Monday, December 6, 2010

December 2010 New Missionaries

Tonight, we welcomed in 5 new missionaries to our mission. Elder Kusume (Tokyo), Elder Duarte (Brazil), Sister Inoue (Kumamoto), Elder Soliai (Hawaii), and Elder Kishi (Kumamoto)! It was a cold night, but that did not put out the dendo fire in them! They went straight from the airport to the mission home preaching the gospel to those they met! They are a fantastic group and will accomplish many miracles!

The Elders stop to strike a pose on the first morning outside of the mission home!

Sister Inoue (right) and Sister Koyama- Fukutoku
Sister Asako Inoue is from a family of four.  Her younger sister is in the Tokyo mission at the same time as Sister Inoue is serving.  Her parents are humorous and make them laugh.  Sister Inoue is grateful she was born in this family, even though her parents are more strict than others.  She loves nail art and she always volunteers to do friends nails for their wedding.

Sister Mana Koyama is from Hokkaido, Japan.  Her parents joined the church and both served missions.  She likes music and reading.  Sister Koyama enjoys quiet places, and she always keeps her promises.  She is easily moved to tears and loves the Book of Mormon.  She wants to always share her love for that book with others.

Elder Soliai (right)and Elder Hooton- Fukui

Elder Kastle Soliai hales from Wahiawa, Hawaii.  He comes from a family of 10 children.  Elder Soliai enjoys games that involve strategy and wit.  He likes to read, go to the beach and enjoy friends and family.   

Billings, Montana is home to Elder Tyler Hooton.  He started
on his way to medical school by studying biology for a semester
 before his mission.  He enjoys debate, basketball, anything
to stay in shape and fixing things.

Elder Kishi (right) and Elder Ogaki- Ueda

Elder Ibuki Kishi, from Kumamoto, Japan calls his family beloved.  He loves them with all his heart, especially his sisters.  He has 11 siblings and says everyone is always cheerful and they get along great.  
Elder Shunya Ogaki is from Hyougo, Japan.  His family are all members of the Church.  His dream is to be an elementary school teacher and has already begun preparations at the university.  

Elder Duarte (right) and Elder Da Silva- Fujieda

Elder Danilo Duarte says, "To be a missionary is to be happy."  From the huge city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Elder Duarte is a happy person.  He loves to laugh out loud, make new friends, and spend time with his family of six, including his wonderful grandmother.    He says they are all hard workers, love God and people, and are Mormons. 

Elder  Julio DaSilva is very good at Judo and placed third in nationals one year.  He also 
plays soccer and volleyball, and likes to surf.  He is a reader and enjoys 
meeting new people.  College, hopefully at BYU, is in his future.  
He is a happy person who tries to see good in everything.

Elder Kusume (right) and Elder Fujishima- Meito

Tokyo, Japan is home to Elder Hiroshi Fujishima.  His older and younger brothers are the only members of the church in his family.  His older brother joined first and set the example for his two brothers.  Elder Fujishim loves sports.  When he plays, he is very happy.  He also enjoys cooking and likes to invite friends over for food. His goal is a temple marriage and a happy family.  He gets confidence by trusting in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Elder Yuichiro Kusume has two brothers.  He is in the middle.
Elder Kusume wants to be like his father because he is good at both
job and family.  He and his brother like to joke, but his mother is serious.
She is sweet and has a pure heart.  He loves basketball and football, 
especially watching games on TV.  World Cup gets him most excited. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Someone Who Changed My Life

Written by Elder  Voss,   Dec. 3, 2010.

Someone Who Changed My Life—Kelly Mann

At the age of about 12, I began to get to know this man.  Our friendship started to grow as he became my Sunday School teacher, and then invited me one week on a fishing trip.  From that one experience, I began to love fishing and during the summer we would have fishing trips almost every weekend.  Throughout my high school years we became very close friends and shared a lot of great experiences. 

He had had a pretty rough life up till the point where he joined the church, and had many health problems as a result of car accidents and a stroke.  Some people might have felt broken and depressed after the kind of experiences he went through, but he was not.  His love and testimony of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and this gospel, was a light that shone through in everything that he was.  The strength and inspiration that I received from him buoyed me up through the struggle that I had, and kept me on the right track when I might otherwise have gone in other directions.

