January 1, 2015

Japan Sendai Mission

Free resources about the Japan Sendai Mission:

Japan Sendai Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Japan Sendai 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 Sendai Mission
3-1-5 Yagiyama Minami Taihaiku-ku
Sendai-Shi Miyagi-Ken
Japan 982-0807

Phone Number: 81-22-245-8851
Mission President: President Jeffrey R. Smith

Japan Sendai Mission Map

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

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

Videos with Japan Sendai RMs

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

LDS-Friendly 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 Sendai Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Japan Sendai 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/sendai 2016
Sister Lisa Luke lukeshimai.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Mitchell Halverson eldermitchhalverson.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Nathan Didericksen elderdidericksen.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Dallin Robins elderdallinrobins.blogspot.com 2016
Elder & Sister Anderson andersonmission.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Amanda Collyer notastheworldgiveth.tumblr.com 2016
Elder Cj Packer eldercjpacker.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Courtney King sistercourtneyking.blogspot.com 2015
Sister Tori Butler sistertoributler.wordpress.com 2015
Sister Katelynn Bellows servinginsendai.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Kirk Earl earlchoro.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Zachary Hansen zhansenchorou.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Natalie Orgill sisternatalieorgill.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Shakira Johnson sistershakiraaspenjohnson.blogspot.com 2014
Sister Julia Fisher sisterjuliefisher.wordpress.com 2013
Elder Kyle Carter japanesekyle.blogspot.com 2013
Elder & Sister Sakamoto sakamotomission.blogspot.com 2013
Elder Blake Ovard blake22410.blogspot.com 2012
Sister Danielle Swain swainshimai.blogspot.com 2011
Elder & Sister Sudweeks sudweeksmissions.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Tommy Gannon missionsite.net/eldertommygannon 2011
Elder Michael Ellsworth michaelinsendai.blogspot.com 2011

Japan Sendai Mission Groups

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

  1. Japan Sendai Mission Alumni Group (1,256 members)
  2. Japan-Sendai Mission Facebook Group (464 members)
  3. Japan Sendai Mission (Bird) Facebook Group (229 members)
  4. President Rasmussen Sendai Mission 2011-14 Group (180 members)
  5. Pres. Yoshino’s Sendai Missionaries (1996-99) Group (116 members)
  6. President Bird Sendai Mission Reunion 2015 Group (86 members)
  7. Sendai Mission Pres. Sakai and Shimabukuro Group (75 members)
  8. Japan Sendai Mission – Miyashita Facebook Group (64 members)
  9. President Grames Sendai Mission (1999-02) Group (40 members)
  10. Pres. Teruya (74-77) Sendai Missionaries Group (35 members)
  11. President Grames’ Sendai Missionaries Group (26 members)
  12. Japan Sendai Mission 92-94 Facebook Group (19 members)
  13. Japan Sendai Mission Moms (LDS) Group (16 members)
  14. President Smith (14-17) Sendai Mission Group (14 members)
  15. Sendai Mission Laie Facebook Group (10 members)
  16. Sendai Mission- Pres. Koichi Aoyagi (1984-87) Group (8 members)
  17. Sendai Japan Mission Facebook Group (1 member)

Japan Sendai Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Japan Sendai Mission!

Shirt designs include Japan Sendai 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 Sendai missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Sendai Mission gifts

sendai-lds-mission-shirt-1 sendai-lds-mission-shirt-2 sendai-lds-mission-shirt-3 sendai-lds-mission-shirt-4 sendai-lds-mission-shirt-5 sendai-lds-mission-shirt-6

Japan Sendai Mission Presidents

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

  1. 2017-2020, Osamu Sekiguchi
  2. 2014-2017, Jeffrey R Smith
  3. 2011-2014, Gary D Rasmussen
  4. 2008-2011, Reid Tateoka
  5. 2005-2008, Asao Miyashita
  6. 2002-2005, Alan M.  Bird
  7. 1999-2002, Conan P. Grames
  8. 1996-1999, Kazuhiro Yoshino
  9. 1993-1996, Richard M. Austin
  10. 1990-1993, Makoto Fukuda
  11. 1987-1990, Yasuo Niiyama
  12. 1984-1987, Koichi Aoyagi
  13. 1981-1984, Sam K. Shimabukuro
  14. 1978-1981, Kiyoshi Sakai
  15. 1977-1978, Richard D.S Kwak.
  16. 1974-1977, Walter S.  Teruya

Japan LDS Statistics (2016)

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

Helpful Articles about Japan

Japan Sendai Missionary Survey

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

When did you serve?

  • 2013-2015 (Kirk)
  • 2012-2014 (Eric)
  • 2011-2013 (Kaz)
  • 2011-2013 (Kyle)
  • 2010-2012 (Michael)
  • 1978-1980 (Troy)
  • 1977-1979 (Kevin)
  • 1992-1994 (Christopher)
  • 1990-1992 (Darren)
  • January 1999-January 2001 (Eric)
  • 1987-1989 (Morgan)
  • 2004-2006 (Colby)
  • 1979 -1981 (Paul)
  • 2006-2007 (Christine)
  • 2000-2002 (Wagner)
  • 1993-1995 (Joseph)
  • 1992-1994 (Saori)
  • 1991-1993 (Teresa)
  • 1981-1983 (Ricky)
  • 1980-1982 (Janice)
  • 1986-1988 (Linda)
  • 1986-1987 (Carol)
  • 1985-1987 (Michael)

What areas did you serve in?

  • Ichinoseki, Akita, Hachinohe, Yonezawa, and Yamagata. (Kirk)
  • Izumi, Sanjo, Aizu-wakamatsu, Miyako, Kamisugi. (Eric)
  • Aizuwakamatsu, Nagaoka, Hachinohe, and Niigata. (Kaz)
  • Aizu Wakamatsu, Furukawa, Sendai, Yokote, and Niigata. (Kyle)
  • Tagajo, Joetsu, Asahikawa (In Sapporo mission). I was evacuated after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami), Izumi, Nagamachi, Hachinohe. (Michael)
  • Sendai, Koriyama, Fukushima, Hachinohe, and Yamagata. (Troy)
  • Sendai, Izumi, Nagamchi, Tsuoka, Odate, Morioka, Aizuwakamatsu, and Yokote. (Christopher)
  • Ichinoseki, Sendai South, Morioka, Iwaki, Fukushima, Koriyama, Misawa. (Darren)
  • Sado, Sanjo, Ichinoseki, Sendai, Yamagata, Yonezawa, Aomori. (Colby)
  • Hachinohe, Morioka and Sendai. (Joseph)
  • Aomori, Koriyama, Yamagara, Izumi. (Saori)
  • Akita, Aomori, Morioka. (Teresa)
  • Yamagata, Akita, Sakata, Sendai. (Ricky)
  • Hachinohe, Fukushima, Sendai. (Janice)
  • Aomori, Nagamachi, Fukushima, Sendai. (Linda)
  • Aomori, Nagamachi. (Carol)
  • Izumi, Morioka, Hirosaki, Misawa/Towada, Sendai. (Michael)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Mabo Tofu (tofu in a spicy sauce), curry, kara’age (fried chicken), tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), inarizushi (rice in a sweet tofu-like casing), and ramen. (Kirk)
  • Katsu-don, ramen, and gyu-tan (beef tongue)! (Eric)
  • Ramen, Sushi, Indo-curry, curry, manju, snacks from the convenient stores, yakiniku, etc. (Kaz)
  • Sauce Katsudon, and Calpis. (Kyle)
  • Okonomiyaki, Oyakodon, gyuudon, karage, Japanese McDonalds (Especially when drinks are only 100 yen!), ANY FOOD FROM THE MISSION HOME! My mother would send us pizza kits in the mail (pizza sauce, vacuum packed cheese, some sort of pre-packaged, easy back dough) It was nice to have American food every so often. (Michael)
  • Katsudon, Curry Rice, Sukiyaki, and Sapporo Ramen. (Troy)
  • Sukiyaki, katsudon, inarizushi, calpis, yaki-imos (baked yellow sweet potatoes, I believe), tempura, somen noodles, imonikai stew, potato croquets. (Kevin)
  • Katsu don burri, Abe Pan, Katsu Curry, and Yakitori. (Christopher)
  • Tonkatsu and Udon noodles. (Darren)
  • Oyakodonburi. Curry. Yakiniku. (Eric)
  • Curry rice, tonkatsu, katsudon, yakisoba, sushi, okanomiyaki, ramen, miso, imonikai, kenchinjiru, sukiyaki, nabeyaki, udon, soba, gyoza, tempura. But not natto. Never, ever natto. (Morgan)
  • Yakisoba. Oyakodon. Okonomiyaki. Katsudon. Anything Niku. QP Mayonnaise. (Colby)
  • Katsudon Miso Ramen Sukiyaki Shabu Shabu (Paul)
  • Curry tonkatsu. Ramen. Okonomiyaki. Bibimbop. Gyouza. Onigiri. Sushi. (Christine)
  • Okonomiyaki, gyouza, calpis drink, sukiyaki, eat at yoshi no ya. (Wagner)
  • Okonamiyaki, Yakisoba, Udon, Toriyaki, Curry, and much more. (Joseph)
  • Yamagata dashi, fruit from Yamagata. (Saori)
  • Katsu Curry, REAL Ramen!, vending machine: Hot Chocolate, Hot Almond, and a cold Hachimitsu Remon! (Teresa)
  • Katsudon, Mabodofu, Yakitori. (Ricky)
  • I loved Inarizushi, mugi, curry rice (a favorite even today). I also love miso soup, tempura, etc. I loved Japanese crackers and dried fish as well! There is hardly a Japanese food that I do not like (okay I can do without fresh squid)… (Janice)
  • Okinomiyaki, yakitori from street vendors, warm sweet potatoes from street vendors who would yell out “yaki imo”! (Linda)
  • Inarizushi, Curry Rice w/Kewpie Mayo, Curry Spaghetti (for when we were too poor to buy rice!), Karaage Bento. (Carol)
  • Natto. Sukitaki. Katsudon. Oyakodon. (Michael)

