Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MTC Experience - Our first little miracle

The past two days have been amazing. We have heard from the First Presidency and met and been instructed by many of the members of the twelve and the seventy. We have made many new friends with the other mission presidents and their wives and ate many meals with the presidents and wives going to Japan and the Asia North Area.
Our good friends, the Daniels, who are called to preside over the Japan Sapporo mission still think the brethren got our calls confused. We took this picture pointing at their mission as if it was ours! President Daniels served in Kobe and hoped to return there as president. But they are happy and excited to be the frozen chosen of Sapporo. We are happy to be heading for Kobe!
Tonight we had the chance to meet with all the missionaries going to our mission currently in the MTC. There are 12, 11 Elders and 1 Sister. We spent about two hours with them getting to know each other and sharing our testimonies and stories. We already love these missionaries. They are wonderful. In this group alone we have missionaries from Australia, Brazil and the US. Many had fathers and/or siblings that served in Japan. How lucky we are to lead them.
The last few days as I pondered what to talk about with these missionaries in our first meeting, I had the very distinct impression that I needed to speak with one of them. I felt strongly I needed to let this missionary know that Heavenly Father loves him and that the right decision was made in coming on this mission. This missionary's name stuck with me all day today and I felt this was a prompting from the Spirit. As we went around the room and greeted the missionaries, I told that missionary what I felt and that I felt the Lord wanted me to share these feelings. Later as each missionary introduced themselves and told us about themselves, this missionary shared with us and the group as tears flowed that his father had passed away two weeks before entering the MTC. I then knew why the Lord had prompted me to share those feelings. We then had a mini lesson on following the promptings of the Spirit as missionaries. For Sister McIntyre and me, this was one of the first miracles of our mission. How grateful we are for revelation and the promptings of the Spirit.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

MTC Day!

We have been busy the past few days preparing to enter the MTC. Today we reported. After dropping the boys off at our friends home, we drove down to Provo and Erika and Julie saw us off.
Here are some pictures!

The badge Ceremony!

Day one was short and mainly orientation. Tomorrow, Sunday, the seminar starts and we will hear from President Monson and others. We are looking forward to it.

As part of our orientation we toured the MTC and had the chance to visit the Japan bound missionaries. In addition to meeting all 12 missionaries going to our mission (which was really exciting), we had a chance to visit with Elder Sellers and Elder Parks, both former members of our stake in Japan. I was Elder Parks' bishop several years ago and his father served in the bishopric with me. Elder Sellers' dad served as bishop in the same stake with us.

It has been a busy day and a busy several weeks. The mission has begun! We felt a wonderful spirit today and are grateful for the chance to be here.

We ate dinner with President and Sister Daniels and President and Sister Tateoka, who are going to Sendai. More later when we have chance!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Leaving Japan and Setting Apart in Utah

It has been a busy few weeks leading up to our MTC Mission President's Seminar. We will enter the MTC on Saturday June 21st. On June 7th, Julie graduated from High School at the American School in Japan. Both Erika and Julie completed all four years of high school there. We have many fond memories of ASIJ and will miss the school.

On June 12th we flew to Utah having completely moved from our Tokyo home. Earlier that week we shipped our remaining personal effects from Tokyo to the mission in Kobe. June 12th was Julie's birthday, she turned big 18. To celebrate her birthday and graduation, on June 11th, we took her to Kobe Beef at the Sekishintei Restaurant in the New Otani Garden. Sister Evans and Jeff joined us.

We arrived at our home in Utah on the afternoon of the 12th. The next morning, Friday the 13th, our shipment from Tokyo, which was sent back in May, was delivered to our home in South Jordan. As far as we can tell, nothing was damaged or broken. We will not really unpack much as we are leaving back to Japan in a few days. Our old life will remain boxed in our Utah home basement.

Friday the 13th 2008 was not unlucky for us. This is the day we were set apart as Mission President and full time missionary. The whole family went to the church administration building where we met with Elder Oaks of the Twelve and Elder Maynes of the Seventy. My oldest sister Sharon, her husband Jeff and Dad were also able to join us. Elder Oaks, assisted by Elder Maynes, set me apart first as Mission President of the Japan Kobe Mission, with all the keys associated with that calling. After which Elder Maynes, assisted by me and Elder Oaks set Rika apart as a full time missionary, companion to me, the mission president, and special representative of the church. It was a great experience. Before actually being set apart, we had time to visit with both of them and learned about Elder Maynes' early days at BYU on a basketball scholarship. After the setting apart, our family went to the Roof Restaurant in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and had a great meal together.

It was great to be all together as a family for this event. We have had several hectic months preparing for the next few years, and it is all culminating with our entering the MTC and returning to Japan to start our mission this month. Although we are busy and it seems like we have too many things to get done, I find I have extra energy to do all the needful things and somehow everything seems to fall into place. We are grateful the Lord is helping us and watching over our family.