Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! 2011

Merry Christmas!

We have been celebrating this Christmas season thoughout the entire mission. This week, we visited each zone in the mission to do a Christmas devotional. The mission Christmas tour started in Shizuoka on Wednesday. The following day, we made a long trip to Matsumoto and over to Kanazawa. Friday, we were next door in the Meito chapel. On Christmas Eve, we finished in Gokiso. The time we spent together as a mission was enjoyed by all. It was so fun to visit the different zones and see the wonderful missionaries there. Many missionaries received packages from their loved ones. It was fun to see their excited faces! But, the best part of the trip was not just the presents received in packages, but through reflecting on the many blessings we enjoy!

Through sharing our testimonies, hearing and pondering the Christmas story, and recalling the blessings we have because of our Savior now, we were able to spend a fun, spiritual time together. Everyone was able to be edified and feel the true Christmas spirit. This is a very special time of year! Truly, there is something magical in the air. We are blessed to be in Japan sharing this message of Jesus Christ. We are blessed to know that our Savior was born and lived a life for us! We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! May the spirit of this wonderful holiday fill your hearts with warmth and joy! Let us ponder together on the wonderful blessing we enjoy because of that babe in manger. Posted are the pictures taken of the different zones! We hope you enjoy them!

Merry Christmas and a

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 2011 New Missionaries!

We had four wonderful new missionaries come to our mission tonight. Elder O'Hara (Arizona), Elder Kuwahara (Fukushima), Elder Finlinson (Utah), and Elder Shimohara (Utah). They did great on their first night! We are excited to watch them grow throughout their mission!
From left: Sister and President Baird, Elder O'Hara,
Elder Kuwahara, Elder Finlinson, Elder Shimohara,
Elder Rust (ZL) and Elder Hollister (ZL)

The missionaries rode the train to the mission home sharing the gospel all the way! They all did great! They were willing to open their mouths and share their testimony with everyone!

Stopped for a quick picture inside the Nagoya Eki underneath the Golden Clock.

Elder Finlinson (left) and Elder Eckman- Takabata

Elder Alexander Finlinson comes to us from Oak City, Utah.  He is the third child in a family of four.  Elder Finlinson enjoys reading, hanging out with his cousins, and "table top role playing, because you can do whatever you want."

Elder Eckman is very well-read.  He is very smart and a good teacher.  

Elder Shimohara (left) and Elder Tsutamori- Nonami

Elder Samuel Shimohara’s parents converted before he was born, so he grew up in the church. He lives in Torrance, California. He hopes, when he gets home, to spend a few days listening to General Conference talks and making a plan for the rest of his life.  It will most likely involve getting a degree in Mechanical Engineering. 

Elder Tsutamori loves many sports and has already studied engineering in college.  He is good at listening to others and pondering deeply.  Elder Tsutamori is from Hokkaido, Japan.

                            Elder Kuwahara (left) and Elder Ogaki- Ichinomiya

Elder Sei Kuwahara is from Kawahuma, Fukushima, Japan.  He enjoys fixing motor bikes, fishing, skiing, photography and rowing.  His dream is to have a happy family.

 Elder Ogaki loves sports, music and talking with people.  He has a zest for life. He has good English and plays piano.

Elder O'Hara (left) and Elder Gottfredson- Kanazawa

Elder Andrew O'Hara is a Mesa, Arizona native.  His mother is a convert to the Church, as a result of ekaiwa classes.  She also served a mission in Nagoya.  His father is also a convert and served in Bolivia.  Elder O'Hara loves to draw, wrestle, read, run, listen to music and be with friends.  His goal after his mission is to become a chiropractor and help people feel better.  He could also enjoy being a cartoonist.

Elder Gottfredson likes music.  He plans to minor in music and major in something that
will provide a living.  He makes friends easily, and sees being a bit prideful
as a strength and a weakness.

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 2011 Finishers

Tonight, we said good-bye to six great missionaries. Sister Tsukino, Elder Kekauoha, Elder Sorensen, Elder Jackson, Elder Carr, and Elder Santin. We love them so very much and miss them a lot! They have been a great blessing to this mission!

Sister Nozomi Tsukino's mother is a convert to the Church and served a mission.  She is strong in her faith and a wonderful example.  She loves to sing and has performed at missionary firesides.  She also love to cook.  She would love to learn English, Korean and sign language better, and even learn more languages.  She is positive and optimistic.  Most of her baby blessing was about her serving a mission, and she has a strong testimony.

Elder George Kekauoha had this said of him:  "He is a very relaxed Hawaian who knows when to work hard and when to have fun."

Elder Luke Sorenson is from Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan, but he is also a US citizen.  He has a huge extended family cheering him on. He likes biology and learning other languages.  He likes to keep things clean and to cook.  Returned missionairies have inspired him to serve because they were polite, kindhearted, responsible and had direction in their lives. 

Elder Marcus Jackson, says one missionary who served with him, is very funny, smart, and speaks English and Japanese fluently.  Before his mission, Elder Jackson loved to go to the temple.

Elder Michael Carr is from Heber, Utah and he loves music and art.  He plays several instruments.  He also enjoys computers and new technology. He wants to learn as much as he can and then find a job that will help him continue to expand his knowledge.  He is a good listener, is obedient and respectful.

Home for Elder Adriano Santin is Sao Paulo, Brazil.  His mother is from Japan. His talent is math and numbers, and he's very good at memorizing.  He enjoys reading, good movies, and spending time with his family.  He doesn't take things personally or get mad at people.  

From left:  Sister Tsukino, Sister Baird, President Baird and in
front of him, Elder Kekauoha, then from back clockwise,
Elder Carr, Elder Santin, Elder Jackson, and Elder Sorenson.

One last picture before departure of the December Finishers!

Many members from Fukutoku Ward gathered together at the Komaki Airport to surprise Sister Tsukino and say good-bye one last time. It was very touching to see the support of these strong Japanese members!

The Elders wave good-bye as they go together to board the Shinkansen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Golden Anniversary

How many people can say that they had the opportunity to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in Japan as a missionary?! I would guess not a lot!

Our wonderful office couple, Elder and Sister Oldroyd, celebrated their Golden Anniversary this week! So, we decided to make it one to remember! We contacted missionaries throughout the mission and asked them to send in a Hashioki (chopstick rest) for the Oldroyds. (Sister Oldroyd loves hashioki.) We had a lot of the missionaries participate.

Also, we planned a surprise party for the Oldroyds by inviting some members over. We hid the shoes and gathered in the living room to welcome the Oldroyds. I think they were sure surprised! We spent the night by celebrating them and the wonderful people they are. We sang, opened presents, and enjoyed one another's company.

Elder and Sister Oldroyd opened each present together, even looking at each hashioki. Their favorite mailman even dropped by for the visit! I think everyone could see the pure joy in the eyes of the Oldroyds. They are a great example and influence on every one who comes in contact with them. We are so grateful for the blessing it is to serve together with them! We love them so very much!

Happy Golden Anniversary Elder and Sister Oldroyd!

We love you!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Elder and Sister Stevensons' Visit

This week, we had the privilege to host a mission conference tour with Elder and Sister Stevenson. The missionaries met at various locations throughout the mission. Elder and Sister Stevenson's visit to the mission was a great source of strength and guidance for the missionaries. Everyone was uplifted and edified. It was a blessing to hear from a servant of God. We are so grateful for the time we were able to spend this week feeling the spirit through the great example, love, and testimony of Elder and Sister Stevenson.

The Nagoya Zone and Nagano Zone joined together in the Gokiso church.

The Nagoya East Zone and Shizuoka Zone joined together for the conference in Meito church.

The last stop on the tour was Kanazawa Zone in the Kanazawa church.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shimai Taikai

This week in Meito at the mission home, all the sisters in the mission gathered together for a Shimai Taikai (Sister Conference). The sisters in this mission have been talking and looking forward to this day for quite awhile. It is always a special opportunity to have all the sisters together. Sister Baird hosted the conference. At the day-long conference, the sisters participated in many things such as training, scrap booking, spiritual messages, and spending time together. Sister Baird also prepared a lunch and dinner for the sisters. There was a special spirit in the room and everyone was able to strengthen their personal testimony. Testimonies were shared and the Holy Ghost bore witness of the truth. It was a day that will be remembered in our mission for a long time. Everyone walked out of the mission home that day being strengthened and edified, better equipped to serve the Lord with all their heart.

