Friday, October 13, 2017

He Lives


Hello everyone! It is hard to believe my time as a missionary here in Japan has come to an end. It doesn’t feel real that I will be leaving to come home so soon. These past two years have been filled with so many amazing experiences. Ones that I will never forget. I have come to love not only the country of Japan, but also the Japanese people. They are among some of the most Christlike people I have ever met in my life. Having had the opportunity to serve amongst them for so long has been a huge blessing. I am overcome with gratitude for my Heavenly Father for calling me here to do so. I don’t think I can appropriately fit all my feelings and thoughts into a mere email so I will try and keep this rather short.

Throughout the course of my mission I’m so thankful to have drawn so much closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ. Going on a mission really is the best of both worlds. Not only do you get to spread and teach others about the gospel, but in the process of doing so your own conviction of the the truthfulness of the message builds. Each day we are privileged with much study time of the scriptures and through that I have felt so much guidance and comfort, especially through reading the Book of Mormon. I never would have believed that I would come to love reading it so much. A little over 3 and half years ago when I was first introduced to the Book of Mormon, my interest level to be honest, wasn’t there. Little did I know how much power that book really does hold. As I began to read, it started to make more and more sense. It seemed to finally have some relation to me. On my mission as I have focused on not only reading, but studying from it daily I have seen a huge difference. Now I know it is a true book translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God. It is not simply one aspect or part of my testimony, but rather the keystone of it. I love the Book of Mormon. 

Jesus Christ is the the center of the message I have been privileged to share with the people of Japan these last two years. The message is that He lives. He loves us. He loves your family. He loves you individually. He wants to ease your burdens. I love the verses in Matthew where it says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30) The message of the gospel is so simple and yet so profound. A lot of people I have taught think they don’t need the gospel in their life. They claim to not be interested. I can sympathize with them as I was the same way, however if I may be blunt, I believe they simply just don’t understand it. One of the hardest things about being a 
missionary was the amount of people who misunderstood us and our message. They thought we were trying to force something on them. They saw “religion” or “Jesus Christ” and immediately shut off. Our purpose is to introduce a message that has helped us and we know can help them. I really do believe if anyone took the time to sincerely learn about the restored gospel, they would become interested in it. They would feel of the love their Father in Heaven had for them. They would feel the power of the Book of Mormon as they read it intently. Then their preconceived notions of Jesus Christ or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons) would change. God will make make it known unto you if you but put forth the effort to know for yourself.

I am so grateful for all the wonderful examples I have had on my mission. From each of my companions, members, and others that I’ve been able to come into contact with. I knew coming on a mission would help me in some ways but I had no idea how much of a change it would have on me. My testimony has increased, my desires are more righteous, I understand my weaknesses more (and I’ve found a lot more than I thought I had haha) to name just a few. Ultimately though I have come to a firm resolve that He lives. Jesus the Christ lives. Because of Him I can overcome my weaknesses, repent of my sins, and find lasting joy. As I have been a missionary in Japan and looking back on all the things I have learned, this knowledge about my Savior, Jesus Christ is what I treasure most. I hope I will continue to learn of Him as I return home. I know if anyone truly seeks to follow Him or will but take the effort to learn about Him they will experience that same “mighty change of heart”. That is my message I would like to leave with you as I close with my last email as a missionary of the Lord, Jesus Christ. I know He lives. 



Saturday, October 7, 2017

General Conference

The Fukuoka Tower

New Assistant who will take Elder Sherrill's place

Out to eat!

New office staff

What happens when it's raining and you don't have an umbrella 

I’m so excited for General Conference! In Japan we watch it a week later than everyone else but we will watch it at the normal times it is broadcasted so our pday will mainly consist of watching conference with President and Sister Egan in their home, I can’t wait! General Conference is a biannual event that is a meeting with all members of the church worldwide. All members gather whether it be in Salt Lake City where it is held or their local chapel where it is broadcasted. Lots of members watch it from their home as well. It is comprised of many different talks given by Apostles and the Prophet. It is a time for us as members of His church to learn and to rejuvenate our testimonies of Him. I’ll be sure to add some of my favorites talks into next weeks email!

