Monday, September 11, 2017

Meat, Bones, and Massive Tools – week 54

Hey all

So last week was super busy because this area is amazing and we are super busy all the time, but I have had SO MUCH amazing stuff happen in the last couple of weeks that I want to tell you all about but kinda crazy because we're going to all you can eat meat today and shopping at some dope outlets today so we're kinda busy, by which I mean really really busy today, but it's gonna be super super cool. Anyway...

So week before last we saw some really cool stuff happen. I made friends with an 80 year old lady and she sold me four pounds of pork bones and two pounds of chicken bones and from that I made RAMEN and she was a total bro and threw in pork fat for free and then gave both me and my companion free croquettes and basically pinched our cheeks and told us we're adorable. I boiled the pork bones overnight in a rather sketchy but still safe apparatus and then all throughout the morning and studies and stuff the next day, strained the whole thing, boiled the chunks of pork fat, pulled em out and pulverized em, then put it back in and added some soy sauce and fish broth and then finally boiled it down to the right consistency and dumped in a special kind of basically ground up dried anchovies to give it that perfect tsukemen taste and wow, it was dang good. Also I bought a thing of menma, soft flavored bamboo shoots, and I'm kind of addicted to eating those. Also took some of the soup, added oil and red pepper and some other kinda different flavorings, and boiled it down into a much thicker sauce and made it into taiwan mazesoba, or Taiwanese mixed noodles. It's like ramen but without the need for soup, the flavoring just sticks to the noodles and it's incredible. Kinda tried to mimick the stuff I had last week and it honestly was pretty good. We also made gyouza(dumplings) this last week and I made friends with some homies in a Vietnamese mini-mart so we made pho last night as well. Also last week we went to sweets paradise, and all you can eat sweets place which was amazing. And then during the week we went out to eat at Stamina Taro, the all you can eat meat place, with the coolest members ever, the Nagaoka couple. And I found out that I actually love horumon, or beef intestine, it's amazing if you cook it right, if you grill it wrong it's chewy garbage. Man I love food and you couldn't really tell it from this email but I'm actually dieting lol, long story having to do with developing talents and President Sekiguchi and helping the sisters get referrals and I'm not going to bore you with it haha.

This last Sunday we went to a barbeque with a young member and got to make friends with some young people and it was on the bank of a river and absolutely GORGEOUS, that was waaay good member missionary work and it's cool to have missionary opportunities and experiences outside of just streeting and housing, it's not like I flip a switch from being normal to missionary, I'm always a missionary and always happy to tell people what I'm doing and why I'm doing it because honestly sometimes that opens people's hearts more than testifying about things they don't even understand. Made some friends and talked about our purpose and ate grilled meat sitting under a bridge. Japanese people are so nice, man.

The week before last I was reaching out to meet new people ran into none other than my eternal friend Pierrot, a homie from Congo who was reading the Book of Mormon with missionaries before and knew my sister three years ago!! He remembered her ukulele playing too haha, I think I should learn the Ukulele so people will remember me. Anyway, we're meeting up again sometime to study the Book of Mormon together in English, French, and Japanese.

We met a guy week before last who makes these super super cool carved masks that are supposed to ward off evil, they're only Miyagi-ken culture but they're super super cool, I was just staring and drooling at the shop and he invited us in and fed us juice and crackers and talked and we gave him a Book of Mormon too, it was awesome. Woodworking is the way to my heart.

So I've been trying to use my talents and interests to share the gospel lately, right? Well the Lord puts people in our paths and uses us as tools. There is a less active brother in the ward who is a music producer and works teaching people about music production and stuff, and I heard about this from Sister Nagaoka (they're the best, always trying to be missionaries and thinking about how to share the gospel and stuff), so Brother Nagaoka set it up and we visited him, and basically we got tight and worked together just a little bit on my project and made a little bit of a demo sound with stuff and it was awesome. And we're gonna get him back to church at some point!  COME BACK TO CHURCH WE LOVE YOU.

