Monday, August 22, 2016

JT - Sapporo Japan Temple Dedication-Perfect end to a mission

Dear Everyone,

My bags are on their way to the Airport, and this is my last Preparation day as a full time missionary. I'm going home on Friday. So weird to think that my mission is just about over. I still have a couple days, but, the past couple days have been an awesome book end to this part of my life.

We had the wonderful opportunity to watch the dedication of the brand new Japan Sapporo Temple; the third temple in Japan. It's the very northern part of Japan, so far from my mission, but the impact of that temple is still felt down in the Kobe mission. There were a few moments where I truly felt moved by the spirit and have been able to reflect on my mission experience thus far. I will mention a few.

The general authorities that came to dedicate the temple were President Russell M. Nelson, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and the Asia North Area presidency; President Whiting, Elder Yamashita and Elder Choi. I loved that because I have met every single one of them since I've been in the Japan Kobe mission. Last March, President Nelson visited our mission. January, Elder Choi came to speak to us and this May, we had a big conference where Elder Stevenson and the Asia North Area Presidency came. I've heard them speak in Kobe, specifically to our mission and I've shaken their hands. It was a special moment when I saw them all in white in the temple, dedicating this for the people of Japan. Super cool. Also, it was all in Japanese! Everyone (besides President Nelson) spoke in Japanese. I am really going to miss speaking and hearing Japanese everyday. It's such a fun language.

The other thing is, we had the opportunity to watch the Cultural Celebration the night before. Every time a temple is dedicated, youth from the area put on a show for the general authorities. The spirit that was felt there was amazing. It was weird because when the kids were doing a traditional Japanese dance, tears were falling. I just felt so much love for the Japanese people and so much desire for them all to receive the gospel. We had an investigator there and at the end, even he was crying! Such a special feeling.

My love for the Japanese people just sky rocketed because of the dedication of this beautiful temple. I haven't felt this kind of love for them until now, the last week of my mission. The Japanese people are so pure and so kind. There is so much good in them. They are all so close to fully receiving the gospel. A few more seeds to be planted and soon, really soon, the work in Japan is going to explode. I know that will happen. It's already been prophesied by many prophets and apostles. I long for the day when we have a temple in Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, or Okayama. When that day comes, I and many others will be insanely happy and you know I will be coming back to see that dedication. There are so many members here who are trying so hard to follow Christ in a non-Christian country. The closest temple to Okayama is in Fukuoka, and 8 hour drive. They need a temple and the Sapporo temple is one step closer.

I just feel insanely blessed to have my last Sunday in Japan a temple dedication. I am so grateful for the hand of the Lord in my life.  During these two years, I had some hard times and some really great times. I know that it's all been to my benefit and I have learned so much because of the experiences. I haven't seen that much "success", but I know that my mission was a success. I love the people that I have been able to serve these two years. Shout out to my five areas, Nishiwaki, Kitarokko, Maizuru, Higashi Osaka, and Okayama. Those places are like my home. Those people are like my family. Thankful for my companions and thankful for my Mission President, President Welch. The mission is great and I will miss being a missionary in Japan.

Just a reminder, I will be speaking at my home ward this Sunday the 28th at 9:00 AM. The address is 1122 Grand Ave. Provo, Utah. Afterwards, there will be lunch and stuff at my house. Address is 1124 N Independence Ave, Provo Utah. You can also visit that address anytime during the day if you want.

Love you all! Remember, Keep Smiling and give 'em Heaven. Always. 愛している皆さん!お元気で!頑張る日本!

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


   
Japan Sapporo Temple
Eating Sushi with an investigator!


On Kokan in Izumo with Madruga Choro.

Long story short, we had a very rare opportunity on this Kokan.  A sister finished her mission last week and her companion transferred out, so their apartment was messy and not being used.  They asked the Elders to clean it up for the next Sisters that will be there in 2 weeks.  So, we took this opportunity to do something that no other Elder had done before.  We slept in the Sisters apartment for a night.  Don't worry, we had permission and everything was according to the rules.  Crazy story though.

Had lunch at a member's house and they brought two friends.  The guy is from Texas but is full Filipino.  Lost of fun and so much English.

Last time with a member at the usual restaurant.

A bunch of missionaries right before the dedication of the Japan Sapporo Temple.

Photo bombed their picture

Picture with one of my favorite members.

We hiked the mountain for District Meeting!  Love these missionaries so much!

They killed me!




We all had matching glow sticks too!  We are so cool!


Monday, August 15, 2016

JT - Missionary life: a roller coaster ride.

Dear Everyone,

Time is ticking down. This week, I went to Kobe for the last time
until I'm actually done with my mission, and it felt weird saying
goodbye (for now) to all of my mission buddies. Had a really tender
District Leader Conference where we talked about the issues going down
in the mission and about a bunch of other things. I am very grateful
to be where I am right now. One of my biggest desires for the rest of
my mission is to be a good example for the members of my district. I
love them all and they have become awesome friends of mine. I hope I
can make these last two weeks something that could change their
missions.

Anyways, we had a really eventful week this week, which ended pretty
hard. So, this is a story about the sisters' investigator.

One Sunday last month, a member brought a friend to church for the
first time (yay for member missionary work!). She stayed the whole
time and the member gave her a Book of Mormon. She came again a couple
weeks later and from then, the sisters took over and started teaching
her. Last Sunday morning, she texted the sisters saying, "I've read
about 150 pages of the Book of Mormon and it's really good! I learned
that I really want to follow God in my life and I feel like the church
can tell me how to do that!" Any missionary's dream text. So, that day
after church, the sisters committed her to get baptized for the next
Sunday and she accepted! The plan was to meet with her everyday this
week, get her interviewed, baptism and confirmation on Sunday morning,
and then she can go to the Sapporo Temple Dedication next week. It's
such a miracle story. So, because I am their district leader, I was
privileged to do the baptismal interview. In the interview, she passed
with flying colors. She is golden. I had to do a little bit of
teaching, but her desire is there, her testimony is there and she
knows much more than I did when I was 8 years old. The sisters and
their investigator even wanted me to baptize her! But, the thing is,
she is 20 years old. She is above legal age, so she doesn't need
permission from her guardians. However, talking with our ward about
it, and they said it might be a good idea to at least talk to the
family about her being baptized. Long story short, they talked to her
family on Saturday and they were against her being baptized.
Therefore, the baptism on Sunday was cancelled. There are quite a few
frustrations about all hat happened, but, in the end, its in God's
will and timing.

The funny (not really funny,) thing is, that Saturday morning in my
personal study, I read a talk by Elder David A. Bednar entitled
"Accepting the Lord's will and timing." He told a story about a newly
wed couple who three weeks after their marriage, the husband was
diagnosed with a life threatening cancer. This couple had great faith
and they knew that he would be healed because they have so much to
live for. One day, Elder Bednar came to visit and they asked him for a
blessing. Elder Bednar felt inspired to ask them one question. "Do you
have the faith not to be healed?" As I read that story, I couldn't
help but apply that to our situation. During the interview, I was
positive that this person would get baptized on Sunday. But, after
reading that talk, I got nervous and felt that, maybe she won't get
baptized. Do I have the faith that she won't be baptized? A lot of
times in life, we don't get what we want. The point of that talk was
to accept what god's will is, even if it's not our desired result.

I feel like I have had to learn that lesson again and again,
especially in this area. We have had so much potential. We had a goal
two transfers ago to baptize 5 in one day. Now it's gotten to the
point where they all will take a long time to get baptized. As a
missionary it's hard to keep an eternal perspective, because we are
only here for 2 years. It's a short time compared to a lifetime. But,
that is why we need to trust God and accept his timing. He knows
everything and all we need to do is align our will with his.

So, that's the lesson I learned this week. Pretty painful lesson.
She's not even my investigator haha. But, things happen that are
sometimes out of our control. We just need to keep pressing forward
and do so while feeling the joy that comes from missionary work! Love
you all! Have a great week, and stay tuned next week for the
dedication of the Sapporo Japan Temple and my last Preparation Day
email of my mission!

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


   
DLC. District Leader Council in Kobe. So many of my mission friends
here. So blessed to have been able to go to this meeting-my last big
meeting on my mission. These people are the best.


My only son, Elder McArthur!

Elder Bateman and my adopted son, Elder Brailsford!

The best 4 in the mission.  Go Okayama!

The district and their grandma glasses.

Monday, August 8, 2016

JT - Weird Kokans and Last ZTM

Dear Everyone,

Not much time to email this week. In a little bit, we are going to Kouraku en for District P-Day.

I got a call from the Zone Leaders this week saying that they were going to do a crazy companion exchange because of some things going on in the zone. I ended up being with Elder Miller, who is also on his last transfer. We started the exchange on Tuesday and ended it on Friday. Longest Kokan of my mission. It was also a ton of fun. We talked about everything under the sun and also taught a lot of good lessons.

