Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 27 - April 9, 2012
  • Sagamihara
How did everyone like conference? We just saw it this past weekend. Thanks for the cookie recipe, mom. I'm sure the kids will love it. It's great to hear that everyone's doing well. I want to try to get a small package out to you sometime. Because we have a member who lives on the U.S. Base, he can send packages from there for not too much. I'm glad Keanu got the letter. What position is he playing in basketball? And Keawe's probably had about three track meets by now? He'll have a lot of fun at EFY. I'm glad Mikela had fun at prom. Logan is a great person to take. Grandma sent a bunch more good recipes and I've used a few of them already.

It's been a great week here in Sagamihara. Tuesday we had the storm you saw on the news come in. We had a lesson with Okamoto kyoudai at 1:00 pm. The member who was going to joint with us wasn't able to make it because of the reports of the storm coming in later that day. After his lesson at about 3:00 pm, Elder Richmond and I went to a fishing store and to buy kappas (rain suits) in preparation for the storm. It was already starting to rain and getting windy. Just after we got in the store we received an email from the mission home telling us to go home. We bought the rain suits anyway and got back to the apartment. The storm was a pretty big one. A lot of the people we've talked to called it a typhoon but I don't know if it was really an actual typhoon. I know all planes were grounded and trains were stopped in at least Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa prefectures. There were 40 meter/second winds in Shibuya (about 85 miles an hour.) We were safe in the apartment looking through our area books and getting things ready for upcoming activities. By about 6:30 pm it had calmed down a little so we decided to try to go to our Japanese class (only about a two minute walk from the apartment) to see if it was still being held. The walk wasn't bad at all, we had our new rain suits so we were completely dry when we got there. But everyone had taken the night off, so we just talked with a few people that were still in the building and went back to the apartment to make dinner.

It was interesting as Wednesday rolled around because the skies were completely clear and the sun was shining. We went out in only white shirts, no suit coats or anything. After a few hours of streeting, we called an investigator that we've met with only twice this transfer. He's really nice and I think it's really great for him to meet with the missionaries every once in a while, he just isn't interested in progressing much right now. We met with him and went to get cocoa at a local shop. He had a friend pass away recently so we talked to him a lot about the plan of salvation, and there being a whole lot more than just death as the end. He's having a hard time believing that there is a Heavenly Father that loves him. For our Eikaiwa spiritual message that night I told the story President Hinckley told about ten years ago in a general conference. The story about his father and uncle, instead of hiding a pair of boots they saw on the side of a road, putting a silver dollar in each boot and waiting to see the owners reaction when he found them. There's a great Mormon message video about it on called, 'Lessons I Learned as a Boy.' Elder Igarashi translated into Japanese as I told the story.

There was great weather on Thursday as well, so we were out in just white shirts again. We had a lesson with Okamoto kyoudai scheduled for 4:00 pm and as we were on the bikes going to the church, we stopped a guy riding his bike down the street towards us. His name was Frank and he's Chinese. He said his American friend gave him the English name of Frank. He doesn't really speak any English though. It was interesting because just barely after stopping him, after getting to know each other for probably only about a minute, he asked for our phone numbers. We told him we were missionaries and he said (in Japanese), “Oh, let's go to the church.” We of course just said, “Yeah! Let's go to the church!” So we showed him where the church was. He had an appointment for something but said he wanted to come to church. So we will be trying to work with him and get him to church on Sunday. We had a really good lesson with Okamoto kyoudai with Sakamoto kyoudai (our ward mission leader) as a joint. We talked to him mostly about prophets, the spirit, and the word of wisdom. Okamoto kyoudai really wants to change his life. He's said often that he wants to and will be baptized. He just needs to really have a strong desire to repent and overcome his addiction to tobacco. After his lesson we (the other two elders, Okamoto kyoudai, and Sakamoto kyoudai) all went over to a members home to help him move. The member's new apartment is still in our area. We just helped move boxes from his apartment to three minivans parked outside the apartment building.

We visited Shibuya-san on Friday. If you remember, Shibuya-san is the man we met while housing a few weeks ago. He was an investigator about ten years ago. He was really nice and invited us in to talk for a little. We read from the Book of Mormon and he asked if we could pray. I gave a prayer and asked him to pray. He gave a nice short prayer and we left. Looking through the area book we found his records. It looks like he was doing really well with commitments as an investigator before, he just never really gained a testimony.

Conference on Saturday was great. It was held at the Machida church, about a 30 minute bike ride from our apartment. The first session started at 12:00 pm, Okamoto kyoudai came in the evening at 6:00 pm for the priesthood session. Conference started at 10:00 am on Sunday and Okamoto kyoudai came to both sessions then. After conference on Sunday we called Bikash, an Indian man we met last week. We met with him in Sagamihara and gave a quick church tour. He's studied a lot about religion and scripture and actually made a Mormon friend when he was in the Himalaya's for a short trip to learn more about religion. He works as a researcher at JAKSA (no idea what it stands for, but pretty much the Japanese version of NASA.) Elder Piland, one of the other elders here in Sagamihara, is really interested in it, so we'll probably stop by one Monday to see their little museum. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and I'm sure he'll read a lot of it quickly, seeing as he's so interested in scripture and religion. Sunday night, we had a dinner appointment with the Osaka family. They have a son serving in the Kobe mission right now. We had a great time talking about how great the work is.

Paul E. Koelliker spoke in the first session of conference and started with something like, “The mission experience is like a mini-life packaged in 18 to 24 months. They arrive as spiritual infants with a serious appetite to learn, and they leave as mature adults, seemingly ready to conquer any and all challenges placed before them.” I've thought about this a lot as I've been out here. This really is a mini-life. There was a time while Grandpa and Grandma were visiting us a few years ago. Grandpa was sitting out on the lanai on the lazy boy chair and I was sitting on the rug leaning against the couch reading a book written by Lance Armstrong. Grandpa started talking to me about how much missions prepare for life. He told me about how many people in the world can't see how taking two years off of school or work could be beneficial to someone’s future. But he said that a mission would provide far more growth than two years of college ever could. I believed he was right then, but I didn't know. Now I know. I know that he was right. I haven't been a missionary long, but I know that the experiences I am having now are laying the framework for my life. The opportunities I am having to help people in gaining their own testimonies is sending the roots of mine deeper than ever. Learning how to maintain a good relationship with companions I am with all the time is a great blessing. And seeing people improve their lives so much through the gospel of Christ is so rewarding. I love my mission, I love the gospel, and I love my family. Thank you for all of your love and support. Have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. There are a few pictures attached. The sakura (cherry blossoms) are starting to blossom!

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