Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I will finish with a cool story . . .


So we had transfers this week, and it looks like things are gonna change up a little bit. I will be staying in Okazaki, but my companion, Elder A, will be transferring away. I am now together with Elder Ch, the other zone leader (we are no longer a split companionship). The two new missionaries coming into our area are two of my favorite people in the mission: Elder Sh, who has just served as Assistant for the past four transfers and will spend the last six weeks of his mission here, and his new companion, my beloved bean from Fukuroi, ELDER SCH IS COMING TO OKAZAKI!! They can`t keep us apart for long!!! I will really miss Elder A though. We have had some very powerful experiences together and seen some people`s lives completely changed for the better as a result of the amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for the time we have had to serve together.

Our yakusokusha, Fernando, came to church with his family yesterday!!! It was his first time and he LOVED it. I may have mentioned it before, but the Okazaki Ward is large (for Japan), and there is a small group of Brazilians who attend regularly every Sunday and sit in the left front corner of the chapel together while we missionaries provide translation into Portuguese. Elder A and I have sat there every Sunday to translate. I have come to know and love the Brazilian members here so much. It can be hard for them here in Japan, and I admire their diligence in keeping the faith and staying optimistic about difficult lives. Our Brazilian investigators are wonderful. We have three baptisms coming up for Ariana, Alexandro, and probably Fernando on August 17th. Please pray for them!

with Fernando and his family
Unfortunately with the new transfer I won`t be privileged to teach my Brazilian investigators much longer. I will be spending the next week with Elder Sch, passing off all the investigators to him and teaching him the area so that he and Elder Sh can take over teaching them. Then I'll be working with Elder Ch and his pool of investigators. It will be sad, but I know Elder Sch (my awesome bean) and Elder Sh (former AP) will take great care of them, especially helping work through the baptisms of Ariana, Alexandro, and Fernando.

It is very hot and humid here. Like swimming in a hot spring.

Dad, to answer your former question, we don`t get cars as zone leaders. Only the assistants have cars. And thank goodness, because I'm terrified to try driving in Japan.....it`s dangerous enough on a bike, haha. Since we travel to other areas several times a week for meetings and exchanges, I have gotten very, very well acquainted with trains. The train system in Japan is good and efficient.
Okazaki rice field

I don`t know if I mentioned it but my MTC companion, Elder B, is also leading a zone over in Shizuoka (my last zone before this one!). I love getting to talk to him more often now.

I will finish with a cool story. We were traveling back from Toyota to Okazaki this past week, waiting for our train. One train came that was not the one we were supposed to take, but I suddenly felt like we should take it anyway, instead .... my reasoning was that maybe that train would get us home faster or something, I dunno. The other missionaries said not to get on, it was the wrong train, but we got on anyway, just before the doors closed. Next thing I know, I look up and I'm staring straight at one of my investigators from my last area (Fukuroi), standing there with a big grin. His name is B, and we'd been unable to contact him before I left Fukuroi and came to Okazaki. We greeted each other loudly and after chatting for a bit, he said he hadn`t been able to meet with the missionaries for a while, but he was on his way home (this was a Friday) and he promised me that he would go to church on Sunday and meet with the missionaries again. We had a really nice chat and we were both super surprised and grateful to meet and talk again. Then we had to get off at the next stop and walk home. It was a really cool experience. I was grateful for the subtle but unmistakeable guidance of the Spirit in that encounter. I will also be able to follow up with Elder Sch when he gets here to Okazaki tomorrow :)

snapped on a Sunday
Okazaki Ward
I know that this Gospel is true, and I love it with all my heart. I love you all too. Thanks for everything!

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor


family night with the Ks

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Love the Brazilian people! and Japanese fireworks are EPIC

Hey peeps,

This past week was quite a rush, especially considering all the air that rushed out of our bike tires as we tried to get from place to place. Several days were spent wrestling with our bikes.....changing tubes, changing tires, messing with the brakes.....the dirt from the bike and chain grease still hasn`t fully come off of my fingers, haha. But things are all good with our bikes again, for now at least....

who moved my bike??
So the current situation is this. We have three people who have decided to be baptized next week (all Brazilians): Ariana, Alexandro, and Fernando. Shakespeare has appeared to drop off the grid, so we have been unable to work with him or even contact him. And some very unfortunate events led to our three yakusokushas (investigators with a scheduled baptismal date) being unable to come to church this past week, so their baptisms are delayed. We try to visit them as often as possible but they live an hour away by train and unfortunately we are not made of money, haha. But we call them all the time to see how they`re doing. I hope they will continue in faith, but it's hard to make changes sometimes.
teaching Fernando and family
The Portuguese is still coming along. Like I said last week, I feel like a new missionary trying to learn a new language all over again, haha. Still working on the Japanese but I am fairly fluent--by now to the point that I can devote a little more of my language study to Portuguese than Japanese. It`s a lot of fun. My companion has been helping a lot. And I have been especially blessed by the Lord in my language efforts.....there is absolutely no way that I could possibly learn languages like this without the guidance of the Spirit. I am so grateful.

Elder Ch and I have been busy working out some of the issues going on within our zone right now. Very eye-opening as we try to come up with solutions to various problems regarding other missionaries, their investigators, etc....I enjoy this kind of work, though. We have been guided a lot in our efforts to work things out with people. It`s good stuff.

rooftop part in Gamagori
Last night we went to a fireworks festival with some church friends, one of the best nights ever. One of the members owns a house down in Gamagori, a hillside town right on the coast and a popular vacation spot. It's a three-story house with a balcony on top, and we had a BBQ up there a beautiful view of the fireworks in the evening. EPIC!!.....Japan is famous for exotic and complicated fireworks shows. One of the climactic events was this ginormous fireball that shot up into the sky and let off an explosion that shook windows and set off car alarms. It was like the explosion of the Death Star in Star Wars. They lit that baby off three seperate times last night, and it was pretty wow.

The work is going great here. I love Japan! We are still seeing miracles, from finding random people on the street to having people randomly show up to church. The work is hastening here in Japan and across the world as the Lord prepares His children everywhere to hear this amazing message of peace and love. We invite everyone to experience the love of our Savior, which is beyond all human comprehension.

I love you all so much, for realllll. You`re amazing!

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TYPHOON: okay, but confined to the apartment


How are things back home? Crazy stuff going down over here in Japan land. We had a typhoon last week, Elder Andrade and I have three baptisms coming up within the next few weeks, emergency companion exchanges, lots of miracles, lots of good stuff. And plenty of food.

We`ve been seeing so many miracles lately. Elder A and I have really felt the guidance of the Lord in our work, and as a result we are seeing people really start to progress. It is such a joy to work here with these people.

Due to the typhoon that came through this past week, unfortunately we were confined to our apartment for a day at the order of the mission headquarters. Went completely crazy, so needed to get out. Luckily, it was only one day and the next day we were allowed to leave and go out to work again. Still plenty of rain though, I don`t think I will ever be thirsty again.

Elder Ch and I had to go do some emergency companion exchanges this week to help out some other missionaries in our zone, and thankfully various matters have been more or less resolved. I was so grateful to the Spirit for guiding us in figuring out exactly what to do and what to say in order to help our friends out.

I am sorry that I don`t have too much time to say everything, but I can testify from my heart that the Lord is watching over this work and that He loves us all so much. I can feel the love of God touching the lives of everyone that we meet, from people who rudely reject us on the street to people who readily and gladly accept the invitation to be baptized. God watches over and loves every single one of His beloved children. That is a knowledge that I am immensely grateful for and can never deny.

Okazaki bridge
I love this Gospel so much. I know that our Heavenly Father is there. And I am so grateful for these truths that we hold so dear.

Thank you so much for everything!!!

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor


Tuesday, July 8, 2014


It's TYPHOON SEASON! Time to get wet!!

how do you like our new look?
Elder A and I are currently the world`s largest pair of raisins as we ride around Okazaki on our bikes in deluvial downpours currently sweeping across central Japan. Fun fact about Okazaki: no flat roads. Think Pittsburgh x 2. It`s all pretty and 'at, but with each squeak of my starting-to-get-rusty bike brakes, I foresee the impending doom of my almost 1-year-old bike as we work ourselves over these beautiful hills. 

New news for the week, we have another baptism coming up! Looks like well be having one baptism this month and another next month! Our first investigator, Shakespeare (that is actually his name!), will be getting baptized later in July. He is way excited. And then our friend Fernando will be entering the waters of baptism next month! We are so excited, these two guys love hearing about the gospel and we love teaching them.

I spent a lot of time on trains traveling around the Nagoya area this week. Elder Ch and I had to do some companion exchanges, coordinate interviews for the missionaries in our zone with the mission president, and attend a stake missionary coordination meeting at the mission headquarters. Basically my money fell out of my wallet from all the traveling. I learned a lot though. We`ve had to take care of various issues going on within our zone right now, and it`s been both tough and rewarding. I really enjoy working with all these other missionaries.

I have re-embarked on a personal study of the life and mission of the Savior. I am once again reading the book Jesus the Christ and studying scriptures about His life and mission. I love learning about Christ. It always puts a new perspective on my life and helps me to see my real purpose and meaning here on a mission, and even just here on Earth. I love my Savior so much.

The ward here in Okazaki is wonderful. The church members are very kind and they love missionaries. So far this is the biggest ward I have seen in Japan, with about 120-150 active members at church each week. It`s a busy ward and there is never a dull moment, which we love! People are always taking us out to eat and asking us to help them out with stuff. I love being busy! And I love the people here.

I don`t have too much time, but suffice it to say that life is good and missionary work is even better. I hope you all are staying safe and cool back home in America land. HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!! I LOVE AMERICA!!!!!!!

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor


Japan loves fireworks festivals, all summer long

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oi, tudo bem

Hello from Okazaki!!! Life is good here. This past week was great. Not a whole lot of time today (one computer to divide between 6 missionaries in this area, haha) so I will keep this short.

One perk of zone leader life is companion exchanges with the assistants to the president. It`s super fun. I have known the current assistants (Elder Lazaro and Elder Shimbashi) for most of my mission and we are great friends. We had a fantastic time this week working with them here in Okazaki as well as going back with them to Meito (in Nagoya) to work with some of their investigators there. I was paired up with Elder Shimbashi both days and we saw some amazing miracles. One of their investigators has committed to baptism next month. Awesome stuff.

Right now Elder A and I have a lot of investigators, and about 80% of them are Brazilian. I have had to really knuckle down focus on learning Portuguese in order to speak with these people. I feel like I am a brand new missionary all over again1 We are celebrating because now I can pray in Portuguese during lessons with Brazilian investigators and I can even bear a simple testimony. Elder A is helping me learn this new language, and in exchange I am helping him with both English and Japanese. I can't remember which language to think in.

Fun fact: I officially hit my 1-year mark this week! (no Eric, I did not burn a necktie, that`s a fire hazard). But we went out to have sushi in celebration. Not really sure what we were celebrating, but it felt like a big day because (1) it was exactly three years since I joined the Coast Guard back in 2011, (2) it was exactly one year since I came on my mission, and (3) it was our church member friend`s birthday. Good stuff.

Our investigator Hiroto is still on track to receive baptism this next month. We are so excited for him!

Even though a lot has happened and we have been working hard and seeing great things, that might be about all I have time to share this week. Thank you everyone so much for your prayers and support. I can feel it. I love you all so much.

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor