Monday, December 26, 2011
This week... so much has happened! I'm in Japan now, doing the work! For records sake, I'll repeat some of what I told you over the phone. I'm in an area called Inage. It's in Chiba, the big city behind Tokyo. It takes about an hour to bike across the area, so it isn't too big. My companion is Elder Helam Casey from La'ie, Oahu. He went to Kahuku High School and knows the Damuni family. He also worked with Hulali Delima at the PCC. Now that Elder Coakley and I are in Tokyo there are four Elders from the islands. My companion was the only one for a while, up until the earthquake. He's been out 20 months now... and doesn't want to go home. He's a great missionary, very hardworking, supportive and loving. A lot of people have commented on how interesting it is that the president put both of us together, both from Hawai'i. The Japanese people really like hearing that we're from Hawai'i though.
My companion and I live in an apartment with two other Elders; Elder Eguchi from Fukuoka, Japan, and Elder Young from Hamilton, New Zealand. This is just Elder Youngs second transfer so I know him from the MTC. We all get along great, I really enjoy it here.
So my companion was here in the mission during the earthquake. He was in an area called Yokohama at the time. He was with his companion riding to an appointment when all of the cars stopped. He and his companion didn't know what was going on because they couldn't feel anything while they were riding their bikes. But they stopped, and heard a bunch of weird noises... Elder Casey felt something touching his shoulder and looked over to see a shop about three stories tall leaning over and touching him. But he was about a yard and a half away from it. Buildings were swaying back and forth like crazy. They just got back on their bikes and rode to an open area. He ended up being transferred down to Fukuoka for about 8 weeks. He has a lot of miracle stories from that time of his mission. One being how President Albrecht and his wife were able to feed all of the missionaries in the mission (about 160 missionaries). Sister Albrecht was preparing for a zone conference, so she had oranges and muffins from Costco. But only enough for a zone conference, not the entire mission. Elder Casey said they did the math and figured out how much each missionary could take (about 3/4 of an orange and 1/2 of a muffin). Everybody was really hungry because they hadn't been able to eat for a while. Elder Casey said that each missionary went through the line and received their portions... but somehow there was still a lot of food left. The missionaries were able to get seconds... but there was still a lot of food left. This happened over and over and there was still a lot of food left after everybody was full. Enough for breakfast the next day. He said that he, as well as everyone else, had no idea how that could be possible. Everyone had taken their share. It was a real miracle.
Well backtracking... leaving the MTC, we needed to be at the travel office by 5:00am where we were given all of our travel information, tickets, and passports. We were put on a bus and headed out to Salt Lake City. Our first flight to Portland went well and we had about an hour and a half layover. Then our 11 hour flight to Narita Airport. We all slept and studied during the flight over. We didn't watch any movies or anything, but they did play five of them during the flight... it was pretty long. They only fed us one meal and another sandwich the entire time, but it was alright. President Albrecht and the three newly called Assistants met us after customs. We exchanged any cash we had and packed all of our luggage into two vans. There was 13 of us, so everyone rode back to the mission home in the vans except for Elder Ige and myself. President asked who wanted to ride the trains and dendo (proselyte) the way back and we immediately volunteered. We just wanted to hit the ground running. It was about 4:00am for us Utah time, so we were a little tired, but two of the Assistants, Elder Fowers and Elder Brown, both from Utah, rode with us back to the mission home on the trains. Trying to speak with people on the trains with our broken Japanese was interesting. But we were able to find one Chinese man very interested in learning more about our message.
Our first night in the mission home was pretty much just having dinner and going to sleep. We got there around 8:30pm. The next day was filled with interviews and training. By about 3:30pm we had our companions and were beginning to head out to our areas. That night Elder Casey and I had eikaiwa (English class) at the church. One of the teachers, a member in our ward, couldn't make it, so I ended up teaching the advanced class and Elder Casey the beginner class. The other two Elders in our apartment teach the intermediate class. Teaching the advanced class was pretty easy because all of the students had pretty good English. We teach English class every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30pm.
