Monday, February 29, 2016

Miracle Week!

Hello everyone! Before I get started this will be a relatively short
email. As a district we are going to the Genbaku Dome today! It is a
building in Hiroshima that survived the atomic bomb drop and they
built a museum out of it. Then after that we are going to Costco! They
have one in Hiroshima so we figured we'd take advantage of it. I'll
make sure to send all the pictures of today in my next email home next
week. Which by the way next week my pday will be on Tuesday because
it's transfers week! I'll get to see if I stay in Saijo or go
somewhere else.

Anyways so on to this week, we saw a couple miracles! The first
miracle we saw was on our way to a lesson with Xie (a Chinese recent
convert). We were outside his apartment complex and right before we
parked our bikes some guy passed us on a moped and looked at us kind
of strange. We didn't think much of it and parked our bikes. As we
were about to leave our bikes he drives back and comes over to us. He
then asks us if we are the Mormon missionaries. We tell him yes and he
goes on to say how he heard from us a year ago and wants to hear our
message again. Kind of stunned my companion and I ask him when he'd
like to meet. Then he says, is right now okay? We're just like.. Uhh..
We are about to go teach a church member of ours but we'll tell him
it'll be another 30 minutes or so haha. So we go run and tell Xie the
story and he was more than okay with waiting as we taught this man.
His name is Yamamoto and he has been going through some difficulties
in his life lately and told us he has been thinking about religion,
especially the message the Mormon missionaries shared with him a while
back. So we taught him and he loved our message. We taught him once
more this week and have plans to meet with him again this week!

Then the next little miracle we saw was we ran into this young man
named Matsumoto while knocking on apartments. He is a senior in high
school and living by himself while his parents live in Fukuoka. We set
a return appointment with him and came back and taught him kind of our
purpose as missionaries and the restoration of the gospel. He was
really intrigued with our message and asked lots of questions. As we
taught him more and asked his thoughts he said it was really
interesting and he wanted to learn more. We then decided to extend a
baptismal invite with him and asked him if he came to know if our
message was true would he be baptized. Enthusiastically he responded,
"zehi, uketai desu!" Which means, "certainly, I want to be baptized!"
So that lesson went really well with him and we're excited to see
where it goes. Unfortunately he will be moving down near Fukuoka
though in about a month for college so we'll probably end up referring
him to the elders down there.

To end I'd like to share a little experience that's not a miracle but
just a testament of how the Lord really does guide us as missionaries
to help out His children. These past couple weeks we have been
teaching a member named Sister Nomura. She's been going through some
difficulties lately and has asked my companion and I to share with her
a spiritual message to help her. The morning of the day of the lesson
during breakfast we still had no idea what to share with her. As we
each went into our personal studies we decided to individually think
of what to share with her and then during companion study share our
ideas.  During my studies I had no idea what to share but I felt
prompted to have it be something from the Book of Mormon. I turned to
the contents page of the Book of Mormon to see all the different
chapters listed out. I looked at each one and prayed to know which
chapter to study. I felt prompted to go to go to Moroni, the last book
in the Book of Mormon. As I got to Moroni I prayed again to know which
chapter to study. I felt prompted to go to chapter 7 . As I read
chapter 7 verse 45 really stuck out to me. It says, "And charity
suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up,
seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and
rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

After I read that I knew I wanted to share that scripture with her and
talk to her about the power of charity. When companionship study
started I went first to tell my companion what I was impressed to
share with nomura Shimai. He looked at me surprised and said how he
felt prompted to read that same chapter in the Book of Mormon! He read
Moroni chapter 7 and felt impressed to talk about charity with her
too. As we had the lesson with her it went really well! She said she
has been thinking of ways to share the gospel and through our
messaging of being able to share the gospel not only through our words
but actions as well she felt it was exactly what she needed to hear.

I know this work truly is guided by Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful
for all the wonderful experiences I'm having in Saijo right now. The
members and the people here are wonderful. I love you all and hope you
have a great week!

Love, elder Sherrill

Monday, February 22, 2016

Rode a Shinkansen! (Bullet Train)πŸš„

video
Bullet Train! It's really that fast!


