Monday, March 5, 2012

Week 22 - March 5, 2012

  • Inage

How is everybody doing? I should be able to write more this week, we just ran out of time last week. I hope that this past week has been great for all of you. I hope you're all feeling closer to Heavenly Father and His Son.

On Monday after our p-day ended, Elder Casey and I went out to a street close to our apartment near the eki (train station). It's one of the better streeting streets in our area as far as amount of people (not big crowds, but still a good of amount of people.) We found two potential investigators (meaning contact information.) To be considered a new investigator we need to have taught them at least two lessons or have a solid return appointment from the first lesson.

Tuesday we had a good amount of finding time, so we planned to visit two members and find while en route to their homes. We had a lesson scheduled with Sakanaka kyoudai that night but there was a miscommunication and he actually thought the lesson was for Friday. That was fine though because we had that time to plan better with the member we were having as a joint. We rescheduled the lesson for Thursday and gave him homework to read Joseph Smith – History 1:1-20.

Wednesday it snowed a lot. Elder Casey and I spent almost the entire day inside though, because we had weekly planning (which usually takes about three hours.) After weekly planning we spent some spent time 'nurturing' our investigators (calling and emailing.) We then went to Eikaiwa. Recently we've started having topics with our Eikaiwa conversations. Because Elder Casey and I teach the advanced class, it's really just a conversation and not a lesson. Out topic this past Wednesday was 'childhood dreams' as well as 'what you want to be known for. We didn't really get to ‘what you want to be known for,’ but we had a fun conversation about each students’ childhood dreams. Next week we'll talk about languages. Everyone should bring language and English questions for us to answer.

On Thursday we had a mini-zone conference. A mini-zone conference is just a conference with one zone (My zone, Chiba Zone, has 18 missionaries.) We had a great time. Our stake president and one of his counselors (Isa kaicho) trained us as well as the zone leaders (the elders who live in our apartment with Elder Casey and I) and President Albrecht. At mini-zone conferences we also get interviews with President. It was my first interview with him since I first arrived. It was great. I love my misison president. Also, Elder Casey, myself, and the two zone leaders sang 'Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy' in English. I sang bass and the other three melody. We didn't get too much practice, but I think it went really well. Everyone had lots of compliments.

We also had our lesson with Sakanaka kyoudai Thursday night. We watched the 'The Restoration' DVD and talked to him more about Joseph Smith. He had a little bit of a hard time with his homework (Joseph Smith - History 1:1-20) so we read it with him again. Reading out of the Japanese Book of Mormon is definitely not easy for Elder Casey and I. Sakanaka kyoudai actually read all of Joseph Smith - History, and he's in 2 Nephi for the second time. He really wants to be able to understand all that he can.

I started a companion exchange with Elder Coleman (my kohai - transfer 1) on Friday. He's from an area more south of us called Kisarazu. It was great. It started with us taking a little longer than planned to get back to Inage. We splitted at a train station called Nagaura, a little past the halfway point between Inage and Kisarazu. We had planned on meeting and exchanging in Goi (a station a little earlier than Nagaura,) but Elder Einfeldt (Elder Coleman's trainer) called when Elder Casey were already on our way and asked if we could meet in Nagaura instead of Goi. I had all of our trains and norikai's (line changes) planned from Goi not Nagaura, but Elder Coleman and I were able to figure everything out and get back to Inage. Then we had about 45min. of language study because Elder Coleman didn't have his language study that morning in Kisarazu because they did weekly planning. That was good because I was able to read from the Morumon Sho (Book of Mormon) a little more. We then got on the bikes (Elder Coleman's first time really riding a bike since he's been in the field) and made our way out to Kaihin-Makuhari, the place I wrote about a little while ago. Not too long after leaving the apartment we found a new investigator name Quang who's from Vietnam. It was raining and cold, but we had a great time talking to everyone that was still out. At the Kaihin-Makuhari train station we had about a 45min. kubarikai (flyer hand-out.) It was actually Elder Coleman's first kubarikai. We had some more streeting time after that then made our way back to the apartment. On the way back we didn't have time to stop and talk to everybody, but one person we did happen to call out to was actually lost and looking for a train station. He was really nice, we gave him directions, and we might be able to meet with him again sometime to talk about the church. It was a great day. We're both really young missionaries, transfer 1 and 2, but we were still able to talk to people and see small successes.

