Saturday, September 16, 2017

Trainings and the Temple

Ruka's Baptism 09/09/17

What a busy busy week! To start it all off we had our Mission Leadership Council on Tuesday and that went really well! The training that Elder Sorensen and I had prepared really fit in well with our mission president talking about setting goals. We talked about the different Key Indicators missionaries focus on and how we can break those down into smaller goals such as contacts, return appointments, Book of Mormons, etc. Then with the smaller goals we strive to achieve as much as we can by re-evaluating our goals and continue to set goals that push and stretch us. 

President Egan has taught me many things on my mission but probably one of the most important things he has continued to stress the importance of is to set goals and make specific plans to achieve them. Not even just in missionary work but in every aspect of my life whether it be in regards to the gospel, work, school, family, and really anything. That is one thing that I'm really grateful to have learned because even though I felt like I had always worked hard before for certain things I desired, making goals and plans help you achieve much more than you thought you could. It's like making a budget for your money. You either say, "okay this month I will try to buy less stuff and spend less money". You may try hard the whole month and end up saving some money but if you have the goal to save money, set specific plans (in this case a specific budget plan) then you will have something more concrete to follow and hold you accountable. Then in the end you end up saving more money. 

In a book called "Preach My Gospel" that we as missionaries use to help become better teachers and more spiritually mature it has a section that talks about goals as well. In that section I really love a quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that says, “I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.” Learning to set goals and make specific plans is just one of the many things I have come to understand the importance of as a missionary. Hopefully I'll continue to implement that throughout my life haha.

Anyways, thats what we mainly taught on at MLC and then the next 3 days in a row we had 3 separate Zone Conferences. The first one was in Kumamoto, then Fukuoka, and lastly Hiroshima. Needless to say it was pretty busy and fun! All the trainings were a great time and I learned a lot from all the other missionaries. We will be having our last Zone Conference down in Okinawa this next week but we are hoping we will be able to make it down there with the upcoming typhoon. Nobody in our mission is going to church this week since the typhoon is supposed to hit us right on Sunday morning. We will see what ends up happening though. 

This morning we had the opportunity to go to the temple with that recent convert I mentioned in my last weeks email. Going with her was such an amazing experience! After we had the endowment session we had a sealing session in which I acted as proxy for her son so she could have her son sealed to her as well. The blessings of the temple are unlike anything else. Having the knowledge that you can be with your family together forever even after this life is the hope that this message contains. It was a very tender and special experience that I felt blessed to be apart of. It really strengthened my faith that we really can go out and find people that are prepared to hear and fully accept the gospel in their lives. It was just about a year and 4 months ago that my companion and I knocked on her door in Hiroshima. She was shortly thereafter baptized and thanks to the wonderful members in Kure that continued to love her and help her she was able to come to the temple and be sealed to her husband and son who had passed away when she was younger. It truly was a miracle that I was so happy to be able to play a small part in. 

Anyways, that was my week! It was fun and this next week I'm sure will be great as well. :) I'll talk to you all then! Love ya!

Elder Sherrill 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Stress and Success

Elder Strickland (left) on his last day!

Elder Sherrill's Desk

Hello Everyone! So first off I would like to apologize for not sending a general email last week. Week 5 of the transfer in the mission home is mainly just making travel plans and organizing everything to get ready for transfers. So my email probably would have been boring anyways haha. But anyways, this last week was way good! Tons of stress, probably more than I have very felt on my mission before but is definitely helping me learn some important life principles.

We have started another transfer! It's hard to believe that we have already gone six weeks from the previous set of transfers. I feel like I talk about the same thing in my emails ever week because they just come around so often haha. Anyways, at the beginning of the week we started to finish up the travel plans for all the transfers which ended up not actually being all to difficult. The biggest challenge we faced was with the trainers and their new missionaries. There were 19 new missionaries and 19 new trainers that had to be called to train them. The challenge was getting them up to the mission home a day early while realizing that they all had companions that needed a companion for the day. Then on top of that a few of the trainers were from the islands so we had to transfer other missionaries even earlier in the week to make sure everyone had a companion at all times. I don't think I've had a chance to be so organized in my life. It took us hours upon hours of getting very detailed travel plans with arrangements for every missionary in the mission to have a companion at all times. With all those plans in place it ended up making quite a few transfer a day before the normal transfer day (Wednesday).