When I was 17, we went on an all night fishing trip to a favorite pond that we knew.  It was a great night.  We caught fish, and I remember us both being very happy and tired as we drove home.  

The next morning in church, I received a phone call from his wife saying that during the night he had passed away.  I struggled.  I had never experienced the death of someone who was that close to me, and at the time I literally felt like a huge piece of my life, of who I was, had been ripped away.  For a very long time, I felt utterly lost whenever I allowed myself to think about all the experiences we had together and the friendship we had built.  

Over time I began praying to Heavenly Father, asking to understand the reason or purpose behind him being taken back.  From those continued prayers, my study of the plan of salvation, and a series of experiences in the temple, I received a very strong impression that he had fulfilled the purpose that Heavenly Father had assigned him here and that he had another mission on the other side to fulfill.  

From these experiences the great thing that I have carried is gratitude.  Gratitude for the incredible example and influence that he was in my life, and for the sure knowledge of the plan of salvation and Heavenly Father’s love and purpose for us, that I was able to gain from him.

The gospel is true!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Miracle Was Me

Written by Sister Eve Hart 

Would it be egotistical to say my miracle was me?  It was.  My miracles are as numerous and as beautiful as the petals of a blooming sakura tree.  They included me, the way the Lord worked through me, and the people who have changed because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was anti-social and had low self-esteem when I came to Japan.  I awoke from American dreams to the cement suburbs of Japan.  It was a depressing feeling.  I hoped in my heart that something would take me away from a land of no family, an unknown tongue, and a job that stretched me beyond my social limits.

Over time, I learned from my encounters with hardship and disappointment.  I read the scriptures and studied the language.  I wasn’t willing at first, but I was obedient to the sense of duty I felt to God.  I wanted to become better and be like those I saw around me.  I grasped for the love others had for their investigators.  It was through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that I found the desire to change and enough love for myself and others.

I learned to love, to work, to speak Japanese, to believe in myself and others, to trust in the Lord.

A land I first resented I feel anguished leaving behind.  The gospel of Jesus Christ and the people that have been refined by it have become the most important things in my life.
And I can even be social, on occasion.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Four Companions, One Experience of a Lifetime

Written by Elder Benjamin Stachowski

On March 31st, 2010, I began my service in Japan, starting in a small branch just south of the mission office known as Nonami.  The area was being reopened after several months of no missionaries.  It was there that this story takes place. 

My first Saturday in the mission field was an interesting one.  Still not having my feet under me, my trainer took me to Eikaiwa, which for the day was a trip to the neighboring area of Toyota, because their class was holding a BBQ.  Our class was made of an active member, Brother John, a Filipino, two non-members who only had interest in English, and finally Morimoto Kyodai.  Morimoto Kyodai had been baptized about a year or so before through the English class, but his testimony wasn’t particularly strong and he had gone less active.  However, he loved and respected the missionaries.
Back then my Japanese was about as good as every other bean choro, mainly due to a lack of self confidence and being worried about making mistakes.  Morimoto Kyodai took me and my companion out to dinner several times, and I basically just sat and listened.  This continued through my next two transfers as my second companion was Japanese, and the two of them would talk a lot.  However, slowly but surely we were building a good relationship with him.

He continued to come to Eikaiwa every week without fail, but we couldn’t get him to come to church more than once a month.

Then the unexpected happened. I was called to become senior and trainer.  Despite being a great challenge, this opportunity was a marvelous blessing.  Without a senior companion to rely on, my language skills vastly improved, and I was able to better understand what members, investigators and Morimoto Kyodai were talking about.  We began visiting Morimoto Kyodai once every one to two weeks, helping him with English and sharing gospel messages.  He didn’t realize it, but slowly his faith was building again.  He started coming to church more frequently, attending Sunday School and learning more of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

My third companion transferred away and I began training a new missionary.  We started to meet with Morimoto Kyodai once a week, often with the Elder’s Quorum President.  As we met, he continued to open up, letting us know the things which concerned him, and through the Spirit we resolved these together.  By this point Morimoto Kyodai was coming to church each week again.

