Monday, March 29, 2010

Shannon and her friend, Sara, are visiting this week from Santa Barbara. We love having Shannon home
Basketball morning. Sister Mayama (fourth from right) finished her mission last year but missed basketball so much she came back to play with us.
APs at an ice cave we discovered on our way back from Kitami
Ice festival somewhere between Sapporo and Kitami
Kitami and Abashiri missionaries with Elder Nishihara and the Mission Presidency. Elders Kashima, Lawler, Kinard, Nakama, Senba
Elders Nakama, Kokusho and Nagata after the Kushiro fireside
Elders Jensen, Lawler and Lemme at Kushiro
Obihiro Zone with members of the Kushiro Branch. Elders Lemme, Gandy, Todd, Kinard, Kashima, Nakama, Senba, Nagata, Kokusho, Lawler and how did Elder Jensen get the middle front row seat?
Dinner with Elder Dennis and Lazenby. Elder Dennis wanted a real American meal before he returns to New Zealand this week - Bacon, Cheeseburgers was the result
Elder Takashima and Allen had a baptism this past Sunday - Ken
P-day bowling activity with Elders Lawler, Miller, Lowry, Geslison, Dennis, Fukuyasy, Senba, Lazenby, Sisters Kaneko, Imoto, Uchida, Kamiya, Kyoda, Hansen
Morning basketball and volleyball with Elders (sitting - or laying) Elders Dickson, Senba, Fukuyasu, Geslison, Standing: Sisters Kamiya, Uchida, Elders Ackerman, Lawler, Lottermoser, Thurber, Burton, Taniuchi
Tim Tam Slams with the Elders
Atsubetsu zone lunch
Atsubetsu zone: sitting Sisters Saito, Nishime, Kaneko, Imoto. Standing: Elders Miller, Taniuchi, Lowry, Dickson, Chang, Shoji, Yamashita, Sato, Clinton, Urata

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

President's letters excerpts:

The most amazing story happened Wednesday night. We had left our apartment promptly at 6:00 pm and were on our way to go find the elite. I was riding in front and my comp was right behind me. We were about half way across a street (we had a green light and a crosswalk) when out of nowhere for some reason that I don’t understand I just hit me brakes and end up falling over the front of my bike and hitting the ground. The amazing part, however was that as I had slammed on my brakes, a car flew through the intersection and passed by no further than 1 ½ feet away from my bike. I’d like to think that I have managed to spot the car in my peripheral vision and had instinctively hit the brakes, but I think that would be giving me for to much credit. The only explanation that makes any sense to me is that I was protected by some greater manifestation of parental love. You hate to think about the ‘what if’s’ in life, after a close call like that. You can’t help but wonder about what would have happened if I was hit head on by a car going 24 MPH. Part of me is afraid that I would have ended up as modern art on the pavement.

Luckily everyone in my area is very nice and they all want to give us food. I think we are probably the only area in the mission where we get more food from people we contact than from the food basket. Lots of times, people with no interest will still insist we take something they’ve grown from their garden before we leave. In fat, one lady got angry and rebuked us on her doorstep and once we got halfway down the road, chased us down to gave us some corn. We figured it was poisoned and threw it away, but that's all right because that same day we got more corn, some carrots, potatos, a watermelon. The next day we got milk straight from the cow and a fridge full of soda and juice. I obviously would much rather have them make an appointment with me, but I will also gladly accept their food.

One day this week, I was having a really, really not happy day. My patience was gone. I was cold and just not in a good mood and ready to give up for the day. I didn’t think I could keep going. So as we were walking, I was praying and I heard/felt a voice whisper to me, “Mine angels are round about you, to bear you up.” I really felt them there. All of a sudden, I felt better and happier. I know Heavenly Father really does answer our prayer and provides us with the support we need. He will never leave us alone and helpless. We never have reason to doubt or fear, because the Lord is really on our side.

I love this time of year. It is freezing and that's what is so great about it! I think my favorite dendo is in the blizzard, typhoon, sand storm (happened once in Obihiro). Because during those times is when we get to show our love to God – our ultimate love! My comp and I the other night before going to bed were talking about how good it feels to give fully of ourselves in this crazy weather. It feels so good to lay down at night after working our hardest in the cold and show our Father In Heaven our ultimate love for Him. I love Him and that love is what keeps me going! I want everyone to feel of His love everyday!

I realized that I really can teach and all my struggles were in my head. My Japanese isn’t incredible but what can I say, my English isn’t amazing either.

Over the phone my family sang Kami no do desu, in Japanese. I could not believe it and I thought I was going to cry. So I guess you could say that because of being on my mission for 2 years I have come to a much greater appreciation for my family. I guess you don’t really understand the importance of some things until you don’t have them during important times, like Christmas.

My companion and I also got talking this week on an especially cold day. We concluded if there was a mission anywhere in the world where missionaries should be allowed beards, it is this one. And since you do have the power to adjust any mission rules to fit the needs of the mission, we just thought we would ask. I’m pretty sure what the answer will be, but I figured it was worth a shot anyways.