Yesterday, Sunday, we met with Sakanaka kyoudai after church and talked to him more about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. Last week Sunday we asked the Bishop and Ward Mission Leader to set a date for Sakanaka kyoudai to be baptized (because Sakanaka kyoudai wants to be baptized on the day that is most conveniant for the ward,) but we hadn't been able to plan with them much so we still didn't have a date. That night we talked with our bishop over the phone but still weren't able to make much progress. The zone leaders talked with the stake president who actually ended up changing the day of our ward conference so that Sakanaka kyoudai could be baptized this upcoming weekend. The stake president is just really fired up about missionary work and he knows that even one baptism can be more important than a ward conference. In the past there hasn't been too much interaction with our ward leadership and the missionaries, so they aren't really used to it, but we're really trying to change that. Our ward is definitely starting to become more motivated about missionary work. It's great.

Today is another rainy day. It's about 12:20pm and we'll be leaving really soon to a member's home in about 10 minutes. He's handicapped in a motorized wheelchair and his helpers aren't able to be with him for a few hours today so we'll be there to provide support. He's about 30 and actually just recently started coming back to church.

I'm glad that Keawe got my letter so quickly. I thought it'd take a lot longer. He emailed, and it was great to hear from him.

We're back from the member’s home as well as shopping. We weren't actually with the member at his home very much though. Just after we got there, a taxi picked us up and took us to the kuyakusho (city hall) because he had some things to do there. We were there for a while, and just after returning to his home the other two elders from our apartment came to help out. It was great having this opportunity to give a little service. Elder Casey and I actually learned that he studied Japanese and Criminal Justice at BYU-Provo, and just got to Japan this past December, the same month as me.

While at the kuyakusho I was able to get a little Book of Mormon reading in. I started Helaman and I'm really liking it. From my personal study this morning/short kuyakusho study:

Helaman 3:35
"35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."

Neal A. Maxwell said, "Consecration constitutes the only unconditional surrender which is also a total victory." He also said, "We tend to think of consecration only as yielding up, when divinely directed, our material possessions. But ultimate consecration is the yielding up of oneself to God." As a missionary I really like this scripture because we're constantly striving to be 'consecrated missionaries' - missionaries who come home at the end of the day with nothing else to give, with no regrets at all. Of course this applies to everyone though, not just missionaries. The Nephites in this scripture were sanctified because of their 'yielding their hearts unto God' through fasting and praying often, waxing stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in their faith of Christ. Even unto the filling of their souls with joy and consolation. The filling of their souls with peace. That was the outcome of their yielding their hearts unto God.

Helaman 4:12-13
"12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites—
13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands."

I especially like the beginning of verse 13: "because of their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength."

Helaman 5:6-12
"6 Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.
7 Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them.
8 And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers.
9 O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.
10 And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
11 And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.
12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

The beginning of this (verses 6-8) about the good examples of the first Lehi and Nephi. Verse 9 about the gospel of Christ being the only way home. And I really like the 10th verse because really, Christ did not come to redeem us in our sins, he came to redeem us from our sins; through his atoning sacrifice. However, redemption from our sins comes through the atonement, through repentance (verse 11). You have to 'let' yourself be redeemed by repenting. And verse 12 is just a great verse about having a firm foundation. Build your foundation upon the 'rock of our Redeemer' and you will have a sure foundation.

Helaman 5:17-19
”17 And it came to pass that they did preach with great power, insomuch that they did confound many of those dissenters who had gone over from the Nephites, insomuch that they came forth and did confess their sins and were baptized unto repentance, and immediately returned to the Nephites to endeavor to repair unto them the wrongs which they had done.
18 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Lamanites with such great power and authority, for they had power and authority given unto them that they might speak, and they also had what they should speak given unto them—
19 Therefore they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them, insomuch that there were eight thousand of the Lamanites who were in the land of Zarahemla and round about baptized unto repentance, and were convinced of the wickedness of the traditions of their fathers.”

Here's a great missionary scripture. Nephi and Lehi, Helaman’s sons, preached with great power and authority. As missionaries we have the authority to preach the gospel, but whether or not we have power depends on us. It depends on who we are - what we're doing and how we're thinking.

Anyway, be sure to have a great week. Have fun everyday! I love you. I pray for you. I strive to work harder because of your great examples in my life. Thank you!!! Take care!

Elder Rindlisbacher

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