Friday, December 28, 2012

Dec. 25, 2012

A very special Christmas Card  from the Japan Tokyo Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Elder Rindlisbacher can be seen on the 4th row if you look really hard.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Week 62 - December 18, 2012
Tomorrow, at least here, is your birthday dad! Happy Birthday!! I'll be thinking of you. Know that I love you! I am so grateful for all that you've done and continue to do for me. You are such a great example of faith, love, and hard work. Thank you so very much.

It's hard to believe that another week has already passed, but it's been a good one in Hibarigaoka! I hope that everyone is healthy and happy. I just read the Rindlisbacher Review, and am hoping that Keawe's fully recovered from his minor concussion. I can sympathize with Kauluwehi about the humidity! It's pretty dry here now and I think there's probably about four times when I thought my face/hands were going to fall off. But I bought some lotion and it's a lot better now. It's definitely cold here now, but will continue to get colder. I think it's getting somewhere around 5 degrees Celsius right now.

We were able to visit six less-active members/families this past week, something we haven't been able to do too much in the past. Some of them were really happy to see us, while others weren't, but we'll be continuing to try to help them receive the full blessings of the gospel again. We had five investigators planning on coming to church but only two who actually came, Johnson and Richard (two Camaroonians.) Both of them are progressing as they're reading the Book of Mormon. We will be setting a new baptismal date with Ozeki-san very soon. We were planning on him being interviewed this past week, but something came up with him and he wasn't able to meet for it. We'll be working to have it happen this week, then we'll just need to meet with his father before he's baptized. We had two great role-play lessons with members (one active couple, and another inactive couple.) The spirit's guidance was strong throughout both of them, and we were really able to build strong relationships of trust with them. Hibarigaoka ward is truly amazing. The ward is SO full of dendo fire, it's almost unreal. Consequently, Elder Healy, the Sisters, and I are all loving it here!

The district is doing well. Each companionship is healthy and happy. I really love serving as district leader. It does take more effort and work, but the blessings and joy always outweigh the sacrifice. I was just talking with another missionary a few days ago, about the blessings we personally receive from missionary work, and I said, “If the things we personally receive from missionary service (lots of great friends, leadership skills, ability to speak Japanese, etc.) really are just the icing on the cake, then the cake is completely smothered with icing!” Honestly, thinking of it that way, it seems like you would never be able to find the cake. But the cake is actually also enormous. So, said easily, missionary work is amazing - the best. Next week is week six of  this transfer, the week we're normally able to go to the temple, but that Tuesday is Christmas, so we were able to go today. I am grateful for the temple. There is great peace and joy in knowing who you are in relation to God.

I truly believe in the Gift of Tongues. Missionaries here are able to learn Japanese with amazing ease. I've been here in Japan for a year as of the 20th, and Japanese is a difficult language, but the Lord has blessed me so very much.

Anyway, I love this work and gospel. Thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers. I always think of you and am so grateful to have such an amazing family. Take care, and a have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. The husband of the less-active couple we had a mogi lesson with is a documentary director. He recently made a documentary called “A gift.” It's about the health benefits Vitamin C has in relation to radiation. It looked pretty interesting, so if you have some time and seem interested, try to find it somewhere!

P.P.S. As for calling on Christmas, I was thinking it'd be best to call on the 26th here, so it would be Christmas there for you. When will everyone be home? I am able to call on the 25th, 26th, or 27th for about 45 minutes. Get back to me as soon as possible with a day and time. You need to call here though. Our number (ready to call from the US to Japan) is: 011-81-80-2149-6139. We can also use skype, so add us: HibarigaokaMissionaries100. I look forward to hearing from you. I love you!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 61 - December 10, 2012
Aloha family!  
If you haven't sent the box out yet... I have a few more favors to ask. Could you also send a Sonicare Toothbrush base if you have an extra one? The one I have here just stopped working. And also a 2013 Calendar of Maui. I've been using a 2012 one that the Hanohano's sent me while I was in the MTC, but now we're about to begin a new year.

Anyway, I hope you're all doing great!! As for us in Hibarigaoka, we had an amazing week and an especially great Sunday!

This past Tuesday I went on exchange with Elder Larson (2nd transfer missionary.) We taught an investigator, Masaki-san, a lesson on the Atonement that went really well. We also met a really old lady while Housing (going door-to-door) who asked us to teach her about Christ, so
we've referred her to the Sisters. We also met another man, Toda-san, who came to our Sunday morning eikaiwa yesterday. Elder Larson is a great young missionary - not hesitant to talk to anyone despite just beginning to learn Japanese. He's really on top of things, and we really had a great time together.

Yesterday, we had Johnson, Damian, and Richard - three Camaroonians - in Sacrament meeting, with a member translating. We found Johnson our second week in the area and have been teaching him since. Damian and Richard are two of his friends. We also met a Nigerian man, Kingsley, at the eki later in the day who said he had heard of us and will be coming to church this Sunday. The good word is spreading amongst the Africans in Hibarigaoka!

After church we met with Uemura-san, a new eikaiwa student, for a shokai lesson. He said he has interest in commandments (the first time I've had someone interested in commandments on their first lesson,) so we have an appointment this next Sunday to teach him some!

After Uemura-san's lesson we met Takahashi-shimai (a member of another ward) and Tanabe-san (a man she met last week and introduced the gospel to) at the station, went to the church for a tour, and taught the Restoration. Tanabe-san is a really good guy, who seems a little busy, but is very willing to begin to take lessons and learn about Christ! He isn't too excited to read the Book of Mormon as he doesn't enjoy reading, but he seems to really love prayer. He says he'll do his best to be in church this upcoming Sunday.

We met with Ozeki-san tonight and taught him more about repentance. His baptismal date was for this past Saturday, but we have yet to meet with his father. He's 20 years old, legally able to be baptized without parental permission, but we along with bishop would like to meet his father first.

You asked about giving to Christ this Christmas. Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier, but it's interesting the ward did that because this Christmas every missionary in the mission actually wrote a letter to Christ, telling Him what they were going to give for Him. My letter was all about being a peacemaker. Basically, developing into the person described in Moroni 7:45. And I actually trained at this past district meeting on love, so it's been a focus of a lot of my studies lately. Maybe you can use this for a family home evening or something, but here's parts of my training:

This transfer I've begun every district meeting with 10 minutes just about Christ. This past meeting was really basic and focused on His birth:

Foretold by prophets of old - Isaiah 7:14; 9:6
On the American Continent - Mosiah 3:5; 7-8
Then came the night - Luke 2:10-11
Wise Men - Matthew 2:2...and thus began the spirit of giving. 

I had asked Elder Healy beforehand to bear a quick testimony on Christ, so he did then.Then I've always had a minute of quiet time to ponder Christ, and another minute to just be especially grateful for everything. Christ feels our joys and our sorrows, so why not be especially grateful and happy, for him!

We continued with a quick discussion on what love is, and I like one-liners, so I shared four I've heard President Budge say, along with some study references I found:
"Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." (and see it) PMG Pg.185, 1st paragraph.
"'Trustworthy' is a word, 'loveworthy' is not. Everyone is worthy of your love." PMG Pg.118, 2nd paragraph.
"The opposite of love = lazy. It takes work and effort." PMG Pg.121, Pres. Benson Quote.
"The great destroyer of unity is pride." Proverbs 13:10; Mosiah 4:11-12.

Then Moroni 7:45, "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

That might seem like a tall order. Maybe it makes you ask yourself, "Am I long-suffering? Am I kind? Am I humble? Do I think of others first? Do I hold my temper?" But, we must remember, that charity is a gift. These attributes are not simply a to-do list. They are a description of how we will be when we are in full possession of the gift. The gift which comes from Christ, and through His Atonement. Charity is not something we necessarily develop; It is something we receive, something we are 'bestowed.'

So how? How do we receive it? Continue reading, Moroni 7:48, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure." Pray. Ask in faith. 

I had asked Elder Larson beforehand to testify on love, so he did that then.

And we continued more on how to receive the gift of charity with 1 Timonthy 1:5 (Paul explaining when God blessed us with charity,) "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:"
Pure heart - righteous desires
Clear conscience - repentant
Faith - when we believe steadfastly in Christ's Atonement - it's power to change us, and it's power to change anyone. 

So according to Paul, when we have those three things, we receive the blessing described in Epheisans 3:17, 19, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love... And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might
be filled with the fulness of God." THE FULNESS OF GOD!

Love changes everything. When you truly love, everything is changed! Because, I believe, your attiude, your frame of mind, is exactly as it should be. We ended the meeting with a discussion on how we can all be better, and made sure that we would be accountable for the things we
committed to do (I'm following-up with each district member daily.)

Anyway, back to being a peacemaker... I really just want to be as it says in 3 Nephi 12:9 and Matthew 5:9, "blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." - I want to be, and am willing to work towards, truly being called a child of God. I am working to be as loving as you, dad. And I want to be as my Father in Heaven. Maybe you can take some time to look at a family picture. We all kind of look alike, and we have many of the same attributes. As children we're always looking up to you, mom and dad, and trying to be like you. And we have the potential to be. Now imagine our Father in Heaven. I'm sure we look like him and have some of the same attributes. And we definitely have the potential to become like him!! That is so true!!

I hope you've all had a great week. I hope everyone's safe and enjoying this wonderful Christmas Season. I love you all so very much! Take care, and have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week 60 - December 3, 2012

It's been another good week here in Hibarigaoka! I'm glad to hear that you're all doing well too.

The apartment is very nice. It's probably the nicest apartment in the mission. The computer-thing next to the toilet controls the heated toilet seat and bide/oshiri  water pressure and temperature; it's really nice. The apartment isn't in a high rise building, it's just a building with four apartments (quadplex?) There was only 37 pictures sent last week, the 38 I wrote was a typo.

I'm not sure about the collapsed tunnel, I haven't heard anything about it besides from you. But if it was 50 miles west of Tokyo it probably wasn't in our mission. That is Sister Long in one of the Thanksgiving pictures. She's serving in the area below Hibarigaoka. I'm glad you all had a good Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend. How was Keanu's interview? And thanks for the video, I was able to see it. I have that song on a jump drive so sometimes we listen it. Also, I read that talk by President Hinckley when I was a new missionary in Inage with Elder Casey; And I know that it is true. I could see and feel many of those things soon after coming to Japan.

I had two great companion exchanges this past week; One with Elder Takaya and another with Elder Loud. They're both great missionaries, we had a lot of fun, and saw many miracles. I'll be going on exchange with Elder Larsen (2nd transfer like Elder Healy) tomorrow morning.

One of the sisters’  investigators was baptized yesterday; It was amazing. She has one of the strongest testimonies I've ever seen from a recent convert, and she's only been meeting with the missionaries for a month. We're working on getting her conversion story written down, and I'll send it to you. I'll also get some pictures out next week. The four missionaries sang, 'I Believe in Christ,'  a capella.  Sister Nagamine (from Okinawa, transferred in a few weeks ago) and Elder Healy melody, Sister Walbeck alto, and myself bass.

Ozeki-san is continuing to prepare for baptism, and is doing pretty good. Right now we're working on getting him to attend church each week. We met with him today and taught more about the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. He isn't attending church every week, so we don't want him to become less-active as soon as he's baptized. Brother Fukuda, former mission president and great member in the ward, joined us in the lesson and contributed with a great testimony. We'll also be meeting with Ozeki-san this Wednesday and Friday.

We also received a few referrals this past week and are excited to work with the members to introduce their friends to the gospel. We've been having mogi lessons with many of the members - building better relationships, and improving our teaching abilities.

We had P-day as a zone today - pancake party. We all gathered at one church, made and ate pancakes, and played basketball. It was a lot of fun.

As far as the package, things I need are just deodorant and toothpaste, pretty much everything else I can get here. The one other thing I would ask for specifically would be poi... but I'm sure that that's pretty much impossible.  Is there anything anyone would like from here?

Anyway, I love you all so much. Thank you for your love and support. This work is great. This church is true. Everything professed to be, is. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It guides and comforts. Through daily prayer you can build a strong relationship with our Father in Heaven, and feel refreshed – something  Erina-san who was baptized yesterday has a strong testimony of!  I love you!  Have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. Faith Abo may be Elder Healy's aunty, Fay Abo? And I'm really glad to hear there are more ward members preparing mission papers!!!