Monday, February 27, 2012

Elder Oaks, Gyoza, and Almost Warm

Elder Mosdell received the package we sent last Tuesday, so it takes 6 days for letters and packages to reach him just in case you were wondering.  He was glad to have his sweaters and the chocolate that we sent as well as the letters and other fun things we slipped into the package.  He says good chocolate is hard to get there, so if you happen to be thinking about sending him a package I'm sure he'd appreciate chocolate.
Jeff said "First off, we had Elder Oaks come talk to us on Tuesday! That was super cool, here's the number 1 thing I learned: What someone talks about isn't important. It's what you write down and take away from the experience that is. Make sure it's from the Spirit.  Super awesome! I would have taken photos of the temple (that's where it was held) but they were redoing the spire or cleaning it. I'll take photos on the 6th!  We also met a Peruvian (?), he speaks OK English, and OK Japanese, but he's excited to learn English and about the Church, we had a lesson with him the other day, and he felt really good about what we had to teach."
In response to our standard did you eat anything interesting this week question he said "This past week we didn't eat anything special, but today I learned how to cook gyoza, and I did a pretty good job :D Other than that, on Tuesday (this week) I'll be going to eat "real ramen" at a ramen shop with a ward member after we go do home teaching with him! Once again, I'll keep you posted!"
Jeff apologized about the short length of his email because he was "kind of short on time today (with the surprise appointment and projects for Eikaiwa)".  Eikaiwa is the English class they teach on Wednesday evenings. 
Once again we received photographs of things he thinks we'll find interesting and just one photo of him every week.  This week he actually smiled, maybe it was because he was closer to warm with his sweater on.

This is the bike that all the financial craziness was over in the first few days Jeff was in Japan.

Elder Mosdell looking happy, he says the wind there has been really cold.
Humidity and wind will do that, at least our wind here is dry.

This is another one of those no explanation photos.
Best guess is a phone booth that bites hands?

Monday, February 20, 2012

A few more photos

Got a few short emails from Elder Mosdell this week. Plus a handful of pictures that he uploaded later that day. He didn't tell us about the pictures in his emails so it was a surprise when we checked the picture folder. Here's what he had to say about the food, his Japanese and their investigators. I asked him to share any good recipes with us as well as any interesting foods he's eaten.

"One thing that's new is yakusoba, which is just fried noodles (I really like it though). Also curry, but that's even the same brand we have at home so not really new. Miso Ramen is also new. I learned how to cook an egg in the water before you cook the noodles. I make pan fried rice w/ fish sausage early this week, that was really good (the sausage is just like spam, just fish instead). Other than that, nothing really new. Elder W isn't super adventurace with food either, so he hasn't had anything funky to make, and hasn't tried to make me eat anything weird. I will share what I learn though!

Elder W has been helping me a ton with the language! And that's been super nice, I'm not progressing as fast as I hoped, but I'm pretty sure it's impossible to learn it all in a day. I didn't give a talk on Sunday (yesterday) because it was stake conference 8) Which went well, but I didn't understand any of it, except for when sister Albrecht got up and gave her talk in English, then had it translated. We met a really awesome guy yesterday that spoke fluent Japanese and English and could switch back and forth without thinking about it. (by fluent I mean NO accent, NO pauses, 100% fluent). He wanted to come to church next Sunday, so that's exciting! Can't wait for him to come! I think he'll be a great help with my Japanese too if he's willing to learn about the gospel!"

Run to the temple!
We're guessing this is hanging in the church.

The view from his living room window (we think).

This is really funny if you know his nickname is FaFa.
Just read the English on the box and laugh!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Extra email this week.

This week has been a bit wacky.  I got an email from Jeff yesterday afternoon in response to an email that I sent him and to the mission office.  Of course President Albrecth called Jeff right away to make sure he took time to read my message and respond.  That was nice and it helped to lighten my heart.  At this point I'm getting a package ready to ship to Japan with the necessary things to make chocolate chip cookies, sweaters and thermals (because my poor son is freezing his tail off with no central heat), some Valentine's candy and a few things from a good friend of his.  At first I thought I'd have trouble filling the box and getting it close to weight, but now I'm sure it will be close enough to weight and full enough of love and silliness to make his day.  This makes me happy.

