Monday, February 23, 2015

Elder Ballard! At our door!

Hey everyone,

Well we just had transfer calls again this morning. This was now my third time making these calls, and President Yamashita has asked Elder Emery and I to continue to serve here with him in the office for this next transfer. I feel like I have been here for a while. It has its ups and downs, but I really do enjoy serving here and learning from President Yamashita's example. He has taught me so much about patience and love and faith.
with President Yamashita

We had a wonderful visit from Elder M. Russel Ballard and other General Authorities yesterday, and they are here through the weekend. Elder Ballard is a kind and spiritual man, and really funny and friendly in person. I like him and his wife a lot. He gave us some wonderful counsel. One thing that stood out the most: "When you are feeling discouraged for any reason, wake up in the early hours of the morning and go to Gethsemane." He encouraged us to trust in God more fully and to be more humble. I am so grateful for the visit from him.

Elder Ballard! At our door!

Last night at a member devotional with Elder Ballard and the other guests, I had a tender experience while singing the congregational hymn. As we all stood to sing "Lord, I Would Follow Thee," I was immediately touched by these hundreds of wonderful Japanese saints singing about loving our fellow men. I was moved to tears and realized how much I really, really love these people. They mean so much to me. Every good experience that I have had in Japan just flashed before my eyes and I felt a small taste, a gift, of a tiny fraction of the love that God has for all of His children. I cannot adequately express my love for these people here in Japan. This is a corner of the Lord's vineyard that seems to me to be reserved for a choice group of some of His kindest, humblest, and most loving children. I know you can find people of that caliber anywhere, but I feel that Japan is especially blessed.

I really love it here and I want you all to know how much you mean to me as well. My life is just ridiculously full of blessings and my cup is overflowing. Thank you for everything!

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Genki wo dashinasai

Hey peeps,

I haven't sent out any big mass emails lately, so I just wanted to let you know that things are going great here in Japan-land and I am enjoying it here very much.

This past week we were mostly traveling and did not spend much time in our own area, instead going to the two farthest zones in the mission (Kanazawa and Shizuoka) to do some companion exchanges with the Zone Leaders. Had some good experiences with them and some surreal experiences, from talking to people on the street in the middle of a freezing thunderstorm up north in Kanazawa to stopping people on a bridge backed by a picturesque and clearer-than-life backdrop of Mount Fuji. The land is beautiful and so are the hearts of the people. While riding the subways of Nagoya in the midst of our travels, I accidentally left one of my bags full of important stuff on one of the trains. Nagoya is a big city with a large, complex subway system, and it is easy to lose stuff. But I have come to learn that Japan is seriously the best place in the world to lose something, and those wonderful train crew bent over backwards to find my bag for me and were successful within minutes of me talking to them. From that small experience my love for the Japanese people grew even deeper. These people really know how to serve others.

We set a baptismal date of March 1st for our young investigator, Y! He is doing well and progressing slowly but steadily. We are calling and texting him every day to help him. I am grateful for his friendship and the good experiences we have had teaching him. It's hard for me to believe that I have been in this area working in the mission office for more than three months already. I imagine I may soon be called to go out and be a regular proselyting missionary again.

Mom, you were asking about some of the differences in the Japanese language and how it has benefited my personal study. One of my favorite examples of a Japanese scripture that I love, Doc&Cov 68:6: 

Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, 
for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; 
and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, 
that I am the Son of the living God, 
that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

In Japanese, that first line "be of good cheer" is translated as 元気を出しなさい (genki wo dashinasai). The word genki means encouragement, health, happiness, cheer, and basically all meanings similar to that; it's kind of an all-encompassing word. The wo is a connecting particle between the noun genki and the verb dashinasai, which is a command form of the verb dasu, which means to take out, pull out, bring out, hold up, etc. Because the Lord is there, and he is with us. And his message is the best message in the world!

I love this wording in Japanese because it implies that we already have genki within us, and whenever we are sad or discouraged all we have to do is find it and pull it out and show it to the world. It's just like the Light of Christ, which resides within all of us....nobody is lacking, but many of us need to search within ourselves and dasu that Light and that genki. I love it.

I really love my Savior and I love doing this work for him. Japan is just such a wonderful place and the Gospel is blooming beautifully here. I couldn't imagine doing anything else right now.

I hope all of you are staying genki and warm! Happy Valentine's Day!!

Peace and love,
Elder Naylor

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The whole city has a kind of steam-punk feel

Hello family and friends,

Elder E and I found a wonderful new investigator this week. First of all, we don't always get a lot of time to proselyte in our own area because of office work and traveling to other areas in the mission, but we always try to squeeze in a little time each day and earlier this week we were blessed to find a wonderful man on the street named F-san. He was kind of drunk when we met him, but very friendly and asked us a lot of questions. We gave him a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation and our contact info, and he gave us his number. We set a time to meet the next day, then set it up to have the Bishop come join our lesson.

That lesson was very powerful, and we learned a lot about F-san, especially that he has a serious drinking problem but he really wants to stop, because it has caused a lot of problems in his life including a divorce and separation from his family. He has really pure desires about learning about our message though, and we are excited to teach him. We are planning on setting a date for baptism with him tonight.

Also today about an hour ago President Yamashita came to teach a lesson with us to our investigator Y-san. We are hoping to hold a baptismal service for him next month, but he says that he is still unsure about it. We are still working on it. We are always happy to meet with him though, and he is a great guy.

This week we had a companion exchange in Yokkaichi, a somewhat large city jut southwest of Nagoya, known for being one of the biggest oil refineries in Japan. The view from the Zone Leaders' apartment there looks out over this majestic view of the harbor covered with dozens of towering smokestacks and elevated train lines, giving the whole city a kind of "steam-punk" feel, haha. Big center of industry in this part of Japan. We had a wonderful time with the missionaries there, and got to attend the Yokkaichi Zone interviews the next day and help do some training for the missionaries. One of my favorite things about serving here in the mission office is these opportunities to travel to different places in the mission and meet with individual missionaries. They're all such wonderful examples.

Yokkaichi. Mie Prefecture's industrial center.

Also Elder E and I are trying to eat more healthy so we have been cooking a lot of our own food. Look at my ingredients! I'm getting more and more Japanese each day! 

I still haven't heard back from the Coast Guard yet, I hope soon though. I miss all of you so much but I really do love it here. Japan is just such a wonderful place. I hope you all get the opportunity to come here sometime.

Thank you so much for all you do!

 Peace and love,

Elder Naylor ネイラー長老