Kurihara Choro RETURNS to Sendai Mission OCTOBER 24th 2016!!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas from Ichinoseki Sendai

                                    Me and Elder Mason, I returned to sendai the same time he got in

                                                                       CHristmas lights!

PIc3:Lunch with Mariko Shimai!

 Lunch with Yamazaki kaichou when we went to visit LA's in rikuzentakapa

                                                                      Miracle Pine

                                                          Destroyed buildings still remain

                                                A middle school that was destroyed by the tsunami

Transfer 2 week 3...Merry Christmas!

Hello Everybody!

Its the day after Christmas over here but for most of you it is
probably CHristmas today, so Merry Christmas!! Well it was a
subarashii(awesome) week last week! We had a christmas party at the
hospital we do service at every week. Basically i just played piano
for a room full of Ojichans (grandpas) and Obaachans(grandmas) for 30
minutes haha i am glad i upkept the songs i had learned from past
piano recitals and such. Two days after that i played a musical number
for the Christmas Zone Conference in Morioka. That was a way awesome
meeting and our zone got a few new missionaries! On Christmas eve here
in Japan I got to Skype with my family and that was way awesome! It
seems like they have grown up so much already especially Titus, and I
haven't even been gone for 3 months yet! Im so grateful for my family
and feel blessed to have so many great memories of past Christmases
and other family gatherings. After skyping me and my companion went
with Yamazaki kaichou to visit Less Actives in the ward that lived
closer to the coast. We drove literally all day visiting people and
giving them small gifts and cards!
Also we went to the city of rikuzentakapa which is right on the coast.
This city got totally destroyed by the tsunami of 2011. I didnt
realize how recent that had happened, there were still destroyed
buildings and most of the area was empty and under major restoration.
Amongst all this they created a small memorial around a pine tree they
named the "miracle tree". Of the thousands of pines that once grew
down by the coast, only this tree survived! It was very humbling and
sombering experience. But there was one thing i read on plaque there
that stuck out to me. It read, "by building sea walls and breakwaters,
erecting tsunami memorials and studying the history of the disasters,
we have nurtured a culture of disaster preparedness and prevention.
However, it is also said that excessive reliance on structural
measures and the fading of memories of previous disasters were factors
that increased the damage suffered this time"
In thinking of how i could learn from this how or how it could apply
to my life, that last part really stuck out to me and i thought of
this scripture.

2Nephi 4:34 reads,
"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I
will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is
he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that
putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."

 When we let our "memory fade" and begin to forget  God, the source of
all good things in our lives, and rely solely on the "arm of flesh",
or in other words our own knowledge and strength instead of relying
and calling upon God, we are much more weak and susceptible when we
are met with the trials and challenges that come in life. As we move
forward from this wonderful christmas season and begin this coming
year lets always remember to be grateful for all that is good in our
lives; jobs, families, food, homes, friends, health, nature, the beat
of our hearts, everything! I am grateful for the knowledge that we
have a God. He is our Heavenly Father and he loves us all so much. I
am so grateful for Jesus Christ, our eldest brother who suffered and
died for our sins and our pains and our sadness. Because of that
atonement we have the hope to return to live with God and our families
forever after this life! Because of that atonement we can fulfill the
purpose of this life which is to CHANGE, and we can be empowered to
overcome any trial that may come our way. I am grateful that the
church of Jesus Christ has been restored back to the Earth with the
same organization, doctrine, and priesthood authority it did when
Christ himself was here. I am grateful for a living prophet just as in
times of old, who receives revelation from God to give us further
direction and guide us through our lives. I am grateful for the Book
of Mormon and I invite anyone who has not yet read it to do so. Those
who read it with real intent, ponder its message, and pray to God to
know if it is true will receive an answer! I know it because i have
done it for myself. I love you all! May you have a wonderful Christmas
and a Happy New Year!

With Aloha,
Kurihara Choro

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tranfer 2 week 2

Hello Everybody!

