellar, and they felt the spirit strongly. But they did say that it would be better if we asked more questions, and involved them more in the lesson.

I got a package from the Mitani family! I can't read most of it. They were nice enough to use furigana, but I'm still in the process of translating it. They got me a fancy Japanese eraseable pen! And also a CD of popular songs in Japan. Haha I don't know if they know I can't listen to it. But in 2 years I will definitely enjoy it! Have you guys had dinner with them again since the last time?

Our main teacher, Stratford kyoudai, is leaving next week because he has hit his three-year mark and they don't let people teach for more than three years. So I think he is bored of his job. But he tries to keep things exciting-- he had us run a lap around the building at the beginning class once, and even switch spots with me on Friday. He pretended to be a student, and had me be the "teacher," and then he would ask questions to steer the lesson the way he wanted it to go. Pretty funny guy.

On Friday, we taught possibly our worst lesson yet. I don't even know what happened, there was just no flow to it at all. She asked us some hard questions that kinda got us off track too. It was the kind of thing that would have been hard to cover in English, so it was near impossible in our limited Nihongo. But we tried, I think she was more confused at the end of the lesson, but we did try. Haha the rest of our lessons this week were pretty solid though.

I have the funniest story I need to tell you! But it will be better in person, so I'll send you a video of it. Feel free to transcribe it or send the video out or just delete this paragraph from the mass email. Whatever you feel like :)

Devotionals this week were solid! The main focus was that our influence as missionaries is not constrained by the 2-year time period in which we serve. Elder Nielson of the seventy shared some cool stories of missionaries who had only baptized 1 or 2 (or zero) people, but then years later that one person would have kids who have kids who all serve missions and marry in the temple, and hundreds of people would join the church from that one baptism they had. It was pretty cool--we also compared those stories to Abinadi, who died before he had any converts, but then years after his death, his convert Alma's son, Alma, converted thousands of people with the sons of Mosiah. So we really can't tell how big our influence will be as a missionary, even if it sometimes seems insignificant in the moment.

In other news, I saw Kyle Lemperle from vocal point! We were walking back from the sand volleyball pit by the temple and he was walking to the MTC. I guess he works there teaching Portuguese. He totally recognized me, even remembered my name! The other elders were way surprised haha. We had a pretty good talk walking back to campus, he said I should for sure audition for VP again in 2 years. 

One last thing--one of the girls in our district twisted her ankle super bad, so Nathan Chōrō and I carried her over to the medical office. She came out with crutches and ice wrapped around her ankle, and she asked us for a blessing. I had consecrated oil on me that we had consecrated just 2 days earlier, right after we studied consecrating oil from the white handbook. Pretty nice timing, this week was the first that I've been carrying the vial around with me everywhere. I did the anointing and Titel Chōrō sealed it, it was a pretty cool experience. She has another appointment today to see if it's sprained or broken or something, hopefully it's nothing too serious.

I hope your week is amazing and girls' camp is awesome!!
Elder Paskett

1."feast on the words of Christ"
2. Sister Garner left for the field on Monday! teaching and Stratford kyoudai studenting
5-6. Our zone at our last temple walk before the Senpai left for Nihon!
7. I found Elder Ravsten today!
8. We tried to record a video of us beatboxing and rapping but we
accidentally put it on a time lapse. Enjoy it anyway!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15, 2016--iPads and a cell phone

My most wonderfully amazing, perfect, beautiful, いちばん は-は,
(number one mom)

This week has been mucho bueno! It has really flown by. I am so tired every day, but the days blend together. 

To start off...on Thursday, we did exchanges with the other district in our zone. I was with Elder Corréa from Brazil for the day, and Nathan Chōrō was with Passos Chōrō, also from Brazil. In the morning, the 4 Chōrō-tachi from my district auditioned our "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" to be in a devotional or other large group meeting. We are on the "yes" list which means they will schedule us when or if they need us, so hopefully we will get that opportunity! 

