Sunday, September 21, 2014

Just Sapporo........

Hey folks,

This week we went to Sapporo for a big meeting with one of the Area Presidencies members. He gave a super awesome workshop. He actually didn't prepare anything for us. He asked for questions and then decided that he knew what he needed to talk about after answering a few. It was really cool. It seemed like he received real revelation for all of us and knew what we needed as a mission.

Otherwise, we made some big English Class posters and went around town and asked if we could put them up in all kinds of businesses and stores. Almost no one said No, probably because I put a lot of emphasis on the words "VOLUNTEER" & "FREE". Hopefully we'll get some new people coming soon. There are 2 Japanese Elders that are trying to make an English Class book.....for the mission. They asked me for a couple of ideas about teaching it and on the 6 hour bus to Sapporo I wrote 8 pages about how we could improve it and make it really effective, along with some teaching ideas. I didn't realize how passionate I am about the English Class......

Cool experience this week. My companion got a crazy bad headache on Monday night. He looked terrible and couldn't concentrate on anything. It actually ended up with him sitting in his desk chair trembling with pain holding his head. I told him he needed a blessing and then gave him one. He tried to lay down to go to sleep but couldn't do it. So I gave him a bunch of water to drink and then turned on a hot bath and told him to get in. At this point he didn't even know where he was (maybe I should have called someone.....) He got in and I went in to the other room and got on my knees and started praying for him. After about 30 seconds I got some kind of strange confidence (the Spirit, of course) that as soon as he walks out of the bathroom he would be perfectly okay and would go to sleep quickly. The very second I ended he walked out, was perfectly fine and fell asleep within a minute. Heavenly Father loves him. I know He does. And I know that He hears me when I pray. He wants only what is best for me and ALL of His children. I am so grateful that He really does liten and know me.....

Until next week, Loves'n'stuff,

Elder Connor Spurling  


Hey guys!!
It's seems like this week I've made the transistion almost fully from being an Ammon missionary, teaching those who know nothing of Christ, to an Alma missionary, and teaching those who are already members of the church of Christ but choose to not keep up with it. We met 7 less active members and taught them all lessons. We found out why each of them is not coming to church and they seem to be just a bunch of simple little things that we can try to help work on with them and the ward. It's been really interesting to talk with them because they all have a ton of faith still. They all still read the Book of Mormon and pray and rely on Christ as their Savior, they just have small......people problems...... that keep them from being able to receive all the blessings Heavenly Father has for them. But we get the opportunity to help them and strengthen them and it's AWESOME! I learn so much when I get to talk to other members about their faith and how they try to grow in the Gospel!
Otherwise not much else happened this week. My comp has depression and so we stayed in our apartment for a couple of days because he wouldn't speak. Things haven't really gotten much better. He still doesn't really talk to me at all (I think he's tired of me) but at least we can go outside and talk to some other people. We have transfer calls tomorrow so we'll see what happens I suppose. I do have this super strange feeling like next transfer is going to bring some even harder times though.... I don't know why I think that but.....
Last week we went to the zoo. It was sweet. Today we are going to go bowling at an "all you can throw" place for about......6 hours. I'm gonna get SOOO good and SOOOO sore!!!
Hope you have fun with Uncle Brian! It'll be sweet!  Also, don't worry about the BYU essays. I just need to finish writing up one more. They'll all be in the computer next week. Sorry for taking to long and stressin ya out Ma....
Love y'alls.....
Elder Connor Spurling

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Is this what banishment looks like??

​Hey folks,
It's a new transfer and I got the boot. I am in one of the most isolated places on the island....Abashiri. But I might be happier than I've ever been in a new area!

It took 6 hours by bus but..... I'm on the beach again! It's been over a year now, but I have an ocean view and it is Oh! so wonderful. Also this area is known for being one of the 2 hilliest areas in the mission: it's like nothing except these ridiculously long steep mountains that our apartment  seems to be at the uttermost bottom of. I love it. I'm sick of flatness. If I wanted to ride my bike on flatness I would have stayed home, in the flattest place on the planet Earth! I love these mountainous cities.

My new comp's name is Elder Fujisaka; don't let the Japanese name fool you he's super American. He's on transfer 5 and trying super hard. And his try-hard is a lot harder than my try-hard: he's a miltary man. He's straight up Navy, yo. And he loves to talk about it. He's done an awful lot in his life..... a heck of a lot more than I have. He's had some pretty crazy experiences, yo! But he's a way nice guy and we get along really well. It's only the 2 of us here in this area- my first 2 man since I was a bean 10 transfers ago.

The ward here is actually a branch of about 20 people. Definitely the smallest I've been in before. I love them already! Like....probably more than I've loved any ward after the first week. Everyone loves the missionaries a ton and they want to help us so much! It's one of the best feelings ever!

Oh! And I'm not a Zone Leader any more. I'm a District Leader again, which makes me SOOOOO happy.

I actually had a dream the night before we got our transfer calls. That might be the reason I am so happy here. I saw in the dream that I was coming here with this companion and would be the DL. I think the Lord needs me here right now so badly. I feel really really strongly that there is a reason that I am here and I have been working harder than I think I ever have to make myself worthy and obedient and work really hard. This feels like the beginning of what could be one of the best transfers of my mission and I'm really not going to let myself mess it up by not putting in everything I've got. I'm going to make Abashiri my home here in Hokkaido.

Love you guys,
Elder Spurling

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Music Fireside pictures.....

Sis Evans loved music and had several concerts for the community. These are pictures from a couple of the events. Rockin the Primary songs!!

A heaping helping of rain to help me feel nice and cool....

Hey folks,
It rained this week. I got real wet. But at least it wasn't burning hot. We had a ward BBQ anyway. We played mafia inside with the sisters investigators. They will both be baptized. We had a cool 19 year old guy come to church on sunday too. His name is ishii- rock well- and he is searching for something. He'll be baptized too I think. He is super interested in the idea of faith. That is kind of refreshing coming from a college kid. I got a flat tire today. It actually was a tear in my tire so I had to buy a new one. A guy tried to make me pay 60 bucks just to take off my wheel and put the new tire on and tried to convince me that it was just as cheap in America, so I walked 30 minutes to another place and they got me a better tire and tube and gear maintenance and put it all together for me for 50bucks. We have a zone activity in 30 minutes which will be a big FHE with games and spiritual message and I have prepared root beer floats (which they don't have in Japan btw). I hope its fun.....dunno. gotta go. need prep. Tired of typing. Still love yall.
Elder Spurling

I'm drowning in Japanese......

Hey folks,
Well it was transfers again. I get to stay in Asahikawa with a new comp named Elder Miyaki! He's a boss: way diligent, super obedient and way chill.... I think he compliments my excessive hyperness quite well. He also deals with it well. HA! Still the ZL- transfer 3....I'm one of 3 Americans with a Japanese mishpres.....mission leader conference should be fun this week. I'm also in an apartment with 3 Japanese that don't speak that much english and have 3 Japanese DL's, too......I think the Lord wants me to learn Japanese for some reason......  It's actually super fun, but I can't cook at all because I can only cook JApanese food but am way too shy to cook it for actual Japanese guys... I totally don't know the area that well after only 5 weeks so I'm constantly checking my map and it annoying....
Last week we went out to see the beautiful nature. I'll show you pictures. I got to go back on a special split in SHINORO!! My favorite area. It was so fun and I'm so excited because the guys there are seeing nothing except good things.
We have this way cool investigator right now that I'm doing an english gospel combo program with. He was an investigator way back in the day and remembered Pres Kimball. He also remembers nephi and lehi, and the gold plates and Joseph Smith and the Word of Wisdom and....everything.....and it fluent in english.....and I'm going to baptize him. I hope. He's way prepared and I'm way excited to see where we go with him. I have a ton of cool experiences here meeting cool people and when I get to tell them that I know our message is true, I really do know it! It's true and I'm grateful for it.!
Love ya's,
Elder Spurling

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'm kinda hungry.........

Well not much to tell you for this week. We had Mission Leader Council with the new President which was a little differerent. He's a cool guy, very observant, just soaks everything in without speaking too much. Straight from there we went on splits with Takikawa. I had an awesome day with a new senior companion and we were able to teach a bunch of lessons and met a ton of cool people. It's times like those that being a ZL is fun. However times are not so fun when some of your missionaries decide that they want to be Anakin Skywalker from Episode 3 and you have to become Obi-wan to help them realize that what they are doing may seem right, but there is a better way.... They had a talk with Yoda yesterday and hopefully things are okay, but we are still getting a lot of push from Mace Windu to get them back on track...... We'll see what happens. We all know what an awesome Jedi Anakin is, but his stubborness could lead to big problems.....
We're teaching this nice little man that loves english right now. We still aren't exactly sure how much interest he has in the Gospel, but he seems to like to talk about it sooo....
We visited a super sweet family that is not very active in the church (or so we thought) and found out that they have a TON of faith. They let us in and gave us food and we got to share a message with them and the next day the husband and 9yo son came to church. I asked if we could do a Family Home Evening and the mom agreed as long as I make American food....which will either be tacos or pizza. HA! I love this town.
thats it probably. love ya
elder spurling

わたしの愛している家族へ、 今週は本当に楽しかったんですよ!!たくさん奇跡戸かよいものを見たんだ。I 大好き伝道!

I can't believe I'm down to the final stretch either! It's crazy out here! I went on splits 3 different times this week and had probably 3 of the splits I've ever had. I got to go out with Elder Harper, my second companion. He's going home this week and so we went out and hit the pavement as hard as we could. We taught a ton of lessons and handed out 3 BoM's. It was crazy good!! I went with two other really young missionaries who I found out are vastly superior in skill to a lot of the older missionaries. I learned a load and a half from them.

We met the new mission president and his wife this week at a conference that they did here. They are Japanese, but lived in Chicago for a while and so are basically super fluent.... but they still did their workshops in Japanese so I set up a wireless mic and earphones and translated for some of the younger missionaries. It was terrifiying, but I got through it alright. HA!

We actually had fireworks on the 5th and took our dinner time to watch them but didn't get to see the very end..... they had 10,000 fireworks! I don't think anyone knew about the 4th of July, but it was nice.

I'll talk to ya'll later! Going on a hike today. Transfer week.....

Elder Spurling 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Well folks,
I just want you all to remember how much I hate my bike. He's okay. No worries there. I've still got him for another 5 months or so, but I can't wait till he dies. This week I was riding and the seat snapped off.....for the 2nd time on my mission if you can recall. It snapped off while I was sitting on it and then did a flippity flip and I ended up perfectly on my feet. So I rode around for 2 days without a seat until I could go get a new seat post....  Also before that, because we ride our bikes so much I wore out the crouch of my only pair of pants....HA! I had a hole that got WAY big because of the broken seat thing, but I have a sister in the ward sewing them up for me and I went today and bought a new pair from my favorite store Uniqlo. That bicycle is not my friend. He is my enemy.
But besides the demon bike, this week was good. We didn't have a ton of time to work, unfortunately, because of another trip to Sapporo, a sweet ward BBQ, visits to members, and other random interruptions. Hopefully this week we can get out and do some REAL work. I'm actually booked for splits on 3 days this week, but two of them are here in our area, so that's good. Actually we have 3 splits every week till the end of the transfer. Busy bees us ZL's.
Until another time......
Elder Spurling

Good Day Sunshine.....

Hey fam,

It's only like 5am here and the sun is shining like its 8 or 9. Gotta love that Japanese sun!! 