This week starts the beginning of the transfer process! I’m not sure how but it has come again already! It always seems to come by so fast, this time will be a little bit different though because we get to do it with one more person. His name is Elder Kawabata and he has been called this past week to come fill my position. We will get to be in a three-some companionship and I get to train him these last couple weeks! He is an amazing Elder with so much Christ like love and patience. Also, guess what?? He is Japanese! I’m finally getting a Japanese companion! Just in time right? ;) haha I won’t be able to use him as much as I’d like (plus he is fluent in English) but I’m excited to work with him. Elder Sorensen and him will do a great job.

With the new elder in the mission home we started the transfer board once again and with quite a task. We had to find lots and lots of new positions to fill, with not very many experienced missionaries to put there. Our mission is incredibly young so there is lots who will be getting lots of responsibility early on but the Lord prepares missionaries and always makes them equal to the task if they seek His help and guidance. It is always a special experience to participate in transfers and I’m so thankful I was able to do it one more time.

This next week will be lots of office week preparing all the travel as well as training my replacement but it will fun as always! The mission home is always a party and I love the elders I get to work with. I’m hoping I’ll be able to steal one of the Fukuoka elders during the week to sneak some dendo time in while Elder Kawabata goes to work on the computer. There are always so many opportunities to find, especially here in Fukuoka! So hopefully I’ll have some cool miracles to report for next week as well :) sorry this isn’t very long, our day is kind of all over the place with Conference and having to run some errands. I love you all and will talk to you next week! 

Elder Sherrill 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Missionary Life

Wow! What a busy and full week! This past week there was so much stuffed into it I could probably talk for hours and only touch on a small part of what really happened. We started the week off with two apartment moves back to back. Whenever there are missionaries that leave an area or the area closes the mission home has to pack up, travel out there and take it all down and move it out. It’s definitely a fun opportunity and we love the chance to do some service since we don’t come by it very often. The first move was pretty close to home, about 5 minutes by car to be exact haha. We have a new office couple moving in and with our old couple leaving we had to take all their stuff out and put it into their new apartment. The second move we did the next day was a little farther. It took place in a place called Miyakonojo, in the Miyazaki prefecture. Which is about a 4 hour drive south of us near the bottom of the island of Kyushu. So needless to say, we packed up our vans, woke up early and hit the road! It was a fun experience getting to go down there, have a little road trip and get to do some service. We took lots of picture and it was a great time. Japan is such a beautiful country and getting to experience it as we drove across it for so long is something I’ll never forget.

After both of the moves were over it was time for all that dendo I was telling you guys about last week! The first full day of dendo was the following day on Wednesday when Elder Miranda (Kagoshima Zone Leader) and I went out and hit the streets of Fukuoka. It was a great day of dendo and I have never dendo’ed with such a meek and humble person. Even though he was more soft spoken and quieter than other elders, the power he conveyed when testifying of the simple truths of the gospel was amazing. It really showed me the more you live and are an example of the things you teach, the more powerfully you can teach it and convey your message. He was an amazing teacher and was able to connect so well with the people on the street, I learned so much from him.

The next full day of dendo we had was on Friday and this time with the Hiroshima Zone Leaders! I went with Elder McColm, who is actually an elder I went on my first companion exchange as a Zone Leader in Okinawa last year in November! So it was cool to see how much he had improved since then and it was good to dendo together and catch up. We saw tons of miracles and met some of the most interesting people I have met on my mission. To begin the day off we run into this big black Hawaiian guy (there’s not many in Japan haha) and we had an awesome contact with him! He claimed to be spiritual rather than religious but we shared lots of our thoughts and feelings on different topics and he shared his. He was super nice and really respected all that we were doing to “spread the love”. He was a pretty funny guy who kept cracking jokes, shaking our hands, and giving us hugs haha. It was a cool little miracle to begin the day off with.