Throughout the transfer week probably the most hectic day would have to be Wednesday. The night previous we had just gone and picked up all the new missionaries and that is always a ton of fun. We had 19 way solid elders and sisters come into the mission. On Wednesday we begin with new missionary orientation along with setting plans for them to have new missionary dendo out on the streets of Fukuoka. So that's another 19 people we need to find and plan to have in Fukuoka that day to help us out with them. After the orientation and during the time the new missionaries are proselyting we are scrambling around to make sure the church is prepared to our Trainers Training Meeting where we gather and train the trainers. It probably doesn't sound to difficult but with so much going on it's easy to slip up and make a mistake and we did, and that's where the stress comes in haha. 

There were quite a few mistakes but I would say probably one of the best ones is when we started our trainers training meeting. During that meeting the new missionaries meet their trainer for the first time and they get this cool little paper that has their name on it and who their trainer will be. During interviews with new missionaries earlier that day Kaicho felt a flip flop need to be made with some trainers and their new missionaries so we got two new papers and stuck em in the van. With all that was going on I totally forgot about it until the training had begun and I see Kaicho mouth to me, "where are the new papers??" He probably laughed a little inside when he saw my eyes go wide and I mouth back, "one second" and slip out of the meeting to go to the van. So we get to the van and the papers are gone. My fears are confirmed and there's no way to get a new paper unless we went back to the mission home to print off new ones, which we unfortunately couldn't do because we obviously needed to be in the meeting giving our training. So we figured it out, had a couple other elders run back print it off for us and it all ended up working out. That's just one small example of another little mistake that happens here and there and causes stress. 

I had more stress this last week than I had ever before experienced on my mission, with little and big things going wrong here and there. One thing I have been trying to learn is how to deal with my stress positively and calmly. A great example at that is my mission president, president Egan. But I assume he has a pretty good tolerance for stress because he has to work with two knucklehead assistants all the time that make lots of mistakes haha. No matter what happens he always stays very calm and positive. I really learned a lot about that this week and since I was feeling so much stress had a lot of opportunities to try it out! Haha. But it all ended up working out in the end like it always does. I continue to be amazed with how many opportunities you have to learn things on your mission that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Whenever I am going through a trial or experiencing a difficulty it seems a lot easier to recognize and understand it is for my benefit to become better and improve. Understanding that not only makes me more positive when facing hardships and stress but it helps me remember that these missions (and our lives) are just preparing us to become more perfect as we have been commanded to be. 

The title of this email is stress which I feel like I have talked a great deal about but I also want to talk about the success! First off being that we survived transfer week and everyone made it back to their areas safely and there were no major problems. The main success points I found out through the week though are two main things. The first one is today we are going to a baptismal service and I will have the privilege of performing the baptism! The sisters in a nearby area have a 13 year old investigator they have been working with and asked me this last week if I would be willing to perform it for their investigator Ruka Chan. So I'm super excited for that today! There will be pictures to come this next week. The next point of success I saw or I guess heard was I got a call earlier this week from a recent convert of mine. It was Sister Yano, the sister we taught and baptized in Kure over a year ago. She called me and told me she was going through the temple to receive her endowments next Saturday and invited me to go along and act as a proxy for her son! I was thrilled! Then after the session we are going to do a sealing session as well and I will again act as proxy for her son as she is sealed to her family. It will be an amazing opportunity.

But that about wraps it up for this week! It's kind of long but I had to make up for last week haha. I love you all! I know this work is true and I know the Savior Jesus Christ lives. He is always there to help us in our times of need if we turn to Him. I will talk to you next week, take care! 


Elder Sherrill 

Saturday, September 2, 2017


(elder) Lundberg came to visit the mission! He was my first district
leader in the mission.

The new office staff! We have a new office couple and a new office elder!

Comp Unity

Some kids from Yamaguchi came to visit the temple and mission home!

This is what happens to Elder Sherrill when his brain is fried. He
goes and sleeps on the couch.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Miracles in Fukuoka!

The little kids love Elder Sherrill

The APs! 

