Alex Fuller's Mission to Japan

Alex at MTC From June 2006 to June 2008, Alex is serving
a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints in the Japan Tokyo
South and Japan Nagoya Missions.
(click pic to enlarge)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Shimizu is a Cool Place!

Hello from Shimizu Japan, part of Shizuoka I am doing very well. It`s actually relatively warmer down here than it was in Toyko. Maybe 50 Degrees, or something like that. We wear gloves and sweaters at night, but it really isn`t too bad. The weirdest thing is that japan doesn`t believe in something I`ve used my entire life: daylight savings time. I think the clocks are off by about 3 hours here. The sun rises around 3 or 4 am and sets by 5pm. It is very confusing. I think it is yet another joke on eveyone who doesn`t grow up in Japan.

Shimizu is a very different place, though I am starting to love it already. In my previous area, around 100 people came to church every sunday. This last sunday in Shimizu there were 28. A little smaller. The church is an old firestation so it has a giagantic garage. It`s nice though and the ward is very strong. Apparently there was a member who apostatisized a few years ago and offended a LOT of members, so the only ones left are the very strong members. It`s rather sad. Of 597 people on the ward list, 28 come to church. Kind of the story of Japan, but yet, it still is an amazing place. Church was fast and testimony meeting so I was the first one to talk. I introduced myself (lots of people know kansas city because of the Royals, how weird is that?) and then bore my testimony. I talked extensively about how the point of the gospel is happiness. The point of the church, the purpose of us as missionaries, even the very purpose of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is to make us happy. I shared one of my favorite scriptures, Mosiah 2:41 and then closed my comments. I sat down realizing that I had just talked for about 10 minutes straight, in Japanese, never struggling for a word once, and speaking my thoughts and feelings just as I would in English. I can never deny that I was blessed with the Gift of Tongues through the Holy Ghost. I am so increadibly blessed here.

The members who followed me were amazing. There was a recent convert who has only been a member for about a year, who got up and talked for her first time in church. She bore a powerful witness. There is a family whose father is Canadian and the mother is Japanese named the Palmers. They have three amazing kids. The Dad, who has very good Japanese and is in ward leadership aslo got up and talked for a bit. His Japanese was the only I understood all the way. Japanese is such fun, just like rocket science is fun. ANd advanced calculus.

So the ocean is gorgeous. We`ll be riding our bikes and I`ll look to my left and see deep blue for miles and miles. On my right are mountains and moutains and an ominous Mt. Fuji towering over the others. Mt> Fuji is amazing and majestic. It is increadibly tall and commanding. I`ll try to send some pictures home sometime of it, but it`s hard to describe just how noticable it is. When I first saw it I couldn`t look at anything else. It is quite a beauty of nature.

So there aren`t too many people that we teach right now. We have one very good investigator that is an older guy who really likes the church, but just doesn`t want to join yet. He`s through half of the Book of Mormon, Alma 46, and he`s still "50 \ 50" on whether it is the word of God or not. I am not sure how to help him see the how amazing the book is, but hopefully we`ll be able to do it.

Most of what we do is try to visit inactive members, especially since there are so many. This presents with it some very fun stories. There are lots of crazy people in life sometimes.

The biggest difference than Tokyo is that the streets have very few people on them so it`s a lot harder to teach lots of people. In Tokyo, you can just go to a train station and teach scores of people. Here, it`s a little more relying on the spirit and a lot more bike riding.

So Elder Doxey is a way cool guy. He has a sleeping disorder called narcolepsy which sounds a lot worse than it is. It just means he can fall asleep whenever he wants to and needs something to wake him up. For me that means I have to wake him up periodically though our morning study and do a lot of stuff on my own. I don`t mind though, but is certainly is helping my self-discipline. If i want to sleep I can, but I try hard not too. I`ve never realized how tiring it is to have someone sleeping in the same room. It is so hard to stay awake. However, I have been doing well.

