Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday President!

Sister McIntyre made President a great cake and apple pie for his birthday! The office missionaries also brought treats and everyone enjoyed a small celebration!
Another older and hopefully wiser!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kobe Mission Area after July 1, 2010

These may be hard to see due to the small size, but we just finished creating the area map of the new mission boundaries after the consolidation of Hiroshima. We are adding the light blue areas (Okayama Stake) on the left and the whole island of Shikoku (the long purple and grey island areas) at the bottom. The geographic size of the mission is doubling. The expanded mission will have 64 church units with approximately 17,500 members and a population of about 30 million people. Each color grouping above represents a stake or member district within the mission.
It will be a much more time consuming job for us to travel the whole mission for interviews and conferences every transfer, but we are excited by the opportunity and look forward to having about 40 more missionaries and meeting many more wonderful members throughout Japan.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekend Baptisms in the Fukuchiyama Member District - March 2010

Brother Kishida was baptized in the Toyooka Branch this weekend. Brother Kishida's daughter Keiko Johnson and her family flew in from Utah to be at the baptism and Brother Johnson (son-in-law) perform the baptism. Sister Kishida has been a member for nearly 40 years and was one of the first members in Toyooka. This past year or so Brother Kishida has been studying the gospel diligently and was taught by several missionaries that served in the branch. It was a very special and long awaited baptismal service. The end of last month, Elders Shepley and Everts challenged Brother Kishida, who has had some health concerns, to fast and pray so that he could be baptized on March 20th. He accepted the commitment and we were able to witness a wonderful baptism on that day. Brother Kishida is looking forward to attending the temple and being sealed as a family and doing temple work for his family.I cannot emphasize the importance of the work we do among part-member families. Creating eternal families is central to our purpose as missionaries. We are gathering the blood of Israel. Is there not a better place to look for that blood than in a home where the blood already exists? We have seen an increase in baptisms among spouses, children and parents of members. These are truly answers to the prayers of faithful members. Many have prayed and been faithful for years in hopes of seeing their loved ones come unto Christ. We must be mindful of these people and patiently work with them and their loved ones to help them come unto to Christ.
Toyooka Branch members after the baptism.
The Furutani Family, a wonderful family in Toyooka, will be moving to Yamaguchi Prefecture next week. We are so sad to see them go. Brother Furutani has served in the District Presidency for several years. This weekend we had the chance to say goodbye one more time and get this picture with their family. We love their cute girls who always brighten up the church whenever we visit.Sister Miyagaki was baptized in the Fukuchiyama Branch. She was found and taught by Elders McGuire and Solomon.
Members of Fukuchiyama Branch attending the baptism at the river. Second baptism at this river in the past month!

Fukuchiyama Castle from the car on the drive to the river.

We love the Fukuchiyama District and the wonderful members there!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring is Here!

She has either grown horns or is being attacked by that plant on our patio!
Spring is here!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Recent Converts

Sister Takagi was baptized in Hanayashiki Ward by Elders Bennion, Kurose and Neider. Elders Monson and Capener baptized Brother Kawamoto in Hirakata Ward.
Brother Miura was baptized in Yamato Koriyama Ward by Elders Imai and Price.
Brother Takashima was baptized in Nabari Branch by Elders Buerger, Chamochumbi and Imi.
Brother Takinami was baptized in Himeji Ward by Elders Kimura and Andreasen.
Brother Ikeda was baptized in Hanayashiki Ward by Elders Kurose and Bennion.

Recent Pictures From Kobe

Elder Hobson shows his face cookie. It was his birthday this week and we had our little fun in the office. Office staff and Kobe district.Elder Hobson's cookie from Sister McIntyre
We hit Mister Donuts in Abeno after lunch during our interviews. Elder Escalante shows of his strawberry bear donut. President McIntyre loves donuts!
On a recent preparation day we went downtown in Osaka to Umeda with the Pypers and ate crab and shrimp at the New Hankyu Hotel. Great as usual. They also served the famous poisonous Japanese puffer fish which we ate and fortunately survived.
At our recent interviews in Mikunigaoka, former Elder Kunihiro showed up to say hello. He will be off to BYU Hawaii in a few weeks. Now Brother Kunihiro!
Got a shot of mom with the boys the other night. They are both bigger than her now and almost bigger than dad (well Ricky already is). Rick is still trying to decide between BYU Hawaii and Provo.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 2010 Zone Conferences

At our recent zone conferences we asked members to join us and let the missionaries practice teaching them lessons. We practiced committing people to come to church, accept baptism and read and pray about the Book of Mormon.
Missionaries also worked in their zones and practiced with each other as well.
Teaching members in Higashi Osaka
Teaching each other.
Working within the zone. Osaka North Zone.
Teaching members in Kyoto.
Member practice in Kyoto, Shimogamo.
We also celebrated Elder and Sister Pyper's 54th Wedding Anniversary at the Kobe Zone Conference. 54 years of Joy! We love the Pypers!
Relief Society Sisters prepare meals for our conferences. This was the meal from Higashi Osaka.
Higashi Osaka Members that prepared lunch for everyone. Thank You!
Some of the cooks from Kobe Stake at the Kobe Conference.
They made us Taco Rice and it was really good!
More Kobe members preparing Taco Rice.
In Kyoto we had a buffet style selection of various Japanese dishes. The missionaries really enjoyed it.
A shot of some of the food at the Kyoto Conference.
Thanks to everyone! They were well fed and well trained!

Friday, March 5, 2010

President's Message March 2010

Elders and Sisters of the Japan Kobe Mission,

The weather is warming and Spring is in the air. Soon we will be enjoying the Sakura here in Japan. It is a wonderful time of year to be out among the people sharing the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Recently my thoughts have been focused on the gospel and the blessings it can bring into the lives of those who choose to live it. The gospel is the good news. It is not complex or hard to understand. The good news is that we have a loving Heavenly Father and he has a plan for us. The Gospel teaches us why we are here and what our potential is. The good news is that we can find true peace and joy in this life and in the eternities. The good news is that even though we die, we will all rise again, as the resurrection is gift to all mankind. The good news is that if we choose to follow Christ, we can become cleansed of our sins through His atonement and return to our loving Father in Heaven. The good news is that we can live as families and progress throughout all eternity. In short, the good news is that no matter what we may face in this life; trials, hardships, illness or any kind of adversity, we can have hope in Christ and the Plan of Salvation.

As missionaries we preach the gospel. We teach the doctrine. But are we sufficiently promising blessings (the fruits of the gospel) to those we teach? There are many blessings that come from understanding and living the gospel. One of the greatest blessings of the gospel is JOY.

In 1 Nephi 8:10-12 Lehi says regarding the fruit of the tree he beheld “…whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.” After partaking of the fruit he says, “…it filled my soul with exceeding great JOY.”

As King Benjamin taught his people and witnessed their change of heart because of the gospel he noted that “…they were filled with JOY having received a remission of their sins and having peace of conscience because of their exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ…”

In D&C 59:23 we read: “… learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”

This joy and peace comes from the knowledge of who you are, why you are here and that you can return home to your Father in Heaven. This knowledge gives one confidence and hope.

We had the opportunity to hear from Elder Oaks this past month. In his remarks to the members the night before our meeting with him, he spoke about the need for members to feel the joy of the Gospel. In our meeting, he taught us that it is not enough to just open our mouths but we need to make sure we are inviting people to learn. He also taught us by quoting President Harold B. Lee who said that the church is not a retirement home for the righteous, but a hospital for sinners. As I thought about his remarks and our work here as missionaries, again I wondered if we are teaching people sufficiently about the joy, or the fruits of the gospel. Many people are prepared to accept the gospel. They are searching for something better in their lives. The problem is that most people do know where or how to find it. In D&C 123:12 we read:

For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they not where to find it.

Many people may not seem interested in hearing about the gospel when you first approach them. They may be intimidated by religion in general or you and your name tag. But if we talk about the joy of the gospel and the happiness we have because of the knowledge we have of the gospel, we may find that more and more people will open their hearts to the gospel message.

Preach My Gospel teaches us that the Book of Mormon, which contains a fullness of the gospel, can help answer the questions of the soul (PMG p.107). When we open our mouths and talk with people we should talk about these questions of the soul. Carefully follow the guidance of the Spirit as you determine what to say to each person you visit with. And invite them to learn the answers to these questions. As we do this and then testify about the peace and joy we have received through the gospel and knowing the answers to these questions, we will find the elect. When they hear the message, they will not harden their hearts, but open them up and receive you and your message.

This is a great work and we are honored to be engaged in it with each of you. Let us go forth and find the elect by opening our mouths and sharing the joy of the gospel and inviting all those we meet to learn of these eternal truths.

May the Lord bless each of you!
President and Sister McIntyre

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recent Baptisms February 2010

Here are some recent Baptism pictures from around the mission.
Sisters Wydia and Fukuda from Otsu Ward were baptized by Elders Ashmore, Lee and McLaws.
Brother Takatsuki was baptized in Joyo Ward by Elders Remund and Neff.
Muraki Kyodai was baptized in Kobe by Elders Harvard and Drake. He was also taught by the Elders Hobson and Burton.
Yanagishita Kyodai was baptized in Senri Ward by Elders Matsuoka and Campbell.
96 year old Brother Yamamoto, the father of President Yamamoto a counselor in the Sakai stake presidency, was baptized in the Kawachinagano Ward. He was taught by Elders Johnson and Emery.
Brother Kageyama was taught by Elders Tibbs and Everett and baptized in the Okamachi Ward Osaka North Stake.