hard week but somehow still good

Get ready for another long email. I have tons of stories for this week. This week I'm going to break it down day by day to give you a better perspective on my week.

After emailing last Monday, I played basketball with some other elders in my district from 2ish to around 6! I'm so freaking out of shape it's not even funny. I sucked too, which made it all the more better. These Japanese people are super quick. Going through my legs left and right...not quite but there were way talented. I think I lost 10 lbs of sweat that day. Only thing that sucked was we ended up getting back too late to go out and teach because our area is so far away.

Tuesday: we went to the same sushi place we went a couple weeks ago,called とりとん (toriton) I had a competition with another missionary on who could eat more plates. He's famous for being a big eater, so I was in for a challenge. I'm stupid and didn't realize the color of the plates correlated to the price of the dish. I noticed he had a bunch of white plates which were way cheap and I had bunch of orange. (One of the more expensive trays) As I started getting way full, I ended up grabbing juices so that I wouldn't fill up too fast. Good strategy I know. Everyone thought the juice was hilarious because he started copying the strategy. I was basically just wasting money. Ended up losing 12/13, and I spent 2069¥ basically 25$. So now I'm struggling to get through the month. Later that day I did splits with a 日本人(Japanese)elder. He spoke no English. I spoke only Japanese with him throughout the whole split. I was surprised that I said more than I thought I knew. We housed for a long time and even gave out a Book of Mormon with our testimonies in it. Pretty awesome experience for the everyone. Slept over at the mission home that night...it's nice being five minutes from Honbu. It gives me a lot more perks than other missionaries.

Wednesday: another perk of being so close to the mission home is the food. We got invited over for lunch at the Nakatsuka's house. Literally 15 steps away from the mission home. I'm probably the only new missionary to eat there so much during my training. At Eikaiwa I finally met one of our progressing investigators minoru kun. He liked the class, but I still doesn't see any church progression, so I kind of think we're wasting some of our time on him. Especially because we haven't had a lesson with him in almost 100 days now.

Thursday: didn't leave the apartment until 5:30 because of our weekly planning session. It's called dkk doryo keikakukai (companion planning session) and lasts 3 hours every Thursday. On the way to Eikaiwa we were riding next to a stack of bikes on a narrow road and then I hear "oh shoot" elder birch knocked over a bike in a row of about 100 and we booked it because we weren't sure if they all fell over in a domino effect. Still only 1 person showed up to Eikaiwa, so we're thinking about closing it.

Friday: we had a member offer us dinner. I was stoked, but the bike ride was 40 minutes from the church. Yep that's right.... The bike ride was an hour and 20 minutes total. It seriously felt endless. However, the food was so good that it was honestly worth it. We biked a total of 2 hours and 40 minutes there and back. I slept great that night. Before the meal we did a little housing and met some catholic guy. He spent 20 minutes ranting in Japanese about how Catholic Churches are the right church. He kept saying "different church...same feeling" it was kind of awkward going there to teach and having him pour his heart out to us.

Saturday: we visited a less active member " kumagai" he got baptized a while ago, but doesn't go to church very much. We spent an hour talking about how going to church really blesses you. I wanted to share a personal experience, but really wanted to get my message across, so elder birch translated as I spoke in English. That meeting really seemed to touch his heart a lot. We invited him to come to
church in a couple weeks, and he ended up coming yesterday. It made me so freaking happy. I really feel like my personal experience made him realize the specialty of church and that awesome feeling there. We also showed him an awesome video called "because of him" (イエスキリストのおかげで). Go watch it please!!! This isn't one of those read that last line and don't watch it moments... Please watch it! It's about Jesus Christ and I promise it will touch your hearts. I've seen it 20 times in the last week. It's only 2 minutes. I think there's 3 of them. They're holiday videos for Christmas time, but please go watch at least one!

Sunday: had another meal from a member, which seems likely but supposedly doesn't happen all too often. Got to do a practice lesson, and I got wrecked. My companion doesn't help, instead he lets me struggle which is good for me, but also very frustrating.

This language is really rough. I won't sugarcoat it. Some days I'll be really down because of how hard it is. Sometimes I feel way low. I've never experience anything more difficult than not understanding what's going on 24/7. I would really appreciate prayers from anyone. Even if you aren't a member of the same church. Just try it. I promise you'll feel good about it. Can be about anything you want.

Anyway, I'm grateful to be here and see myself grow every day. Sorry for the long email again.

Love you all! Have a good one!

敬具 (sincerely yours)

ー 謝意人 長老 (Elder Scheidt)


Week 3 and Getting Muddy

Hello everyone! This week has been a little tougher, but I have lots of stories so it should be a good email. 

After emailing last week my companion and I went to the "Pokemon center." Basically a store dedicated to Pokemon, since Pokemon was created in Japan. The store was so sweet. I'll attach pictures in another email so you can get a little Japanese feel. After that we went to the Sapporo Eki (station) where there is a four story mall, and about 50,000 people. That place had everything, but I was so confused because I still can't read any of the signs. My companion and I ended up in some store with about 50 massage chairs. We then proceeded to sit in them for about an hour and a half. Probably my favorite time being in the field this far. Nah I'm just kidding, obviously the missionary work is the best.

I bought a Jisho (a small computer dictionary) because I'm sick of not understanding what people are saying. Now I can type in any word and try to figure out some of what is going on. Helps a ton.

Tuesday was probably one of my favorite days of this last week. We had a ZTM (zone training meeting) and discussed a lot of cool topics. We talked about how to teach simply and effectively, conversion, and church attendance. We made huge goals for this month and I got super stoked on exceeding these goals. We're trying to have 9 investigators at church and just a ton of baptisms. I can't even remember the number, but I do remember my first thought was "no way" way too high. Nothing is too much though when you have the Lord on your side, so I guess we'll see what we can do.

During the ZTM I had my "bean shower" they call the newbies "beans" and basically this shower consisted of me introducing myself with two other newbies from my MTC district. After introductions, everyone swarmed us and gave us some kind of candy or toy or basically anything. I had so much stuff I couldn't get up and walk around. I thought it was super thoughtful and very welcoming.

After ZTM we went out to a restaurant that was all you can eat (tabehodai). I ate some weird meat. At a lot of restaurants here, there is a little stove and you cook your own at the table on the floor. Picture this: 
A bunch of missionaries kneeling on the floor cooking their own food on a table that's lying on the ground. Weird right? It's interesting, but I'm learning to really love the little things like that. This week I ate tongue, some kind of liver, bacon, etc... Just a bunch of meat until I could barely walk. I haven't been that full since the sushi bar last week.

Eikaiwa (our English class on Wednesday and Thursday) have been pretty sad in attendance. Still only get 1 or 2 people every week. That attendance sums up the success right now very well. 

Elder birch and I have 2 progressing investigators. One of which I've never met and was taught 77 days ago. I keep asking elder birch how he's progressing, but he insists we don't drop him. He's my trainer so I mostly just listen. The other investigator has been slowly deteriorating. Health wise, spiritual wise, social wise....
It's really sad, and we're trying to show that we care about him and this gospel helps so much. So what I'm trying to say is that we really have no investigators right now. 

We had one appointment this whole week and of course it fell through. Because of that, we spent the next 3 hours going house to house in the rain. We talked to a ton of people, but not one person was interested in our message. We were pretty bummed because what do we do we we have nobody to teach?

Mom you're going to like the picture I send in the email after this... Basically it started pouring rain one night and we were a 40minute bike ride away. Elder birch invested in bike fenders a couple weeks ago, which I thought was a waste of money, but boy did this experience change my mind. I got legit covered in mud and dirt. I'm talking dripping muddy water. Elder birch didn't have any dirt, and was just a little wet. I seriously don't understand how he was so clean. I thought it was funny, but mom you probably won't like the pictures. Viewer discretion is advised. Jk it's not too bad. I hope it lightens everyone's day just a bit.

This Saturday and Sunday elder birch and I went up to the suihiro area for stake conference. It was a 2 hour bus ride to sit in stake conference and not understand anything anyone was saying. I sat in the chapel for 2 hours both Saturday and Sunday and didn't understand anything. It's hard enough to concentrate in English let alone Japanese. I took 3-4 naps both sessions, so obviously I'm putting in work.

