January 1, 2015

Japan Kobe Mission

Free resources about the Japan Kobe Mission:

*Other Mission Pages: Japan LDS Missions.

Japan Kobe Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Japan Kobe Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

Japan Kobe Mission
4-6-28 Shinohara Homachi
Nadu-ku, Kobe-shi
Hyogo, 657-0067
Japan

Phone Number: 81-78-805-1570
Mission President: President Phillip K. Welch

Japan Kobe Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the Japan Kobe Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date LDS.org map for the Kobe Mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Videos with Japan Kobe RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Japan Kobe Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview  mission interview

Videos about Japan

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Japan. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Japan, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

LDS Church  places  history  food  nature  language  Traditions  time lapses  Storms and Natural Disasters

Japan Kobe Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Japan Kobe Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Mission Alumni mission.net/japan/kobe 2017
Elder Braden Allred elderbradenallred.blogspot.com 2017
Sister Sarah Lowry sistersarahlowry.blogspot.com 2017
Sister Emie Allen mymission.com/sisteremieallen 2016
Elder Jonathon Hanagan mymission.com/elderjonathonhanagan 2016
Sister Rachel Miller mymission.com/sisterrachelarwenmiller 2016
Sister Alyssa Pickering sisterpickeringinjapan.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Lauren Fullmer laureninkobe.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Lauren Smith sisterlaurensmith.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Katya Wagstaff sisterkatyawagstaff.blogspot.com 2016
Elder David Peacock elderdavidpeacock.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Colton Winegar calledtoservekobe.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Alex Evans elderevansinkobe.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Christian McArthur elderkit.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Pedro Santos elderpedroserrasantos.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Amanda Robertson sisteramandarobertson.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Jared Lamoreaux elderlamoreaux4.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Andrew Durrant andrewinkobe.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Hevynn Heimuli sisterhevynnheimuli.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Jacob Preciado elderpreciado.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Jeffrey Giles elderjeffgiles.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Malia Kasteler maliakasteler.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Jonah Yee jonahyee.blogspot.com 2015
Elder John Bateman elderjackbateman.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Lauren Aulick aulickshimai.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Jordan Wilson jordanwilsonchoro.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Ariana Grundvig arikobemission.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Charles Bahr eldercharlesbahr.wordpress.com 2015
President & Sister Zinke zinkesinjapan.wordpress.com 2014
Sister Sarah Bevan bebanshimai.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Joshua Tobler thatonemissionthing.wordpress.com 2014
Elder Jacob Gishwiller hereiamsendmemissionblog.wordpress.com 2014
Sister Yuki Lofthouse missionsite.net/sisteryukilofthouse 2014
Sister Whitney Harris sisterharrisinjapan.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Stephanie Shelton sistershelton.wordpress.com 2014
Elder Trevor O’Reilly gingasian.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Kyle Hutchings elderkylestanleyhiroshihutchings.blogspot.com 2014
Elder Gunnar Urry mymission.com/eldergunnarurry 2013
Sister Heidi Bautner sisterbautnerinjapan.blogspot.com 2013
Sister Jena Anderson sisterjenaandersonsmissionblog.blogspot.com 2013
Elder Jordan Donaldson missionsite.net/elderjordandonaldson 2013
Elder Jordan Casper elderjordancasper.blogspot.com 2013
Elder Alexander Smart missionsite.net/smartchoro 2013
Elder Jackson Healey missionsite.net/elderjacksonsloanhealey 2013
Elder Zachary Hayward missionsite.net/elderzacharyhayward 2013
Elder Jason Boice missionsite.net/elderjasonboice 2013
Sister Rilee Belnap missionsite.net/rileebelnap 2012
Elder Ty Vilchis missionsite.net/eldertyvilchis 2012
Elder Isaac Swift elderswift.blogspot.com 2012
Elder Rex Saito eldersaito.blogspot.com 2012
Elder Marcus Horton elderhorton.blogspot.com 2012
Elder & Sister Priddis missionsite.net/elderandsister..priddis 2011
Sister Jessica Escalante missionsite.net/sisterescalante 2011
Elder Kent Johnson missionsite.net/elderkentjohnson 2011
Elder Aaron Starks elderaaronstarks.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Cameron Homer elderhomer.blogspot.com 2011
President & Sister Mcintyre presidentmcintyre.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Jared Escalante missionsite.net/elderescalante 2010

Japan Kobe Mission Groups

Here are Japan Kobe Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Kobe Mission.

  1. Japan Kobe Mission Facebook Group (504 members)
  2. President McIntyre – Kobe Mission 2008-11 Group (366 members)
  3. Japan Kobe Mission (President Zinke) Group (204 members)
  4. Japan Kobe Mission Moms and Friends (LDS) Group (7 members)
  5. Okayama/Kobe/Fukuoka Missions 1974-78 Group (1 member)

Japan Kobe Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Japan Kobe Mission!

Shirt designs include Japan Kobe Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Japan Kobe missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Kobe Mission gifts

japan-kobe-mission-t-shirt-1 japan-kobe-mission-t-shirt-2 japan-kobe-mission-t-shirt-3 japan-kobe-mission-t-shirt-4 japan-kobe-mission-t-shirt-5 japan-kobe-mission-t-shirt-6

Japan Kobe Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Japan Kobe LDS Mission.