Hope all your guys' weeks have been awesome! Here are just some
highlights from this week and what I learned
Early on in the week we had a lot of finding time so we decided we
were going to venture farther out of the city then we have in the
past, so we went wayyyy far out. Basically everyone was a farmer and
had some type of field on their property. We were knocking on the door
of this one house higher up in the hills when we saw this middle/older
aged guy come around the garage with a wheel barrow. We started to
walk towards him, he dropped his wheel barrow kind of abruptly and
looked super mad like he was about to scrap us or something haha. But
after he saw our name tags and we introduced ourselves he let out a
sigh of relief and said something like " ohhh missionaries? Man you
guys scared me i thought you were here to cause trouble or something"
haha I don't blame him, seeing two (tall for japanese) guys in black
coats walking on your property would be kind of alarming i guess. But
anyways he turned out to be a way nice guy and we had a nice
conversation with him.
We also had Splits with the Zone Leaders in Morioka which basically
just means that me and my companion switch companions with the zone
leader companionship for a day. I got to work with Reber Choro who I
met more than a year ago in the MTC! He's a way awesome missionary and
really showed me what it means to open your mouth and talk to
everybody! We walked all day on friday almost 10.5 miles! Both our
appointments didn't work out, but we ended up having a lot of time to
stop people on the street and share our message. We even found two
people who had interest and wanted to learn more. Its crazy to think
about all the opportunities I have missed when I pass people by. I am
still not fluent in the language and cant say everything i want how I
want, and a lot of times that has kept me from opening my mouth. As
missionaries basically our purpose is to open our mouth and share, if
we don't do that the there is no way we can fulfill our purpose in
bringing others to Christ.  Me and Uehara Choro have made it a goal to
stop more people on our way to appointments or visits or anything. As
I have stopped and talked to more people, it has gotten more
comfortable and enjoyable! Of course I still mess up and fumble with
my words sometimes but hey thats the only way to improve. This life is
all about getting back up when we get knocked down, thats how we learn
and grow!

Christmas is this week!! As we all have a wonderful time with family
and friends, eating super good food and having a great time, may we
always remember him whose birth we celebrate. He is the reason we can
always get back up and start again! Jesus Christ is our Savior and
Redeemer and he Lives!

Have a Merry Christmas!! I love you guys!

With Aloha,
Kurihara Choro

P.S Thank you so much Kahala ward for your loving christmas cards and
pictures! And thank you Bro. And Sis. Itoga for your card and for
sending all of them over here!

                                                   Eikawa (free English class) In Hiraizumi

       THANK YOU  Aunty  Sandy Higa for the package...oatmeal, shirachi sauce, granola and goodies

                                                            Snowing plenty in Morioka

                                                 When we biked out way far into the country

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

 It snowed chooke last week!

Baptism Wooohooo

Elder Jensen and the baptismal font

VIsiting Kumagai Kyoudai, he's a taxi driver! 

 At our christmas party Yamazaki Shimai did venquiletry (I can't
spell, the thing where they are talking but you cant tell because they
don't move their mouth)

                                                               FIlling up the baptismal font

Trasfer 2 week 1

Hello Everybody!

So this week was so awesome we had a baptism!! Our golden investigator
Ryou Kyoudai was baptized last thursday in a huge blow up pool in our
chapel! Haha side note, we spent literally 5 hours filling that thing
up with hot water from our apartment via 6 gasoline tanks and a cart
thing. We all wanted to die afterwards but it was all worth it when
the baptismal meeting started! It felt kind of surreal as a saw my
companion Uehara choro and Ryou kyoudai standing in the pool of water.
I was just like woah im a missionary, and this guy that we taught is
getting baptized, woahh!!!  Haha man what a special experience!

Me and Uehara Choro didn't have that much time to go out and find last
week since we were so busy, but we are working well together. This
week we have pretty much finding time all day everyday so im stoked
for that! Oh yea and we just found out that for some weird reason this
transfer is getting shorted to 5 weeks instead of 6 and the next
transfer will be 7 weeks. So i am kind of bummed that I wont have as
much time with Uehara Choro.
Jensen Choro, the new elder in our apartment is such a great guy haha
he's a great addition to our group and he's a dilligent missionary.
This past sunday it was my turn to give a talk (an elder gives a talk
every sunday because yes our branch is that small haha). I decided to
talk about "remembering". This christmas season is so wonderful
because we it is much easier for us to point peoples attention to
christ and help them remember him. In the Book of Mormon the huge
cycle that the Nephites went through over and over agin was one of
remembering and forgetting. In the business of our lives, when life
seems to be going smoothly it can be easy to forget our savior and how
we literally owe him everything! The sacrament is so special and
crucial because it helps us on a weekly basis to "remember" him. May
we always, but especially during this christmas season, "remember" our
savior Jesus Christ!
I hope all is well with you all!

With Aloha,
Kurihara Choro

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week 6 Pau!


