Tuesday, May 30, 2017

More Dendo and More Miracles!

Elder Van Alfen back for a Visit!

Elder Mizukawa has joined the Office Elders

Shrine on the way to the City

Another amazing week here in Fukuoka! This week was pretty similar to
last week in a lot of different aspects. We went on companion
exchanges with the Zone leaders from Kumamoto and Yamaguchi and it was
way fun. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures but this week Elder
Strickland and I are going to repent and take more. The Zone leaders
we have in the mission are seriously some of the best missionaries in
the church. They are all so dedicated and great at what they do, I
learn so much from them each time I go out with them.

This week we met with a man I met on companion exchanges the previous
week. We met him on Monday and he was just super kinjin! He loved the
message and said that he wanted to meet every day if possible. So we
met Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night. We set a baptismal
date for next month on the 24th and we will see how it goes! His name
is Tamashi and is just a way prepared and humble man. I'll make sure
to get a picture to show you all next week.

On companion exchanges I had lots of interesting experiences and could
tell we were definitely guided in all that we did and the places we
went. When I was with elder metekingi, a Kumamoto Zone Leader from New
Zealand, we went to a convenience store for our studies because they
have this little lounge area. When we walked in we saw this really
cool looking high school kid that looked at us and lit up. We didn't
say anything but he kept looking back at us so eventually we called
him over and talked with him for a little while. Then a couple minutes
later his girlfriend came (he was 17 and she 16) so she sat down and
joined and we taught them a whole 45 minute lesson on the spot! They
were pretty interested and we set a time to meet again on Monday night
so I'll let you know how it goes!

Our other investigator Kyousuke is doing well too, we are meeting with
him tonight as well as a couple other first time potential
investigators. The work is really moving along here in Fukuoka and for
that I'm grateful. This next week we will begin preparation for the
upcoming transfer, I can't believe how quick the time is going! We
will begin preparing for transfers again, making travel plans and have
lots of office work to do, but hopefully we will still be able to get
out and find each day! But regardless, there will always be times for
lessons to be taught so I'm grateful we have so many set up this next
week. Sorry this email might be kind of all over the place, I'm trying
to write it quick haha. I love you all! I hope everyone is enjoying
the beginning of their summer!


Elder Sherrill

View from Train Station

P-Day Cleaning!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Miracles, Miracles, and more Miracles!

This week was probably one of craziest weeks I have ever seen on my mission as far as seeing miracles go. We saw so many that Elder Strickland just got home last night, exhausted after booking it home to make it back on time and just sat in our chairs staring at eachother in unbelief at all the cool stuff we saw. I'll first give you alittle run down of the week and then try and list some of the cool miracles we saw and why exactly we think we saw them.

This past week was had companion exchanges with two sets of Zone leaders. The first one on Tuesday was with the Nagasaki ZL's and the second one on Thursday was with the Hiroshima ZL's. But before I go into that I want to talk about the first miracle we saw this week, it actually happened right after pday last week. We go to the church for an appointment we made that we honestly thought was a little sketchy. Our guy, Kyousuke shows up and little do we know he is a kinjin! (Direct translation is "golden person" but we use it to mean some one that is prepared to hear the gospel). We teach him simply what we believe, figure out some of his needs, talk about baptism and set a date for June 17th! He then comes to church the next day, loves it and
sets up times to meet for this next week. He is a 22 year old and just got out of college.

Next we had companion exchanges and we saw so many cool little experiences I don't even know where to begin. Each and every day we went out and prayed to see specific miracles and tried our best to be obedient, follow the spirit and Heavenly Father blessed us abundantly. One thing our mission president has been teaching us is the more often we pray to see specific miracles, then we have the necessary faith and act according to that faith (work hard and expect to see success), Heavenly Father will answer our prayers and bless us with the righteous desires we have. For example, yesterday elder Strickland and I had about 6 hours to proselyte, so we asked to find a highschool kid that we could teach a lesson to on the spot, and then find a college student who would could get to come to church to become friends with our other college investigators. Sure enough a couple hours into dendo, we find the coolest 15 year old kid I've ever met. Go to a nearby park, teach him the whole restoration and he wants to read the Book of Mormon and meet again. Then as we were booking it home last night we were at a stoplight and I decided to talk to this kid who was walking in the opposite direction, he stops, we talk for a few minutes and he says he is really interested in how our church is different
from others. We set up an appointment for the next day at the church (tonight) and exchanged numbers, he said he wants to come to church as well (there is our college kid!)

