Friday, December 27, 2013

You had a birthday shout.....あめだとう !

Well it was a good one, don't worry. We had our ward Christmas Party on my birthday, which ended up being SUPER fun!! A ton of people came and a lot weren't members (which is what we were hoping for). The primary kids sang and then played a few songs with bells, then we had a game. The big Japanese Christmas tradition is having a Christmas cake, so we had a decorating contest. They put each of the four of us missionaries as a team captain and had us pick a few other people and then decorate it within 4 or 5 mins. My team was boss: a bunch of sweet kids and a grandma that I think is the tops. our cake ended up looking like a b-day cake, so when they had me describe what our cake was, I of course said that because it was my birthday they made me a cake. Our team destroyed the others in votes and won the game!! After that the YM did a hilarious magic show, the YW sang, and then we sang. I sang Rudolph, Shoell sang White CHristmas, and then I sang Jingle Bell Rock and it was fantastic! Before the party started though, a sister saw me tapping on a chair or something and brought me a cup and told me to do that cup, snap, clap thing where you flip it around and stuff. I haven't ever done it before but I just jokingly did something dumb with it and she LOVED it. She told me to do it in the program and I was like, "Heck no!!! I've never done it before!" But she walked away and told the person MCing and so I somehow got roped into singing a song and doing the cup thing. I did We Wish You a Merry Christmas and then just went into Rudolph. I actually thought it was super funny!!! I've got a video. My comp also got me a few little things and of course I opened all the cards and presents from you guys. The cake balls caught me by surprise. I was WAY excited. Have a video of that, too. So that's how I spent my birthday. Probably one of the funnest I've had.
Yesterday we got Christmas presents from the ward: it ended up being 2 huge boxes completely full of food and snacks and gifts...... I wondered what people in America give the missionaries. I don't remember ever doing anything for them. Glad you are doing stuff with them this year. It sounds like you have become a favorite of those guys. We all have our go- to's. 
Not much else. Our one investigator is looking really strong and we're hoping we can see him be baptized this transfer. I think he will be. It's really been a miracle with him. Pray for him please!!
At the end of the Christmas Party they showed a great video about the birth of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity this season to not only celebrate the birth, life, Atonement, and Resurrection of our Savior, but to also share the message of it and represent him here in Sapporo Japan. I'm so grateful for him and for the love and the strength that I constantly receive because of the testimony and the faith that I have in him. I hope you take a bit of time to reflect and remember what it's all about.
I think that's about it. I'll be talking to ya in a couple days so....... cool.

Till then, Love you and Merry Christmas
Elder Spurling

Friday, December 20, 2013

Survived 1st Blizzard

December posts..........

Well it's the end of the transfer again. We'll be getting our transfer calls tomorrow and seeing where we'll be going next. The ward here seems to think I'll be transferring, but I've only been here for 3 transfers- like 4 months.... that'S not that long. I'm kind of torn about leaving: I love the ward and the people are AWESOME, but the area is super small and I feel like I don't have anything left to do here after 4 months. I think I've been to almost every block in town and visited all of the members and N.A.'s a million times over but this week my companion made a baptismal date with our one investigator over the phone! So we'll be meeting with him today and seeing how we can best prepare him. This guy has been an investigator for 13 years now, and I really think he has just been waiting for Elder Shoell to come. They are pretty good friends and Shoell seems to understand him really well. Way good progress here in Shinoro. 
 We got transfers calls this week! I'm staying in Shinoro again with Elder Shoell. My apartment stayed the same and my District, too, which is rare. I'll have been here for 6 months after this transfer. But I'm glad I stayed for Christmas. Christmas in a new ward would have been lonely....Well, the weather has been....something this week. On Friday we did our weekly planning and it started snowing, so afterward we went to shovel an older members driveway (about a 15- 20 minute walk). They, of course, had us come in for cocoa and a snack, and when we left 30 mins later it was snowing quite a bit. My comp was trying to fix his boots outside the door and he asked if this was a blizzard. I was like, "No. It's just blowing a little bit. No worries." About 2 minutes after we started walking back I yelled over the wind, "YEAH! THIS IS A BLIZZARD!!" We didn't know if we should keep doing stuff or go back, so I decided to go visit a less active member that was on the way back. We started into her neighborhood and the visibility went from 20 feet to almost 2 feet: I could only see my companion right next me. I couldn't even see car lights. I definitely decided to go home now. We couldn't look up because the wind and snow hurt our faces so much and we couldn't see anyway, but after saying a quick prayer we managed to get out of the neighborhood and start following the road back to the apartment. I actually had to take my glasses off because the snow kept sticking to them and I couldn't see. You know things have gotten scary when it's safer to walk around without you glasses on because you can't see with them on..... It ended up taking us about 45 mins to make the 10 min walk back and the wind almost literally blew us off our feet a couple of times. It was probably one of the scariest things ever. But me and Elder Shoell just laughed the whole time and made a ton of jokes. We sangs songs and basically just acted like this was normal. I wish I had videos of us. But we were perfectly safe. The other 2 in the apartment made it back about 2 minutes before us too and we all just hung out the rest of the night because we couldn't do anything else. Makin memories!!!

