Monday, June 2, 2014

The work is moving forward

What`s up everyone,

I`m sorry for not being in as much contact the past couple weeks. It`s been hard to write letters and long emails lately because of everything that has been going on. But I can tell you that things are going so great here! The work of salvation is moving forward speedily and beautifully.

It has been over a week since Brother O was baptized and confirmed into this wonderful church, and the pass over to the branch has been going smoothly. He will be receiving the priesthood very soon, and he is becoming an indispensable member here. He wants to try to introduce his daughter to the missionaries now, and he has this fabulous desire to share this beautiful Gospel with all of his friends. He is progressing smoothly. I love this guy.

We have been seeing a lot of success as a district lately. The Hamamatsu Sisters in our district just saw a baptism yesterday, and it went so well. We will be seeing a few more baptisms from other companionships in the district within the coming weeks, and I`m really looking forward to seeing these miracles continue to unfold. The Lord has been blessing us so much.

celebrating with the sisters in the Hamamatsu District
The other day Elder Sch and I were trying to find an address and after much frustration finally decided to ask the neighbors. The first door we knocked on was this kind older woman who came outside and walked around with us to find the address. Then she surprised us by knocking on the doors for us, asking people if they were home, haha. No one answered, so she invited us back to her home to have something to drink. She was so kind! We found out that her husband passed away about a year ago, and she misses him a lot. We began to teach her our message about the eternal nature of families. We left some church materials for her to read and set a time to come back. Another great finding story.

We are getting creative in our finding attempts. Last week we went to an English cooking class at the university. New friends, awesome food!
two district sisters (Shimai) at the cooking class

One characteristic of the hot and humid Japanese summers is that the ginormagantic spiders just HAPPEN.  I was riding my bike the other day and this enormous eight-legged demon about the size of the palm of my hand just jumped on my arm, and I almost crashed because I was so freaked out. And just this morning another demon spawn the size of a silver dollar crawled out of the shower drain and tried to attack my exposed foot while I was taking a shower. I hope I can survive these next few months of utter terror, where no one is safe, even while riding a bike...

new friend T-san

We have been blessed by the Lord here. I am so grateful for the successes and experiences we have been having. I hope all is well back home. Sometimes I wish I had access to the news to see what is going on in  the world, but at the same time I'm grateful to be completely caught up in the business of helping people learn how to return home to live with God and their families in the eternities above...a work that far surpasses the cares of this world. This life is just the blink of eye, a brief glimpse of eternity. None of us....myself included....can at this time fully comprehend the implications that this life has on our eternal existence. But I can testify: if we seek God with our hearts and live His Gospel, the blessings of eternity will be bestowed upon us, and then we can prepare for the eternal worlds to come after we have nobly borne the trials of this life in this world.

Sometimes I feel extremely inadequate. I have an infinite list of weaknesses and personal challenges that I need to overcome. I can boldly testify of the power and miracle of the Atonement, though. The Atonement is not just a wonderful gift that I believe in and hope is far more than that to me. I have actually experienced the Atonement working in my own life. I have had several life-changing moments where I have sought my Father with my guilt and sins and just put it all in his hands, asking Him to take it away and just let me start over and become the man that He wants me to be. 

off to work in Fukuroi
And my merciful, eternal, unchanging, loving Father....has seen fit to give me that chance, over and over. I testify from my heart that forgiveness is real. God loves us SO MUCH. He never wants to punish us. He will never hold back the blessings we are entitled to receive if we just trust Him and do what He asks. He asks so little of us, especially compared to everything that He has given us....literally EVERYTHING. And He wants so badly for us to be able to come back to live with Him. I don`t think he`ll be standing at the Judgment Day with a long list of our faults and sins and everything we ever did wrong that disqualifies us from the Kingdom of God....rather, he will be begging us to come and stay. We won`t feel worthy to stay because of our imperfections and weaknesses....but the infinite Atonement fixes all of that. Our guilt is washed away. We are made clean and pure. And then we can confidently stand before God and Jesus Christ on that day and feel worthy of His embrace, having accepted the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our own lives, and striven to endure and perfect our lives up until the very end. Of this I testify.

I love all of you so much. Thank you for always being so patient with me. I love this Gospel and I love missionary work!!

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor


district beach day

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