Monday, June 25, 2012

Week 38 - June 26, 2012

        Transfers 3-5...

Aloha everyone,
Thank you for the email, mom. It's always so great to hear about how everyone is doing and that everyone is doing good. It sounds like it will be a pretty busy summer, at least until after the ward temple trip. I'm glad Kauluwehi's graduation and getting settled into her apartment at BYU has gone well. It sounds like she's all set to have a great time over there. Kauluwehi's roommate sounds interesting. It's funny that her mother is the one that doesn't speak any Chinese. It sounds like Kauluwehi's freshmen orientation and all of that other stuff was a lot of fun too. I'm sure Mikela and Keanu both had a great time. And you've done all of her grocery shopping for eight weeks? That's a good while. It also sure sounds like her ward for the next little while will be fun. How has Kauluwehi been feeling lately? I'm sure pretty excited, as she's starting this next phase of her life, but anxious and a little nervous too? Does she feel pretty ready to live up there by herself? She's so organized and smart that I'm sure she'll do really awesome.

I remember EFYs being a lot of fun, and I'm sure Mikela made a lot of new great friends. I remember it being pretty hot too, with the sun out and shining at full blast everyday. I'm surprised she didn't get burnt, I think even I did one year. Staying with Kauluwehi in her apartment must have been a lot of fun for them both.

Elder Ige is in an area called Fussa with Elder Young from New Zealand. I'm pretty sure they have a U.S. Base in their area. Elder Young and I were in the same apartment in Inage my first transfer so I know him pretty well. From what I've heard from them, they're really having a lot of fun. I also heard from him about his sister getting married. I didn't know that they'd be moving out to Virginia soon though.

I heard about the NaHoku Awards from U'i. And I'm sure they did great as usual.

That fire causing evacuations sounds scary. My companion is from Spanish Fork, and he said he lives about 45 minutes from that area.

That's pretty exciting news with Laneta and their new baby.

The closest Costco is in Machida... it might be listed as in Tama though. If you're going to send pictures there it might be better to just have Sister Saribay bring them, because we aren't sure when the next time we'll be heading out there is, and there's a possibility that I'll transfer out of the area in a few weeks.

Our week here in Sagamihara has been great. The Nishimura family you asked about seems like they're doing well. They are always really happy and smiling, we just wish we'd see their daughter in church more. I'm not sure what she's interested in... I know she really is a great person though. Everyone just has to continue loving her. Last night (Monday) we had a lesson with our investigator, Silvia. Brother Nishimura jointed for us, and it was a great lesson. I was pretty stressed out before the lesson because we couldn't find anybody to joint with us. Because Silvia is a girl we have to have a joint or we can't teach her. Her lesson was at 7:00 pm and it was about 6:20 pm and we still had no joint, so I called her and asked if we could have her lesson from 7:30 pm instead. That was fine with her and it gave us more time to keep calling around for someone to help us. We called Nishimura kyodai and he was more than happy to. He came just before the lesson started, and he was really the best joint that I could imagine us having. It was really through God's guidance that we were able to have him with us in the lesson. God just wouldn't allow anyone else to joint, he was the one that was supposed to be there to help us help Silvia. We taught her about the law of tithing, and Nishimura kyodai was able to help her understand the importance and the blessings of tithing so well.

A highlight of this week would have to be the all-mission conference we had this past Thursday. It was the last conference with President and Sister Albrecht, and the last time most of us will see them until reunions after our missions. We were able hear a training from President on being peacemakers vs. lovers. And Sister Albrecht spoke on 'Remembering who we are.' President Albrecht also reviewed many of the things he has tried to stress to the missionaries here over the past three years. We had a great lunch, with a bunch of fun games, and were priviledged to hear from a band called 'Blessed 4.' They're really popular here in Japan, and are members in the stake I'm currently serving in. After their mini concert, we had a testimony meeting for all of the missionaries returning next month, as well as President and Sister Albrecht. That was great of course. Our new president and his wife, President and Sister Budge, will be here in just a couple days. From there they will hold conferences with each of the nine zones of the mission and meet and interview each missionary. Then two weeks after they arrive we have transfers, so it'll be interesting to see how the first one with our new president will go.

Here's a thought:
You are stronger than you think. Heavenly Father, Master of the Universe, is your creator. When you think you can't, know that you can, because, 'there is no obstacle too great, no challenge too difficult, if we have faith.'

I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives, because he lives in all of you. He lives when you show and share His love, and He lives when you live His teachings and follow His perfect example. Always remember the wisdom found in Moses 5:34... "Am I my brothers keeper?" Always know that God and His Son love you more than you can ever imagine. Always know that I love you too. I love you all so much!!

Have a great week! Take care.