  1. 2017-2020, Shane D. Smoot
  2. 2014-2017, Phillip Keith Welch
  3. 2011-2014, Richard George Zinke
  4. 2007-2008, Valten J. Tucker
  5. 1998-2001, David Franklin Robertson
  6. 1995-1998, Yasuhiro Matsushita
  7. 1993-1996,  Karl T. Pope
  8. 1992-1995, Peterson
  9. 1992-1995, Curtis P.Wilson
  10. 1990-1993, Evan A. Larsen
  11. 1989-1992, Douglas Matsumori
  12. 1986-1989,  Morris R. Sterrett
  13. 1983-1986, Blalock
  14. 1983-1986, Barlow L.Packer
  15. 1980-1983, Shigeki Ushio
  16. 1980-1983, R. Gordon Porter
  17. 1977-1980, Robert Thomas Stout
  18. 1974-1977, Kenji Akagi
  19. 1973-1976, Sato
  20. 1971-1974, M. Tom Shimizu
  21. 1970-unknown Kan Watanabe
  22. 1968-1971, Walter R Bills
  23. 1968-1971, Edward Y. Okazaki
  24. 1965-1968, Adney Y. Komatsu

Japan LDS Statistics (2016)

  • Church Membership: 128,216
  • Missions: 7
  • Temples: 2
  • Congregations: 266
  • Family History Centers: 63

Helpful Articles about Japan

Japan Kobe Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Japan Kobe RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

When did you serve?

  • 1978-1980 (Curtis)
  • January 2013-January 2015 (Brandon)
  • August 2013-August 2015 (Jordan)
  • August 2014-November 2015 (Deirdre)
  • April 2014-November 2015 (Lauren)
  • 1980-1982 (Steve)
  • 1980-1982 (Ralph)
  • 1987-1989 (Casey)
  • 2010-2012 (Jared)
  • 2006-2008 (Travis)
  • 2013-2015 (Austin)

What areas did you serve in?

  • Himeji, Tottori, Shimogamo, Hirakata, Okamachi. (Austin)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Gyoza, Okonomiyaki, Sukiyaki, Yakisoba. (Curtis)
  • Curry rice, gyoza, takoyaki, yakisoba, udon noodles, and anything else that’s Japanese that has nothing to do with sea food. (Brandon)
  • Yakisoba, Mabodofu, Ramen, udon. (Jordan)
  • ALL THE THINGS!..Sushi for sure, miso soup, Dominos pizza(its crazy expensive, but so much better than any pizza you’ll ever find in the United States. (Deirdre)
  • Yukimidaifuku (mochi covered ice cream). Udon and okanomiyaki. (Lauren)
  • Okonomiyake, Curry, Gyoza. (Steve)
  • Tenshinhan. Gyoza. Gohan. Sukiyaki. (Ralph)
  • Gyoza (potstickers), sushi, curry, mabodofu, okonomiyaki. (Casey)
  • Suki Yaki, Ramen, Yaki Niku, Shabu Shabu, Yaki Soba, Yaki Tori. (Jared)
  • Curry, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, melon pan, melon soda, sukiyaki. (Travis)
  • Sushi, Japanese curry. (Austin)

What was a funny experience?

  • Listening to people talk in Japanese (assuming we didn’t understand them) about how tall we were or how large our noses were in comparison to the Japanese, and then introducing ourselves in fluent Japanese. The looks on their faces when they realized we had understood what they had been saying was priceless. (Curtis)
  • One night, I was lying on my futon (that’s what we slept on) and was having a dream where I was being chased by some monster making fierce growling noises. They were getting progressively louder and louder until I eventually woke up. I gave out a sigh of relief that it was just a dream. That was until…I heard the growling sound again! It made me jump out of my skin in fright fearing that the monster has followed me from my dreams. But then, I look over to my companion and he was snoring up a storm that night…..So, I grabbed my pillow at threw it at his face. Another story (same transfer and same companion): One night, my companion was already snoring away after I was finishing up my nightly prayers. I tried my hardest to go to sleep, but my companion’s snoring wouldn’t allow me to do so. It got to around midnight and I started to get delirious. So, I got out of bed, took our phone and began to record my companion’s snoring as I gave a simple commentary to it. “Observe the snoring missionary in his natural habitat. As it inhales, it collects necessary oxygen to energize its blood cells so that it may operate at full capacity during the day.” “Hello, and welcome to the late night show with the Elders! I’m your host, Elder Grant, and today we have a special guest here with us, Elder Snore-A-Lot! Now, Elder Snore-A-Lot, we’ve been working together in this area. *snore*. Tell me, what do you think would be the best for Brother So-and-So. *snore*. Wow! Insightful! Thank you Elder Snore-A-Lot!” Stuff like that. The next morning, my companion found the recordings I made and couldn’t stop laughing until he transferred away. (Brandon)
  • My companion, two members, and I went to visit our old-lady investigator. In Japan, they often have a small table that you kneel around with pillows. She had 4 pillows, but there were 5 of us. She refused to use a pillow because we were guests, but the two members (also older in age) refused as well telling her that she was older and needed it more. My companion and I also refused because we were the youngest. In the end, we all ended up sitting around the table with the pillows next to us. I think this experience describes Japan’s polite culture perfectly. (Jordan)
  • I had a companion with a crazy adorable sneeze. Every time she sneezed, I couldn’t believe it was actually a sneeze because sneezes shouldn’t be that flipping adorable! Anyway, we went out with a member and she asked what we would miss about each other the most (my companion was transferring) and I said her abnormally cute sneeze.Later the member took a picture of us and instead of saying “say cheese” she said “say sneeze!” I almost died laughing. (Deirdre)
  • We were picked up at the airport, then taken to the mission home. President Porter then introduced Elder Shimada to us as a native missionary. (Shimada was a ni-sei from Los Angeles who spoke several languages.) He then started talking to us in his “native language.” (He spoke in German.) We thought we got on the wrong plane somewhere because we didn’t understand a word he said. (Steve)
  • Attempting to tell a woman that her little daughter looked cute I said, “Kawaisou desu ne.” Sadly, that meant pitiful. (Ralph)
  • I was training a new missionary who had heard that instead of drinking fountains the Japanese used stone bowls with running water and public-use bamboo ladles. I had never heard of or seen one, but he was convinced. One night as we approached a house, there was a stone bowl with a bamboo ladle. He stopped, swirled the water with the ladle and then took a great big drink. I looked down to discover it had goldfish swimming in it. The homeowner opened the door to see one missionary spitting profusely, and one missionary rolling on the ground laughing. (Casey)
  • My companion accidentally told our investigator that he had to be gay. (Jared)
  • A lady who we tracted into with was very kind. She answered the door, kindly listened to our message. When we finished, she said she wasn’t interested and right before closing the door, she insisted that we don’t go next door. Seeing this as a challenge, we went next door. Well, we shouldn’t have gone next door. An older lady came out, asked who we were with, then proceeded to scream and yell at us. We did an about-face and walked no less than 2 blocks away and we could still hear her screaming. Lesson learned 😉 (Travis)
  • Another Choro (Elder) and I were companions in a great area that happened to be in the middle of nowhere. Then he was transferred out, and 6 weeks later, I was transferred to his new area to be his companion again. 😀 A member from our last area came to visit our new area to see a friend, not knowing we were transferred there. The other Choro and I were standing on opposite ends of the hallway greeting people as they walked in. When she walked in, she was very suprised to see me. Then she looked to her left and saw the other Choro, and the look on her face was priceless – she was about ready to faint :D. (Austin)

What was a crazy experience?

