Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Couple from France



The French Couple
Yano Shimai visiting the temple!


Heading to Zone Conferences















Hey!

So first off I apologize for not sending a weekly email last week! Usually I write each week but last week got a little busy and to honest I was just tired so I ended up just sending pictures instead. But I'll try to not do that again haha. Anyways, these past few weeks have been great like usual! Over the course of these 2 weeks we had our MLC which was then followed by four combined Zone conferences that took place around the mission. Our first one was in Fukuoka, then Hiroshima, then Kumamoto, and finally the island of Okinawa! My companion and I trained on hope and how we can help our investigators come to church. While president and sister Egan focused on faith and charity. Even though roughly the same thing was taught at each Zone Conference I always learned something new. It is a such a blessing to be able to travel around, meet different missionaries and learn from them.

Earlier this week as we finished up the last couple Zone conferences we also were able to go on companion exchanges with some of the newer Zone leaders! I first went with elder Kimura who is a Zone Leader in Kagoshima and he was a ton of fun to dendo with! He is from Hawaii and
we saw lots of cool miracles, I will share one small one real quick. We had just returned from Kumamoto from conference and only had about an hour and half to proselyte. So we hit the streets quickly and tried to find someone that was willing to listen to our message. Our hour
and half was almost up and we had had some good contacts but nothing that was sticking. So we try to contact this one last guy as we were crossing the road. We talked with him for a while and in the middle of our contact this older white couple approaches us and then backs away
about 5 feet and stares at us as we continue talking to this guy. In my head I was thinking they might be anti-Mormons trying to argue with us. After we finish the contact I go over and greet them quickly and I began to realize they weren't who I thought they were. They were a
mormon couple from France who were in Japan on a business trip staying at a nearby hotel. The man said he felt like he was going to see missionaries today but with the day almost to an end and not meeting missionaries yet he said he felt prompted to go for a walk. The minute
they step out of their hotel they see us down the road talking to the young man we were talking to. They start to make there way towards us and that is how we met.

After we talked with them for a second I asked if they had plans to visit the temple as they were here. They said they didn't know a temple was here in Fukuoka. So I told them there sure was and we are going there right now to return home! We told them it was only about a 15 minute walk and we'd love to take them there. So we ended up walking together and brought them back to the temple. When we arrived they met the other missionaries and this gentleman began to tell us about his conversion to church when he was an 18 year old boy. He had grown up atheist and had a strong disbelief in God, and as the missionaries came to him he tried to disprove their church as well as the Book of Mormon. They gave him a copy to study and as he poured over it looking for faults he began to read it and his heart began to soften as he developed a testimony of the truthfulness of the book. He went on to continue his study and was eventually baptized. He then left on a mission, returned home and for the next 50 years served faithfully in a variety of callings in the church, was married in temple, and had 8 children, many of which served missions. Throughout his testimony and conversion story he kept pointing at a picture I have that hangs on my desk that says, "Forget yourself and go to
work", by President Hinckley. He told us that was the key to being successful in this work. He and his wife left us after a prayer we held together but some words he said as we were walking to the temple continued to stick in my head. He said he knew he was going to meet  missionaries today, but whether it was for his benefit or mine, he looked at me and grinned, and said, "I guess we will find out." After he left I thought about it more and I feel like it was definitely for our benefit. All of us in the office were touched by his powerful testimony and presence. It gave me an extra boost to work hard and remember that there are always people out there ready to act and receive the gospel in their life no matter how "unprepared" they may
seem. It may sound like a small miracle but it was just another testimony builder that when we go out and are striving to follow the the spirit, Heavenly Father is always guiding us to people or guiding them to us.

After that companion exchange we went down to Okinawa, had our Conference there and then the very next day it was another companion exchange! This time with the Nagasaki Zone leaders and I was able to go with Elder Campbell. Which in order to give you an idea of what he is like. He pretty much looks like captain America but even bigger and more handsome. Needless to say he was an amazing missionary and we had a great time as we hit the streets of Fukuoka. His faith and his boldness as he testified to others really helped me realize just how
much power we have as representatives of Jesus Christ. I learned a lot from him and was really thankful for the chance to dendo with him. I would share a cool miracle I had with him but I am kind of running out of time and the earlier miracle took more space than I thought it would. If you would like to know more specifically about all the cool miracles I have seen I will let you read my journal when I get home haha, they are all written in there.