I don't have much to report on from this week: we did a lot of finding and visiting investigators. One of them we met on a bus last week coming back from a different area and chatted with for like an 1:30. She loves English and thinks that what we are doing as missionaries is awesome so she wanted to take us out to sushi. We went and she blew $50 on us. She kept forcing me to eat even when I was stuffed to the gills with raw fish and got offended when I said I was full! HA! But she's way nice and we were able to teach a great lesson too. She set up a tight schedule to meet every week, once a week and talk in english and talk about our message and she doesn't care who it is that actually comes as long as there is one American and one Japanese.....Interesting lady......

We did go out to Sapporo this week to see Elder Christofferson (he's one of my favorites. I like the way he leans on the podium at Conference like he owns the place). He was amazing. He didn't have a lot of a message that he particularly wanted to share with us, but instead just asked for questions and answered them. It was really interesting to listen to and watch because there would be moments when he would pause and not really look anywhere in particular and then continue with some new piece of information. The way he receives revelation is insane. I know that he and the other 12 are real Apostles and prophets of God and that they really do receive revelation from him for us. I have faith that they will always lead us where He needs us to be led and that by listening and following their counsel we can be super duper happy! It was an awesome experience that I won't ever forget. 

That's probably about it..... Transfers are this week and it should be more unusual that normal. We've got the new mission president coming in the middle of the transfer and I've heard a few rumors about how they are scrambling the leaders who knows where I'll end up?! 

Anyway, Love you guys!

Elder Spurling

Friday, April 4, 2014


Hello Family
The snow has finally melted just enough that we can get our bikes out! It actually snowed on the first day of spring. Do you guys still have snow? SNOW!!!!!! When I saw the green grass for the first time in about 5 months, I wanted to cry. It's so beautiful!! I can't wait for the real spring in Hokkaido to start.
We had an investigator come to church yesterday!! It was a miracle! He just showed up in sacrament and sat down next to me. He ended up loving it and said h would come again next week, so I hope some cool stuff happens there.
Super sorry that I suck at emailing now. Hey! Tomorrow is my one year in Japan! I'm going to buy a crapload of sushi. It'll be great.
I love you all. Have a beautiful week.
Elder Spurling

Sunday, March 2, 2014

no subject line......れ

Hey folks,
Here's another. I don't think I properly described how great the baptism was yesterday. I honestly couldn't explain it to my companion either, but it was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Nakabayashi was so prepared and was SOOOO excited and felt the Spirit so much was honestly unbelievable. I have no clue why I was allowed to be a part of this, but I know the Lord knows her and knew what she needed to hear and feel. There truly is no greater feeling than knowing that the Lord performed a miracle in another person's life through you. The gospel is true. Hevenly Father know each of us. He wants us to be happy and he will do all he can to make that happen.
Elder Spurling

What did we do to deserve this........

Hey guys!
I Don't have a ton of time (I never do....).We are in Asahikawa for a
Zone meeting and we are going to go bowling as a District with another
district! WOOOO BOWLING!!!

But this week was......amazing. We have an investigator named
Nakabayashi- san that we have been teaching since I came. My comp
didn't think there was much potential but when I talked to her the
first time I knew she was going to be cool. I've met with her on
splits a few different times and she has quite a bit of interest. She
told us a few weeks ago that she wanted to come to church and see how
it was.....and then she walked for an hour and made it there early.
She loved church and every lesson happened to be about the Plan of
Salvation which was the pamphlet we had given her a bit before. So I
met with her again on Wednesday on splits and summed up the PoS and
she told us that it all sounded very familiar to her. One of the
members that we brought told her that it was because she had heard it
all before before this life and we were just telling her something she
had forgotten. We asked her to pray about it and she said she would.
Then she came to church again yesterday and we had the sister
missionaries help her so that we could pass her to them. We taught
another lesson afterward with the sisters. I started it and asked her
a question about how church was and then all of the sudden I had a ton
of questions about how she felt and what it would mean if she found
truth in her life and........she turned to me after talking for a bit
and asked, "what do you need to do to join this church?" I told her
about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and the sisters shared a
scripture about baptism. The sisters invited her to be baptized by
someone holding the proper authority of God and she looked at me and
said, "受けたい。 お願いしたい。 I want to be baptized. I would like to ask you to
do it." I can tell you that that lesson was pretty all over the place
at times, but that woman has been prepared to meet us and has found
something, has felt something that is so familiar and good that she
can't ignore it. I am so glad to be a part of something like this.
There is no way that this message that I have the opportunity to share
isn't true. I know from the bottom of my heart that my Heavenly Father
knows me and has people here in Hokkaido that I am supposed to find
and help. I love that gospel and I try my best to show my gratitude

I love you guys!