  • Riding a bicycle while holding an umbrella in an attempt to stay dry as a hurricane was coming on shore. The cover on my umbrella was ripped off the frame by a gust of wind. (Curtis)
  • I have 3 stories. Hope you’re okay with that. Story #1 We worked in a fairly big city for the area we were in. The church house where we meet at every Sunday was right next door to our apartment building and across the street was a hospital, and next to the hospital, a tunnel that cuts through a mountain. We would ride our bikes through that tunnel often to get where we need to go. Cars drove through it a lot, only amplifying their engine sounds. When we biked through the tunnel, I swear I could hear this faint whispering voice. For the longest time, I thought it was my companion talking to himself…in a feminine voice?? Whatever, he was weird, so I blew it off. I couldn’t hear well anyway because of all the cars passing through. Fast forward a few days later and it was late, almost 8:30. It was spring and in Japan during that time, it can get dark fast. We were trying to contact people on the street while riding our bikes until my chain slipped off the gears. This was a common occurrence because I bought a piece of crap bike on like Day 2 in the country. I sighed, dismounted my bike and quickly fixed the chain. I mounted my bike again to continue on, but I couldn’t see my companion…He was gone….I was scared stiff. I was lost. Missionaries should never be separated from their companions with very few exceptions, and this was not one of them. To make things even creepier, the streets were completely dead. It seemed like everyone just disappeared as soon as my chain screwed up. I was on a desolate street in the middle of town. Luckily, I paid attention in our seminar upon arriving to Japan. “In the event that you and your companion get separated, go immediately to the church house and wait there.” Luckily, I could find my way to the church from where I was, so I bolted in that direction. Then I came across the tunnel again. This time, empty. No bikers. No cars. No pedestrians. No “living” thing. I started biking down and when I got about half-way through, I heard it. The voice…Clearer than ever. It was a feminine voice and it was saying, “Itai! Itai! Itai!” I didn’t know what it meant, but freaked me out nonetheless. I stopped and looked behind to see if there was anyone there. No one. I continued, and then the lights in the tunnel began to flicker. I pedaled harder and harder until I made it out of the tunnel. I was catching my breath for a while until I heard a familiar whistle. It was my companion. I tried to act brave and pretend like nothing happened. I just cared that he found me. That night, I looked up what ‘itai’ meant in my Japanese dictionary. It means, “Painful” or “It hurts”. I felt chills up my spine upon discovery. Fast forward to the next night. We were doing some late night study at about 8:45 at night, when we heard a piercing scream coming from outside. It sounded exactly like the voice I heard in the tunnel, but louder and now really deranged! She was yelling “ITAI! ITAI! ITAI!” We opened up the curtains and found a woman in white lying on the sidewalk across the street, a few yards away from the hospital. Two other people were trying to calm her down, so we resisted the idea of going out there. I sure didn’t want to go out there. Very little sleep was had that night…But the good news is that we never heard that voice in the tunnel again. Story #2 I saw some pretty weird stuff going on, but this is one of the most haunting things I’ve ever experienced. I was about a year in and I was working in downtown Osaka. My area contained much of the Osaka ghettos and a lot of crazy stuff happens at night. My companion was a brand-new missionary and I was showing him the ropes of the area and the do’s and don’ts of missionary work. One late night, we were running late to get back to our apartment. We were coming from a Japanese class for foreigners near the bay and our apartment was in the middle of the city, so it was quite a bike ride away. We tried going through the fastest route while trying to avoid all the brothels and gang territories as much as possible. Then we came across this big street. We’d been up and down this street before…we’d be home in no time! We were coming up to a bustling part of the city called Shin-Imamiya, which is probably the roughest part of the city and that’s saying something. More and more lights were illuminating the distance, especially red, flickering ones…the police. Soon, a cop car passed us, speeding towards where all the other cop cars were stationed. What happened? We got curious and we went to check it out…bad idea. There was a huge commotion outside a pachinko parlor, or a Japanese casino. Lots of crazy stuff goes on in there. As we approached, we noticed that the officers were still setting up perimeters and yellow police tape. We came to get a closer look at what was happening and made a gruesome discovery. Right there on the sidewalk, a man lay dead in a pool of his own blood. The blood was fresh, like it was still flowing from the man’s body. A huge crowd of people began huddling around to see what happened. It seemed like a very recent murder. As traumatizing as that sight was, what was even scarier was the possibility of a killer probably within a 50 yard radius of where we were. Needless to say, we booked it after that and avoided that place for a while. Story #3 I was in my last area, Kyoto…bustling tourist attraction. An ancient Japanese city I’ve wanted to visit all my life. Anyway, it was late at night and my companion and I were knocking on doors to see if anyone had interest in learning about Christ. We came across this one apartment building and decided to give it a shot. In Japan, there are 3 kinds of apartments, super-luxurious suite, decent apartment with 4-5 rooms total, or ghetto! This apartment was the latter. We were on the second floor of this building and knocked on this one door. A middle-aged man in worn out clothes answered with an awkward smile on his face. Being the kind missionaries we were, we introduced ourselves and asked him if he would like to learn about what we believe. Instead of giving us a direct answer, he invited us in. Usually, in missionary work, this is a good sign, but upon stepping foot into that apartment, I knew what we got ourselves into. This apartment wreaked with the smell of marijuana and urine. His apartment was puny; a small entryway, a door on the left leading into a bathroom, a small kitchen to the right, and small multipurpose room with a small kneeling table, TV, and bed. That’s it. Judging by the way he was behaving and most of the decor in his apartment, I knew this guy definitely had some sins worth confessing. We sat us down on either side of him and he started to rant about how he hated Christians and wants to kill them. That made my companion and I tense up a bit. But, the man was plastered. In the time this was going on, he drank like 10 times his weight in booze. We just prayed and hoped he didn’t recognize who we really were and what he was telling us. Then he said, “I’m going to tell you a secret and you can’t tell anyone.” He then pulled out from under his bed, a box. He opened it to reveal thousands and thousands of dollars worth in Japanese yen, and yes it was authentic, we even examined it. This man was an illegal drug lord who worked with the yakuza, the Japanese mafia group. We then realized that if this man knew what he just did and showed us, he would kill us for sure, or at least take us hostage. My companion and I feared for our lives and tried to come up with any excuse to get away. But, he wouldn’t let us go, he kept ranting on about irrelevant things and saying how Christianity was an evil cult of some kind. We tried to explain our side of the story, but there’s no use in reasoning with a drunk drug lord who works for the Japanese mafia. It then got to the point where we practically had to run for the door. We said we were leaving, stood up, and quickly walked towards the door. The guy eventually let us go on our way. As soon as the door closed, we bolted home, faster than we ever had. The last thing we wanted was him sobering up to find out he revealed his deepest, darkest secrets to
    two Christian missionaries from America. Had this man not have been drunk, he probably would’ve killed us. (Brandon)
  • It was a snow storm, and we were a 30 minute bike ride from home. We were in the city next to where we lived separated by a busy road. It was late, it was dark, it was hailing, the street was ice, the street was narrow, and there were a lot of cars. My brakes were also not working well and my fingers were frozen, so one wrong move, and we could’ve fallen and got run over. At one point, there was a patch of snow that I couldn’t avoid, but somehow my bike made it through and I survived. (Jordan)
  • Crazy…I was proposed to. It was ridiculous. After I said no, he wouldn’t let me explain. The bishop’s wife ended up pulling him aside and explaining to him. (Deirdre)
  • When my companion, Elder Hartman, was accosted and struck by a drunk man on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. (Ralph)
