Sunday, July 22, 2012

Week 42 - July 23, 2012
  • Transfers 3-6...
Dear Family,
There are not words to express the gratitude I have for my mission and for this work. Last night we had dinner with the Hiratsuka family. They live about a 40 min. car ride from the church so they picked us up and dropped us back off  there   after. They have three sons and a daughter. The sons are 21, 22, and 24 years old. The 22 year old son recently returned from his mission and has been helping us a lot with our work here in this ward. The 21 year old son is thinking about beginning to prepare for a mission soon, and the 24 year old son hasn't gone. They are an amazing family, and always very happy. If you remember the picture I sent a few weeks ago of Elder Orton and I with the member wearing light blue slacks, that was the 24 year old son. We had a great time eating sushi and talking. Elder Orton is a very outgoing person and they all had a great time laughing at all of his stories and jokes. Before leaving we shared a message on the blessings of missionary work. The spirit manifested so strongly. We began by asking the son who just returned from his mission about blessings that he received personally from his mission. He testified strongly of his huge increase and strengthening of testimony. We then asked the family if they had received any blessings from his service. The parents testified of some really great blessings. The dad lost his job six months before his son left on his mission because his company died. During that six months he was able to spend a lot of time with his son as he prepared to serve. They read and studied the scriptures and Preach My Gospel a lot together. The week his son left for his mission he found new, better work. What a blessing! He lost his job, and I'm sure that had to have been very scary, but he and his son were given that time to prepare together. And then he was blessed with his new job. We shared Doctrine & Covenants 31:3, 5-6 with them:

3 Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation.
5 Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.
6 Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them.

There was already a reverent atmosphere, but this is when the spirit really entered the room. The truthfulness of these scriptures is so real. By now the father was completely in tears and the oldest son was extremely deep in thought. We continued with asking the mom about her mission to Sapporo, Japan, and how her investigators and others she had met on her mission were blessed. We testified of how important the gospel of Christ is for all of these people here in Japan, and the world. I have felt  this a lot more lately. As you look out a window, or walk down the streets, passing so many people... if you stop to think about how many of them have the gospel, in the case of here, probably one to none. And for all of those people without the gospel, the Celestial Kingdom is out of the picture.  Completely. If they do not receive the opportunity to accept the gospel, there is no possibility that they will be saved. Not even a little.  Absolutely none. However, if they do, how great can be their joy in this life as well as the next! This gospel is the gospel of happiness! It is the gospel of hope! It is everything! As the father drove us back, we spent the 40 minutes talking about missionary work and how amazing our Father in Heaven is, just waiting and wanting to bless us.

When I was on my first transfer, in Inage, there was one p-day when I was just sitting down not doing much. There was a Japanese Elder living in the apartment at the time, named Elder Eguchi, who spoke decent English, but didn't really like to speak English in the apartment. He normally just always spoke Japanese. This p-day, he was on the computer checking his mail from his family when he suddenly pushed his chair back, stood up, and started crying. He said, slowly through his tears, and in English, "My father is taking lessons from the missionaries." His father wasn't a member. He was so happy! Why was he so happy? Because this is the gospel of happiness! Because this is what was going to allow his father to change, and to live with him throughout eternity! What an amazing blessing!

I am so grateful for our SAVIOR, even Jesus Christ. He atoned for us, so that we may have the opportunity to change, to become better. Because of Him we have the miraculous gift of forgiveness. Through which, we are able to be happy now and forever. How great He is. I testify of the importance of missionary work. I testify of the blessings of missionary work. And I testify of the divinity of the Book of Mormon.

This upcoming Thursday, as a zone (20 missionaries,)  we will spend an entire day reading the Book of Mormon. Elder Orton and I are so excited. We will begin at 7:30 am, and go until 6:30 pm. A solid 11 hours, minus a little time for eating and going to the bathroom. Through this, we as a zone, hope to fortify our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. We all know that it is true and we all love it. But in order to really be effective as missionaries we have to love using it in the work. We can't just know that it's true and love it. We have to know that it is true, love it, and love using it always... when we are on the streets, in homes, everywhere! That day after reading as much as we can, we will spend the time from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm outside testifying to all we can of its divinity. What a great day it will be.

