Monday, March 31, 2014

Takusan Photos and a Golden Reunion

Beautiful Scenery

Nagano Branch Building
Road Trip to Karuizowa

New Camera!!!! Back in blue and ready to roll. I hope you enjoyed all the photos I've sent today, there are plenty more and a few videos as well that will hopefully get to y'all at a later date. For now I am thankful that I am whole again as not having a camera for me was like not having part of my personality and character with me. Thank you to Mom, Dad, and Grandma for making this all possible! I will try to send at least 2 photos every week I can, like before.

  So last week I got to see all of my MTC buds again! We went all the way to Nagoya for trainer's training. You have seen them all in my Bean video and past photos, we've all changed, grown, and in some cases shrunk, a lot since being here in just 6 weeks. It was like a little family reunion. Some of my MTC Dai Sempai were there too! It was great to see them again. Also, Shimai and I even still have the Nihao thing going on haha.

   Back in good ole Nagano, things have warmed up a bit and the snow is gone. TuAkoi Choro and I have been having takusan crazy adventures like singing hallelujah at a gospel club and taking the wrong train, and meeting crazy people, crashing bikes, and so much more. We continue to find and teach as we work harder and enjoy the craziness that we find all along the way.

Nagano Branch Activity

Tuakoi Choro at Nagano Branch Activity

   We even had a super awesome Branch Activity. It reminded me of the ward activities back home. Everyone came together and cooked and played with the kids and we even taught a new investigator that came. The next day, Sunday, we had a linger longer after church or Shokujikai as its called. We have one every month and everybody brings good food. So much fun! The youth also just had Youth Conference! In March because of school break, man I love youth conference, good times. It looks like they all had fun there.

   Well the Scripture I'd like to leave you with is the one I thought of when I saw my brethren and sisters in Nagoya, Alma 17:1 to 3 when Alma and his brethren meet after a long time of hard Dendou. They had all grown in mind and in spirit. Oh the joys of missionary work! I encourage everyone to do the work and rejoice in it.

Love my blue camera, love you all much more,
Cullen E. Watkins Choro

We dug all that out from under 5 ft of snow my first week!

Gospel Singing Club! We sang "Oh Happy Day" and gave glory!

New official name tags! Japanese and English together.

That makes 6 name tags!

Power Rangers and Kamen Rider things!

Road Trip to Karuizowa

Road Trip to Karuizowa
Agito Lock Seed

Monday, March 24, 2014

I is 2!

Its been 6 weeks! Transfer 1 is done, on to transfer 2. Nothing changed in Nagano though, but we continue to be the very best like no one ever was.

   Last week we had Zone Taikai (Zone Conference) so we went to Matsumoto Branch for the day to hear training from Yamashita Kaicho and Yamashita Shimai along with our missionary leaders. I love the Yamashitas, if I didn't mention this before. They are full of wisdom, peace, and a love for us and the Lord. They are truly golden. They are fun and happy too. I am so blessed to have them for Mission President and Mission Mother, as I like to put it.

   We met many interesting People this week. One of them was an older man from Great Britain, who we had lunch with. He told very great stories about his travels and adventures from when he was young, in English with an accent, up until he moved to Nagano and settled down with his family. Another young man we met that same day shared photos about his adventures with helping people who'd been effected by natural disasters and poverty. These people were pretty cool and got me thinking about how our lives are adventures again. I'd thought of this before, but truly we can do anything. We don't have to travel the whole world, but everyday we can help others and try new things and have an adventure.

   I wanted to leave that thought with you as well as this, the Atonement, is a simple, yet powerful truth. We shared about it with someone briefly this week, and we felt the spirit witness to us of how true it really was.

   TuAkoi choro is doing good if y'all were wondering, he will be training me for this next transfer as well so continue to pray for us to learn everyday and that we will find the elect.

  Thank you for your letters too, I've been getting a lot recently. I'd also like to send a shout out to my Sister Jasmine who is 17sai today! Tanjoubi Omedetou!

Aishiteimasu minna san,
Watkins Cho to the other ro.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kain tachi dance time!

Zenkoji Temple

the ashiu


  This week we visited a lot of members/ Kyokain or just Kain which sounds like something from star trek. We saw Goe Kyodai at McDonalds, he's an american who lives in Japan and teaches english. Hes our Branch Eikaiwa instructor. Then we went home teaching with a member of the District Presidency, really spiritual guy. We visited the Ezaki family, which is a big family, and we had dinner and played games. They have three teenagers and two younger kids, it reminded me of being home with everybody and the missionaries at our house.

Our fairytale visit with the Yamaguchi kazoku and Family Home Evening.

