Blog of Elder JT Lamoreaux

Monday, October 27, 2014

First Email from Japan!

October 27, 2014

Konnichiwa from Japan!

I hope everyone is doing great! So I`m in Japan! Our first couple of days here, were spent in the misson home to be trained and to know the mission President, President Welch. I really like him a lot. he is fun, powerful and gets things done at the same time. It`s great. 

The first night, we just ate and slept because we were all so tired. Oh yeah, on the plane ride, I slept the whole time, except for when they brought food. Anyway, next morning, we played ultimate frisbee at a nearby park.

Japanese Park
Japan is so beautiful. The streets are insanely narrow. I mean a two lane road here is barely enough space to fit both cars. Some streets look like a one way road, but is two lanes. Anyway, we ate Costco pizza for lunch. They have Costco in Japan! I thought that was crazy. Then we had interviews with the Mission President. then we had dinner with chopsticks. Let me just say that I suck at using chopsticks. this is going to be an adventure. Then we had one last testimony meeting with all the Kobe Missionaries, which by the way is 24 of us. The next morning we ran up the mountain near by and was able to see the whole city which was super beautiful.
The view from the mountain we ran up

Then we found out where we were going and met our trainers/new companions. My companion is Elder Harris from Provo. He has been on his mission for about a year and a half and I am so so grateful for him. I`ll tell more about him in a bit. I am serving in a city called Nishiwaki. It's about two hours north of Kobe by bus. It is such a beautiful area. Mountains everywhere, green everywhere, beautiful houses and architecture, I was blown away.

Scenery while biking

Beautiful architecture.

Awesome river while crossing a bridge

I don't understand Japanese. MTC and the field are two completely different places. I thought I knew some Japanese but it's crazy hard. I`m so grateful for my companion because he knows it! He understands all that is said to him and helps translate to me things I don't understand. It will take patience, but I pray everyday for the Spirit to be with me and and to understand the Language. My companion is awesome. He is very patient with me and he is a great example of what a missionary does and should be. I'm so grateful for him.

So on Saturday, my first real day in the field, we went out. My bike already had problems. The tire exploded. It was a very old bike and it was just garbage. We had to go to the bike shop to get it fixed. My first encounter with a Japanese person was with the bike shop owner. I didn`t understand anything except for the word for tire. which is Taiya.
We went housing. Knocking on doors. Harris Choro did the first few houses and then let me have a turn. I froze, I had no idea what to do.That's another reason why Harris Choro is there. I'm learning so much already. Japanese houses have sort of like an intercom system. Most of the time, they only talk through the intercom and rarely open the door. Anyway, that day, we weren`t able to teach a lesson. The next day was Sunday.
Blown up tire on the first day.
Sunday, we went to Ward Mission Council. The branch I`m in only has about 40 active members. The church is tiny. but we actually have a building which is guess is rare. We have about 20 investigators. I didn't participate much in the meeting except for the prayer because 1, I don`t know the investigators yet and 2, I don't understand what their saying.
Anyway, all the members here are so nice. I can pick up some basic things of what they say. They all like the fact that I`m half filipino. I gave a talk to kind of introduce myself. It was about 3 minutes long but as I looked at the members, they were all smiling at me and that made me happy. Japanese people are so nice, not just the members. We had an investigator come for his first time. he is 73 and he talks a lot. We taught him after sacrament meeting, my first lesson. I shared a simple experience, which is about all I can do right now. That day, we also sat in on a Home teaching lesson and taught another person who showed up for his first time.
After that, we went housing again. This time, we taught two lessons to people who might be interested. We'll go over there again to teach them more and hopefully they`ll accept it.
I love riding my bike around Japan and looking for people to teach the gospel to. Japan is beautiful, hopefully you'll be able to see some of it through the pictures. The language is hard, but I`ll get it eventually if I keep working hard and praying. I love all of you and your support. I miss you but this is what I`m supposed to do right now. I love you and will email again next week!