That was pretty much the first person we talked to and for the next 9 hours all we did was straight dendo. With the exception of lunch and study’s which took 2 hours in the afternoon, we went hard and talked to as many people as we could while also still trying to find people to teach on the spot. Elder McColm said he had never broken 100 contacts in a day so I told him we were gonna go well above it haha. So we set goals and plans to talk to over 100 people, get lots of return appointments, hand out Book of Mormons, and teach people on the spot to make them become a new investigator. At our lunch time we evaluated our specific goals we had set that morning, reset higher goals to achieve more and went out and just kept talking to people. We were meeting so many cool people that were prepared to hear us by the time dinner came neither of us were hungry, we just wanted to keep talking to people, so we skipped dinner and kept it going! Later that night after we were feeling hungry for skipping dinner haha we decided to stop and grab a quick bite to eat at McDonald’s around 8. We knew we only had a little bit of time left and there was an apartment we had planned to go to and we knew we still needed to go to it. So we scarf some food down and get there about 20 minutes later. I’m so glad we did too because after knocking on about 30 doors and 20 of the people rejecting us immediately the second to last door we knock on is this mom named Megumi who we were able to teach prayer too, talk with her for half an hour, said a prayer with her and set an appointment to come meet again. After her we booked it home, made it home a “little” late (but it’s okay because we taught a lesson lol). We sit down exhausted from the ride and the day, I pull out my clicker I had in my pocket and it reads, 140. I show Elder McColm and he just smiles and laughs haha.

My favorite days of dendo are when I can look back and really see that the spirit guided us throughout the whole day. We needed to be in specific places at the right time to meet all kinds of different people. In order to meet the man who approached us at the train station, the woman we prayed with at night outside her apartment, the college students outside the mall we gave the Book of Mormon too, the French couple on their lunch break, the man who had a homestay in Utah when he was in middle school, the group of firefighters on there way to study, the spiritual Hawaiian guy on his way to work, the list just goes on and on. There are so many prepared people waiting to hear the message of the gospel and we really can find them! That is why the spirit is so important in planning and having it to be your constant companion to guide and lead to those that are ready. I strongly feel it’s not only as a missionary we are led and guided to these prepared people. Even as normal members who don’t proselyte every day, there are many people the Lord puts our path for us to talk to and to share the gospel with! As I learned earlier from Elder Miranda, it’s not always what you say, but how you act and treat them that will show them what you really believe in. I learned a lot from some amazing elders this past week and for that I am grateful. We have the best missionaries in the world here in the Japan Fukuoka Mission and that is reconfirmed to me every time I work with them. I love this chance to be a missionary, to declare unto others that Christ does indeed live. That we have a living God who loves us and cares for us. What an amazing message I am so privileged to have the opportunity to share. I hope we all continue to look for opportunities to share that with those around us. I love you all!

Elder Sherrill

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trip to Okinawa!

Hey everyone! This past week we went down to Okinawa and it was a
blast! I decided to attach the photos to my main email as well instead
of sending multiple emails. I forgot to send some pictures from the
previous week but this is us at the temple with Yano shimai! It was so
awesome! The plane ride down and some pictures from the conference and the exchange we went on later that day! It was a good time!

As far as my week goes it was busy like usual! We had companion
exchanges with the Fukuoka Zone Leaders in the beginning of the week
and I went out with one of the missions most hardworking elders, Elder
Walbeck! Nothing beats going out and just hitting the streets all day
long and talking to people. Especially here in Fukuoka where the
people are everywhere, I love it! After our exchange we went down to
Okinawa, had our Zone Conference and then stayed the night to go on
exchange the next day with the Zone Leaders down there. It was way fun
and since it was my previous area I took Elder Ishizu to a bunch of my
old investigators homes and visited them so he could pick them up
again and begin teaching them. On top of that I was able to meet lots
of members I used to know so it was a ton of fun. I got a little burnt
from the sun (since I'm inside often haha) but it always feels nice to
get outside, sweat and put some work in!

