Monday, June 30, 2014

I ran into Talia Barnes from Centennial


I am the farthest from the mission home on Oahu, on the west coast of the island, I'm about 1/3 a way from the western tip. 

I ran into Talia Barnes on Saturday!  We were planning on having an appointment with one of our families that we teach, but they cancelled that morning, so we were able to go to a graduation party of one of our members. I walked in and saw Talia right in front! At first I saw her and thought, "wow, she looks really familiar..." then she came up and started talking, so we got to visit a little. She came with a sister that is the bishop's mother. Super random but awesome to see someone from home.  She's doing well in school and said to say hello to everyone.

Sometimes I miss some of your home cooking.  When you told me about the poppy seed chicken, I craved it for a second. I am very blessed in this area - I end up getting fed pretty nice here. Last night we had some spaghetti. Then brownies were for dessert. I also had a salad (lettuce, apples, cranberries, tomatoes, nuts, and sorts in it). But I think so far I'm about at my starting weight still. I think being in biking areas for half my mission is helping that.... haha

Well the weather has been kinda different this past week. Most of the time here on the west side, it hasn't rained at all. It's just hot and dry (for Hawaii standards), but ever since I got here, it has been raining a decent amount. This last week has been the most rain I've experienced for sure. Every day it's been cloudy and a few of those days it's been downpouring. Got a little wet when we were biking and also when we did service, pulling weeds... but it's fun. Kinda annoying getting soaked, but oh well. It's still nothing in comparison to the big island, but I was hoping to get away from that stuff. :P Sooooo it's been really humid and about 80s or 90s in temperature. 

This week we had a few lessons. About 20 or so, so a little better from the normal. I think the time I had the most lessons was in Maui, where we were getting close to 30 a week. Lots of less actives - we visited. Our investigator that is working on smoking had a cool story this week. When we were over there, she told us how whe was at the store and she could of bought either a plate lunch or another pack of cigarettes, but she bought the plate lunch instead. She said she doesn't want to buy them anymore, that they don't taste good anymore. So I hope she stays true to her desire to stop buying them. She was feeling sick this Sunday so she didn't come to church. We actually didn't have any ivestigators at church this week, but our ward mission leader's family has brought a guy to church now twice. He's a graduated senior I think, and I think he is interested in getting more spiritual in his life, but I didn't have the opportunity to talk with him while we were there. Hopefully something can happen from that.

We visited with another part member family. They had us over for dinner. The sad thing was that they had so many questions about the gospel and stuff, but we didn't have any time and we had to leave to meet up with another member. But we do have a return appointment this week so we hope to be able to start teaching them regularly.

Well those are they main fun things that have happened this week. Hope it's a little exciting to read the emails.

Love ya lots!

Elder Nitta

Monday, June 9, 2014

Story Time...


We are now in week six of this transfer. So that means that next week I could be getting a new comp, or something. It's always kinda exciting to see changes. Doing the same kind of stuff all the time gets boring sometimes.... 

This last week we went to Pearl Harbor. Story time: if you are a missionary on Oahu, every other transfer, missionaries get to go to Pearl Harbor and volunteer at the USS Missouri Ship. They put us to work-doing all kind of things to keep the ship looking nice. This week they had us paint some wooden thing and then a cage of some sort. They took us on a short tour of the inside of the ship. It was just my first time there. When I was on Oahu before, Pearl Harbor was on government shut down, so I didn't get to go then. But some missionaries get to go there upwards of 10 times during their missions. Probably not me. Everybody was super surprised when I said that I've never been there before. As a souvenir, I got a little paint on my shirt.

That was basically the exciting and different thing that happened this week. We did go up into the valley into a place called the plantation. There's choke peacocks there. We were trying to visit a less active lady (who has signed up to feed us tonight actually) but she ended up not being there. Another set of elders dropped us off, so we had to walk all the way back down, which was about 20-30 minutes or so. I was grabbing some grass and making bird sounds that sounded like the peacocks. Somebody must have thought that they were going kinda crazy with all the sounds we were making. Haha

After that, we headed over to the chapel for our ward night. They were doing an activity with the youth of putting them through a Plan of Salvation. They had them in separate rooms and moved them to the next steps of the plan. The youth went through a premortal life  and an earth life (where they played games as their "labors in mortality"). Based on whether they won those games or not, determined whether they went to spirit paradise or prison and then later from telestial to celestial. In the spirit world room, they had all kinds of treats and desserts (but nobody was allowed to eat them). They were judged by the Bishop and then they progressed through the cultural hall ( telestial an terrestrial worlds) up to the chapel (celestial kingdom). They had Elder Saunders and I guard all the desserts and stuff in the spirit world and then I was playing the organ while they were filing into the chapel. Pretty well thought out activity, and a fun way to go through the Plan of Salvation.

I don't remember if I mentioned that our ward had a father and sons outing that we went to just shortly last week. We just showed up for the food :) haha.

Our stake had its stake conference this weekend. President Warner came to both the sessions on Saturday and Sunday. It was good to hear him and Sister Warner speak on missionary work. The whole Saturday night session was all about missionary work. A lot of emphasis was put on the members to get involved. They had some youth come up and share their experiences about sharing the gospel and then later some missionaries and recent converts went up to share their conversion stories. One main point that was brought up was that there are all kinds of ways to share the gospel, some being a lot harder ways. But whether or not you do an easy or hard way of sharing the gospel, it is all just as honorable. Being involved in the process of saving a human soul in the most honorable and important duty in this life.

