Aubree’s Dad called the MTC, this is what we found out.
We had questions that we wanted answers to, we tried sending an email, but it was not answered. Not sure what happened to it, but we decided the best plan of action was to call the mission home. I had a few concerns about doing this, I found the number easy enough, but should I call them? I reasoned that this was not a call into 911 that is only for emergencies, but this was more like calling 411 for information. So now I had decided to call and I had the number, but I did not even know how to call it.
I use Verizon for my cell phone, we do not have a land line, so that was the obvious choice. I decided to update my Google contact with the phone number, when I did, I was reminded that I have a Google Voice phone number. I researched it and found it was much cheaper to use than Verizon. So now I knew how to call, one big concern left, I don’t speak Japanese.
I struggled with this for about 15 min, how would I start the conversation? I placed the call using Google Voice on my Android phone, it rang a few times, and then I heard a voice at the other end say “Ohayou gozaimasu” meaning Good Morning (I looked that up after the call). I said “I speak English” and a comforting voice on the other end said “I speak English too”. Well my prayers were answered, Sister Pincock from Kaysville, Utah, works in the Nagoya Japan Mission home.
As soon as I heard her voice I was reminded about my Mother-in-Law working in the Mission Home office in Atlanta Georgia. I know that she would answer lots of calls into the Mission home a few years back when they were on their mission. My Father-in-Law was in charge of the Motor pool, there is a job you never want to have, motor pool for 19-21 year old mostly Elders in Atlanta Georgia.
Back to the info I learned about the Nagoya Mission:
Monday is P-day, that is when we can expect letters in the form of emails, we are so thankful for this technological blessing. Monday Japan time will partially line up with Sunday Mountain time, it will be great to hear from Aubree. Just one more reason I love Sundays.
Aubree will not be the shortest missionary, one Sister just arrived that is 4’4” I believe that she is Japanese, but I can’t remember her name.
We wanted to find out if Aubree could have a violin with her. We have seen blogs of missionaries in Japan who have violins. It appears that they have been allowed to use them as tools to open doors and reach more people. Sometimes they perform on the street while other missionaries talk to bystanders and hand out pass-along cards.
Evidently the Mission Home just had a meeting in which President Yamashita had said they did not want any more musical instruments. This statement was driven by the number of Elders who have bought guitars, and spend too much time playing them.
I know that hymns invite the spirit, I do not want this to be a distraction, but to be an additional method of testifying of the truthfulness of the gospel.
Sister Pincock thought it would be best if President Yamashita gave us his official decision. He was unavailable, as she said “President is away doing interviews and is usually always with the missionaries somewhere in the mission. He can always be reached through this email or our numbers. As soon as he returns we will make sure that he has this email and knows your concerns for your beloved daughter.”
We will happily accept his answer, as we know that he is given the mantle, and understanding of what is best for the mission.
Since Aubree is short, we are worried that she will not be able to find a correct bike, I was informed that her bike will be fit to her. Not a generic bike shop that sells a handful of options, but a true bike shop that will make sure the bike is a good fit for Aubree. Evidently they have a relationship with a good bike shop every area in the Mission. Any repairs or issues will be able to be addressed at the bike shops. This was comforting, I was worried about flats she would have, and repairs that she will undoubtedly be in need of. She said these missionaries need good bikes, they live on them.
Having spent some time recently here in Star, helping missionaries who bought cheap department store bikes, I couldn’t agree more. One bike I just replaced $75 in parts. He bought it for $200 less than four months ago.
We talked about rain and Sister Pincock said ”Oh Brother Thompson, you should just see it here. Mothers on bikes with a baby in a basket up front and a toddler in a basket on the back. It will be pouring down rain and the mother will be holding an umbrellas over the baby as she is pedaling down the road in the driving rain. All this while she is packing groceries somewhere on the same bike.
Evidently they receive a large amount of rain in Nagoya, we knew this and were laughing at the rain suits mentioned on a blog somewhere. Sister Pincock said the Sisters just wear a rain coat, and the only one she has seen wear rain pants is the Bishop, and he rides in from a few hours away.
