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

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One Month Down!

Elder Sherrill hosting Elder Winkel

The elders in the zone with new arrivals

       Hello everyone! This week has been good but also pretty stressful especially with the language. The days are really starting to blur together and go by really fast. I feel like before I know it I will be in Japan. So on Sundays we have to prepare talks to give in sacrament meeting because our Presidency doesn't tell us until we are having the meeting who will be talking. That way it helps us prepare talks in Nihongo but it also makes
everyone nervous because nobody knows when it will be the day that they will give a talk. So this Sunday I lucked out and didn't get called haha but my doryo did. He did a really good job and gave a great talk. Then another elder in my zone was called up but he hadn't prepared a talk because he didn't think he would get called.. so he went up there and kind of stammered and tried thinking of words to say but since he hadn't prepared anything he had no idea what to talk about. I felt pretty bad for him because I would have been just as embarrassed as he was. Moral of the story, always be prepared!

    We had TRC again on Monday and it was great! Kind of a funny story too. So my companion and I have the same lesson plan for every person we teach in TRC. It is a paper filled with a few get to know you questions to build our relationship with them and then a few more personal questions like what are you struggling with, what is most important to you, do you feel like anything is missing in your life, etc. Then depending on how they answer those more personal questions we take the lesson in that direction and try to help them the best we can by sharing a short message with them, share a couple scriptures, and invite them to do something. So each week we get 2 new people to teach so our lesson plan works out great every time. Although this week we happened to get the same guy we got last week.. haha. So all of our questions kind of went out the window since we already got to know him and knew a little bit of what he was struggling with. So we ended up just making up a lesson on the spot and seeing if he was doing better with what he was struggling with last week and built the lesson around that. He had brought up some new concerns and we helped address those with some ideas on what he could do that would help him. The lesson was a little hard at first but I feel like we definitely connected with him really well especially having him before so that was way cool.
      We got to hear from Elder Hugo Montoya of the first quorum of the seventy on Tuesday! He was just called to the first quorum of the seventy in the April General Conference earlier this year and I believe he spoke then as well. He delivered a great message and talked about a lot of important things. One thing I really liked that he said was talking about the importance of smiling as a missionary and just as a person in general. He said it conveys love, sympathy, acceptance, comfort, warmth, and the light of Christ. He also shared a scripture that I loved, it is Doctrine and Covenants 16:6, it says, "And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen." I have heard from a few people and my teachers included that the people of Japan are generally a very stressed people and they don't have much happiness in their lives. Which makes me sad but also very excited because I get to go share my smile and the light I have with them and hopefully help them see the joy that they can have in this life and the next.

     My teacher Norawong Kyōdai was talking about his mission in Japan and was expressing his gratitude to us for going there because he is sad he isn't there anymore to help them because he really fell in love with the people. He told us, "You are the hope for Japan". That really put my mission in perspective for me. When I am down or struggling with the language I just need to remember to keep working hard because I need to know this language in order to help the people in Japan. This language is really difficult but I know that it will be so worth it when I am in Japan and able to teach and help so many people. I can't wait until I get there! I am so excited for the rest of my mission and I look forward to learning this crazy but awesome language. I love you all and I hope everyone has a great week!
Love, Elder Sherrill

Thursday, November 5, 2015

おはようございます みなさん

Our last soccer day with our Senpai (taken last P-day)

Our "cop/detective" outfits for Halloween

The lights on Halloween

My doryo and I after the temple walk.

3 weeks down at the MTC! It feels like I have been here for so long. Oh! and I forgot to tell everyone, I joined the choir when I first got here and it has been so fun! Brother Egget, our choir director is so funny and spiritual. Also it is really cool because everyTuesday for our Devotional we get to perform for the General Authority that comes to speak to us. So far this week has been amazing. This past Monday it was sad though because our senpai (Japanese missionaries who have been at the MTC longer than us) had left to go to Japan so we are all really missing them. We got kohai (new Japanese missionaries) yesterday though! We were only able to meet them for a little bit but they all seem pretty cool. They all looked so nervous and scared, I kind of wonder if I looked that scared on my first day or not haha.

