Sunday, November 30, 2014

JT - Thanksgiving in Japan

I bought one of those Japanese head bands.
Dear Everyone,

This was a crazy week, really busy, which is good. So Himeji was so beautiful! I will send pictures. We went to the Himeji castle, which is an ancient Japanese palace where kings and emperors (spelling?) lived in the 1600's and earlier even. Such an amazing building, but we couldn't go inside the main building because they are doing renovations to it. that was a bummer, but it was still a cool experience. Many pictures will come too, so you don't have to take my word for it.

So Tuesday was District Leader Conference in Kobe, so my companion and the district leader in the other district went to Kobe, while me and Elder Wakaumi stayed in Nishiwaki for the day. That was going to be tough for me because 1) I needed to lead in the area for the first time, and 2) Elder WAkaumi is a Japanese elder with very little English knowledge. But, everything turned out pretty well, with the help of Heavenly Father through much prayer on my part. I learned how much Japanese I actually know, which is not a lot, but enough that I gained a little more confidence in myself. Then on Thursday, my companion and I went to Kobe for the Trainer Trainee Training. (try saying that 10 times fast). So when we went there, we were able to see all of my MTC district members and other MTC friends. It was so cool to see all of them again. I miss them but they are all doing well. That took the whole day. Then on Friday, we had district meeting and then a Kokan (companion exchange) with the other elders in our district. So it was another day where I had to lead in the area. Again, I was nervous for that day, but it turned out to be a very good day. We taught a couple lessons and also ran into people speaking Japanese Sign Language. That was really cool to see. We gave them a book of Mormon so maybe they can read it. Sunday, we had Branch conference, so President Welch came to our church. It's always great to see him and to hear him speak. After that we had a lunch with the whole branch. They go all out with the food. They had enough for everyone. they had Spaghetti and curry and sandwiches and other Japanese desserts. It was really yummy.

The food after the Branch Conference!

Some of the cute kids in my branch.

I hope all of your Thanksgivings were fun! I wish I could've been with my family and friends, but Its something we have to sacrifice for just 2 years. Anyway, on Wednesday, we got a call from Brother Whipple inviting us over to their house to eat their leftover Turkey and potatoes from their Thanksgiving dinner. It was awesome, and at the TTT in Kobe, the mission home fed us all Turkey and Potatoes and other Thanksgiving food. So I was still able to have some of the Thanksgiving celebrations which I was so thankful for.

This was our first Thanksgiving dinner at the Whipple's house.

Our Thanksgiving dinner at the Mission Hom

Remember the English speaking person that stopped us in the middle of the street? He just had another baby this past week. He is doing well. We taught him a couple more lessons, but he seems to be so engaged on the Bible that he has trouble accepting the Book of Mormon. He also has doubts regarding some of our teachings. He has so many great opinions about spiritual things. He kind of takes his views from many of the teachings of Christianity which is really good. We are trying to relate everything he says to the Book of Mormon, because everything hinges on the knowledge of the truth of the book. If he can accept the Book of Mormon, I think everything will fall into place. He prays and reads the bible everyday, he just needs to take the next step. I pray everyday that he will receive an answer for himself.
Also, remember the Filipina person we ran into last week? This week we were housing and we ran into one of her Filipino friends. She isn't a member, but her Aunt is and she is interested in God and Jesus Christ. She also said that she has another Filipino friend that lives close to her as well. Hopefully, we can get them all to church eventually and hopefully my Tagalog can improve as well as my Japanese. I have confidence in them that they can be investigators and can eventually be baptized.
This was the last week of the transfer. Time flies... we got the news for this tranfer, and I am not transfering and neither is my companion. I am so grateful for that. I love the area that I am in and I don't want to leave yet haha.
Anyway, it was a good week and I am looking forward to another good one. The work is hard, but I feel great. I am stepping out of my comfort zone all the time, but the Lord is on my side every step of the way. I love the people here. I love teaching lessons because I love spreading the message of the gospel to people who don't know. Japanese is still super difficult for me, but I am improving. The Lord truly does work miracles if we have faith that they will happen.
Have an amazing week everyone! I am so grateful for all of you and I pray that you are all getting closer to your Heavenly Father. Love you all!
Elder Lamoreaux

