Friday, December 25, 2015

I'm in Japan!

Christmas party at the Saijo Branch

Elder Sherrill, President Egan and Sister Egan

Hiroshima Zone

Elder Sherrill and his trainer Elder Harrell 

Merry Christmas everyone! 

I have made it to Japan! It is so amazing here! So first off the mission president changed my p-day to today (Friday, Christmas) so that is why it has been so long since I have been able to email haha sorry about that. My next P-day will be Friday too because that is New Years here and it is a pretty big holiday for Japan. But then after that it will go back to being Monday so thats just a little heads up.

Anyways! I am in Japan! I can hardly believe it! There has been so much that has happened since my last P-day. I don't have much time to email but I will try and fit it all in and talk about as much of it as I can. So, our last few days in the MTC were crazy busy. We were all saying bye to our teachers which was actually a lot harder than I thought it would have been. We all grew so class as a District together and it was definitely hard to leave all of them. We took some fun pictures together though and those will follow shortly haha. Our last night in the MTC we said goodbye to everyone and then woke up really early to get on buses to go up to SLC to catch our flight. As we go up to SLC it starts to snow! It was snowing pretty good and when we got to the airport all the elders had to unload the bags and we were in the middle of a snowstorm so after we finished (it took about 30 minutes) all of our heads were white because the snow stuck to it and we were all drenched from either the snow or sweat, one of the two haha.

After all that we head to LA on our flight and it still didn't seem real being away from the MTC. But, it got real pretty fast after we arrived in LA and got on our plane to Tokyo. We get on the plane and people start speaking Japanese to us and there were tons of Japanese people and I was surprised to see a bunch of Nihonjin then I kind of think to myself no duh there are lots of them on the plane, I am going to Japan afterall haha. So that is when it felt pretty real for me. After we get to Tokyo it was just crazy because all these new missionaries are in one of the biggest airports in the world and we can't even read to figure out where to go. Luckily, there is some lady who can kind of speak english and she helped us to where we should go. We then get on our flight to Fukuoka and finally get to see our mission president! We were all excited to see them. After we meet them at the airport we head back to the mission home and kind of meet all the staff and get to know each other. Then we all go to bed because the very next day we were told we were going to get to do some missionary work!

That next day we take pictures in front of the Temple and then we go out around the streets of Fukuoka and have to opportunity to dendo for the first time! It was pretty terrifying but also way awesome! We talked to quite a few people and even handed out a Book of Mormon! After that we go back to the mission home and have interviews and it was so nice to be able to get to know my mission president a little better. His name is President Egan and he is amazing, he is a very determined and motivated mission president. I know our mission will be very successful as he helps us. His wife Sister Egan is so nice and just made us all feel loved the second we got off the plane. I am really excited to be serving with them for the next two years. 

After interviews we all finally got to figure out where we are going!!!! I was almost more nervous for this part than when I opened my mission call haha. We all gathered in his office and he went one by one and told us the area where we would serve and who our trainer would be. When it finally came around to me I got called to serve in Saijo! I had never heard of it before but I was just so ready to go and to see everything it had to offer. It is up near Hiroshima and just about a 40 minute bus ride from it. After that I got to see who my trainer would be and his name is Elder Harrell! I was so excited to just get to my area and see my trainer and get to know my area. We all headed to bed because the next day some of us where getting on flights and I was getting on a bus for 4 hours to go up to Hiroshima to meet my trainer.

After I meet my trainer we get to know each other and he is a way cool guy. He is really focused and I can tell one of the hardest workers in the mission. President Egan told me he is one of the hardest working missionaries he has so I knew I would get a great trainer. So we get on a train to Saijo and arrive at our apartment. Before I unpack or anything we go straight into planning and then go out that night to dendo! That first day was pretty rough, it finally kind of hit me that I am going to be in Japan for the next two years and I don't know Japanese and it is pretty cold up here (in Saijo) and there are going to be a lot of people that won't accept our message. Finally, after I settled in for a second though I really got excited to go out and dendo and now I really love it! Especially at night because that is when people are actually home. There are a lot of people that don't want anything to do with our message but we have found about 4 people this week and made return appointments with them! It is always so exciting finding someone who is interested and we get a chance to talk to them a little bit.

In the MTC I thought my Japanese wasn't to bad but boy did the Lord humble me when I got to Japan. I feel like I barely even know this language! I have learned a lot this first week but I still feel like I know nothing. During our dendo I usually just introduce us and our message and then my companion takes it from there and sometimes I will pitch in. That is kind of the same for lessons. I just bare my testimony at parts and explain some real simple doctrine but thats about the extent of what I can do right now haha. So fastforward to first day in church I had to introduce my self and bear my testimony and it was pretty scary but I think it didn't go to bad. I seriously love this branch and all the members. I can barely talk with them but I can just feel their love and their sincerity and I am really looking forward to working with them for the next little bit of time we have together. 

There was lot that happened this week but I don't really have anytime to explain much of it. I will try to explain more in next weeks email but I love Japan! It is so awesome here and the people are great. I am excited to be here for the next two years and I am really excited for my Japanese to improve haha. I love this work that I am doing and I am so happy I can serve in this area of the Lord's vineyard. I love you all and wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Love, Elder Sherrill

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Four more days till 日本!

Konnichiwa minasan! So first off, we all got our flight plans last week! Here is what my schedule looks like for Monday morning.

SLC > LAX 8:35 am - 9:36 am.  Delta Airlines Flight #1414
1 hour layover in LAX
LAX > Tokyo 10:50 am (Dec 14th) - 3:45 pm (Dec 15th) Delta Airlines Flight #283
2 hour layover in Tokyo
Tokyo > Fukuoka 5:55 pm - 8:10 pm.  All Nippon Flight #2145

I am so excited to finally go to Japan! I am also terribly nervous though. I feel like I am going to step off the plane and not understand a single word anyone is saying. Even though that will most likely happen I heard the learning curve you have when you first get to the field is crazy. Everyone says you learn so much the first couple transfers so I am excited to see how fast I improve. Also I can't wait to meet my mission president and his wife! In every mission there is a mission home where the mission president and his wife live at. It is usually where a couple office workers are too and is kind of like the "headquarters" for the mission for lack of a better term. Anyways most mission homes are just a building inside the mission boundaries but the Fukuoka mission home is actually beneath the Fukuoka Temple! How cool is that?! I am excited we get to stay there for a couple days when we first get to Japan. That is also when I will find out who my trainer will be and what area I will be serving in!

This week there wasn't to much that happened outside the ordinary. We are finishing up teaching all of our "investigators" and Nozomi San is actually set to get baptized today! It has been a way cool experience
to get to teach our teachers everyday to prepare for when we do it for real in Japan. We had our very last Skype TRC last night and it went amazing! We really connected with the volunteer and talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ. As I was studying for our lesson I was searching for some scriptures that talked about the atonement and I found a couple I really liked and I want to share them with you guys. The first is Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". Then the next is, 
1 Corinthians 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive". I love both of these! The atonement of Jesus Christ is so beautiful and it truly shows how much love our Savior has
for each one of us.

I'm sorry my email isn't very long but is is my last P-day here in the MTC so I have to start packing as much I can to prepare for Monday. I love this opportunity I get to serve the wonderful people of Japan. Thank you again for all the love and support! The next email you all get from me will be from Japan! 愛してます!

Love, Sherrill 長老

Thursday, December 3, 2015

So close to Japan!

Black and White picture of the Provo Temple

New name tag!

The whole zone after a walk to the temple

Provo Temple

Laundry with the zone on P-Day

Christmas Lights at the MTC

Hey everyone! My time here at the MTC is almost over! We get our flight plans tomorrow and our whole district is so excited. We have about 10 days left! So moving on to this week.. Not going to lie, this past week has been pretty rough. There was a lot of ups and downs.

To start off positive though, last week for Thanksgiving we got to hear from an Apostle! Dallin H Oaks came and talked to us. He gave us a little mini history lesson on thanksgiving but the main part I really liked about his visit was his family that did a few special musical numbers for us and they were all so amazing. His daughter, Jenny Oaks Baker performed for us and so did a few of his grandchildren. Later that day we got to participate in the service project I mentioned in last weeks email and it was so much fun! After we had all finished, we had made a total of over 357,000 meals!