What was a funny experience?

  • One day, two young looking girls came to our Eikaiwa (English Conversation Class). I was teaching the advanced class so I didn’t have a chance to talk with them until after class was over. I asked them if they were junior high students which made the entire class start laughing. It turned out that they were actually college students who were older than I was. On the other hand, they thought that I was 28, which I thought was pretty funny. It takes a while to get used to how young Japanese people look! The other funny experience was when we had to use a public bath when we went to a conference in Morioka and the Japanese member of the mission presidency mentioned in my branch’s sacrament meeting two weeks later about how nervous and uncomfortable I had been there. (Kirk)
  • I was still a pretty young missionary (fourth transfer maybe). My companion and I were walking down a street in the evening, and it was pretty empty. We finally saw someone walking towards us, and I looked for something to start a conversation with. I noticed he was holding a bouquet of flowers, so I approached him and said, “I like your flowers! Where are you headed?” He told me he was heading to ososhiki, which translates to “funeral” in Japanese, but I heard “sotsugyoshiki,” which means “graduation.” I began clapping and congratulating him and after he glared at me for a couple of seconds, I asked him to repeat himself. That’s when I understood what he said. I basically turned tail and left as fast as I could. (Eric)
  • Pressing the emergency button in the bathroom think it was the button to flush the toilet. People came rushing over thinking I fell in or something. (Kaz)
  • One day we rode our bikes to the top of a mountain on Preparation Day in our suit clothes. It took all day and we ended up coming down the mountain in the dark. The members didn’t believe us at church the next day, thinking it was impossible. But here’s what’s funny: I had starved to save up money to buy a camera and had just made the purchase. So I was excited to take it with me in my dendoo (proselyting) bag up the mountain. Coming back down the mountain fairly fast around a turn, my tire caught some small rocks and sent me sliding across a turnout landing under a guard rail with my bag underneath me. The bag caught me and kept me from sliding under the rail and over a cliff to the bottom. My suit pants were shredded and my legs were bleeding, but because I landed on my back, my bag protected the rest of me. The other two Elders jumped off their bikes worried that I was pretty damaged. But they couldn’t help but laugh that I was laying there all bloody and torn up and all I could say was, “My camera, my camera; is my camera okay?” They never let me live it down the rest of my mission. (Kevin)
  • The word “genocide” and “establish” are very close in how they sound. It gets awkward when you are trying to explain that Christ made sure that His true church was ‘genocided’ rather than established. (Michael)
  • Had a companion from Okinawa, he was the Branch President. We were out knocking doors and a gentleman started yelling at us, and told my companion to go back to America, since my Japanese was easier to understand than his. My companion was dumbfounded, and told the guy, I don’t even speak English. (Christopher)
  • Wankasobu in Morioka, I think! The lady at the restaurant throwing more noodles into my bowl before I could get the lid on. (Darren)
  • My first area, I was trying hard to study the language. We were meeting with a male investigator and I messed up a grammar principle. I attempted to say “let’s meet next week” but instead I said “let’s love next week”. Both my trainer and the investigator laughed pretty hard at that one. (Eric)
  • Riding my bike in Sakata on the ditch covers during the rainy season. The ditches beside the sidewalk were overflowing and one of the concrete slabs was missing. My front tire dropped into the ditch and I catapulted into the water. (Morgan)
  • I once saw children walking home from school and one girl (about 8 years old) was being pestered by a boy following her and hitting her with his umbrella. Just as we were wondering if we should intercede, the girl suddenly turned and beat the living daylights out of the boy with her own umbrella. We thought it best to just move along. An Elder was having a party at the English class we taught because he was going home. When a member ran up to throw a pie in his face (a departing missionary tradition in my mission), he ducked and it instead hit the face of an English student who was already notoriously angry all the time! (Colby)
  • Running over my companion on my bicycle. (Paul)
  • Games we played with the Elders. They once hung our bikes from a light post. We thanked them with cookies made with salt instead of sugar and donuts filled with umiboshi and wasabi. Humor was an important part of endurance as well as a means of uniting a district as friends. (Christine)
  • Farting during a lesson out loud. (Wagner)
  • Me going out in the snow in my shorts having seen snow at my front door for the first time in my life. (Joseph)
  • We drew each others faces at some District meeting or something. They all turned out right on and funny. Oh, how we loved each other. (Saori)
  • In Aomori- going into the church to teach a lesson and coming out to a bike basket full of snow. Or- talking to a man in Japanese just to find out he was Korean AND he thought I was Japanese!!! We ended up talking in English. (Teresa)
  • Accidental swap of words. Kowai vs kawai…trying to compliment a beautiful baby. (Ricky)
  • A funny experience was dressing up like Japanese high school students and singing a song for a talent show… (Janice)
  • In Aomori during the winter one time our toilet froze up over night! It was the longest trip to the church ever to use the bathrooms! (Linda)
  • In Tsuruoka we were riding our bikes in a snow storm. The snow was blowing sideways so when we got home, only one side of our body was covered in snow!! (Carol)
  • Literally scaring the crap out of a farm dog. It was viciously barking at us — and I always had a fear of dogs — and got itself so worked up, it did its business then and there. I’m sure there are more tasteful funny experiences, but that’s the one that came to mind. Sorry. (Michael)

What was a crazy experience?

