Tuesday, July 3, 2018

たまたま (by chance) Run-ins with Big Boss from Tokyo – week 97


We had some pretty cool stuff this week, it was a little stressful at parts but pretty fun.

We saw a HUGE miracle this week, me and Elder Lawrence went to check off one of the two remaining ramens for the ramen challenge, and Elder Lawrence, who isn’t really a ramen fan, had something funny happen. He ordered a chashu-don (pork chunks on rice?) and a set of 10 gyouza (pot-stickers), so a LOT of food, and the homies in the kitchen messed up and accidentally brought him a really really large ramen as well. When they realized they’d goof’t, they just said “it’s on the house”, so he had to try to eat ALL of it and NEARLY died but actually enjoyed it, so that’s a FEW miracles right there.

We got stuck in a gazebo in a park with a couple moms who really didn’t want to talk to us and a bunch of kids that did because of a super sudden rainstorm.

We had a couple super sweet lessons this week too. One was with our homie Aichirou who’s just coming back to church, we talked about faith and he’s really genuinely seeking the truth and trying to find what’s right and it was just a powerful lesson. We also had a lesson with the two deaf homies in the ward, Ikeno 兄弟 (Sister Ikeno) and Habuki 姉妹 (Brother Habuki), they’re soooo great. They’re some of the most kind and genuine people I know, truly good without guile. Sister Habuki told us all about her recent journey to get back into contact with her siblings who she hasn’t seen in years, and I congratulated her in the best sign language I could muster. It’s crazy that she’s been able to get back in contact with a couple of them, there were so many little miracles with that and it really just speaks to me that God is in the details. The other lesson that actually went pretty good was with our homie Kanae down in Fukushima, I was nervous for that for a ton of reasons, but it turned out great and it seems like he has a legitimate desire to find out if our message is the real deal, and he came right out and talked about his concerns at the beginning, so I think he is actually on track to get baptized on the 15th.

So fun stuff, President Nagano from the Tokyo Mission who was released just a couple days ago happened to pop in to church right as we were in Fukushima. Well, we didn’t miss the train, but what I DID miss was my nametag (the train was dang early cut me some slack), so we might not have left the best first impression on him but it’s chill, the lesson was still good.

The big thing that I’ve really reinforced my knowledge on this past week is that faith is a principal of action. If we let ourselves stop hoping and desiring and believing that we can see success and miracles and awesome stuff, we’ll either be going on half-heartedly or just stop working and pushing ourselves. However, when we have faith and truly believe that God loves us and has the power to help us in our lives, we’ll put in the work necessary as well and really truly have that help. With our lesson with Kanae I had a lot of negativity trying to keep me from believing he could really experience the change necessary for baptism and telling me that I wasn’t good enough to teach and help him, but if we rely on God and bring what we have to the table with a faithful heart and contrite spirit, it’ll always be enough.

Take care yo,

Elder Orgill (オーギル長)

Elder Orgill hiding behind two tall sister missionaries at the Koriyama Zone Conference (snagged from Facebook)

We're talking excitement: Elder Orgill's favorite Yamagata ramen shop has a summer campaign where if you verify that you have eaten 5 of their different ramen varieties, that you will get a "mystery" new ramen flavor for free! Just to make sure he nailed it, it looks like he ate 7 ramen so there would be no questions that he qualified. He is looking forward to the new flavor!!

Yes, and the week would not be complete with a picture of a ramen, or better yet, two!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Happiness is plants that satisfy the five senses. (Really specific plant name from Kyuushuu [the southern main island in Japan] I can’t read) -- week 96

Hey-diddle-ho, y’all, didn’t see you there! (Note: Elder Orgill is a huge fan of Ned Flanders from the Simpsons)

It’s my goal to put the word y’all’d’ve or y’all’d’ven’t in this email somewhere.

This week we went to Fukushima TWICE, so feel free to make as many “you have a glow about you” jokes as you want. (Fukushima is near to where the nuclear reactor is that was impacted by the big earthquake in 2011; the many miles around the reactor are completely uninhabitable) We had Zone Conference which was WAY good, and then we actually attended on Sunday to teach an investigator there who we were able to make a  BAPTISMAL  DATE with which  means  we're probably  going  back  next  week  to teach  him  again. His name is Kanae(金江)which is actually a really rare name but kinda cool. Excited to work with him, he seems like a really pure guy with pure heart, legit down to try our message out.

