Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oldest Relief Society President in the Church?

This is Sister Mitamura of the Fukuchiyama Branch. She is 81 years old and the Relief Society President for the branch. Not sure who the oldest R.S. President in the church is, but I am willing to bet Sister Mitamura is one of the oldest! She is so sweet and full of energy. We have never taken a picture with her so we did on this visit.
While in Fukuchiyama, we held the District Seminary Graduation. There were three graduates, but one was not able to attend so her mother accepted the diploma for her.

Fukuchiyama Branch Baptism Feb. 28, 2010

We visited the Fukuchiyama Branch today and spoke in sacrament meeting and helped teach Sunday School. After the meetings we headed to the river for the baptism of Brother Otsuki.He was taught and baptized by Elders Solomon and McGuire.It had been raining the night before so it was a little muddy walking to the spot. Still a little cold, but no one seemed to mind. Getting dry.
After the baptism we returned to the church for some refreshments. Later we held Seminary Graduation for the Fukuchiyama District at the church there as well. A great day in Fukuchiyama!

Zone Leader Council February 2010

A Great Group!

James' Birthday - 14 Years Old

Our baby, James, turned 14 on the 22nd. He had a bowling party with friends and got a nice cake and face cookies. Kobe Beef for dinner. Can't beat that.

Tsunami Hits Japan - Kobe Missionaries Safe

The whole east coast of Japan is currently under Tsunami warnings and most coastal areas are being evacuated as a precaution. These tsunami are more of a surge or rise in sea level rather than a powerful destructive wave. Some northern areas of Japan (Sendai Mission) have had flooding as sea levels rise and the bays overflow. Kobe Missionaries are all safe and dry and no reports of damage have been reported in the mission. We have asked missionaries in apartments on the coast to stay in and they are in contact with members who are making sure no one is in danger. The first wave/surge has hit and they are saying another 2 or 3 will follow. At this point we are just being careful and following governmental instructions. I do not feel anyone is in real danger at this point as the waves in our area have not been large.
President McIntyre

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shingu Branch Conference 2010

Sunday the 21st we held the annual branch conference for the Shingu Branch. This is one of the, if not the smallest, branches in Japan. It is administered over by the mission.We had 12 in attendance but a couple had to leave after sacrament meeting. One couple, the Wada's could not make it this week or we would have had about all active members there.In sacrament meeting, Elder West spoke, who is the branch president, on the importance of temples. President Iwaki, my counselor, spoke about why we have conferences. I spoke about the joy of the gospel and the fruits of living the gospel. Brother Tsuboi gave the Sunday School lesson on the Holy Ghost. After the meetings we had some refreshments prepared by Sister Iwaki.It was a beautiful day so we took the coastal route home and stopped at Kushimoto. Last trip to Shingu, in Kushimoto we met a man by the name of Hotta, who was a fruit vendor. We referred him to the Shingu elders and they have taught him a few lessons and he is reading the Book of Mormon and even came to church once. It is a pretty good distance from Kushimoto to Shingu and the elders cannot make it on bike so working with Hotta san is kind of hard. But we were able to stop and say hello to him as we drove through. He gave us some fish cakes and oranges and was very friendly and glad to see us. We also took some pictures at Hashiguiiwa which is right next to his fruit stand.
This is a very pretty part of Japan and the elders loved seeing the countryside and ocean. The scenery was better than the traffic as it took seven hours to get back to Kobe.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Three Elders Return With Honor this Month

We returned three elders this week and for the first time since we have been here did not get any new missionaries. Next transfer we get nine and have several big groups coming and going through the summer. But this transfer was not as busy or hectic as usual. We still have over 100 missionaries and will go up little by little from here. The returning elders, Taketomi, Ashmore and Magidman.We did something different and took the returning missionaries to a Brazilian BBQ. One of them is Brazilian and everyone wanted to go. They couldn't wait to get inside the restaurant and started eating the display outside.Elder Magidman, who is from Brazil, teaches us the finer points of Brazilan BBQ. The Pypers and Elder Taketomi look on.Elder Ashmore and Ric look on as Sister McIntyre eats her first chicken heart.
During Valentine's week Sister McIntyre made cookies for her Valentine (me!) below and also for many of her other loved ones. The Kobe District missionaries show off their hearts above.
With Love From Kobe!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mission Consolidation Questions

We have a had a few questions about this. Regarding who will be assigned to which mission, this will be determined by where missionaries are serving on July 1st. Missionaries serving in the Okayama Stake, Takamatsu District (Shikoku) and Matsuyama District (Shikoku) will become part of the New Kobe Mission. While missionaries serving in the Hiroshima Stake and Yamaguchi District will become part of the Fukuoka Mission. Kobe and Fukuoka will simply take over these areas, apartments and missionaries. President Isa will determine who goes where by how he assigns missionaries over the next few transfers. While nothing is final, our plans are to visit our new areas starting July 1st to meet all the missionaries and hold interviews. We will then probably have a mission conference shortly thereafter (in Kobe) to allow all the missionaries to come together and receive training and get to know each other. Once we know which missionaries are in the Kobe Mission, we will send out information about this mission to the parents of our new missionaries. We anticipate the Kobe Mission to have around 142 missionaries, 6 stakes, 3 Member Districts and a busy president and wife covering a pretty good sized geographic area. We are happy to answer questions so let us know.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mission President's Journal Feb. 14, 2010

The Kobe Stake held its stake conference today and yesterday. Both Rika and I spoke last night in the adult session and today in the main session as well.
In my talk today I shared a story about President Monson when he served as a mission president in Canada many years ago. He was asked to visited and speak in a small branch in his mission. It only had 9 people and consisted of two families. They met in the basement of a rented building. After the meeting the branch president told President Monson he wanted to build a chapel for his branch. He then showed him a picture of a beautiful big building. President Monson told him he would need 300 or more members attending before he could build such a big building. The branch president said they would do it. He said he planned to share the gospel with everyone in his city. He then asked President Monson if he would send them 6 elders to help in the work. He did so. As the story goes, after the missionaries arrived the branch president knelt and prayed with the missionaries and told them this was the day they would start building their new chapel. The missionaries told him that is great, but we do not have anyone to teach yet. Then this wonderful branch president said if we are going to build a chapel then we need an architect. So he reached up to the bookshelf and took the phonebook down and turned to the business listings and started calling the names of architects out of the phone book. He did the same for doctors, lawyers and many others. He invited them to his home and introduced them to the missionaries and shared the gospel with them. President Monson testified that at the end of his 3 year mission they built that chapel and they had over 400 people in attendance. The secret to their miracle was their faith, enthusiasm, attitude and action.
Well, that story was part of my remarks today. I then told them that I was not sure if we could build a chapel, but I had felt a strong impression we should send missionaries to the small branch of Sumoto on Awaji Island. Coincidentally they have about 9 members attending made up of a couple families. The stake president had told me that the branch had set a goal this year of one baptism for their branch. They have not had missionaries there or a convert baptism for several years (perhaps 10 years). I told the stake president a few weeks ago that if they would raise their goal to 5 and work with us to reactivate 5 more I would send missionaries. Well I had not heard back yet on any revised goals, but we moved forward anyway and are in the process of renting an apartment near the rented church there in Sumoto. At the end of the meeting, a sobbing branch president came to me on the stand and embraced me (which is not common in this culture) and expressed words of gratitude. It was President Kasai of the Sumoto Branch. He then showed me a long list of people. He said we have friends and know people that we want to share the gospel with. He also had a list of less active families he wanted help to visit. Both lists were impressive. I was becoming overwhelmed with emotions myself. I told him I would send him two of my best missionaries and together we would build his branch back up. This ranks as one the most special experiences of my mission so far. My words here probably do not do it justice. The work goes forward and there are members here that are ready to move it forward. We will work to double the attendance in that branch by the end of the year!

We have a kind of similar situation in the Kyoto Stake. The good stake president there came to me and said we want to build a chapel in Omihachiman. There is ward there with about 70 people attending. It is a rather rural area. He said if we can get the average up to 80 people we can put in a request to build a small chapel. It would be the only chapel in that prefecture (state) in Japan. He asked me to send more missionaries to serve in that ward. We have two there now and he asked for two more. I said you show me your ward mission plan and we will help you achieve it. They did and it is a great plan and the whole ward is behind it. The ward is very spread out geographically and the missionaries cannot ride their bikes to all the areas and members’ homes in a reasonable amount of time. They tried once and after a 3 hour bike ride one way determined there must be a better way. The train is helpful, but only if members and investigators live near the train stations. The cost of train tickets is also a burden for the missionaries. The missionaries suggested we get special bikes that can fold up so they could take them on the train to the various areas in the ward, then ride them to their destinations once they get off the train. When I shared this idea with the stake president he said not to worry the stake would buy two bikes and help finance train fare. To make a long story short, we now have a plan to increase by two missionaries, and get them new bikes so they can work better with the ward and help them build a new chapel in Omihachiman. The past several months we have been focusing on becoming more unified with the members. The growth we saw as a mission last year was largely through the missionaries’ increased efforts in street contacting and housing. To see the work progress faster and beyond the levels we are at now, we must get the members more involved. It is happening and it is giving me great hope for the future of the work here.After conference today we held a baptism for Brother Aritoshi of the Ako Branch. He was taught and baptized by Elders Nishio and Novak. This was a special service as Elder Nishio's parents and his older brother were in attendance. Elder Nishio is from Tsuyama in the Hiroshima Mission and his father was transferred here and then called as bishop of one of the wards in the Kobe Stake. His brother has been called to Fukuoka and will report in March. It is a special and unique thing to get a picture of a baptism with your family on your mission. To add to the irony, his home ward, Tsuyama, will become part of this mission in July as well with the consolidation of Hiroshima. Not sure where to transfer him going forward!Sister McIntyre made heart cookies for Valentine's Day for Rosario, one of our converts from last year, and her family. They all attended stake conference.
Speaking of Stake Conferences, last week was the Osaka Stake Conference and a new Stake Presidency was organized by Elder Aoyagi and Elder Ishii of the Seventy. This is a picture of the outgoing presidency and the incoming presidency. The new stake president is President Suita from the Nara Branch. Sister McIntyre and I had speaking assignments on both Saturday and Sunday in this conference as well. It was a wonderful conference and the Spirit was strong. We have great expectations for Osaka going forward.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Japan Hiroshima Mission Consolidation Announced

The Announcement Made
This week (Feb 9th, 10th and 11th) it was announced at mission conferences in the Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Kobe Missions that as of July 1, 2010, the Japan Hiroshima Mission will be closed and the area will be consolidated into the current Kobe and Fukuoka Missions. The official announcement was published in the Church News dated February 13th.
Reactions and Thoughts
We have known about the consolidation for several months. Now that it is public I would like to share some thoughts regardng all the comments and rumors we have heard on the subject. I hope this will be helpful to parents and others. I am concerned that missionaries, parents and others may misunderstand why this is happening and what the work in Japan is really like. First, it is not a sign that Japan is rejecting the gospel or that convert baptisms are decreasing here. It is true we do not see the number of converts that are seen in many missions, especially the South American missions. Nevertheless, our mission, for example, nearly tripled the number of convert baptisms in 2009 over 2008. And Japan as a whole saw growth in convert baptisms year on year. The Lord's elect are here and we are finding them. Second, a mission consolidation is not a reflection of one mission being closed because it had less convert baptisms than another. A similar announcement was made in Korea last week with the mission announced for consolidation being one of the highest baptizing missions in Korea. There are several factors involved in the decision to consolidate missions (including geography, population and travel access). I will not pretend to know all of the reasons, but I am aware of a few of the considerations.
Global and Local Trends
The church is truly becoming a global church. As this occurs, the brethren must determine where areas of strength currently exist and where future growth can be expected to occur both globally and within specific countries and regions. Over the past few years the number of available young men to serve missions has decreased. This is something that is expected to be temporary and it involves demographic trends around baby boomers and their children. As a result, North American young men of mission age available for service have decreased and that has impacted the number of missionaries that can be assigned around the world. This factor coupled with other global demographic trends and the inspiration of the Lord has led to a redistribution (allocation) of missionaries globally. While in some areas missions are being consolidated, in others, new missions are being announced. This is really not new and must be done periodically. In Japan, most missions have already been reduced in missionary numbers to a level that allows missionaries to be assigned to most wards and branches within the mission boundaries. While there are some exceptions in more rural areas, current allocations are close to that level. The days of multiple companionships serving in one branch or ward are gone (except maybe in a few units in large cities). There are just not enough missionaries to support that. In less populated areas of Japan, where many of the wards and branches are in rural areas (like the Hiroshima mission), when the number of missionaries have been decreased to meet the needs of the existing units there, it is apparent that the expense and logistics of operating a separate mission in these regions cannot always be justify. And these areas can easily be managed geographically by the neighboring missions. As the Kobe and Fukuoka missions absorb the areas of the Hiroshima mission, I personally do not anticipate (in the foreseeable future), based on what I have been told, a reduction any further in the number of missionaries based on the needs of the units that will be assigned to our missions. Having said this, the fact is the day for members in Japan to step up their missionary efforts has truly come!
Other Considerations
The Kansai region of Japan (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto), like Tokyo, is a center of strength with 5 stakes already established. People continue to move from rural towns to the larger cities. This is especially true of young people. The scriptures teach us that we are to strengthen and enlarge the borders of the stakes of Zion. (See D&C 133:8-9) This can most effectively be done by focusing our resources in the centers of strength. The Hiroshima Mission consolidation reflects this vision and plan.
About the Work in Japan
Missionaries in Japan do baptize. While that is not the only measure of a successful missionary, it is central to our purpose and the righteous desire of every missionary I meet. We find it very unfortunate and sad that many of our missionaries are told, even before they get here, that they may not baptize anyone while in Japan. Some come here thinking they are only going to plant seeds. This is a great lie. The adversary wins if he can plant that thought into the hearts of our missionaries. They are not called to plant seeds. They are called to gather the elect. (D&C 29:4-7) They are called to find, teach and baptize the children of God and establish the church. Planting seeds also happens. We do it too. You cannot harvest unless you plant. But the field is white already to harvest! We do not build false expectations, but we know that through faith, obedience and diligence we can qualify to see miracles and I personally can testify that we do. I am reminded of the sons of Mosiah who said at the close of their missions that the people of Zarahemla had laughed them to scorn when they told them of their desire to preach to the Lamanites. They were told that they could not do it. The land of the Lamanites was a hard mission. They were told you cannot change them from the traditions of their fathers. They did not believe it. They went in faith that they might perhaps save some few souls. Their missions were not easy, but the harvest was miraculous, bringing thousands unto Christ. Then Ammon reminds his brethren, "God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in, yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth." Comparatively, Japan may not be the easiest mission in the world. But we must have the faith that we can find those prepared to accept the gospel. Tell your sons, daughters, nephews, nieces and members of your wards and stakes called to Japan that you can and will baptize in Japan! For they that believe they can, usually do. (See Alma 26:22-37)
What About Activity Rates?
In our mission, even with the increase in convert baptisms, we have not seen an increase in inactivity among new converts. Retention can be a challenge, but we seem to be holding steady. I honestly do not think current retention rates in Japan are very different from other places in the world. Retaining new members is not a concern unique to Japan. It is a difficult thing to convert to the gospel in any country. Many people convert and struggle to make the needed adjustments in their lives due to culture, family or personal habits. In Japan, it is true there are many cultural and societal barriers to becoming a member of the church. However, this is changing and it will continue to change for the better. Current efforts of the missionaries focus on finding new converts as well as working closely with less active members and part member families. We are working to help the members reach out to less active members and formal training is being provided by priesthood leadership to all members in Japan regarding how to reach out and help all come, or come back, unto Christ. In our mission last year we saw a dramatic increase in convert baptisms among part members families. We have seen many people come back into activity as members and missionaries unite and reach out to these people. It is interesting to note that I have found that many of the so called active members and leaders in Japan had periods of inactivity in the past. Like all people, the Japanese members must learn the importance of the gospel in their lives through their own experiences. We must continue to find people prepared to hear the gospel and bring them unto Christ, but also reach out to those who have strayed from the path for whatever reason. This is all part of our purpose as missionaries. The thought that we should not baptize people in Japan because they may not stay active is another great falsehood perpetrated by the adversary to slow the work.
Some Additional Thoughts on Japan
Recently a new temple was announced in Sapporo. Temples are built where the faithful reside. We already have two temples here in this land. There are many stakes and wards. The Church is established here. I have many second, third and even one forth generation Japanese missionary serving in this mission. We meet strong faithful members every day. We will see the church in Japan grow at a more rapid pace again. For years the growth has been slow. But things are changing. I feel it and I am seeing it. As President Eyring has testified, there will be a great change in the hearts of the members in Japan. And the church will come out of obscurity. We will see in coming years an increasing rise in the prominence and respect for the church and its members in Japan. We must remember the Lord works on a longer time table than most of us. Patience is a Christlike attribute. I believe optimism is too. I choose to see the glass in Japan as half full and being filled more each day, rather than half empty with a leak in the cup. That is the vision I strive to instill in my missionaries. I work daily with the hope and faith that we will have additional temples here in Japan, particularly within the boundaries of this mission.
On the Hiroshima Mission Consolidation
We love President and Sister Isa. We came out together as presidents. I knew him before we were called. He has done a wonderful work in the Hiroshima Mission. I have the greatest respect and love for him and his wife. He has served faithfully and we know he is greatly loved by the members and missionaries there. The fact that the mission is being closed during his service is a reflection of his faith, humility and love for the Lord. It is a hard thing that he has been asked to do. But he is a great man and the Lord chose him to undertake this difficult responsibility because he knew he was the man who could do it. We will work closely with him to ensure a smooth transition and welcome his missionaries into the newly established Kobe Mission. We look forward to adopting many of the good things he has started in Hiroshima into the New Kobe Mission and also sharing our best practices with the newly added elders and sisters from Hiroshima. Fortunately, both missions are dedicated to following Preach My Gospel. This uniform process for missionary work will make the consolidation of the missions much easier.
Closing Thoughts
I have written here some of the thoughts and feelings I have had as I have pondered the events of the past few days and read comments from various people regarding the work here. These remarks are not official statements of the Church and should never be quoted as such. I am aware that there have been many who have served in Japan that struggled in various ways including not seeing converts. I hope and pray that no one measures their success as a missionary based on this criteria. Preach My Gospel states that you will know you are successful as a missionary when you feel the Spirit testifying through you. We have been asked to preach the gospel, be obedient, open our mouths and invite others to come unto Christ, to boldly testify of Jesus Christ and the restoration. We need to do our part. The Spirit will convert the people. The gospel rolls forward. With regards to Japan, we must not look backwards. We must face the vision the Lord has for this great land and people and work towards it. I am more concerned with what the Lord can do through us here in the future than what we had trouble doing here in the past. We must not sit idle and watch and wait for the prophecies to be fulfilled regarding Japan. We must ask ourselves what we should be doing to fulfill the prophecies regarding this land, then go do it. Finally, as we think about the work here in Japan, and everywhere for that matter, we must remember it is about the "one," each and every one of God's children. We all want to hear about thousands of converts and how the work is moving forward. But the real work and the real miracle is how the gospel affects one person at a time. It is the one we found. It is the one we brought back into activity. It is the one who repents and enters the waters of baptism. Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. Remember how great your joy will be if you bring one soul unto Christ. The Savior said to leave the ninety and nine and go after the one. We will find and baptize thousands, but the miracle is the impact the atonement has on each one of God's children. And every one of them is worth the effort.

