Tuesday, April 28, 2015

JT - Another week in the Greatest Mission in the World

Dear Everyone,

Can I just say how grateful I am to be in the Japan Kobe Mission? I am
so blessed to be in this mission, surrounded by the best missionaries,
the best mission president and serving in the best area of Japan. I
feel like there is no other mission I could possible be in. This
mission suits me perfectly. I know that God is in charge of everything
that happens. He knows all things. I was reading the Book of Mormon in
personal study and came across 2 Nephi 2:24 "But behold, all things
have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things" I thank
him for placing me in the Japan Kobe Mission.

Anyway, as far as the work goes, it's been a better week this week! We
found 2 new investigators by street contacting and through the Area
Book. I am not sure exactly how good their interest was, but we will
meet with them again, well hopefully. One of them, we found in he area
book and decided to visit him. At his house, we saw right next to the
door, in the entryway a bulletin board, a little bigger than a piece
of paper, with old pictures of missionaries from probably 20 years
ago.... It was a little creepy to be honest, but he was an awesome
guy. His favorite foods are broccoli and carrots. I thought that was
interesting as well. 

Here is a story about fasting. So, this week, my companion and I were
in a pickle because we only had 3 investigators and we have done all
that we could possibly do for them. There wasn't anything else we
could do with them besides wait. So in order to find more people to
teach and in order to be led to those whom the Lord has prepared for
us, we decided to fast. Now for me, fasting hasn't been a big part of
my life. Before my mission, I didn't fast very often, so I am still
getting used to fasting. The whole day we were fasting, we saw the
Lord's hand in our work. All of our contacts were good contacts.

A kid we ran into while streeting.

Here's a funny story. We were walking down the road and we were
talking to a high school student about Joseph Smith. We had just given
him "the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith" pamphlet and he was
looking at it. All of a sudden an older woman came up from behind the
high school kid and started looking at the pamphlet. She looked at
that and looked at us and said "ah Morumon kyo" or "oh the Mormons"
then she started saying things like, "the bible is true! Don't change
the bible!" And other things like that. Then as she was leaving she
said, "Kami wa kami desu. Aaa amen!" (God is God, a-men!) in kind of a
Professer Umbridge tone of voice and then walked away. My companion
and I looked at eachother and at the High School student and we were
all confused. I thought it was his mother for a second. Then I asked
the Kid, "do you know her?" And he said "metaku shiranai" (I most
definitely don't know her). We all had a nice laugh. Then, as we
walked away, we ran into her again and she started Bible bashing us.
Then we mentioned the Book of Mormon. We must let her bash with us and
one thing led to another and we ended up giving her a Book of Mormon
and she seemed pretty excited about it. I will say, that was one of
the more interesting and amusing stories of my mission so far.

So that day, we were able to talk to many people. Although we were
only able to find one new investigator, I testify of the power of
prayer and fasting. God recognizes when we sacrifice and if we do it
with the right heart, he will bless us immensely for it.

This week, our refrigerator broke! So when we woke up on Friday,
everything in the fridge wasn't being cooled, so in order to save it
all, we decided to eat everything from the fridge. It was so much and
so disgusting after a while. That was an interesting morning. We got a
new fridge from the mission office, but for the past 3 days, we
survived off bread, avocados, some eggs and instant ramen. Let's just
say that was an adventure. I never realized how much of a blessing
refrigerators are...

I also want to say that there are so many people in the world who live
hard lives. So many people are struggling. I went to one of our
investigators houses to teach a lesson and I have never been in a more
unkempt place in my entire life. I couldn't see how anyone could live
in those kind of circumstances. Everyone has made choices that have
put them in their situations, but they don't have to stay like that.
No matter what anyone has done in their life, they can change for the
better. That is the beauty of the Atonement of Christ. No matter what
happens in life, no matter how far off the end you might think you
are, you are never out of reach of the Atonement. These people who are
struggling are all around you. Sometimes They just need someone to
talk to, someone to smile at them, someone to show love to them.
Really, even the smallest acts of kindness and love can have a huge
impact on a person. We never know who is having a hard time, or who
needs he love of Christ. They could be your neighbor. Therefore, my
invitation for you this week is to find someone who needs a little
pick me up. Help make their day a little better. Say Hi to them, show
them you care. You could even share a positive little message on
Facebook or Twitter. Really, any small act of kindness can have an
impact on someone's life. Let's make this world a better place, one
small act at a time.

