Crowd of people? Carrying your bike? Just lift it over all of their heads #MuricaPerk #ImHuge ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I don't always ask for directions on the train, but when I do, I end that conversation talking about God #Missionaried ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Biking for twenty minutes to buy chicken and beef for dirt cheap? Worth it!! #NoRoomInOurFreezerAnyMore ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... We just made Raspberry Jam from Scratch, put the hot stuff that wouldn't fit in the jar onto ice-cream and ate it all ... Love ... my ... life ... #FatKid ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I don't always lead us around Tokyo but when I do ... we're early #LikeABoss ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Alright iPad, you think you can fix my spelling? #ChalngeAcceptprw #noSuggestions ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... We just ate $100 worth of sushi; you then took us to an Italian Restaurant and made us keep eating till we all want to die ... Of course we'll go to round 3 with you! ... #GoingToPukeAllOverYou ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... #NoImNot28 ... it's alright, you're like the 12th person to make that mistake ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... All we bought was potatoes and meat #GriffithsChoroWentShopping ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Curry for Lunch, Curry for Dinner; #HappyPDay ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Typhoon, worst one in 10 years? Please, my bike has missionary steroids, #DidNotEvenFallOver ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Oh, you sell Melonpan? yeah, I’ll buy them all, right now #TheRecipeTooPlease ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... #YouMightBeAMissionaryIf you don't hear about the giant wall of water which will hit the city where you live until next Monday; because you only get eMail on P-Days ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... New favorite conversation starter "I don’t speak Japanese and if I don’t learn I can’t go back to America, please help me" #ForeignerPower ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Whatever I just ate, exploded with little eggs all over my mouth #WhatDidIJustEat ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Is it wrong that I want to ask the local tattoo artist if he can run the face painting booth at our Halloween party, I think he would be pretty good ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Being a foot taller than everyone else in the whole country #GaijinNoMondai (Foregner problem) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Hitting your head on every door way cuz it’s made for people a foot shorter than you #GaijinNoMondai ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Having a hole in the ground for a toilet? #FirstWorldCountry more like #FirstWorldProblem ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Typhoon season #ComeAtMeMotherNature #Murica ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Cow Piss? Oh you mean Calpis #YesIllTakeAllOfThem

Monday, December 30, 2013

DD 4.35 ... Why are you still such a little child ...

Did you get to see Waylon and Axton on Skype? Did that go OK?
Yeah, they were all so good! It was great to see them all and talk to everyone!

What did you do on Christmas Day after the phone call?
We went and housed some houses and then taught English class.

How did your companion's Skype go?
Not as well as mine. We ended up going to the church halfway through because the computer was sketchy.

Was it OK you went a bit over your 40 min?
Meh, not really. I mean no one knows but me and the Lord ... so I guess no, it’s not really okay. I was only a couple minutes, like 1 and a half over though.

As district leader, do you just call sister missionaries every night or do you call elders as well?
The sisters and the people I live with are the only people in my district so I just call them and then talk to the Zone Leader Choros.

How many missionaries are you district leader over?
8 total, 4 sisters, my companion, the Zone Leaders, and myself.

What did you buy to give to your secret Santa person?
It was Dunbar Choro, so I got some boot covers, some pig socks, and some pens that he loves, but never buys because they are pretty pricey.

Did Brother M-San get an answer about the church and decide if he wants to be baptized?
Not yet, I think he’s actually been avoiding us.

Do the Nihongo celebrate our New Year’s Day or do they Celebrate Chinese New Year? (or is there a secret Japanese New Year)
They have a three day cleaning party on the 29th, 30th, and 1st, and then a three day party for the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd ... so yeah, a secret Nihongo New Year.

Have you crashed on your bike at all? (how is your comp doing on his bike?)
Nope, no problems recently ... I may have hit a truck, but it was stopped, and I was fine ... so nope, no problems.

Have you ever met Sister Law?

Have you heard from Kaleb lately?
No, not recently.

Parentals: sorry I made mom cry, that’s no good. It was really good to hear from you all though!! It was great to see everyone too ... and yeah, I was wondering about Abi's costume for the nativity,(Abi played the part of the inn keeper) but I’m glad that y’all still did it without all the cousins; grandma and grandpa would be so proud.

Actually I did know that my companion was a really good swimmer. He just missed the Olympic trials by like a couple seconds ... which is a bummer right? 

Children of the parentals ... sorry that y’all lost the Christmas Level ... I just can’t help but be a little competitive ... :D VICTORY IS MINE!!!!!! I’ll probably win the Mother’s Day level too ... Challenge Extended.

Sam and Abi:  The picture of Taylor is pretty great. I hope that all is going well in school and work, I hope that the cake at Sammy's wedding tasted as good as it looked; I heard from mom that it was like a tree in the forest and such. After hearing about Sammy Sue’s wedding, I decided that you can’t get married till I get back ... I really want some of your wedding cake!! Thank you for putting it off; or how about putting some in the fridge until I get home. Sam, who is this B? I think that I might know her, its way cool that she is meeting with the missionaries!

So in the past I thought that it would be really cool to be leader, because that means that God must really trust you right? Well, that was a little prideful of me I realize now!! So I've decided now that God made me a leader because he likes to laugh at me … I’m trying to plan trainings as such ... it’s so bad I swear ... right now I’m mid-planning for District meeting tomorrow and I have no idea what to train on ... I honestly feel like everyone else are better missionaries than I am, so it’s hard to know what to say. Other than that, things are pretty good here on the Nihon front.

I am doing pretty good actually. I haven’t been sleeping lately ... I don’t know why, but then our ward mission leader told me to read the book of Numbers … who knew, it works great! It takes less than a single chapter and you will sleep like a baby.

I feel like I have learned a lot here, mainly about patience with myself when I was a trainee, and then about patience with other people now that I’m training. I have also learned a lot about love, and seeing people as Christ would see them. The ultimate question isn't What Would Jesus Do, but How Would Jesus Feel while he did it? It’s made me realize how far from the Savior I really am and how much I need to improve. It’s hard getting humbled most of the time, but I learned that as long as I’m humbled and not humiliated I have nothing to be afraid of. I’m glad that Christ thinks the way that he does and that he looks past all of my shortcomings ... because let’s be honest, there are a LOT OF THEM. but I've learned that no matter what I do or have done, he is always willing to forgive me, and then later probably chuckle a little as I fall into the same hole and say "you literally just learned that ... what are you doing? Why are you still such a little child?" and some stuff like that. But the reason is that he is our older brother and that he is so willing to look out for all of us.

