Monday, November 30, 2015

JT - Thanksgiving in Japan!

Dear Everyone,

This was an eventful week. Let's start with what happened on Thursday, Thanksgiving.

We got a call from the other Elders in the district saying that they want to have a Thanksgiving dinner together as a district. So, in order to do that, we need to have it become a good Missionary opportunity, rather than just missionaries hanging out. So, we decided to invite a couple members/investigators so that we can teach them a lesson and serve them. But, because it was so late notice, my companion and I weren't too confident that we were gonna get a good turn out. At the start of the day, we tried calling a few people but they were all busy/they didn't answer. Things were looking bleak.. Then, we had a lesson with one of our investigators and a member, so after that lesson, we invited both of them to the event, and they said they would come! And after that, some people returned our calls and we called a few more investigators and eventually got 9 people to come eat Thanksgiving with us! I was surprised but grateful for the turnout. We had half of our teaching pool at this thing! It turned out to be a very good, almost unplanned activity. We taught them about the importance of being grateful and we went around the table saying things that we were thankful for. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. We (by we, I mean Elder Racker. He's a chef) made some chicken and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy.(Just so you all know, you cannot buy these things in Japan and there are no ovens in Japan. This was all sent to us from America (besides the chicken.) the struggle in Japan tho) we even had Apple Pie! (Store bought and frozen, but it tasted so good!) The missionaries didn't eat anything though. There wasn't enough food for us to eat and we didn't have any time. So, it was an interesting Thanksgiving. The least food I've eaten ever on Thanksgiving day, but it was a nice change of things to see it on he giving end rather than the receiving end.
This is our Thanksgiving.  I'm not in the picture because I was helping cook the food.
We did get to eat Thankgiving leftovers though :)

There were also some disappointing parts of this week. We came into the week with three investigators who looked really good for baptism next month. We prepared well for their lessons, we prayed and found baptismal dates for all of them and we had a lot of faith that it could happen. The lessons seemed to go really well, but they one by one said no to baptism. It is hard to have gone from great potential to no progression. They all have different concerns and mindsets on the gospel and their faith isn't up to par yet. Two of them straight up said "haha, baptism? I don't want to do that." And the other one just isn't confident in himself. So, seeing that is pretty disheartening. Now we are basically starting from scratch with our investigator pool.

I've come to learn that in life you have ups and downs. But on a mission, you experience those ups and downs on a daily basis. One day could be amazing and the next could be hard. Imagine with me for a second. Think of a big rollercoaster. You are waiting in line for this crazy rollercoaster and you are experiencing a range of emotions; everything from excitement to terror. But, you've been waiting in this line for a long time and you are almost there so you have to get on no matter what. Now we are on that rollercoaster. We experience ups, downs, loops and everything. But, it is up to us how we look at each up and down that determines our enjoyment of the ride. I am kind of a wuss when it comes to rollercoasters and I remember when I was growing up that I would go on rollercoasters with my eyes closed, not enjoying the ride at all. These rides were horrible. But if I am on the rollercoaster and I am excited for the course, I end up having a great experience. This a lot like life. Ups and downs happen regardless because that's life. It is up to us whether or not we want to enjoy it or be scared of it. Therefore, these trials that we experienced this week were hard, but now it is up to us to move on and positively work hard. Move on from the hard times. Learn from them yes, but don't dwell and be sad about them. Look forward to the 'ups' in your life because they will always be there. As long as you are following the commandments and living the gospel faithfully, there will always be a blessing waiting for you. Trust in the Lord, for his promises will always be fulfilled.

That's a summary of the week, the last week of November. Wow time flies. I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving with your families and friends! Christmas time is here and the air just feels lighter and happier. Enjoy every minute of it! 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

From the baptism last week! This is most of the ward and 10
missionaries who came to the baptism. The one who got baptized is
holding flowers in the middle-ish. Awesome day!

Ramen selfie

I went on exchange with Elder Brailsford from Lone Peak High School to a place called Sekime.  This is such a beautiful area!  I realized that my area, Higashi Osaka, is the ghettos of Osaka.

My wonderful little district!  Top from left to right - Elder Wharton, Elder Brailsford, me, Sister Omisaki, Sister Rowe and Elder Racker.   Elder Racker made really good pineapple pancakes and we ate it before District meeting.  These missionaries are awesome

Kids in a park!  They thought Elder Wharton was a famous American...

This guy is leaving on his mission today!  We had a farewell party/Family Home Evening thing last night with the ward.  He will be an awesome missionary in Fukuoka.

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