When we went to Kyoto a few weeks ago, apparently we got into the Kyoto newspaper! So this is a picture of a picture of the newspaper. That person with his back turned with the red bag; yup that's me. At this point, we were talking with some Gaijin (foreigners) who are from Utah and are LDS. Small world haha, but we are famous, in Kyoto at least :)

Me and my Nutella. Japan can't stop me from getting Nutella :)

We found an outdoor shower....

Before and after the buffet that we went to on Friday night. It wasnt a good buffet, but it was food nonetheless.

Game Night on Saturday. I'm getting good at ping pong. Bring it on Brandon!

Gomez Shimai's last Sunday before she leaves for Hawaii. and a creeping Elder Harris.

Show this to the primary! (made by the 4th ward primary)   The tree went up last night :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Zach - pictures

Zachary lamoreaux first week

So the first week was really great, and a little horrible. The plane ride was so long. It took 3 hours to Atlanta and then 9 to santiago. In atlanta i met up with about 30 missionaries, it was crazy, i walked around a corner and boom there everyone was.We landed around 9 am and the security went reawlly smoothly, nothing went wrong. But it was so long. We sat at the airport for like 3 hours. Then we took a bus over here to the CCM (MTC in spanish). Santiago is so crazy, its kinda like northern utah, because it is surrounded in mountains, but it is so green down here, and there is so much vegetation, its crazy. And there are so many people, people are everywhere. And the traffic is so crazy, it´s a good thing im not going to be driving cause it doesnt make any sense. There are so many one way roads, and signs are everywere. Anyway, we got seperated into districts when we got to the CCM and im in district 8, its a north american district, and they are all so awesome. Our district is made of 10 elders and 2 hermanas (sisters). I love my district, i have some stories too. Our district lives in Alcanterra, its not on the CCM campus area, its about a 10 minute drive away. Its basically overflow for the CCM, but its way better than the Dorms here. Alcanterra is so sweet, its the old swedish embassy, and we sleep there and eat breakfast there. We have this maid type lady, who is more like our second mom, she washes our clothes, and makes our food, and everything. Her name is Cecilia, she is so funny. She is trying to learn english, and every morning, she walks around and makes us tell her a word we learned in spanish from the day before, and we teach her an english word. And if we don´t like put our names on our clothes, or eat all our food, she makes us do push ups, it´s pretty funny, and i haven´t had to yet. My companion had to do them once though, it was so funny. He is awesome btw, His name is Elder Hubler, he is from california. He is awesome, fun loving, always a part of the conversation, and has a really cool testimony that is very powerful.

The first day was like orientation, it was so long, and we were all so tired from the plane ride. I got my name tag when we got to Alcanterra, and they exchanged our money for us. Everyone is so nice down here. We also memorized the Missionary Purpose in spanish, that took a while. We open every meeting with a hymn, a prayer, and the Missionary purpose. Then we finally got to sleep, but im always so tired here. The second day was also like orientation, but for the CCM instead of Alcanterra, it was so long and miserable too, we had to have our suits on in the chapel and it was so hot. Oh the weather, it is so nice down here. It´s amazing, ive worn a short sleeve short like everyday. My District really got to bonding those first couples days though, cause we were all so tired, and just wanted to sleep. I think there are 60 new missionaries that came in the same time as us, Including all the Latinos who will only be here for a couple weeks. And i think there are like 100 missionaries here at the CCM total. 

