Monday, September 28, 2015

JT - お久しぶり "Long time no see"

A giant Anpanman blow-up bouncy house!

Dear Everyone,

First off, I want to talk about how happy I am to be in Maizuru, in the same District (equivalent of a stake) as my first area, Nishiwaki. Yesterday, all of the District's Priesthood holders and Elders went to Fukuchiyama for District Priesthood Meeting. I have been looking forward to this day for the past month because I knew I would be seeing a lot of the members from my bean area. Boy did it live up to my expectations.

As soon as I got inside the building, I saw familiar face after familiar face. Nishiwaki is the biggest branch in the district, so about half of the people that were there were from Nishiwaki. The best part about this was that they all remembered me and they remembered my name! That made me so, so happy. They all also commented on how good my Japanese has become. (Even though it still sucks). It was so nice to be able to talk to all of them. Actually talk to them! When I was in Nishiwaki, I couldn't understand what they were saying and I couldn't speak back to them very well, but now I can basically say anything that I want to say, and it was really refreshing to see the difference that has been made in my Japanese in the past 6 months or so. Man, I love those members so much. I am so grateful that I have spent 9 of my 11 months in Japan in this same zone. I love the members here so much. I can't even describe it. Nishiwaki and Maizuru have been so good to me and it is all because of the members here. Genuine children of our Heavenly Father. Anyway, I went on for a while about this experience, but it was one of the best times I've had in my mission. お久しぶ 西脇! Long time no see Nishiwaki. It was great.

Also, in this meeting, our mission president, President Welch was there and gave an incredible, powerful talk about member missionary work. Now, as a District, we are focussing on teaching the members and less active members so that the missionaries can gain a lot of teaching experience and also to encourage members to introduce their friends to the missionaries. His talk really pumped me up and now I really want to teach a lot of lessons! Also, for the whole meeting, I translated the talks for my companion Elder McArthur and I was able to translate pretty well. I felt way good after that. Recently I have realized how my Japanese has improved as of late, and it is now to the point that speaking in Japanese is fun for me now! I never would have thought it would be like this a couple transfers ago. Crazy how God works sometimes.

That brings me to my new companion. His name is Elder McArthur. He is from New York City! (Just like Elder Scowcroft, my second companion in the field. I am pretty sure they are the only ones that are from New York City and I somehow become companions with both of them...) we have a lot in common and it will be a great transfer together. He is 2nd transfer, but he is already an incredible missionary. I mean, I could totally see him as AP sometime down the road. Honestly, I should not be training him. He should be the one training me! Like, this guy is incredible. I can learn a lot from him and I can tell we are going to do a lot of work here in Maizuru this transfer.

The first thing that we will accomplish is helping our investigator to be baptized on Sunday!! She has her baptismal interview on Wednesday, and if she passes that, we will have the Baptismal Service on Sunday, October 4th! Super excited for her! Her husband and daughter are even more excited! We taught them on Saturday and when we said that the baptism is next week, their 8 year old daughter got her scriptures, and right away found the baptismal prayer and started reading it in the voice of her father. 1) how did she know where to find that scripture??? I don't even know where that is... (Well maybe I do, but that's not the point, she is 8 years old!) it was so funny and I am so excited for them.
Elder Van Cleave's last time with these people!

Well, things are really looking up for this area. This week, with saying bye to Elder Van Cleave and saying hi to Elder McArthur, we had 14 lessons for the week, which is a big step up from the past couple of weeks. We are confident that we can surpass 20 lessons a week soon. As we strive for that, we will see miracles. I have faith in that. The Lord will bring to pass his will in his own timing, and I believe that the timing is now for this area. Buckle your seatbelt folks, it's gonna get wild!

Love you all so much! Thanks for the continued support, prayers and encouragement. It is much appreciated! Have a good time watching General Conference this week. Learn a lot! Japan gets to watch it a week later than all, so please, no big spoiler alerts haha! That reminds me that this week, we lost another one of our beloved apostles, Elder Richard G. Scott. I was a little shocked at the news, but after the initial reaction, I felt peace because now, he is with his wife again. One of the reasons I loved Elder Scott was because of how much he truly loved his wife and he wasn't afraid to let others know about it. Because of him and his example, I know that my wife deserves to be treated like that. I want to use that as a model for how I treat my wife. I know that if I can do that, we will be able to have an eternal relationship. Thank you Elder Scott. We will have 3 new apostles that are going to be called. It is pretty exciting stuff. Well, The church is true, the book is blue and all that jazz. Love you 

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部

Us and the Branch President and his wife for Elder Van Cleave's last day in Maizuru.