  • We never really have the crazy or dangerous experiences with crime as Japan is an extremely safe country. However, the earthquakes can sometimes be a bit frightening at first. The most dangerous thing I experienced was riding my bike on the snow and ice, something I’d strongly advise against doing. (Kirk)
  • Japanese roads and sidewalks are very narrow, so you have to be careful when you navigate them. Sendai was a biking mission, and I managed to stay out of accidents for the most part, but I got into a pretty bad one in my second area. My companion and I were rushing to the store on our bikes to buy something for our English class, and we pulled up alongside a high schooler. My companion wizzed by him, but I wasn’t so lucky. As I veered around the kid, he suddenly turned into me and we both went flying into the pavement. He landed on top of me and got out of it without a scrape, but my pants, jacket, knees, hands, and elbows got destroyed. I’m just grateful we didn’t land in the street. (Eric)
  • My companion and I were racing on our bikes to catch a train to a branch activity. I was in the rear. At that point, we were on a sidewalk, for some reason. A car pulled out of a grocery store and I broadsided it, flew over the bike (and the car) doing a complete somersault, and mostly landed on my feet. I was okay, but my bike frame was bent, along with the handlebars and, of course, both wheels. My companion never new what happened and kept going until he reached the train station and discovered that I was missing. I walked back to the apartment and eventually met him there. We fixed the bike somewhat and rode back to the station to catch the last train. The other companionship held the train for us, which made it several minutes late. Needless to say, the conductor was more than a little unhappy. He made an announcement over the speaker system notifying everyone about the stupid Americans who held up the train—not our finest moment. (Kevin)
  • Riding my bike down ice covered roads. (Kyle)
  • Our mission was closed after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in 2011. We were evacuated to the mission to the north, Sapporo Japan Mission. Best rice in all of Japan is rice from Niigata (Koushi Hikari). It is no longer part of the Sendai Mission, but a close second would have to be rice from Akita. (Michael)
  • Racing the buses on our bikes. They liked to sneak up on us and honk to scare us. (Troy)
  • I got hit by two cars, both drivers were distracted. On one I had to knock on the windshield to get the woman’s attention. (Christopher)
  • Yakuza dudes trying to muscle in on me when they only came up to my shoulder in height! That was funny. (Darren)
  • I served in Yokote, which was the smallest city in the mission that had missionaries in it. Because it was so small, we also had members in the city to the north and south about an hour bike ride away. Riding along the road between them with cars rushing by could be frightening. (Eric)
  • Racing from the top of the hill headed to the Hombu. If you timed it perfectly and went fast enough, you’d make it to the bottom without having to stop. (Morgan)
  • Having a strange person enter the church then disappear shortly after. One investigator’s house was there one day and gone the very next when we went back. Found ourselves stuck in the creepiest hall of apartments and thought we saw a ghost. There were actually a lot of disturbing and strange things that I experienced, most of which I’d rather not write about but I never felt in danger of harm and always protected. (Colby)
  • Riding bikes on icy roads all winter. (Paul)
  • Walking home during a tsunami storm. The wind was blowing so hard that our bikes lifted from the ground. We had to walk crouched to the ground gripping tightly on our bikes in order to make it home. Things were ripping up around us and it was incredibly dark. We were also unfamiliar with the area. I have never experienced anything quite like it. I also was in Japan during a larger earth- quake. The neighboring area was hit hardest but my companion and I were in a store when it occurred and the entire building shook, swayed for some time. (Christine)
  • Entering in a cave where dangerous animals or insects could be there waiting for us. Luckily we were able to leave before was too late. (Wagner)
  • Falling down frozen steps one story in Hachinohe. (Joseph)
  • Some creepo tried to invited us into his apartment. We felt really scared and left. (Saori)
  • Riding on bikes in pouring rain or blizzard snow – not being able to see further than your companions bike in front of you. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (Teresa)
  • A ride on the hood of a car, dragging my bicycle. Lucky to have not had a scratch. (Ricky)
  • We had someone break into our house while we were sleeping… (Janice)
  • Every day biking around, dodging crazy taxi drivers. (Linda)
  • Riding bicycles at summer speeds on pure ice surfaces or through high piles of snow. God must protect his missionaries; what we were doing was nuts. Also, riding down the steep hill of Tsurugaoka in Izumi one day, a child ran out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes and my bike and I flipped over on top of the kid. I somehow managed to make myself land to the side, and the bike landed such that the kid was directly between the cross bar and pedals, unharmed. Again, God’s got his eyes on us. (Michael)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • Even though I didn’t see any of my investigators get baptized, there were many spiritual experiences throughout my mission. Watching a member give her first testimony in sacrament meeting, hearing about an investigator’s son having his prayer answered, and reading a scripture that made a less active tear up were all small but powerful experiences. The great thing is that they can continue after coming home as you see those you served with continue to progress in the gospel. (Kirk)
  • On one particular fast Sunday, my companion and I were out tracting until 8 PM. We had been tracting since noon that day, and we hadn’t been able to talk to ANYONE. We were both pretty discouraged and tired, but we decided to knock just one more house. A family greeted us at the door and we were able to teach the entire first discussion. They later became investigators, and the feeling was so much sweeter because we had fasted and worked our tails off that day. I learned a lot about about faith, the power of fasting and prayer, and putting my trust in the Lord. (Eric)
  • Hearing investigators pray for the first time. Seeing investigators progress. growing spiritually with companions. (Kaz)
  • Praying for miracles and watching doors open…..even if it didn’t always lead to baptism. (Troy)
  • My companion and I had a rough couple of weeks with no success, whatsoever- not even getting someone to hear an introduction to the Gospel. We prayed and felt impressed to move to a different area. We worked there all day with no success. At the end of the day, we were about to leave and felt impressed to knock on one more door at a house at the far end of the street, sitting somewhat by itself. We prayed about it and felt impressed to go there. When we knocked, a woman answered who said she had been praying and waiting for us to come. She shared some amazing dreams she had and listened to our message. She was baptized shortly thereafter. (Kevin)
  • It was late, but we had 10-20 minutes before we really needed to be home. Instead of just going home we decided to knock on doors around our neighborhood. Found a humble man who eventually was baptized merely because we didn’t turn in for the night. We showed the Lord that we were willing and he showed the way and provided a prepared man in our path. (Michael)
  • Being hospitalized with stomach issues, I ended up sharing a room with the grandfather/father of a couple members (daughter and her 2 sons). The Older son wanted to go on a mission, but the grandfather was raising a huge stink. When they figured out I was an LDS missionary they were very kind (never told me they were related to the members) and the grandmother took good care of me. Lots of missionaries visited me as did the mission president and his wife. The visitors would always be warm and kind to the other people in the room (one guy was in a coma, then the couple across from me, and a couple other guys were in for a day or so.) I was in for just over a week. After I got released I felt very strongly to ride back up and give a Book of Mormon to the couple with my testimony in it. When I arrived the grandfather was asleep. I gave it to his wife, and thanked her for her kindness and bore my testimony. The grandfather passed later that day (never woke up from the nap.) His last words to his wife were how impressed he was with the missionaries, and that if that is what his grandson wanted to become he should do it, and he wanted to learn more about the gospel. (Christopher)
  • My second Christmas in Japan was special, the first wasn’t. Finding a lost member of the church when we got lost trying to find a members house. Giving the member a Book of Mormon and seeing how much he cherished having it at that time of the year. I still can see his face. (Darren)
  • Spending the last month of my mission training a new elder straight from the Mission Training Center, I tried teaching him everything I learned over two years in that short period. Because of that, we were tracting on our last night together before reporting to the mission home and found a family who eventually joined the church. (Eric)
  • During a special fast weekend, we were reading the scriptures, fasting and praying for our companions, our investigators and our testimonies. During that weekend, I found the Lord and found my testimony. Tracting some apartments in the rain. Last building, last door, top floor. Invited inside and a young lady was interested to hear the gospel. Sent the sister missionaries. Her husband was very opposed to the visits. However, one day, he saw the Book of Mormon sitting on the table and started to read it. I had transferred to another city, but had asked to learn more. They were both baptized a bit later. (Morgan)
  • Praying with an investigator that an earthquake would stop and it did immediately. – Baptizing a man in his bathtub at home (he could not leave his home because of health reasons) and afterward when the Mission President was confirming him in his living room, both my companion and I could see through our closed eyelids the light in the dim room increase to the point that it seemed like the sun was in the room too. It died down and returned to normal just as the confirmation was ending. (Colby)
  • Showing up for a dinner with a family of 7 people by a very strange coincidence. They had made an appointment with some other people who never showed up and we happened to knock on the door at exactly the same time the dinner started so we were invited instead. The entire family ended up being baptized. (Paul)
  • The mission was an incredible and transforming experience for me. I’m deeply grateful for the time I was given to serve in Japan. There are so many experiences… I felt the love of God for people I’d known so briefly. I was given the opportunity to truly mourn and rejoice with God’s children. (Christine)
  • To be the answer of many people asking for a missionary who could speak their language (Portuguese and Spanish) to be taught the gospel and be baptized. (Wagner)
  • Giving my bike to a investigating family as I left Japan. (Joseph)
  • When I was a green bean in Aomori, I had an awesome fun senpai (senior) companion. She was kind and fun, but didn’t follow the rules. I loved her and had so much fun together, until one of the investigators who wanted to get baptized all the sudden decided to not to see us any more. That was devastating to me, because I loved her so much. I asked why she did that in my prayer (she didn’t even talk to us any more), and it came to me that we need to follow the commandments and rules in order for our investigators to receive the maximum blessings from Heaven. My dode didn’t want to follow the rule at all then. And next transfer, I got transferred to Koriyama and got a brand new senior missionary companion who was just two months older than I was as missionary. We both decided to follow 100% of the rules and worked really hard. We worked so hard and saw miracles. We loved (and still love) each other. My dode showed me how to work with the power of Heaven. Since then I became a real missionary. After my mission, I got a letter from Aomori, it was from the investigator who we dropped off. She wrote to me to let me know that she got baptized (from one of my good friends, an Elder). I thank the Lord forever for His love and mercy. (Saori)
  • Just like the pioneers who had heavenly help pushing their handcarts when they were exhausted, I gained my own personal knowledge that there ARE guardian angels there to help. (Teresa)
  • Being proposed to by a real friend, who really liked me, but I did everything right, and moral as a missionary about her crush. As I witnessed some who broke mission / moral rules, and some showroom fellow missionaries judged me wrongly, and were cruel to my friend. (Ricky)
  • So many spiritual experiences… Most involved the great joy we felt in people listening to our message and then being baptized. One young woman was baptized and eventually went on a mission and has been married in the temple. What a wonderful thing! (Janice)
  • Wow. So many. The first baptism I experienced of someone whom we had found and taught. (Linda)
  • Teaching Mrs. Suzuki (who we found through a neat “spiritual harvesting” story) and her daughter about prayer. My new companion, fresh from the Mission Training Center, could barely communicate, but he knew how to pray a very basic prayer. Being kind, Mrs. Suzuki invited him to say our closing prayer, and as he jolted it out in simple phrases the Spirit suddenly swept through the room almost like a tangible experience. When we opened our eyes, I said to Mrs. Suzuki, “did you feel that?”. “Yes,” she answered, eyes wide and visibly moved. So had her daughter. Needless to say, they wanted to continue the lessons and were soon baptized. (Michael)

