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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 29, 2012 - Elder Gandy's first e-mail from Japan

Note from Gayleen: About and hour before this e-mail arrived we received our first e-mail from Joseph and all it said was, "Dear Family." I thought that had to be the shortest letter ever from a missionary. Anyway, that's what he is referring to at the beginning of this e-mail.

Dear Family,

Hey this is a continuation to that first e-mail the keyboard is different so I accidently sent it. Well it has been a really amazing week my trainer is Elder Everett and he is from north carolina. He is great and his favorite sport also happens to be frisbee. My first area is called Oita its one of the biggest areas in the mission. Whenever we go to the church we have to go through a tunnel then over a bridge and then we have to ride up one of the longest hills in the mission. By the end of this transfer I should be able to conquer any obstacle on my bike. Which kind of leads to a funny story my first day here about thirty minutes after getting my bike Elder Everett flipped his bike into a bunch of dirt. So sometimes we tell people that we got into a fight and I won. The people in Oita are amazing I feel so blessed to be in such an amazing area. There have been so many miracles already. We have a few investigators who want to be baptized and one of them has a baptismal date. Its been great even though my japanese still isn't very good. So I decided that I'm just going to e-mail from now on because apparently it takes about two weeks for a letter from america to get here. Oh and since mothers day is coming up you can call me. So the number you are going to call is 011-81-80-2149-6429 and if you could call about 7:00 p.m. on the 14th it will be the 15th at 10:00 a.m. here and that would be the best time for me. I will also send some pictures next week. Everything here is amazing I'm so excited to be here in Japan serving. I love you all and wish you the best.

Love, Elder Joseph Gandy

p.s. Everyone here thinks my name is funny and most of the kids like to call me candy.
p.p.s. I was wondering if Daniel ever got kansho'ed while he was on his mission because it already happened to me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Joseph's call from the airport.

I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Joseph while he was in the Seattle airport waiting for his flight to Japan. He told me that there is no policy on missionaries calling home from the airport but the wife of his branch president in the MTC told them (from her perspective as a mother) that they'd better call home. Since I was in Boston, he called my cell phone but he also called home and talked with Daniel for a few minutes.

Joseph was a little nervous about the language but was also extremely excited to be on his way to Japan. He was traveling with a group of 6 or 8 elders going to Fukuoka and said they'd be arriving there late in the evening - in time to go to bed for the night. Here is a brief run down of some of the things he talked about:

Joseph said they been told that the Fukuoka mission is considered the "Hawaii" of Japan. That sounds like a pretty nice description, especially compared to Daniel's mission where the missionaries are known as the "frozen chosen."

He indicated that he was aware that, although he'd never been a hard worker in school, his experience studying in the MTC had motivated him to really put a lot more effort into studying which he is sure will help him when he goes to school after his mission.

For those of you who might be wondering, he said that he met and talked with David Archuletta a couple of times and that he is a really nice and very humble guy.

I asked Joseph about singing in the choir for General Conference and he said that they had to fill out an application that asked about their previous choral experience. He was the only one in his district or zone that was chosen and able to have that opportunity. He also said that leaving the MTC for that day was really great but kind of strange and that leaving the MTC to go to the airport gave them all a taste of culture shock. Everything in the MTC is so intensely spiritual that going out into the real world was kind of strange. Joseph loved the MTC and said that the time there went by incredibly quickly.

In the MTC they have auditions for those who would like to use their talents in meetings and devotionals. Joseph suggested that Joshua be prepared with something to audition with when he goes on his mission. I'm sure that advice would apply to any of his friends who are going to the MTC in the near future. He said that David Archuletta had sung for one of their meetings and when Daniel was in the MTC, he wrote that Elizabeth Smart played the harp in one of their meetings.

I also thought it interesting that the missionaries are instructed that they are not to initiate a gospel conversation while traveling on the airplane to their mission. Of course they can talk about it if the other person initiates the conversation though.

If you were aware of the April Fool's joke, I asked Joseph about that also. (If you don't know about it, ask Cameron, Daniel, or Katie. I'm sure they'll be happy to explain.) I told him that some of us thought it might be kind of mean but he said that he knew right away it wasn't for real even if the invitation did look pretty professional.

Joseph has always had a very positive perspective on life and he is certainly taking that with him to Japan as a missionary. Of course, like all missionaries, he loves to receive mail and will appreciate letters from everyone who takes time to write. As soon as I have an updated address, I'll post it on this blog.


April 24, 2012

Hey everyone I'm finally in Japan. Today we are mainly having orientations all day. Tonight I will find out my area and who my trainer is so that's exciting. We passed out cards for an English class later tonight. Some people started asking me questions about it and I wasn't sure how to respond so I just kept pointing at the card. I understood about half of what they were saying. My p-day is going to be on Monday most likely so I'll let you know how the first week and everything else goes then. I love you all! Elder Gandy P.S. Oh, and I got the card you sent. Thank you!

April 21, 2012

Dear Family, So this is my last letter home from the MTC. By the time you get this I might already be in Japan. That is so great to hear about everything going on back at home. Oh, and by the way, I do know an Elder McConnell. He is actually in the same room I'm in and we'll be going on the same flights to Fukuoka. That's funny that you met someone who knows him.

Well, this last week has been great. We had a fireside with M. Russell Ballard earlier this week. I learned so much this week through all of the meetings I've been to and also through personal study. We also had a meeting with a former mission president from Fukuoka and he talked a lot about some prophecies that have been made about the gospel in Japan. I feel so honored to be going to Japan and wouldn't want to go anywhere else. I already have a great love for the people there.

