Sunday, February 26, 2017

February 27, 2017--Elder Holland and a rotisserie chicken

My most crazy awesome, fantabulous, gorgeous, perfectly exquisite and wonderful Mother who is mine,

It's been another crazy week--やっぱりですね!

First, we had Elder Holland come on Tuesday. I was expecting him to grill us, but he didn't. I was most impressed by how much he really loves us--he wanted to shake each of our hands and look us in the eye, as a personal "interview." He truly cared about our well-being, we could tell he was motivated by a sincere desire to help and lift us. He even set aside some stuff he had prepared to teach us so that he could spend time answering questions. I definitely could feel that He is one of the Savior's chosen representatives. Just his example of love made me want to be a more selfless, Christ-like missionary! One thing he said that really struck me was that after a mission, "you will never be the same." You can try going through your mission thinking, "I'll work hard, be obedient, whatever, I'll put in my 2 years then go back home and get back to real life." But you will not--can not--be the same person as when you left. It's up to you if you will be better or worse. This mission right now IS real life, as real as it's ever gonna get, and it's up to you whether you will be changed for the better by it. It was so powerful! As he left, we all felt like the Nephites in 3 Nephi 17 when they were crying and didn't want the Savior to leave. Unfortunately, Elder Holland wasn't able to stay longer like theSavior did, but those ridiculously fast 2 hours were amazing.

Also, I just need to throw in how amazing Nathan Choro is! I knew we would see each other at the Holland Taikai so I asked him to bring me some peanut butter from the Costco in his area, then he hooked me up with not only peanut butter, but a huge thing of granola, 2 stacks of cheese bagels, and an entire rotisserie chicken hahaha. So that is why countless Nihonjin got to see a white guy walking through crowded downtown Sendai carrying 2 bags and holding a rotisserie chicken. As if I don't stand out enough already.

We had a good lesson with R and Y--we went out to Yokote Burger with them and then decided to have a lesson after with both of them. We were in this public building called YY Plaza, on the 3rd floor where it is usually quiet. We asked for their questions, and they wanted to talk about Christ and the Atonement. Just when it was starting to get really good, Maynes Choro was starting to bear his testimony, and "Thriller" starts blasting at us from the first floor. Maynes Choro just looked at me and was like, "Dang it Michael Jackson!" Part of the first floor has a vaulted ceiling up to the 4th floor, so through the windows we could see this group of 80-year old women dancing to MJ with a surprisingly large audience. Satan has seriously some weird tricks up his sleeve. So that kind of de-railed our lesson but we were able to bring it back and they still got a lot out of it. It was especially cool to have both of them there, because we would have Y answer R's questions and it was perfect. Near the end, we asked them what they thought they could do to follow Christ more, and they both said they wanted to start keeping the Word of Wisdom better. We didn't even suggest or solicit that, but it was so cool to see that they really want to follow the commandments.

We went out to eat with K, and he is so golden! He is actually a lot like R Kyoudai from Aomori. He is done with school and has a nice job and is getting paid well, but that kind of sums up his life right now. So he is looking for a little bit more. He took us to a restaurant where we had some steak, sushi, and gyuutan, and then after he even offered to walk us back home. As we were walking, we asked what questions he had about the gospel and what he heard at church, and first he wanted to know about the spirit. We had a good discussion about that, then he wanted to know about Christ's resurrection. We explained that, and then gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet as well. And when we talk more about that this week, I think it will lead really easily into the doctrine of Christ. He came to church again, and we learned about the Restoration of the Priesthood in Sunday school. So he has some questions about that, and we will be teaching him about the Restoration soon as well. It's so cool because can already see how his questions will lead to more questions and he will want to learn all the principles that we are supposed to teach, but he really feels the relevance since we are able to teach them in the order of what he wants to know and what he has interest in. It has been a good learning experience for me about adapting teaching to meet needs.