As the New Year approached we began teaching about the Melchizedek Priesthood and the responsibilities and blessing that are with it and teaching “the oath and covenant of the Priesthood.”  Japanese was particularly fun.

I spent almost 10 months working in Nonami.  Four companions, one amazing experience of a lifetime.  We finished helping Morimoto Kyodai prepare for the Melchizedek Priesthood, and a few weeks after I transferred to other fields of labor, he received the Melchizedek Priesthood.  And he is still active today.  The Gospel is true.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More Missionaries, A through I

There are several of our very wonderful missionaries who were here in the mission when we arrived, but who for one reason or another, didn't get their photos into our blog before they left.  We want everyone to know a little about each one of these great missionaries.  So, alphabetically, here they are:

Elder Shingo Adachi

Elder Nelson and Elder Adachi

Missionaries who knew Elder Adachi said he loves people and enjoys talking to them.  He always has a loving feel about him and is easy to love.  He had the privilege of serving in the mission at the same time as  his sister for a while.  We have had a chance to see Elder Adachi since he returned home.  He is now teaching seminary!

Elder Miguel Beal

Front, from left: Elder Katanuma, Elder Beal, Elder Eyring
Elder McKenzie, Elder Hanson

Wilsonville, Oregon is home to Elder Miguel Beal.  His father served a mission in Portugal, where he met Luis, who would later become his wife.  Elder Beal grew up speaking both English and Portuguese.  Elder Beal likes listening to music, archery, eating ice cream, and other things common to someone his age.  He would like to become an aeronautical engineer or graphic artist.  He says he is quite outgoing and is quick to adapt to change.  He hopes to become more independent while on his mission.

Elder Johnny Biesinger

Elder Jonny Biesinger has two sisters, both married, and he is from Sandy, Utah.  His mother is from Japan and served a mission in Osaka.  His family has hosted many Japanese students in their home over the years.  Elder Biesinger loves music and plays piano, drums, guitar, tuba and other instruments.  He also enjoys the good workout of sports.  He says he is loud, which can be good and bad.  He is very outgoing and is excited to serve in Japan with people he already loves.

Elder Zachary Brown

Elder Zachary Brown hales from Gilbert, Arizona.  Prior to his mission, he loved computers, anime and gaming.  He is savvy with technology and types fast.  
He believes that wherever he ends up is where he is supposed to be, 
but he would like to be a standup comic.  He says he talks a lot, is a comedian, 
and learns quickly but masters a little more slowly.

Elder Kylan Brox

Elder Santin on the left and Elder Brox is on the right.

From Las Vegas, Nevada, Elder Kylan Brox comes from a family of 9.  He loves swimming, piano, drawing, traveling, leadership and learning.  He loves making others happy, being creative, growing and improving.  He wants to go to Oxford University to study biology, medicine, sociology and business.  He likes to make others feel good about themselves and be a role model, and he keeps himself in shape.  He has always looked forward to serving a mission.

Elder Fernando daSilva

Elder Fernando Filho daSilva is from Manaus, Brazil.  He has 7 people in his family, and he and his brother are the only church members.  He likes to play soccer and volleyball.  He wants to learn to speak English and Japanese fluently and go to college.  He would like to own a computer company.  He is patient, enjoys talking to people, and always seeks to have the Spirit.

Elder Heito deSouza

Elder Heitor de Souza is from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and comes from a family who is strong and active in the Church.  He enjoys soccer for fun, and also participates in rugby,  karate, and basketball.  He relaxes by drawing and loves studying the scriptures.  
His biggest dream is to study at BYU.  After graduating, he wants to go back to Brazil and help his country.  He would even like to be president of Brazil.  He says he is somewhat shy, and doesn't get mad easily.  He has had some wonderful experiences 
with prayer and wants to be more humble to listen to the answers.  He has always wanted to serve a mission.

Elder John Eitel

Missionaries standing are Elder Eitel, left, and Elder Hansen

Elder John Eitel is from El Dorado Hills, California.  He is very likable and has 
a fun sense of humor.  Surfing is one of his favorite pursuits.  He was thankful 
to learn and grow in Nagoya.

