Don’t Stop Believin’

Charlie has been in his first area, Kawachinagano (near Osaka), since he arrived in Japan in February. Once you’ve been in the same area for a few months, you know a transfer is probably right around the corner. Charlie was a little worried in his last letter that he would be leaving this week and he didn’t want to go. He loves the area, has made good friends, and feels he has some unfinished business there. But he decided that whatever happened, he’d keep smiling. And, as fate would have it, transfers came and went and he is still there, as is Marquez Choro, his trusty companion from Mexico. They get along well and work hard, but they also have a lot of fun together, which is equally important. So the theme for this week is Don’t stop believin’. (It will all make sense when you get to the end.) Read on:
Big changes are happening in this mission right now, our zone just got split, and tons of people are getting transferred. Two more elders are being added to our district. The mission had seven baptisms on Sunday. Interesting stuff!  I’m staying in Kawachinagano. Hooray! I’ll get to be here for Yuu and Yasushi’s baptism. Yes, Yasushi and Yuu are committed for the 29th of June. I’m really excited for them. Like a lot of people in Japan who lack religion in their lives, they desire to have a purpose in their lives. They have a hole in their heart that can only be filled by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yesterday I had a really cool experience. It was the last day of training and because of all the exchanges we’ve been doing we were really behind, so after church and ending our fast we just did training all the way until 7:30. After that was supposed to be language study, but all of the sudden I got this feeling that we should go outside and walk down the street. I thought “meh, why not…we’ve been in church and training all day,” and so we did. We walked outside, started walking down the street and exactly 30 seconds later we crossed paths with a young guy named Ryoma who accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said he wanted to come to church and Eikaiwa. Coincidence? I think not! If we hadn’t been there in that exact moment we would have missed him. God’s hand is really in our lives. We don’t realize it until moments like this, but everything was timed so perfectly that there’s no possible way that we could not have been receiving divine help. God sees things in a much bigger picture than we do. It’s truly astonishing.
05.14.03 wash your hands

Charlie following the Japanese custom of washing your hands before entering a Buddhist temple.

04.14.29 YSA
“This is us at a YSA (Young Single Adult) event last night. Marquez Choro and I convinced everyone that missionaries in America ride horses instead of bikes. It was hilarious.”
05.14.18 diner

Sushi, fast-food style: just take the plate you want as it rolls by on the conveyor belt.

05.14.05 shinto gates

This gate was clearly designed with smaller people in mind.

And finally, one last story to make you smile:

Saturday we had our long-awaited mini concert at the church. It was a blast! The missionaries sang “Don’t stop Believin’.” I videotaped the whole thing, but I’m not really in the video because I’m playing the piano. It was hilarious!

(The picture below was taken post-concert. Unfortunately the video he tried to send didn’t come through…sniff, sniff.)

04.14.26 concert

We knew all of those years of piano lessons would come in handy on his mission. How gratifying to know that he’s putting that talent to such good use. These folks look like they can’t stop smiling. Or believin’!  Don’t stop believin’–it’s not just a song, it’s a mantra for life.




About eldercharliebahr

Charlie is from Oro Valley, Arizona. He loves volleyball, sushi, piano playing, and rocket building. When he was little, he wanted to grow up to be Superman. For now he will use his superpowers among the people of Japan, as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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