  • Biking down steep hills in the rain. (Casey)
  • We got tricked into speaking with the head of another church and I wound up getting my kidneys “blessed”. (Jared)
  • We went to do missionary work as a district at one of the busiest train stations in the mission. Apparently there was some heightened security there that day, because about 20 minutes into us being there, security personnel of all kinds surrounded us, then interrogated us individually. They asked for our green cards and were genuinely curious why we were doing what we were doing. It turned into a great experience as it gave each of us an opportunity to testify of Christ. Everyone left with smiles on their faces; we were not, however, permitted to continue our activities on the premises that day ^o^. (Travis)
  • I had over 20 bike crashes and like 5 head on collisions my first 12 weeks in Japan. And somehow I didn’t die! (Austin)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • Having a sister tell us that she had been praying for months for servants of the Lord to come teach her the truth. When she came to the door she saw a light shining around the two of us at her front door which she believed signified we were servants of God. She was baptized two weeks from the time we knocked on her front door. Her husband joined the church a few months later. A second wonderful spiritual experience was having nearly 1,800 missionaries together in Tokyo for the Tokyo Temple Dedication. (Curtis)
  • One of the most spiritual experiences on my mission happened in one of the loudest and spiritually-deprived locations in all of Japan…Osaka. This metropolis is littered with people coming from all kinds of backgrounds, and for this one experience, we happened to come across one of the most heart-breaking. We met this man named Hitoshi Murata. He was skinny as heck, pale skinned, and always wore a suit. As soon as we mentioned we were representatives of Jesus Christ and that we had a message that’ll help him and his family, his eyes lit up and he invited us over to his apartment. Going to his apartment the first time was quite the experience (his landlord hated us). First of all, there were a bunch of anime hentai posters (Japanese porn). It was quite awkward…and then we met his family… Hitoshi lives with his older brother, mother, and grandmother. All three of them are disabled and lay on the ground all day. Hitoshi has to provide everything for them; food, clothing, apartment payments, everything. Now, Hitoshi isn’t that much of a competent worker. His family lives off welfare and live in some of the worst living conditions I have ever seen in my life. The poverty level in Japan was astounding! I had little no idea that this was really how some people lived. Anyway, we introduced Hitoshi and his family to the first lesson out of “Preach My Gospel” and they loved it! They wanted us to stay longer than our planned visits, but couldn’t sadly as we were a busy companionship. Then, we decided that besides helping them spiritually, we would help them physically as well. We spent a couple of days cleaning out their apartment. Throwing away all the trash (like the Japanese porn) and other stuff just cluttering their apartment. We made some pretty less than pleasant discoveries during our excavation, but the look in their eyes as we served them…there was no substitute for satisfaction. After the apartment was tidier and the place stocked with more food, we continued our lessons. From then on, the Spirit’s presence grew ever so stronger. Now, here’s one thing we didn’t know about: Hitoshi is actually a part of the local sect of Buddhism and their congregation did not approve of us meeting with him at all. We found this out by visiting Hitoshi and his family when a Buddhist priest was setting up a small shrine inside their apartment for them to worship. We then got into a confrontation. Picture this: Two 20-year-old Americans (one straight out of high school) going up against a 50+-year-old Buddhist priest who was visibly using all the cunning and tactics the world can offer to persuade us to never visit this family again. But, there’s one thing he didn’t have, the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We didn’t argue, we just bore testimony. As we did, the priest started to feel very uncomfortable, almost intimidated by two young American boys bearing testimony of Jesus Christ as the Savior. So as a last ditch effort, the priest made a deal with us. If we could get their family out of poverty and cure them of their disease in 3 months, they would allow us to continue teaching them. If we couldn’t, then we would not be allowed to visit them ever again. Fast forward 3 months later. The family’s physical condition didn’t improve all that much, but their spiritual condition skyrocketed. The Buddhists never came back. Hitoshi and his family told us that the Buddhists gave up trying to bring Hitoshi and his family back to his congregation. This was one of those times where the Spirit was manifested unto us in one of the most powerful ways I can imagine. (Brandon)
  • One night, praying on my futon (basically a mat on the floor that you sleep on), I felt God’s love around me. (Jordan)
  • While we were rushing to an appointment, I had a prompting to turn down a certain road. We were in a rush, so I made a mental note. Later that week,  my companion and I had a lot of finding time. I remembered that street so we went. The second house we knocked on, a sweet old woman came out and talked with us for a bit before welcoming us in and telling her husband we came to talk about God. We shared the first lesson with her and she asked us to come back. (Deirdre)
  • When we were given the option of going home at 18 months or staying 24 months, the decision to stay 24 was a spiritual experience for me. (Steve)
  • Attending the Tokyo Temple dedication and getting to meet President Kimball and Elder Mark E. Petersen. (Ralph)
  • I discovered, when I became a senior companion and trainer at the same time, that my language and my knowledge of the area were not as good as they should be. One day, we found ourselves in a part of town that I didn’t recognize. Not knowing where to go, we parked our bikes and walked. Soon I began to recognize where we were, and I told my companion that we were close to sister so-and-so’s house, so we should stop by for a popsicle. When we knocked, she came to the door in tears, explaining that she had been on her knees for an hour praying we would come, as her child was sick and needed a blessing and she couldn’t get in touch with anyone who could come. So the Lord used a popsicle and a poor sense of direction to answer the prayer of his daughter. Not surprisingly, that child was healed instantly, on the faith of her mother. (Casey)
  • The last investigator I found. We were in a less populated part of the area and after buying something to drink (it was a hot day), I felt we should sit on a nearby bench. Eventually, an old blind man came and sat down with us. We got to talking and turns out he was really interested in the church. He was the perfect contact and there is no doubt we were led to that bench by the Spirit. (Jared)
  • Too many to innumerate. In Kyoto (one of the biggest cities in Japan, mind you), my new companion and I met a man named Sakai while street contacting near the church building. We talked to him for a good 30 minutes, then scheduled to meet and talk more the following day at the church. The lesson went extremely well and before we parted ways, we asked for his contact information. He said his wife wouldn’t be happy if he gave it to us. We were stunned. He then assured us that he would contact us and that we would surely meet again. We expressed some of our concerns, but inevitably had to let him go on his way. Two weeks passed, and he of course, hadn’t called. We knew only one place to turn and that was sincere prayer. We prayed personally and together for 2 days that we would be able to meet Sakai again. Then, while we were out and about, nowhere near the place we’d met him before, we ran into Sakai again. The impromptu meeting went well and again we begged for his contact information. He reassured us that we’d meet again just as we’d done this time. We let him go. Another week passed and we got anxious, so we prayed again. We met him again, this time in another completely obscure place than the places before. Over the next 3 transfers, we met Sakai in this way no less than a dozen times. I say “no less than” because we lost count. We never did get his contact information, but we learned an invaluable lesson. God knows His children. He knows exactly who and where they are, even in one of the biggest cities in world. (Travis)
  • My first investigator with a baptismal date later dropped off the radar, and I transferred out. He later went back to China. My last area was the also my first area, and the day I returned to that area I heard word that he wanted to be baptized suddenly. It turns out he had a some special experiences in China and moved back to Japan almost the exact same time as I came back to my first area. It meant a lot to me and he chose me to baptize him. Talk about tender divine guidance from God! (Austin)

