Monday, November 23, 2015

JT - I learned a new language!

Dear Everyone,

Another week down! It feels like the last Preparation Day was yesterday. The weeks just seem to be flying by. Time is weird.

Anyways, this week was pretty cool, with a couple awesome experiences.  Let's start with Tuesday. We get a call from a member who asked us to go to a friend's house to help her with a bike. This friend needed to send a bike to America, so she needed help to take it apart and put it in a box. So, we went. It was about a 45 minute bike ride, but we were able to find the house. We got there and this is when the fun begins.  Turns out this woman is deaf. She communicates by using Shuwa 手話 (手-hand, 話-speak) or Japanese Sign Language. How are we gonna communicate with her and how is she gonna talk to us? We walk in the house with the bike all ready for us. She also has her laptop open with Google Translate for us. Well, we start trying to take apart the bike how she wants it, and it's pretty silent. We were trying to ask her things like who she is, what hobbies she has, and other things like that, but it was just hard to communicate through Google Translate. Oh by the way, her parents were there as well, but they don't know sign language (don't ask me how they communicated her whole life). Well, let me tell you folks, the gift of tongues (in this case, is it the gift of hands??) is real! By the end of our time there, I was able to communicate and understand her fairly well using Japanese Sign Language! It was such a cool experience! Turns out that this lady is a member of the church who lives in California with her American Husband. The husband is a returned missionary from the Japan Okayama Mission in the 90's and they are still active now. She was staying in Japan with her parents for the last couple months. While here, she bought a bike and wanted to take it with her back to America. After we finished the bike, we were able to skype with her husband in California. That was a way cool experience. He gave us tips on how to have a successful mission and also how to have a gospel-centered family in the future. It was a great time, and now I know maybe 50ish words in Japanese Sign Language. So cool!

Another experience is a dinner appointment that we had last night at a member's house. They are a recent convert family with a little two month old baby. The wife is from the Philippines (Visayas) and her husband is Japanese. Wife is fluent in English and the husbands English is super good for a Japanese man. They have the cutest family and they were a perfect example of the kind of family that I want in my future. They love each other and their little baby so much and seeing that gave me a good idea of how I want my future family to be like. The husband just got baptized about 4 months ago. All around their house, they have pictures of a temple or Jesus with a little sticker that says "October 2016" - their goal for when they will get sealed in the Temple. Ahhh I couldn't get over how cute that was! We also taught them an AB lesson (After Baptism) about the Plan of Salvation. Their answers to our questions made us "awwww" each time (the sisters were there too.) it was so genuine, so pure. It was an awesome experience.

I realize that that paragraph was super gushy... The mission has made me soft dang it! Ahhh who cares, it was so sweet!

It was a pretty disappointing week for our investigators. We came in to this past week planning on inviting two of our investigators to baptism. We felt like they are ready and that they can be able to prepare for baptism next month. Well, it didn't end up happening this week. One of them, the bike guy, had a ton of concerns brought out to us during the lessons that we weren't able to bring it back to baptism and because of those concerns it caused us to wonder if he actually is ready to be baptized next month. The other investigator called us and cancelled the appointment we had with him and also called us on Sunday and said that he couldn't come to church. So, that kinda blew, but I still have hope for both of them and I still think they could make it next month. We'll see. We just have to accept God's will for them and pray that they can recognize answers to their prayers. Especially bike shop guy. He prays everyday, but he always says that God doesn't hear his prayers because the answers aren't coming in the way that he expects them to come. We tried resolving his concerns by using scriptures and videos that explain that sometimes answers come in ways that we don't expect it, often in small, almost unrecognizable ways. He seemed to understand and his faith seemed to build. Hopefully he can have a desire to follow Jesus Christ and to accept the Lord's timing.

In district meeting this week, I had my district read and discuss the talk "Come what May and Love it" by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin in October 2008 general conference. I love that talk. It really is the key to finding happiness even when there are trials and even when we make mistakes. I invite you all to read or listen to that talk. (I recommend listening to it, it is also a really funny talk). Elder Wirthlin shares four key principles that allow us to love life. 1) Learn to Laugh. 2) Seek the Eternal. 3) The Principle of Compensation. And 4) Trust in the Father and the Son. I know that by following these principles, we can find more happiness and we can enjoy life. I especially like Learn to Laugh one. We make mistakes all the time. If we learn to laugh at them instead of regretting them, life is better. None of us are perfect. We make mistakes sometimes. Laugh, learn from them, and get closer to the Savior. Repent. Everything will work out. We can live life joyfully.

Well, I don't have much time left. The sisters in my area have a baptism in a few hours and we need to help set up for it. I will probably send some pictures from it before P-Day ends. I love you all, I miss you all, the church is so true and the gospel is joy. Keep smiling and give 'em heaven!

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

Some really good seafood ramen and gyoza!

This is at the house of a famous man in our ward.  His name is Nobuaki Irie (the one on the far left).  He is a member of the ward here and he is also a singer.  He has sung many, many songs that Janice Kapp Perry has written.  If you search his name, you will probably find some good stuff.  I will buy a signed CD from him some day.  He has served a mission, graduated from BYU, taught at the MTC and has been with a few of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  Such a cool man.  The other guy is someone who is leaving for his mission next week.  He is going to the Japan Fukuoka Mission.  This was a "good-bye" dinner type thing.

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