Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Transfer Time Yet Again, April 2012

Where did the time go?  Transfers are supposed to be every six weeks.  While our calendar says it's been that long, we have trouble believing it.  The last transfer was the day before yesterday!

This time, we only had to send home three elders.  But the mission won't be the same without:

Elder Anderson

Elder Erik Anderson loves playing guitar and cooking.  His is also interested in history and culture.  But mostly, he loves to serve people.  He calls West Haven, Utah home, and is excited to be able to converse with his mother's family (all in Japan) fluently.  He also hopes to take over his father's branch of the company, and the language will enable him to do that.

Elder Wilson

One of the missionaries who knows Elder Wilson said of him:
"He is an elder who is capable of showing a lot of love.  He is a very respectable person."

Elder Johnson (front and center)
Left to right: Elders Hollister, Kervinin, and Farnsworth.

Elder Nathan Johnson is very friendly and outgoing, saying hello to everyone he sees.  He is diligent and a hard worker, and stays optimistic.  He has an amazing testimony and is a very creative thinker.  His home is Orem, Utah.

And happily, we welcomed 13.  For us, it was a LUCKY number.

We got this great group picture.
Actually, it's Golden Week, a time to celebrate children and the year of the dragon.

We did the HOIZA shout!
Hope Of Israel, Zion's Army
We fed them the world's best lasagna.

And here is absolute proof that they arrived at the mission home.
Parent's, can you spot your son's/daughter's shoes?
Elder Ian Sanderson (left) with his first companion,
Elder Duarte.
Elder Ian Sanderson considers himself a social person and likes being placed in leadership positions.  He plans to learn Russian after his mission.  He is from American Fork, Utah and is excited to bring the Gospel to the Japanese people.

One of our missionaries said of Elder Duarte:  "He is full of love.  He can get along with anyone.  And he is always genki!"
Elder Joshua Jones (left) with his first companion,
Elder Ikeda.
Elder Joshua Jones comes from a family of four.  He is also very close to his grandmother.  He enjoys learning languages, and wants to work in a business that requires travel to foreign countries.  He joined the Church three years before his mission and is from Logan, Utah.

Before his mission, Elder Ikeda met a 15 year old boy through basketball.  When Elder Ikeda wouldn't play on Sunday, Hiro wanted to know why.  Elder Ikeda invited him to church.  Hiro loved it, listened to the lessons and was baptized.  

Elder Jack Koch (left) with his first companion,
Elder Heo.

Elder Jack Koch was born in Okinawa, and has also lived in Germany, Wyoming and Utah.  In his family the girls were born in Wyoming, the boys in Japan.
When he gets home he will go back to BYU, find the most beautiful girl in the whole world and marry her. Then he plans to live happily ever after.  His goal is to do what the Lord sent him to Japan to do and to live up to his fullest potential. He says he is a little headstrong, but he is always there with a laugh or a shoulder to support someone.

Elder Heo is good at focusing on one thing.  He loves to travel and receives knowlege and inspiration when he does, and always has a spiritual experience.  He also enjoys playing basketball.

Elder Benjamin Burnett (left) with his first companion,
Elder Farnsworth.
Albuquerque, New Mexico is home to Elder Benjamin Burnett.   His father is currently the bishop, his older brother is also on a mission, and he has three younger brothers.   He is good with computers and a quick learner, so that is why he wants a career in science or engineering and hopes to invent something.
Elder Farnsworth loves being with family, camping, hiking, 
cooking, soccer, service, and many other things.  He describes 
himself as awesome, clever, dashingly good looking and HUMBLE.  
But his mom tells him he is intelligent, patient, hard working, 
creative, faithful, and has a good sense of humor.
Elder Tomonori Kanda (left) with his first companion,
Elder Hara.

Elder Tomonori Kanda is from Sugamihara, Kanagawa, Japan.  He has a dream to make a robot suit to help older people, and to walk around the world and eat foods from many different countries.  His hobbies are eating, karaoke, table tennis and swimming.  He says he is always calm and can make other people laugh  even when he's not trying.  His favorite food is katsudon.

Elder Hara likes to go to hot springs a lot. But his dream is to open his own jewelry store.  He has studied gems and can recognize what kind of gem it is and its value.

