Monday, December 30, 2013

And So Begins the Last Chapter...


This is Shinji. (See picture) He got baptized yesterday, but the person who was going to perform the baptism wasn't there. Sister Brady turned to my companion and I and said, "One of you will have to do it." I was like, "I'll do it." So I got to baptize Shinji yesterday! It was so awesome!

I told you guys about our Christmas day and how awesome it was. We were able to visit a less-active named Shams before he went back to Iran. We went to Sakae and did caroling dendo with Sister Brady, Sister Kartchner, and the Gokiso missionaries. We sang Christmas songs and talked to a lot of people. It was a ton of fun and we definitely got our name out. The Sisters found an investigator too. After that we hit Outback Steakhouse for Christmas dinner. Good day.

We got a transfer call on Saturday and found out I'm transferring. I kind of saw it coming, but I'm still sad to say goodbye to Fukutoku. I am looking forward to going to Shizuoka for my last transfer, though. I will be Zone Leader with Elder Takabori, a Japanese Elder from Jersey. He's fluent in Japanese, but has a Jersey accent because he lived there for a long time. I think Elder Takabori and I will get along great, work hard, and have fun. I was in Shizuoka ken this time last year so it will be just like old times.

This week we were able to get a new investigator. Shinji was baptized and we set an appointment with his older brother Rean who has met with missionaries in the Philippines before. He has a lot of good potential and his mom already wants him to get baptized really bad.

It was a good week. We made the rounds on the people I wanted to say goodbye to and had a good last supper at a member's house last night.

That's all for now.

Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Sunday, December 22, 2013

How to Kill a Zone


So we had a Zone Conference and the AP was incubating an Alien Baby called influenza. Then it struck us all on Friday. Literally the whole Zone was down. I was sick this past week as well, but I'm fine now. In other news, I lost 5 lbs.

We had the Zone Conference and we were sick, so unfortunately we weren't able to work as hard as we wanted to this week. We were able to do a companionship exchange with the Ichinomiya Elders on Wednesday and Thursday. Elder Ahuna and I went to teach an investigator named Komori-san. He has a lot of potential to progress, he just has a difficult time gripping onto one idea and going with it. He likes a lot of various religious beliefs and he hasn't prayed about which one is true. He is really nice to the missionaries and likes meeting with them. He tries to understand all the missionaries teach as well, so that's good.

We also did a kokan with the Ogaki Elders. I was able to do Shamoto-san's interview to be bapized and he passed! Unfortunately we will have to do it again because he wasn't able to be baptized on Sunday because he had to go to work all of a sudden.

We were able to have a really good lesson with Shirakawa and Naoko this week. We talked about Alma the Elder and his conversion. We read from the Book of Mormon about the people at the waters of Mormon. Naoko had to leave in the middle of the lesson, but she said she will try to quit smoking. But, we were able to commit Shirakawa to be baptized on Jan. 19th!

Well that's all I want to type now. See you on Wednesday!


Elder Sanderson

PS that sounds like I'm going home this week, but I'm not ok?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

We Wish You a Merry Christmas and a Case of Pink Eye


We had a slower week this week. Some time management issues and unplanned things popped up a lot. Things started off well, though. We had appointments on Monday and Tuesday. Monday night was fun because we visited Ayumi's ,one of the Sister's investigators, family. We were able to have a good time with her parents and calm some of their fears about her being baptized. Then on Saturday Ayumi talked to her parents about being baptized and they said that she can make her own choice and they won't kick her out of the house! She can be baptized.

On Tuesday night my companion and I were able to do a companionship split with members so we could cover two appointments. My companion and a member taught Jessyka's boyfriend and I went with our ward mission leader to do service.

On Thursday we taught Ryu-san about the Restoration. It was a great lesson and she had read the pamphlet, so she grasped everything quickly. She took a Book of Mormon and said she would read it. Due to her age and mobility problems, however, she said she can't meet us. We told her that we would stop by again with a friend later. She isn't an investigator right now, but we hope to get to teach her again.

On Thursday and Friday we had a companion exchange with the Inuyama Elders. I had a really good talk with Elder Benzon about how he can be an effective District leader. He felt that he had come to a good point with Japanese and missionary skills, but he wanted advice on how to apply it for the rest of his mission.

Our weekend was kind of a flop. My companion was sick on Saturday, so we were only able to go to the ward Christmas party. Then on Sunday I woke up with pink eye and had to go get medicine with a member. We had to stay inside all day, so I didn't infect northern Nagoya with a plague. We were able, however, to go to the Christmas Devotional and my testimony of the love of God and the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ was strengthened.

Their were some troubles with the investigators in Gokiso this week, so they ended up not getting baptized. And I wasn't able to go anyway. They will, however, be baptized next week, so here goes round two! I'm still praying for them.

On a more positive note, we get to Skype next week! My companion and I will do it on our Dec 26th, so it will be Christmas there. I can do it at 10 or 11 am, so it will be 6 or 7 pm. We still have another pday before then, but let's figure it out soon. That's all.

Good night and good luck,

Elder Sanderson

Monday, December 9, 2013

This message is brought to you by iPhone


I'm emailing on Sister Hall's iPhone. Technology!

We'll another great week in the rear view mirror. We were able to get a new investigator this week. We tried hard to get a new investigator everyday. We weren't able to get one everyday, but we got a lot of potential investigators. We found Ryu san through housing during a companion exchange with the Gifu Elders. Ryu san is an eighty-year-old, Chinese Christian woman who met missionaries in Taiwan about thirty years ago. She could have even bumped into Mom. Ryu san speaks perfect English, so communication is no problem. We spent about thirty minutes at her door and talked to her about various things in the Gospel such as the afterlife, Christ's ministry, etc. We were able to set an appointment with her for this Thursday.

We had some good progress with a less-active member named Uchu kun. He's twenty-two years old and loves studying English, but he has a hard time wanting to go to church. We went out to eat with him and Kai-san, a PI, on Monday night and Uchu kun was dendo-ing Kai really boldly. Uchu was asking him questions about what Kai thinks about religion and God and things like that. It really got Kai thinking. Then on Friday night Elder Doll and I went to eat ramen with Uchu kun. We got to talking and he said he still wasn't sure if the church is true. We talked about prayer and the Book of Mormon being the evidence of the truth of the Church. He said he would read the Book of Mormon.

In other news two more investigators I taught in Gokiso are getting baptized this Sunday and I may get to baptize one of them! Soooo stoked!

Anyway gotta go love you!


Elder Sanderson 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Jupiter! Two Baptisms!

Hey there, all you happy people!

This week was fantastic. Quite possibly the best week of my entire mission so far. We had a lesson with Matias at the McDonald's again. We were a little more bold with him this time, but it helped us let him know his own role in learning the Gospel. We got to visit a less-active we haven't visited in awhile named Shams. He's a funny guy from Iran. We were able to help him with some translation for his resume and we set another appointment for this week.

We visited the Hall family this week and we talked about their friends who they want to invite to hear the Gospel. We wrote down a list of eleven people then immediately visited them together. We sang a Christmas song and then invited them to the Christmas party. It was cool to see the people we visited light up when we sang a song and talked with them.

This week we were able to go to two baptisms. The bishop's daughter was baptized on Wednesday night and a bunch of the Sisters' investigators came. Little Ayaka-chan was so cute. So then on Friday my boy Wei Jing Xuan in Gokiso gets dunked! I walked into the church before the service and I almost tackled him. He has such a sick testimony! He was talking about how he didn't know how to overcome difficulty in his life until he met Elder Ludlow and I on the street. He began to elaborate on how he knows his life with change, but it's for the better. I was talking to him afterward and told him how Elder Ludlow and I were studying one day and I was falling asleep, so we went to go get ice cream at the convenience store. On the way home from buying ice cream we ran into Wei. Boom. I am so humbled and thankful to be a part of the salvation of another one of Heavenly Father's children.

A former investigator in Fukutoku named Makino-san was able to come to the Wei's baptism as well. We are getting to be good friends with him and we're currently trying to get him back into the investigator pool. On Saturday we did service together and had some fun at a ward barbecue, then later that night we got on top of our apartment (completely permissible, don't worry) and looked at Jupiter and her four moons with Makino-san's telescope. You could see Jupiter's rings! It was mind-blowing. A member, Tsuzuku Kyodai, also hung out with us and was really good at fellowshipping Makino-san.

Last night we visited a member family named the Hisakas. I looooooove members. The Hisakas are way nice and we were able to help their thirteen-year-old son know how he can gain his own testimony. We challenged him to read the Book of Mormon everyday and then next month during Testimony Meeting bear his testimony. He said he would. It was a pretty heavy, Spiritual moment for me. Not sure why. But I think his parents will help him and talk with him. He'll be fine.

That's kind of the news this week. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey there. It's weird to say I'm 21 years old now.

This week was great. A less-active member, Jessyka, came to church yesterday and she brought her boyfriend, Wellington, who is an investigator. They came to see Jessyka's kids in the primary program in Sacrament meeting and Jessyka's daughter translated the meeting into Portuguese for Wellington. Two other less-active sisters came to Sacrament as well. We have been visiting them a lot recently and they showed us a notebook that they have had since 2007 recording their church attendance and visits from missionaries or members. They have been really diligent with it, and I think they ended up encouraging themselves to come to church with it.

It was a good turn out at the birthday party.
We had a really good lesson with Wellington this week. We talked about Christ and Repentance and had Jessyka share what she felt about repentance. Then my companion, inspired as usual, asked what Wellington thinks. He shared some really good comments and we were also able to ask him to say the closing prayer before we left. Wellington was nervous, but we encouraged Jessyka to help him. He is progressing well.

This week we were able to meet up with Matias at the McDonald's again. We actually ran into him a lot this week. The first time was at Nagoya station during transfers, then at the mall two days later. We were able to say hello to him and each time we ran into each other, he was happier to see us. We talked about various things and we have a pretty good relationship to start a real good teaching/learning experience. We have another appointment at the McD's on Tuesday.

This week we were able to meet a lot of member and less-actives. We also did some finding at Nagoya Castle park yesterday. It seems right now we have about 10+ PIs, but we're just working on getting them into the investigator pool now. It's a little bit of a test of patience, but we're working on it.

I really enjoyed the mission conference with Elder Evans this week. We had some missionaries from other areas stay with us the night before, so that was fun too. At the conference I learned a lot about what I need to do as a missionary in order to endure to the end of my mission. I felt the Spirit tell me that I need to have faith and not fear.

Sweet Birthday glasses
I had an awesome birthday on Wednesday! We had a pretty successful day of dendo and then we were getting ready to go to the church for a planning meeting with the Sisters before English class. I heard an Elder's voice outside the window. When I looked out I saw the Matsumoto Elders there, too. I thought they were way early because they said they couldn't come until late that evening. I jumped out on the balcony/veranda and told them to come up to the apartment. It turns out there wasn't any planning meeting at all, they were just going to the church to surprise me. I kind of spoiled the surprise party, but it was still a surprise to see them early. And ELDER PERKINS came over!!!! It was soooo good to see him. I haven't seen him in a while. Anyway, we went to the church and the Sisters made us tacos and a cake. Then we had a party at English class, too. I ate four different birthday cakes in one day and we still have some in our fridge. It was such a sick birthday. My companion was bummed the surprise didn't work out, but I love him for making my birthday awesome.

American Thanksgiving in Japan made by a Canadian
Have you ever had an American Thanksgiving in Japan made by a Canadian? I have. Brother Hall got crazy with the Costco goods and made a delicious turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Holy crap, it was good. I had three plates of food before I even started eating. People were making fun of me, but I showed 'em how it's done.

That was our week. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

PS I call the one with Elder Perkins and I "Sugar and Spice"

Sunday, November 17, 2013

See Ya Later Transfer 14!

Hey there, erbody!

We were able to crack down and really get to work this week and it paid off. Brother Hall gave us some Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa so we started doing Hot Cocoa Dendo. We hadn't met with Shirakawa and Naoko in a while, so we took some hot cocoa to their apartment and left a note for them. A few hours later Shirakawa called us and said he was drinking the hot cocoa and he was really thankful. We were able to set up an appointment for the next day at the Mister Donuts. When we met the next day Naoko asked us how much a Book of Mormon was. We were like, "They're free! Have one!" and gave them each a Book of Mormon. We were then able to talk about Christ's ministry and baptism. The lesson went great and we were able to share Ether 12:27 which ended up really helping Shirakawa -san.

On Friday we went down to Sakae to street contact some people. At first my companion and I were a little timid about talking to people, but we finally got into our groove so we could talk to people more naturally. After that our conversations more naturally turned to the Gospel. We got some awesome contacts on the street and then when it got later we decided to ride the Meijo Line on the subway because it runs in a loop. As we were getting on the train, we met three Vietnamese people who couldn't speak Japanese who were trying to get to the airport. We stopped a man and asked him how to get to the airport and he was going through Kanayama station, which is on the way to the airport. My companion was able to talk to him about what we do as missionaries and I was able to talk to the Vietnamese people. The Japanese man spoke some English, so he was able to help the Vietnamese people get to the train that would take them to the airport.

We started talking to basically everyone we could and an older man came up to us and asked us if we were Mormon missionaries. We of course told him we were and then began talking to him. He had to get off the train before us, but we were able to give him a pamphlet. We talked to a lot more people and got some good PIs.

On Saturday night, we had a dinner appointment with the Kashima family. They told us that they invited the Mizutas, another member family, over along with one of their non-member friends named Kasugai-san. Kasugai-san is the insurance salesman of three different families in our ward, but he is also their good friend. We had a great time talking with the members and becoming friends with Kasugai-san. Towards the end of our visit, Kashima Shimai asked Kasugai-san if it would be okay if we shared a message and he said it was ok. We shared a message from the Book of Mormon about families and he was pretty impressed. Then he started asking questions and all the members started answering his questions perfectly. Kasugai-san said that he thinks religion is important and then Mizuta Shimai asked what he thought about meeting with the missionaries to learn about the church. He said it sounds interesting and set up a meeting with us! We have an appointment next week and he is coming to our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.

Thanks for the birthday package! I got it yesterday. Those soups are gonna be nice for the cold weather these days. I was pretty stoked about the Japan Nagoya tie tack too.

So another round of transfers has flown by. Things here in Fukutoku didn't change too much. Elder Wilcox and I are still companions and Sister Brady and Sister Kartchner are still kickin' it. We are getting two more Sisters as well. Sister Smith and Sister Avarell. That makes us six here in Fukutoku and our district is ten people with the Ichinomiya missionaries included.

We have an all mission conference this week with Elder Evans of the Seventy. So that will be cool. Well that's what's up. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

88 Purple Baseballs

Hello! This week went by really fast.

So Fukutoku now needs a Portuguese-speaking missionary. A less-active member's boyfriend, Wellington, became an investigator and he only speaks Portuguese. We can do lessons with the less-active member translating for us, but we had a companion exchange with Elder Doll this past week so he could teach him in Portuguese. Wellington is very prepared for the Gospel and he said he wants to come to church. I know a handful of Portuguese words and phrases, but I haven't studied it that much.

In other news, we were able to meet with Mattias this week. We had a great talk about agency and the nature of God. He is from France, but his parents are Muslim. He doesn't know the true nature of God, but has a lot of interest to learn. It will be interesting teaching him because he doesn't want to feel forced to do anything. His progress in the Gospel will come from his desire to live it. It is mine and my companion's job to teach Mattias in such a way that he desires to live the Gospel.

On Saturday we went to an orphanage and played soccer with all the boys there. It was way fun, but there were wee tots everywhere. I'm like three times their size, so I had to be careful not to plow them over as I was running up the field. That afternoon we helped clean up Brother Hall's junkyard. We had to lift up an engine block with nothing but our man-strength. It took four of us and Brother Hall was saying that we can get that hernia we've always dreamed of. It was a good time. We also got to play softball at a stake softball activity that night. So it turns out I really like playing sports.

It's a short one this week, but that's the highlights. Looking forward to another good week. Hope you all have a good one too. Love ya.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, November 4, 2013

We Didn't Start the Fire

That was the first thing that popped into my head^

Well, hello!

Let's get crackin'! We got two new investigators this week! Last week Elder Wakamatsu and I were on a companionship exchange here in Fukutoku and we met a Vietnamese man named Sohn in front of the Mister Donuts near our apartment. I could tell he wasn't Japanese as I went up to talk to him. We talked for a bit and exchanged phone numbers, then this Friday my companion and I called him and set up a meeting for this Wednesday. He will probably bring a friend, so we may get another investigator as well.

The other new investigator is Mattias from France. He speaks English really well, though. The Gifu Elders stopped at the McDonald's at Nagoya Station one day and met Mattias there. Mattias told them that he wants to meet the missionaries, but he lives in our area so he was referred to us. We set up an appointment for this Thursday at the Mac Shack. :)

We were able to meet with Lumbe on Saturday with a member, Brother Hall. (Remember the Brother Hall I helped in Kasugai? He lives in Fukutoku ward.) Brother Hall was being super friendly and testifying of the Gospel powerfully, so the lesson went great! We talked about Alma 32 with Lumbe and committed him to experiment on what we say. We commended him for his own righteous beliefs and faith in Christ and also give our words a test. Lumbe seems to be looking forward to the next time we meet and so are we.

We met with Chen at the Mister Donuts on Friday for a lesson. Mister Donuts is magic; we don't spend a lot of time there, but we get a good number of contacts. Anyway, Chen was kind of scatter-brained with all of the things he wants to talk about, but he told us that he wants to know what the big deal is about Christianity. We were able to talk a little bit about Jesus Christ, but we didn't have enough much time to cover a lot of stuff. His work schedule is busy, so he doesn't know if he can meet this week but we're going to try to get in touch with him later this week.

