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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 2

NAGOYA JAPAN MISSION

      The Japan Nagoya Mission highlights for 2008 are summarized in the attachments included here with. A narrative of the history describing mission highlights is set forth as follows.

Early in the year a theme for the mission was introduced. The theme is summarized in a simple formula: M + M = 2M. Which means Members plus Missionaries equals Double Miracles.  A four-step approach was introduced to the members through the local priesthood leadership. The objective is to strengthen the faith and testimonies of the members through visits from the missionaries. During these visits the missionaries teach from gPreach My Gospel. hThe members learn the basic doctrine and gospel principles outlined in gPreach My Gospel,h while building their testimonies and desire to share the gospel with others. This interaction also strengthens the trust between the missionaries and members. Specific methods of sharing the gospel with others is discussed during the visits. The idea is to work as a team in building the Lordfs Kingdom, rather than separately as members and missionaries.

      Some areas have clearly caught the vision of the M + M = 2M concept. We created a Key Indicator, which we call the gProgressing Member. hThis is a member that is cooperating with the missionaries in the process described above. In particular, these members are keeping commitments in their personal strengthening/finding efforts. In order to help build relationships with priesthood leaders, other unit leaders and members President and Sister Traveller have set a goal to participate in the Sunday meetings of each of the 40 units in the mission three different times during their three-year service. At this point they are on track to meet this goal.

      During the Sunday visits President and Sister Traveller speak in sacrament meeting, other block meetings as requested and typically offer to conduct a fireside. This has been a very positive experience. The road is long, but the working relationship between missionaries and members is improving. This theme is constantly emphasized in zone conferences, district training meetings and during individual interviews between President Traveller and the missionaries.

      Over the past year and a half an evolution has taken place with one of the Key Indicators being reported. The Open Your Mouth (OYM) indicator changed to Individuals Committed (IC) to Invitation to Learn (ITL) to finally being eliminated. As a mission we are now reporting Key Indicators exactly as outlined in gPreach My Gospel,h while using our one optional indicator to report gProgressing Membersh as described above. We feel we are headed in the right direction.

      Whereas 2007 brought many visitors from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Area Presidency and office, and from the Missionary Department, we had just one such visit in 2008. Elder David F.  Evans (Area President), along with Sister Mary Evans, toured our mission October 29th and 30th. They were also accompanied by Elder Koichi Aoyagi, a newly called area seventy. This was an extremely effective, pleasant visit. A zone conference was held with all zones except Kanazawa on October 29th. A second conference was held with the Kanazawa Zone on October 30th. In preparation for the conference Elder Evans asked that all missionaries read Alma 7, 17-42 with three ideas in mind: 1) becoming a missionary, 2) the atonement, and 3) missionary work. Under the direction of Elder Evans an emphasis was placed on precisely following the guidelines of gPreach My Gospelh in our finding and teaching methods, speaking gwithh people as opposed to speaking gath people, asking for referrals 100% of the time, and more effective use of the Book of Mormon in all of our missionary efforts. All three special visitors were very personal in expressing and showing love to the missionaries.

      Two Asia North Area Mission Presidents Seminars were held in 2008, both in Seoul, Korea. The first was held April 22-23. Presiding was Elder Richard G.  Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  Only presidents were able to attend in April. A second seminar was held November 20-23, with Elder Dallin H.  Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presiding. Elder Oaks was accompanied by his wife, Kristen, along with Elder L.  Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife Kathy. Mission president wives also attended this time. The area presidency, led by Elder Evans, did a remarkable job in conducting these two seminars in Korea. Itfs a wonderful opportunity to interact with the other mission presidents and wives in the Asia North Area. Many good things were received and applied from these training sessions. A special treat with each seminar was the opportunity to attend the Seoul Temple.

      The mission baptism goal for the year was 150. The actual baptisms were 120. While an improvement from the previous year, there was some disappointment in not meeting the actual goal. We witnessed many miracles throughout the mission in the baptisms that did take place. Accounts of some selected conversion stories will be included in a later section of this mission history. The year started with 106 missionaries in the mission and ended with 106 missionaries. However, we have a net loss of one missionary couple for the year. We now have just one missionary couple, Elder Robert Marsh and Sister Wanda Gurr, who replaced Elder John and Sister Helen Totten as the office couple in September 2008.

Baptisms started off slow in January and February, with a combined total of seven for those two months. Something needed to change. In order to get back on track to meet the goal of 150 baptisms it was time to play gcatch up. hAccordingly, we adopted the popular American college basketball theme of gMarch Madness. hThere was a very concentrated team effort throughout the mission to reach a goal of 20 baptisms, which was set for the month. Through united prayers, fasting and working together between missionaries and members we were able to exceed the goal for that month by one,reaching 21. This had a huge unifying effect on the mission.

      As August approached we again needed to pick up the pace. President Traveller asked each companionship to submit a specific plan indicating what they (the missionaries) would do, what they needed the members to do, and what they needed the Lord to do in order to see a baptism in each area, respectively. The plan included the specific issues that needed to be overcome in order to see at least one baptism in the area. Mission-wide prayers were part of this effort. This was also a very positive experience, resulting in 15 baptisms for the month.

      During the later part of the year the number of zones was increased from six to seven. The purpose of this change is to give zone leaders a better opportunity to fulfill their responsibilities to set the example and work closely with zone members, while still maintaining their own finding and teaching efforts in their respective areas. Interviews were held by President Traveller with each missionary every six weeks. This six week cycle corresponds with the transfer cycle period. Interviews were held by zone, with each missionary meeting with the president for approximately 20 minutes. Zone Leader Council was held every six weeks, just prior to zone conferences. During this meeting the content for the upcoming zone conferences was presented and discussed. These meetings have developed into a very true council, where ideas and opinions of all zone leaders are considered, rather than just lectures from the mission president and assistants.

There are four stakes and one district within the boundaries of the Japan Nagoya Mission. The only district, the Nagano District, experienced a presidency reorganization in 2008 during district conference held November 15 and 16. The new district presidency is as follows:     President: Harumi Matsuhashi,   First Counselor: Keisuke Yamaguchi, Second Counselor:   Mitsunori Yanagizawa

For the second year in row, a missionary preparation course was held in cooperation between the Meito Ward and the full time missionaries. The course is called the Meito Missionary Training Center (MMTC). Young people interested in serving a full time mission, along with returned missionaries who are striving to maintain a missionary spirit participate in the course. It is conducted as a mini-MTC, with some lecturing, but lots of practical, hands-on type of experiences. Ultimately, all participants go out to various parts of the city to contact people. This course is sponsored by the Meito Ward, but participants come from other units in the stake, other areas of the mission, and even a few from other missions that have heard of the program. A selected group of local full time missionaries participate at various times throughout the course.  It is very effective in advancing missionary work in the mission. In 2007 and 2008 there were approximately 60 participants each year. This appears to be a tradition that all involved would like to see continue.

The mission presented a traveling Christmas concert again this year. Performances took place in eight different locations around the mission during the month of December, providing all missionaries, nonmembers, and members within the mission the chance to attend. Sister Traveller was the organizer of the concert. Three months prior to the first concert a group of five missionaries were selected to participate. There were three elders and two sisters.  Practices were well planned so as to not take excessive proselyting time. The five missionaries prepared well.  The purpose was to share the spirit of Christmas and open doors to the missionaries. It was well advertised in each area. Teaching opportunities have resulted from each area in which the concert was held.

As a final note, cell phones were distributed to all companionships within the mission during the last two weeks of the year.  A letter from Elder Evans announced this new development in the world-wide missionary efforts. The letter indicated that the purpose of the cell phone distribution is to make missionaries more available at all times to mission presidents, investigators, members and others. Obviously, there are restrictions to the cell phone use, which are being followed in the mission. This will truly be a positive step in missionary work efficiency.

The Hayashi Family in Nakatsugawa

Elder Isaku Fujisaki transferred to Nakatsugawa in July of 2007. Shortly thereafter Elder Jeffrey Despain transferred in as Elder Fujisakifs companion. There wasnft much going on as far as an investigator pool, so Elder Fujisaki followed the counsel given in gPreach My Gospel,h He used the Area Book. He found a record of the Hayashi family that had been taught two years previously. The mother had been quite interested, but the father had a smoking habit and had avoided the missionaries. Eventually they had been dropped. When Elders Fujisaki and Despain first visited the Hayashi family they received a very cold welcome. In fact, they were Ron totally rejected. They were busy and didnft seem interested at all. However, Elder Fujisaki had the feeling that he should come back. He asked if they could do so at a more convenient time. They were allowed to do so.

They began teaching the Hayashi family, which consisted of the parents and three children. At first the father didnft participate in the lessons. Then he too started coming around. They began attending church meetings. The father had been smoking since childhood. He had a very strong habit.  In time, Elders Despain and Fujisaki transferred. Elders Thomas Van Hook and Jason Thompson transferred in and picked up on the lessons with the Hayashi family. These two elders worked with the family to strengthen their testimonies, especially the father.

It was a miraculous moment when the father committed to stop smoking. Even the mother was shocked. They held true to their commitment and on February 24, 2008 all five members of the Hayashi family entered the waters of baptism. It was a glorious sight to behold as the father (Takayuki Hayashi) was baptized, followed by the mother (Kyoko Hayashi). Then after dressing, the parents knelt at the edge of the font as their three children, Chihiro (13), Taiki (12), and Machi (8) were all baptized. Following the ordinance they bore their testimonies.

This is an amazing family. They are a very close family. They enjoy music together and play and watch sports together. They have provided wonderful musical entertainment in various formal and informal settings since being baptized. They constantly support the missionaries in their efforts. The Hayashi family is well on their way to eternal life together. They all radiate a very sweet, positive spirit.  

DAEJOEN KOREA MISSION

The Daejoen Mission had 197 baptisms in 2008, 3,999 member lessons were taught, 11,935 other lessons were taught, 4,004 new investigators were obtained, and 277,077 contacts were made.

President Alan Gordon Perriton said in his January 2009 message, gWhile 2008 was a good year for the Korea Daejeon Mission, we are embarking on a brand new year to march forward with purpose, with commitment, with focus and with vision. .  .  .  .  Together we have set the bar for this year at a gfaith based stretch. h

Given the unprecedented level of support and enthusiasm we are experiencing from our Church leaders and members, given your diligence, given the faith and belief you have in yourselves and that I have in each of you, I feel very optimistic about the prospects before us. , , We are in for a gbannerh year, I can feel it! !  It will be a cornucopia of spiritual delight.

SAPPORO JAPAN MISSION

Pres.  Lee A.  Daniels moved on in Januaryfs newsletter to his mission to address the next trait of the Savior found in Preach My Gospel – Virtue.  He quotes a favorite saying: gReap a thought, sow an action; reap an action, sow a habit; reap a habit, sow a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. h 

He counseled positive thoughts rather than negative and quoted Almafs excellent counsel to his son Corianton in Alma 39:19 to gcross yourselfh in all immoral thoughts and actions.

He counseled that if the devilfs angels tempt you in dreams or thoughts, drink some water, sing a favorite hymn, repeat a memorized scripture, do some physical exercise, or seek additional inspiration through prayer to Father.  

The quotes from letters to the president included:

gThis last Sunday, I had an incredible experience.  As we were sitting in sacrament .  .  .  I looked around. Tanaka San was at the sacrament table.  .  .  .  to bless.  In front of me was another recent convert with ward members on both sides of her.  Across the aisle, another recently baptized sister was sitting with a group of sisters who have befriended her.  And behind was another recent convert sitting with her ward friends.  .  .  I felt overwhelming gratitude.  These 4 people 6 months ago didnft know about the gospel. h

Also, gItfs cold [in Sapporo], but today we decided to dendo inside, and you know what – it worked.  I mean the contacts were few but both Elder Brown and I picked up somebody.  We decided to follow our ZLfs example and do finding in the library.  I just waited by the English books and tried to talk with anyone who started to browse over there.  It was easy.  Not every day, but itfs an option on freezing days.  Natural contacting!  .  .  .  God leads us when we are tying our best. h

 PLEASE SHARE THIS LETTER WITH OTHERS. AND PLEASE SEND US YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESSES AND E-M OF OTHER NFE RMfS YOU KNOW.  PLEASE DO NOT PRESUME WE KNOW YOURS OR THEIRS.  WE ONLY KNOW 360 E-MAILS OUT OF 900 + ON OUR ROSTERS. AND NOT EVERYONE RECEIVES THIS NEWSLETTER.  PLEASE ALSO NOTIFY US OF CHANGED E-M ADDRESSES.  Kamisahamnida & Arigato gozaimasu! ! !

We would like to convert to e-mail.  Please help us do so.

Total membership increase in Japan in 2008 803

Total membership increase in Korea in 2008 830

Motto of Japan Fukuoka Mission (Quoted by BYU Pres.  Bateman)

"OBEDIENCE is the price, FAITH is the power, LOVE is the motive, CHRIST is the reason."

 

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