Monday, March 27, 2017

New Transfer, New Hope

As much fun as all my previous companions have been, I always love starting off a new transfer. Each transfer is a six week cycle and with it comes lots of new experiences and opportunities to better ourselves. This transfer there was lots of change to our zone and our apartment and for that I am excited! I love my new companion, Elder Woodhouse. He is one of the most humble and spiritually sensitive elders I have met. My new Zone Leader companion Elder Barker is a stud, he is a little older than me Mission wise so I'm excited to work with another experienced leader and learn lots from him as well.

As usual for us down here in Okinawa this first week we get to fly up to Fukuoka for our M.L.C. (Mission Leadership Council). I get really excited every transfer for the opportunity we have to learn from other mission leaders as well as our Mission President and his wife. This transfer I feel like there will be a large focus on proselyting  and different effective ways to do it, so Elder Barker and I have come up with lots of fun ideas for our Zone to make sure we are using our talents as we share the gospel. We are both really pumped for this transfer! 

Since we have to catch an early flight out of Naha up to Fukuoka I'm going to make this email rather short, but before I end I wanted to talk about a recent project I have started with the Book of Mormon. I have heard this idea from other missionaries, mission leaders, and even some church leaders but it wasn't until recently I decided to begin. Basically what it is, is you have a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon and you begin reading it with a Christ-like attribute in mind. I chose charity and what you do is read the Book of Mormon and underline/highlight anything you think has to do with charity. With the intention obviously to learn from the scriptures how to be more charitable. So far it has been so amazing to study the Book of Mormon like this. Not only are we reading it together as an apartment but I'm also reading it for a while in personal study and so lately I have been getting at least a solid hour of Book of Mormon study a day! The more I read it the more I just don't want to put it down. I know for a fact that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, I love reading it. 

That's about it for this week! My commitment for this week will be the same as President Monson's a few years back, "if you haven't read the Book of Mormon, read it". I love you guys! 


Elder Sherrill 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Another 6 Weeks in Okinawa!

                            The non beach side of Okinawa

Mizukawa 長老 the birthday boy!
                  Elder Conders last eikaiwa!

Elder Sherrill and Nakama

We received our transfer calls and I am staying! I am so excited to stay here in Okinawa. There are lots of changes going on in the zone too so I'm excited for the whole change our zone will make. My new actual companion is Elder Woodhouse, I know nothing about him but he is a pretty young missionary so I'm excited to meet him and work with him. Since my Zone Leader companion will be going home, I am getting a new Zone Leader companion and that is Elder Barker!! None of you know who he is, but he is one of my good mission friends who actually served with me for a couple transfers up in Hiroshima! I'll be training him as a Zone Leader since it will be his first transfer as one, however I am expecting to learn a lot from him in return because he is a stud of a missionary! On top of being Zone Leader this next transfer I will also be the District Leader which will be pretty fun, so I'll keep you updated on how that goes haha.

This last week was pretty good and we had lots of stuff going on. I probably won't make this email too long though because we have a lot planned since it is Elder Conder' s last P-Day in the mission and he wants to go out with a really fun day. Today we have a game of golf and a really cool hike planned. But anyways, onto what actually happened this last week!

To begin the week off we went out to a really far area to do LARC Adventures again. However this time we just biked out there because Elder Foust (Senior missionary) wasn't in town. The day went really well, we were able to meet a couple less actives and members that don't get visited very often. The ride back home had a little unexpected turn though.. about 2 minutes into our solid 45 minute ride I hear a loud pop and my bike makes some bad noises. I look down at my rear bike tire and my derailer (the thing that shifts the gears) had hit the spokes on my rim somehow, and with the speed of my spokes hitting it, ripped my whole derailer off of my bike. So yeah, not very good haha. I got a good picture right afterwards that shows just how long it took to get home (2 hour walk with some strategic coasting down hills). 

Later on in the week we had lots of other things pop up but I don't have to much time left. This week was really good though and I am really excited for this next transfer. I think all the changes will be really good for everyone and for our investigators. I'll be sure to report more about it next week. :)  I love you guys! Sorry it is so short, have a wonderful week!

