Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“Open your mouths and they shall be filled” -- week 57

Hey everybody,

This week was pretty cool, kinda low-key but we had a few fun things happen too.

First off, super cool experience this week. We were street contacting yesterday and we ran into this homie who said he had an allergy to religion, but we kept talking to him and I asked him a question and he said “well, it’s kind of a long answer, should we go somewhere?” So we just squatted down, which soon turned to sitting down, kind of off to the side of the sidewalk and just chatted and it was actually super cool, we got to talk to him and talk about a bit of why we do what we do and religion and stuff. He cracked a couple of beers, and the convo kinda went downhill a little bit after the second beer got cracked, and it kinda turned into him talking about nuclear energy and world politics, but besides that it was pretty cool. The Lord puts prepared people in our paths, and he also puts just interesting/funny people into our paths as well because he loves us. Pretty funny stuff.

We got to go to the legendary “Sugawara Dinner” this week, which was amazing because one of our investigators came to it and he felt the love through food and it was awesome, he’s progressing a bunch and is super cool. Anyway, we ate until we were filled and then Sugawara 姉妹 (Sister Sugawara) made us eat some more, and it was great, I think she learned some things from her time in Hawaii.

No time but I love you guys all and the gospel is true and true happiness comes from bettering ourselves daily keep it lit,

Elder Orgill/オーギル長老

You can always count on at least one picture with food!

With companion Fujiki -- they'll be together for another 6 weeks in Sendai

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Friended - week 56

Hey y'all,

This week was really really, really good. And not because we got authorized to use Facebook, although that's pretty cool.

This week was the best week so far in my mission in regards to me performing to a level somewhat close to my potential, if that makes any sense. Basically I have felt a lot before that I have potential but I ain't living up to it, and this week I lived up to it pretty dang good, so that was pretty dang cool.

I'll just run through the fun things really quick before I start talking about the miracles, this week was BUSY. I experienced possibly the weirdest thing I have ever experienced this week - I was serenaded to enka (traditional Japanese songs) by a 70 year old man over the phone. It was weird. And I laughed a lot. But to myself, because my companion had no idea what was happening, and not into the phone.

We had splits with one of the AP's, Elder Mimaki, who is amazing and the best. We were a trio for the day, and it's the first time I have worked with him in about nine months, he is one of my favorite people in the mission. He is incredibly good at listening to others with love and finding what they need to hear rather than just teaching or talking about what he wants to talk about. It always astounds me how much being a missionary has helped my social skills, although I think I still have weak social media game, but y'all'll be the judge of that. We saw a car accident, which wasn't dangerous but it was still pretty crazy. Also we had the van for the day, because Elder Mimaki is OK'd to drive, but turns out having a van is not the best thing ever in a big city, we drove around a ton looking for places to park and then decided to just go with walking everywhere haha. We also met a guy who used to be a professional boxer and he was hilarious, no interest in the gospel, but he messed around with us and taught us punching techniques and just kinda messed around with us. It was a solid day of crazy missionary work, and crazy people change the world.

I had splits with Elder Matthews as well this week, another missionary going home next week, and I learned some great stuff as well from that, we went to an international festival to meet with a former eikaiwa (English conversation class) student and ended up having some great conversations with a ton of people, eating some Korean food, and getting interviewed as well! Three times in one day people asked if we had Facebook, and we were able to say "yeah!", which was cool. And you best know we hit up some SWEET tsukemen and whatnot. Also we found a super cool guy who went to the same university as Elder Matthews, so little miracles.

This week we had Zone Conference, and it was awesome, I learned so much. President Sekiguchi, the absolute madman, got actual nonmembers for us to do missionary role plays with. This was super cool. And he dropped the bomb on us that Facebook was coming to the mission. And next week we are going to get to use Line. The Lord is hastening his work, I'm confident missionary work is going to pick up at a crazy pace, and I'm so excited that we are one of the missions that gets to be a part of using these powerful tools to reach out and share the gospel. Seriously, if any of you guys have ideas on how we can use Facebook and stuff to reach out and share the gospel with more people, hook a brother up. It was sweet because his final testimony was honestly kinda like a cool young CEO TED talk kind of thing, he basically said we all know it's true, and we just need to go out and put in work and improve our teaching skills, and then he talked about how we're all crazy and he's crazy too and how crazy people change the world. And that's the truth, I'm crazy and I do crazy stuff and that's a good thing.

So the miracles: Found a chill Nepalese guy who has interest. Opened my mouth and asked a random guy looking at a map if he was lost while walking the two minute walk from the church to apartment and he immediately started talking about church-ey stuff. So we invited him, and he came to church, and he has interest. We met a nice lady who said we could come back and share a message another time, and then about two minutes after she ran down the street behind us with tempura sweet potato, which was amazing. We met another guy on Sunday during the typhoon who had interest and we set up an appointment with. We visited our recent convert on a whim and got to his house just in time to give him a priesthood blessing before he went to the hospital because he was really sick, and it was way good timing.

And finally, the funniest one of the week is I talked to this guy who was sitting in his car, and he asked us if we were missionaries. We said yeah, and he started getting out of his car. I thought this guy was mad and about to start swinging, but he reached into his pocket and pulled out a couple 100 yen coins and put it in our hands and said "probably not enough but buy some juice", and then got back in his car, said "Amen", and drove away. I mean, everybody has their own way of worship.

Anyway, it's been crazy but I love being a missionary and I love sharing the gospel. This week I got news that brought me to tears. One of my best friends in Yamagata is planning on getting baptized. And another one of my best friends in Kitakami got baptized this week. Baptism really is the step we need to take to return back to God, and it is such a special thing to make a promise to God. I am so excited for Momone, and I am so excited for Igarashi to take that step as well.

Love you all,
オーギル長(Elder Orgill)

"On the shoulders of giants"

Sendai Zone Conference

Sendai Half-mission Conference

Monday, September 11, 2017

Meat, Bones, and Massive Tools – week 55

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 54

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

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"


Yakiniku ramen with pressed aged garlic

"Accurate (district + mogi squad)"

Chinese food y'all