On Sunday I was assigned to teach a lesson for our district, the topic was The Book of Mormon. I was a little hesitant on giving the lesson because I'm always so nervous before teaching a lesson especially to a big group. However, right after the lesson starts I end up loving it and always run out of time and wish I had more time to teach haha. I was able to share some personal experiences with the Book of Mormon and I think the lesson went really well. I also shared a short video of Elder Hollands talk titled, "Joseph and Hyrum's testimony of the Book of Mormon". It is such a powerful video that testifies of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I would like to invite all of you to see it!

On Monday we taught Akiho San as usual and the lesson went fantastic! It was only our second lesson with her but as we were trying to commit her to read the Book of Mormon she talked about how she didn't understand the importance of it. I relayed my experience about feeling the same way as a convert when I first heard about the Book of Mormon. I then told her that as I began to read with faith I felt peace and guidance enter my life. I bore testimony to her that the Book of Mormon could help her and shared the scripture Ether 12:6 that she will "receive no witness until after the trial of her faith". I believe my teachings really struck home with her because after I had
finished talking she had agreed to read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon and pray to know whether or not what she was reading was true! I love to teach and see our investigators progress. It was probably the best lesson I have taught so far in the MTC!

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful and much didn't change from our regular schedule of studying. Although on Wednesday night we did have Skype TRC again and this was probably the worst lesson we have
taught so far in the MTC, which was definitely an abrupt switch from Monday. It was pretty rough and definitely didn't go as well as previous TRC lessons. Which was really surprising because we usually always have a positive experience when we teach TRC. We taught our lesson to an older lady who is currently living in Tokyo. Her name was Kyoko San and throughout the lesson I think the reason why we struggled so much was because we didn't build a strong relationship with her in the beginning. That made it hard to let the spirit help and guide us throughout the course of the lesson. Also she spoke really fast and a lot in "old" Japanese so there were quite a few words we didn't quite understand or were slightly changed so that didn't help either haha. Overall though I did feel like I learned a lot from the lesson. In order to properly teach someone you must first build a solid relationship with them and then the spirit can guide you as you teach them.

Last thing I will end with is the importance of relying on Heavenly Father. Throughout this week I have been having a hard time with putting the language together in the correct grammatical format so that it makes sense. Right now I am speaking like caveman Japanese my teachers like to call it because I know all the vocabulary but I just jumble it up in the sentence and use the wrong particles so sometimes it won't make to much sense. Yesterday, Babcock Shimai was coaching me and told me I think about it to hard and wouldn't let the Nihongo just flow through me like I should be doing. She picked up my Japanese Book of Mormon set it on my desk in front of me and told me to testify to her without thinking so much and focusing on the language. Trying as hard as I could I didn't stress about the language and just tried saying all I could say. To my surprise I started using a grammar structure I had never even used before and the Nihongo flowed smoothly as I testified of the Book of Mormon to her for a few minutes.
Afterwards she looked at me with a smirk and said she knew I could do it. Then she told me that I need to have that same confidence and implement that kind of power in my lessons and not worry so much about the language, which is definitely something I need to work on.

Sorry the email came so much later than usual today! I had a pretty busy day but it was amazing. I was able to go to the temple and do an endowment session for a family name for the first time! It was a great experience. I am learning so much here in the MTC and it truly is great to feel the spirit constantly. I love this church and am so
grateful for the many blessings that Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I love you all and hope everyone has a good week!

Sherrill 長老

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

View of the sunset from the MTC the other night

2 of the Japanese alphabets :-0

So, sadly we don't get a P-Day today since it lands on Thanksgiving
day, but we do have a pretty awesome day ahead of us! We will have 3
devotionals today and since it is a holiday there is a good chance one
of the devotionals there will be an Apostle speaking! So we are all
excited for that. During one of the Devotionals the whole MTC is going
to gather together to do a huge service project. We will be preparing
approximately 320,000 meals for needy individuals and families here in
Utah County! It is an awesome opportunity to be apart of such a great
cause that will help out so many people this Thanksgiving.

