|Fun on P-Day|
Sunday, July 9, 2017
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
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!
Monday, July 3, 2017
|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 :)
Saturday, June 24, 2017
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!
This was quite the week! It was filled with lots to do but it went
really well. The beginning of the week we were just double checking
all the travel plans and ended up calling most of the mission to make
sure everyone had the correct plans for their travel. It's was kind of
hectic but being busy is always fun!
With transfers here we got to welcome in 3 brand new missionaries as
well as send 10 of our best elders back home. It is an awesome
opportunity to get to meet and be around so many other missionaries.
As a part of the process of missionaries returning home they go to the
temple one last time and we have the chance to participate and go with
them. Being able to go to the temple this last week was absolutely
amazing and something I'm really thankful for. As I was there I was
able to receive lots of peace and comfort, but most of all I was able
to feel of the love Heavenly Father has for me. Going to the temple is
such a blessing and I'm so thankful to be so close to one all the
Today in the early morning before we began emailing we met with
Kyousuke to teach him a lesson and it went really good. We are trying
to keep the focus as much as we can on the Book of Mormon and Joseph
Smith. Slowly but surely he is coming to believe more and more and we
think he will definitely get baptized it is just a matter of time. For
our p-day today we are planning on doing a little shopping and I think
I might get a new suit! I saw a pretty cheap one I liked last week but
I held off on getting it to see if I really wanted it, well, I still
want it so we are going today to get it! Haha, plus I kind sort of
justify it since my old blue suit is getting pretty worn out so I need
a new one for trainings, church, and so forth. I'll be sure to show
you all next week! It's pretty comfy too and feels almost like pajamas
when you are wearing it.
This next week we will have our Mission Leadership Conference up here
in Fukuoka as well as begin our zone conference training! We will get
to tour the mission and go to the various areas, meet with other
missionaries and have training together. I am super stoked for it but
also a little nervous as you could imagine haha. That's about it for
today though, I'll be sure to let you know how the first couple Zone
conferences and MLC go next week. Love you all, take care!
So far I have been here for over a transfer! It's crazy to think how much time has passed already. This past week has been extremely busy. We have been in the office most of the time making travel plans and figuring everything out for this upcoming transfer. I've learned more about Japanese travel than I ever thought I would haha. It has been pretty fun though, I'm enjoying all that I learn each day. Plus being around the wonderful office couple the Hazelbarth's and the other elders is always a good time. Being so busy is sometimes difficult but I am grateful because it helps me focus on working hard till the end and not thinking about other stuff that may be going on.
This next week is what I am really excited for though. With it being transfers we will get to call all the missionaries and let them know where they will be for the next transfer. That's always a cool experience. Then after that we will get to pick up all the new missionaries (there is only three coming in) which is a super small group but that's okay. Then we have 10 elders who will be returning home from their mission so that will be fun to talk and be with them. It's always crazy to see the stark difference in the new missionaries and those that are returning. You can just tell how much more mature spiritually they are. However, the new missionaries always come with lots of fire and determination to work hard so that is always helpful to see.
Other than that though, there wasn't much that happened this last week to be honest. Travel plans take up most of our time and you can only write so much about that haha. However, at the beginning of each transfer we have the chance to write a little news article that goes out to the mission with some other mission info we receive each transfer. As we were thinking of what to talk about we thought about Faith. Since my email is rather short, I will just attach the article we wrote below.
June FM Mini News: Assistant’s Article
"Throughout the scriptures, we read of prophets, apostles, and missionaries who have seemingly impossible challenges in their lives: David facing Goliath, Moses leading his people to the Red Sea, Nephi building a ship, Enoch preaching repentance to his people, Ammon and his brethren doing missionary work among a wild and ferocious people, Helaman and his 2,000 young men facing an innumerable number of men, Abinidai threatened with death by fire, 14 year-old Joseph Smith restoring the fullness of the gospel, and many more.
In the face of these seemingly insurmountable challenges in front of them, all of them approached them with full faith in the Lord. While most of them were able to conquer with the help of the Lord, Abinidai still suffered death by fire. Aaron and some who worked with him still suffered severe persecution and saw no success in their first couple areas. Joseph was still overcome with the power of the adversary in the beginning. And despite all this, they remained unwaverd in their faith because they knew in whom they had trusted.
When we face these kinds of challenges in our missions, do we meet them with fear of failure, or faith to succeed? Oftentimes, as many of us have experienced, we feel as though we had the faith to accomplish high goals that we set and are disappointed with not seeing the outcome we thought we should have. In these times, like those in the scriptures, we have a choice to become discouraged and believe that we are not good enough or that God simply isn’t answering our prayers and let our faith dwindle. Or, we can continue to put our faith in the Lord and do our best to improve because we know that God can only work miracles through our faith.
With that being said what does the Lord expect of us? To have faith in Him and His power to do miracles for us and our investigators. That is our part. We don’t get to choose the outcome of our work or the decisions our investigators make, but every single day, we can choose to have full faith in Him to work miracles for us.
The same God who helped David beat Goliath, parted the Red Sea for Moses, showed Nephi how to build a ship, gave Ammon strength to defend the king’s flocks and baptize thousands, strengthened 2,000 young men to beat an innumerable army, and appeared unto Joseph Smith in the Spring of 1820 is the same God who helps and guides us every day. He is the one who we pray to for strength and inspiration for our investigators countless times every day. We would like to invite you to deepen your faith in that same God to work miracles for you because after all, “is anything too hard for the Lord?”
