Monday, August 30, 2010

Setting Apart Elder Kikugawa and Mike Evans Visits Kobe!

This past month (August) I had the opportunity to set apart Elder Kikugawa who will serve in the Tokyo Mission. He is from the Imabari Branch in the Matsuyama District on Shikoku. It is a wonderful opportunity to also set apart missionaries who leave from the areas you preside over.Mike Evans was staying with us and he assisted me in the setting apart. Before Mike left we took him down to Harbour Land for a great dinner. Back to school Mike!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Special Transfer End of August!

We said goodbye to two great elders this month. Elders Monson and Honda completed their missions. Since there was only two of them, we took them out to yakiniku for their last night.We will miss them!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trip to Matsue and Elder (Brother) Christie and Sister Notsu's Wedding Reception!

We had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Matsue this month to visit two of our former missionaries who were just married in the Fukuoka Temple. They held a reception in Matsue which is now part of the Kobe Mission. Brother Christie is from Matsuyama and Sister Christie is from Matsue. Both areas were part of the Hiroshima Mission prior to the consolidation.They both served with us in Kobe. Although they never served in the same areas or really talked much on their missions, they were encouraged to get into contact with each other after they returned home.They did and little did we know things would move so fast and turn into a temple marriage! They were great missionaries and they are a great new family! Congratulations! We love you both. Because Matsuyama is in a member district in the Kobe mission now, I actually got to conduct the interview for their sealing in the temple. Funny how these things happen.Elder Christie served in the office and as my assistant for over a year. He was very close to our boys. Ricky will be attending BYUH with the Christies later this year.We had the privilege of introducing them at their reception.I think he had that sword on his mission too! What a Samurai. Sister Christie will certainly be able to tame him down though.A happy new couple!Sister Sadler who served with us in Kobe and as Sister Christie's (Notsu's) companion also attended the reception. Here she is with our family! On our way to Matsue, we stopped for the night in Yonago and stayed at a really nice Japanese inn with a great onsen (hot spring bath).
The kids enjoyed the trip and it was fun to have Mike with us. Smile Ricky!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Specialized Training in Kurashiki, Okayama Stake

This past week we visited Karashiki in Okayama to spend some time with the elders in that district. The church in Kurashiki.We met in the morning at the Kurashiki Church where we had training and practiced teaching.We enjoyed a shabu shabu lunch with the elders. After lunch they all returned to their areas. We met up with Elders Childs and Buerger who stayed in Kurashiki to proselyte. We went to a special part of town that is built in old Japanese style architecture. I got a few pictures of the elders talking about the gospel with some young students.
Elders Buerger and Childs hitting the streets.
It was a fun and beautiful day in Kurashiki. We focused our instruction on using the Book of Mormon and finding the elect.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Special Leadership Training in Kobe and Okayama

This month we held two three day long training sessions for zone leaders, district leaders and trainers in the mission. One was held in Kobe and the other in Okayama. The training focused on eight key principles from Preach My Gospel to help the missionaries become better teachers of the gospel.Do you see some missionaries you know in all these pictures? These were all taken during teaching practice time.
The missionaries seemed to really enjoy the training and left with a renewed fire to share the gospel and be better teachers. The first principle we focused on is the Doctrine of Christ, which is aligned with the missionary purpose to invite others to come unto Christ. The doctrine of Christ is centered on the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. The missionaries practiced inviting people to come unto Christ through faith, repentance and baptism. They learned how to be bold, but not overbearing, in inviting people in the first lesson with the missionaries to set a goal to find out if the church is true and be baptized.
The second principle is the Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion. The missionaries learned the importance of having the Spirit when they teach and how to help others know when the Spirit is testifying of truth to them.
The third, forth and fifth principles focus on how people can know for themselves if the church is true. This is done by helping investigators receive personal revelation through prayer, reading (and praying about) the Book of Mormon and through attending church where they can feel the Spirit and be strengthened by the members. The missionaries learned how to invite people to read, pray and come to church.The sixth principle focuses on Teaching People and Not Lessons. The missionaries learned to listen better to investigators by seeking first to understand their needs through asking inspired questions when teaching lessons.
The seventh principle, We Invite, They Commit, We Follow Up, helps the missionaries understand that our purpose is to invite. Others need to choose to follow Christ for themselves. We teach them how to do it and how to know if what we are teaching is true. Our success is not measured by others keeping their commitments, but rather our commitment to continually invite others unto Christ by helping them repent and work towards baptism. When people make commitments, we do all within our power to help them keep those commitments. We focused on teaching and committing people to obey the commandments as they work towards the goal of baptism.
And finally the eighth principle is How to Begin Teaching. We actually taught this first as it helps the missionaries understand how to begin a lesson. It helps them understand how you can explain your purpose and role as a missionary up front so those being taught will not misunderstand the purpose of the lessons. It also helps the missionaries know how to set the tone and spirit for a lesson. I am confident with continued focus on these principles, the missionaries will become better teachers and better missionaries! Focusing on these principles will continue indefinitely.

Sister McIntyre's Birthday 2010!

August 17th was Sister McIntyre's birthday. Everyone in the Kobe District helped celebrate it with her.The office elders and assistants snuck into her office and did a great decorating job. She was totally surprised and loved it.They made her a face cookie as well. She makes these for so many missionaries. Too bad the one they made for her did not really look like her (it actually looked like a Halloween cookie), but she loved it anyway! Very thoughtful of the elders.She also got little things sent to her from many missionaries. She draws all the missionaries' faces for their birthdays. One elder, Elder Uehara, drew her a picture for her birthday. Priceless! Mom and Ricky on her birthday. He gave her the nice summer hat.Mom and daughter in almost matching tops.
James and mom on her birthday. She loved the cool shoulder bag he gave her.
Happy birthday Rika!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Family Trip to Shikoku, Yahatahama Branch Conference and Uwajima Baptism

With Erika visiting from the US and the boys back in Japan, we decided to take a family trip to Shikoku as we had some mission business to take care of there as well. After transfers we departed and after stopping for dinner in Tokushima, we finally arrived in Niihama where we stayed the night.
The next morning in Niihama, we visited the Aoba family and had the chance to make some pottery and learn from a Master Japanese Potter. Everyone made something and we are excited to see the final fired pieces.Erika working on her ceramic light.The boys working on their art. We took a short walk down the hill to the river for a family picture - minus Julie.The boys shot a few baskets with President Aoba's son. It was a very hot day.
We had nagashi soba which was really fun. You have to catch the noodles and food with your chop sticks as it comes down the shoot. Noodles are pretty slippery.
Here is a twilight sunset shot while we were on the road one evening. It is really pretty country.

We stopped in Kouchi for a couple of nights and relaxed. Here is a famous rock formation. The rope signifies these rocks are married. There are only 11 of these "married rocks" throughout Japan. The light house near the rocks in Kouchi.
Our hotel was nice with a pool and views of the ocean and countryside. There were a lot of people playing at the beach. The kids enjoyed the pool more and everyone got pretty sunburned.
Sunday the whole family visited the Yahatahama Branch Conference where I presided and we both spoke.
The church is in this rented building right on the main street through town in front of the train station. It is a small branch. The train station view from the church. After conference we enjoyed a nice meal with the members.We then travelled to Uwajima, further down the west coast of Shikoku where we attended the baptism of Brother Ii. This is the Uwajima church building. Brother Ii with missionaries.
On our way through Shikoku, we stopped for a few hours in Matsuyama and visited the castle there. We love the lift up the mountain to the castle. It beats walking in the heat.
Photo in front of the Matsuyama Castle. It was an enjoyable and busy few days!