I know that Jesus Christ is our savior. It is by His atonement that we
can all be saved. He paid the price. He paved the way for us to be
able to receive "all that the Father hath" and we can receive are
place at His side. Through he enabling power of the Atonement, or the
Grace of God, we can receive the strength to make it through our
trials and hardships in this life. Through the Grace of God, we can
have hope, even when going through trials. Jesus Christ lives and he
loves us. Come unto Him and rely on Him and you will be strengthened.
I know that is true.

I love you all! Have an amazing week. Keep smilin' and give 'em Heaven!

-Elder Lamoreaux

At zone conference, I saw my doki! (The ones who came from the MTC
with you) I love them all so much

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weston - Udpdate

I finished that book that you guys sent me already. It blew my mind. I love it so much. When I started reading it I couldn't stop; every spare second of the day I had, I had my nose in that book. It really inspired me to be a better missionary and gave me useful tips on how to do it. Did you read through it at all before you sent it to me? As soon as I finished it I handed it to Elder Hansen to read and he likes it as well. Thank you so much! 
     In Detroit we find a lot of new investigators, but we drop a lot of investigators as well. For this area we have to have two extra binders just for former-investigator teaching records. It seems like everyone in our area knows who we are. At least once every day we get someone yelling half way out of a car "Hey Mormons!" as they drive by. They really respect what we do. I've met a lot of people who cannot even comprehend what we are doing. "You're coming out here talking to people about God? How old are you? How much do you get paid for this? Where do you go to school? Are you trying to tell me your doing this because you want to?" YES!!!! That's exactly right! We're doing this because we love God and we want to HELP YOU!  AND WE LOVE IT!!!!!
      This week I made a goal for myself to go more in depth with people after they tell us they are not really interested. Why aren't you interested? What church do you go to? What drew you to that church? You may be surprised what points of doctrine you can slip in when you ask one of these questions after they've stated that they don't want anything to do with our church. Yesterday my companion and I ran into another Jehovah's Witness. Jehovah's Witnesses don't accept any literature from any other church so as soon as she opened the door, before we got to even say a word, she said "No thank you, I'm a Witness" and started to walk back inside. I then stopped her and asked if she would be interested in doing family history work. She told me that she would and that it was something she really wanted to do. I told her about how our church has the largest amount of family history information in the world and that it was all free. I offered her a Familyseach pass along card and she gladly accepted it! 
Love you all!
Elder Lamoreaux

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

JT - First full week in 北六甲 Kitarokko

Dear everyone,

This week was an interesting week. I am starting to get a feel for the
new area. In Kitarokko, there are 4 elders, so we all share an
apartment. That is pretty fun because it's like a camp out every
single night. Also I think Heavenly Father sent me here to Kitarokko
for a reason and that is so that I can develop buff leg muscles! There
are so many hills here and it makes biking that much harder. Up and
down and up and down. It is insane...

I saw someone who goes to the Nishiwaki Eikaiwa while biking in my new
area. Crazy!
Anyways, the work is going pretty slow here, but we are working hard.
We only have 3 investigators. I'll give the rundown on them. One of
them is a 9 year old boy who is the grandson of a less active member.
It is really hard to teach him because, well, he's 9 years old. It's
weird because it is pretty much like trying to teach Sammy, my 10 year
old little brother. He can't get baptized because his mom is hantai
(opposed to them getting baptized). So there really isn't much we can
do because, well, he's 9. So that's him.