We stayed in an apartment with 8 other elders also going to stake conference. It was so fun not just having two people in an apartment for a couple nights. There were some 日本人(Japanese elders) so I got some good talking practice in. There was also a guitar there, so I got to play for the first time in 3 months. Boy did I suck!!!

Well, that's basically it. The mission is super hard because of the lack of success, but I've seen myself change in ways I can't describe. I'm keeping my head up and doing my best and that's all I can ask of myself. I know the lord will bless me for my efforts and is testing my patience right now. Hopefully next week I'll send this email with 15 new investigators!

Hope you all have a great week!
Elder Scheidt  

ー シャイト 長老


Week 2 in the field

So much happened this week so be prepared for one of my longer emails. Probably going to have long emails the rest of my mission, so I apologize in advance. However, they're going to be good emails, so I suggest you keep reading them 

I saw some many miracles this week it was kind of crazy. I didn't realize the mission would be like that. However I also had a lot of sad moments that I'll discuss in just a bit. 

To start off, early in the week I had sushi for the very first time in my life. Japanese sushi is so freaking good. I tried everything my companion gave me and burned my mouth eating wasabi. I probably gained 10 pounds from how much I ate. Apparently the place we went is one of the best sushi bars in Japan. I wouldn't mind going there every day for the next two years. 

Alright time for the really interesting stuff.... As you all know by now, I can't understand anything anyone is saying to me or my companion. I'm talking understanding 5% if I'm getting prideful. Japanese people just talk so fast. Of course I stand there and nod like I know what's happening when I don't have a clue. So early last week we went to visit an investigator (Sawata San). No answer, so we decided to go visit another investigator close by (Murakami san). No answer. We were walking back to our bikes and I was saying a prayer in my heart for something to happen. Some kind of success because success out here is hard to find. We ran into Sawata San!!!! We taught a quick lesson and I was stoked! As we left his apartment we ran into Murakami san! I was beyond stoked!!! We talked to her for about 30 minutes (more like my companion did and I just stood there nodding the whole time). After we walked away I told Elder Birch how that was an answer to my prayers and how I'm seeing miracles. I spent a good 5 minutes ranting about how cool it was and how I was so happy. I looked at him and he had this blank stare on his face. He then proceeded to tell me how she self dropped herself, so we won't teach her anymore. You can tell how awkward that got. Shows you that I'm dying out here language wise. 
That also made the 2nd self drop we had in the whole week, with one progressing investigator that we dropped. 
Yep, lost 3 people in a week out of the 4 or 5 we had, but I'm still staying positive. Everything happens for a reason. 

Later that day we ate McDonald's for dinner. Fast food... It's been too long. We started talking to this mom and her daughter about our English class "Eikaiwa" she said they would come and they actually showed up this past Wednesday. I was stoked! I get stoked easily here because the success is hard to find. Like a needle in a haystack, but it's so cool when people actually follow through. 

This week we visited a member and he told us about his favorite church hymn and how it gave him comfort. We told him we'd sing it for him I'm English. We did and when we finished we saw that he was crying. It was such a powerful, tender moment. Shows me how much this gospel touches lives. 

We also found this guy in the park and taught him the whole restoration (Joseph smith and his story). He was super interested and we set up a time and place to meet for Sunday, but he didn't show up. We waited 45 minutes outside the building we planned to meet at, so we were kind of bummed out. My companion really thought this would be his first baptism. (He's been out a year and a month now). 

Something interesting happened this week. We locked our bikes up and took the chikatetsu (subway) back to apartment because of how hard it was raining, and considering we were 40min away. The next day we noticed that someone stole our helmets. I saw elder birch's helmet was gone so I started laughing and making fun of him. Then 2 seconds later I said: "wait! Hold on. Where's my helmet?" So, we did a ton of walking this week. It's hard to get places because our area is a 40 min bike ride away, but we need to keep our heads up. 

Elder birch and I like to fold origami to pass the time when we're on the subway and he always gives them to little kids. It's awesome watching their faces light up. We both made something special and gave them to a bunch of little kids in a park a couple days ago. They love it! Such an awesome way to lighten up people's days. 

