Monday, February 22, 2016

JT - Power of Members

Dear Everyone,

This was a great week for us here in Higashi Osaka. We started off by going to Nara last Monday. Let's just say it was the best Preparation Day of my mission so far. It was so much fun!!!! Playing with the deer was insanely fun. I remember my High School Japanese teacher Mr. Park talking about Nara (he served in the Osaka mission) and it made me so excited to go when I learned that Nara was in our mission. So, after a year and a half, I was finally able to go! And boy did it live up to its potential. Such a blast. Enjoy the pics and videos if you want only a taste of how awesome it was. So great.

Preaching the Gospel to our Deer friends.
On Tuesday, we had an awesome day where we spent most of the day with two members down in Habikino (our other area.) One of them drove us around to a bunch of Less-Active members and Former and Current investigators. Man, I love those to members! They help us out so much. We were able to meet with and teach a few of the Less Active members. This is why I titled the letter this week "Power of Members." The longer I have been on a mission, the more I've realized that without members, missionary work cannot happen. It's impossible. The members know what is happening in the ward. They don't get lost easily. They know Japanese fluently. They have had many experiences in their life that we 20 year old missionaries just don't have. So awesome! The best thing was visiting our investigator, the one with all the problems. We were following up on his praying and then the member just went hard on the importance of praying and related it to baptism. We committed him to be baptized on March 27th! If we didn't have that member with us, we wouldn't have been able to address his concerns and help him feel the need for baptism. It was awesome! Working with members is the only way to do it. And then on Wednesday, we went out with a member who is leaving on a mission next month. We taught a couple lessons with him and helped him to gain confidence in missionary work. He will be an awesome missionary. He already is an awesome missionary.

We had Zone Conference on Friday and this time members were invited. There were about 25 members from all around the stake that came, 3 from our ward. It was great to be taught by President and Sister Welch. As a mission, we are starting to study the Atonement by reading the Book of Mormon. One of the scriptures that we read that day was Alma 7:11-13. We learned again that the Atonement does not only cover our sins. We learned that the Atonement is infinite and it covers EVERYTHING. in that scripture it says pains, afflictions, temptations of every kind, sicknesses, death, infirmities (weakness) and then sin. All of the things before sin are things that come to every person on the earth; good, bad or otherwise. Everyone. The only one we choose is sin. Everything else comes naturally. So, the atonement really is for every thing that has ever lived on the earth. It is so big that we can't even begin to comprehend the impact that it has on the world.

Another awesome part about zone conference with the members there as well is that President Welch went hard on Member missionary work. He told the member straight up that missionary work is not effective if the members' mindset is "宣教師たち頑張って!" (work hard missionaries! We'll watch!) it's not gonna work like that. Man, I loved it. Much of Japan is still in the mindset of missionary work is tracking and finding investigators, but now is the time for the members to step up. It was awesome to see that happen and I will work hard to help these members change their mindset and get courage to talk about the gospel to everyone.
Osaka Zone Conference!
My twin Takahashi Choro!  Love him!  My first Zone Leader and my AP for the past 5 transfers.  He is done with his mission in a couple of weeks, so don't know when I can get another picture with him.

Time is flying faster and faster everyday. I have just completed 3/4 of my mission. I only have 6 months left, which is crazy. Days are flying by faster than hey have before. I am so grateful for this opportunity to study the Atonement for the last part of my mission. I truly feel that this study will change my life and will help me be ready for life after the mission. The atonement is more than just erasing sins. It can help us in our everyday life. Everything that you have ever felt, good or bad, the savior has felt before. He knows us perfectly and is therefore the only one we can rely on to make weak things become strong. He loves us. Heavenly Father loves us so much that he let his son suffer for each of us. We can all access the power of the Atonement in our daily lives by living the gospel. Doing our best everyday unlocks the powers of heaven and will empower us to overcome the adversity and challenges we face everyday. The Atonement works. Please deeply ponder Alma 7:11-13 and try to access the atonement everyday. This church is so true. I love it! Being a missionary is hard, but it is so rewarding. I will never comprehend how much my mission is blessing me now and in my future. I am so grateful.

Have a great week! Love and miss you all!

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

Me trying to get a selfie with the deer.

There are deer everywhere here!  You can feed them and pet them and play with them!  It was so much fun!

Nara is also home to the biggest wooden building in the world with the biggest Buddha statue in the world!  That thing was absolutely huge.

So this hole in the pillar is supposed to be the same size as one of the nostrils of the big Buddha statue.  If you can fit through it, it is lucky apparently.  It was a super tight squeeze.

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