There was honestly so much that happened these past couple weeks and I feel like I'm skipping so much with only writing such a short amount but if I wrote all my experiences it would most likely take all day haha. I'm loving serving here in Fukuoka and I feel so blessed to be here and have all the wonderful opportunities to grow each and every day. I hope you all have a great day and enjoy going back to work and school!

Love,

Elder Sherrill

Nagasaki Zone Leaders

Nice American dinner with the Zone Leaders


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

21!

New Watch for the Birthday Boy! 
Saying Goodbye to Elder Strickland

Hello friends and family!

The transfer has come to an end and another has begun! To start off the week I had my birthday! Which was honestly a really fun day! My birthday fell on a Tuesday which just happened to be transfer call day for the whole mission so I got to talk to half of the mission to give them transfer calls so that was fun. A few elders and sisters had some cool surprises for me and I will send some videos later showing what they were. Then to finish it all off we went to the airport to pick up the new 8 missionaries coming into our mission! Overall it was a really good day and one I won't soon forget. It's hard to believe I am 21 though, when people ask how old I am on the street I feel like I should still respond with 18 or something haha.

The following day on Wednesday we had our orientation for the new missionaries and they are all so amazing! I was a little bit nervous with some of our best elders and sisters going home this transfer but after seeing the new missionaries and all the dendo fire they had I was put back at ease. That night we had the trainers training meeting where we trained all the new called trainers for the new missionaries. After the training they all got to meet their trainers and it was such a cool spiritual experience. Every trainer just seemed perfect for each of their new missionaries. It reminds me of when I got my first companion elder Harrell and looking back on it I can see just how perfect he was for me to start my mission off. I'm so thankful for all the things he taught me and showed me. My mission president always relates the story of how great of an influence his trainer had to him on his mission but I always tease him and tell him my trainer was better haha.

The next day on Thursday the whole mission was in action! All the missionaries that received transfer calls went to their new area whether it was by bus, boat, train, or plane! While everyone was coming in and out of the main train station my companion and I were busy driving return missionaries back and forth from the airport or train station and to the mission home. Most of the day we were driving but it was fun to get to see so many missionaries! That night luckily we had no issues with transfers and by about 9pm all the zones in the mission reported all the missionaries got to their areas safe and sound. Which is a huge relief because there is usually always at least one or two problems that arise that end up putting a little more stress on Kaicho and us. But it all worked out like it always does :)

The next day we see the returning missionaries off at the airport and I had to say goodbye to some really good mission friends. There were about 5 or 6 elders that I had either been companions with or had served with for a while on the mission so it was definitely a lot harder to say goodbye to them. While it is hard to see them off, I am grateful because I am coming back from the airport and not staying there to catch a flight. It's always an interesting experience because it helps you realize just how fast the mission goes and gives you some extra motivation to work hard until the end.

I have learned so much thus far on my mission from all my companions, different leaders, Kaicho and shimai especially, and simply just living in Japan trying to share the gospel. It has been so amazing and I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. My love and understanding for the gospel has deepened. My desire to become a better person and be more of a disciple of Christ has increased. Being a missionary is the best and there is no experience that can compare to it. I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store these next few months! I love you all, thank you again for the birthday wishes!

Love,

シェリル長老



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Transfer Prep!

So I lied, I said in my last weeks email that this week would be an
even better email but it's not panning out to be that way haha. This
week was pretty much an extension of all that we were doing this last
week. In order to prepare for transfers we spent lots of time building
and making all the travel plans. Then after finishing that there was
lots of other documents we had to prepare to make sure everything runs
smoothly. Elder Sorensen is learning really fast and I'm way impressed
with how fast he is picking it all up! He is already a great companion
and we are going to work really well together.

The rest of the week when we weren't doing travel plans and other prep
work we moved another apartment! I don't have any pictures of it but
the elders in chikushino, an area next to Fukuoka moved to a new
apartment next to their old one. So we loaded up the van and went to
help them out. It was a good time and we got it all done relatively
fast so we could get back to work in hopes that we had some time to
dendo after finishing all our office work.

