Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 76 - March 25, 2013 
We've had a great week and an especially great Sunday here in Hibarigaoka. We enjoyed a great ward conference yesterday, with a completely full chapel. Sunday school classes were extra large, with even 16 people in the normally small Gospel Principles class. After the meetings, we had a great baptismal service for Erina Adachi. She's 17 years old and full of love and faith. There were probably over 100 people in attendance at the service, more than I've ever seen. It was great.

We were blessed to be able to have three investigators attend the baptismal service as well as stay for the shokujikai (potluck) afterward. They all had a great time and definitely felt the spirit. One of them told us specifically that he had a very warm feeling throughout the service.

We're continuing to help one of our investigators, Kawashima-san, to be baptized three weeks from now on the 14th. He's also 17 years old.

Elder Call is a good missionary and is continuing to grow immensely with each day. He works hard and is especially developing the leadership attributes of love, obedience, and humility. He has great faith and is always looking to improve.

I was able to exchange with Elder Piland (of my mtc group) this past week. We had a good time working hard together. We were able to have two less-active lessons, both of which ended with the less-active member committing to attend church on Sunday. Elder Piland, like Elder Call, is also very hard-working and doesn't lack motivation. I was able to learn a lot from him, and recognize ways I can improve. I especially want to improve my ability to work with anyone in any situation. I think of the companions that Jesus Christ chose, fishermen and a tax collector, and understand more about how we are all accountable for our own efforts and actions - as well as how that truly does affect our companion(s) and companionship greatly. I know that I am completely responsible for what I do. And I know that what I do has great power in what my companion does. Christ's faith and good works were never diminished if the apostles, his companions, lacked faith or good works. And His faith, etc. in turn definitely helped the apostles to have great faith.

I love Hibarigaoka and dread the day when I am to leave. I spent four transfers in Sagamihara as well, and the time went by quickly there, however it feels like the time's gone by at least three times faster here. As I ponder the past few months, I'm able to see all of the great growth and remember the many people we've been able to serve and help. However of course, there is so much more work to be done and so many miracles to happen. Hibarigaoka ward, beginning with the stake and ward leadership, is growing greatly, with dendo fire continuing to build and build. I will work hard, be bold, and love everyone all that I can! And I look forward to the continued progress and great miracles that will be seen here!

In other news, the Sakura (cherry blossoms) have come out and it's just going into mankai (the peak), which will last for about two weeks. Today for p-day we went down to a really nice, and big, park for companionship study, stayed there for lunch and to hang out a little, and had some conversations with people. I'll attach a few pictures. Apparently pretty much all of the parks in Japan were once the royal grounds of palaces, which have since been converted into public  parks.

We had a pretty long (maybe about 50 min.) conversation with a nice man originally from Texas. He recognized us as Mormon missionaries and tried hard to prove Joseph Smith a fraud. But there is no arguing with true and sincere testimony. Elder Call and I felt the spirit working within us, and we saw the power of bold testimony. I told him if he hasn't read the Book of Mormon,  and humbly at that, he hasn't researched our church. The conversation ended with him taking a Book of Mormon with a commitment to read the entire thing. We'll pray for him and probably meet him in the park again sometime.

In other fun news, mostly unrelated to sharing the gospel, last Wednesday we played basketball with some members and went to lunch after. We had Gyutan (cow tongue.) It was pretty good! There are a few pictures attached.

I love you all so much!! Thank you always for your great support. I know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that the fullness of His Gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith - a Prophet just as Moses, Abraham, and Isaiah were in biblical times! There were no holes in his character; He lived the doctrine he preached. The Book of Mormon is evidence of this! An essential element of missionary work is humility. The missionaries must be humble, and those they strive to help must be humble. When only one side is, the missionaries or the other person(s), it doesn't work. However, when the power of the missionaries teaching, inviting, and helping in humility combines with people humbling themselves and seeking with real intent, miracles truly do occur. Of this I testify from the bottom of my heart! From true conversion to true growth, let us all strive every single day to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. Take care and have a great week!!

Elder Rindlisbacher

6542 - Gyutan! The thick part.
6545 - Gyutan! The thin part.
6548 - Gyutan chart
6593 - Before Erina's baptism
6540 - A puzzle I gave Erina to congratulate her at her baptism
 6537 - Wrote a note on the back!
6628 - Our study spot at the park
6622 - View from the study spot
6687 - Colorful shot of the Sakura
6673 - Green bird in Pink Sakura
6696 - Sakura macro
6699 - Another Sakura macro
6719 - Lake and shrine
6716 - More lake and shrine
6746 - Sakura across a pond

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Week 75 - March 19, 2013 

This transfer's coming close to an end, so we were able to attend a session at the temple this morning. The temple is always great.

Time is definitely flying by. Hibarigaoka is doing great. We're working hard and seeing miracles every day. The Lord is in the work!