If my mission ended now my joy would be full (not that I want it to end). My mission goal has been completed! Before my mission I didn’t make a ton of goals but I do remember 2 goals. Number 1. Baptize a young boy who will grow up to serve a mission and be married in the temple. 2. Baptize/convert a family. With the baptism of the kids, we not only baptized one kid but 2 kids who will serve missions and be married in the temple. With the kids going to church and wanting to be baptizes the mother was reactivated! Now they are a happy little family!!! It felt good to get wet again! The most gratifying part was when both of the kids got out of the water and said, “Wow I feel so so warm! What is this feeling?” They later identified it when they bore testimony that they felt Gods love.

I want to thank you for the opportunity to cleanse the apt., enjoy the culture and finally cleanse my self. That's exactly how I felt! Saturday was the best day in my opinion. I truly felt that day. What did I feel? I felt the physical effects that come from fasting for 24 hours. I felt the physical effects that come from reading and sitting for 13 hours. But, that was not felt by the spirit, only by the body. What was felt by the spirit was something much more. I felt the spirit over power the body. I felt the testimony of prophets. I felt the truth of the Book of Mormon. I felt the Spirit!!! I can say without doubt the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I have always known that and I will never deny it!

I got the feeling that morning to make a new tango ring and while sitting there waiting for someone to sit next to me, I decided to study tango. A young man sat next to me and I got the idea to ask the person how to use the word I was studying in a sentence. I was surprised when they started teaching me Japanese and really started explaining when and how to use the word. I really learned a lot of new things and then that made it really easy to start going into the contact. I was definitely able to feel the Lords help in preparing me for that experience and I really gained al lot of confidence with talking to people. I was also was able to learn new things with Japanese, and I know my Japanese improved. Wow, the Lord really does work in amazing and mysterious ways. It is a lot of fun seeing His had in dendo.

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.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dinner with all of the missionaries who had recently invited us to their apartments for dinner
Single Adult FHE at the Mission Home
Elder Fetters and Kobayashi made meat loaf, mashed potatoes, a wonderful salad, and brownies with chocolate sauce for us after the Muroran meetings. It was one of the best meals we have had with our missionaries
The famous Muroran light house with Sisters Kyoda, Hansen, Kamiya, Uchida and Elders Fetters, Kobayashi
We brought four of our Sisters to do a musical Sacrament Meeting at Muroran
Elder Lottermoser and Ackerman invited us (Daniels, McCreadys, and APs) to their apartment for a mexican dinner
A very sad sayonara to Elder Yoza. Sitting: Elder Lawler, Taniuchi, Yoza, Senba. Standing: Elder Dickson, Geslison, Fukuyasu
Elder Yoza's last dinner in Sapporo at a Sushi bar.
Asahikawa Zone lunch
The winning bowling team of Elder Christensen, Sister Ujike and Memu
Elders Takeda, Hilton, Lawler, and Shingaki
Elders Willis, Hattori, Tateishi, Shurtliff
Sister Tsuji, Elder Tashiro, Kotomi and Brother Hotta.
Bowling with the Asahikawa Zone: Elder Senba, Brother Sato, Sister Hosan and Elder Crompton
Lunch with one of our returned missionaries, Elder Koyama, who came back to Sapporo to visit.
Odori Zone luncheon
Dinner with Sister Imoto, Kaneko, The Iwayamas, and Sister Kaneko's grandparents who live in Sapporo
Single Adult Activity at the house

Friday, March 12, 2010

Picture taken from our car as we were returning to Sapporo from Hakodate. It is about a five hour drive.
Elders Maeda, Senba and Kobayashi
Elders Butler, Robinson, Lawler and SuzukiSisters Area, Kawachi and Elders Fetters and Dadivas
Sister Fry: Would you prefer your son eating cake and milkshakes for lunch or live squid?
Elder Butler and Christensen trying out the small portions at the missionaries favorite restaurant in Hakodate - Lucky Pierott
Team up lesson with Sisters Kawachi and Arae
P day activity with the Hakodate zone
The Great Dalmutti card game provided the entertainment for part of p-day
Bowling with Elders Senba, Lawler, Dadivas and Maeda
P-day volleyball at the Kotoni church
Single Adult activity at the Shin Kotoni church with Elders Lowry, Miller and Sisters Imoto and Kaneko
Flat Stanley from Springville, Utah paid a visit to the Hokkaido Shrine
Early morning basketball with Elders Fukuyasy, Lowry, Senba, Miller, Lawler Geslison and Sisters Imoto and Kaneko
The Kotoni Sisters - Kamiya and Uchida - invited us and the McCreadys over for a home-cooked meal. It was one of the best meals we have had in Sapporo.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tim Tam Slams with the mission home staff
Elders Senba and Lawler have been feeling left out from the Sister's sleep overs at the Mission Home. They got in their pajamas, brought their pillows, and argued that it was their turn. They did get to do tim tam slams before being sent back to their apartment.
We invited some of our friends who work at one of our favorite restaurants (Cuchina) for an American home cooked meal. They also attended the Janice Kapp Perry concert on Friday with us.
Snow removal crew
ZL/DL Council