This area and this ward is so good. I have grown to love these members so much. And my desire to save the lost souls of this area is almost too much to bear.

Yesterday we were blessed with a self-referral.  Just before church was about to begin Elder Orton and I walked outside one more time because we were still waiting on another investigator. When we stepped out of the door there was a man talking with a few members who were on their way in. They went in, we talked with him for a little, and he came in and sat with us for sacrament meeting. He goes by Best. He's Nigerian and his actual name is Sabestine Nwabugwu, but  his English name is Best, and that's what he likes to go by. We'll be stopping by his apartment tonight to give him an English copy of the Book of Mormon. He actually attended services of our church about two years ago, so he already knows a little about it. He's a very sincere person, and I'm so glad that we were given that opportunity to meet him.

All in all, we are doing well here in Sagamihara. Elder Orton is a great companion. He is very happy and hard-working, and knows how to get things done. It's a pleasure to work with him. I love all of you back home very much. I think of you often and am so grateful for you. Thank you for all of your love and support. I truly appreciate it. Have a great Sunday evening! And a great week! Take care.

Elder Rindlisbacher

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Week 41 - July 18, 2012

It's going great and we've been really busy here! This past weekend we received our transfer calls, and I'm still here in Sagamihara with Elder Orton. I love it here, and Elder Orton is a great missionary, so I'm pretty excited to still be here. This will be my fourth transfer here, so six months total. And I will still be district leader. I thought someone else would be called as district leader for this transfer, but I'm glad and excited to continue!

I've attached six pictures, so here's a short description of each:
4247-4249 Last week after the last district meeting of the transfer, we all went out to sushi for lunch. We all had a great time. It was Sister Derricott's last district meeting, she's probably going to arrive home to Bountiful sometime today.
4261 The district after sports night (Friday.)
4263 The district trying to get a picture of everyone jumping.
4279 Four of our investigators at our takkyu (ping-pong) outreach activity.

There has only been one change as far as the district this transfer. Because Sister Derricott went home, Sister Wylie, a third transfer missionary from Pleasant Grove, UT, transferred in.  I'm really excited to continue working with everyone!

Anyway, we're continuing to prepare Shimizu kyodai for baptism. Right now he's struggling with the Word of Wisdom and we're doing our best to do all we can to help him strengthen his faith. He's a really quiet, but interesting guy.  Silvia's still doing great. We went out to Costco (her working place) yesterday to do some shopping for the transfer and saw her. We'll be starting her AB (after baptism) lessons soon. Those will cover pretty much everything we've already taught her plus things like missionary work, temples, and family history.

It's been getting a whole lot more hot. It's beginning to get into the tsuyu season (super hot, super humid.)  It's been about 32-34 degrees celcius and really, really  humid. As soon as you step out the door, you're already sweating.  But we're drinking lots of water and doing good. And there's still a lot of people out on the streets everywhere to talk to.

That's all for this week, but we'll do our best to make more time to write more next week.  I love you!! Keep having a great summer and staying busy. Take care!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. 'The District 1' and 'The District 2' dvds are fun to watch about missionary work. We use them here to help us learn and become better.  If you can and would like to, find a copy and watch them!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Week 40 – July 11, 2012

Dear Family,
Things are going great here in Sagamihara. I baptized Silvia this past Sunday. Her baptismal service was great. We've been teaching her for about six weeks now, and have been able to build a great relationship with her. She's 36 years old and full Japanese, but born and raised in Brazil. She moved to Japan about 10 years ago, so her Japanese is pretty good and we teach her in Japanese. During the end of last transfer she received an English class flyer from us at a train station. It was pouring rain and she though we looked interesting, running around soaked in the rain, trying to get people to take our fliers. She came to Eikaiwa that week and we set up a quick introduction lesson. From that lesson she wasn't too interested, but took a Book of Mormon in Japanese. The next week after Eikaiwa she asked me some questions about the Book of Mormon and said she had a really hard time understanding it. So I set up a lesson to teach the Restoration more completely. From there we gave her a Portuguese Book of Mormon and she basically just read it really quickly and gained a testimony. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful tool we have in conversion. The divine truths and principles contained in it, invite the spirit into the hearts of all those who read it in sincerity, and provide undeniable proof of the truth of Joseph Smith and the restored gospel once again here on the earth. She's really a great person. After her baptismal service this past Sunday was ward conference, so we had the stake presidency there and they were able to be in the circle for her confirmation. Then we had a shokujikai (potluck) after church, and many of the members were able to talk to Silvia and begin
building great relationships with her. It's been just over a year
since the last baptism here in Sagamihara, so now we have