So two other notable lessons for the week, one with a recent convert who moved from an old area, another with a recently returned less active member. They were similar in some respects (hey you’ve spent some time away from church but try this faith thing(“try it” he said. “No” they all said. “Tryyyyyyy ittttt” he said. “No”, they said, a little quieter this time.)) Except they were polar opposites. Homie #1 has had nothing but bad influences for six straight months, and he has honest to goodness lost the light. If you’d known him before, y’all’dn’t’ve believed someone could change so much and become so negative. He wants to take a month away from the church (he’s already had six) to “””””test things out”””””, if things get WORSE, it means the Church (which isn’t his life at all) is not for him, if things get BETTER (while he’s doing nothing having to do with the church), that’ll mean he should go back to church. Yeah, I’m still scratching my head on that one to. It has really been a testimony to me of the influence the friends you keep have on you, as well as what a lack of spiritual nourishment can do to you. Really sad. On the other hand, Homie #2 was way chill. There was some really interesting stuff with some common experiences between me and Elder Lawrence and him, but basically he’s got some fears and concerns at this point, but he’s totally down to try and think  and as invited in Alma 32 “exert your knowledge and try the word” or however it’s phrased in English (「能力を尽くして言葉を試し」). We read a little bit of that Alma 32 towards the end of the lesson, and read that part about really exerting yourself and thinking upon the word and testing it and he just paused and started to tear up, he said “it really feels like God is acknowledging what I’m doing right now”, and that was way cool, the spirit was super strong. Love that dude, just gotta work on getting the rest of the family activated 

We missed the change-up on our train on Sunday and ended up taking off again in the opposite direction (we hit the end of the line for the train we were on I guess), and panicked and jumped off at the first stop north of Yonezawa, took another train back down, and then had to take a Shinkansen to Fukushima because of train timings in very rural areas, but it got me thinking a little bit about the classic Ron Robinson quote “if you don’t change directions, you’ll get where you’re going”. Or, in this case, “if you don’t change trains, you’ll end up back where you started”. Sometimes we make mistakes or are on the “wrong train” or the wrong path, but realizing quickly and doing what we can to fix it will help us get to the final destination. Sometimes with bad habits or inattention to our lives we can end up going in a direction that’s not so good, but that’s one of the reasons I love having committed to read my scriptures every day, it reminds me every day to take an introspective look at my life and no-BS (BSn’t?) think about what I’m doing and where I’m going and what I need to do to get where I want to go. I asked that a recent convert to the church where he was pointed or if he had any goals or anything, and he’s just like “nah I try NOT (tryn’t?) to think about that, just live for what I can and go where the current takes me” and I get the “go where the current takes me” type of thinking and there is merit to that to an extent (having chill, following the spirit, achieving ikigai), but the current’s gonna sweep you towards a waterfall eventually so you at least gotta swim a few strokes or maybe even get to shore. But yo, think about where you’re going and where you want to go and if it doesn’t line-up, change course homies 

Thanks for reading my rambling all the time, by the way.

Just since I know you guys LOVE crazy Elder Orgill stories, here’s one more... So in interviews I was talking to President Sekiguchi about different finding methods (finding is 90% of what we do) and I mentioned how it’s just kind of mentally/emotionally draining for me to do “street contactingbut I still felt guilty because I should do it and he’s like “nah, Elder Orgill don’t do streeting. You’re a crazy guy, you don’t even have to do normal finding. You can just do interesting things and plan activities and meet and talk with people, just make sure you find promised and prepared people.” And that got me thinking    Nothing toooo much came of it (well, last Monday’s miracle of the straight homie we found), but yesterday we were having a kind of tough day and studies went long and we just kinda dragged our feet out of the apartment like “well, let’s go do SOMETHING” but I prayed for guidance on how we could find prepared people and so we could follow the spirit, and whaddya know, we’re riding our bikes and an idea pops into my head. I’m like “Elder Lawrence, I have an idea, just trust me on this one”. So we went into the 100 yen shop, got a whiteboard and some markers, and basically went around asking people  “What is happiness, according to you?” And had them write it on the board and took their picture. We didn’t get too many homies, since there wasn’t too much time, but we met a couple really cool people and everybody was a lot more receptive and nice (well there were some no-chill (chilln’t) people but whatev), and it was just really nice to talk to people like that. We met this one grandpa too who went super into depth about all his Bonsai and was like “yo if you want a tree or something I’ll hit you up”, so I’m thinking we go over there some time again this week and just talk to him and have him teach us and maybe another young friend how to do Bonsai because he said he’s totally down to teach us.

So here’s a challenge from it: I want to get as many pictures as possible for the “Happiness is...” to make a video for it, so ANYBODY WHO READS THIS PLEASE get a piece of paper or a whiteboard, write “happiness is ....” with your thing (I wrote ramen, you know me), take a picture of you holding it (or just of the board itself), and send it to my email Jonathan.orgill@myldsmail.net or my facebook messenger, either one works. Do it, get your friends to do it, and we’re gonna work and get it to straight blow up here in Yamagata too this week, it’s gonna be a straight party.

Anyway, love you guys, keep it real,

Elder Orgill (オーギル長老)

Let's get the weekly ramen photo out of the way -- Musouan with that good shiru-nashi

Fukushima sky ((aesthetic))

New thunder - cookie and salty vanilla ice cream

"Best picture I have ever taken"

41-story building in the same picture as rice paddies, nice

“My name is Urg, and I like to party”

Bus homies, his selfie game is trash

Happiness is Jiro-style ramen -- who would have guessed?

Uplifting Grandpa who is into bonsai

Made some homemade udon noodles this week

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

*guitar solo* -- week 95

Heyo, what’s good F A M I L Y?

This week was sick; me and Elder Lawrence tore it up in Yamagata. We met some STRAIGHT homies this week and got dropped by some others but that’s ok.

Ya boy Igarashi...... Dropped us. I’m not sure what happened, but I guess he had a bad day or something and texted us saying “hey today is bad, if you come I will get violently angry” and that’s what happened. We missed the text, but he talked to us for a sec and then just suddenly yelled 「帰れ!帰れ!」 (go home! go home!) as loud as humanly possible and shut the door with all the strength he could muster. Yeah he dropped us after a loooong time of me trying to help him all the way back from my days as a brand new missionary with Elder Barr, but it’s chill. That’s the circle of life.

I went on splits with Elder Hisaka and he’s a beast, we met a bunch of cool people and talked to a ton of people and went to ramen together because he likes ramen almost as much as I do. I had one called the 「爆肉」, “meat explosion”, and it was G R E A T, it’s actually the same as the one I made Elder Lawrence eat. So there’s actually this challenge going on with my favorite ramen shop (I don’t have favorites there are too many) where if you get all five of the current “Fuji ramen” ramens stamped/eaten, you get to try the NEW MYSTERY FLAVOR that comes out in July for FREE. I am SO EXCITED.

We had interviews with President Sekiguchi and he’s a straight G (“gangster” which we sincerely doubt …), he gave me a bunch of solid advice on a bunch of things and it was chill. And after that we went out and had just a bit of finding time in the evening, and after a week of not really finding too many people we felt like going to this one apartment, and we met SUCH a chill homie. We kinda tried changing it up and really talking to him normally rather than full-on church housing mode, and it was really cool because he really opened up and talked to us and we got really really tight and although he doesn’t have tooo much interest in the church, we have a foot in the door and there’s definitely a seed of interest there. And then since we exchanged Lines too, he sent a super chill nice line in the evening like “I know missionary work and stuff is probably hard but good luck yo, also let’s go get ramen sometime!!!” And I’m like “I like this guy”. In his conversation he slipped in one word which it took a little while for me to catch, but he threw out the word “goen”, which is kind of like fate. The conversation moved on before I could ask what he meant by it, he just kind of brought it up in passing as a “do you know what this means?” but I was feeling it and there’s no doubt he was feeling it too. There are things in our life that feel like they are by chance, and there are things which feel like they might make no sense or be totally chaotic, but in reflection of the past week for me and the past two years as a whole, I have no doubt EVERY STEP of the way has been guided by a loving Heavenly Father. He knows us. He knows what we are struggling with and what we need. He isn’t afraid to show us a little tough love and let us fall flat on our faces when we’re getting ahead of ourselves, but He’s there to pick us back up, dust us off, give us a hug, and point us in the right direction. Meeting Okada yesterday wasn’t a coincidence, but it wouldn’t have happened the way it did if I didn’t have the week of humbling/eye-opening experiences that I did. God knows us, loves us, and things are SO much easier and less stressful when we just trust in Him.

Love you guys, have a güd week!

Elder Orgill (オーギル長老)

Wow, industrial aesthetic

Went on splits with this devilishly handsome madman, we tore it up (and this counts for the weekly obligatory ramen picture)



Never forget where you came from (for me, I was manufactured in the G-Factory -- what a gangster!)

Monday, June 11, 2018

This week we saw a lot of sunsets. - week 94

What’s good f@mily?

It’s ya boy Elder Orgill.

This week was pretty dang cool, my new homie is Elder Lawrence from Minnesota, the land of ice fishing. He doesn’t ice fish, though. Anyway, he’s super funny and it’s a party in the apartment too because his trainer was actually Elder Marshall, so it’s like a Elder Marshall mission “family reunion” up in here. WAY lit. We’re basically two peas in a pod except..... uh oh.... he doesn’t like ramen?!?!?!

So you know me, I had to fix that, so I took him out to our favorite, the classic, the old faithful of ramen joints, Yuushouken, “the house of total victory”. And made him eat a limited time only “meat explosion” ramen. He’s kind of getting into it. Next stop: Tamaya Zero-Shiki for that GOOD shiru-nashi mazesoba (soupless mixed noodles) if you catch my drift.

He really really likes high-fiveing little kids too, and we’ve ran into a weirdly amount of really chill really cute little kids in different spots this week.

The week before last at the President Choi conference, he promised that if we ate fermented soybeans, (natto) every day, that we would have better language skills and be able to connect better with the people. I put that to the test a couple days this week and pounded a pack of Natto before studying a couple days this week, and subsequently had two of the best language study sesh’s of my mission.

The work was a little slow this week, but it’s chill because I know there are some super chill, super prepared homies waiting for our message somewhere in Yamagata; we just gotta find ‘em when the timing is right.

There’s this quote I really like, “there’s no growth in a comfort zone, and no comfort in a growth zone”. By doing things we might be uncomfortable with, or sucking it up and dealing with the hard things in life, or just dealing with not fun stuff, it’s pretty cool because you’re constantly increasing your capacity to deal with stuff and becoming stronger and better and learning. I’ve been thinking back on a lot of stuff and thinking about how I want to spend the last couple of months of my mission as well, and I can honestly say I’ve learned a LOT. The experiences I’m most grateful for and mean the most to me mostly come from the times where I felt like I was really stretching and I was a bit out of my league in a sense.

Love you guys, have a good week!

Elder Orgill (オーギル長老)

Editors note: we got captions this week so I won't be taking any creative license ...

Flower Aesthetic

Sunset aesthetic

Doing studies on a bench in a slightly overgrown park aesthetic

“I don’t like ramen” not any more fam

This literally had six forms of garlic in it (fried, chip, chopped,
grated, charred, soaked in soy sauce, would’ve been seven if I’d added
the 特製ニンニク醤油 special garlic soy sauce to it), took about six types of
mints as well to get me back to being able to talk to people without a
30 foot gap between us

Sunset aesthetic pt.2


Yeah ya boy hit us up with that gud Tonkatsu shoutout Hayasaka

Straight up drift car, the homie invited us to his race in Sendai this month

Sunset pt.3

Rainy day housing aesthetic

Random jinja (shrine) aesthetic

Monday, June 4, 2018

“If you eat natto every day your language skills will get better” -- week 93

Editor's note: no explanation on the title or the photos - he seems distracted. So for context, natto is sticky slimy fermented soybeans which many people (even Japanese) find difficult to eat; it is an acquired taste.

Hey you guys want to hear a joke??

So we’re talking to Brother Fowler in the ward on Sunday, and he asks his wife “who’s the best man in the world” and she comes back with “you I guess...”. And then he comes back with “hah no, trick question! You’re supposed to say Jesus!”. So they’re way cool and have this baby boy named Elija. So he asks “well who’s the best baby in the world??” “Elija...” “Hah tricked again, you were supposed to say BABY Jesus”.

This week was really cool, we had a conference with Elder Choi from the Area Presidency, and he’s awesome. He did that talk in General Conference a couple years ago where he talked about his time as a mission president in Seattle and told the missionaries to look up and drink the rain, and had his famous phrase “if you don’t like it, like it!”. Words to live by. Anyway, his conference was great and I got to have a couple brief exchanges with him as well, but he’s really funny and put together guy, but more than that, he testified like a prophet of the Lord. I went into it with a LOT of questions and a lot of things on my mind, and I felt myself receive answers both through the things he talked and talked about, as well as answers coming into my mind of completely unrelated things. It really confirmed to me that God answers prayers. I feel like I got a lot of answers to problems I didn’t even realize I had, but what he said and what I felt was exactly what I needed to fix what was the root of other problems. Anyway, this starting to get a little abstract, but to put it simply is that one of the important things I relearned this week was that you can talk about and explain anything, but unless taught by the Spirit it’s going to have almost zero meaning. It’s not words that help you understand something from a new perspective, it’s a thirst for knowledge accompanied by the Holy Ghost that brings fresh understanding that honestly does feel like a cool drink on a hot day. Anybody could read my notes from the conference and not feel anything, but when I read them and remember what I felt when I got answers, even those answers don’t really sound like anything special, I feel something because they’re specially tailored for me and come with a blessing attached as well.

We hiked a mountain this week with some ward members and eikaiwa (English conversation class) people and friends and it was way cool. I had a friend I made six weeks ago right before I transferred here (literally right before, it was when we were eating lunch on transfer day) and he came to eat ramen and climb the mountain with us and it was awesome, he’s way chill. A friend of ramen is a friend of mine. After we climbed to the top, we all said a prayer for a member who was hospitalized, and her grandson, a less active for 10 or so years, said the prayer and seemed pretty moved. The next day he came to church and actually shared his testimony in testimony meeting about how he’s had a little bit of a change of heart in just the last couple days. His is one of three or so reactivations I’ve seen while I’ve been here, and it’s REALLY cool to see.

Ya boy Elder Strate is off to Kitakami and I’m sad to see him go, but Elder Lawrence is gonna come here and he’s way fun so I’m confident it’s going to be a party.

Love you guys, have a good week

Elder Orgill (オーギル長)

Any guesses on who the guy on the left is? (courtesy of Strate's Facebook post)

Supreme eye protection provided by ripe bananas

And they found the one person in Japan who thought this was a cool idea

Ramen time again

Team Orgill/Strate (courtesy of Strate's Facebook post)

Team Orgill/Strate in front of a giant Japanese chess (shogi) piece (courtesy of Strate's Facebook post again)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Adventure is out there -- week 92

So y’all wanna hear something funny??

This last week we had district p-day which was SWEET, we went up to Tendou and saw where they do the ningen shougi  (Japanese chess with human chess pieces) and ate some solid ramen and went to the mall and it was a party but yo there was one thing which was SUUUPER funny I gotta tell y’all about. So we were talking and Elder Strate is really into basketball and we were making juke jokes and kept saying “break your ankles”. Elder Nishida was part of a little bit of a different conversation but he was picking up segments and looking really really confused. So he asks us later that night “hey so what were you guys talking about because it sounded like you were saying 円交 over and over” and we’re like “what?” So it turns out there’s a work, “Enkou” 円交, which is 円 for money and 交 for to exchange/mix/trade, but that 交わる also has nuances of intimate relations, so it’s kind of a rare word but it means prostitution. And every time he heard us say “ankle”, he thought we were saying “円交” and thus he was really really confused and we cleared it up and laughed a bunch.