About a month ago we met a 17 year-old high school student on the street. We had district meeting the day before and were given a quick training on different ways to introduce The Book of Mormon. One of the ways was to show the picture of Joseph Smith in The Book of Mormon and to ask if they knew who he was, making teaching about the Restoration very easy. That was something I did a little as a younger missionary but not so much lately. Anyway, the day after that district meeting we had just 10 minutes between study and weekly planning time to go outside and find new people to teach. We'd been outside for about five minutes when we met the high school student, Kawashima-san. We talked with him for a little, and took from the training we had received the day before and showed him the picture of Joseph Smith in The Book of Mormon, asking if he had ever seen him before. We were able to explain and testify of the Restoration of the Gospel and its importance. He was really interested and asked if he could take a Book of Mormon. He was busy, however, with a bunch of tests as well as a school trip coming up. We took an appointment for almost a month in advance. That appointment was this past week Thursday. Despite being so far in advance, he came, we showed him around the church a little and then taught him the Restoration. The lesson went great. He had already been reading the Book of Mormon, but because he didn't know very much about it or what it was, he had been having a hard time understanding it. After teaching him all about the Restoration he had an amazing desire to know if it was true. He committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray earnestly every day. We taught him the Gospel of Christ, emphasizing the blessings of baptism, and he said he would OF COURSE be baptized when he felt it was true. He's preparing for April 14th. He gave the closing prayer for the lesson and the spirit was very strong. Our next lesson is set for tomorrow, and it's looking like spring break's about to begin for him so he'll have a lot of time to take lessons. Also, Erina, one of the sister's investigators, is also 17 years old and preparing to be baptized this next Sunday. Kawashima-san's attendance at the service will be great for helping him to feel the spirit.

A week ago, last Tuesday, Elder Call and I went on exchange with Elder Crowther and Kowalski, two of the three Assistants to the President. Myself with Elder Crowther and Elder Call with Elder Kowalski, we had a great time. Elder Crowther and I worked a lot on 'how to begin teaching', especially in finding situations. In other words, trying to build relationships of trust quickly with people on the street as well as outline what we're doing and set expectations. You can read chapter 10 in PMG to know more. We learned a lot together, and will actually probably train the mission sometime in the future on some of it. The other companionship, Elder Call and Kowalski, had an appointment for a mogi (role-play) lesson in the evening with a member. They ended up meeting someone during the day that wanted to go to dinner with them, so they called us asking if we could do the mogi lesson for them. The lesson was scheduled for 6:30 pm and we got to the church early around 6:05 pm. We debated whether we should take some time to plan the lesson, or stay outside for 10-15 more minutes to try to talk to more people. We decided to stay outside and talk to more people. Up until this point we had worked very hard and seen some success in getting phone numbers, but no new investigators (people setting specific dates to meet again.) Well we walked down the street calling out to everyone. I stopped a guy about to walk into a bookstore and Elder Crowther stopped a young boy walking by. We normally stop people together but this time we stopped two separate people for some reason. The young boy Elder Crowther stopped didn't have much interest, but a guy in his 20's walked by just after he finished talking with the boy. Apparently he didn't really stop the guy, they just kind of looked at each other and started talking. While this is going on I'm talking to the guy who was heading into the bookstore. He had received a Book of Mormon near another church about five years ago and had read a little but didn't really remember anything about it. He accepted my offer to meet the next day and talk about some parts in the book I really like. After talking with him Elder Crowther was still talking with the guy in his 20's. We ended up walking with him back to the church for a really quick tour. The member we were planning on having the mogi lesson with showed up with another member who works with him and instead of a mogi lesson we had a real lesson with the person we had just met on the street. He actually lives in the Mission Home's area (right next to ours,) so the AP's are working with him.

Other than that, we've had great times and made good memories with members at meal appointments, etc. I love these people. Transfers are coming up next week, hopefully we all stay in Hibarigaoka for a while longer.

How are Mikela's cheer competitions going? I'll resend the emails to Keawe, I think I sent them to another email address. I think I remember Kaipo Ho. That's great news that he'll be serving a mission. How's his family doing? Have they ever attended church or anything with him? I  wonder which MTC Keoni will be going to and how long he'll be there. I loved my MTC experience and I'm sure he'll have a great time too. What are he and Sala already doing to prepare?

That's scary news about Doug Birch. I hope he's doing okay.

Is there a time limit on that weight-loss challenge thing?

I read a talk a little while ago about a verse in the Book of Mormon I really like, 2 Nephi 5:27. We've used it as a message for members as we've visited homes this past week. Maybe you can talk about it at family home evening or something.

2 Nephi 5:27 is very short and reads, “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.” This is just after Nephi and his family separate themselves from Laman, Lemuel, and their families. We can look through chapter 5 at the events preceding this verse to learn as to why they were happy:

The importance of family and good family relations is reiterated in verse 6, “Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my  words.”

Verse 10 is about righteousness, “And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.”

Verse 11 highlights a few key points, “And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.” 'And the Lord was with us.' They had the spirit with them. And interestingly enough, I think plants and animals also contribute to happiness.

Some is written about the importance of scriptures in verse 12, “And I, Nephi, had also brought the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass; and also the ball, or compass, which was prepared for my father by the hand of the Lord, according to that which is written.”

Verse 14 talks about preparation and shows the peace and happiness that comes from being prepared. There are many things we have to prepare for in our day. “And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.”

15 and 17, detail the importance of hard work (using our hands,) “And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.”

The great importance of temples is shown in verse 16, “And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.”

And church service in verse 26, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did consecrate Jacob and Joseph, that they should be priests and teachers over the land of my people.”

And thus we see that Nephi and his people 'lived after the manner of happiness.' In response to verse 10 especially, on righteousness, there's a quote I like. I'm not sure who said it, but it goes
something like, “You can't break the commandments. You can only break yourselves against the commandments.”

I love you all so much!!! I promise you that the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is happiness! The pattern of living happily is outlined throughout the pages of the Book of Mormon! Read it every day! Even if you don't understand much, or even anything for that matter, it will fill your life and the home with a special spirit. Have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Monday, March 11, 2013

Week 74 - March 11, 2013
Hibarigaoka is seeing great miracles every day!

We had a great Saturday this past week. We took the train from Hibarigaoka Station down a few stations, kubari'd (passed Eikaiwa flyers out) there for 30 min. and streeted (walked around talking to everyone) for 30min., took the train one station back and kubari'd and streeted for 30 min., and continued on and on to each station for the same thing until we had made it back to Hibarigaoka Station. We worked hard, had a lot of fun, and saw some success, being able to give a few Books of Mormon away and meet a family that will come to Eikaiwa. After finishing our dendo (proselyting) at Hibarigaoka Station, however, we hadn't found any new investigators. That's when we were blessed with a great miracle. As we were walking back to where we had parked the bikes we passed a Mister Donut's donut store where there was a worker outside trying to get people in to buy donuts. She really tried hard with us but we told her we were okay and that we'd be sure to come back another time. She kept trying however so we decided to run in and get a donut quickly. We sat down in the store and a lady sitting with her daughter next to us asked right away, "Where's your church?" Come to find out, she and her husband along with their five-year old daughter recently moved to Hibarigaoka, are Christian, and have been searching for a church! We have their contact information and they said they'd come to church. Lessons are sure to begin soon after.

We had a first lesson with Yuki-kun, an Eikaiwa student, yesterday. He attended Sunday morning Eikaiwa, church after that, then we taught him the Plan of Salvation. We invited him to be baptized and he said that he would be baptized when he knew the message was true. Apparently his family is very buddhist, but he committed to read from the Book of Mormon and pray about its truthfulness. One of the Sisters’ investigators, Erina-chan, who is preparing for baptism this month has been helping a lot as she's been encouraging him to hear lessons.

Other than that we've seen a lot of good things happening with less-active and active members in building their faith. Yesterday we went with our dendo shunin (ward mission leader) to help with his home-teaching. We were able to visit with Taisei Nakaya, a 19 year-old boy, and have a great talk. He has a one month break from school right now and hasn't been doing anything besides surfing the internet.  Anyway, he set a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon before next week's church meetings. He's never read it before, but we shared a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley and testified about how we've come to love the Book of Mormon.

"I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as you read, your mind will be enlightened and your spirit will be lifted. At first it may seem tedious, but that will change into a wondrous experience with thoughts and words of things divine." (Gordon B. Hinckley, May 1995)

Also, yesterday we had a big freak sandstorm. I guess every once in a great while sand from the desert all the way over in China hops over the ocean and hits Japan. It was pretty interesting.

In other news, two of the three assistants are coming out to Hibarigaoka tonight and we'll spend the next 24 hours with them on exchange here. We're excited. It should be a lot of fun and we'll see a lot of success.

In other other news, I received a letter from the mission home a few days ago with a paper I need to submit for my release. It's still a good ways away, but they need to know when I'd like to be released (I have a choice between two dates) and if anyone's going to be coming here to pick me up. The two dates are: September 17, 2013 and October 29, 2013. I've already circled the October 29th date so I hope that's okay with you. As for if you'll be coming here, how does that look? You can come and we can spend some time here then head back. Or just meet on Maui. Let me know soon (this week) what you think.

Also, I was wondering if Keawe has received my emails. I sent two last week, so let me know if he's getting them or if I have an address that he doesn't use too much anymore. Thank you so much.

