Welcome to Elder Joseph Gandy's Mission Blog. You will find Joseph's letters and other pertinent information about him and his work in the Japan Fukuoka Mission.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dear Family,

Well it is finally Christmas over here and it is white. We have very little snow but it is the first time that it really has stayed on the ground. It is very exciting and thanks for the package.

It has been a very fun Christmas so far. Yesterday we had our ward Christmas party which was super fun. We had a great turn out with a bunch of investigators coming and the members did a great job at helping them feel welcome. The Christmas program was a basically just a little show with a lot of singing. We got to participate in the ward choir and also sing with the primary kids. The primary also put on a small skit which we were asked to help with. I enjoyed performing in front of people again because it sure has been a while. We also got a lot of presents from the members here. Lets just say I hope I don't eat to much. The members here feel like family and are a great support.

This time of year is a great time for missionary work because people are always wondering why are you in Japan for Christmas and not with family. It is an awesome opportunity to share the message of our Savior Jesus Christ. This message is what brings the most happiness not only in this life but also after death. Well I'm not going to write to much since I'll be talking with you tomorrow but I'm so very grateful for Christ and His love for all of us. I wish you all the best Christmas and hope that we might remember Christ always not only this time of the year. I love you all very much and look forward to talking to you.

Love, Elder Gandy

December 17, 2012

Dear Family,

I love hearing the news about everything that is going on. I'm glad to hear that everyone is having a good time. It really just makes me smile which is good because that is what Gandy family is known for their smiles. Which reminds of something I heard the other day from a member. The other day a member told me that I had healing smile.
Now I have no idea what that means but it sounds like a good thing.

This last week has been a super busy one. As a mission we decided that as a gift to Christ we were going to share His message with as many people as possible. So we really went to work and saw many miracles talking to just about everyone we saw. With His help we were able to share the message to many of Heavenly Father's children. As we were doing this I really was thinking if we could give a gift to Christ what would it be, what does He want? The answer I came up with to this question is that Christ loves all of us and desires our happiness and salvation. So in order to give that gift to him we share our message with those people that we meet. When people accept what we teach them they are taking one step closer to Christ. Which happens to be our purpose as missionaries in inviting others to come unto Christ. I love the Christmas season because of the spirit of giving and helping one another.

This week one of the great experiences we had was kind of unexpected. We headed to an appointment just to find out that our investigator wasn't home yet. So we decided to wait at a nearby park. While we were there we met a very nice homeless man who was traveling south probably to make it to somewhere warmer. We shared our message with him and wished him the best of luck on his journey. Before we left Elder Iino gave the man his earmuffs. Even though it was just a simple act of kindness it made all the difference. Not only did the man feel happier but we did also. This is just one of the many blessings we receive by obeying the great commandment to love your neighbor as thyself. Now I don't have much I can give but the thing that brings me the most happiness my testimony that Christ lives and through him we can obtain eternal happiness. This gift I hope to share to as many as possible. I love you all and pray that you have best Christmas season ever.

Love Elder Joseph Gandy

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 9, 2012

Dear Family,

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Especially because this last week it snowed a couple of times. Unfortunately none of it stayed for very long but it was exciting to see for a brief while.

Well this last week has been another great one. We got to meet with most of our investigators and taught them. They are all really great people and hopefully we can help them learn more about this gospel and how it can bless everyone's life. We have been seeing a lot of success and progress in this last week. We have been applying the things we've learned from our training that we had recently and it seems to be working great.

We also had the chance to visit with some members. It has been a lot of fun. In fact we had kind of a funny experience just the other day. While we were housing we knocked on a door and much to our surprise a member opened the door. We had no idea that the member lived there but we ended up having a nice visit.

Even though the Christmas season is cold outside there is still always a great atmosphere. Especially as a missionary when we focus on our purpose on inviting people to come unto Christ. We also went to a Christmas party that another ward had with one of our investigators. The party was a lot of fun and it helped me get into the Christmas spirit. I got to be Santa's elf and help hand out presents to people.

Well sorry this e-mail is a little bit shorter but I'm looking forward to another week. I love you all very much and pray for you everyday.

Love Elder Gandy

P.S. We will be able to use skype where I am. I think the call will take place 10:00 am the 26th here and about 6:00 pm Christmas day there. I think that is the correct time difference. We have skype on the computers here but I'm not sure exactly how to use it because I have never done it before. I'll figure it out though. I hope that time works for everyone if not we can change if needed. I would like the call to just be family.

P.P.S. I know this is a little early but I thought of a couple items that I will need but you can send them for my birthday if you like. Its mainly toothpaste and deodorant.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 2, 2012

Dear Family,

Wow it is already December and time has been flying by. The weather here has been really cold recently. We probably won't see any snow but the air is freezing I would say it is just as cold as Utah but it sounds like weather has been pretty nice there. Christmas isn't terribly big in Japan but we still see some decorations here and there.

Well in response to your questions the thing that makes Daniel and my companion similar is really just their personality. Other than that I'm not completely sure. One thing that has been interesting is that I'm the person who eats nato and both of the Japanese companions I've had don't. Well to name just some of the foods that I enjoy eating now are onions, mushrooms, and a lot of other vegetables. I also enjoy fish. It still isn't my favorite but I do enjoy sushi and other seafood every once and a while. I will basically eat almost anything that you put in front of me that is considered as food.

This last week has been another great one like always. We had a zone training meeting which was good. Something that I learned from that is through our service and how much effort we put in is a way of showing our love for Heavenly Father and His children. Lately I have been focusing on leaving no stone unturned. This last week I have put an extra effort in to talking with everyone. It has gone really well. I find that the more I work the more the spirit will help me to know where to go and who to talk to. Sometimes it just takes action. During last week I had a couple of experiences where I didn't know what to do or where to go so I just started working right where we were and after a little while we ended up teaching some great lessons and found a new investigator. I'm grateful for all of the blessings that the Lord has given and me. I am just glad that I can recognize the spirit and blessings.

Right now we are trying to help one of our investigators be able to recognize the spirit. She says she feels happy whenever she talks with us but she just isn't completely sure what is true yet. Hopefully we can continue to help her and that through the spirit she can come to a knowledge of the truth. I'm thankful for all of your prayers and support. I am grateful for this chance to serve - it is amazing. I love you all very much.

Love Elder Gandy

P.S. Mom I have a camera that another missionary gave to me. I'm still not very good at taking pictures but I will try and do better. For Christmas the only thing I can think of is food/candy for example they don't have any twix or reeses here and maybe a little bit of money to buy some warmer clothes. Other than that you don't really need to do anything big or special I'll be fine.
P.P.S. So that also brings me to the next thing which is the phone call at the end of this month. Don't get to excited yet but we will be able to use skype. So in the next couple of weeks we will have to figure out what time works best for everyone.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dear Family,

Well it has been another great week. It sounded like quite the Thanksgiving. No I didn't have turkey this year but we went out to eat at this restaurant and I ordered the biggest size you could get which actually isn't on the real menu. It was mainly just a lot of rice, meat, and onions. We also had dinner with some of the members this week where we had a ton of sushi. So I had plenty of food and I guess a good Japanese Thanksgiving. I think you would also be glad to hear that I'm probably now the least pickiest eater. I really eat just about anything and honestly enjoy it. I've learned to love so many different types of food that I just wouldn't eat before the mission.

This last week we had transfers and my new companion is Elder Iino. He reminds me a lot of Daniel so it has been really fun working with him these past few days. We have been working really hard and I always feel great after a day of hard work. It is very different having a Japanese companion but great. I do feel like I'm understanding the culture more and more. I think when I understand the people here it will be easier to teach them. I feel even though I don't understand everything that is being said I am learning so much from them.

This week we also had an investigator come to church. She is progressing very well and we have a baptismal date set. Hopefully everything continues to go well. Being a missionary is a lot of work but it is a great feeling going out and talking to people and being able to bear testimony to them. I'm so grateful for this opportunity that I have and I'm looking forward to making the most of it. I love you all very much and pray for you everyday.

Love Elder Gandy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 19, 2012

Dear Family,

Wow it sounds like so much is going on back home. That is so amazing about everyone else and their mission calls. I'm always very excited when I here about where people will be going.