Elder Lamoreaux

In Japan on the short train to customs. Elder Iverson, Sister Johnson and Sister Poelman

Elders Otani, Bateman and Ross

On the bus to the mission home

Trying to get good pictures on the bus, kinda not very good pictures sorry

At the church by the mission home

 Me with the view

The Kobe Missionaries.

My new nametag

Me and Elder Harris on the way to Nishiwaki.

My Appartment

First meal and first time cooking in Japan

Japanese Cemetary

Views and sceneries.
More Japan beauty

Pictures from the MTC

Funny pic with some of the zone

`I don`t know what to do with my hands`

Selfie while selfie-ing

I'm in Japan!!

October 23, 2014

Konnichiwa from Japan!

I survived the long flight and I am here in Japan finally. It's 3:30 P.M. on the 23rd. I'm staying in the mission home for a couple of days and tomorrow I'm going to meet my trainer and will go to my first area. This place is so cool, the flight was fun (mostly sleeping which is nice) and my mission president is awesome. I like him a lot already. I'm excited to figure out which area I will go to first. The humidity is kind of killing me already, but I will hopefully get the hang of it. This is just a short email saying I'm alive! Pictures will come on Monday here so Sunday at Orem. Thanks for the prayers and love. Thank you so much.

Elder Lamoreaux
In Kobe

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Last P-Day in the US!

Hey all!
I'm doing well here. We did receive our travel plans last week! We leave on Tuesday the 21st at 2:30 A.M. We fly from Salt Lake City to San Francisco at 6:20 A.M. We will have a layover in San Fran for 3 hours, then at 11:10 A.M. (San Fran time? maybe) We fly to Osaka Japan. We will arrive there at 3:00 P.M. on the 22nd (Japan time?) I am super excited and it's so close. We are working on packing everything and making sure our Japanese is as good as we can make it here at the MTC. I'm a little nervous because I don't think I know enough Japanese, but I do know that when I get there, The Lord will help me every step of the way. I'm super super excited to experience Japanese Culture and to meet the people of Japan.
I just want to share a thought with you. I don't have much time. 

In choir on tuesday, we sang "We are all enlisted". Brother Eggett, the director shared a scripture that goes along with the line in the song "Dangers may gather. Why should we Fear?" It's Isaiah 41:10 and 13. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee." I love that. It gives me comfort that no matter what I do, as long as I'm trying my best, Heavenly Father will be there and he will help me. I feel like that goes along with the topic of that devotional, "Satan is real and we are at war." He talked about how satan tries to deceive us. He said that God sends us angels to help us and to protect us from Satan. He is real, but we are much more powerful than he is. The only way he can have power over us is if we let him do that to us. We need to trust and have hope in the Atonement of Christ and be willing to change ourselves. We can dispel all fear and doubt from our lives. He will take you by the hand and help you in every step. "Fear not I am with thee. I will help thee"

Next time you hear from me will be when I'm in Japan. Wish me luck and pray for the safety of my flight. I'm so excited to start the mission work in the field. Thanks for all the support that is shown to me from all of you! I can feel it and I really appreciate it!

Elder Lamoreaux

Friday, October 10, 2014

So close to Japan!

Oct. 9, 2014

Hello Everyone!

So yesterday was Day 50 in the MTC and of my mission. How does time fly?
Anyway, singing in General Conference was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. We had been practicing for only 7 days. Usually, when choirs are going to sing in conference, they begin practicing at least 4 months in advance and we only had 7 days. That by itself is a miracle. None of us had ever sung together before and nobody has heard these songs before. Most of the people in the choir hadn't even been in a choir before. In all the practices, we didn't sound perfect. Actually in our last rehearsal, most of the choir was not on the right pitch for many of the long notes. I was nervous because we didn't sound as good as we probably could've with more practice, but we all knew that Heavenly Father would help us sound amazing. As soon as we arrived at the Conference Center, I was super excited. This would be a once in a lifetime experience for me. They had us sit in the little theater of the Conference Center. There we rehearsed one last time and was able to eat dinner. Then they led us to a series of underground tunnels until we were at last in the choir loft of the Conference Center. As soon as I stepped into the place that you see every 6 months, I felt excited and a little nervous. Looking out into the crowd of then empty seats, I was overwhelmed. The seats filled your peripheral vision. everywhere you looked there were thousands of seats. Then they sat us down, I was placed in the very front aisle seat, right next to the famous Conference Center Organ. that thing is a beast, super awesome.