This past week I have seen more miracles than I thought it was possible for two missionaries to even see. And as I look back at this week I realize it was because we went out every single day and we didn't waste any time, we worked as hard as we could, talked with everyone we came in contact with,  followed the spirit, and focused solely on the work. It was probably one of the hardest weeks I've worked on my whole mission. It was such a huge testimony strengthener for me as I remembered who really is in charge of this work. I'm so thankful for my companion Elder Strickland, I have never met a missionary more focused and more dedicated in the work than he is. He constantly helps and pushes me to be the very best and I'm so grateful I get to work together with him.

I know that this work is true, part of the reason I know that is because we were clearly guided by our Heavenly Father to find so many different people this week with their own individual concerns and needs, all ready to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. In a city with almost 3 million people, we talked to lots of people every day and finding as many prepared people as we did isn't just a coincidence. As we do our best to become better missionaries, forget about ourselves and focus more on the work, Heavenly Father truly blesses us. Being a missionary here in Fukuoka at this particular time in the best mission in the world is just the most amazing experience ever. I can't put into words how much I love the mission and the people here in Japan. There are so many of them just ready and waiting for us to go find them, we just have to do our part! Quite the pressure I sometimes feel but I know we aren't alone, He always helps us.

I hope my next week and yours is as good as this one was! I love you all and thank you for your support!

Elder Sherrill

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Watch out Japan!

The Fukuoka Zone

Elder Sherrill received his License! 
I would like to start off this email with some good news and that is that I passed my driving test this past week!! I was so excited! This was my fifth time taking the test so I guess you could say it's been a work in progress haha. But anyways I passed it so now I don't have to worry about it anymore. The only thing I need to worry about now are all the crazy, narrow roads of Japan. After I passed at the DMV I drove home (about an hour drive) and that was really weird. I was really nervous to begin with and I felt kind of paranoid but after the first 30 or so minutes I kind of got back into the hang of it. Driving on the left side of the road isn't all that weird, I think the hardest thing to adjust to is the steering wheel being on the right side instead of the left. But nevertheless it's not all too different and I'm just excited I have the opportunity to drive in Japan where not many people get the chance too!

This past week flew by just like ever other week has in the mission and especially in the mission home. At the start of the week we had our MLC (Mission Leadership Council) here in Fukuoka below the temple and it went really well! Elder Strickland and I gave a training on
focusing our minds and thoughts on the Savior, Jesus Christ as well as opening our mouths to everyone. I was definitely a little nervous to give the training but I received the help I needed and the spirit was strongly present so we thought it went fairly well. This week all the Zone leaders will take it back to their zones and teach all the things taught at MLC from Kaicho, shimai, and us so I guess we won't see how good our training was until we see how well it is accepted and put into practice in the mission haha. But I have no doubt everyone will put everything we taught into good use because this mission has the best missionaries in the world!

I really am so grateful for the chance I have to serve here in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. Being here among the Japanese people is such an amazing blessing and probably one I won't fully appreciate until I leave. Serving with so many good examples and being able to devote all your time and talents to this work is unlike anything I even imagined a mission would be like. Sometimes my companion and I will talk about some things we have learned while we have been out and every time I just get more and more surprised at how much a mission helps you learn and prepares you for everything you will ever have to face afterwards. One thing that I have to come to know a lot more fully on my mission is how mindful Heavenly Father is of me individually. Everything that happens, all the trials and the success I have seen so far and will
end up experiencing I can see how they shape us into the person He wants us to become. I love my Father in Heaven and I'm so thankful I have this chance to be here and to labor with these amazing people in Japan!

One quick thing... it is Mother's Day! ... I wanted to just give a quick shout out to the most amazing mom there is! My wonderful mother, Sarah Jean Sherrill. Throughout my life I have learned more from her than from any other person I know, she is constantly trying to help me and make sure I have what I need in my life to ensure my happiness. She has taught me how to be kind, patient, caring, and always work hard. I have learned so much from her example and I just want to say how much I love her. I will always be grateful for all the sacrifices she has made for me and my brothers. A large reason I feel I was prepared to serve a mission and start serving other people was from all the many things I learned from her. I love you mom! I'm excited to talk with you soon!


Elder Sherrill

Elder Barker and Elder Dibble 

Minh from Vietnam!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Transfers and Trainings!

View from the Zoo

Hello friends and family! This week was probably the busiest I have had on the mission so far! This week we had transfers as a mission. Elder Strickland and I were able to call all the companionships in the mission (we have 194 missionaries currently) and give them there transfer calls, it was a blast! Most everyone was really excited about where they were going so it was cool to be apart of that.

As well as giving people there transfer calls this week we were able to participate in all the new missionary and returning missionary activities. It was a little over a year ago when I stepped off the plan to be in Fukuoka Japan for the first time. At that time I was able to meet President and Sister Egan for the first time and the office elders at the airport. This week, the role was switched I was able to pick up the 8 arriving missionaries at the airport! After we pick them up we take them back to the mission home, we do a little orientation or welcome to the mission training. It felt so weird being with all these new missionaries because I remembered what it felt like when I had first got to Japan.

After their orientation we had another training and this was for all the new trainers. It was technically the first training elder Strickland and I gave together and I think it went pretty good. We will be giving lots of trainings together so this was just the first of many. But I really enjoy teaching with him because I feel like we have similar teaching styles. After that training we had the opportunity to be with the returning missionaries that were going home and it was a little weird to see all these missionaries who would be home in only a matter of a few days. It was kind of cool to see the difference between new missionaries and missionaries who have finished
and become a lot more spiritually mature. This last group of missionaries that went home was actually all the sisters that came out with me to Japan! So it was kind of cool since I knew most of them. Only one elder went home in the last group but I didn't really know him all too well.

This next week we have a lot planned so I'm really excited for it! We have our Mission Leadership Conference here in a couple days and then Elder Strickland and I will begin our companion exchanges will all the Zone leaders in the mission, I'm way pumped for it! We always see so many miracles on Junkais (companion exchanges) so I'm excited to se what's in store.

That's about it for this week. There was a million and one other things that happened but that about all I have time for, I love you all! Talk to you next week!


Elder Sherrill

The Miyazaki couple!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Driving in Japan is Difficult

What a Week! This week was busy as usual and I took my driving test! A couple times actually, and I failed so far both times.. it's a pretty strict test. Working in the mission office you are required to get a Japanese drivers license since we use vehicles often to transport missionaries and go to trainings and such. Driving here is pretty intense since the roads are all so narrow and windy. It's pretty similar to Europe in the fact that you drive on the left side of the road and all the vehicles have the steering wheel on the right side of the car. It's a little tricky to get used to but it's not as difficult as you'd think it would be. I think the hardest part is just getting used to driving again after not doing so for over a year and a half! But anyways, I will pass this next week! So far in the office some elders have had to take it as many as 13 times.. there has only been 2 elders so far that have ever gotten it in their first 3 try's. Usually people pass around their 4th or 5th time so we'll see how long it takes me.

Since going to the DMV takes a lot of time all the other time we had mainly went into making and reserving travel plans for this upcoming weeks transfers. There is a lot more work involved in preparing for transfers than I had previously thought. I thought they all kind of just happened and went smoothly but come to find out there is quite a bit of preparation that goes on and we are the ones that get to do it! It has been pretty fun to learn all the new things that accompany
working in the mission home. In doing so I realize just how much effort, time, and especially money go into missionary work. It's a sobering thought to think just how far a length we will go to bring Heavenly Father's children back to him. It provides a lot more clarity to the scripture, "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God".

Just because we are so busy with office work and transfers though doesn't mean we don't make time for dendo! We are always looking for ways to share the gospel, especially since our time is so much more limited now. My current companion, Elder Strickland is the best example of "open your mouth" I have ever seen. Whether we be stopping to get a quick bite to eat, standing in line at the DMV, or even waiting outside the church for an appointment, he is always opening his mouth and talking to everyone that passes by. This last week we saw just how important that principle is as we met a man at the DMV who is from Indonesia, has been studying Christianity and wants to learn more of Christian churches and which one seems right for him, talk about a perfect find! As we were sitting down later talking to him he asked us before we even brought it up, "so would it be okay if I went to your church? Where is it at?" I wish you could have seen the look on our faces. He was probably surprised why our mouths were open in shock, because as a missionary here, you seldom ever hear something like that come out of someone's mouth as you talk to them about the church. We of course exchanged information, talked with him for a while and he and his girlfriend are coming to church this Sunday! This happened just yesterday so I attribute me failing the test and having
to come back all part of the plan Heavenly Father set up for us to meet him haha.

That about sums it up for this week! I love working here in the Japan Fukuoka Mission! Being here and working with all these amazing missionaries is such a great blessing and I am learning more than I ever imagined I would. I'm unbelievably blessed to be a missionary during this great time, there is much work to do and I'm excited to see what I can to do help be a part of it. I love you all! Have a great week and pray that I will pass my driving test this week haha.