another recent convert! We will work hard to keep the momentum going.

This past Saturday we had SMCC with the stake followed by a zone conference, where we were able to meet President Budge and his family. He is an amazing leader. He's only about 52 years old, but was the president of Tokyo Star Bank. Yesterday (Tuesday) ended up pretty interesting as well. We got up early to go the temple and were the first ones in the session. After the temple we went to eat Shabu Shabu with a bunch of other missionaries. Mom, do you know Shabu Shabu? You have really thin sliced meat and a pot of boiling water or other sauce where you swish the meat around in for a few seconds to cook it. "Shabu shabu" is the sound that's made when the meat is being cooked. But that was a lot of fun and really good. After that we got on a train to come back, and fell asleep pretty much right after sitting down. I woke up about 35 minutes later and realized that we had been going the wrong way! We ended up at Oshigaya station, really far from Sagamihara, under the new Tokyo Sky Tree. So since we were already there we went up to to see it, and did some clothes shopping at a place call Uniqlo.I bought a new pair of slacks and a white shirt. Then we get back on the trains to head back. We got pretty close to our station here in Sagamihara (four stations away) when there was a "jishin jiko" or accident with a person. Someone had jumped in front of a train ahead of us on the line. So we were stuck there at that station for a little over three hours. We left for a little bit to talk to people on the streets and ring on some doorbells, but we weren't in our area and we didn't know where the nearest church was. Anyway, we ended up getting back to the apartment around 8:50 pm.

But all in all, it's going good here. I am so grateful for the gospel
of Jesus Christ, and the power it has to make you happy. It really
does have the power to make you happy! The power to make anyone happy, if they just let it. And that is why are here. To help everyone accept it, and let it work in their lives.. to make them happier, to make their families stronger, and to allow them to return to our Father in Heaven after this life.

I love you all so much!! Take care.

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. Dad, I talked with Elder Van DeGraff at the temple yesterday and he said you met his mom at church on Sunday in Maui. Small world, huh.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Week 39 - July 2, 2012

    Transfers 3-5...

Dear Family,
Happy birthday, mom! Have a great one! I love you!

How is everyone?? I'm sure you're all having a great time with all of the cousins and family in Utah.

Things have been going great here in Sagamihara. Today my companion cut his own hair for the first time. I helped him a little with the sides and the back and it looked really good. I was actually really impressed. It looked like a professional barber had done it. But then he thought he'd take a little more off above his ears. In the hair cutting kit thing I bought and brought on my mission there's an ear trimming piece that helps to blend around ears. So he went and tried to use that. And..... it doesn't look like a barber did it anymore. Haha, we've spent the past 30 minutes trying to fix and make it look decent without having to chop all of it off. Do you all remember the elder in our home ward that shaved his head bald? I forget his name, but I remember he got a lot of smiles that week in church. But I probably shouldn't make too much fun of him because I'll be cutting my hair later today.

Things really have been going great here though. We're meeting with Silvia tonight to continue to prepare her for baptism. Tomorrow I'll be going on companion exchange with Elder Cragun in Machida. Elder Petersen will come here with my companion, Elder Orton. Then hopefully I'll be able to split with Elder Anderson later this week or sometime next week. Then I'll have been on exchange with all of the elders in my district.