Elder Sherrill

                     The missionary hobbits

Monday, March 13, 2017

Loving Life in Beautiful Okinawa

This past week FLEW by! It seemed like one of the fastest weeks of my mission. It was filled with so many experiences I'm not sure how I managed to pack it into just one week. Since we just recently became a three man companionship it was a little interesting as the week began but we sure had a lot of fun! I love the other two elders I am with and since I already know them it wasn't to awkward joining their companionship. Plus, joining with another companionship makes both of your teaching pools become one so you teach a lot more which is always a bonus! Teaching lessons is what being a missionary is all about, I wish I could just teach lessons back to back all day, every day. But until then, we still have good ol' proselyting which is always a great time because of all the wonderful and interesting people you meet.

To begin the week we had splits with some other missionaries in a neighboring area and I had the chance to go with two great elders, Elder Roncal and Elder Mizukawa. During our split we taught 2 lessons to a couple of new investigators and it was just so cool to teach together and feel the spirit testify as we taught simple truths of the gospel. One of the new investigators we passed over to the sisters but the other two we kept so I'll keep you all updated on them! Their names are Sachiko and Takuya, they are a mom and a son and way prepared.

The next day I went to a lesson with the other elders investigator and we did half lesson and half pottery! Their investigator is a way experienced pottery maker and is letting us make cups/plates and letting us paint them! They won't be finished until next week but I'll be sure to show you how they turn out. 

The next big thing we did was LARC Adventures! To begin I'll explain what "LARC" is, it is an acronym for "Less Active, Recent Converts". So in other words, members that don't come to church and members that just joined the church. In our Okinawa ward we have a huge list of Less actives we are trying to contact and lots of them live far away. So what we do is something called LARC adventures, where we have Elder Foust (senior missionary with a car) drive us out to a far area early in the morning. We spend the whole day contacting all the LARC's in the area and dendo with what remaining time we have left. Then he picks us up late at night to return home. This time we had about 17 LARC's split between 2 companionships and there was an island we had to take a ferry to because a couple members lived there so I have some way cool pictures from that! Also, while we were on this small island we went to the only restaurant they had there and asked the lady if we could sign the wall and she said yes! So now our names will always be there haha. The name of the island is Tsuken island, I'll send you an aerial photo to help you see just how small and remote it is. 

Later in the week we had some more time to dendo (proselyte) which was really good. On Saturday we played soccer with some of the Japanese youth and one of our investigators who is 19 and I almost broke my ankle so that was kind of scary; I couldn't walk on it for the rest of the day but thankfully it has healed some and the swelling has been going down so I think I will be okay. The next day on Sunday the weather was absolutely perfect and our ward mission leader invited us over for dinner and it was the coolest thing! He lives right by the beach so he took us there really quick before going to his home and it was just gorgeous. I have some pictures so you guys can see too!

While we were at his home we decided to share the new First Vision video the church came out with. I'm not sure if any of you have seen it or not but it is incredible. It simply, yet powerfully portrays Joseph Smith's experience he had in the sacred grove as he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. Seeing the video was just another testimony to me that his experience and vision was real. I know Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw and because of that we have this wonderful restored gospel to enjoy and work in until the time our Savior comes to us again in full glory and power. I would like to invite you guys to watch the video if you haven't seen it before, I'll add the link below. Other than that, that was about it for this week. Obviously there were tons of other things that happened but that's all I have time to share. I love you all, have a great week! 

Love, Elder Sherrill 

New First Vision Video (Ask of God) -

Monday, March 6, 2017

What a Week!

Elder Whiting Conference

This week was truly one of the most interesting weeks of my mission. It was so busy and so many things happened that I don't know if I will have enough time to explain it all, but I will do my best! I am going to go day by day that way it makes it a little more organized and easier for me to write. 

Monday - We of course had our P-Day which was a good time but it was cut a little short because we had to catch a plane up to Fukuoka for a meeting the next day. We hung out in Naha (Southern Okinawa where the airport is) for a few hours and hit up a couple shops so that was pretty fun. 