Elder Rindlisbacher

Monday, June 18, 2012

Week 37 - June 18, 2012
Dear Family,
Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you. Thank you so much. I hope you had a great week and a great Sunday!

It's really starting to get warm and humid here now. It's still spring/the rainy season, but I'm sure summer will be in full-blast before we know it.

We spent this past week Monday night in Hachioji, an area about a half hour train ride from here. There were six elders there for the night because three of us were district leaders and had training the next day at the mission home. The three of our companion's all stayed together in Hachioji and proselyted there on Tuesday. The district leader training was a lot of fun. It was broken up into four main categories: Leadership qualities (with a little about baptismal interviews), effective companionship exchanges, effective district meetings, and motivating.

After the district leader training on Tuesday, I went on companionship exchange with Elder Petersen, one of my zone leaders, here in Sagamihara. We taught a lesson to Okamoto kyodai and really pushed for him to set a baptismal date to work towards. He wants to be baptized, but everything seems really complicated in his head and he has a hard time realizing the need for a goal to work towards so that he can progress better. After his lesson Elder Petersen and I were walking back to the apartment, talking to everyone along the way, and we met a man named Amagai. After talking to him for a little we went back to the church, taught him about the gospel of Christ, and set a baptismal date for the first of next month. We actually learned that he was a former investigator about two years ago. Anyway, Elder Petersen and I met with him again the next day and taught him the plan of salvation. I gave him a white shirt and a few cheap dollar ties to use to come to church on Sunday.

Wednesday night English class was a lot of fun as usual. The member who normally teaches our beginner class couldn't make it, so I had to teach it. It was the first time I had taught any class besides advanced, but it was fun.

On Thursday we finally made it out to the Shiyakusho, or city hall, to update my companion's gaijin card. They like us to update it within the week our addresses change.

I held district meeting on Friday. I love my district. My district is comprised of the zone leaders, Elder Petersen (half Japanese, half American, fluent in both languages,) and Elder Cragun from Draper, UT, Sister Derricott, Sister Takei, Elder Anderson (another half Japanese-American, but grew up speaking English), a new, first transfer missionary Elder Takaya from Osaka, then my companion Elder Orton and I. I focused my training at this past district meeting on forming habits, in order to change our characters and ultimately our destinies. In this zone, we have a 'Standard of Excellence' that's been set, and one of the things is to do the 'Evan's Challenge 100%.' The Evan's Challenge is to commit all investigators to be baptized on a specific date at the end of the first lesson and reinforce that date in all following lessons. So at district meeting we talked abou that
and how to form it into a habit and make it a part of ourselves.

We taught Silvia the plan of salvation on Friday with our bishop as joint. It was a great lesson. She's preparing for baptism on the seventh of next month.  The next day we taught Shimizu kyodai the law of chastity and more about prophets. His lesson went really well, also. He's a really quiet person, but we're developing a better relationship with him and he's opening up more. He's preparing for baptism on the 14th of next month. After his lesson we walked to the eki (train station) where we met another investigator and went out to Machida, the area next to ours. There was a classical music concert with some piano, violin, marimba, and even a few brass players, being held at the Machida church that President said would be fine to take investigators to. Okamoto kyodai rode his bike out there and met us at the church. We had a great time with three of our investigators and I think they all enjoyed it a lot. We spent almost an hour in transit there and another coming back, so we had a lot of good time to talk and become better friends. Actually on the way there, we got to the Machida train station, from which we were planning on taking a bus to the church, but, there weren't any buses coming soon enough, so we ended up just walking. From there we got a little lost, but there's not many better ways to get to know people than to get lost with them!

Yesterday, church was great. We had three investigators, Shimizu, Silvia, and Okamoto with us. After church, Elder Orton and I practiced, 'Come unto Jesus' with a few members for our ward conference in a few weeks.

Today we have three lessons scheduled. One with a college student named Takada who we met at the end of the week before last. He had met and learned with missionaries before, so when we stopped him on the street he already knew a little about the Book of Mormon. We're planning on teaching more about the Restoration. After that we'll teach and testify to Silvia about prophets, the Sabbath day, living the law of the land, and a little more on faith and prayer. Then later tonight we have a lesson with a lady named Naomi. I think I wrote about her last week, but she was converted to Christianity about a year ago, recently came to our English class, we taught her an introductory lesson, and now she's excited to hear about the restoration. We also have another lesson set with her for this Saturday where we'll probably teach the plan of salvation. It'll be a busy day, but in the time between lessons we'll find time to do a little grocery shopping and hopefully still be able to hit the streets and find new people.

This upcoming Thursday is our last all-mission conference with President and Sister Albrecht. They'll be returning to the states and President Budge will be taking over in just about two weeks. It's coming up really really fast. It's exciting wondering how the mission will change and what things will be like. From what I've heard of President Budge, he is an amazing person. He is called of God and I'm sure he will have this mission working really hard.