President Budge is our mission president now. He took over on the 30th. I'll be meeting him and having an interview this upcoming Saturday the 7th. We have SMCC that morning then a zone conference after that. That evening Elder Orton and I are planning a "Superhero Night" activity for outreach. We'll basically take a bunch of funny clothes/props and stuff, create a few "superheroes," and see whose is the best. We made fliers and handed them to almost all of the members on Sunday, and it's looking like we'll get a decent turnout.

It's already week five of this transfer, so next week Tuesday we'll be able to go to the temple. And on Friday/Saturday we'll get transfer calls. Elder Orton and I are hoping we can stay together here in Sagamihara because we could really get more momentum going. I've already been here for three transfers, and President Albrecht really liked to move people round a lot, but we'll see how these first transfers go with President Budge.

This past Friday night we took one of our investigators out to Machida, the area next to ours, for their 'sports night.' They hold sports night every Friday evening. Their church actually has a gym/cultural hall, so we were able to play some fun dodgeball and basketball.

This past Thursday at district meeting I trained on "Love." I started by reading 1 Samuel 17:4-51, which is the story of David and Goliath. I talked about how we all have our own Goliath's in our lives and in our missions. Maybe there's a Goliath standing right in the way of you being a better missionary or you being happy. Then I talked a little about how David went to the brook and carefully chose five smooth stones. He had to be sure they were smooth or else they wouldn't fly sure. They would go off their own way, and not go where they needed. I believe that the most important stone that we need in our lives, is the stone of love. And it has to be a smooth stone. If our love isn't true love, it doesn't work. It's also interesting because here in our zone we have our standard of excellence, which has five points, and David chose five stones. Then going to Moroni 8:16, I explained that if we have perfect love, we have no fear. District meetings are only to be an hour to an hour and a half, so I didn't have too much time, but it went well. All you need is love! I also shared a few quotes, one of them from Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Love is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the pathway of discipleship. It comforts, counsels, cures, and consoles. It leads us through valleys of darkness and through the veil of death. In the end love leads us to the glory and grandeur of eternal life." It's intersting because love is what will bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior... and it's also what will bring all of those we meet and interact with closer to our Heavenly Father and Savior.

Anyway, I love you all so much!

Here's another good quote about missions. It's from the father of Elder Cragun, an elder in my district.

"God calls 19-year-old teenagers to serve missions in unfamiliar countries, speaking unfamiliar languages, teaching his gospel, which although simple, requires significant preparation and study.
God knows they will learn humility, obedience, and of the Spirit. He knows they will discover that they can't work their way into heaven--they can do their best, and their best is enough. He knows they will discover that Christ will make up the difference.
Most of all, I believe that God knows that his sons that serve missions will learn to seek and recognize and respond to the spirit as it directs. This a 2-year advanced course and it is at times hard. There will be trials, challenges and adversity. They will walk through moments of doubt, discouragement, and fear. They will cry out in sincere heartfelt prayer. They will learn that God will never leave them, and He stands by them. These wonderful young missionaries will change from boys to men under the powerful influence of the Spirit of God.
What better instructor than the Spirit, the headmaster of God's own personal university where the class schedule and curriculum are specially designed with each individual in mind? The Lord's paths are unique for each of His sons. None are the same, all are personal, all prepare them for what God needs them to do. Later in life, as they do, they become what He wants them to become.
So how does a mission change you?
From a boy to a man who knows God, who has reached to His Son, and who walks by the power and direction of His spirit. It prepares him for the largest decisions in life, and provides him the seeds and roots of faith that will allow him to take the big decisions of school, marriage, children, and serving in church and community with confidence that God will be with him. In the end, he will know that if he asks with full purpose of heart, with an intent to do His will in righteousness, God will bless him, lead him, guide him, and most importantly, guide his decisions for eternal good.
Your mission will change you because you look to God, your Father, in all that you do. You do all you can, and then watch as His mighty arms work miracles in your behalf."

I think it's an interesting little summary of a mission and the effects thereof. Anyway, things are going great here. The work is moving! I love you all so much! Take care!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. There's a picture attached of myself, one of the YSA's in the ward, and my companion. It was taken yesterday after church.