Monday, February 24, 2014

Out to Dendo Another Day!

Me, Tu Akoi, Avarell Shimai, and Nielson Shimai at the ashiu

Hello from Nagano!

   This week we shoveled snow! Yeah. And we dendo-ed! BTW here's some vocab: Kokan/Exchanges, Tachiai/Member present, Kyudosha/investigator, Dendo/misiionary work, preaching!

     We've been walking everywhere because of the snow and riding trains a lot too. I did buy a bike this week, it's pretty cool, I just need to get back in the hang of riding.

     I am trying to be better at OYM/Open Your Mouth. So I just say hi to people and try to stop them on the streets and Tu Akoi Choro usually tries to back me up, he's way good at nihongo. We also teach Eikaiwa/English Conversation Class, that's pretty fun especially since it's in enlish and I can understand it and it helps a little with Japanese too.

     This weekend we went with the Sisters to downtown and sang primary songs while passing out Eikaiwa hand outs. It was pretty fun and I talked to some people, that's one thing that I have trouble with is just talking to everyone. The shimai are really good at it, Avarell Shimai was just stopping people and theyed smile and talk to her and we'd just get people walking past us and saying thanks. It was pretty funny. So there isn't a boundry line between us and the sisters here, we just talk to the men and they talk to the woman folk. So we sometimes team up. Teamwork! We also have Elders from another ward in our district who we will be doing kokans with soon, so more on them later.

       I suppose I should mention that I have had some interesting and really good food here, more than I can eat at times. The members like to give us a lot of food, I've had yakisoba, yakiniku, ramen, and a bunch of stuff I don't even know. It was pretty fun, last week a member took us out two days in a row and we visited an ashiu where we soaked our feet. There's a picture of it from my doryo.

      So I am learning about faith and how it helps us through our trials. This week we are hoping to find new kyudoshas and hopefully, baptize. Thanks for your prayers. Please write me letters, it takes 12 days to get to me as far as I know, but I would love to hear from anybody and particularly members of my family and my ward.

    I went to church yesturday in our little branch in Nagano and there was a linger longer after. It reminded me so much of Conway just in the characters of the branch and the family that was there. I love my ward at home and the branch I serve in here.

  Hope yall have a great week,
Cullen E. Watkins Choro

Joe, You can't buy me Hotdog Man!

Me, Tu Akoi, Avarell Shimai, and Nielson Shimai at the ashiu

Me and my Doryo at an ancient Japanese place of sorts.

Tu Akoi Choro


Monday, February 17, 2014

Nagano, the Legendary Ice World

Some say it's still snowing.

Hello from Japan Everyone! So yeah, I am postponing my promise of Dai Sempai photos until I can get my camera back from Delta because I left it on my plane to Detroit. So... yeah. Bummer.

My Trainer let me send 2 of his photos of us so hope you like them :).

So I am a "Bean" as they call the new missionaries, and I'm in Nagano, the coldest area of the mission. We spent the past couple of days shoveling 5ft of snow off of the entire church parking lot. Crazy.

So I'll tell you more about Japan and Stuff next week, but I want you all to know that I am well and we did have church yesterday and the members are soo nice.

I'll leave you with my trainer Tu'Akoui Choro (from Hawaii) no favorite Scripture which is Mark 5:36.

Love yall and aishitemasu!

Watkins Choro


 Tu'Akoui Choro and me with Nagano City behind us.

Tu'Akoui Choro and me at the church.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nihon ni ikemasho!

Me with my Ichi man en
Me and the classic map picture :)

Which means let's go to Japan!

   Last Weeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkk!!!!! At the MTCizzle. It's so strange to think time has gone by so fast, yet I feel like I've lived here forever. I'll give some more thoughts in just a moment.

    Flight plans! We will be waking up early Monday morning flying out of SLC at 8:30am going to... Detroit Metro Michigan! Nope, I'm not making this up. We're going to arrive in Detroit at 2:10pm that same day. Then we will fly out of Detroit at 3:30pm and go straight to Nagoya Japan. We should arrive there at 6:55pm the next day. Don't ask why, I have no idea. There we will meet Kazuhiko Yamashita Kaicho (president) and be welcomed to the Japan Nagoya Mission!

     The sad part is that the Fukuoka 4 will be taking a different flight. I shall miss these brethren. They are good friends and good missionaries.

      We also have our group of new Nihonjin Senkyoushi flying out with us. They are great! There are 5 of them, all Shimai. One of them actually speaks English as her first language. 3 of them will be flying with the Fukuoka 4 and two of them are going to Nagoya with us. One of the Nagoya ones, Aso Shimai is our Travel Leader. Funny thing about her; she shared her testimony Sunday and said in clear English "I am not Chinese. People have been saying to me 'Nihao', but I am Japanese. It's Konnichiwa" so since then we have fun saying "nihao" to her, she always laughs and says 'nihao' back to us.

       Another one of them, Kawamura Shimai shared her testimony and said "You all try so hard to say it in nihongo, so I will try eigo" and she shared her testimony in English to us. They are so awesome!

       Moving on, I saw a familiar face yesterday. It was new missionary day and I was hosting as usual, when I stumbled upon a group of new missionaries going to Arizona and one of them said hey to me. It was Sierra Call from good ole Florence! It was sure cool to see her again, I will try to send a picture to yall if I can later next week. She did say to tell mom hi. Pretty cool.

       So here are my thoughts as I exit the MTC; I am not the same person I was when I came in. I have learned the ways of teaching by the spirit and I can share my testimony in Nihongo. I have learned the importance and depth of this great work. I've met an Apostle and many investigators, and made amazing friends who I shall never forget. My teachers, Huefner Sensei, Tsukamoto Sensei, and all the rest have been an inspiration to me. My Branch Presidency has taught me a lot about how to care for others and serve the Lord. I know this is the Lord's work.

Zone 27 at the Provo Temple!

        In a past MTC Devotional that I got to watch, Jeffery R. Holland said this: "I often hear missionaries say 'after my mission I'm going to return to real life' no, no, no, no, NO! This IS Real Life, or as real as your life's ever gonna get. Capital 'R' capital 'L'." he continues, "Don't let your mission end when you return home." My thought is this; the MTC is hard, missions are hard, but they are so great. The Savior's life was hard, the hardest in fact, but His work was great. Elder Holland in the same talk mentioned that Moroni, Peter, Paul, and others had many trials and they might have known that they would fail. But perhaps, they saw our day, they saw us in the MTC. Missionaries and Temples all over the world. And they did it for us. Moroni in particular wrote to us in the latter days saying 'you can do it'.

     I walk about the MTC with excitement that soon my brothers, Sheldon, Graham, and the rest, I pray, will someday be here. And they will learn and grow. And my missionaries, Elder Phillips, Elder Houghton, and the rest were all here. I'm excited about missionary work. I feel a little bit as I did when I left home, I don't know what to expect, but I know the Lord is with us. From Utah to Detroit, to Japan, and South Carolina, He is there.

      Please pray for us as we travel and do this work, and I shall continue to pray for you all. There isn't anyone from home that I don't mention in my prayers every now and again. I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love you all, ganbarimasu! (Do your best!),
Cullen E. Watkins 長老
Pena Choro from South Carolina!

Our Ko-kohai :)

Totoro hanging from our classroom ceilling

Someone tried to fix our skylight with an umbrella. Explains the draft.

Provo mountains looking beastly

My man Stump Choro!