The other day we had an in-field orientation and they talked about some of the best things missionaries should focus on doing. One of them was working with the members. When a member becomes part of the teaching process it gives them a friend in the ward. The more help the missionaries get, the easier it makes their job. Another thing I learned this week was during companionship study. We decided to study accountability and most of the time people look at it in kind of a negative way - like I'm accountable for sins and mistakes I make which is a good thing to recognize so you can fix it and progress. But I think I'd rather look at accountability differently. We can also be accountable for the good things we do in life. So I'd rather look back on a week and say, "Yeah, I was accountable for that and have no regrets." With this point of view I always want to be doing my best.

I also had a really awesome dream earlier this week. In my dream there was this huge hill and all around the hill was just flat land. The top of the hill was just covered with light. You couldn't really see what was up at the top but you could feel the light kind of like the sun. As I climbed the hill there were obstacles I had to pass but, as I got closer to the light, the more I could see and the better understanding I had. While I was on the hill, I looked around and saw thousands of people gathered going up the hill and others just standing in the field not knowing where to go. In my dream, not losing my progress on the hill, I could come down and help people recognize the light and all they needed to do was turn around. They could feel it but just didn't look in the right direction. As a missionary this is what I'm going out to do - help people see the goal in life and how to get there. There will be obstacles and things that seem to get in the way but we can overcome anything that is in our path. It's after those hard times that we begin to understand more and feel God's love more in our lives.

I feel so blessed to serve the Lord and can't wait to help my fellow brothers and sister in Japan. I love you all very much and keep you in my prayers. Love, Elder Gandy

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 13, 2012

Dear Family,

It sounds like everything is going well back home. So a lot has happened this week. Easter Sunday was amazing. We had a special sacrament meeting with the entire MTC and President Packer was presiding. He and his son talked to us about the Savior and His resurrection. President Packer also talked to us about how we should always look up to our Father in Heaven especially for guidance. We also had a devotional on Tuesday by Bro. McMullin who just got released from the presiding bishopric. He talked a lot about the power of the spirit. Another thing I learned from his talk was that Heavenly Father has been preparing his children long before to receive the gospel. We can be tools in his hands to bring to pass this great work.

I also got the chance to be a host on Wednesday and help a new missionary around on his first day. It was great to help him out and encourage him. But the most exciting thing that happened was that I got my travel plans yesterday. So I leave early on the 23rd, fly to Seattle then to Tokyo and then to Fukuoka. I will be arriving in Fukuoko late at night on the 24th. So I will have lots of travel time. This also means that I only have one more letter to send from the MTC which means this week is the last time I can receive letters in the MTC.

The MTC has been a great experience and I love it here. I've learned so much and felt the spirit so strongly. Time has really just flown by and I'm so excited to go to Japan and to preach the word to the people there. I hope that I may be able to follow the spirit and find the people that have been prepared by God. I'm so excited to go forth and serve my fellowman with all my might. I love you all and keep you in my prayers.

Elder Gandy

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 6, 2012

Dear Family,

Everything is going great. So this last Wednesday we got a bunch of new missionaries in our branch. We actually had to translate for some of the Japanese missionaries and we'll just say it went all right. I still can't say everything I want to but I can carry a small simple conversation. I'm so excited to go to Japan and serve the people there. It's crazy to think that I have a little less than 3 weeks left here in the MTC. Hopefully my Japanese gets a little better before I leave.

So General Conference in the MTC was amazing. I felt like I could relate to every single talk. Singing in the choir was an awesome opportunity to have. It was nice to see the outside world for a bit but then it was good to be back in the MTC at the same time. Listening to conference helped me remember experiences that I've had throughout my life. During Pres. Packer's talk I remembered the time in elementary when I saved a kid from drowning and another time in Jr. High when me and some friends found a kid freezing in the snow so we all took off our jackets to help keep him warm. I thought of those times when I served others for their temporal needs. Now I will be serving others more for what they need spiritually. When we look having an eternal perspective on things we come to realize the real importance of everyone's needs. While being here in the MTC we learn that our main focus is to help people come closer to Christ and we do this by finding and helping them with their spiritual needs. This gospel is truly amazing in very simple ways. Sometimes we focus too much on deep doctrine and forget about how great the plain and simple things are. As I've been learning Japanese I really have to simplify everything so I can get the message across. It is the simple things that have great importance.

I love you all so very much.

Elder Gandy

P.S. Happy Easter!

Monday, April 2, 2012

March 30, 2012

Dear Family,

This week has been great. So earlier this week one elder in my zone showed me how to make a ramen burrito. It's amazing. So how you make it is you crush up the ramen and put some hot water in the bag and mix the flavoring in with it. You let the noodles soak it up until it's soft. Then you get as much juice out as possible. After that you squish it all together and put some heavy books on top of it and let it sit for ten minutes or so.

It was also an elder in my district's birthday earlier this week so we celebrated with cake and everything. We get along really well, not only in my district but in the zone as well.

This week I learned a lot about faith and the power of words. Faith is an essential part of the gospel. That should be the very first thing we need to help our investigators develop. Once they have faith in Christ and his atonement then everything else comes so much easier. That's why faith is the first principle of the gospel. I also learned that the word of God has a greater effect on people. We have a great opportunity to listen to his word through his servants this weekend. Since I have been here I've noticed how great an effect the spirit has on people. When we teach lessons I notice that the best and strongest point is when we share experiences and share our testimonies with them.

I love being here and I love everyone back at home and will be praying for you always.

Elder Gandy