Corréa Chōrō and I taught 2 lessons. The first one was decent, I didn't understand a lot of it but I shared a scripture and testified, so those were good. But the second lesson was so fire!!!! Corréa Chōrō still did most of the talking but I helped a lot more. I didn't read from my notebook at all, and we taught a full lesson on prophets. At the end we shared a video of President Monson's testimony, and we bore our testimonies of Joseph Smith and modern-day prophets. I promised that if he (the kyūdosha) (investigator) read and followed the teachings of the prophets, he would feel the spirit and receive blessings. Corréa Chōrō loved it when I said "sore wa yakusoku desu." In his Brazilian accent, he said "that was just like so solid man!" (Bet you can guess where he picked up the word "solid" from!) He was also surprised that we teach foreign languages in public school. I guess in Brazil they have actual language schools for that. I told him my year of Nihongo covered about 4 days' worth in the MTC and he just said, "man schools in America are slow huh?" Haha but yeah our lesson was kanpeki. The Seirei was mucho tsuyoi. I was talking to our "kyūdosha" after he transformed back into a Sensei, and he said that Corréa Chōrō and I worked very well together and he loved how we let our personalities shine through our lesson, even despite the language barrier. So that gives me a lot of hope! I am so excited to get to the point where to prepare a lesson, I don't have to prepare specific sentences and then translate them one by one. "I want to be a person, not a pamphlet!" -Elder Landon Paskett

On Friday I was back with my original companion (side note: Elder Corréa Chōrō and I always "fight" about our "breakup"--that guy is so funny!! And he has a weird thing about Americans and brown shoes, so whenever I wear brown shoes he says, "that's why you left me for Nathan Chōrō huh? Because I don't have any brown shoes. I like your shoes though, they look really good. You broke my heart. You're the worst. You look really nice. I hope you feel good about what you did.")

But anyways, we had kind of a slow day. Our teacher was pretty tired. But we found a little bit about our next investigator, Asuka-san and started preparing our first lesson for her. We also got our iPads! That means I can read emails throughout the week and look up words in Japanese super easily. We read a pamphlet about using technology safely and how it can be a great tool to us, but can also be a source of evil if we aren't careful. I'm excited to have it though, It's been super helpful for studying and teaching. 

We have used the iPads mostly for language learning but it is also nice to be able to look up Scriptures and conference talks. We can also use them to show videos to our  "investigators" so that is nice during lessons. It is also nice to have the camera on it, it is very convenient to be able to take pictures of things. I am also using the voice to text feature to type out most of the emails, so if they are riddled with typos, that is why. I catch most of the mistakes but probably not all of them. But yeah it is way nice because I can say/type a lot more in less time.

On Friday I also got the package from Aunt Trish! It had some candy and snacks and a card from Grandma. Bloomfield Chōrō in the room next to us saw the card and was like, "Landon, who's Ann Vehar???" with suggestive eyebrows. I told him that was my grandma and he left without another word. But the package was very thoughtful! Shout out to Aunt Trish! I actually saw Jessie all the time in the cafeteria, it's pretty fun. But now she's headed to the field, you'll have to keep your eyes out for our "goodbye handshake" picture.

I also got a package from Jenn! I was really feeling the love this week with all the packages--it just makes everyone's day better if you send missionaries packages (hint hint 😉). I got some Elsa fruit snacks and some Oreos and some of the worst Frozen puns I have ever heard in my life. Haha really though, it was super nice.

This will probably come as a shock but I have been playing basketball during exercise time. I was getting a little bored of volleyball because usually people would usually just pass it straight over the net, so I decided to see what the basketball scene was like. And it was fun, but I am so bad. Like really bad. But, I'm getting better. I kept playing this last week and I have been getting better every day, so that is good. By the time I leave the MTC, I want to be decent enough to beat the other white guys at basketball. I will probably never be able to beat Nathan Chōrō though. 

On Sunday, Nathan Chōrō and I found out that we will be the new zone leaders. The current ones are leaving to Japan a week from yesterday and we will have a zone of just one district until the new recruits arrive. It will be weird to be the "more experienced" ones here. A few weeks actually does make a difference in how "old" you feel though. So as Zone Leaders, we have a cell phone--it reminded me of Deacon's quorum, when our leaders told us that we couldn't bring iPod touches or cell phones to quorum, because on our missions, we wouldn't have any electronic devices. But here we are with both iPads and cell phone, so that's pretty funny.