Eating horse! (He loved it)

Japanese Art

Japanese Art

This past week was amazing! We saw so many cool miracles! Oh and also 
this is coming a day early because we changed our P-Day at the last minute to Friday instead of Saturday because we are really busy on Saturday. But anyways, let me get started but telling you that Heavenly Father is pouring out his blessings on us here. The week started off pretty normal as usual with doing reports on Monday and just preparing for transfers. However just this last Sunday our investigator who we met for the first time the Sunday the week before came to church and loved it. We had a dinner appointment and lesson planned with him on Wednesday. We go to meet with him and unfortunately the restaurant was closed so we had to walk about 30 minutes to a different restaurant. At first I was a little bummed out but it was great because we got to talk for an extra 30 minutes and explain more about our purpose and get to know each other better. We get to the restaurant, have a good meal and an even better lesson. We extended the invitation to be baptized on September 30th and he said yes! Then in order to reach that goal he committed to coming to church again next week and continue to take the lessons from us. His name is Takuya and he is 26 and originally from Okinawa. We are super pumped to work with him.

Our next cool miracle started just this last Tuesday when I was on our last round of companion exchanges with one of the new Fukuoka Zone Leaders. To begin our day of dendo slam we prayed that we would be led and guided to a man in his mid to late twenties to whom we prayed we could also have a lesson on the spot with him. Within the first 2 hours we didn't see a whole lot of success but the very last guy we talked to before we came home for lunch was our guy! We met a 26 year old named Miyazaki who was on the way to work. We stopped him on the
street and talked with him for a while (30 minutes or so) about how God loves him individually and wants to guide him in his life. He said he didn't understand a lot of our message but it sounded like it could be something of worth to him. We prayed with him and set up an appointment to meet in a couple days on Thursday. Just yesterday we met with him at the church and had an amazing lesson! It was seriously one of the best lessons I think I have had on my mission. The spirit was so strong throughout and he was able to understand so many clear
points of doctrine. He is incredibly humble and said he really wants to know if it is true or not. We extended the invitation for him to be baptized on September 30th as well and he said yes too! To finish the lesson off he closed with a prayer for the first time and it was such a simple and beautiful prayer. Needless to say we were both on cloud 9 after we left that lesson.

I'm not sure why Heavenly Father has been blessing us with so many amazing and prepared people to teach but for that I am so grateful. I really am so excited to teach both Miyazaki and Takuya throughout the next month or so and see how well they progress. Having people to teach while we go throughout the transfer process is really a blessing. We have started the transfer board for this next transfer and these next couple of weeks there will be lots of office work to do which will be fun but our dendo time will definitely go down a little. But the work here is moving along! I love being here and serving in Fukuoka, it really is the best. I'll be sure to update you all with more miracles to follow next week. Love you and take care!


Elder Sherrill

One of their favorite restaurants
Funny English

Shopping in Fukuoka

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dendo, Dendo, and more 伝道!

The third week of the the transfer in the mission home is one of my favorites and the reason being is from all the dendo (proselyting) time we get! During this last week we have already finished up our Zone Conferences and it's too early to start on stuff for transfers so we have this week with practically no office work so that means more dendo time! We were able to go on two Junkai's (companion exchanges). One with the Kumamoto Zone Leaders and the other with the Hiroshima Zone Leaders. Both of them were great learning experiences as I went with newly called Zone leaders. They had much dendo fire and their example left me with lots of commitments for myself I could improve on.

With each Junkai we didn't have any lessons scheduled so we had what we like to call a "dendo slam" day which means 8 full hours of dendo starting at 10 am which doesn't include our study or meal times. So needless to say we went to it and got to work! My first Junkai on Tuesday with Elder Snyder was amazing. I have never met such a humble and hardworking missionary. We went out and saw tons of miracles. One of the cool little miracles we saw was after dinner on our way to the area we had planned we stopped this guy who was about 25 right by the church. In the beginning he wasn't super interested but we kept talking him to try and break some barriers with him and eventually he got to a point where he was getting more interested. After about 10 minutes of talking we invited him to come to our church down the street for a quick tour. So we walked to the church together, had a church tour, explained the sacrament and went over baptism while we showed him the font. We finished it off by praying with him and by the end of the contact he had completely changed! He wanted to meet again so we set up an appointment for next week and exchanged numbers. 

