Monday, April 29, 2013

I don`t know how much longer Elder Sotto is going to be in Kitami

I`ve heard a lot about these places that are included in this article. The Abashiri Elders are in my district and they`ve been to the prison up there. They mentioned the ice that floats up to the shores as well.
Whenever we go to Kushiro the bus stops at a rest stop in Akan Park. We can`t really see anything from the stop, but you can see a little bit of the lake after and when coming in you pass an Ainu Museum with a huge statue of an owl hanging above the entrance.
We were all able to go to the Sapporo Snow Festival and that was really amazing! Kitami had it`s own small statues carved in front of the Eki (train station) and they were actually even more skillfully made than the ones in Sapporo. The ones in Sapporo are huge though!
I was raised as a bean in Sapporo and got to see some fun places, and everyday when we walked out of our apartment we could see the Big Ski Jump. It`s in perfect view on the side of the mountain from the main street Oodori.
It`s amazing the experiences we get to have here as missionaries. I haven`t been very into going around to many places on P-day but I want to do it more often.
Things over here in Kitami are going great :) I`m not sure how much longer I`ll be here though. This weekend we went down to Obihiro for a Zone Conference and Kaicho interviewed everyone. He told me a couple exciting things in my interview. He said that they`ve been searching for another apartment up here so that we can move into it and so that sisters can move into our apartment next transfer! They`re bringing sisters to Kitami! He`s getting a bigger apartment for the elders so that when 4 elders come up to Kitami everyone can fit (right now having 3 is pretty tight and squished). He also told me, "but you may not be there in Kitami to see that." haha. Kaicho loves leaving little hints at what`s going to happen in the upcoming transfers. He told me again a little while later the same thing, "I don`t know how much longer Elder Sotto is going to be in Kitami." Oh Kaicho :P
There are17 new missionaries coming in next transfer (in 2 weeks) so I wouldn`t be surprised if Me and My doki (people who came to Japan at the same time) start training. I guess we`ll see!
In total this weekend we traveled 16 hours by bus and car. 5 hours to Obihiro and 5 back, then 3 hours to Kushiro on Sunday and 3 back. We had Chihoubu taikai (Branch Conference) on sunday and got to hear Elder Aoyagi of the 2nd Quorum of the 70 speak. It was a great talk about Member missionary work.
Well, for an experience this week, we went up to our investigators house and we ate Yakisoba there. He watched me the whole time because he thinks it`s so interesting watching an American eat :P haha. He was literally about a foot and a half away from my face while I was eating. It was really weird haha. Then we taught him about prayer and he was a little shy and didn`t want to do it by himself, so his member friend suggested I do it with him. I prayed and he repeated my words. It was a really interesting experience. I felt like I was teaching a child and it was a really special feeling. He wants to know and learn, he just has so little understanding at the moment. He is a man in his 70`s and very much like a child. He meekly accepts our words and his friend`s testimony and wants to believe. I felt the Spirit in the room as he did his best to pray by following my example.
Great stuff :)
Alright, well I`ll talk to you next week! I hope dad enjoys conclave!
P.S. I just realized today that the mother`s day phone call is coming up soon...that`s so fast! I remember just talking to you in Kushiro at Christmas! I can`t believe it. But I`m excited!
Love you!
Bye Bye!
Elder Sotto

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

children hang from your limbs and chant "dame da yo"(That's bad)

wow, seeing those pictures of Grandma Morgan was really natsukashii (...there is no word in english...nostalgic?). I remember going over to her house and whenever she would get a little frustrated she would always cuss haha. It always made me laugh :P Thank you for letting me know :) It doesn`t make me depressed at all. She lived to a good old age and loved everyone all the time :) I`m sure she`s just as bright and happy on the other side of the veil now.
I bet that`s really exciting for Matt and Jill! I hope they find the job they want! Are they looking for a job in Boise?
Evelyn is talking!? I can`t even imagine :P
We walked into the church yesterday and there are a lot of kids that run around after church and play together, so when we walked in they all ran towards us and started clinging onto my legs and arms and I calmly said "watashi wa senkyoushi desu. sore wa dame da yo." (I`m a missionary, that`s bad). Then they all started chanting at the same time "dame da yo...dame da yo" while swinging on my arms and clinging to my legs. There were 4 of them and it was honestly really adorable...and a little weird haha. My companion took a picture :P It made me miss playing with little kids so much! It`s too bad there are so many legal problems with it now a days though. The Branch here is so small that everyone knows everyone and everyone is comfortable with everyone. The kids will just go up and sit on anyones lap and everyone knows everyone by name. It`s only about 40 people here in Kitami I think. I really love how close everyone feels. It`s really like a big family :)
It`s pretty interesting working in a Tri-panionship. Being the senior is very interesting though, especially since both my companions are older than me (22 and 25). But we are getting along well :)
I remember my trainer saying he just wants to dendo (do missionary work) all the time, and I wanted to be able to say that too as a bean, but because of the struggles with the language and adjusting to new life situations I just didn`t haha. Now that I have the language down more and I`m more used to everything I feel the same way, but this transfer has been interesting. One of my companions has very different ideas and styles and all around a completely different personality than I do, so we`re trying a lot of different styles that I don`t understand and trying to get everyone`s opinions in and what not...It`s been very interesting being in a 3 person companionship, but It`s been going really well lately :) I`m very grateful for the opportunity. I think we`re starting to get the hang of it now :) And I do love my companions. There is never a dull moment up here haha.
I`m so excited to see beautiful camp morrison again! I definitely want to go back up with you dad (if you`re still in the same job). There are a lot of fond memories up there. Remember when we hiked up to that lake for a couple hours? That was fun :) And I remember you coming back at 12 at night or 1 in the morning and both of us sitting down and reading the Book of Mormon for a little bit. Good times :) Even if you`re not still at camp we should go hiking again sometime!
I`m understand now why everyone in Hokkaido was so happy when the Cherry Blossoms came out and Golden Week started when I got here for the first time. I didn`t realize how taihen (hard) the winters are for everyone who lives here! It`s pretty tsurai (painful) sometimes. But when spring comes, everyone just lights up and gets waaaaaay happier :) That is always a good conversation starter when talking to people on the streets and around houses. "mou sugu haru desu ne!" (You excited for spring!?). They always give a good laugh at that and answer back :)
That article was actually pretty useful! I learned the word Sakoku (National isolation) 2 days ago! It became good practice :) I never thought I woulod see it after that day though. One of the young men in the ward said they don`t use it all that much. But now I`m sure it will stick :) Thanks dad!
Well, here are my awkward and awesome moments of the week.
The Awkward moment when someone goes on about how sexy your grandma (Sotto) is (she saw a picture).
The Awkward moment when a member`s friend offers you ramen and then stares at you while you eat it because they`ve never seen an American try to slurp ramen.
The Awesome moment when that member`s friend agrees to get baptized on the same day as the member did 6 years ago!
The Awkward moment when small children hang from your limbs and chant "dame da yo" over and over  and over again haha.
Ok, well that`s about all I think. Thanks for writing! Good luck with the moving and everything! I love you!
Elder Sotto

Monday, April 15, 2013

God made us all individual. Respect and Accept others.

ONe of my companions is actually from Saitama Ken, so I asked him about the train stuff. Thanks for the article!
That sounds interesting! I`ll be praying for you!
District meeting was fun! There are 2 companionships in my district (5 people total). The ZL`s are one companionship and my group is the other 3. Everyone is really great :) And I have another one tomorrow, so we`ll see how that goes!
Being in companionships is a great learning experience. There are times when I get a little frustrated in my mind because I feel like my opinion isn`t being respected or something like that, but it`s all a great learning experience. And there are miracles everyday! Just breathing is a miracle :)
You sound pretty busy! Get enough rest! Eat well, etc!
Thank you for the thoughts Mother! I really did love the forgiveness one as well. I didn`t realize that it could be so hard either haha. When you live with someone and have to work with them everyday, it can be hard to love 100% when you feel they`ve wronged you. Forgiveness really does set you free :) I need to pray for it more :)
I really liked the conference talk by Dieter F. Uctdorf in Priesthood meeting. He said that we sometimes take personality differences as sin, but that is not right. God made us all individual. Respect and Accept others. It was a big answer to a question I wanted answered.
I hope Grandma Morgan does ok. I`ll be praying for her.
 Lots of change lately ne! :) I think change is a really good thing. Without it we could become very unhappy. Thats what`s nice about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can continue to change and grow. We`re not doomed to be flawed and mortal forever. How happy =D
Well, for a quick story...we met with an old member this week who has joined another religion and it claims to be able to heal people with light from their hands. It`s called Mahikari. She has a follower that she wants us to teach for some reason, and so with help from the bishop we`re going to look further into this. It`s a really weird thing, but I know that the Lord will guide us as we ask for help.
He guided our thoughts when we first met with them to ask them about their beliefs from the Baptismal interview questions. It helped us find out just what faith they have and are lacking and how to proceed more from this point. I felt very guided at that time.
I`ve never read anyone the baptismal questions in the first meeting haha. Very interesting.
Well, that`s all for now! Talk to you next week!
I love you!
Bye Bye!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

there was a light about everyone as we talked about the Atonement and the joys of the gospel.