We look forward to serving in the NEW Japan Kobe Mission come July. We love the Lord and this work and all of His missionaries.

President and Sister W. A. McIntyre
Japan Kobe Mission

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Elder Oaks Special Conference - February 2010

This week Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve visited Osaka and Kobe. He was accompanied by his wife Sister Kristen M. Oaks. Elder and Sister Stevenson, Asia North Area President, and Elder and Sister Ishii, both of the Seventy also joined us in Kansai for two wonderful meetings. The first meeting, held in Ibaraki, Osaka North Stake, was an adult member meeting. President and Sister Kido of the North Stake met us at the airport where we picked up Elder and Sister Oaks and our other visitors and transported them to the stake center. Before the meeting we had the opportunity to join the visiting authorities and all 5 Stake Presidents and their wives for dinner. The member meeting was wonderful and well attended with well over 700 in attendance. Before Elder Oaks addressed the members, we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Stevenson, Elder Ishii and Sister Oaks. Sister Oaks served a mission in Sendai Japan and the members enjoyed hearing her share part of her message in Japanese. Elder Oaks gave some wonderful counsel directed specifically to the members in this region of Japan. After the meeting we transported them to their hotel in Kobe.
The next morning we were blessed to have Elder Oaks preside at a special conference for the Japan Kobe Mission. The meeting was held at the Kobe Stake Center adjacent to the Mission Home and Offices. We had all one hundred plus missionaries in attendance. We were very happy to also have all 5 Stake Presidents and their wives and our Member District President as well as my counselors attend with us. It says a lot about their commitment to working with us to move the work forward here in the Kobe Mission.
To begin the morning, Elder and Sister Oaks personally greeted each missionary in the mission. Elder Oaks asked that I conduct the meeting and the speakers in order were Sister McIntyre, myself, Elder Stevenson, Sister Oaks, Elder Ishii and Elder Oaks. Elder Stevenson taught us about the importance of helping people come unto Christ through making commitments. Elder Oaks spoke on several topics, but one that stood out for many of the missionaries was the concept of ITL (Invite To Learn). Missionaries are taught to open their mouths. He taught us that that is not enough. We need to invite to learn. We also had time for questions from the missionaries. After the meeting Elder Oaks commented to me about how impressed he was with their questions. The missionaries asked appropriate and difficult questions to which Elder Oaks answered through his experiences, understanding of the gospel and the promptings of the Spirit. At one point in the meeting he shared with the missionaries a very personal spiritual experience that he said he had never shared with anyone before. The missionaries of the Kobe Mission received great counsel and wisdom from an apostle of the Lord.
After the meeting we were able to enjoy lunch with Elder and Sister Oaks and our other visiting authorities at the mission home. After lunch we had a short tour of the mission offices and we were off to the train station.
It was a wonderful few days in the Japan Kobe Mission.

Friday, February 5, 2010

We Will Re-Open Sumoto Branch on Awaji Island!

This week we travelled to Awaji Island which lies between Honshu (the main biggest island of Japan) and Shikoku (one of the 4 main islands of Japan and part of the Hiroshima Mission) via the Akashi Ohashi bridge. Awaji Island is home to the Sumoto Branch of the Kobe Stake. Missionaries have not served there for several years. We have decided to reopen the area to missionary work and visited the island to secure an apartment for the missionaries. Here is a shot from the car as we crossed the bridge and approach Awaji Island.
This is a picture from last September when we visited the area on our preparation day. The map in the background is of the island. Sumoto is about in the middle on the east coast. To the north you can see a small piece of honshu where the bridge crosses and to the south there is another bridge that crosses to Shikoku. The southern end between Awaji and Shikoku are home to the famous Naruto Whirlpools in the ocean.
The branch meets in a rented building in downtown Sumoto. The white sign on the brick wall says the name of the church.
The bridge is 4 kilometers long and the longest of its kind in the world. In ancient times the island had a rather good size castle and was a bridge between the two big islands. The castle ruins are on top of Mikuma Mountain right in the town of Sumoto. The apartment we are making an offer on looks right out at the mountain and you can see the tower in the back of us from the window. The castle was first erected about 500 years ago.
Hard to see but some pictures of the ruins.
400 year old wall. Sounds old, but in Japan's history a few hundred years is not that long ago. We have been to temples and sites 1500 years old.
A view of the beach and ocean from the castle ruins.
Getting on the bridge on the way home. We found an apartment we think will work and we officially started proselyting by visiting with a woman on the mountain and giving her some literature and letting her know the missionaries would visit her when they arrive. The branch is excited to have missionaries and working on a plan to work with them. There are about 80 members on the island and most are not attending church. The branch activity consists of a few faithful families. They have been requesting missionaries for some time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Updates From January 2010

Here are some great baptism pictures from several areas. I believe these are all some of our January baptisms. A New Year has begun and the work is moving forward! Umeda Shimai was baptized in the Kobe Ward by Elders Ito, Hobson and Burton. Her Husband is a member and had not been to church for several years and recently returned to activity. They are a wonderful couple!
Fisk Shimai, who is Japanese American and recently married to Brother Fisk, was baptized in the Kakogawa Ward, Kobe Stake by Elders Kodama and Murphy.
Kyogaku Shimai who is originally from China, but has lived in Japan for many years was baptized in the Ako Branch, Kobe Stake by Elders Stennett and Nishio.
Young Brother Kawamoto in the Hirakata Ward, Osaka Stake was baptized by Elders Monson and Capener.
This last week in the Sakai Ward, Osaka Sakai Stake, Ikeda Shimai was baptized. She was taught by Elders Budge and Kanno and Elder Capener before transfers. Her husband and daughter attended the baptism as well.
Earlier in January Fujioka Kyodai was baptized by Elders Budge and Capener in the Sakai Ward as well.
Little Nagatani kun was baptized in Higashi Osaka Ward, Osaka Stake by Elders Reading and Ishihara. These young children being taught and baptized are usually children of part member families and/or reactivated families the missionaries have been working with. The mission teaches and baptizes the children if they are 9 or older.
President Hinckley taught that there are many a family that has been baptized or reactivated through the work of primary children! We have been seeing that here in the mission. What a blessing it is.