Send boots; that was what Sister Pincock said. When I asked if there was anything that I should send. I wanted to know what items missionaries have a hard time finding in Japan. She said shoes are the biggest issue, Aubree will be in luck, she wears a size 12.5 to 2 in Kids sizes, and she should have no problem finding her small sizes there. This is a big concern for us because when you look at adult shoes they are generally built to a higher standard of quality. Kids’ shoes are usually outgrown before they wear out, so the quality can be lower. We are thankful for the Japanese being small people.
Shoes, specifically leather ones are charged import fee by Japan for leather. Not sure if this applies to anything else that is leather.
They have heaters, they do not have furnaces like forced air furnaces we are accustomed to. They provide additional space heaters as requested for each room.
When we were talking about stores and clothes, Sister Pincock said they had lots of Malls, many more than in Utah. She said they had everything there, and that they have more than we have in the US.
The mission home does not have any info, she said they know that the Tokyo mission has them. They are waiting to see how it goes in Tokyo, but she did not say they were in control of when, just that they were watching what was happening in the Tokyo mission. I let her know that we were excited at the possibility of Aubree using an IPad, it would greatly lighten her load. I say possibility because she did not say they were not getting them. We are thankful for the technology, the resources available at the missionary’s fingertips are astounding.
My parents are currently serving in Fresno California, and they use a tablet with the LDS Tools loaded. What an amazing tool to be able to look at the members contact info, at the Ward and Stake level. I am not sure if it would work correctly in Japan, but in the US, clicking on a home address of a member pulls up Google Maps and will direct you there. My parents spend a great deal of time helping the young Elders with anything they need, and sometimes driving them to those member’s homes.
We verified that the missionaries will get to Skype on Mother’s day and Christmas. We are once again very thankful for this blessing. I am hoping that Skype is a generic term for video chat, I would like to use Google Hangouts On Air, but I am not going to push too hard on this. The benefits are multiple points of contact in the same video call, and the On Air part allows it to stream to your YouTube channel and save the recording. It can then be made private so it is not viewable by anyone else, but you can watch it over, and over, and over again until Christmas comes and you make the next one.
Follow up email received from Sister Pincock:
Thank you for your call. Per our request our office phone Number is 000-000-0000 and I am Sister Pincock, my cell # is 000-0000-0000. Sister Zimmerman is the office secretary and her cell # is 000-0000-0000. (I have the numbers, I removed them from this) We are always here to serve you and our missionaries. We love the missionaries and will care for them as though they were our own, for they truly become ours after spending these sacred days and months together.
President is away doing interviews and is usually always with the missionaries somewhere in the mission. He can always be reached through this email or our numbers. As soon as he returns we will make sure that he has this email and knows your concerns for your beloved daughter. We are also very excited for her arrival and we will email as you as soon as we give that hug I promised to do for you. Have a wonderful day and we look forwarding to meeting you in 18 months.
Vellis B. Pincock
Japan Nagoya Mission
What a great email, she also said of President Yamashita that he is a great, kind, and loving man. I felt her admiration and respect for him in her voice. I am excited that Aubree is going to a mission with such a great Mission President. I am also truly touched at the time Sister Pincock spent with us quiescing our fears and concerns. I feel like Aubree is going to be visiting Grandma’s house and any concerns will lovingly be addressed.
The comments at the end of her email, I asked Sister Pincock if she would give Aubree a hug for me. I also told her that I will see her in 17 months when we fly to Japan to pick Aubree up. I can’t wait, but I don’t want to wish it was over, I know this will be one of the greatest times in her life, therefore I do not want it to end(but I do) it is such an odd feeling.
LDS Tools, https://www.lds.org/pages/mobileapps
Google Maps, http://www.google.com/maps
Google Voice, http://www.google.com/voice 25 min call from Star, Idaho to Nagoya Japan only cost $0.75 only $.03/min. That is comically cheap, I preloaded my Google Voice account with $10, and I still have $9.25 left.
Google Hangouts On Air, https://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/onair.html have a Google account, and a YouTube account, use them both to record your video conference with your missionary.