The third day, friday, we actually got a normal day, and the days here are long, but nice. They give us a lot of breaks, but there is just so much going on, and especially cause we don´t speak the language, its so hard. But its actually really fun, maybe it is just because my district is so awesome, and we laugh and are really cool with each other, but its kinda fun. The normal days, we wake up at 7, do personal study, eat, exercise, get dressed at alcanterra, then we get into these like passenger vans, and head over to the CCM at 10, then it is all classes besides the breaks, and meals until 9:30. I have learned so much spanish already, i can understand quite a few conversations, while my talking isnt coming nearly as fast. Our district leader, Elder Gutierrez, can speak spanish really well, his parents are from Peru, while he is from Conneticut. He is super awesome, and leads our district well. So he interperts a lot for us. Also our teachers, especially Hermano Antileo, are so awesome. They are all in there 20 somethings and have just recently returned from their own missions. Like twice a week, we have to teach them as like mock investigators, and it is super scary, while we learn alot. The language barries is just so huge down here, and it is really hard to get over it, but its coming. Guys, im doing really well down here, and i feel really close to my heavenly Father, He is helping us so much. 

So sundays are awesome at the CCM its devotionals and games all day. I even got to pass the sacrament, and it was very spiritual. I have to share one the sciprtures we got from a devotional we listened to, by Elder Bednar. D&C 122, I love that chapter. Go read it, like right now. "The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?" Anyway yeah, i like that one. 

Ok, story time, so We have this Elder, Elder Nasilai, he is this big tongan kid, he is hilarious, and really chill. On friday, we all went to the bathroom, and he went to wash his hands, and he broke the handle off the sink. And water started spurting out of the handle, it went all over, it was flying all over the walls, and the windows. It started flooding like the floor. We were dying laughing, and he was trying to screw the handle back on, but the water was getting all over him, so he said "screw it," he dropped the handle and ran, this huge Tongan kid. So my Companion found like the water valve below the sink and just turned it off, and then we got the janitor, and he worked on it for a min, but it still isnt fixed. And then on Sunday when we were getting out of Sacrament meeting, and we went to the bathroom, afterward, we were standing outside the bathroom waiter for Elder Nasilai, and we couldnt see him for a second, so we walked back over to the bathrooms, and shouted, "Nasilai." His response came from the girls bathroom, lol, so we got told him he was in the hermanas bathroom, and he came bolting out, like trying to put on his belt as he came out the door, it was so funny. And then, yesterday, he forgot his water bottle at Alcanterra. We can only use water bottles, cause they dont have drinking fountains here, they have like the water coolers, with the big jug on top, and the spouts for hot and cold water. So because he wouldn´t waterfall out of Elder Hublers bottle, every break, this huge tongan kid, got down on his hands and knees, and tried to drink the water, it was hilarious.

Anyway, im running out of time... Im doing so well down here, its actaully really cool. I miss you all so much, and i love you all so much. I forgot my camera cord today, so i cant send pictures, but i will for sure next week. Anyway, im sorry i dont have more time to review this and stuff , and ill try to respond to some emails in the next 4 minutes, but i love you all so much, and dont worry about me, im actually really good.  The pics we took today, the one with less people is my district. My companion is to the right and in front of me. I love you all

Ciao (they say that a lot here as goodbye), 
Elder Lamoreaux

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weston - Exciting Week

So a couple of days ago it was a whopping 17 degrees outside while we were tracting. We came to this one house and knocked on the door. The lady answered the door with a handgun in her hand. She said it was too cold outside to talk to us, and when we asked if we could come in and teach her she asked us if it was fine if she kept the gun pointed at us the whole time. We told her we'll come back on a warmer day:) She told us that she was actually looking for a new church and was interested in what we had to say. It snowed like crazy here so instead of biking 10-15 miles every day we're walking 10-15 miles every day. My companion and I had an appointment fall through and we were walking back to our apartment when all of the sudden my companion turns and decides to start tracting. The second door we knock on a lady invites us in,and tells us that her 18 year old son really needed a message right now. Turns out that a few hours before we arrived the son had received in the mail, the results of a test he took to see if his one year old daughter was really his. The results showed a 0% possibility of the baby girl being his. He didn't speak a word to us. He just handed my companion the letter he got from the doctors. My companion and I had no idea what to tell him. We shared a message about forgiveness and how maybe he could still find happiness with his girlfriend and this baby. He loved both of them very much before those results came. We talked to him about families and how they are a gift from our Heavenly father. I'm not sure what effect we had but I do know that our Heavenly father had brought us to that house for that 18 year old kid whose world was falling apart at that time. We're going to be going back to talk with him sometime this week.
I love you all very much and I am so grateful for all of you! 
Elder Lamoreaux

Sunday, November 23, 2014

JT - Going to Himeiji

This might be another short email day... We are leaving to go see Himeiji castle so maybe we can use the iPad again. sorry for that again.

Later that day...

On the iPad!

So I'm back! This week, nothing much happened. We went to the mission home on Tuesday for zone conference. That was really fun and informative. They taught us how to use the Book of Mormon better in our lessons. They also challenged us to read the whole Book of Mormon by the end of February. I'm really excited for that opportunity and I'm already done with 2nd Nephi. I've learned so much already and I think it helps that I am immersed in the gospel everyday. It's all I do haha. I want to issue that same challenge for you. Anyone that reads this, I encourage  you to start and finish the Book of Mormon by the end of April. I'll give you April because you are busy living life and what not. But I encourage you to read at least a little bit everyday and to mark favorite scriptures. Liken them into your own life. It will bless your life . I'm excited to hear about your reading if you will take this challenge it will bless your life I promise you that.
We actually found a cool person yesterday while housing. She opened the door and she didn't look Japanese, but her Japanese was good. She stopped us and asked, "the Mormons?" We said yeah and she said that she was a member! She is also Filipino and she has been looking for a church for a long time. So she is going to go to church next week. That was a cool experience but I'm sorry to say that I have no idea how to speak Tagalog. It left me completely... If someone speaks to me, I'm sure I can understand but speaking is gone....
Anyway, I'm still doing good. Have a great Thanksgiving and Black Friday. I will miss the food and the Holidays but I hope you have a great one. Love you all!
Elder Lamoreaux

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Zachary made it finally. it was a long nigh this is all he wrote. Hey guys i love you, everything is going great. The flights went very smoothly, and its great. Love you guys

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mission Eve

 Zach - Nov 17th 2014
So I got set apart today, it was such an amazing experience, my Stake President is a really awesome guy. He assured me of some really awesome blessings coming my way. I leave tomorrow afternoon, fly out of St. George to Salt Lake, then to Santiago. 14:30 flight.. Its a really long flight, and ive never flown before so we will see how it works out. I'm  not really scared of flying, I just hope I can make it through immigration, and customs alright. 

 I'm really flipping excited. I love all you guys, and I hope I'll have more to write in Santiago. 
Elder Lamoreaux

JT - Miracles happen!