I also sang a duet in sacrament meeting, Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd, with the old zone leader, Bates Chōrō. Brother Turpin from our branch presidency accompanied us on the piano, he actually arranged the song, too. So that was good! Brother Turpin was very proud of us. He really really really loves to talk, and he went on and on about his arrangement and the Japanese verse. Bates Chōrō and I endured it well.
Also in our branch presidency is brother Collinsworth, who is actually the dad of Kyle Collinsworth, who is one of the best players on the BYU basketball team. Bro. Collinsworth is like 6'5", he's a super cool guy.

On Monday, we played kickball in the rain with our district. That was way fun, but very cold. It was nice to get outside though, sitting in a classroom all day gets boring. And exercising in the gym is good, but it's just nicer out in the sun. Or the rain.

We also had some one-on-one Nihongo coaching with one of our senseis, and she was our first "investigator". I thought that we weren't super good teachers, but she actually had a lot of good things to say about our teaching. She also said that I "exude happiness" so I guess that is a good thing, haha she said Japanese people will love that. But it's hard to exude happiness because I am so tired all the time. Just like that guy in the district, it's fun to be a missionary but you're tired literally every day.

I was reading my scriptures the other day, in the Isaiah chapters, and I actually got something out of it! That was surprising but cool. In one of the verses it says "how can the axe boast itself against the bearer" (or something like that) but it was way cool because I think it really applies to missionary work. As missionaries we are the "axe", and God is the "bearer." We are tools in his hands, and through us, he can accomplish so much good, but we still need to remember that we, like the axe, can accomplish nothing without him. But even though he is the strength behind the axe, he can only use us if we are "sharpened" and kept in good shape--which is why we need to be obedient. So in conclusion--be a sharp/obedient axe, but remember that axes without the help of God just sit there and don't accomplish much.

At the devotional last night, we sang "Praise to the Man", the arrangement that was originally for the Mormon Tabernacle choir. So cool. Elder Soares from the Seventy Presidency gave an awesome message that I missed a good chunk of because I fell asleep. But the main idea was that we are ordained representatives of Jesus Christ, and as such, we need to represent him well. He told the story of a man who saw missionaries dingdong ditching other houses, so when he and his comp knocked on that guy's door, he got really mad and and said that he didn't want to hear anything about their church. So people really are watching us, and we need to make sure our actions are reflecting well on the church and on Christ.

To answer your question, Williamson Shimai is in the district across the hall--she's actually not even in my zone. But her classroom is right by ours, so I see her pretty often. And her companion was friends with Nathan Chōrō back in Cali!! Small world we live in. I also see Jenn's friend Frank Shimai pretty often, so I'll say hi to her too. And I see people from my BYU ward all the time too, it's actually pretty funny how many people I recognize literally everywhere we go.

So yeah I'm doing well, the time is flying by. Hope you guys are doing well! I am getting closer and closer to the point where I can read your DearElder letters in Nihongo. Especially with the iPads, translating them is super quick. Except when you use weird conjugations of words and I can't find the plain form haha. But anyways, can't wait to hear about girls camp and whatever other fun things you have planned this week!

(I love you!)

Elder Paskett 

iPad selfie
First Temple visit

First Temple visit

In class

In class

First night in the MTC

the super bunk bed ft. Nathan Choro meditating
MTC Choir

1st day with the district

Nihonjin friends

1st pday

more with the district

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 8, 2016--Hello!!!!

The first letter from Elder Landon Paskett (added translational notes where appropriate in blue italics--from Mom):

Konnichiwa ai suru Mamasama!!!

Arigatou for the DearElder letter! I only had to look up like 10 of the words in it, so I guess that's good. Demo, romaji ga dai suki desu! Hiragana wa tokidoki muzukashi desu. (Romaji [using our alphabet to spell out words] is my favorite; hiragana [Japanese phonetic symbols] can be sometimes difficult.) I can read hiragana but it takes me a while to read each symbol individually then separate the words. So romaji is subarashii (wonderful) for now ;)

It definitely feels like a firehose--but I feel like the Lord has increased the diameter of my esophagus and I am able to swallow almost all of it. It's alot of fun, I love our district and senseitachi.

