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?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sneak Rejection -- week 90

So, I’ve been rejected a lot of different ways before, but yesterday was my first ever sneak-kekkou and it was glorious. We’re walking up to this house and a grandpa smoking on his porch behind a corner must’ve heard us and he hits us with the arm x and the “I’m Buddhist” from behind the corner and luckily, I wasn’t too hydrated because otherwise I would’ve straight peed my pants. 

We went to three days of a plant festival that was going on this last week and it was way cool, we went with some homies from Eikaiwa one day and it was super fun, we got to talk to a bunch of people and found some cool homies who are down to climb mountains with. And of course, you know we hit up all that good festival food including these corn dogs, except with mozzarella cheese instead of hot dogs in them. It was, as the kids say, ”lit”.

We’re trying to get one of our investigators to baptism but he is being a little difficult and not really taking us seriously, so we’re going to show him a little bit of tough love and give him a week off and see if he realizes that his life is sad and lonely without the light of the gospel. 

So, we were teaching him this week and I had a massive breakthrough/realization just through him normally talking and trying to teach. He was talking about how he didn’t want to go to church last week (and dipped) because he didn’t want to feel any guilt or regret. 

Sometimes we live in a way so we’re numb to regret and guilt by avoiding things that make us feel that. But that’s garbage, regret and guilt are the start to real change and finding the motivation to act. I wrote it a lot better in my journal this week, but basically remorse is the very first step to acting. Here’s a piece of what I wrote “I think remorse is one of the most powerful emotions we have if we use it right, and it’s the source of a lot of energy and motivation for change. If we get one step into it and feel overwhelmed because we’re guilty and we’ve wasted opportunities and made mistakes and we’re imperfect and all that, well, that’s the first step but we can’t start feeling sorry for ourselves and get depressed and wallow in our sorrow, we must move on from there. If we remember that we are children of God with infinite potential and the ability to change ourselves through the atonement, we can start to plan what needs to be done to change and take baby steps in putting that plan into action.

Guilt and remorse add that little pain after you miss doing something you should have done, it all hurts a little bit, but it sparks change and progress. However, if you never feel the negative effect of your mistakes, you’ll never learn and stop making them.”

It was one of those things that you can hear in a talk a billion times, but until you never really get it until you get it, and I learned it on another level this week which was WAY cool.

It was also the coolest thing ever to talk to my family yesterday, they’re way chill and I’m stoked to see them in a bit over 3 months (wow).

Have a good week,
Elder Orgill (オーギル長老)

This batch of pictures came with the following explanation:

"Just for the record this is a week and a half’s worth of ramen pics, we use it as a social thing, went with Tanno and Akiba and the other Elders (and I’m actually kind of on a natto/tofu diet lol)"

This one is titled "VICTORY"

The doesn't require a caption ...

Bowling with a friend

"I’ll let you guess who got 49..." | “Sports fact 1: Sometimes there’s crying in sports”

Yuushouken “Fuji ramen”

What happens when you let the 2-year-old take over on the Skype technology

We met number a member of Yamagata’s pro soccer team while housing and he was way chill

Sunset aesthetic

Haruuma’s “soupless junk”, actually way more light than I was expecting

English conversation class festival squad

“BLACK” ramen

Made some army homies

Karamiso ramen

Strate and Akiba, my homies

The lads

There was a challenge to see how long you can get your mozzarella stick to stretch...... and I just succeeded in looking really angry