Accidentally knocked on the branch president's door

Bullet Train

Indo Curry


Basketball group






































This week went really good! We had an awesome conference with Elder
Yamashita in Fukuoka and finally had some success dendoing! This week
we set four return appointments! Which still isn't a ton but compared
to our last weeks where we had none and contacted twice the amount of
people I definitely consider it a miracle. To begin our week we found
a young father named Asabe. We gave him a Book of Mormon and set an
appointment to meet with him the following night. As we came back to
meet the next day he unfortunately said he didn't have much time but
he had read the introduction and some of first Nephi. He said he
really liked it and wants to learn more but is currently really busy
with some project at work and can't meet again till March 3rd. We
shared some family pictures and he told us about his family and was
just a really nice guy. We're gonna contact him next week and
hopefully set up another time to meet with him.

The next couple of days we prepared to go down to Fukuoka for the
conference with Elder Yamashita. Before we went down they told all
elders in the mission they need to have their hair cut. Since it had
been a while since I had gotten my hair cut and I didn't want to pay
for it (plus I didn't want to go back to the guy that did it last
time) I decided to cut it myself! Which was really interesting haha. I
was pretty scared to accidentally mess it up but it actually didn't go
so bad. I cut the top and my companion cleaned up the sides for me. It
turned out a lot better than I thought it would, which was good
because I didn't want to look all funny meeting a General Authority.
Anyways, for the ride down we first had to take a train to Hiroshima
then take a 5 hour bus ride down to Fukuoka. We got into Fukuoka late
at night and then were up bright and early the next day for the
conference.

Elder Yamashita was a lot different than what I had expected. I was
expecting a really intense kind of environment for the conference but
he came in really lovingly and at times was a little goofy haha. But I
think it set a good mood for the conference and I was able to learn a
lot from it. I think one of the things I liked the most about what he
said was for us to "open our mouth" more. He promised us as we open
our mouth and talk with everyone and always have that positive
attitude we will come across those people that have been prepared to
hear our message. So that is definitely something I am trying to focus
on more this coming week because there have been times where I'm to
nervous to talk to someone and I always think afterwards that that
person could have been someone who would have accepted our message but
I was too afraid to do my part as a missionary.

After the conference to return home we got to ride a Shinkansen! Which
is the bullet train here in Japan, they are so fast! It only took an
hour to get from Fukuoka back to Hiroshima. I have a video I'm sending
later of outside the window on the train and it looks sped up but it's
real time. They are really smooth and pretty much look like an
airplane cabin on the inside but are a lot more spacious. When we got
to Hiroshima we went out to eat at this okonomiyaki place. Hiroshima
is known for having some of the best okonomiyaki in Japan and it's so
good. If I eat it again I'll be sure to take a picture.

Then Saturday we had the basketball service activity with the
special needs kids again and it was fun as always! I got a picture
this week so I'll be sure to send that later with my other email. To
end off the week I'll share a funny, yet pretty embarrassing story. I
crashed my bike.. And it wasn't even in a cool way. Lately, as we have
been riding out to areas to dendo Elder Harrell has been having me
lead the way so I can make sure I know the area just in case he leaves
this next transfer. So while we were on our way back from an area we
were riding and I looked back to see how far elder Harrell was behind
me and he yells to me to look out. So I turn around and see a car not
to far away coming my way so I hit my brakes except when I did so I
hit my front brakes on accident. When I bought the bike they told me
the brakes were on the opposite side, so I was used to hitting my
right brake for the rear tire but on my bike its switched so I usually
use that brake thinking it's my rear tire instead.  Anyways so after I
accidentally hit my front brakes they locked up my front wheel and I
went flying over the handle bars with my bike following after me. I
get up and brush myself off and the lady drives by and asks if I'm
okay and my companion does the same. It was pretty embarrassing but
definitely reminded me to slow down while I'm riding my bike because I
do tend to go pretty fast. Other than that though it was a pretty good
week, I'm excited for all the new fun adventures that lay in the week
ahead. Have a good week everyone!

Love, Elder Sherrill

Sunday, February 14, 2016

ハピバレンタむンデー

Elder Sherrill and his District at Goemon
Nape party!


Mabodofu

An old picture of all the new missionaries leaving for their new areas












































Happy Valentine's Day everyone! We didn't do much out of the ordinary
here for Valentine's Day but we did get lots of chocolate from the
members! So that was pretty sweet. This week had its ups and downs
like I suppose all weeks do but recently it has been pretty difficult
on my companion and I. To begin though I will start off with the good
stuff that happened this week.