Needless to say it was a very busy week but I am having a great time!
I love all the people I get to work with and this next week with all
the new missionaries coming in and old ones returning home will be a
lot of fun for sure. I'm excited for the next transfer to get under
way so we can get back out and find some more people ready to hear the
gospel in Fukuoka. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Sherrill

Another Week in the Best Two Years!



Another week has come and gone! It's crazy how quickly I am back to
writing emails each week. I feel like I'm writing one every other day.
With that being said I'm sorry if I repeat stuff or start to get kind
of boring haha. This past week was amazing and we have officially
welcomed a new member into the honbu crew! Transfers are in about 2
weeks but in order to train the new mission assistant my new companion
Elder Sorensen will be receiving training up until Elder Strickland
goes back out into the mission field this next transfer. I am way
pumped to work with Elder Sorensen, he is coming from being the
Yamaguchi Zone Leader and has tons of faith and dendo fire! He has an
upbeat personality and I can already tell me and him will get along
really well.

So far this past week has been mainly preparing for transfers which
means we got to participate in the transfer process one more time. It
is easily one of my favorite responsibilities we get here in the
mission home. Each time we sit in President Egan's office and discuss
and pray over the names the spirit is always there and deepens my
testimony of who really guides this work. With that being said, after
about 3 solid days of going at it we have completed all the transfers
for this upcoming transfer and this next week we will be building all
the travel plans for everyone going to their new areas. We have 10 new
missionaries coming in and about 18 of them leaving. So in about 2
weeks we will get to welcome in the new ones and say goodbye to the
returning ones. It is always such a fun and interesting experience.

Since I wrote a longer email the past week and due to me running out
of time this will be about it for today. I'm sorry it's so short! Next
week will be a lot better.. probably haha. Today we don't have to much
planned for P-Day, lots of errands to run but we will still make it
fun somehow! I'm grateful for all the support each of you give me. We
are continuing to see miracles here every single day in Fukuoka and I
feel so blessed to be here. I love this mission! I hope you all have a
great week!

Love,

Elder Sherrill

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Crazy weather and even crazier miracles in Fukuoka!







Hello everyone! This past week some of you may have heard about the
weather going on in the Fukuoka area and to be honest it really hasn't
been all that bad. There were some areas that experienced some
flooding but as far as the city of Fukuoka itself, there was just tons
of rain and lots of thunder and lightning! Earlier in the week I woke
up in the middle of the night to lots of lighting and thunder around
us, there was seriously lighting coming down about once every few
seconds! Since I really enjoy listening to thunder and seeing the
lightning I got up and watched it for a few minutes before falling
back asleep. The next couple days it pretty much rained all day long
which made for some great dendo!

We had two companionship exchanges his past week, one of Tuesday and
the other on Thursday. The first one was with Elder Norman, one of the
Fukuoka Zone Leaders and the other was with Elder Bates, one of the
Hiroshima Zone Leaders. They are both actually my doki (which means we
were in the MTC together and came to Japan at the same time). So going
on exchanges with them was a blast! Elder Norman gave a really good
training this past week on our desire to baptize and I have never left
a meeting so pumped to go out and work hard! So huge props to him for
getting everyone fired up.

My comp exchange with Elder Bates was really good and we saw tons of
miracles. We had about 8 hours to dendo so we hit the streets of
Fukuoka and got to it! In our planning we prayed specifically to find
a young high school kid who we could have a lesson on the spot with
and guess who find not even 15 minutes into our dendo?? You betcha,
our young high school kid! We were on our bikes crossing the middle of
a road on the cross walk and as we were coming up on this kid who was
in the middle of the cross walk I felt prompted to stop him. I had
never before stopped someone in the middle of the crosswalk who is
going the opposite direction of me for a variety of reasons but since
I felt the need to we did and I'm so thankful we did! We walked with
him for a few minutes then stopped off under an awning and had a 20
minute lesson on prayer and set up an appointment for this next week.
The rest of our day went well and we set another 4 appointments, so
needless to say it was a great day!