I went on a companion exchange here in Fukutoku with Elder Jones on Thursday. We visited a less-active member named Shams from Iran. He goes on for a long time how he doesn't like Japan and he wants to go to America so bad, but visa issues are standing in the way. He likes to talk a lot so we were there longer than we planned to be, but Elder Jones was really nice to him and helped us strengthen our relationship with Shams.

We got to help Brother Hall at his junkyard this week. We packed a shipping crate full of Skyline parts and the front end of an old Mini Cooper. We actually got to tear apart the Mini and cut off the front end. It was super fun! We also had an awesome Halloween party with the ward. The four of us missionaries made a photo booth (it was mostly Sister Brady, but we helped) and it came out way good. I went to the party a 1920s Gangster and I was yellin' at people in my Jersey accent to get their picture taken. I think I scared some girls because I was just barking at em in loud, difficult English, but it was way fun. The young men brought their airsoft gear and it made me want to play airsoft so bad. Check out the pics.

On another note, I read something interesting in the Liahona this week. It said the more specific you are with your prayers, then the easier it is to recognize Heavenly Father's blessings in your life. So now I am trying to be more specific as to what I pray for so I can be more thankful. I am also trying to stoke my dendo fire so I can work hard.

Well that's this week. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Sunday, October 27, 2013



Kid at Heart
We got two new investigators this week. When Elder Wilcox was on a kokan with Elder Ahuna a man named Shirakawa san was riding toward them on his bike and he said, "Seisho no kata desu ka?" (Are you a Bible person?) They stopped and talked to him and found out he had met with missionaries before. He gave us his phone number and this week we were able to meet him at the Denny's for a chat. When we showed up, he told us that he brought his girlfriend which concerned me at first. When we sat down with them they both started talking about how it was the hand of God that led us to meet. They have both recently stopped drinking alcohol, and they are very prepared for the Gospel. They have a lot of potential to progress very quickly. Unfortunately we were unable to meet with other investigators, but we're working hard.

We had a sick adventure to Gifu this week. We had a companionship split in Gifu and we got to do service at an Elementary school. It was way fun and the kids were really funny. We also got to party at a Matsuri (festival) and I got to heave a huge, million-pound thing called Mikoshi on my shoulder. The result was a bruised shoulder and a back ache that would floor Schwarzenneger, but it was a once in a lifetime event. Worth it.

Matsuri Festival

This week was interviews with the mission president and now I have a Japanese Temple recommend. Cool, eh?

We also had Stake Conference this weekend and it was great. Our Stake Presidency changed, so we had Elder Whiting of the Seventy come and learn us sum Gospel. I received a lot of revelation regarding what kind of missionary and what kind of person I want to become. I was impressed with President Yamashita's talk on Saturday evening and Elder Whiting gave us inspiring counsel about how to be powerful member missionaries. I feel a big responsibility to continue the Lord's work after my mission.

That's it for now. Love ya.


Elder Sanderson

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Laughing All the Way

We are low on time so get ready for some thought vomit. My comp is hilarious and a beast at Japanese. The ward here is way awesome too. We had normal church yesterday, so we got to meet everyone and had a really good reception from all of them. Investigator count here is low, but Elder Wilcox and I are working on it. We are teaching some people, one in particular is from Congo. His name is Lumbe and he thinks very deeply about everything. He's a pretty cool guy.

On Friday we had a companion exchange with the Ichinomiya Elders. I was with Elder Naylor in Ichinomiya and we had a lot of great finding opportunities. Elder Ahuna and Elder Wilcox met with Chen, an investigator, on the exchange and they had a good lesson.

This week will be a lot of fun. We have started doing service and a boys' orphanage and we played soccer with them. They are way funny. Yesterday we went into McD's to use the bathroom and I asked a kid if he spoke English and we began talking. It was way fun to talk to them and we are gonna go hang out with them some time soon. That's kind of the biz.

Things are good here. Love you. Sorry for the short letter.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Heavenly Father has been good to me"


That's one of my favorite quotes from conference. I don't mean to make me trunky, but I have no more General Conference on my mission... Shoot. I really enjoyed Conference. I noticed how Elder Perry mentioned using technology in spreading the Gospel. I hope iPads are on there way to the mission field soon. There were a lot of good talks like President Uchtdorf on Saturday morning when he talked about people coming to join us.  Elder Oaks' talk about the commandments dictating our worship and priorities was impressive as well. Conference is awesome.

In other news, I think this has been the busiest week of my mission so far. Transfers on Tuesday, Elder Wilcox and I planned all day on Wednesday, we had Leadership Council on Thursday, then ZTM and service for the Fukutoku ward on Friday, and we ended with a great weekend of General Conference. Wow.

We did manage to visit with an investigator this week. Our current investigator pool has four investigators, Chen, Kenji, Lumbe, and Wellington. We found Chen this week when we were putting our bikes together near the eki. Chen parked his bike and asked if we had a flat tire or something. We told him we had just come to the area and found out he is from China and has lived in Japan for about thirty years. We got to talking about the Gospel and he said he had interest. We called him on Thursday and set an appointment. Boom! New investigator.

We met Lumbe on Saturday who is from Congo. He is Christian but likes deep doctrine. It was just our first meeting with him, so we got to know him and then set a next appointment. We left a commitment with him to read Moroni 10 so we can talk about it next time. We plan to visit a lot of members this week to get to know them more. We also have a handful of less-active members we are working with too.

I love Fukutoku. It's like it's own little mission. The ward is divided geographically into four zones with Ward Missionary Zone Leaders and each zone does one activity per month. Everyone has been encouraged by the bishop to do F&F with the missionaries as well in order to prepare their friends to receive the Gospel. The Ward Mission Leader and the Bishop have great dendo fire and were super helpful as Elder Wilcox and I were getting our bearings here this week.

The area is pretty cool too. It's on the north end of Nagoya city, so there are some more rural areas as you go north. We also have a golf course next to the river only about ten minutes away from the church. Maybe I can go hit nine with President Yamashita sometime. We also have some really cool members here. One is the Hall family. I met Brother Hall in Kasugai over a year ago when I worked in his junkyard. Now I'm in his ward. Small world.

I'm looking forward to another good week. I hope you guys have a great one too. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Game Changer


Well I mentioned that we had transfer calls coming up. I'll get to that eventually. This week was great. We had a lot of meetings with investigators including our yakusokushas. Weijing Xuan came back from China and called us to meet so he can prepare for his baptism. When we met, he said that he wants to make sure to do things right because he is making a covenant with God. We were able to talk to him and teach him about the Doctrine of Christ and the Plan of Salvation. He understood it all really well, too.

This week we got a referral from the Meito Elders (another part of Nagoya) and then the referral called us. His name is Rishi, he's from Nepal, and he deliberately said, "I have interest in learning Christianity." You don't need to twist my arm when a guy says that.

He met us on Sunday at the subway station and we walked together to the church from there. We gave him a church tour and stopped in the chapel for our lesson. We sat on the benches and talked about the Sacrament, Atonement, and prayer. He said he felt very peaceful and said an incredible prayer at the end of the lesson.

The Game Changer. So on Thursday I went on a companion exchange with Elder Richard in Takabata, yet another part of Nagoya. That afternoon Elder Ludlow called me from Gokiso and said that President Yamashita called. I could tell something was going down then Elder Ludlow told me he was called to be the next AP! We definitely didn't see that coming.

So Elder Ludlow went to the Mission HQ on the next day, which cut our comp exchange really short and left Me, Elder Shimbashi, and Elder Dowe here in Gokiso as a power tri-force. We had the three of us to cover both companionship's' appointments this weekend, so we were sooo busy. But we ended up having a great week.

On Saturday we had the transfer calls. I found out that I am transferring to Fukutoku ward, in another part of Nagoya. It's only a twenty minute train ride from Gokiso. The Nagoya Zone got cut in half and Elder Wilcox and I will be companions and Zone Leaders over the Fukutoku Zone. Sister Brady, Jill's dance friend, will be in my area as well. I am super excited to go there because I already know some members there and it's still the same stake as Gokiso, so I will get to see the ward from time to time. Elder Wilcox was in the MTC with me. He is a great guy and a great missionary. He definitely loves dendo. I think he and I will do well together in Fukutoku. We are white washing the area, but I have no doubt that it's gonna be fantastic.

Oh, here's a picture of us at our Ward Mission Leader's house for dinner. They are the Nakajima family and their kids are stupid cute.

Well that's it for ya. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hanga danga dang dang


Another great week in the books! We had three investigators at church yesterday! Megumi Shimai came for the third week in a row and David came again as well. Masatoshi, who is also a yakusokusha, came for the first time. He stayed for all three hours and seemed to enjoy it. We also have an appointment with him tonight.