Tuesday - We woke up in Fukuoka and since our meeting wasn't until the afternoon Elder Conder and I went out to proselyte. We handed out 2 Book of Mormons in the hour or so we had and talked to some way cool people. This one guy we met was actually living in Las Vegas as an entrepreneur opening up his own Karaoke bar but was back in Fukuoka to get some business ideas. His English was way good and he said he'd give the Book of Mormon a read and contact the missionaries in Las Vegas! After that we went back to the mission home to have our special MLC (Mission Leadership Council). About 30 missionaries from the mission come together to participate in a training given by Elder Whiting of the Quorum of the 70. I wasn't really sure what to expect going into the meeting. I honestly was a bit nervous on what exactly he would talk about. As we began the meeting though I felt the spirit rush into the room and the subsequent two hours was one of the best trainings I have ever received, ever. He shared many experiences and taught us much from the scriptures but the most impactful thing I think was just how he taught us. He taught a whole group so simply and made it such a discussion guided by the spirit that it was so easy to feel comfortable in. Out of all the lessons I have ever participated in, his lesson and the way he taught reflected the Savior more than I have ever experienced before and it was just simply amazing. After the meeting we flew back home because the Elder Whiting mission tour was beginning in our area the following day.

Wednesday - All of the missionaries in Okinawa (about 50) all came together to our church building for the Mission Conference we would be having with Elder Whiting. His training in some ways was very similar to the previous day, but most of the stuff he said was completely different. He said he didn't come with written or prepared talks, all he said he came prepared with was the attitude of helping our mission. Through all of his Council and example he did just that. Anyways, it was just an absolutely amazing training and I was so happy he had the chance to come teach us all. The conference ended up taking most of the day, however we did have about 5 or so hours afterwards so we went on companion exchanges with some elders that were down on one of the remote islands (Miyako) because their flight back home wasn't until the next day. I went with one elder and we had a blast! We found a new investigator and had a great time together. 

Thursday - The day started off normal but then got more interesting later on. To explain I kind of have to give a little backstory. So last week this tall Japanese lady and this shorter young Mexican girl came to our church. At first they just asked to use the restroom so we let them and then they said they wanted a tour of the church since they had seen it so often. So we did that and quickly found out that they were apart of some Christian church north of us. And the main reason they came was to argue with us about our beliefs and try to "prove" to us that we are wrong. They had looked up and researched lots of anti Mormon material and just tried to argue with us. So we politely asked them to leave and thought that would be the end of that. But then they randomly showed up to church while we were there planning and so we taught them a lesson. It went a lot better than I thought it would and we were able to give out a couple Book of Mormons to them.

Friday - We had companion exchanges again but with different elders. This time I went with a pretty young missionary and we found a new investigator! As well as met with this really nice lady at night and she almost became a new investigator but wanted to "study on her own" for a little bit. But she had some real potential so I am excited to go back and see what she thought of the Book of Mormon. 

Saturday - This day was supposed to be another companion exchange with another district leader in our zone but we got a call early in the morning that a member from Taiwan who was visiting Japan had a heart attack that morning. So we went to Naha with a senior missionary and did translating at the hospital and gave him a priesthood blessing. It was one of the most sobering experiences I have had on my mission. The man who had a heart attack was relatively young (45) and had 2 young children (3 and 6). He was in fairly good health and the doctors had no idea why he had it. While we were at the hospital in the ICU room seeing this man on life support it reminded me just how quickly things can change in our life and why we must always be thankful for the simple blessings we enjoy each day. It was amazing to also see the faith of his wife as she made sure before the doctor did anything he would receive a priesthood blessing first. Overall it was a pretty difficult day to see all that and to see how torn their family was over this incident. It makes me wonder how some people or families survive through difficult experiences as this without the knowledge of the plan of salvation, which tells us that we can be with our families forever, even after death. 

Sunday - I guess this day was pretty normal comparative to others. It was nice to go to church and soak in the sweet spirit that accompanies it. Sunday is always one of my most looked forward to days. We have the opportunity to go to both the Japanese and American sacrament meeting so we get double to amount of awesome talks and lessons. It really does help prepare me for the next week and help me reflect on the past week and what I did good or not so good and how I can improve. 

That was about it though for my week! Sorry this email is so long, it probably sounds like lots of rambling on so ごめん!  Another thing that kind of happened this week is my companion will be returning home this Tuesday. So that means I will go into a three person companionship with the others in my apartment. It will make the last couple weeks of this transfer interesting but I'm excited for the experience we will get to have together! Im so thankful for the knowledge I have of the gospel and the peace in brings to my heart on things I know are out of my control. To end I would like to share one of my all time favorite scriptures, it is found in Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God...". As we trust, rely, and love Him and do all that we can then everything will work out. I love you all! Have a fun week and remember all the small blessings! 


Elder Sherrill