What are some interesting facts about the Sendai Mission?

  • Sendai was hit by the costliest natural disaster in history just five years ago, and it is still recovering from that. On a more positive note, there are three festivals that are extremely famous nationwide, the food is considered the best in Japan, and there are a lot of older people. There are a lot of “inaka” (rural) areas, so it will probably be much different than the Japan you may have imagined. (Kirk)
  • Sendai City has a huge summer festival every year called the Tanabata Festival. They hang beautiful banners and drapers around the city for a couple of weeks. Around Christmastime in Sendai, all the trees lining the main street are draped with lights and it is B-E-A-U-TIFUL. They hide one pink light amid all the yellow ones, and they say that if you find it and make a wish, it will come true. The coastline of Tohoku was devastated by the tsunami, and I got to participate in a couple of cleanups. (Eric)
  • It was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami in 2011. We were able to do a lot of clean up service afterward. (Kaz)
  • People in Sendai are shorter than in much of the rest of Japan. Although, there are some large cities like Sendai, much of the mission is rural with rice fields and orchards. Many areas are mountainous and really quite beautiful. It is a fairly traditional part of Japan. In many towns, people hadn’t seen a gaijin (foreigner) before. Everyone learns English, but almost nobody speaks it well enough to converse in it. (Kevin)
  • Largest mission as far as number of missionaries (185-190) in Japan at that time. (Christopher)
  • The Izumi/Sendai/Nagamachi area have lots of mountains and hills. I spent two years riding a bike, but starting in Izumi meant my thighs had to grow large quickly. Yokote was interesting. I served there in the summer, but saw pictures in the wintertime from that area. The Russian wind crosses the sea, picks up water, hits the mountain range, and drops it all there. Because of that, they have doors on the second floor so residents can leave their homes. (Eric)
  • I served in Sakata, a port city and met people from all sorts of countries. Russians, Greeks, Israelis, Germans, Polish, Armenians, French, Italians, Spanish, Australians, etc. My Japanese companion, who spoke Russian and Polish, had a conversation with some Russian sailors. He spoke to them in Russian and they spoke in English, I spoke in English to them and my companion and I spoke Japanese to each other. That was an interesting conversation. (Morgan)
  • Contains Sado Island (which is a mission area) which used to house prisoners who worked in the mine there. – Is the location where the horror stories of The Ring and The Grudge take place. (Colby)
  • Very cold and no indoor heating. Massive amounts of snowfall in some areas where doors were built on the second story so people could get out in the winter. The most rural/traditional area of Japan. (Paul)
  • Expensive. Very expensive. Open your mind for a new culture. Language, o my goodness, the language. Toilets can be shared by men and women, sometimes without doors and without walls! (Wagner)
  • Best and worst time of my life even today. (Joseph)
  • The most strict mission on earth. Yes, it was. I hated it first, but became forever grateful for it. It protected and blessed us and investigators in many ways. (Saori)
  • I served in Akita, Aomori, and Morioka. Akita is famous for its rice, Aomori is famous for its gigantic sweet apples and the bay, and Morioka has Swans that migrate there from Russia for the winter. (Teresa)
  • I now live a block away from a Tokyo return missionary who always ‘tops’ anything another Japan mission and other missionary did. # of baptisms, hiked Fuji, etc. Showroomism. It’s not about me or you….it’s about Jesus Christ’s offering. (Ricky)
  • I was there during the time when the Elders’ missions were shortened to a year and a half for awhile. Many of the Elder’s had to suddenly decide if they were going to stay for the full two years or go home earlier. This was a huge thing for the Elders. An interesting thing about serving in the Northern Japan Mission is that we rode bikes (even in the winter cold and snow) in our skirts each day no matter what the weather. We even had a special bicycle riding raincoat that covered our skirts when it rained….. There is also an historical place in Hachinohe (my first area) where Jesus Christ was supposedly buried…..it talks about a legend where he didn’t actually die in the Holy Land but instead came to Japan… I don’t recall all the details but it brought to mind the prophecies of Jesus Christ appearing to the lost tribes after his death… (Janice)
  • It’s the best decision you will have ever made to serve. (Linda)
  • Beautiful castle in Hirosaki, great festivals (especially in Aomori), lovely mountain-walled basin in Morioka, Japan’s “thousand islands” at Matsushima, Towada is the homebase of Bushido philosopher Inazo Nitobe (for whom there is a memorial garden at the University of British Columbia, Canada), and just very cool people abound. (Michael)

What was the weather like?