Wow my first full transfer is done! We received our transfer calls
last night and it turns out all three of us will be staying here in
Ichinoseki! But the cool thing is another elder (Jensen Choro) will be
joining us, so there will be two sets of missionaries here. Uehara
Choro is going to finish my training and Bruce Choro is going to be
companions with Jensen Choro. He should be getting here tomorrow
probably. Apparently there haven't been 4 missionaries here in
ichinoseki in a long time, maybe it means this area is ready to start
growing back to where it was before the tsunami. Apparently after the
"daishinsai" (the huge earthquake and tsunami in 2011) a lot of
people, including a lot of the members left the Tohoku area (our
entire mission).  Yeup so there is a lot of work for us to do here! Im
looking forward to working with Uehara Choro, I feel like we will be
able to focus a lot better now. Being in a trio is way fun but a
little harder to focus and be diligent especially if everybody doesn't
have the right attitude. Uehara Choro has only two transfers left and
there were times where he would get way tired and "trunky" (missionary
term and means you really really miss home and regular life). But i
feel like now with just the two of us we will be able to work hard and
do some work!

This past week at ZTM I had the opportunity to give the spiritual
thought. I shared what I had learned from a talk called "the 4th
missionary". Basically it talks about being a consecrated missionary
and what it really means to "give the Lord your all". The famous
scripture in D&C 4 reads "Oh ye that embark in the service of God, see
that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength". The
first principle that we need to be living is obedience of course,
without obedience we "have no promise" from God. But going even deeper
than that, we have to ask ourselves WHY we are being obedient. If we
are being obedient but all the while dread and hate it and cant wait
for it all to be over, we aren't really giving our ALL to the Lord.
Sure, we are giving him our Might and Strength, but are we really
giving him our Heart and Mind? At first of course being obedient is
not the most pleasant thing, but as we submit our will to the Lord and
be obedient because we love him; 1. Being obedient just gets easier
because we aren't fighting against ourself anymore, and 2. We are able
to undergo real and true change. The Lord knows our potential more
than we do, so who better to give ourselves over to  than him? This
reminds me of a way awesome poem my Dad used to always share with me
titled "the touch of the masters hand" (i think thats what its
called). This is so crucial in missionary work since this is like all
we do haha, but this applies to regular life too. Whether its tithing,
or word of wisdom, or serving in church callings, when we are obedient
and do it with the right attitude we are able to receive all the
blessings our Heavenly Father wants so badly to give us!

Oh yea and its finally december! I love this Christmas season so much
more now as a missionary because its so much easier to talk to people
about Jesus Christ! Apparently here in japan Christmas is all about
cake and fried chicken and also some gift giving too haha but thats
ok! Most of the people we have talked to on the street do know that
Christmas is about the birth of Christ. So I am getting a lot more
comfortable bearing testimony of our message which is that Jesus
Christ is our Savior and that he lives and loves us! He was the
greatest example of service and that's why this year the theme is
#LightTheWorld". You guys have all probably seen the videos but if not
check it out on LDS.org its so awesome! For everyday leading up to
december 25 there is a challenge to serve in a different way. I know
that if we all do this the Christmas spirit we feel this year will be
so much more true and special because this is what Christ was all
about!  Lets serve and love as Christ did. Lets light the world
I love you all!!

With Aloha,
Kurihara Choro

                                                      Me and Anderson Choro, way cool guy

                                                               Splits with Otani Choro

Pic5: Book of Mormon reading with Brother Okada. And what are we
eating? DELIVERY RAMEN! Yeup they do that here, they ride around on
scooters with a metal cooler full bowls of hot ramen covered withsaran wrap and rubber bands.

Our Jenga tower 33 levels!

                                   My face when uehara choro knocked it down mid picture haha
                                                       Pic1: Splits with sharp choro (left)

                                                    Pic2: Service at Mariko Shimai's house
Pic3: Us with Mariko Shimai, she made us Tonkatsu and it was sooooo goooood!!

                                                             Pic4: Us and Ryou Kyoudai!