Then we rehearsed each song once and It sounded incredible. With the organ, you could feel the energy of the choir as well as the spirit that missionaries bring. I got so excited. Then, after a while, we all stood up because the Prophet was entering the room. I was literally 15 yards away from him. I could feel his spirit strongly. He is truly a prophet of God. Then conference started. We sang the first song "Rise Up O Men of God" I had never sung better in my life. Angels were truly helping us all sing our best and to proclaim the message to the world. Then we sang the "Missionary Medley" which is a really fun song that portrays each of us missionaries growing up. Then we heard the talks. I couldn't take notes however, so much of the priesthood session I don't remember. When President Monson was speaking, I'll be honest, I wasn't paying 100% attention. I was focused on the last song "Ye Elders of Israel." that was our hardest song. Anyway we sang it and it was incredible. I sang my heart out and so did the rest of the choir. The elder who sang the solo at the start did so so well. He was very nervous the whole day. A funny thing about that is, He didn't even tell his parents that he would be singing a solo in general conference! Mom and Dad, imagine if I didn't tell you something like that! What would you do to me haha! Any way the conference was over. Afterwards, we were still standing there, Elder Russell M. Nelson came up to the choir, shook the directors' hands and then turned to us and said how great a job we had done. That was awesome.
Then on the bus ride, we had a testimony meeting and we sang hymns all the way back. Each testimony shared how they had truly been helped by angels. Many of the elders were sick and wouldn't have been able to sing if they hadn't had help. That was an awesome experience as well and I am so, so grateful that I had the opportunity to sing in a session of General Conference.

Screen shot of conference broadcast

Click on the links below to watch the choir

Rise Up O Men of God

Anyway, I am doing great here. I only have 11 days left until I leave for Japan! We get our flight plans tomorrow so I will know then exactly when we are going to leave, what flights we are going to take and any layovers we will have. I am so excited to find out. But at the same time, I don't know if I am ready. I think being immersed in the language and culture will help me tremendously. I am so excited to meet the people of Japan and to see what Kobe Japan has to offer.

So back on conference, I liked Elder Holland, Elder Scott, Elder Bednar and Elder Jorg Klingbat's talks. I found many things that I need to do to improve as a missionary and a person. I am so grateful for Living Prophets and the guidance that Heavenly Father gives through his servants.

Well, other than conference, everything is still the same as past weeks. Study, Study, Sleep (barely) Eat, and Study. I was able to take a much needed nap today. It was only an hour long, but it was much needed and much appreciated. Thank you for all the support you show me and I strive to make you all proud. 愛しています 皆さん!
That was just a really short, really simple testimony in Japanese for you! I love you all!


ラムーロー長老 (Elder Lamoreaux)

Picture with our whole zone. 41 missionaries in all.
Look who I found on the temple walk. Sister Rebecca Wood
 Timpanogos Park 2nd Ward, Orem North Stake

Pictures with Vai Sikahema, who spoke in our Sunday Night Devotional. It was awesome to hear him talk

Madruga Choro and I found an empty classroom with light coming in through a window and thought it looked super cool. I'm reading a Japanese Book of Mormon. モルモン書。

