Monday, February 5, 2018

FRIED CHICKEN+RAMEN?!?!?!? -- week 76

Editor's note:  This past week, Elder Orgill crossed under the 200-days-until-he-is-home threshold. We expect him home in the evening on August 24th.

Hey everybody,

This week was really cool and really busy. We’ve been really busy with a lot of planning and preparation on a project which I think is still lowkey secret-ish, so that takes away about 90% of what I could write in this email, but there was other interesting stuff too.

This last Wednesday we had the testimony meeting for return missionaries, and I got to operate the little video-mixing rig for the Facebook stream, which was really fun and really cool. I monitored the sound and made sure it was balanced and controlled a couple of cameras (one of which had a bunch of remote-controlled zoom and move and stuff). It also gave me an excuse to go to the testimony meeting as well, which was cool because I’ve worked with all the missionaries that went home. And yeah, I definitely want to do a little bit with live video mixing in the future (there’s actually a flavor of DJ’ing that involves mixing your own video live along with your tracks which is pretty cool).

It was cool but sad to see the missionaries go home, I was especially tight with Elder Dance and it’s weird to think he’s not doing missionary work anymore. I’ve only got about seven months left as well, so my time is limited and before I know it I’ll be on a plane too, so I want to use the rest of my time as effectively as possible and see some major miracles, both in others and in the changes I make myself.

We went dinner this week at the Uchizawas’ house and wow, they’re amazing. They’re this adorable super happy fun couple in their 50’s with tons of love, and they’re pretty much couple goals, and then we learn this week that they’ve only been married for THREE YEARS. And Brother Uchizawa, who’s super strong and is like the backbone of this ward (well not the backbone but definitely one of the stronger ones, especially when it comes to member missionary work), has only been a member for about four years (I don’t remember exact numbers). That’s so cool! Anyway, they’re goals and I want to be a cute middle-aged couple like that at some point.

I’m pretty much out of things to write about, but I guess I could talk about food for a sec. Last week on p-day we went to Yakiniku Kingu as a district plus the Sekiguchis, and it was mind-blowing. This is the first time I’ve ever been out to higher quality yakiniku (Japanese barbecue), and I get what I’ve been missing. I went with mostly the 上カルビ (high-grade kalbi beef) and these mushroom-oyster-butter grillable pan things and various kinds of ホルモン (intestines and stuff), and it was awesome. Elder Nathan ate 10 steaks and 12 servings of French fries because he’s crazy. We also had ramen a couple of times. One of the ramens was at a rather interesting ramen shop that has a few interesting somewhat unique ramens. I went what is known as “汁無し鳥 which literally translates to “soupless chicken”, but it was essentially a lot of thick noodles with a strong chicken-tasting sauce (more of just a sauce in the bottom of the bowl rather than a soup) and a large piece of fried chicken on top. I don’t know what position I’d put it in on my top-five list, but it’s up there.

I want to testify just a little bit about a simple verse of scripture which I learned a bit about this week. Alma 34:32 reads: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” I had a bit of time this week where the workload was a little unbalanced between me and Elder Nathan for our various roles and I was stuck in the office trying to be productive and stay busy without much to do while he was swamped with work (that I couldn’t help with). It kinda sucked. And there were other days where I was drowning in things to do and I just went for it and got a ton of things done and it was awesome. I’ve observed a lot of different missionaries; the ones that don’t work are never happy. It’s through work that we learn and grow. Most of the best lessons I’ve ever learned have been through some sort of challenge or opportunity to work hard, including the important lessons I’m learning right now. My goal is to, this transfer, ask myself every day at the end of the day the words of the hymn “have I done any good in the world today?” Wow this is getting redundant so I’ll just end in the words of a modern poet: “Put in work”

Have a good week and I hope I didn’t kill too many brain cells with this letter,

オーギル長 (Elder Orgill)

No pictures this week although we did steal some pictures from his companion's blog. We don't think that any caption is required for at least one of them. See if you can pick out the person who forgot that it is winter!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Pebbles in Your Shoes -- week 75

Hey fam,

Round 2 -- here we go; let’s see what happened in the last two weeks (he has had keyboard problems)

Transfers: I’m staying in the honbu (mission headquarters) with Elder Nathan; it’s gonna be a party and we’re getting along really well and doing a lot of good work.

So also other fun stuff: Not that much. I’ve been pretty busy with just office work and things like that, kinda had a lot of things on my plate week before last because we came back from two weeks of not being in the office and I almost pulled all my hair out trying to fill a bunch of orders to people for things that were out of supply and had people. It was a learning experience though, I am learning patience and a lot of stuff like that haha. I’m going to do some pretty interesting stuff this next transfer as well, 会長 (Mission president) is still having me work on statistics and stuff and I’m going to have a weekly meeting with him and that’s gonna be interesting.

