Thursday, May 25, 2017

Week 42: May 22, 2017 - And back to three...

Hey Everyone!

It's been a week from Mother's Day, and it is again the time of day
where I get to email. Coming to you this week is the standard work of
a missionary, followed by the not so standard announcement which
President Egan sent us last night. But first, for the exciting things!

The biggest bit of news for the past week would be that Sachiko and
Takuya, two of the people I have been blessed to work with for the
past two months, were able to make it to church for the first time
yesterday! That has been a focus in our zone recently, because as good
as we are at teaching, as good as we are at Japanese, as good as of an
example as we are, coming to church will always be better for people.
At church there is just a special spirit, there is the knowledge that
other people believe in this, and that it is true. For both of them,
it was a special experience, and they felt the warmth and peace that
this gospel brings. And because of that, they were able to see the
next step for both of them is entering the waters of baptism. Because
as amazing as church is, you need baptism to enter the kingdom of
heaven, you need baptism to receive the Holy Ghost, you need baptism
to feel that way every day of your life. So through the miracle of
making it to church, we now have the miracle of working towards the
10th of June as a date for their baptism! The Lord prepares his
children, wherever in the world you happen to be.

The second piece of news, and its possible this is bigger than the
first, is that Elder Mizukawa is getting transferred! On Wednesday!
After interviews with President Egan on Friday we all felt pretty
good, and busied ourselves preparing for church on Sunday. But little
did we know Sunday night we would receive a phone call, where
President Egan explained to us that the new mission recorder would be
Elder Mizukawa, and training for him would start on Wednesday in
Fukuoka. So starting then, I am back with Elder Barker, adding him to
the current companionship of me and Elder Dibble, and we are thrust
back into three man! What a great time, and another opportunity to
learn how to work through chaos.

Besides that, the work is normal. Attached is a pictures of Japan,
showing that around the world, a mall is a mall. But it is pretty big,
and you can find some crazy stuff inside. Until next week!

Love you all,

Elder Mitchell Woodhouse

Week 41: May 14, 2017 - Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there!

It might be a little late, but you can never thank your mother, or any
of the mothers and women of the world too much for all that they do. I
can promise that I am eternally grateful for the role they have played
in my life so far.

Besides the big news from Mothers Day, the past week has been pretty
standard. Due to varying events, I got to work with Elder Mizukawa for
most of the week, followed by Zone training and at last a day with my
actual companion, Elder Dibble. It was a great way to wrap up the
week, as we ended up finding a couple people with interest in learning
why we do what we do. Why are 19 and 20 year olds leaving home, in
rain, snow, and sun? Why do people still believe in Christ, 2000 years
after his crucifixion? How can this knowledge help me? I love getting
to talk to these people, because I know it can help. Jesus Christ may
have been killed about 2000 years ago, but he was resurrected, and
lives now. It is that life that blesses each and every one of us,
because only through our Savior can we too find peace throughout
eternity. That is why we are here, that is why I'm in Japan, and that
is why I love each and every moment of it.

Sorry to keep it short this week, but I promise I'll send some more
next week. I love all of you!

From the tropical island of Okinawa,
Elder Mitchell Woodhouse

Week 40: May 8, 2017 - Basketball for Days

Hey everyone!

I guess I spilled the big news from last week, but Elder Dibble came
in from Kumamoto last week! It's way exciting to get to work with him,
because I'd already met him once when I was in Omuta, but mainly
because he is ready to work. And after a couple weeks of teaching
nonstop, some slower paced door knocking has been long missed. Sadly,
he will be heading up to Fukuoka this week for leadership training
with Elder Barker, so I won't even get to work with him this week, but
it's a start. Of course, I'll have another five weeks after this, so
we are ready to roll!

With that said, and the big news being transfers, the only other news
I have was a surprise split with Elder Rowe, who is in the neighboring
area. Due to his companion leaving, I got to go down and keep him
company on transfer day until his companion came. It was fun for me,
because he was in the apartment when I was in Yamaguchi, and I loved
getting back together with him, even if just for a day. We spent the
entire day outside, talking to everyone we could, and as a result,
there are two more people in the world that might come to church, that
are willing to meet missionaries more, to know how they can be blessed
through the gospel, through living prophets, through personal
communication with God. Of course, two of 7,000,000,000+ isn't a large
number, but being a missionary reminds me of a commons quote. "To the
world, you may be but one person, but to one person, you may be the
world". Obviously a single missionary can't be himself change
everything in the world, teach every person. But bit by bit, step by
step, and person by person the army of God is marching forth. I'm so
glad to be marching as part of it, to bring His truth to the world.

Sadly, that's really all I did the past week. Next week is Mother's
Day, so congratulations to all the amazing mothers in the world! In
honor of that, I might have more to say then! Love you all!

Elder Mitchell Woodhouse

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Week 39: May 1, 2017 - One more transfer down!

So, the past week has been really busy. I guess that happens when you are in a three man, with members, less actives, investigators, and all the other bits and pieces that come with being a missionary. So building off of that, the big news is that this week is transfer week, and I get my new companion! His name is Elder Dibble, and from the couple times I've meet him, he's a great guy. Just so happens to be 6'9" or so, and so basketball just got a touch more lopsided, but he's a great guy. I'm way excited, and hope to finally break the pattern. My first companion was for 10 weeks, next was 8, then 6, then 4, then 2, and now Elder Dibble. But only time can tell what happens next. 

Besides transfer week news, we had a miracle that is still unfolding. The Fousts, our senior couple missionaries, have been doing a family home evening class on one of the military bases, and last week, they had a guy just randomly walk in, which was the first time ever. Then, on Sunday, our ward mission leader texts us to say he is driving two people to church from the base. When we get there, it happens that one of them was the walk-in to FHE! The best news is, he (Tyler) has plans to come back next week, to learn more. It shows me that if we work hard, if we are trying our best, God will put miracles in our path, every single time. It also shows the importance of members, because the only reason Tyler found the church, or the Fousts, or really any part of it was because of Mormon friends when he was younger. It brings to mind the words of one of the apostles, who roughly said "The symbols of our church are the members. When they live with the light of Christ, there is no better message we can send to the world". 

Another amazing part of the past week was a surprise fireside on Sunday night. As missionaries, we learned on Saturday that a group called Bless4, Mormon Japanese pop singing family, would be coming. Thankfully, both Takasora and Yudai, two of the people we are working with, could come, and so we also got to join in. It was beautiful to hear their testimonies, both on the pure power of missionaries as representatives of God, and as they sung, through music. My favorite song was called "Mary did you know", which just shows how different people can share the Spirit in different ways, according to their own talents. 

Those were the large events from the week, with many more, ranging from the depths of sickness in the apartment to days of teaching lessons all day to service and barbecues. The work continues to be a blast, and it can only go up as our attitudes improve!

Love you all!

Elder Woodhouse

Week 38: April 24, 2017 - And Elder Sherrill is gone!

Hey everybody!

So, the big news from last week is that as of Wednesday, Elder
Sherrill is gone! It was always a possibility, but we learned last
Monday night that he would be transferring up to Fukuoka to be the
next assistant to the president, starting officially next transfer.
So, that same day, I moved into a trio with Elder Barker and Elder
Mizukawa. While Elder Sherrill is taking care of the mission as a
whole, a role he will be well suited for, the three of us will watch
over our island and city of Okinawa! From the little time we had
together, I learned a lot from Elder Sherrill on how to be a good
person, just all around, all the time, someone you can trust. And, now
I get the chance to learn from even more people! The best part it,
just as Elder Bednar taught in general conference, we as missionaries
are called to the work, not to an area, or even in this case, a
companion. No matter what, I still have the honor and privilege of
teaching people about their loving Father in Heaven, who knows and
cares about them, and has a plan for each and every one of us. What
greater call could I have?

With the big news out of the way, we only had one other major thing
happen last week. Due to the proximity of everyone on the island, we
had a double zone pday, where ~34 missionaries got to gather together
and play capture the flag. It was an amazing chance to run around, and
to see the people I didn't get to talk to at zone conference. Now,
with the exception of Elder Nukaya, my MTC companion, I have met every
single person I knew in the MTC face to face and gotten to talk to
them. It's been amazing to see already how people have changed, and to
think about how I've done as well.