This is a view of the city of Maizuru.  We were on top of a tower which overlooks everything.  We went with the Branch President and his wife today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

JT - "And at last I see the light!" -Tangled

Dear Everyone,

So, transfer calls came! Unfortunately, my companion Elder Van Cleave is gypsying (getting transferred after just one transfer in an area. Weird missionary lingo). He is transferring to Hanayashiki. But, I am staying in Maizuru!!!! So excited for that! My new companion is Elder McAurthur. I don't know who he is, but I will be his 2nd trainer. (How the mission works is that for a missionaries first two transfers, they are being trained. So me being this Elders 2nd trainer means that he is halfway done with being trained.) so I will finish up his training, which is going to be way fun! I am still DL, so I am excited to continue this. It will be a good transfer. よろし Van Cleave 長老! it's been a great transfer!

Today, I want to share something very interesting that happened to me while studying this past week. I was trying to study for District Meeting, but I was pulling up a blank. We had to talk about how to help others have spiritual experiences, but I had no idea what to do. So, as I was sitting there, a song came into my mind which lyrics are "and at last I see the light, and it's like the fog is lifted." A random Disney love song came into my head for some reason. I was like "that was weird," then I actually thought of the lyrics. And then all of a sudden, it hit me like a sack of bricks. We need to help people have spiritual experiences that can connect to the Light of Christ that is already in them. I remembered President Packer's quote in PMG that says, "the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar ‘ring’ to them." A light triggered in me and I found that this works perfectly with what I should do for this District Meeting. I realized that everyone has had the Light of Christ with them their whole lives. What we as missionaries need to do is help them realize and finally define those 'Light of Christ' feelings they've had. And it worked pretty well in DM on Friday. District meeting went really well. My whole district participated a lot which really brought the spirit and I was able to learn a lot. I think my district also learned a lot from the spirit that was there. I loved it! Well, there you have it. Revelation coming from a Tangled love song.

The District at a nice Japanese style restaurant! From back left to
right: Elder Van Cleave, Elder Tsuchiya, me, Elder Dale, Sister
Gibson, and taking the selfie, Sister Saijo.
Well, this week was pretty slow;not many things going on. But we had a couple of cool experiences! Our investigator who is set for baptism in two weeks isn't feeling very well, so we haven't been able to meet with her for a while. We were thinking about ways to help her, and we came up with the idea of cooking food for her family so that she won't have to. She is Filipina, so I tried making Lumpia for her. It worked out really well! I found some wrappers and I used ground beef, carrots, sprouts, and cabbage. However, I forgot one thing... Salt... So it was really bland, but still pretty good. It was my first time making it from scratch so give me a break ;). At any rate, it went well, she really appreciated it and I hope it makes her burden a little lighter. We also gave her a Tagalog Bible that finally came here from Tokyo. Afterwards, she sent us a text all in Tagalog thanking us for the stuff. I actually understood all of it! Tried answering back in Tagalog, but that was really hard. Anyways, I think things are still going good for her baptism in two weeks! Pray that she will overcome these pre-baptism trials!
Lumpia!!! (Elder Van Cleave helped me wrap some of them)
Also, in this branch, there are three main couples who come to church every week. They are all in their 40's ish, so not too old, but neither of them have children. I don't know the reasons why, but nonetheless, no kids. But, a few weeks ago, we received news that one of these couples finished the papers that allowed them to adopt a baby!! They picked their new baby up from a hospital in Tokyo a couple days ago. Yesterday, we were invited to go with the Branch President, his wife and our first councilor to go see their baby for the first time. It was a very special moment. This baby was born a month early, so she is tiny. She was born last month, but is still super small. They also allowed us to hold the baby (against the rules maybe??). Haha, it was such a cool experience and I am so excited for this couple. They looked so happy to finally have a child. I felt so privileged to be a part of this special moment.

Well, that's about it for this email. Lots of new stuff coming for next week! Missionary work ain't easy, but if you keep smiling and give 'em Heaven, it is the best thing you could possibly be doing! Love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部

Holding the Baby!  So awesome!  She is so small!

Japanese restaurant.  A boiling pot of stuff!
I've been experimenting a lot with food recently!  It's been fun.  This is some pork and veggies mixed in a mix of Yakiniku and Sweet chili sauces.  It was yummy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

JT - 穏やか "Odayaka"

Dear Everyone,

"Odayaka" is the word of the week. It means calm, gentle or quiet. I learned it on Tuesday and I swear I heard it at least twice everyday since then. It is a beautiful word and I decided to make that my title because I have like no other ideas for titles.