                                                                Pic5: Me and Bruce Choro

                                              pic6: Our christmas poster we made for the hospital

 P.s. Yeup Uehara Choro gave me a haircut last week... small kine short
but ah cannot complain it was free haha

Happy THanksgiving ! Week 5

Hope you all had a great thanksgiving! Here in japan there is a
similar holiday "kinnokanshya" on the 23rd of november. At eikawa we
talked about thanksgiving in America and how its a time to be grateful
for the things in our lives. They were mostly all just grateful to
have a break from work haha man people work like crazy here! The
closest thing to a weekend is sunday and that's why its the best time
for us to go housing! This past week we had a lot more time to
proselyte (talk to people on the street or go knocking on doors) which
was great! I feel much more comfortable stopping people on the street
now than i did a couple weeks ago. I guess the main thing is just
being happy and excited about the message we have to share! Ive also
been focusing on testifying to every person I meet, whether if its a
short "i know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it will bless
your life" or "I know God is our Heavenly Father and that lives and
that he loves you" or "I know Jesus Christ is our savior and that he
lives, because of him we can be freed of guilt, pain, and sorrow, and
instead be happy and feel joy!". Every time i do this it feels so
good, i know that feeling comes from the holy ghost bearing witness to
both me and the person i am talking to, that what was said was true.
Yeup so i am beginning to love proselyting a lot!
Me and my companions are doing better now i think. Haha ive come to
understand why the companionship inventory part of weekly planning is
so important. Me and Bruce Choro honestly have not gotten along the
best, I don't know if its just our different personalities or what.
But over the past few weeks it just felt like I was always holding
myself back from saying something. I think the main thing that bugged
me was his attitude at times, the "I don't care, it doesn't matter"
type of attitude. Out here in Japan especially in the country parts we
do face a lot of rejection and i think that's why its easy, if we are
not careful, to think that our efforts and attitude don't affect the
success we have. But man i totally believe it makes all the
difference! Yea i know that i am still a young missionary and have
loads of stuff to experience and learn, but i am positive that
obedience and faith (believing that miracles will happen as we do all
that's in our power) makes a world of difference especially in
missionary work. So yea i pretty much said that in companionship
inventory haha. I don't know if anything is going to change or if he's
going to start getting up on time and have a better attitude, but now
he knows how i feel. But i still love the guy, he can be really goofy
and funny haha. And he is always ready to leave the house on time. So
yeup i am learning real fast how to get along with different types of
people. Who knows, we might be together for another transfer here in
But yea things are great here and I look forward to another transfer
here! (Unless they transfer me but since this is my first transfer
that's real unlikely) We've been able to set a baptismal date for Ryou
Kyoudai for December 9th which is next transfer so i really hope i get
to stay! Man he's such a nice guy, and such a golden investigator too!
I hope all is well with you guys! Until next week!

Kurihara Choro

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Earthquake hits Fukushima ...

President Smith's comments:

Week Three

Pic1:Super good ramen but also the most fatty ramen ive ever eaten,
literally there were chunks of fat in the soup haha
Pic2: Guy from our ichinoseki ward who is going to sapporo for his mission!
Pic3: Regular day of Dendo!
Pic4: There are like 3 snow flakes in this picture but it was snowing plenty!
Pic5: FHE with Tsuyoshi Kyokudai (btw dad he served in Osaka mission
when missions were 1.5 years, do you know him? )
Pic6: Biking selfie yeup sketchy don't worry not going to do that again.

November 20, 2016

Hello Everybody!

So my moms doing the blog, but i thought i would send out short weekly
updates to those of you guys that want it! Let me know if anyone else
wants to get these! I don't have the emails of a lot of people! ALso
let me know if you don't want to get these updates hahah.

But anyways this past week has been great! I had splits with the zone
leaders down in the city of Morioka (which is apparently due to its
location and the wind or something, supposed to be the coldest place
in all of japan). SPlits were great and i got to work with Sato Choro
a nihonjin that grew up in Chicago haha he's fluent in both english
and japanese way cool guy. I learned a lot from him, man he talked to
everybody! I could really feel the energy he had about going out and
proselyting whether it was housing or streeting or striking (streeting
but your on bike). When you are young in the mission they say that we
have "bean power" which just means we are excited about everything and
are willing to talk to a lot of people. I need to get better at
opening my mouth, i do feel that energy and excitement everyday i wake
up but i just need to get better at acting on it! I think the key to
being a successful missionary is keeping that "bean power" throughout
the mission! I know that i have so much more to experience and learn,
but i will always strive to keep that fire burning. SImilarly after
missions are done we all have to keep our faith and testimonies
burning till our time here is done! May we all live everyday with
excitement and purpose! Love you all!