So onto this week, I actually had a pretty cool experience last P-Day
that I was unable to share in my general email because it happened
later in the day. Morgan Chōrō and I were walking to the bookstore to
grab some stuff and our companions were back at the residence taking a
nap. As we approach the bookstore we see this woman who is in her
young 20's wearing this gold name tag. The gold name tag represents
someone who is playing as a non-member of the church. We are
encouraged to go make conversation with them as if they were to be
just like a random stranger you would come across in the street on
your mission; get to know them and share a message with them to see if
you can help them in any way. As we both pass her we say hello and
look at each other and ask one another if we should go try to teach
her or not. A little nervous we decide we both should go for it. We
walk back towards her but us both being unsure how to begin talking
with her we pass her and don't say anything. We stop up ahead of her
and are quietly talking amongst ourselves to quickly try and think of
a way to initiate a conversation with her. Right as she is about to
pass us again thankfully we think of something to say and ask her if
she could take a picture of us in front of one of the statues outside.
After she takes the picture we ask her where she is from and begin to
get to know her. As we talked with her and began to understand some
things she was struggling with we were both able to share some
personal experiences that I could tell really touched her heart. As we
left her we invited her to pray to God to receive his guidance in her
life and to also receive his help. Even though she was a member of the
church just volunteering and acting like a non-member when we taught
her it felt so real and I know the spirit was guiding what Morgan
Chōrō and I were saying to her. It was such a cool experience to be
able to get to know some random person and evaluate their needs and
bring them a little closer to Christ. I am stoked that I will be doing
this exact same thing in Japan for the next 23 months!

Just this past Sunday guess who got called to give a talk in sacrament
meeting!? Yeah, you got it right, the one and only Elder Sherrill
haha. It is actually kind of funny how it all happened. I can't
remember if I have explained it before how they choose people to give
talks on Sunday but just in case I haven't I will quickly explain the
process. So, on Sunday we have sacrament meeting as normal except
instead of having people pre assigned to give talks the presidency
just tells everyone to prepare a talk. Then shortly after the meeting
begins they will announce the few different people that will have to
give their talks. They do this so that by the time we all get to Nihon
we will have many talks written that we can choose from in case we
ever need to give one as well as it helps us prepare talks and better
learn the language. Anyways, this past Sunday right as they were about
to announce who will be speaking one of the sister missionaries got up
and was beginning to leave the meeting and it just so happened that
right before she left they called her name. She looked back and said
she didn't feel good and had to leave; then she continued and walked
out of the meeting. So the presidency called the other two speakers
out and said they would choose who should be the third speaker since
the Sister who was supposed to speak had left the meeting. Just a few
seconds later I hear President Stevenson say "Sherrill Chōrō". I look
up at the pulpit with a huge smile that was expressing half scared to
death to give a talk in Japanese and half thinking it was a little
comical because I knew out of the group of 30 or so people I knew I
would get picked haha. It was ちょとむずかし (a little difficult) but I was
thankful because I able to gain some experience giving a talk in
Japanese (which I will be doing lots of in Japan haha). Plus it wasn't
nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, I had a lot of fun
delivering my talk and I knew a lot more than I thought I did when I
began to speak. When I bore my testimony at the end I felt so much
more powerful as the words just came to me and I knew what to say, it
was such an amazing feeling.

Last night we had TRC but it was just a tad bit different. Instead of
teaching two different people in person we instead just taught one
person for half an hour but it was over Skype! The person we taught
was a Nihonjin and is currently living in Japan! So, it was a pretty
cool experience to teach a native and see how much we could understand
them, which was surprisingly a lot more than I thought we would be
able to understand haha. Although afterwards all the volunteers kind
of scored our zone and the other zone and they said our Japanese was
at a week 3 level. Which really kind of frustrated us all and made us
a little upset because we thought we have improved so much. Our
teachers reminded us that instead of getting upset at the criticism,
work harder and rise above it and have it motivate you to do better
next week.

I want to close with a scripture, it is 2 Nephi 4:20, "My God hath
been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the
wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great
deep." I feel we can all learn from this scripture so much. We must
always rely on God and Jesus Christ, no matter the trial we are going
through. The second part of the scripture I love even more. During a
devotional this past week they explained to us the story of when the
Apostles see Jesus walking on water and all the Apostles are scared at
first because they do not know who it is, but are soon relieved when
Jesus says "it is I, be not afraid". After this the apostle Peter asks
if he can come on the water as well and Christ bids him to come. After
a short time of walking on water he becomes afraid and begins to sink.
He asks the Lord to save him and immediately Christ extends his hand
and saves him. Our speaker reminded us that Christ will always be
there to extend his hand to help us no matter how deep we have sunk.
He is waiting to help you. I love this Gospel and I know that Christ
lives. His love is real and he is waiting to bless each of our lives.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with
family. Please remember to be thankful for all that we are blessed
with. I love you all!