But yeah I am so good!! I love it here, I feel the spirit so much. Nihongo is coming along well, I am learning quickly and I feel so good until they have us attempt to teach an "investigator" who only speaks Nihongo. Our investigator right now is Kuwahara-san, she is literally the perfect, ideal investigator but we are terrible teachers so she is progressing slowly haha. I am getting good at using the few words I know to figure out more words--we were teaching Kuwahara-san about the tree of life in Lehi's vision, and I didn't know the word for fruit, so I asked her, "ki no tabemono wa nan desu ka?" (What is food of tree?) And she was like "kudamono?" So I assumed that meant fruit. I hope it does, because we taught the whole rest of the lesson about how that "kudamono" represents God love for us.

Funny story--our DL taught Kuwahara-san that '"Kamisama no unko ni yotte," we can be cleansed from our sins.' I wish could've seen her face at that moment! He didn't even realize until later that day when senseitachi taught us the word Onko. (I'll just let you each look up that word...suffice it to say it would be shocking to hear it. :))

I am trying to teach without just reading from pre-translated sentences, but usually that ends up with a lot of awkward silence. It's especially hard because sometimes she will ask questions that are hard to answer even in Eigo. Like "what do you mean when you say Christ took our sins upon himself?" and "I already have a dad, what do you mean when you say 'Kamisama wa watashitachi no Ten no Otousama desu' ?" (God is our Father in Heaven) So teaching is rough. But it's getting better, I am learning so much more every day.

So my doryo is Nathan Choro--he is a 6'4" half-New Zealander, except he acts nothing like a 6'4" New Zealander. He is huge and brown and so good at basketball but he loves anime. He basically has the personality of a shrimpy white boy that was homeschooled his whole life (because he actually was homeschooled his whole life), I love it. His mannerisms are totally not what you would expect from someone who looks like him!! It's so funny.

So I told you about that super bunk-bed we made with our extra bunk bed...Bro Turpin put the kabosh on that literally our second night here. Bummer. 

Nathan Choro is a vocabulary master! He knows so many words in Nihongo, but he hasn't studied very much Bunpo so he's not a ton of help during the's all good though. I think he gets a little discouraged with Nihongo so I am trying my best to help him as much as possible.

The other 2 chorotachi in our district are Titel choro and Akagi choro. Akagi choro's Dad is Nihonjin, but he said he never learned any Japanese at all growing up, and he's worried the Nihonjin in Tokyo will look down on him because he looks Nihonjin but won't be totally fluent in nihongo and will have an American accent. He and Titel choro are both going to Tokyo. Actually, everyone in my district is going to Tokyo except me and Nathan Choro. Our teacher Stratford kyoudai served in Fukuoka, so he thought it was super cool that you and Dad went there too.

We started a barbershop quartet with the 4 chorotachi in our district. Haha we are getting pretty good at "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy," it's way fun. We actually don't sound bad, and it's way fun to sing. We pretty much sing everywhere we go. The other choro tachi actually love it when I sing--especially in a super high falsetto. Total opposite of my roomies at BYU haha. One of the shimai in our zone actually told me I have the voice of a Disney Prince! Haha but I referred her to page 33 of the white handbook, don't worry.

I have been playing volleyball a lot. Usually everyone isn't super good but one time I played with a bunch of Brazilian chorotachi--most intense game EVER. They hit it so flipping hard. Excuse my potty mouth. And they play with no serving or rotating, so you just throw the ball back in the game when it goes out. I got a super good workout because the rally is continuous the whole time, and we had a super good setter that would have me hit it so much. I also may have broken my pinkie blocking this INSANE brazil-jin choro who hit the ball so hard. Like Ben Patch hard. But I still blocked him a couple times, I was pretty proud of myself.

Hope everything goes well with girls' camp!! You'll have to let me know how it is. I'm sure whatever you plan the girls will love.

Glad the Boise temple found my recommend! Pres. Read told me destroy it if I ever found my old one, so I delegate the responsibility of destruction to you. 

We haven't been to the temple yet. We did a temple walk on Sunday, but obviously didn't get to go inside. We will go this afternoon though! I've actually never done endowments in the Provo temple, so I'm excited. After a few weeks, we might get headphones for a Japanese translation and see if we can understand it.

