Monday, February 18, 2013

Week 71 - February 18, 2013 

Hibarigaoka is amazing, and we've had a great week! Sorry I didn't answer any of your questions in my last email, here are some answers. The box did look like it was manually inspected, with a few of the things cut open and resealed. It didn't look like anything was missing, but maybe they just wanted some chocolate! I do really appreciate all of the candy. We've been giving chocolates to members as we've gone to their homes for dinner. We haven't been doing Insanity. I talked with President Budge and he said that it would be fine as long as there weren't female instructors with tight or revealing clothing. Elder Call and I took a look at one of the videos and decided that we should delete it. The jump drives have really come in handy though. I backed up all of the pictures I've taken so far on my mission. The Sisters’ apartment is a brand new place just like ours. It's really nice, and a lot closer to the church than ours; a big difference from their daily 45 minute commute to the area (45 minutes to the area and 45 minutes back each day!) Our apartment is about a 10-15 minute bike ride to the church, and theirs is probably less than five. We're definitely getting enough to eat. I'm not necessarily losing weight though, I think I weigh about the same, we just don't exercise as much I used to (besides all of our bike riding.) So I'm skinnier (same weight, but skinnier.) I don't think I eat healthier here than I did at home. At least our eating isn't as scheduled as I used to eat. It'd be awesome if you could get a video or some-
thing of Keawe in one of his games! I'm super proud of him and would love to see something from one of his games if it would be possible. I hope Keanu is able to get all of his Webelos requirements before his birthday! Otsukaresamadesu! In my last letter I told you about up until Tuesday, so here's a little from Wednesday on:

We had a lesson with Masaki-san on Wednesday. He's Jehovah Witness, but enjoys having a Bible study with us so we meet with him every week. We pick a theme and study about that for about an hour. Wednesday we talked about baptism–the importance and the covenant made. The spirit was present and I extended the baptismal challenge. He's told us that he will never be baptized, so he was surprised that I had extended the challenge. The baptismal challenge is basically, “if this message is true, will you be baptized?” I really emphasized the ‘IF this is true.’He wouldn't answer the question directly, but it was very good to help him to remember our  expectations behind why we're meeting.

After eikaiwa Wednesday we got back to the apartment and found our door with a bunch of candy and notes all over it. Apparently Saito-kyodai (bishopric 1st counselor who we had dinner with on Monday) and Erina-shimai (recent-convert) stopped by and did it before eikaiwa to surprise us. The Sisters live in an apartment building that you can't get into without a combination, so they stuffed all of the candy, etc. into their mailbox. And, to top it all off, after eikaiwa they went to the Sisters’ apartment building, hid in a bush, and took pictures of the Sisters’ reactions as they opened their mail box!

Thursday evening we had a Takkyuu Taikai (Ping-Pong.) We didn't spend too much time planning or announcing it in advance, in the beginning of the week we just let our eikaiwa students, investigators, and potential investigators know. We ended up with almost 30 people in attendance – an amazing turnout! There were probably about 8 members and 20 non-members. We had a really fun time with everyone. We started at 5:00 pm and closed at 7:00 pm, but ended up staying at the church until just after 9:00 pm with a few potential investigators and members. It was so successful we're planning on having a similar ping-pong activity from now on every other week.

We had a zone meeting Friday morning. Up until now we've had one each transfer but they'll be switching to monthly from now on. There aren't any big trainings  that happen, just a unifying and refocusing kind of meeting. The mission has begun trying to use records more, so we were told that each companionship should be calling two people from the area book each day. We got home (rode in the rain for about an hour) and called two people. One of them, Matsubara-san, had heard a lesson a while ago and was willing to meet with us again! That was pretty cool, seeing as just after we were told to do that we were able to find a new investigator.

Yesterday was a great day, as are all Sundays. I received a call late Saturday night before bed asking if I could speak the next morning in sacrament meeting. Sister Walbeck and I spoke. Elder Prince, who served in Hibarigaoka about a year ago, was here with his parents just before going home, so he was also asked to speak. The theme was from The Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 4 – Strengthened by the Holy Ghost. A few investigators and two eikaiwa students attended sacrament, as well as the Kasai couple!! They made it back. Hopefully they will come each week from now on and we can see them endowed in the temple sometime in the near future. We were so happy for them. After sacrament meeting, during Sunday School, Matsubara-san (the guy we called from the area book on Friday) showed up at the church unexpectedly. We were able to teach him a lesson and hopefully we'll continue to meet regularly from now on. After church we were a three-person companionship with Elder Prince for a little while, then had dinner at Bishop Uemura's home. Bishop and his family, his parents-in law, and his wife’s sister and her family (all in Hibarigaoka Ward), along with Elder Prince and his parents were there. We had a great time talking and enjoying each other's  company. Yesterday as well, Brother Araki gave us the things he had taken our pictures for last week. I'll attach some pictures!

Today we're planning on going bowling with Erina-shimai (recent-convert) and her sister-in-law, Yuriko-chan (about 20 years old.) They both came to eikaiwa and the ping-pong activity this week and Yuriko-chan had a really great time. She really likes the missionaries, has interest in the church, and would be willing to take lessons with the Sisters, but her father is against the church and her learning. He recently just told her that she can't go to the church building anymore, so instead of meeting at the church to do something we're going bowling. Hopefully her father's heart will be softened over time. The Sisters are planning to begin making treats
and things for their family and taking them over.

All in all, we're just having a great time out here. I love being a missionary and wouldn't trade this time for anything else I could be doing at this point in my life. I've come to love the gospel so much. I love the spirit I feel as I meet with families for meals. I love being enlightened and instructed as I open the scriptures each morning. I love being able to go to my Father in prayer at any time. I love being able to meet and teach so many wonderful people with different back-grounds and situations about the gospel and how it applies to them. I love it!

Thank you always for all of your support and love. I love you and hope you have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

We put two tables together to make one long table
Our door after eikaiwa and all of the candy and snacks

All of us at the Uemura's for dinner

The things the Arakis made for us

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