Monday, June 27, 2016

Halfway to Christmas! πŸŽ…

Helping a member move in

With some Indonesian friends

Konnichiwa! Hello everyone! The other day I realized we are already
half way to Christmas! I don't know how time has flown by that fast
but it's crazy to think that 2016 is half way over already.

So today we are going to Miyajima as a district. I went there a couple
transfers ago, it is the place with the huge red Japanese arch in the
water. I'm pretty stoked to go again! They also are known for having
lots of swords there so we'll see if I cave and get one haha, most of
my zone did last time we went. But anyways on to this week, we didn't
have to much happen other than meeting with our main investigator
Hiromi. We met with her twice and are pretty much done teaching her
all the commandments. We pushed her baptismal date back one week to
help give her some more time to be prepared and I think she will make
it! The only sad thing about pushing it back a week is that transfer
calls are on the 14th next month so either Elder Ratzlaff or I won't
be there to see her be baptized. Even though one of us will most
likely miss her baptism it will be a lot better because she will be
more prepared and ready to make that sacred covenant with God.

Just yesterday she came to church for her 3rd time in a row and is
really loving it! She has bonded with the members each time and
continues to grow closer which is really good. There has been one or
two members though that have been giving her a little bit of the cold
shoulder so it has really been bothering us. Hiromi told us that a
couple were doing so and yesterday at church it was kind of apparent
that something was up. Why they do it to her, I have no idea, but we
talked with our branch president about it and he will sort it all out.
For the most part though it has been a really good experience for her
and helped her a lot. My companion and I taught Sunday school
yesterday and while she participated she commented on something and
tied that into the Book of Mormon and bore testimony on it! It was so
cool! One member encouraged her to get up next week during fast and
testimony meeting and continue to bear her testimony.

When I first got called to Kure I felt like it wasn't the exact area I
should be in. I liked the area okay but I just thought maybe it wasn't
where I should be. Especially with Elder Ratzlaff and I working hard
and not seeing much success. Recently have I come to find out that I
really was called here for a reason, and I think part of that reason
was to find Hiromi San and help her come back to her Heavenly Father.
She has been so much fun to teach this last month and selfishly I
really hope I stay so I can continue to teach her and see her become a
member of the church.

We had a couple other cool experiences this week but since I don't
have much time I want to end with a funny/interesting story that
happened Saturday night. My companion and I had just finished going to
this class we sometimes go to and it was getting kind of late. We need
to be back in our apartment by 9 but it was only 8:15 so we decided to
dendo near by. We were in a kind of older neighborhood and the first
door we knock on this old man yells through his house asking who it
is. We introduce ourselves and he tells us to go home without coming
to the door. We were going to talk with him longer but Hiromi San was
calling us so we decided to leave it at that. As we leave his front
yard my companion stands near his house across the street talking on
the phone. While he does that I'm just waiting when I hear a sound
from behind me. The old man opens up his window and yells across the
street asking us who we are again. My companion walks a little farther
away to keep talking on the phone and I approach him telling him my
name. He asks why we are here and I tell him what we do as
missionaries. He says he doesn't want to talk with us so I apologize
and tell him we were just on the phone but we will be leaving. Then he
said something about the police and at the time I thought he asked if
we were the police haha. So then I tell him we are missionaries and
not the police, then he says back, "no I'm going to call the police!"
So I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and said okay then walked to
my companion and said, "hey, he said he's going to call the police on
us". My companion looks at me a little stunned and then we start to
walk back to our bikes (about 40 yards away). We walk back to our
bikes and my companion continues talking on the phone. From our bikes
we can see the mans house and he and his wife continue to look at us
through the window. About 5 minutes later I heard a motorcycle coming
down the quiet road and sure enough, it was the police. The police
officer asks us what happened and then realized we were just
missionaries doing what we always do, knocking on people's doors. He
writes down some information while two more police cars show up and 3
more officers get out, it was our own little party! Haha. One of the
officers comes up and starts being kind of rude telling us we need to
go home because people are sleeping. I tell him that we go home at 9
but until then we dendo, then let him know that we don't make the
rules but instead just follow them. He told us to tell the man that
makes the rules to change them. We agree with him to stop any further
argument and before long they finish writing down all our info and
then we decide to tell them all about Eikaiwa (free English class)
haha! We talked about English and a couple of the officers took flyers
and seemed interested. After a little conversation about where we are
from and everything we all go our separate ways. It was a pretty
interesting experience to say the least!