With Aloha,
Kurihara Choro

Man just real fast thought id share a short miracle i witnessed this past week! Friday night we had just finished family home evening at a members house and were riding our bikes home. I had a bike light but it was still hard to see. I was riding on the sidewalk assuming that it would have declines and inclines so that i could continue to ride on it and there were, but apparently there was one part that did not. The sidewalk ended and I suddenly dropped off the edge of the curb onto the asphalt, before i could even blink the face of the curb of the next sidewalk was in front of me. I was going too fast to stop and i was sure that i was going to get flipped off my bike as soon as my tire hit the curb. But miraculously my front tire somehow got over the face of the curb and after a big thud i landed on on side walk still on my bike. My front tire was dented inwards and also my back tire slightly. Who knows how badly that injury could have been especially with my back recovering from surgery! All the way home I couldn't stop thinking about that scripture in D&C 84:88 "...for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to BEAR YOU UP." Very literally it was as if my front tire was lifted up just enough for me to make it over the curb. Man what a crazy experience. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

2nd Week

Woohoo well hello everybody!
Man this week has flown by really fast, its hard for me to really
remember what I did on each day individually. But I will do my best!
Yesterday was my first sunday at the branch! It was great, I am the
branch pianist now and so i know my sight reading really has to get
better. Me and my companion Bruce Choro are new to this area so we got
up to bear our testimonies since it was fast and testimony meeting. I
had written down some general points that i wanted to say but i
definitely missed a lot of them, but it was a very special feeling
being able to stand up there in this tiny japanese branch in the
sendai mission, I had another one of those aha moments where i thought
to myself "man your are a missionary again, you're back!" The members
were way nice and even helped me with a vocab word while I was
stumbling up there. Since it was fast sunday we got loads of Ringo
(apples), Mikan (tangerines), and Kaki (percimins). Also rice, and a
tray of pork (which is really expensive here in japan).
The branch presidency is great and we are looking forward to working
more with the branch and its members. In our zone training meeting
this week we talked a lot about working with the members to truly
convert them so they never fall away, and also on how to ask for
referrals without using that word and making them feel bad if they
don't have any. In my studies this week i've been reading in Alma
about the great missionary work of Alma, Amulek, Ammon, Aaron, and the
other sons of Mosiah. Specifically I loved the story of the conversion
of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Man they were so awesome! Something i took
away from this story was the difference between the receiving the
gospel and being converted. Elder Bednar distinguished between the two
in a talk i heard in the mtc a year ago. Receiving the gospel and even
gaining a testimony are necessary, when we have these we know what is
right. Conversion however is more than just knowing or believing.
Conversion comes from us continually doing that which we know is
right, when we are true to the testimony that we have. I know that as
we all strive to act and do more of what we believe, we will gain even
greater faith testimony, we can become converted even as those people
of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. I know God is our heavenly Father. I know
his son Jesus Christ is the savior of all man kind and it is only
through the power of his atonement that we can repent and become clean
and continually better and better. I know that they are real and that
they love you so much! Hope you all have a great week!

With Aloha,
Kurihara Choro

Now for some pictures!
The people i talked to on the plane to japan (first japanese
conversation of the mission!)
(Didn't take the Book of Mormon :( but they took the pass along card!! Haha)

1. ZTM Picture!!
2. Good ramen!
3. Pretty good curry, but it was huuuge! (Literally the plate was the
size of my torso and in japan its rude to not finish your food so i
tried really really hard to eat it all but I couldn't)
4. How i felt afterwards
5. Tracting in ichinoseki
6. RIce patties

                          Officially a missionary                                                              Pres. Wong

Aunty Dawny and Uncle Nick came to support Jonas as he was set apart as a full time missionary.

Saying goodbye to Kumen & Caleb at home before heading to the airport...

Next time Jonas sees baby Titus...he will probably be running around as a toddler.


Sisters Seina, Rumi and Mia will truly miss their big brother and greatest roll model...

Riho saying goodbye through face time from BYU Idaho...she most likely wont see him for another 2 more years since she plans to go on her mission in a year...

                     Aunty Yumi ...giving last minute tips about Sendai mission since she served there too.

                         Jonas enjoying his last Mcdonalds Portuguese eggs and rice for two years...

Bro. Berardy barely made it to give Jonas some warm and stylish gloves and scarfs as he is in the security line about to exit...what a great leader and support he has been for Jonas.

Dad giving Jonas last adjustment for a while.

Bishop and Uncle Ronald there for support and love...as always.

Aloha Oe!
Until we meet again in 23months...we love you and are confident you will do wonderful things on your mission as you put your trust in the Lord and give Him all your heart!! YOU Make us Proud!!

                                       ARRIVED SAFELY TO SENDAI JAPAN

With Mission President and sister Smith