Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 100 – September 9, 2013

We've had a great week. It's been eventful and it's hard to remember all that's happened! I guess to begin, it's been great meeting with Jett recently. He's an interesting guy and it's been an adventure teaching him and learning from him. We met with him at a bread shop on Tuesday and talked about the plan of salvation. It was a great meeting, as all of the others have been. He's been having a lot of spiritual experiences. We invited him to be baptized on a specific date and the conversation got pretty intense for about 30 minutes. He drilled us a lot about the priesthood and a little about a few other concerns. It ended really well and we ended up meeting him again the next day, Wednesday. He had a meeting with President Wada and a man from the church offices to talk about the event they're planning. After that meeting we went to the chapel with him and President Wada. We had the sacrament set up and we talked about that for a little and had a discussion on the restoration. Jett was able to really understand things a lot better. Jett's been really calculative with everything he's been doing with us. He, for example, wore an all black suit with a black shirt and big cross pendant the first time he came to church. We, nor any other members didn't think much of it and he told us later that he wore that on purpose to see the reaction. He said we passed. Nobody acted any different to him and everyone welcomed him greatly. So anyway, at this meeting with him on Wednesday he said he meant to be really hard on us the day before to see how we would stand up for our beliefs. He said it was great to see us firm in what we were teaching. That discussion went great.

Then last night we went to dinner at the Martini family's home. Maybe you remember the family I had dinner with last Thanksgiving? Same family. They live in our ward boundaries here in Kichijoji but the father is the bishop of an English ward in Senzokuike, a place about 45 minutes from here. The missionaries of that ward can't visit or have dinner at the Martini's home because they live in different missions as of the mission split. We meet the Martini's often and have a great relationship with them so they had us over for dinner since they can't have the missionaries from their ward over. We had Jett over as well and we all had a wonderful time. Bishop Martini is the President and General Manager of Franklin Covey Japan. To conclude dinner, we shared a message about a new Mormon Message called 'Daily Bread - Patterns'. It's actually from a new series of short videos, watch them when you have time!

Anyway, then we met with Jett this morning again. He had another meeting with President to talk about the event coming up. On October 14 (a national holiday) we're going to have an 'October Cultural Fest' where Jett and a band will put on a concert. Jett will put together a gospel choir to perform, we'll have some missionary performances, and hopefully some other well-known performers and groups from around Japan to entertain. Everyone's getting really excited. So after Jett's meeting with President Wada we all met for a little to discuss Jett's progress with the gospel. Jett's really ready to learn all he can so we'll continue to meet two to three times a week. He always says, "It couldn't have been anyone but these two," when he talks about our first encounter on the street and he wants to get as much out of us before we return home. So he's doing great and we're having a lot of fun with him. We'd love to begin teaching his wife and daughter as well sometime soon.

Other big news from this week would be that Elder Olson and I went out to Yokohama to visit the Nagatomo family. If you remember, the Nagatomo family is the family Elder Olson and I played catch in a park with a little while ago. I sent a few pictures home. So we went to Yokohama to see them and especially to see Kazuma, the little boy (12 years old.) He's had Crone's disease since he was little so he's had a few bouts in the hospital. We went out and visited Kazuma at the hospital and he was about to get outside for the first time in two weeks so we played a little basketball and catch while talking. He's a champion. He's always happy and positive no matter what's going on. After meeting with them at the hospital Kazuma's father took Elder Olson and I to a baseball game there in Yokohama. They originally wanted to go as a family (Kazuma and his parents) with us but Kazuma wasn't well enough to be released from the hospital. Kazuma's father really wanted to take us to a game still though. We went to a Yokohama BayStars vs. Hiroshima Carp game. The Nagatomo's (and Elder Olson) are huge BayStar fans. It was a whole lot of fun and we had a blast. Baseball games in Japan are completely different than those in America. There's a lot more celebrating, yelling, and cheering. There are chants for each player on the team that the fans all yell when each player's at bat. After the game (Yokohama lost 5-1) Nagatomo-san took us to a beautiful lookout in Yokohama that overlooks part of the bay and the city. He said because we don't have permission often to stay out after curfew (by now it was 9:30 pm) he wanted to show us the lookout at night while we had a chance. We went there for a little while and it really did a lot to change the mood from a lot of baseball fun to reflecting more on life. From the baseball game we were planning on taking the train back to Kichijoji but when we got into the car to head to the station Nagatomo-san said he was going to take us to the lookout then we'd get on the toll road and head to Kichijoji. Elder Olson and I said we we'd be more than happy to take the trains home instead of have him drive us, but we weren't took persistent as we knew if he took us home we'd have a lot of time to talk in the car. Anyway, we drove home and had a great conversation. Nagatomo-san was so grateful for all of the love we have for his son and he said that he would welcome us teaching his son about the church. He said he trusts us completely and we can teach him without them there if it needs to be more private, and that his son can do what he wants with what we teach him. Elder Olson's been friends with the Nagatomo's for a while and it's wonderful to see how service prepares people to hear the gospel. When you have time, read Alma 17-18 and see how Ammon's service to King Lamoni softens his heart. They are a wonderful family and we hope to meet with them once more before Elder Olson heads home.

Other things that have happened this week would be mission leadership council on Thursday and teaching seminary on Saturday. We've begun teaching Tyki and Takuto, the Wada boys, seminary each Saturday morning. We'll go through two lessons each time and then they have a class where they go through two more each Sunday. Then they need to finish one on their own. We had a great time with them, they're great boys. Tyki is the one that was in Mikela's weightlifting class over the summer and is 18 and Takuto is 15. Takuto is very much like Keawe in personality and he's very athletic. We're excited for seminary with them each Saturday morning.

So that's our week in a nutshell. It's been great. We've had a great time. The sort of cliche phrase 'best two years of your life' is true, at least in my life until now. I do plan to continue to make my life better and better as time goes on. A better phrase perhaps may be 'best two years for your life.' I love the church and I love the gospel. I hope you all can find opportunities to share the gospel in your daily lives, and that you continue to live it as well. There is a very complete sense of peace and joy that is felt through that. It's just a nice feeling. I love you all so much!! Take care and have a
great week!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. There are a few photos attached. :)

Week 99 – September 3, 2013

I hope everyone's been great. Everything's going great here.

We had the new missionaries come in late Tuesday night. They were supposed to fly into Narita around 2:00 pm but their flight was cancelled and they ended up coming into Haneda around 11:30 pm like they have in the past. They found out their flight was cancelled after getting to the airport in Salt Lake early in the morning so waited until the afternoon flight. We had 10 new missionaries come in, seven elders and three sisters. Three of the elders are Japanese. They're a great group and we had a good time training and being with them until Thursday afternoon. We were able to get outside and talk to people with them and everyone had a good time. The new missionaries are always the best because they're so ready to just work hard. They don't really know how to do things, but they're ready to give all they can. The first time getting them outside for them is always humbling, but very motivating. We have a testimony meeting after and it's always great.

We're continuing to meet with Jett. He's working a lot with President Wada and the church offices to get a big dance/concert type event going at the church here. We're excited. He says he welcomes the day when the spirit prompts him to be baptized, so we're working with him to further understand and seek after confirmation that what we're teaching is true and that he needs to be baptized.

We had a ward natsumatsuri (Summer Festival) on Saturday and had a great turnout. Almost or maybe even more than half of the people in attendance were nonmembers. The members invited and brought many of their friends and the missionaries did a great job of bringing people as well. Elder Olson and I had a bunch of friends come including Jett and his family. We called everyone we could think of and had a lot more people come than we had planned. It was a lot of fun.

Elder Olson and I went with President and Sister Wada to Yamate on Sunday. Yamate is where missionary work began in Japan, on Fast Sunday September 1, 1901. There was a meeting held from 6:30 am to 7:30 am, so we left the mission home at 5:00 am to get there on time. The meeting was great and consisted of reading a portion of Alma O. Taylor (one of the four elders present at the time of the dedicating)'s journal and a testimony meeting. The hymns were arranged the same as the ones sung on that morning in 1901.

This is the journal entry that was read:
"This being fast day we ate no breakfast, but went out into the woods about eleven o'clock to hold a prayer meeting. After about a twenty minute walk from our rooms, we came to a secluded spot in a small grove situated on the south slope of one of the rolling hills lying to the south of Yokohama and about mid-way between the foreign residences on the Bluff and the bay. Sitting down in a circle on the ground, we opened our meeting by singing, "We thank Thee O God for a Prophet." Bro. Grant offered the opening prayer which was followed with another prayer by Bro. Kelsch. Sang, "Now Let Us Rejoice in The Day of Salvation", after which Bro. Ensign continued in prayer and without changing from our kneeling position our supplication was continued, myself being mouth. The principal features of our prayers were expressions of thanksgiving and praise to God; invocations for strength to preform the duties that rested upon us as missionaries in this land; and also that the Spirit of God would rest upon Apostle Grant to the extent that he would be able to offer up an acceptable dedicatory prayer: for the main object of our going into the woods was to dedicate this land unto the Lord for the proclamation of the Gospel. After the four prayers had been offered up, we sang, "Come Come Ye Saints." We again knelt in a circle and Bro. Grant offered up the dedicatory prayer. After this dedicatory prayer had been offered up, we sang, "The Time is Far Spent.""

Following the early morning meeting we had a meeting with the Yamate ward bishopric, ward auxiliaries, and Yokohama Stake President, followed by dendou chousei shuukai (missionary coordination meeting.) Then we attended the meetings there and were priviledged to have a member from Kanagawa ward (my former area and neighbor to Yamate) tour us around the city. We went around to places like where Elder Grant stayed when he was in Japan and where the dedicatory prayer was offered. We're planning a special mission leadership council in October there in Yamate. This week we're busy getting ready for mission leadership council to be held here in Kichijoji on Friday.

Elder Olson returns home in about five weeks so that means I have just 11. It's hard to believe that time's gone by so quickly. This transfer there will be a few days when both Elder Olson and I have been missionaries for two years, but it doesn't feel that long. We're busy and striving to be more productive servants in the Lord's vineyard. We'll continue to give all we can.

Have a great week! I love you!

Elder Rindlisbacher

P.S. Attached is a picture of missionaries in Tokyo in 1902 (Louis A. Kelsch, Horace Ensign, Heber J. Grant, and Alma O. Taylor.)