It was really great to see all y’all on Christmas. I know that it was Christmas Eve for y’all, but it was the best present that I could have gotten! I look forward to continuing this great work that I have been called to do here in Nihon ... and I don't know where I was going with that ... oh, well .... it’s AWESOME HERE! I LOVE THE GOSPEL!!! WHOOOOOO!!!!!!

I love you all so much and I’m so glad that you are doing so well!!
PS. A BYU boy band? Really Stormer? Really?
4583 4227

Monday, December 23, 2013

DD 4.25 ... I'll see you on Wednesday ...

How has your life changed since becoming the district leader?
It hasn’t changed that much; I have to call the sisters every night and talk to them about the dendo that they did that day. It’s very interesting to hear what they do. Lately it has been a lot of caroling at the train stations.

Did you cut your own hair?

What was the new insight on charity did you get when you talked to the Assistant Hogue Choro?
Charity is not something that we can possess, but instead is something that we are possessed by; it is the true love of Christ and we should strive to love people as though Christ would love them. Just think, what did Christ go through for that person? There was a lot of other stuff that would take a long time to write.

Are you guys doing anything for Christmas besides calling home?
We are doing a Secret Santa!!!

Do you guys sing when you teach lessons at investigator's houses?

Do you ever sing on the street corners? Apparently that's a thing ...
Sometimes ...

This week was pretty good. We had an eikaiwa Christmas Party and I read The Grinch book. We also had a Zone Conference which was really good, the DL’s had a training with President Budge which was way sweet! We also taught some lessons in English and some in Japanese ... it was really good actually. I did most of the talking and such, but Neilson Choro did a little bit. It was pretty good. We didn’t set a date, but Morot San said that if he gets and answer he is going to get baptized ... so that’s good. Hopefully we can reach our goal of seeing three baptisms in January ...

So not much to say this week ... it might just be better if we talk about it all on Wednesday ...

Januari, thanks for the pics of the kids! They are still adorable! I can’t believe how much they have grown up already!! It amazes me!

Abi sorry about your Secret Santa, that’s rough ... hope that you had a happy birthday!!! It was a pretty exciting day here too, it was Nielson Choro’s birthday on the 22nd so we got some cake and some stuff for him too!

So yeah, I’ll see you on Wednesday!!! Not much happened here this week, I’ll talk to y’all about it more on Wednesday!!!
4433 4105

Saturday, December 21, 2013

DD 4.23 ... Happy Birth-got-a-letter-Day 2 Abi ...

Christmas Card from Griffiths Choro
I know it’s not much, but still, Coolest Card EVER; RIGHT!!!! Seriously, best card y’all ever got in the mail. So by the time you read this, I’ll probably have just talked to y’all on the phone; the thing is, I’m not sure how long it will take for this letter to get to you. I also wanted to send Grandma a letter, but maybe I’ll just eMail the family, have you proof read it, print and deliver to Grandma … just so mom doesn't find out what I’m writing to Grandma … those were the days in the good ole MTC.

Anyway things here are pretty good. Thank-you again for all the packages; I just read that you are sending me 3. I’m not gonna lie … I feel more loved than TeJay … which is a pretty good feeling. The only thing that really feels Christmassy is there is a lot of stress right now. I remember mom and Abi freaking out last year and now here I am freaking out … I really okay though. I know that I’m stressed because I want to do a really good job at whatever calling I have. It just happens that the mission is really young right now, and I just happen to be … well I really don’t know what I happen to be, but it’s someone who gets called on throughout my life … I really do want to thank y’all for raising me right. Seriously, there are a lot of missionaries who are good missionaries, but they all have these stories of how they never went to church as a kid because they really disliked their parents of didn’t want to conform to their parent’s ways. It’s made me realize how amazing and supportive you all are to me. I really can imagine life without an amazing family like you all!! I am also thankful for this wonderful church … like seriously, there are a lot of different religions in this world … for example, the church identifies who everyone will marry because God chose Adam for Eve … Yeah, I got dendoed by one of their missionaries – that was weird, BTW.

I’m so grateful that our church is true and that you all know it too. I love this Christmas time of year where everyone is thinking a little about Christ … I mean it’s literally CHRISTmas … it’s pretty sweet actually. Being a missionary this year has really made me think a lot about the true meaning of the holiday and stuff; and frankly a lot about charity … which has been on my mind a whole lot lately. You know, Charity is an ironic subject. The more I think about charity, the more I realize I’m not yet possessed by it, which makes me want to be more charitable, but I never quite get to it … it’s immensely frustrating because if I ever try to say I am Charitable, I’m not being humble … which is pride … which is the opposite of charity … Anyway … CHRISTmas has me thinking a lot about Christ.

I just want to say that I love you all so much and that it’s always greate to hear from you, but also when I don’t its okay too; it just makes me think you guys are busy … which is really good in my mind.

PS. I sent Abi an eMail, but I also just wanted to say again … Happy Birth-got-a-letter-Day 2 Abi; from Trenton!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

DD 4.15 ... new companion ... and a baptism ... what a week ...

What do you spend your money on? What bills do you pay?
We don't really pay bills, so we get like ¥30,000/month for food and travel.

Are you wearing your thermal underwear yet?
Yes I am; I'm quite warm.

How did the baptisms go? When were they?
They were good, they were right after church on Sunday. I had to baptize Sister Y twice and Brother S three times ... but it was all good. Budge Kaichou & Shimai came too; it was a lot of pressure, and the font was messed up so there was like half the amount of water that there should have been, but it was all good. It was a really cool experience, and one that they (and I) will probably never forget. (for additional details about the baptism, see McAllister Shimai's weekly entry).

Who confirmed the people you baptized?
They will get confirmed next week; they were baptized Sunday after church.

