Saturday, December 19, 2015
10/26/2015 "Greatest rewards come from our greatest trials."
I'm going to have to be quick today, I didn't leave myself much time to email. I just want to share a few things that have happened this week that were great experiences for me. The first was zone conference, which is held about every four months. Welch kaicho and Welch shimai come with the Assistants to the President and they give us a little bit of missionary training. My district had to begin traveling the day before the conference because we are kind of far away from Matsuyama where it was held. It wasn't like a formal training, though, we basically just discussed the section of scriptures we had been assigned to read, and what we had learned from them. It was an eye-opening experience for me, because it showed me that I don't have to go anywhere special to receive missionary training. I can pick up my scriptures anywhere and learn by the examples of the prophets that have come before us.
We were assigned to read from Alma 5 to Alma 40 before the conference, and during the conference we each shared a scripture that stood out to us the most. I shared Alma 26:27. I'll let you all look it up on your own, but the scripture is about Ammon and his brothers as they go out to teach the Lamanites. Their hearts were depressed because so many people were unwilling to hear their message, but they were told by the Lord that if they will have patience in their afflictions, they will find success. This scripture has brought me great joy, and I have learned that it is true. If we give up in hard times, we gain nothing. If we continue through our trials with a positive attitude, God blesses us with success. As missionaries, we usually don't find success behind the first door we knock. It seems to come after a long day of hard work, and we feel the need to try one more door or talk to one more person. As we follow that prompting, we often find someone that God has prepared for us to teach. It is amazing to submit our wills to Him and follow where He leads us.
One of those occasions was last night. We had tried to visit a few people we had scheduled appointments with, but no one was home. On our final house, we knocked on their door only to see them turn the light off inside, signaling that they weren't in the mood to talk. It was really disheartening, but we tried to keep a positive attitude about it. On our way out of the building, we stopped to say hi to an older lady who was outside her apartment, and before we knew it we were sitting down next to her listening to her entire life story. After about an hour and a half of talking (mostly by her), we said our goodbyes and were about to leave. I wanted to give her a Book of Mormon, so I showed her the book and tried to introduce it to her in my broken Japanese. Most of the time, we get rejected or refused right as they first see the Book of Mormon. People come up with some excuse about how they couldn't take our book, it looks too expensive, they are buddhist, etc. She simply asked if it was really alright if she took it, then gladly accepted it. We made an appointment to meet again next Sunday, and then she called again today to see if we could meet tomorrow for lunch too. I hope she is open to receiving our message, but it was awesome just to see how God opens doors for us if we are willing to walk through them. We never would have met her if we had given up after so many failures, and we would be in the same situation we had been in before. Just like in the scriptures, our reward or our success doesn't come until after a trial of our faith. I know that God will always help us, but we have to be willing to do our part too. Always remember that from our greatest rewards come from our greatest trials.