  • It is pretty hot in the summer and humid depending on the area while winter is very cold and extremely snowy on the Sea of Japan side. The snowiest major city in the world, Aomori, is in our mission, and many of the smaller towns also can have more than seven feet of snow on the ground. (Kirk)
  • The weather is very fair during the spring and fall, but winters can get intense, especially if you’re in Aomori Prefecture or Niigata Prefecture. It rains very frequently during November as well, before all the rain turns into snow in December. (Eric)
  • Sendai mission had all for seasons. Winter was freezing, summer was super humid and hot. fall and spring were beautiful! (Kaz)
  • All the extremes. Hot in the summer and frigid in the winter. (Kyle)
  • It really depends. Because of the geography/topography/terrain of Japan there are varying degrees of heat and cold. Pack for snow in the winter. Pack in layers. (Michael)
  • Hot in the summer, cold in the winter, snowy in the north and in the mountains. (Troy)
  • The mission is cold in the winter, some places extremely snowy. Summer is hot and very humid. Summer monsoons can be a real treat on a bike. (Kevin)
  • Freezing and snowy in winter. Hot and humid in summer, lots and lots of heavy rain. (Christopher)
  • When it was rainy season….it was like how Forrest Gump described rain and I never felt dry. (Darren)
  • The winters are quite cold if you’re in Aomori or Akita during those months. The summers can also be quite hot (40 degrees Celsius and higher). They also have a “rainy season” in August where it’s wet and hot. I wore a rain suit but got wet because of sweat, while my companion got wet because of the rain. (Eric)
  • Hot humid summers, cold frigid winters, no central air. Don’t remember a spring or fall. (Morgan)
  • Similar to Utah. Freezing cold winters with a lot of snow and burning hot summers only with substantially more humidity than Utah. Fingers and toes couldn’t move in the winter while pamphlets felt like they had just been doused in water just from being in your backpack in the humidity. (Colby)
  • Cold snowy winters, hot humid summers. (Paul)
  • Very hot and extreme humid in summer and crazy cold (for a Brazilian at least) in the winter with snow. (Wagner)
  • Gloomy with little sun. Cold winters and rainy summers. (Joseph)
  • Summer, brutally hot with super humidity. Sisters, forget makeup. It won’t stay on your face in summer…. Winter, holy cow, it was so cold. Being out in the cold for streeting and housing in the wet/cold weather is super tough. Count your blessings while you do, because it can be really hard. Don’t forget that everything you do there will never be in vain. (Saori)
  • The weather is like Idaho/Utah weather WITH HUMIDITY! I got frostbite my first winter because I had rain boots, but not good snow boots. Japan sells great rain gear that you can ride a bike in with a dress on, but it’s hard to find good rain & snow boots for big American feet. : ). Bring a really good coat with you too. (spring, summer, and fall are super beautiful and amazing!) (Teresa)
  • Same as Utah Wasatch Front. 4 seasons. Less blue sky. More rain. So green and beautiful. But depressing for a person needing sunlight. (Ricky)
  • I spent the winters in Hachinohe and then Sendai (the next year). I think I was partly selected for this mission because I originally came from Canada……but let me say that Canadians stay indoors when it is super cold. I don’t think I was prepared that first year for how cold it was! The second year was a lot gentler because we had many more investigators and spent less time outdoors rather than door-to-door contacting. I spent my one summer in the most southern (hottest) part of our mission (that I believe was open to sisters) in the now blighted city of Fukushima. It was extremely hot and humid… (Janice)
  • All four seasons but it in my first area of Aomori the amount of snow is unreal! The humidity in the summer is not to be missed! (Linda)
  • Hot and humid in the summer, cold and snowy in the winter. During the rainy season it rains almost every day! (Carol)
  • Warm, warm in summer; cold and lots of snow in winter. Some ares colder than others due to Siberian winds. (Michael)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • The people may have concerns with religion, including Christianity, but there are incredibly kind, polite people. I only got yelled at while tracting once that I remember. One experience from my first Christmas in Japan really taught this to me. It had been a long, cold day without any success, so my companion and I went into a 7-11 to make some phone calls. After a few minutes of warming up and discussing what to do, we walked back outside for our bikes. However, a 7-11 employee chased us down and asked us if we were missionaries. We said yes, and she gave us a free cake from the store saying, “Merry Christmas.” After a discouraging day, it really lifted my spirits to know that even in a city where it seemed almost no one cared about us or our message, the light of Christ was touching this employee to reach out to some strange religious Americans. (Kirk)
  • Most of the people I met were so nice. They might not have agreed with me, but they never threw anything, yelled vulgar insults (except once), or pushed me like the horror stories you hear from other missions. Japanese people are so congenial and they’re so respectful. I gained a deep appreciation for them and their values during my two years. Also, each prefecture is known for a certain food, so it’s worth going out and exploring on preparation days. Aizu, for example, had incredible katsu-don. Sanjo had a unique dish called curry ramen. Miyako was right by the coast, so the seafood was incredible. Sendai is known for gyu-tan (grilled cow tongue). (Eric)
  • Members were so loving in all the areas I was in. Japanese people in general are very selfless and helpful. especially to foreigners. Each place I served in had some kind of very interesting history. From the castles to rice fields, and many more. (Kaz)
  • Humble down to earth people. Even the people who wanted nothing to do with the message cared for you as a human being. (Kyle)
  • Everything. They are humble farmers who are devout to their roots. They had everything taken from them in the 2011 earthquake, yet many of the members maintained a happy demeanor. IMPORTANT! You are called to serve in an area and preach repentance unto them, but do not forget you were called to that area to also learn from the people you serve. It is a two way street. They have something to offer, and when you show them that you are learning from them, they will be more open about learning from you. (Michael)
  • Some of the most generous and friendly people I have ever met. (Troy)
  • The people were wonderful. They love Americans. They are very generous, and younger people are often searching for meaning in their lives. When they commit, they are very dedicated. Family is important even though they have small families. They take care of their elderly parents. Those who join the church usually have amazing faith. (Kevin)
  • Rural Japan is gorgeous. People are incredibly kind. (Christopher)
  • There is a lot I could write here but the highlights are the kind hearts. I wasn’t an outgoing person before and I hadn’t experienced meeting so many people before. It was scary and it was way outside my comfort zone, but Japanese people were for the most part very kind-hearted. I also loved the food over there. It’s so different from the meat and potatoes style food back home. It opened my eyes. I also loved the scenery…I must have ridden the train between Sendai north and south 30 times between transfers, mission meetings, etc. The mountains covered in the rich thick trees, like a blanket, the ocean sunrise… (Darren)
  • The people are wonderfully nice, but difficult to reach on a spiritual level. They profess to be Buddhist or Shinto but most don’t actively practice. Most apartments and homes you visit have intercom systems so they can reject your door method without ever seeing your faces. We prepared fliers to put in their mail slots about the free English classes we taught twice a week at the church because of that situation. Those were probably our most effective method for finding investigators. Overall, I love the culture, sights/history there, and the food is fantastic! The language is a challenge but something I enjoyed learning. (Eric)
  • So much history. The culture and traditions were so cool. The Japanese were always kind to me. It’s not just ninjas and samurai, but the samurai era and history was amazing. Liked to visit the shrines and temples and castles. (Morgan)
  • The amazing scenic country villages and towns as opposed to the more typical massive metropolis’ of Japan. (Colby)
  • They are considered the most honest humble people in Japan. (Paul)
  • Honesty, faithful in their words and commitments. If they say they’ll listen to your message, most likely will go to church. If they go, most likely will be baptized. If they are baptized, most likely will be a firm member. (Wagner)
  • Everything. Really enjoyed how my Japanese Grandma helped when I got sick. (Joseph)
  • People there are so kind to missionaries. They loved us and helped us with all their hearts. I am still friends with them and love them. Facebook makes it easy to stay connected with them. (Saori)
  • I love the people of Japan! I really loved my cities and their festivals. I loved them so much I became like them. (Teresa)
  • I love and loved Nihon! I love and will always love my nihonjin people! The Japanese were the best. (Ricky)
  • I loved how even if they were not interested in the gospel – they were almost always respectful and gracious. We never (or at least rarely) had to experience some of the rejection or persecution that missionaries in other places had to go through… They were extremely generous to the missionaries (both member and non-member alike). They would often take us out to dinner…and share delicious food with us. I loved the culture, food and the beauty of their history and customs. I also loved the beauty of the Japanese people themselves. The scenery in Sendai especially – was breathtaking. As sisters we also had fun opportunities to have lessons on Japanese flower arranging, cooking, paper dolls, etc. (Janice)
  • That it was a defining time of my life and the places and people I served all played a role in who I am today. (Linda)
  • The history and culture is rich with meaning. The people are people, like people everywhere – loving and wanting to be loved. (Michael)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • Make sure to pack warm clothes for the winter. Elders wear suits for all but the hottest months of the year, so be sure to have more than one. Unless your feet are really big, it is probably best to buy boots in Japan. (Kirk)
  • You may or may not be sent to the northern part of the mission during the wintertime, so be prepared and buy thick Gortex boots. You won’t regret it. If you’re an Elder, bring short-sleeved shirts. Good luck trying to proselyte in long-sleeved shirts during the summertime. Sisters and Elders, you’ll want to bring one or two thick winter jackets and a raincoat as well. Bring a nice pair of tennis shoes as well, because the Sendai Mission is absolutely beautiful wherever you go, and you’ll want to spent some preparation days exploring the nature in your area. (Eric)
  • I would suggest to bring shoes that will last you a long time. even if you have to spend more on them. That helped me a lot. for the Winter bring long-johns to wear underneath everything. Many missionaries ended up buying at least 1 if not a few suits from Japan because they could find them cheap and a lot of missionaries liked how they fit better than the American made suits. You will also get a ton of ties while you are out there! (Kaz)
  • Pack light. You really only need 6-7 shirts, 2 suits, 1 pair of shoes (you can get another pair when the first pair wears out. PICK UP YOUR FEET WHEN YOU WALK. Too many missionaries lost shoes to scuffing their feet when they walked rather than merely picking up their feet and maintaining their shoes.) 6-7 ties, and 6-7 pairs of socks. Also weather accommodating articles of clothing for snow if needed. Everything else (shoe shine, hair dryer, towels, etc.) can be found in the mission field or mailed to you. Transfers make moving your stuff hectic, and missionaries often waste time packing up their stuff when they could be out finding new investigators and saying goodbye to old investigators and members. ONLY DEODORANT! Not antiperspirant. It makes garments and white shirts yellow. Plus, its hot and humid, you will sweat no matter what. (Michael)
  • Have some “extra” shirts sent after 6-8 months can be a great morale boost. (Troy)
  • Long underwear, a warm hat, gloves, and a sweater for winter in case you end up north. Extra warm socks and get some beni boots when you get there. Scrounge or buy an electric blanket when you get there, because our futons were pitifully thin for winter temperatures. It’s humid, so wear light breathable clothing for the summer. (Kevin)
  • Sorrel boots and a really good rain coat. (Christopher)
  • Bring a rain suit and suits that can survive biking and friction. (Darren)
  • I had two pairs of Doc Martin shoes that lasted my entire mission because of how much we were on bikes. Make sure however that your shoes aren’t a lace up kind. With how many times you take them on and off, laces were a pain. Bring some ugly ties for a tie swap event you either participate in or organize. Also get a small flip photo album with pictures of your family, hometown, hobbies, etc. it’s called a “jikoshoukai” book and is an easy way to introduce yourself. (Eric)
  • Bring layers. Light clothing that can be layered to keep you warm in the winter. (Morgan)
  • Pretty normal all around. Just have a solid wardrobe for both hot and cold temperatures. The only thing you should stock up on in advance (or have family send from home) is toothpaste, deodorant, and cereal because all of the above are terrible in Japan. Everything else…no worries. Their Dollar Stores blow the socks off of ours and have EVERYTHING imaginable. I still wear my 100 yen ($1) ties I bought there today, over 10 years later. (Colby)
  • Take a practical coat. (Paul)
  • Rain coat. Summer and winter clothes, literally. (Wagner)
  • Warm Gs. Eat healthy. (Joseph)
  • Pack good rain coat!! The rainy season in Japan is sooooo long. If you are sister missionary (and are not large person), buying one there might be a good idea. They have more selection and are usually priced reasonably. (Saori)
  • Weather… Have a Good Winter Coat, Good Winter Boots, Good Winter Gloves, Good Rain Boots. (Teresa)
  • No plastic fabric suits. Not sure what to suggest. Quality clothes worth the price. (Ricky)
  • Bring appropriate winter clothes and boots. Bring easily washable items because they did not have clothes dryers (at least not back in the day but this may have changed). Make sure to bring good sunscreen and sunglasses. Using sunscreen and wearing sunglasses was not a common practice in our jidai and I remember my companion telling me I was getting wrinkles from squinting in the sun (not a good thing)! Having good fleece tights or allowable leg wear is also really important. You really need to dress for warmth rather than fashion…..(if you can do both that’s a bonus)! The sisters often looked and felt like the abominable snowman in the Rudolph Christmas special. (Janice)
  • For Shimais, forget the umbrella. Since you will be on bikes, buy a Cappa when you get in country. They have a built in panel that covers the front of you while riding a bike. Much more practical than a rain coat you get here or umbrella. (Linda)
  • See weather comments above. Warm socks and boots. Gloves. Comfortable summer suits as well. (Michael)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • Deeper appreciation of the scriptures, greater understanding of the blessings of the gospel, a stronger testimony. (Kirk)
  • I can’t even begin to list all of the blessings I received from serving a mission, and I’m not exaggerating. I learned to manage my time, work diligently, and be patient with myself. These three things are helping me so much right now as I pursue a career in medicine. I also learned how to pray. I didn’t know how to pray or properly ask for revelation before my mission, but serving in various leadership capacities forced me to depend on the Lord like never before and to really communicate with Him. I also gained a greater capacity to love. I’m not saying I’m perfect, and I will never be the most compassionate person, but I tried so hard every day on the mission to have charity. That attitude helps me when I need to talk to people and understand their points of view. (Eric)
  • Too many to count!! 1. learn how to live on my own and not have to depend on parents, 2. learn how to cook. 3. learn how to budget money. 4. People skills 5. Learn how to work with a companion. (marriage prep) 6. Japanese Language. 7. Amazing friends. 8. Great study habits. and so much more. (Kaz)
  • Too many to count. If someone can serve, they should. Don’t worry about friends, family, girlfriends/boyfriends (Sisters, pray and ponder about the boyfriend. Not to sound like a romance novel, but if he is the one, God will let you know. Don’t think that your mansion will be any less than what it should be in heaven if you don’t go and start a family.) . If you think you should go or if you have been counseled to go, go. Education can wait, Money can be found, relationships continue, but the opportunity to serve the Lord for two years diminishes. The blessings, the things I have learned always are appearing in my life. There are no regrets of my mission. And I have yet to meet someone who regrets that they did. (Michael)
  • Two different jobs were a direct result of being able to speak Japanese…..whether it was used in my job or not, it didn’t matter. (Troy)
  • Foundation for my life. The lessons I learned have kept me grounded and working to continuously progress in the Gospel. I gained the faith to do hard things in life, like work to put myself through college with a family. I gained an immense desire to learn both spiritual and secular things. My testimony was firmly established and it has continued to grow. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t feel appreciation for my mission experiences. It planted within me a love for people, a desire to serve, and the faith to do what the Lord wants me to do. (Kevin)
  • Too numerous to count. My best friend in the world was my second to last companion. (Christopher)
  • Learning a second language helped me get a good job when I got back home. It also showed me that learning to work hard before my mission made the mission experience way easier than for others who had not. (Darren)
  • It was by far the best experience of my life to that point. It helped me grow up, learn responsibilities, strengthened me spiritually, gave me skills and experiences that still affect me to this day. I also made friends both from the investigators and members I knew, to the fellow missionaries and presidents I served with. (Eric)
  • Great self confidence, became more self sufficient. Learned to trust and rely on others. (Morgan)
  • COUNTLESS! Literally everything good that has come after my mission (jobs, job promotions, social/relationship skills, leadership qualities, wife and kids, financial stability, bulletproof testimony, nice house, etc)…EVERYTHING can almost directly be linked back to me serving a mission. (Colby)
  • I have worked in with Japanese business all my life. I still travel often to Japan and use my language at least weekly. (Paul)
  • My mother was okay when I returned. She bought her own house. I was able to find a good career, was sealed in the temple. Have my own family now, became Bishop and can use those experiences to help others in my ward. (Wagner)
  • Wonderful friends and a great family. I used my language as a Electronic Engineer. (Joseph)
  • I found my eternal companion! Heavenly Father blesses us who serve, 1000 fold. We could never repay what we owe Him. (Saori)
  • So many… An unshakable testimony, a strong love for the gospel, my husband went to the Kobe, Japan mission – we met because of our common love for Japan, a knowledge that Heavenly Father knows me and loves me because he sent me to the Sendai, Japan mission. (Teresa)
  • An open heart, an open mind, a great appreciation for spirituality vs. religiosity. True or pure hearts vs. business hearted members/missionaries. A love for Jesus Christ and all of His children. A great love for all things Nihon. (Ricky)
  • I received so many blessings that I could weep thinking about them. They are precious and eternal and have come to me in many forms throughout my life. The first blessing was the gift of being able to accomplish such a difficult and hard thing with God’s help. I was a convert of just over four years when I went on a mission. The fact that through the help of the Savior I could learn Japanese enough and memorize lesson plans so that I was able to teach people and see them be baptized…..was a miracle to me. I learned to know the Savior in my deepest need on a mission and learned to submit my will to His. The friendships I made and the people I grew to love – continues to bless me to this day! Also – something amazing – I ended up meeting my husband to be because of a Japanese Kanji necklace (that my companion gave me) that he saw as we passed each other at a Stake meeting at BYU. (Janice)
  • Too many to list but my mission experiences have been a well spring of faith promoting experiences that I will continue to dip into for the rest of my life. (Linda)
  • Richer understanding of the Atonement. Greater sensitivity to people’s need to be comforted. Faith. More awareness of my weaknesses. (Michael)

What are some skills you gained?

  • Ability to speak in Japanese, ability to make friends with people from different backgrounds and ages, cooking. (Kirk)
  • First and foremost, I learned how to speak Japanese. I can read most newspapers and watch Japanese shows without too much help from a dictionary. I also learned how to fix bikes. My bike broke more times than I can count on both hands while I was a missionary. Taking it to the shop was costly, so I learned how to fix things on my own. (Eric)
  • People skills, leadership skills, cooking, bicycle fixing skills, planning skills, and teaching skills. (Kaz)
  • Time management, study habits (spiritually and scholastically), compromise, and understanding the importance of a relationship with the Savior. (Michael)
  • Language, organization, for lack of a better description “grit”, etc. (Kyle)
  • The ability to approach anybody and talk with them. (As a new missionary I learned that if I initiated and led the conversation, I could talk a lot more. If I let others lead it I would get lost or confused.)
  • Better organization, self-discipline to work hard, and improved ability to communicate. It was the beginning of me breaking out of my shyness. I learned to better seek and receive spiritual guidance. My faith increased tremendously. (Kevin)
  • I can change a flat tire so fast! (Christopher)
  • I increased my cooking skills. Learning the language has helped in various aspects of my life also. My taste buds had to definitely shift (interestingly enough I didn’t like fish before going to Japan) from what I was used to growing up. I also gained a deeper testimony of the gospel, Jesus Christ, and what I wanted for my life. (Eric)
  • Became a Japanese linguist in the army. (Morgan)
  • Speaking/writing/reading Japanese (obviously), cooking, completing the Rubik’s cube in 30 seconds, organizing and leading meetings/training,…there are too many to list! (Colby)
  • Language, Confidence, Study skills, Too many to name (Paul)
  • Multi language speaker. Learned 3 languages in the Mission (Japanese, English and Spanish) + mother language Portuguese. Negotiations, problem solving, communications, hands on, endurance and overcoming difficulties. (Wagner)
  • How to cook and clean. How to get closer to our heavenly Father. (Joseph)
  • Listening to the Spirit. (Saori)
  • Knowing Japanese has helped me a lot. I’ve taught a Japanese basics class to elementary school kids! I can stand up and teach a lesson or lead a meeting at the drop of a hat. I can talk to people. (Teresa)
  • Discernment of people’s true motives. Real spirituality vs. doing things for the praise of others. Jesus is the only reason, but not for everyone who goes on a mission. (Ricky)
  • It helped me to focus more in my studies. I found my grades at BYU were even higher after my mission. My knowledge of the scriptures was greater… It helped me realize that I could do hard things and not give up and this has served me well as a wife and mother. It gave me insight about what qualities I enjoyed in a companion (and ones I definitely did not like). I learned to cook for the sisters in my apartment. I also learned to cook curry rice which super impressed my husband to be (he had served in Nagoya). This cooking skill was needed because my roommate at BYU told my husband that I could not cook (long story). My ability to make curry rice somehow overcame his concerns about living eternally with a woman who couldn’t cook. (Janice)
  • I learned to speak Japanese! And read a little Kanji. (Linda)
  • Learning Japanese. (Michael)

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

  • I would want to know that despite how hard it is at first to be a missionary in Japan that by the end I would love the country and the people more than I could imagine. There were many days where I was frustrated and didn’t think that I would ever be able to do everything I was required to do, but I learned that God works through imperfect people and that as long as we are trying our best, he is happy with us. (Kirk)
  • I wish I had entered the MTC with at least some goals. I am the first person in my family to serve a mission, so I had no reference point or anything to go off of. I entered the MTC googly-eyed and not knowing what to expect. It would have been helpful to tell myself “I will never do this, this, or this as a missionary” or “I will be a ______ kind of missionary” before heading out to the field. It’s harder when to make those personal goals when you have so many people to teach and find at the same time. (Eric)
  • I wish I was better at making strong relationships with members at the beginning of my mission. That was something I had ended learning along the way. (Kaz)
  • Study Japanese. Every aspect of it. Read the Book of Mormon in Japanese every day. Yes it will take forever initially, make it a time limit at first, then go by verse, then by page, then by chapter. You cannot convert someone to the Gospel of Jesus Christ without being able to communicate with them and understand how the Gospel fits in their lives. (Michael)
  • I wish I had my scripture mastery memorized. (Troy)
  • I wish I had developed greater empathy, compassion, and a deeper understanding of service. I wish I left for my mission not merely with a desire to do my duty, but with a greater love for my Savior and my fellow man, so that I could have been more effective. A public speaking class wouldn’t have hurt. (Kevin)
  • I wish I knew Japanese. Also that I was more patient with other people. (Christopher)
  • I wish I knew how to teach English. (Darren)
  • I took a year of Japanese in high school. That might have influenced the committee in calling me to that country. I easily passed what I already learned in high school with the time spent in the Mission Training Center. So, studying the culture, traditions, and their religions would have benefited me more at the start than more language study. (Eric)
  • Wish I had spent more time learning the scriptures when I was younger so my testimony would have been stronger. (Morgan)
  • Not stressed so much to be perfect and had more confidence so that I could lift and encourage others more and mope less. (Colby)
  • A better understanding of a very special country. (Paul)
  • I wish I knew English at least when I was called. The MTC (Provo MTC) experience was awful as the teachers were Americans teaching Japanese to a Brazilian who didn’t speak English… You can imagine. (Wagner)
  • More Japanese. (Joseph)
  • That I needed to be 100% obedient to the mission rules and not complain about hard work. (Saori)
  • More scripture knowledge would’ve helped a lot. Also I wish I had brought my own little cookbook of easy things to cook. And, kerosene heaters in the winter, fans in the summer. There is a reason Japanese wear hanten inside during the winter and wave fans in the summer. (Teresa)
  • I wish I had digested/ate every word of Jesus the Christ before. I think it was as important as The Book of Mormon setting my heart firm with the Lord. (Ricky)
  • That it was going to be the hardest thing I had ever done (up to that point) but the most rewarding. That the blessings often come after the trial of our faith. They we should enjoy the present moment and live in it fully. That we can call upon the Savior in all our struggles and challenges. (Janice)
  • I am not sure I would change much. (Linda)
  • I wish I had been more aware of my emotional short-comings and had developed greater self-discipline. (Michael)

