The word for this week is tameshi. "Trial, test, challenge."
|my new best friend Yuji, age 11|
We met with several people this week who are having some really hard trials in their lives right now. It has been hard to see these things. But each of these people have sincere and pure hearts. They are so positive and humble.
One of our church member friends, T kyodai, has been struggling quite a bit with some sort of illness. He`s lost almost half his body weight. We went to his house this week to help him, and then we felt prompted to share a message about trusting the Lord through trials and trusting that He will not forsake us....2 Nephi 4:34-35.
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.
I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he
that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.
Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh.
Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss;
therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee: yea, I will cry unto thee, my God,
the rock of my righteousness.
Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee,
my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.
I think it was something he really needed to hear. We`re helping him out again this week, and always praying for him.
We also met with another church member, S kyodai. He is the ultimate example of humble, dignified service and meekness. He is always at the church cleaning up or doing something to help out behind the scenes, even though he lives almost an hour away by bike and doesn`t have a car. He lives with his mother, who doesn`t go to church. My heart has been touched by his example. He is having a hard time at work right now....bad relationship with his boss....and we feel impressed to visit him often and try to provide any comfort we can, and also to start teaching his mother about the Gospel.
There are many other stories of trials that I could share, but these two brothers stand out to me the most. I can`t express the love that I have for them.
Elder H and I have been getting along really well. I`ve been learning a lot from him about the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) nuances of Asian culture, and the sometimes drastic differences from American culture. I`ve learned a lot from both him and the Japanese people. One thing that has impressed and touched me is the way that Asian culture is focused so strongly on the feelings of others. Whenever you visit people here, they are most immediately preoccupied with making you feel at home and comfortable. They are so polite and constantly endeavoring to keep your feelings in mind. Even slight rudeness is very offensive at times. Japanese people are constantly focused on others` needs. It really shows especially in the church members here...they are always serving each other. It is truly a wonderful example of Christlike love. These things are starting to grow on me.
|view out the apartment window in Ichinomyia|
Before coming here, I thought a bit too highly of myself.... I thought I did a pretty good job of caring for others and helping people feel good. But now I don`t think I ever even came close. Elder H has really taught me a lot about how to truly focus on the needs of others and abandon your own selfish wishes and desires. I hope by the end of my time here to have even a fraction of the Christlike love that Elder H and these wonderful people have,
All of our investigators are doing very well as of now. N-san is still chugging through the Book of Mormon, and his faith is really growing. We had a wonderful lesson with the Y family last night. I had my first opportunity to recite Joseph Smith`s First Vision in Japanese, as I was prompted by the Spirit....never before had the words felt so smooth. The Spirit truly guided the lesson as we discussed Joseph Smith, which led to a deep discussion about the Book of Mormon, which led back to the very heart of our wonderful message: Faith in Jesus Christ. We had our first gospel lesson with our newest investigator, F-san, a couple days ago. His girlfriend joined the lesson too, and really seemed interested. She doesn`t live in our area, but she agreed to meet with us again the next time we teach F later this week. We had a powerful discussion about the nature of God and the power of prayer.
All in all, this has been a very inspiring and humbling week.
I love Japan!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I love all of you too!!!!!!!