This upcoming Sunday is stake conference. We have a priesthood session and a broadcast session on Saturday, then the normal session on Sunday.

My companion is a hard worker and doesn't like to waste time. He doesn't hesitate to testify and promise blessings when we're on the streets talking to people. We're both pretty young missionaries, but through consistent hard work we know we'll be able to help many people.

Here's a good quote, I shared it with my district at district meeting:
"We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny."
-C.A. Hill

You all have the ability to change the destiny of your life, the destiny of this year, this month, even the destiny of today! Work with your thoughts, change your actions, develop habits, and you, as a person, will change. Thus changing your destiny.

I love you!! Take care!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Week 36 - June 11, 2012
  • Transfers 3-5...
Dear Family,
My new companion, Elder Orton, is a great missionary and very hardworking.  He and I are actually the youngest companionship of Elders in the mission right now, and it's been a really exciting week.

We were able to help, over two days, a less-active member translate a business document from English to Japanese and share a mogi (practice) lesson on the Restoration.  He's actually been doing really well and has been coming to church fairly consistently lately. After the first day of his lesson on Tuesday we went out to Costco to get some groceries for the transfer.

We had two really great eikaiwa shokai lessons. One was with a Chinese university student named Chin. We met him at the Japanese class that we go to and were able to get him to come to eikaiwa. We taught him a little about the church and he's really excited to learn more about the Plan of Salvation and purpose of life. The other was with a lady named Naomi. She found our eikaiwa through the Internet and came three weeks ago. She was actually converted to Christianity a year ago and attends a church each Sunday. We shared a little about the church and she wants to hear more about the Restoration. She also wants to invite another eikaiwa student named Kawai to her next lesson. We shokai'd  Kawai a few weeks ago but she was a little apprehensive about learning more.  he's been coming to eikaiwa and our weekly outreach activities though. She and Naomi made friends at eikaiwa, and after hearing about the message that we're sharing, she said that she really wants to 'share God's love with Kawai too.' At the end of the lesson, Naomi said one of the best prayers I've heard from an investigator. She prayed for Kawai as well as for us, the missionaries, to be able to guide people unto Christ.  So we are excited to teach these three great people. It's wonderful to see people wanting to learn more about the truth, through our eikaiwa.

We had a great zone meeting on Friday. The zone leaders introduced a 'standard of excellence' for  the zone, which I really like. It's a great way for the zone to work on specific things in order to see miracles in all we do. The standards for our zone are: Love everyone, Find new friends everyday, Ask for referrals 100, Evan's challenge 100, and  Invite members to become friends with investigators. Asking for referrals 100 means literally to always ask for people to teach from everyone, including members, investigators, people we meet on the street, the cashiers at the stores, people who call... everyone. The Evan's challenge comes from Elder Evans when he visited the mission about a year and a half ago. He challenged the mission to commit to baptism in the first lesson, and to set a date in the second. He promised that through this more of the Japanese people would come unto Christ in this life than through any other way. Inviting members to become friends with investigators has to do with members not only being joints for lessons or fellowshipping at church, but actually becoming friends with investigators. That is so important. There was a lot of testimony of miracles through faith at the zone meeting, and it was great. We will really see an amazing transfer and I'm so excited.

We taught Silvia, the Brazilian lady that came to eikaiwa, on Friday after the zone meeting. We taught her the Gospel of Christ: Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. She committed to being baptized on the 7th of next month as we were standing in front of the font. She will need to really strive to increase her faith as much as possible, in order to really be converted.

We taught/reviewed the Gospel of Christ with Shimizu on Saturday and he committed to being baptized on the 14th of next month. He will also need to increase his faith, and find the strength to follow the Word of Wisdom, in order to experience the blessings that God has in store for him.

We had a really fun dinner with the Nishimura family last night. They're a wonderful family consisting of  12 and 16 year year old sons,  a 17 year old daughter, and 20 year old twins. Their daughter, Maiko, is a really great person, but has moved away from the church. It was one of the hardest things for Elder Orton and I to watch as their dad called everyone over for prayer and she quietly got up and left the room. It just broke our hearts. She really knows what's right and she feels guilt for not doing the right things.  It's hard to know how to help her, but the most important thing is to just show unconditional love. Elder Orton and I felt probably only a small portion of the pain that parents feel around the world as their children make wrong choices. Cameron kyodai (American member that lives on the U.S. Army Base) came over to the Nishimura's to share a home teaching lesson, and we were able to fit our bikes into the back of his van and he took us home.