After the exchange we came back up to Fukuoka and sure enough after
another day I'm writing another email again haha. The weeks are
definitely going by a little too fast. I'm loving every last minute of
it though and I'm excited for this next week because there will be
almost no office work and just straight dendo as we go on two
companion exchanges with the Hiroshima and Kumamoto Zone Leaders.
There will be lots of pictures and miracles to follow in next weeks
email so be on the look out! I hope you all have a great week. Love

Elder Sherrill

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Trainings and the Temple

Ruka's Baptism 09/09/17

What a busy busy week! To start it all off we had our Mission Leadership Council on Tuesday and that went really well! The training that Elder Sorensen and I had prepared really fit in well with our mission president talking about setting goals. We talked about the different Key Indicators missionaries focus on and how we can break those down into smaller goals such as contacts, return appointments, Book of Mormons, etc. Then with the smaller goals we strive to achieve as much as we can by re-evaluating our goals and continue to set goals that push and stretch us. 

President Egan has taught me many things on my mission but probably one of the most important things he has continued to stress the importance of is to set goals and make specific plans to achieve them. Not even just in missionary work but in every aspect of my life whether it be in regards to the gospel, work, school, family, and really anything. That is one thing that I'm really grateful to have learned because even though I felt like I had always worked hard before for certain things I desired, making goals and plans help you achieve much more than you thought you could. It's like making a budget for your money. You either say, "okay this month I will try to buy less stuff and spend less money". You may try hard the whole month and end up saving some money but if you have the goal to save money, set specific plans (in this case a specific budget plan) then you will have something more concrete to follow and hold you accountable. Then in the end you end up saving more money. 

In a book called "Preach My Gospel" that we as missionaries use to help become better teachers and more spiritually mature it has a section that talks about goals as well. In that section I really love a quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that says, “I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.” Learning to set goals and make specific plans is just one of the many things I have come to understand the importance of as a missionary. Hopefully I'll continue to implement that throughout my life haha.

Anyways, thats what we mainly taught on at MLC and then the next 3 days in a row we had 3 separate Zone Conferences. The first one was in Kumamoto, then Fukuoka, and lastly Hiroshima. Needless to say it was pretty busy and fun! All the trainings were a great time and I learned a lot from all the other missionaries. We will be having our last Zone Conference down in Okinawa this next week but we are hoping we will be able to make it down there with the upcoming typhoon. Nobody in our mission is going to church this week since the typhoon is supposed to hit us right on Sunday morning. We will see what ends up happening though. 

This morning we had the opportunity to go to the temple with that recent convert I mentioned in my last weeks email. Going with her was such an amazing experience! After we had the endowment session we had a sealing session in which I acted as proxy for her son so she could have her son sealed to her as well. The blessings of the temple are unlike anything else. Having the knowledge that you can be with your family together forever even after this life is the hope that this message contains. It was a very tender and special experience that I felt blessed to be apart of. It really strengthened my faith that we really can go out and find people that are prepared to hear and fully accept the gospel in their lives. It was just about a year and 4 months ago that my companion and I knocked on her door in Hiroshima. She was shortly thereafter baptized and thanks to the wonderful members in Kure that continued to love her and help her she was able to come to the temple and be sealed to her husband and son who had passed away when she was younger. It truly was a miracle that I was so happy to be able to play a small part in. 

Anyways, that was my week! It was fun and this next week I'm sure will be great as well. :) I'll talk to you all then! Love ya!

Elder Sherrill 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Stress and Success

Elder Strickland (left) on his last day!

Elder Sherrill's Desk

Hello Everyone! So first off I would like to apologize for not sending a general email last week. Week 5 of the transfer in the mission home is mainly just making travel plans and organizing everything to get ready for transfers. So my email probably would have been boring anyways haha. But anyways, this last week was way good! Tons of stress, probably more than I have very felt on my mission before but is definitely helping me learn some important life principles.

We have started another transfer! It's hard to believe that we have already gone six weeks from the previous set of transfers. I feel like I talk about the same thing in my emails ever week because they just come around so often haha. Anyways, at the beginning of the week we started to finish up the travel plans for all the transfers which ended up not actually being all to difficult. The biggest challenge we faced was with the trainers and their new missionaries. There were 19 new missionaries and 19 new trainers that had to be called to train them. The challenge was getting them up to the mission home a day early while realizing that they all had companions that needed a companion for the day. Then on top of that a few of the trainers were from the islands so we had to transfer other missionaries even earlier in the week to make sure everyone had a companion at all times. I don't think I've had a chance to be so organized in my life. It took us hours upon hours of getting very detailed travel plans with arrangements for every missionary in the mission to have a companion at all times. With all those plans in place it ended up making quite a few transfer a day before the normal transfer day (Wednesday).