That is just one of the many miracles we saw while we were out working. Early in the week Elder Sorensen, my actual companion and I were on our way to this park (Ohori Koen) and we ran into this way cool guy who is from Okinawa. He is 26 and as soon as we started talking to him he was really interested in all that we had to say. We started with the restoration and taught him all about that and when we got to the Book of Mormon he really wanted to read it. We shared a few scriptures with him and after about 25 minutes or so of talking to him we asked if we could say a prayer and meet him again and he said of course! So we prayed, exchanged numbers and our next appointment is tomorrow right before church begins. 

There are so many prepared people here in Fukuoka. Sometimes it is overwhelming because there are so many people to talk to and it feels almost impossible to search out that "one" who is actually prepared but Heavenly Father always guides us to them or them to us! I know that to be true, I have experienced it time and time again. However, in order to receive that blessing we need to be doing all we can which means to continue to be obedient, work hard each and every day, and always work smart by the spirit. I'm not sure if I have ever shared on my group email before my mission president five steps to become a happy and successful missionary but it truly works. The steps are:
1 - Work Hard
2 - Work Smart by the Spirit
3 - Be Strictly Obedient 
4 - Have Fun
5 - Come Home Tired

Every since President Egan has come to this mission over 2 years ago he has continued to emphasize these five steps and how vital they are for not only being a successful missionary but to being a happy one. Sometimes it is difficult and I've struggled with different steps in different stages of my mission but the times I have been the happiest have definitely been when I have tried to live up to these steps to the fullest. Nothing compares to meeting new people on the street each and every day and telling them about the simple truths of the gospel. When they hear how they can be with their family forever or that God really cares about them sometimes it really touches them. Seeing them hear that and act on it to learn more is one of the best experiences we get to have as missionary. This work is true and it is so much fun to be a missionary! President Egan always tells us, if you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong. So always have fun and be genki (happy) :) I love you all and I look forward to hearing from you next week! 


Elder Sherrill 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Couple from France

The French Couple
Yano Shimai visiting the temple!

Heading to Zone Conferences


So first off I apologize for not sending a weekly email last week! Usually I write each week but last week got a little busy and to honest I was just tired so I ended up just sending pictures instead. But I'll try to not do that again haha. Anyways, these past few weeks have been great like usual! Over the course of these 2 weeks we had our MLC which was then followed by four combined Zone conferences that took place around the mission. Our first one was in Fukuoka, then Hiroshima, then Kumamoto, and finally the island of Okinawa! My companion and I trained on hope and how we can help our investigators come to church. While president and sister Egan focused on faith and charity. Even though roughly the same thing was taught at each Zone Conference I always learned something new. It is a such a blessing to be able to travel around, meet different missionaries and learn from them.

Earlier this week as we finished up the last couple Zone conferences we also were able to go on companion exchanges with some of the newer Zone leaders! I first went with elder Kimura who is a Zone Leader in Kagoshima and he was a ton of fun to dendo with! He is from Hawaii and
we saw lots of cool miracles, I will share one small one real quick. We had just returned from Kumamoto from conference and only had about an hour and half to proselyte. So we hit the streets quickly and tried to find someone that was willing to listen to our message. Our hour
and half was almost up and we had had some good contacts but nothing that was sticking. So we try to contact this one last guy as we were crossing the road. We talked with him for a while and in the middle of our contact this older white couple approaches us and then backs away
about 5 feet and stares at us as we continue talking to this guy. In my head I was thinking they might be anti-Mormons trying to argue with us. After we finish the contact I go over and greet them quickly and I began to realize they weren't who I thought they were. They were a
mormon couple from France who were in Japan on a business trip staying at a nearby hotel. The man said he felt like he was going to see missionaries today but with the day almost to an end and not meeting missionaries yet he said he felt prompted to go for a walk. The minute
they step out of their hotel they see us down the road talking to the young man we were talking to. They start to make there way towards us and that is how we met.