Well it has been another great week with a lot of different things that happened. To start off I don't think we have any plans or activities for Thanksgiving. I'll just have to eat a lot and imagine Grandma's gravy on whatever I'm eating. I think that should satisfy my needs.

Anyways this last week was really good. For p-day we went to Miyajima which is considered as one of Japan's top 3 prettiest places. It was a great place that had a lot of foreigners which you don't really see all that much. There is so much to see there that it would take a few days but it was still fun going for just a couple of hours.

This last week we also had a couple of exchanges where I had the chance to work with my district leader and the assistants to the president. It was great fun and we experienced a lot of miracles. We did a lot of contacting and focused on finding. We met a bunch of people and taught several lessons. We also had an investigator come to church on Sunday. We have a baptismal date set with her and hope that she can come to the knowledge of the truthfulness of our message.

It has been interesting right now most of our investigators have come from knocking on doors. You can really tell who is being prepared. We have another investigator from China who is really interested and shows a great desire to learn more. I know that in this great work I can do nothing except when the Lord is with me. For if we have faith in Him we can accomplish all things. I have learned so much and I'm grateful to be serving at this time. I'm thankful for all of the many blessings I have received.

Well before I finish we just got the exciting news of transfer calls. I will be staying in Takasu but I will have a different companion. My new companion is actually Elder Ichikawa's trainer, Elder Iino. So I will have another Japanese companion. Well at least I know my language skills will continue to improve. I'm excited to be speaking Japanese again for another transfer. Well I love you all very much and am grateful for all of your support.

Love Elder Gandy

November 11, 2012

Dear Family,

Well it sounds like everything is going well even with all of the snow. It is pretty cold where I'm at also but there is no snow to show for it. If I'm lucky I may see snow this winter. If not at least I don't have to worry about getting wet.

Things this last week have gone really well. My japanese has been improving a lot. I'm almost done with the lesson mastery project I have been working on. I can almost teach every single lesson in understandable japanese. It has been a lot of fun. This last week we have been working with some great investigators who really seem to be progressing and having a greater desire to learn more. We have also done some finding this week just like we do every week. This week I felt like we were really successful in sharing the gospel.

My testimony has grown so much since the beginning of my mission. This is the Lord's work and it is amazing as I'm sure all of you already know. This gospel brings happiness into the lives of many. I'm extremely grateful for all that it has done in my life. We are all children of our Father in Heaven. My skills as a missionary are improving as I rely on His loving guidance. I want to do my best to be a disciple of Christ at all times. Even though we go through hard times it is after the trials of our faith that we receive a witness(Ether 12:6). I know this to be true and I hope that at all times we may exercise our faith in Him. Even as a missionary there are times where I have felt weak and seen them but through His help I have been lifted up and made strong. This is what I want to remember that we can do all things through our faith in Jesus Christ.

I love you all so much and honestly am grateful for each and everyone of you and the examples you have been to me.

Love Elder Joseph Gandy

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dear Family,

It sounds like everyone is having a great time and that Halloween was fun. This week we had another Halloween party but in a different area. Its because I teach the english class over there. It was really fun I had a make shift costume as Santa Clause and my companion was John Lennon. We found parts of our costumes at the church. They really don't celebrate Halloween here in Japan but it is great way to help investigators come to a church activity and to build better relationships with the ward.

Thanks for all of your insight I really appreciate it. Time has just been flying by. I can't believe Hunter is turning 4 wish her a happy birthday for me.

This week has been great we did a lot of work. We had an exchange and we also found a couple more investigators. We also met one of our investigators who is from the Phillipines and her soon to be husband who is American. It was interesting talking with them and sharing points of the gospel in english. That is something I'm not used to but it felt very natural.

We also had a specialized training a couple days ago. It was really good. We talked a lot about new programs and other things they are doing. It was great and now I just want to apply the things I learned. I feel within this transfer I have really improved in many ways. It takes a lot of work but it really pays off. Even when it feels like you are going nowhere success is just right around the corner. Patience has really been something I've learned on the mission. Not only do we need to be patient with others but we need to be patient with ourselves. We also need to continually exercise our faith by doing what is right. As we continually nourish the seed of faith it will grow but once we stop our progression stops as well. Then we all know what happens to a plant when it doesn't get the right nourishment. This has been what I'm trying to work on continually exercising my faith. It takes a lot of effort but as we strive to become more Christlike we will receive the help that is needed.

I love being a missionary and learning more about this gospel. I want to continue to serve people throughout my life. Thank you all for your prayers of support. I love you all very much.

Love Elder Gandy

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Family

Thanks for all of the news. It sounds like everything is going really well. To start off last week for p-day I went to the park and museum for where the atomic bomb was dropped. I thought that you would really like me to go to that. It is actually on the edge of my area and another area. It was really interesting. The park there is really nice and has a lot of monuments. The museum was a real eye opener. I was amazed at everything that happened. It really destroyed so much and it is kind of interesting to think that my area used to be a bunch of rubble. After the bombing there were only a few buildings left standing. Well that is a little bit of history about my area I guess.

This week has been really good. We have actually been working with members a lot this week. I have been practicing teaching them the missionary lessons. It has really helped my Japanese improve and we are developing good friendships with the members. Other than that we had our ward Halloween party a couple of days ago and that was really fun. There were some great costumes. One of the best though was this guy dressed like Indiana Jones and he actually looks very similar but Japanese. It was great fun with some great activities. I even got a little bit of candy.

The work has been going well but there is always more that I can improve on. I'm thankful for all the hope that this gospel has given me. I have learned a lot about how we should help Heavenly Father's children and the blessings that come from it. I'm looking forward to this next week and hope that everything keeps going well. I love you all very much.

Love Elder Gandy

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Note: By way of explanation for the beginning of Joseph's e-mail, I had a chance to visit New Orleans and wrote to him about going on a swamp tour. I also asked him some questions relating to the experiences I've had going out with the sister missionaries to visit and teach people in my ward. GG

Dear Family,

The swamp tour sounded like quite the experience. I'm glad that you enjoyed it all. To answer your question I'm going to give my perspective of what I've learned and what we are trying to do. When visiting less actives it is very easy to just ask them questions but becoming their friend is very important. The next thing is to help them remember what our goal in life is. For me I want to help them by showing them the path to Heavenly Father again. The plan of salvation is a great way to do that. That is my personal perspective because it is something I know that I can testify about and if we do this with love it will help them out so much more. We will also be blessed and learn more about ourselves as we do this. I hope that helped in some way or another.

So this last week was transfers and I got transferred. You will probably be happy to hear that I am now in Hiroshima (the cold part of the mission just in time for winter). I actually work in the ward that goes to the Hiroshima stake center. It seems like a great area and I'm super excited to work here. I also had quite the experience traveling to my new area. I left my previous area and got on a train and then I was supposed to take a bus. I arrived at my stop in a very country-side looking town and I soon found out that there was no bus. So after calling and talking to the assistants we got everything figured out and I arrived safely and actually earlier than expected. But I did have to communicate with Japanese people all by myself so I knew where I needed to go. At least now I know I have survival Japanese. Which is a very good thing because my new companion is Japanese. His name is Elder Ichikawa and he is a great missionary.

These last few days have been amazing. My new district is all Japanese except for me and one other foreigner. So I'm really looking forward to this transfer and speaking Japanese as much as possible. So far communication has been going really well. We also got to watch general conference the other day. It was an amazing conference and I can't wait until we get the magazine so I can read the talks again. I enjoyed listening to all of the talks. Conference really does mean so much more to me now. It helps me know what I can be doing better. This conference I also made sure that I wrote down questions and sure enough they were all answered. In fact it seemed like every talk was directed towards me and things that I could be doing better in my missionary work. Hopefully I will be able to apply all of the things I learned. I love you all so very much.

Love Elder Gandy

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Family,

That is some amazing news. Its super exciting that now people can go on missions sooner. I got to watch just that little section online and was completely blown away when I heard. My first thought was Joshua just turned 18. That is pretty cool(Happy Birthday by the way). Then I was like why didn't they do this a year ago but soon realized that was alright because I'm glad I left when I did. There were people that I needed to meet and I came just when I needed to. I have had some amazing experiences since then. That is so awesome though because missionary work is the best. It has helped me grow so much. I enjoy serving the Lord by helping my fellow brothers and sisters especially here in Japan.