Yeah, so these last couple weeks were awesome. The highlight, though, was definitely the Yamashita 長老 (Elder) meeting, we got to hear from a representative of the Lord and that man spoke with authority. I learned a ton, but one of the goals I made from it is to become a "massive tool". I'm selfish and prideful, and sometimes I'm doing missionary work for myself or just to look good, but I've decided I want to be a tool in the Lord's hands, be just a massive tool. Actually, it was always my goal to be a huge tool in high school and stuff, but I was kind of a loser and didn't slay, but now I want to be a tool in a different respect. I know who I am, a son of God, I know my purpose, to help others come unto Christ, and I have no need to doubt or fear because the Lord is on my side. I have a bit less than a year left on my mission, but I want to be a tool in the hands of my mission president and a tool in the hands of the Lord and it's gonna be awesome.

Love you all, the church is true and the gospel changes lives and the Lord knows all of us perfectly and never doubt that you can use your talents to share the gospel and bless other people's lives!

No ramen, no life,

オーギル長 (Elder Orgill)

Gallery of masks

Cool mask

Sendai panorama

Elders Orgill and Fujiki

Did somebody say "food pic"?

Getting ready for one of his favorite activities

This is the tagline for a popular brand of cigarettes -- "Smokin' Clean". Go figure.

The squad dining

Obligatory food pic -- there are noodles hidden somewhere beneath all of those onions!

Zone Conference

Original squad from the Missionary Training Center

Elder Orgill, Elder Fujiki, and unidentified friend

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Very short – week 53

Editor's note: There was not much this week and part of it appears to have been deleted. He also tried to send a batch of photos but there were no attachments. As expected, the only intelligible bit which did come through was about food. Hopefully we'll get a lot more next week.




Anyway, this week was pretty cool. At one point this week I made friends with an 80 year old lady who runs a meat shop and she sold me four pounds of pork bones for really cheap and threw in pork fat for free, so we walked back carrying a bunch of frozen bones and then I made ramen. We used a sketchy contraption to boil the ramen for a long time and ended up making some pretty bomb ramen.


Elder Orgill (オーギル長)

Riverside barbecue aesthetic
Friend from West Africa




Monday, August 28, 2017

The Magnet – week 53

Hey Fam,

So this is gonna be a short one. Today was way lit, we saw a bunch of Jojo's themed stuff all around Sendai and the Arcade (the big covered walkway through the center of town), went to the Sendai Castle museum, and went to RAMEN JIRO the FAMOUS JIROKE RAMEN PLACE where they LITERALLY ONLY LET YOU GET THE "SMALL SIZE" IF IT'S YOUR FIRST TIME THERE because it's SO BIG.

It was delicious and four hours later I'm still full. Honestly we should only eat one large meal a day; it would be so much more efficient.

This last week was great, I got to put in some good work with my boy Elder Fujiki and we went pretty hard. Also fun stuff - this last p-day I had a cool experience. We were in tower records and I was just strolling through the metal music section and I stopped to look at a couple of albums (I went through a phase, no judgements), and I end up talking in English to this super cool Japanese guy and we bonded over metal and he's probably coming to our English class and he's a total bro, anyway we exchanged phone numbers and whatever. And then whaddya know, like an hour later we're in Don Quixote and I say hi to this one guy from West Africa and turns out he's Christian and doesn't have a church here and is interested in our message and coming to church and he's super chill. So I dunno, the other guys were giving me a hard time about having crazy finding game but I dunno, I think my finding on p-days is stronger than my regular finding haha.

Besides that, I had a killer good split with Elder Free and had some solid chats with him, he's a killer good missionary and a great leader and I learned a ton from him.

Didn't meet too many crazy people this week, but Elder Fujiki the miracle worker got one of our less active recent converts back to church. All I did was kinda wrestle with him and make analogies about weightlifting.