November 17, 2014

Dear Everyone,

Miracles do happen. Last Week on Preparation day, we were riding our bikes back to the apartment to drop off what we bought and to get ready to go out again. It was about 5:15, just about getting dark and a car started slowing down next to me. I thought it was a member or someone like that wanting to say hi to us. Then the person said, "Hey do you have a minute?" It took me a while to figure out what he said because he said it in perfect English! I was expecting Japanese. Anyway, I said yeah, called for my companion and we pulled over to a nearby parking lot. My mind was going crazy thinking about what he would be wanting. He got out of his car, tall, kind of Hispanic looking person. He started telling us how two months ago, he was at home watching YouTube videos. He watched one where the person, I don't remember who it was, said at the end of the video, "Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your savior!" Well, the guy said that he did and for the past two months he has been praying everyday and studying the Bible everyday. He said that when he repented, he felt such a warm feeling throughout his body and that he started sobbing. He said that it was the most incredible feeling he's felt. As he was talking, me and my companion couldn't believe what was happening and couldn't stop smiling. The guy said that he has Christian friends and they told him that he needs to find a church to fellowship with. He saw two guys in white shirts on bikes and had to stop us. I think its funny and miraculous that the Christian friends didn't tell him to join their church... anyway, he wanted to learn what we were all about. So he took us in his car to the Church and we talked for a long time. He had so many deep questions. He truly has done his studying of the Bible. He asked questions like "How do you know if you feel an impression from the Holy Spirit or if it's just your own thoughts?" I was thinking, that's questions that I am wondering now, How am I going to answer that? Anyway, we did the best we could to answer all his questions and to introduce him to the church. We taught him about the Restoration and about our beliefs of God and Jesus Christ, how we can pray to him. We explained prayer and shared some experiences and testimonies. It was a great lesson and he is so interested. Two days later we taught about the Plan of Salvation and answered more of his questions. we talked about Baptism and invited him to be baptized. He said "well if Jesus Christ was baptized in this way, I need to do that too." So he wants to be baptized! We brought up a date for next month, but he said that he might need more time to see if he thinks this is all true before committing to a date. So we are still answering all his questions and he is very diligent in his studies and he wants to learn more. This is such a miracle, for him to have been prepared for months, doing his own study and prayer and feeling the spirit before talking to us, and even more of a miracle for him to stop us in the middle of the road as he was going home from work and even more of a miracle for me that his speaks English!!! I am so amazed by him and I hope that he will continue to progress and that he can know for himself that this is the true church. Miracles still happen!
Other than that, nothing quite compares to that this week. We found a couple couples that could possibly be progressing investigators after teaching about God and Prayer. We'll see how that goes. Tomorrow we have Zone conference in Kobe and we will be going on splits with the zone leaders. That will be cool. Anyway, I'm doing well, except that it is starting to get really cold. I have plenty of warm things so I think I'll be fine in that regard. Oh one of our investigators, a 70 ish year old man, gave me two pairs of winter gloves, despite me telling him that I was fine. I thought that was pretty funny. Anyways, all is good and I miss you all! Always read the scriptures and pray to your Heavenly Father! He loves you so much.
Elder Lamoreaux

At a park on Preparation day with one of our investigators. This was a really cool bridge.

More from the park

This is dinner in Japan. :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

JT - Longer Email this time!

Nov. 10, 2014

Dear Everyone,

Everything is really good here. I`m sorry I couldn`t write much last week. So this is a recap of last week and this past week. Here it goes
So I`m healthy and happy here. I get frustrated sometimes though with myself and the language because I don't understand them. but I know that will come with time. It`s different for me because I am used to understanding everything and then have some trouble speaking. With Tagalog and at the MTC I could understand just about everything. But here, I have such a hard time picking up what they say. It`s a daily struggle but I have been gradually improving everyday. I will get it down. So far, that's the hardest thing by far. I'm so blessed to have an amazing trainer though. Without him, I would be super lost, more than I am now.
The area is great. Everywhere is super pretty. It`s mostly country, but there are a lot of apartment complexes and also big houses so it has lots of variety which I love. It`s so humid at times especially when it rains. It rains a lot, probably half of the days I`ve been here, its been rainy. Some nights it gets really cold. So I guess it's a lot like Utah.... except for the rain. I really like Nishiwaki. We don't have much success going housing for the most part. One day, we had been housing all day. It was getting late and we decided to start heading home at about 7:30. But, we decided to do one more group of apartments so we went. We were able to teach two lessons there and they became potential Investigators. That was a pretty cool experience.
Our companionship is great. Elder Harris is really  patient with me, which is really helpful. This is his 3rd time training so he knows his stuff. His Japanese is exceptional, so I have a lot to learn from him. He is what a missionary should be and that helps me so much, especially at this stage in my mission. I`m so grateful for him. The members in the branch are so awesome. The Branch President reminds me of Bishop Bowns which is pretty cool. He is awesome. He comes to all of our Eikaiwa (English Classes) and he even took us to Kyoto last week. There are about 50 active members. They love the missionaries. I'm already on their monthly news letter.

