Monday, February 28, 2011

Transfer Week (Enter Elder Conger)

Hey Everyone!

What a crazy last week. So many changes. So busy. So tired. But Content. So Elder Pendleton was transferred out early Wednesday morning. We had to get up at 4:45. Due to the packing and having other missionaries stay at our place I was up till nearly 1:30 that morning. So it was a fun start. After he Boarded the shuttle back to Charleston I went with Elder McKee of the Salem elders as his companion was leaving too. I was sad to see Elder Pendleton go. Being the first companion I've had in the field I wasn't sure what it would be like having anyone different. But Luckily I got Elder Conger, Who is a pretty cool Elder. He's from Orem Utah and only about 5"11 so we finally see eye-to-eye haha. He's a hard worker and is really good at keeping the schedule, which is good and just what I needed. I'm finally getting some value out of our morning work our routine. Except for this morning when I knelt down to pray at 6:31 and said "Amen" at 7:04. I wish I was that righteous but I think the more likely conclusion is I had a nap during prayers.... But Most mornings are much better is the point!

So the majority of the week as been helping him get settled in, meeting members, learning the area and a few teaching appointments. Its been great because this has given me a great opportunity to meet with church leadership about how we can do better in our missionary assignments and help the wards with theirs. The Bishop's and ward mission leaders down here are outstanding and do a great job in helping us and keeping us busy with certain families.

I've been enjoying trying to explain how all the families are connected to each other to Elder Conger. This week we visited 5/6 Bohon Families and a few of the Ferguson's. Moving into a new area is tough because of the vast amount of information people you meet all at once. I know I'm going to struggle when I get transferred out of here so I'm trying to help him as best I can.

The Zone has shifted around quite a bit too. About half of the Missionaries have now changed around in our little zone so there are a lot of new Elders to meet and get to work with. Elder McKee got a Greenie! And I really like the new zone Leader Elder Leah. He's originally from England though he lived in Utah for a few years prior to coming out. He's so solid. By the book but thats just the way it should be. I remember him from my second day out in the mission when he came up to me and told me how excited he was that I was here. Super nice, Hard working, and a fellow foreigner! So I'm excited for all of the new changes that have happened and I'm trying to keep the best parts of all the people I come into contact with out here.
I hope all is well at home. I'd write more but I'm out of time!
Love you all and Can't wait to hear from people back home.!!
Elder Sunada

Asian all the way

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Life in Transition (powaqqatsi)

Its finally P-Day. Waiting that Extra day sometimes makes a big difference when your waiting to hear word from Family and Friends. Its also the Day before Transfers. We found out that Elder Pendleton is being transferred to Sissonville West Virginia. So he's leaving the promised land of the mission early tomorrow morning. He's been a good Trainer and I've learned a lot from him. I'll be sad to see him go because we worked pretty well together and now I'll have to learn how to work with someone else but I guess that's just how life rolls out here in the mission field. My new companion will be Elder Conger from somewhere in Utah. I knew I'd have to get a Utah Elder sometime or another. Its inevitable. Though I'm actually pretty excited. I'll give y'all and update next week on what he's like.
Elder Pendleton had a pretty good idea he'd be getting transferred out so we've been visiting a lot of family's and investigators just to say goodbye and get one last picture with them. It kinda made me sad because we've both grown to love the people here so much and to leave will be heart wrenching. I'll be here at least another six weeks but beyond that who knows! So We've had some pretty interesting visits.
This past weekend was also stake conference! And I got to go to the Adult session for the first time. I loved it even though most of the talks really didn't apply to me at the time (How to raise your kids in a loving environment, setting sights on the temple, Ect.) We also got Jason and Kim out to that church for the first time during that Session! WHOOHOOO! Its about time. They've been really sincere the whole time about coming but something always comes up. The Sunday before last for instance Jason didn't make it because his tire was flat. Now normally when you hear something like that as a missionary you know people are trying to avoid you. But as it turns out one of his neighbors got made and decided to slash his tire, which is why they also decided to move out of their current apartment. This is good news because the place they moved into is much nicer, out in the country and way safer for when their baby arrives. The Sad news, They moved so far out that they are only barely Salem's boundaries. I really hope that I'll be able to do exchanges and visit them like that but for now they have been passed over to the Salem Elders. They said they'd call me up when the baby was born though as the hospital is still in my area :)
Earlier in the week we also were able to work with President Thornock, who was in town for the conference. He even called one morning to inform us that he and Sister Thornock would be joining us for companionship study that morning. Luckily the apartment wasn't in to much disarray and we had a very enjoyable visit with them. About ten Minutes after they left however they called and said they'd forgotten to tell me something so they were returning. President then informed me that Grandpa Sunada had passed away. I was shocked, but it wasn't a total surprise. He was nearly 87 and had been experiencing some problems within the last few months. I was sad to hear of his passing, but upon saying a prayer I felt that Heavenly Father had things under Control. Because of the Gospel I know that I'll see him again. I'm so grateful for this knowledge and the strength it gives me to carry on. Sometimes I don't think I fear death enough, and perhaps I should a little more the next time I'm standing on the edge of a 5 story building, But in any case death is only a temporary separation. Its great to be able to share that knowledge with others as it can comfort them as it has me. Its the same reason that I know Ross has been able to do so well when his Mother Passed away. He knows he'll see her again. I know it. I want the world to know it. But I'll have to worry about teaching the people of the Virginia's for now. One lesson at a time.
I hope everyone back home knows how much I love and care about them. Grandpa will always be alive to me, both in memory and spirit. I'm very proud to Share his name where ever I go.

Elder K. Masato Sunada

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Roanoke & some favorite people

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

So this will have to be a quick one.