Elder Henry Eyring

Elder Eyring is third from left.
Elder Walters is on left.  Sorry, we weren't able
 to identify the other two elders.
Henry Eyring is from Rexburg, Idaho.  He has a delightful sense of humor.  And yes, most of you may know his grandfather.  Elder Eyring talked to absolutely everyone he came in contact with. He was the perfect example of opening your mouth.  He said all of his expectations were met on his mission, especially the promise of more happiness than ever before.  

Elder Yuta Fujiwara

Elder Fujiwara is on the right.  He and Elder de Souza
are teaching Buzz how to be a missionary.
Kyoto, Japan is home for Elder Yuta Fujiwara.  His family is six members strong and he has a sister and a brother who are older than him, and a younger sister.  His mother is good at making the family laugh.  Elder Fujiwara is a good skate boarder.  He also likes to draw pictures on the computer.  He would like to design things in the future and have a happy family, treasuring the time with them.  He wants to also be a good example.  He has a good ability to focus, can feel love for everyone and makes friends easily.

Elder Ross Hansen

Elder Eyring and Elder Hanson, on right
Elder Onda and Elder Katanuma on left.

Gleneden Beach, Oregon is home to Elder Ross Hansen.  His father owns a small company that does a lot of business in Japan.  Elder Hansen enjoys computers, technology, and sports, with interest also in math, science, politics and economics.  He will continue pursuing a degree in electrical engineering and economics when he gets home, with a long-term dream of working for NASA or national defense.  He says he is reserved and can be a perfectionist, but he strives to be be tolerant and accepting of different opinions.  He is especially grateful for the scriptures and prayer.

Sister Eve Hart

From Puyallup, Washington, Sister Eve Hart comes from a family of six children.  Music has been an integral part of her family, school and church life.  She plays piano, sings, writes poetry and creative fiction, and journals.  She hopes to become an editor and would eventually like to publish a book (or several).  She says she is spontaneous, self-motivated, and something of a perfectionist.  

Elder Scott Heaton

Elder Eyring, left and Elder Heaton

Elder Scott Heaton comes from Provo, Utah.  Elder Heaton is a very capable young man, a natural leader and has a wonderful testimony.  He developed a deep love for the people in Japan, which is good, because his father and all of his older brothers served in Japan as well.  He called his mission "greater joy than he had ever experienced."

Elder Craig Howells

Elder Howells is seated in white shirt.
On his right is Elder  and on his left is Elder daSilva
Standing from left, Elder Beal,  Elder Warner and Elder Onda,
From Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Elder Craig Howells has six siblings.  He loves his family, and has an exceptionally close relationship with his grandfather.  He loves all sports, and has a natural gift with soccer.  He also plays basketball, and does jumps on a bike.  He likes to read, especially biographies, histories, or philosophy.  And he loves the scriptures.  He studied Portuguese for three years in college.  He really enjoys school a lot, and may major in zoology, and get a masters or PhD.  He says he never shows anger physically, is comfortable speaking with strangers,
and likes to help others who have problems.

Sister Deina Ige

Seated:  Sister Ige,  Sister Wright, and Sister Koyama
Standing:  Sister and President Baird, Elder Eyring, Elder Beisinger, Elder Heaton,
Elder Wright and Elder Stevens
Sister Deina Ige hails from Provo, Utah.  Her father is Japanese, but has never lived there and doesn't speak the language.  She has two older sisters and a younger brother and she loves her family.  She enjoys karaoke, piano, running, basketball, baking, outdoors, medical stuff (She is studying nursing.), and reading.  Sister Ige calls herself easy going and carefree.  She is easy to get along with.  She likes to make sure everyone is included and feels welcome.  She has always known the Gospel is true.

Elder Daiki Ishijima

Elder Daiki Ishijima comes from Matsudo, Chiba, Japan.  His parents have both served missions, and all four children in the family plan to do the same.  Elder Ishijima is first to do so.  He loves piano and trombone, and also enjoys children, including handicapped children.  Naturally, he plans to become an elementary school teacher.   He has often worked with the missionaries and it has strengthened his tesimony.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 2010 New Missionaries

This week, we welcomed 5 very nice elders into the mission! Left to right: Elder Pedersen (Utah), Elder McClellan (California), Elder Augusto (Brazil), Sister and President Baird, Elder Flint (Australia), and Elder Bardzinski (Australia)! It was great seeing their faces and meeting them for the first time! We know they will be great!

