Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Lord's Vineyard . . . a field of miracles

Hey peeps,

So Elder Ch and I have been implementing some crazy plans to ensure all the investigators in our zone get baptized and progress within this amazing gospel. We have three districts in our zone but unfortunately there are only two zone leaders, so we had to go on some companion exchanges to get to the Kariya and Toyohashi district meetings this past Friday, and then we just had to call the Toyota district leader and talk to him by phone. We have a lot of investigators with baptismal plans in our zone right now and we`re committed to making sure their baptismal dates don`t fall through, so Elder Ch and I have come up with some ways to focus on the most important aspects of the investigators` progress through the gospel, focusing especially on the importance of prayer and development of a solid relationship between the investigator and their Heavenly Father. 

As I have mentioned before, many people in Japan don`t have an initial belief in God, so we don`t have much of a foundation to build upon when teaching people. But all human beings have an innate desire to find happiness, and the Gospel is the perfect way to find that. We have seen some wonderful miracles of late, and I wish I could describe in detail some of the things we have seen. I`ll will attempt to share some of the highlights, though.

Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; 

For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store . . . Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you . . . (Doctrine & Covenants 4:1-7) 

The other day, Elder Ch and I were riding our bikes and we stopped a man on the street who looked way sad. Asked him how he was doing, said he was mourning loved ones who had passed away, and then all of a sudden he stopped a girl who was walking past us at the same time. We ended up talking to both of them and found out that the girl had actually attended church before back in Nagoya, and she knew exactly who we were. They both then took off, giving us no chance to talk further, but we took note of the apartment building that they both lived in (stalker status, I know). 

A few days later (yesterday) we decided to come back to the apartment building and just knock on all of the doors and see if we could find these two contacts. Practically no one was answering any of the doors, and we feared we would miss out on both of them not being home while we were there. We didn`t find the older man, but we eventually found the girl, and after talking for a bit she said we could come back with the sister missionaries next week and that she would love to hear more. Legit.

We have an investigator named Miki who is scheduled to get baptized on August 31. She is the daughter of a member in the ward here, and she has a strong desire to get baptized. She is very, very sick, and the story of her recovery at the hospital from an even worse sickness several years ago is a miracle in and of itself. The doctors performing the surgeries on her at the time, after she came out of the operations alive, said that she was the first person at that hospital to have ever survived that particular procedure. She and her mother both believe that the fact that she is even alive right now is a testimony of the existence of God. I love meeting with her, she just has the most sincere spirit and love for her Heavenly Father. Some aspects of the Gospel are somewhat scary to her, however, and so we are working to overcome some of those obstacles before her baptism at the end of the month. I am confident she will.

Roger Bannister did the impossible!
As I mentioned before, Elder Chand I have been working hard to achieve the goals for our zone this month and next month. Specifically, President Yamashita has set a mission wide goal for every single companionship in the mission to have a baptism next month. We have been working hard for this, and at our current pace, our zone is very close to achieving this. Elder Charlton and I have been telling our missionaries about the story of Roger Bannister breaking the 4-min. mile, and how even though that was seen to be literally impossible at the time, once it was done, then other people were able to follow suit shortly thereafter. We have been relating it to how we as a zone can help the entire rest of the mission achieve the goal the President Yamashita has set for us and thus help lead our mission to success in this aspect of the work.

SO much stuff happened this week, but I have no time.......suffice it to say that this part of the Lord`s vineyard is a field of miracles, and we are reaping gladly. I love it out here!

Thank you so much for everything!

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our zone: amazing and hardworking missionaries

Hello everyone!

Elder Ch is a great companion. He is from Colorado and has a background in building robots and stuff. Way smart guy. We have been seeing some great things together here in Okazaki. Being a zone leader is so busy but so fun. We are constantly on exchanges to go help out other areas in the zone. 

The other day we had to go on an emergency trip up to Toyota right after our zone training to talk with their investigator who had just called the Elders during the training and cancelled his upcoming baptism. We had a long talk with him but unfortunately he really was not ready, so his baptism has been postponed until he can work through his problems. It was way sad, but I am definitely glad we went. 