Tomorrow I have district leader training at the mission office. I'm really excited, and grateful that I'll be able to see the mission home one more time before the presidents change.  This transfer is really starting off great.  I have an awesome companion in an amazing area, and through consistent hard work, will see miracles.

If you'd like to read a good talk, try to find 'Flaxen Threads' on the BYU speeches page. It's really good if you want to build better habits.

I love you all so much! Thank you so much for your love and support. It's great to hear about how everyone is doing. Good luck and work hard, Kauluwehi! I love you! Take care!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Week 35 - June 4, 2012 
  • ·   Transfer 5
Hello family! 
It's definitely been an eventful week here in Sagamihara! As for transfers, I'm still here, but my companion has transferred. My new companion is Elder Orton from Spanish Fork, Utah. He's Elder Hee's doki (MTC group,)  so he came to Japan in the beginning of February this year. Elder Richmond and I caught the train this morning to Shinjuku (biggest train station in the world,) where we met our companions and went to our areas. I'll also be the new district leader, so that's exciting.  Including myself, I have six elders and two sisters in my district.

We had an amazing eikaiwa on Wednesday. There were only 20 people total, a little less than we've had lately, but it was still a great night.  On Monday night while passing out eikaiwa flyers I talked with a younger  (freshman in college age) Chinese guy and gave him a flyer. He actually didn't take a flyer when he first walked past me, but he was hanging around near where I was so I walked up to him to try again to get him to take a flyer. He stared at me for a few seconds, then just told me that he was Chinese (in English.) We had a hard time communicating because he spoke very little English and Japanese, but he ended up taking a flyer and said that he'd call. The next day he called and we set up a time to meet at the station to go to eikaiwa. That was after a bunch of trying to communicate in English, Japanese, and Chinese. He kept just going off in Chinese and mixing all three languages into one, but we managed to communicate a little. I emailed him a short mail about meeting at the station in kanji so he'd understand. But when it came time to meet, we were on the phone with him, both us and he were saying that we were in front of the station, but he was nowhere to be found. We ended up realizing that he was at another station, so we explained as best we could that we'd be there soon, then went straight there, but still had the hardest time finding him. After about 25 more minutes of searching, we found him and began making our way to the church. While walking to the church, trying our best to communicate, he asked what we were doing in Japan, so I pulled out my name tag (which has the church name in Chinese written on the back) and he said that he and all of his family were members! It was hard to believe him at first, because that's pretty rare, and he hadn't recognized us as missionaries, but we were still pretty excited by now. We were eventually able to get him on the phone with a Chinese member in our ward, and long story short, he is a member... and it's a miracle that we found him! I wrote to you last week about our goal to hand out over 1,600 flyers. Well, Monday night was the last night of that goal and those flyers were the very last of our 1,600... If we had chosen to only do 1,000 or 1,300 or even 1,550, all still great numbers, we probably never would have met him.  He was completely active in China, attending church each week, but he hadn't known any members or where the church was since he'd arrived in Japan two months ago, so he hadn't been going. It was definitely a miracle that was brought about by so many inspired things. The zone leaders were guided to set our zone theme as building eikaiwa, our goal for flyers for that week was meant to be, and we were supposed to be at that station at that time. It's amazing.

Also after eikaiwa that night, a Brazilian lady who we taught an introduction lesson to last week said that she'd been reading in the Japanese copy of the Book of Mormon we had given her and she wanted to know more. We taught her more about the restoration this past Saturday and she attended all three hours of church yesterday.

On Friday after district meeting my companion (now former companion) Elder Richmond got into a little accident with a taxi. He was just turning a blind corner as we were leaving the church and a taxi was just coming to a stop. So they weren't going too fast, but collided, he went up onto the hood, and came back down on his feet. His front rim was bent up pretty badly, so we've spent some time the past few days getting a new rim and putting that all back together. His body's all fine though. According to Japanese law, the taxi driver's at fault (it's almost always the bigger vehicle,)  but Elder Richmond didn't file a report or anything.

Anyway, we had two great lessons on Saturday. Both investigators are doing well. Saturday night we had our weekly outreach activity. We had an 'activity race', consisting of a bunch of small activities (things like dropping a coin into a cup, completing a course with an egg on a spoon, upping a pedometer 40 steps while it's on your forehead with a headstrap, eating a cracker from your forehead without using hands, blowing up balloons, etc.) Pretty much just a bunch of kind of pointless activities, but the last two of the list of activities that needed to be completed were to help someone and to pay someone a compliment. We tried to relate it to the idea of not getting too busy and caught up in things that don't really matter much to give help or pay compliments, etc. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

So it's the beginning of a new transfer! I'm here in Sagamihara as a fifth transfer missionary, working with Elder Orton, a fourth transfer missionary. We're excited and ready to work hard. Thank you for your love and support! I love you! Have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher