Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Week 34 - May 29, 2012
  • Transfers 3-4...
Dear Mom and Family,
How are all of you? I hope great! Have you received the letters/envelopes that I've sent lately? There should've been one for Kauluwehi, one for Mom, and one for Mikela. Kauluwehi, I hope you had a great Senior Bash, Seminary Graduation, Mauna ‘Ala visit, Graduation, and Grad Night. It sounds like it was a pretty eventful week! And good job all of you other kids on finishing another school year! Thanks for a copy of your talk, mom. I really like it. How is the ward doing? Has it grown at all recently? I saw on lds.org that right now it's Elder Kniff and Elder Taylor in the ward, if I remember correctly. Tell them I say hi.. and I hope you're working with them at least a little! It'd be really great if you were able to go out and work with them for a few hours one day, Keawe.

It's been great here in Sagamihara. We've been passing out Eikaiwa flyers at the train stations a lot more lately. We got just over 1600 flyers out last week and had 25 people at Eikaiwa, 21 students (8 new) and 4 members. It's been a lot fun. Our zone (10 companionships) had 14 new students last week, so we made up a little over half of that number. If that's what it takes (1600 flyers for 8 new students)  then I'm more than willing to put the work in, as long as we can introduce the gospel to those 8 people who would have never known about it otherwise. We're hoping to continue building it and working to keep all of the new students coming back each week. I'd like to make a detailed plan for our Eikaiwa, detailing past growth and plans for the future, to present to our bishopric the first week of next transfer. Right now we only have two classes, with no members  running the reception desk, making it difficult to teach to everyone's needs and to schedule shokai (introduction) lessons with all of them. If we can build our Eikaiwa into three to four classes and at least eight members each week, it could be a really effective finding tool. Members can be more involved in missionary work and many people will  be able to have prolonged interaction with missionaries, members, and church activities.

On Saturday we had an 'egg drop' for our outreach activity. Each team (most were just one person, some had two or three) had 10 pairs of chopsticks, one balloon, five big pieces of paper, one meter of twine, 10 small rubber bands, scissors, tape, and an unboiled egg wrapped in a plastic bag. Out of the 10 eggs that we dropped (from the second story of the church,)  three survived. It was a lot of fun! We ended up having two investigators, one Eikaiwa student, and bunch of members in attendance. In the end, each team was awarded points according to how well they did and how little supplies they used, and were able to "buy" treats with their points. I'll attach a few pictures! (probably to your other email, mom.)

Yesterday we spent our time from about 11:00 am to 4:00 pm in the backyard of a lady's apartment taking a deck down. We got a call on Sunday night from a member in a branch in a place called Senzokuike asking if we would be able to give a little service.  It was a lot fun. There was Elder Richmond and I along with a member originally from Tanzania, living in Japan. The deck was probably only about 10ft. x 5ft. with walls, a grill area, and a small roof, but it took us a while. We'll probably be heading back sometime next week to help load all of the wood and everything into a truck.

This morning we were able to get into an 8:45 am endowment session at the Tokyo Temple. It's always great to be in the temple and to meet with all of the other missionaries.  It seems like my MTC district is all doing really good.

I've attached a copy of some notes that were taken at our Elder Clarke conference, if you'd like to look at them. I'm not sure who wrote them (probably one of the couple missionaries) but they were posted on our online mission portal for us to use.

All in all, the work is amazing and continuing to move on! As for this week’s schedule so far, we have Eikaiwa tomorrow, a mogi (practice) lesson with a less-active member on Thursday, district meeting and lunch (because it's the last one of the transfer) on Friday, we might go bowling with a small group of investigators Friday night, transfer calls on Saturday morning, another mogi lesson with another less-active member on Saturday, and our weekly outreach activity Saturday night. It's exciting and I'm having a great time. I love you so so much and am grateful for all of your support and prayers. Take care and have a great week!!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Snacks and prizes.

Our bishop's son and his friend...this egg did not survive.
Just as everyone began building.

Elder Richmond's and my egg survived.
Tiny and no tape used...but this egg survived too!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 33 - May 21, 2012
  • Sagamihara
How is everybody doing this week? Kauluwehi, is your graduation this Sunday the 27th? I was logged into my lds.org account and saw the calendar for the stake. That's a little bummer that it's on a Sunday morning, but congratulations on graduating. It's almost summer, I bet it's been a little more dry lately? It's definitely warm here. Today it's only about 25 degrees Celsius and a little humid... I think that's about 78ish degrees Fahrenheit.

Anyway, this week was a lot of fun here in Sagamihara. On Tuesday, the day after I talked with you, we had an all mission conference with Elder Clarke of the Seventy. So we took the trains to Shibuya, the center of the world, and the conference was held in the Temple Annex Center, a building just off of the Tokyo Temple. It was a great conference as they always are. I really enjoyed Elder Clarke's "no nonsense, just work hard" kind of attitude. He trained a little about how, if we have the potential to become Gods, how could we ever have an "I can't do that" or "That's just how the people are here, there's nothing we can do." kind of attitude. I liked that a lot. Really, each of us, each of God's children, has the potential to become a God or Goddess. Our Father in Heaven sees us with that potential in all we do. If you believe that, how can you not believe in yourself when it comes to small things in this world? Later in the conference, Elder Clarke also brought all of the former bishops to the front of the chapel (there were about eight of them, comprised of our mission president, one of the translators, and a few of the couple missionaries) and asked them how many times the missionaries in their wards took flowers to their wife and a card to them, thanking them for their hard work. None of them could say that it had happened. Elder Clarke also asked all of the missionaries who had prayed for their bishop by name that morning to raise their hand. Nobody raised their hand. He told us that he had done that in innumerable conferences with thousands of missionaries and the result was always the same. It was a good reminder for me that our bishops are the ones who hold the keys to the missionary work in our wards and areas. After the conference we had a lesson scheduled, but it was raining so that was cancelled. Because we had a little bit of time Elder Richmond and I bought a vase and some flowers and two pairs of socks to take to the bishop and his wife. We have such an amazing, hard-working bishop, and I really am so grateful for him.

At Wednesday night English class we had 19 people in attendance.
That's a change from four the first week of the transfer, and it's
been a blessing being able to schedule shoukai (introduction) lessons. We have a 30-minute introduction lesson with each new English student. If they have interest, we teach them more. If they don't, then they're of course still welcome at Eikaiwa each week. On Saturday we had a ward barbecue at a riverside area called Takadabashi. It was about a 45 minute bike ride, actually just past the area I sent pictures of a little while ago. I'll send more pictures. We were able to get one of our new Eikaiwa students out to that. Through our love and sincere care for these new friends, they will see the blessings that they have been searching for. Other than the new Eikaiwa student, we had four investigators, one less-active member, and a bunch of members friends in attendance at the barbeque as well. We all had a great time.

Yesterday we ate dinner with a young part-member family. It was their only son, Yoshiki's, fourth birthday. The mom is Chinese and a member, her husband is Japanese and not a member. We didn't know much about their family at all before leaving for their home. We only know the mom, not how old her son would be, how many children she has, or who were members, but we grabbed a few of the small wallet-sized 'For the Strength of Youth' foldable cards. They proved to be great for the husband, who knows a decent amount about the church, but will be able to appreciate more the standards that strong church youth have. Members maintain their agency, God will never take that, but through Christ we know what choices will make us happiest. We can of course choose what we may, we just know the choices that lead to the most happiness.

My companion says that 60th west is kind of near the Old Bingham Highway. He says that past his house is a road called U-111, then the mountains after that.

This upcoming week we have a Mini Zone Conference (just my zone) and interviews with president. The week after that is the last week of this transfer, so next week we'll be able to go to the temple again, meaning P-day will be on Tuesday instead of Monday. And we'll get transfer calls at the end of that week too. It seems like I'll be staying here and getting a new companion, but nobody really knows!

As for the scripture stickers, just one compact set would be great.
Thank you so much!

