It has been a very rainy week. I don't know if I have seen so much rain in my life. (in Utah anyway). We have to leave the house everyday with our rain gear. Today especially has been rainy. Heavy rain too. It's a good thing today is preparation day though. Anyway, let's get on to the past week.
Yesterday at church, we had the opportunity to hear from an Area Seventy. 青葉長老 (Elder Aoba) in the Area Seventy came to visit his son's family, who live in the Nishiwaki branch. That was an awesome, and lucky chance for us. Actually, my companion Elder Scowcroft's first area was Niihama, where Elder Aoba was serving as Branch President at the time, so we were able to talk to him for a while. Once again, I feel so blessed to be in 西脇 (Nishiwaki). Opportunities like this one don't happen to every missionary. He even invited us to come to the Leadership meeting that they were having after church, so we went to that too. He talked about how to get the younger generation of the church more active and excited about the church. Especially in Japan, the younger generation (primary to young adult age) is weakening and so it is very important for everyone to work hard on establishing the church in the families. By doing daily family prayer, scripture reading and weekly Family Home Evening and going to church each week, we can strengthen relationships within the family, as well as strengthen the body of the church. By making Christ the center of our homes, we can strengthen the whole church, one family at a time.
A little side note on yesterday. I played piano for sacrament meeting and 青葉長老 (Elder Aoba) came and complimented my piano playing. (I messed up a few times, but he was really nice). He also wants me to come serve in Shikoku, which is the big island in our mission, where he lives. That would be very fun and since a member of the Seventy said i should, i should probably go there right? haha we'll see.
Each week for sacrament meeting now, we have an investigator carpool! This week, one of our new investigators (who is Filipino) came to sacrament meeting on his bike and so our English speaking investigator who comes every week, offered to give him a ride to church every week. So that happened! I think it is kinda funny that the investigators that we have coming to church recently are English speakers... We are still working on the Japanese speakers!
On Friday, we had Zone Training Meeting at 福知山 (Fukuchiyama). We talked about the importance of prayer. I wanted to share a couple of parts of the 'Prayer' entry in 'True to the Faith'. "If you have a difficult task before you, Heavenly Father is pleased when you get on your knees and ask for help and then get on your feet and go to work" I really like that because how many times have we prayed for something to happen, but yet don't do anything that will help in accomplishing it. I can remember back in High School when I would have a lot of homework. I would pray and ask that I would be able to finish the homework well and on time, so that I could get good grades. That is a good thing to ask for right? But, I would be lazy and not do the homework to the best of my ability and I would be lazy and procrastinate. So, my prayer was almost worthless because I did nothing to help that prayer come to pass. God expects us to do our best in order to "fulfill" our prayers. Action needs to happen on our part in order for God to fully help us. "As you make a habit of approaching God in prayer, you will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him. Your desires will become more like His. You will be able to secure for yourself and for others blessings that He is ready to give if you will but ask in faith." In missionary work and really in any part of our lives, we need to be one with the will of our Heavenly Father. He knows what is best for us and our lives will be so blessed if we are complying to His will. Prayer is a big contribution to being unified with God. Also, God has blessings waiting for us. Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. That is God's promise, and he never breaks his promises. One more. "Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He may not always answer as you expect, but He does answer—in His own time and according to His will. Because He knows what is best for you, He may sometimes answer no, even when your petitions are sincere." God loves us and he does hear our prayers, I can testify of that. He knows us perfectly and knows what is best for us. I have said it before, but it is so important. We need to trust in God with all that we have, even when things aren't going well. We need to have faith that everything happens for a reason and everything will be for our good. I learned that Prayers should be an important, even one of the most important, aspects of our individual lives. Before my mission, I didn't think prayers were a big deal, and because of that, I hardly prayed. Now that I am on a mission, I need prayer more than breakfast. Prayers have such a huge impact in our everyday lives. We can talk personally to the creator of heaven and earth and the Almighty God will answer us personally and privately. How incredible is that? Communication with God all day, everyday, should be the first thing on our everyday "To Do List". Please try to develop the habit of saying a prayer at least every morning and every night, as well as Family Prayers. It will go a long way. I testify of that truth.
So the coolest thing that happened Investigator wise is the new Filipino investigator. He is a friend of our other Filipino investigators and he seems like the one with the most potential to progress far in the Gospel. He came to church by himself yesterday and I think he had a good experience. He is 18 years old and like a lot of Filipino people, grew up Catholic. He has a few questions regarding the gap between the Bible's teachings and the Catholic beliefs. I think he has very good questions that this gospel can answer perfectly. I really think that he has been prepared by Heavenly Father to hear about the restored gospel. I am really excited to continue teaching him and hopefully to see him accept the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We have big goals for this transfer. I really want to strengthen our investigators in the Gospel and in order to do that, I need to dedicate myself to more sincere prayers and more dedicated study and service. We have many investigators who if they would keep their commitments, could progress very well. With prayer and fasting and work, they can do it and it will be amazing. The work is starting to pick up pace and I hope we can be able to Bring many people into the fold of God.
Thank you for all the support and the prayers on my behalf and on behalf of all the missionaries throughout the world. I love you all. I am having a great time here (despite the rain) and am learning every day. Remember Alma 37:36-37. Have a great week!!
|Missionaries meeting with a member. Fun times!|
|It's my name on a drink!!! Too bad it's coffee...|