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Start of week 7

Oct. 2, 2014

Everyday this week, we have practiced our songs for the Priesthood Session of General Conference. It is super exciting and the songs are all so good. It's going to make history and will be very inspiring to everyone, especially those close to missionary age. If you are questioning about whether or not to go on a mission, no matter how old you are, Watch this session. Every song is about mission work and I promise it will inspire you. These songs and these speakers will make you excited to be missionaries, every one of you. I won't tell you the songs because I want you to watch it and experience it for yourself. Our director, his helpers, and the MTC presidency who are present at every rehearsal, they all say how blessed the church will be when they hear us sing these songs in front of the whole world. I am so excited and am so blessed to be given this opportunity to sing and to bear my testimony through music. It will be an unforgettable experience.
The district who came 3 weeks before us left for Japan on Monday. That makes me so much more excited to go to Japan. It's so close but feels like we still have an eternity. Now my district is the one that has been here the most and that feels weird. on Wednesday, we also added two new districts to our zone. Now there are about 50 of us in my zone and we are the examples. We have a lot more responsibility now to be the best missionaries we can be. No time for slaking off now. We are now working much harder to learn as much Japanese as we can before we leave. I really want to leave now, but I'm not ready yet.
Throughout this whole experience, I've learned the importance of relying on the Lord to help you. There are many times when you can get stressed in the MTC, but if you are in tune with the Spirit, all the stress disappears. I've prayed here more than i ever have before and Heavenly Father has blessed me because of it. He blesses us everyday, we just need to be aware of all the many little blessings we get everyday. If you pay attention to what God gives you and "Count your many blessings" you will realize that you are not alone and that God loves you. If you do your best, God will do the rest. I know that is true.
I want to share something that I learned about in a little discussion I had with a couple elders in my district. We were talking about how Jesus Christ's gospel is clearly laid out in the scriptures multiple times. The gospel is simple really. Have faith in Chirst, Repent, Be Baptized, Receive the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the end. It's still hard, but it's not complicated. Many people fall away from the church because they get caught up in a single commandment. We came to the conclusion that if you have Faith in Christ, as it is stated in Alma 32, You will want to follow all of God's commandments. We then looked up Matthew 22:37-39. It says (I'm doing this without scriptures so if I'm not completely right, don't make fun of me :)) "Thou shalt love the Lord thy god with all thy heart and might. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." That's probably completely wrong, but you can look it up to make sure :) anyway, you hear that scripture all the time, but you never hear the next verse, verse 40 "And upon these hold all the laws and the prophets." That was a mind blower to me. Every single commandment hang on to the fact that you love God and love others. As long as you truly Love God, you will want to follow every one of his commandments. If you love God, this gospel is easy. Everything hangs on us loving him who created us. I thought that was awesome and that is something I am going to work hard on. Hopefully that makes sense and that it helps you as well.
Well, It's been just another week at the MTC. I am feeling a lot more confident in my Japanese. I still don't know a lot, but i'm getting there. I'm confident that when i'm immersed in the language in Japan, I will be able to speak it well. Oh I forgot to say, on Wednesday, we were able to Skype a member in Japan for TRC. We taught him a lesson about prayer and Joseph Smith and got to know him a little bit. He lives in Sendai Japan and he was super nice. He laughed at us a lot because of our mistakes, but it was a friendly laugh. At the end of our lesson, he got up, got his camera and took a picture of us through the screen. It was a pretty cool experience and made me really excited to meet the people of Japan. They are incredible people.
That's it for this week. I hope to hear from you and all of your crazy anventures. Til next week
-Elder Lamoreaux

Creeping Elder Madruga and my new Japanese Nametag! (the name is wrong, but it's still cool)

Here is a close up of nametag
Me and the temple on the rainy day

Me and Elder Lee

Temple walk with Elder Bateman, Elder Madruga, And Elder Otani

Selfie with some of our zone

Selfie with Elder Lee (left) and Elder Allen (right)

Elder Bateman and the Kohai Shimai

Selfie with Elder Lee (the Asian Elder Lee)

Elder Madruga, Our teacher Sheehan Kyodai and Elder Otani

District Duck Face

Our district's classic monkey face.
Me, Elder Otani, Elder Brodie and elder Spenst

Branch 27 picture before the Sempai leave for Japan

Picture with Elder Corbin Huber before he leaves for the Philippines