Thursday, November 13, 2014

Week 23:What a week. Where do I even begin?

What a week. Where do I even begin? Let's see. This week, on Tuesday we biked to visit one of the members in our branch. She is probably in her late 80s, and she lives all alone. We felt like we needed to stop by and share a little message with her. So, we set up an appointment on Sunday, and then on Tuesday after study and lunch, we biked up to her house. When we got there we looked for it, but couldn't quite find the right address, so we asked a neighbor for directions. He told us that it was actually the house next door, so we said thank you and headed our way. As we got to her house, we couldn't tell if anyone was home or not. The garage has pretty much become a shed full of old worn out appliances, and piles of boxes everywhere. We headed to the front door, and knocked, but no one answered. We went to the door in the garage, and knocked on that door, but no one was there either. So, we decided to just go housing (door to door finding/tracting). I am still not the most comfortable with housing, or finding in general, because I am not very good at conversational Japanese. I know how to teach a lesson, and to bear my testimony, but that doesn't always work so well. Well, we knocked on a couple of doors, but they either were't home, or weren't interested. We kept on going though, and we got to a house a little bit down the road from M Shimai. We knocked on the door, and someone actually answered (which doesn't always happen because when the do answer it is just through the ping pong box - I guess in America you would probably call that the security camera...). We started talking to her, and were able to teach her about the purpose of life. She said that we could come back if we were in the area. We aren't sure if she is really interested, but we'll see. After we had finished talking to her, we decided to stop by M Shimai's house one more time before we headed back to the church for Eikaiwa. We knocked, and there was still no answer, so we decided to leave her a little note telling her that we loved her, and were sad that we missed her. Well, as we were writing the note, and didn't have a whole lot of time left, a car pulled up. And there was M Shimai, so sad that she hadn't been there, and that we had had to wait. She asked if we had time to come in, and knowing that she would be devastated if we said no, we went ahead and went in. M Shimai is such a sweet lady, and half the time I can't understand a word that she is saying. We can't really communicate all that much, but everytime I see her, she is always filled with the biggest smile, and with so much joy. That particular day though, we could see that she was having a rough day, and we were so grateful that Heavenly Father helped our paths to cross. Had we felt like we should leave and go housing somewhere else, we wouldn't have been able to help her in her time of need. Little things like that have happened so many times this week. It is definitely all God's timing. As we try our best to follow Him, and to listen the little promptings that we get everyday, He helps to put people in our paths who really need the gospel. Another day when we were out finding, we went to this apartment complex that I had felt like we needed to go to when we passed by a few days before. As we went up to the top, I wasn't so sure why we needed to be there, but we had been guided to this area two times before. So housing we went. The first door, no one answered, but then the next door we knocked on, a mom answered the door with this smile on her face. Like she was so happy to see us. Usually when people come to the door they just look overwhelmed, or not interested, or uncomfortable. But rarely ever do they look happy to see us. We told her that we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she just kept smiling. Then we told her we wanted to share a message with her about how she could be with her family forever. It was then that she said something. She told us that now was not a good time, because her children were sick, but she didn't tell us that she wasn't interested, which is the usual response. We gave her a chirashi with our information on it, and then kept on housing. Although we are not sure that she is interested in the gospel, we are going to go back another day. Even though we have not had a lot of success when you look at our numbers, we have been working hard, and Heavenly Father has been blessing us. He has helped me to become more confident in myself, and more reliant upon him. When we are led to an area where all we get is rejection, it helps me to appreciate the gospel even more, and appreciate the blessing that it is in my life. 
As a mission, we have all started reading the Book of Mormon, with a goal to have it finished by February 28, right before my birthday. The youth in our stake were also invited to finish the Book of Mormon by the next Stake Conference (in April). Over the last week, I have really gained a love for the Book of Mormon, and I never want to put it down (although I only have a few minutes here and there to read it, outside of my personal study every morning). On Saturday, we went to Young Women's in Excellence, and the young women were talking about the goals they were setting for this next year. When one young woman mentioned that she wanted to finish the Book of Mormon over these next six months, everyone giggled, and you could tell that no one thought that she could actually do it. They asked where she was, and she said that she was still reading in 1 Nephi (the very first book). I was so grateful at that moment that President Welch had committed us as missionaries to reread the Book of Mormon. I was able to tell her that she wasn't alone, and that we were right there with her, and that I had just started that morning. I'm not sure if it really sunk in, but I hope that my love and support, and my testimony was able to help her in some way. I truly love these people, and I truly love the gospel. I love that I have the opportunity to not just read, but to study the scriptures, and the serve God with all my heart, might, mind and strength. As I have been reading, I have been marking all of the times that the scriptures refer to God, or to Jesus Christ. I have also been marking anytime that they speak, as well as marking any Christlike Attributes, or Characteristics of Christ. It is amazing to see just how much they are in the scriptures. The Book of Mormon truly is another testament of Jesus Christ. They only time you don't see His name, or a reference to Him, or His life in some way, is when the people are being wicked, and forgetting to recognize the hand of God in their lives, and to recognize that they need to follow the example that Jesus Christ set for us. I am so grateful for the scriptures. I could talk about them all day if I had the chance. Just know that I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know that is is true. I know that it contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that we truly can come closer to God by reading and studying the Book of Mormon. So this week, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon, look for the ways that you can apply the teachings into your life. Look for all that it teaches us about our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I promise that if you really look, you will find Him on every page. 

I love you all so much, and I wish that I had time to write you all back individually. Remember how important you all are to me, and just how much your Father in Heaven loves you. I'm praying for you all. 


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