Sherrill ちょうろう

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Elder Sherrill and Elder Passey posing on the temple grounds.

Family photo albums!

 fresh MTC haircuts

The trio! Passey Choro, Morgan Choro, and Sherrill Choro

             This week has flown by so fast! First I want to start off by talking about the devotional we had Sunday night. Greg  Droubay came to talk to us and he is the man in charge of all the media for the church. So he is responsible for church videos that come out every Christmas and Easter, like the ones many have seen which are He Lives, He has Risen, and Because of Him. So this year the church is again planning on coming out with a new video for Christmas and we got to see it early! He told us that outside of the First Presidency of the Church we were the first group of people to see it! Which was kind of cool to think about haha. Anyways the video is planned to be released on November 29th and it is titled "A Savior is Born". I encourage everyone to see it when it releases and to share it with others. It is such a beautiful video that talks about the Savior and his birth. The Church is also planning on renting out a corner in Times Square New York that will advertise the video all throughout the month of December. As missionaries we will get these cool little pass along cards that share the web address to see the video so we can hand them out to people. I'm so excited I will be in Japan before Christmas that way I can share the video with everyone there!

That next day we had TRC as usual and it was probably our best TRC we have had so far! We taught two lessons as usual and our first lesson went pretty well. It was a set of two return missionaries from the Japan Sendai mission that are both currently going to BYU. We taught them the importance of continually reading the Book of Mormon each day and how that help them and bring forth blessings in their lives. Our next set of volunteers we taught were these two elderly woman who were both Nihonjin! One was currently living in Tokyo and the other was living in Brazil. They had came to the U.S. to go to BYU to study English. They spoke really fast and it was a little difficult to
understand them at times but my companion and I were still able to teach them thankfully. After we talked and got to know each other for a little while we asked if there was any way we could help them and one of the sisters had explained to us that a close friend of hers had stopped going to church and she wanted us to give her suggestions on what she could do to help him come back. As my companion and I gave her some counsel on what she could do we were going over the time limit and so the TRC Coordinator was motioning from outside to finish it up and the lady (her name was Sister Kawaai) noticed him signaling to us and put her finger to her mouth to tell him "shhhh" and then mouthed "I want to hear this" haha so that was pretty funny. Then after we told her what she could could do we asked what his name was and told her we would pray for him and she was so thankful to us and after our lesson told our teachers we really helped her. She said she was impressed with our Japanese too! It was so cool to teach them. It made me even more excited to get to Japan and have an impact on the lives of those we find and teach.

So on to the rest of the week, not much else happened outside of the usual class and studying. Last night however, I did have a cool experience during class. Passey Chōrō and I were doing mogi (role play) and the object was one of us was the missionary and the other one was the investigator. The missionary was supposed to ask if the
investigator read the assigned chapters in the Book of Mormon and then ask if they received any answers from reading. Then the investigator was supposed to say they read but didn't receive answers and then the missionary is supposed to explain how you can receive answers and help them. So as it was my turn to be the missionary I was a little nervous because my companion knows more Nihongo than I do so I was afraid I wouldn't be able to say all that I wanted to say. As we started out it was going good and all and then I couldn't think of a word so I went
to my notes to look it up and my sensei, Norawong kyōdai took my notes and said "dekimasu Sherrill chōrō, dekimasu" (which means you can do it). So I just sat there and took a second to think and thought of a different way to say it and then the mogi went on and I had a new found confidence and was able to continue teaching him and say more than I have ever said before. After the lesson Norawong kyōdai complimented me on my Japanese and said he had never heard me speak that well before.

That experience made me realize a couple of different things. I need to be more confident in my ability to speak the language and not fall back on my notes as a crutch like I usually do. It also taught me that the gift of tongues truly is real and helps missionaries just like myself who are struggling with the language. There should be no way I should be able to understand all the Japanese I already know and can understand. There should be no way that after just over a month I can somewhat effectively teach in Japanese and help others with problems and issues they are facing. The gift of tongues is real. It has helped me so much as I have been here and I know it will continue to help me learn the language and become fluent in Japan. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve and to help other come unto Christ. It is truly a wonderful blessing to be a missionary! Till next week!

Love, Elder Sherrill