Lately we've been doing a lot of finding because we don't have many progressing investigators. Our days are full of talking with people and handing out eigo chidashis (English flier’s) while we have light, once it starts getting dark (about 4:15pm) we visit less active members or former investigators and knock on doors. We don't really knock on too many doors though. Every house/apartment here has a "kekko box" as the missionaries here call them. 'Kekko' means okay, as in not great or bad, just okay. So next to each door there's a little speaker box with a button on it. We press the button, wait for a response, explain that we're missionaries, and listen to them say 'kekko,' meaning they're okay and don't want to hear anything from us. So we get most of our rejections without ever meeting anyone face to face. Every once in a while someone will answer the door then reject us. And every once in a great while, someone will answer the door and let us talk to them for a little. So far we've found one man who wants us to come back to see him. It's going really good though. We talk to a lot of people and are confident that we will see success. Seeing God's children come unto Christ or at least begin towards that path, is great.
Our Christmas was great. On Christmas Eve at about 9:00pm, a bunch of members from our ward surprised us with a bunch of boxes of gifts. We had two little inflatable Christmas trees about 18 inches tall, so we set the gifts on the floor and put the tree on top. It was awesome. Church was only sacrament, from 10:00-11:00am. After church we contacted a referral who lives near the church. After I talked with you on the phone (2:30pm Japan time), we had about 30 minutes to dendo before a dinner appointment. We headed out of the apartment and stopped a university student riding a bike. He had somewhere to be, but we told him about church and English class. We called out to the next man that we saw down the street and got him to stop for us. His name was Komishi. We spoke of and asked questions about Christ, His Atonement, baptism, and prayer, for just about 30 minutes. We actually prayed with him right there on the street. The Spirit's presence was undeniable, and we continued with asking him about how he was feeling and encouraging him to learn more about it. But he didn't want to meet with us again or give us contact information. We gave him our information and we really hope that he ponders about our experience and realizes that he needs a relationship with Christ. We know that he's never been asked the questions that we asked him. And we know that the gospel could bless his life so immensely!
Today, Monday, we just did a little shopping and will go to get my foreign (gaijin) card a little later before dendo'ing for about three hours.
I hope you are all doing great. Enjoy life everyday! All is well here. I love you!! I won't be emailing again until the 2nd of the new year so Happy New Year! Make it a great one!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Saturday Dec. 17, 2011
Well it's been a day full of packing and getting ready to leave on Monday! I hope you're all doing amazing!
Our last TRC (Teaching Resource Center) lesson was this past Saturday.
For our Sunday fireside we had the opportunity to hear from the BYU Men's Chorus.
It's been finals week at BYU.
Elaine S. Dalton
New Missionary Hosting
Elder going to Fort Worth, Texas
Elder going to New York, New York
Goals & Planning
Exercising Our Faith
Working With Members
Travel Calls Home
Doctrine & Covenants 46:13-14
2 Nephi 2:28
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Plz note: Elder Rindlisbacher will be leaving the MTC for Japan on Mon. Dec. 19, 2011. His Japan address will be added here when we receive it.
Good morning! :)
How are all of you doing? Thank you for sending that package! Thank you Keawe and Keanu for writing! I really appreciate it, I even had your lettters laminated. The pictures are great! As well as the Maui calendar... I think everyone in our branch enjoyed looking through it. I sent a few letters home, to all of you and Keawe and Keanu, so you should be getting those soon if you haven't already. I have some pictures on my camera I need to get printed, then I'll send those your way... probably on Monday.
Biggest news this week is that we received our flight plans yesterday! I don't have them here with me, so I don't know the flight numbers... but we're flying on Delta, leave SLC at 8:30am 12/19/11 for PDX (Portland) arriving at 9:45am , then leave PDX at 12:05pm 12/19/11 for NRT (Narita!) We arrive in Tokyo around 4:25pm 12/20/11. I can get flight numbers to you later, after we get back from the temple. ---The flight numbers are 2189 to PDX and 617 to NRT.
