These are the new 11 the night before we matched them with their new companions and sent them out into the field. They were all very excited to find out their first areas and companions. This was an energetic group that could not wait to get out and talk to people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The first day they were here we took them out to lunch and they talked with people and we even placed a Book of Mormon and got an appointment. They caught the vision of "opening your mouth" that first day!Here they are after signing the mission quilt. (Elders Faalalei, Johnson, Andreason, Heiner, Honda, Hobson, Tibbs, Matsuoka, Varjao, Culter and Kanno)Two years is a long time! The distinguished departing Elders and Sister of August 2008. This was taken just before we dropped them off at the Shin Kobe Train Station bound for Tokyo. (Elder Marcusen, Sister Bensen, Elders Inouye, Lee, Morgan, Strong, Levi, Ashdown, Hancock and Yamaguchi) They served honorably and are now among the elite Kobe Mission alumni!
This week we are having Zone Conferences. We are focusing our training on Finding New Investigators. We also have a goal of helping each ward and branch in the mission complete a mission plan by the end of September. Another goal has been to build trust and unity with the local leaders. We have been working with all the stake and district presidents (and bishops and branch presidents) to train them and provide them with materials to help them accomplish this. Sister McIntyre and I travel to a different ward or branch every week. Last Sunday I gave three talks. One in sacrament meeting, one in a missionary fireside and one in a stake leadership training meeting. I think I have been averaging about 2 talks every Sunday (and another one almost every Saturday at firesides or training meetings as well). Sister McIntyre usually speaks when I speak, but not always. I always tell them she can speak better Japanese than me, but it has not got me out of speaking yet! I will keep trying.