In a semi unrelated side note, I am reminded of a day when I baked some cookies using the store bought cookie dough that comes in a plastic tube with clamps at each end.  I don't know what I was thinking, that stuff is only good to eat BEFORE you bake it, but what ever.  Jeff came home and promptly popped one in his mouth.  The look on his face was priceless!  He was disgusted! "Oh, MOTHER!" he said, "This is awful! I thought these were your home made cookies, what are you feeding me this junk for?!?!" 

I love that kid. 8)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An adventure of sorts...

Here's a little experience that Elder Mosdell shared with us earlier this week, all of this happened after they had left the wedding reception to work and before they had returned to help with clean up. 8)

"From there we ran to the train station and "chidashi o kubari" 'd (passed out flyers) for an hour. When we do this, we stand apart on two street corners near two exits of the eki and kubari. Not a super successful night, but I had an... interesting... time when a very drunk man walked (rather stumbled) by and wanted to know why I was trying to teach English. I didn't understand anything more than his initial question of why, and I'm not sure if me knowing more Japanese would have helped, he couldn't speak straight at all! He started getting really mad because he did think English was any good. (that's what I think he said) And when Elder W came over to ask him what was going on the man told Elder W "You've got nothing to do with this relationship (conversation), go away". (From hear out Elder W told me what he said after) Elder W told the man that if he was going to be rude that he and his friend (me) were going to leave, at which point we quickly started leaving. We told the man to go home, and took off down the stairs into the Eki. The man was NOT amused and tried to follow us, which was a little funny to watch him try and run after us. We lost him somewhere in the middle of the eki and then ran up the other set of stairs to go to the church. "

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Japan photos from Jeff this time

Here are the things we learned this week. It's very cold in Japan right now. Jeff wants some thermals and a dress sweater. We told him he'd want them and he thought he'd just tough it out for winter. Silly boy 8) He's also craving some chocolate from home. He didn't have to speak in church on Sunday because the bishop had other members that needed to speak, including an older convert who recently received the Aaronic Priesthood. He'll probably be speaking soon though. He has a long list of new words he's going to be looking up and studying. They came from the talks that were given and the Ward Leadership meetings he attends. They teach an English class at the church every Wednesday for members and nonmembers. In one of their meetings with the bishop they came up with some new ideas for that class as well as ideas to help the member missionary work in the ward.

It sounds like they had a pretty normal week, some good days and some bad days. They have 3 investigators and are working with some less active members as well. All of their lessons for last week got cancelled due to random events, but he says it's OK. I'm guessing that's pretty typical. They helped a little with a wedding at the church on Saturday, apparently both the bride and groom are members. The ward members wanted the missionaries there to help celebrate. Jeff and Elder W went to the church and said hi to everyone for a minute then they excused themselves to go work and find new investigators. They came back later to help clean up (and eat the food the members had saved for them). Jeff says he and Elder W really felt good about being there at the beginning to say hi then going to work sharing the Gospel and finally coming back to help clean up. Jeff says, "It showed the ward we're really looking for new investigators, but that we want to help the ward as well."

Jeff got to eat octopus at the wedding. He says it's very chewy and he's not sure if he likes it or not yet. He wrote that he learned how to cook an egg into ramen for one of their meals. He also cooked grilled cheese sandwiches and made tomato soup on Friday because it was so cold and that's a meal we did sometimes on cold days. He said it was pretty good and it made him happy 8) We're glad he remembers the cooking skills we taught him.

Grinning Elder Mosdell

Elder Mosdell's nice and clean desk
various items here make me smile.

I just love the umbrellas hanging in the window.

This sign hangs above their bedroom door, it says "missionaries".
They had a small earthquake Saturday morning, just enough to rattle this sign.

