Monday, October 29, 2012

Week 55 – Oct. 29, 2012
We've had another great week here in Hibarigaoka. I'm glad everything with the tsunami warning went well and everyone's safe.

We had a little harder time 'finding' this week, and it hurt our teaching time a little. We still taught a lot, mostly to three of our investigators that are progressing well (two with baptismal dates and looking good,) but we need to focus more on escalator dendo (always putting people on the escalator as they move up, instead of taking people to the top like an elevator and then having to start over.) If we find more people, we will naturally teach more and extend more commitments (helping them to change.) We have a few new potential investigators and their contact information, so we will build better relationships and begin to teach them. Other than those, we know we can find people.
We had three investigators scheduled to attend sacrament meeting, but all three weren't able to come. It was a bummer, especially because we weren't able to have lessons with them, but a big blessing because we participated in a great Gospel Principles class and built better relationships with some of the members. The ward is amazing. We have a few mogi (mock) lessons scheduled with some families for the near future, and are excited for them.
One of our investigators, Ozeki-san, is preparing for baptism on 11/10/12. He's 20 years old. We've had him interview with the bishop, we're meeting with his father this Saturday to talk about his son receiving baptism, then we'll have the district leader interview him. If everything goes well, he'll be baptized next week Saturday. From what we've heard from Ozeki-san, his father was Christian before... so it would be really great if we can start teaching him soon as well.

The mission is holding three conferences this week, each with three zones at a time (about 60 missionaries.) We have ours in Nakano (The mission home's church building) on Thursday. It will be Elder Healy's first conference, so I think he's excited.
Lately I've been reading a little from a book, Jesus the Christ by James E. Talamage, during my personal study time. Maybe some of you have heard of it. Jesus is amazing! All the way from the pre-existence until now - simply miraculous. There's so much to study and learn... with so little time! The spirit has been very strong lately, and the hands of the Lord are undoubtedly in the work. Miracles are continuing and continuing to be seen everywhere.

Something I learned/realized through study recently, was that Christ's realization that He was the chosen and foreordained Messiah came to him gradually. When He was born He of course also went through the veil of forgetfulness, and as He grew and matured, his learning of  who He was and where He came from didn't come through a single, amazing revelation; It came through and over time, just like it does with us. I find that amazing. All of his life and work is simply miraculous. His gospel is miraculous! We (the four missionaries here in Hibarigaoka) had dinner with a young brother in the ward and many of his friends (member and non-member) last night, and part of the short message we shared: When you love something or someone, through that thing or person you feel/receive happiness. Take just a hobby for example - you like/enjoy it, and it makes you feel good/happy. Of course that's why it's your hobby. Maybe you enjoy playing basketball, or collecting something. A miracle of the gospel, is that it helps you develop into a person that loves everything. Everything! You feel free! (John 8:32). You feel more love, and deeper love, than you ever knew was possible. That's why the gospel of Christ makes people happy. That's why it even makes already happy people even happier. It's always all about love.

Please pray for opportunities to share the gospel! Pray every day to (1) meet those prepared to receive the gospel, and (2) to know what to say and do when you meet them.  Always have a copy of the Book of Mormon with you! It has power! Build and exercise faith now, it works miracles. There is no need to wait until you have a stronger testimony or until you have more friends, or until anything... start now. One thing I can do from here to you, is promise blessings! I PROMISE that you will be happier, and I PROMISE that you will make others happier.

Thank you so much for all of your amazing love and support. I keep a picture of our family on my desk, and it always motivates me and reminds me of love. I love all of you so much. Keep up the amazing work, and have a great week!!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. I forgot to write this in... We had a Halloween Party this past Saturday, and 30 non-members came! It was a fun night of candy and games. I'll try to get some pictures to send soon!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Week 54 – Oct. 22, 2012

I hope you've all had a great week! Elder Healy and I are having a lot of fun here in Hibarigaoka. I'll attach a picture of the four missionaries here. (From left to right: Me (transfer 8), Elder Healy (transfer 1), Sister Stankowsky (transfer 2), Sister Walbeck (transfer 6.))

The ward here is amazing. Everyone is really excited and full of dendo fire. The back of yesterday’s sacrament meeting program had that picture printed on it. We had about 15 members go outside after yesterday’s meetings were over and hand out flyers for a Halloween Party coming up this Saturday.

