Monday, December 26, 2011


Merry Christmas!! I hope it was great. It was definitely great being able to talk to you.

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!

Elder Rindlisbacher

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