This last week has gone by really fast. We have two amazing investigators right now. It has been a great experience teaching them. Yesterday one them told us that she knows it is true but wants to learn just a little bit more before getting baptized. The work is really moving along. This past week we also got asked by the Bishop if we would come over to his house for dinner and teach his son who is getting baptized this week. It was a lot of fun we came up with different activities to do to help him understand the spirit. Then another thing we did was visit this older couple who it is hard for them to get around. It was a really nice visit they pulled out their photo albums and we looked at the old pictures they had of everyone in the ward. It was a lot of fun and great to see them smiling and having a good time. I love the ward here they are all so amazing. I have learned so much and have seen miracles its great the work that the Lord has in store for all of us. I love you all so very much.

Love Elder Gandy

P.S. They are making a little change so at the end of every transfer we will be e-mailing on tuesday. But that won't be for another six weeks.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dear Family,

We didn't have anytime to e-mail yesterday because we spent our p-day in Beppu and worked over there for the day. Sorry this e-mail might be a little short. So next week is general conference for all of you but I have to wait one more week. The funny thing is it will happen in the middle of the transfers so the missionaries going home will miss it until they can watch it online and the missionaries coming from the MTC will see it twice. So that is how it will work out. Last week was another good week. We have been working a lot with the members here. It has been great having their support and seeing how excited they get when we give them cookies. This last week we also did a lot of biking it makes me wonder how many miles we bike on average during the week. Anyways we have almost finished the lessons with one of our investigators and she is progressing very well. We have been teaching her the commandments and we taught the word of wisdom. Apparently after that lesson with her she told her parents that she wasn't going to drink tea or alcohol anymore. She has been very willing to keep all of the commitments we extend. It is awesome seeing her progress and come closer to Christ. I have been enjoying the life as a missionary. It is all great helping people and studying the gospel. I've learned so much already and hope that I will be able to apply it all to the work that we're doing. I love you all very much and pray for you everyday. Thanks for all of your love and support.

Love Elder Gandy

P.S. Mom I thought you would like to know but yesterday I also ran into this girl from Estonia. She had met the missionaries before and might start meeting with them. But she lives in a different area than us. I just thought it was kind of cool.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23, 2012

Dear Family,

Its great to hear that everything is going well back home. Well this last week has really been an interesting one. We didn't have a whole lot of time to be out working. We spent a lot of time traveling this last week. First we went to a zone conference with Elder Yamashita from the Quroum of the Seventy. It was an amazing conference. I have a bunch of notes from it that I will spend time reviewing. He also talked about what our real goal is and it's not just getting people to baptism. Its to the end of the path that comes after the ordinance. We hope that the people we talk to and help will be able to endure to the end. Whether it is someone who knows nothing about the gospel or someone who might have strayed from the path. There are so many people that we can help.

The power of the word of God is amazing. It can have such a great effect on our lives. We can find it in the scriptures or from the words of our prophet and apostles. I have felt its effect in my life. Just hearing the word and the doctrines of the gospel from the conference this last week has given me a greater desire to do my best. Pres. Gustafson also taught us about spiritual experiences and how we should treasure them. We need to be grateful that Heavenly Father has given those oppurtunities to us.

This week we also had the chance to go to the temple. It is always great to go to the temple and feel the spirit there. I enjoy sitting in the temple and thinking about all the many blessings I have received from my Father in Heaven. This last week has really just been a huge spiritual boost.

One thing we started doing this last week also is we started making these chocolate oreo ball cookies, that are really delicious by the way, and have been giving them to members. It has been a lot of fun seeing the members and having a good time with them. We also had a great lesson with one of our progressing investigators the other day. She has been keeping all of her commitments and you can already tell there has been a change. She ended our lesson with a prayer and it was great to hear just how much her prayers have progressed also from the first time she said one.

Well it has been another amazing week in the mission field. There are always good, great, amazing, wonderful things happening around us all the time. I'm so grateful for all of your love and support and especially your prayers. Thank you. I love you all so much and pray for you everyday.

Love Elder Joseph Gandy
ギャンディ ジョセフ 長老

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dear Family,

To start off so there was a big typhoon that hit a lot of the mission. A lot of missionaries were stuck in their apartments but everyone is fine. We were on the edge of it and we didn't even notice because it passed us while we were sleeping. So I still haven't experienced one yet.

So Elder Peterson's new companion came. His name is Elder Harvey and he said he grew up in the Westchester ward for a little bit. He is wondering if you know Gordon or Lou Bailey because they are his grandparents. So that would be kind of funny and interesting.

Well this last week has been a good week. We got asked by one of our investigators if we would go help her out with a singing workshop at a high school. So we went and sang amazing grace with her. It was an interesting experience to say the least. This lady has been an investigator for the last twelve years but she seems like a member. She just hasn't received baptism yet. So we are trying to help her get to that point. We also have another investigator who came to church yesterday. We set a baptismal date with her and she seems to be progressing pretty well.

We had a really good week. My Japanese study has been improving and I've been working on doing lesson mastery's. We basically teach the lessons one by one until we can pass them off. So that has been helping a lot recently. I definately feel more comfortable in teaching lessons now. I also decided my motto for this transfer is "Leave No Stone Unturned." Elder Allen has been a great example of just talking to everyone. Up to now I have been kind of nervous because I don't have the best Japanese. But now I'm ready to just go go go. My desire to serve our Heavenly Father's children grows everyday. It has been an amazing transfer so far. We are working with less actives and members a lot. It has been a lot of fun we have been making cookies also for people. I love doing service and all the different ways we can do it. I love you all and pray for you everyday.

Love Elder Gandy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Family,

Wow this week has flown by. We have been working really hard this last week. We did a really good job at sharing the gospel with everyone. Unfortunately we haven't been able to find any new investigators yet.

It has been really busy because I have been teaching Elder Allen the area and we are also working in another area on top of that. Its alright though because this last week we got help from the zone leaders. It was fun working with them. I also had the chance to work with a bean for a little bit who was in the MTC with Braden. He told me that his Japanese was super good. No doubt it is most likely better than mine. He was always really good.

When I was streeting with the bean everyone that I contacted wouldn't listen. So I told him that he should do the next contact. I don't know what it is but new missionaries have this special power to make people listen to them. Trust me I remember and now I miss those times. Anyways he could only get so far since he had only been in Japan for a week. So I helped him and we taught a lesson. It might of not been a very good lesson especially because my Japanese isn't that good but hey miracles happen.

Another awesome thing that happened this week was I got to go to sacrament meeting in Beppu. It was only the third time they have had the meeting there. It was held in a member's front room. It was funny because I never thought I would go to a sacrament meeting not wearing shoes. But now they are going to be having it over there every week. Its cool to see the church just grow. The hope is someday that where I'm working right now will become its own stake. I really do enjoy the work and want to keep working hard. I love you all so very much.

Love Elder Gandy

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Family,

I really enjoyed that last e-mail you sent. It sounds like a lot of great news. I'm excited to hear more about what else is going on. Well this last week has been really good. My new companion is Elder Allen. He only has a couple transfers left. He just came down from being a zone leader. I'm super excited to be working with him he is a great person. He is also half Japanese. I found out that his older brother served in Sapporo also. He and Daniel would have been there for about a year at the same time.

During this last week our apartment is now a three man for the time being. Elder Peterson's comp. should be coming soon. He went home for a transfer for medical reasons but is now coming back out. But for now the three of us are working together. We have to work and divide our time between two area's. Its going to be a little rough but will keep us super busy. I'm also the shortest out of all of them by a long shot.

This last week has been a lot of fun. We are going to be celebrating Kiffer's birthday here because it is also the same as Elder Peterson's. But wish him a happy birthday for me still. We still have some good investigators we are working with so hopefully we can help them as much as we can. We visited with the lady we baptized and she is still doing really well. She already seems like she has been a member for a long time.

Well we have been planning a lot of different activities so we will hopefully have more news coming up in the near future. I don't have a whole lot of time to e-mail today but I love you all and pray for you everyday.

Love Elder Gandy

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dear Family,

Hey well this has been a really amazing last week. We have seen a lot of different miracles since the last e-mail I sent. We got a couple new investigators and just had great experiences. To start off with some news is that Elder Everett got transferred. He got a call last Thursday and left yesterday. He is going to be the recorder so he is the one that puts in all of the numbers. Right now I'm companions with Elder Peterson and Elder Tipton. Tomorrow I will find out who my new companion is for this next transfer but I'll meet him on Thursday.

