Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week 63: October 16, 2017 - Beaches and Transfers!

Hey everybody,

Sorry for the late email this week, but today was transfer
announcements, which for all intents and purposes means that I have
finished one more transfer as a missionary! It's crazy, because I feel
like it's only every other week that we get calls, and Elder Zeller
basically just barely got here. But, thankfully, I get to spend
another transfer with him, as no one will be leaving the island. So
one more transfer of watching the hand of the Lord with Elder Johnson,
Elder Zeller, and Elder Ehlert!

It's crazy, because we are definitely in the stages of being  blessed.
The quickest example is from only last night, when our plans fell to
pieces, and Elder Zeller and I were left with time, and out of things
to do. So, we prayed, took off on the streets, and less than 5 minutes
later, ran into Sakae, one of the investigators me and Elder Jo has
found, on a back road we never take. It took an amazing miracle to
find him, as he came to church, and then another one to run into him
again. Sadly, we don't have any contact information for him, so I have
no news on when we will be able to meet him again, but I know that we
were guided last night. As Elder Rasband stated in his conference
address, coincidence isn't a word in the vocabulary of God.

That's almost been the theme of the last six weeks. I've found as we
try to do the right thing, something good happens. Our life gets
better. And not only ours, but also that of those we have been blessed
to work with. Another example from last week is working with a lady
named Horita. The first time we meet her, she invited us in for a full
meeting and lesson, and every time we meet her her faith grows even
more. When we taught on Wednesday, she told us that she feels better
when we come. She can't explain why, and to be honest, I don't think
anyone can. Explaining the power of the Spirit, which testifies of
truth and brings light unto everyone's soul, and why and how it works,
is really difficult. But I do know that her feelings come as a result
of hearing truth, of knowing that she is a beloved daughter of God,
and He knows her.

As a side note, being transfer p-day, we also went to the beach!
Attached, at long last, are some pictures!

Love you all,
Elder Mitchell Woodhouse










Thursday, October 12, 2017

Week 62: October 9, 2017 - General Conference!

Even though it's a week late, I love General Conference!

That was by far the highlight of the past week, and the outpouring of
faith and the spirit that it brought upon us. I embrace every chance
we have to hear from the leaders of the church, called of God and
holding his authority, and the chance to apply their advice in our
lives. Something that I felt was especially accented was the
importance of following the council of our living prophet, Thomas S.
Monson, and READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. It is the standard of our faith,
and a key component in keeping ourselves moving on the path of light.

As an example of the importance of that faith, Elder Zeller and I had
only had an alright week up until Conference. Obviously we were trying
to find all of Gods children, but for whatever reason we weren't
finding the people we expected to. However, after Conference, and
feasting upon the living words of Christ, we were bolstered. There are
angels, walking not just with the missionaries, but with every single
person trying to walk the path of righteousness, to do the right
thing. Walking with them, we were guided to various people prepared to
hear His words, including an international building. I never knew that
other foreigners even lived on this island! We are not even on
mainland Japan, but I was blessed to be able to speak in Japanese with
a person from Vietnam and Nepal, among other countries, and share the
gospel. It's amazing to think of how many coincidences happened to
lead us there, but of course, as we learned in Conference, there
aren't really coincidence when God is involved.

Not much else to report, but as always it is amazing to serve God in
the reaches of the world. I love you all!


Elder Woodhouse

Friday, October 6, 2017

Week 61: October 2, 2017- It's beginning to feel a lot like fall!

How's everyone doing?

It's great to get to email again, and hear about all of your lives. I
hope that all of you continue to have success and good fortune, and
enjoy it as much as I'm enjoying the tropical island of Amami. It
amazes me every day how much of a difference taking a step back can
have. On Wednesday, Elder Zeller and I packed a lunch to save some
time, and we walked a minute from where we were to eat on the beach.
Things like that, just stopping to smell the roses, to enjoy the land
that God has created for us, are amazing opportunities.

That about sums up how the past week has been, with small things like
that to give us the energy to keep moving on. We had yakiniku with
some of the members on Tuesday, where I introduced Elder Zeller to the
internal organs of something. It's a problem when you can't read quite
everything, but we are pretty sure our trip involved heart and stomach
of either a pig or a cow, among the normal slices of meat. But the
entire trip was another chance to get to meet and work with the
members, and strengthen both our faith, and theirs.