First off is we had a sweet nabe party last Thursday! The sisters
found some Chinese investigator and decided to throw a party for her
before she went back to China for a little bit. The sisters invited
their other investigators and we invited some of the college students
that have been coming to Eikaiwa recently. It turned out to be a huge
success! 2 of the sisters investigators came and brought their
friends. Then a couple college students came from Eikaiwa and we had a
few of the younger adults come from our branch. We had the party at
the Minamimoto's (the couple missionary in our area) and their
apartment was filled. The food was really good too, it consists of
these two boiling pots of liquid. One was tofu milk and the other was
some red sauce like stuff I can't remember the name of it. But anyways
you throw a bunch of food in the liquid like tofu, meat, noodles, and
all kinds of vegetables and then you let it cook. Then after its done
everyone just eats out of it like a buffet and you keep adding more
and more stuff to the pot to cook. The Minamimoto couple definitely
spoils us with their good cooking skills. During the party we played
some get to know you games and just had a good time socializing with
them. Near the end my companion and I shared a spiritual thought with
everyone and I know it had an impact on some of them.

Later in the week we had the basketball service assignment again! It
went really well just like it did last week. Unfortunately the kids
weren't there that time but the adults/teenagers still were so we got
to play with them. So that was a really good time and it was so much
fun getting to play with them again. They all were pretty excited to
see us back there. I forgot to take a picture again this week haha but
I will try to take one next week if I remember.

Alright so now onto the not as good part of the week. This week we
only taught a couple lessons and they were all to recent converts
because we still don't have any investigators. So the rest of our free
time went to finding some people to teach, which means a lot of dendo.
Unfortunately, we didn't see any success this week and weren't able to
set any return appointments. On top of dendo being hard to begin with
it is really difficult because I'm still not very good at Japanese so
people seem to be less interested. For example, yesterday while we
were out housing we knocked on this door and I was talking to this guy
and I messed up my sentence I tried to say to him so he just started
to laugh and said he wasn't interested and shut the door on us. That
tends to happen every now and then. Or sometimes they will say they
can't understand our Japanese and kekko us (that means to reject). So
needless to say it was pretty hard to keep a positive attitude this
week.

Although, as I was reflecting on this week a quote came to mind. It
was a quote that came from our monthly news from the mission home. The
assistants to the president wrote an article about attitude and shared
this quote from a man named Charles R. Swindoll, it is, "I am
convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to
it." As I thought about that it really made me think about my own
personal attitude and how it is effecting me. I feel like I am usually
a pretty positive person but there are definitely some situations that
try my positivity and that has definitely been these last couple of
weeks. I have realized that the only one responsible for our attitude
is ourselves. Attitude is what determines if our trials are a positive
experience or a negative experience. We can either choose to learn and
continue moving forward positively or let our negative experiences
control us and our attitude. So even though this past week was filled
with some hard experiences I have tried to maintain a positive
attitude and I know it has made such a difference.

To finish off I would like to share a funny experience that happened
earlier this week. While my companion and I were out knocking on some
doors in this apartment complex we came across this really fat, but
rather nice cat just hanging out in the parking lot. We stopped and
pet him for a little while then continued on towards the other side of
the building. As we walked he followed us and we thought it was pretty
funny and jokingly said that he would be our dendo companion that way
people might listen to us since they see us with a cute cat. We go up
to a door and the cat still hasn't left so we go ahead and knock on
it. As soon as the man opens up the door the cat bolts inside! The guy
yells and then grabs his umbrella and starts trying to chase the cat
out of his apartment. All the while elder Harrell and I are trying not
to die laughing. After the man gets the cat out of his apartment we
try to talk to him and he was pretty mad we brought a cat with us so
he shut the door on us. So definitely a learning experiencing of not
to play with cats while we dendo haha.

That's about it for this week. I love this work and even though it is
difficult at times I know it is the Lords work and we are always
guided by Him. I pray everyone has a great day with their loved ones!
愛しています!

Love, シェγƒͺル長老

Monday, February 8, 2016

Life in θ₯Ώζ‘ (Saijo)

Hello everyone! 

This week has definitely been one of the more rougher
weeks since I have been out. To start off the week Kaori called us and
said she wasn't sure when she'd have time in the near future to meet
with us. We are hoping she will call us after school ends in a little
bit so we can start trying to teach her again. But yeah other than
that, that leaves us with no investigators to teach. Which means lots
of dendo each and every day. Dendo is usually pretty fun but this week
nobody would listen to us so it made it really hard. My companion and
I are going to focus on calling a lot of potential investigators this
week though and see how well that goes. We have a big list of people
that used to meet with missionaries here but for whatever reason
stopped. Hopefully we can find someone from that list that would like
to continue being taught.