So moving onto this week. Last week on Friday we had interviews with our teacher Babcock Shimai. It was a simple interview just to see how we are doing with our stay at the MTC and how the language is coming along. We talked for a little bit just to get to know each other a little better, her still only speaking in Japanese and me saying as much as I can in Japanese. After a little while I started to express my frustration to her that I can't express all that I want to say in the lessons with the investigators because my Japanese isn't very good. After I explained all this to her she asked me to bear my testimony to her. A little confused I asked her "In Nihongo?" She told me yes. Then I told her I just got done saying how I barely know any Japanese how am I supposed to convey my whole testimony in a language I hardly know? She then told me that I know a lot more than I think I know, I just need to have faith and speak from the heart and the words will come. After she said this I just closed my eyes and started to get choked up a little bit and in broken Japanese I bore my testimony to her the best I could and it was one of the most spiritual moments I have had so far in my life. As I bore my testimony to her the words just came to me and I was saying things I honestly couldn't even remember learning. After I finished she was very thankful to me for trying and told me that it had really touched her as well. It was an awesome experience and it really showed me that I do need to put my trust in the Lord more and always speak from the heart because it will help and touch whoever it is that I am teaching.

That next day was Halloween! We didn't do much celebrating here at the MTC but we did eat just a little more candy than usual haha. It was a pretty normal day and we still had class throughout the day. Although later in the day an Elder in my district, Morgan Choro parted his hair right down the middle as to look like Dwight from the Office and so the rest of our district decided to try and do a little something as well. Luckily one of the Shimaitachi in our district had gotten some mustaches from her mom so we put those on and took some pretty funny pictures. I will make sure to send them later!

On Monday we did TRC, I can't remember if I explained that to you guys or not but basically what it is is teaching members like a family home evening lesson. And that is pretty much just getting to know them and sharing a spiritual message with them and committing them to doing something that will help them. We do this every Monday and last week
went well but it was still difficult with not knowing Japanese because of course we teach it all in Nihongo haha. But this week went really well! We taught two different people and in both of the lessons we were able to introduce ourselves and make small talk and then see if we could help them in anyway. After they told us what they were struggling with we shared a message with them and testified of how it could help them. I felt my Japanese was really well in both of the lessons, I tried hard not to think beforehand what I was going to say but just let the Spirit guide the lesson and it worked out great. We developed a real relationship and love for the member we were talking to in just the short 20 minutes we taught them. It is so much fun getting to know people and being able to help them. I am looking forward to TRC every Monday now!

Last but not least we had a really good devotional Tuesday night given by Elder Maynes. He talked a lot on the importance of opening your mouth as a missionary because if you don't open your mouth and talk to others how will you bring others unto Christ? He shared an experience of him at a gas station and seeing some elders walk by him and he tried engaging them in conversation to see if they would talk back to him and share a message with him because the elders didn't know if he was a member or not and after he said hi they simply just said hi back. So he took it up a notch and asked how they were doing and the elders just responded by saying "fine, thanks for asking" and continued on their way and Elder Maynes explained to us that we must not be like the missionaries in the story and instead be proactive and try to share the Gospel with everyone we talk to. Another thing he said that I really liked was, "have more faith than fear". Which I believe will help me alot as I am serving in Japan because I will be really scared to approach people in Japan not only for fear of rejection to my message but also for not being able to say or understand all that they say. I know I will have help though as I talk to the people in Japan and I need to just have more faith than fear.

I still have another 6 weeks here in the MTC but these first 3 have flown by! I can't wait to continue to learn more and more Japanese and prepare the best I can for Japan. I love all of you guys and wish you all a great week!!

Love, Elder Sherrill