What are some interesting facts about the Kobe Mission?

  • At the time I entered the mission, our mission (Japan Kobe) had the highest convert baptizing record than any other mission in the Asia North Area (all of Japan and Korea). (Brandon)
  • It has the second biggest city in Japan (Osaka) and the original capitol of Japan (Kyoto). (Jordan)
  • It focused a ton on working with the members. It’s really the best way to do missionary work. (Deirdre)
  • I was supposed to start my mission on November 6, 1980, however, that was actually before my one year anniversary of being baptized. So I asked if I could go through the temple early so that my mother could attend in the Washington DC Temple. Rather than do that, they moved my start date to December 11. (Steve)
  • I had two mission presidents…Stoudt and Porter. The mission split after I was there two months. (Ralph)
  • Home to a beautiful castle in Himeeji. Ancient capital of Kyoto is in the mission (or was). Sumoto Island was a short ferry ride away. We have missionaries there, and it feels like you are a world away from everything else. Akashi has a beach that has excellent windsurfing. (Casey)
  • It has all the best places. Osaka. Kyoto. Shining. Universal studios Japan is in the mission as well (but we weren’t allowed to go). (Jared)
  • The dialect in this region is known for being kind of dirty sounding. So much so that when the movie Shrek was translated into Japanese, they used this region’s dialect for the dirty ogre. The characters in the name “Kobe” mean “God’s door” Kyoto was the former capitol of Japan. (Travis)
  • It has the ancient Capital of Japan. The Jhoto reigion of Pokemon was based after it. (Austin)

What was the weather like?