I love you all so much!! Take care and have a great week as children of God! (Psalm 82:6)

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. Elder Call and I made a list of some of the blessings of baptism. We just put two or three down a day for the past week-ish. These are also the same blessings as the sacrament that you take each week. I attached a picture of the board we wrote them on, but here's a typed list:

Blessings of Baptism:

 1.  Sins washed away (Moroni 8:25)
 2.  Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:13)
 3.  Become a member of the church (Moroni 7:3)
        a. Associated with good people, striving together
        b. Supported and loved
 4.  Commit your life to the Savior (Proverbs 29:18)
 5.  Become a witness of God (Mosiah 18:9-10)
 6.  May be redeemed (Alma 9:27)
 7.  Can live with God (D&C 76:51, 62)
 8.  Put on Christ (Galatians 3:27)
 9.  Be born again (Romans 6:3-6)
10. Become a child of the Abrahamic Covenant (3 Nephi 20:25)
11. Peace for Judgment Day (Mormon 7:10)
12. Become a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19)
13. Become a worker of miracles (D&C 84:64-72)
14. Make a covenant with God (Mosiah 18:13)
        a. Constant source of strength and life to the faithful (Jacob 5:11)
15. Take part in the First Resurrection (Mosiah 18:8-9)
16. Be an example of righteousness (3 Nephi 13:22)
17. May participate in temple work for ancestors (Malachi 4:6; D&C 128:5)
18. Serve others as their watchmen (3 Nephi 16:18)
19. All things asked for in righteousness given (Moses 6:52)
20. Weak things become strong (Ether 12:27)

Matthew 28:19

Monday, March 4, 2013

What exciting news with Sala and Keoni receiving their calls! They will be amazing missionaries. So many people will be blessed because of their decision to serve! They both report in June so I won't see them for a while. I'll have to write them sometime. Sala will be in the MTC for two weeks and Keoni for six? Maybe they don't know yet. I'm so happy for them!!

The work here in Hibarigaoka is going great! We've had a very successful and very fun week.

We have a 17 year-old Eikaiwa student named Yuki who we've become really great friends with. We had another Ping-Pong activity this past Thursday, this time combined with a Pizza Party as well, and he told us there that he's extremely busy with tests this week, but that on Wednesday at Eikaiwa we can set a date to begin lessons.

We were finally able to contact a referral from the Shibuya Elders after about four weeks. Yuta-san is 24 years old, we were able to get lunch with him and do a church tour. He as well said that we can set a lesson date on Wednesday at Eikaiwa.

We're meeting with Johnson, from Cameroon, about three times a week and helping him to understand Japanese as well the gospel.

Last week I told you we were getting our suits, shoes, and everything really nice for something special. Well, Elder Russell  M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve, visited our mission on Friday. We had a special conference with him that morning from about 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. It was a great time of being edified and instructed by a special witness of the Lord.

We heard testimonies from Sister and President Budge, Sister and Elder Ringwood (Area Authority), and then Sister Nelson. Sister Nelson began her comments by telling us that when they walked into the room and sat down that Elder Nelson looked at us for a moment and whispered to her, “We have never seen nor experienced better missionaries than this.” She told a story she doesn't normally tell about their marriage (seven years ago.) In the beginning of the conference, a missionary choir I was a part of, sang, “Our Prayer To Thee” - A hymn not in the hymnbook that was written by Elder Nelson. It played an interesting role in their marriage as she had had it stuck in her head, even though she had never heard it before, for days before they met.

Elder Nelson was of course last to speak. He began by having us be sure that we wrote down that Elder Nelson said, “Thank you.” And that came with a P.S. to our families who raised us. Almost all of the rest of the conference was question and answer. He ended with an Apostolic Blessing. At that time, his language changed. He was speaking purely through the spirit. He blessed us to be totally obedient, exactly obedient. To love the Lord. To love Japan and the Japanese language. To bless others with the gospel. And with safety as we follow the laws of the land and the mission rules.

The entire conference, from sitting quietly thirty minutes before it was to begin, to the opening prayer, musical numbers, instruction, and closing prayer, was magical and accompanied by a very special spirit. President and Sister Budge went to lunch with the Nelsons after the conference. There Sister Nelson said, “I just saw so many future mission presidents as I looked out at everyone.” To that Elder Nelson replied, “Mission presidents?! I saw members of The Seventy and even Apostles!” Sister Nelson instructed President and Sister Budge to, “follow these missionaries.” I'm very blessed to be a part of such an amazing mission.

Anyway, thank you all so much for your love and support! I think of you often, and pray for you always.  President Uchtdorf said, “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” Always be “examples of the believers.” To your family, to your friends, to everyone! Love changes everything.

I love you!!!
Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. One picture - We visited a member family and they had all of these set up. The ones on the red stand are given by grandparents to grandchildren when daughters are born to them. The ones on the table are for sons.