Anyway, It's been a lot colder lately. The outside field’s been closed for the winter. So we're inside playing basketball for gym every day. Temple walk on Sunday was pretty chilly... I'd say high 20's or low 30's. So I bundled up for that. Did you guys get to see the First Presidency Christmas Devotional? It was broadcast to us for our Sunday Fireside. I really enjoyed the videos on Christ, and I think it's great that they'll be available to us to use as tools in our missionary work. If you haven't seen them, they're on the LDS website. The Tabernacle Choir was also great as usual.
My companion and I finally sang in the choir this past Tuesday. They had us sing Silent Night, mostly in unison. We sang baritone because my companion didn't think he could hit all of the bass notes, and I was a little disappointed that the choir director had us singing in unison... but it was really reverent and did a great job of inviting the spirit into the meeting. We heard from Elder Steven E. Snow (presidency of the Seventy) and his wife. They spoke about missionary work and making use of the precious time that we have. They actually focused a little more on how we will benefit from this work, rather than how our investigators will. It was a little change from most of our previous speakers.
Tuesday I also heard a funny line... Japan isn't a big baptizing mission so I like it: "Every door we knock on, someone in S. America is baptized. So let's go knock on some doors!"
My district had the opportunity of 'hosting' new missionaries on Wednesday. So we had designated areas we were assigned at the curb, where we greeted the new missionary and their family and helped them with all of their luggage. Final goodbyes and last words were exchanged and we took the new missionary and their bags to the administration building to check in and get a few important things (meal card, room key, schedule, etc.) The we took them to their residence to drop off all of their stuff, to the bookstore to get their packets (big bags of books for missionaries learning a new language and little folders for English speaking missionaries,) and then off to their first class. We went back to the curb to help another missionary after that. When I entered the MTC, back in October, we had a little more time to say our goodbyes because we came in later and I wasn't hosted. I had to get most of my stuff by myself, but I really liked being able to get pictures and a good goodbye in before leaving. Now I get to help the new missionaries and see them with their families right before they walk away... which reminds me of how great this work is. The MTC is an amazing place. I could tell that every car that pulled up was amazed at how happy everyone was. Smiling, waving, and saying hello! :) I hosted an elder from Texas going to Salt Lake City, another from Syracuse, UT going to Mexico, and another from Zimbabwe going to Boise, ID. I really liked the Zimbabwe elder... he's a rugby player, went to BYU for a year, and has a South African accent.
Well, I've done the count, and here's to day number 66 (today)... with not too many left. It's getting more real now. Soon we will be immersed in the culture and language!
I'll end with a good scripture. You probably know this one, but I really like it:
Doctrine & Covenants 84:81-88
"81 Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.
82 For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these.
83 For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.
84 Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.
85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
86 Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.
87 Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come.
88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, 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."
Thank you all for all of your amazing love and support! Trust in your god, follow in the footsteps of Christ's perfect example, and enjoy each day! For his Spirit shall be in your hearts! You are in my prayers! I love you! Take care!
---We're back from the temple! Coakley choro and I did sealings and the rest of our district participated in an endowment session. I really enjoy temple work so much! The reverence and spirit are unmatched. It's amazing. This time we stayed and ate brunch at the temple, since this may be our last chance to get to the temple. I'm so grateful for the many opportunities I had to get work done while I was here!
P.S. Personal revelation/guidance comes from going to church, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying. Be sure to always do all three! :)
Friday, December 2, 2011
Well, week 9 is coming to a close... 17 days and I'll be on a plane to Tokyo! How has everything been? It's already December!
There's a definite sense of urgency within my group of sempai. I'm excited to be off to Japan, but a little nervous and apprehensive at the same time. There, I'll be learning Japanese by necessity, to just communicate with people every day. The language is coming along well. I began to study kanji this past week. It's interesting and helping to keep my language study a little more rejuvenated. It's a challenge that provides me with more motivation. I'm excited for the day when I can hear a word that I've never learned and know it's meaning because I know the kanji.
Anyway, this week’s happenings:
This past Saturday was normal. We retook the written portion of the test that we took the previous Saturday and everyone was able to improve their score. I got a 90, which I'm pretty satisfied with. We're doing well.