We watch general conference on a DVD the week after you guys so we get to see it this weekend! I`m very excited. We taught a great lesson and watched a conference video at church yesterday (we teach the gospel principles class). I think a lot of our investigators may come to a little bit of conference :]
What! Will you lose your job if the Boy Scout thing is passed? I`ll be very careful not to spend to much money then.
I did hear about that article. Pretty touching story. It was a really bad storm! We were walking up the Mountain when it got pretty bad. We got to an investigators house, taught him, and then a member was kind enough to pick us up and take us out to Western (a tabehoudai (all you can eat) yakiniku restaurant). 

That story with the kids sounds pretty crazy haha. Trying to remember all the names and put faces to them was pretty hard on my head. I understand what my investigators feel when they read the Book of Mormon and get funny names like Nephi, Lehi, Ishmael, Saraiah, Laman, Laban, Lemuel. I`m having trouble keep track of all of the kids and their names! I`m excited to actually see them in person!

Monica Johnson is coming to Sapporo!!! Yatta!!! That`s so exciting! 
Elder Spencer Lee is with another missionary training him and I haven`t seen him yet, but I know he will be doing great :) 

So as for my week...pretty exciting stuff =D First of all, I went to an Onsen on monday with two ward members! It was really weird at first but you get used to it after a while. We were sitting in the steam sauna and a man, in english, asked if he could talk to me. so we talked in english for a bit and then he left haha. It was really interesting :P I enjoyed it though.
Then we had transfers! Elder Nielson and I are both staying in Kitami, but we became a 三人 (sannin--3 person companionship)!. A Japanese Elder named Elder Inoue came up to Kitami! It`s a lot of fun, but very interesting living in our small apartment with 3 Elders. Kaicho also said that it may become a 4 man apartment pretty soon here! The missionary numbers are increasing, so there is a lot of change in the mission.
Also, I became District Leader! I have my first District Training Meeting tomorrow and I`m excited =D This will be my 4th transfer in Kitami and I`m very excited :) The Lord is truly blessing us with a lot of miracles and tests and trials up here :)
There was also an incident this week where a ward member passed away. We were able to go to a viewing and gather with the ward, and it was really touching. It was a sad occasion, but there was a light about everyone as we talked about the Atonement and the joys of the gospel. Even the family was pretty 元気 Genki (happy). It was a really great meeting for everyone who attended.

Thank you so much for writing me every week :) It really doesn`t matter what message you send or what things you write, just the fact that I get to hear from my dear mother and father makes me the happiest little elder in the world =D It`s always uplifting to hear from you, even when things don`t seem like they`re going as good as they should. The Lord knows who we are, and what we need to grow. We can trust in Him through anything :)

Thanks again for everything!
I love you!
Bye Bye!!!

Mitch :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

God truly knows our circumstances

Thank you so much dad! I`ve heard that word so much and I know it`s meaning and when and how to use it but I`ve never been able to come up with a good translation in english! haha! Thank you so much! Another word that I would say now that I figured it out is "Yosh." Yosh :) My last companion said Yoisho all the time haha. When he got up from the couch or sat down to eat or when we finished planning haha. I told him he was going to make a good Ojiichan (grandpa) someday. Wow...and the mystery is solved :)
I`m sorry to hear about Troy. It was really inspirational to hear about how faithful he was and how long he was able to live. Ikaseta (he was allowed to live by God). I`m glad you`re having fun making quilts and stuff! I actually want to re-learn how to crouche (I can`t spell anymore :P) eventually. 

It`s fun to hear about everything going on back home :) I actually got a few emails from friends at home and they were fun to write back to. I think I will end up writing my friends through mail because letters can be really hard sometimes haha. I`ve had a lot of guilt about not writing people back lately haha. So this is perfect!
One of my friends emails actually told me that she was getting married :P Lots of new things are happening in the world. It`s all unfolding before young little Elder Sotto! :P 

Thanks so much for the postings of the pictures too. I bet Andrew and James and Justin would get a kick out of that :) 
I don`t have much more time to write because I`m actually going to...drum role Onsen today! I`m going with two members and possibly my convert. He`s a little hazukashii (embarrassed) when it comes to Onsens :P We got permission from the mission president, so we`ll be going tonight around 6 :) 

As for this week, it was a great week and I`m constantly amazed at the blessings of the Lord in our lives. We have been getting really low on rice lately (which is vital for a meal in Japan) and when we went to church, two members just decided they wanted to bring some rice to give to the missionaries...God truly knows our circumstances and I`m so grateful to be in a ward where the people recognize the promptings of the Spirit and are striving to be Christlike in all that they do :) This truly is a great ward up here in Kitami :) 
it was the last week of this transfer and so we get our calls tomorrow! I`m way excited to see what happens :) Elder Spencer Lee is coming to this mission tomorrow as well, so I`m very very very excited!!! =D 
Well, that`s all for now! Thanks for all that you do for me always!
I love you forever!!! =D haha
Talk to you next week :)
Elder Mitchell Perry Sotto