What did Elder Hogue tell you that changed your life?
We talked about charity.

Who is your new companion?
Nielson Choro from Alpine Utah; we have already got his bike; he is awesome ... he sang in high school ... and he swam ... apparently he's really good (barely missed the Olympic Trials) ... you could say that we get along quite nicely … he’s pretty cool ... he’s a really good kid too, full of desire and all sorts of good such! I'm honored, if not overwhelmed, to be responsible for his training!
32 new missionaries arrived in Tokyo this week
Circled:  Nielson Choro of Alpine, Utah

Are you still in the same apartment?

Occurred atLatitudeLongitudeDepthMagnitudeRegion Name
13:06 JST
14 Dec 2013
35.6N140.8E50 km5.5Chiba-ken
Did you feel the 5.5 earthquake this week? The epicenter was just outside of Chiba.
It felt like a really little one.
How did your haircut go? Does it look ok?
It’s okay ... I need some more practice, but it’s not bad.

Did you get any of our packages yet?
I got the one with the ward Christmas tree in yes, but there was no letters so I was very confused.

So this week was really interesting, being a District Leader is really stressful; but not quite as stressful as being the senior companion & training. Training is good, but it’s really hard going from the companion that doesn't really have to teach the lesson to being the only one who can ... I’m glad that I had the companions that I've had; I was able to learn from them; I didn't realize how much, but I would still like a little more training ... anyways. The baptisms were good, they were long, but good.

I also taught a lesson this week; it was good, but not great … but it was good ... I need to get a lot better at teaching ... and a lot of other things too.

I think that we should try to use Skype, which I’m not really sure how to work; for me, I think that the 25th, Wednesday, around 10:00 AM (JST) would work best for me. For now let’s plan on that and I’ll get back to you when everyone else here is planning their calls. We only get 40 minutes BTW.

Mom, sorry that i made you cry ... that’s no good. But it’s good that I won the Christmas Decoration level!!! Thanks for the good luck wishes with the training and stuff; I feel like I’m turning in to Abi, the stress level is seriously so high right now, it’s crazy, I understand how you guys feel now ... it’s not great, sorry that I wasn't more willing to help out more when I was at home ... and yeah, I was pretty good at planning before I left.

Dad, the house looks really good! I’m sorry that it took me so long to get you those names. we have literally been running back and forth from place to place the last couple weeks, I kinda miss being that busy, but it's nice to have a P-Day every once in a while. The picture of grandpa was really cool too! Thanks for pointing it out!!! I hope that all is going well on the home front and that you aren’t getting too stressed out. Stress is no fun! Love you!

Picture Sam sent to Trent this week
Sam. thanks for the pic, I felt like I was going at warp speed indeed ... it made me miss winter a little bit actually. there is literally no snow here ... its barely even cold actually. Its pretty lame; the Logan winter hardened me beyond belief ... this is nothing here ... I’m glad that Jazz game was fun and that you got to whiten your hair for the day. Also that you got your Kindle and new glasses, they sound pretty sweet. Sad day about R-Tec though!

Stormer ... I’ll pray for you some more ... I think that Clydesdale is just cutting out a little bit, I named my bike Clyde too, and I think that somehow he may have gotten wind of it and is just a little jealous ... sorry about that. I hope that he stops misbehaving soon ... karma is rough, but I don’t believe in karma. I just believe that God gives us lots of opportunities to grow ... often making us feel really bad about ourselves first. When something really bad is happening; something really good is about to come! So to quote Batman, the night is darkest just before the dawn ... so keep strong and keep looking on the horizon for that beautiful sunrise peaking over the mountains of adversity! "YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!" said in that awesome Mexican voice that only I can do!

This week was really good! I really have gained a love of prayer ... I mean, I did before, but now on a whole new level ... it’s been a rough week, but I know that through God’s power I will be able to do whatever he asks me to do! Dad’s scriptures have helped a lot lately, as well as Sam’s and all her talks that she has sent me over the last couple months ... as well as conference; Elder Holland’s talk this last one was really weird when I heard it, but it really helped me out this week. Well, at least my notes have helped … the one’s that I took when he delivered it.

Thank you so much or all that you do for me and for everyone else!!
I love you all so much and pray for you guys a lot!!

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!! and a Happy....
3883 3837

Monday, December 9, 2013

DD 3.65 ... a Baptism for Christmas ... best present ever ...

When you go on splits, can you give us the name of the area? Have you done splits in Kisaraeu?
Yes, I went on splits with the Choros, but we were in Chiba.

Did you ever find Grandpa Griff on page 126 of the November Ensign?
I never did, but mainly because I didn't know who I was looking for.

Let's talk dollars. Do you usually have money left over in your account? if so, how much?
Well this month was crazy, but now I have nearly ¥12400 extra as well as about ¥17500 on me.

What kind of pie did you have for your Thanksgiving dinner party?

How did your song go?? (It Came Upon a Midnight Clear)
It was really good. I got a lot of compliments on how low my voice was.

Would you like a gray sweater for Christmas? Or anything else you can think of?
It might be good, but I’ll be ok without it; if there is not room or anything like that! Whatever you guys feel is best.

Have you had any more experiences with nuts??????

Do you think you might be transferred again before Christmas?

Did you go to the temple this week?
Yeah, it was way good, and then while the Zone Leaders were at the Mission Leadership Council, I got to dedno in Tokyo with some peeps.

Had any more haircuts?
Not yet, we are thinking about trying to cut my hair, Dunbar Choro has been doing it since before his mission, so we'll have him give it a shot.

How do you figure out what day you'll be calling around Christmas? (Since apparently there are a few days it could be)
I’m not sure.

Have you started wearing your boots/murder gloves yet?
Not yet, but I did buy some cheap magic gloves at the hundred yen store.

Did you ever waterproof your shoes? (also how are your shoes doing? ok still??)
I did once, but now it stopped raining.

So this week was pretty good. The lady I was going to baptize had to go to the hospital with her daughter, so it got moved to next week, with Brother S, our investigator; so now I get to baptize both of them!! Wahooo, cool right, I’m honored that he requested me to baptize him! That was a really good day, hopefully all goes well this week.