It is going to be a little interesting with some change now. I'm still staying in Oita for another transfer. Its going to be awesome though. The work in this area is progressing so quickly at the moment. We have some amazing people to work with. Which brings me to some more big news. There was a baptism yesterday! Her name is Sister Shaku. We met her at the very beginning of this transfer. She was actually a referral we got from a member.

Sister Shaku is actually in a wheelchair but the way she found out about the church is because it was written on the back of her chair. When we first met her she was really depressed because she had been living in a hospital for the past year. The next time we had a chance to meet her we walked in and the Book of Mormon we had given her was marked and just full of notes. She was studying so much it was mind blowing. After that she committed to a baptismal date. We finished teaching her the lessons and she is just so happy now. It was so amazing to see the change in her in just a little over a month. This last week Elder Everett and I were trying to think of how we could baptize her because she is in a wheelchair. So we talked to the mission president and finally decided what to do. So both of us got to be in the font and help her. We had to hold her up and then lower her down into the water. It was cool having all of us in the font. I got to perform the baptism and Elder Everett did the confirmation. It was definitely a spiritual experience. The ward members were so helpful and very welcoming. She is going to become such an amazing member. She has already started helping us with missionary work.

Yesterday we also had the stake president and a area seventy at church. It was just a wonderful day. I love the mission and helping Heavenly Father's children in the area that I'm serving in. Miracles really are happening everyday. I love you all so very much.

Love Elder Gandy

Note from Gayleen: Here is another small excerpt from Elder Everett about Joseph. I thought you'd enjoy reading this as well.

Oita really has been a special place and I'm deeply grateful for the chance that I had to serve there with so many great people. Elder Gandy was there for most of the ups, the downs, the miracles, the baptisms, the best time I have had on my mission. It was a little sad to see him off... but he's going to be a stud of a missionary (not that he isn't already, but he can only get better from here!). I know that Oita is being left in good hands with Elder Gandy and his new Companion that I still haven't told him who it is... he's going to have to wait just like everybody else (even if your old companion is now in the Honbu).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dear Family,

Wow it sounds like a lot has been going on at home. Its so exciting to hear about all the different things that have been happening. I also really appreciate the spiritual thoughts that you have.

Well we don't have a whole lot of time today because we are heading down to Nobeoka to meet with everyone in our district for a p-day. So I will try to get in as much as I can. This last week has been really great. So we got to meet with three of our progressing investigators. We had really good lessons with them and you could definately feel the spirit as we taught. Only one has a baptismal date which is this upcoming Sunday so hopefully everything goes well. I'll probably give you more information about that next week. Hopefully we can set a date for the others.

We have been having some amazing experiences the work is definately moving forward in Japan. We got a referral from this member that we met this week also. She seemed super interested in everything we talked about. She said she would come to church but the reason she can't is because the member who referred her had already made sure he took every Sunday off for the month. So that is kind of a funny situation.

Last week we got to go down to Usuki. It was my first time to go down there. While we were there they were having an Obon festival. It was really interesting. Obon is where they welcome back all the people's spirits who have died in the last year. The way they celebrate is by doing this dance basically all night long. Elder Everett and I actually got to learn the dance. It was pretty fun and it actually reminded me a little bit of an ancient Hawaiin dance.

This last week has been a lot of fun. Missionary work is great. The lesson we taught a lot this last week was Lesson 3 in Preach my Gospel The Gospel of Jesus Christ. So we did a lot of studying on that this last week. Two scriptures that I connected this week are 1 Nephi 3:7 and 1 Nephi 7:12. I like these scriptures because it shows that Heavenly Father has been preparing a way for all of us. We need to remember Him and all that he has done for us. I know that he has also been preparing His children in Japan. I'm sorry we're running short on time and I can't give as much detail. I love you all very much!

Love Elder Gandy

P.S. Happy Birthday to Alisa a couple days ago and Happy Birthday to Rachel in just a few days which also happens to be my six month mark on my mission. Its so weird thinking that it has already been half a year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hello Everyone. Here are some excerpts from Joseph's companion's blog. Elder Everett included a lot more detail about the flat tire on the bike as well as some good news about where Joseph is in his ability to do missionary work in Japanese.

Wow, this was a busy week, and with what's been happening around here recently, it looks to only get busier from here! Sunday was fast Sunday, right, and we had a mission wide fast so that people around and in the mission boundaries would open their hearts to be more receptive to the Gospel... well, I'm pretty sure it's working!

Monday we visited a less active member who painted a portrait of me a couple of weeks ago and wanted to paint one of Elder Gandy too. So we went and picked up my portrait and we have it sitting next to our study desks.... it's only a little creepy.... and Elder Gandy's should be done in the next couple of days.

Tuesday rolls around and we decided that we wanted to go and visit some members that are a little further out and see how they are doing. Little did we know but there's one family that lives out there that is cursed for missionaries to go and visit. As we make our way over there (it's a good hour or so bike ride out there) we kept getting turned around and lost because it's in the middle of nowhere with nothing but fields of rice EVERYWHERE. So we keep going and we run into this history museum in the middle of these fields and I start hearing this strange sound coming from my front tire, but I decided to ignore it because I was pretty sure I had just run over a leaf or something and it was rubbing up against it weirdly. Well, we took a bathroom break at the museum and as we go to leave I hop on my bike and notice that the front tire is entirely flat! That weird sound I heard was a tack going into my tire and the tube rubbing against the rim! So now we were in the middle of nowhere, a good hour or so out by bike, and 20 minutes from the next closest bike shop. I couldn't very well roll my bike on the rim, so I ended up having to pick up my bike and carry it up over the mountain to the next closest shop. As we were walking we got stopped by this old man who saw our predicament and decided to help us out. He pointed us toward the bike shop and walked us half way there (at least as far as his own house). That was really helpful. So we get to the shop and there's this old guy sitting there in his shop, and it's probably the ghetto-est bike shop I think I've ever seen. Odd parts and rusted tools lying on top of each other all over the shop and bike odds and ends scattered everywhere. So he goes and starts fixing the hole in the tire and ends up finding another hole, and tries to patch both. The old man seemed about to collapse half of the time he was working on my bike, but somehow he got it up and running, and we were able to get off riding again.

Wednesday we had our meeting with our new investigator before we left for Kumamoto for Zone Conference again. We met her at her hospital and she took out her copy of the Book of Mormon, and we saw that it was covered in sticky-notes and highlighted all over the place! She had spent every night since the first time we met searching through the Book of Mormon, finding everything she could find online from members, reading journals, insights, and anything she could get her hand on in the meantime. She even came across a good number of anti-mormon literature but scolded them for not doing proper research and seeing how the real members of the church are. To be frank, Elder Gandy and I were blown away. She's scheduled to be baptized the 26th of this month! The only problem we have is figuring out how we're going to perform the baptism for somebody in a wheelchair, but I think that's a problem that I would much rather have to figure out.

Friday we were back in the land of Oita. After a good bout of planning we went to take our bikes to where we were going to go housing and lo and behold, the front tire was entirely flat! Turns out that the man back at the sketchy bike-shop had a little bit of difficulty in getting it fixed and, well, I ended up having to get a brand new tube. But it's all good, the bike works perfectly now (well, once I tighten the brakes). We ended up bumping into the member that we were originally going to meet when I got a flat tire, and learned that I'm the 3rd or 4th Elder who that's happened to, who all then went to the same old man, and all had another flat tire 2 days later. I'm now part of the legend! :D

The rest of the week was just filled with us having great success while going out to go find people to teach. We ran into a member while housing and had him help us go house; found a great new place to talk to people with families willing to talk and listen; and Elder Gandy can even do a whole contact, with a lesson on his own now in Japanese! It's been a good week, and with the appointments that have come out of the woodwork this past 2 days, next week is going to be awesome as well!

Elder Everett
Dear Family,

That is some crazy news with the ward boundaries. It sounds like its going to be a pretty different experience for some people.

So last week I told you a little bit about the cicadas. Well in the last week we have seen quite a few. They are these big bugs that when they're lying on their back and you think they're dead they aren't. So we found out that if you kick one you revive it and it starts flying around all crazy like it was drunk. It totally caught us off guard when we first found out.