After we talked with them for a second I asked if they had plans to visit the temple as they were here. They said they didn't know a temple was here in Fukuoka. So I told them there sure was and we are going there right now to return home! We told them it was only about a 15 minute walk and we'd love to take them there. So we ended up walking together and brought them back to the temple. When we arrived they met the other missionaries and this gentleman began to tell us about his conversion to church when he was an 18 year old boy. He had grown up atheist and had a strong disbelief in God, and as the missionaries came to him he tried to disprove their church as well as the Book of Mormon. They gave him a copy to study and as he poured over it looking for faults he began to read it and his heart began to soften as he developed a testimony of the truthfulness of the book. He went on to continue his study and was eventually baptized. He then left on a mission, returned home and for the next 50 years served faithfully in a variety of callings in the church, was married in temple, and had 8 children, many of which served missions. Throughout his testimony and conversion story he kept pointing at a picture I have that hangs on my desk that says, "Forget yourself and go to
work", by President Hinckley. He told us that was the key to being successful in this work. He and his wife left us after a prayer we held together but some words he said as we were walking to the temple continued to stick in my head. He said he knew he was going to meet  missionaries today, but whether it was for his benefit or mine, he looked at me and grinned, and said, "I guess we will find out." After he left I thought about it more and I feel like it was definitely for our benefit. All of us in the office were touched by his powerful testimony and presence. It gave me an extra boost to work hard and remember that there are always people out there ready to act and receive the gospel in their life no matter how "unprepared" they may
seem. It may sound like a small miracle but it was just another testimony builder that when we go out and are striving to follow the the spirit, Heavenly Father is always guiding us to people or guiding them to us.

After that companion exchange we went down to Okinawa, had our Conference there and then the very next day it was another companion exchange! This time with the Nagasaki Zone leaders and I was able to go with Elder Campbell. Which in order to give you an idea of what he is like. He pretty much looks like captain America but even bigger and more handsome. Needless to say he was an amazing missionary and we had a great time as we hit the streets of Fukuoka. His faith and his boldness as he testified to others really helped me realize just how
much power we have as representatives of Jesus Christ. I learned a lot from him and was really thankful for the chance to dendo with him. I would share a cool miracle I had with him but I am kind of running out of time and the earlier miracle took more space than I thought it would. If you would like to know more specifically about all the cool miracles I have seen I will let you read my journal when I get home haha, they are all written in there.

There was honestly so much that happened these past couple weeks and I feel like I'm skipping so much with only writing such a short amount but if I wrote all my experiences it would most likely take all day haha. I'm loving serving here in Fukuoka and I feel so blessed to be here and have all the wonderful opportunities to grow each and every day. I hope you all have a great day and enjoy going back to work and school!


Elder Sherrill

Nagasaki Zone Leaders

Nice American dinner with the Zone Leaders

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


New Watch for the Birthday Boy! 
Saying Goodbye to Elder Strickland

Hello friends and family!

The transfer has come to an end and another has begun! To start off the week I had my birthday! Which was honestly a really fun day! My birthday fell on a Tuesday which just happened to be transfer call day for the whole mission so I got to talk to half of the mission to give them transfer calls so that was fun. A few elders and sisters had some cool surprises for me and I will send some videos later showing what they were. Then to finish it all off we went to the airport to pick up the new 8 missionaries coming into our mission! Overall it was a really good day and one I won't soon forget. It's hard to believe I am 21 though, when people ask how old I am on the street I feel like I should still respond with 18 or something haha.

The following day on Wednesday we had our orientation for the new missionaries and they are all so amazing! I was a little bit nervous with some of our best elders and sisters going home this transfer but after seeing the new missionaries and all the dendo fire they had I was put back at ease. That night we had the trainers training meeting where we trained all the new called trainers for the new missionaries. After the training they all got to meet their trainers and it was such a cool spiritual experience. Every trainer just seemed perfect for each of their new missionaries. It reminds me of when I got my first companion elder Harrell and looking back on it I can see just how perfect he was for me to start my mission off. I'm so thankful for all the things he taught me and showed me. My mission president always relates the story of how great of an influence his trainer had to him on his mission but I always tease him and tell him my trainer was better haha.

The next day on Thursday the whole mission was in action! All the missionaries that received transfer calls went to their new area whether it was by bus, boat, train, or plane! While everyone was coming in and out of the main train station my companion and I were busy driving return missionaries back and forth from the airport or train station and to the mission home. Most of the day we were driving but it was fun to get to see so many missionaries! That night luckily we had no issues with transfers and by about 9pm all the zones in the mission reported all the missionaries got to their areas safe and sound. Which is a huge relief because there is usually always at least one or two problems that arise that end up putting a little more stress on Kaicho and us. But it all worked out like it always does :)

The next day we see the returning missionaries off at the airport and I had to say goodbye to some really good mission friends. There were about 5 or 6 elders that I had either been companions with or had served with for a while on the mission so it was definitely a lot harder to say goodbye to them. While it is hard to see them off, I am grateful because I am coming back from the airport and not staying there to catch a flight. It's always an interesting experience because it helps you realize just how fast the mission goes and gives you some extra motivation to work hard until the end.

I have learned so much thus far on my mission from all my companions, different leaders, Kaicho and shimai especially, and simply just living in Japan trying to share the gospel. It has been so amazing and I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. My love and understanding for the gospel has deepened. My desire to become a better person and be more of a disciple of Christ has increased. Being a missionary is the best and there is no experience that can compare to it. I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store these next few months! I love you all, thank you again for the birthday wishes!



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Transfer Prep!

So I lied, I said in my last weeks email that this week would be an
even better email but it's not panning out to be that way haha. This
week was pretty much an extension of all that we were doing this last
week. In order to prepare for transfers we spent lots of time building
and making all the travel plans. Then after finishing that there was
lots of other documents we had to prepare to make sure everything runs
smoothly. Elder Sorensen is learning really fast and I'm way impressed
with how fast he is picking it all up! He is already a great companion
and we are going to work really well together.

The rest of the week when we weren't doing travel plans and other prep
work we moved another apartment! I don't have any pictures of it but
the elders in chikushino, an area next to Fukuoka moved to a new
apartment next to their old one. So we loaded up the van and went to
help them out. It was a good time and we got it all done relatively
fast so we could get back to work in hopes that we had some time to
dendo after finishing all our office work.

Needless to say it was a very busy week but I am having a great time!
I love all the people I get to work with and this next week with all
the new missionaries coming in and old ones returning home will be a
lot of fun for sure. I'm excited for the next transfer to get under
way so we can get back out and find some more people ready to hear the
gospel in Fukuoka. I love you all and hope you have a great week!


Elder Sherrill

Another Week in the Best Two Years!

Another week has come and gone! It's crazy how quickly I am back to
writing emails each week. I feel like I'm writing one every other day.
With that being said I'm sorry if I repeat stuff or start to get kind
of boring haha. This past week was amazing and we have officially
welcomed a new member into the honbu crew! Transfers are in about 2
weeks but in order to train the new mission assistant my new companion
Elder Sorensen will be receiving training up until Elder Strickland
goes back out into the mission field this next transfer. I am way
pumped to work with Elder Sorensen, he is coming from being the
Yamaguchi Zone Leader and has tons of faith and dendo fire! He has an
upbeat personality and I can already tell me and him will get along
really well.

So far this past week has been mainly preparing for transfers which
means we got to participate in the transfer process one more time. It
is easily one of my favorite responsibilities we get here in the
mission home. Each time we sit in President Egan's office and discuss
and pray over the names the spirit is always there and deepens my
testimony of who really guides this work. With that being said, after
about 3 solid days of going at it we have completed all the transfers
for this upcoming transfer and this next week we will be building all
the travel plans for everyone going to their new areas. We have 10 new
missionaries coming in and about 18 of them leaving. So in about 2
weeks we will get to welcome in the new ones and say goodbye to the
returning ones. It is always such a fun and interesting experience.

Since I wrote a longer email the past week and due to me running out
of time this will be about it for today. I'm sorry it's so short! Next
week will be a lot better.. probably haha. Today we don't have to much
planned for P-Day, lots of errands to run but we will still make it
fun somehow! I'm grateful for all the support each of you give me. We
are continuing to see miracles here every single day in Fukuoka and I
feel so blessed to be here. I love this mission! I hope you all have a
great week!


Elder Sherrill