This was an awesome week! I had District Leader Council in Kobe on Tuesday. So, my companion and I went to Fukuchiyama Monday night. I went on splits with the DL in Fukuchiyama so we could go together to Kobe. It was a great meeting! We received lots of training on the Doctrine of Jesus Christ and how an understanding of that can really solve any problem that you have in life. As a mission, we have been reading the Book of Mormon with a focus on understanding the Doctrine of Jesus Christ better. We spent about an hour and a half in that meeting discussing what everyone has learned so far. Then we discussed about the difference between Ministering and Administering. I am called as a DL to minister to these people as the Savior would minister. Throughout our discussions, I came to the conclusion that the most important thing for a person to do in this life is to develop Christlike love. Love truly is the motive for anything good in the world. If we can just let go of our pride and learn to love everyone, despite of their actions, this world would be a much better place. So, I am trying to love more all those around me. Showing love through simple acts of kindness is the most important thing. I realized that saying you love someone and actually loving someone are two separate things; much like the principle of Faith. It is through our actions that determine our love. Love is really so important, and I am working more on that. After a lunch consisting of Costco Pizza (yesssss!!) we were trained on teaching simple lessons so that our investigators will understand what we are saying. All-in-all, it was a great meeting and I learned so much.

DLC! (District Leader Council) here are all of the District Leaders in the Japan Kobe Mission!  We were able to receive training from President and Sister Welch and the Assistants.  It was a great time!
Tastes like America! (But much more expensive..)

Elder Simpson and I at Burger King in Kobe going on splits for DLC
On the bus.. Yay!

Friday was District Meeting and we had some great discussions about the things that I learned in DLC. Everyone in my district participated and it turned out to be a great opportunity to learn through the Spirit. We even had a recent convert come and participate in our meeting! We also talked about the importance of testifying about simple truths. I am getting better at organizing district meetings. I found that you can prepare really well, but sometimes, the Spirit makes the meeting go a different direction than you have already planned. It's pretty cool to see it flow throughout the meeting. Somehow, we were able to cover all that we needed to cover and I think everyone had a good experience there. Everything is starting to come together, little by little.
The district at Sushi after District Meeting!

Saturday and Sunday, we were able to teach a few fun lessons. One of them was to one of our old investigators. We decided we wanted to sing 神の子です "I am a Child of God" to him. I haven't really sung in lessons before, but when we did here, there was a great spirit that was felt. Hymns can truly bring the Spirit into a room more than anything else can. I think we will try to sing more during lessons. Also, we decided to deliver cookies to some investigators that have been really hard to meet lately. One of them, an older couple, actually invited us in and we had a good, unplanned, teaching opportunity. It testified to me that when you are going about doing good, God will recognize your efforts, and will bless you accordingly.

We went to visit a Potential Investigator we found in the area book. All that was written was "he likes gaijin (foreigners)" and he was close so we thought "hey, why not?". Well he let us in and welcomed us into his "man-cave". Dang I want this so badly!! Inside were 3 Saxophones, 2 pianos/organs, a beautiful acoustic guitar, a framed "fender" bass and electric guitar, a flat screen T.V. and a small recording studio! It was so cool!! He played the saxophone for us and he let me play the piano and the guitar that he had. He then fed us some dinner out of nowhere which we appreciated. We tried talking about the gospel, but he said that he wasn't interested and said that it was "dame" (forbidden) for us to talk about God or pray with him. So, that's that. I like these kind of experiences you get on a mission haha! Then after that, we taught our 41 year old investigator who has the mind of a 10 year old. Let me just say, that was a tiring lesson, trying to teach a primary lesson in Japanese to a middle aged man...

Here is a cool fact about the city that I am serving in, Maizuru. Maizuru, being on the coast of the Sea of Japan, is home to one of the biggest Naval bases in Japan. There are also many cruise ships that stop in Maizuru and there are always naval officers walking around here. Well, rewind to the times of World War II. The United States were wanting to drop an atomic bomb on Japan right? Well, they initially wanted to drop the A-bomb on Maizuru. It would take out their naval base and I guess be better for America. However, that day as they were getting closer to Maizuru, they realized that the weather over Maizuru at that time was too cloudy; not good for dropping a bomb. So, instead of dropping the bomb over Maizuru, they changed course and dropped the big bomb on Hiroshima. So, thanks to the crazy weather of Maizuru, the U.S. had to move their plans to Hiroshima. I hate the story of the atomic bomb, but now it kind of hits home to me more that that could've been the people that I am serving and talking to now. Anyways, I think that is an interesting fact about Maizuru. Pretty cool right!?