At our English class a couple weeks ago we were paired off basically one on one. I was paired off with a high schooler, and we spent the time rhyming English words and then making raps and rapping to Elder Nathan’s beatboxing. Fun stuff. They say music is one of the best ways to learn a language...

So I’ve had a lot of things to think about recently and I kinda decided to stop being a scrub. I have a lot of things that I want to step up personally, and I finally took the time to overcome some little mental barriers I had and get organized in a sense and stuff. It’s amazing how Satan uses little things to keep us from succeeding and meeting our old potential, we have things that create this little mental barriers and little types of pride in us and they keep us from succeeding and progressing. For example I broke my bluetooth keyboard. I can barely read my own handwriting, and when I try to organize things I always get dissatisfied with the organization and stop or try to change it. I think it’s like a flavor of perfectionism. Anyway, I was left without a means of jotting down my ideas. What did I do about it? For a longer time than I would like to admit, I tried over and over to fix the keyboard, to get it to connect to different things, and when I couldn’t get it to work I just decided that I would ‘someday’ get a new keyboard or try to get it to work again. So I remained in this unorganized state for a long time, and that left me with a lot of thoughts in my head, worries, stress, good things and bad things, all these things floating around in my head with no effective way to get out because I was letting this little stumbling stone block my path completely. This little stumbling block, a mere pebble, blocked me from progressing and changing and caused me quite a lot of stress, and worse than that, robbed me of opportunities to have been living my life happily and effectively for a pretty long time.

You’re probably reading this thinking “this kid’s mental”, and yes, it may seem like a bit of an extreme example, but I would bet that almost any one of us has a pebble of sorts blocking our paths. It could be that you’re too prideful to ask for help, maybe too prideful to admit you’re wrong. Maybe you’re not willing to forgive someone, or maybe just tell them that you forgive them (possibly a sign you haven’t fully forgiven them). It might be something practical as well, as simple as buying a new bluetooth keyboard or cleaning off your desk, but I’m positive there is something, something TINY, that is blocking your path to being awesome and productive and happy and stress-free. I guess going along with the pebble thing, don’t carry around pebbles in your shoes - life’s journey is long, and it doesn’t take all that much effort to sit down for a sec, take off our shoes, and empty out the pebbles.

Love you guys, have a good week

Elder Orgill (オーギル長老)

Did somebody say "ramen"?

Tons of crows lined up, straight creepy

You can see a little bit of my old area from this hill

"I MADE TANTANMEN TSUKEMEN and it was great."

It’s ya boy Oba Shinya, he served back when my sister was a missionary
and is waaaaay chill.

Monday, January 22, 2018

No E-mail -- week 74

We received a couple of personal notes but no weekly update. Maybe next week.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Touhoku Turn Up -- week 73

Hey so this week was straight CRAZY.

So President Sekiguchi is super crazy and waaaay chill and he took us around to ALL of the zone conferences. This means I got to ride with the two other Mongolians in the back of the AP’s van all over Touhoku. All the way to Koriyama and back last week, all the way to Aomori, then to Morioka, then back. And then something even crazier happened, but I'll talk about that in a second.

So I was assigned with talking about a bunch of statistics and stuff for the mission which might or might not have gone over a bunch of peoples' heads but THAT'S OK because it was way fun and I got to meet up with a bunch of missionaries that I straight love and haven't seen in a while and it was a straight PARTY. I think the biggest thing I took away from it was the training I got to see President Sekiguchi give FIVE TIMES, and I think it was enough to penetrate my thick skull.

So the other crazy thing that happened was the SAKATA BLITZ! So basically me and Elder Dance went on splits, drove to Yamagata, picked up two of the Elders from there, and went to Sakata, one of the newly opened areas, and tried to find people there for the two Elders with a total of 14 missionaries! It was SO cool. In just an hour we found like five investigators, and we had a ton of members from Tsuruoka come as well so their little sacrament meeting which is usually just Elders Holdaway and Bunderson with 2-4 members had 32 PEOPLE, HOW COOL IS THAT?! There were so many miracles that day, and even though it was mostly me and Elder Dance shuttling people around in the van we still got time to knock on a couple of doors I wanted to knock on and we met a guy that Elder Dance LITERALLY met in a DREAM the NIGHT BEFORE. He didn't have interest at the time but I'm confident his time will come.