That is about it for this week, but until next week, I love you all!
Thank you for the constant support and examples you all are to me. I
love being a missionary and having the opportunity to bear testimony
of the Living God each and every day! I hope you all have a great
week! ζ„›γ—γ¦γ‚‹γ‚ˆ


Monday, June 20, 2016

6 months in ζ—₯本!

Looks like Rainy Season has begun!

For AP Elder Petit

A picture for President's Birthday!

The new district

Hello ηš†γ•γ‚“! So I have hit my 6 month mark in Japan! It is crazy to
think I have been here for so long already! My Japanese is finally
improving and I'm getting the hang of being a missionary (only took 8
months haha) but I'm loving it! There are definitely it's fair share
of difficulties as a missionary but those are always belittled as to
the many miracles and joys to be had a missionary. This email will be
fairly short but I just want to update you all on a couple things.

First is our main investigator Hiromi. She is continuing to progress
and things are looking good with her for her baptismal date next month
but my companion and I are just making sure she is getting baptized
for all the right reasons. We think that she will be fine and have
faith everything will work out. We met with her two times this last
week and she came to church. Also, BYU-Hawaii came to Japan and was in
Hiroshima for this concert they were performing. Missionaries were
allowed to go if they brought investigators so we got two of ours to
go and it was a blast! It felt kind of like a P-Day to go see a
concert but it was really great and had a good spiritual atmosphere
which I think benefited our investigators a lot.

This last week we also had a special stake conference broadcast from
Salt Lake City and it was amazing! My companion and I got to watch it
in English which was really nice haha. One of the speakers talked
about the sabbath day and what we can do as members to make it more
holy. She also committed us to think of one thing to sacrifice to make
the sabbath more holy and as I thought about that it really made me
think of what I can do individually to make the sabbath more special
even as a missionary. Even though Sunday is usually our busiest day as
missionaries with church, lessons, dendo and countless other things I
love the spiritual break and renewal we get as we take the sacrament.
It will definitely encourage me to change my Sunday habits when I
return home. I love you all and am sorry for the short email! Have a
wonderful week!!

Love, シェγƒͺル長老

Monday, June 13, 2016

Miracle Week!

Hello everyone! This week flew by and we saw a miracle with our main
investigator! Her name is Hiromi Yano, I believed I have talked a
little about her before but she is in her 50s and a really nice lady
who loves to talk. This past week we showed up at her house with ice
cream and taught her a lesson focused on baptism. As we explained it
and invited her she said she would be baptized! During the lesson we
actually had some pretty weird things go down though. Right after the
lesson started there was a knock at the door and it was some
missionary for some "Utopia" church. The missionary started talking to
us in the middle of our lesson and then Hiromi San told her to come
inside because she was letting bugs inside. So now there is all of us
in her front room and this missionary is giving her intro to her
church when after 5 minutes goes by another knock on he door. Guess
who it is? Jehovahs witnesses.. They open up the door and my companion
and I start to laugh a little bit because of how weird this situation
is. Hiromi San tells them to leave because there's to many people in
her home and then shortly thereafter told the other missionary lady to
leave as well. We finished out our lesson and thankfully it all turned
out well.

Then later in the week we invited her to have a lesson at the church
with a couple members jointing the lesson. That lesson went really
well and the joints helped out a ton. We extended the baptismal invite
again but this time with a date attached and she accepted! So now we
have a baptismal date set with her and it is for July 9th! Elder
Ratzlaff and I couldn't stop smiling after the lesson. We were so
happy because we felt like we had been working so hard and not seeing
many results but we finally had been able to get somewhere with our
investigator. After the lesson the joints invited her to church and
she came and had a great time with everyone! It was truly a miracle in
my eyes and we have 2 lessons set with her this week and she said she
wants to come to church again.

During the week we also were able to meet with a member, her name is
Sister Harada. I think I sent a picture we took with her last week.
Anyways we met with her and talked with her about the Book of Mormon
and all took turns bearing testimony of it. It was a really great
spiritual experience. Afterwards when she opened the Book of Mormon we
saw something was written on the front cover, it looked like dates or
something like that. We asked what it was and she said it was the
start date and end date of all the times she had read the Book of
Mormon. She has read it 73 times and is currently on her 74th time
through! Her testimony and knowledge of the scriptures is so powerful
and we could tell that just from speaking with her. One thing I have
really come to realize is how strong the testimonies are of the Saints
here in Japan. Many of them are in small groups at church, the only
members of their family, or facing other of life's numerous
difficulties but continue to be faithful. Continue to come to church,
to pray, and diligently study the scriptures. They are all such great
examples to me!

To end I'd like to share a pretty terrifying (at first) experience I
had yesterday. So my companion and I were getting ready for church as
usual in the morning and we get a call from one of the branch
presidency counsellors. He asks to talk to me and then onegais (ask a
favor of) me to give a 10 minute talk in sacrament meeting that day
because someone fell through. A ten minute talk at the last second
doesn't seem to difficult and as a missionary really isn't all that
bad. But a ten minute talk in Japanese when you haven't prepared
anything at the last minute is terrifying. I instantly went to my
knees and asked Heavenly Father to help me find enough time to prepare
something that would help others feel the spirit as I spoke to them. I
felt an overwhelming sense of comfort and peace and was able to find a
few minutes to prepare before church started. I gave my talk and even
exceeded the time limit that was given me and everything went
completely fine. It may have been something small but it really just
showed me yet again how much my Father in Heaven cares about me
individually and wants to help me. I love this Gospel and all the
peace and comfort it gives. I'm so thankful for it! I love you all and
hope everyone has a great week!

Love, Elder Sherrill


Monday, June 6, 2016

Still in 呉 (Kure)!

Hello everyone! So last Pday I received my transfer call and Elder
Ratzlaff and I are staying one more transfer here in Kure! I'm pretty
excited for another transfer with him and for the opportunity to stay
and work with the members here in Kure. This week there wasn't to much
that happened out of the ordinary. Although, we did see a few miracles
with finishing some new investigators!

To start off the week we set 2 pretty sketchy return appointments. It
was almost time for us to head home and usually people don't like
talking to us late at night so we tried out something new. After they
opened the door we just talked about ourselves and got to know them
within a minute or two, acknowledged it was late and they were
probably busy  and asked if we could come back again. Both of the
people we met said yes and to our surprise when we came back in a few
days they were actually there and we got to teach them a lesson!
Sometimes solid returns appointments fall through and especially the
sketchy ones tend to so we were definitely grateful for that
opportunity we had to teach.

The first one we set was with a young college girl who wanted to build
more of a relationship with God. As she explained that to us we
decided tell her about pray and the Book of Mormon and how through
both we can come closer to God. She accepted the invitation to read
and even prayed at the end of our lesson! As we tried to set another
appointment with her she said she has been kind of busy so we set kind
of another not so solid appointment. But, it worked the first time so
why not the second time haha. Then the other appointment we had was
with a man in his late 20's or so. He was really cool and we hit it
off with him as soon as he answered the door. He said we could come
back but since we didn't really know his needs or interest we decided
to just go with a lesson 0 (talk about God and Jesus Christ and their
roles). After we shared that we said we wanted to share our special
message about the restoration and he said he was willing to listen to
it now! So we of course were more than happy to teach him and give him
a Book of Mormon. After the lesson we invited him to read and set
another appointment a few days later. We came back for the second
appointment and he had already read 40 pages of the Book of Mormon! We
were a little surprised to say the least. We taught him our second
lesson and even had him to pray to close the lesson. It all seemed to
be going well and then when we went to set up the new appointment he
said he would be busy for the next 2 months and would like to study on
his own. My companion and I were a little disheartened to hear that
but continued to testify and committed him to continue reading and
call us if head questions or wanted to meet again.

After the lesson we tried to evaluate what we could have done wrong
and we had a hard time coming up with anything. We concluded that we
did all we could and he now has all the materials he needs to receive
and answer for himself (the Book of Mormon and knowing how to pray).
So we are hopefully he will continue to read and pray and call us
soon. Even though it didn't turn out exactly as hoped for, my
companion and I considered them miracles nonetheless. As missionaries
we can't force anyone to believe in our message, we can only invite
and let others choose for themselves to act on the message they hear.
Sometimes I wish I could because I know how much the Gospel would
bless some of those we teach, but I know that really receiving a
testimony to this Gospel and message can only be develop through
sincere prayer to our Heavenly Father. So if we give others the
opportunity to understand how to pray and receive that answer for
themselves then we are doing all we can. I know the Lord has a
specific plan for each of us in this work of His. Including the people
we find and teach here in Kure. I'm grateful for the opportunity I
have to labor amongst these people and shed light into their lives. I
know this Gospel is true and really was restored by a true chosen
prophet of God. I love this work and am thankful for the happiness it
brings into my own life. I love you all and wish everyone a great

Love, Elder Sherrill