Well, that's some of my experiences from this week. This church is true, and the gospel is the solution for everything. Literally everything. If you ever come across a situation, think "which principle of the gospel would help me if I understood it more?" I promise if you ponder on that, and then act accordingly, you can overcome that and you can be strengthened by it. Love you all! Keep smiling and give 'em 

穏やか "Odayaka"

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部

King size at Sukiya

Monday, September 7, 2015

JT - A week about Job (the bible dude Job)

Dear Everyone,

This week was basically a normal week as a missionary in Japan.  Recently, as a mission, we have set the goal to teach 20 lessons a week, which will be a stretch for everyone. With me and my companions, we have been averaging probably 7 lessons a week, so this past week, we really wanted to hit that 20 lesson mark. We had the help of our Branch President to do so as well. We tried visiting all of our investigators and a few less active members as well. We also went with our Branch President and taught a Home Teaching style lesson to a couple members. Along with our finding efforts and everything else, we ended up with 13 lessons, which isn't the goal, but we had a significant jump in our numbers; almost half! I know about the power of setting goals; number goals, study goals, personal goals, etc. I have seen that when you have your mind set and focused on a goal, you will work harder to reach that and you will receive help from Heavenly Father in order to make it happen. We will work even harder this next week to get up to that number. It will be a little hard though, because we are going to Kobe for a meeting and won't be in our area for a couple days... But, I believe and have faith that it is possible.

So, in explanation to the title of this week, I have been studying a lot lately about Job. If you think it is random and "why would he study that?" Then you are thinking like I am because I honestly have no idea either. As I was talking on the phone with one of my Zone Leaders, I had a question about how I could be a better Leader for these missionaries, and he suggested that I pick a leader in the scriptures to study and learn about so that I can learn how to be a leader from them. When he said that, the first person that popped in my head was Job. So, thinking that it might be the Spirit telling me to study Job, I picked Job. So why study Job? Hopefully I won't have to go through some of those insane trials that Job went through (for example, in one day, all of his cattle and servants were captured and killed, lost all his riches and all of his children were killed in a freak tornado. Not to mention, after that, he then suffered insane amount of sickness and bodily grossness that no body could recognize him. Also, all of his friends are accusing him of sin... Just little trials like that, no big deal.) However, despite the 'out-of-nowhere-ness' of this study, I have learned so much from the example and story of Job. Job was essentially perfect; perfectly obedient, incredibly faithful. Even despite these trials he puts all of his trust in God and even Praises God for all of his blessings, even though he literally lost everything. Job 1:20-22 says "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, 'Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.' In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." Also, in Job 13:15, Job says "Though he (God) slay me, yet will I trust in him:" Wow, what do you think of that? How much faith and trust does one need in order to say something like that? So much faith, so much trust that I cannot comprehend. As I have been studying the life and example of Job, I have learned a lot about trust, faith and also how to properly comfort people in their trials (because his "friends" did not do a good job at all.) I am excited to continue to learn about Job and how I can apply this in my life.

I love you all! I am so grateful for all that the Lord has blessed me with in my life. I am so grateful to be in Japan as a missionary. Even when serving in Japan is hard at some points, I wouldn't have it any other way. Have a great week!

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部

How could I forget!

Dear Everyone,

I can't believe I forgot to write about his experience! So, on Thursday, we were going to do weekly planning, but we get a call from our Branch President asking if we were free to go with him and give someone a blessing. So, living up to our calling as ministers, we dropped what we were doing and went with him. He got a call out of nowhere which said that a member's father was going to die in a few hours, so she wanted the Branch President to give him a blessing before he passed. So, this was a very humbling experience; another reminder to always be worthy to hold the Priesthood. We went to the hospital room, and he was pretty well gone; attached to tubes and everything. Our Branch President gave a beautiful blessing as my companion and I participated. After that, we left and the man passed away a few hours later. Definitely a special experience and I am grateful for the power and blessing of the Priesthood. It is real and it is truly the power of heaven on earth.

Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部

Found this guy at the Fukuchiyama train station. It is Yokai Watch,
which is super popular in Japan. I think it is replacing Pokemon.

The Fukuchiyama Zone for Zone training Meeting.  Those sisters on the board couldn't make it, so we included them in the picture.

Yup.... I don't know how to do faces...

A Navy ship on the coast

This, my friends, is a two way road in Japan.  I will never be driving a car in Japan... Ever...