Had my last Zone Training Meeting as a missionary. It was a pretty sad moment. As a tradition, the missionaries who are "dying" the next transfer bear their testimony at the end of a zone meeting. They call it their "final testimony". So I gave that this week and it was an awesome experience. It will be a moment that I won't forget. Standing in front of everyone, thinking back on my mission realizing how much these last two years have changed me; it was one of the most spiritual moments of my life.

In that testimony I shared a scripture, Mosiah 27:25-26. It says "And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God." I know that the gospel is a gospel of change. Change is good. Repentance is good. I've done a lot of repenting over the course of my mission and I know now that I have changed for the better. My future will be so much brighter now because of my two years spent in Japan just trying to do my best for Heavenly Father. Mistakes happen. It is our responsibility to turn those mistakes into growth. I learned that weakness and mistakes will be for our benefit if we turn to Christ. Through his Atonement, he can make those weak things become strong.

That's about it for the week. I only have two more preparation days before the end. My homecoming talk will be August 28th at 9:00 A.M. In my new ward. The address is 1122 Grand Ave. Provo, Utah. It would be great to see you there! But until then, there is still lots to do.

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


  
"Lamoreaux the Lamanite"
Yeah, we did it!



Seminary with Elder Miller!
The Seminary kids did charades for Seminary and here were their props...
On our way to a Matsuri, (Summer festival) and fireworks show!
Last Zone Training Meeting
The ones on the ground are the "dying" missionaries.
We've been killed...

Monday, August 1, 2016

JT - Sweat, Bats, and Disappointments.

Dear Everyone,

It's August 2016... I never thought this month would come. I can't believe that I will end my mission this month... Done thinking about that!

So, August is the hottest month in Japan. Humidity is kicking my trash. I sweat so much, it's so gross. As soon as you leave the room with Air Conditioning, you just hit a wall of water and you start sweating from everywhere. So bad...  持ち悪い. (Not good feeling.) I am constantly wiping sweat off of my face and arms... Ugh

So, this week on Thursday, I was awakened at 4:15 in the morning to my companion saying that there is a bat in the apartment. I didn't believe him, but I look up and what do you know, there is a bat flying around in circles right above our heads! There were also like 4 bats outside of our apartments screeching to the one inside maybe trying to tell it to go outside. We were able to lead it into the kitchen so it could fly out of the window. It's not working, so we decided to find a badminton racket and try to push it out. Came back to the kitchen and it was gone. We thought it had flew out of the building. However, we came back that night after everything was over and again, the bat was flying around the apartment! So, we were able to get it out of the window with a badminton racket, but unexpectedly killed it... But, we come back on Saturday night after a long day of dendo and ANOTHER bat is flying around our living room! We have no idea how this is happening and why in the world a bat would want to come into our apartment. Anyways, we locked it into a room and came back the next day and it was gone... We called Sister Welch about it though and so everything will be okay. I will send an interesting video of us and the first bat. (Ps, we didn't mean to kill the first bat...)

We've had a couple disappointments with our investigators this week. A few of our Vietnamese friends are going back to Vietnam for a month, so this past week was the last time I would see them. Also, we haven't been able to make any contact with Moose, our 18 year old college student investigator, for 2 weeks, until yesterday when he came to church! It was so cool to see him come to church! (Even though he dyed his hair Orange....) However, he left right after sacrament meeting because he "had something." But then we invited him to a BBQ we had later that day at a church member's house. . He met us at the church, but because there weren't any other investigators coming to it, he didn't want to come and just went home. It seems like his interest and desire to join the church has just died. It was really sad to see him biking away as we were heading to the BBQ.

With what has happened this week and a lot of my mission, I have grown to love these words from PMG, "When people do not accept the gospel, do not be discouraged. You have raised a warning voice. You have given them a clear choice. Disciples of Christ feel sorrow when people choose not to repent, but they maintain a vision of who they are and what they are doing. They continue to diligently move forward." People have their agency and it is hard when they use their agency in a way that you know isn't right. However, our responsibility is to teach, instruct and love these people. If they choose not to follow, that doesn't mean you are not doing a good job. I am confident that most, if not all, of my investigators that I have taught will get baptized someday. Maybe not while I'm here, maybe even not in this life, but I know that because of the work and care of the missionaries and faithful church members, somehow, they will come to feel that this church and this gospel is true.

Well, that's the week folks. It's already August, I've only got a little bit of time left, but that won't change what I do each day. I'm gonna live it up in Japan for as long as I've got. Love you all! Have a great week everyone! Keep smiling and, well, you know the rest!

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


video

Seminary!!



At a baseball activity with the ward!


BBQ activity at a member's house after church!  I love this ward so much!