I feel so humbled every week when trying to decide what to write about, and what I can possibly say to help all of you awesome people, but I feel like I end up writing a few short paragraphs that never accurately describe what I am experiencing and feeling while in the service of my Heavenly Father. I hope that you all forgive my inability to put into writing all the things you probably want to hear, and I pray that you can find at least something to brighten your day, or remind you all of experiences you have had in the past as the Spirit brings all things to your remembrance (John 14:26). With that in mind, here is what happened this week!
This one started off with a real bang, because we had companion exchanges with the Omihachiman Elders starting Monday. My companion left for Omihachiman with Elder Salas, and I was to stay in Otsu with Elder Nevarez. It had been about an hour since we said goodbye to Elder Octaviano and Elder Salas when we got a phone call from Elder Salas saying he had lost my companion while biking to a lesson. We waited another five minutes or so and then got another call. Elder Octaviano had been found, but he had been involved in an accident with a car! The driver had opened the door of his parked car as Elder Octaviano rode by, and he was knocked off his bike as he swerved to avoid the door. We rushed over to meet them and went to the hospital together to make sure everything was all right. Only his hand was hurting, and it turned out not to be broken, so we were all incredibly relieved. I told him that he was never leaving our area again, because he couldn't even last one hour without causing mass-destruction all over Japan!
That was definitely the most exciting part of our week, but we were also able to visit with some members and their families, and we had some great meetings with other missionaries. We first had a meeting in Kobe with people from all over the mission, and then we had another meeting a few days later with all the missionaries from Kyoto zone.
In a visit with Marcos kyodai and his wife Sachie this week, we were able to talk about faith in Jesus Christ. As we asked them what faith was to them, they both answered that faith is trust. We continued to discuss and share experiences about faith, and my companion taught that faith and trust in Jesus Christ leads us to action. I was then able to testify about the actions I have seen taken to follow Jesus Christ in my life. I felt impressed to talk about my mother's example, how she tirelessly gathered us every morning before leaving for school to have family prayer. There were so many times when we didn't come willingly, and if she were me, she probably would have given up ling ago. But she had faith in Jesus Christ that daily prayer would strengthen her family, and so she patiently and diligently continued to bring us together. Thank you so much for your awesome example, mom, you are touching hearts in Japan more than I ever could! I felt the Spirit testify in my heart that this is why God gave us families, and that the power of a righteous mother can change the lives of everyone around them. Just as the two thousand stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them" (Alma 56:47), I too know that God will deliver us from every trial and tribulation that befalls us if we continue to seek Him. It cannot be a passive plea for help, or a faithless (action-less) cry, but a show of our devotion to put God first in our lives. And when we do that, I know that heavenly powers will follow, raising our potential and blessing us in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. There truly is no better time to seek God than now, especially in this Christmas season. I invite you all actively search for Him this year, and feel His love in your heart through the Holy Spirit. Look for a friend with a heavy heart, or a stranger in need of comfort, and see what you can do to brighten their day. Through following the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we will come to know our Father on an even more personal level.
I love you all so much, and wish you a big Merry Christmas season!