Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 19, 2017--Hello!

This week has been great! Here are a few more stories...

We followed up with a PI named S, we knocked on his door a few weeks ago and he shared with us about some recent deaths in his family. We gave him a Book of Mormon and introduced the Plan of Salvation, and we kept trying to follow up but it never worked out until Monday! He was home and even invited us in. We sat on his couch and talked about God and the Plan of Salvation. I felt like it was going really well and the spirit was guiding our conversation. We talked about how we can know if all of these things are true by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon--I asked him why he thinks it is important to know if these things are true, and he said he doesn't really think it's important. He told us that even if what we teach is true, he won't change anything in his life, so it doesn't really matter. That crushed my heart! That was a pretty discouraging night, but he told us he would read the pamphlet since we asked him to. Hopefully the spirit will soften his heart!

We made a big group of basketball friends! We met a guy named I on the street who is 19, and he coordinates a group of friends that get together to play ball. Our target age range is 18-26, but that age group is really hard to find in Kitakami. But we played basketball with like sixteen 19 and 20 year olds, it was awesome! They were all pretty surprised that we live in Kitakami. Made a lot of good friends, and we are trusting that the Lord will provide a way for us to share the gospel with them.

We met a crazy-ish lady named T--she came out of nowhere as we were near a park giving out GoEigo fliers to middle schoolers and high schoolers. She wanted to talk to us in English, and she loooves to talk haha but she has a weirdly vast knowledge of religious history and was very excited to hear about the Book of Mormon. She kept calling us handsome and we were very uncomfortable, makes me glad to have sisters here haha. So now T is an investigator for the sisters!

We have been making solid progress on our crazy long PI list--there are so many who have been so friendly and open to talking with us. It's great because when we just go out and knock doors, it can be really hard to find people are willing to talk. But the recorded PIs all were willing to listen to the missionaries at least once before, so we are able to save a lot of time and go straight to people who we know have some good potential.

On Sunday night, we had a great lesson with the M Family--they are a couple with 2 sons who are both away at college. They are less active members but it seems like they want to come back to activity! The branch president gave us some families to home teach, and one was the M Family. Takano Kyoudai (recent convert) wanted to dendo with us on Sunday so we went together to visit them, and didn't know what to expect at all. We found their house and knocked on the door, Takano Kyoudai told us he was really nervous. I  was praying so hard that everything would go well, both for the M's and for Takano Kyoudai's sake.

First, an old lady answered the door and told us that she had no relation to the church. But she went in and got her son--M Kyoudai came to the door and was glad to see us! He invited us in right away and sat us down and gave us some castella cake. Such a nice guy. His wife joined us as well, they are such an awesome couple. They are both return missionaries and have such powerful testimonies. At the beginning, things were actually a little stiff--I didn't want it to be awkward so I was trying really hard to get them talking and I was asking a lot of questions. I didn't think they were weird questions (like how did you two meet, how long have you been a member, what do you do for work, do you have any kids), but Takano Kyoudai kept laughing at me when I would ask questions! Haha. It was pretty funny. I guess he was just wasn't expecting us to try and get to know them that well on the first visit. But it went so well! We talked and got to be friends with them really quickly, we were all talking and laughing within 10 minutes.

We didn't have a specific message prepared, but we asked if we could share a message and I was just praying so hard that the spirit would help me out. I felt like we should read 3 Nephi 17 together, so we read and talked about Jesus' love for us. It was so good! I could tell they felt a little bad/embarrassed about not coming to church for so long, so I didn't want our visit to feel like we were condemning them or calling the wicked to repentance, I just wanted them to feel our love and God's love. And they definitely did! We asked if they had any insights from the scripture as well, and they shared some really good thoughts. M Shimai said that it had been so long since she had read the Book of Mormon, and reading reminded her of how good the gospel life is. That was a such a cool experience! I'm so glad the branch president took the time to give us inspired assignments about who to visit for home teaching :)

Love you so much!!!
Elder Paskett

Super cute little gifts from "Santa San"

"pancake" made with the exra tonkatsu batter


The sisters made cute nametags for these young wanna-be missionaries!

Video journal and two missionary kitchen episodes from this week:

Friday, June 16, 2017

June 5-12 Bonus--Birthday Video for Maddy

In honor of his Madeline's 17th birthday, Elder Paskett channels his inner Michael Bolton (don't have that video posted yet, but that's the inspiration for this ditty):

A couple more short bday videos from Landon to Maddy, to be uploaded soon...

June 12, 2017--Another week flies by!

Hello my wonderful mother who is mine!!

We had a lot of fun last week--we went to Indo Curry and played some games in the park, it was a good time! I'll send some pics. Kitakami is pretty small, quite a bit bigger than Yokote though. We are part of the Morioka Zone which is basically all of Iwate ken.

Yeah we will have a new mission president in 3 weeks! We had transfer calls yesterday (it was just a 3 week transfer), then this next transfer is a 9 week transfer so that Sekiguchi Kaicho can come in and get oriented and still have 6 weeks before he has to decide on transfers. Elder Holdaway and I are both staying, we're excited to have another 9 weeks here!