So this last week has been really amazing. We had a great zone conference that was a lot of fun. I love going to zone conference because we always learn different things we can do to improve. It is also awesome meeting and talking to some of the other missionaries here. One thing we talked about is becoming truly converted. A scripture that was shared that I really enjoy and believe to be true is Doctrine and Covenants 112:13. It is after the hard times that things will get better. That is something that I have seen in doing missionary work.

My Japanese has been getting a lot better. It still isn't perfect and I have a lot to learn. I have been using Japanese more and more everyday. So we had an interesting adventure this week. We went to go find and visit some less actives. So we were about an hour out from the apartment by bike and Elder Everett got a flat tire. So we had to go on a quest to find a bike shop. This old man saw us and noticed the situation we were in so he pointed us in the right direction. We found one that was really run down but they still fixed it enough to work for the rest of the day. We were glad that we just didn't have to carry his bike all the way back to the apartment.

Overall it has been an exciting week. We also met this guy on the street who is deaf and Elder Everett knows a little bit of Japanese sign language (which tells you how good his japanese really is). Anyways he might come to church next week and we have a member here who can help him because she knows sign language. We have been blessed so much this week at being in the right place at the right time. It is amazing all the different ways the Lord works. We have been contacting so many people recently that have been willing to listen. We also have a baptism planned in just a couple of weeks. We also have some great investigators that I have really loved working with. I hope that we will be able to help them come closer and get to know their Father in Heaven better. What a marvelous work this really is.

This week we are going to be really busy we have a lot planned coming up. So I'm excited to see what is going to happen. I'm so grateful for all of your support I love you all very much and pray for you everyday.

Love, Elder Gandy
ギャンディ 長老

Elder Gandy's blue p-day outfit

The area where Elder Everett's bike got a flat tire

Elder Gandy with two of the Japanese missionaries. Elder Kobayashi is the younger brother of one of Daniel's companions.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dear Family,

So to start off, something that is different is there is this constant noise throughout the day. Its the season of the cicada and you can hear them buzzing everywhere. The crazy thing is I actually haven't seen one yet but I can definately hear them.

It has been an amazing last week. To start off we had a couple of exchanges this last week. I was always in the companionship that went streeting and housing basically all day. It was a lot of fun. We got to teach a bunch of really nice people. Its interesting talking to people who know nothing about our church or even Jesus Christ. It feels interesting to be the first person to share our message of hope and happiness to people who have never heard it before.

We also have some great investigators that we're teaching right now. A couple of them really want to be baptized so we're working really hard to help them make that big step. Yesterday at church we had four investigators come which Elder Everett said is the most he has ever seen. It was great because Pres. Gustafson was also there. He came and talked with all of them and it was fun having him work with us. Miracles really are happening everyday we just don't always notice it.

Another thing we did this week was that the students from our english class invited us to dinner at an all you can eat Italian pizza place. It was so good I especially liked the chocolate bananna pizza. With how long me and Elder Everett have been in Oita we have made so many really good friends here. We also went and saw a firework show for the star festival. It was quite the show I'm not sure if I have seen fireworks that spectacular.

I also had several interesting experiences this week while I was on an exchange with my zone leader Elder Hoffman. The first one is we met these high school kids and one was rather receptive of our message and then the other seemed like he was trying to prove us wrong. It was like in the Book of Mormon when they try to confound the words of the prophets. To make a long story short they both walked away with a Book of Mormon in hand and more interest in our message than before. The next one was we found this guy standing on the side of the street hitchhiking (which no one does in Japan so that made it more interesting). We started talking to him and asked him why he was doing all of these different things. He said that he really just wanted to help people become better. We actually got super excited and told him that is what we do but explained to him how Christ's Atonement makes that possible. He seemed really interested but unfortunately we will not know what is going to happen because he lives on the main island of Japan. We did give him the information to contact the church up there so now we just hope that everything might work out.

It really has been an amazing experience to see how our message can have an effect on the life of people we come in contact with. Through the enabling power of the Atonement we can all become more like our Father in Heaven. His hand is always stretched forth and I love helping people grab hold. I love you all so very much.

Love Elder Gandy
ギャンディ 長老

P.S. Happy Birthday to Nichole coming up soon!
Dear Family,

Everything has been going super well. I'm sending this e-mail early because we came up to early morning seminary. This year they are studying the bible which is extremely hard to understand in Japanese.

This past week we had apartment cleaning checks. We got a celestial rating so that lets you know how nice our apartment really is. I thought I would let you know because you would probably never believe me.

It has been a lot of fun this week. We did a lot of finding this week whether it was looking for less actives making sure they still live there or just for some more new investigators. We met a lot of really nice people and have a couple people to go back and visit. So for the last couple of weeks every Sunday they have talked about missionary work. We are really trying to get the members more involved. It is so important that the investigators we have become friends with the ward because missionaries come and go but the members are still there. Every member a missionary でしょう!! Member work is great amazing things can happen when the ward gets excited to do the work also.

We also had a great District meeting this week. We got with our companion and decided on a transfer theme. So our theme is based on the scripture Alma 32:41 "Feed the Tree of...." So this transfer is basically going to be focused on growth or improvement. Everyday we will be working on improving a skill or gaining more knowledge about a gospel principle or doctrine. I was also asked to give a spiritual thought for our meeting. Earlier before then I was studying about how to make prayer more meaningful. We really have to mean what we say. The beginning of a prayer is important we address our Heavenly Father and really need to believe that we are talking to him. Some of the best experiences in my life have come from saying a prayer or even during a prayer when I feel the love Heavenly Father has for me. So my challenge to everyone was to find a time to say a personal prayer out loud. I find for me when I make a prayer vocal it becomes more focused and meaningful. But since being on the mission your with someone all the time so you don't have that chance so much. We decided that we would all do it. It was an amazing experience. Our message is so great I know that Heavenly Father loves all of His children and wants what is best for them. We can all return back into His presence. That eternal happiness waits for us as we strive to develop the Christlike attributes we need. What a marvelous work this really is. My love has grown for all of God's children. I especially love all of you and pray for your success.

Love Elder Joseph Gandy
ギャンディ ジョセフ 長老

Friday, July 27, 2012

Here is another excerpt from Joseph's companion's mission blog that I thought you'd all enjoy reading. I really appreciate being able to hear about some of the things that Joseph either doesn't have time to write about or doesn't think about when he sends his e-mail. Thank you to Elder Everett and his mother for sharing the link. I'm so happy that Elder Everett will be Joseph's companion through another transfer.

Elder Gandy has a sweet quote that he has hanging on his wall. It goes something to the effect of "The closer a man comes to God, the greater effort the Adversary will exert to prevent him" (yeah, I kind of forgot how it went but that's kind of close to it.) But it's so true. Every time we go and try to do what's right there will always seem to be something to distract us, stop us, side track us, or makes us feel like we're not even worthy to take part of the gospel, and there is nothing that could be further from the truth. You are all a son or daughter of God, and He is waiting for you with open arms, for whenever you finally decide to come.

Oh, speaking of adventures (before I forget) … This past Saturday we went to visit an investigator who lives in Usuki city, about an hour or so away, and stayed and watched a samurai festival there. The city is the home of the Samurai Otomo Sorin, who was the only Christian Samurai. During the time of the unification of Japan, there was an extermination order for all Christians, and Otomo Sorin created the cities of Oita to be refugee cities for what they called kakure kirisutokyou or the Hidden Christians. They had a sweet festival with people dressed up as oni (demons) and the holy warriors that slay the beast! There was also akenka matsuri or a fighting festival where they had two groups of young men gather together to pull a wheeled shrine and race toward each other with the shrines making a crisscross across the city. The whole time they had people banging on the Taiko drums and making all the noise and racket they could. It was probably one of the most Japanese things I have seen on my mission, and all in the shadow of the remains of the castle from Otomo Sorin! Cool stuff with the summer festivals all over Japan!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dear Family,

So yes I forgot to tell you about the flooding. Most of the rain came at night actually. I didn't even know it was a big thing going on until we got a call from our zone leaders. Some places were pretty bad it sounded like but everything seemed fine except the river level was higher and brown because of mudslides. The funny thing is a few weeks back we went and bought me some good rain gear. After getting it I was super excited to use it because of all the rain. After buying it though everytime we went outside or I put it on the rain just stopped and the times I forgot it at the apartment it has rained. So I really haven't had a chance to use it yet.

Yeah it has been pretty cool meeting some return missionaries from Sapporo who know Daniel. Its been really fun.

So this last week we had transfer calls and the big news is that Elder Everett and I are staying in Oita again for another transfer. So this means that I'm most likely going be living in Oita for half a year. Its actually really exciting because I love this ward so much. There are so many great people. We also have some amazing investigators who seem to be getting pretty close to baptism. Things have been going really well.

This last week we got to do a couple of exchanges and I got to go to Beppu which used to be part of my area when I first got here. Now we're seeing if we can make a branch over there. So it has been exciting. Then yesterday at church a Nigerian guy and Chinese lady came. It was interesting hearing a little bit about their religious understanding from them. The work has been going super well. I'm grateful for all of your prayers. Everything has been going really well here. I love you all and am praying for all of you also.

Love Elder Gandy
ギャンディ 長老

P.S. Here are some pictures!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hello Everyone,

I really hope that Elder Everett and his family don't mind that I share some of the posts from his mission blog here. I just know that you will all enjoy this excerpt from Elder Everett's. As many of you know, we read in the news about all of the rain and flooding there and I was quite surprised that Joseph didn't even mention it. I guess he didn't have time but Elder Everett gives another little bit of insight into why he may not have written about the rain.

From Elder Everett (Joseph's Companion):

Ok, so what's been happening around Oita. Well, first off, we've been in the middle of the worst rainstorms that there has ever been in the history of Oita and Kumamoto! It's been raining for days on end now and it's been crazy to watch as the rivers rose to above tree level and just went everywhere! We took a ride with a member to go visit him in the middle of the biggest bit of the rain and he had the news on in his car so we got to see the floods around Oita and Kumamoto. It was absolutely crazy to see that much water everywhere. But in the midst of all this, I have to tell you all about Elder Gandy's magic raincoat.

Ok, so we knew that it was the rainy season in Japan and we didn't have raincoats that were any good for the rain in Japan so we went and bought Elder Gandy a new raincoat a couple of weeks back. So right after we bought the raincoat it started raining like crazy here. The thing is though, in the middle of the worst rain that Oita has had, ever, we have not been rained on a single time. This whole month we've experienced nothing more than a light sprinkle. So pretty much the pattern of every day has been: wake up and it's pouring, do the morning study, and then get ready to leave, put on the raincoat and by the time we get down stairs, it's all dried up. Then we'll ride to where we're going, see the rain pour down while we're in the church or talking to people, then as soon as we get up to go, the rain stops. Once we get home we think that maybe the rainy season isn't that bad and decide to look outside the apartment to see how it is, and it's raining cats and dogs again. I don't know what it is about that rain jacket, but, we're pretty convinced that it's got magical powers!

As far as the weather goes, though, right now it's hot, humid, and sunny! Which was perfect for yesterday because we had a ward BBQ! We traveled up to a beach 2 cities over and had a big ol' barbecue under some trees over there. It was a really fun event, and we had a great turn out. I think I counted a good 50 people there with several less active members and people visiting from all the way up in Yamaguchi (they heard that there was a BBQ down in Oita and decided to take a road trip that day and see how everybody was doing :D) In the original plan I was going to be in charge of a big group activity for all the primary children, but I lost out to the ocean, and all the kids just spent the day out in the surf. Things I learned from the BBQ: Japanese sand castles are based off of actual Japanese castles; People use hand fans to get a flame going, and blow torches to light the coals; Oceans are really nasty after a big storm, and the wood debris on the beach is all bamboo; Beach frisbee is way fun, even if you're playing with 3 year olds and 73 year olds. I think it was a good ward activity!

Earlier in the week, we were planning on having another BBQ on Saturday, but due to the rain, it ended up being canceled. The thing is though, we forgot to get in contact with the member that we had arranged to take us there and he showed up at our apartment while we were teaching Eikaiwa! The BBQ was supposed to be in place of Eikaiwa so we were going to do it there. As soon as the BBQ got canceled we sent an e-mail out to all the students, but we just forgot to make that one call..... oops! He was a really good sport about it, and even came to Eikaiwa with his food and we had a small party up at the church.

Working here in Oita has been awesome. It's weird thinking that it has already been 18 weeks since I first came here, because it seems like so much has happened here in that time. I've had my hardest time on the mission here, I've had the best time on the mission here, it's been a roller coaster for everybody in several different ways, and I love it. Here I've learned to really just love people for who they are, what good they do, and to try and view everybody as the child of God that they are. I've come to realize, in a very real sense, that the power of the atonement is more than just overcoming your own sins, but it is also strength in times of hardship, hope in times of need, a person to talk to when nobody else is around, and sometimes, the only place of solace you can find.

At this point I don't know if I'll stay of if I'll go, but I know, whether it's me or Elder Gandy who stays, that Oita will be in good hands and this will continue to be an awesome place for everybody who comes (Including the mission president who is coming on the 5th of August to see if we really can make a branch in the other city we work with). I wish you all good luck in all you do this week, and have a great day!

Love you all lots,
Elder Everett
Daniel found these two photos on Facebook. One of the missionaries from Daniel's mission ran into Joseph in Oita.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dear Family,

It has been a really fun week. I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to e-mail yesterday. So that is why its late. We had this big ward BBQ at a beach. It was great spending time with the ward. Japanese BBQ's are very different. They throw a bunch of vegetables and rice balls on the grill along with all of the meat. It was pretty delicious. We have some of the best cooks in our ward over here. Oh and to answer your question about the thing I was eating with an egg on it. It was okonomiyaki wrapped around a pair of chopsticks. It was really good.

Earlier this week I went on exchanges with Elder Eckman who is just a hilarious person. It went pretty well. We taught a couple of lessons. An awesome experience we had though was on the way back to our apartment we said we are going to teach one more person and it will be up at this corner ahead and sure enough we did. It was amazing at how it just worked out. The next night I was with Elder Everett telling him about that experience because we were at the same corner. While telling him about it a man came up to the corner waiting for the light and me and Elder Everett just looked at each other and said lets do it. So we went and talked to him and he was really interested and wanted to talk to us. It was nice meeting him and talking to him also. We now call that spot miracle corner. It has been a great week full of miracles and other great things.

I don't have a whole lot of time today because I'm on another exchange with my District Leader, Elder Tipton. So I'm just going to hurry up and finish with what we talked about in our district meeting today. So we learned about Charity and how it never fails. It is so important to have charity because the greatest commandment given was to love your neighbor as yourself. As a missionary we are trying to seek after this gift. When we have a love for all of our Heavenly Father's children and we know the importance of the message we share we will be more able to serve them the best we can. That is my goal that I'm setting is to give myself to the service of the Lord through serving my fellow brothers and sisters. I hope that I may learn and develop this gift. One of the scriptures that helps motivate me to obtain charity is Moroni 7:47-48. Another thing I would encourage others to do is watch or read the talk given by Pres. Uchtdorf called The Merciful Obtain Mercy.

Well I hope everything goes well for you this week. I really have been enjoying your e-mails. It sounds like a lot is going on. I love you all and pray for the best.

Love Elder Gandy

P.S. Tomorrow is transfer calls so next week I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 8, 2012

Dear Family,

A lot has happened this week also. There is always so much going on it is hard to get everything in but I'll see what I can do. So this week to celebrate the 4th of July we went to Mcdonald's. It was good but probably the unhealthiest thing I ate this week. We also had an exchange a few days ago it was a lot fun. I met this recent convert who got baptized a month ago and he is just amazing. He has already been telling his friends at school about the church and how its helping him. I can already tell that he is going to be a great missionary. We taught him a lesson that night and it was great. You could feel the spirit testify of truth as we talked with him. That is what makes being a missionary so great - seeing people make a change in their life.

Another thing we got to do was go to a festival that was just down the street from our apartment. It was exciting with a lot of good food and a lot of people. We ran into some less actives while we were there also. That is something that has been happening a lot recently as we are riding to appointments. We keep seeing people we haven't been able to contact. We also went to this open house that a High School was having. We went to meet one of our investigators who goes there and builds robots. It was amazing all of the robots and other things they had there. We also had a birthday party for a less active member and Elder Everett's one year mark in Japan.

This week has just been packed with different things we did. But the biggest thing that happened was we got to meet our new mission president. Pres. Gustafson is great. I'm so excited to work with him for the rest of my mission. He really seems like quite a hard worker and has a lot of plans for the mission. I learned a lot from them in just the few hours we spent with them. They had some great insights that they wanted to share with us. Pres. Gustafson also wants to do exchanges with the missionaries. So hopefully I will have a chance to go and do some missionary work with him. His Japanese is really good and can communicate with the people very easily. There is so much to look forward to. What a great time it is to be serving in Japan it's such an amazing place to serve I love it here so much and the people are just absolutely amazing. I love you all and pray that you are having a great summer vacation.

Love, Elder Gandy
ギャンディ 長老

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dear Family,

I like in your e-mail about how you had to do a bunch of small projects around the house and how much it changed everything after you finished them. Recently I have been thinking about goals in that same sense. We really need to take small steps in order to achieve the great things. When we break it all down it makes it seem so much more possible to accomplish. One situation I relate it to is the hill I have to ride up to get to the church. I always use the light poles as goals. I keep telling myself ok just make it to the next pole. Alright I can keep going make it to the next one. There are also times when we will fall down or things slow down but if we keep going we will get to the top.

Everything has been going pretty well here in Oita. We keep doing our best to share the gospel and really just help people draw closer to Christ. Japanese is definitely coming a lot easier right now. It seemed like I had just been staying on the same level for a while but now I can say more. It is fun learning a new language. There are times when some people switch back and forth between english and japanese and my brain doesn't register that they have switched the language. So now I understand what people are saying most of the time when its simple japanese or it is gospel related.

Something cool that I got to do this week was my pantomime Mission to Mars. I remember before leaving on my mission you kept telling me to use my talents and to keep practicing that pantomime. I always thought "What? When on my mission would I ever do that." But sure enough I did. It was during our english class that I had that chance. We used it with our spiritual thought about how actions speak louder than words. They all really enjoyed it and want me to do it again. Like body language is a universal language, the spirit can also testify to everyone.

I learned a lot about relying on the spirit this week. Sometimes people will think the spirit will just tell them what to do right then and there but most of the time we have to act and then it will come and help. As a missionary we have to rely on the spirit to know where to go, what to do, what to say, and how we can help people. It is something we keep thinking about and praying for so we can best use our time and be led to the people who are being prepared to receive the gospel.

One miracle that happened this week was yesterday. We received a call from this lady asking us if the Mormons and Latter Day Saints were the same church. We told her yes and then she told us how she had been baptized 40 years earlier but couldn't find the church when she moved to Oita 20 years ago. She also said she saw our church building several times and wondered who went there. So now she will be coming to church next Sunday. Its a miracle that she got our number and contacted us. The message we shared with a lot with people this week was how important families are. Its so great. I love sharing that message. I'm so grateful for each of you back home and all that you have done for me. I love you all so much and keep you in my prayers.

Love, Elder Gandy

Monday, June 25, 2012

Here are the pictures Joseph sent with his last e-mail. Hopefully you noticed the requests he made in his several post scripts (PS). I will definitely be sending him pictures but I'm sure that he would appreciate mail from anyone else who wants to send a picture. I have all the family birthdays but would appreciate knowing friends birthdays to put on the calendar I'm sending to him. So if you are one of Joseph's friends who would like him to remember your birthday, please send it to me in an e-mail ASAP. (gpgandy@gmail.com)

Castle at Kumamoto


Castle at Kumamoto

Pizza served at a Relief Society activity

A member's front yard

Dear Family,

So to start off the typhoon wasn't that exciting. We got the edge of it and it just seemed like a normal rain storm. Maybe another one will come. It still is that time of year.

That is so great to hear about everyone and their missions. I'm glad you told me. I thought I was never going to find out. Do you know when all of them leave? Keep me up to date on other people when they get theirs ください.

This week just seems like it is full of birthdays. We have some investigators and members whose birthday's are coming up. Also Katie's birthday is today and Ferrin's is on Saturday so if you will wish them a Happy Birthday from me that would be awesome.

So last p-day we went to Kumamoto because we had zone conference the next day. We actually went to the castle there it was pretty cool. It was very different from the castles in Europe we saw last summer. Then it was our last zone conference with Pres. Margetts. It was an amazing meeting but it is sad to see him leave. I really could feel how much love he had for all of the missionaries. This week he goes home and then the new mission president comes in. His name is Pres. Gustafson.

It has been a very busy transfer. Yesterday we had a special stake conference that was for all of Japan. Elder Oaks and Pres. Uchtdorf came and gave talks. It was so good. They talked a lot about just being a friend and loving everyone around you. It is so easy to love people who are already friends so that is probably a good place to start. Making friends is so important because it helps so many people. Everyone needs a friend.

One thing I love about the mission is study time in the morning. It is so great getting up every morning and learning. It really sets up the entire day for me. Recently the topic we have seemed to be learning about a lot is trials. Our zone received this little notebook with a picture of Christ on the front and underneath it said "I know what I want you to be." We had a lesson about how we go through certain trials to help us become better. I started thinking about that and wondered who does Christ want me to be. So I wrote down on a piece of paper who am I and who can I become? After this I pulled out my patriarchal blessing and studied it. Now I have a better understanding of who I am and what I need to do. We have received some of the most amazing blessings from our Heavenly Father that I'm so grateful for. I love you all so much and am blessed to have you all in my life. I keep praying for you everyday and hope everything turns out fine.

Love, Elder Gandy

P.S. I created a profile on mormon.org you should check it out. I found Bryce's and we actually use that site for missionary work so we showed it to an investigator. We were asked to make one and tell all our family and friends to make one also. Its actually pretty cool so you should all do it. Hint an easy way to find me is to search Fukuoka.

P.P.S. Since there have been so many birthdays would it be possible if you could send me a calender and have family and friends birthdays on it. I don't think I can remember everyones birthday.

P.P.P.S. I'm sorry that I'm asking for kind of a lot but apparently its a big thing here to show people pictures of family and friends back home and some of things you did. So if you could send some more pictures that would be awesome if not its fine.

P.P.P.P.S. By the way I'm extremely grateful for all that you have done for me. Especially all of the small things I've taken for granted like all of the small cleaning and just everything else. That is another thing I've learned about since living in an apartment with 19 and 20 year old guys. Thank You for everything!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

This is just a quick test entry to make sure those who are following by e-mail are receiving these posts.
Joseph's companion is Elder Everett and, thanks to the group ldsmissionarymoms, I was able to contact Elder Everett's mom. She has been posting her son's letters on a blog just as I have. It's fun to hear about Joseph's mission from his companion's point of view and I thought you'd all enjoy reading this letter that he wrote about the work they're doing.

It's Fathers' Day and the Start of Rainy Season 6/18/12

Happy Monday from the land of the rainy season!

Well, it's June now, so that means that Japan has finally entered into the infamous rainy season here! The rains started a couple of days ago and so far it hasn't been too bad, just very, very wet. Going through the days we quickly realized that the rain jackets that come from the missionary store... they are not made for rainy climates! The water leaks straight though them so as to dissuade any attempt at keeping oneself dry. It pretty much just becomes, get wet and try to protect all the pamphlets and Books in your back pack. It's been a fun exciting couple of days!

It has been a super good week though! Monday we played sports and hung out with one of the Young Single Adults (YSA) in our ward and then went to go visit Less Active members with him. It was way good to see the members get together and have a good interaction; really the best thing to keep someone in the church is a good friend!

When it came time to plan for Tuesday we had no idea what to do. We didn't really have anybody to visit and we were at a complete loss. We decided to pray about it so that we could know what the Lord would have us do. We prayed and discussed what it is that Oita really needs, and we thought about our recent convert members. One man's name came into our minds and we decided to call to see if we could meet with him that evening. When we called him, he told us that he had just been trying to have a gospel related conversation with his non-member mother and wasn't sure how to do it. We told him that, well, that was our specialty and we would love to meet with them. Well, to make a long story short we ended up visiting him that Tuesday, met with both of them in their home, had a wonderful discussion, then went out for Sushi together for dinner! (The sushi place is called a Kaiten Zushi type restaurant, which is where they just put sushi on a conveyor belt and your bill is measured by the number of plates you accumulate by the end!) It was Elder Gandy's first time at a sushi place, which is always fun :D I think he ended up eating just as much meat as he did fish, which the member picked up on right away. In response he commented in Japanese "American's do eat a lot of meat huh," then in English he said "Meat, meat, meat... Meat Festival!"

