Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Week 81 - April 29, 2013
Aloha everyone,
I hope you're all doing great. Today marks the first day of the last six months of my mission. It's gone by so fast, and it's been so great. I want to do everything I can to ensure that this six months is the best six months. I've been thinking about it, and setting a lot of good goals.

We had a great week here in Kanagawa. I'm having a great time with Elder Hill, he's a great missionary. It's cool knowing that our families have connections aside from us being companions.

This past Tuesday to Wednesday I had the opportunity to go on companion exchange with Elder Robb from Spanish Fork, UT. Elder Call (my last companion) is actually his uncle's brother. He's a new missionary and has been here for about four weeks now. He's a very athletic guy, but very shy when it comes to stopping and talking to people. He's working hard to break out of his shell.

Elder Hill and I were able to go on exchange with Elder Olson, one of the assistants to the president, this past Friday to Saturday. He's a great missionary and we had a great time. We had a lot of time to find more people to teach, and as we did so we tried to work a lot on unifying as a companionship. We did a good job. There's a lot of power when companions are unified and build off of each other well.

The next morning, one of our investigators, Kotsubo, was baptized. It was a great baptismal service with a bunch of members present. Kotsubo is a very shy, quiet guy, who doesn't open up very much, but it was very easy to tell that he was very happy. This weekend was stake conference so he'll be confirmed this next Sunday in sacrament meeting. He's a great guy. He comes to church each week about an hour early and sits in the chapel reading the Book of Mormon. We were able to get one of the single adults in the ward to baptize him. He's 19 and the stake president's son, but not too fired up to serve a mission. He isn't against it, just not too much for it either. He's never really talked with or built a relationship with Kotsubo, but Kotsubo said he was fine with anyone baptizing him. He was super nervous when we asked him, but he did it, and he did a great job. We felt his joy and his fire to share the gospel grow. I'll send a few pictures.

So this weekend we had stake conference. It was amazing. I wish I could have recorded some of the talks to send to you. Elder Ringwood, Area Presidency, and Elder Otahara, newly called to be an area president, were in attendance and spoke. President and Sister Budge also came and spoke. Elder Ringwood gave a phenomenal talk on the priesthood. What is the priesthood? Explained simply, the priesthood is a gift from God meant to bring blessings to families. Elder Ringwood spoke of priesthood keys in the church, one of the reasons we need the church. We absolutely need the church to perform absolutely essential ordinances that require priesthood keys. He also spoke of how the priesthood functions fully in the home without priesthood keys. There is no need for keys to gather the family for prayer or to have a gospel discussion known as family home evening. The father and mother in a home should work equally and together with that. The priesthood should be the strongest in the home. At the end of his talk he had Sister Budge stand next to him and he asked her a question. It was a very powerful question. She had spoken on love at home and said that she loved her husband, President Budge. President Budge had also said in his talk that he loved Sister Budge. Elder Ringwood asked her, “Do your children know that their father loves their mother? How?” The question can be asked oppositely as well, “Do your children know that their mother loves their father? How?” It was very powerful. We all need to understand what the priesthood is.

After that Sunday Session of stake conference Elder Ringwood held a devotional for the young men/women and single adults. That was great as well. He urged and urged everyone to keep the commandments, for in that is safety and peace, just as the hymn (#303) says.

During the Sunday Session there was also a 17 year-old speaker. He and his family are from Utah, but they've lived in Japan for a while. He's 17, but he recently received a mission call to serve in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. It's amazing to see 17 year old young men, preparing and prepared to serve full-time missions. Younger sisters are also entering the field. The work is hastening.

I saw Watabe Sensei yesterday. He said he saw you a little while ago on Maui and that Bishop Brantley was moving so the bishopric would be reorganized soon. I guess that's probably happening right now.

This morning Elder Hill and I got up 4:30 am and went over to Kawasaki, one of the areas in our zone. Both of the Kawasaki Elders’ birthdays are coming up, so we got to their apartment at 6:45 am, while they were doing their morning workout, and made breakfast for them. My zone leaders a few transfers ago did that for me when my birthday was coming up. It was a lot of fun.

