Monday, September 26, 2016


Elder Sherrill and his district
Hello once again everyone! Before I begin we are headed to the Beach in Fukuoka today because we have a zone P-Day so this email will be rather short because I need to catch a train soon! This week was packed with lots of fun activities so I will try and give you a quick rundown of all the things we did. 

First off this week we had district meeting as usual and I really learned a lot. There was one thing that I was reminded of during training that happened at previous training during interviews with the mission president and it resulted in a sweet miracle we saw this week! Anyways the thing I liked from the training is this, "as missionaries we are not supposed to convert people, we are just supposed to open our mouth!". I really love that! Sometimes it's way difficult because you feel like you need to do so much as a missionary but really you just have to allow for an environment for the spirit to be there and let it do the work. As I thought about that during this week I focused on contacting everyone I saw while we were riding our bikes, because I need to talk with everyone and give everyone an equal chance to hear the gospel, you never know who is prepared or not. So the other night I was riding my bike and it was way dark out. I saw a man in the distance and knew it would be awkward since it was so dark out and late at night. I stopped him anyways and as soon as he saw the name tags with the name "Christ" he said no thanks and walked off before I could even give him a flyer. A little disheartened that my effort yielding no results I continued biking and saw another man in the distance. I decided to try again and sure enough this man was prepared! 

Elder Sherrill and his district doing the "Japanese Squat"
We talked with this next man for about 30 minutes! After the initial contact he instantly started asking tons of questions about the restoration, Jospeh smith, Christian churches, missionaries, etc. He began to tell us that he was really interested in how we were different from other Christian churches. After we taught a little about the restoration we exchanged numbers and handed him a pamphlet he said he was going to go home, study it and call us so we can meet! I've had lots of good little lessons on the street with people that seemed to be really good and then later them never call. I'm not sure what it was about this one but it just felt different, my companion and I have a lot of hope for him and we think we will be able to teach him in the future.

As far as the rest of the week goes we went to Kumamoto to do service because of the recent earthquake there and it was such a good experience! We got to clean out an old school as well as go to this home on the top of a mountain and clean out all of this debris. During our service I made small talk with a man who was there by himself and he was a really nice guy who actually met with missionaries 20 years ago in college! We talked for a while because his current job was similar to my old one before the mission so hopefully that helped give him another good view of missionaries just in case he ever runs into them in his hometown. 

We had lots of other little activities here and there this week but I don't have enough time to explain them so I'll just bullet point them out!
  • Our new kinjin investigator from last week Kudou san fell through, so that was sad
  • We had yaku niku for dinner after Kumamoto
  • The people who took us to Kumamoto (Tanaka) the back of their car fell in a ditch after they dropped us off so we had to pull their car out haha 
  • Had English class as usual and we got a new student! A nice mom with her daughter 
  • Went home teaching and visited Mitsuko, she fed us lots of food of course

Overall a very good week that honestly flew by! I think the biggest thing I learned though was just opening my mouth and continuing to share the gospel in any situation that I am in. Heavenly Father has prepared many of his children and they come to us in many different ways! So even as a member continue to look for ways to "open your mouth" and share the gospel with others! Have a great week, I love you all! 

Love, Elder Sherrill 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sneaky Photography

Hello friends and family! This week went by really fast and was pretty good. If you're wondering what the title of this email is, it will make sense once you read the story at the end of my email haha. But anywhoser, on to my week! This week was a lot better than last to be honest and I got out of the slump I was in last week. Not having much success lately has been hard on my companion and I but we had some good dendo and meeting with our mission president for interviews helped out a lot. 

On their way to interviews with Kaicho! 
During the beginning of the week we met with a woman named Mitsuko in the Branch. She is like a grandma to the missionaries. She was baptized just 2 years ago (2 weeks before I was actually) and knows everything about every single missionary that has ever served in Nakatsu since then. She absolutely loves the missionaries and always invites us to her home for meals. So we went to her home with one of her friends who isn't a member and had a way fun time with her! 

Funny guy they met on the street. He rapped in English 
Next we went to Fukuoka to have interviews with the mission president and his wife. The training we received from the assistants was really beneficial and helped me out a lot. The main focus of the training was finding new investigators, something we could use a lot of help on haha. They shared some tips and that was good, during the training I got to meet with President and Sister Egan and it was so good! I felt so much love and support from Sister Egan. Then as I met with Kaicho he gave me some really good advice on a couple questions I had and told me to "call down the powers of heaven" on Nakatsu. He said he believed in us seeing a baptism in Nakatsu, and asked us to have the faith and willingness to see it happen. I really want to see success here so I've decided I need to change some things to see it happen.

Cleaning up after Eikaiwa

Just last Saturday night we made an awesome return appointment with a new person! My companion went out to dendo while it was raining pretty hard and there was this huge festival in Nakatsu. I literally thing every young person in the city was there, it was the most people I have ever seen in Nakatsu! We went to the festival and talked to lots of people and handed out lots of English class flyers. I think my favorite dendo is talking to young people, they seem to be a lot more open to our message than others, and on top of that they are always so much fun to talk too! But anyways, on to the return appointment we got. After we talked to people at the festival we did some dendo on a near by apartment and found this really nice woman named Kudou. She had met missionaries once before about a year ago but never heard the lessons. This time as we taught her a short lesson at the door she accepted our invitation to baptism, a Book of Mormon, and was willing to meet again in a couple days! It was one of the best totsuzen lessons I've had in a while. My companion and I are pretty stoked for her and we feel she could really progress into a solid investigator. 

There's lots of other little things that happened during the week but that's all the main stuff for now! Sorry I don't have to much time, but to end I want to share a funny story and explain the meaning behind my email's subject name. The other day like I said my companion and I were in Fukuoka for interviews with the mission president. On our way back home we had to take a subway from the church to the main train station in Fukuoka. As we got on the subway it was pretty packed as it usually is. Standing right next to my companion and I were two college age Japanese girls. My companion and I were facing each other and they were off to the right side of my companion, so I could see them but my companion couldn't. I noticed them kind of staring at us but didn't think much of it because most people stare at gaijin (foreigners) in Japan. My attention was brought back to them however when I noticed one of the girls trying to nonchalantly lift up her phone to sneak a picture of us. Before I could tell my companion so he could see it too ....*SNAP* yep, she forgot that her sound was on haha. So my companion turns around and looks at them while I just start to quietly laugh. They both try to play it off and hide their laughter at their failed attempt to sneak a picture. My companion and I resume talking and I see in the corner of my eye she lifts up her phone again to take another picture! This time I figured I'd play along so as I continue to talk with my companion I throw up a peace sign to let them know I see them taking pictures. This goes on for about the next few minutes as they continue to try and sneak pictures until we arrive at the main station in Fukuoka. As we leave the subway I turn around and say to them, "issho ni shashin wo toritai desu ka?" They both look at me a little surprised that I just spoke Japanese to them and then of course say yes. They asked who we were and what we were doing in Japan so we were able to tell them about who we are and our purpose as missionaries. After we took the picture my companion and I said bye and left on our way. As I thought about it later I was thinking if I shouldn't have talked to them since I didn't get to share any kind of spiritual message with them. But then I thought that not everyone we come in contact with needs to have a message forced on them. I think some people just need to be reassured that we as missionaries are normal people who just want to help others. The image of missionaries isn't the best in Japan but if through these kind of small encounters we have with people help them get a better image of missionaries maybe someday down the road they will be more willing to listen to a pair of missionaries that stop them or knock on their door just because they have met us before and remember us being friendly. Anyways, hopefully we can continue to help people not be afraid or apprehensive about missionaries. 

Even though it's been difficult here and there while I've been working in 中津 I really do love the area, the members, and my companion. It really has been a lot of fun to serve here and I hope I stay here for longer (transfers are somehow coming up soon again!) thank you everyone for all your support and love! Have a great week! 


Monday, September 12, 2016

Agency (選択の自由)

Elder Sherrill and his new bag for dendou!
A nice avocado burger!


The new district

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Busy Week

じゃあ hello everyone! This week was filled with lots of stuff, so please forgive me if this email is all over the place haha. I'll just start from the beginning of the week.

Last week we had a pretty normal p-day, although to be honest they are starting to get a little boring since there is nothing to do for fun in this little town other than go out to a restaurant. After that it was a pretty normal beginning of the week with Eikaiwa and some dendo. Then Thursday came and that is when it all picked up really fast. We had a Zone Meeting in Fukuoka at 10am so we had to leave Nakatsu at 6am to make sure we made it there on time. After a couple long train rides we made it to Fukuoka and we got to meet our new zone! It was fun to see and get to know everyone. The training we received was really good and I'll share more about that in a later part of my email.

After the Zone Meeting our original plans changed a little bit and instead of going down to where our District Leader was (Chikushino) we ended up needing to stay in Fukuoka the whole day and spent the night with the Zone Leaders. The reason our plans changed though were
because I needed to go see a doctor early the next morning. Recently, I had been noticing the whites of my eyes starting to get a little yellow and me being me I figured it was nothing and ignored it. Then a few weeks go by and eventually a month or two go by and my eyes still
seemed a bit yellow and almost seemed to be getting darker. I was still ignoring it until my companion pointed it out and told me I should probably call the Mission Presidents wife last week. So I did and she set me up with an appointment early Friday morning. I went to the hospital in Fukuoka (which was probably the nicest hospital I have ever been to in my life, it looked like a 5 star hotel when I walked in) and long story short nothing is wrong with me. Well I guess nothing really serious that is haha, they did some blood work and found out I have a disease called Jaundice. They said it can lead to serious things but the kind I have is harmless and that as a result the whites of my eyes will sometimes get yellow. The doctor said usually they come for a few months and then leave and come back again at random times, and usually gets more prevalent the more stressed a person is. Other than that though they said it was nothing to worry about.

The rest of the week I got to do lots of dendo with some different elders. The night I spent in Fukuoka I went out with elder Johnson and we found some really nice people and even found a guy that took a Book of Mormon and was willing to meet again! Then in Chikushino that next
day I went out with Elder Murdock and we found a few people but the highlight of the Junkai was this lady we taught the restoration to. They had only met her once before and elder Murdock and I were following up to have the first lesson with her. We visited her home and she had read the whole pamphlet they gave and then asked about the Book of Mormon because she wanted to study it! We of course explained it to her and gave her one as we taught the restoration. After we
taught baptism she made a comment about us missionaries growing up in the church and learning it all from our parents so it was easy for us. Before I had a chance to say anything elder Murdock responded to her and then after he was finished I told her that I had just been baptized 2 years ago. As I told her about that and my experience I could sense she was a little surprised but even more surprised than her was Elder Murdock haha. He didn't know I was a convert yet so he
was a little taken back as well.

That next day we had the chance to help a member in their ward move into a different apartment. It was so nice to be able to do service! As any missionary in Japan knows, service activities are very few and far in between so when we get the chance we always jump at them. After that we headed back home with just enough time to have a couple hours to dendo in our own area. That was about it as far as the whole week goes, it seemed like a lot happened during the week but now as a type it out it doesn't seem like very much haha.

To finish up though I'd like to share a little bit of my studies throughout the week. This transfer as a mission we are all studying patience and so I decided to read more about it in PMG and do the personal study activities it offered. It led me to some really good scriptures about the Sons of Mosiah exercising patience, if you have a chance please give Alma 26 a read! During ZTM as they talked about patience, one thing they said that really stuck with me is, "Patience without faith, isn't real patience". They explained how sometimes in life or on the mission that we take trials as they come and instead of working through them cheerfully we just wait for them to be over with. If we come at problems with a I just have to wait a few hours, days, or weeks for it to go away, then we aren't practicing real patience. In PMG it says, "Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. I feel like sometimes I definitely have that attitude. Just a couple more hours of this then the days over, rather than cheerfully accepting my trials and realizing how they are helping me grow. I
still have so much to learn about patience and I know I need to apply it each and every day, but as I do so I know the Savior will make up for where I fall short and continue to help me. Lately in my area with not seeing much success it has really made me exercise a lot of patience, I hope I can continue to do so and see success soon. I love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Sherrill

Another 6 Weeks in 中津

Hello everyone! So as expected my companion and I are staying together for one more transfer here in Nakatsu! I'm pretty excited for this next transfer. Our teaching pool is pretty small but we came up with a few plans on how to blow up the area, so hopefully we will see the fruit of our labors here soon enough!

With transfers something interesting happened to our zone. Before I explain though, I think it might help to give a little breakdown of the mission. In my mission there are about 200 missionaries. As a mission we are made up of 9 zones. Each zone has about 20 or so missionaries. Then within that zone there are usually 3-4 separate groups of missionaries known as a District. Once a week a District will meet together to train and learn from each other and that is known as District Meeting. Then once a transfer (every 6 weeks) everyone in the zone meets together to get training from 2 elders known as the zone leaders. That training is called Zone Training meeting or ZTM for short. This last transfer we were apart of the
Beppu Zone, it was the smallest in the mission. This new transfer though they decided to get rid of Beppu Zone and combine the missionaries inside with nearby zones. So with that being said we are now apart of Fukuoka Zone! Which my companion are actually pretty stoked about. So each week instead of going to Beppu, which is about an hour and half train ride. We will be going to Chikushino. Which takes 3 hours... Super long. But I don't mind so much because I usually enjoy the train rides. But anyways, I'm not sure why I shared all that haha, the main point I was trying to get across is that even though we didn't transfer we have a completely new zone! Which is always fun, because you get to meet more missionaries and catch up with old ones we've known from before.

Moving on to the rest of the week, there sadly isn't much to report on. We had some of our usual activities like Eikaiwa, Home teaching, and dinner with the Tanaka family. One of my companion and I's favorite thing during the week is going to the Tanaka's house for dinner. We go every week and share a message and she makes dinner for us! It's super awesome and always really good food. Her husband isn't a member and our message is usually directed towards him but he
doesn't have to much interest unfortunately. Lately though we have been joking around with him and having a good time with him each time we come over and I think he is actually looking forward to our visits now. He has been through a lot of missionaries since his wife has
always done this weekly meal for the missionaries but my companion and I hope we can change his usual image of them and hopefully with a better relationship be able to help him actually progress.

Sorry but that will probably be it for this week! Lately it has finally started to rain here and man has it been pouring. I feel like the last couple days are making up for the last month of no rain
because it's just non stop and lots of it. Luckily, I just recently bought new rain pants and they held up really well. Before I go though I want to share something I learned this week. As a mission we have been reading the Book of Mormon every day and we will be finishing
this week! Since we have been doing that though I have been studying the New Testament a lot lately and have been learning quite a few things from it. This week the recurring theme seemed to be Faith. During the New Testament as most people know it is filled with Christ and his ministry. He goes throughout the land, preaches to the people, and performs many miracles. As I was going through accounts of the countless miracles the Savior performed I realized almost all of them were dependent upon the faith of the person receiving the miracle. When he healed a blind man he said, "according to your faith be it into you". Or when the woman touched his garments he turned to her and said "daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole". And Jesus seeing the "faith" of the men who carried their friend on the bed with palsy said, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."

There are so many examples in the scriptures of people being healed or forgiven because of their exceedingly great faith. Reflecting on the beginning of my mission and where I am now I definitely have noticed my faith decrease in the work due to the lack of success I've seen in
some areas. Being here in Nakatsu and not seeing as much success as I would like to and reading of all the miracles in the scriptures due to people's faith has definitely been a testament that I need to have more faith. So this week that's what I plan to work on! I know that Heavenly Father really loves all His children. That we are all individually important to Him. I know if I continue to work hard and increase my faith each and every day I will be able to have the righteous desires of my heart fulfilled or rather have my eyes opened to see the miracles I am already being blessed with. This gospel really does bring true happiness, I know that! I hope everyone had a
wonderful week! 愛してるよ〜!