  • Warm and humid in the summer. Rainy season for part of the year. Cold (but no snow) during the winter months. (Curtis)
  • Some days, it was completely miserable. Since Japan is a very humid country, we got wet…a lot! Although some things were quite entertaining to see. In one of my areas (Kyoto again), we had a massive snow fall while Kyoto gets hardly any snow. The city was in a complete panic! It got so bad that people began to spray the ice with garden hoses in order to melt the ice. The next day, we catch wind of a news report saying over thirty people from the area we were serving in are in the hospital after breaking a limb by slipping on some ice. (Brandon)
  • Spring: Not too hot, not too cold. Perfect weather. Expect rain. Summer: Hot and humid. For about a week, it gets to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 percent humidity. Fall: It’s hot, then it’s cold, then it’s hot, then it’s cold. The weather cannot make up it’s mind. (Jordan)
  • Super hot in the summer and super cold in the winter. Really nice temperature in fall and spring but it rains a ton. (Deirdre)
  • Rainy in the rainy season, cold in the winter, and hot in the summer. The humidity makes it feel hotter in summer, and colder in the winter, especially when up in the northern sections of the mission. (Steve)
  • The usual – hot and humid in the summer and cold in the winter. (Ralph)
  • Okinawa was hot and muggy all the time, and the rainy season lasted about a month. Mainland was cold and damp in the winter. Your mouth stops working after a short time of street contacting at night. (Casey)
  • Hot and humid. But very cold in the winter. (Jared)
  • Many people complained about the humidity. Being from south Texas, I was very used to this climate. If you are from Utah, expect to sweat a lot in the summers. February is generally the coldest month. (Travis)
  • Very hot in summer, very cold in winter. Depends where you are though 🙂 In the middle of the mainland, the temperature differences are mild. Also humid no matter where you go in the summer! (Austin)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • The people are polite. The country is modern and clean. The members were terrific and willing to be very helpful to the missionaries. (Curtis)
  • The Japanese people are some of the most polite people you’ll ever meet, despite being extremely reserved. Once they open up to you, they are crazy fun to be around. Japan itself is littered with historic culture. Hundreds of years worth of history is spread across the country. In the more country-side parts of the country, you’ll feel as if you left a time machine and got dropped off in ancient Japan. What wasn’t there to love about it? (Brandon)
  • There were soda machines and convenience stores everywhere and the people are generally nice. (Jordan)
  • People in the Kansai area are about the nicest people you will ever meet. Ever. Even if they don’t want to hear the message, they will turn you down very nicely. If they do want to hear, then you’ve got a friend for the rest of your life. They will want to stay in touch forever. I have so many friends now that were my investigators on my mission. (Deirdre)
  • Everything. Even the weird little things that are in the culture grow on you and you grow to love them. (Steve)
  • They are so kind and gentle, always willing to help. (Ralph)
  • Humility, friendliness, clean, safe. Everyone loved Americans. (Casey)
  • Every body was usually very polite. (Jared)
  • The people, the people, the people. These are some of best people in the world. So kind, so selfless. Kindness and humility are built in to their culture. Members of the Church will inspire you with their strong faith. Their commitment to their membership will stand out as you realize how busy they truly are. There is no such thing as a measly 40 hour work-week in Japan. And yet, they will take on multiple callings in their tiny branches. (Travis)
  • The people are so nice and almost always love people who come from other countries. (Austin)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • A good rain coat or overcoat is a must. (Curtis)
  • Gloves! Good gloves. Especially if you’re going somewhere humid. Cold and humid make a deadly combination. Chances are you will lose a lot of weight on the mission, so buying shirts a size smaller is always a good idea, just in case. (Brandon)
  • Pack what your mission call tells you to. Make sure you have coats and sweaters for the winter and water proof bags. (Jordan)
  • Girls. Don’t. Pack. So. Much. Girls tend to bring way more than is needed and the truth is you won’t go back home with any of it. There are tons of clothes in each of your apartments and the mission closet. You’ll end up switching it out anyway or buying super cute Japanese stuff. Also, IT’S A FIRST WORLD COUNTRY!!! You don’t need a 2 year supply of make up and hygiene stuff!! (Deirdre)
  • Warm socks. (Steve)
  • Use a vacuum to suck the air out of trash bags containing your clothes. But be ready with an iron afterwards. (Ralph)
  • No silk ties, prepare for cold, cold, and hot heat. (Casey)
  • Thermals in the winter are a life saver. And get the best rain suit you can find. It’s worth it. (Jared)
  • This is not a third-world country. Outside of larger clothing, you’ll be able to buy most everything when you get to Japan. Especially a bike. Do not ship a bike to Japan. It will cost much more than the price of the bike to have it shipped. There are plenty of perfectly good bike options in Japan. (Travis)
  • Bring a good rain jacket and a very warm winter jacket! Also lots of short sleeve shirts if you are an Elder. (Austin)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • A personal testimony of Christ’s love for all of the children of God was strengthened. An understanding that all people are searching for joy no matter what part of the world they are in. A desire to help others and to be a good listener and friend was increased. (Curtis)
  • Well, I’m more competent in my Japanese speaking ability and I also am more spiritually in tune when helping other people with their problems. (Brandon)
  • Too many to count. (Jordan)
  • My family shared so many experiences of great things that happened while I was serving. Also I have learned skills that I will use for the rest of my life. (Deirdre)
  • My whole life has been a blessing derived from joining the true church and serving a mission. (Steve)
  • Too many to mention, but they include a firm testimony of the gospel, a strong family, and a knowledge that Christ is my Savior. (Ralph)
  • The Japanese way of looking at the world is now my way of looking at the world, as it was my first adult experience away from home. I tried to find ways to fit in, and add value by being a part of a whole, rather than super individualistic. I gained an unshakable testimony of the Book of Mormon. I believed it already when I left, but on the mission, I had sacred experiences that took it to a place that it is now a part of who I am. I gained a knowledge that every human on this earth matters to God, and a cultural understanding of Christianity is not requisite to discovering a testimony of the Atonement. (Casey)
  • I was able to find a decent job due to my ability to speak Japanese. (Jared)
  • I, like Elder Holland, think about my mission every day. It led me to trust in the Lord. That trust has brought me some of the happiest experiences of my life and has brought me through some of the hardest. (Travis)
  • I feel such love for almost everyone I meet now, and I feel like I just want to hug them sometimes. I most certainly did NOT have that before. (Austin)

What are some skills you gained?

  • Japanese language. Organization. Patience. Listening. Teaching. Leadership. (Curtis)
  • Aside from language, I was able to learn vital listening skills. These skills were necessary to determine someone’s needs in order to respond with how the gospel can help them in that situation. (Brandon)
  • Too many to count. (Jordan)
  • Teaching, public speaking (and even speaking to just one person) how to learn/study. (Deirdre)
  • Better relationship skills. (Steve)
  • Japanese language skills, teaching skills. (Ralph)
  • Personal interaction skill, Japanese language, study habits, time management, personal drive. (Casey)
  • Cooking. Japanese language. (Jared)
  • Setting goals and making plans. I also came to realize that the act of setting goals and making plans is merely an effort to show Heavenly Father your desire. Our desire is the fuel He uses to bring us blessings. In other words, don’t be surprised when your goals are achieved in ways you didn’t plan. (Travis)
  • Confidence in God. Accountability. How to be happy when things aren’t going very well. Faith. (Austin)