Next is a 50 ish year old man who has been taught everything but just
doesn't believe it. He has been to church a few times, but when he
does, he argues with the members about points of doctrine. So with
him, we are trying to help him "hear the music of the gospel" (I loved
that talk by the way). It will be little by little, but we have faith
that he will get baptized soon.

Our next investigator is.... How do I put this..... A project. He is
36 (he told the elders for the longest time that he was 24 until he
first time I met him when he told us his real age). He dropped out of
school in junior high because he was addicted to drugs. He got put in
jail for drug dealing and he has just had a rough, rough life. His
sister recently committed suicide (like a month ago) and that has been
really hard on him. The missionaries have stopped him from committing
suicide a couple times. But he is a really kind hearted person. He
just has problems that only he and the Lord have the ability to fix.
At this point, the missionaries are trying to just be friends with him
(because he has none) and to help him do the little things like
praying and reading the Book of Mormon. He is definitely the most
interesting person that I have ever had to work with, but honestly, I
am excited for the challenge. This gospel can really change anyone,
even a man so lost as him.

So those are our investigators. To say the least, we have a lot of
work to do. These investigators are all so unique and we can only work
with them so much. We are trying hard to find more investigators, at
least people who will listen to a lesson and/or come to church. We
have a lot of work, but we also know that this is all in he Lord's
hands. He knows these people far better than we do, so it is up to us
to rely on him and to trust him completely and to work hard as well. I
have never realized the importance of sincere heartfelt prayer in
life, and missionary work. There is a quote by President Gordon B.
Hinkley in Preach My Gospel that states what I am trying to say.
“Every morning … , missionaries should get on their knees and plead
with the Lord to loosen their tongues and speak through them to the
blessing of those they will be teaching. If they will do this, a new
light will come into their lives. There will be greater enthusiasm for
the work. They will come to know that in a very real sense, they are
servants of the Lord speaking in His behalf. They will find a
different response from those they teach. As they do so by the Spirit,
their investigators will respond under the influence of the same
Spirit.” I am trying hard to have better prayers, praying for the
right thing, and working so that my prayers can be answered. I feel
like that is the thing that can help me the most and it will help this
area improve. God will grant success unto us if we align our will with
His through sincere, real prayer.

All in all, things are great. We are rolling out the use of the Area
Book Planner App for the iPads this week, so that will be another
exciting thing to figure out how to use. Anyways, I hope you all have
a great week. Always be aware of the blessings that God bestows upon
you everyday. They are always there if we look for them. Life is
better if you count your blessings and name them one by one. This
church is true!

Elder Lamoreaux

Sent from my iPad

Monday, April 13, 2015

JT - New Area, new experiences

Dear Everyone,

This week was a crazy week! We went to Himeji with the sisters, the
Branch President and his friend. It was super fun and super pretty.
The Sakuras are so great. We were also able to go inside the main
castle part and was able to see great views. So we got back and I
started packing for my move to Kitarokko. I learned one thing from
that experience, you never know how many things you have until you
have to pack it all away. I struggled to get everything in the bags
comfortably, but I was able to do it. That night, we went with the
sisters to teach one of their new investigators. He was so awesome,
basically fluent in English because he studied at the University of
Idaho of all places, and he seemed so golden. I was sad that that was
the last time I was going to see him.

Tuesday and Wednesday was full of goodbyes and packing. I hate saying
goodbye. Probably the thing I hate the most. I taught my last Eikaiwa
in Nishiwaki. That was surprisingly hard too, with the awesome
students that we have who come every week. We said goodbye to most of
the Investigators that I had been working with and the hardest ones
were the English speaking investigator, the Filipino guy with the
Baptism date and the 15 year long investigator. Wednesday was a great
day. One thing that I am grateful for now more than ever is Facebook.
I can always be connected to them through the Internet. Although I
can't use it quite yet, I had them look me up on their phones to add
me on Facebook haha.

