Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Couple from France



The French Couple
Yano Shimai visiting the temple!


Heading to Zone Conferences















Hey!

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!

Love,

Elder Sherrill

Nagasaki Zone Leaders

Nice American dinner with the Zone Leaders


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

21!

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!

Love,

シェリル長老