Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 59 – Nov. 26, 2012

Thank you for the prayer Keanu!! Your Japanese is pretty good! Thanks for the pictures of Keanu's Science Fair, mom. It looks like it was fun.

I'm sure you're all doing well back home. As for things here, they're great!

The new apartment we're living in is probably the nicest and cleanest apartment in the mission. It's a little far (20-25 minute bike to the station, 15 minutes to the church), but it's really nice.  It's exactly
what is needed for working effectively and feeling the spirit! I'm sending a lot of pictures (38 to be exact), mostly of the apartment (kind of a small picture tour,) but also some of our Thanksgiving, etc. I'll get a picture of the outside of the apartment and send it next week.

We have interviews with President Budge tomorrow and I'm excited. Oh, and some new news since my last letter: Our zone was recently split (a few days after the transfer began) from two districts to three, and I was called to be district leader over our new district. So this will be my fourth transfer as district leader. I'll be super busy, working hard to train and set an example for Elder Healy, and fulfill my district leader responsibilities. But that's how I'd always prefer things – Busy! Elder Healy's been keeping me working hard. I think I might be getting a small (very, very small) taste of what it's like to be an actual parent; It takes work! But this past little while has also of course been a whole lot of fun. So being district leader I'll be going on companionship exchange tomorrow with Elder Takaya, who just transferred into the district, to train him. This is actually my third time as his district leader. Interviews are being done a little  differently this time around. Usually they've been done while having a zone conference, but this time we just have times that we're supposed to be at our church (or a nearby one) and President will be there to interview us, and we can leave right after.

This past week went well. We always have many things that we need to improve, but we are seeing miracles every day, and having a great time!!

Ozeki-san is continuing to work towards baptism on the 8th of December. He is ready for an interview, we just need to work with his family more. We are meeting with him about 2 to 3 times per week. We
are feeling like Suzuki-san (12/15 baptismal date) needs to take things a little slower for the time being. It seems as if there's been too much change too quickly for him, and he's very stressed. We have many
other investigators with much potential, that we need to get progressing more! Many of them are very busy, making it hard to meet regularly.

One of the Hibarigaoka Sisters’ investigators, Oota Erina-san, is great. She builds my faith every time I see her. She's 21 years old, with a three year old daughter, and so prepared to receive the gospel! She has such a strong desire to grow closer to God, and bless her small family. I'm really excited to be able to interview her for baptism this upcoming Wednesday. She will be a great member of Hibarigaoka ward. Our church meetings each week are from 10am-1pm, but yesterday she came to our church eikaiwa at 9 am and stayed after church until 4:30 pm talking with members! Her daughter has also made great friends with many of the other children as well.

Our Thanksgiving was great. We went to the bishop of one of the English speaking wards’ home (Martini Family,) along with eight other missionaries and four of their investigators. We had an investigator
planning to come with us, but he had a last minute job interview that he needed to take and wasn't able to make it. We ate a lot, and had a lot of fun. I've had two great Thanksgiving while on my mission. The
first was while I was in the MTC, which I absolutely loved. We had great devotionals and food. I had such a great time in the MTC. And this Thanksgiving was just as great. We had really great food, strong
testimonies shared, and a great spirit felt!

This Christmas transfer and season will be amazing. The Spirit of Christ(mas) is what this work and this life is all about! I love Jesus Christ. I love all of you. I love this work. Take care, and keep up the great work. You are in my thoughts, work, and prayers.

Elder Rindlisbacher






Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Week 58 – Nov. 19, 2012                      

The investigators we had preparing for baptism are still preparing for baptism. Ozeki-san has a new goal/baptismal date of December 8. Bishop still needs to meet with his father to talk about his son being baptized. Bishop has talked with his father over the phone a few times, but before Ozeki-san is baptized he would like to meet with him face-to-face. Ozeki-san is 20 years old so he doesn't legally need parental permission, but he has some mental problems and it would be good to have his father fully supportive of this change in his son’s life. I've talked with his father over the phone a few times, and he's very welcoming of the church as he's seen a big change in his son for the good since he's begun to meet with us, but because of his son’s mental problems he has some hesitations about his son making big changes in his life. When Bishop is able to meet with his father, Ozeki-san will be baptized.

Suzuki-san received a priesthood blessing and quit smoking for six days, but went out with some of his friends (members of his former church) and began smoking again. He was doing so well! But because he wasn't able to completely quit for good, he's lost a lot of his hope. He doesn't believe that he can quit anymore, but we're working hard with him, meeting about twice a week and talking on the phone a lot. He is beginning to build faith again, and has a baptismal date of December 15th.

The sister missionaries have an investigator who is planning on being baptized on the 2nd of December. And we're  actually having Elder Kusume of the Seventy in our ward that day too, so it will be a nice sacrament meeting for her to be confirmed in. We won't have fast and testimony meeting, just Elder Kusume speak. She's 21 and married with a really cute three year old daughter. She became an investigator about two or three weeks ago, and she fits in with the ward perfectly. She and her daughter really seem to love church a lot. Hopefully her husband can begin to learn about the church as well. I'm not really sure about what the situation is with him yet.

Today is actually the first day of another transfer (yes, already another one!!)  But Elder Healy and I are still here in Hibarigaoka, thank goodness! I really love it here. And with the new apartment, it's even so much better. I spent a lot of time organizing and continuing to unpack today, and it's really coming together greatly. I'll be sure to take and send some pictures with my letter next week. I have a few, but not many (actually only of the laundry and shower,) pictures of the old house. I'll attach what I have. I'll also attach a picture of a spam and cabbage okonomiyaki (more like pot pie kind of thing) I made the other day. )  One of the Sisters, Sister Stankowsky, transferred, and an Okinawan Sister, Sister Nagamine (same as the Nagamine photo company people on Maui, right?) came in. We're all looking forward to an amazing transfer!

I know Elder Tohara. He's training a new missionary right now too (my companion’s  MTC companion,) and I was actually his companion for a few days while we were waiting for our new companions to get into the mission. We're in the same district so I see him about once a week. This is actually his last transfer, then  he'll be heading home and going to Snow College in Ephraim.

I'm hoping the best for Keanu and getting into KSM!  I'll be praying for him to do well with his interview on Saturday. His reply to you, mom, sounds exactly like what I can imagine him saying.

Is Kauluwehi stressed with finals coming up in a little while?
It sounds like she's having such a good time out there. Does she know a Kat Healy? She's a freshman at the Y, and  is my companion's younger sister. She's living in Heritage Halls, Young Hall. And when did you serve in the Okayama Mission, mom? Elder Healy's mom also served in Okayama!  She was Sister Abo back then. Did you, (Sister Kam) train Sister Abo? Haha, because that'd be pretty funny. Oh, and did you ever serve in Kurashiki? If so, did you know the  Hiramitsu family?

Tell Mikela congratulations with cheer. I'm proud of her and how hard-working and diligent she is; an attribute of Jesus Christ. I'm hoping the best for her and the Y. Be sure that she applies for all the scholarships she can find!

I hope Keawe's foot is doing okay. Tell him he better get amazingly good at Basketball (and Football if he plays) for his senior year, because that's when I'll be back to watch him (I think?)  I'll help him get his name out for scholarships, etc.  I hope he's working hard with schoolwork. If his grades aren't doing well let him know that two prophets of God, (Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Thomas S. Monson) have said, "For members of the Church, education is not merely a good idea—it's a commandment. We are to learn 'of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad' (see D&C 88:79–80)," and, “In academic preparation, I have found it a good practice to read a text with the idea that I will be asked to explain that which the author wrote and its application to the subject it covered. Also, I have tried to be attentive in any lecture in the classroom and to pretend that I would be called upon to present the same lecture to others. While this practice is very hard work, it certainly helps during test week!” If his grades are doing good, congratulate him for me and say お疲れ様です(O tsukare sama desu: basically, way to be such a hard worker.)

Are both Mikela and Keawe going to seminary every morning? I'm not trunky (with this talk of going home) but when I get home I plan on going to seminary with the students every morning.  I wasn't the best example for them before my mission... but I can be after.

I'm glad to hear Elder Hee is doing well. It's beginning to get cold here in the Tokyo area, so I'm sure it's already pretty cold up there. Good luck with the garage sales and cleaning things out a little.

I remember you writing about the Amian family! That's so great that they were able to go to the temple and be sealed. They sound really great and I look forward to meeting them sometime.

Thanksgiving is coming up. We'll be going (along with about 6 other missionaries, I believe) to a member's home for dinner. This family are  members of one of the English speaking wards, but lives in one of the areas next to ours and has invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner. The rest of the missionaries in our zone who don't already have another appointment, will be going onto the U.S. base nearby and having dinner with individual families that live there.

It sounds like you had great Sunday meetings. Is it funny having Brother Wunder in the ward every Sunday?  He was stake president for nine years, right? I'm glad Amber Carvalho and her mom are doing well. I'm sure the ward is all doing great. What are Hoku's plans now?

Did you know that you can get a copy of Mama's patriarchal blessing? If you go to lds.org you can find the form for it under sign in/tools. If you do get a copy of it, would you be able to send me one?

We have a decent pool of investigators we're working with now, but we're always in need of building it. The ward and area are amazing, and we're having a great time. We just compiled statistics for last transfer (it's all about the people behind the numbers) and we taught 47 lessons (and 4 mogi lessons)  last transfer. I don't think that's too bad for white-washing in, but we have a lot of work to do, and we can do so much more!  I love Jesus Christ and I love His gospel. We can always do so much more, and work so much harder, to share and help others accept it and receive the blessings that come along.

I love you so, so much! This work is amazing, and I hope you can each find more opportunities to share the gospel, especially with those you care about most. It is happiness. Take care and have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher     


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Week 57 - November 13, 2012

We moved into a new apartment yesterday. Maybe you remember me writing before I transferred here that we would be moving after a few weeks. Well, it finally happened. I haven't really written home much about how the house we were living in was, but it was really, really old, and pretty dirty. It was next to impossible to get clean because it was so old. But, our new apartment is extremely nice and very clean! I'll be sure to get some pictures sent out after we're able to get everything settled in. Mostly everything is still packed away in boxes, etc.

Today we were able to go to the temple. It's the last week of the transfer once again, they go by so fast! The temple is always so good. Acting as proxy for people in the spirit world is a blessing. And with every time we're able to go, we're more able to understand our own covenants. 

I'm sorry this is really short, we're low on time tonight. But we're doing really great out here. We're having a great time, and working hard to help more people come unto Christ. Christ is amazing. He is our Savior - our Mediator with the Father - and our perfect example. Faith is built through righteousness. There are many ways to build faith... but they are all righteousness. I love you all so much!! Have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Week 56 - Nov. 6, 2012

The holiday season is underway! How is everyone doing? I'm sure there's a lot going on.
There are so many miracles happening here, it has been a great week!

We had two conferences since my last email. This past Thursday we had the three-zone conference, which was really good and focused mostly on communication skills. Then we had a new missionary/trainer conference today (Tuesday.) They were both a lot of fun, and I always learn more about how much we always need to improve!

We lacked a little in finding new investigators last week, but were able to fix that and find a bunch of new investigators and a few potential investigators this week. There were many times throughout the week when I just felt like the roads were completely prepared for us. I was on companionship exchange with an Elder Roberts (from Canada) this past Friday, and the roads were just completely prepared. We spent about 2.5 to 3 hours walking to a member’s home, calling out to every single male along the way... and it just seemed like we were talking with prepared person after prepared person the entire way.

We got to the members home, Ishihara-kyodai, and we felt the spirit as soon as he opened the door. He has so much faith. As soon as we sat down he began relating to us about his neighbor who he wants to share the gospel with so badly. The prayer of Alma in Alma 31:34-36, "O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit." was his attitude and feelings exactly. He's 70 years old and was baptized 10 years ago as of 11/3/12. He goes to the temple every week and performs baptisms for the dead. He has a goal of 50,000 baptisms before he turns 74. He shared his conversion story with us, testifying especially of how much his baptism means to him. His life has been completely changed through Christ.

As far as a few of our progressing investigators now, we have a baptismal interview with Ozeki-san this Wednesday (tomorrow.) If he does well with that and Bishop Uemura can meet with his father, he will be baptized this Saturday the 10th. It's exciting, I really love him, and want him to have all of the blessings of the gospel. Another investigator, Suzuki-san, is doing great. We had a lesson with him Sunday - Bishop and Ishihara-kyodai joined us. Suzuki-san has been smoking for the past 26 years, and was at 30-40 cigarettes per day before this lesson. Ishihara-kyodai, who smoked for 36 years before being baptized, shared his conversion story and testimony, and Bishop gave him a priesthood blessing. Suzuki-san resolved to quit from that moment on. We've been in contact with him a lot since then, and he's holding strong (about 55 hours now.) We will be working hard with him.

Saturday night we visited and met with Takazawa-kyoudai, who we thought was a less-active member. Bishop Uemura gave us his name last week Sunday. We visited and met him, became his friends, and invited him to church. He said he would, and we were super excited! We found out tonight at a mogi (role-play) lesson with a member family, that the Takazawa-kyoudai that we met with and who came to church was actually the younger brother of the less-active Takazawa-kyoudai, and hasn't been baptized. The miracle we thought was a less-active returning to inactivity, was actually a non-member coming to church - who we can work with to be baptized... hopefully causing his less-active older brother to return to activity!

The mogi lesson with the family was great. I always like having mogi lessons without the members taking the role of investigators. I feel like it's always a lot better when they're just themselves, and we teach them as themselves. They bring up their real concerns and their real questions, and we work to answer them through the spirit. So we asked this family to just be themselves. The lesson definitely didn't go like a normal investigator lesson, but it was definitely filled with the spirit, and their faith was strengthened along with our teaching abilities.

It's been a great week. Elder Healy and are doing well and having a lot of fun. Writing simple accounts of miracles is a lot easier than conveying the feeling(s) brought by them. Like the Bible Dictionary says, "Miracles do not produce faith... although miracles often confirm one's faith." My faith has been so strongly confirmed this week.

Something interesting I kind of learned/realized more yesterday as I studied, is that 'knowledge does not insure salvation.' I think these two New Testament scriptures illustrate the point very well:
Luke 4:41, a scripture from when Christ was casting out devils (actual spirits, followers of Satan.) They knew He was the Christ; They had that knowledge, "And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ."
And Matt. 16:15-16, Christ speaking with Peter, "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter said essentially the same thing that the devils did, but there's no question as to which received salvation. Salvation is a lot more than having knowledge. It's not an easy thing, as it requires faith and works. But, I know that by working diligently to follow Christ and live His commandments, we feel more peace and joy than at any other time. The constant 
companionship of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, is such a peaceful feeling.

Anyway, we're just having a really great time here. You guys all have a great week! I love you so much!!!!

-Elder Rindlisbacher