Thursday came and our Ward Mission Leader picked us up from the
apartment and dropped us off at the bus stop. The Branch President and
his wife met us at the bus stop and we had one last goodbye and
pictures. I love this Nishiwaki branch so much. I will never forget
it. I'm sad to leave, but I am excited to start in Kitarokko.

My new companion is Elder Isaac. He is from Bountiful Utah, he went to
Woods Cross High School and he has been in Japan for 14 transfers. He
is awesome. We get a long pretty well. He is a hard working missionary
and I can learn so much from him. Kitarokko is so different than
Nishiwaki. It is way more city than Nishiwaki. It's actually not much
of a big city, but compared to Nishiwaki I think it is. We are
actually on the border of Nishinomiya city and Kobe city. I am In The
Kobe district and in the same district as the Assistants (scary
right?). About an hour bus ride away from the mission home.

Saturday and Sunday we were able to watch conference. What an amazing
conference! I learned so much and I thought that every single talk was
incredible. I especially liked Elder Holland, President Uctdorf (both
talks), Elder Bednar, President Eyring (Priesthood), President Monson,
Elder Wilford W. Andersen, and Elder Ringwood's talks. (I realized
that that is like all of them....) it was just so good. I sustain all
of the Lord's chosen leaders of the church. They hold the keys and
they speak the words of God.

The ward (that's right, Ward) has about 100 members that come every
week. Big difference than Nishiwaki. I was pretty overwhelmed at all
the people. It was General Conference, so "not a lot of people" showed
up. It was a lot of people! After conference, there was a party for a
person who was leaving on his mission on Monday. In this Ward, there
are I think 7 missionaries out. That is a lot even for Utah. I am very
excited to get to know these people more.

Things are going great for me. I love it hear and I feel recharged in
this new area. It'll get some getting used to, but it will all work
out for the best. Have a great week everyone!

Elder Lamoreaux

A bunch of missionaries

Saying Goodbye

New Area

Monday, April 6, 2015

JT - The end of my 西脇 reign...

Dear Everyone,
So the news came and I am transferring. I am leaving Nishiwaki and I am going to a place called Kitaroko. My new companion is Elder Isaac. I don't know who he is yet, but it's going to be great. I heard a little bit about the area. It is actually a ward! They have about 100 people come every week, so it will be a big change. It is one of the biggest wards in the mission. I'm excited but I hate to leave Nishiwaki. I love this place, but I guess I've been here long enough. I am so grateful for Facebook now because I can be connected to them somehow. Anyway, I am excited for this new experience. I hear good things about Kitaroko and I am very excited. I'll be moving on Thursday, so I have a couple days to say bye to everyone. I'm also kinda bummed because of our Filipino investigator being baptized at the end of the month, but it will be okay. I'll still be just as happy. I love Nishiwaki.
So you know how I said that Elder Scowcroft got sick last week? I caught his sickness this week, so we have been stuck in the apartment a couple days this week. It's not bad though, I'm already over it. I was able to get a lot of study down though which was good. So this week, we didn't teach a lot, but we were able to teach our Filipino investigator a couple times. He is looking so good for his Baptism. I am so excited for him. It seems like he has no problems that would stop him from being baptized. We read 1 Nephi 1 together with him. (I read it in Tagalog with him. That was fun, but I didn't understand all of it.) after we read he said, "after reading that, I believe more" which was really reassuring. He will be great!
We went to Himeji today, so this is a quick email. I went here before, but they were renovating the inside of it, so I wasn't able to go in, but today, it was open, so we were able to go in. Also, the cherry blossoms are out, so there is pink blossoms everywhere! It is so pretty, I'll attach pictures, but will send most of them next week (there are a lot and I am running out of time). It was a great experience.
I'll have more next week! Sorry it is kinda short. I love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Lamoreaux

P.S. I started using the "Hang Loose" sign... Don't laugh at me, it works haha.