One unfortunate thing is that he has some chastity issues with his girlfriend (we haven't taught the Law of Chastity yet but we just picked up stuff from our conversations). But, he wants to get marriedto her! But, her father doesn't approve of her getting married until she finishes college and nursing school in like 6 years. So, we'll see how that goes down when the time comes. One cool miracle was S san--he and K live in the same apartment, so he brought K to church the first time he came (Shas a car but K does not). After our lesson with K Saturday night, he said he would be coming to church with S the next day. But we got a call from S, 5 minutes before sacrament meeting, saying that his 101-year-old Mom's health is declining (surprising right) and he needs to be with her so he can't make it to church today. We were like "yeah that's totally fine, take care of your Mom!" And then we realized that that meant K wouldn't be able to make it either. But then, lo and behold, K shows up like 2 minutes later! Apparently S let him borrow his car so that he could still make it to church. I was just floored--literally, we met S a few weeks ago, he still doesn't really get the gospel, but he has been a better fellowshipper for K than anyone else hahaha. I love it!

This week is transfers, so Maynes Choro will unfortunately be leaving Yokote. I will be staying, and I will be working with my new son--Elder Barton, coming straight outta Provo!! We'll see if I get to raise him to manhood or if I will have to give him up halfway through his childhood like Elder Hall.

Thanks for all you do! Love and miss you always ❤️😘❤️😘❤️💕💕💕
Elder Paskett

dinner with K!

The scratches on my coat from getting hit by a car. I just found
out they will probably pay me some recompense ¥¥¥ so I will be

We ran into a magic show with some famous guy named Bravo Nakaya
or something. He brought me up on stage and we were on TV! I told him
my name was Paskett Choro (Elder Paskett) and he kept calling me Choro
San (Mr. Elder)

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20, 2017--The Week of the Kamakura!

Hello there!! Hope you had an amazing week!!

We started off our week up in Akita--went to Indo Curry for our district P-day, then stayed the night for splits the next day. My comp was with our DL so I got to spend the day with Watanabe Choro, a new missionary from Chiba who was called to a mission in Australia but is serving here until his VISA comes. That was a good time, he is a great missionary!

 A week or two ago, Maynes Choro and I found a new investigator, S, who lives in Akita--he was only down in Yokote for a couple days, so we referred him to the Akita Elders. But he was able to meet on the day of splits so I got to teach him with Watanabe Choro! I wasn't expecting to ever teach S again so that was a fun surprise. We taught a solid lesson about prayer, how to pray and how our prayers are answered. He had so many questions about everything, we ended up talking a little bit about prophets and temples and eternal marriage and a hundred other random things. But I felt like Watanabe Choro and I taught very well together and were able to answer all of his questions. It also helped me realize that lessons are so much better if they are 100% focused on what the   investigator has interest in, what he/she wants to know, instead of just what I want him/her to know.

Yokote Castle

The Kamakura festival was on Wednesday! O showed us around, it was a good time. It's still a hard situation with her--she comes to church consistently every week, but she's not a member because if she gets baptized, her daughter won't let her be buried at the family grave. She also has a few "doctrinal" issues with the church, namely that we teach that angels don't have wings. I guess missionaries have been too pushy with trying to get her to be baptized in the past, so we are trying to find ways to work around her concerns but without being pushy.

But the Kamakura festival was great! They had little tatami mats in all the snow caves and were serving amazake. They also had mini Kamakuras with candles in them everywhere! So pretty. We got a nice view of everything from the top of Yokote "castle," we went up to the top balcony with R. We saw so many gaijin during the matsuri--we very very rarely meet any foreigners in Yokote, but this week we met people from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, England, and America. We talked to an Australian couple on the street, and they were so shocked that we live in Yokote! They thought we were just messing with them at first.

People told us the Kamakura days are supposed to be the last days of snow, and literally the very next day it was pouring rain instead of snowing. We got so soaked and it was frigid, so much colder than being out in the snow, because our gloves and hats and everything just get saturated with rain water and they don't keep us warm anymore! But after Friday it started snowing again, which I was grateful for.

This weekend Elder Holland gave a couple devotionals in Japan! On Saturday night, we were going to watch it with R, but we couldn't get the video to stream. We ended up just calling in and listening to the back-up audio line. We put the phone speaker up to the microphone on the podium so we could hear it better, the sound quality wasn't great though. It was really good, but I don't think R got very much out of it. Between the bad sound quality and no video and the church vocabulary and missing the first 20 minutes, he was kind of just confused. Hopefully he felt the spirit though!

On Sunday night we had another devotional, and the Miyakawas came to church and hooked their computer up to the TV so we were able to watch it with no problems! We brought K that night. It was a little hard to bring someone so new to the devotional with church members as the target audience, but I think he got a lot out of it. Elder Holland talked about how God loves fixing broken things, and talked very deeply about the Atonement as well.

We met a guy named M on the street last week, he was interested in our message and also loves English! He took a Book of Mormon and we exchanged numbers. Then this week he texted us asking if he could have 2 copies of the Bible, one in English and one in Japanese. Of course we said yes, so we delivered them to his house on Sunday and talked with him for a bit. Apparently the main reason he wants to learn about Christ is becuase he loves watching American movies and he hears Christ's name often in movies. He said his favorite movie was DieHard, and he has learned all the swear words in English so when he gets mad he can just cuss people out in English and they won't understand. He was even kind enough to demonstrate different ways to use all the swear words he knows. So we will stop by this next weekend to answer his questions about the bible and talk more about Christ. Hopefully he will start to have more of a doctrinal interest rather than just wondering why His name is used in movie scripts, but we'll take what we can get haha :)

Love you so much! Thanks for all you do!
Elder Paskett

Snow creations


Festive (?) hat


Ancient ice skates

Yokote Castle

 Just to clarify that the handicap restroom is for pregnant women,
not fat women...
This still makes me laugh. I am still technically a child in Japan so it's ok.

Monday, February 13, 2017

February 13, 2017--A great mission story

Well, it's honestly been a pretty rough week. But there have been good things along the way!

On Monday, an Obaasan named O who attends church but is not a member came to our Eikaiwa. Afterwards, she invited us to go to the Kamakura festival with her this week. She asked if we had any appointments after Eikaiwa, and we said yes, because we had a lesson with R and then T (an LA) that night. She wanted to just show us where her house is really quick, so she told us to follow her. We were getting a little nervous because it was making us late to our lesson, but we figured we'd just follow her to her house then run over to our lesson. Then, all of a sudden, she walks into this super nice restaurant, and asks for a table for 3. We were just so stunned and confused, we politely told her we couldn't stay because we needed to leave for our appointment, but she was just like "oh it's ok just have him come over here, I'll buy his dinner too." R agreed to come join us but he had just eaten dinner so he wasn't hungry. So basically we ended up eating steak at the nicest restaurant in Yokote in front of our investigator instead of having a lesson, it was a mess. It was pretty good steak though.

Right after that we had our appointment with T, we were already planning on going to dinner with him so we went and got some Yokote yakisoba for a 2nd dinner. He was able to come to church on Sunday so that was good! He even took out his gauges and piercings for church, it was nice.

On Tuesday, we were able to do a lot of good finding, and then I got hit by a car. That definitely put a damper on things. You already know the story, but for those who don't, here is what happened:

We were walking along the road, there was no sidewalk and the sides of the road are covered in huge piles of snow, so we were just on the edge of the road. I was walking along, when suddenly a huge semi truck behind us took a corner too fast and lost traction. As it began sliding out of control, I noticed a Mom with 2 little kids at her feet, holding an infant child and pushing an old lady in a wheelchair. The wheelchair was stuck in the ice on the road, and they were directly in the path of the semi truck careening out of control. I only had a few seconds to act, so I dove and managed to stack the little family onto the wheelchair and send them rolling away to the other side of the road, but it was too late for me. I flexed my pecs as hard as I could and braced myself for the oncoming truck. I was knocked off my feet, but I managed to stop the truck from destroying the nearby orphanage and old folk's home that were just meters away from the site.

We took a short trip to the hospital to do some X-rays and scans, and I came out with just a swollen hand, a sore chest, and a nice goose egg on my head from build-up of hot air. I'll make sure and send some pics! Everything is better now expect for a little but of chest pain still, but all things considered I guess I am pretty lucky.

[Mom's note: in case you didn't notice, there was a bit of artistic license used in that retelling--the less melodramatic (though no less impressive) version is more along the lines of this: Elder Paskett was walking along the side of the road and was hit from behind with no warning; flipping up and over the car, he managed to break the windshield, and flip and twist over the still-forward-moving car to land on his back in the road, 20 feet ahead of where he started. The hospital part was more accurate and the x-rays and CT scan all indicated no broken bones, etc. Check out the pictures below of x-rays, the swollen hand, and the happy-go-luckiest hospital patient ever.]