There is a lot of older people and a couple families with the cutest little Japanese kids ever and 4 missionaries in the ward; Harris Choro and I and Hood Shimai and Gomez Shimai. Gomez Shimai is half Hawaiian and half Filipino.
My camera got stolen... Aroha (An exchange student from Washington state who is also LDS.) Gomez shimai and Hood shimai.
There is actually an American person in our ward. His name is Whipple Kyodai and his wife is Japanese so that is why he is here. They`ve lived n Japan for 15 years but he doesn`t really know Japanese at all, which is kind of funny. He is the 2nd councilor in the branch presidency and this week he conducted sacrament meeting. He did a decent job reading it off a paper. He and his family are awesome. They invited us (the missionaries) to their house on Halloween to have Pumpkin Pie.
So Kyoto was so cool. The temples of ancient Japan are so beautiful. that was such a cool experience and I hope you can see some of it from these pictures.

In Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan

Beautiful and so many tourists because that day was `Culture Day` a holiday

One of the temples in Kyoto. -Kiyomizudera Temple- It was super cool and Classic Japanese Culture.

On Saturday, the branch had a Halloween party. There were many many people there, about 60 they said. There were a few investigators there which was awesome. One of the sister`s investigators was Filipino so I talked to him. He is 17 and he is going to school in Japan. He knows a lot of English which lots of Filipino people do. I tried speaking Tagalog to him, but I completely forgot how to speak Tagalog. I mix words up with Japanese which I guess is good. But It`s frustrating. I can still understand Tagalog though. the party was really fun. I dressed up kind of. I didn't know what to dress up as because I only have missionary clothes. But I found that I had BYU shirt, shorts, sandals, a tie and a jacket so I just wore all of that. I also bought some reindeer antlers from the dollar store. Let me say, dollar stores in Japan are super cool. You can get so many cool things from them and they are all a dollar! I bought two nice ties there as well. Anyway, one of the antlers broke off so I wore those with one antler hanging down. when people would ask me about the antler I would say, `Halloween node!` which means Because It`s Halloween. They would laugh. that was a fun party, and they fed us lots of food afterwards. This Branch is so cool I love them.
We have had many Appointments with investigators where they would cancel. Its so frustrating, especially when if we don`t have appointments, we would have to go out and do more housing. For example, yesterday, we had four scheduled lessons. Each of them either didn`t answer their door or called and said they couldn`t make it. Hopefully, we can do better in making appointments and them going through with the appointments. the only way they can progress is if they meet with us.
Anyway, things are going very well here. Its so crazy to think that in a couple weeks, all of us will be out on their missions. All of us being me, Weston, Zach and Reuben. It`s awesome, but where has the time gone?? the work is hastening that's for sure.
I`ve grown to love the Book of Mormon since I've been out. I can read it everyday and everytime I read, no matter how small I read, I learn something that I can apply to my mission and to my life in general. I know that if you read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, you will learn so much and will grow closer to your Heavenly Father. Pray before you read and ask for knowledge and inspiration. It won`t just come to you. It could, but it would not be nearly as good then if you ask. Ask and you shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. The Book of Mormon is so so true. Read it and Pray about it.
I love all of you and I miss you! Thanks for all the support and prayers on my behalf. The church is true, Tell your friends!
Elder Lamoreaux

at a shrine thing close to our apartment.

My district here. Elder Monson, Elder Gass, Elder Harris, Sister Hood and Sister Gomez

This is from the Fall Festival they had last week. They were dancing a famous Japanese dance (I dont know what its called) It was so cool

My first try of Sushi here. It was from a grocery store, but It was super good. I am excited to try real sushi from some kind of restaurant.

Book of Mormons (Books of Mormon?) in 9 languages in our apartment.

The `good luck pole` thing. If you can lift it up, you have good luck. No one could do it. 

That`s the branch president of the NIshiwaki branch. Takeuchi Kaicho

Harris Choro and I with a group of people wearing Kimonos at the temple.

The group that went to Kyoto.

Awesome sunset one day!

The zone after Zone Training Meeting.