We had a lesson with a Chuukese family this week and we really tried to commit them to coming to church this Sunday. We told them we were going to stop by before the meeting to come and get them, which we did do, but when we got there the mom said that she was feeling sick and the dad went to work. It's kinda frustrating when people don't follow through on some of their commitments. But I guess all we can measure, as far as our success, is how much effort we put into what we are doing, not the numbers or the goals we reach. If we get plenty of baptisms or we are financially well off in this life, it is likely that we put forth lots of effort to get there, but it doesn't mean that the 'not so well off' person, or the missionary that doesn't see baptisms, isn't successful. Success is measured by our persoanl commitment to do what is right. God isn't going to measure our many good things we did in this life, he's going to measure how hard we tried to do those good things. So, I hope I'm just trying my best, then whatever happens, happens.

This morning we went on a short hike in Makaha area. It was just a small remenent of a vocano crater next to the water. A soon to be missionary came with us. He is from Waianae and he's leaving to Utah today to go to the MTC. Going to Mexico City. From the top we could see msot of the Makaha area, and some homeless people just hanging out nearby..... Pretty nice. haha

I think when I get back from my mission, I want to look more into psychology. Talking with the lady in my last ward about all these different personality types and stuff got me kinda curious. Maybe I'll try to talk with Logan about some of those things. It interests me.

Well hope you have a wonderful and awesome week. Love you!

Elder Nitta

Monday, June 2, 2014

New Area - New Didication!

I thought I told you that I'm with Elder Saunders again. Maybe I didn't. But he's from Vale, Oregon. He's been out on the mission for about 6 months now. I was his trainer in Honolulu, but only for one transfer. So they have given me another chance to do a better training job haha. But I feel like I figure you know everything about my life without me having to tell you about it.

I think this area is one of the most run down areas I've been in this far. Maui was more of an ‘old local person’ town, with a few young-couple’s that move-in every once in a while. Honolulu was strictly an old person town, for people who lived there for like 50 years (in the same house). Near where all the tourists go. Hilo was more of a well-off area. Hilo was spread out and had nicer homes. Here in Makaha it is just the less well-off . There are plenty of duplexes and apartments here. (Not bad though)  They usually keep the sisters in the nicer areas here in this mission – in the more affluent Ward’s. There aren't really any gangs here. We just hear police cars a lot more frequently :)

It's nice to hear that at least one person wants to wait until I get home to make a significant change and commitment. You can tell Logan thanks for that!

I feel that I've almost gone downhill with my teaching ability - I remember in the beginning of my mission how I felt like I was doing great with teaching and being inspired, but now I feel that just going through the motions has gotten me almost insensitive to the promptings of the Spirit. There were a couple of lessons this week that I felt that I was lacking in. Just one thing I'm trying to work out now. I figure that I need to rededicate myself to doing all the things as I was doing them in the beginning of the mission..

This week has been a little slower than others. We didn't get quite as many lessons as we were shooting for. Only like 14 or so. But we are trying to kickstart the area again. Restarting by going through the whole Ward list, making sure to visit with everybody on it. Just finding people home is the hard part. We were trying to find some of the members this week and ran into a lady that had once upon a time met with missionaries. She invited us to come back again, so we plan to go this next weekend.

Zone Conference was this last Tuesday. President Warner talked about how to introduce the Book of Mormon, and how we can be more obedient. We joined up with the Waipahu stake missionaries (the next zone over). There were a lot of missionaries that I've known, who gave their dying testimonies (the testimony you give at your last Zone Conference). One sister that came out a transfer before me gave hers. So the sister’s that came out with me are almost pau (finished). One of the old APs gave his too, as well as another missionary that was with me on the big island. They asked me to play the piano for the hymns, but nobody could find a single hymn book in the chapel!  This is where I knew not having memorized Hymns would haunt me… Missionaries were running around and couldn't find one anywhere, so Sister Warner held one of those tiny printed copies so I could play. I also played the Aloha Oe for the missionaries that are going home. Always fun.

That day, we got back to our area at about 5:30,  just in time to head to dinner. There's one family here that is super nice about feeding us. Well, it's just a brother in the Ward and his girlfriend, but he's super good at cooking and always has great food for us. This last time, we had Korean Chicken and rice with lemon bars for dessert. Before we had some katsu curry. I think they sent a picture to you of us helping them cook the chicken yesterday.

At Church, the Ward pianist didn't show up, and the back up pianist was flying back from LA, so they asked me to play. So I got on the super old breaking apart organ (that never gets used) and played the music for our Sacrament Meeting. Most of the members were kinda in shock because they hadn’t heard the organ used in so long. I made some mistakes, but it was fun being able to play (and sight read) the music. No one showed up to our gospel principles class. Apparently our investigators graduated to go to Gospel doctrine. Haha but the teacher was really ecstatic and excited about going to the doctrine class.

Our lessons this week were okay. We were teaching this one family this last week, and we were trying to emphasize the need for them to commit to baptism. They have been investigating the Church for something like 3 years now, and have never come to Church. We had a couple of members there with us, and they shared their testimonies about how their baptisms were so uplifting. The mom of the family agreed that she wanted to do more and commit, but her work schedule is conflicting with Church. So we are praying for her to be able to change around her schedule to allow her to come to Church.

Another family we are trying for is a less active father and all his unbaptized children. Probably like 3 or 4 of them could be baptized. We are working on them getting there, which they are basically ready, but the dad wants to be the one to perform the baptism. The problem is that he is just not really showing any commitment right now to try and get himself worthy to do so. He said he would be able to come this next Sunday to Church, so we are going to follow up on that.

Well I hope all is great at home. Sounds like things are going well. Love you lots. And know that I feel your love every time I hear from you!

Elder Nitta