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

  • Be humble enough to listen to your companion and leaders, study the language intently, and most of all enjoy your mission. Learn to find the joy in doing missionary work and it will make your experiences much better. A smile is what we want others to remember us by. (Kirk)
  • Don’t stress too much about Kanji. If you’re going to learn Kanji, do yourself a favor and don’t learn abstract characters like “dragon” or “pufferfish.” Learn gospel-related Kanji and save the “cool” characters for Japanese 301 when you go back to school. Be open-minded. The most important thing for a missionary is humility. The Lord will use you, whether you can speak Japanese or not, and whether your testimony is like a tree or still a growing seed. Trust in Him, and ask for help from your trainer, future companions, mission president and members. They’ll trust you if you trust them. Use your talents. Anyone can knock doors for eight hours a day, but if you want to have fun while you do the Lord’s work, think of something you’re good at. Play guitar at the local train station and hand out English class flyers. Carol on the streets during Christmastime. Play basketball with high schoolers at the park on preparation day. Smile! Don’t be awkward. Be your best possible self, and don’t get too stressed out if you don’t see results. If you’re obedient and constantly trying to be a better missionary, the Lord will bless you. (Eric)
  • Very hard physically, emotionally, mentally. Scary at times. Faith plays a huge part in a mission. If you can learn how to rely on the Lord and trust that He will help you get through things then they will always work out. Prayer is your best tool on the mission. You will say billions of them! There are many waiting to hear from you and Heavenly Father will align both your’s and their paths. Be perfectly obedient and you will see miracles. (Kaz)
  • Don’t stress about the language. Make it a priority, but don’t think you need to read or write within the first two transfers. I honestly felt confident with myself 9 transfers in, almost half way through. Don’t give up. Religion is frowned upon in Japan. I don’t want to point fingers, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions. Many children have died because of this and with life being extremely important to the Japanese, they frown upon them. Look up the Tokyo subway sarin attack. That was a terror attack done in the name of religion. But don’t lose heart, smile, be courteous and change their perception with friendly salutations and service. Not everyone will convert, but there will be people who see your good works. Japan is not a Christian nation. They have little knowledge of the Savior. Start simple, explain who he is and why is important to you individually. Learn of the Savior, read the first four Gospels and really get an understanding of who He is. (Michael)
  • Follow the rules, do what your told, and enjoy the people and you will have a great experience. (Troy)
  • There is nothing that compares as life and spiritual training for Priesthood young men, than a mission that you are dedicated to. Keep your life harmonized with the gospel, seek spiritual promptings and act on them immediately. It will help you on your mission. Lose arrogance, be humble, be completely obedient to parents and church leaders. Learn to push yourself and to work hard physically. Learn to get along well with others, especially those with personalities and characteristics you wouldn’t normally find pleasant. Learn to serve and help others constantly without expecting anything in return. (Kevin)
  • Patience. Follow the Holy Ghost. Be obedient and love everyone. (Christopher)
  • You’re going to a culture steeped in tradition and a rigid hierarchy. Learning the subtle skill of leading people but not forcing them can be useful. The Japanese people love the gospel as much as you do. They do have different challenges they face however. Come with an attitude of service and of hard work and you’ll love your time there as much as I did. (Eric)
  • Listen to the spirit. If you can’t hear it, get yourself right and worthy to hear it. (Morgan)
  • You are serving in the best mission on earth! But more than anything, remember that, especially in Japan, baptisms and even lessons can be very hard to come by. This can be hard sometimes when the ‘results’ aren’t as high as you hear other missions’ are, but it also helps keep you humble and makes it easier to see that it really isn’t about the numbers. In Japan, I feel like the more you can just serve others FIRST with no ulterior motive (like Ammon being a servant for Lamonhi), the better off you’ll do. Spending three hours breaking snow off of someone’s driveway will often be more effective than housing for the same amount of time. Give love more than lessons. (Colby)
  • Plan to work harder than you have every worked and gain a mastery of the language. You can rest after your mission. (Paul)
  • “Love all. Serve all”. Don’t give up. Yes, it’s tough for everyone, you’re not the only one to feel like this. Push, push and push. Forget your culture and “become” a Japanese. (Wagner)
  • Love the people! (Joseph)
  • Don’t pick and choose what mission rules you follow. Follow 100% of the rules to gain Heavenly Power to love and preach. The miracles will happen. (Saori)
  • Please take care of my second home! They went through so much in the big earthquake / tsunami, they need Heavenly Father’s loving kindness. Congrats on being called as one of the Frozen Chosen! (Teresa)
  • Learn Kanjis for the words you’re learning. It firms up the language better, faster. Did some after the mission and it made better understanding of the language for me. Puts the beauty in it! (Ricky)
  • I know from my own experience how much Heavenly Father loves His servants (the missionaries). As it says in 1 Samuel 2:30 “Them that honor me I will honor”. I have seen God honoring his missionaries and being eager to answer their prayers as they obediently serve him. One of the greatest pieces of advice is to be obedient to all the mission rules and to obey with exactness. Heavenly Father will bless you greatly and blessings beyond measure will be yours if you do. If you make a mistake – repent quickly and get back on track. Love the people around you and with whom you come into contact… (Janice)
  • Work hard everyday, love your companion no matter how unlovable he or she might be and trust God. Always seek the Spirit because this is His work and you can’t do it on your own. (Linda)
  • See above. And strengthen your faith in Christ. Read the Doctrine and Covenants. (Michael)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • My companion tried to say that the number of sister missionaries had increased (shimaitachi ga fueta) and instead said that the sister missionaries had gotten fat (shimaitachi ga futotta). (Kirk)
  • During his first testimony in church (he had landed in Japan less than a week earlier), one of my companions told the congregation that his family is crazy. This usually flies and gets a couple of people to chuckle in American congregations, but the word for “crazy” in Japanese has a much heavier connotation. The ward took his mistake in stride and then some. After he said his family was crazy, EVERYBODY just started laughing uncontrollably, even the bishop! It took about a minute for everybody to settle down. It was hilarious. (Eric)
  • Since we often couldn’t read the kanji, we would ask other to read things for us using ( O yomi ni narimasu ka?) which was a very polite way of asking someone to read for you. Every so often an elder would not pay attention to the importance of correct pronunciation and would say ( O yome ni narimasu ka?) which was asking someone to be your bride. Fortunately most Japanese would just grin and move on to what they thought was more likely……to read for us. (Troy)
  • A green missionary companion kept giving the Joseph Smith story about two ningen (people) appearing in the grove using the word ninjin (carrot), instead of ningen. It was hard to be reverent listening to him make that mistake over and over. (Kevin)
  • The difference between nikutai and nekutai when you point to someone’s tie. When asking for a spoon, do not listen to your companion and ask for a sepun. Also, the difference between haku and hiku in regards to playing the piano. (Darren)
  • I don’t remember any off the top of my head. But I’m sure I had many and the Japanese were too kind to say anything. (Morgan)
  • Instead of giving a new investigator the assignment to read 1 Nephi 3:7, a sister accidentally gave 3 Nephi 3:7. Look it up. NOT good. Haha. I once told an investigator that a carrot appeared to Joseph Smith in the grove of trees. I once told an investigator that the Savior ‘killed’ for us instead of ‘died’ for us. (Colby)
  • Proposing marriage to someone instead of passing out a simple pamphlet. (Paul)
  • The word for seating is similar to touching. Then a companion said to a lady that she could “touch him” and she came… Hahahaha. Another one was I teaching Portuguese word to a companion and he tried to use in a dinner with a family and said to that church sister that she was hot, instead of saying that the food was good. That was awesome the way she and the husband looked at him and his face afterwards. (Wagner)
  • Don’t confuse kowai with kawaii! (Teresa)
  • Accidental swap of words. Kowai vs kawai…trying to compliment a beautiful baby. (Ricky)
  • I had so many – that I can’t think of just one :). (Janice)
  • Not sure how he did it, but one companion managed to tell a couple that baptisms were performed in the nude. (Michael)