We had a really good lesson with David and Barbie this week. We talked about setting a specific goal to go to the temple together and how we felt about it. We committed them to pray about it and David said he was thinking by 2015 they could be married. It was a really spiritual lesson and we are seeing more and more progress with them.

Megumi Shimai is still moving along. We weren't able to get an appointment for this week, but we have two for next week. She also doesn't know her schedule for the month of October, but hopefully she can come to church a lot. She has really enjoyed church every time she comes and she keeps all of her commitments as well.

We met with our investigator named Ryan. He is from Washington, but works for Boeing here in Japan. We went over to his house on Friday night and when we rang the doorbell no one answered, so we walked back to our bikes. We were standing there talking about another lesson we had and then Ryan came out of his house and said we woke him up. He let us inside, we talked for awhile and then shared a message about the Book of Mormon. He is agnostic, so he doesn't really believe in a religion but believes in God. He had some really good questions as we were talking about the Book of Mormon and we left him with a copy. He said he'll read a little bit and he promised he wouldn't throw it away. He seemed really interested and seemed like he felt something as we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon.

This past week one of our investigators, Dylan, gave us a list of scriptures from the Bible that he felt rose questions with regards to the Plan of Salvation. Elder Ludlow and I had an opportunity to study it. It came to a point where we had to tell him about the other revealed books of scripture (Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) and modern revelation that give so much light to the Plan of Salvation. Once we established that, our discussion went smoothly. We were able to share with him a section of D&C that explains the Kingdoms of Glory and he was interested in getting copies of D&C and PoGP. He seems to be opening up more to the church. Our lesson with him on Friday was one of our best that we've had so far.

Rumi Shimai is opening up to us a lot more. She feels like she has a "bad heart," as she put it in Japanese. We have stressed the importance of prayer and reading the Book of Mormon in connecting her with the grace of God and how it can help her overcome the bad feelings she has towards others and herself.

We had a comp exchange with the APs this week, which was great. We had a good day and it was a nice boost to our dendo. We also did an exchange with the Gifu Elders. I talked about becoming fishers of men with Elder Doll. We talked about forsaking all as Peter and the others did to follow Christ.

President Yamashita suggested that we do a 40 Day Fasting Relay in our wards for dendo success. We proposed it to the ward last month and we started last week. We are already seeing miracles from it. Both us and the other Elders had a great week last week full of success and big steps of progress.

We played softball with our ward on Saturday night. I was in the outfield with Elder Ludlow, which was a pretty good work out. Elder Dowe was on the opposite team and we were getting the ball to first base to get him out. He went for the slide and plowed the first baseman. Elder Dowe is a pretty big guy, so we were worried about our member on first. Later he trucked a fifteen-year-old who was guarding second, too. It was eventful night to say the least. I got a hold of one ball and set it way out to right-center field for a home run. I felt pretty good after that one.

This week we have a bunch of appointments scheduled and another exchange coming up. It's the last week of the transfer and things are changing a lot these days, so I'm thinking it's my last week in Gokiso. Stay tuned.

Well that's my bit. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another Crazy Frog Week

Herro Everyone. I ruv you.

This week we had some great successes. We worked hard to try and open our mouths, but we ended up getting blessings in other areas because of our efforts. We got a referral from the Meito Zone Leaders regarding a Vietnamese man named Huu. We were able to get in touch with him and had a English class/Gospel lesson on Saturday and he and his wife became investigators! We are still trying to find Japanese investigators, though. It seems like we talk to one hundred Japanese people who don't become investigators and then the one foreigner we talk to becomes an investigator. We'll keep working at it. :)

Megumi Shimai was able to come to church again this week. It was a miracle because she suddenly was able to get work off. And she decided on her own to come to church. We are trying really hard to set a baptismal date with her. It might have to be in the distant future, but at least a goal will start to get her progress really moving. David also came to church. It has been a while since he came to church and I have been on companion exchanges when they teach him, so I was really glad to see him. He and Barbie are talking a lot about going to the temple, but they still don't have a specific goal. There are still a lot of obstacles standing in the way of all that stuff happening, including David's baptism, but things are looking up.

I had a companionship exchange with Elder Jones in Inuyama this week. It was really fun to be with an Elder who was in the MTC with me! He was kind of sick, but I was able to teach English class and make good friends with the students. The exchange was short, but we had a good opportunity to talk about the future.

We also got another Yakusokusha this week! (An investigator with a baptismal date) His name is Ishizuka Masatoshi and he is awesome! We hadn't met for a few weeks, but when he came he had read the Book of Mormon a little and read the Lesson 1 Pamphlet. He was filling in the blanks as we were teaching him the Restoration and he compared himself to Joseph Smith in his personal search for the truth. We showed him the Baptismal Font and invited him to be baptized when he knows this is true. He said yes and we set his date for October 27th! Hooray!

I have been riding the crap out of this mamachati (standard issue Japanese bike) they gave me while my bike is in the shop. It's a workout to push that thing as hard as I can push my bike. I found out that I can sit back on the fender and ride it like a motorcycle. It has a basket too, so that's convenient for picking up groceries. I can't wait to get my mountain bike back though.

Well, it's been another exciting week out here on the front lines. I'm loving my mission and loving my companion. Hard work is really rewarding. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tropical Storm Man-Yi


There is a tropical storm that's supposed to nail our mission pretty good today. It's pretty rainy so far but we've got a date with all you can eat parfaits. Stop that. Hopefully we can still dendo tonight, too.

We had a good week. We got a new investigator named Ryan. He is from Washington. We talk to a lot of Japanese people every day but it seems like the ones who become investigators the fastest are always Gaijin (foreigners). We have about half of our investigator pool as Japanese and the rest are Gaijin. Well Ryan is agnostic, so he believes in God but he's not sure if there is a true religion. We are going to talk to him about the Book of Mormon with him on Saturday.

Megumi Shimai came to church yesterday! We are focusing on her praying for her boss so she can have days off on Sundays starting in October. We also had a great lesson with Nilesh and invited him to compare the Book of Mormon to the Bible. He took a copy and said he will give it a look. Weijing is still in China, but we send him emails to read sections in the Book of Mormon. We are regularly meeting with a less-active member, Adachi Shimai, and Shito Kyodai, a recent convert, to continue to strengthen them. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with Adachi Shimai and the Hottas (members) bore their testimonies and brought the Spirit into the room. We watched The Testaments with Shito Kyodai but he didn't understand it very well. He said he wants to study with us more. He was also making some really good connections during Gospel Principles class yesterday.

I went on a comp exchange in Fukutoku, another ward in Nagoya, this week with Elder Waddell. He is the definition of fun dendo. He maintains a great balance of being 100% obedient, using his talents, working hard, and having fun. It was a good learning opportunity for the both of us. We also had a member appointment that the four sisters came to as well. We made potsickers (called gyoza in Japan) and shared Elder Waddell's favorite scripture, 2 Ne 2:25. I love dendo.

This week we have a Zone Conference with Elder Aoyagi. It should be sweet. We also have a good week lined up with appointments and such. Well, this one's a little shorter, but I hope you like it.

Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Sunday, September 8, 2013

ABC, 123, Baby You and Me

Hey, hey, ho, hiddle, hiya,

This week was another good one. We got to participate in Leadership Council, ZTM, and some service. My companion and I feel that our ZTM went great. We talked about being an Ammon Missionary because that is our focus as a mission now. We had every missionary rate themselves on how Ammon-like they are and how they can improve personally and in each companionship. We also talked about the power of the Lord being on our side.

We got two new investigators this week! One is a friend of Weijing Xuan named Ban. He is really interested in the Gospel as well and he came to Weijing Xuan's lesson on Monday. We watched the Restoration DVD in Chinese with them and they both felt the Spirit. Ban has a lot of great potential. The other new investigator, Rumi Shimai, has been a potential investigator for almost two months, but we just haven't been able to meet her. We were on our way back to the apartment last night and Elder Ludlow said, "Isn't there a PI near here?" So we went and visited her and she only had a little time. She told us to come back the next day. So we visited her this morning and our lesson went pretty well. Our investigator pool is pretty decent right now, but we're working hard to keep adding to it. We definitely talk to way more Japanese people than foreigners, but it about half of our investigator pool is foreigners. Hmm. Maybe we can get referrals, or something. Wish me luck.

Any who, we met with David and Barbie again! We haven't seen each other outside of church for at least two weeks, so it was good to follow up with them. We had a good discussion about the Atonement. We also were able to meet with Fukuda Shimai again this week. The lesson went pretty well and we talked about baptism, but she still has some concerns regarding it. The members we had there helped answer her questions a lot. It's so nice to have members at lessons. Megumi Shimai is doing well, but still just kind of the same old, same old. She does seem to have taken a liking to our tachiai for her lessons, Norihito Kyodai. He is very smart and always helps her understand things. Once again, members are great.

We were able to jump around to a lot of less-active members homes and share messages with them this week. We also visited Shito Kyodai, who was baptized in May. Lately his activity in the church has been a little spotty, but we shared a message and invited him to church. He was there for all three hours yesterday, so that was good. My companion and I decided we need to show him more love and help members make friendships with him.

We got to do service at the Fukutoku church on Friday and it went really well. There was some stupid crazy rain on Wednesday and the basement of the Fukutoku church flooded. Apparently the water was thirty centimeters high at one point. We had to tear up carpet, move furniture, and clean out gutters, among other things. All of the missionaries who participated worked hard and we were able to get things done quickly. The members even gave us some snacks afterward. It was fun to help out and get my hands dirty.

That's kind of our week. I'm still loving Gokiso and my companion. Missionary life is sick. Amen.

Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Even Though this Life is a Test, We are Never Alone

Hey, hi, ho!

Elder Ludlow and I were able to see a lot of miracles and success this week. We had a total of twenty lessons. Yesterday we were able to visit three inactive sisters that had not been visited in a long time. That was a miracle in itself because they said that their schedules recently have been busy. We were able to have a Gospel discussion with each of them and two of them have potential to come to church this next week. One sister has a problem with her leg, so if a member could go pick her up and take her to church then she would probably come.

We also found a new investigator this week. We were having a lesson with one of our investigators named Dylan at a food court and I noticed a man sitting at the table next to us. He isn't Japanese and I could tell he was listening in on our conversation. After our lesson with Dylan (who is progressing pretty well) I turned to the man next to us and asked him if he spoke English. We talked to him and he said his name was Nilesh. He said he is from London and he had some questions about the Book of Mormon. We were able to teach him and he became a new investigator. I was definitely guided by the Spirit to talk to Nilesh.

We had a really good lesson with David and Barbie this week. They are setting a goal for the temple and are getting close to doing anything to get there. David also said that he felt really strongly that he needs to get baptized. Megumi Shimai also committed to pray for her boss so she can ask for Sundays off at work. We had a great lesson with Masatoshi this week as well. We did a tour of the church and he seemed to like it a lot. He said he doesn't know if God exists but he has some questions. We told him about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy. We plan to meet with him later this week.

We also got an investigator with a baptismal date this week! His name is Weijing Xuan and he is amazing. We did a tour of the church this week and we stopped in the Chapel and talked about the Sacrament and Jesus Christ. We began to talk about baptism and showed him a picture of Christ being baptized. Weijing asked us if we had the water like in the picture. We took him to the Baptismal Font and continued to talk about baptism and the cleansing that comes with it. We were all feeling the Spirit strongly and Elder Ludlow asked Weijing how he felt about baptism and entering into the church. Weijing replied that it would be good for him, so we committed him to be baptized on October 20th! We also have another lesson with him today where he will bring his friend who is interested in the Gospel.

My subject line of this email is something I read in the Liahona today. I just liked it. I like Church magazines. I kind of wish I had read them more before my mission. It's kind of like conference talks all the time. Just another testimony that the Gospel is true.

That's kind of the news from last week. We will be busy again this week, but who's complaining? Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Another Crazy Round of Transfers


How are you? It was another crazy round of transfers. Elder Schade is going home! I can't believe it! That will be me in six months. Craaaaaaap! Elder Shimbashi is coming to our apartment to be Elder Dowe's new comp. He is from Canada, eh. Wonder if he can hit. Elder Ludlow and I will be together for one more transfer and I think we will see a lot of miracles. Our Zone changed a lot and there are more missionaries and new areas, so that brings our total to 40 missionaries in the zone. They also created a new district, so we have one more companion exchange this transfer. Things are gonna be so busy.

Well our week went well and I was able to notice the Lord's hand in our work a lot this week. We were able to find four new investigators! Three of them were found through OYM and another through housing. They all have great potential. One man in particular from China named Weijing Xuan doesn't know anything about God, so he has a lot of questions and interest in the Gospel. He came to English Class and asked us if we were going to talk about the church afterward. We said that English Class doesn't include the Gospel stuff but then he said he wanted to hear the message. Gladly we talked to him and his friend about the Gospel. We prayed with him and he said he felt powerful and peaceful afterward.

We had two investigators come to church. David came with Barbie again which is really good because they were on vacation for Obon and missed two Sundays of church. We got an appointment with David and Barbie this week as well and we hope to set a goal for going to the temple in the future and set a goal for David being baptized. The other investigator who came to church was also a new investigator this week. Her name is Fukuda and she is catholic (Christianity is pretty rare in Japan). We first met her a couple weeks ago and talked to her about the relationship between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We gave her a copy and she read some of it. She is a very deep thinker, but I think she will find that the Gospel makes sense to her. She also said that she feels calm and peaceful in the chapel.

We had some good successes with an inactive woman named Adachi Shimai. She has started reading the Book of Mormon again and praying everyday. Our visits these past few weeks have seemed to reignite the fire in her. We are also getting a lot of good fellow-shippers from the ward. This last week we went and visited her with the Bishop and the Relief Society President and I could tell she felt the Spirit. It might take a little more time, but I think she will get back to church in the near future.

One new investigator we found this week, Masatoshi, was really prepared to meet us. I talked to him on the corner while waiting to cross the street and he said he met missionaries a few years ago. It seemed like he wasn't interested then, but I talked to him about English Class and said maybe he had heard from the prior missionaries about it. He said he only talked about God with them. I invited him to English Class and asked if we could exchange contact info to get in touch later. I suggested that we could talk about the church and he said sure. I called him up later and set up a church tour for Tuesday night.

We met a missionary for a Calvinist sect a little while ago from Australia. His name is Dylan. We asked him if he knew anything about Mormons and he talked about Joseph Smith. Then he asked us about the Book of Mormon. We ended up giving him a copy and he asked for our phone number so we could talk later. We got in touch again and now he is an investigator. He hasn't directly said it, but it seems like he has the mentality that if his church doesn't have the whole truth then he wants to find the whole truth. He is also reading the Book of Mormon quite thoroughly as well.

We have seen some really good progress with Megumi Shimai recently. This week she committed to start to pray that her boss will let her have Sundays off. She told us that if she joins the church then she wants to be active and committed, but her work is standing in the way of that. We told her that if she talks to her boss and gets work of every Sunday starting in October then she can be baptized. She's still a little hesitant to put a date on it, but she is praying. Things are moving forward with her.

We had a Bye Bye Party for Elder Schade on Saturday and it was a hit. One English Class student named Masa came and despite him only talking to one other person for 50% of the time (when we weren't playing ping pong or other games) he had a blast. He goes to London this week, but we will see him again and he might have interest in the Church.

We visited the Bishop's family last night and had a lot of fun with them. I love visiting members because you can just shoot the breeze with them. We were making a bunch of jokes with overly polite Japanese and playing tricks on Elder Dowe because he can't understand Japanese very well yet. Sister Keikyu, the bishop's wife, asked Elder Schade if it was scary to think about going home and he said yes. Then the little daughter asked, "What's scary? Guns?" We all started laughing because Japanese people have a stereotype that all Americans own a gun. Guns are illegal in Japan, so Japanese people think they are scary, too. We had a fun FHE with the family and then we had to boogie home to do call in reports.

Well, that's the week. Love you all. Be Honest.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, August 19, 2013

Good Luck Finding Them on the Internet...They're not There

Dear Family,

Well this week was busy as usual. We have been able to meet with Megumi Shimai more frequently and it has a big influence in her progression. In our last lesson she said she has noticed God's blessings in her life more and feels that she gains something from reading the Book of Mormon everyday. We talked about how when she gets baptized she can have the power of God in her life at all times and our tachiai was a great help in explaining how the Gospel helps him. She still wants to be baptized, but she is still having trouble committing to a date.

Our Vietnamese investigator, Phan, came to church again yesterday! He is doing quite well. We can meet him once during the week as well as on Sundays and Bubba is fellow-shipping him well. He said he doesn't know if he can be Christian, but he isn't against coming to church and meeting with us. We made sure he knows that we don't want to force him to do anything, but we will invite him to do things that will help him come closer to God. Phan has a lot of potential.

We got two new investigators this week. One is a man from England that we met a while ago named Danny. He is having a really difficult time in life right now, so he called us on Tuesday. We met up and gave him a tour of the church and he loved sitting in the Chapel. He has been to a Christian church before, but he said that he felt like God was saying "Welcome home" to him.

The other investigator, Hidemasa, is an eighteen-year-old high school student who loves English and said he is learning about Christianity at school. He literally said, "I am interested in Christianity." We exchanged phone numbers and set up a tour of the church for this Wednesday. Another Miracle.

We went on a kokan (comp exchange) with the Tsu Elders this week. Tsu is one the far side of our zone, so we had a good train ride. I worked with Elder Arata in Gokiso. We visited a less-active woman and got her to come to church on Sunday! It was a great kokan to help Elder Arata practice housing and OYM. We had a good time and learned a lot.

Last week we had a Zone Conference, so my companion and I got to do some training for our zone. It went pretty slick, but the rest of the conference was medical and mental professionals presentations that I heard last year. On P-day last week our district went to Nagoya Castle! I got some sick pics!

I got my package with the shirts and goodies. Thank you so much. I opened it up and saluted the American Flag in our apartment. It's nice to have some USA goodies. I ate the Apple Jacks this morning and said, "Tastes like Freedom."

Well that's kind of the news. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, August 12, 2013

*Elephant Noises*

I was making elephant noises with my lips while thinking of a subject line...

Well how are you?

This week dendo was a little slower because we had Leadership Council with President Yamashita, all the Zone Leaders, and all the Training Sister Missionaries. We also had a Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) which required a lot of planning and so that took up some dendo time. It was still a good week though.  I think our ZTM went well and we were grateful to have President Yamashita there as well to help us. We also have a Zone Conference this week, so we will be busy.

At the end of ZTM, we were all challenged by President Yamashita to find a contact for Elder Schade, who will be going home soon . We saw some amazing miracles as our missionaries went out with faith and opened their mouths to everyone. Elder Schade got six referrals from it and one is already an investigator. Three people approached the missionaries and one woman said she was searching for the truth. She took a Book of Mormon and should be contacting the Elders soon.

We also got two new investigators this week. One is named Chris, a young Brazilian guy that is fluent in Japanese. He is Christian and has a lot of potential to progress rapidly. We also got a referral from a member a few weeks ago, and we contacted him. His name is Phan and the member brought him to church. We had a lesson with him, and he became an investigator. He is still young and has a young family and there are a lot of things in his life that the Gospel can help him with. He also said he will come to church next week.

My companion and I are doing great as always. I love how hard Elder Ludlow works. He truly is a diligent, obedient missionary. It's so nice to have a companion that has the skills to collaborate well during planning, work hard everyday, and teach in unity with me. He is also pretty darn good at Japanese, so it's nice not to worry about that either. :)

This week I have been studying the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon. I found a verse that really impressed me, Jacob chapter three, verse two. Jacob serves as a really good voice of warning to the wicked, but also to the righteous people at the time. Verse two reads, "O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever." I like how it talks about being pure in heart and firm in mind. I think that's a big key of living the Gospel. Being pure in heart includes keeping the commandments and doing what's right, whenever and wherever you are. Having a firm mind makes me think of staying true to those things I know to be right. I was thinking about this verse and how I can be firm in mind and pure in heart in order to lift up my head and feast on God's love. I am proud to be a member of the Church. What do y'all think?

Maybe a little short this week.

Love you all,

Elder Sanderson

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another Week Gone?!

Herro Prease,

What a week! We found two new investigators this week. We had to drop some that weren't really going anywhere, but the new investigators are pretty good. One woman, Iwai Shimai, was found through some housing near a member's house and another was a PI last week that became an investigator this week named Puja. Puja is from Nepal. When we went to see her this Saturday, her husband wasn't home so we couldn't go into her apartment. She went down the hall to another apartment and got an old man to come sit in our lesson. It was pretty funny because we have met the old man before. He wasn't a huge fan of ours.

We had a Natsu Matsuri (Summer Festival)  at our ward this week. It was really fun and a lot of members invited friends that we were able to talk to. We also had some investigators there. Barbie was able to make it, but unfortunately David couldn't come. He and Barbie came to church yesterday, which was great. David has come to church every week since the beginning of July. We are also making good progress towards baptism with David. Barbie and David don't really want to move away from each other. They would prefer to get married, but there are a lot of obstacles in the way of them getting married. Barbie said something about keeping the commandments and being worthy for God's miracle when it comes that made us think she is warming up other ideas that can lead to David getting baptized.

We also had lessons with Megumi Shimai and Mibu Kyodai this week. They both want to be baptized but they don't want to commit to a date yet. We had our lesson with Mibu Kyodai at a cafe near his apartment and we taught him the first lesson. Elder Ludlow and I explained baptism to Mibu Kyodai and we asked him how he would feel if all his pains and guilt were washed away. He said he wants it. So we committed him to be baptized when he knows the church is true.

We have a newer investigator that is very prepared for the Gospel. His name is Goe and he is really interested in the Church. He committed to come to church this Sunday, read the Book of Mormon, and Pray everyday all in the first lesson. He will progress fast. We are looking forward to our appointment with him on Friday.

We had two companion exchanges this week. One with Gokiso Elders and one with Yokkaichi 1 Elders. Elder Schade and I worked together in Gokiso and we taught a college student named Takashi Kyodai about the Book of Mormon. He will read the Book of Mormon even though he is in America now. The exchange in Yokkaichi was great. I was able to do Kato Kyodai's baptismal interview and he passed! We also found a new investigator and a PI on the exchange. Good stuff.

That's the update this week. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Elder Dowe Doesn't Write Subject Lines

Hey there,

How are you? Things are fine here in Gokiso. We got a new investigator this week! A few weeks ago Elder Roney and I were teaching a recent convert, Shito Kyodai. We asked him if he knew anyone who has interest in the Gospel and he immediately took us to an Indo-curry restaurant called "Buddha." He introduced us to the Nepalese people who work there. Over the course of these last few weeks we have been stopping by and/or eating lunch there. We became friends with a man named Purna, who wants to go to America. We pulled out a pamphlet and he took it from us and said, "Is this Christian? I want to learn." We naturally consented to his gracious request and set an appointment for this Thursday. We owe a big thanks to Shito Kyodai because he went there on his own quite often to talk to the people about the Gospel. He was a big help in preparing them for the Gospel.

In other news, David came to church yesterday. We also fasted with him and his girlfriend Barbie yesterday. In order for David to get baptized, a lot of various things need to happen. The situation is very complex involving divorce laws in the Philippines and visa requirements in Japan, but to sum it all up we need a miracle. So we fasted. I am so proud of David and Barbie for showing their faith to Heavenly Father by fasting yesterday.

We had another miracle in our Zone this week. One of our Zone Focuses this month is praying for all the investigators who have baptismal dates within our Zone. We also set a Zone baptismal goal of 3-4 baptisms for July. As of last week we had two baptisms already in our Zone, but Bruna's baptism was looking a little sketchy. She didn't know her work schedule and consequently whether or not she could do the baptismal interview. Elder Hilton and Elder Baird made sure to tell her that every missionary in our Zone is praying for her. It was a big boost to her confidence and faith and it incurred a miracle which allowed her to have her interview on Saturday and she got baptized yesterday! Let's celebrate!

This week we went to go visit a member we had never met before named Danshita Kyodai. Luckily he had work off that day, so we met him and we can meet him again. On the way into his apartment building, we typed his room number into the intercom-camera device and pushed the call button. Almost immediately a woman's voice came on the speakers above us saying "Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?" We were kind of freaked out, but Elder Ludlow started talking to the woman while I started talking to Danshita Kyodai on the intercom. The lady asked us why we were there and we said we are visiting a friend and she asked if we were Mormons. We said yes then she told us to come to her room after we visit our friend.

So when we got to the woman's room, she came flying out of the door before I even rang the doorbell and invited us in. Her name is Moriya san and she said it had been about twenty years since missionaries had visited her. She introduced us to her husband and we talked for a long time. They first met missionaries on the street and invited them to dinner. Then she fed us dinner! This woman is not a member, nor her husband. They said we can come back any day, so we will probably make them investigators soon. That was interesting.

We are headed to the Green Daibutsuen today. It's a huge Buddhist shrine with a massive Buddha statue. I'll send pics next week. That's kind of the news this week.

Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Saw Many a Pony at the Rodeo

Dear Family,

How is it?

Sorry for not sending my email last week! Here it is:

(2013/7/15) I Went to Space... And Took a Nap

Helloooooo. Tralala...

We went to the Nagoya Science Museum today. My email may be shorter than usual and I forgot my SD card reader, so I will send pics next week. We saw a man-made tornado, everything you could ever want to know or not want to know about the human body, and then did some star-gazing at the planetarium. Well, the man's voice was very gentle and soothing, so all six of us fell asleep. It was still fun though. I love district activities!

Anyway, things are changing again! We had transfer calls on Saturday and Elder Roney is leaving me. Shoot! I thought we were safe. He is going to Okazaki to continue to be a Zone Leader there. My new companion will be Elder Ludlow who has been a Zone Leader for a while. Elder Benzon is also transferring and Elder Schade is going trainer for his last transfer. Crazy. Our district got cut down to two areas as well. Gokiso and the Fukutoku Sisters. The Sisters are both becoming trainers, so we still have eight people. It's gonna be crazay.

We had some good happenings this week despite the lack of numbers at the end of the week. Megumi Shimai told us that she wants to be baptized,... but not until next year. We were able to go with her to the baptism in Kariya and she enjoyed it a lot. She also liked talking to Mai Shimai who was just baptized. I also got to do a Peruvian man's baptismal interview this week. His name is Celman and he's awesome. It was cool because Elder Moretti translated to Spanish for me. It was way cool to see the Spirit speak beyond the power of our words. Celman was baptized yesterday!

We got a new investigator and we set an appointment with a man we met on the train for Tuesday night. Good stuff.

Hope you all enjoyed that. Now on to this week.

We had a good week this week. We were blessed to find four new investigators and one former investigator is back in our teaching pool. We had a total gain of five investigators. One man, Iwai Kyodai, was found about two weeks ago when we talked to him on the train. We were able to schedule a meeting with him and we have a church house tour scheduled with him for this Saturday. We found Goe Kyodai and Suzuki Kyodai through housing and they live two doors away from each other in the same apartment complex. Yesterday we visited a potential investigator named Saroj from Nepal. He said he wanted to go to church yesterday but was sick, so he couldn't make it. We ended up teaching him about prayer and he said he is really interested in Christianity, so we got an appointment and he wants to come to church next week!

We visited a lot of members this week. Elder Ludlow is new and I'm still slightly new, so we can visit and introduce ourselves to a lot of new members and less-actives. I am loving Elder Ludlow as my companion. He is a power house. He is only one transfer behind me, so he speaks really good Japanese. It's nice being in a companionship where both Elders know whats going on and what we need to do.

We had some good lessons with various investigators. Particularly with David. He has been taking the lessons for almost a year now and he wants to be baptized really bad. There are some complications with visa requirements and marriage complexities between he and Barbie, his girlfriend. They both want to get married, but they are both technically married to another person for their visas and then Barbie would have to go to the Philippines to get her divorce finalized. It's a little messy, but we told them yesterday that we are looking for a miracle. It will take a lot of prayer, fasting, and keeping the commandments to show our faith to God and gain the worthiness for His miracles to occur. We left the lesson with a commitment to fast together next Sunday. We will also meet them again this Wednesday to continue to encourage them.

So in other news, we got a green bean in our apartment. His name is Elder Dowe from Australia, Tasmania. He's pretty cool. He was informing me on all the goings on in the Down Under. Elder Ludlow and I were pretty busy this week planning companion exchanges and getting the interview schedule worked out for this Friday. I'm sure this Zone Leader stuff is riveting... Anyway, moving on.

We went to a sick "rodeo" next to the apartment complex that Saroj lives in. It was actually a Ferrari Shop. There were some sights to see, I tell you what. See the attached pictures. There's also a good shot of me and Elder Ludlow.

We also went to a Matsuri (Festival) at one of our investigator's work place. It was way fun. Our investigator, Seina Shimai, played keyboards in the band and Elder Ludlow and I were the life of the party. Check out the pic.

So a couple weeks ago I heard that Dad gave a talk about America being the promised land despite the down turns that have occurred recently. I've been thinking a lot about that stuff lately because I just finished Alma and I'm starting to read Helaman in the Book of Mormon. I was reading about the Nephites getting whipped in Helaman chapter 4 this morning. But by the end of the chapter (spoiler alert) they get half of the land back because Moronihah preaches to the people and brings them to repentance.

I really liked verses 11, 13, and 25. At first glance, they aren't too special, but it inspires one to do the right thing. Verse 11 talks about how the great loss was as a result of the Nephites wickedness and then verse 13 talks about how they boasted in their own strength, so they were left in their own strength. I was thinking about how we as members of the Church need to stand up for what we believe in. In verse 11 it says the iniquity was also among the members of the church. That means repent and do what's right. Then verse 25 reminds us that without relying on the Lord, we must unavoidably perish.

Now all this may sound a little heavy or scary. On the contrary, I am filled with hope as I read these verses. As long as the Saints are doing what they are supposed to, we have no need to fear destruction. My invitation to you all is to live the Gospel to the fullest by keeping the commandments and serving your brothers and sisters.

Love you all. Enjoy the pics.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gotta Get That Boom, Boom, Boom

Dearest Family,

This week was really busy, but at the same time pretty normal. We had a Zone Conference to meet President and Sister Yamashita. They are just as I presumed, a delight. Sister Yamashita is pretty funny too.

We had David and Megumi Shimai at church again this week. We taught Mibu Kyodai this week and met another quirky inactive member named Kitano Kyodai. We got some return appointments. It's good.

I learned how to hunt New Zealand Boar from Andre in our ward yesterday. They are about the size of a bear and they charge you, but you only hunt them with knives. That would be a cool story to tell. We also visited the Fukui family yesterday. They are amaz-az-ing! Like I'm talkin' stupid sick. Brother and Sister Fukui got married a little over ten years ago and they have two kids. One daughter, Kokoro chan (means heart), who is nine years old and one son, Nozomi kun (means desire or hope) who is eight. They are both really funny and cute. The Fukuis teach there children really well in the Gospel, too. They were reviewing what the Baptismal Covenant with them while we were there. I was impressed. It was a lot of fun to spend some time with them yesterday.

My SD card got erased the last time I mailed pics, so I will have to fill it back up and then send it to you guys. Shucks.

So we didn't realize it was the 4th of July until we were at English Class that night. I forgot it two years in a row. I talked to Elder Perkins and he said he cooked up some brats though. Jealous. We did have a little thing in English Class though.

We have a district ping pong activity today! I get to show off what I learned from Elder Roney now. We are waiting to go to lunch too, so I am peko peko (hungry). That's kind of the news this week.

Love you all. Love,

Elder Sanderson

Monday, July 1, 2013

Enter President Yamashita


He's here. We greeted him at the airport. There were about 30 of us to greet him. I'm lucky Gokiso is so close to the HQ, so I could go greet him. President Yamashita and his wife seem like a delight. We have a Zone Conference this Friday to meet them officially. I'm excited to see the changes over the next couple of months.

We had some great successes this past week. Three investigators came to church! A man from Uganda named David was able to come this week. He loves the church and knows it's true, he just has visa problems that prevent him from getting baptized. We visited him on Friday night and met his member girlfriend, Barbie, for the first time. She has been a member for twenty years. I asked if she would be at church on Sunday and she said yes. The I asked David and he said he would try to come. I told him if he really wants to go and he asks Heavenly Father to help him out, then he would be able to go to church. And then he came to church! It was an awesome miracle.

One of our newer investigators, Miwa Yuta Kyodai, came to church as well. He came to Sacrament, Sunday School, and then we had a lesson with him during the third hour. Bishop Keikyu was in our lesson and he helped answer Yuta Kyodai's questions about repentance. It was also really cool how we were able to answer his other questions with the Book of Mormon. He asked how we can know good from evil and also if we are born in sin. We were able to read with and expound to him Moroni 7 and 8. He left church satisfied and looking forward to our next meeting.

Ito Megumi Shimai came to church for the second time in a row and the third time in her life. She is really enjoying Sacrament meeting and I think that will be the key to help her finally be baptized. She has plans to come to church next week and we meet with her on Wednesday. The other Gokiso Elders also have a baptism coming up and Megumi Shimai really wants to see a baptism. Roney Choro and I have the "Now's the time" feeling about her.

We found a new investigator last Wednesday named Mibu Kyodai. He had met missionaries before and said that they taught him the word, "cool." We set an appointment for Saturday, but he cancelled. We are planning to go see him later this week, but he will call us.

Elder Roney and I have fallen in love with OYM on trains. We ride trains a fair amount as Zone Leaders, so we get a lot of opportunity to train dendo. We talked to a lot of people this past week and got a man's phone number. Later that day when I was on a companion exchange with Elder Baird (cool name, right?) we talked to every person we could. We pulled up next to a man at a light and he pulled out his headphones when he saw us. I complemented his cool bike and we started talking. The light changed so we could cross the street, but we just rode next to each other and kept talking. He gave us his phone number so we can meet again sometime. Then on the way home later that night a British man named Danny stopped us on the corner and asked us why we were in Japan. We found out he is Protestant and he doesn't have a church to go to. He asked if there are Mormons in the UK and I was like, "My dad went on a mission there thirty years ago." It was pretty cool to just stand on the street corner and teach him the Gospel. He wasn't able to make it to church yesterday, but we have his phone number and we gave him a pamphlet, so we can follow up with him.

I'm sure you heard about the changes coming to the missionary world. We have no idea how fast our mission will change, but I assume at least iPhones and iPads will be pretty quick. I loved the broadcast that the church had about missionary work. I really wish every member in Japan had seen it though. The only way the church is gonna get some real steam behind it in Japan is through the members. Normal dendo works, but it's not nearly as effective as member missionaries. I'm excited for the new chapter of missionary work.

We met an interesting Japanese man at the airport on Saturday. Okay, he was a Japanese redneck. He came to Nagoya to see the boat race and his dad is an amateur boat driver. His sons are named Shoto and Hito, the Japanese words used for shortstop and hitter in Baseball. He took a picture with all thirty of us before he left and his family bought some Elders dinner. It was a neat experience for all parties. Hopefully he goes back home and meets some missionaries. The other Gokiso Elders did get his number, so they can refer him.

