Tuesday, January 26, 2016

e-mail from January 25, 2016

Dear Mom, 
I know exactly how you feel, and I've actually felt myself end up on the painful end of the communication. 
As a district leader, a zone leader, and even before I had any formal leadership responsibilities I sought diligently to not only be an example of a disciple of Christ, but to encourage and assist others to live a higher standard of obedience.
In the Missionary Handbook, on pg. 62, there is a passage that I remember very clearly;
Opportunities to correct the attitudes or behavior of other missionaries [or anyone else for that matter] are important teaching moments. When handled with love, these opportunities build faithfulness and effectiveness in those who may otherwise fall short of what the Lord expects of them.  
And one in Doctrine and Covenants Section 121:43;
Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
Correction isn't too difficult to do, but it is one of the most difficult things to do well, and I'm not even a parent yet.  Dad and Mom, I'm sure you've felt this before, and I would really appreciate any insights you've gained on the subject. As a missionary, about 99.9% of the people I meet on the street, on the trains, in their homes, and in other various places have differing beliefs than I do as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I've also met people who remind me a lot of myself in a lot of ways, have many of the same desires as me, and have very similar personalities to myself as well. And yet, for example, the specific beliefs that we have are different. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe in a God, the Father of our spirits, in a Savior, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. In Japan, there is a predominant belief in an "8 million gods" or a God in pretty much everything around us.
Trying to teach these principles on the street to people in Japan, I sometimes wonder to myself if its really that important or worth the trouble to clearly define the definition of God. While were visiting a less active member this last week, he got clearly upset with us as we taught that God gives commandments for us to follow because he believes that God is ok with what ever he chooses to do, and he felt like we were trying to force our perception of God onto him. 
I never want people to get angry at me! I don't like it, and I certainly don't look for opportunities to make people angry! However, I want to focus on "what is right, rather than who is right". 
I'm grateful for the chance that I have to teach the truth that I do know about our true identity as children of God with a potential to return to live with Him and eventually to become like Him, and for the truths that I don't yet understand, I hope that I can patiently, but diligently find the answers and help others find them as well.

We've actually been incredibly blessed to be working with a ton of amazing people here in K and this last week, there was progression and some resolving of concerns. One of our investigators is fine to meet and even to read the Book of Mormon and pray, but joining the church is something that he just refuses to do. In fact, he hasn't come to church for the past few weeks because he says that if we isn't joining there isn't any purpose in coming. But, we have pleaded with him to continue to come and at least continue to interact with the amazing people who attend on weekly. You don't have join the church to come to come to church! 

Love you all,
Elder Adam Christensen

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