Throughout the transfer week probably the most hectic day would have to be Wednesday. The night previous we had just gone and picked up all the new missionaries and that is always a ton of fun. We had 19 way solid elders and sisters come into the mission. On Wednesday we begin with new missionary orientation along with setting plans for them to have new missionary dendo out on the streets of Fukuoka. So that's another 19 people we need to find and plan to have in Fukuoka that day to help us out with them. After the orientation and during the time the new missionaries are proselyting we are scrambling around to make sure the church is prepared to our Trainers Training Meeting where we gather and train the trainers. It probably doesn't sound to difficult but with so much going on it's easy to slip up and make a mistake and we did, and that's where the stress comes in haha. 

There were quite a few mistakes but I would say probably one of the best ones is when we started our trainers training meeting. During that meeting the new missionaries meet their trainer for the first time and they get this cool little paper that has their name on it and who their trainer will be. During interviews with new missionaries earlier that day Kaicho felt a flip flop need to be made with some trainers and their new missionaries so we got two new papers and stuck em in the van. With all that was going on I totally forgot about it until the training had begun and I see Kaicho mouth to me, "where are the new papers??" He probably laughed a little inside when he saw my eyes go wide and I mouth back, "one second" and slip out of the meeting to go to the van. So we get to the van and the papers are gone. My fears are confirmed and there's no way to get a new paper unless we went back to the mission home to print off new ones, which we unfortunately couldn't do because we obviously needed to be in the meeting giving our training. So we figured it out, had a couple other elders run back print it off for us and it all ended up working out. That's just one small example of another little mistake that happens here and there and causes stress. 

I had more stress this last week than I had ever before experienced on my mission, with little and big things going wrong here and there. One thing I have been trying to learn is how to deal with my stress positively and calmly. A great example at that is my mission president, president Egan. But I assume he has a pretty good tolerance for stress because he has to work with two knucklehead assistants all the time that make lots of mistakes haha. No matter what happens he always stays very calm and positive. I really learned a lot about that this week and since I was feeling so much stress had a lot of opportunities to try it out! Haha. But it all ended up working out in the end like it always does. I continue to be amazed with how many opportunities you have to learn things on your mission that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Whenever I am going through a trial or experiencing a difficulty it seems a lot easier to recognize and understand it is for my benefit to become better and improve. Understanding that not only makes me more positive when facing hardships and stress but it helps me remember that these missions (and our lives) are just preparing us to become more perfect as we have been commanded to be. 

The title of this email is stress which I feel like I have talked a great deal about but I also want to talk about the success! First off being that we survived transfer week and everyone made it back to their areas safely and there were no major problems. The main success points I found out through the week though are two main things. The first one is today we are going to a baptismal service and I will have the privilege of performing the baptism! The sisters in a nearby area have a 13 year old investigator they have been working with and asked me this last week if I would be willing to perform it for their investigator Ruka Chan. So I'm super excited for that today! There will be pictures to come this next week. The next point of success I saw or I guess heard was I got a call earlier this week from a recent convert of mine. It was Sister Yano, the sister we taught and baptized in Kure over a year ago. She called me and told me she was going through the temple to receive her endowments next Saturday and invited me to go along and act as a proxy for her son! I was thrilled! Then after the session we are going to do a sealing session as well and I will again act as proxy for her son as she is sealed to her family. It will be an amazing opportunity.

But that about wraps it up for this week! It's kind of long but I had to make up for last week haha. I love you all! I know this work is true and I know the Savior Jesus Christ lives. He is always there to help us in our times of need if we turn to Him. I will talk to you next week, take care! 


Elder Sherrill 

Saturday, September 2, 2017


(elder) Lundberg came to visit the mission! He was my first district
leader in the mission.

The new office staff! We have a new office couple and a new office elder!

Comp Unity

Some kids from Yamaguchi came to visit the temple and mission home!

This is what happens to Elder Sherrill when his brain is fried. He
goes and sleeps on the couch.