On the way to the hospital, I had a lot of good life pondering time. It is still kind of weird to me that I honestly could have died there. Being not only alive, but with basically no lasting injuries, helped me realize that the Lord needs me here. It had made me want to really give my life to the Lord and do all that He would have me do. That night, I kneeled down and, for the first time in my life, just thanked the Lord that I am alive! How great it is to be alive. I would encourage each of you reading this to pray to God, today, and thank him for your wonderful life!

We have a sweet new investigator named K. We met him tracting, in the same apartment as S (the one-eyed crazy man whom I love very much). When we first met him, we offered him a Book of Mormon, but he said he wanted to try coming to church and see how it is before he accepts a book. But he expressed some interest, so we were thinking he would for sure come to church. He didn't show up the week we met him, so we decided to stop by again this week and just see how he's doing, and if he really has any interest or not.

We stopped by and he was glad to see us! We had a really good conversation and he was telling us about his favorite restaurant nearby, so we decided to go out to eat together this week. This was Saturday night, so we asked if he was still interested in coming to church, and he said he would probably be able to come the next day. Right then, S came home to his apartment and saw us in the hall! So he came up and introduced himself to K; S was like "I didn't really have any friends until the missionaries came to my door, and now I have another 3 friends!" He was very excited that he knows one of his neighbors now! So excited that he asked K if he was coming to church on Sunday, and when K said yes probably, he offered him a ride in his car. He was pretty persistent too. We weren't 100% sure if he would come or not before, but S was like "ok I'll be waiting at 9:45, just come knock on my door! I won't leave without you!" So basically we had one of our investigators being a great missionary and getting another investigator to church, it was so awesome!

We were a little bit worried that K would be weirded out by S, but they actually are really good friends now! Apparently they decided to hang out yesterday to drink Sake and watch movies hahaha. 

K had a great time at church! I got to give a talk, and I spoke about Christ's Intercessory prayer and what it teaches about the Doctrine of Christ. I catered it mostly to K, but tried to make it edifying for the long-time members as well. Right after me, this one old lady spoke, and she is actually crazy--like diagnosably crazy. We all love her, but I was worried that her talk would confuse/weird out K. She just spoke about how the snow in Yokote has been pretty sukunai this year, she talked for like 25 minutes haha but after her the branch president gave a talk (also on Christ's Intercessory Prayer) and it was super solid. Then in Sunday School we talked about the Holy Ghost and how it speaks to us, it was great!

After church, I asked K how it was and if he had any questions. He said "hontou ni benkyou ni narimashita! Yokatta desu." And he asked me if he could have a Book of Mormon!! So good. Then we had a branch lunch after church this week (perfect timing!!) so he got to know the members really well, they all love him!

That is so cool about I san--we visited her yesterday, she loves missionaries. She has been texting us every day pretending to be Baymax from Big Hero 6 and asks me how i would rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10, she is the best! She's like "I know how much your moms must worry about you so I have to take good care of you for them."

That is so cool about the temple music gig! I can't think of anyone better to coordinate all the choirs, that will be so fun to get to be a part of! Let me know how it goes :)

The drunk driver didn't end up coming to church, but he and his boss did come and apologize and gave me a box of sweets, so that was really nice. But we know where he lives now so we can keep pestering him to come to church as much as we want ;)

I broke out the voice recorder to record my talk in church! I still don't know how to send the files through the ipad though. But at the very least, be prepared for some fun sound files in 2018 haha :)

Love you!! Thanks for all you do!!!
And so many extra big OOOOOs!!!
Elder Paskett

Feb. 4, 2017

At English class on Thursday, 2/9



Valentine's Day--to show respect and thanks, and possibly also love 
My hand on Tuesday...


...and Saturday.