Monday night, we had a lesson with the T family--they are former investigators, and the mom and her 2 sons were super close to getting baptized, but they were dropped because the Dad was hantai. But we found their names in the area book, and it had been a while since the last contact, so we called her up and she said she would love it if missionaries could come by again! They are pretty familiar with Elders, but the Sisters will continue to teach them, so the Ward mission leader had all 5 of us (us, the sisters, and him) go over there together for the first lesson. We just talked right outside her house, but it was a great lesson! Also I realized how jouzu sister missionaries are...teaching a lesson with them was a revelatory experience for me and my comp. Our goal with everything now is to become more like sister missionaries. Her 2 little boys are 11 and 7 and extremely energetic, it took all 5 of us to try and keep them entertained and engaged in the lesson. We sang Families Can Be Together Forever with them, and they loved it. The older son R was getting a little distracted at one point, so I gave him my tie and taught him how to tie it, then we managed to tie that back into the lesson haha. (see what I did there?) R says he wants to be a missionary someday! The Mom's faith is really strong as well. We're still not sure if anything has changed from the husband's side, but the sisters picked them up as investigators and will keep teaching them, so we'll see how it goes!

After that lesson we took the train to Morioka for ZL splits. I had a fun time with Fono Choro--at one point during the day, we were biking through a neighborhood and I saw some people crouching down on the side of their car, it looked like they were trying to fix a tire or something. So we went over to offer to help, and we realized that the problem wasn't anything with the car, but they had a bunny who darted under the car and they couldnt get him to come out. We parked our bikes and tried to help get the bunny out, but that guy would not move. After a couple minutes, a few different friends from across the street came to help, so it ended up being like 6 people surrounding this car, all of us trying to coax the bunny our way. Eventually one lady brought a broom from her store across the street and prodded the bunny out. Someone else grabbed him and set him in the little kennel, then Fono Choro grabbed the lid and put it on. They were so grateful for our help! It was funny because we didn't
really do anything, but they were just so grateful and touched that we "helped" to "rescue" their bunny. The lady from the store across the street gave us drinks and a tour of her store, we ended up talking to this group of people for probably half an hour. They had never met missionaries before, but now they think we are heroes.  And, the broom lady and her husband love English, so we invited them to GoEigo and she said they would come! Cool little miracles.

On Wednesday, the crazy guy who gave us a scooter came to English class! That was a surprise. They were 2 high schoolers who are pretty good at English, then him haha. He kept just telling random stories, in Japanese too, so we had to keep trying to re-focus him. It was pretty funny. One of the high schoolers, M chan (she also came to District p-day last week) had some great questions about past tense and present perfect tense and that weird stuff...I actually learned a lot about English myself that day. Her English is good, but she thinks it's not and doesn't have very much confidence in it, so I shared some of the language learning tips they taught us in the MTC--there is a Gift of Tongues Video where someone talks about how you need to make 300,000 language mistakes before you can get fluent (or something like that), and it is up to you to decide how long it will take to make those mistakes. M chan thought that was way awesome! MTC language training came in way clutch.

Speaking of language mistakes, I gave a talk on Sunday! I needed a nice transition from a self-introduction into the gospel, so I made up a conversation between me and Dad while we were out harvesting potatoes and I asked about the meaning of life. Except everyone thought I was being serious, so now they all think Dad is a champion potato farmer with the best life advice (not too far from the truth).  I felt really good about my talk though! We had Sister Takahashi (who is super hilarious and loud) and Yamada Choro from the Mission Presidency speak as well, it was an awesome and very spiritual sacrament meeting.

F san has made great progress!! We were finally able to get into some doctrine, and he was so fascinated by the Plan of Salvation. Up to this point we had been doing a lot of BRT/how to begin teaching and trying to foster his interest, and now that he's opened his heart a little more he is just eating up the lessons. He knows a lot about JW doctrine and Buddhism, so he had so many good questions about the Plan of Salvation. We weren't able to teach the whole thing, but even from just the first half, he told us that it all makes so much sense now. He sees how God loves him and how his life fits into the grand scheme of things. For the first time, he realizes the purpose of life and is starting to see us and not just representatives of some church, but as representatives of God with a message of truth. He is so awesome and I have great hope for him!

It's been another fantastic week, and since it's a 9-week transfer that means I will hit my 1-year-in-Japan mark this transfer. I wish the time would slow down! 

I love you! Thanks for all you do!
Elder Paskett


June 5, 2017--Happy Anniversary! Video Journals

Kitakami is the best! The members are in love with us. The 4 missionaries sang with the members after church to practice some hymns and we made a game out of splitting all the food the members gave us, they all think we are so funny. It is the best to have the members in love with you haha.

Can't believe Maddy is a senior! And that she will be 17 this week. Holy cow! Time flies. Can't believe I just have a year left too, it's actually very alarming to be "over the hill." I love you so much, but I wish I could stay here forever ;)

Love you so much ! Enjoy the video journal!

Elder Paskett

June 5th Video Journal 1:

June 5th Video Journal 2:

June 5th Video Journal 3: