Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Aloha Mom and Family,
It's great to hear that everyone is doing good. This week was transfer week, and I'm still here in Hibarigaoka! This will be my fourth transfer here, so about six months. I think there's a good possibility of me staying here a little longer too. I sure hope so at least. Sorry this week's letter is late, we were pretty busy yesterday and Monday so I haven't been able to get one out until now.

We've had another great week. There are a lot of great things going on here in Hibarigaoka. Especially through activities this week, we've seen a lot of great things.

On Wednesday we and the Sisters set a table up in front of the church and gave hot chocolate and hot lemon drinks to people passing by and going to a grocery store across the street. It was snowing that morning when we got up, and that slowly turned to rain as the day went on, so it was a cold and wet day. Consequently, there weren't too many people out, but it was a lot of fun and we were able to make some people happier (and warmer!) That evening before eikaiwa we had a small okonomiyaki party. Elder Takaya from the area next to ours is from Osaka and was an okonomiyaki chef before his mission. He's been coming to Hibarigaoka every Wednesday as Elder Call's been going to Tokorozawa to help teach their eikaiwa, so he made a lot of delicious okonomiyaki for us. We had three investigators, two members, and us four missionaries in attendance. The next morning, our ninth day without gas, I went with Elder Takaya to the bank and just paid the bill myself. The commissarian and Elders in the mission home were taking way too long, so I just did it for them and sent a reimbursement form in. The gas was turned on again that evening! Of course the next morning Elder Call and I took extra long showers and made a big breakfast (spam, eggs, and rice!) We made a cake in the rice cooker that day as well (not related to having gas), using the mix and frosting you sent, and gave pieces to members and other friends. We even put a bunch of vanilla pudding and some of those Hershey's kisses in. It turned out really good, I'll send a picture!

Friday evening we went to outreach in Tokorozawa with two recent converts and two other friends. They had us all play a tag/hide-and-go-seek game in the dark with glow sticks. Of course all of the missionaries played as companionships as we can't be alone. We all had a great time together.

The next day we had a mogi (role-play) lesson with the Araki family. They're from Kansai as well and made okonomiyaki for us. We taught the Gospel of Christ (lesson three in PMG) and it went great. They're actually trying to start up a new business using a laser cutter to make all sorts of engraved and cut plastic things (keychains, plaques, etc.), so they made Elder Call and I phone accessories (phone accessories are huge here in Japan!) with our names on them. I'll send a picture. They also took our pictures and said they'll use them to make something interesting.

Sunday was an amazing day for Hibarigaoka Ward. At 8:00 am we had a meeting with President Aoki of the mission presidency and many of the members of the ward with mission-related callings. We were given a paradigm shift training – designed to completely change the thinking of the Japan Tokyo Mission. It was an amazing presentation made by President Budge. Right after church we had a fireside with the rest of the ward where President Aoki gave the ward the same training. The training was basically a lot of ways that the mission thinks now, and how we're going to change to think from now on. For example, one of them was: Old thinking – Success is baptism. New thinking – Success is inviting. We can't think that because our friend doesn't accept the gospel that we've failed. The success is in the inviting; accepting the gospel is up to them with their agency. It is wrong to refrain from inviting because we're scared they won't be baptized and we'll fail. As soon as we've invited, we've seen success. Another was: Old thinking – We shouldn't use church vocabulary outside of gospel discussions. New thinking – We should use church vocabulary as much as we can. For example, if someone offers you alcohol. Instead of saying, “Sorry, I don't drink alcohol.” Say, “Sorry, I don't drink alcohol because of the Word of Wisdom.” And there's the start of a very natural conversation about the gospel. So there were a lot of points on the way that the thinking is here and how they're going to be changed, over time, of course. Hibarigaoka is the first ward in the mission to receive the training.  Because Hibarigaoka is the best. Tokyo Mission is seeing the most success out of the Japan missions right now, and President Budge chose to start this paradigm shift in Hibarigaoka. It is a very special place – There's so much dendo fire and power. There have been more missionaries returning home than coming in, so the mission has been shrinking as of late (until summer), all except Hibarigaoka. We're growing! There are areas losing missionaries, but Hibarigaoka got more (us and the Sisters.) The support and love for the missionaries here is unreal. There are three and four year old children who pray for us by name every single day. It's very humbling.

These past few days of this week have been great. Monday night we went to the Saito’s  home for dinner. Brother Saito may be the most fired-up-for-missionary-work member in the ward. Anyway, we had a great time. We mogi'd the gospel with them, this time as a four-person companionship with the Sisters. After that, Saito kyoudai and his son, Zen (four years old), sang 'I'll Find You My Friend', the song we sang in sacrament meeting a while ago. They sang a verse, then we all sang the same verse together. The spirit was strong. There was so much love in that room.

Yesterday, we met a high school boy, Abe, who had interest in church and the Book of Mormon. He said he'll come to church this next Sunday. Last night, we had dinner with the Kasai's. They're a less-active couple who we've had dinner with a few times before. We always have a great time with them. After dinner, Sister Kasai took out all of her kimonos (she has a lot!) and Sister Walbeck was able to pick one and put it on. They're super expensive and apparently pretty hard to put on; Sister Kasai went to school to learn how. Anyway, the really great part of the  night was the message we shared with them. We didn't have much time, but we shared a message on Temples, especially focused on the Celestial Room. At the Saito's home the night before we talked a little about the Kasai's and the thought to talk with them about the Priesthood and Temples came to me. That morning my personal study told me that it was Temples that we should talk about. I had a copy of the Liahona issue on Temples I bought a while ago, so we took it, showed them some of the pictures, read a tiny bit about the blessings of the Temple, and looked at pages 64-65 (maybe you can find a copy of the magazine online), a picture of a Celestial Room. I explained simply what the endowment was and about the Celestial Room. Sister Nagamine testified a little. I told them about how I can picture them in white with us in the Celestial Room. I asked if they wanted to go. They said yes. I asked if they were doing anything on Sunday. They said they didn't think so. I said, “This isn't the temple, but in preparation for that, will you come to church?” Brother Kasai said okay (AWESOME!!!) Sister Kasai was nervous and surprised her husband had said yes. We testified a lot more and tried to help them overcome some of their concerns. They haven't been to church in a long time and are very nervous to return, so it will take a lot of prayers and faith, but if they make it to church on Sunday there will be so much joy!!! I am so grateful for the spirit. I have a testimony!!

I'll end this week's letter with that, along with my testimony that I know that the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. It is true. It is amazing.

I pray that you'll all have a great week. That you'll have opportunities to be missionaries yourselves. And that you'll experience the complete joy and happiness that comes through faith and obedience.

I love you!!!
Elder Rindlisbacher

 Rice cooker cake
 Phone accesory made my Araki Family
 Zen Saito (4 yrs old)
 The Saitos' baby (6 months)
 Zen kun and I reading
 Reading with Zen kun
The Kasai Family and the 4 of us

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