I have been honing my ping pong skills with Elder Roney. He's way good at ping pong and we have a ping pong activity every Saturday. My goal is to beat Bubba at ping pong before I leave Gokiso. Heh heh heh.

Well it was a little sad to say goodbye to the Bairds, but the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror. Those are President Baird's paraphrased words. Here we go. Thanks for the love and prayers. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, June 24, 2013

I Don't Have a Witty Subject Line This Week

Hey, hey, heyya, famiry!

We had Zone Conference this week. It was the last one with President and Sister Baird. It was a tear-jerker for sure. President Baird told us we have to get in contact with Sister Baird on Facebook within twenty-four hours after we get home. It was pretty funny. We had some good training from them during the conference. President Baird had us set goals for what we want out of our companionship, our mission, and our lives. Then we shared with our companions after the conference was over. It was pretty neat. I'm gonna miss the Bairds a bunch, but I'll see them on "the other side".

Anyway, we were very busy this week. We had two kokans (companion exchanges) with district leaders. The first one was with the Yokkaichi Elders. I stayed here in Gokiso and Elder Yamamoto was with me for a day. Elder Yamamoto is from Saitama (closer to Tokyo) and he has only been in the field for three weeks. Apparently he was told by the Brooks Family in American Fork, UT to say hi to me right before he went into the MTC. So thanks, Brooks family. On the kokan we had some plans fall through, but we kept busy by opening our mouths as we traveled. We would stop and talk to someone and then switch who was leading as we rode bikes. It gave us equal opportunity to follow the Spirit and to improve our OYM skills. It was really fun and I noticed how awesome of missionaries we have these days.

We had a kokan with Elder Takabori and Elder Wheeler in Inuyama this week as well. I went to Inuyama with Elder Takabori and we taught Eikaiwa. The Eikaiwa in Inuyama is pretty slick. They have a beginner class, intermediate class, and a "No English" level class for one man who doesn't know any English. The four Elders there run a tight ship. Elder Takabori and I were able to teach a woman about the Restoration with a member the next day. She became a new investigator this week. She might take some time, but I think the Gospel will ultimately change her life.It was neat because Elder Takabori and I came to Japan at the same time, so we're good buddies. Elder Jones who was in my MTC district and Elder Tsukamoto who was one of my beans in Fuji are the other companionship in Inuyama. It was like one big happy reunion.

By way of other celebrations, Megumi Shimai came to church yesterday.  She came to church for her second time ever yesterday. She really enjoyed it and we meet with her on Saturday this week. We have a pretty busy week ahead of us because Elder Roney has to go to the doctor, we're going to go do some College dendo, and we've got the Lord's work to do.

I played softball for a ward activity on Saturday night. Bubba was there. He sent one of the softballs on top of the middle school we were playing behind. It was a lot of fun, but some of the people were way too serious for it being just a ward activity. I played outfield for a good part of the game, so my legs definitely got a working.

We had a really fun district activity last P-day. We went to a huge mall that covers probably two square kilometers called Osu Kannon. It was way fun and I got some cool stuff. I snagged a sick watch for way cheap and ties were $5. We were all over that.

This past week was Elder Benzon's birthday and we celebrated it like ten times. Okay, just three, but it was a lot of fun. We had a fun party after Eikaiwa, then on his birthday we made pancakes, and today we went out to eat. I really enjoyed his birthday. ;)

Well, that's the news. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's a Merricle

Hey there, family and friends.

We had a busy week. We had leadership council in Meito this week. All the Zone Leaders, Training Sister Missionaries, and APs receive training from President Baird. We talked about the mission changing because President Yamashita comes on July 1st. He will change some stuff, but only the words we use. All the stuff we do will be the same because it's all in PMG. President Baird told us to focus on the things that will be the same and to never say "Well, President Baird said this..." or "President Baird didn't do it like that." I am looking forward to the new mission President. He will be great.

Later that night, Elder Roney and I had our first Stake Missionary Coordination Meeting with the Stake Presidency. President Baird was there, too. We kind of had no idea what to do, so President Baird took the lead. It was blistering hot that day and we were in suits, so we were unpleasantly sweaty when we got to the meeting. The Stake President hugged us anyways.

On Friday, Elder Roney and I had to conduct Zone Training Meeting for the first time. Our whole zone (31 missionaries) and the APs were there. It was a little nerve racking but I felt the Spirit speak through me and my companion to train our Zone.

In other news, we are still meeting with Shito Kyodai regularly. He is a recent convert and is doing well. He comes to church every week and is reading and praying more regularly. I don't know for sure if he reads everyday though. We have finished lessons 1-3 after baptism and finished lesson 5. We meet with him today and plan to focus on the commandments, specifically prayer, scripture study, and keeping the Sabbath day holy in order to strengthen his commitment to live the Gospel.

We found two new investigators this week. We went to Meijo University on Saturday, but not too many people were there. We were looking for some advisers to talk to about English class. We met one adviser who had been to America twelve times and had visited Temple Square. He seemed to like us and helped us get our foot in the door for helping with English programs. He also said we can come back anytime. Afterward we were looking at the campus map near the main entrance and a young man walked up to us and asked what building we were looking for. He asked in Japanese and then asked in English. His name is Yuta and he wants learn about the church and come to Eikaiwa and he lives near the church. We asked him if we could meet and share a message about God and he said, "Onegaishimasu." We will meet with him after Eikaiwa this week and we gave him a pamphlet to look over. Elder Roney showed him the section about prayer and we were able to pray with him right there on campus. It was a pretty awesome miracle.

The other investigator, Takahashi Kyodai, lives in an apartment across the street from Meijo University. We asked at the kekko box if we could share a pamphlet with him and he came out to the door. We were able to talk about prayer and God and set an appointment for Wednesday night. Before we left we had a prayer with him. He seems pretty interested in religion and made time for us in his really busy schedule, so I'm optimistic about meeting with Takahashi Kyodai.

On Saturday night we played ping pong for a YSA activity. It was fun, but I got my keester handed to me by a boxer from New Zealand named Bubba. That sounds so made up, but it's 100% true. There is a family from New Zealand in our ward and they are all massive. Bubba is probably 275 pounds of pure muscle. His brothers aren't as brawny, but they're still huge. They are stupid good at Ping Pong, too.

I had a very Spiritual experience at church yesterday. Jillian said in her email to me that church feels like home no matter where you are. It's true even in Japan. I was learning about the Kirtland temple in Priesthood and the Spirit testified to me of the truth of God's work and church. The Spirit also testified to me of the reality of the visitations and visions that happened in the Kirtland temple.

Well that's all, folks!

Love you all,

Elder Sanderson

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's a Bright White Wishy Wash

Hey there!

Last week right after email I realized I forgot all the details every one wants to hear. I am companions with Elder Roney in Gokiso in Nagoya City. It's about thirty minutes by train from the Mission Home. We have a zone of thirty-one missionaries and eleven total areas. I live with three other missionaries, Elder Roney, Elder Schade, and Elder Benzon. Elder Schade is from the same home ward as Elder Roney and Elder Schade goes home in three months. He is also our District Leader. Elder Benzon just finished training and he is the only remaining missionary in Gokiso after this last transfer. Elder Schade, Elder Roney, and I are new. Our district is four Elders and four Sisters. We are going to the Nagoya Castle next week!

So, this week has been a lot of fun. We had a pretty smooth transition for it being a white wash. Elder Ashcroft (one of the last Elders here) left a planner with a week's worth of stuff for us to do and we just had to fill in the blanks. We are getting our baptism by fire into the Zone Leader position as well. But things are going well.

We added two former investigators back into the investigator pool last week. One is a part member named Furuhashi Kyodai and another is a man named Tanaka Kyodai. Furuhashi Kyodai's whole family is less-active, but he loves the missionaries and invited us over for lunch next week. We will do FHEs with him to ease him into the Gospel more. Tanaka Kyodai has had trouble keeping commitments in the past, but we have only talked to him on the phone so far.

There is a recent convert here in Gokiso named Shito Kyodai. We have become pretty good friends with him. He is about 60 years old and has some trouble focusing on the lessons, but we're doing AB lessons with him now. He is pretty strong in the gospel.

There is an investigator here in Gokiso named Ito Megumi Shimai. She has been investigating the Gospel for at least three years. I actually taught her about a year ago when she was an investigator in Kasugai. When we met this week she was really surprised to see me again. I think that Elder Roney and I can help her overcome her concerns now and help her make the decision to be baptized. She has a very large knowledge of the Gospel and keeps commandments pretty well from what I understand. She just wants to pass a test for her work before she gets baptized, which only comes around every January. It will take some ponder and prayer, but I think we can help her.

One of my teachers from the MTC, Brother Nielsen, lives in my zone now and he came to get an old bike from us this week. It was so cool to see him and talk about the good ol' days from when I didn't know Japanese. He bought us some parfaits and we had a good time chatting. I get to do an exchange in the area he is in.

That's kind of the news for this week. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson