Hey hey hey!!
Miracles are happening here in Japan. The people are wonderful. The food is delicious. Life is good.
On Tuesday, Elder Heo and I went to help a friend with his driveway and garden. It had become overgrown and cluttered, but an hour and a half, a couple gallons of sweat, and 200 mosquito bites later, we finished the job, and his house looks fantastic. This friend, F-san, is one heck of an awesome guy. He told us he wants to hear the gospel again, and hopefully this time we can help him to the waters of baptism and beyond.
It`s important to note that our role as missionaries is not just to get people baptized....our purpose is to "invite others to come unto Christ." This involves much more than just baptism, and it takes effort from both missionaries AND members. It is such a rewarding work.
On Wednesday, we had Zone Conference in Gokiso with Elder Aoyagi of the Quorum of the Seventy. Such a wonderful, extremely humble and deeply spiritual man. Most of the whole conference was in Japanese. We combined with the Nagano Zone. So fun! I got to see a lot of old friends from the MTC and make more new friends here in the mission.
Friday we did another companion exchange, so our beloved District Leader, Elder D, came from Gifu to stay with me for a whole day here in Ichinomiya. We had an awesome time. Elder D is 15 months out, so his Japanese is pretty good, but he let me take the lead on everything. At first I was nervous to have to be in charge.....until now I`ve been content to let my companion Elder H lead ....but it actually turned out really well. I took the lead on all of our lessons for the day, and even figured out how to use the GPS on our phone to find a member`s house (the phone is all in kanji, so I can`t read any of it, haha). Elder D and I bonded really well. Awesome guy.
Sunday (yesterday) was an amazing day. I gave a talk in church....my first talk in Japanese, about "True Conversion." I was slightly nervous, but not too bad. Japanese people are so nice .... I need all the confidence I can get right now, so I appreciate their kindness. After church, we had a lesson with the Y family. We talked all about Jesus Christ and his specific mission here on earth. They seem to really want to believe, but their faith is still struggling. We`re trying our best to help them. They are such wonderful people. That night, after our lesson, we had an epic BBQ with the Tachi family in the church parking lot. The parents are both really young....both return missionaries...with two beautiful young children. The BBQ was delicious and so fun. I freaking love the people here.
So our ward mission leader, Brother Hibiki, is a total bro. He works with us all the time, and this time he had a rather unique idea. He was helping out with setting up with a concert at the local mall, and after he heard that I play guitar and watched me play his guitar, he asked us to perform in the concert! He thought it would be a really cool way to attract a lot of attention to missionaries and help us talk to a lot of people. We just got back a few minutes ago, and talked to TONS of people. I was so grateful for the opportunity to play guitar again, especially here in Japan!! Such a cool experience. A bunch of members from our ward here came to watch us perform as well.
While we were walking around talking to people, we heard somebody yelling after us, "Hey Elders!" We turned around to see this Latino guy coming towards us speaking in English! He was so happy to see missionaries. His name is David. It turns out he is a church member from Ecuador! Return missionary and everything! Only spoke English and Spanish...no Japanese, haha. We had a wonderful conversation with him. It`s SO COOL to run into random church members in different places throughout the world.
I hope everyone is doing great!! I am praying for you all. Thank you for your prayers on my behalf. God is truly our Father in Heaven.
As Joseph Smith once said:
. . . the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family
with a fatherly care and paternal regard
So true. He does indeed love each one of us personally as his unique and individual children. I am grateful for this knowledge, and honored to have the chance to share it with the people of Japan.
I love you all!!!