A picture of the missionaries with their trainers in the Meito church.

Elder Augusto (right) and Elder Jorgenson- Suzuka

Elder Julio Augusto is from Curitiba, Brazil.  He is the 8th Elder Augusto in his extended family.  He enjoys singing and has a great voice.  He also likes soccer and technology.  He wants to build robots and will study mechancial engineering.  He is a happy person, a quick learning and a hard worker.  

Elder Jacob Jorgensen calls Mesa, Arizona his home.  He comes from a close and loving family and has four great sisters.  Elder Jorgensen loves drawing, piano, cross country and track, and academics and he is a hard worker.  He has looked forward to serving a mission all of his life and would have chosen Japan because he has many Japanese friends.  

Elder Flint (left) and Elder Valentine- Fukuroi

Elder Jake Flint is one of several great Australian missionaries, coming to us from Brisbane.  Elder Flint loves to read, play basketball, study physics and play classical music on the piano.  
Elder Christopher Valentine looks forward to marriage and a great family after his mission.  He loves music and playing the saxaphone.  He likes bringing people happiness, so he knows a mission is the perfect way to do that. 
Elder McClellan (left) and Elder Warner- Ueda 

Elder Thomas McClellan has three younger brothers in his family.  He is from Los Gatos, California.  Before his mission, his favorite things to do were soccer, badminton, drawing and making memories with his brothers and friends.  He has a goal to live to 100, just to say that he did it.  While he’s living that long, he plans to build a McClellan Family castle. He also plans to send a “hello” three years and five years into the future, then see how far off he was.  He describes himself as calm and calculated, yet somehow still spontaneously fun.  

Alpine, Utah is home to Elder Brett Warner and he loves to act, to show people who his is and what he can do.  Elder Warner recently lost his mom to cancer, and he hopes to serve and help others as she did. He is a very loyal friend and loves to learn.  During the trial of his mother's cancer he grew closer to the Savior and found Him as a friend.  

Elder Bardzinski (left) and Elder Stachowski- Nonami

Elder Steven Bardzinski is from Werribee, Australia. Elder Bardzinski is a twin and his brother is serving in Equador.  He loves Japanese music, graphic design and photography.  He was an exchange student in Japan before his mission.

One of Elder Stachowski's former companions says he is very smart.  He enjoys chess, is kind, and knows how to do what he needs to do.

Elder Pedersen (left) and Elder Jackson- Toyama

Hurricane, Utah is home to Elder Christopher Pederson, and he enjoys reading and cooking.  He loves to study the ancient world and history.  He enjoys singing and is working on becoming a public speaker.

Elder Marcus Jackson has the advantage that his mother is from Japan and his father speaks Japanese.  He is from West Point, Utah but has also lived in Japan.  He enjoys calligraphy, piano, listening to music, going to the temple and making food.  .  

What a Way to Spend Thanksgiving!

Today we got to wear pants almost all day long!  I love pants!  And they make service a lot easier.  

Today we went down to the church to help Nii Shimai clean the church building.  She was a little surprised to see us in pants, especially since mine are already covered in bleach stains.  We explained that we had permission from the mission president to do service on Thanksgiving and then she wasn’t quite so shocked.  

We got to clean the doors and the windows.  Cleaning the windows on the second floor was really fun.

Then we teamed up with the elders and two ward members to make a clubhouse for the kids to play in on Sunday.  We had a huge sheet of very thin cotton which we layered and then sewed it together.  Then we spray painted it red, blue and yellow.  It was a lot of fun.  I’m excited to see the kids playing with it on Sunday.  

We had a really fun Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Missionaries--J through Z

There are several of our very wonderful missionaries who were here in the mission when we arrived, but who for one reason or another, didn't get their photos into our blog before they left.  We want everyone to know a little about each one of these great missionaries.  So, alphabetically, here they are, J through Z:

Elder Seiya  Katanuma

Elder Katanuma with President and Sister Traveller

Elder Seiya Katanuma is from Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.  His faithful grandparents are serving at the same time as he is, but in the Hiroshima mission.  He loves classical music, singing, playing, and listening, and he plays trumpet and viola.  He has served as a ward music conductor and ward missionary.  He has a strong testimony of the Atonement and the Gospel.

Elder Clay Marsh

Elder Heaton on left, and Elder Marsh

 Hailing from Salt lake City, Utah, Elder Clay Marsh is the middle brother of five boys.   He swam and was on the Lacrosse team in high school and loves college football
and pro hockey.  He also loves to paint and draw and listen to classical music, especially Mozart.  He is a history buff and learned a lot about Japanese history long before his call.   He plans to attend a good law school and become
a criminal defense attorney.  He says he is loveable, makes people laugh, and has a willingness to be obedient and loyal. 

Elder Michael McClain

Elder McClain, with Elder Eyring in background
From Payson, Utah, Elder Michael McClain has an older brother and a younger sister and brother.  He wants to study secondary education and become a high school teacher.  He enjoys drawing, mountain biking and tennis.  He has a great sense of humor and constantly looks for the good in situations.  He made the decision to serve a mission the day he finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time.  It answered so many questions and brought him peace and happiness, so he wanted to share it.

Elder Stephen Mulder

From Woodland Hills, Utah, Elder Stephen Mulder is the oldest of six children.  His family has lived in Japan for seven months.  He went to Japanese public school during that time.  Elder Mulder enjoys basketball, piano, singing, acting and reading.  He has played the parts of both Joseph Smith and Nephi.  He would like to work for the Church as a career, maybe as a seminary teacher or for LDS Motion Picture Studios.  He can get along with pretty much anyone and loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sister Miyabi Nakatsuka

President and Sister Traveller,
Sister Nakatsuka and Sister Ige on right
The way Sister Miyabi Nakatsuka, from Yonago, Tottori, Japan, writes about her family, they sound like the best family in the world.  Sister Nakatsuka loves to cook, bake treats, surprise people and make them laugh.  She also loves singing and being around children.  She loves to meet new people because they are so interesting to know and it expands her views. She is kind, sensitive and optimistic.  Her goal is to be with her eternal family, having a home of her own like her parents' home.

Sister Konami Numata

From left:  Sister Traveller, Sister Kitayama, Sister Rice, Sister Kobashi,
Sister Numata, and Sister Ige
Sister Konami Numata is from Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan.  She has one sister and great parents.  She loves to play violin, piano, and sing.  She enjoys jogging and drawing illustrations, and loves to do it for others to help them or the church.  Her goals are to be a great missionary and have an eternal marriage.  She is very optimistic.  She has had many responsibilities, and feels her personality and God's help have helped her.  Her testimony of the Gospel is burning in her heart.

Elder Takuya Ogasawara

Elder Takuya Ogasawara is from Katou, Hokkaido, Japan.  He was actually called to Brazil, so he was in the Nagoya Mission just until he was able to get his visa.  We were sad to see him go because he was a great missionary.

Elder Kai Onda

Elder Kai Onda comes from a family of six and lives in Ohtaku, Tokyo, Japan.  
Both of his parents were missionaries in Hokkaido and his father has been a mission president.  He loves basketball and was captain of the team during university.  He also enjoys snowboarding and card magic.  He is a good leader and knows 
happiness comes through living the Gospel.

Elder Daniel Orme

Elder Orme is on left, with Elder Eyring and Elder Anderson
Coming to us from Draper, Utah, Elder Daniel Orme is the first missionary to serve from his family.  He has two older sisters and one younger sister.  He is very excited to serve.  His family loves activites like boating, hiking, snowboarding and camping.  Elder Orme has traveled to several foreign countries, but not Japan.  He loves music, and plays piano, guitar and even writes music.  Before his mission, he studied economics and European studies at University of Utah and loves learning. 

Sister Erin Rice

Sister Erin Rice is from Morrison, Colorado and is the youngest of four children in her family.  She loves watching and playing soccer, hiking, reading, writing and singing.  She really enjoys learning.  She attended BYU-I before her mission and is majoring in English.  She is thinking about getting a PhD after her mission.  She would like to become an editor or publisher.  She has lots of energy, is light-hearted and loves to laugh, but she also knows how to be serious.  She is also greatly self-motivated.  She is serving a mission because she loves the Lord.  

Sister Yuchika Sakuma

Sister Yuchika Sakuma, from Uji, Kyoto, Japan, has a family of seven.  She is a twin and her sister is also preparing for a mission.  Sister Sakuma enjoys listening to music, watching movies, reading and carpentry.  She attended technical college after junior high school.  She is good with her hands, and loves making things from wood.  She is cheerful and kind and treasures her family.  She enjoys working and is happy even when she has to work late.  The stories of a returned missionary friend
inspired her to serve a mission.

Sister Chalet Severson

Seated from left:  Sister Severson, Sister Nakatsuka, Sister Kumagai,
Sister and President Traveller
Behind:  Elder Wynn, Elder Eckman, Elder Tsutamori, Elder Nelson

Sister Chalet Severson, from Vernal, Utah says she has a truly amazing family.  She has many wonderful things to say about them, in addition to another very special person who she calls her older sister because she is so close to her.  After fulfilling an honorable mission, Sister Severson's desire is to further her career in medicine.  She has been a veterinary technician and would love to become either a veterinarian or a doctor.  She likes to skateboard, play guitar and mandolin, and hang out with loved ones.  She is a good listener, quick to laugh, empathetic of others, loyal, and helpful.  She has a strong testimony.

Elder Kelson Shepherd

Elder Kelson Shepherd is from Alpine, Utah.

Elder Garrett Stevens

West Valley City, Utah is home to Elder Garrett Stevens.  He is the oldest of three children in his family.  He loves music and has been in several bands and choirs.  He plays clarinet and saxophone and sings tenor.  He enjoys boating, hiking and learning.  He has always been serious about school and studies a lot.  But he also loves to have fun with people.  He is a physics major, and may go to medical school.  He loves the Gospel and what it can do for people and has wanted to serve a mission all of his life.

Elder Kyler Tolman

Coming to the mission from American Fork, Utah is Elder Kyler Tolman.  He comes from a large family:  11 children.  He has five brothers and five sisters and he is number 10.  Many of his siblings have served missions.  Elder Tolman enjoys most sports, including football, basketball, mountain biking, snowboarding and camping.  He plans to get a degree in mechanical engineering.  He likes to work hard and finish his day knowing he accomplished a lot.

Elder PaePae Tuipala

Elder Tuipala with President and Sister Baird
Elder PaePae Tuipala is from Auckland, New Zealand, and is the only person who has   served in our mission from New Zealand in at least two years.  He is from Auckland. He enjoys playing rugby and he also loves computers.  He says he mingles well with others and is humble and good at following directions.  He has already studied Japanese for six years in school and has a strong testimony of the Gospel.

Elder Clayton Witt

Minneapolis, Minnesota is home to Elder Clayton Witt.  His parents joined the church as adults, so he is excited to be the first person to serve a mission from his family.  He has two younger sisters.  Elder Witt loves to draw, read books, and he has a special love for dogs.  He also loves to make people laugh, and he uses it to make friends and keep everything upbeat.  He hopes to get a degree in animation at BYU, but he has also thought about being an FBI agent or an English teacher.  He hates to be late, and he won't give up.  When the going gets tough, he always tries to brighten the situation.  He likes to set goals and accomplish them.

Elder Nathan Wood

Elder Freeman, and Elder Wood on right.

Elder Nathan Wood is from way down upon the Suwanee, Georgia River, and he has probably heard that phrase too many times.  His mother is from Australia, and Elder Wood was born there.  Since he was 8, he has lived in New York, Georgia and Utah.  He is the oldest of five children.  Elder Wood has been majoring in English with plans to become a writer, and he enjoys singing and reading. He enjoys figuring out answers to difficult problems and is fascinated by people.  And he loves
the Gospel and the scriptures.

Elder William Wright

Elder Alkonas and Elder Wright, on right, of course.

Payson, Utah is home to Elder William Wright.  There are nine children in his family and he is number five.  He calls his parents heroes.  Elder Wright has his black belt in Martial Arts, is an artist, and likes to do paintballing.  His goal is to publish a book that he is writing.  He doesn't give up easily on things he needs to do.  He loves the Lord deeply and wants to serve well.