Man, this area is killer. Pretty soon, we are going to see a lot of miracles. We already are seeing many! I went to my first real church meeting in the ward yesterday and it was so much fun. Everyone was so welcoming and happy. There are also a TON of kids here. Sacrament meeting was really loud, which I haven't really experienced since America. So awesome. Also, I think there are more young women in this ward than there were in my home ward... It's been a lot of fun recently. Also, we were able to have our investigators come to church and had great fellowshipping from the members. There are a lot of members; about 100 every week, so getting names down is a work in progress... But, everyone that I have talked to has been super nice and I am so excited to be part of the ward family, because it feels like a family. Anyways, quick update on this past week!
We had a cool day on Wednesday. It was raining all day, and no one likes going out in the rain, so we really tried to visit some people so that we have less time outside. We had a few hours and only a couple people to visit, so if they didn't answer, we would have a lot of time on our hands. But we went with our plan and tried visiting them. The first person we visited answered and we were able to talk for a while with her about who we are and what we do as missionaries. Not very interested, but worth a shot. Then we went to go visit one of our progressing investigators who is working on quitting smoking. We tried it, but no one answered, so we went back to our bikes, a little disappointed. As we were just about to mount our bikes, we see our investigator biking toward his apartment! We were so grateful for that. We were able to go inside his house and talk to him and teach about how prayer can help him quit smoking. Smoking is the only thing that's stopping him from getting baptized. We committed him to cut down to a certain number the next day and we would follow up with him on it. It was a really good lesson and he accepted the challenge. We called him the next day asking how he did and he actually smoked less than the number we challenged him to! Such a big step for him. I have a lot of hope for him. He comes to church every week and has a lot of friends in the ward, so it's just a matter of time for him until he gets baptized.
Our Vietnamese friends are also doing pretty well. We taught them about prayer last week and they tell us that every night before they go to bed, they try to pray. Those two also came to church with a member and I think they had a great experience. They asked a lot of questions and was dialed in to the Sunday School lessons (which I had to translate again.) they will also be coming to an activity that we have on Tuesday with the ward. And, get this, they just asked if they could invite two more of their friends. So, if we could get them all to commit to being baptized, that would be so cool!! Please pray for them to accept the commitment!
Also, Moose is doing way good. We went hard talking about baptism this past week. he committed to get baptized, but still has some concerns with it, so it was a pretty soft commitment. We don't have a solid date for him yet, but we want to try for before May 22. However, we do know that it is not our timing. As a mission, we are trying hard for every companionship to have a baptism before the mission-wide conference on May 22. We have spent a lot of time with Moose since I've been here and I know that he will make the step. He just needs to gain a testimony by doing the little things; praying, reading the scriptures and going to church. He is still going to Seminary every morning and we have played basketball with him and other investigators this week.
Speaking of Basketball, we had a chance to play with a big group of people when we went with Moose. After a game, we would share a message about Jesus. This is something that I've never done before, but it is getting people interested. We are getting quite a bit of people to come play with us and it gives us a chance to show that we are normal people, but we also have a special message that we love. People see that and their image of religion changes. Many people in Japan at least think that religion is scary and it only leads to war. But, as people come and see what the church is about, they come to realize that religion is a way of life and that the people in a religion are normal, fun people. If church isn't fun, people won't want to come. That's something that I've learned recently. Missionary work is more than just going door to door or street contacting.
Another thing that I've noticed about effective missionary work is that if members are not involved, than the work is hindered. Members and missionaries have to be united or else the work just won't be done. It is so much more effective for missionaries to work closely with the ward than for missionaries to go knocking on doors. A great way to do missionary work for members is by setting up different kinds of activities that the missionaries and members can invite people to. In the week and a half that I've been here, I've been to a handful of activities. Whether it be a special seminary class, a dinner at a member's house or even a sports night, it gives the missionaries a great chance to get investigators to meet the members. We had a Sports night on Saturday where we were able to have 5 investigators come. Then, when they come, the missionaries can teach them a lesson and they can have more of a desire to learn more and get baptized. Missionary work without the members is honestly so ineffective. Missionaries aren't having fun, the work is hindered and people won't come. Just something that I've learned since coming here to Okayama and since I've been a missionary.
This was another long one! I'm sorry! I'm loving the area and the people that I meet everyday. Have a great week! Remember, keep smiling and give 'em Heaven!
Elder Lamoreaux ラムロー長老
Japan Kobe Mission 日本神戸伝道部
|The district for this transfer. You got the DL - Elder Johnson and Elder Trinca, Elder Wride and Elder Van Cleave (former comp!) Sister Nielson and Sister Uchida and then Elder Ray and I. Fun district!|
|We had a barbecue that we were invited to by some investigators. We had a few investigators and member show up and it was a great time. We were also able to teach a couple lessons to them. Missionary work is awesome.|
|We got to ride in an investigator's Jeep! it was so cool!|