Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 10, 2014

Well hey everybody! Love you all tons! I hope your week went well, cause mine went great!

Well this week was transfer week! We had a super busy time with getting everything prepped cause the schedule for Honbu Elders is crazy!

Monday we have P-day and then after it's over, we enter in as much information about transfers as we can since the rest of the week is crazy! Basically we enter in all of the transfers that are happening and make the map of the mission. 

Tuesday is where everyone else get's their transfer calls, and then I try to get everything for the new missionaries since they come that night!

Wednesday we have Bean Training for the new missionaries and then print out the last stuff for the Shepherds (the mission newsletter). 

Thursday is when we go to the Transfer spot and get all of the Mission supplies handed out and then go back with all of the returning missionaries and do the English test for the Japanese missionaries. 

Friday we take all of them home and then update the systems, and get ready to do everything again for this transfer!

Saturday I actually had Mission Leader Council where all of the Zone Leaders and new District Leaders meet to talk about how to improve the mission so I got to go! It was way cool and it was a super spiritual experience so that was great! We also had Stake Conference. I ended up translating for the couple missionaries.  I've done that a few times at church and it's super hard, but it's fun... Kinda... ;)

Sunday we had Stake Conference again and I got to see a ton of people from Hakodate cause they're in the same stake! So that was fun! And also the Kotoni ward and Teine wards are becoming one! So my ward is now really big and there will be 11 missionaries for this transfer...

Kinda crazy, probably not my best email, but I Love you all and hope you're doing well!

Love you!

Elder Bickel

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 3, 2014

Hey everyone!  We've been working hard getting ready for the new missionaries and transfers, so it's been busy.  I hope you're all doing well!  I could use your prayers cause I jammed my left middle finger playing basketball on Saturday and I really don't want it to be broken... ;) 

[Stephen was asked to share why he is grateful for his mission and this is his response]...

It definitely is hard to be a missionary, but when I think about all that I am gaining from it, I realize it isn't really that much of a sacrifice, but more of a blessing. I've felt like before the mission I was kinda introverted, and I've been trying to change that my entire mission, but since coming to the Honbu I've felt like it's been a little harder, but it's just making me work that much harder to not be introverted. ;) Sometimes I've gotten companions who are super nice, but they don't quite understand what it's like to have super good friends who really have good relationships, so they are not willing to really work at it which is hard for me since I've done it so well with other companions... But I've just appreciated those companions more and more, and it's shown me how important that's going to be to have a relationship like that with my wife. 

There are some tough things going on right now, but, at the same time, it's teaching me so much and helping me to realize what kind of person I want to be when I get back. It's definitely a blessing to have experiences like this, as well as the knowledge that all of these experiences will "be for our good".

Since being on a mission I have grown so much. I've found that I have been able to forget myself and focus more on other people. I've found that Christ's promise of "when we lose ourselves, we find ourselves" is we lose ourselves trying to help others and we find that we've become the person we've always wanted to be. I've learned so much more about the gospel and that through it, we can find true happiness even in our hardest times. A little while ago while I was finding, we found a man who asked us what makes us most happy. We answered that it is helping others. He then got in our faces saying that the most important thing is to make sure you're doing ok yourself. Then after that, if you still want to, then you can help others. Through that conversation I realized that most of the world will never realize that one truth of the gospel. When we help others, God helps us. I've seen so many miracles on my mission where God has helped me, and I feel like it's because I'm working on helping others. 

A mission is a one of  a kind opportunity that I wouldn't give up for the world, because on the mission we learn not how to win the world, but how to gain eternal life and worlds without number. A mission is hard, but it is the biggest blessing that you could ever ask for.

Love you tons!


Monday, November 3, 2014

October 26, 2014

Hey everybody! So this week was my 3rd week as the Recorder... It goes by so quick, but the days are kinda long...  So if you have any questions about the things I do, just ask... But I basically finished the mission newsletter called "The Shepard" which has articles from the AP's and one of the adult missionaries, and stuff about the incoming missionaries and returning ones too. So I'll probably send you that soon! ;)

As for dendo this week, the main miracle was with the same people from last week! So we were able to teach them two more times this week, and they were really good lessons. So as I said last week, one of them wanted us to make his friend believe in God, and he basically believes what we say, but has a lot of questions and says that he doesn't really have intentions of joining...yet.. But when we came we asked if he had read the Book of Mormon at all since the last time we came and it turns out that in 3 days, he's read up until 2 Nephi 9!!!!! Crazy right? But he said he basically understands it and he's doing really well!

