Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April in the Mission 2010

We enjoyed a Chinese Dim Sum lunch with the missionaries in Abeno after interviews.

Zone conferences in Mikunigaoka. These sisters prepared lunch for 55 missionaries!
They loved it!

It was a big meal and delicious!

Some recent baptism pictures from the field. Elders Childs and Tibbs with Brother Kishimoto of the Sekime Ward, Osaka Stake.
Elders Kimura and Wiser with Sister Nakamura of the Himeji Ward, Kobe Stake.
Elders West and Mizuguchi with Brother Nagai in the Shingu Branch.
Elders Wade, Ritchie, Nielson and Campbell with Brother Sakai in Hirakata Ward, Osaka Stake.

Elders Emery and Johnson with Brother Yanagihara of the Kawachi Nagano Ward, Sakai Stake.

Sister Fujihara with Elders McConnell, Smith and Varjao of the Kita Rokko Ward, Kobe Stake.
Elders Kodama and Neider with Sister Urasoko of the Sennan Ward, Sakai Stake.
Elders Oshiro, Shinozaki and Manning with Brother Hanzawa of the Kobe Ward, Kobe Stake.
Zone Conferences in Ibaraki. Our great lunch helpers!Birthdays! Everyone lined up to be sang to and get a birthday gift from Sister McIntyre.Lunch time!Some of our great Sister Missionaries at the conference.During our interviews in Kobe, several of the missionaries wanted to try the chicken katsu challenge at lunch. If you can eat it all in 30 minutes it is free. The picture is deceiving. The meal includes about 2 pounds of rice and 25 pieces of fried chicken cutlets. Even if you could eat all that, the 30 minute time limit does you in. Luckily, they give you a doggy bag!
Everyone thought Elders Ritchie and Smith could do it.A valiant effort, but time ran out.Elder Wiser - good try!And representing the Philippines, young Elder Toring - sorry!
Elder Novak gave it a great effort too, but fell short.
Elder Harvard tried too. Elder Bunderson was worried from the get go.
Actually, little Elder Kimura came the closest of this group.But as you can see, he too came up short. I actually discouraged them from trying, but there are some things a young missionary needs to learn on his own!
Interviews in Iwade finished with yakiniku, a missionary favorite.

So if you think we teach and interview missionaries and then eat, you are right. Then we do it again and again and again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 2010 President's Message