Monday, February 13, 2012

We did get email from Elder Mosdell last night, and he uploaded pictures.  I've got to figure out how to post the photos from the upload site to here, and I'm a bit pressed for time this morning.  Check back tonight or tomorrow for more information 8)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baptism story and Photos from the Mission

"We had a baptism yesterday (Sunday) :D Her Though I've only had one lesson with her, it was a very neat experience! Her baptism was supposed to start at 9, but she always is running 30 mins late, so we planned with her to meet her at the church at 7:30, that way she'd be there at 8, and have plenty of time to change and be ready. Well, we walk over at 7 to get stuff ready for her and everyone else, and we call her to make sure she's up and coming... no answer... My companion doesn't worry about it and so I don't either. We continue getting ready and start filling the font, calling every 10 mins or so to make sure she's up with no reply each time. Finally it's 8:30 and the ward mission leader is freaking out, and Elder W is starting to get really worried too, the Mission leader is having a nervous breakdown, and tells us to call her again and again and again and again. Once we explain to him that we JUST got off the phone with no reply he suggests we pray, at this point we were worried, but figured worst case we'll do it after church instead. As we gather around and fold out arms, the phone rings. It's her calling us to tell us she just got up. She lives about 30-40 mins away on foot and it's now 8:45. We tell her we'll find a car and come pick her up, so we do so and head to her house. We get there, and nobody answers... then as we wait for several minutes, her dad pulls up tells us he just dropped her off, and we start speeding back to the church. (it's now 9:50) On the way, the mission leader calls us and says "Hey she's here, where in the world are you!". We finally get there, and start the whole thing only 5 mins late :) It was a super stressful/funny morning, with a wonderful result."

This is the chapel in Yochiyo.

Here's a picture of him with President and Sister Albrecht.

And a picture of him and Elder W at the mission home.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A baptism already? WOW!

We got emails in the middle of the night last night.  Of course we got up to read them and ended up staying up way later than we should have.  And then we realized this morning that we had forgotten to set the alarm clock. By then we were running 45 minutes late.  I'm glad the girls are OK with things like yogurt and salad for lunch.

We got a good amount of news from the boy, he was able to purchase his bike and has money left over to buy postage and things like that, so that is good. He has been told to not give out the apartment address and to just have everyone mail letters and packages to the Mission office at the address on the side bar throughout his mission. Letters and packages will be forwarded to him where ever he is.  This will eliminate lost mail in between transfers, but it can take up to 2 1/2 weeks for the mail to reach him this way. 

The following is a list of questions that Leighn sent and Jeff answered  (I sent a shorter list and got answers too, but Leighn's was more fun) :)

"Where is Elder W from?  Highland, UT
How long has he been out?  11 months
Do you have any investigators? Yes, about 6 or 7 including the one we just baptised yesterday Sunday) ;)
How was your first Sunday in Japan? Pretty sweet! We had a baptism at 9, and following that was regular church. I speak next week a little bit about myself.
How are the members there?  Super kind and friendly, Willing to work with me even though I'm still slow with Japanese.
Are there any members from the states?  Not in our Ward.
What are President and Sister Albrecht like? Very kind sweet and loving.
Do you like them already?  Yes, they felt like grandparents to me from the start.
How was the flight to Japan?  Kind of long, but enjoyable. I read all of Mosiah, and helped a Taiwanese lady keep her son occupied.
What is your favorite color?  黒い (haha stupid question stupid answer) [The answer is black]
Will you be using the trains and buses much?  Lots of trains, about one a day so far. Some days not as many.
Have you seen Mt. Fuji?  Not yet, but on a good clear day I should be able to.
How have you liked the weather?  It's been OK.... really cold, and it's raining today :/
I see that it’s supposed to be raining on your p-day, how was/is that?  It stinks... we were going to go shopping, but we really don't want to ride our bikes in this.
If you’re in Chiba, how does it feel to be in a city that is the same area as Salt Lake City but with 5 times the population?  Nothing special really. We're in Yachiyo area within Chiba, so we only see a small part of it most days.
How did it feel to be in Tokyo?  Cold, excited, nervous...
How is your language mastery coming?  Bleh... though the ward members tell me that my Japanese sounds good...
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?  African or European?
What kinds of food have you eaten in your apartment?  Rice, Miso Ramen, Soups, Giyoza, Rice, Curry.
What foods do you expect to be living on?  Rice, Apples, Carrots, Pimon (green bell peppers), chicken, beef.
There ya go :P post it on the blog for everyone.
Love you bunches!"

As you can tell Elder Mosdell is doing well and loving where he is and what he's doing. We'll see if we can get the story on the baptism that they had on Sunday and post that soon too!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Financial emergency email

OK, due to the money problems Jeff was having I did get another email from him. He couldn't withdraw money at any ATMs and he thought his card wasn't working. He didn't say how much money he was trying to withdraw so my first reply to him told him how much was available in his account. I also told him I'd contact the bank to figure out what the problem was and get it straightened out. In my second reply I told him what I found out at the bank and gave him several suggestions to fix the problem. He thought there would be $600 in the account and wanted to withdraw all of it so he had a little extra for the coming months. However there's a $500 limit on daily cash withdrawals. I told him he could get the other $100 the next day. He said he doesn't need it for the bike and doesn't want to pull money out more than once. I think he figured one withdrawal of the expected amount would be within the rules but a second withdrawal the next day when the funds weren't needed for a bike would be violating the use of personal funds rules. Funny boy! I think he was trying to bend the rules a little.

So that was about all there was in the email other than a promise to write more on p-day. Still not sure when that will be. Don't know anything more about his trainer. Don't know what city he's in... well sort of. Since I was worrying about his access to his money I checked his account in the morning and noticed the money had been withdrawn. There was a trace number and information regarding the withdrawal. The money was withdrawn in Chiba, Japan. Since he didn't have a bike yet and since this particular bank has an ATM in every post office in the greater Tokyo area (if not all of Japan) I figure they went to the closest post office to make the withdrawal. So I'm guessing he's in Chiba. That narrows it down... just a little. 8) Chiba is about the size of Salt Lake City but with over 5 times the population! It is a port city located just to the east of Tokyo. He would have travelled through it on his way to Tokyo from the Narita airport. I tried to figure out what post office was used, but with the limited information I had and a lack of knowledge of Japanese I wasn't able to get far. I don't want to wait but I guess I'll have to. 8(

Good news is he was able to withdraw the money he needed for his bike and accessories! He insists he'll be ok with the limited funds. I'm probably going to remind him about it a few times because I still think he should be able to have all the money set aside for the bike, even if he doesn't need it now I'm sure he will in the coming months. I do appreciate his willingness to live on the budget he's been given though so I won't insist he withdraws it. I'm sure he'll be blessed more by living within the budget his mission president has set.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Middle of the night email

So I was up late on the computer and my phone beeped to let me know I had an email. Nothing new, I get 2 or 3 a night from work, which is why I put in silent mode before I go to bed. Since I was up I thought I'd check to see if it was a standard email from work and lo and behold it's a short email from Elder Mosdell!!! Here's most of what he had to say.

"I'm here safe, and I have my new comp, Elder W. We've been out all day (the second) streeting and such :). Very cold. We went to the city center and filled out some paper work for my 'gaijin card'. I love you all bunches!! I'll write a full email p-day."

I'm guessing he sent it after getting back from the city center. I don't know which city it was though. I got it at 12:30am Thursday so that would be 4:30pm in Tokyo. He also had a few questions about money so I sent him a reply and am hoping he'll have time in the evening to reply back. Then I'll have an email waiting for me in the morning! Still not sure when p-day will be.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Still No Word

I'm sure everyone is wondering how the long flight went and how Jeff is enjoying Japan, his new companion, and exactly where he is.  Truth is, I don't know yet.  We've had no word from Jeff since he left Seattle.  We watched his flight across the ocean on and we know that it landed as scheduled in Tokyo.  Beyond that we are going with the assumption that if something was wrong we would have been notified, therefore everything is fine.  Right?

It seems like someone told us that p-day in Tokyo is on Tuesdays, which would mean that we aren't likely to hear from Jeff until Monday night.  We'll up date you all on how he is doing, how the trip went, who his companion is, and where he is living as soon as we hear from him.  Until then write to him at the mission home's address which is listed underneath the photo in the sidebar at the right.