We have three districts in our zone divided over four areas (Toyota, Okazaki, Kariya, and Toyohashi) and 18 missionaries (this is the smallest zone in the mission). Putting together the training for our zone was way hectic this past week, very busy and somewhat stressful, but also quite rewarding. It was a special zone training that President Yamashita also attended, and it had to be 3 hours long, so Elder Ch and I worked our eyes out to make sure it was an uplifting and motivating experience for the whole zone. I think it was a big success, we have already been seeing some changes in the zone to make things more effective. Our zone currently has about half of the baptismal prospects in the mission, despite being the smallest zone, so I am naturally so impressed and happy to be once again working with such amazing and hardworking missionaries. Our goal now is making sure that all of these investigators actually follow through with their baptismal commitments and, even more important, progress smoothly through the Gospel after their baptism. Our big focus right now is true conversion. 

We are seeing some great miracles.....for example, one companionship in Kariya has a Chinese investigator who was scheduled to be baptized on the 24th of this month, but then he had to fly back home to China and would be there for quite some time, thus postponing his baptism and putting it in jeopardy. But then through the faith and hard work of those missionaries, he actually called them to say that he would return home way earlier than expected so that he could receive baptism on the scheduled date and be able to stay and go to church after that. It was fabulous news!

We also have a new investigator from Armenia! His name is Mike and he speaks fluent English, French, German, Russian, and Ukrainian (no Japanese, haha). He is only 28 years old but he is a crazy smart physics researcher working for Toyota. His specialty is lasers. He is currently helping develop a new system of ignition for cars using lasers to replace electric spark plugs, which supposedly is safer and more effective. He described it to us and I didn`t understand at all (way too smart for me)....it was rather humbling to see that his English was better than mine, despite it not being his first language, hahaha. He is a way solid investigator though, and has a lot of great questions. He said that he is a scientist, and therefore has to doubt everything (I bet you would get a kick out of that, Dad, hahaha) but he is still way interested. He asks deep questions about our doctrine, but you can tell that he is not trying to poke at or offend us, but he actually wants to learn. We looked forward to seeing him at church yesterday but the typhoon kinda got in the way of everything.
we get some crazy weather here

The typhoon hit pretty hard, caused a lot of damage and flooding. The wind was blowing so hard that it literally shook the church building during sacrament meeting, and so they sent everyone home after the meeting was over (only 1 hour of church), haha. Lucky for us missionaries, we ride our bikes to church, so that was probably the wettest, windiest, and funnest bike ride of my life, haha. Pretty intense seeing all the tree branches flying everywhere and almost getting knocked off our bikes. We were just fine in the end. We never got the command from the mission headquarters to stay inside though, so Elder Charlton and I decided to stay out and work after church that afternoon and evening. It was legit because we met some great people. The storm calmed down a bit so we were just fine. Last night we had an amazing conversation with a man who had parked his car right in front of the church and was just sitting there taking a break, ended up getting his contact info and everything. It was a nice end to the evening.

it will wait for me!
You went to see Godzilla without me? I am SO offended. Hahaha. "With a horrible grimace and a terrible smell he pulls the city high-tension wires down..." (name that song, I know you know it). I have seen the ads for it all over the place here in Japan (to be expected) and even tried to read some of them (reading Japanese is still rather difficult). I couldn`t understand everything perfectly, but one of the phrases expressed more or less: "GODZILLA IS RETURNING TO JAPAN!!!" I thought it was funny.

This past week was great. I love you guys, thank you so much for everything. You are the best. This is all so true, and I love this work so much.

Peace and love,


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Thanks for the love!

teaching O from Argentina
Sorry I don`t have a ton of time this week but I will just fill you in. Life is good here in Okazaki right now. I have passed off most of the Brazilian investigators to Elder Sch and Elder Sh, and now have transferred over to work with Elder Ch with our own separate pool of investigators. It`s good to have my bean Elder Sch back in the apartment, we always get a kick out of each other, haha. 

This week is gonna be way rough, we are planning a bunch of training meetings to train our zone (it`s always hectic like this at the beginning of the transfer) so we`re gonna be super busy every day. I am looking forward to working with everyone though!!

I love you guys so much! Thank you so much for everything :) The fireworks in Japan are GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric and Joe are always in my prayers. You guys are too.

I will be thinking of you on your anniversary on the 17th (have it written in my planner!). Don`t forget, Dad.

You guys are all the best! 

Love always,