"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." -Alma 26:12

Monday, September 26, 2016

9/26/2016 "eventful last few Preparation Days!"

Minnasan konnichiwa!

It's been a while, and an eventful last few Preparation Days! Last week we were able to go to Kobe for Trainer Trainee Training Meeting, and so we were able to spend a few hours in Kobe with a lot of other missionaries coming to the meeting. I met up with Vui choro, one of my best friends from the MTC! We were able to catch up on a lot of stuff, and then we played basketball at a nearby park! It has been so long since I have played basketball, I was so rusty, but it was so much fun.

The week before we stayed in our area, but the other missionaries from nearby areas came and we visited an old Japanese-style village called Bikan jiku. We celebrated Allen choro's birthday by visiting a member's store for lunch and the Sister Training Leaders brought a cake!
That is a summary of our P-days for the past two weeks, now on to this week! We were out of our area for what felt like the first half of this past week, but we came back and were able to meet with some of our investigators. My companion and I have been trying to focus on teaching out of the Book of Mormon lately, and we are seeing the power it has to motivate and change how our investigators learn about what we are teaching. We saw this change in one investigator in particular, as we started out reading from the Book of Mormon. We told him we would like to read about 10 verses, and he let out an emphatic, "WOOOOWWWWW!!!!" Definitely the best reaction I have ever had from asking someone to read from the Book of Mormon. After we got him settled down he realized it wasn't nearly as bad as he first thought, and we were able to get into a great discussion. We read from Alma chapter 22, as Aaron went to the  Lamanite King to teach him the gospel. As the King learned of the truthfulness of Aaron's message, he said that he would give up his entire kingdom and all of his sins in order to know God. We asked him what he would be willing to give up to know God, and he gave us some answers of what he would be willing to give up. As we left the lesson, I continued to think about what I am willing to give up to follow God, and I would like to extend the same question to all of you. How much do you love God? What would you give up to know God or to follow His guidance more closely? I know that if you desire to deepen your testimony of God, to know without a doubt that He is your loving Father in Heaven, that knowledge can come through a study of the Book of Mormon.
I love you all, and love hearing from you all so much. Hope you all have a great week!

9/4/2016 Hot weather of summer is over!

Minnasan konnichiwa!

Congratulations! We made it through the summer! (At least in Japan, I'm not so sure about America right now) The weather is finally cooling down, and is now deciding to dump rain on us to cool us down after a blistering summer. It will likely rain on and off for the next week or so, really giving us a chance to dust off our umbrella's. But luckily for us, whenever we are showered with rain, it seems that blessings are poured out along with it. This past week didn't rain too much, but we were still lucky enough to see an outpouring of blessings in the work.

The first of those blessings was... Zone Conference! We were able to receive training from our Mission President and his wife, the Assistants, and the Zone Leaders. This was also the first time I got to see my new zone leader, who was actually one of the members in my MTC district, Elder Pagel! It had been a long time since I had seen him, so it was really great to catch up and see how he has been. I am so blessed to have such awesome zone leaders, especially since they are both some of my really good friends. We received a lot of really good training that day, especially about preparing ourselves to teach through our study. It was certainly something that I needed to hear, and I am excited to see how my study habits can change and improve now that I am applying the things that I have learned.

Another big miracle for the week came out of nowhere, when a former investigator, Yuuya, texted us. A few weeks ago he had told us he no longer wanted contact with the missionaries or the church, and it was really hard for me because I had come to be good friends with this young man. But earlier in the week he texted and asked if he could meet with us again! He came that night to the church, and we were able to catch up a little. He told us that he had recently gotten a new job, and he hadn't wanted to meet anymore because he was so busy. He still isn't willing to try and change his work schedule to meet with us more often, but he had some time on Sunday so he showed up at church. We still don't know what will end up happening, if he will continue to meet with us or not, but it was so good to see him again.

It is always sad when we lose contact with someone that we care about, or someone decides not to continue in the path to receiving all the blessings God is waiting to give them, but I have felt that even if they don't accept our words now, their hearts have been opened and they may accept our message later on, in another setting or with a second opportunity. I know that the Lord loves all of His children, and will not rest until we have all been given an opportunity to hear and accept His gospel. I know that this is true, I am experiencing that love every day. I pray that you all feel it as well.

Zone Conference

After district lunch meeting.