Now that I've stated the major, their really isn't anything else to
report on. The work is progressing, maybe not as fast as the
missionaries would like, but we are as impatient as anyone else. The
key is to remember that this is God's work, and his timeframe. As long
as we work our best every day, and strive, through prayer and study,
to stay in line with his will, everything will be taken care of. Our
only challenge is to purify ourselves, because tomorrow the Lord will
work miracles among us. It is my missionary promise that as we look
inwards, and clean the inner vessel, the outer world will become much,
much brighter.

Thank you everyone for your emails and support, your letters and
packages. Especially in this Easter season, it has meant a lot to know
that I am loved by so many people around the world.


Elder Woodhouse

Week 37: April 17, 2017 - Zone Conference, Easter, & Castles

Hey everybody!

As would be expected from any missionary, the past week has been
pretty cool. From Monday to yesterday, we went to a castle, had a
double zone conference, and Easter dinner! All cool, and all

The first highlight was the castle trip. Of interest, I learned that
the Okinawan empire historically was a completely separate empire than
the Japanese and Chinese. They functioned as a trade hub for the
entire Pacific Ocean, and had many streaks of wealth, and destruction.
Due to that, the empires seat of power, Shiri Castle, has been
preserved and rebuilt time and time again. So it was amazing to visit,
and see the history, to think about how long it has been there, how
many generations of power had passed through. For me, the memory and
pondering helps to relate more to the people of the island.

Secondly, we had a conference from President Egan, and because Okinawa
is so far away, we brought both Ginowan and Naha zones together.
Obviously, the training was amazing, and one of my favorite parts was
talking about attitude. You will find everything, everyday, so it is
our job to choose to look for the positive instead of the negative.
But among the cool parts was reuniting with the last member of my MTC
district I haven't met. Both Elder Nukaya and Elder Coleman were at
the meeting, so I could see both of them. It's cool to see how fast
things have passed, and how much people, including me, have already

Lastly, for Easter, we had a family invite us and some members over
for dinner. It was way nice of them, and amazing to feel the warmth of
the Spirit and the Savior in their home. Truly this is a special
season, and an amazing time of the year.

Love you all!

Elder Woodhouse

Week 36: April 10, 2017 - Conference!

Hey everyone!

It's only a week behind those of you in the US, but now I've finally
watched general conference, and it was, as would be expected, amazing!
So, I'd like to start this week off with a couple talks that I
enjoyed, and then some small experiences from the rest of the week.

The first talk I would like to talk about was near the end of
Priesthood session, and was give. By President Uchtdorf. In it, he
talked about the "right way to do discipleship". Of particular note
was the constant reminded that it matters not what we do, but how we
do it. Are we serving because we want to, or because we have to? Are
we leading as Christ would, or for the glory of men? As always, I love
the reminder to check our hearts, to look inwards, and see what we can
improve. As we clean ourselves, our outlook on the entire world will
change, and we will be able to do even the smallest tasks, like
cleaning up after horses, with a smile.

The other talk I really enjoyed was given by Elder M. Russell Ballard,
and focused on setting goals in line with the Saviors. But on a
smaller level, it is really just setting goals to improve ourselves,
for that is His goal, to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal
life of man". This is only achieved as we constantly stretch
ourselves, constantly improving. And setting goals with the end in
mind, small goals leading to larger ones, knowing why we are working,
these things will all help us move forward faithfully and properly.
Additionally, Elder Ballard also called for an introspection of
ourselves, as who knows us better then us? Again, at least in my mind,
as we turn inward to improve, and exert ourselves to always serve
outwards, to work for others, that is the best way to find joy.

My last little note for this week is just a thought on Easter, as it
is approaching, and is on many people's mind. Easter is a celebration
of life, a rejoicing over the knowledge that Jesus Christ has overcome
death for all of us. But, just as was mentioned in conference, it is
also a celebration of comfort through the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit
of Promise. The earthly ministry of our Savior allowed for Him to
suffer all for us, and his resurrection allows Him the perfect
knowledge and comfort for all of us. So as we celebrate Easter, it is
a time of joy, of love, of peace, because it is a symbol of all that
we just heard, the words of God through the mouths of His prophets.
I'm so grateful to have the chance to teach and spread this glorious
message of truth.
Until more excitement next week!
Elder Mitchell Woodhouse