We drove a man to the hospital today which kinda cut into our email time, but I figured him getting his heart checked out was more important haha. Wow So the past few days its been above 60 degree's here, which is just a little messed up to me. meanwhile I'm hearing reports of Record setting snow fall else where in the country! Did they really send me to the right place? haha I still think so even though I'm missing that snow.

Well lets see, This past week has been a little slow in terms of working with investigators. Aside from Crawford and one other couple we were referred to I don't think we taught any other investigators. We did however do a lot of work and driving around in the Back Creek Area. Met with a lot of in actives and set up some appointments for this coming week which is good. Also we've been getting a lot of lessons in with members. Really Members are the best resource we have for finding people to teach. When we show up on people's doors they've been taught that we are a cult or something to that effect. But when people come in contact with members in the work place or in the community they normally figure out we're not AS crazy as most people think haha. So we've been having a lot of fun with the families in the wards teaching and sharing uplifting messages.

The other reason we've been visiting families this week is because Elder Pendleton is pretty sure he's being transferred out on the 23rd. Its not a 100% for sure but its common convention in the mission that when your training someone you'll work with them for 2 transfers then leave them the area. That reminds me, Being transfer week our P-Day has been shifted to Tuesday so I won't have an email out till then. They're a lot of great families in the area who are awesome to the missionaries and love to have us over.

Probably the highlight of this week was Sunday. Lets just Say I love the Primary kids. We were invited into the Primary room at the end of class. They didn't say why, so I was kinda worried they were going to have us stand up and give an impromptu message on missionary work. But to my great surprise, Each of the Primary kids had made a valentine's card for us from that ward. It was too Precious. I stood their as they all clamored to the front, holding out their big red Cards which they had laboured on diligently for us. Some of them were pretty impressive. It was too cute as a few of them would timidly get up to add theirs to the pile, then after depositing the card, would grin and scurry back to their seats shyly. I wasn't expecting to get any valentines this year. Didn't figure they'd do me any good seeing as clearly I wouldn't even be on a date in the next 21 months. But I don't think you get many valentines better than these.

The Rest of Sunday we visited three more Awesome Families and went home feeling fulfilled. Don't know what this next Transfer is going to bring but I think I'll be ready for it. One thing is for sure that its always exciting out here.

Elder Sunada


Bro Shorter

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

McAfee Knob

Covering New Ground

Hey Everybody!

Wow I'm Tired. I could really use a nap right now. So the reason why this email is getting out a little late today is because Last night a member invited Elder Pendleton and I to go on a hike this morning. It was short notice but I was game. So we reversed our schedules and did our activity first and now are trying to get everything else done before we go back to work tonight.

He took us up part of the Appalachian trail to a peak called McAfee's Knob. It was a decent little jaunt over a few of the old stony mountains which was about an 7 mile round trip. It felt Great to get some real rock under my feet again and even more so to finally get out of the valley to a vantage point and see exactly where I've been all this time. Granted these are no Rockies. But they do, in their own Sublime way, have a beauty and peace about them. I was Kind of bummed out when I saw a guy climbing up a massive rock slab in a pair of 5-10 Climbing shoes. I have a pair back home that I bought before coming out and never got a chance to wear them! Frustrating, but it will be something to look forward too. Just keep in mind, I'll be needing a climbing partner in about two years.
Anyways, This past week went by rather fast. Last Monday we decided to go bowling again. This time the new Sister Missionaries in the area Joined us. Sis. Theut from Las Vegas Beat Elder Pendleton one round. He didn't take it well. He can't stand the thought of losing to girls. Its bad enough when he loses at anything but he has a particular belief that he can beat any girl in the world at Basketball in one on one and is entirely convinced about it. Now whether thats true or not I don't know but in any case I was glad to see him humbled about it. He still hates it when I bring it up haha.

Tuesday was a day of moving people. The Sisters where Moving apartments, and we also got a call to help another family move in that same day. The only sad thing about that was the place we moved them into. It was.....uninhabitable by most peoples standards. Located in a shady part of Vinton, above a Tattoo parlor. But they seemed happy with it because their dog was allowed. People and their dogs... Good Grief. I still like dogs, But like the mail man, I've also got my reasons to despise them. Actually the seeing Eye dog that lives upstiars from me is the best and I play with her quite a bit. All you Dog lovers out there, PLEASE. Train your dog not to bark or growl at strangers.

Wednesday was my first official Zone conference. President came down and so did the Assistants. They shared some great messages and any opportunity to see President is welcome. He is the Man!

The rest of the week was back to our normal routine. Back to teaching and working with members. Pres. McBride took us to the hospital one night to visit some members who were there. That was awesome. It was two older ladies who'd lived super righteous lives it sounds like. One was a convert when she was young. She told us she always had a soft spot for missionaries. Even though we never met her before she beamed at the whole time through bright blue eyes. Even though both of them were not at the best of life and health, it was clear to see how the Gospel and their faith in their Redeemer gave them strength and kept their spirits lifted all the while.

Sunday was a pretty fun day as well. It was, after all, SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! which means very little to me seeing as I've never been a football fan nor did I really know anything about either team playing. But you could tell there was a certain anxiety around certain members. Too funny. Church was awesome as well. Fast and Sunday in the Back Creek Ward has been pretty powerful the last two times I've been there. That night we spent time with a Family from that ward that night teaching their Daughter who is getting ready to be baptised after she's 8. She's such a great example to me in how eager she is to read the scriptures and be part of that wonderful ordinance. We stayed there the rest of the night in order to stay away from the football Madness.
Spent time singing with EMILY and MADY while they sang and played piano.

All in all a great week!

Elder Sunada

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Patches and Pigeons

Homing pigeon

 Bro Shorter Patches

Gen Lewis Statue

 Pendleton at Salem Redsox

Civic Center