Another interesting thing was one of my Eikawa students, who is
leaving to Australia next month. It was her last Eikawa, but no one
told us, so we didn't even get to have a party. I guess it's a simple
reminder that things we expect, don't always happen, and you need to
expect the unexpected.

God guides us, sometimes in large ways, but most of the time in the
small, simple things, things we rush by, we push aside to coincidence,
or simply forget about. I can promise that He is in all of them, and
loves each of us dearly.

Love you all,
Elder Woodhouse


Week 60: September 25, 2017 - Stomachs in my stomach

How's everyone doing?

It's great to get to email again, and hear about all of your lives. I
hope that all of you continue to have success and good fortune, and
enjoy it as much as I'm enjoying the tropical island of Amami. It
amazes me every day how much of a difference taking a step back can
have. On Wednesday, Elder Zeller and I packed a lunch to save some
time, and we walked a minute from where we were to eat on the beach.
Things like that, just stopping to smell the roses, to enjoy the land
that God has created for us, are amazing opportunities.

That about sums up how the past week has been, with small things like
that to give us the energy to keep moving on. We had yakiniku with
some of the members on Tuesday, where I introduced Elder Zeller to the
internal organs of something. It's a problem when you can't read quite
everything, but we are pretty sure our trip involved heart and stomach
of either a pig or a cow, among the normal slices of meat. But the
entire trip was another chance to get to meet and work with the
members, and strengthen both our faith, and theirs.

Another interesting thing was one of my Eikawa students, who is
leaving to Australia next month. It was her last Eikawa, but no one
told us, so we didn't even get to have a party. I guess it's a simple
reminder that things we expect, don't always happen, and you need to
expect the unexpected.

God guides us, sometimes in large ways, but most of the time in the
small, simple things, things we rush by, we push aside to coincidence,
or simply forget about. I can promise that He is in all of them, and
loves each of us dearly.

Love you all,
Elder Woodhouse




Week 59: September 18, 2017 - The typhoon that wasn't

Hey everybody!

I hope you are all nice and dry now that school is back in session
around all the country. The craziest news from last week was the super
big, super wet typhoon that apparently hit Kyushu and Honshu, shutting
most of the mission inside on Sunday. However, down on Amami, we
didn't get hit by anything! A little rain, a little wind, but plenty
of time to go out and help the children of God. Kinda a let down after
hearing about the build up for this storm, but at the end of the day
better safe then sorry.

After that, we had a busy week, primarily cause by the popping of a
bike tire. As me and Elder Zeller were riding to an appointment, my
back tire completely dies, going from full inflation to no air, none,
whatsoever. Somehow we finish the night off, but as we walk home, an
older couple sees us walking and half invites, half drags us over to
their office, to try and pump up my tire. Lo and behold, more air
won't help, but rather then letting us finish our walk home, we trade
bikes for the night. As is somewhat visible in the picture, most
people in Japan ride very easy going, low impact bikes. So it was
definitely a difference than my normal ride. The next day we return
the bike, pick up ours, and life continues. Just one of the fun little
hiccups of missionary life.

We capped the week with Elder Zeller pushing me harder then I've gone
before. It's a lot of fun to get to go out everyday with someone for
which this is new. It brings an added gleam and love to the work, and
reminds me that each and every moment we have is a chance to stop and
smell the roses. God has provided us with a beautiful life, and
amazing opportunity, and ours is the privilege to enjoy it. I love
being out here, even though it's far from home, because this is the
only way other people can find the same joy.

Love you all, thanks for your letters and updates!

Elder Woodhouse



Week 58: September 11, 2017 - Feels like I'm new again

Hey everybody!

After spending a long, long time on a boat, Elder Johnson and I
finally made it to and back from Fukuoka, and we are now up to a four
man apartment once more! It was one of the oddest things of my
mission, because we spent a solid three days on travel. But it's been
worth it. Elder Zeller, my new companion, is amazing! He's fresh out
of Indiana, and ready to work. So I'm really excited for the time we
will have together! There is also the benefit of working with someone
new to the field, as he pushes me everyday to be better, and I'm
flooded with thoughts of my first transfers in Yamaguchi with Elder
Welch.

The cool thing is that even on the boats and busses we were able to be
missionaries. On the way home, we ran into a couple of hitchhikers
from Tokyo, going all the way down to Okinawa, and then flying up to
Hokkaido. So we caught them halfway through their journey, but were
able to have a great conversation about what we do as missionaries,
and how they can learn more by reading the Book of Mormon. Even though
we can't meet with them, they both promised to read, and I know that
it will change and bless their lives as they read.

Besides that, Amami is still doing great. We are blessed by the Lord
each and every day, because He lives, and loves all of His children. I
love being out here and working, and I appreciate all the help, love,
and support you all send my way.

Love you all!
Elder Woodhouse

Week 57: September 4, 2017 - Transfers have come again

Hey everyone!

It's crazy to think that it's already been six weeks since I learned
I'd be transferring on a boat. What's even crazier is that tonight,
I'm leaving on another boat, heading to Fukuoka! The difference is,
this time, I'll be coming back, and I'll be brining my new companion
with me. So sadly, Elder Jo is leaving Naze, after only a short, quick
transfer together, heading up to Hiroshima. It's been a blast to work
with him, to learn, and see the hand of the Lord bless this beautiful
island.

And He has been present in this work. While we've had trouble meeting
with the people we are trying to meet, we keep finding new ones. At
church Sunday, after three weeks of no contact, Sakai popped back in
out of no where, and we had another man from Myanmar walk in right
after the first block of meetings, looking for a church to go to while
he is on Amami. And this is a small island, so random things like this
don't happen. There is no way to explain it, besides the blessings and
hand of the Lord. As we work, and believe in his promised blessings,
they will come. Some times immediately, sometimes latter, but they
come as we rely on him.

Another experience that taught me this last week was yesterday, at our
family home evening. Right now, it's Obon, a Japanese holiday for the
deceased ancestors, and it was raining, so our attendance at 7 was a
grand total of one person. And it's tough, tough to justify it, tough
to be effective when you're prepared for many, but only one comes. So
I had the chance to plead on the Lord, to ask for comfort, and help,
and to be able to do whatever He needed done. Of course, it would be
hard to prove that a prayer did anything, but we were blessed with the
largest crowd that I've seen so far, and I know my prayer was
answered. I've said many times, but there is no doubt in my mind that
God is in this work. I know it, and I love Him. No matter what we
have, He cares, and will comfort, counsel, and love us as long as we
let Him.

I love you all! Thanks for all the updates on your lives!
Elder Mitchell Woodhouse



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Week 56: August 28, 2017 - Actually doing things for my birthday!

Thanks to everyone, once again for the birthday wishes! It's great to
realize that I'm actually older, even if it doesn't feel like it at
all!

But, in case anyone was left fearing, I did manage to eat cake for my
birthday. Every Monday night we run a family home evening activity at
the church as missionaries, and sometimes we will make food. For some
reason, I had a cake mix that somebody had sent me before, so we made
American cake, tried making more from scratch, played games, and
shared a spiritual message, as any good family home evening does, with
varying kids that we were able to invite. The odd thing was that none
of the parents ended up staying with their kids, rather, dropped them
off and came back, but the kids still get to learn from the
missionaries.

Elder Jo and I also had the chance to meet the Matsuyama family again,
after running into them last week. It was a crazy first contact,
because we knocked on her door, and it was as if we were best friends.
But neither Elder Jo not I had ever met the lady before. Long story
short, she knew the missionaries about a year ago, before her son was
born, but then got busy with family, and lost track of them. So it was
our pleasure to continue that relationship, and she was more than
happy to listen. And, way excited to read the Book of Mormon, and come
to church, almost before we could even ask. It amazing how God will
use us as his tools, to help His children, sometimes without us even
knowing. For me, it was just an experience of one of the times I've
seen myself as part of His plan in an immediate area.

Lastly, we got to meet and eat dinner with one of our Eikawa students
last week. It always amazes me at the kindness and memory of these
people, as she told us stories about old missionaries, while making
enough food for 10+ people. Another blessing of the Lord that we felt.

That's all for this week, but I'm very grateful for all that everyone
has done, said, and sent me. I love you all!

Elder Mitchell Woodhouse