I love Japanese members!

The interesting thing about going out and finding people is that sometimes we don't actually get what their name is. Either we forget to ask, or they feel awkward about giving it, or any number of reasons, but, when those times occur, we have to figure out some way to refer to those people, right? So recently we've been visiting people such as "That one lady" and "Nightmare before Christmas guy". Maybe we should work a little harder on getting people’s names.....

Thursday we got in contact with one of our former investigators who just so happens to be a captain of an Ultimate Frisbee team here in Oita! We joined them for their Practice, and it was so natsukashii. It’s the Japanese phrase for nostalgic, but it doesn't quite sound as stiff and uptight. Truth be told though, my legs still hurt from it.... man, I haven't done any sort of sports exercise in a long, long time! But I do have it up there as one of my favorite ways to Dendo so far (Dendo means to do missionary work: Frisbee Dendo, Phone Dendo, Lehi Dendo (where you sleep and receive revelation in a dream), Dance Dendo, House Dendo, Member Dendo.... and the such). Hopefully from the coming weeks something will come out of this awesome group of people!

Some other cool thing from the working this week: Members like to give us food! It definitely is a plus from working with a lot of less active members because just about everyone wants to give us food! We get packets to make Au Gratin, oreos, bananas, chips, drinks, eclairs, and a ton of great stuff! We even managed to get some more Less Active members to church again on Sunday, too! I have to say, I am definitely a fan of people being at church.

Oh, I really should put in a plug about being in a four-man apartment again; essentially every night is like a Junkai night. Games, pranks, really long conversations abound in the apartment now. (Well, Games have always been around while I've been in charge, that's just who I am :D) It has been a little hectic as far as cleaning, food distribution, and other such things that become strained as you double your numbers.

Well, we've got to go hit a bus to go to Kumamoto in less than an hour. We have our last Zone Conference with our Mission President before the new one comes in on the 29th of this month. It'll be an interesting last ZC, and everyone is super excited for it!

Have a good week (and hopefully we'll somehow miss the super typhoon that's barreling toward us)

Elder Everett

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dear Family,

So this last week has really been a lot of fun. For p-day we went to this awesome park that had an obstacle course and a pirate ship. In Oita there are a lot of pirate ship styled parks I'm not exactly sure why but its cool. I also got a haircut from Elder Peterson its a little short but that's alright because it was free. Another thing we got to do this week was play Ultimate Frisbee! We have an investigator who plays frisbee in college and he invited us to come play with him and his team. It was great. I feel like its been a long time since playing a game. I hope everyone is still doing frisbee thursdays back home.

One of great/funny experiences of this week was we started teaching a recent convert's mom. We decided to call him and see how everything was going and he said he wanted to share the gospel with his mom but didn't know how. So he invited us over and we got to teach her. It was a good lesson afterwards they took us to one of those places where they have the sushi coming around on conveyor belts. Its funny I'm beginning to like most sushi and I enjoy eating nato. Anyways while we were there the mom basically told me that I was good looking and wanted me to date one of her granddaughters. That entire time I had no idea what she was saying but apparently she kept giving me compliments. It was really funny because we didn't know how to respond and then she just kept going and going. I think they are probably some of the funniest people I've met so far.

So yesterday we had church and I got to bless the sacrament in Japanese for the first time. It was great (and yes I only had to do it once). I always enjoy participating in the sacrament. It is such an important thing that we get to do every single week. I like being given a little bit of time to really sit and think about all of the different things the Atonement means to me. It was also Father's Day so there was a primary program. After all the kids sang they went and handed cards they made to their dad's. Then some of them made and gave cards to us. It is amazing to think about how much we mean to all of the kids here. They really think of us as superheroes. I just want to try my best and to be that superhero that the children think we are.

Things are going so well and it really is so much fun. Well right now we are headed off to Kumamoto for a zone p-day and then zone conference tomorrow. So that's really exciting. I love you all very much and keep you in my prayers.

Love, Elder Gandy
ギャンディ 長老

p.s. I think Joshua would be interested in hearing that a typhoon or hurricane is coming right towards us. So this will be a first for me and apparently it is supposed to be pretty big so that is exciting I guess. I'll let you know how it goes in my e-mail next week.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I just received a couple of pictures along with this message from another missionary mom who saw one of my posts in ldsmissionarymoms.

Gayleen is this your son? if so i met him at the mission home when his ward came to temple night. I think he was brand new and seemed very happy to be in Japan.
His comp Elder Everett is a great guy. My son, Joel Farb,the guy in the white shirt (It was the first day they could take off their jackets so he did!), was in his district before and they enjoyed going on splits a having a great time working together. They were in the same zone and met every week in his last area in Saijo. So as you are probably aware, your son got a really good trainer! You can tell by the smile on their faces, can't you!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dear Family,

It's so exciting to hear about everything that's going on. I can't wait to hear where everyone's going on their missions. I also want to hear when they are leaving to see if any of them have to wait as long as me. I'm so excited for them. Being a missionary is the best.

June in Japan has been pretty good. It's hot. The rain season has apparently already started but we don't really get it that much where I'm at. There are some of the biggest and strangest bugs all over the place though. Oh and the bees and spiders here are huge. Apparently there are a lot of cockroaches too but I haven't seen any yet.

This last week has been really good though. So we had transfers and me and my companion are still in Oita. Its great I love it here. The ward members are amazing. But the exciting news is that they made my area into a four man because of how big it is. So now we have Elder Peterson and Elder Tipton with us. They are both older missionaries getting close to the end of their missions. We had to spend a lot of time at the beginning of the week trying to find more room in our apartment for two more missionaries. We got it to work even though its a little tight. The work here is just going fantastic. We are being so blessed everything is exploding here in Oita. Yesterday we had one of our students from english class come to church. It was actually really surprising. It was awesome because we might be able to start teaching him now. It is great seeing all of the people that are being prepared to hear and receive the gospel.

I've learned so many different things this week. One thing I learned this week was when we recognize and notice the blessings and influence that Heavenly Father has in our lives how it can strengthen our testimonies about his love for all of his children. I love everything that we do. I love all of you and pray for each of you.

Love Elder Gandy
ギャンディ 長老

p.s. I haven't heard where anyone is going on their missions yet. But if they're sending a letter I can wait a little longer.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I would just like to start off by saying Happy Birthday Mom! Everyone in my district also wishes you a happy birthday.

Its funny thinking that a year ago I graduated from high school. Sounds like "drama" is living up to its name. Personally I think the Sound of Music is much better than Cinderella anyways.

Well everything here has been going really well. Last week for p-day we went to this place called Round 1 they have bowling and a bunch of different sports you can play. It was a lot of fun. I also had real legit sushi for the first time. It wasn't bad but definitely not one of my favorite things. I think it was mainly the texture that got to me. Speaking of food when I first got here I could barely eat anything but now I can't stop eating. I've gained a little more then ten pounds since I left and most of it was gained after coming to Japan. Elder Everett says its because he is from the South.

One funny thing that happened this week was we were standing outside of this house saying a prayer and this older lady walks out in the middle of our prayer. It was really awkward because she was surprised and we didn't know what to do so we just kept praying. We did talk to her but she was in a hurry out the door. During this past week though we have been having a lot of success with the less active members. Yesterday we had six of them come to church. It was great seeing them there having a good time. They really have to overcome a lot of different problems and challenges they're facing. Its amazing to see how the church really does help everyone.

Some other news we have is this week is transfers so who knows I may or may not be in Oita next week. This transfer has gone by really fast. So much has happened we have seen miracles, come closer to Christ, learned lessons, and helped change lives. Life as a missionary is so great. It can be tough at times but we can always receive the help we need from our Heavenly Father. There is no better way to serve Him then by serving our brothers and sisters here.私は神様と御父の子供の皆のために伝道しております。I love you all so very much and keep you in my prayers.

Love Elder Gandy
ギャンディ 長老

Preparing for companionship inventory.

Overdose of Pokemon.

Some of the delicious food we experiment with.

A week in the life of a missionary.