So there's that! I'm sorry I don't have a whole lot to write from this week. We are about to head to a baptism the other Fukuoka elders have and both our investigators Kyousuke and Tashima are coming! It should be a pretty awesome experience and help prepare both of them for their upcoming baptism. Working here in Japan is such a huge blessing. There's nothing better than it! I hope you all have a great week and remember to trust in the living God who knows you each personally!
|Elder Norman and Elder Sherrill|
I'm always so surprised in the fact that so much can happen in a
single week but as soon as I sit to write down what happened, it all
goes out the window and I'm left thinking, "what happened this week
again?" This is probably what it will feel like when you get old haha.
But anyways, it was another great week! I haven't had a shortage of
those recently. There is always so much to do here and so many people
to teach and talk to that there really is never a dull moment in
Fukuoka. There are always new things coming up, trainings to prepare,
people to talk to, and before you know it we are preparing for
transfers again! I feel like I just arrived here a week ago and yet we
have already begun preparing for this next transfer. It's crazy how
fast time goes.
This past week we took a few days with President Egan in his office
and discussed, prayed, pondered, and prayed again about where the Lord
needs His missionaries for this next transfer. I'm not sure how much I
explained about it last time but seeing this process is one of the
most spiritual experiences I have been blessed to be apart of. Seeing
how close President Egan is to the spirit and how much I can tell that
it really isn't him making the decisions, but rather Heavenly Father
working through him is incredible to witness. I wish each missionary
could see and be apart of it just so they can understand that when
they are in a specific area with a specific companion it really is for
reason. Heavenly Father has prepared so many people in Japan and when
we are put in areas there are so many people I feel like only we have
been sent there to effect. Whether that be your companion, members,
investigators, or the people that live there. It really is such an
amazing experience I'm grateful I can be apart of. It deepens my
testimony knowing that God does indeed live and He does direct this
With the next transfer underway and the decisions made on who will be
going where, this is our time to get to work! For the next week or so
we will be making travel plans and preparing all kinds of documents
that will be needed for this upcoming transfer. It usually takes a
solid week of straight office work and especially with this transfer
we think it may take a little longer. However, I am excited to get to
work and now that I have somewhat more of an idea of what's going on I
feel a little more useful than I did last transfer haha. With all that
office work that is being done we will still have the opportunity to
teach lessons because obviously teaching lessons will take precedence
over the office work. Thankfully we were blessed to find many new
investigators these past few weeks at the beginning of the transfer
that we have a solid pool of investigators to teach as we go
throughout these next couple weeks.
Two of our strongest investigators are probably Kyousuke and Tashima.
I can't remember how much I have talked about them, but they both have
a baptismal date for this month on the 24th! Kyousuke was found just
last month on the 10th and Tashima was found on the 18th. They both
have made lots of progress and we think they will both definitely get
baptized. We may have to push Kyousuke's date back a couple weeks
since he can only meet once a week but tomorrow will be his 3rd time
at church so he is doing really well. We also have a lesson with him
tonight and he has been understanding the Book of Mormon a lot and
having some spiritual experiences so we aren't to worried about him.
Tashima on the other hand can meet all the time so we think he will
actually make his date on the 24th! The only reason we might have to
push it back a week though is just to make sure he is prepared and
fully understands it all. His desire to be baptized and learn is all
there though. He will be coming to church tomorrow for the first time
so we are really excited for him to get exposed to some member and
make some friends at church. In our last lesson this week he said he
tried to bring his girlfriend and her parents! He isn't even a member
yet and already trying to refer people for us to teach! He said his
girlfriend had interest though so we are planning on teaching her this
next week too.
Overall, my week was really good and I'm excited for the weeks to
continue because I know they will just keep getting better and better!
Being a missionary is unlike anything else, it is such a huge
privilege and a blessing to be here, I love it! Till next week! 👋
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
|Elder Van Alfen back for a Visit!|
|Elder Mizukawa has joined the Office Elders|
|Shrine on the way to the City|
Another amazing week here in Fukuoka! This week was pretty similar to
last week in a lot of different aspects. We went on companion
exchanges with the Zone leaders from Kumamoto and Yamaguchi and it was
way fun. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures but this week Elder
Strickland and I are going to repent and take more. The Zone leaders
we have in the mission are seriously some of the best missionaries in
the church. They are all so dedicated and great at what they do, I
learn so much from them each time I go out with them.
This week we met with a man I met on companion exchanges the previous
week. We met him on Monday and he was just super kinjin! He loved the
message and said that he wanted to meet every day if possible. So we
met Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night. We set a baptismal
date for next month on the 24th and we will see how it goes! His name
is Tamashi and is just a way prepared and humble man. I'll make sure
to get a picture to show you all next week.
On companion exchanges I had lots of interesting experiences and could
tell we were definitely guided in all that we did and the places we
went. When I was with elder metekingi, a Kumamoto Zone Leader from New
Zealand, we went to a convenience store for our studies because they
have this little lounge area. When we walked in we saw this really
cool looking high school kid that looked at us and lit up. We didn't
say anything but he kept looking back at us so eventually we called
him over and talked with him for a little while. Then a couple minutes
later his girlfriend came (he was 17 and she 16) so she sat down and
joined and we taught them a whole 45 minute lesson on the spot! They
were pretty interested and we set a time to meet again on Monday night
so I'll let you know how it goes!
Our other investigator Kyousuke is doing well too, we are meeting with
him tonight as well as a couple other first time potential
investigators. The work is really moving along here in Fukuoka and for
that I'm grateful. This next week we will begin preparation for the
upcoming transfer, I can't believe how quick the time is going! We
will begin preparing for transfers again, making travel plans and have
lots of office work to do, but hopefully we will still be able to get
out and find each day! But regardless, there will always be times for
lessons to be taught so I'm grateful we have so many set up this next
week. Sorry this email might be kind of all over the place, I'm trying
to write it quick haha. I love you all! I hope everyone is enjoying
the beginning of their summer!
|View from Train Station|