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From Returned Missionaries

NFEM 2009 Reunion

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ANNUAL NEWSLETTER

FOR ALL RETURNED MISSIONARIES OF THE NORTHERN FAR EAST MISSION

MARCH 2009

Part 1

30th ANNIVERSARY! ! ! --JAPAN MISSIONARY TRAINING CENTER! ! !

This is the 30th anniversary of the Japan Missionary Training Center.  We have processed nearly 5,000 missionaries during that time. Interesting note: 50% were elders and 50% were sisters. We estimate that about 634 have been called to missions outside of Japan.  

Missionaries from Brazil & Mongolia

In the last group of missionaries we just had, (January 2009) there was an elder who came from Brazil and a sister from Mongolia.  Both were called on missions to Japan. They speak Japanese.  

We trained 130 missionaries last year. Of that number, 82% were 2nd, 3rd, and even a few 4th generation members.  A strong and powerful base of members is growing in Japan.  

Japan Growth in 45 Years

In 45 years, we have gone from 29 branches to 29 stakes;from 7,500 members to 123,321 members; from no chapels to 180 chapels; we now have 163 wards, 14 districts, and 125 branches.  

We are having the opportunity to see the fruits of many of your labors. Elder Steven Larsen (DA/AKf63-e66) gave a chirashi to 14 year old Bro.  Taira in Okinawa.  

Through his efforts, and Dwight Pincockfs (DAf62-e65) efforts, Brother Taira joined the church, and has raised a marvelous family, sent all 5 children on missions, 4 so far are married in the temple. Brother Taira has served in the Stake Presidency and as a Bishop.  

Contact Your Converts & Investigators 

There are many stories just like this.  Thank you for all of your work.  Many of the Japanese adult members would like to get in touch with their early missionaries.  They remember the name of gtheir missionariesh and the date they were baptized. Letfs follow President Hinckleyfs advice and rekindle those contacts. Get into your journals, find those names, and get in touch with them.  

Couple Missionaries Needed

Thanks, George, for your faithful efforts all these years. Please let them know that we could use all the couple missionaries we can get here in Japan!  It is a great way to enjoy your retirement! It is safe and therefs no gun-employmenth in the strengthening and building of the kingdom!

Your brother, Jim McArthur(DA/AKf64),Tokyo MTC Cho

MISSION PRESIDENTS JULY 2009

KOREA (3 New with asterisks)

Kenneth W.  Jennings, Jr.       Pusan                    to 7-2011

Yong Hwan Lee                      Seoul                     to 7-2012

Craig Palmer Burton              Seoul West            to 7-2010

Alan Gordon Perriton            Daejoen                 to 7-2010

JAPAN

Sherman K. Margetts             Fukuoka               to 7-2112

Yoshiaki Isa                            Hiroshima            to 7-2011

William R.  McIntyre, Jr.       Kobe                     to 7-2011

Bruce Frank Traveller            Nagoya              to 7-2010

Lee A.  Daniels                       Sapporo                to 7-2011

Reid Tateoka                          Sendai                   to 7-2011

*Steve Albrecht                      Tokyo                    to 7-2112

GROWTH STATISTICS

                           Japan                                 Korea

                           2008           2009                2008                2009

Stakes                 29                29                   17                     17

Wards               165              163                   94                     94

Branches           129              125                   49                     48

Districts             14                14                    6                        6

Membership 122,442        123,245         80,421                 81,251

Missions            7                    7                  4                          4

Temples           2                    2                  1                           1

Area 70fs           5                    6                  2                           2

Guam                1 Area 70 [now part of the Asia North Area]

CURRENT TEMPLE PRESIDENTS

      Seoul        Pres.  Jun Jong Chul

      Fukuoka  Pres.  Ryoushou Nakama

      Tokyo      Pres.  Masayuki Nakano

ASIA NORTH AREA PRESIDENCY

David F.  Evans         President

Gary Stevenson         1stCounselor

     Yoon Hwan Choi      2ndCounselor

      Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita was released from the Area Presidency in July, He is still serving as an Area Seventy.

      Elder Gary Stevenson arrived on August 3 to serve as the first counselor to Elder Evans in the Area Presidency.  

DONfT FORGET – SEARCH YOUR DIARIES FOR THE ADDRESSES OF YOUR INVESTIGATORS AND CONVERTS AND COMMUNICATE WITH THEM! ! !

AREA 70fS

      Pita F.  Hopoate                         Guam 5/2005

      Kazuhiko Yamashita                 Japan 2001

      Toru Hotta                                 Japan 4/2004

      Ben Kikuchi                               Japan 4/2004

      Tetsuji Ishii                                Japan 5/2007

      Koichi Aoyagi                           Japan 4/2008

      Satoshi Nishihara                     Japan 4/2008

      Hwan Lee                                  Korea 4/2004

      Yoon Hwan Choi                      Korea 5/2007

       Elder Yasuo Niiyama(DA/AKf63-f66) was released as an Area 70 after serving since 2002.  Elders Koichi Aoyagi and Satoshi Nishihara were called as Area Seventies, increasing the number by 1 in Japan.

NEW CHAPELS

In 2008, two chapels were dedicated on the Micronesia Islands of Kosrae and Palau SE & SW respectively from the island of Guam, located in the Asia North Area.  Japan & Korea had none.

3 APOSTLES & 1 SEVENTY.  VISIT

      Elder and Sister Dallin H.  Oaks visited in February 2008 and reorganized the Machida Japan Stake Presidency.  President Tokuzawa was sustained as the new stake president. Elder Richard G.  Scott visited in April and instructed the mission presidents in Seoul, Korea. In November, Elder Dallin H.  Oaks & wife traveled to Korea and presided at a Mission Presidentfs Training Seminar in Seoul.  Elder L.  Whitney Clayton, of the Presidency of the 70 was also present with his wife.

      Just last month, February 2009, Elder Russell M.  Nelson attended the Fukuoka Japan Stake Conference.

Additional Reorganizations

      The Honshu Military District, Japan was reorganized.

      The Kumamoto Japan Stake Presidency was reorganized in October

      The Sendai Japan Stake Presidency and the Saitama Japan Stake Presidency saw reorganization in October;

      A new district president was installed in the Nagoya Japan District in October and a new District President for Fukushiyama Japan District was called.

NFEfRS SERVE IN JAPAN (THEREfS MORE NOT LISTED)

      Elder Melvin Marker (DA/AKf63-e65) and wife have been called as the Area Executive Secretary and Assistant.

      Weston Aoyagi and his wife, Sis.  Pamela Yates Aoyagi (DA/AKf64 are missionaries at the Tokyo Temple.

      James Kaku (DA/AK e63-e66) and his wife completed their missionary service at the Tokyo Temple.  

HIROSHIMA JAPAN MISSION

      What is your Hatsuyume (Hatsuyume is the Japanese word for the first dream of the New Year.  It is very meaningful to Japanese people.  Since ancient times, people have believed this dream foretells their fortune for the coming year. )?Is it to return home with honor? To stand before your home ward and testify of the things you learned during your mission? Or is it to master the Japanese language and enhance your ability to communicate with people? Perhaps it is to strive to apply the principles of charity as you seek to love more than be loved? Maybe it is to help your ward or branch, and become a missionary who can create whirlpools? I am sure that you all have had various dreams for the New Year.

Though my dream for the New Year is filled with big goals and desires, the basic words gsmall and simple thingsh will not depart from my mind. This is something that was not touched on much at the past Zone Conference. However, this has been something on my mind since early New Yearfs Day as I hiked the Onaga Mountain with the office staff, offered a special prayer to God, and watched the first sunrise of the New Year. As I watched that first sunrise creep slowly above the distant mountain range, I was overwhelmed with the great majesty of Godfs creations. At that moment I felt the reality of the grand gifts God has given me. I also felt very powerfully that TODAY I can grow and TODAY I can change.  

      gcAnd thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great thingsh (1@Nephi 16:29). gWherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is greath (D&C 64:34). Through these passages the Lord teaches us a principle that is found repeatedly throughout the scriptures. Those who follow and apply this principle are promised the following blessing. gBehold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last daysh (D&C 64:34).

      Last year we all received many blessings from the Lord. I am grateful for these gifts that came from all of your sincere faith and whole hearted efforts. Letfs try and learn the secret of how to personally bring about these blessings from the following examples. – Mission Pres.  Yoshiaki Isa  

Secret #1:Niihama Version

gWhen I read the Harvester (December 2008) I felt that many missionaries are working very hard. I know that to write this may seem prideful, but when I read, specifically Assignment #1 (Tokushima Elders), I couldnft help but feel that here in Niihama we are united with the members, and likewise we are experiencing a definite, powerful whirlpool. I think that it is very unfortunate that our letters were left out of the last Harvester (Jhaha). Elder Heiner and I are finding prepared people one after another. Of course this is not because of us, but because of the prayers and faith of the members, and more than anything Godfs help. We have indeed become part of the Niihama Branch and are working together with the members. Because we came to Niihama without knowing anything about the area, I understand the Tokushima Elders feelingscIn order to cause a whirlpool in Niihama I think we need to continue doing as we have done. That is, love Niihama, All the members, always expresses to them our desire to help, and after doing all that, work as best we can. I surely believe that our enthusiasm is being conveyedh (Elder Kajihara, Letter to the President, December14, 2008).  

The Niihama Elders received a referral from a member towards the end of last year, and Brother Kato Kohei (19 years old), a wonderful young man, was baptized on December 28. However, the road to Baptism was not a completely smooth one. The truth is, at first Brother Katofs baptism was scheduled for December 21st. However, at that time they were unable to receive his parentsf permission. Letfs read their letters and find out what happened the following week. I talked about this at the past Zone Conference, but I would like to quote it once more.

gcWe were finally able to meet with Kato-kunfs parents this past week.  Kato-kun told us that they were opposed to him joining the Church and he seemed pretty sad about that.  Elder Kajihara and I kept good attitudes and promised him that through the power of the spirit that his parents would end up being fine.  From that time we began studying in order to prepare for a meeting with his parents. Itfs kind of strange because we were both prompted to read the same place in the Book of Mormon.  Alma 20 talks about Ammon meeting Lamonifs father, who was opposed to the Church.  As we studied that chapter we found how Ammon had boldly stood before the King of the Lamanites and convinced him through the spirit and power of God that Lamoni was a changed man and that the Church was true.  It is in verse 26 that the Kingfs heart softens.  The King realized Ammonfs pure desire to help and his love for Lamoni. Through that the King eventually converted himself.  When I read that I realized the power that comes from having a pure motive (testimony) and love for our investigators and everyone. We both decided that the most important thing was for Kato-kunfs parents to understand that our motives were pure and that we had a love for their son.  After a lot of praying we met with his parents, boldly testified, and did all we could to show our love.      At one point in the meeting his mother looked as if she really felt our love for Kato-kun as her eyes welled up.  The spirit was really strong and we received permission to baptize Kato-kun next week.  It was a really good experience.  The power that love has is amazing.  I am so grateful to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for always guiding me and helping me when the going gets toughh (Elder Heiner, Letter to the President, December 21, 2008).

Their experience continues.

gYesterday during the baptismal meeting my heart was burning and I truly felt the joy promised to all missionaries in D&C.  As I ponder back on Brother Katofs journey to baptism I am in awe at the countless miracles and answers to prayers that there has been.  Like any baptism candidate Brother Kato had some obstacles to overcome.  Sometimes when things seemed hopeless and all was lost, after a simple sincere prayer, everything miraculously turned out ok.  One thing I was also really impressed at was all the help and prayers involved in Brother Katofs conversion.  The members, Zone Leaders, Imabari Elders, and Honbu staff, etc.  all prayed really hard for Brother Kato and because of that he received Baptism and the Gift of Holly Ghost.  What a day for all to rejoice.  I am so happy to be a servant of God.  We plan on performing another baptism in January, so we plan on working our tails offh (Elder Heiner, Letter to the President, December 29, 2008).

His companion, Elder Kajihara told of similar things.

gIt was a very spiritual time. However, we are not satisfied. In order to push our work forward we have scheduled one more baptism for January 31. We do not yet have anyone with a baptismal date. However, we prayed and decided together. In order to achieve this we must combine our efforts with the members.  I really want to be unified and continue working together with everyoneh (Elder Kajihara, Letter to the President, December 29, 2008).

Assignment #1:What do you learn from the example of the Niihama Elders? Letfs think about their examples, their secret, and what we need to do to start whirlpools in our own areas. Then try to actually do those things in your area. Please write about this in your next Letter to the President.

      Hiroshima had 12 baptisms in December 2008 – 5 sisters, 4 brothers, 3 unknown gender.

      Methods of referral: 4 part member, 2 member, 2 area book, 1 self , 1 housing, 1 streeting, and 1 unknown.  

 

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