Two scriptures that I read recently that touched my heart:

"Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with
anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things
should be done away." (3 Nephi 11:30)

"And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works. And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven to go no more out." (Alma 7:23-25)

Recently I've been working harder to develop Christlike attributes.
Over the past little while I feel like I've grown a lot in terms of
learning how to overcome frustrations with love. It's definitely hard at times, to hide frustrations or to respond to opposition in a loving manner... but it's always possible. The old adage, "What would Jesus do?" is good here.. When it's essential to be in tune with the spirit, which really, is always, it's important to remember to not be angry.

Quoting a talk I read recently, "Irritations and frustrations will
occur, but frequent anger and contention do not persist where the
gospel of Jesus Christ is practiced."

Anyway, I love you all so much. Take care and have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Riverside area called Takadabashi.

Sagamihara Ward BBQ.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Week 32 - May 14, 2012

  • Sagamihara

Dear Family,
I loved talking to all of you earlier today! I'm so glad you're all doing good. Congratulations Keanu on winning your two basketball games. Good luck with your next one! Good job with Basketball, Keawe. Keep on working hard and consistently in the weightroom, it pays off. And focus to get your grades up. If you can keep an upward trend of grades from here, colleges will be interested in you. Congratulations Mikela on becoming a Senior and being able to go to SOAR. And congratulations Kauluwehi, graduating from high school and heading to BYU-Provo. I'm so proud of all of you!!  Kauluwehi, Mikela, and Keawe, good luck with upcoming finals. Work hard! And Keanu, have fun these last few weeks of school. Keep up the good grades!
A few pictures are attached from the past two weeks... the titles are numbered, so here's a short description/story of each:
1 (5/712) View of inside the grocery store we've been going to when we don't head to Costco. It's called OK Super! and it's right across the street from the church. It looks pretty normal right?
2 (5/7/12) Another of in the store
3 (5/11/12) We went to the Takatsuka Family home on Friday evening for dinner and a quick "mogi"(practice) lesson(about a 30min. bike ride.) Sister Takatsuka, Izumi left for the MTC today. When she enters the MTC, that'll make eight full-time missionaries out from our ward, with another with his call. In addition to that, there's about 25 other young single adults in the ward, so the number of missionaries out could really be doubled! The day before we went out there my companion popped the tube of his back tire so we bought a new one and replaced it that night. I bought a patch kit to keep with me just in case, and the same tire went flat as we were on the way to their house! So I ended up using my new patch kit the day after I bought it. It's been ok since. Anyway, we made these to give to Izumi shimai to use when teaching the plan of salvation in Sendai(where she'll be heading for her mission.)
4 (5/11/12) Spirit body and physical body to use with the plan of salvation set
5 (5/11/12) Plan of salvation set continued
6 (5/11/12) Continued
7 (5/11/12) Gospel of Christ, drawn by a Japanese Elder in an area next to mine(English is #17) We gave this to Izumi shimai as well.
8 (5/11/12) Restoration drawing that we gave to Izumi shimai.
9 (5/11/12) A little river that we passed on our way to the Takatsuka home. This is the most inaka(rural) I've seen our area so far.
10 (5/11/12) Elder Richmond looking at the river. My bike behind him. We actually have the same bike, different colors though.
11 (5/11/12) Koi(colorful carp) in the river
12 (5/11/12) A view of the same small river as we biked along it
13 (5/11/12) A view from an overpass. Again, the most inaka I've seen since, really, I've been in Japan. Besides this I haven't left the city much.
14 (5/11/12) View from the same overpass
15 (5/11/12) Me on the bridge that you can see in picture #13
16 (5/11/12) View from the bridge
17 (5/11/12) English version of the drawing of the Gospel of Christ(Japanese is #7)
I love all of you so much. Thank you for all of your love and support. I so appreciate your wonderful smiles and spirits. I think about you often! You are a such a huge part of my foundation, and motivate me so much to work harder and be better! Please continue to read and pray daily as a family. I love you! Take care.
Elder Rindlisbacher

Monday, May 7, 2012

Week 31 – May 7, 2012
  • Sagamihara
Dear Mom and Family, 
I hope you've all been great and had a great week. Sagamihara has been great. It's been another productive week. As far as Mother's Day, the number to call is 011-81-80-2149-6144, at 6:00 pm your time. If it would be better to call another time, let me know via email soon! Otherwise I'll be on Skype and with the phone at that time. It'll be 1:00 pm on Monday here.

