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