Elder Spurling

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Yuki Matsuri..... Snow Festival

Yuki Matsuri..... Snow Festival

Hey fam!
No voice mail this week. Sorry. But this has been an amazing week. We had a Zone Conference this week and every single missionary ended up in the city of Sapporo at one time. It was a really good meeting and we learned a lot of great things and got a lot of dendo fire! We're ready to go out and work. 

We met with a college kid here that My comp and the last elder had had some trouble actually getting into sharing the message with. I went in and just got to know him. He is actually fluent in English so he didn't want to speak Japanese. But we just talked about our jobs and music and The Killers and just whatever. Then my comp threw out a super blunt question related to the message and we just started goin for it. We probably talked for an hour and I actually didn't ever teach him. All I did was tell him what this gospel has done for me and how much happiness I have felt from it. I didn't tell him that he needed to do anything I just promised that if he prayed and if he wanted feel what I have felt, all he has to do is try it out. It was the most heartfelt testimony that I have borne since I have come here and he said that he felt it. It was one of the best experiences that I have had so far. 

We also had a WAY cool woman come to church yesterday! She had to walk for almost an hour on the ice and snow but was there early and ended up absolutely LOVING the messages that were shared there. She has a lot of interest and a ton of faith and I can't wait to see what happens with her. 

I'm doing really well. We have been seeing SO many miracles and I actually feel somewhat confident as a missionary after a whole year. I didn't do anything to celebrate though.... didn't really remember. 

I love you all! Till next week,
Elder Spurling

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hey Fam,
Here's another one for ya. It's not very informative probably. Kind of later at night buuut......It's me and Elder Brackner. Elder Brackner. He's a total boss. His Japanese is awesome and he's totally fearless when it comes to dendo. I'm seriously learning a TON from him. I think he should be the senior in this companionship. But besides that, he's WAY fun. I probably get along with him better so far than I have with any of my other companions. Not to mention we are actually getting opportunities to teach. It's ben a crazy two weeks already. I love this area and the ward and everything.  DL has been fun. Having a leadership responsibility has really helped me focus WAY more on my calling as missionary and on how I can become more charitable and Christ-like. It's one of the best things so far.
Elder Spurling

Monday, January 27, 2014

There's even more snow now.....!!!!

Hey guys,
I actually only have 5 minutes. We went to an onsen today and the bus didn't come and the train was late and I have to go sing at a big mission FHE in a few. 
I got transferred to Ebetsu. One of the snowiest places on this island and therefore Japan. I'm with another elder that just finished training and he's a total boss! We get along super well and im learning a ton from him. Elder Shoell actually came with me and is still in my apartment.....
I also became the District Leader so I have to take care of everything that goes on in my area and the one over. I also have to do an 1:30 workshop every week for everyone in Japanese......pray for me. I feel super busy, but we actually have investigators and are teaching lessons everyday!!! It's super great here!!!

Love you, 
Elder Spurling

Zone conference in December

Farewell to Shinoro.....

Hello Family
I am making this voice recording at 10 o'clock at night so I have to be quite. We are laying in bed but do not actually have to be asleep, we have lights out but are really just chillin.   Sometimes we use flashlights and just hang out.  Actually my trainer Elder Jones who is an AP came to do splits with the other elders in my apartment, the zone leaders, and we talked till way late in the dark, it was way cool.... I love Elder Jones, he is my bud.  He is going to "die" (go home) next transfer which is REALLY sad, Elder Watanabe goes home too. It is going to be way lonely in this mission.  I will be one of the oldest non Japanese missionaries.  
This week was super fun, last Monday we had a ward party.  We all go and they make some special rice. We pound the rice with hammers, you may have seen it before but we pound it with hammers and it makes it really soft and mushy.   Then they take it and put in all these ingredients and it is super good, I LOVE it!!  I unfortunately did not get to do it, I lost the opportunity to the primary kids, it was sad for me but the kids are crazy, they are fun kids. After that we had music practice for a concert for the whole mission coming up.  Otherwise, this week we have been feed 7 times this week, which is seriously unheard of in this mission, in Hokkaido.  Nobody feeds the missionaries here.  One of those was today we went to a ladies who was a NA- not active and she was SO COOL!  She had all four of us over with her husband and 2 kids, 16 and 13.   They are all super talented, they love music so we all got to present or do our music talent.  Elder Roenberg played the guitar, and Elder Watanabe played the piano and he is apparently better than we even knew, he is the boss on the piano.  Another family we saw was a mother and son who are both active.  The son is getting ready to go on a mission soon and they are way cool.  We had a super fun time with them, everyone seemed to have fun and we taught a nice little lesson that go pretty deep and then we found out the next day that the mom had called the mission home and said she never wants the missionaries to come to her home again.  Apparently one of the elders offended her but what she said he did, he did not do so we think she is a little bit crazy.  When we left she said "please come again" but I think I will go back again before I leave...... oh yeah I am being transfered this week from Shinoro.  I said good bye to lots of people at church, I love this place and am really really sad to leave. It has been my home for 6 months.  I hate to leave,there are alot of good things happening here.  We taught a lesson this week, it was great.
On Sunday I taught the Gospel Principles class, unprepared, and it wasn't half bad, it could have been better but it wasn't terrible...
So I will tell you where i go, the last few weeks in Shinoro have been awesome.  The ward is great and this apartment has been way fun.  I am super, super sad for us to be separated but it has to happen.
Alright Love you family, talk to you next week
Elder Spurling 

Elder Roenberg had a birthday and his family sent Star Wars stuff so here in crazy Darth Vader masks

Monday, January 6, 2014

They sled in their kidding they really do

Good morning family
this week was New Years.  We were busy all week long.  We had a Book of Mormon Day where we read all day long, 10 hours straight.  I did not get very far, some do but I got to 2 Nephi.  I was looking for some specific things and not rushing.  The bad part was that we were fasting, it was so hard.   Especially since we had a crap ton of snacks, candy and bread from our ward sitting everywhere.  I really loved Book of Mormon day, I prayed alot alot alot.  At the end of the day I really felt how true the book really was.  I was so grateful for that day.
The next day was New Years.  It is completely impossible to teach so we spent the day with members.  It was great we spent about 4 hours with one family and then went to another.  That is really all we have done this week is connected with members.  They celebrate all week long so we really could not do anything else.  It was awesome though, there are some way cool people here in Shinoro.   I don't want to leave them but I probably will in the next few weeks since I have been here for 5 months.
The day after New Years we had a deep clean day.  We literally spent the entire day in our apartment cleaning everything.  Took everything apart, cleaned it, and put it back.  It was dumb, and I don't think Elder Shoell liked it very much, but it turned out kind of fun.  It was something to do.
This week we got a ton of snow!!!   You cannot imagine how much snow.  Last week we watched it snow during scripture study, then we got ready to leave and I stepped out the door and it literally went up to my shin.  It got progressively worse the rest of the day and it was seriously knee deep.  We were the only ones out walking in it so we waded through knee deep snow all weekend.  It is INSANE.  They do not clean the snow off the streets.  We have been shoveling driveways like crazy.  Piles of snow are taller than Elder Shoell and he is over 6 feet.  They have to shovel snow into very specific places and they make these piles that their children sled down.  Seriously they sled down their driveways.

I love everybody, I think you are fantastic.  Please tell my Primary class hello, I was thinking of them this week about how awesome they are.
Take care
Elder Spurling