Sunday was fast sunday, and our branch is small enough that almost every single person got to bear their testimony. I shared my feelings about a devo we heard that morning (quality of sacrifice is more important than quantity) and shared a scripture from Phillipians 4...verse 13 maybe? It says I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me. Powerful scripture, you should look it up and read about all the context and stuff, it will make it more meaningful. I think it applies to a mission perfectly.

Last night, we got to have a Devo with Elder Bednar!! It was all about how the Lord loves us individually--even though the atonement is infinite and applies to everyone, it is also so individualized. Elder Bednar wrote a song about that idea and we (the MTC choir) got to be the first ones to ever sing it! It is supposed to be in the New Era next month, you'll have to keep an eye out for it.

So on Friday we will get our iPads--which means I will have as much time as I need to email. Today, I only have an hour to read all of them and respond, but with an iPad we can read them whenever we have free time and draft responses, but we just can't send them out until P-day (Wednesday). So next week should be a more detailed email, sorry this one is so short!

I love it here, but I still miss and love you! I pray for you and the rest of our kazoku every day, many times! 

Elder Paskett

P.S. Tell everyone to tell Maddy happy birthday!!! I sent her a card on Monday, hopefully you guys got it in time!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016--First Day!!!

(This is the email that we didn't receive on that first day!)

My dearest darlingest wonderful mother,

So our p-day will be Wednesdays, but they are letting us have 10
minutes to email today since we won't be able to email until next
week. But I am loving it here! The chocolate milk is good. They were
out of apple juice and grape juice and raspberry lemonade. But they
serve BYU ice cream every time new missionaries come in so that was
nice! Haha I had some nice chocolate ice cream with oreos.

We had just one Nihongo lesson today, I understood everything so that
was good. There was one girl who took Japanese in high school and has
taken it upon herself to be the district translator for the rest of

Other than that we've been busy all day, teaching "investigators" and
listening to the MTC presidency's orientation. I'm thinking about
doing the MTC choir, and I guess they have audtitions for musical
numbers so I might do that too.

My comp is Elder Nathan, he is from California and his Dad is from
New Zealand so he looks like a New Zealander and can protect me from
the MTC mafia. And he was on swim team and in choir so that's super
cool! Our district is good! there are 10 people, 4 elders and 6
sisters. Everyone is going to Tokyo except me and Elder Nathan. All
the other Sendai missionaries are in another district. Sister
Williamson and Sister Frank are both from Boise and they're going to
Japan but they're in the other district so that was too bad. My
district is good though. One of the guys (Elder Akagi) was actually on
my floor in Heritage Halls at BYU!! I had never really talked to him
but I recognized him right away.

Our room has 3 bunk beds but only 4 people so we put 2 of the bunk
beds together to make a super-bunk bed. Our plan is to switch off
which companionship gets the super-bed every week.

I am feeling the spirit so much already, I'm so excited! This will be
great. I'm just not sure if it will still be great after 8 weeks ;)

I saw Jessie! Or I guess I should say Sister Schneider. Right when I
was checking in! So we got to get a pic with her and Ruth and Dannica
and Grandma and me. Also, I've seen a couple people from my BYU ward
today, I recognize someone almost everywhere we go.

Sorry it's so short, we only have 10 mins but I'll send you a longer
one next Wednesday!! Things are going great, except I'm already tired
after just a half-day. But it's all good, I'm excited :)

Elder Paskett

June 1, 2016--BOI --> MTC

After an early morning good-bye (and a little rearranging to balance the checked luggage--I can't believe we made the weight limits!), Landon flew from Boise, ID to Salt Lake City, UT, where he was picked up by his Davidsons and Grandma Vehar. Lots of family came to wish him well and enjoy lunch at Pizza Pie Cafe! Then, on to Provo, where guess who they ran into at the drop-off?? Sister Jessie Schneider, in the MTC headed to Bacolod, Philippines in a few weeks!! Cousin reunion at the MTC!
The night before. (Photo awesomeness cred to Jenn Jacobson.)

The send-off--with Tylor Clark.

Last embrace...for a while.

Off he goes!

With Grandpa Paskett at Pizza Pie.

Grandma Vehar, Elder Paskett, Dannica, and Aunt Ruth


Aunt Ruth, Dannica, Elder Paskett

Sister Schneider!! An unplanned mini-reunion!