Elder Taro Shimizu (left) with his first companion,
Elder Tojo.
Elder Taro Shimizu is from Nada, Kobe and comes from a family of 4.  He likes playing the piano, painting, sports and cooking.  Accounting is his dream job.  He used to shy, but has overcome that characteristic.

When Elder Tojo did homestay in the United States, he saw the big gap between rich and poor.  Now he wants to help anyone in need of anything.  After his mission, he plans on going to university.

Elder Aisaku Takabori (left) with his first companion,
Elder Rust.
Elder Aisaku Takabori is from Miyamae, Kanagawa, but he was born in New Jersey and lived there for 18 years. He has an older brother on a mission and a sister also preparing to serve.  

Elder Ryan Rust is a very self-motivated person and is teachable.  He works very hard at what he is asked to do, and has finished three years of nutritional science at BYU.  He had the medical schools he most wanted to go to picked out before he left on his mission.  He will be a great doctor!

Sister Aoi Yamada (left) with her first companions,
Sister Saito and Sister Hunt.

Sister Aoi Yamada is from Hokkaido, Japan.  Her 3 siblings have all served missions, including a younger brother who is serving in Fukuoka at the same time as her.  She loves running and cross country skiing, and feels great when she is doing it.

Because Sister Saito is a nurse, she would like to use her talent.  She is good at working with people and is calm.  

Sister Hunt calls herself reserved, but she has many close friends and is motivated to do things well.  Prayer has always helped strengthen her testimony.
Elder Charles Baker (right) with his first companion,
Elder Ellsworth.
Elder Charles Baker's best friend is his father.  He is the youngest in his family of five and admits that he's spoiled.  He loves learning and plans to become a mechanical engineer.  Sandy, Utah is where Elder Baker calls home.

Elder Ellsworth says his father is generous and puts the Lord first, and his mother is nearly perfect and his best friend.  He has a strong testimony that is very personal to him.  He felt the mission call changed his life, even before he entered the MTC. 

Elder Jared Wilcox (left) with his first companion,
Elder Koesashi.

Elder Jared Wilcox is from Westminster, California  and his father is half Japanese.  He plans to go to BYU Hawaii after his mission and study business marketing.  He hopes that will work well with the surfing industry.  He loves to surf, play drums, soccer, snowboard, skateboard and be involved with music.  

Elder Koesashi is an optimistic and cheerful person.  At a young men’s camp, he saw a great example of a person younger than him.  He had a strong testimony of the gospel. This young man’s example and a talk by President Monson changed his attitude and strengthened his testimony.  

Elder Mark Gibb (left) with his first companion,
Elder Gottfredson.  (Is there something in his eye?)

Elder Landon Gibb has lived in five states, currently Arizona.  He enjoys repairing and working with computers, photography and art.  He loves Asian Culture and wants to learn Korean and Chinese languages as well.  He is a hard worker and sometimes a perfectionist.

Elder Gottfredson loves to sing, and according to some of his companions, he just might sing too much.  He also enjoys country dancing.  

Elder Jordan Olsen (left) with his first companion,
Elder Matson.

Elder Jordan Olsen, from Overland Park, Kansas, plays percussion instruments and loves music.  His father is a neonatologiest and met his mother on his mission to Denmark.  Elder Olsen's older sister will serve in Germany at the same time as he serves in Japan.  Elder Olsen loves to laugh and make others laugh, and he is thrilled to come back to Japan, where he has lived before.
Elder Matson has a black belt in Tae Kwan do.  He knows Joseph Smith is a prophet "at his core," and it fills him with joy and adoration when he thinks of the Savior's infinite love.
Elder Thomas Petersen (left) with his first companion,
Elder Horne.
Beaver, Utah is home to Elder Thomas Petersen.  He was actually writing a novel before his mission.  He is interested in different cultures, and wants to become fluent in Japanese.  He enjoys singing and has been in honor choirs and musicals.  He also likes to try new foods.

Elder Horne is very skillful in music.  He has also managed to learn excellent Portuguese while in Japan, in addition to his Japanese.

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 Inchi no Michi

President Baird’s Message

休み、休日、休業日、祝日、国民の祭日、休暇、休暇期。Holidays. Whatever the source, the cause, the stimulus, I love holidays. They represent fun, recreation, relaxation, food. Perhaps what I like best about holidays is spending time with people I love; friends and family. For a short time we are both friends and family to one another. Sister Baird and I love being with you—our Japan Nagoya Mission family.
Of all the types of holidays my very favorite are 宗教の祭日。These are not just holidays, they are holy days. Thanksgiving is like that. It is a holy day; a day for acknowledging the goodness of God and returning thanks to Him for our many blessings. As a mission family we honor this holy day by offering service throughout the day and then enjoying a good meal and sharing feelings with our companions. Christmas is a special holy day. This year we spent time with each zone celebrating our service as missionaries and focusing our attentions on the life of Christ. We celebrated in word, song and a multi-media presentation.
This month we celebrate another of those special holy days. Though Easter may be the most sacred of holy days, we do not gather as a mission to celebrate. Maybe Easter is too sacred for that. Maybe for missionaries, the celebration of Easter should be a personal and spiritual celebration. Perhaps this is a time to reflect on the life of He who is our Savior, Redeemer, and King. Each Easter season I find myself seeking him out in the scriptures. I especially focus on the last week of His mission.
During the month of April, I invite you to seek him out in the same way. His thoughts, actions and teachings during the final week of his mission can be found in Matthew chapters 21-28; Mark chapters 11-16; Luke 19-24; and John 12-21. Don’t gallop through these pages like a race horse with only the end in mind. Go slow. Ponder. Reflect.
As you read about the last week of Christ’s mission, please do as Nephi recommends—“liken” it to you and your situation. As you go slow, reflect and ponder, and then “liken”, the Holy Ghost will give you rich insights. I pray that you will rely on the Spirit to teach you as you read. For that reason I will not offer commentary on the following days—just milestone events.
Day 1 Sunday: The stage is set in Matt 20: 17-19,29. As Jesus and his disciples make their way toward Jerusalem to keep the holy day, Christ tells his disciples of his impending imprisonment, crucifixion, death and resurrection. As they depart Jericho a sizeable multitude begins to follow. The multitude grows as they pass through Bethphage and Bethany. By the time Jesus is riding into the city of Jerusalem all the multitude praises him. They call him the Son of David, acknowledging him as their king! The chief priests and scribes were unhappy—disturbed even. They chided Jesus saying, “Master, rebuke thy disciples.” His reply was regal, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19: 39,40.
Day 2 Monday: Jesus returns to Jerusalem having spent the night in Bethany. Hungered he curses the baron fig tree. He cleanses the temple, Heals in the temple and returns to Bethany for the night.
Day 3 Tuesday: Teaches his disciples who comment, “how soon the fig tree is withered away”, that they shall do this and greater things by the prayer of faith—even to the removing of mountains. We must ask. He teaches of authority. Jesus teaches parables of two sons and the householder. He successfully navigates traps from Pharisees and Sadducees in their questioning. He accuses them of hypocrisy, teaches the signs of the times, gives parables of ten virgins, talents, sheep and goats.
Day 4 Wednesday: Christ administers the sacrament, teaches the role of the comforter and Holy Ghost, offers great intercessory prayer. He retires to the Garden of Gethsemane and performs
the first part of the atonement. He is betrayed by Judas and taken prisoner.
Day 5 Thursday: Christ is tried. He remains silent. He endures all manner of
mocking and abuse. He performs additional portions of the atonement—He is
crucified and buried.
Day 6 Friday: Christ remains in tomb while chief priests and Pharisees seek a
watch to prevent his body from being taken.
Day 7 Saturday: Christ completes the Atonement. He rises from the dead
bringing resurrection to all. He gives a sacred charge to all who will follow him
Matthew 28:16-20. I wonder what our world would be like if He had coasted the
last week of His mission. May we pray and ask in faith to perform the miracles
He asks of us. May we commit to GO as did the first son in the parable. May we
actually GO and PERFORM the assigned task as did the second. As we seek our
errand from the Lord and work hard to achieve it, we will be blessed, as Elder
Holland promised, with urgency in the work and the love our Heavenly Father
has for those who labor in His vineyard. Let my love for you stand as evidence
that He loves you, I pray in Jesus’ name Amen.