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.

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