Today we also had zone p-day. We gathered at a park as a zone and played a bunch of sports. It was a lot of fun.

The work is great. The church is true. God lives. I hope you all have a great week! You're the best!

I love you!!!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. Thank you for the pictures of Grandpa. I'm so glad to see him at church.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 80 - April 22, 2013
The work's great. I have a great companion in a great area. We've been super busy lately as zone leaders trying to go on exchange with every elder in the zone.

We had a Three-Zone Conference (about 65 missionaries) this past Tuesday where Elder Hill and I trained on teaching simply. We made visual aids for each missionary and taught how to use them, went over how to begin lessons, and how to plan lessons effectively. The other two zone leader companionship's trained on following up daily and testifying powerfully and inviting boldly. The objective of the conference was 'becoming master teachers.'

On Saturday, an area in the zone, Kamiooka, had a baptismal service for two of their investigators. Elder  Coakley from the Big Island is training a new missionary there. The service was great. One of the investigators being baptized is about 20 years old. He used to play basketball with the missionaries twice a week, and eventually heard the lessons. The other investigator baptized is the mother  of a recently returned missionary (Elder Takahashi) who served in Hawaii. He served in Waiehu for a little while and knows the Nitta Family. He returned in March and was able to baptize his mom. The spirit was super strong. This is the gospel. Friend baptizing friend. Son baptizing mom.

Elder Hill and I were able to take one of our investigators who will be baptized this next Saturday, to the baptismal service. Today he passed his interview so we had him try on white clothes and started getting the program ready. He's a really, really  shy guy, so we helped him write his testimony down so he could share it at his service. It's very simple and says basically, I met the missionaries about two months ago. I wanted to know what kind of place church was. I learned the path to happiness through sacrament meeting and the missionary lessons. I felt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is important. I felt calm when I came to church. And I was able to repent. I feel I receive faith through reading The Book of Mormon. I feel like I can go to heaven. I look forward to the future with all of you. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

The time's going by quickly. Always remember what's truly important. I love you. Take care.

Elder Rindlisbacher

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Week 79 - April 15, 2013

It's been a great week. I've worked extremely hard and felt more lost in the work than ever before. Elder Hill and I went on three companionship exchanges this past week. I was able to work with an Elder Beazer from Cedar City, UT, Elder Medeiros from Wahiawa, HI, as well as Elder Hoopes from Los Angeles, CA. Each exchange was composed mostly of finding time, and we saw great miracles with each. Elder Beazer and I spent time around a college and found three new investigators, all college students. We also had a lesson with a new English class student resulting in a very strong PI (potential investigator.) She just needs to wait for her work schedule to come out so she can set another lesson appointment. With Elder Medeiros we found two new investigators, both college students, as well as two other PI's. There's a Naval Base in Elder Hoopes' area, maybe you remember me writing about the George Washington aircraft carrier a
while ago. Anyway, that area's in Yokohama Zone. While on exchange there I tried to focus a lot more on the Japanese people over the American people, as they haven't had many Japanese investigators lately and their branch (They have an English ward and a Japanese branch) seems to be struggling. We were able to find two new Japanese investigators, as well as another PI. One of the investigators found in Yokosuka is a 15 year-old high school boy, very interested in and
prepared to hear the gospel. He was sitting on a bench when we walked up to him and started talking with him. Probably just about a minute after talking with him he asked, in Japanese, "If it's okay with you, will you meet with me?" We don't have too many people asking us if we
can meet with them, it's usually the other way around with us asking them to meet with us. Of course we were more than happy to set a time to show him the church and have a lesson. We gave him a pamphlet to read before they'll meet with him again. He talked with us about how
he really likes the teachings of Jesus Christ and wants to learn more. He is very prepared.

So overall through the exchanges this past week we were able to find eight new people willing to hear lessons - a good week of finding. More than fish for the missionaries, however, I'd like to teach them to fish, so we'll see how things go from here. Hopefully they each catch the vision and are able to see more miracles.

President Budge and one of the Assistants, Elder Hamada, came out here and trained the youth of the stake on the paradigm shift. Following that we had a meeting with President, the stake presidency, all of the bishops in the stake, and all of the ward mission leaders in the stake. We have so many good people to learn from. We were at the church yesterday from 9:30 am to about 8:00 pm, with General Conference and a bunch of meetings.

It's looking like the zone will see two baptisms this next Saturday, then we have a baptism coming up next week Saturday here in Kanagawa. We have good investigators. We'll also begin teaching a friend of one of the members this next Sunday. She emailed us yesterday saying that
she would be bringing a friend to church and that she'd like us to teach him a lesson. We're really excited for that.

Conference was really great. We were just able to see it broadcast here this past weekend. We have the laptops, so we could have watched it earlier if we had the time and wanted to, but everyone usually waits for the broadcast. I especially loved the Priesthood Session and the Sunday Morning Session. Elder L. Tom Perry and President Monson's talks on obedience really reinforced what we've been trying to help the zone with this transfer. Elder Nelson spoke a lot about the same things he talked with us about in our conference with him. During the beginning of the Sunday Afternoon Session, the languages got mixed up and the English came out in Korean and the Japanese changed to Chinese then Spanish. It was pretty interesting. We'll need to watch Elder Holland and Elder Oaks talks online because we didn't understand any of the Korean!

Tomorrow we have a three-zone conference where there will be probably about 70 missionaries. Elder Hill and I will be training on teaching simply, especially on how to prepare for lessons, how to begin lessons, and how to use visual aids. We've been on exchange pretty much every day this past week so we haven't had much time as companions. We'll need to take some time today to prepare for that.

Elder Hill said his father tried to call dad last night, so I'm sure you'll be able to get in contact with the Hill family sometime soon! It's a small world!

I'm glad Keanu was accepted to KSM! He'll have a great time.

Anyway, I love you all so much and am so grateful for you. I encourage you each to do as Elder Nelson said and catch the wave! There is no need to wait. There is no need to wait until you have more knowledge, a stronger testimony, or are more worthy. Catch the wave now! Have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week 78 - April 8, 2013

Aloha Family!
I am enjoying being busy as zone leader! I love always having a lot of work to do. Elder Hill and I are working very hard and are extremely excited to see many souls brought unto Christ in Yokohama zone. We're super,super busy working to manage, mentor, and motivate our zone. We have 11 companion exchanges (24 hours each) planned for the next few weeks so Elder Hill and I will be working with each missionary to help each of them to catch the vision. I'm so grateful for all of the opportunities I have to serve and love as a zone leader.

Elder Hill and myself in Kanagawa are doing well. We have a good amount of investigators with four of them progressing and three with baptismal dates. One of them is very solid and the other two have a lot of interest but are a little difficult to meet with. We have good goals and plans for this week, and are excited to see more growth and success. The ward was very welcoming yesterday and it's looking like we'll be able to see more success from them in the near future. There's a bunch of people in the ward who are friends with Watanabe sensei.

The zone is all doing well. It's looking like we'll be able to see a few more people come unto Christ in the next few weeks. We've been doing a lot of planning for the zone and will be focusing a lot on obedience this transfer. The more obedient you are the more blessed you are. It's very exciting thinking of the possibilities and potential of this zone. We will be holding a zone meeting tomorrow morning and are excited to get the zone all together.

Anyway, a little about the area, etc: Yokoham zone is the smallest zone in the mission area-wise, and the most south in the mission. It's basically the southwestern side of Tokyo Bay. Here in Kanagawa we actually live with the stake president. He and his family built a new home with an apartment for the missionaries. They and the missionaries moved here about two months ago. The apartment in Hibarigaoka was very nice, but this one may even be better. I'll try to get pictures out to you within the next few weeks. There's less space, however, because there are four missionaries living here. The Kohoku Elders, over in the area just to the west of us, live here with us. An Elder Medeiros transferred into Kohoku this transfer and is from Wahiawa. He's cousins with the Medeiros boy that married Cissy Kaaa. He's been on his mission about a year and has actually lost almost 100 lbs. so far (~95 right now!) He started his mission at 320 lbs. and his goal is to get to 200 lbs. by the end. He's very good with tracking what he eats, and he'll probably be able to lose a lot more here as Yokohama zone is all up and down with big hills everywhere.

If you'd like, check the lds newsroom site thing for a video report on Elder Nelson's visit to Japan. There are a few clips of our conference together and you can see me for a second in the choir.

I love you all!! And as always, am so grateful for your love and support. Take care and have a great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Hey Dad!
My companion is Elder Hill. Apparently you grew up just five houses down from his grandparents, Nathan and Marilyn Hill, on the same street and was in their ward! His dad's name is Dan Hill. He knew you but you were older than him. He was good friends with Matthew, his sister Valerie was friends with Kathleen, and his brother Ben was best friends with Norman. What a small world!!!

Elder Rindlisbacher

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week 77 - April 2, 2013 

That's too bad about the vandalism in the church, especially in the chapel. How was the ward? It might seem cliché or overused, but lately I've thought a lot about, "What would Jesus do?" In that situation as well, I'm sure it would help a lot to honestly think about that question. I think it's most definitely a lot more sad for those who decided to do it. Like the scripture says, wickedness never was happiness.

On a similar note, I've also been thinking lately about Moses 1:39, a very well-known scripture in the church, "For behold, this is my work and my glory  to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." This is God's purpose. He is completely unselfish. His entire purpose is all about us. So how can we ever hope to become like God if that is not our purpose as well? "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." (Psalms 82:6.) We are the literal children of God, and have the potential, just as earthly children can become like their parents, to become like God  which is joy. 2 Nephi 2:25, another oft-quoted scripture reads, "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." Taking a look at the footnotes under joy, we see, Joy; Man, Potential to Become like Heavenly Father. Joy is our ability to become like Heavenly Father! To do that, our purpose in all we do should be the same as His. When the purpose of all we do is the happiness and eternal life of our family and our friends, along with everyone else in the world, we can truly be joyous! I've probably sent this before, but our mission scripture is Doctrine and Covenants 128:22, "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause?" Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad." It's very fitting of the mission culture President Budge is developing here.

Anyway, I'm so happy to hear that Papa attended sacrament meeting on Sunday! I always put his name on the prayer roll in the temple when we go every six weeks.

We had a great week in Hibarigaoka. It was my last there, as I've transferred and am in another area. I transferred from Hibarigaoka to an area called Kanagawa in Yokohama Stake. My companion is Elder Hill from just outside of Detroit, Michigan and we're the zone leaders for this zone. There are 17 missionaries in the zone, including three sister missionaries, and a senior couple. I just arrived here yesterday evening but we've been very busy working to get this transfer off well. Elder Hill and I were in the MTC at the same time for about 6 weeks, and he came to Japan just after me.

This past Sunday I was able to perform the confirmation of Erina Adachi, who was was baptized the Sunday before. I sent a picture last week. It was an amazing experience and opportunity. I wrote all I could remember from the blessing in my journal. She's 17, and will be a great new member!

My time in Hibarigaoka was so blessed. I felt so much love as I said goodbye's to ward members. A member of the bishopric gave me a DVD of pictures he made of the time I was there, and Erina-chan who was just baptized made a nice photo album that she gave me. So much great memories, so much learning and growth, and many, many miracles seen.

I'm really excited for the future and my time here in Kanagawa. It could be my last area if I stay for five transfers (7.5 months.) We'll have to see.

I love you!! Have a great week!!

Elder Rindlisbacher