Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Safe Arrival!

Dear Parents,

We just want to send you a quick note to let you know that your missionary arrived safely in Japan on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. President and Sister Wada fed them dinner, visited shortly, and then sent them to bed for a much needed rest.

Today is orientation and training day. On Thursday they will meet their new companion who has been chosen to be their trainer. In the afternoon they are off to their new areas to begin their missionary work. Pictures will be taken and within a few days you will receive another email with these pictures attached.

Your missionary’s preparation day is on Mondays. This is the day they can email family and friends. When your missionary’s Zone has a temple day, which is normally on a Tuesday, this will become the preparation day. Please have your missionary let you know when the temple day is so you will know when preparation day will change.

Thank you for entrusting your missionary to us in the Japan Tokyo South Mission. We so appreciate all you have done to get your missionary to this point in his life!


Sister Yamashita
Japan Tokyo South Mission Secretary

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This Journey of Faith

Hello again my beautiful family! 

Thank you so much for your emails. I love to read them! I miss you all so much! I promise, however, that I do not miss you enough to want to leave the mission! Hope you don't think I'm being calloused and rude, but I know that this is where I am supposed to be:) 

Wow. As the day of departure draws closer and closer, I have a confusing mixture of emotions. Part of me is sad to leave this wonderful place. The experiences and the time spent here have drawn this campus close to my heart. As I walk the concrete paths and look into the rooms I remember everything that happened there. The feelings of nervousness as I prepared for a lesson or the peace I felt during personal study. The sounds and the people, the smell of sweat of so many bodies crammed into the devotionals as we breathed in the words of the apostles. The frustration with the food (NEVER seemed to have enough bagels although everyone wanted one...) The stir crazy feeling you get when every building in this tiny campus looks the same and nothing changes and the world is so small and you're cut off from those you love and you have to spend nine weeks here. All these things are vividly in my mind as I nostalgically roam the halls of this small world. I have changed so much. I have grown so much. My testimony burns and my love of the Lord blazes in my chest. My gratitude hopelessly but diligently tries to repay a debt that can never be settled. 

I marvel at the faith of the many young people that roam these grounds with me. After all, this is a journey of faith. Faith that the Lord will bless you in ways that you can't imagine. Faith that you will be able to become an instrument in the Lord's hands and a medium to the Spirit that through you it can touch and lift and heal the lives of those you teach. Faith that you can learn a language that is foreign to you. Faith that this is all real. There is so much faith here and so much progress made because of it. I can't imagine where my life would be without faith. Faith is the key to becoming everything the Lord wants me to become and I'm so grateful to have experienced all this.

So the next big leap of faith for me is stepping onto that airplane, going to Japan, and trusting that everything will be alright. I am so nervous for that. The logical side of me can't believe that I would even consider doing something like that. I can't speak the language. I can't know what the people I meet will need. Alone I can't invite and help people accept the gospel and take the necessary steps for baptism. I need help. I probably need more help than the average missionary. I need the Lords help. and the only way I can get that is by walking in faith. I have a lot of work to do if I want to have the Spirit to be with me and if I want to speak the language, but I know that if I have faith that Heavenly Father will help me and work as hard as I possibly can, I can do all the things that I need to do. 

I am so sorry I have used all of my time! I love you all! Thank you so much for the letters and the packages. Your words of encouragement are certainly a strength and your reminiscent comments on what missions are like are enlightening. Thank you for the love that you have shown me. I thank God every day for my wonderful, thoughtful, and beautiful family. There is no one dearer to my heart.

I am so excited to call you on Monday morning! My flight leaves at 11:35 my time, so I will probably be calling anywhere from 8:30 is to 9. I will do my best to maximize our time. 

Love Always,
Your Son, Brother and Friend,
Elder Sterling Siebach 

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Dear Friends and Family,

Konbanwa! I am so glad that it is P-day! I love these days! I just got back from the temple where I saw the brand new movie. It's awesome, go see it! 

So over the past week I have been able to see my brother twice!! It was truly an amazing experience. there is an interesting juxtaposition created when you put a fully developed, finished missionary in the same room with a beginner, both of whom want nothing but to hear the other talk. One can reminisce on the past mission and the other can imagine the future. One can know and one can leap in faith. One can advise and the other can guess. One can comfort and the other can be comforted. While my brother's mission will be very different from mine, he has a vivid image of what it was like for him and knows what kind of experiences I will have. He knows how I will feel at certain times in my mission and, because he knows me well, can guess at my reactions fairly accurately. While it isn't perfect, he can feel empathy for me, and he can run to me. I am so grateful for that and for all of those who are close to me who have lived their lives in such a way that they can do the same. My parents, for instance, know me so well and know how to comfort me. Families are such an incredible blessing because they are with us the whole way, through the joy and the pain, the easy and the difficult. They have always been there, but there is one other who also has always been there, and that is the Christ. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Friend, and our Brother. He has always been there and He will always be there. 

In Elder Jeffrey R. Hollands talk, "None Were With Him" he said that "because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so." He is always with us and, because He preformed the atonement, He is the one who can perfectly empathize with us and can perfectly succor us. Without Him we would be lost, alone and afraid. With Him we have direction, we are not alone, and we are not afraid. All these things are manifest to us by the Spirit, who testifies of Christ. What an amazing thing! I can't imagine my life without the gift of the Spirit. Unfortunately we can't just have this gift. After baptism the gift is given, but we have to RECEIVE it. The blessing says "Receive the Holy Ghost." This implies that there is something required from us in order to receive it. 

So over the past four or five days since meeting with my brother I have been thinking a lot about this, and then a good friend of mine, who has been struggling with reading the scriptures, praying, and attending church, wrote to me and asked me for advice. It occurred to me that the only reason we struggle with these three things is because we kind of forget to "receive the Holy Ghost". We kind of forget that by doing these simple daily actions we can receive guidance. I know that. As a missionary one of the things we teach investigators is that they can receive relevant revelation for themselves, from Christ, through the Holy Ghost, if they do those three things!  

So here's my Challenge to everyone this week: approach these three incredible blessings with renewed vigor, with a fresh perspective, and with faith that through them you will receive divine guidance and comfort. I want to hear about it! Get my email or dear Elder address from my beloved Moot** and tell me all about it! In this way we can strengthen each other. 

I know that we are loved! Every single one of us is loved to an infinite extent and Christ is always there, pleading with us to turn away from the world and turn to Him. 

I love you all!
SIebach 長老

'Beloved Moot', which Sterling mentions, is his nickname for me, his mom:-/ 
Sterling's email address is sterling.siebach@myldsmail.net
To send a note to him at the MTC through dearelder.com you need to know the following:
          --Departure date (JUL28)
          --Mission code (TOKS-JAP)
          --Unit # (45)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Oh Say, Can You See?

 Dear Family and Friends,

Wow! this week has been so amazing! So much has happened! Let's start with the 4th! It was really cool. We had a special devotional about being disciples of Christ and Why 'Merica is awesome:) It was a really good talk and then we watched the movie 17 Miracles! It was the first time I had seen it and I almost cried...... Maybe I'm a wimp, but that movie is so moving. I can't imagine having to do the things that those Pioneers did; however, I know that if the Lord is on your side you can overcome anything. After the movie we went out and saw the fireworks from Stadium of Fire! It was super cool. We stayed out for a couple extra hours and I still can't believe how tired I was the next day. This place is so exhausting that without all of those 8 hours of scheduled sleep time it is pretty tough to make it through the day. 

The next thing I want to talk about is Sunday night devotional! Josh Wright came and talked to us about his mission and played some amazing pieces on the piano. He is incredibly talented and he attributes it all to the Lord. 

Tuesday night's devotional was given by Elder Anderson! He spoke on the Gift of the Holy Ghost and what it means to us. Something he mentioned was that we get so used to having the Spirit with us that we start taking it for granted. It takes a huge experience for us to notice or it takes a lack of the Spirit. We need to be hyper aware of the little promptings and feelings that the Spirit is constantly sending us. We as missionaries also need to be aware of the way the Spirit is making the investigator feel. Often it is a completely new feeling to them and they can't identify it. We have a responsibility to identify it for them as the Spirit of the Lord. In the very moment it is impossible to deny that feeling. The entire talk was so good and answered a lot of the questions that I had going into it. 

During the talk the man sitting next to me and, in jest, said "It's all about who you know". He was talking about a missionary that knew Elder Anderson personally, so it was a complete joke....... but I felt like it was so profound. It had to have been the Spirit that took that comment and guided its way through my mind. So I began to think about people that we should know. Of course it would be nice to know an apostle, but the most important person to know is Christ. When we KNOW him and know what he is like then we can BECOME like him. I love the scripture in Mosaiah 5:13 that says:

For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?

That is so true! We have to know Christ. We need to know Christ, and the only way to know Him is to read about Him, know what He did for us, know about the atonement, and experience the atonement and the beautiful blessing that it is to be able to repent. Then, on top of all that, we have to serve Him. Only then can we know Him and only then can we become like Him. I am so grateful for the atonement and what is means to me. I am so grateful for the sacrament. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission and serve my brothers and sisters and to serve Christ. I know there is no more important thing I can be doing right now! 

I am so sorry but I have to stop writing! My hour is up! I love you all!
Love always,
Siebach Choro

P.S. SPENCER!!! Thank you so much for coming to see me! I love you man! Thank you so much for the packages and all the love! Mom will you please express my gratitude to Sister Palazzo for her letter to me! it was so inspiring! I love you all! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Past the MTC half-way mark!

Dearest family and friends,

I cannot believe that I have been here for over half of my stay! To put things in perspective, all of the Spanish speaking missionaries that came in with me have their travel itineraries and will be going through in-field-orientation tomorrow! Wow! I can't believe it! They just come and they go! It's kind of a reality check for me. I am over halfway done and I am not even close to where I want to be spiritually or with regards to the language. I have to say that I am looking forward to the plane ride. It will be 12ish hours of stress free scripture and language study and sleep! It will be amazing. I don't know if I should feel guilty for that or not........ 

This past week I have learned a lot about charity. I was reading in Moroni 10 and in verse 20 it says something about faith and hope leading to charity, and I was kind of confused about that progression. I was thinking about the faith to knowledge progression. So I was thinking a lot about that I decided to read in Moroni 7 which talks a lot about charity. Verse 41 says: 

And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold say unto yothat ye shall have hope through the atonement of Chrisand the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternaland this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

That verse just hit me! It was the perfect explanation. If we have faith in Jesus Christ and hope that we will be raised to eternal life through the power of his atonement and resurrection, If we believe all those things enough to act on them (faith) then we will want to be like him. We will want to emulate him as closely as we can. Christ's charity (and consequently all of the other Christ-like attributes) is his defining attribute. His infinite capacity to love is what enabled him to be long suffering, meek, humble.... So how does this apply to us? If we say that we have faith in Jesus Christ and in his atonement and resurrection then we should be doing our best to be like he is. We should be turning out like he did. We should be trying to love everyone as he did. This is where the "faith, if it hath not works, is dead"(James 2: 17) comes in. Because if we aren't trying to be as much like him as we can, then we don't really have faith. 

I know I am kind of preaching to the choir and everything but that scripture hit me in a way that it never has before. Maybe it is something I really needed or that I needed to teach someone about (almost definitely both), but I know that this is important. I am so grateful to have been sent on a mission and I am so grateful for what the Lord has done for me. Christ is my hero and I want to be as much like him as I can. 

I love you guys! I hope you are doing well! Please give my love to Clarissa and Sarah! I am praying for you!

Siebach Choro