Elder Doxey also has some very, very cool CDs. He has a musical called "The Garden" which is a metaphorical musical about Christ`s atonement which is very good. He also has 16 lectures by Mariom G Romney on the Prophet Joseph Smith on Cds. I`ve only heard the first four -- we usually listen to them during dinner or something -- but they are amazing. There are so many things I learn about him and so many proofs that this man was a prophet of God. It is so fun to learn. The best are the stories that just show how human he really was and how he disregarded all the centuries of false traditions our society has. It is interesting because he was able to follow Christ`s example so well. It is another way to look at Christ by studying His chosen servant. And they`re funny at times too.

Overall I am doing really well. It`s fun to get reports of snow at home because I haven`t seen a single flake yet. I also don`t think I will this entire Christmas here in Shimizu.

The work is moving forward. There are many obstacles to spreading the gospel, but that is why it must be done. Satan is prevailing for a season and as Christ`s servants are sent forth to prepare the way, His arm is manifested in our daily lives. I see miracles. I see people`s lives touched. I see the Holy Spirit touch people`s hearts and I see that crucial moment where they have to make a decision. Many make the decision to ignore, but when I see the glimpse of fire in someone`s eyes because they accept and let in that powerful Spirit that testifies of our message, my heart also burns and I rejoice.

This is a work of miracles. Truly the greastest miracle in our lives is accepting the truth. I know I will see success as I continue to labor to help people, to make people happy.

In the end, everything is about happiness. Happiness comes through truth. As a Latter-Day Saint and a true seeker of The Way, The Truth and The Life, I seek to embrace every eternal truth. Confucious and Buddha were indeed inspired men who taught many principals that incorporated eternal truths. As we come to people`s houses and offer to add more truths which the restored Gospel of Jesus hrist holds, it is natural for them to reject us because outwardly we seem unfamilair. However, as I have found and learned, the good values that they all want to live by were and are taught by Christ and His servants the prophets. They only teach them better and purer with more. It is amazing when peope realize that. Religion isn`t just about God, it`s about all truth with the goal to bring happiness. That true happiness can come as we return home, with our Father who sent us here.

I love you all and hope you too find that happiness that transcends all limitations. I appreciate deeply your prayers and support.

Elder Alexander Todd Fuller
Tokyo South Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
1-7-7 Higashi-Cho Kichijoji
Musashino-Shi Tokyo JAPAN


At 12:04 PM, Anonymous David Rogers said...

Hello. My name is David Rogers and I live in Hillsboro Oregon. 24 years ago this April I got off the train in Shimizu Japan after my first transfer in the mission field (where does time go!?). What a pleasure it was to run across this blog regarding Elder Fuller's mission. I hope that I am not intruding and would like to continue to follow his mission. If I recall correctly, we probably had about the same number of members attending Church with us at that time. The three months that I spent in Shimizu were difficult but enjoyable. There were us two elders and a set of sisters. At that time we did not tracking or house to house contact. All contact was done at the train station and since it was a rural station, trains only came every 30 minutes or so. All this brings back lots of memories.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger Alex's Dad said...

Hi David! Thanks for the comment! I will pass it along to Alex! It was about 26 years ago when I entered the mission field in Montreal, Canada. Alex is my first son to serve a mission so you are exactly right, it brings back great memories from the mission field. That is so neat that you were in the same place he is now. You are more than welcome to follow along with this missionary blog! Having been there, if you have any good ideas or suggestions about how we can better support Alex, let us know! Thanks again! -Todd

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please forward to Alex - I am truly going to send these two letters I've written! I simply have no means to until I'm back in KC for Christmas. I pray that the Spirit of Christ continues to fill your heart and soul and tongue each day you spend in Shimizu, and I'm so thankful that you can enjoy the wonders of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and Mt. Fuji. You KNOW I'm jealous about that :)
Joy, Peace, and Love during this holiday season, Erin


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