Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012 Shimai Taikai

Shimai Taikai (or for those of you who speak English, Sisters' Conference)  A delight for every female in any mission.  It was a feast!

From left:  Sisters Rogers, Yamada, Eguchi, Shimoji, and Ishihara

We feasted on the spirit, on words of inspiration and wisdom from President and Sister Baird.

Sister Baird shared Romans 10:15--And how shall they preach, except they be sent?  as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach to gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  She reminded the sisters of how their feet walk miles, ride miles, stand to bear their testimony, rush to serve, and more.  Truly, these sister do have beautiful feet.

She talked about the spirit, and how blessed we are to feel it in our lives.  She shared a story that Sister Holland told.  She was living in a big city and was called to work as a stake missionary.  It was scary for her.  One day she finished reading the Book of Mormon while she was riding on a bus.  She felt such love for it and felt the influence of the spirit as she completed the book.  There was a man sitting next to her, and she just looked at him and said, "This book is so true."  He asked what it was, and as she told him about it, he wanted to read it.  He ended up joining the Church.

Elder Ellsworth and Elder Ito taught us that when we prepare to teach people, our goal is to help them feel the spirit.  And for practice, we thought about the good traits of our companions and asked what we could do to help our companion feel the spirit.  True conversion comes through the spirit.  Through the spirit, we can know the things our investigators (and companions) need.

Sister Baird gave one of the sisters a timer and asked her to set it for 7 minutes.   She could then share one thing that had changed her life for good on her mission, or a favorite teaching moment, or one of the greatest tests she had on her mission and how she overcame it.  We then enjoyed 7 minutes for each sister there to share her heart and testimony.  It was wonderful.

Then Sister Baird shared her testimony of how the mission has changed her life and what a blessing it has been to her.  She has had many experiences that have confirmed to her the love of the Lord.

President Baird then taught us, about faith in Christ, about what John meant when he said "I have need to be baptized of thee," about covenants and the Atonement.  He taught us the doctrine of Christ.  And he left us with his testimony:  "I love this Jesus.  For his complete obedience, example, sacrifice, patience, because he first loved me and loves me continually.  ....Our purpose for being here is to bring others to Him (Alma 18:8)."  And we felt the truth in his words.

We feasted on each others love, joy and friendship, and sharing our hearts,
Sisters Adachi, Hunt, and West

Sisters Fujisawa, Stott, Takatsu, Eguchi, Thayne, and West

Sister Urano and Sister Barney

We feasted on being creative and visiting while we created.  Tables set up in the dining room were loaded with everything one could possibly want to decorate cards, scrapbooks, bookmarks, and photo albums.  We all brought our photos and went to work.  But that was just filler between the great conversation and love that was shared among the sisters.

And we feasted on delicious food.

Around table from left:  Sister Fujisawa, Ishihara, Shimoji, and coming
back on right, Sisters Adachi, Thayne, and Eguchi

Again from left:  Sisters Matsuhashi, Rogers, Thayne, Stott,
Takatsu, Baird, Silva, West, Hunt, and Yamada

Sisters Silva, Hunt, West, Yamada, Urano, Barney,
Matsuhashi, Rogers, Thayne, and Stott

It was wonderful and, as you can see, a bit of fun, too.

Seated in front from left:  Sisters Hunt, Adachi, and Thayne
Seated on sofa:  Sisters Eguchi, Thayne (maybe), Yamada, Rogers (we are pretty sure that's her), Takatsu, and Hunt
Standing:  Sisters Ishihara, Shimoji, Fujisawa, Baird, Stott, Silva, Barney and Matsuhashi

Monday, January 7, 2013

Merry Transfers and a Happy New Year, Jan.1, 2013

Wouldn't you know it!  Six weeks came and went again, and we had transfers.  Another great group, going and coming.  I'm sure glad we get new missionaries in, because otherwise transfers would just be too sad.  Just look at this group of returning missionaries!  Who would want to tell them goodbye?  It was hard.
Seated from left:  Elders Finlinson, Berrett, Gottfredson, Rocha, and Correia
Standing from left:  President and Sister Baird, Sisters Shimoji and Stott

Elder Shane Berrett
Can you tell Elder Berrett loves children?

Elder Berrett, left, and Elder Dinkel
(Working on solving the world's problems.)

One of Elder Berrett former companions said he is always upbeat and cheerful.  Even if he complains, he doesn't really mean it.  He is easy to be around.  Whatever ward or branch he served in, he gave special attention to the children and they always loved him a lot.  He knows how to make other people happy.  He also has a soft spot in his heart for dogs.

Elder Kevin Gottfredson
From left:  Elders Koesashi, Gibb, Gottfredson, and O'Hara

See the concern in Elder Gottfredson's eyes?  This place needs to go.

Elder Gottfredson is a very hard working missionary who has the ability to keep going, even when in pain.  He is good at math, and is also ambidextrous.  This exhibits itself when he goes wake boarding; he can do it regular or goofy.  But it also shows up when he shoots skeet.  He can hold the gun in either his right or left hand, and shoot well.  He has been know to shoot out the bulls eye of a target more than once.

Elder Nicholas Correia

Elder Correia is friendly, polite, hard working, and determined.  Elder Correia has already had the experience of teaching seminary.  He could do it really well now that's he's had missionary experience.  When he gets home, Elder Correia plans to study mechanical engineering and possibly teach English as a part time job.  

Elder Correia looks happy to give these two dogs a little love, and
they look like they are in heaven with him.
Elders Baker (right) and Finlinson in background.
Does Elder Correia look better in this, or a missionary suit?
I'd say the missionary suit "suits" him best.
Elder Frederico Rocha
Elder James and Elder Rocha (right)

Elder Rocha is peaceful and organized, very friendly, affectionate, and enjoys serving.  He doesn't like to sit still.  Since he was a child in Primary, he has looked forward to serving a mission. He is nice to everyone he meets.  He is very good at soccer and everyone thinks he has a beautiful accent.

Sister Ziona Shimoj
In front from left: Sisters Shimoji, Eguchi, Yamada, and Takatsu
Behind:  Elders Koesashi, Ellsworth, Ito, and Clark

Sister Ishihara and Sister Shimoji (right)

Sister Shimoji is one of the most friendly people you will ever meet.  She is warm and happy, and has a gift for making friends.  Her eyes usually sparkle with joy.  She is also a talented teacher and finder, and has a special ability to love children.  Everywhere Sister Shimoji has been on the mission, she has left behind many new and dear friends.

Sister Stott in front, Sister Fujisawa behind,
and Meito Ward member Sister Yoneda standing.

Sister Lauren Stott
Sister Stott and Sister Thayne

Sister Stott has the distinction of being one of very few missionaries who got to open an area, and she opened two of them.  She is a hard worker and very organized.  She loves her companions with all her heart.  She is also very talented at fixing things, especially things that require a needle and thread, or some good food to make them feel better.

Elder Alex Finlinson
Just in case you wondered, Elder Finlinson is the one on the left.

Elder Finlinson on left, with Elders Heo, Macdonald, and Hilton. 

Elder Finlinson is a very quick learner.  One missionary called him a kanji master, because he knows so many kanji. His Japanese language was also very good.  One of his former companions said he was always obedient, that he always tried to follow the handbook exactly, and that he got up on time and studied hard.  He also learned to work through pain and keep going.

And on the happy end of things:

Here is our new commissarian, Elder Hara, waiting at the airport for our new arrivals.

And we got one more picture at the dragon.  We are waiting for a snake, but will we want to take a picture by him?  Stay tuned!  Meanwhile, what a great-looking group!
From left:  Elder Tsukamoto, Elder Wilson, Elder Ockerman, President and Sister Baird, and Sister Breck
This group did a fabulous job of dendoing on the train.  They handed out 5 copies of the Book of Mormon,
10 pamphlets, got contact information of one man who would like to know more, and one new person
will be coming to our English class!  From left are:  Elder Clark (recorder), Elder Hara,
Elders Schade and Ellsworth (APs), Elder Wilson, Elder Tsukamoto, Elder Ockerman, Sister Breck,
and Sister Whitney Baird, daughter of President and Sister Baird--here for the holidays
and thrilled to be again involved in missionary work.  She was recently released from the Kobe Mission. 
And here are our new missionaries, with their new companions:

Sister Tianna Rae Breck
Sister Breck on left with her new trainer, Sister Fujisawa.
They will be in Shizuoka.

And they will be a threesome, with Sister Hunt, right.
From Pleasant Grove, Utah, Sister Tianna Rae Breck is one of four children in her family.  Sister Breck would really like to work for the FBI as either a translator or accountant.  She likes to travel, and would especially like to work in Japan, England and Korea.  Speaking five languages is also a goal.  She is creative and loves to sew, and make gifts for others.  And reading is a passion for her.  She is also positive and optimistic, often seeing what happens in positive ways.

Sister Fujisawa dreams of becoming a teacher because a teacher made such a difference
in her life.  She has completed four years of college.  She looks forward to
sharing the Gospel with everyone she can.  She can feel God's spirit and wants
to share all she learns through the church.

Elder Trevor Ockerman
Headed to Fukui are Elder Ockerman, left, and Elder Baker
Meridian, Idaho is home to Trevor Shawn Ockerman.  He has three older siblings and a younger brother.  Elder Ockerman loves soccer and would like to be on BYU's soccer team and become a professional athlete.  He would like to be a role model to others.  Mechanical engineering is also in his future.  He loves all sports, and loves to learn new things and strive to be the best at what he does.  He is good at making friends of all ages.  He knows that the more righteously we live, the better our life will be, in every way.

Elder Baker says he is outgoing, but can also be quiet at the right time.  He loves to learn and immerse himself in work, so he feels that will be a big help on his mission.  He has a strong testimony of the Gospel.

Elder Jacob Tsukamoto
Elder Tsukamoto, along with his trainer Elder Sanderson, will be working in Fuji.
Elder Jacob Tsukamoto was born in Hiroshima, Japan, but he grew up in Kaysville, Utah.  His father was born in Nevada, and his mother in Japan.  His two brothers both served missions in Japan as well.  Elder Tsukamoto is a rugby player at BYU where they won the National Championship.  He is studying exercise science, hoping to become and oncologist.  He has joined ROTC, hoping to get his medical training with the Army.  Music is a passion for Elder Tsukamoto.  He plays piano, trumpet, and guitar, and he loves to hike, backpack and camp in the mountains of Utah.  He is a good listener and likes to help others and set a high example.

Elder Sanderson said he is serving his mission because, "The prophet has asked every able young man to serve.  I am happy to serve the Lord and share the eternal insight I have with others.  I am looking forward to bringing the Gospel to the people of Japan."

Elder Andrew Wilson

Ueda is the destination of these two great missionaries,
Elder Wilson on the left, and Elder Shimohara

Elder Andrew Wilson calls Burke, Virginia home.  He has grown up in a military family, and his father is retired from the Air Force.  Elder Wilson has lived in 7 different states.  He has one older brother.  Elder Wilson's goal is to finish the computer engineering major he began at BYU.  He wants to work in augmented reality and, of course, start an eternal family.  Elder Wilson is a fast learner and a hard worker. He says he is a logical thinker and is very competitive.   Elder Wilson's parents joined the church when he was three.  He says the truthfulness of the Gospel has slowly distilled upon him and his testimony has steadily grown.

Elder Shimohara loves movies and TV.  He has some movies that he can quote.  He especially loves action, drama and mystery, in both books and movies. In college he was on the archery team, and in high school he was offensive tackle in football.  He says one of the best things about coming on a mission is really learning to connect and talk with other people.  He really enjoys doing that.