Friday, July 24, 2009

Ten New Enter the Mission and Eleven Return With Honor

Ten new missionaries entered the mission this week. A very unified and excited group of elders.
Back row - Elders Nishio, Starks, McConnell, Wiser, Sjavik and McGuire. Front Row - Elders Bowman, Slater, Imai and Rahn. First meal in the mission home!
11 Returning with Honor - Back Row - Elders Rassmusen, Stufflebeam, Jorgensen, Wintz, Neilsen, Merrick and Williamson. Front Row - Elder Latimer, Sisters Tsuda and Webb and Elder Fishler.
Sayonara Cake. Frosting looks like it is melting a little! But it tasted great.Earlier in the week Elder Fishler's mission dream was fulfilled when he earned his apron from Sister McIntyre. Looks good on him. I think he will make a good cook for a wonderful sister someday! And I hear he is available and looking.
What a wonderful and busy week it has been.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

President's Message August 2009 -Greatness

Elders and Sisters,

Just over a year has past since we arrived in Kobe. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve with you. You are truly wonderful missionaries and we love each of you.
This past year we have witnessed a marvelous work begin to transpire in the Japan Kobe Mission. We have enlarged our vision, increased our faith, lengthened our stride and as a result, through your faith and diligence, we have seen an increase in converts and more excitement regarding missionary work among the members. But this must be just the beginning!
We have worked hard to become “Preach My Gospel” missionaries by following the principles outlined in that guidebook and the scriptures. Preach My Gospel missionaries are good missionaries. They follow the program, are obedient to the rules, and feel the Spirit work through them. They are successful missionaries. (See PMG P. 10-11) As I think back to where we were as a mission a year ago and where we are today, I see great progress and could not be more pleased with what we have accomplished. Nevertheless, as I have pondered what the Lord would have us do to continue to fulfill our purpose as missionaries and move the work forward at a faster pace, I have realized that there is still much we can do to improve. Lately I have felt we have become a “good” mission. But my desire, and I believe the desire of the Lord, is for us to become a “great” mission and each of you “great” missionaries.
The difference between good and great is very subtle. And the world’s definitions of greatness vary. Let me explain some of the attributes of true greatness as I see it by sharing some examples. Think about these two great historical individuals from modern society, Mother Theresa and Ghandi. Both these individuals are considered great by most people who are familiar with their lives. Why? What sets them apart from other people? As I thought about this, I realized they are not considered great for what they did or accomplished per se, but for what they did for others and the examples they set. Neither held positions of formal power or authority nor sought for such recognition. But the legacy they left was the impact they had on millions of people through their service, sacrifice and examples. This kind of greatness is not the same as the greatness that may be achieved by an athlete that scores the most points or wins the most championships. That kind of greatness is based on what they accomplished largely for themselves. In a sense it was for personal glory or satisfaction. That kind of greatness is not lasting and will eventually fade or even be forgotten.
Now think of the Savior, the greatest of all. The great sacrifice for each of us individually and all mankind, the atonement. It is what the Savior did for each of us that defines His greatness. It was in His doing the will of the Father and not himself. It was His great example of a perfect life. Service, Sacrifice and Example!
The difference between being a good missionary and a great missionary may be found in your attitude and motivation. Your desire to serve, your willingness to sacrifice and what kind of example you set will certainly define what kind of missionary you become and how you will be remembered when you complete your mission. That will be your legacy. Are you here to score a lot of points or compete with others? Or are you here to serve the Lord and help others come unto Christ through your service, sacrifice and example. Are you here to do your will or out of obligation to fulfill your duty or someone else’s expectations? Or are you here to do the will of the Father because you love Him and your fellowman? You can follow the program and go through the motions and be a good missionary. Or you can be great missionaries by doing the will of the Father in all things as did the Savior.
Through our service, sacrifice, and example we will help people come unto Christ. Each of you has the potential to influence the lives of hundreds, even thousands, of people through your work here. We help people come unto Christ by inviting them to make and keep commitments. As we teach true doctrine, testify and show a good example, people will begin to have faith in Christ and the courage to keep commitments and obey the commandments. These commitments prepare people to make and keep covenants. The first covenant people need to make to prepare to return to our Father in Heaven is made through the ordinance of baptism. Be bold in your efforts to invite people to change and keep commitments. It is how they repent and come unto Christ. It is how you will play a role in helping them come unto Christ. It is how you will influence the lives of people as a missionary and how you will become a Great (Preach My Gospel) Missionary. Don't settle for good, when you have the potential to be great.

May we strive for Greatness and to be more like the Greatest of all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

President and Sister McIntyre

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wakayama Tour with Assistants

This past week President McIntyre drove to Tanabe and Shingu with the assistants to meet and interview the missionaries in the southern part of Wakayama. It was an overnight trip and they visited three areas. After interviews in Wakayama, they drove to Gobo to pick up some things from the old missionary apartment there then continued on to Tanabe. President's Report: In Tanabe - Interviewed Elders Payne and Merrick. Here we all are front of the Tanabe Church.
Above - Elder Payne, President McIntyre, Elders Tupou, Fishler and Merrick.

We then drove along the southern coast to Shingu. We stopped for a quick photo in Kishimoto to take a picture of the rock formations called Hashiguiiwa. Elders Fishler and Tupou pose for a few shots.

In Shingu the next morning we studied with the missionaries there, Elders Honda and LaRose, then I interviewed them.After missionary interviews, Elder Honda, who is the Branch President of this little branch, had a PPI with me and we discussed the branch and how we can strengthen it. As always, it was a fun trip and we got a lot accomplished.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ricky Attends SOAR at BYU

SOAR stands for Summer of Academic Refinement and is a college preparation camp sponsored by the multicultural student department at BYU. During the camp, everyone prepares for and actually takes the ACT test and has a lot of fun in various EFY type activities. Ricky and James just returned from spending nearly a month in Utah. They both attended basketball camps and Ricky had a great time at SOAR. He is second from the left in the picture below. One day they hiked up to the Y on the mountain.

Ricky certainly looks like he got a lot smarter at the camp!
They had trip to Temple Square where they watched a movie and toured the grounds.

Ricky in the back row middle.
Fun time
Mario! Mario! Mario!
Banquet night was a dressier affair.
Apparently there was some studying that went on. Nice feet!
Now it is back to the humid summer of Japan for the boys. We are glad to have them home.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sister McIntyre's Baptisms and Report from Asahikawa

If you recall Sister McIntyre found a young girl several weeks back and challenged her to be baptized even before they started teaching the lessons. She was able to see Mio baptized this week along with another wonderful sister. Here is her letter and pictures from the Sapporo Mission.

Hello everyone!! How are you? I am wonderful! We had two wonderful people baptized this past Saturday. This past week helping them prepare was such a joy and blessing. Ueda-san, age 68, was baptized July 11 at 2pm.
Her children live far away. Her mother and little brother passed away while she was young. Anyway, she is all alone. What got her most was the plan of salvation. Saito Shimai told her that through being baptized, she could meet with her family again. One week when she had come to church, the Relief Society lesson was on temples and temple work. There she learned that we could help others with their saving ordinances. There, Saito Shimai explained to her that after she is baptized, she can go to the temple and do those ordinances for her family, in which they will be able to meet again in the celestial kingdom. At that time, we didn't know how much she was actually listening, or understanding, but after her interview with the Zone Leaders, she told us that she is doing this for her Mother and Little Brother. What a joy it is that through this Gospel we can be with our families forever, that death is not the end. When we were deciding with her what the hymns for the baptismal service should be, she wanted "God be with you til we meet again." As we sang that song at her baptism, the spirit was so strong. She will be able to meet her mother and brother again. What a wonderful truth.
Mio was baptized July 11 at 11am. She is such a pure, sweet young girl. After she was baptized she expressed that she just felt so much lighter. She is so obedient and so happy. And I know that this gospel is just going to make her THAT Much happier. Eternally. President Daniels actually called the night before and asked if he could come, and so we had the privilege of having him at one of our baptisms. This gospel is so wonderful, and there are SO many people ready to hear it. OH! one more piece of good news. Nishimura Megumi is an old investigator. We had found her name from the Potential Investigator list and gave her a call a few times. Before I came Saito Shimai had made an appointment with her, but she cancelled last minute. I called her a few weeks after being here and she picked up and we got an appointment. She is out of our area, so we thought if she is interested, we'd pass her off to the Elders in that area. We met with her and taught her, and then met with her one more time and passed her over to the Elders. It's been about 3 weeks and the Elders finally were able to teach her again (she is really busy with work.. 22 years old-ish). Well, last night we get a call from those Elders and they said, "thank you for referring her. She is getting baptized!!" We were so happy for her and them. And we were so grateful to have the opportunity to play a small part in the process. We both felt that she was truly prepared. She seriously has met the missionaries like 5 or 6 times. This work is awesome! =) Anyway we are now out to find those who are prepared.
Oh, and my twin that I met on the street yesterday. She lives in Okayama. Same age as me, and she's seen the missionaries a lot in Okayama. Anyway we got her number, and I will try and pass her over to the missionaries there. Hope you have a great week. I LOVE YOU ALL!
Sister McIntyre

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 2009 Convert Update - July 12th

Here are some recent photos from the field.Sister Ka Rina from Nabari with Elders Monson and Akina. Also pictured are Brother and Sister Akino from the Nabari Branch. Elders McBurney and Manning with Brother Shimoura Kazuhiro in Shimogamo, Kyoto.
Elders Lytle and Hobson in Yamato Koriyama with Brother Sakamoto Kazuteru.
Elders Harris, Kanno and Kimura with Brother and Sister Kamiyama (and some of their family)from Abeno.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kobe Sister's Conference - July 2009

This past week we had all our sisters in Kobe for a training conference. This transfer we have an historic high 15 sisters serving in the mission. Two go home this coming transfer.
All the sisters arrived in Kobe to start at 10am. Fortunately, most can make it to Kobe in about an hour or less. The morning started with each companionship sharing a 10-15 minute training or "best practice" they have learned about finding, teaching or being an effective missionary. We strove to apply D&C 88:77 and instruct each other in the doctrines and principles of the kingdom.After lunch, Sister McIntyre had a few minutes with the sisters privately so she could discuss issues related exclusively to being a sister missionary. Before we started up the afternoon session, Sister McIntyre also gave each sister an apron she made. The sisters all signed them for each other. A wonderful group of missionaries! These sisters are sure to be great wives, mothers, teachers and leaders in the church.
Sisters Tsuda and Yamada serving in Sakai taught about how to use study time more effectively to plan and prepare to teach lessons for investigators.
Sisters Hayase and Meyers serving in Abeno taught how they find using eikaiwa pamphlets to lead a conversation to a gospel topic.
Sisters Yamashita and Kurashita serving in Hirakata do a little skit based on the "woman at the well" and then taught about the importance of companionship unity.
Sisters Kogawa and Kobayashi who also serve in Hirakata sang a little ditty about the Book of Mormon and taught about the how they help investigators learn from the scriptures. They also showed a picture book they created to help teach young investigators.
Sisters Glenn and Kina serving in Kobe taught about getting commitments and how to ask effective questions to help investigators understand the importance of the gospel message. They shared a great song they wrote.Sisters Inoue and Kaneko serving in Okamachi shared part of their training through music. They also did a role play to show how we need to smile when teaching and respect investigators beliefs while teaching them the truth.Sisters Webb, Notsu and Ho serving in Shimogamo, Kyoto shared with us how they held a mini MTC in their ward to help the members understand the principles and program missionaries follow as found in Preach My Gospel.Talk about too many cooks in the kitchen. Try having 15 sister missionaries in your kitchen all at once! Sister Ise prepared Hawaiian hay stacks for lunch and everyone seemed to love it. It was a great day and the sisters were uplifted and instructed. In the afternoon, president shared some training from PMG that the sisters can apply not only now as missionaries, but once they return home and prepare for marriage as well. The afternoon ended with testimonies and the sisters were all back in their areas for lessons and proselyting by dinner time. In addition to our Sister's Conference we travelled to Nara on Monday and interviewed the missionaries there and Tuesday we spent the day in Kyoto interviewing the 15 missionaries in that zone. That evening while in Kyoto I met with the Kyoto Stake President and the zone leaders in our monthly correlation meeting.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 2009 Begins!

July began with missionary interviews this past week in several areas. We travelled to Fukuchiyama for interviews and my regular meeting with the District President. Then we held interviews in Kobe for several of the missionaries serving in the Kobe Stake and the zone leaders and I met with the stake presidency in our monthly coordination meeting. On Friday we travelled to Hirakata in the morning and interviewed the district there and then drove over to Abeno in Osaka and held more interviews. We interviewed 20 missionaries that day which is a few more than I like to do in one day! That evening in Abeno we had a special training meeting for all the bishoprics and ward mission leaders in the Osaka Stake. The purpose of the meeting was for me to provide training on Preach My Gospel and to better help the local leaders understand the program we are following. Ultimately we desire and need to be more unified in our missionary efforts. The training went well and I think the stake president's and my objectives were met. But the meeting started at 8:30pm so everyone could attend after work and we did not finish until nearly 11pm due to questions and discussion. We arrived back in Kobe at about midnight.Saturday we drove to Kyoto for the baptism of Koga-san. It was a great service. He was found several months ago by Elders Bahr and Moore. Elders Williamson and Drake continued to teach him and baptized him. He is a teacher, single and in his early 30's. He is going to attend the All Japan Single Adult conference next month. His next goal is find a nice sister to take to the temple!After the baptism, we drove to Iga Ueno in the Nabari area which is in Mie prefecture and spent the night. We got there around 10pm. Sister McIntyre went to bed, but I enjoyed the onsen bath before retiring. The next morning we attended the Nabari Branch. This is a small branch in the Osaka Stake, but pretty far out of Osaka in the mountains bordering the Nagoya Mission. They meet in this building on the 4th floor. Nabari is a beautiful place with lots of rolling green hills and rice fields in the valleys. It was fast and testimony meeting and we both were able to share testimonies. This is a wonderful branch and we felt a great spirit there. They usually have around 30-35 people attend including missionaries and investigators. This Sunday there were 40 or more there including 9 investigators. Elders Monson and Akina called many people they are teaching and invited them to church to meet us. The branch has a baptism scheduled for next Sunday for Ka Rina pictured here with us. She is a Chinese speaker from Northern China/Mongolia. She is really excited to join the church.
Here are some other pictures from recent baptisms. Elders Ashmore and Sorenson baptized Brother Takase in Takatsuki ward this past month. Bother Nakamura of Katsura baptized his 15 year old daughter Reina as well. She was taught by the Shimogamo Sisters Webb, Notsu and Ho.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Transfer Focus- President's Message June/July 2009

This past transfer, we have been focusing on the small and simple things we should do as missionaries. We are also continually striving to become more like Christ as we serve as His missionaries. In order to become more effective Preach My Gospel Missionaries, we should look to the scriptures for examples and clues as to how to apply gospel doctrine and missionary principles. This will help us know what those small and simple things are that we should do. Once we identify, learn and understand the doctrines and principles in the scriptures, we must then liken them unto our situation and efforts here in Japan as missionaries. To “liken” means to create a mental bridge between understanding the doctrine and living the doctrine. (See PMG p. 110) President Packer taught that true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. (See PMG p. 19) As we study the scriptures and come to understand true doctrine, we will change, our investigators will change and the members will change. This is not only applicable to doctrine, but also to principles of missionary effectiveness such as finding, teaching, building trust, etc. found in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel.
In our zone conferences this month, we will study four specific passages or stories in the scriptures so we can better understand the doctrine and liken the scriptures to our efforts here in Japan.
1. John 4 – The story of Christ and the woman at the well
2. Acts 8 – The Story of Phillip and the Eunuch
3. Acts 17- Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill
4. Alma 17 -18 – Sons of Mosiah and Ammon with King Lamoni
These passages of scripture demonstrate some wonderful principles of missionary work and they feature some of the greatest missionaries of all time. Before you study these chapters, pray for the Spirit to open up your mind to understand better the missionary principles taught in these chapters. Then, as you read, have your Preach My Gospel and study journal with you and take careful notes as to what the Spirit teaches you. Cross reference the scriptures with PMG and pay particular attention to clues that will help you become a more effective finder, teacher and missionary. Think about what these passages are teaching you about natural conversations, talking with everyone, find when you teach and teach when you find, asking for referrals, following the Spirit, teaching for understanding, preparation and planning, the importance of and the qualifications for baptism, building trust, the power of service, who will accept your message and many more wonderful principles and concepts from Preach My Gospel. Remember, Preach My Gospel is a tool to help us better understand the scriptures and apply them to our work as missionaries.
As we come to better understand these doctrines and principles in the scriptures and then begin to liken them to our service as missionaries, we will become more effective missionaries.
We are truly seeing the work move forward here in the Japan Kobe Mission and I know it is because of your great faith and diligence as missionaries. We are grateful to each of you for your hard work and sacrifice each day. May the Lord continue to bless you and this mission with great success!
Love President and Sister McIntyre