And all that brings me to my point this week - our own individual talents. When Elder Free and I were housing and streeting this week, I learned that sort of ordinary missionary finding is great - but it takes a lot of practice and is still a bit of an imprecise science. But on the other hand, while some of my missionary skills might be a little less developed because of various reasons, that doesn't mean I can't use my ordinary skills of talking to homies and becoming friends with people and making them feel comfortable and good about themselves and just in general being a bit stupid so they don't feel a super formal scary air about us. And I used that a lot this week and it was awesome. So I learned that even though I may be doing the normal finding and stuff, it may be harder but it is even more rewarding to ALWAYS stay switched into that social missionary mode so I can make friends EVERYWHERE and share the gospel using my talents. Bottom-line is I learned to open my mouth and risk looking like an idiot talking to people because I already do look like an idiot most of the time so no need to worry lol.

So go out there and open your mouths and make some friends and share what makes you happy!

Love you all and I know what I'm doing right now is what God wants me to be doing and He is happy with what I'm doing and the Gospel is the way to be happy because you can go from being lackluster to being great and from being great to being awesome. I'm just past the lackluster phase but that's progress. Lots of love from someone who used to not have it lol.


Elder Orgill (オーギル長)

He is my "Hiro"

The most-informed man in sendai (at least in regards to my
whereabouts)

The one and only Elder Free

"Very Steak"

No week would be complete without a food pic -- Ramen Jiro, small

Companionship goals, amirite

There's my area

Monday, August 21, 2017

Ramen-Junkie's Paradise and Fulltime Natto – week 52 (halfway finished!!)

Hey y'all,

Hooh boy, this week was awesome, Elder Fujiki and I are loving it and killing it here in the big city. This place is paradise, there's a ramen shop on every corner and ramen junkies everywhere and there's even a ward activity involving ramen but I'll get to that later, I'll give y'all the lowdown on Elder Fujiki first.

Elder Fujiki is straight up the bomb, he's 24 and looks like a serial killer in most photos but he has a super kind heart. He's technically from Gifu-ken but he was about equidistant from Gifu and Nagoya so he knows a bunch of Nagoya people which is cool because a ton of Japanese church members know each other. He's also super shredded and has really good Japanese which is cool because I DON'T have really good Japanese, but I'm asking him questions like CRAZY and asking him for readings on street signs and shop ads and all kinds of stuff and even in just one week my reading ability and speaking ability has progressed a bit ton. He's super smart and hardworking and has 伝道 (Dendo – proselyting) fire like crazy so we're gonna put some craaaaazy work in this transfer and see some miracles and baptize some homies. It's pretty cool because he's super easy to talk to because of how he is and where I'm at in my language ability, but also there's so much I can learn from him, so I'm trying to listen super close to everything he says and up my comprehension, and who knows, maybe I'll ask him to stop using super easy Japanese on me at some point haha. I love him to death already. Also, he loves to eat, and I love to cook, so it's basically perfect.

This week I also made friends with a guy from Jamaica, which is really really cool because there are not a lot of people from that part of the world in Japan. And it sounds like he's gonna come to church, so that's pretty cool too.

We also had a way cool activity for some of the guys in the ward to '"""""""""build unity"""""""""", where we got together and everybody presented a ramen shop that went with the theme and we voted and went to the shop. The theme this time was "stamina", so we were looking for a ramen shop which will give you stamina, so I found a super sweet shop with straight up 200 grams of noodles and as much garlic as you could want and massive portions of meat and made a presentation, buuuuuut we ended up not going because one of the guys walks really slow so we ended up going to a different one which was actually a miracle. Why? Well I was talking to Elder Fujiki saying "I really wanna try tantanmen, but I feel like it would be better with kind of a aburasoba feeling and no soup" and he told me "bruh you gotta try汁無し坦々麺 (shirunashitantanmen), I don't know if they have it in Sendai but they have it in Nagoya and it is amazing", so we started on a quest and whaddya know the next day we end up going to a ramen shop and they have - you guessed it - 汁無し坦々麺. It was amazing, Tantanmen consists of these thick ramen noodles (normally with a ramen soup but no soup in the version I ate) topped with a massive amount of crushed sesame seeds and ground meat mixed with a ton of spicy Sichuan pepper oil, which is cool because it isn't just like normal chili oil, it is made with special peppercorns that have a numbing effect on your tongue. So together you get super thick noodles covered with a delicious thick tongue-numbing spicy brothy sesame seed meaty goodness, straight mind-blowing. Super good bonding experience, I highly recommend it. Also, Elder Fujiki and I went out to eat 油そば (aburasoba - oil noodles) which was also mind-blowing.

You're probably thinking to yourself "how in the heck is Elder Orgill not straight ballooning up right now?" Well, that's where this week really gets interesting. So we are working with this recent convert and trying to help him strengthen his faith as well as apply the gospel to his life. So he's looking for a job right now, and I got the idea that we should do a fast for him. But he was pretty opposed to the idea of fasting and stuff, so we decided to do a different kind of fast. He agreed to give up YouTube until he finds work, and we made promises as well. I promised to make my lunch or dinner just a pack of natto and a thing of tofu and also to exercise for a full 30 minutes every morning, and elder Fujiki promised to eat at every meal a pack of natto(smelly/sticky fermented soybeans(which he doesn't like)). So we've been going like crazy and Elder Fujiki and I have been going running in the mornings (I haven't died yet so that's a miracle too), and you know what? Miracles are happening. We've been trying really hard to apply the gospel to our homie Tanno 兄弟's (Brother Tanno’s) life and it's working, he's changing and becoming better and more mature and also found an interview with a promising company really quickly, which is amazing. What have I learned so far? Applying the gospel to your life, you will see change for the better. His change, even in just this week, is not a coincidence or just because of good advice on behalf of my companion; the Lord had a hand in his change.

Anyway, this week was dope and I'm so excited to be here and we're gonna see some miracles yo.


オーギル長 (Elder Orgill)

Our boy and his aburasoba
Ran into Watanabe-san from Ishinomaki
Obligatory food pic - soupless tantanmen; shoutout to chinese and
Taiwanese people for making amazing food
Homeboy Tanno, the chilliest recent convert I've ever met
Goodbye former-convenience-store church
Goodbye streets with nobody on them :'(
Goodbye food power center, you mexican-supermarket-looking
diet-killing money-sucking Babylon. Jump for joy because I can finally start my diet because I don't live right next to a super cheap supermarket
Another food pic - aburasoba - literally means oil noodles
The Fujikster himself
Bakery which Elder Orgill's sister used to frequent. His father didn't know it existed, otherwise he might have spent all of his time here 36 years ago. It's amazing
















Monday, August 14, 2017

The Family Legacy – week 51

Editor's note: if you are paying attention to the weeks, next week is the halfway point for Elder Orgill. He would certainly love to hear from you. He can see e-mails daily but can only respond once a week, usually Monday evenings in the U.S.


So big news. Ya boy is getting transferred! Going from one of the least population-dense areas in the mission to the number one - the one and only Kamisugi in Sendai. I'm a big-city kind of guy, so I'm confident this is an inspired call. Anyway, my sister served there four years ago and my dad some 35 years ago, so I guess we're just going full circle. Was it destiny?!?!?! *Illuminati music starts playing*

Anyway, it's a food paradise and apparently the missionaries get a bunch of MEAT from the ward so just a testament that the Lord knows all of us individually and cares about the little things, I testify of that from the bottom of my heart. Tender mercies are real, yo.

So some crazy stuff happened this week. First off - it's Obon, so we had 23 people at church, which is double what we normally get. Everybody is coming back to their hometowns and cleaning the grave sites of their ancestors and all that good stuff and apparently there's the belief that during Obon people's ancestors come back and visit them, so if you believe in ghost apparitions and stuff it might get SPOOKY, but I'm too ironic to see any of that kind of stuff so I don't think any dead Japanese old people are going to be appearing to / haunting me, but I have been haunted by memories and old pictures of me in middle school so there might be something supernatural with that...... *UFO noises*

Bit of a slow week here but we did have one kinda funny/crazy experience. I found a little thing in our mail slot this last week with a phone number written on it, and I figured "hey, it's written in pen, maybe I should call this", so I did. Turns out its some kinda Buddhist church who wants to talk to us. I told em we're busy and can't really meet, and he was super insistent and I kinda told him "dude, we're missionaries for our own church, it's chill", but he called again a couple days later and my companion picked up so I couldn't dodge the call and I found myself talking with this guy again and I had the idea "hey, if we listen to his thing we can probably share our beliefs and stuff too, this'll be sweet and we'll have his undivided attention for however long we want". Well, long story short we met up after church across the street and it was him and his friend, and we suggested we go back to the church and we talk while sitting and also eat because there was a 食事会 (little after-church meal), and these two 30-something year old men pulled the stranger danger card. And then invited us to sit in their car. Red flags. They asked us some questions and we made sure not to give too much personal information (didn't ask the name of my first pet or first car), and we shared some of our beliefs and stuff. Then they launched their thing and talked about how you can tell whether or not somebody becomes a Buddha or not after they die by the color of the skin, and then you can also use some unexplained ritual they have to cure any illness ever. And then they said "yeah, we'll teach you, just get in our car and we'll go to this guy's house and teach you, it'll take like 15 minutes" and were suuuuuuuuper insistent and we kinda had to lay down the law of "bruh we ain't getting in your car and going to learn this black magic shiz with you" (btw this homie was like 5'4 and max 100 pounds so if he started throwing fists, I wasn't super intimidated), but anyway it was just kinda weird and we got kind of a not-so-good feeling talking to these guys and we missed some of the food, but hey, we got to share what we believe and met a real life Korihor priestcraft-doing homie, so that was interesting.

So I read this super-fine talk this week called "No Other Talent Exceeds Spirituality" (actually a BYU devotional from 1976), and it was absolutely excellent and gave me a number of things to think about. We have daily scripture study, and sometimes I feel like I just drink in the scriptures and the lessons and all that, and sometimes I just feel like I'm reading words on a page and trying to keep myself awake as I plough through the 18th war chapter in a row. Well, sometimes I think of spirituality as being able to constantly draw a ton of good information and things I want to learn from the scriptures and stuff, but nah. It's a lot more of the attributes that come along with that, and doesn't necessarily start from a killer good personal study every day, it starts from a desire to be more spiritual and more like the Savior and a desire to serve others. The best personal studies I have ever had where I felt like the scriptures came to life and I felt like everything I read was speaking to me were the times where I was desperate for spiritual knowledge and strength, when I got put into a position that I knew I was not qualified for, and I needed the patience and charity just to survive. And I think that as we all try to serve more and think about others more and love more and be more selfless and stuff, we will start to become more like Christ and our spirituality will go up. And I think good scripture study doesn't drive us to be more spiritual, I think good scripture study follows us trying to be better and more loving and improve ourselves.

Then again, that was just a block of Elder Orgill nonsense.

Oh yeah, other cool stuff, I gave a little talk this week about the concept of eternal progression. I am going to be at my year mark in just over a week, and hooh boy, I've progressed a lot. And hooh boy, I still have a really long way to go. But the cool thing is we have so much time, we have an ETERNITY to become perfect and we just have to do as much as we can in this life. But remember to not compare yourself with others - it doesn't matter what your f(x) is, it's all about the f'(x), the slope of the tangent, the rate and direction at which you are progressing. And if you're progressing, keep it that way. I have a favorite saying from the one and only Big Ron – “if you don't change directions, you'll get where you're going”. So think about where you're going with the path you are on right now, and if you need to, change directions. And if you're on a good path, don't change directions.

Love y'all. Keep it lit.
オーギル長(Elder Orgill)

"American car | soft filter"



"YOU JUST GOT CUKE'D"

Yakiniku ramen with pressed aged garlic

"Accurate (district + mogi squad)"

Chinese food y'all


Monday, August 7, 2017

This week I proselyted in an apron – week 50

This week was absolutely amazing. I'll run you guys through the highlights.

There are these things called gacha in japan (it's an onomatopoeia for the sound of a gumball machine) where you can get little trinkets and pointless stuff. I saw one this week which had spinney light thingies in it (which look like the orbit I had back at home) and I saw it and really wanted one so I put in my money and what do I get? A little plastic battle axe. I think "Who am I? I am Elder Orgill and I ain't no sucker" and try again. I get a little mini figure of a Japanese baseball player. Japanese people may call em a gacha because of the noise, but I think the real meaning comes from getting prank'd and it going "Got ya!" So RIP my money.