This week we blitzed two areas who might not make the Christmas goal, so we tried to help them out, we think that it worked and they too could see a baptism by Christmas.

This week I was also able to go on splits with Hogue Choro, he is one of the Assistants to the President, he is going home this transfer; anyway on Thursday, he was here working with the Zone Leaders, we had dinner together while they were teaching a lesson, we talked a lot about charity and goals and stuff like that ... and for some reason, I don't know why, leadership came up ... more on that later … but pretty much he changed my whole mission and life in about five minutes ... yeah, I guess you could say that he’s a pretty good missionary. That was the highlight of the week, not much else happened … except oh yeah, transfer calls came this morning … did I mention that I'm pretty sure ... well I don't know what I did this time ...

… so I’m staying in Chiba and I have been asked to train a new missionary right out of the MTC, but I've also been assigned to be the District Leader for the Chiba district ... so it’s me and my elder new guy, the zone leaders, and two sets of sisters ... none of them are transferring either, just picking up a kouhai. This should be a way sweet transfer.

TeJay, it was good to hear from you, sorry that your work is all hectic and such, that’s no fun, but the travel part is cool.
Gravy ... rock climbing ... still that’s so cool, I love it so much!!!
Stormer ... WHY DID YOU KILL MY CAR!!!!!???!?!?!?
Oh well, tell your Home Teacher that I love him for all that that is worth … and that he should stay friends with my sister. A lack of Fifth graders, they are a tough age, but it doesn't surprise me at all that you still miss them so much. Give it time, serve others and you will find that they will fill the void you are filling.
Parentals. sorry about not getting the names on the pictures, not a lot of time this week, I find myself saying that a whole lot these days actually ... but I look forward to talking to you around Christmas time ... not sure when though, but it should be really fun!!!

I love you guys so much and hope that all is well on the home front!
3395 3514

Thursday, December 5, 2013

DD 3.61 ... T-Day ... too busy ... no P-Day this week for us ...

We did not expect a letter on Monday because T-Day is scheduled for Tuesday this week ... no, letter arrived on Tuesday, sad days for mama, who is fighting a cold, no eMail only made it worse.  We read Paxman Choro's entry for the week and enjoyed the spirit of his recent success; also went out and read McAllister Shimai's entry and found this picture of their Zone and gained some insight about last Sunday's Christmas Program in Matsudo ... thanks everyone for sharing ...
Back: Asato Choro (Zone Leader), Dunbar Choro (Zone Leader)
M-Kneeling: Griffiths Choro, Higbee Choro, Macaravey Choro, Lefever Choro, Shimoji Choro, Burgin Choro, Ricks Choro
M-Standing: Kondo Choro, Lutz Choro, Stembridge Choro, Bischoff Choro, Johnson Choro, Rassmussen Choro
McAllister Shimai, Willden Shimai, Dunn Shimai
Good news ... we've got mail ... Thursday evening 8:19 PM (JT) ...

Sorry, this week we have had literally zero time to take a P-Day ... we haven't even bought food for the week, but I just wanted to say, "Hey," really fast while I had some time. This week we had a lot of lessons and did some baptismal interviews for the other areas ... we also blitzed two areas this week and hopefully found some people that could be baptized before Christmas this year.

The sisters in my area are having a baptismal service on Sunday and didn't have anyone yet to baptize her so they asked me to do it. Should be fun, but I'm a little nervous ... not sure why really. But yeah should be a great week.

So we just got back from taking an investigator we have been trying to meet with some melon pan ..  and while he hasn't been that happy with us, today he freaked out tonight, in a good way. He was so happy that we brought him some melon pan ... apparently its like his favorite food ever and so he was really happy ... yeah, go me, my suggestion rocked it way good.

Thats about all I have time to say right now, but i just wanted to say that you are all so great, I got the kids' letters a couple days ago and it really made my day, they are so great! I got dad's letter too!!

Thank you so much for all that you do for me and those around you!!!
Elder Griffiths
3197 3485

Monday, November 25, 2013

DD 3.45 ... pie and then stuffing and pie and then some other desserts and then some more pie ...

Please report on the dual mission conference?
It was really good. Elder Evans talked about working with the members and stuff.

How did your song go at the mission conference?
It was really good actually.

Johnson Choro, who sang with you, where is he serving?

Who are you singing with for Christmas? For what? What are you singing?
We are singing for the Matsudo Christmas concert, and we are singing, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” ... in Japanese. It is Chuin Choro, President Noda (from the mission presidency), and me.

Do you want us to send you some sheet music in case you have to sing again?
I have always been given the music ... and hopefully this will stop soon.

Since Japan doesn't have Thanksgiving weighing down Christmas, have they already started decorating for Christmas? Are their lights up yet?
Yes. We actually have a free concert that is always happening here; we have already heard a bell choir preform Christmas songs.

Any snow yet? Twitter says it’s getting colder there. Ski resorts here are open! How cold are you?
I’m still warm ... sometimes really hot. There are some who get quite cold. For example: everyone who has not experienced our 30 degrees below 0 winters in Logan.

How many times a week do you wear your rain pants?
Not much anymore. It stopped raining.

Do you ever use your umbrella?
When it was raining all the time and we walked places; yes.

Have you gone running again with your comps or what is a one-time thing?
Not quite ... maybe just the once, but we do run sometimes to get home in time.

Where do you run at? Just in the streets? Can you guess-estimate how far you ran? (We are very excited at the prospect of you running again!)
We just run in the street, around three miles.

Where was the Costco you went to? What city?

How did you get to Costco? Who has a Costco card???
We rode a train, then walked, and then bused ... Dunbar Choro has a membership.

What did you buy there? Anything besides peanut butter and hot dogs? Did you just buy stuff for you guys or for your zone?
Just peanut butter and some nutella; then some hot-dogs for lunch.

Do you need more contact solution?
I have already bought some here.

What contact solution are you using? Buying it there?
It’s the complete stuff that is way expensive in America ... apparently its dirt cheap here.

How many sweaters did you take with you? What colors? Black and gray?
I only have the one black one.