What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • Commitment pattern. Inviting skills. Better knowledge of scripture mastery scriptures from Seminary. (Curtis)
  • Don’t expect your mission to be as successful as you may think. Don’t let pride get the better of you when you think “How, I’m going to baptize a whole town!”. If you go to do what the Lord commands you to go and do, you will have a successful mission. (Brandon)
  • The importance of humility (being teachable) and the importance of seeing from others’ perspectives in order to help them. (Jordan)
  • Wish I had studied the New Testament more. I didn’t know what I wish I had known about the life of Christ. I wish that I hadn’t stressed so much about not knowing the language and focused on showing love to the people without verbal communication. (Deirdre)
  • Japanese. (Steve)
  • The real language! (Ralph)
  • More Japanese! (Casey)
  • Be less afraid to talk to people. (Jared)
  • I honestly can’t think of any thing. I gave my best effort from the very beginning and made sure not to be too hard on myself if I failed. (Travis)
  • That I didn’t need to worry when it got hard or when I felt lost and sunk, since looking at the big picture, there were so many great things that were going to happen and I didn’t need to worry, I should just have been happy the whole time! (Austin)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Kobe?

  • Love the people as much as you can! See these people through our Heavenly Father’s eyes. He knows what’s best for them and He’s counting on you to introduce them to Him. Trust the Lord. He will be doing most of the hard work. Your role is to invite them unto Christ; and there is no greater happiness in this life than bringing another soul unto Christ. “How great will be your joy if ye bring many souls unto me.” (Brandon)
  • It’s worth it in ways I couldn’t possibly explain. You have to experience it to know, just like the Gospel. (Jordan)
  • Let yourself love it. I met too many missionaries that felt they should be where they were or didn’t want to serve. The Lord places you where He knows you will be able to do the most good and touch people that only you can touch. Trust in that. (Deirdre)
  • Leave it behind. (For “it”, substitute any of the following: girlfriend, job, car, and anything else that will be a distraction.) (Steve)
  • Learn to love unconditionally, study the language, go out with the missionaries. (Ralph)
  • Learn to testify of the Book of Mormon. Nobody really knows the Bible, so you can teach heavily from the Book of Mormon. It has the converting power. (Casey)
  • Just this. Never stop working. Even if it seems like you aren’t as successful as others, don’t get discouraged. As long as you are doing your best, you are doing what you were called to do. (Jared)
  • Give your best effort from the very beginning. This is YOUR mission. This is the 1.5 – 2 year period that shaped the lives of every Latter-day apostle and prophet. Be understanding and patient with yourself as you begin to have the scales removed from your eyes. As you progress through your mission, you will realize areas in your life where Satan had successfully deceived you. Before my mission, I believed that arguing with friends and family was not only inevitable, but healthy for the relationship. I thankfully learned the error of my ways by my 4th transfer when I went an entire transfer without arguing with my companion. Obey and you’ll be happy. Defend your Mission President and other leaders if there is ever anything negative being said about them by other missionaries. Do this, not for your sake, but for the sake of those saying the negative things. It will harm them to allow that negative spirit to enter in and corrupt their minds with those bad thoughts and emotions. (Travis)
  • Kobe Mission is legendary! If you’ve been chosen to go there, then you have some way special stuff in store from the Lord. It is, I think, the best mission on the planet! Love the people there and be happy and you will be successful in the ways that matter no matter what. (Austin)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • Referring to two glorified carrots (Ninjin) descending in a pillar of light in the Sacred Grove, instead of two glorified beings (Ningen). (Curtis)
  • This wasn’t much of a mistake…more like a joke from an older missionary to his trainee. Most people who know anything about the Japanese language know that the word “Sayonara” means ‘good bye’. Japanese is full of prefixes and suffixes to make what you say sound more polite. This one particular missionary taught his trainee that the the prefix “Ku-” makes your statement very polite (this is false, by the way. The prefix ‘ku-‘ doesn’t exist in Japanese). So after speaking to an old couple, the missionaries began to bike away as the junior companion says, “Ku-sayonara!!”. That translates to “Stinky flatulence”. (Brandon)
  • We were talking about the second coming in Elder’s Quorum and the topic of confidence came up (like confidence in your repentance if the second coming were to happen tomorrow). My companion thought we were talking about earthquakes (because both words are pronounced “jishin”) and started talking about natural disasters in the middle of the discussion. (Jordan)
  • In the Mission Training Center, my companion was trying to say we should follow the prophets teachings (yogensha no oshie) but instead said we should follow the Prophet’s butt (yogensha no oshiri). (Deirdre)
  • When asking for bread, I asked for “pan no mimisu.” (Should have been “pan no mimi.” So I asked for bread worms…I think. (Steve)
  • My companion once got mixed up and when someone turned him down on his offer of a copy of the Book of Mormon, he offered him a “very, very thick (instead of thin)” pamphlet. (Casey)
  • Accidentally calling little babies and children ‘scary’ is something that frequently happens for new speakers of Japanese. That’s because the word for ‘cute’ is ‘kawaii’ and ‘scary’ is ‘kowai’. (Travis)
  • My companion called his Aunt (Ani) an ogre (Oni). A crazy investigator asked if the DVD we were putting in (Finding Faith in Christ) was a pornography, and not knowing what he said and having a bad habit of saying hai (yes) when I don’t know what they say, I agreed. (Austin)