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

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