So yeah I straight have no time to keep writing but this week was SO COOL and I learned SO MUCH and I love you guys, keep it lit

Elder Orgill

33 People in a newly opened area!

The "Blitz" Team

In the van on the way to Sakata

Snowy roads

More snow on the way to Sakata

And more snow

Yes, there is snow everywhere in northern Japan

The week would not be complete without a ramen picture

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sales, Hummers, and Polyphonic Digital FM Synthesizers (a.k.a. the best week ever) -- week 72

Hey all,

This week I got my fill of drama and fun stuff and exciting stuff aaaaaaaaaaaand I can’t talk about a bunch of it because I’m in the mission home and a lot of it is on the down low or yet to be revealed or personal or whatever. But let me just tell you guys - this week was GOOD. In a not so good way for a lot of things. But... Well... I mean a bunch of interesting stuff happened, so that’s pretty sweet, I love interesting stuff.

So the first interesting thing from this week is actually last p-day, we had TWO DAY P-DAY which was positively LEGENDARY. The first day we were out the door at 4:30 in the morning to hit the biggest, best, most LEGENDARY sales of JAPANESE BLACK FRIDAY that the greater Sendai area had to offer. We headed up to a huge second-hand store in Izumi, then to McDonalds, then another one of those second hand stores in Tagajo and then these awesome outlets and then my FIRST MEAL OF THE NEW YEAR WAS VOLCANO RAMEN because I ain’t gonna eat Mac as my first meal, nah, gotta start things off right. Basically over two days we hit up 3 sets of outlets, 4-5 huge second hand stores, and one GIGANTIC mall and had three appointments with members (one of them at an all you can eat grilled meat place). It was LEGENDARY. I bought a bunch of stuff and got some SICK new white shirts and a few other cool things. And everyone else in the apartment bought at least one watch haha.

So we went out to eat yakiniku (grilled meat) with this one member family who is SUPER chill. Brother Sato lived in Provo for a couple years and bought a HUMMER there and shipped it back to Japan, so he’s basically the only person in all of Sendai with a hummer (Actually the yakuza (Japanese mafia) might own one too, I didn’t get too good of a look in their garage the one day I walked past and it was open and I saw a bunch of gold-plated stuff and straight James-Bond marble pillars but I digress). We were talking and I mentioned some stuff about music and dj-ing and he whips out this picture of a BUNCH of sound equipment, huge speaker system and mixer and all this stuff and basically it was the kind of “yeah my company had to spend its budget by the end of the year so we bought this...” kind of feeling. And then he said in what I’m genuinely not sure was a joke or serious “I might set up a club next year”. We keep talking and guess what! HE LIKES SYNTHESIZERS. Now some of you might not realize this, but I have a love for synthesizers that has grown steadily, and it hit its peak after we went to an electronics store in Sendai and I got to lay my hands on a Dave Smith Prophet 5. Anyway, he is a FIEND, he’s got a couple super classic legendary synths like the Roland SH-101 and Korg MS20 Mini, and his first ever synth was the classic, the king of the 80’s, the Yamaha DX7, which he bought in middle school. This probably means absolute nothing to any of you, but just savoring the memory. I got to show him a bit of my sampling project I’ve been working on and we needed out over music for a sec and he promised he’d introduce me someday to a friend of his who’s a musical mad scientist of sorts in Tokyo. God has his hand in the little details - synthesizers have very little popularity in Japan, but for me to be eating yakiniku with someone as uniquely similar to me as Brother Sato is nothing short of a miracle.

So the second big thing that happened is a bit of a changeup - Elder Ikeda is BACK! My little friend transferred here on Wednesday because his companion became a trainer for a missionary who just came to the mission. He’s going to be historian in the office and the three Mongolians are getting split up! How? Well..... that’s still kind of undecided; we’re kind of on a 4-man companion rotation right now.

The third big awesome thing is we got to go to the southern Zone Conferences! They put me on making a new reporting stat tracking thing and I took it and ran with it and ended up finding out a whole lot of really interesting statistical stuff and I gave a presentation at Mission Leadership Council and they decided that everybody should hear about it. It was basically just a report on how different zones are doing and comparing and looking at some of the problems the numbers outline as grounds for discussion on what can be improved. Way fun, I got to meet all my homies in the Koriyama and Sendai zones, and I get to meet the homies in Yamagata zone this week too! I think I’ll have some interesting stuff to talk about next week too, but it’s still kind of in the works and not 100 percent yet, so I’ll keep all y’all waiting on that.