The rest of the week was kind of uneventful, mainly just filled with
dendo each day. We did have Zone Training Meeting on Thursday though
and that went really well. The main focus of the meeting was to have
more effective dendo. Instead of going out each day and kind of being
like a robot and knocking on doors really having a purpose behind it
all. It is more than just working hard, it is being effective while
you work. Because you can go and knock on doors for 6 hours each day
but if your hearts not in it you won't yield any results. If you go
knock on doors for 6 hours and you have a purpose and a goal in mind
of what you want to accomplish you will be more successful. They
shared an analogy from PMG I really liked, it is, "None of us should
be like the fisherman who thinks he has been fishing all day when in
reality he has spent most of his time getting to and from the water,
eating lunch, and fussing with his equipment. Fishing success is
related to how long you have your line in the water, not to how long
you are away from the apartment. Some fishermen are away from home for
twelve hours and have their line in the water for ten hours. Other
fishermen are away from home for twelve hours and have their line in
the water for only two hours. This last type may wonder why they do
not have the same success as others. The same principle applies to
missionaries, whom the Master called ‘fishers of men.’ A missionary’s
line should drop into the fishing water the moment he or she leaves
the apartment”. That really made me think of how long my own line is
in the water and how much effort I am really putting into each day.

This week we also got news that Elder Yamashita of the First Quorum of
the Seventy is coming to speak to our mission! It is going to be
happening on February 19th and I am pretty stoked for it. I have
definitely missed all the devotionals and opportunities we had to hear
from speakers when we were in the MTC. All of the Hiroshima zone will
be traveling down to Fukuoka for the conference so it will be pretty
cool. I have heard in the past missionaries from Hiroshima get to take
the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Fukuoka for these huge conferences so
I am really hoping we get to do that, they look like so much fun! But
I also heard its kind of expensive so we may just get to take the 5
hour normal bus ride instead haha, either way I am excited to hear
from Elder Yamashita and learn what he has to teach us.

To end off the week I actually got to have one of the best experiences
I have had so far on my mission! On Saturday night my companion and I
along with the Minamimoto couple went to this gym where they hold
activities throughout the week for kids and adults with special needs.
We volunteered to teach basketball to kids with down syndrome as well
as play basketball with adults/teenagers who are special as well. When
we first got there we got to meet the kids we would teach and they
were all so much fun! There were about 6 kids and we taught them how
to pass and shoot. While we were playing they looked so happy and all
their parents that came to watch looked so happy to see their kids
having a good time. After we finished teaching the kids it was time to
play with the teenagers and adults. There were about 25-30 of them and
before we started Elder Harrell and I introduced ourselves. They all
thought it was so cool to see two Americans and kept coming up to us
and giving us high fives and hugging us haha. I thought Japanese in
general was hard to understand, it was even harder to understand when
they were talking to me. Thankfully though I could understand most of
it and if I couldn't I would just guess and respond back and hope I
was saying the right thing haha.

To warm up we did some stretching and then ran around the court for a
few minutes. Then after that we started to do full court sprints! A
lot of them were actually really fast too! There were a couple younger
kids that would come up to me and want to race me each time. Each time
I raced I really had to give it all I got or else they would beat me,
that's how fast they were! After each sprint they were all just like
you're so fast and would come give me high fives and want to race
again. It was so much fun. Then after all that we started to play some
5 on 5 games and I was really impressed with how good they were. They
have a lot of energy and no matter what the score was or who made a
point they were constantly happy. We haven't had really any chances to
do service in Japan so far and from doing this I feel it gave some
people just a little bit better image of the missionaries. I feel like
a lot of people in the area think of us as the annoying foreigners
that knock on their doors and talk to them about religion. From this I
hope they saw that we are trying to be more than that. We want to
serve the people here in Japan and help them be happy.

I'm excited we will get the opportunity to go teach them basketball
each Saturday night from now on. Next week I will try to take a
picture with everyone there so you guys can see them. This mission has
been a difficult experience so far but I can see how it is so much
more than just knocking on doors and teaching lessons. It is about
showing love and helping other people. I love this gospel and for the
happiness it gives me. Oh! One more thing! I want to leave you all
with a け぀い (commitment). In ZTM we also focused on love and how we can
show love to others. They committed us to find one way to show love to
someone each day, so I would like to extend the same commitment to you
all. Please find one thing you can do each day to show love to someone
else. I promise you it will help you be happier as you look to serve
others and lift them up. I hope you all have a great week!

シェγƒͺル長老