As Elder Strickland and I came back together for the end of the week
we continued to see some more miracles. Just last night as we were out
proselyting we prayed to find another young high school kid to have a
lesson with on the spot. We were in this park we always go to to find
people. Elder Strickland and I kind of split up (only about 10 feet
from each other) to talk to some people sitting on some benches. We
both met some cool kids who were about 20 years old and made an
appointment with both of them! After we finished that we came back
together and started walking around the park. With only about 45
minutes left to go we were hoping we would find our young higshcool
kid we had been praying to find. Sure enough in the next couple
minutes we stop a 17 year old kid, talk to him about prayer and
Heavenly Father and he was really interested! So we asked if we could
walk to the nearby park and teach him how to pray and he said yes! So
we did just that and about 20 minutes later we had another lesson on
the spot with the person we were hoping we could find.

Heavenly Father really does listen to our prayers and as we do all we
can to work hard he rewards us with our righteous desires. I'm so
thankful for all the wonderful experiences I am having serving here in
Fukuoka. It has been such a blast seeing how many people the Lord has
prepared us to meet and teach. I hope we can continue to have the
faith to find and to baptize because that's exactly what we are going
to do! Tonight we have another lesson with Kyousuke who is scheduled
for the end of this month to be baptized. Then tomorrow we have
Tashima our other investigator who is coming to church who we will be
resetting his date for the end of the month too. We hope that they can
both make it, but I'm sure whatever happens it will all be within the
Lord's timing.

Well I'm sorry this email got really long pretty fast haha, and this
is seriously only a fraction of what happened this week. There are
always to many cool experiences and miracles to fit in one small
email. But anyways, I'm loving serving here in Fukuoka and I can't
express my gratitude enough for my loving Heavenly Father that
continues to help strengthen me and mold me into the person He wants
me to become. I hope you all have a great week and enjoyed some
fireworks for this past 4th of July! Love you all!

Love,

Elder Sherrill

Fun on P-Day




Monday, July 3, 2017

July?!

View from outside the Apartment 
On their way to Okinawa

What another amazing week! It's getting warmer here in Japan and the

rainy season has definitely hit because all it does is rain here haha.
This past week was pretty busy but not as busy as the previous one. We
finished up the last two Zone conferences in Kumamoto and in Okinawa.
Needless to say they were a blast and meeting all the missionaries and
reuniting with some old mission friends was a great time. It's
incredible to me how for each of these training meetings we plan to
teach the same thing but every time there is always new things that we
say or that are talked about. Even though they are the same training,
they end up being very different depending on the needs and where the
spirit takes it during the meeting. I continue to be impressed by
President and Sister Egan's ability to teach and follow the spirit as
they train. It makes it pretty difficult when you have to train right
after them haha. Everything they say is exactly what I need to hear
all the time. There are many blessings from serving in the mission
home but I feel like my most cherished one is being so close with them
and learning from them daily. They give us so much advice and counsel
on how to be good leaders, future parents, show love to others, and
most importantly how to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. In all
that they do they exemplify the Christlike attributes and serve with
complete willingness to follow the will of Heavenly Father. It's such
a blessing we have to work with them.

Throughout this past week we spent most of our time traveling but on
Wednesday we got a full day of dendo and it was the best! We had
companion exchanges and I went with Elder Woolston who is a Zone
Leader down in Kagoshima and we saw tons of miracles. We had about 8
hours straight to proselyte so we hit the streets and went as hard as
we could. We ran into lots of cool people and ended up getting six
return appointments and talked to over 200 people! By the end of the
day we were pretty 疲れた but it was worth it. I'm grateful for the days
we have to go out and just work. Sometimes we get stuck in the office
and have to do different things to prepare for trainings or what have
you but when we do get the time to dendo you just appreciate it so
much more. We will see how the appointments play out next week though!

Today for P-Day we are planning on going to the Kyushu National Museum
in Dazaifu and visiting a shrine or two as we are there. I am pretty
excited to go do something fun because sometimes our pday are just
spent running errands and other little things. So it will be nice to
relax and have a good time with the other elders in the apartment.
With that being said we are planning on leaving pretty soon so my
email will get cut a little short. Also, I'm still working on taking
pictures.. this past week we didn't really take any. It's like I
forget everyday until I'm sitting here and then I realize I haven't
taken any. One day I'll get there haha. とにかく, thank you all for your
love and support! Also, how is it July already!? Time is ah flyin by!
Better make the most of it, hope you all have a great week :)

Love,

Elder Sherrill

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Among the Best Missionaries in the World 🌏







Hello friends and family!