I’ve been really busy recently and have been a little bit stressed with some things, but I listened to a favorite talk of mine yesterday, “His Grace is Sufficient” by Brad Wilcox. He talks about a lot of things which really ring true to me, and one of the biggest things that stuck out to me when I listened to it this last time was that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect now, he expects us to be perfect eventually. All He is asking for is progress, for us to try, and even if we “hit a few wrong notes on the piano”, we just need to keep practicing and keep relying on the atonement and we can and will be changed, slowly but surely. There are things which sometimes I think “I’m 14 months into my mission and I still haven’t fixed this?!” But rather than that being the cause of stress and ulcers and anxiety, I need to accept it optimistically as an opportunity to learn and grow and improve and have more joy today than I had yesterday. Repentance is a continual process, it’s not a one-time thing for big mistakes, it’s what will make us into who we need to be to stand before God guiltless in that last day when he tells us “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”. I look forward to that day with the hope that I will be guiltless not because I was faultless, but because I was humble enough to admit it and courageous enough to try to change.

Love you all, have a great week!

Elder Orgill (オーギル長老)


Ramen dudes

Volcano Pork Bone Ramen

My new a e s t h e t I c

More ramen

The "lit"-est District in the Mission (with Mission President in background on video emphasizing safety first by wearing a hard hat)

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Years -- week 71

New Years is a big holiday in Japan and the missionaries spent the day out and about. Unfortunately, we didn't get an e-mail update. We'll wait for next week.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas – week 70

Editor's note: This week our family got to talk to Elder Orgill via Skype. It was great to see him and hear his voice again. He seems very happy and definitely well-fed.

Hey everyone!

This week was super lit. It's a lot of fun working in the office, there's always things going on and changes and interesting things and a printer that wants to kill me, it's pretty great. We've been pretty swamped with a lot of things we need to do and a few special projects we're working on, so it's been hard to carve out time to go out and do normal missionary work, but we're making some time and I love being busy. 

First off some shoutouts: My family knows me waaaaay too well because they sent the perfect thing. Ferrero Rocher, cocoa powder, pecans, and protein powder, all hard things to come by in Japan.

I did an interview for a baptism the Sunday before last and she got baptized on Saturday... IN CHINESE. Elder Dance is a stud and studied the baptismal prayer in Chinese so she could hear it in her native language. It was so cool and I'm so excited for her, it was so cool to get to see another baptism happen. 

One of the coolest things about being in the office is being super close to President Sekiguchi. He's almost always in his office, often with the door open, and it's almost like a somewhat democratic system where everybody has a voice. He's just awesome, it's been really inspiring for me to see the way he works because he never shuts down an idea, no matter how out of the ordinary or stupid or crazy it may sound he thinks through it and finds a way it could work out. He's really someone who is constantly filled with inspiration and revelation, and it's very easy and apparent to see. It's great for me too because I get ideas sometimes and can share my crazy little ideas with him.

I had an interview this last week with President Sekiguchi and it was really cool, I learned a lot about why I am where I am and we just kind of bounced ideas around for a number of different things. One of the most interesting things that came out of that was a the redefining of "missionary fire" for me. Rather contrary to my prior image of the desire to go out and get rejected thousands of times to find the one person, my desire to be more effective and find people in the most creative ways and help other missionaries and all use talents IS that missionary fire. Anyway, I have a lot of things I've been thinking about and a lot of ideas bouncing around and being here has really helped me focus on that. 

So I should probably mention something about Christmas. Japan doesn't really celebrate Christmas that much, everybody buys a Christmas cake and KFC and there are Christmas themed things some places, but it's really underwhelming. But I got little doses here and there of the Christmas cheer - the warm feeling that smells slightly of cinnamon and just feels festive. It mostly came in the form of service and sharing good experiences. Probably the best thing of all was setting up the Christmas tree in my last area with the young single adults while listening to Christmas music. It was just so fun and warm and festive and it was with a bunch of people I have worked with and become close with and loved for four and a half months. I'm not really sure, it's hard to explain the feeling of Christmas, hard to put it into words, but you know it when you feel it. And I think it's mostly a feeling of love, and that love is built and grown through service. 

I dunno, I don't really have a good way to wrap this up, but merry Christmas and I love you guys, being a missionary is the best!

Elder Orgill

Poor focus, but this is how we got to enjoy our Christmas Skype call

We were able to patch in Elder Orgill's sister, brother-in-law, and nephew who were in Utah

Merry Christmas from the Japan Sendai Mission

A recent baptism photo gives perspective on the size of the Mongol Horde

Working in the mission office

"Working out" in the mission office -- using water jugs

He is including lifting water jugs in the commissarian's room as part of his mission office "work". He claims that he will be "buff" in just a couple of weeks.