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

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hittin' the Road!!

So things are changing again. I'm transferring and I'm so excited to go to Gokiso with Elder Roney!!!!! When I heard I was going to Gokiso I was a little disappointed. Then Elder Sambongi (the AP) told me who my companion would be and I'm still buzzing because I'm so excited! I'll admit it's sad to say goodbye to another beloved area and beloved companion, but change is good. I'm ready for it.

I'll be Elder Roney's companion in Gokiso. We will white wash and we are both brand new Zone Leaders!! Luckily an Elder in our apartment has been a ZL, so we can ask him our questions. Roney Choro has been training Elder Gowans in Numazu (next door to Fuji, same district for 4 transfers now) but he's leaving his bean behind and heading to Gokiso with me. I'm so excited!!!!

We had some great miracles this week. The Shizuoka Elders ran into a former investigator from Fuji from about 30 years ago. He lent his Rubik's Cube to a missionary who broke it and threw it away, so he was pretty bitter about it and stopped meeting with the missionaries. Elder Suzuki and I contacted him on Saturday. Well, at first he wasn't home, so we were going to leave a note. As we finished writing Anamizu san (the man from 30 years ago) came walking up and said hello to us. We talked to him about the other missionaries, apologized where we could, and presented him with a brand new Rubik's Cube! He was so happy! He became an investigator and works at home so we can meet a lot. It's amazing how the Lord works and prepares people.

Sister Takahashi, in Fuji ward, brought her friend to church yesterday. She isn't quite an investigator and the things we talked about in church probably overwhelmed her, but she has potential to come again. I think she felt the Spirit during Testimony meeting. It was really great.

I told everyone that yesterday was probably my last Sunday in Fuji and it was kind of sad. Ogawa Shimai, the Bishop's wife, started crying when I gave her my business card. I was thinking "You stop right now!" because I was getting a little choked up too. I got the contact information of some great members here in Fuji, so I can keep in contact. Yay! It's been a privilege to serve here in Fuji. I love the people, the work, and the area.

We set a goal for 2-3 lessons everyday last week and we made it! Some days we had to do everything to hit just 2 lessons, but it was so worth it. A popular theme in the things I've studied this past week is that you have to claim your blessings. Heavenly Father pours out so many blessings when you work hard and do all you can to invite others to come unto Christ.

We had our last lesson with Ogasawara san this week. She is such a kinjin, but she doesn't want to join the church. That sounds weird, but she keeps her commitments, truly studies the Book of Mormon, and loves the Church. She is headed to Yamanashi ken for the summer, so we can't meet. But we put a note on her teaching record for the missionaries to contact her in September. Until then she will still read the Book of Mormon and she asked for our favorite parts so she can read them.

I definitely feel I am leaving Fuji in good hands with Elder Honda and Elder Suzuki taking the reigns. I fasted yesterday for Elder Suzuki to have a great follow up trainer. I'm so glad it's Elder Honda. He will be able to teach and help Elder Suzuki in ways I couldn't ever teach him. I'm looking forward to see what lies in store for those two here in Fuji.

Mom sent me pics of Jill's graduation. Congratulations, Jillian! Fun stuff. I looked at the pictures and said, "Holy crap, Dad, you're freakin' tiny!" If I can pick you up off the ground when I get home do I still get a car? Crossin' my fingers.

Things are very different as a missionary. The most adrenaline-rushed I get is when I'm waiting for transfer calls. I hope everyone is doing great. Love you all.


Elder Sanderson