So the other big miracle was his friend. So he's more of a quiet person, but he has a lot of questions about our church, and us compared to other churches... So when we explained the Plan of Salvation yesterday, he realized that we were not a normal church. So he's like "in order for me to really understand what you're teaching and about your church, it would be good for me to come to church right?" So we were like, YA! ;) He also is asking a bunch of questions that really show he's considering Baptism pretty seriously which is so good!

The two of them are definitely what's saving me right now. I miss going out and dendoing like normal, but I know that I'm doing a ton of needed stuff right now, so it's ok. It's interesting being here in Honbu and seeing how everything in the mission works! I've been learning a ton, and helping people a ton!

But I hope everyone's doing well, and I'll talk to you all soon! Love you!

Elder Bickel

October 19, 2014

Hey everybody! I hope your week went well! Mine went great! Kinda crazy, but way fun! So as a Honbu elder we don't have a ton of time to dendo usually, but when we do, we see miracles that aren't even imaginable! ;)

So first I'll explain a little bit of what I do...
So we live in the upper floor of the Honbu with the Assistants to the President. We see Nakatsuka Kaicho and Shimai on almost a daily basis, except for when they travel around the mission for various reasons. There is a Senior couple in the Honbu doing the Financial stuff and the Secretary position. They are the Getz fufu, but they are way nice, and they are super fun. Kaicho has told me that he wants me here for at least two transfers but doesn't know after that... As Honbu elders we actually have a car we share with the AP's but they don't have a license and Y 長老 does so we get to use it and I may get to take the test to drive in December! As for my Japanese, I no longer have Language study each day, so that's a little bit of a bummer, but I guess that's just what happens...

But my work is basically doing all of the letters to gaijin's and their parents, as well as getting all of the stuff ready for the new missionaries, the returning missionaries, the baptisms, a mission newsletter, updating a computer database with everyone's information, cutting flyers, getting mission supplies for everyone, and any random things people need me to do. So it is a very interesting job! :) It's pretty fun though cause I see how many missionaries I'm actually helping out without them even realizing what I'm doing really. 

But in this week's dendo, we were able to make about 6 appointments in about 3 hours total dendo time, as well as make 4 new investigators yesterday. But the craziest part about that 4 investigators thing, was that one of them was a referral from one of the appointments. So here's how it went. We made the appointment on Monday night to come back to this guy's apartment that smelled super bad of smoke and we didn't think he had a ton of potential. But last night, we headed over there and he opens the door and says "Hey come on in. You guys are still out tonight for a little while right? Ya ok well any time you can just come over here." So we're like ok... what's going on here. So he invites us in and we see this other guy just sitting down inside his house as well, and we say hello, and then the first guy says "I want you to teach him about God. And I want to learn some stuff from you guys too but I believe that God exists and helps out when we have hard times." So now we're just flabbergasted really wondering what's going on, and he and his friend basically asked a ton of super good questions that lead so well into good lessons, and it just went perfectly. But on top of that, this all happened right after we made two other investigators with one of them being this really cool 19-year-old college student who is studying Psychology and accepted the Book of Mormon and he seemed like he really wanted to read it! All in less than 3 hours in one day! 

Since coming to the Honbu, I've seen God help me out so much in so many different ways! He's helped me figure out what I need to do for the different new responsibilities I have as well as in the amazing success we're seeing in our proselyting efforts in our limited time. It's amazing what God's power can do, and I'm so glad to be a part of this church with this opportunity to serve the Lord here in Sapporo! 

Love you all! 
Have a great week!



October 12, 2014

Hey everybody! I hope your week went well! So this week I don't have enough time to make a recording, but here's how the week went!

Monday: Today we basically just talked to each other in the apartment cause it was raining and I actually got to take a nap! We also had Seminary this morning and email now takes 3 hours! Fun! ;) not really, but still! [Stephen has a third companion now who just transferred in last week]

Tuesday: So today we had a good DTM on becoming more like Christ. Then we went to see if my bike could get fixed cause my bike's gear change kinda broke... So did my camera cause K 長老 accidentally dropped it... So I may need more money... But then we visited a few investigators and then tonight we went to play basketball with a few investigators which was fun. Then the surprise happened! I got Transferred!!!!!!! So I got a call right as we got home from Kaicho saying that I am now becoming the Recorder at Honbu! So I then called a bunch of different members and investigators to tell them I was leaving on Thursday morning.

Wednesday: So today I met with about 10 Members and Investigators and NA's so that I could say goodbye. But I had a really good time with everybody so that was nice at least. Then I had the Hakodate ward's Halloween party planning meeting that night and we saw a Lunar eclipse! It was cool!

Thursday: So today I woke up and got on the 8:13 train to Sapporo by myself without a phone. It was kinda lonely and sad, but I just slept a lot. Then I spent the day learning what I'm supposed to do as the recorder.

Friday: So today we woke up at 5 to take someone to the airport, and then I spent the day learning all the stuff that I need to be doing. I kinda had an on the job training but am working with it! I'm super busy with it all, but it's actually kinda fun being able to help all of the missionaries...

Saturday: Today we had General Conference and I loved it! Jorg ____ (I can't spell his last name)'s talk was way good! but that was basically the whole day for us... But I loved hearing all of the talks!

Sunday: Today too, we had General Conference and it again was so good! Then we actually got to dendo for a little while! As Recorder we don't get to really dendo a ton, just cause of time and everything, but we had fun with that, before doing DKK and figuring things out for a little while. See Y 長老 my new companion was made Commissarion last week for transfers so we're both pretty new to all of this... But we're having fun!

So that was basically the week, and I'm sure you're all pretty surprised about the Recorder change, but I think it's crazy, but fun that I'm literally doing what Dad did while he was here! Love you all lots! Talk to you soon!


September 22, 2014

Hey everybody, I hope your week went super well and I love you all so much! 

Monday: Today we got to go hike Hakodate Mountain again but this time we actually hiked it! It was earlier in the day this time so that was nice to see the other view. We also got to go to this Hotel's lunch buffet with a member, a recent convert, and a less active member and her husband which was way fun, plus it's a buffet so there's no problems there! ;) 

Tuesday: Today we met with F san who is a funny old guy, but we told him about the Book of Mormon and how we have to read, ponder, and pray about it, and at first he didn't want to pray, but I explained how prayer is important and he understood and said he would so that was great! We also had a Family Home Evening at a member's house where we got a few investigators there so that was way good! We had Thai curry which was deliciously spicy! ;)

Wednesday: Today was DTM cause the Zone Leaders wanted to come and be there for it. So they came and we had workshops on working with members as well as effective questions. Then we went to visit some investigators which didn't quite work out, but we had to also pick up K 長老's bike cause he broke some of the spokes on his tire so it was in bad shape.

Thursday: Today we had a good Weekly Planning Session, and we got to visit a few investigators as well as get a super Spirit filled lesson with one of our investigators who has a big problem with smoking.... Then we went to the Young Single Adult Family Home Evening, where K 長老 and I gave the Spiritual message and it went well. We talked about faith and how we all need to strengthen our faith. 

Friday: Today was way fun! We got to go housing with a member who wanted to go! So that was fun, and then we visited a bunch of investigators, one of whom is an artist. He makes these way cool things and his name is Yu Takebe and his website is if you have time to look it up. Then we got to go to dinner with an investigator who also comes to Eikaiwa and he actually paid for us and it was way good and nice of him! Then we had Eikaiwa, which was fun as usual! Then we practiced a little music for our Music fireside this next Saturday the 27th.

Saturday: Today we had a Birthday party for one of the sister's investigators which was fun! We had a bunch of curry, some cookies, a salad, and a good spiritual message by the sisters. We also had Ping Pong.  Then we went to this investigator's restaurant for dinner and it was Korean food and was way good! 

Sunday: Today was super super busy. We had church, where Non attending church members came and I went on splits with a member to teach him a lesson, and then an investigator came at the same time cause he didn't really want to come to church, but he talked with the members afterwards and had a really good time so he actually spent 3 hours after church talking with them. During those 3 hours we were practicing our various songs with other investigators for the Music Night on Saturday, and then we ran to go to dinner at an investigator's house with the other elders. But we were basically trying to fly from thing to thing as quick as possible to get everything done. But it was fun!

But that was basically the week. My pinky isn't healed yet, but they said it should be done by Saturday so that's good! But I hope your weeks go well, and I'll talk to you next week! Love you all lots!

Elder Bickel

September 15, 2014

Hey everybody,  I hope you had a great week, and here's how mine went!

Monday: So we had seminary again this morning and we talked for part of it about how God has protected us. Wouldn't you guess, but after email when I was going to the hospital for a checkup on my pinky I got hit by a car... Well just like we had talked about at 6:30ish in the morning, God protected me and I didn't even get a scratch! It was a bit of a shock, but I was able to laugh it off with my companion and joke about how at least I got hit by a car while going to the hospital, cause we were planning on spending some time there either way! :)  I learned even more about how God will protect his missionaries and I wanted to thank you all for your prayers. This is absolute proof that prayers work. Also my bike is ok so no worries there either! ;) After that we went running to the beach again with the other Elders and had some fun there. Tonight we also went to Hakodate yama(mountain) with some investigators and the other missionaries for a district activity and it was really fun!

Tuesday: Today I had splits with the new missionary in our district named T Choro. We had a fun time and found some very interesting people. They might not have been all there mentally, but it made some great memories for his very first splits in the mission field! We also got to teach a recent convert his AB(after baptism) lessons which went well. We did it at a member's house and they also gave us dinner which was good, and we went back home a few kilograms heavier. 

Wednesday: Today I had splits with my District Leader D Choro! He's a really cool guy and a great missionary and we've become pretty good friends so it was fun to get to go on splits with him. We went to teach an investigator who loves English and loves missionaries and is willing to listen and talk with us so we are going to work hard to share this amazing message with him. We also got to go to a Family Home Evening at the Ward Mission Leader's house which was way fun and we got some Non-Attending Members to come so that was good!

Thursday: Today after our Weekly Planning Session we went to knock on some houses for a little while. It sadly was kinda a long day, but then we went to the Young Single Adult Family Home Evening which ended up being way fun. 

Friday: Today was super good! We started off with a good productive lesson with an investigator who is a member referral. They know a little about the church, but don't really want to join right now, but they're listening and we're trying to show them that while it obviously is their choice and we won't force them to do anything, in order to make the correct choice they should at least try reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know for certain whether it is right or wrong. We also got to teach a Non-Attending-Part-Member couple(the wife is a member but is off and on) a lesson and they fed us a big dinner as well! But they were super nice, and we sang them an hymn and they enjoyed it so that was great. Then we went to Eikaiwa which was way fun, as usual. I really have found that I enjoy speaking English... ;) But we really do have a fun class, and we try to make it fun for them! Then afterwards we got to teach a little lesson on prayer and the Book of Mormon and God to a 16-year-old boy who plays tennis at school and enjoys a video game called Dragon Quest... But he's way cool and we've been able to make a pretty good relationship with him, and he wants to become a missionary so we're trying to help him get Baptized first... ;)

Saturday: Today was super fun! We had the Sports activity for the ward and investigators at a nearby sports center.  Then we visited a few investigators, and then had the weekly ping pong activity at the church where I just sat and talked to people who had come. But it was fun, and then a Non-Attending member came afterwards and we sat outside the church and talked with him and some other members for a while and were able to help him make friends within the church so hopefully he'll start coming back.

Sunday: Today Church was really good. We talked about becoming parents(ya just what I need while trying to focus on a mission right? ;) ) but I basically decided I just follow Mom and Dad's example. Nice and Easy(to say...)! Then we had some lessons with some investigators and that's all I've got time to write cause I need to get back to the apartment.

But this week was way fun, and way busy, but it was awesome! Thanks so much for all of your prayers, and I'm praying for all of you too! 
Love you lots!