Do you have any plans for Thursday? (Thanksgiving) or will it be just another day?
Lots of dendo ... family’s will be together and really thinking about giving thanks to God and how their lives have been blessed ... well that’s the hope.

Do you have any suggestions for your Christmas package?
I can’t think of anything yet.

Any word on the Christmas phone call?
We received this notice from the Mission Office:
This year, Christmas phone calls will be happening in December from Monday the 23rd to Friday the 27th.  You may use Skype, so use that free service if you can. Because of the weak wireless connection, Skype may not work well for everyone and you may encounter multiple dropped calls. As an alternative you can have your family call your mission cell phone. It is very expensive to place international calls, so do not place a call to your family. If you cannot get Skype to work, Have your family call you. (Remember to keep your calls no longer than 30 or 40 minutes as stated in the missionary handbook.)

So this week was pretty good. At the Elder Evans conference they announced that before Christmas our mission will be a test mission for using iPad minis ... yeah, that’s exciting right? So other than that this week was pretty good. After the Elder Evans event we had a mission conference for Christmas ... we got to watch, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and some other home videos for the Budge’s.
Me and the way sick maamaa chaddi I rode on splits ... we tore it up pretty good.
So this week as a companion of the zone leaders I am able to do a lot of splits with other missionaries. This week we had two back to back and out of our area!! Wahoo!! Party!!! It was pretty fun actually; we found these big American dogs at seven-eleven. They are like a giant corn dog, but for some reason, a thousand times better. We also found some way cheap chocolate bars ... mmmmmmm black thunders … I ate a lot of really good food this week. For breakfast after we got back from splits we had no more bread for breakfast, so we made pancakes ... put on peanut butter ... and then some chocolate sauce ... and then DEVOURED THEM WHOLE!!!!! It was quite delightful. Then on Saturday we went to the High Priest’s Thanksgiving day thingy were we had turkey and pie and rolls and pie and mashed potatoes and pie and then stuffing and pie and then some other desserts and then some more pie ... it was really good pie!!! Maybe when I return I will make like a thousand peanut butter pies and eat them all ... maybe I’ll try to make one here. How hard can it be; just mix some whipped cream and peanut butter for the middle and then top it with goodness and then devour it whole ... I really miss eating btw, everything here is good, but they don't really believe in sweets.
This is the deliciousness I had for lunch today
and how much i enjoyed it
to the point of where I ate too much.
Sorry that that didn't make any sense.
So this week was the other district’s interviews with President Budge, we had ours last week and afterwards the ZL’s got to talk to him ... afterwards they said that someone might be training next transfer and then both of them started to laugh; they are just trying to freak me out.

So yeah ... pretty fun week for the most part. We are singing next Sunday at the Matsudo thing. So that should be a fun way to wrap up the week.

We were helping Brother S move & he has this OstrichPillow
you can sleep anywhere with it, especially in the library at school
yea, I will find one ... and I will buy one.
This week was pretty rough missionary wise. We were not really able to meet with all of our investigators. Brother S is moving and so we had to hand him off to the Koiwa Choros ... successfully btw. Brother A isn’t picking up that phone and Brother C has dropped off the face of the earth. J got a little too violent for Brother C’s taste so he said that he bailed to Tokyo, he said he would call us … but he never did ... which just hurts because it was a miracle finding him after he was taught by Miranda Choro ... anyway, that was kind of a bummer. We have been able to meet with Sawada San a couple of times this week and he’s getting ready for baptism and stuff on the 8th. On Sunday night we heard that Brother S made it to church in Koiwa and was a big hit with the members … there is a guy in the ward who is Chinese … has a stake calling ... turns out, they are good friends already … a Tender Mercy, that was big relief.
Asato Choro, Brother S, Griffiths Choro, & Dunbar Choro
Chillin at the park where we just gave him a lesson ... we are some classy peeps
So about y’all, I’m so sorry to hear that Tiff died ... that was for Abi’s benefit ... for the rest of the family I’m so sorry that I was not in the car with Abi when her car died on the freeway, I feel that I would have been able to calm her down/being able to talk to you guys about where she was and such ... sorry, I’m in japan. I hope that Clyde treats her well this week, he is a true stud ... a true..... STALLION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What!!!!?!?!?!? I love that car ... people always see him in my photo book and are like "ARE!! KORE Wa yabai desho" and then I’m always like "Hai yabi" so thank you for that wonderful gift that keeps on giving ... and thank you Clydesdale for being such a trooper all these years ... there were some rough times, when your tranny was about to die and we went to jiffy lube everyday ... those were some of the best days of our lives together ... treat her well Storm-a-geddon ... or Gravy, whoever gets to drive my baby.

Sorry that Thanksgiving cleaning hasn’t been going well. if it makes you feel any better I bet that no one really cares what the house looks like; they'll be too concerned with wedding happenings with my cousins ... I’m still a little confused on all this too btw ... who is getting married and when … Can you give me an update?

So I'm not going to lie, I was always planning on getting married at like 27 when I had a Master’s degree and a career. So, Number 1, I don't feel bad unmarried siblings … and, Number 2, at the Elder Evan conference we talked a lot about marriage ... and how we as elders should get married like right when we get home ... for Elder Evans, waiting three months was too long ... so now I feel like I need to repent, I still really like the idea of getting my masters ...

So this week was pretty good; today we had zone P-Day and then we went and ate fish, I had salmon and little salmon babies in the form of eggs ... surprisingly good actually, next up, pictures.
Chocolate Chip melon pan
it was so good I thought I'd send the picture twice
I recieved this white elephant at the Christmas party
right, its like a real gift ...
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Monday, November 18, 2013

DD 3.35 ... Costco; a small taste of America in Tokyo ...

So I only have ten minutes. Not much happened this week. No time to read any of the wonderful emails really. We went to Costco today and that was way great. We ate hotdogs and bought peanut butter ... that was all we did for like three hours of travel to get there ... not great, but we got to see the ocean kinda so that was nice.

We are singing, “Nearer My God to Thee,” also I am now singing in the Matsudo Christmas concert, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” I never wish I had brought church music with me ... until now … the music here it’s not like what we are accustomed to in Utah.