  Then yesterday we saw the Yamaguchi family. they live way at the top of a snowy mountain in a wooden house that they built. It was like a fairy tale or something. Just getting up the mountain in their car was an adventure. They have 3 little girls and one little boy and they all love Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. So I asked them which Kamen Rider was their favorite and did the henshin poses for each of them. Before we left we also did the Kyoryuger dance together. I've never had an audience like that before, they all got a kick out of it! The other missionaries just about died with amusement. We played games and did a lesson and it was just great.

   I also went on a kokan this week, this time I stayed here with our District Leader who loves hip hop dancing. While dendoing in the city we came across a dance studio that he was interested in. A man welcomed us in an within minutes we are watching a team of young middle to high school girls practicing this dance routine and they were really good. I was amazed at the fact that this was happening to us. We invited them to Eikaiwa and shared a short message, then they asked us a lot of questions about america. They were very excited to have an audience. It was really funny, you never know what to expect out here.

  So I love the members and all these people. There are different and unique people everywhere you look! So lets invite them to come to Christ!

Love you all and hope yalls week rocks,
Cullen Watkins Choro

We loved the ashiu so much we had District Training Meeting there!

Basketball with an investigator family.

 Hospital Eikaiwa

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bean Chan Power!

All of the Nagano Branch Missionaries with Masato Kyodai who's leaving for his mission next month!


  This week we had ZTM/Zone Training Meeting so we woke up an hour early and took a 2 hour ish train ride to Matsumoto. I got to see my MTC buddy Bills Choro again and we learned alot of things about our mission goals. It was so cool to talk to Bills Choro again and compare stories of how much we've grown this past month. I can't believe its been that long already!

    We spent some time with some members last week, they are all really nice. Our Ward mission leader took us, one of the recent converts, and Masato Kyodai to an all you can eat Japanese buffet. It was so fun. I accidentally grabbed a bowl of coffee ice cream and everyone laughed when I brought it to the table. Masato Kyoudai put it in the grill on the table. Really fun times with the members here. Masato Kyodai just went back to his family for a month before he leaves for his mission in Tokyo. Man, it's been so long since I did that, but not really. Still 20 months left!

    We often have the days that all missionaries have when we walk and bike and share and invite and nothing seems to come of it. But we must not give up. Just last night my companion followed a prompting to go house and as a result we talked to 2 interested people and even gave out a copy of the Book of Mormon. Every little soul counts because he or she is worth so much to their Heavenly Father.

    I want you all to know that I love you all a lot, I got a ton of letters this week from the Seminary students and from some of the Conway missionaries. It really inspires me to keep doing more everyday. I also got my favorite picture of Troop 857 in the mail this week, those are my brothers and I continue to strive to be a good example for them all.

Love you all and appreciate your support especially during my "Bean Chan" days!

Watkins Choro

Bills Choro from my MTC District is in my Zone so I asked if he could share some photos with me. These are the long awaited DaiSempai photos from my last day at the MTC!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Party in Ueda!

Bills Choro sent me this pic of All of our Choro tachi in our Zone when we were Dai Sempai.I love these guys!   

First Kokan!

  I swapped places with Baird Choro for a day and went to Ueda, the other Area in our Disrict. I was with Vaghn Choro or "Ban” Choro in Japanese. He's a cool guy and good missionary. Now in Japan it is hard to find people to talk to, most of us dont have more than 5 investigators usually. So OYM is very important. On kokans things usually go very bad or very good. This kokan, however was just magical.

    Ban Choro and I walked the streets of Ueda and talked to a group of teenage boys. We played ball with them and taught them the First vision. "Wow that was cool!” we thought. Then we kept running into people who would listen to us and we taught the 1st vision 3 times just from walking around! What?! 

   It gets better. Housing, knocking on doors, is almost never fruitful,in Japan people dont even answer thier doors, they all have a camera microphone on their doorbells that they ”kekko” you from. We went any way and to our surprise, two people opened their door for us and one of them let us in their house. Whaat? We taught to 1st vision 2 more times and gave out all of our lesson 1 booklets. 

  Magic was happening at home too, Baird and TuAkoi Choro taught our investigators at a pet shop, Dog Eikaiwa as we call them. No we dont teach english to dogs, well sometimes, but there is a family of 3 that owns the pet shop and we teach english to and they became yakusokushas (promise people) which means they are on date to be baptized! Whaaat?! Baptisms are rare around here, and seeing one in my first transfer is pretty special.

Well a lot more happened but thats all for this letter. Im short on pics today but there will be some later on.

Love you all!
Watkins Choro :)