This past Sunday, my district and I sang in sacrament... Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy, acapella. We sang the first verse in English then that same verse in Japanese. We had three parts organized: There was six of us so we had one singing high tenor, two singing tenor (melody), and two bass. We did well and were proud of ourselves. I'm glad we were given that opportunity. Sunday night after our fireside we watched The Testaments. They have a few church films playing each week. The last scene of The Testaments is always heart-wrenching.
Monday was a pretty normal day. My companion and I and Elder Coakley and Elder Ige had a training meeting because we were selected to demonstrate how to begin teaching for the new missionaries to come in on Wednesday. There were about 16 missionaries selected.
On Tuesday we had the privilege of meeting Elder Yamashita, of the Seventy. He's the one that spoke at the last session of this past October conference. He was to be our Tuesday Devotional speaker so he met with all of the Japan-bound missionaries before. He's a very respectful, loving, and grateful man. I admired how much he thanked everybody around him. They've been living in Utah for four months now, so his wife's English is very broken. But at the devotional she spoke for about 10 minutes. She was really nervous, but did great. Tuesday we also had a yakyu (softball) rematch with our kohai. They had no chance. We're grateful we haven't had snow yet, even though it's December. Hopefully we have nice weather this next Tuesday so we can play again! Our Nihon-jin (Japanese people) came in on Monday but we weren't able to meet them until Tuesday. Like with our sempai, they're missionaries from Japan that will be serving in Japan. So they come here to the MTC and will be leaving with us back to Japan. They help us a lot with our language, and we're grateful they know a little English to help us understand them better. Oh, I got my hair cut on Tuesday too. So my hair's shorter than yours, Keanu!
On Wednesday we demonstrated how to begin teaching. There were a bunch of rooms set up with a couch and two chairs... about 40 missionaries sat in each room and observed us as we knocked on the door and conversed with a referral. We basically greeted them, sat down, and demonstrated a good first visit. The investigators were all really good actors who really didn't go easy on us very much at all. There was a moderator who stopped us when he felt like we had something good going, and the new missionaries took the lesson from there. The point of the first night here is to be sure that the new missionaries know that we teach people and not lessons. We taught an Italian guy named Carlo (nicknamed Chicho) and another guy originally from Guatemala named Jose. It was a great experience that really helped Elder Barlocker and I develop our teaching skills more. We don't teach in English very often so it was fun.
Yesterday (Thursday) was pretty typical. We had class and study... breakfast, lunch, and dinner too. On Thursdays we have 'service,' so we're assigned a building that we clean. My district is assigned to a residence building. I still need to get a copy of my schedule out to you if you'd still be interested in seeing that.
And here we are today! We have our laundry going now and we'll go to the temple soon. Grandma sent 12 more names that need endowments, so I'll get a bunch of people to help me out with those.
If there's a plaque that will be made for me, I really like Doctrine and Covenants 6:33-37:
" Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen."
It's my favorite scripture at the moment. Let me know what you think.
Anyway, I love and miss all of you! I hope you're all doing great. I'm grateful for all of your love and support. I'll leave with something that Elder Yamashita shared with us on Tuesday before our devotional: "Enjoy everything. And just trust your God." Keep on working hard and the Lord will make up the rest. Trust him... and show your faith in your actions. God bless you!
We're back from the temple now! Again, we were in the 7:40am endowment session. I was able to get a missionary for each of the names grandma sent and I'm grateful for their help! It's been interesting how many people ask me if I have relatives in various places. People see my nametag (or name records at the temple) and tell me they know some Rindlisbachers.
The temple was really good as always. Walking up there this morning it was the coldest it's been so far. But we're still hoping for at least a little more warm weather!!
President Hinckley has a quote... I don't know the entire thing, just that it starts with, "Yesterday was a great day in my life. Every day is a great day in my life..." I like it because that's the attitude that we need! Enjoy everything! Love your God and trust your God! I will be striving to keep that more in mind throughout this week. I love you all of you! Until next week, take care. :)