This week we played basketball and stuff with some of the ward ... we also met with Brother S; he’s doing well. He’s going to be baptized soon. I have a picture that I would like to send, next week probably. I hope that all y’all are doing good!!!

We also made root beer floats, they were way good even though it was freezing outside.

This week I’m glad to hear that Clyde is a champion car!!!! Wahoo!! Yeah, that’s my boy. So literally I’m writing this at ten at night trying to let my comps have some time too … so sorry for the shortness of the eMail; but I hope that this week is good and that dad is, all good, helping mom with the cleaning for Thanksgiving.

Happy Birthday to Jayli!!!
Love to you all; it is always good to hear from you!!!
Love Griffiths Choro; pictures next week.

PS Dad, today at Costco I mixed orange juice and Mountain Dew … and thought of you ... it was quite delicious!

PSS Mom, we are singing tomorrow, Tuesday, and I don’t know when the Matsudo event is. I will let you know. Next week we hope to have more time to mail. Tonight we got back late form teaching a lesson. I want to send pictures next week too!!

I Love you mom! I’m glad that I can swim too!
We sent the following portions of an article from the Deseret News to Trenton ... thus the comment about swimming ... mom indicated that she was glad he knew how to swim.

By Jesse Hyde, Deseret News National Edition
Published: Saturday, Nov. 16 2013 5:40 p.m. MST

MANILA, Philippines — The water was rising fast. In the darkness of early morning, Amanda Smith moved away from the window to shield her face from the slashing rain. She had shut it just moments before to ward off the raging storm whipping through the palm trees outside.

But now the wind had ripped it open, and the wooden shutters were slamming violently against the wall again and again. Sister Smith, an LDS missionary from Elk Ridge, Utah, couldn’t see anything outside, but she could smell the sea, which seemed to be getting closer and closer. They had to get out of here.

She had heard about the storm three days before, from a driver of a pedicab. It was typhoon season, and tropical storms were common in the Philippines. Still, the last storm warning had produced nothing but blue skies. Some of the missionaries wondered if this time would be any different.

There were nine missionaries with her in the house, a two-story structure made of cement blocks. They were young women from Utah and Alaska and the Philippines, all about her own age, 19. They had done what they could to prepare, hastily assembling 72-hour kits, and had even bought candles and rope, just like their mission president had asked, even though no one in the house thought either would be necessary.

Now, as water roared down the streets toward them, Sister Smith realized no preparations were too small. The worst storm in generations had just hit landfall.

She had been excited to go to the Philippines. But in some ways, she seemed too delicate for this place, with her long, willowy build and fine porcelain skin. The Philippines wasn’t exactly clean, and some things had taken getting used to — rice for every meal, the choking smell of exhaust on the clogged streets, cold showers from a bucket. But she had also fallen in love with the place — the sweet smell of mangos, the effervescence of the people, the way the language of Waray-Waray had started to roll off the tongue.

One day she sat down on a stool to teach a lesson in a dirt-floor shack and out of nowhere three fuzzy chicks materialized and walked around her legs, the way birds landed on Cinderella’s shoulder, and she thought: What is this magical place?

She had been out five months, she was assigned to an area called San Jose, where some of Tacloban’s richest and poorest residents live, some in nice apartments, others in shacks of bamboo and cardboard.

San Jose sits right on the sea, and so a few days before the storm, just to be safe, the mission president’s assistants asked her and her companion to come farther inland, which is where she was now, with nine other sister missionaries, in a house quickly filling with a black, mucky water.

At first, the sisters had all gathered in one central room on the second floor, thinking it the safest place in the house. But the water was now rising to their knees. Metal bars covered every window, preventing an escape outside. With no other choice they would have to go to the first floor, where the water nearly reached the ceiling, and try to open the front door to get out.

They knew the current could pull them out into the ocean, but if they stayed where they were now, they would drown in what had essentially become a box of cement walls.

One by one the sisters slipped into the freezing water on the first floor. A few couldn’t swim; they held tight to their companions.  Sister Smith was scared too, but she was determined not to let it show. She wanted to stay calm for the others.

The front door was locked with a metal latch on the bottom and the top. One of the sisters dived under the water and unlocked the bottom latch; another reached the top and did the same. But when they tried to open the door it wouldn’t budge. The water pressing from the outside and inside had sealed it shut.

What had been ebbing as a low level panic reached hysteria for some of the sisters. Sister Smith could feel the panic rising in her chest too. With a few of the other sisters she started to sing hymns, their voices muted by the stinky water rising to their chins. Sister Smith put on a brave face, not daring to say aloud what she was thinking: “I never thought this is where my life would end.”

The sister missionaries worked together. Sister Schaap punched a hole through an opening in a flimsy wall, and the group of 10 swam through the murky water that would soon carry their journals and clothes out to sea. Those who couldn’t swim clung tightly to their companions.

The sisters used the rope to reach a nearby roof. Sister Smith stood on the rain gutter, the other nine sister missionaries shivering beside her, the rain still coming down in sheets. Hours had passed since the beginning of the storm, and yet the sky above Tacloban was still gray, shrouded by fog.

One of the sisters suggested they pray. They huddled closely together, bowed their heads, and with the rain dripping down their chins, asked God to make the water stop. And then, in what Sister Smith could only describe as the greatest miracle of her life, the sea stopped rising.

When the Letters are short, and the time is limited ... we appreciate any news from Chiba ... thus, we seek out other blogs being published from the same area ... sometimes you find a pearl of great value, even get a picture of your son ... thanks to McAllister Shimai for sharing her photo's ... this picture was unceremoniously copied from McAllister Shimai's blog
Willden Shimai, McAllister Shimai, Dunn Shimai, Dunbar Choro, Griffiths Choro, Asato Choro
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Monday, November 11, 2013

DD 3.25 ... THE ZONE LEADERS LIKE TO RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How many sets of missionaries are in your zone and how do you refer to the area they serve in?
I’m not entirely sure; but we just say the area that they are in.

Where are you companions from?
Okinawa and Chicago, I’ll let you guess which one is from where.

Do you ever use your pull up bar?
Meh, every once in awhile

Do you ever go running for exercise?