Tuesday I took Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies to seminary and it seemed like they went well. I made some chocolate ones later, but I think they might have been too sweet for early in the morning, especially with Japanese people. They don't really like sweet things, for the most part. I think I'll put some Congo Bars using Grandma's recipe in tonight for tomorrow morning seminary.

We had our district meeting this past Thursday. We studied a talk given by Elder David A. Bednar called, “The Atonement and Journey of Mortality”.  
It's a great talk, I really like it. It's helped me to understand and appreciate Christ's atonement more. I believe that there is an ideal home. I think many people in the world now don't believe that there is. But there is. There is a perfect home. It is possible. Elder Campbell, an elder in my district, spoke of a convert he knows. He said that the turning point in this man's life was the night he went to the bishop's house for dinner. He was investigating the church, and seeing the way that the bishop's family and home was, made him think that he was in a movie setting. He was 'searching for the cameras the entire night.' If the gospel and atonement of Christ are the center and foundation of our lives as families, we can achieve a 'perfect family.' I truly believe that it is true. I think about families a lot now. It seems like all the time. I hope that Pukalani ward is doing great! I'm sure they all are. I am so grateful for the amazing love and support that I was given while growing up there. That is so essential. In this work, it can come to a point where if you can just get an investigator to church, they will know that baptism is what they want, just by the love that they feel. There is a special feeling and love in every church building with every ward. But that love can be developed into another kind of love. Another love that will feel like so much more to those who don't fully understand it yet. 

Saturday at 4:30 pm we had a lesson with Shimizu kyoudai. Elder Watanabe Kan (the first Japanese Mission President) and Yasuda shimai, the great sister we had dinner with last week Sunday, jointed with us. We came to find out that Shimizu kyoudai has more of a problem with the Word of Wisdom than we thought. He has a small problem with tobacco and alcohol. But I believe that if he can exercise faith, find other ways to relieve stress, he will really feel God's love and strength for him. Our main focus with him, as of lately, has been to work with the ward to fellowship him as much as possible. He really needs to know that we all love him. Sagamihara Ward has been great. I love greeting everyone each Sunday as they come to church. Elder Richmond and I have been able to build strong relationships with them and I am so grateful for them. Many of the people I have met and come to know on my mission are some of the best people in the world.

Saturday night for our outreach activity we watched 'The Testaments.' We had a really good turnout of members with three investigators also in attendance. The next day in church on Sunday we had the same three investigators with us. We attended Gospel Principles class with the three of them. It was taught by Yasuda shimai and was focused on the same talk by Elder Bednar that we studied on Thursday at our district meeting. Yasuda shimai shared a powerful and spiritual lesson and was fighting tears almost the entire time. She is always extremely happy and always smiling. Okamoto kyoudai, one of our investigators, commented before the lesson that she was 'always, always happy.' She built off of that asking everyone why she always seems happy. And if there are others that seem the same way. She was baptized just over 10 years ago, and she used her fairly recent conversion story to really hit home with our investigators. We taught two of them together after her lesson.

So it's been a great week. Elder Richmond and I are doing well with just the two of us here now. I 'm grateful for him as my companion. We've been growing a lot together.

Matthew 11:28-30 
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Why is Christ's burden light? Really, his burden is not light at all. The reason his burden is light is because he has so much strength. If we but come unto him, we can partake of that strength, and truly do more than we could ever without it. Our burdens will truly become light. Not because they will necessarily change or be taken away, but because we will receive Christ's strength to either carry them or change them ourselves. For that I am so grateful and so dependent.  
I love you all so much!! Thank you!! Have an amazing week!!

Elder Rindlisbacher