So I know this is long but I want to talk a bit about the culture:
You sleep on futons on the ground
You kneel on the ground when meeting with people or eating (this seriously kills your legs) usually my legs go numb or I just give up and sit cross cross after 10 minutes. 
Everyone here is always smiling (except for the subway station...kind of like New York)
Eating with chopsticks is the most difficult thing I've ever experienced. People love watching my struggle. I think it's kind of funny too
The signs are all in kanji (if you don't understand what that means just do a quick google search of "Japanese kanji signs". It'll take you 30 seconds)

Alright that's all. Thanks everyone for getting me to this point and being so supportive through all of this. 
I love you all. Hope you have a great week. Good luck at school for all you youngins 

We can only take pictures on P day, so I'll see what I can send 

Elder Scheidt 


ー シャイト 長老
Japanese Kanji Sign

Steven and a  pal from the mission 


My first week and my first kiss in the field!!!!!!!

Alright I'm totally messing with you. The second part didn't happen, but I got you to open up my email did I not?

Wow! I'm finally in Japan and I don't even know what to say. I guess I'll just give a break down since last Monday.

My area is SHINKOTONI!!!!!
I get to stay in Sapporo! The only urban part of my whole mission! The success is a little higher in Sapporo than other parts of Hokkaido so I'm stoked. My apartment used to be used for 4 people, but my area got split in half, so now it's just my and my companion in this huge apartment. One of the best apartments in the whole mission.

Basically, we got up way early Monday morning and rode out to the airport. I started to freak out after I landed in Tokyo. Maybe because all the signs are in Kanji (weird looking alphabet) and I couldn't read anything. Plus, no one speaks English so rechecking my bags and getting past security was an adventure. The 11 hour flight went by pretty dang slow as a missionary. You can't do anything other than just read. Anyway, we ended up getting to Sapporo at 10:30ish because of a delay. I just sat in the Tokyo airport crying my eyes out. Not really, but on the inside I was. We still had an hour ride to the mission home from Sapporo, so we actually got to the mission home around 12. Finally settled in bed at 1! Getting up early was dang hard, I'll tell you that much.

We got to meet our trainers the next day and mine is Elder Birch. He's so sick!!! From Hawaii, loves sports, extremely fluent in Japanese, went to BYU for a year before the mission. We have a ton in common. Hes also the DL, super considerate and helps me out a ton. The only thing I don't like is how much he puts me on the spot and doesn't help me. I don't like it now because I don't know squat, but I know it will help me a lot in the long run.

The actual first day in the field was way rough. I've been borrowing another elder's bike for a week now and I haven't biked since I was 8. No joke. So, to be short, I died. On top of that it was pouring out!! And on top of that, our bike ride from our apartment to the church is about 40-45 minutes. Yep, I'm going to lose a ton of weight up these first 12 weeks of training. Even with the amount of food I'm eating

Man so much happened, but it's hard to keep this short with the hour at I have.

My first day out, we did housing (going house to house, you all know the people who knock on your doors). Funny story: my second house, the person answered their little sound box (the almost never open up their
doors, so we speak through these sound boxes). I say "genki desuka? (How are you?) and they immediately hang up. Apparently in Japan, people want to know who you are first so they can decide if they want to talk to you or not. Yep, lessened learned.

We also teamed up with the sister missionaries, Sister Barr and Sister Mori, to teach this old guy. His Japanese is notorious for not being clear. He really slurs what he says and in all honesty I didn't
understand more than 3% of what he said. Oh well! I better get used to it.

We teach an English class called Eikaiwa and it is so cool. Watching people struggle in English like I do in my Japanese. I really relate to the people, even though only two people came this last week.

Sunday was awesome. The ward is pretty small 40-50 members, but everyone is always smiling. I bore my testimony in Japanese because it was fast Sunday, and everyone complimented me saying "your Japanese is so great!" Which in Japan means: you're Japanese is awful, but I'll compliment you anyway.

We had dinner later that night at a member's house and again I didn't understand more than 3-5% of what was being said. Everyone understand though that I'm new, so they're pretty nice about it

Anyway, I have more to say, but no time so I'll do my best to give more detail next week

Hope everyone is doing great.

Love you all!

Elder Scheidt