On splits with Elder Holdaway we met a 6'3 girl from Senegal in West Africa and she was way chill. I thought she was probably 25 or something (she told us she was in Japan playing basketball), nah, she was straight up 18. But she was super cool and really interested in English and possibly in the gospel so hooray.

Also while on splits with Elder Holdaway, we decided we would try and use our talents a bit and take a more creative approach to missionary work. So I put on my apron, grabbed a cookbook and spatula, and stuffed my pockets with English conversation class fliers. We then went out and talked to people about the recipe for happiness and related having a recipe to having the scriptures. Didn't actually find anyone who was interested but we did see other miracles like.....

Shimizu 兄弟 (Brother Shimizu) my straight homie from 石巻 (Ishinomaki) just randomly popped up in 一関 (Ichinoseki) this week as we were walking around with apron on, turns out he was up here on work and I got to catch up with him and talk to him and share a little message with him too. That was way cool, I love that guy.

We met a couple ladies from Brazil who were way friendly at the festival and talked to them a bit and it sounds like they might be coming to church (also they're super good friends with one of the less active members here) but the Brazilian way of saying goodbye involves a little kiss on the cheeks, right? Well yeah, apparently I gave the most horrified look (kissing girls in general is waaaaay bad as a missionary; I have no idea what the deal is in Brazil or France but I pretty much saw my life flash before my eyes and had an out of body experience where I saw myself walking off the plane dishonorably) so she kissed the air instead and we were in the clear. Scariest half a second of my life and my companion is just sitting there trying not to flipping explode with laughter.

We met a ton of homies at the festival in Ichinoseki; we got tight with a high school baseball team. They all talk tough game, but I threw down the challenge that I'd buy some yakisoba (fried noodles) or karaage (fried chicken) or something for anyone who could go up to a random girl and flirt and get her number or line or something and they all straight wouldn't follow through. Japanese flirting/dating game is straight weak, it's a lot of not talking to members of the other gender and then flirting a little bit with one person if you legit have interest in them and then low-key professing your love for them and asking them to be your girlfriend and then if they say yes yay you're a couple and you walk together without holding hands every once in a while and if they say no you are humiliated and a social outcast. Almost makes me want to study sociology or use crazy science to reanimate Charles Darwin and ask him to explain it for me.

We were super super #blessed this week because we got to go to TWO fireworks shows this week. One in Ichinoseki with the members, and one we just managed to go to in Kitakami before we started splits (the second time this week) with the members of the district. They were both SUPER cool, there was a member in Ichinoseki who was absolutely hilarious, he was talking the whole time about how much Japanese people love fireworks and crazy experiences he had with doing his own fireworks and he's got the heart of a 14 year old and it's a shame he never got the chance to be a scoutmaster. Kitakami fireworks were way cool as well, it was an hour and a half of different themed fireworks over the river and we got to sit right next to the river and it was straight prime. Festivals in Japan are the best thing ever.

So I was thinking this week about the "recipe for happiness", right? Ever cooked without a recipe? Tried to cook something COMPLETELY NEW without a recipe? Yeah, pretty gnarly right? Sometimes it comes out OK but most of the time it's pretty gnarly. Well, in life, we ain't really got a recipe, right? But we have the scriptures, and they tell us what we need (ingredients) and what to avoid, and other cool stuff (don't put in yakiniku sauce too early or it'll burn like crazy). Anyway, scriptures are the best and you all should read them because you'll get guidance and they're the bomb. You're all the best and I love you a bunch! Enjoy some summer festivals!

オーギル長(Elder Orgill)

Yakiniku (cooked meat) party after doing some service

Elders in the rice paddies

District Meeting

Kitakami District

Weekly obligatory food picture -- Indian curry

Taking to the streets with the apron on

Chance encounter with Brother Shimizu

With Tsuyoshi

Little homies

"Homies"

Riding the train with some post-festival people who are feeling good