Love ya all
Elder Spurling

New skill learned on P-day..... Curling

He's How Tall????

It's transfer week so there have been a ton of changes over here. I got my call on Tuesday and found out that I would be staying in Shinoro again! I also found out that I was the only one staying: that the other 3 missionaries were transferring to different areas. My companion, Elder Nishime, transferred one area down so he's still in my district and is actually my district leader, so we'll get to go on exchanges together! WOOOO! But my new companion is on transfer 3: he just finished training...... I went senior companion.... It feels completely insane and I'm way nervous, but SUPER excited! And the kid is a total pro. His Japanese is probably just as good as mine and he's way better at teaching. All I have is a knowledge of the area and the people and the ward, but he can hold his own in everything we do. He's from Utah and is a way funny guy: Elder Shoell, "shoe with 2 L's" he says. He is also extremely tall.....2 meters. about 6' 7". Pinging doors is awesome because people open them, look up and just say, "I was surprised!"(doesn't really translate that well...). They love him. It's hilarious. I also have that Elder that I sing with, Elder Rodenberg, in our apartment which is pretty fun. All in all, it's going to be a super fun transfer. I think we'll see a ton of miracles.

Love y'all. 
Elder Spurling

(The Lord has a sense of humor for sure paring these 2 together ...... )

Seeing the Lord's Hand in this work...

This week has been very tiring. It was mostly just a ton of pinging doors and seeing nothing come from it. 
> There was one high point of the week though. On Wednesday we set out to visit a bunch of members that we've never met before. We ended up not meeting any of them, so we pinged houses for a bit. The area felt stale, so I decided to go somewhere else. We had a weak appointment set for the day so we went and visited and could see the woman in the window, but she refused to come to the door or even acknowledge we left. I decided to go visit our one and only investigator who was pretty strong, but when we got there, she wasn't home. Then I felt like I should go down the street a little way to visit a member, but when I got there I very much felt that she shouldn't be visited today, so as I stood there thinking for a second about what to do this group of kids walks up. They asked if I could speak and if I was a Christian missionary and I realized that I had met them before in this same spot. We talked for a bit, and then they left. I couldn't help but feel that I was supposed to meet them there and that I planted some seeds for some future date. After that I started to ride down past where I was, but didn't get too far before I had a feeling to go back and write down the address of the house I had just been to, and then continued in the opposite direction than I had been going: back toward the investigators house. This time she was home, so we talked and she ended up dropping herself. So our one and only investigator is now we have literally no one. That hasn't happened yet on my mission..... Anyway, to continue the story, we went to a conbini (convenience store)in the parking lot I heard some poor English behind me say, "Are you missionaries?"  I turned around and saw this Japanese man with a huge smile on his face and just started talking to him, me in Japanese and him in his best English. He asked how many people we had been able to share our message with today. And I told him, "negative one." He said that he loved people like us that come to other countries and try so hard to learn a language and go around all day doing something they love. I talked about how great it is for us and how much we do love it.
> We didn't get to share our message with him, but I just turned around looked at my companion and said, "My Heavenly Father loves me. He really knows....." We rode our bikes and were on our way home, we stopped to talk to a guy on the street. He didn't care, but a member of the ward, this really old member, bumped my bike and then (after the other guy walked away) started talking with us. We found out he was walking back from a very good friends funeral and he seemed really depressed about it. He asked if we had eaten and then said we would go eat at his house together. We met his wife, who is not a member and were able to have a really nice evening with them and even share a message about Joseph Smith with her. We were put in the right place at the exact moment that we would meet him and be able to comfort him and bring him some peace through sharing a messaage with his wife. 
> We still have 0 investigators and we aren't finding anyone to teach, but we know that we are being led. We know Heavenly Father is helping us do something here. So we keep going out and pinging houses and getting rejected because we know great things are going to happen. I know great things are coming VERY soon here in Shinoro and I can't wait to see them and be a part of them. I love what I'm doing here and I'm really tired, but there isn't anything I would rather be doing.

> I love you guys. I hope you all have an awesome week and are able to see His hand in your lives because it's there.

> Elder Connor Spurling 

I'm a Ninja.....

Hey everyone!!
It"s  been a fun week! We had our Halloween party at church. We helped set it all up for like 4 days. It was way fun and everyone enjoyed it. I went as a ninja and got to wear the ninja shoes I bought in my 2nd transfer! One of the big games was where I would pretend to cut people with my katana and they would do their best death scene! It was hilarious.  Success
We have only taught 7 lessons this whole transfer, but this week we were able to teach 6! We have been teaching a practice lesson with a members brother and wife. They really like us, but don't really have interest in the message. They were way awesome and are going to take us out to sushi this week. 
I'll be getting my transfer call tonight. We'll see where I go and who i'm with. I'm excited but mostly terrified. The senior companion thing is pretty intimidating from where I am at right now...... I have faith that it'll all be okay. It'll be sweet!!

I'll talk to you later
Elder Spurling

(Note from mom:   Seemed like a scary little game for the ward party but afterward we received a package in the mail from a sweet sister in his ward.  She thanked us for sending Elder Spurling, and for the great support he was to the ward and their activity.  She had several others in the ward sign the card she sent- we could not read it of course but so sweet.  Hoping Mrs Bays at Columbus North will translate for us)

The Coldness........

October posts.......

It has finally happened. It has gotten cold. It's kind of a pain  because it's at a point where it's kind of okay in the afternoon but in the evening it just gets super chilly, so I have to carry around a jacket and hat and gloves and sweater. I would rather it just be really cold so I can put on my thermals and coat and boots and have a somewhat empty backpack. 
Anyway, it's been an okay week. We had a 2 Zone Conference, so their were a ton of people there and we got to do all kinds of good things and hear a lot of awesome workshops. It is actually President Evans birthday this week so every district in the mission made a video for him and we got to watch all of them. Then Elder Rodenberg and I sang a song that we have been working on for his birthday. It was a hit. 
The members here really love missionaries. People give us a ton of food on Sunday's, so we usually only have to buy a few things when we grocery shop. I actually had a member this week give me 2 handmade (pretty professional) ties and a homemade tie bar, because she knew how much I liked them. It was the sweetest thing ever! We also went to help a single mother member get ready to move and she pulled out this old kimono that her husband had made. It was flippin cool! It had a thick blue coat and then you put a thin coat on over top of it. It was a really beautiful kimono. So she asked me to try it on and was so happy to see it on me that she told me to keep it!! I was like, "Isn't this really special?" and she said, "Yes it is. But it'll probably get thrown away someday. Take it back to America and enjoy it" So I now own a kimono. I'll probably send it home before I leave Shinoro. 
Not much else this week. We're trying our best. and working to see miracles. Love you all! Until next week!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame......

How's everyone doing? Don't know what to tell ya'll. I'm doing good. My Japanese is still pretty poor, maybe it's getting better.....I dunno. People tell me it is but....
Elder Nishime and I actually have quite a few investigators right now. Most of them aren't super strong and may or may not have a lot of interest, but we keep trying. I've actually been able to teach a bit. It's pretty cool. Yesterday we had a "practice lesson" with a friend of a member who has no interest, but gave us feedback. Or technically only me because this was for my Japanese practice, so I taught alone.  My companion will make great use of the tips.... We'll be meeting with her once a week to do the same thing.

The baseball game was super fun. It's way different here. It's super clean and the grass isn't real and nobody (except American missionaries) stand up when the YMCA comes on...... We were on the Jumbotron like 4 times because we were so entertaining. It was flippin sweet! 
It has actually started to get cold now. They say it has come unusually fast this year. I'm pumped!!

Well I'm on transfer 5, so I'll probably become a senior companion next transfer....I better figure out what I'm doing. I'll keep trying I guess......

Love you all!!

The Day of Miracles and みちびき

I'm sitting in the honbu right now because my Finnish companion has just become the new Mission Recorder, so we had to transfer today instead of thursday. I should get my call tonight and find out who my new companion is. Until the transfer on thursday I'll be hanging out with Elder Rodenberg, the one that I sang with. 

But anyway, we seriously felt your prayer and fast. This was one of the best weeks ever. We had a day that we call the day of miracles and michibiki (guidance). We had 3 appointments that didn't seem incredibly strong, but we thought this couple be the changing point for us, so we started praying and we decided to follow the white handbook 100% and we went out with good plans. We prayed before lessons, prayed after lessons....we probably prayed over 20 times. And we got 3 new investigators and had a lesson with a recent convert that I've never met, but we didn't know the address so we prayed and the first person we talked to after knocking a few doors was her. Truly Heavenly Father blessed us this week!! It was amazing!

........ I stayed in Shinoro and my new companion is the other elder that was in the apartment, Elder Nishime! My first Japanese companion. He way cool and we are getting along really well. We pretty much speak half and half, so I speak a ton of Japanese. I think it"s getting better. Maybe not better but I'm more confident.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! See ya!!

Elder Spurling

Catching Up.....

Today, in honor of Elder Spurling's 20th birthday, I am going to try to catch everyone up on how he is doing.  Connor's time seems to be too limited on P-day to keep up with the blog so he has asked me to post some of his emails.  

Back to September.........
Well it's been an interesting week. We haven't really had any time to dendo because we had a Zone training meeting on wednesday, met with a member for a while on thursday, and friday I had to go down into the city to rehearse my song for the concert which was all of Saturday. It was WAAAAY fun!! I have a few different videos but they are too big to send over email, so......sorry. I actually sang it during the concert, but afterward, they asked for an encore of it!! So I got to sing it one more time (which was a million times more fun than the first!) We also had 2 famillies from our english class that we invited come and they had a great time. We were able to talk to a bunch of other people as well and my love for old music came in handy with a few old guys. It was a super fun time. Otherwise, nothing is happening here.  Have not been able to teach a lesson in 3 transfers, but we keep working hard.  ........I think that's it. Everything is cool really. 
Love Ya's............Elder Spurling

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