(First off, Happy early Birthday to Steve Colton and Ellie Colton (my wonderful Dad and grandmother). They are two of the best examples on this earth of showing unconditional love to those around them! Like Christ, they want you to do your best, but they love you know matter who you are or what you do. I hope you two have the incredible birthday you both deserve!)
Anyways, every morning from 0630 to 0700, all 80,000 missionaries across the world are supposed to exercise to help prepare for the day. For anyone who has served a mission before, we all know that motivation to ACTUALLY work out during that time is often a struggle. Well, this past zone conference Elder Bunker and I invited everyone in the zone to go outside during that 30 minutes to actually wake yourself up for morning studies.
Thus, he and I went outside everyday this past week and loved it! My motivation to work out was actually there for the first time in a few months. We found a place to do pull-ups and what not. It's amazing how much a little exercise can rejuvenate you (Even if it is blazing hot at 0630. Check out the weather in Kumamoto. It's rough!).
Notes/Stories from the Week
- American football
- This past week for P-day we joined up with some members of the zone and played a game of American football with some Japanese high schoolers we made. It took some time for the high schoolers to realize you couldn't keep throwing the ball forward to each other, but they were the fastest ones out there! There is something about playing two hand touch football with no shoes on a giant grass field that makes you feel alive. Way hot, but good times.
- A Piano performance at a retirement center home
- Throughout high school, I had the opportunity to accompany my wonderful piano teacher and many of her other students to retirement homes to put on concerts. I have always loved the opportunity and have looked for ways in Japan to continue it. This past week, Elder Metekingi and I put on a 40 or so minute concert/show to about 30 or so rather (very) old Japanese people. In addition to playing some songs on the piano, we explained some of American and New Zealand culture. Except for when one of them brought up the war (WW2), we had a fantastic time.
Miracle/"Tendy Mercy" for the Week
Since I got here, we have been working with a 27 year less-active, Sato 兄弟, who has struggled and drifted with life for 7 or so years. He was baptized in high school, and then a few years after diagnosed with some pretty severe mental disorders. We have met with him about each week, trying to help him give God a chance in helping him out, but haven't been able to make any visible progress.
This past week we met with him and another member, Shohei 兄弟. Shouhei 兄弟 is one of the most incredible people I know (see pictures of his apartment below). He drifted from the church soon after high school and moved to Los Angeles to learn to paint. There, he got involved in some pretty serious drugs and a rough crowd. Upon coming back to Japan, the death of his grandfather forced him to reconsider his life.
Over the course of a few years and many miraculous missionaries, he changed his life and developed unshaken in God and Jesus Christ.
Well this past week, Shohei 兄弟 shared his conversion story with Sato 兄弟 and caught his attention from the start. For the first time since we started meeting with him, Sato 兄弟 actually asked for advice and how to change.
Sato 兄弟 still has a long way to go, but witnessing the power of the personal conversion of Shohei 兄弟 touch the heart of Sato 兄弟, was quite the miracle for me.
Video and Invitation for the Week
Sadly, millions of people around the world suffer like Sato 兄弟 from some sort of mental illness that seems beyond their control. Luckily, we live in a world with the resources to give those people the help they need. Even more miraculous, we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, that understands those mental illnesses and the dark feelings that accompany perfectly. The video for this week addresses that very miracle. Please watch and (with thought and prayer) share with a friend or family member who you feel it would help.
Pictures for the Week.
1-2- Shohei 兄弟's apartment!
3-4- A game we played with some members this past week! THe Ooshima family and Sister Saruwatari.
9- Some more members in the ward that we had a meal with last night. I love the members here!