Elders and Sisters of the Japan Kobe Mission,
Spring is finally here! This is wonderful time of year. The flowers and Sakura are blooming and people are outside enjoying the warmer weather. It is also wonderful because this time of year we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior and have the opportunity to hear the words of the living prophets through general conference. This is a great time of year to be a missionary, out talking with people about the restored gospel. The work is moving forward in this mission and Sister McIntyre and I are very proud of each of you. We have seen several wonderful miracles already this year due to your faith and diligence. Last month we held a mission wide fast for Brother Kishida, and a few weeks ago we were able to witness his baptism and confirmation in the Toyooka Branch. We have seen progress in our work with the members as we implement the ward and branch rescue plans in each unit. We have noted an increase in member referrals in the mission and baptisms among part member families. And I know we will continue to see miracles and the work move forward as we exercise greater faith and are diligent in doing all things that the Lord commands us.
I love the example of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. In 1 Nephi 3:7 we read of his great faith in a scripture you all are very familiar with.
…I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall provide a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Nephi had great faith that if the Lord wanted something done and asked him to do it, He would provide a way. This principle also applies to us as missionaries. We have been called to gather the elect. We have been commanded to find, teach, baptize, confirm and establish the church here in this part of Japan. The scriptures and words of our modern day leaders confirm this. I suppose the question we need to ask ourselves is do we have enough faith to go and do what the Lord has commanded us? Faith is a principle of power, but to realize that power we must couple our faith with diligent work.
Remember when Nephi was asked to retrieve the plates of brass, which prompted him to write the above verse, he and his brothers did everything within their power to get the plates. They asked for them, they tried to negotiate with Laban for them and they even tried to purchase them. But all their attempts failed. But that did not stop Nephi. He knew the Lord would help them get the plates. In one of my favorite passages of scripture Nephi teaches us a great lesson about simple faith. In his attempt to get the plates from Laban, after all their previous attempts failed and his brothers gave up on the task, Nephi says in 1 Nephi 4:6-7:
And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do, Nevertheless, I went forth…
There is a pattern, or formula if you will, to seeing miracles and blessings according to our faith. First, as Nephi taught us, you must have the faith, the belief and hope, that the Lord will help you accomplish this work. Second, you must be obedient and also use the knowledge and resources you have to do your best, all within your power, to fulfill the task the Lord has commanded you to do. Third, you must follow the Spirit, and even when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, you must move forward with the faith that you will succeed. After all, is that not what faith is? “…a hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21) It is usually after all we do, after we have shown our faith by our works, and even moved forward not knowing ultimately how it will happen, when the hand of the Lord is revealed and we witness miracles. We read in the 123rd section of D&C:
…let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
As missionaries, what are the things the Lord has commanded us to do in order to fulfill our purpose of bringing souls unto Christ? While there are many, let me offer a few that are key and encompass many of the others.
1) Obey with Exactness – This means the commandments, the mission rules and the missionary schedule. It also means following the counsel of our leaders, particularly regarding the work here in Japan.
2) Follow the Spirit – This means being worthy of the companionship of the Spirit and following his guidance.
3) Study and Pray – This means studying the scriptures, PMG and the language. It means praying always.
4) Open Your Mouth – This means talking with everyone. It means helping people make and keep commitments that will lead them unto Christ.
5) Be Diligent – This means to work effectively everyday. This includes planning your day and week and setting worthy goals based on the key indicators as outlined in PMG.
6) Be Like HIM – This means to continually developing the Christ like attributes and becoming more like the Savior that we may represent Him and His gospel.
All these things are within our power to do. All we need to do is commit to do them and follow through on our commitment. We know that as each of you individually, and all of us as mission, focus on these things that we have the power to do, exercising our faith, we will see the hand of the Lord revealed in this mission and in our lives.
As we approach summer and will see some of our larger groups of missionaries complete their missions and return home, we have a goal and vision for every area in the mission to see a convert baptism by the end of June. What a wonderful way for our older missionaries to finish their missions and for us to prepare to welcome many new missionaries from the Hiroshima Mission. It is our hope and our prayer that we can see this come to pass. So may the Lord’s will be done, after we show Him our will by our faith and works!

We Love You,
President and Sister McIntyre

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Zone Leader Council April 2010

Zone Leader Council was held this week in Kobe. Another great group of missionaries!

Preparation Day in Kyoto with the Sakura!

A wonderful spring preparation day in Kyoto with some of the missionaries and sakura in bloom.
The Kiyomizudera Temple was the most crowded but beautiful as always.
The top of the pagoda with some cherry blossoms.
This is the entrance to the temple. Elders Hobson and Burton are standing up by the orange gate.Elder Hobson could not resist the chance to preach to the people.
A shot from the Kiyomizudera looking down on overcast Kyoto.
Sisters Kobayashi, Patrick and Kaneko at Kiyomizudera.
Here we are on one deck of the temple looking back at the other side. Pretty crowded.
We also stopped at the Fushimi Inari Shrine which is famous for all its torii gates. I think there are over 5000 at the shrine. As you see the pictures you will know what I am talking about. Above the Elders wash before entering the shrine, a Shinto custom or ritual.
We met up with some more missionaries at this shrine and took a cool picture in this torii gate tunnel.
Here we are in a smaller tunnel of hundreds of torii gates.A fork in the road. At the shrine they say if you can pick up the rock and it is not heavy your wish will come true. Elder Oshiro thought it was heavy, but Sister McIntyre said it was not very heavy.
I didn't think it was heavy either. Looking forward to our wishes coming true!
Elder Burton talks to a young man at the entrance of the shrine.
We stopped by the Fushimi Momoyama Castle as well. It was a great little castle surrounded by cherry trees in bloom. Here are the missionaries posing at the back side of the castle. If there is wall, Sister McIntyre will climb it. Don't know what I am going to do with her!
Here she is doing her crouching tiger hidden dragon move on the bamboo trees.
Great day in Kyoto, but I think I have seen enough Sakura for a while. Back to work!