Sister Baird prepared taco rice for lunch. All of the sisters went into the kitchen to talk and enjoy lunch together. In all, 16 sisters gathered throughout the mission to meet with Sister Baird for the conference.

The Sisters gathered once again in the kitchen for a scrap book project. Each person brought some of their favorite pictures to use and make their own scrap book. It was fun to see each person and the way they made their book personal.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 2011 New Missionaries

Tonight, we welcomed 7 new amazing missionaries into our mission! Sister Adachi (Kanagawa), Sister Hunt (California), Sister West (Idaho), Elder Okajima (Machida), Elder Schade (Utah), Elder Heo (Korea)
and Elder Hara (Fukuoka). It was great to see the excitment in their faces as they got
off the plane and headed out to preach the gospel for the first time!

Everyone stopped to give a HOIZA pose at the Golden Clock in Nagoya Station.

First Day at the Mission home with President and Sister Baird.

Elder Okajima (left) and Elder Shimajiri- Nakatsugawa

Elder Shuto Okajima, from Tokyo, Japan comes from a family of six,
and all are active at church.  He likes to listen to music because it helps
him be calm and have a positive attitude.  He has liked cars since he was a child.

Elder Naohiro Shimijiri also comes from a wonderful family of 10.  He and two siblings are members of the church.  Elder Simijiri’s dreams are to share love and humility and be a good example.  He enjoys sports, especially basketball and track.  He joined the Church at 23 years old, and is anxious to share the Gospel with others.
Elder Heo (left) and Elder Hiruta- Kariya

Elder Dong Ho Heo is from Changwon, Korea, and is the only Korean serving in the Nagoya mission currently.  He says his life changed in 2009 when he joined the church.  Elder Heo smiles all the time, is outgoing and loves to meet people and talk with them.

Elder Hiruta wants to have a happy family and be sealed in the temple.  He knows the scriptures are true and has grown from studying them.  He looks forward to testifying to his children of missionary work, and he knows his mission will set the example.
Elder Schade (left) and Elder Boss- Suwa

Elder Eric Schade loves to make people laugh, even though he calls himself a bit shy.  He is easy going and easy to get along with.  He is from Heber, Utah and enjoys soccer, snowboarding, wakeboarding, hiking and music.

Elder Alexander Boss is from Midway, Utah and has 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He enjoys sports and did track in high school. He also likes music, reading and travel.  He has been to over 30 countries with his family.

Elder Hara (left) and Elder Ito- Inuyama

Elder Shintaro Hara comes to us from Fukuoka, Japan and comes from a family of five.  He is the youngest and has two older sisters.  His hobby is boxing.  He also enjoys reading, and read 600 books in five years.

Elder Ito` says he is an extrovert.  He loves talking to people.  He is honest and obedient and has been to church every Sunday since he was a baby.  All three of his older brothers were missionaries, and he noticed how their missions made them better men.

Sister Hunt (left) and Sister Clark- Okazaki

Sister Mariah Hunt loves to play the piano.  It is an important part of her life.  
She is also artistic and loves to draw the human form.  She is from Folsom, CA.

Of Sister Clark, one missionary said, "If there would be a sister AP, I would vote for her."  
Sister Clark attended BYU before her mission and discovered a passion for languages
 and music.  She is majoring in Linguistics.

Sister West (left) and Sister Nishimuro- Matsumoto

Sister Chalese West, currently from Rigby, Idaho, attended Utah State and was on the track team.  Her favorite race is the 200m, but she does others as well.  She is a reader, and especially likes C.S.Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein.  She also loves swimming and water sports.  She plans to graduate in either wildlife science or rangeland management and then go to graduate school.  Her dream job would be to study cougars or other predators.  Sister West says she is shy, but is determined and works hard to excel.  She has a testimony strong of the Savior.

Sister Nishimuro loves music, especially singing and she also likes to draw.  Her goal is to become an elementary school teacher and her dream is to have an eternal family.  She tries hard not to be judgmental and has lots of friends.  She loves the Church because it makes people happy.  

Sister Adachi (right) and Sister Saito- Shizuoka

Sister Miho Adachi is from Kanazawa, Japan and she has five people in her family.  She has had experience in child care and loves to use paper to create greeting cards.  Her goal is to have a happy family.  She hopes to teach nursery school or kindergarten after her mission.

Sister Saito loves the children’s hymnbook because it clearly teaches the Gospel.  She wants to learn a language fluently.  She looks forward to a temple marriage and having children.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Nihonjin Taikai

Today, we had a conference for all the Japanese missionaries in the mission. In past trainings, because the majority of it was done in English, the Japanese missionaries listened to it using translation equipement. Today provided all Japanese missionaries an opportunty to listen and participate in a training using only their native language. Many missionaries have been anticipating this event. The conference was hold in the Meito church. It was a great scene to see all the Japanese missionaries assembled together. There was a very special power and spirit in the atmosphere. The opening session of the conference commenced. There, many of the prophecies about Japan were shared and the spirit was felt. Everyone was able to feel the power in the words.

Before the afternoon session, all missionaries headed next door to the Baird home for a wonderful lunch prepared by Sister Baird. It was quite a site to see all the missionaires sitting together in the Baird home. Even the genkan area was covered in a very ordered sea of shoes.

During the afternoon session, the missionaries participated in a Family Home Evening. It was very fun as everyone sang together and played together. The spirit filled the room as the spiritual message was shared. Everyone walked away from the conference more edified and strengthened to continue in the work. It was a great blessing to the missionaries in this mission!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Lord Put Him in Our Path

This blog was written by Elder Kyle Jordan Fredrickson (Jan. 19, 2011).

Elder Fredrickson, arriving to begin his mission.
About a year ago, I was serving in the Kariya area with Elder Fujii as my companion.  We were working hard and were trying to talk to as many people as were around us.  One day, we noticed that a new “eiden” (electronic store) had been built close to our apartment and we made a note to check it out.

As we headed to the eiden, and were just about to enter, I saw one guy standing, reading an ad just before he was to go in as well.  He didn’t look Japanese, so I asked him if he was.  He said no, he wasn’t, but was Peruvian.  And he said it in perfect Japanese.  He recognized us immediately as missionaries and mentioned his wife was a member of our church, but hadn’t gone in years.  She came up from behind us and they said they would be coming to church on Sunday.  They came to church on Sunday and I was so happy.

They liked it too and invited us over the next day, Monday, to their home to share more.  Now their names were Chris and Lizca, and we went hoping to teach Chris.  We got there and he was cooking and asked us to share first with his wife.  She got her Book of Mormon out and had her place marked from way before 1st Nephi 13.  We helped them understand it and talked about apostasy and then went into the restoration.  By this time, Chris joined us and was loving Joseph Smith’s experiences.  He wanted to learn more and they both had many questions, like where are the plates, and we were able to go right to the Book of Mormon for the answers.  I remember the Monday we met in their home was May 2nd, 2010, because May 2nd was the day Joseph Smith wrote his testimony that is in the Book of Mormon (1838).

Elder Fujii, left, with Elder Kervinen
We shared with them the home page, and I could feel the spirit as we discussed Gospel truths.  Chris left the room to dish up our food and Elder Fujii said to me, “I think he is a member, too.”  When Chris came back to the room, we started talking a little of baptism and asked if he was baptized.  He was.  Of course, I was glad he was a member, but then again, I thought he was a kinjin investigator.  Chris continued to say, “I’ve been baptized but my children have not.”  Chris had married before and then divorced.  He had four kids, and two had not been baptized and lived in the Toyota Area.  He speedily gave us their phone number and address and as soon as we could, we sent the referral to Toyota area.

The next transfer, I became the district leader and contacted Toyota on a daily basis.  I was able to hear daily progression about the family referral. They too had been inactive for many years and began going to church and reading from the Book of Mormon.  I was so thrilled to hear that two daughters were baptized and a family was once again actively attending church, all because we opened our mouth and spoke to a guy reading an ad right outside of eiden.  

I'm so thankful I could be a part of that and know the Lord put him in our path.  The Gospel is true.  Miracles happen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 2011 New Missionaries!

We welcomed 8 wonderful new missionaries to our mission this week! Elder Koesashi (Takasaki), Elder Iwata (Sapporo), Elder Tojo (Kumamoto), Sister Stott (Utah), Elder Hernandez (California), Sister Takatsu (Saitama), Elder Johnson (Utah), and Elder Clark (Utah). We are excited to see the amazing missionaires they will become!

A picture with all the new missionaires and
their new trainers outside of Meito church.

Elder Iwata (left) with Elder Hooton - Yokkaichi

Elder Shinichi Iwata comes from a family of four, and they have much unity.  He loves computers and music.  He feels the spirit when he plays the piano and sings.  His goal is to baptize people because it is a miracle for him.  Reading the Book of Mormon makes his heart burn in good ways, and he knows the Gospel is true and that Jesus Christ lives. He is excited to learn a lot on his mission.

Elder Hooton is a good listener and communicator.  He is aware of people's needs, and his greatest strength is his faith in Christ. 

Elder Clark (left) and Elder Berrett - Toyota

Elder Taylor Clark hales from Wellsville, Utah.  He plays the cello and sings. He also enjoys sports, but not for competition.  He hopes to have a positive impact on people in whatever occupation he chooses. He stays calm and tries to be tactful when dealing with problems.  He is also a hard worker.  He has read the Book of Mormon several times.  

Elder Shane Berrett says he likes longs walks on the beach and candlelight dinners.  He is a very visual learner.  He loves activities and getting people together.  His favorite part about being in Japan is the children.  He says he's pretty well 100% sure that Japan has the cutest kids in the world.

Elder Koesashi (left) and Elder Gottfredson - Kanazawa

Elder Ken Koesashi has an older sister who has been a great example to him.  She is currently serving in the Kobe mission.  There are four children in his family and they live in Gumma-ken, Japan.  He loves to read because it increases his imagination.  He played tennis in high school and loves it.  He would like to get a job that has something to do with books because he enjoys them so much. 

 Elder Gottfredson loves to tell jokes and be funny.  
He has great Japanese, and has trained several people in the mission.
He is easy to get along with, and obviously a great trainer.

Elder Harnandez (left) and Elder Duarte - Suzuka

Elder Brandon Hernandez calls San Marcos, California home.  He loves to draw because he is good at it.  He also loves to read.  He enjoys Japanese Animi artwork and the language.  He hopes to get a degree in criminal justice and pursue a career as a detective of the police department.  He is easy going and energetic, loves to meet new people, and is good at public speaking and athletics.  He is also good at follow-through.  He was very excited to be called to Japan and had no qualms about coming.

Elder Duarte is always a happy person, according to one of the other missionaries.  He passes that on to others, and most people really like him.  He also really loves to play soccer.  

Elder Tojo (left) and Elder Skankey - Ina

There are five in Elder Nariaki Tojo’s family, and he is the youngest, except for the family turtle, who lives in front of the genkan (the entrance to their home).  He is sure the turtle will be waiting for him in front of the gankan after his mission.  

One of Elder Skankey's former companions says he was a good companion.  He is very obedient to mission rules.  He is learning Portuguese as well as Japanese.  He was blessed to be the branch president in Ina. 

Elder Johnson (left) and Elder Kusume - Ise
Elder Nathan Johnson’s family is big, and he loves them!  
He loves to scuba dive, hang glide, draw and be creative.  
He took Kungfu for four years and was also taught Samurai sword technique 
from four masters and says he could be deadly if he had a bad side.  
He loves Japanese Coolish ice cream and thinks everyone is amazing 
once you get to know them.

Elder Kusume says he wants to marry a person who he really loves
and have three children.  He is cheerful and has lots of friends.
He wants to serve a mission because he wants to share
his happiness with many people.  

Sister Stott (left) and Sister Masuda - Takayama

Sister Lauren Stott is a triplet, and she has learned patience from being always a threesome.  Her triplet sisters are Nichole and Chelsea and she has an older brother as well.  Sister Stott loves reading, singing, dancing and drawing.  She also enjoys quiet, peaceful activities like hiking and swimming.

Sister Masuda has been called by one missionary, "the most beautiful girl I know."  It was also said of her, "She is very radiant and a strong influence for good."  How nice to have that said of you.

Sister Takatsu (left) with Sister Clark

She is friendly and happy, doesn't like to waste time, and even likes fun activities
to have a purpose.  She is focused and hard working.

Sister Maori Takatsu from Tokyo, Japan has six sisters and a brother. Sister Takatsu has 
a social worker’s qualificiation and hopes to become a public servant at 
welfare service, especially to help people with mental illness.  She has a go-getter 
attitude and a desire to improve.