The thug lyfe is real in Akita ken

Totsu zen steak dinner with R and O

Cool snow sculptures are popping up everywhere!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February 7, 2017--Letter from Pres. Smith about accident

Dear Brother and Sister Paskett,
 This is Jeff Smith, president of the Japan Sendai Mission.  Your son, Landon, was involved in a motor vehicle-pedestrian accident a few hours ago.  He is alive and well and, miraculously, is able to walk and talk as if nothing had happened.  I tried to call you to explain in person what happened, but it must be early in the morning so no-one picked up the phone.  So, I will try to explain here.
 He and his companion were walking along the side of a road towards the home of a less active member of the Church for a visit.  Elder Paskett was a few paces behind his companion.  The next thing he remembers he was “flying” in the air.  His companion doesn’t know exactly how it happened either.  All he remembers is that they were walking along when suddenly his companion was struck from behind and went flying past him “20 feet” onto the road ahead.  He did not lose consciousness.  An ambulance was called.  A Church member in Yokote was also called (and arrived before the ambulance).  He was able to stand and walk on his own power.  He was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.  He had a cut/ abrasion on the back of his head with some bleeding.  At first that was his chief complaint.  He had a swollen hand as well.  x-rays were taken of his hand, neck and head.  Nothing was broken.  He had a CT scan of his head.  There was no evidence of internal bleeding in his brain.  He was then released to return to his apartment with instructions to return to the hospital in the morning.  The accident happened around 7:00pm Japan time (Tuesday).  It is now around 9:40pm.  I have spoken with him.  He said he has some chest discomfort but didn’t seem overly concerned.  He is alert and attentive.  He is speaking both Japanese and English appropriately.  In fact, the driver of the vehicle (who is extremely remorseful) said he would try to come to Church on Sunday!  (Wouldn’t this be the most unusual conversion story if anything comes of it.  I certainly do not recommend it as a proselyting method.) 
 His companion has instructions to wake him up every 2 hours through the night to make sure he is rousable and showing no signs of intracranial hemorrhage.   They are to keep me informed.  
 I asked your son if he would like to speak to you.  He said he didn’t want you to worry.  He said he felt fine.  I will certainly let you know if there is any change in his condition.  As it is, all I can say is that he has been spared by the Hand of Providence.  I’m an orthopedic surgeon by profession.  One simply does not get hit by a car sufficient to send you flying 20 feet and then get up and walk away as seems to be the case here.  As a minimum, a broken leg or arm would be anticipated.  By all outward appearances, he has been protected miraculously.  I know your prayers will join ours for a complete recovery.  Possibly you could have his name placed on the temple prayer rolls.  Please let me know if you have questions.
President Jeffrey R. Smith
Japan Sendai Mission

February 6, 2017--Genki desu ka?

Hello my wonderful Momma!

This week has been good, we did a lot of tracting but have actually been seeing more success tracting than I ever have before. Every day we found at least one person to follow up with! We have been giving pamphlets to people who express interest, so we are putting a lot of trust in the power of those pamphlets.

I think the best finding day was Wednesday--first, we found a new investigator who lives in Akita. He is 26 years old, and he was staying in Yokote for a few days for work selling life insurance. We told him about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our spiritual life insurance, and he expressed a lot of interest in the Plan of Salvation. We got to share a basic overview of the Plan, then we set up a follow-up appointment for the Akita Elders!

Right after that, we rang the doorbell of a really long house. It had 2 doors, and a guy answered from the door 10 feet down from the one we were at. He peeked around the door and was very surprised and excited to see 2 Americans! We told him we were Christian missionaries, then as we came to the door, we saw that inside was a dance studio. We asked if he was a dancer, and he said yes and told us to please come in. So we went in and there were 2 people doing some super jozu ballroom dancing! We sat on the couch with the guy we met and talked for a while and watched them dance. Then he said he was actually in the middle of a lesson, so he went back with his dance partner and started dancing. We just sat on the couch kind of awkwardly for 10 minutes while the 4 of them were ballroom dancing, they were all super good too!

When they finished, they wanted to take some pictures with the Americans so we happily obliged, and talked with them for a while. Two of them were students, and the other 2 were a married couple who taught ballroom dance for a living. The students had to leave, then we asked the couple if we could come back sometime to share a message. They said they were super busy, but they had 30 minutes until the next lesson so they asked if we could share it right then! We taught them the restoration, and I felt like it we did a pretty good job of teaching simply and clearly. But, they weren't super interested. The lady said that whether it's true or not, it doesn't really affect her life because she has been doing Nihonjin religious stuff for so long, she can't change to a Christian lifestyle anyway. They did accept a Book of Mormon though, and said we are welcome to come back and hang out anytime.

