Sunday, October 13, 2013

A new companion

Crazy week! This past Tuesday was transfer day. I spent a day in Inuyama, a quiet city to the northeast of Ichinomiya. It`s beautiful....made up of gorgeous green hills and mountains that cascade down into a valley based by a wide river. Lots of trees and ancient, traditional Japanese temples and castles and stuff. Wicked. I hope I get to serve there sometime in the future.

From there, we made our way to the Nagoya train station where all the transferring missionaries in the mission converge to meet their new companions and head off to their new areas. I was reunited with many of my MTC buddies and also friends that I have since made here in Japan. I met my new companion, Elder A, who is transferring here from Mount Fuji .... furthest reach of the Japan Nagoya Mission, down in the southeast corner.

Elder A is a total bro. He`s a pretty small guy....roughly the same size as Elder H....but has a very big heart. He is a mix of native Hawaiian and Chinese (from his dad) and straight up American white (from his mom). Loves to party. Back in Hawaii he was a professional fire-dancer (a Hawaiian thing) and hoop dancer (a Native American thing), and since he`s Hawaiian of course he`s a pro at the ukulele, which he actually got permission to bring with him on his mission. We`ve already had a chance to jam out together with him on the uke and me on ye olde guitar! 

Train station with Elder A
We`ve had a blast this past week, and we`re definitely the best of friends. He`s been on his mission for a little over a year, so his Japanese is very good. We`ve had a fantastic time teaching and preaching together so far. It`s been crazy because even though he is my senior companion, I`m the one who knows the area and all the people here, so we`ve kinda been able to both help each other out a lot. It`s been great for me to be able to show him around and help him meet all of our people, and at the same time I`ve been able to learn a lot from him as well about how to teach and speak in Japanese and become a better missionary.

don't mess with our rice

Lots of miracles this week here in Ichinomiya land. We have a 6th investigator by the name of F(mi)-san. She is a referral from one of our other investigators, F-san. We`re pretty sure they`re a couple. We teach them both together, and it`s been great to watch them learn more. They`re super fun people and they love missionaries.

We also got to meet with our beloved N-san twice this week. Huge progress with him....his wife is okay with him being baptized. Also, he finished reading the entire Book of Mormon for the SECOND time this week!! We had a good talk with him about it. 

And this past weekend, we invited him to General Conference He was planning on staying for just one session...Saturday morning...but after watching it, especially the very inspired talk from President Uchtdorf about JOINING THE CHURCH, he decided to stay for the next session as well!!! 

I was so grateful to the Spirit and to the leadership of the Church for delivering the exact messages that N-san needed to hear. We feel that he is so close to the waters of baptism, and the blessings beyond that initial gateway to eternal life with our beloved Heavenly Father.

General Conference was inspiring. I was especially enlightened by Elder M. Russell Ballard`s counsel at the end of the second Saturday session, which I REALLY want to emphasize. To paraphrase:

"If every church member reaches out to just one friend 
and shares the Gospel with them between now and Christmas, 
imagine what a magnificent gift that would be to our Savior."

Can you just imagine how special that would be? Mom and Dad, friends and family, I would strongly encourage you to think about these inspired words from an Apostle of the Lord. Every inhabitant of this earth is a literal son or daughter of the all-powerful, omniscient, all-knowing, perfect and complete Supreme Creator of the universe and everything in it. And yet, He....this unfathomably powerful being....knows each human being on the earth personally by name. He loves each one individually and without bias. And He desires salvation for EVERY creature. Alma words it perfectly: 

"And behold, their souls are precious..." (Alma 31:35). 

I love the statement by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: 

"Of all the titles of admiration and respect that are given to Deity, 
He has asked us to address Him as `Father.`" 

How truly important it is for us to think about how He feels when one of His children who has accepted the Gospel chooses to share this glorious message with even just one friend or acquaintance. What a marvelous Christmas gift that would be to our Savior and our Father in Heaven as well. And I can also testify that as a missionary now, I get super excited when members introduce us to their friends. So I know that the missionaries serving their back home with freaking LOVE you if you help them find more people to teach, haha.

visiting with the N family
I am so grateful for the peace that this Gospel has brought to my life, and especially grateful to see it working in the lives of others here in the Land of the Rising Sun. Our Heavenly Father is gathering His people from all the corners of the Earth and preparing the world for a great and glorious manifestation. I testify that He is aware of each one of us and loves us with a love that is deeper than we can possibly comprehend.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Mom, those Swiss Rolls you sent to me have been almost completely devoured, and they are delicious. Thanks so much!!

My tastes span the globe. Have you had your chocolate today?
Love always,

Elder Naylor

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