Are you doing anything with your mission for Thanksgiving?
I don’t know!

How are your shoes holding up?
Pretty good actually!!! I hope that they will make it through my mission!!!

Did you get internet in your apartment?
We do today actually!!

What do you need in a package? Clothes?
Not clothes, I should be good on that front. Maybe some toothpaste and deodorant would be nice! But anything is always greatly appreciated!!

How is the deodorant/toothpaste working out?
The toothpaste is amazing!!!!!! I’m still on my other stick of deodorant, but I look forward to the day when I get to open it; it will be just like Christmas!

Did you ever send the email to Elder Williams parents?
I tried last week, but the email address was wrong; so I tried again this week and think that I got it right!

Are you teaching anyone that seems promising?
Lots, see below:

Any news about the guy you found in the park last week?
Meh, he’s hard to get a meeting with us; he prefers before church at eight in the morning, but then he never wakes up to meet with us ... go figure.

The mission goal of 40 baptisms in Tokyo before Christmas --how is that going?
Good, already 10 areas have had baptisms.

Did Charles Whipple rebuild his boat after the crash in New Zealand?
No, it’s a different one now.

What was he doing when he fell into Tokyo Bay?
He was working on his new boat.

How is his recovery going? Is his leg almost healed or still in danger of being cut off? (Dad researched him online extensively and these questions are from him!)
He is doing just fine, he actually offered to doseki for us whenever!
     (We don't have a clue what doseki means????)

Have you gotten a tan from riding your bike in the sun all day? Or is it too cold?
Nope, no tan line yet, not even from my watch, just pasty white still.

Do you ever wash your sheets? Do they fit on your 3 futons ok?
They fit fine, I wash them not as often as I should, but I have washed them!!

Are you clipping your toe nails? If not, let this be a reminder. There are too many missionary tales of ingrown toenails; especially if you are going start running again.
Yes, I take care of my toenails ... and my fingernails too!!! Look at me all growed up!

We just got your email about the zone leaders that like to run--HOW WAS YOUR ASTHMA?
FINE!!! Power of the Spirit cured me in the MTC, so I’m pretty sure that I’m indestructible now.

How is life with the Zone Leaders? Do you plan to travel to other areas in the zone for splits?
They do, but I haven’t really that much, only once actually, see below.

Do you have plans for Zone wide P-Day?
We are going to the Chiba Zoo I think!

This week was really good!!! on Monday night I called a guy named Brother S, who is a fan of this manga writer here in Japan who is member of the church, apparently all of his fans know a lot about the church, so Brother S came to us all ready to baptized; pretty much; we are just reviewing the commandments with him and his date has been set for the first of December! We asked him what he thought he needed for baptism and he said that he should probably get a suit ... and maybe a tie too ... right? He’s pretty solid and pretty funny too.

We also meet with a man named Brother I, Kondo Choro and I found him my first transfer while we were on splits, and now this week he called us and wanted to meet, the only problem was that when he was reading the Book of Mormon in his house his mom saw him and kicked him out; he has been staying at his friend’s home and at hotels until he can work something out, but he could not come to church because his suits and Book of Mormon were at his house, he’s so great!!! He remembers everything that we teach him and really wants to get baptized!!!

So this week we also met Brother Ch at the train station. He was in a detention center for coming to Japan without enough money, and while he was there Miranda Choro taught him all the lessons, but they lost contact when Brother Ch got out, so he saw us at the train station and asked us if we knew Miranda Choro, which we do. Then we let him call Miranda Choro and talk to him. We gave him a quick church tour and he really wants to keep learning. Downside, he doesn't have a phone, so he gave us his friends number, a different guy named Brother Co ... well it turns out that Brother Co was a referral from the Shimais that we got a few weeks back and have been trying to meet with ... yeah. BOOM, Divine Rendezvous!!! Thank you for all your fasting and prayers!!!

Sam, I really like awkward ... sorry that you don’t. Hope that all is well, and yeah, maybe you should stay out of Ogden for a while ...

Abi, sorry that school is stressful; and that Tiff is having a rough time, maybe you could take Clydesdale up for a while and give old Tiffy a little break, I bet he would love to get going on the freeway again ... I’m sure that he really misses the good ole Logan frosty air! It would do him some good to get the old heater going full blast again!!! Just be careful of where you park, he likes to get stuck; that could be rough!!!

Dad, I would like to see the picture of the lights on the trees, word on the street is that you went all out this year! I look forward to hearing about the finished product!!!

Mom, I hope that all is going well and that you have not yet started cleaning for thanksgiving, we need to keep our procrastination skills sharp and finely tuned! I say postpone cleaning until the morning of, or the night before, if you can! That would be really exciting don’t you think! You could get Sam and Abi to come down and help, dad could help too! I think that the four of you could bust it out in no time!!!! Good luck and have fun with it!!!

Trenton, I’m so glad to hear that you are doing so well in Japan; I mean it just sounds so amazing!!!! And don’t worry about the fact that Budge Shimai called you and three other missionaries to do a musical number in front of the two entire missions and David F. Evans Choro of the First Quorum of Seventy, that must be really exciting ... good luck with that!!!!

So yeah, this week we got a call from Budge Shimai and apparently me putting down that if that Lord wants me to sing then I’ll sing on my “Mission Form” led to this. Yeah, so there is a big double Mission Conference coming up, with South Tokyo Mission and a Seventy coming to talk. Now, Johnson Choro, McAllister Shimai and Dunn Shimai, and I are all singing at it; and Willden Shimai is doing the piano ... should be fun right? I mean it’s not like being a missionary is already stressful or anything like that ... anyway, I just wanted to say that this should be a really fun experience and well ... a good journal entry at least!

This week was really good; I hope that all the people in the Philippines are doing all right! Have Rex and Ossie heard from Tasha yet? She was down there closer than I am, is she alright?  Anyways, I hope that y’all are doing well!!! This week was really good for me!!!!

Oh, so this week we went on splits with me and Kondo Choro and Asato Choro in Chiba. I spoke a lot of Nihongo that day. Then another day I went to Yachiyo to da a blitz with Stembridge Choro, no exchanges, just extra missionaries in the area. This week was way good!!!! Love you all and thank you for all that you do!!!
Griffiths Choro, your awesome son!

Separate response to an email from Dad:
By the way … what’s it like with a new companion … do you have a different routine for P-Day’s … well good luck, keep us posted on new adventures and new foods … still waiting for news on the marble in the bottle … did you ever find some?
I have yet to find some, but I will let you know when I do!!!

Thank you for the email, I wove it!!! The ZL’s and I went running this morning … it was glorious …

Oh, today we are going to make some fish!!! Asato Choro loves to fish, its literally all he talks about ... so we bought some fish and are going to devour them later today ... should be delicious; I think/hope! Sorry that your hard drive crashed. I hope that you are able to get it back up and running soon!

Side note: Apparently being comps with the zone leaders, I get to know all sorts of fun stuff; like 84’ish% of our mission is fourth transfer and below ... yeah, hence all the trios ... it’s a lot of fun though!!!

Side Note II: When I said decorate for Halloween, that’s what I was imagining; just that jack-o-lantern things ... but now I’m very excited for next year ... and the year after that when I can help you deck the house out!!!!

Hope that all is going well on the home front, things are good here in Chiba, I often think about all the lectures that you have given us over the years and boy ... they have helped me a lot! Tanks for being so great!! You and mom rock!!! I love you guys tons!!
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Monday, November 4, 2013

DD 3.15 ... The Howl @ USU ... The Streets of Shibuya ...

What are the names of your new companions, where are they from? (Dad would like a picture as well.)
Asato Choro and Dunbar Choro. Photo is courtesy of Asato Choro
Asato Choro, Dunbar Choro, Griffiths Choro
Explain how transfers work, they leave, what do you do? How long before the new companions arrive.
We all leave on Thursdays and work with someone while they are transferring.

How is the new companionship working?
We are really busy.

Is Halloween a normal holiday to celebrate in Japan? Or did you just celebrate because you're American? Do they trick or treat?
There are a lot of parties ... that we avoided because, well Japan is not exactly Utah county, or even Utah, the rest of the year; so imagine The Howl at USU; but now in The Streets of Shibuya ...

Do they really not have Thanksgiving at all over there? (We realize this is incredibly arrogant to assume that the whole world should celebrate American holidays, but they are just so great!)
Nope, they sure don’t

Do you volunteer at the mental disability hospital every week? As well as English class?
We used to, don’t know what’s going to happen now.

Who is teaching in your English class with you now that Christensen Shimai is gone?
The other English speaking Missionaries

Did Williams Choro teach English with you?
Yes he did.

Have you worn your sweater yet? Do you need more warm clothes to layer with?
Yes, I’m all right!

Internet in your apartment now you have ZL comps?
Still no, maybe next week though!

Has it snowed yet?
Nope, short sleeves today.

Let's talk about your shower. How is it? Hot water? Do you have to bath? Do you wear shower shoes???
Instant hot water, and yes I wear the flip-flops

Most importantly, is the shower tall enough for you? Or is it Japan size?
It’s all good.

How is your hair gel holding up? Do you use it every day?
maamaa and yeah, that’s Japanese

How are your contacts holding up? Changing them every month or every 6 weeks?
Every six weeks; They are fine but I change them earlier if they’re bad.

Are you done with your twelve week language training program now?
I’m done with twelve weeks, but that has nothing to do with the language, so no, still learning Nihongo every day!

If you have finished the twelve week training, do you dendo all day now instead of staying at your apartment all the morning?
Yeah, well now we are mostly getting organized with the ZL’s.

We stole this picture from another missionary's blog who is serving in Japan.  Can you fill in the names and tell us why you were all together, was it a District Meeting?
Back: Griffiths Choro, Bischoff Choro, Burgin Choro, Watanabe Choro, Williams Choro, Hamada Choro;
Front: Christensen Shimai, Willden Shimai, Kondo Choro (District Leader)
So this week was really good, we have a lot of fun with the ZL’s, they are not as scary as I thought, I got a package from my Pine View crew this week! It was full of peanut butter and letters from them, I need to send them an email when I finish here.

This week was transfers, it was crazy, well, not much other than that happened, sorry, I don’t have much time this week.

Mom and Dad: I love that you scared the turkeys from the roof ... that's hilarious! Mom, maybe you should dress up a little more next year, really rabbit ears with matching shirts ;-) I’m sure that your costume was awesome!!!

Sam: I’m sorry that people keep hitting on you and that you are losing to your nemesis at work, that’s no fun ever. I hope that you are able to conquer and overcome. I hope that you are at least able to sneak in some more TV while pretending to email me ... the headphones were a rookie mistake ... and you have long hair. You need some Bluetooth headphones, ones without the cords. Then you’ll be really sneaky!

Abi: sorry that math is really hard. I hope that it’s all going well! Also don’t be stressed, it does weird things to your bowel movements ... I know from experience ... anyways, thank you for the image of dad on the roof, I got the same one as you, at least, I think. I hope that all is going well for you ...

Nothing too exciting happened this week, we have spent a lot of time at the church lately planning meetings and splits to do, now that it is all done I hope that we get to dendo more ... I’m way pumped to work with them, we busted out member presented lessons and all sorts of finding stuff over the last couple days ... we usually sprint back to the apartment ... literally sprint … one night we didn't have our bikes so we literally ran. The other night we just hauled on our bikes ... which is actually a lot of fun!!! It’s probably the best part of the day, except for the whole sharing the gospel part. Well, not to many stories this week … only the one.

So we are teaching a lesson in a park and this black guy that Dunbar Choro saw earlier comes up to us and asks us what we are doing ... yeah, he’s a new investigator, his name is Brother N. He was way interested!!! Miracle!!! That’s all.Love you all and hope that you are all doing wonderful!!!!

I gotta go write to my P-Veiw kids and tell them thanks really fast for the peanut butter, Its pure Skippy!!!

PS. Sam, those peanut butter things were way good, remember when I used to buy Great Value, Smucker’s is way better. I do like the GV though. All natsukahi, there ya go dad, so me nihongo for ya!

Love you all so much!!!
Elder Gjrfkelg;jfd
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