Tuesday, December 13, 2011

松本が完全に凍っていますよ! (Matsumoto is completely freezing!)

Japanese Nativity Scene, 19th century
Hey family! 

            Wow, well I thought things were cold before...this week has been FREEZING! (subject line is: Matsumoto is completely freezing!) It was -2 this morning and gets down really far at night. we had a good bit of snow and stuff and things are freezing solid. 
            This week went pretty well! I guess you already heard from Sister Baird, but we had the conference on Tuesday and all that good stuff...it was SUCH a good conference! President and Sister Baird and President and Sister Stevenson all gave talks, and I was able to learn so much! I conducted for the first session, and then I translated for Sister Baird during the afternoon session because the speakers would switch off and on from English to Japanese and back. I feel like we have been so blessed to have so many wonderful people come to visit our mission...Elder Chei, Elder Holland, Elder Rasband, Elder Stevenson...there is such a special spirit in the meetings when they are there!
            I guess another cool part of the conference was that I was able to see Elder Ogaki and hear how he`s been doing...it`s so strange to look back on things and see the difference that just eight months makes. We always had a good friendship, but it`s so neat to be able to communicate on even better level because of the things I`ve been able to learn in those eight months. 
            As for investigators, Otsuki we feel is doing good! He still has a sincere desire to work for receiving baptism, and we are doing everything to support and help him to accomplish that. We are still at a pretty low stage with investigators...we are really trying to build back our teaching pool and start getting things moving faster here...and that is something that I know will come as long as we keep working hard and follow the spirit. I feel the Lord`s love for the people here in Matsumoto and I know that there those who have been prepared for us, so we are just going to keep on searching for them! 
            I apologize for the short length of this e-mail...I spent more time than usual writing more individual e-mails and my letter to President Baird.  Hope you are all having a great week though, I love you so much! Two more weeks and we`ll get to talk to each other on the phone! :)

                                                                                                                                    -Elder Voss

Monday, December 5, 2011

Snow! Email 5 December 2011

This picture is from last year, when he was in Suwa, Japan. Matsumoto is looking similar right now!

Hey Family! 

          Well, this was a busy week! We had zone leader conference down in Nagoya, we had exchanges with the APs, and we had our first snow! It was actually while we were on our exchanges that it happened...we woke up on Friday morning as usual at 6:15 to find absolutely gigantic snow flakes falling steadily outside...we generally are outside running every morning, but that morning we had four people there so we decided to toss around a football amidst the snowflakes. It`s been getting steadily colder all the time...all the mountain tops around us are capped in snow, so it doesn`t really warm up that much in the day anymore. Never thought I would be in Nagano ken to see snow again...but here I am :) 
          Zone Leader conference was probably one of the best highlights of the week...Elder Brown, Elder Cruz, and I, are all zone leaders, and Elder Rust is one of the APs, so we were able to have everyone from our MTC room there at the conference. :) Hadn`t seen Elder Cruz since February, so that was great. Anyway, we were in the conference from 10 to 5 and it was awesome! I have always loved trainings that we have had with President Baird, but because there is only twelve zone leaders the meeting is a lot more close and personal. He is truly an AMAZING mission president. Every single time I have heard him talk I can just feel the spirit and power of his testimony. We all came away from that conference feeling like we had learned so much, and with a whole lot of fire for missionary work! As zone leaders we have been preparing a lot for a special zone conference that we will be having tomorrow morning. President Stevenson will be coming to speak to all of us :) President of the Asia North Area. I have been given the assignment to conduct the morning session, so that is something that I`m looking forward to/a little nervous about. haha. We will all be going down to Nagoya tonight to stay in other areas and then go to the Honbu in the morning. 
           As for things with investigators this week...Brother Otsuki is doing great! He has made huge progress this week, and even though we still haven`t been able to reschedule a baptism date with him, we feel that he is really doing well. We had somewhat of a surprise experience with someone that the shimai found while housing...they ran into a guy who after about five minutes talking with them said that he already believes in Jesus Christ and that he prays every day...oh and also that he would be very interested in learning more of what we have to hear! He wanted them to come in right then to start hearing our message. They told him that they would send us along to visit him, which we did that very day and had a great first lesson with him :) He is very interested in continuing to learn, but has such a crazy job schedule right now that he hasn`t had any time lately to even sleep, much less meet with anyone. We`re not really sure how we are going to pull off meeting with him a second time, but we exchanged phone numbers and have an appointment to call him this week. We`ll see what happens :) 
           I remember you asking about Christmas stuff...and I honestly can`t remember for the life of me if I ever answered...I think that the only things I can think of are shoes and hazelnuts...haha. That sounds like the weirdest Christmas request ever...but I think that would be awesome :) Well and of course getting to talk with all of you on the phone is a pretty big Christmas present all by itself!
           Anyway, I`d better run...but thank you for your e-mails! I didn`t really hear much of what was happening besides mom`s e-mail, but I hope you are all doing good! I also hope that those pictures that the honbu sent with that Christmas card aren`t too weird...there are some pretty odd ones floating around. haha. Have a great week, I love you!

                                                                                                    -Elder Voss