This last week was incredible. So much happened and I learned so much
that I feel like throwing it into a small email won't do it any
justice, but I'm going to try. This past week was probably the busiest
week I have had in the mission home since I've gotten here. We had 3
trainings in 4 days as well as companion exchanges, organizing all of
next weeks travel for zone conferences, and the list just goes on and
on. On Monday night after sitting down with Kaicho and having our
weekly report with him, we went through some of the things we needed
to prepare and our list seemed almost endless, and to make it even
more difficult, we needed to finish it all within the next two days!
On top of having a training to prepare and going on exchanges so I
wouldn't be with Elder Strickland (my companion) for most of the time.
Needless to say after the meeting we both looked at each other and
laughed because we knew we had our work cut out for us. But, just like
it has in the past and just like it always will, "it will all work
out". That is one of our mission president's favorite quotes that sits
in his office by the late President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley.

After the week began we started off with our MLC, which is probably
the training I get the most nervous for. But it ended up going really
well and all the needs the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders
brought to the meeting were all going to be answered by the training
Kaicho and us had prepared! During the meeting as more and more
missionaries talked about some of the struggles they had in their
individual zones Kaicho kept turning to us and smiling because he knew
that what we had prepared was going to address all their needs. Which
was just another testimony that Heavenly Father does lead and guide
this work. Elder Strickland and I were actually planning on training
something completely different but couldn't get confirmation on
teaching it so we went back and back and eventually ended up changing
our training. I'm thankful Heavenly Father helped us realize what was
best for His missionaries to hear at this time.

After the MLC we had companion exchanges and I got to go out and dendo
with Elder Jensen! He is a Zone Leader from Naha, Okinawa and one of
the most humble and faithful missionaries I've ever met! Before we
went out to proselyte we looked at each other and said, "we are going
to see miracles today, let's figure out where the Lord needs us to
be". And then boom just like that, after a spiritual planning session
we go out and the third person we contact is an 18 year old kid who
loves religion and has been studying it in school. We talk with him
for about 15 minutes on the street and then show him the "because of
Him" video. Afterwards, we felt impressed to invite him to tour our
church since we were probably only a minutes walk away. He accepted so
we gave him a tour of the church, showed him the baptismal font, and
had a little lesson with him on the spot and set up an appointment for
this Sunday! Way cool miracle.

As I kind of explained in last weeks email, this past week and the
upcoming week are having Zone conference as a mission. So this week we
got to stay here in Fukuoka for the first one which was comprised of
Fukuoka and the Nagasaki Zones. Then the next day we went up to
Hiroshima for the next Zone Conference which was comprised of the
Hiroshima and Yamaguchi Zones. It was so nice to be back in Hiroshima
again! I missed it so much and as soon as we stepped off the train I
was pumped to be back. The trainings went really well and all the
people that prepared did a wonderful job. One of my favorite things
was just the opportunity to meet with all the different missionaries
we have. We have so many with different backgrounds, family
situations, and are from different countries, but we are all united by
our desire to serve and help the amazing people in Japan. Hearing of
their comments and testimonies really strengthened my own testimony of
being a missionary and the difference we can make. President Egan
isn't wrong when he says we really are among the best missionaries in
the world. This next week we get to meet with the other half of the
mission as we go to Kagoshima and Okinawa for the remainder of the
trainings and as you can imagine I am pretty excited for it.

Being a missionary is a huge blessing and probably one I won't fully
appreciate until I'm not one anymore. However, I've still got time and
there is lots of work to be done! So, I'm excited to go out and see
the success Heavenly Father wants to bless us with. To end I'd like to
just share a quick quote I heard this week that really stuck with me
about being diligent. I don't know who said it, or who it was quoted
from but it was amazing. It was, "Pray as if everything depends on the
Lord, then work as if everything depends on you." Heavenly Father
wants to bless us but most of the time it is predicated upon our own
willingness to go out and put the effort and faith in. I love you all,
thanks for always reading these emails and supporting me!

Love,

Elder Sherrill