We did some fun finding this week and met some cool homies. We were up in Tendou and we knocked on the door and this homie with blue hair comes out and she’s like “日本語話せない” (I don’t speak Japanese) in Japanese to two very white foreigners. Turns out she’s from Florida and in the Air Force and way chill and has a lot of Mormon friends and coworkers, so we told her to hit that up if she got the chance. Oh yeah, she was there because she was visiting her mom who’s an English teacher, but weird to run into an American while housing in a decently rural spot in japan. We hit up Kaminoyama yesterday too, and saw a really solid miracle. Due to some things our time got eaten up a little bit, but there were a lot of little things that led up towards the end of the night. I was confident we could find another investigator, and an area I thought had promise ended up having nothing but waaaaay old houses, but I had Elder Strate hit up a prayer and we went where he was feeling. We had just a bunch of rejection and were gonna hit another house or two and go home and we ended up skipping a couple to go towards these couple. And right before we were about to head back we felt like we should hit one more, and the guy wasn’t super super interested, but he said we could come back next week at the same time and just give kind of a five minute introduction to some stuff, so that means we at least have his ear for five minutes which is a lot more than we can get from most people. But it was really solid, I set the goal and tried to exercise faith until the end and treat everyone as if they’re the next person we’re going to lead to baptism and the very last door of the night yielded some results, which is sweet. Goals + planning + persistence + faith = good.

Last week we tried to eat some interesting stuff, so we ate whale meat, crickets, and chicken cartilage. Good, I recommend all three. Especially the cartilage, they serve it at yakitori stands and it’s crunchy and flavorful and the best.

And yo I got to go to stake conference and meet a bunch of homies that I know from the FOUR wards/branches in the Sendai Stake that I’ve served in, as well as the people from Fukushima because I’ve visited there as well. It was lit.

We did companion and language study on top of the big hill in the center of Tendou too this week.

Adventure is out there, y’all,

Elder Orgill (オーギル長老)

Let's get this out of the way -- the weekly ramen pic

Above the little town of Tendou

Yamagata district missionaries

Eating onigiri (rice balls wrapped in dried seaweed) above Tendou

More Tendou

Bonus ramen pic!

Not sure what this is other than it is food and it is not whale meat, cartilage, or crickets

Elder Orgill and Elder Strate with an unidentified individual from BYU wandering around Yamagata

Monday, May 21, 2018

“I might not live in Tendou, but this week was a 'ten' though” -- week 91

Hey y’all this is gonna be short cause we had a really fun District P-Day (preparation day – his one day where he has a few hours off) this week, we headed up to Tendou and saw the huge place where they do ningen shogi (Japanese chess with human chess pieces) and ate ramen and hiked and went to the mall and it was a 10/10 great balance and a lot of fun.

Me and Elder Strate were thinking we wanted to up the adventure this week, so we rode up to Tendou and down to Kaminoyama to hit up some homies who probably very very rarely meet missionaries and it was great. It was fun to bike there since the weather is great, and we met some cool people and everybody was really nice. We are thinking we want to spend a lot of time outdoors from now on and do as much of our studies and stuff outside as possible, we can meet a lot of chill people too doing it, it was awesome this week.

We’ve really been pushing hard, and with the three-month mark I’ve been thinking about pushing hard to the end. My mom did a 200-mile bike ride this last week cause she’s a beast, and I have been thinking about stamina and stuff. A lot of time I get tired out and worn out and want to take a break, but the more I push myself on the daily to hold out on resting and push through studies without falling asleep and push to do what’s necessary before what I want to do, it makes me stronger and stronger every day. And it’s the same thing spiritually, sometimes I feel like my faith is running out and door one hundred and something is just going to be the same thing as the last, but if I really push and remember the root of my faith and my actual belief in God and Him helping and providing for us, it helps me push through with faith and talk with more confidence and be happier and really enjoy dendou (proselyting).

This week was dope, love y’all,

Elder Orgill (オーギル長老)

No title needed

Engaged in his favorite activity


Yep, just do it (Nike rip-off, this looks like a cash loan center)

Living large in the mountains of northern Japan

It's a pug life

In the middle of nowhere, there is a 41-story building


Working in the "field"

Somebody has some trimming to do ...

Up on the rooftop overlooking Yamagata

Yamagata District missionaries

Too cool

Service project pulling weeds. Looks like there is a lot of work to be done, still.

And how could we not end the week without a picture of a bowl of noodles piled high with roasted meats?