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

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