"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, July 24, 2017

7/10/2017 Guided by His hand

Hiya friends!

How was everyone's 4th of July? The 4th of July is obviously not super celebrated in Japan, but we made sure to add our own tribute to America with some steaks prepared by one of the missionaries in
Okayama, Elder Stuart. We may have been far away from home, but it didn't stop us from showing a little American pride and taking some time to remember how much God has blessed us in allowing us to live in a free nation.

As you can tell, any week that starts of with steaks is a good one, and this week was no different. We were out of Uwajima for the first half of the week because of various meetings and companion exchanges, but it ended up being a good time. The best meeting of the week was getting to meet President Smoot and Sister Smoot, our new mission president and his wife. They taught us so much from the scriptures about growing in light and understanding through following the gospel path, it was incredible! They are certainly called of God to help this mission, I am already learning so much from them. After all the meetings ended, and we got back to Uwajima, we started seeing miracles all over the place. I still chalk it up to my companion's diligence in going out and looking for just one more person to teach, Elder Anderson is really good about that and I am learning lots from his example. I wish I had time to share all of the amazing things that happened as we were guided to find people to teach this past week, but I will do what I can to give a few simple examples.

After getting back on Thursday, we had an appointment with a man that we met last week, Minamoto san, and he was waiting for us with an open door as we pulled up. He had changed so much in how receptive he was to our message even in just one short week. He even committed to come to church again on Sunday, and came a few days later. The next day some of our plans got canceled, and finding
ourselves with some free time, we decided to bike out to a far part of our area. While out there, we met one couple that called us inside for some water while we introduced our message, and invited them to read the Book of Mormon. We also ran into an older lady that had met the missionaries in Salt Lake when she went over there for business. It was clear to see that there was a reason for our plans to be cancelled earlier in the day.

On Saturday, we tried to visit another lady that had met with the missionaries in the past, but when we rang the doorbell we were answered by her husband who told us she was not home and wouldn't come back until late at night. As we hopped back on our bikes, though, she pulled right into the driveway. We were then able to review with her what she learned from the past missionaries and testify about the prophet Joseph Smith, how he was called of God to restore the true gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth and build up God's kingdom here in the last days. She told us several times of the peace that she feels when she reads the Book of Mormon, and we know that it comes from the Spirit of God bearing witness of truth.

Finally, yesterday, we met a man while going door to door and talked about his life with him. He has had contact with missionaries often before, but was never able to decide to go to church, but since then he has decided that he would be open to going now. We are planning to go with a member this coming Sunday to pick him up and go to church.

We have seen the Lord's hand in our work every day, and we know that He is guiding us to find His children that know not where to find the true gospel; the only way by which we can live with our families forever, overcoming death and sin, as well as guilt and pain in this life. I love being able to share this message with all that we come in contact with, and I know that our Savior Jesus Christ has power to save all that turn to Him and rely on His mercy and grace. As taught by Sister Smoot last week in our meeting, we can rely on the Lord and His power through prayer, study of the scriptures from God's prophets, and through our own attempts to apply the things that we learn into
our lives. I can promise that anyone who attempts to rely on the Lord in these ways will find an added measure of peace and protection from temptation.

That's all I've got for now, lots of love from Japan!

-Elder Winegar

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