Dear Mom, Dad, Amanda, Blake, Bennett, Aaron, and friends and family,
I've arrived safely in Kunitachi and already hard at work with 3
investigators attending the ward Christmas party, 2 at church the next
day (one of whom has a baptismal date for this week), with 3 district
meetings to attend, Zone meeting and splits with the Assistants and
District Leaders planned, and in the midst of it all, always trying to
keep our eyes and hearts open to find those people who are waiting and
ready to hear the message that Christ's gospel is restored to the
earth. I do feel a little bit out of the loop regarding the
responsibilities of being a Zone Leader and also how to help the
members and investigators that we're working with, and Elder D
and I are trying to find a way to accomplish all that we would like to
do. Prioritizing is a skill that I was never too good at!
My stellar companion Elder Dis from the faraway state of
Georgia so I have an excuse to
travel to the Southern States in the near future. I've heard a ton
about what it's like to live in the South, but having never
experienced it for myself, I'll just have to go and check it out! He
is as serious as it gets during lessons with investigators, and you
can see that he means what he's saying whenever he testifies,
especially about the importance of baptism and God's love for them.
He is also a lover of soccer (God really does know our talents and
hobbies!) and we're going to be looking for opportunities to use that
to our advantage.
In the midst of a busy week, I was grateful for one particular
opportunity that I had to testify of God's love to a man who seemed to
have had a lot of experiences that had convinced him that God doesn't
really care. We were doing a quick kubarikai (passing out flyers) at a
park in Tachikawa when I saw this man and struck up a conversation.
Right away, he told me that he knew about the church and the strict
rules we have, but that he wasn't religious. His ex-wife was a
Jehovah's Witness had tried to talk to him about the Bible, but he had
heard enough about religion and didn't care. After having lived in
Japan for over 30 years, he had decided he had had enough and just
wanted out. He felt like he was wasn't welcomed by the Japanese people
around him and was fairly critical of what he saw as a fear and
mistrust of foreigners.
I have lived among the Japanese people for only a year and a half, but
I knew that he had to know what I, what God had taught me through
trial after trial, about Japan. Through the true love of Christ and
the joy that comes from knowing that you and those around you are
children of God, fear is replaced with confidence, doubt with hope,
and disbelief with faith.
When I began talking about the Restoration of the gospel through
Joseph Smith, he told me that I lost him, so I just brought out the
Book of Mormon and asked him to read it for himself and see. I showed
him the story of Ammon and how Ammon's love and testimony of God
changed the Lamanites, and I asked him to apply it to himself. The
pure love of Christ and true doctrine are the solving the problems of
this world and the problems of the heart. I hope that he reads it!
I'm grateful that God gives us second chances, that he has given us a Savior!
Merry Christmas Everyone!