Tuesday, August 18, 2015

tender mercies 8/18/15

August 18, 2015

Dear Mom,
The English Class students are doing great, and as I've come to know them each a little bit more, I've really come to appreciate them so much for their love, concern, and patience despite not learning to speak very well or if we teach something poorly. This last week, a mother and her daughter who had recently started coming to classes agreed to let us teach about the Book of Mormon and about God. When we met her, she was very, very excited to start, but she was more excited for her daughter whom she cares more about than even herself. Her daughter is an incredibly talented candle maker even though she's only in junior high, and her mother is always praising her accomplishments and encouraging her to take every opportunity available. While we taught, however, her daughter was pretty quiet and seemed kind of uncomfortable about something. We tried to get her involved by specifically asking her questions that she could answer, but her answers were usually only one word and it felt like she was unsure of how to answer. I've never been good at working with people let alone teaching them, and needless to say, I was stumped. We had gotten to the discussion about why there are so many religions and why exactly they are all so determined to be right. That sort of mentality, she concluded, is the one that leads to wars and contention, broken families and lost friends. She actually considers herself religious, but has hesitated from ever joining any one religion because she feels they essentially all describe the same thing in different ways. I'm not an expert on religion, nor am I qualified to make any statements about what other religions believe in, but I have at least learned that there is a way to know for sure what truth is; and that is prayer. Those who desire to do good, who, like the Apostle Paul, seek after "any thing lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy", will be able to feel in their heart the truth contained in the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and in the words of living prophets. If any of you are seeking after that which is truly good and true, please come and see for yourselves! Take a walk around the grounds of one of the many temples near you, and I promise you that you will feel peace in your heart and the love of God as you do. 

Today has been a crazy P-Day, and I feel more and more like even though I'm becoming more experienced as a missionary I still don't always know what I'm doing. Essentially, I left our cell phone somewhere around the temple, and after we returned to our apartment, I realized, with a sinking feeling in my stomach, that I probably left it in a bag that I threw away in a McDonalds an hour and a half away. Cell phone's are literally a missionaries treasure here in Japan and one of the only ways to get in contact with some of the people we are working with. Without it, we might as well have not been here the last 6 months, so I was pretty close to panicking myself to death. As we headed back to Tokyo and as I sat down on the trains and spoke to people whom I have never met about things like God's love and faith and families, I realized that whether or not I found our phone wasn't something worth worrying about. I love the people here in Japan, and nothing, not even a stupid mistake could make me worry when I'm talking to the people I love about the God whom I have come to know personally and trust with all my heart. 

Just for the record, the people at McDonald's actually went and searched through the dumpster and found the bag that I left the phone in, and we were joyfully reunited! Yay, miracles!

Love, love, love
Elder Adam Christensen

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