Sunday, January 31, 2010

Single Adult, Kotoni YM volleyball game with Elders Yamashita, Lawler, Senba and Geslison
Our Sister Translation team: Sisters Uchida, Kyoda and Hansen
Sisters Exchange lunch: Sisters Saito, McReady, Nishime, Tsuji
Sisters Lunch with Sisters Hansen, Kyoda, Hosan, Ujike, Kamiya, Kaneko, Uchida
Sisters Exchange
Asahikawa Zone Conference
Missionaries in action
Sisters Uchida, Hosan, Elders Lawler, Willis
Elders Chang, Hilton, Christensen, Shurtliff
Elders Kinard, Shingaki, Tashiro, Kobayashi, Senba, Hattori

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Elder Willis, Sister Uchida, Elder Kobayashi
Elder Kinard, Elder Lawler, Elder Tashiro, Sister Hosan
Elders Shingaki, Senba, Christensen, Chang
Elders Hattori, Hilton, Shurtliff
Sisters Kamiya and Saito invited us over to their apartment for dinner. They made gyoza and au gratin. It was very good.

Obihiro Zone at their favorite restaurant -Najas. It is the only place we have found in Sapporo that serves root beer floats
Obihiro Zone Conference
Obihiro Zone lunch
Obihiro zone lunch from the other end of the table
We hosted another Single Adult activity at our house

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hakodate Zone

Elders Dadivas, Dickson, Robinson and Maeda
Missionaries receiving sewing instructions
Elder Dadivas looks confident in his sewing abilities but Elder Fetter's efforts require intense concentration
Missionaries practicing their sewing stitches
Hakodate zone lunch
The Hakodate zone put on a musical fireside for the members and investigators
Contrast in heights between our Japanese sisters and American Elders
Hakodate's view at night

Atsubetsu and Odori Zone Conference
Sister Daniels taught the missionaries sewing techniques

Sisters Kaneko, Tsuji, Hansen, Nishime, Kamiya, Saito, Ikari, Kyoda
Birthday presents for Elder Nelson, Miller, Allen, Crompton and Sister Ikari

Elder Ackerman and Clinton singing a song for the Atsubetsu and Odori Zones
The Relief Societies in Hokkaido are amazing and make lunches for the missionaries at each zone conference

Monday, January 25, 2010

More President's letter excerpts:

I learned a valuable lesson with those amazing Elders that was, as long as you are having fun, you can feel the Spirit work through you. Dendo begins to be even more exciting and nothing can hold you back. No amount of rejection can hold you down. You are able to be in tune with the spirit and when that happens, the really incredible miracles will occur. I know three peoples lives that were changed because of this experience. Missionary work is so incredible, and miracles are possible. When you have a good time you can feel the Spirit then the sky is the limit!

It was a close one! We were so shocked when she said, (15 minutes before her baptism) that her husband was all of a sudden against her getting baptized. We immediately prayed together and we called her husband. Her husband works the night shift and he miraculously answered the phone! My investigator seemed a little nervous and asked her husband if it was OK if she got baptized and he said, “What do you mean?” She said,” here let me have one of the church members explain it to you. And he said, “no, I want to hear and explanation of what baptism is and why you want to get baptized from you.” She got really quiet and then she boldly testifies and said, “This is what God wants me to do…. through baptism I am making a special promise to God to live a better life and become a better person. I know this is the right thing to do.” After she testified her husband said, “I will leave it up to you.” She shed tears of joy after she hung up the phone. She was ready and today and it was really was her time. This was God’s will and her husband’s heart was softened.

This week was amazing. We have an 11 yr. old investigator. He’s ready to get baptized but we don’t have his mom’s permission. Why we can’t and haven’t met the mom is a long story but my companion and I decided to go out and find their house and meet his mother. We did not exactly know where he lived. We just knew it was in “this area” (which did not help at all). We decided to put our prayers to the test and were determined not to give up until we found the house. To make a long detailed story short, 3 hours go by (don't worry, we were contacting as we searched), and nothing but fatigue and frustration. It was getting late so I thought about calling it off and doing something else. As we were leaving I had a strong impression to check a certain block one more time. We checked and checked but still nothing. The last impression I got was to stop and give a prayer of thanks. So we did. As soon as we finished praying, it all hit me and I understood. I understood why we were led to search the whole day where we did, why the spirit led us to this dark street with barely any houses and told me to pray. Because walking right in front of me was our 11 year old investigator, his mom and little sister. It was amazing. We contacted them and we finally met his mom. Heavenly Father truly does answer prayers. What a strength it was to my testimony. I am so thankful for it.

On our way to house while we were out caroling, I asked my new members little boys what they wanted to be when they grew up. They both immediately responded, “A Missionary.” That made my Christmas.

Christmas Day was fun but the best part of Christmas happened a few days before as we were contacting through all the snow back to the apartment after a long day. I was wondering/worrying about my missionary efforts, work and standing before God when I started singing out loud with no shame, ‘I Believe In Christ.’ At those first words the spirit entered me and I began to cry immediately. Not just watery eyes, but streams and drops of tears running down my face. I knew Christ is here, before our face and on our side if we let Him in. I love Christmas. I love Christ.

I wanted to thank you for giving us the opportunity to read the entire Book of Mormon on the second. I set myself up with 50 minute blocks, I could read 50 pages, then have 10 minutes to read over Moroni’s promise, pray and seek confirmation. I did this 10 times before I finished. Praying in gratitude for the sacrifice that all the prophets have made who came before. Feeling so insignificant compared to the scope of the sacrifice that they made. I am so grateful for the many small confirmations that tell me this book is true. This has definitely became a major stone in the foundation of my testimony of the Book of Mormon.

We proceeded to teach them and telling them our purpose after introducing the church. Again remembering your challenge, we invited them to be baptized before even starting the lesson. We explained that we want them to feel God’s love and experience the joy of it’s blessings. In order to do so, we have a message that we would like to share and to prepare you to be baptized so you can experience those blessing and love. They both agreed, we set a date and then began to teach them. Obedience and diligence really do bring about miracles.

Thanks to my learning about unity, I decided to do something for my companion each time I felt annoyed. You were right. Doing service for my companions did much more than tying to changing their behavior. It changed mine. I find myself respecting my companion and his actions more and more, being filled with love instead of irritation. Looking back, it was me all along not my comp. And that’s what the Lord wants us to figure out in the life. That’s what I learned about being one in the scriptures.

But the process of finding such a kinjin was different than finding any other investigator. Persevering while always dong what you are supposed to do will put you in contact with those Heavenly Father has prepared. I know Heavenly Father guided both us, and these people to listen and accept his message as something meaningful in their lives.

This week was a good week. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord as a missionary in this beautiful season. Jesus was born to teach us. He was born to understand our pain. He was born to die for us. I know that He is my Savior. I love Jesus. I love Christmas.

President, I love being a missionary. I’ll be honest, there are hard times but I have been able to feel God’s love so much stronger and feel that pure joy that comes with being an instrument in the Lord’s hands and bring His children back to Him.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Volleyball at ZL Council P-day
President Daniels skiing with our daughter, Kristen
Elder Dickson and Elder Dadivas made us dinner at their apartment

Sunday dinner with Sisters Ikari, Hosan, Kyoda and Uchida
Missionaries after the Kitami Branch sacrament meeting: Elders Nakama, Lawler, Suzuki, Semba and Sisters Kyoda and Ikari
Abashiri Branch is one of our most remote branches. We brought four missionaries with us to join Elders Higashi and Yoza to do a fireside and a sacrament meeting program
Fresh snow in Abashiri with Elders Higashi, Yoza, Semba and Lawler
Sisters Sato and Ujike with some of our Chinese new members and investigators

Zone Leader Council Meeting
Volleyball tournament champions at our P-day no-competition activity
Sister Kyoda and Ikari teaching a lesson to an investigator using a member team up
Another lesson by our tallest companion set: Elder Clinton and Nelson
Soup Curry lunch with Sisters Kaneko, Ikari, Kyoda and Hansen