This week has been truly miracle filled, and busy! The ward and stake has been doing a 40 day fast, and the faith of the members here in Hibarigaoka is working amazing miracles every day.

On Wednesday we had time planned to dendo around the church and try to get people for church tours. Near the end of our time, after meeting a few nice people but not having any church tours or setting next appointments, a man came around a corner on a bike. We happened to be on that side of the church, where there's less people. We called out to the man right away and he said he didn't want to talk (in English) and that he was Jehovah’s Witness. My reaction was, "Oh wow! You speak English!"(in Japanese.) He just kept responding, "I'm Jehovah’s Witness!" I said, "Oh, you speak English because you're Jehovah’s Witness?" And he yelled, "Stop! You're Mormon!" with his hand up. In a voice wondering why he was getting mad, I just said, "I haven't done anything yet," and asked how he was doing (genki desu ka?) Then he pulled his bike over to the side of the road and we began talking.

The conversation began with him saying, "Ehoba no shonin datta. datta. Jehovah’s Witness datta." (I was Jehovah's Witness. Was. I was Jehova's Witness,) really emphasizing the past tense. That passed and we talked about our beliefs of the Godhead, as well as the Book of Mormon (what it is, where it’s from, etc.) and he took a Restoration pamphlet. After about a 30 minute conversation it started to drizzle a little, and we suggested that we go to the church, which was right down the street. He asked if he could pray about it first, he did so, and received an answer saying that it was okay to go.

We stood in the genkan of the church for a while talking about the various announcements and activities coming up. He said a few times that he liked the feel and even the smell of the church. We gave a brief explanation of what Institute and other organizations with posters on the board are, and after about 15 minutes he said he was pretty much done talking and if it was okay for him to go. "Huh? You don't want to see the rest of the church, like the chapel?", was my response. So we headed into the chapel. It was extremely peaceful. There we talked about the lay ministry of the church, as well as Hymns. He said that he really enjoys Hymns and singing. He was surprised to see "Jehovah" in some of the Hymns so we talked more about our beliefs of Jehovah and God. Elder Healy was able to play #55 "Nearer My God to Thee" for him, but that's the only Hymn he can play all the way through. Just a few minutes later, however; Sister Walbeck and Sister Stankowsky walked into the church. And Sister Walbeck can play all of the Hymns perfectly! So she played #72 "I Believe in Christ" for him. The spirit was present and it felt really nice.

We continued to show him around the church, at his request, going to the baptismal font and talking about baptism. We explained the cleansing powers of baptism - how he could start a brand new life. He had received baptism as a Jehovah’s Witness when he was 20 years old (he's now 44,) and he referred to that as the peak of his life. His life had been going up and up, he was baptized, and it descended from there. He said that from that time, as a 20 year old, he began 'descending the mountain.' He asked if he could see more of the church and we took him up to the second floor and explained about Sunday School, specifically how there are classes for people all ages, even children; Even children learn all about the Gospel of Christ.

While on the second floor we offered him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he graciously accepted, asking if it was really okay for him to receive one. He asked if we had a paper with all of the times he would be able to come by. We wrote down the times of Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, and Priesthood Meeting, and gave him an English Flyer. We went back downstairs and set an appointment to meet with him again.

God's hands were in this meeting from the very beginning. We were guided to be on that street at that time. I don't know how we were able to even start the initial conversation. And the beginning of rain, giving us a great reason to invite him into the church, was a huge blessing, followed by his answer to his prayer. In the genkan of the church, he felt the spirit. And his accepting to enter the chapel, followed by Elder Healy being able to play a Hymn, and the Sisters showing up at the perfect time, was awesome. And if someone had asked us when we first met him if he would have agreed to meet with us again, our answer would be very far from yes. But he was more than willing by the end.

It was a miracle. Like it says in Jacob 5:72, the Lord is with us in the vineyard. That is true.

We had two new investigators from this past week in sacrament meeting today, Johnson (from Camaroon) and Satoru-san. We taught Johnson the Restoration after sacrament meeting and he understood and accepted everything very well. We found him this past Friday, had another lesson and church tour with him on Saturday, and taught him again today. The story of finding him is also a great miracle. He was going to sit inside the house he lives in and take a rest, when he felt like he should go out across the street and sit on the bench. Shortly after that, we walked around the corner and began talking to him. One of the first things he said to us was, "If this is important, we can go inside to talk." We were in a little state of shock before we told him that what we had to share was extremely important and we should go inside. The only problem we can foresee with him being baptized would be that he was baptized a few years ago into another church and he has a hard time seeing that it wasn't by proper authority. I'm sure that answer will come to him over a little more time, study, prayer, and lessons. He's extremely committed to reading and praying daily, meeting with us often, and attending church weekly.

We had a lesson this morning with an investigator named Ozeki-san (he has a baptismal date for the 10th of next month,) met with Kobayashi-san (the man we found on Wednesday) today after lunch, and we're meeting with Johnson again tonight - So it's a busy p-day. We've really been able to do well with finding and teaching. We came into the area with just one investigator but now have a solid pool of good investigators to teach and work with. All in all, we're having a great time here in Hibarigaoka.

It's starting to get cool again. When I first came to the mission it was winter, so it feels weird that it's getting into winter again. We can still go around all day in short-sleeve shirts, but probably not for too much longer. Anyway, if there's anything you want to know, let me know! I love you all so much! And am so grateful for you!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Monday, October 15, 2012

Week 53 - October 15, 2012

Before telling you about my new area, Hibarigaoka, the stove-top lasagna I made in Urawa turned out really good! It was a little greasy because I didn't drain the oil from the meat, but it tasted really good. I'll attach a picture.

Things are going great here in Hibarigaoka. We started things off right, with a lesson straight from the station when we first got here. I was able to contact one of the investigators the previous elders were teaching and have it set up for that time. We kept the good going with finding a new investigator Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We've contacted the investigators the previous elders were teaching, and found three new investigators so far, making a pretty solid half-week. And going into this week we have a bunch of lessons scheduled so far. We still have some area book dendo to do, and I'm sure we'll be able to find more people to teach through that.

We were able to get one investigator to conference yesterday. Conference was great. You guys have all had a full week to think about it

My new companion is Elder Healy. He was born in Northern California where he lived for a little over a year, moved to Hawai'i (Aiea) for eight years, then back to California (this time L.A. area,) then American Fork for seven years. So he tells people he's from American Fork. His mom is Japanese, so he's half, but she was born and raised on O'ahu. She served in Japan, but never spoke Japanese in the home, so Elder Healy doesn't speak any. His father is from California.  All in all, Elder Healy's doing really good. He's a little shy when it comes to finding (talking to people on the street, etc.,) but he's packed full of faith, which is already more than I can ask! He's especially fired up to work closely with members.

Some extra goals for this week, besides our normal key indicators (which you can learn about if you read PMG,) are for Elder Healy to be more confident with stopping people (I'll encourage him and give him more opportunities.) As a companionship, to never turn down an opportunity to serve. And for myself, I would like to smile more. I know that if I have a smile on wherever I go and whenever I talk to people, notice will be taken and I'll be a better representative of Jesus Christ.

Training Elder Healy, just for this past six days, has been an adventure. Especially white-washing into this area, not knowing anyone or where anything is (even the house or church at first,) is fun. It's great asking people on the street for directions. The people are extremely helpful and nice.

The bishopric and ward leadership here are absolutely amazing. They are young and fired up to work with us. I've felt their trust from day one. And the ward is filled with faith. We were able to meet with the ward leadership this past Saturday morning to go over their vision and goals for this year. I am so excited to work with them. It seems like they all just returned from their missions (they probably average around 30 years old) and are fired up to continue building the ward.

Yesterday evening we went to our Dendo Shunin’s (Ward Mission Leader,)  house for dinner. They are the Ishimine family, just a husband and wife recently married, (I think) with no children. Brother Ishimine (Dendo Shunin) served in Hawai'i about three years ago.

We had a lesson with an investigator named Ozeki this morning. He's 20 years old. We started with reading the Book of Mormon with him, where he's at now (Helaman 7.) We taught the Gospel of Christ (PMG lesson 3) using a footprint tatoebanashi (example/object lesson, I guess you could say in English.) I drew and cut out 5 footprints, then wrote on and cut out a nice 'Heaven' piece of paper. We put the 'Heaven' paper at one end of the table, then introduced and explained the first principle of the gospel, Faith in Jesus Christ, and wrote it on one side of one of the footprints. On the other side of the footprint we listed how to build and strengthen faith (read scriptures, pray, go to church, etc.) Then we introduced, explained, and wrote on another footprint the second principle, Repentance. On the other side of that footprint we wrote the steps of repentence - recognize the sin, feel sorrow, confess and pray for forgiveness, fix any wrong that you made, promise to not make the same mistake again. That was followed by baptism, which we committed him to receive on the tenth of next month! So we wrote his baptismal date on the back of that footprint and continued with the next two, The Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. To explain enduring to the end, we showed that through following the gospel up until then we had made a lot of progress towards heaven, but there was still a lot of space to go. To make up the space, we took the faith footprint and put it at the top, followed by repentance, baptism (sacrament.) holy ghost (keeping commandments and being worthy,) and enduring to the end (temple ordinances, family history, etc.) By then we were at Heaven. The final testimony, one of the most important things every investigator has to understand, was that all of the principles of the gospel were centered on and possible because of Christ's Atonement. The footprints example made it really easy for him to visualize and understand. We'll be meeting with him again tomorrow morning for another lesson.

We were able to get a bike for Elder Healy today. I think it's really nice, I'll attach a picture of it too. And by the way, thank you for sending pictures, mom. :)

All in all, things are going really great. I really appreciate all of your love and support. I'm so grateful for all of your faith! Take care and have a great week. I love you so much!!!!

-Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. Also attached are a picture of the four Urawa missionaries at Bishop Uchida's home (the Sunday before I left Urawa,) and a picture of me at a boxing activity we had with the Urawa Elders Quorum, last Saturday. Biney Martin, from Nigeria and a member of the Urawa Elders Quorum, was the best in Japan at one time, so he taught us a little.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

I'm transferring to an area called Hibarigaoka in the Musashino Stake. I was only in Urawa for a single transfer, so it was a little bit of a surprise. I'll be whitewashing into the area training a new missionary, and a sister missionary companionship will whitewash in with us. From what I heard from President Budge when he called with my transfer call, the bishopric averages around 30 years old, the bishop spent some time in the states and speaks perfect English and Japanese, there's a lot of family ties between the stake presidency and bishopric (father-son, etc.), and the ward is extremely fired up for missionary work. President Budge said he spoke in their ward this past Sunday and he had never seen so much dendo fire. The bishop has been begging him to send the ward sister missionaries, so President decided to whitewash elders and sisters in. Right after he called me Friday morning he called the bishop to let him know that he's getting what he wants, and that we're ready to really work and see amazing miracles.

The ward set a goal of 12 baptisms this year, and they've only seen 3 so far, so they're really ready to help more people come unto Christ. President also said that he visited the elders’ apartment, which is actually a house, and that he didn't like how it was (I guess it's really old,) so we'll be moving into there for now but be moved to a new place in a few weeks. Because the new missionaries come into the mission Tuesday night and we meet them Wednesday morning, until then I'm companions with Elder Bingham (transfer 7) and Elder Tohara (transfer 14) and we're in Elder Tohara's area, an area called Tokorozawa. On Wednesday we're to be at the honbu (mission home) at 8:15 am for breakfast, then we have some training (and the draft... finding out who our new companions are) from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. I have a lesson scheduled with an investigator today (the elders there before who whitewashed out had it already set) at 4:30 pm, so we'll head out there for that. Then we have a lesson here in Tokorozawa at 7:00 pm, so we'll come back for that. It's really exciting to know that I'll be training, and be whitewashing in on top of that. It's such a great opportunity. 
Urawa was really great. Our last Sunday there we had dinner with Bishop and his family. They're really great. I was bummed to be transferring because I'd liked to have been able to work with them more. Then yesterday (Monday,) because it was National Exercise Day here in Japan, we had a stake sports day where the entire stake came out to the Urawa church and competed against each other with games and sports. Points were awarded for winning games then all added up and awards were given to the individual wards. It was a lot of fun and made me even more want to continue to work there in Urawa. But I am really excited to be training in Hibarigaoka. There's always a lot of mixed emotions with transfers. 
So everything is going really great here in the mission. I'll try to take some time to write more later or in the next few days. We'll most likely be really busy though. I love you all so much! Thank you so much! Take care. 
Elder Rindlisbacher