The A family was sick this last week, so we weren't able to meet. But hopefully we will be able to this week!

Y san is doing great, we went and worked out with him this morning. There is a little gym nearby (in the same building that we have Monday Eikaiwa), and it's 200¥ for 2 hours so we decided to go check it out. They did not have nearly as much equipment as we were expecting, basically like 5 lifting machines and a bunch of treadmills. And they had guides that would baby us through each machine, they would adjust the seats and the weight and stuff for us then make sure we did our reps nice and slowly. They told us the purpose of the gym is to prevent illness and maintain health, not to gain strength. That also explained why all the other people there were like 70 years old haha. But it was a good time, and we got a decent workout.

Yesterday we also fasted with Y, we had just taught tithing and fasting this last week so it was perfect timing. His parents still want him to wait a little while before being baptized, so we fasted to soften his parents' hearts and to be able to know what to do from here. His bap date is still set for next Friday, and it will honestly take a miracle for that happen. But it's ok, we know a guy :) We finished up all the commandments and he is good with all of them, and he even bore his testimony yesterday! He said how he is studying both Christianity and Buddhism, and his Dad is a monk so he sees a lot of value in Buddhism. But, he really likes Christianity and wants to be baptized. He asked us if it was ok to still study Buddhism after he is baptized, and we told him it's good to learn about all kinds of things, but we can't worship any other Gods. That's not looking like a problem right now, but hopefully it won't be in the future.

That is so cool Mitch knows about the Kamakuras! I guess they are pretty famous throughout Japan. People say that foreigners come from China and Korea and all over to come see them, so we'll see how that goes! We have already seen a good number of tourists from other parts of Akita ken.

They just hollowed out the Kamakuras this week! I'll make sure and send some pics. They also make tons of mini Kamakuras that look so cool! We ran into a group of people on Saturday that had just made a bunch of the little ones, and they were super excited to see Gaijin. We took pictures inside a big Kamakura with like 10 different families' kids, then some very enthusiastic 10 year olds took us on a tour of the Kamakuras they built in the park. I actually think that they will give us a lot of good finding opportunities, in addition to just being awesome.

Grayson didn't put me up to the dog thing! Haha I was just expressing honest thoughts. But it sounds like this is a common theme you're hearing, maybe God is trying to send you a message?

We walked M Shimai's dog again this week, and she said that we would be going to lunch with her friend and she wanted us to teach the gospel to her friend! But then she didn't tell her friend that missionaries would be coming to the lunch, so it was kind of awkward. But we talked and were able to discuss the Gospel a little bit. Her friend was into some crazy Buddhist psychic stuff and believed in it pretty strongly, so she wasn't really interested in our message, but we just stated our beliefs and said that she is always welcome to learn more if she changes her mind.

Glad G got to go to Klondike! Even if it rained on them. Still a great experience I'm sure!

The schedule change is way nice, although none of the changes are too big. It's good though because now we spend more time out talking to people during more effective hours of the day, and we have studies and lunch during less effective hours. And it's set up so I'm not nearly as tired all the time, I think that having a little more variety in the schedule instead is good. Before, it was just a huge block of time in the apartment, then a huge block out on the streets, then we came home. It makes the days seem more productive and way faster too.

Anyway that's about all I can think of for this week! Oh also we had President Whiting come and talk to everyone in Morioka zone so that was cool! I was asked to sing at that and a lot of people told me after that they felt the spirit so strong during the song, I sang that one arrangement of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" that me and Taylor and Berkley sang once. So yeah that was good! Overall it's just been a good week, and so fast!

Thanks so much for the email! Love you!
Elder Paskett

Us and our ballroom dancer friends...

Funny cake shop we found, ft worm cake, beetle cake and yakisoba cake

Us and R san

Mini kamakura lit up

They really wanted a picture with the gaijin inside the kamakura

The "lovekura"

Modeling inside the kamakura...