Monday, March 16, 2015

The rain is back in Japan! March 16, 2015

Yep, the rainy season has definitely started! But right now it seems
to only rain on Mondays and only when we ride our bikes, which makes
things interesting to say the least! We've been mainly riding bikes
lately since we've been trying to knock on more doors and talk into
more high tech answering boxes ( they make it really hard to have a
good conversation) we are trying to make a special effort to find families to teach.
The Hodogaya Ward is much bigger than in Odawara (although two
investigators in Odawara are getting baptized next month, huge
miracle!) with many older members and not a ton of youth. Everyone is
very busy with work which makes it difficult to work effectively with
them,  we're trying to find ways to overcome that barrier. Will you
pray that we can know how to help the members? I know that most of
them want to help, but there are many obstacles in the way that we
need to overcome first. This last week at church was incredible
though! So many more members came to us and talked and asked to have
us over, which I hope means that they're beginning to trust us as
missionaries and servants in the work! They really are incredibly
faithful and incredible examples of Christ!
 I think one  theme for me on my mission has been making love the motive for all of our actions. As hard as I try
to be successful, usually I'm motivated by fear, rewards, or sometimes
a little bit of pressure, but love is what opens people's hearts to
the gospel.
One of our miracles this week involved Jehovah's Witnesses and really
affected my perspective on how I view other people!
We were in our way to visit a man with potential interest, and as we
walked past a train station, we saw a group of about 10 missionaries
from Jehovah's Witness holding signs outside the station. Honestly,
the first though that past through my mind was "oh no, this is going
to be awkward." I want to talk to them, but the last thing I want is
to get involved in some religious verbal warfare so let's go around
them." And at first, we did. However, the man we wanted to meet didn't
show up and so
we suddenly had time to go and talk to other people.

Once again I saw the other missionaries and felt the awkwardness
again, but as I looked closer, specifically at a married couple, I saw
an all too familiar sight. Their tired, discouraged faces as people
ignored them with blank gazes really sank into my heart as I wondered.
How often have I felt the same way? These people are doing what they
can to share something they love and believe. Or as Christ taught to
his apostles about the woman who washed his feet with oils and dried
his feet with her hair in the "why trouble ye her? She hath done what
she could. She hath wrought a good work. "At the very least, I
thought, I want to thank them for what they are doing. So with
compassion in my heart, I went up to the couple and thanked them. The
surprise in their faces was visible, but as we spoke about Christ and
our love for him, His life, His Resurrection, and His teachings tears
began to fill their eyes and they listened intently. At that point, it
wasn't 20 year old Adam Christensen speaking with his limited
experience, but it felt like their Father in Heaven was telling these
special children of God, that they shouldn't worry because He was
watching over them. I was so moved and felt a thought that I needed to
thank them again, and I told them, as a representative of Jesus
Christ, that their efforts were not wasted and that God was proud of
them and had accepted their sacrifice on His behalf. We weren't able
to share much about the Book of Mormon although we did bear testimony
of its truth, but they agreed to meet again and talk more about the
teachings of Christ in about week and a half!
I'm so grateful that even if only for that moment I was able to help
someone else feel God's incredible love, and I hope that you all make
that your goal!

I love you guys and am praying for you!
Elder Christensen

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