Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 104 (last one!): How Great Shall Be Our Joy!

Hello Everyone!

It was a fantastic week. Like, one that when it ends, you just want to go out and talk with people more because you realize how blessed you really are.

As a few people have been flaky recently, we just prayed hard and went to talk to everyone on the way to some members homes. We particularly prayed that we would find those ready to be baptized each day. There were a few times I really felt that we did.

Here was one such occasion:

His name is Brother A. He felt that he is directed by meeting with people, and had good interest in our message. Unfortunately, he lives in Kansai, but he is just about to graduate and get a job - just the perfect timing to get his life started in the right direction! While the contact was a somewhat normal successful contact, after the contact, my companion and I just looked at each other and knew it was an answer to our prayers.

On another occasion, one of our New Investigators just messaged us and said "tell me the process of Baptism" followed up by the question "how long does someone have to study to be baptized?" He had been searching about our church, and is pulling the Gospel into his life. We will meet him on Wednesday this week.

I am so grateful to be able to meet great people like these who are ready to change their lives and come closer to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They inspire me to want to do the same in my life.

I am also grateful to know that Christ lives, and allows us to draw near to Him! I testify that He was chosen by the Father before the world began, and we chose to place our hope, trust, and faith in Him there. Only by doing the same thing now can we have the peace and strength that comes with consistently staying true to Him.

He suffered for each of us, and He truly knows our circumstances. He experienced our greatest trials, and rejoices - probably more than we do - at our greatest triumphs.

As we daily repent, and change, and become more like the Savior, we experience great joy in this life, and as we guide others to do the same, "how great shall be [our] joy!" (D&C 18:15) it truly is a privilege to participate in the sacred work of the salvation of God's children.

Love you all!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Thomas is coming home!! He flies in on Friday afternoon, July 7th! His homecoming will be in the Manila 7th Ward at 1:00pm on July 16th. Food and celebration at our home afterwards. Thank you for all of your love and support! 

In his letter to Mom & Dad:
I'm honestly just boggled. I am excited to see the family, though! :) but I couldn't get my mind around it last night when I finished up all the prep for transfers, and I wasn't a part of it... didn't sleep for a long time, but I guess all good things come to an end. And I recognize good things are coming, too.
Love you both! So excited to see you all again!
Elder O'Reilly

Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 103: Turn Outward

Hello Everyone!!

It was a crazy week. We had appointments with 8 or so different people... and 7 cancelled, and people fell through for church as well.  So, we ended up having a lot of unexpected time.

But, that was alright. In that time, we found just about the same amount of new people. I guess God just had a different plan then we did.

This is one of the people we found this week. Bro S is a great young man who is going to college. We are excited to meet again and talk about the purpose of life!

We also did some "Free English Challenges." We laminated some English material, and went and taught it on the streets to high school students. Two of them came to our class this week, so that was way fun!

Also, an investigator in the ward was baptized this week! So I got to interview him, and he was so prepared! It was great to attend the service.

Little bit scattered this week, but it was all in all a great week. Looking forward to meeting up with some more people this upcoming week, both new people we met, and also Sister S - she just got back!

I guess what I learned this week is just to always be aware that God has a plan for us in our circumstances. I never want an appointment to fall through, but several AWESOME people I met this week were people I met because things fell through. So, when things are hard, turn outward and serve! God certainly has someone for you to help - and you will be blessed with joy and comfort as you do!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder O'Reilly

Excerpts from a letter to Mom when asked about his feelings about coming home:
"You are right - I'm pretty mixed on feelings for coming home. I had to weigh bags today... :P"
"It's an interesting shift. I'm not fully ready to make, but I'm sure I will figure it out in a year or so. Haha."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Week 102: The Lord's Hand

Hello Everyone!

We had some great miracles this week!

We tried a new way to find this Week. We laminated a sample of some English teaching materials, and went out to teach it on the streets. People came and learned with us on the street, but honestly, it didn't go that well for me. I only taught one person interested in coming to our class, and they weren't in our area. Maybe they went, I'm not sure. It sounds like it worked alright for my companion, though. (We were on splits this day)

However, the last person that walked up to us said she really wanted to learn English. When she found out we were teaching as Christian volunteers, she asked if she could go to church. We said yes, of course. We switched lines, and we are still in contact. She is not in our area, either (Tokyo problems. Haha), but sounds like she is going to church. :)

Then, as we walked away from the activity - note, we had put away the sign and such, so we were just walking down the street - a man walked up to us, and we started a conversation. He told us he knew Mormons, and wanted to try coming to church. He was busy this week, so we set up an appointment for this upcoming Sunday. We're still in contact, so we are excited for him to come. :)


Super nice man.

As we went to get our bikes from the parking place, we met a man who did a home stay in Utah, and had a really good experience. He wants to come to Mission School to learn English - but again, not our area.

I guess what I learned from the experience is that 1) most of my ideas tend to flop. 2) As we give all our heart might mind and strength, the Lord always makes up the difference. Those 10 minutes at the end of the activity were probably the most effective finding I had all week!

We were also able teach Sister S! She is in Taiwan, but we had a lesson over Line.


On the top, Sister S, right, our Taiwanese Douseki that lives in Tokyo, and Elder Miller and I in the bottom left. We also had a Douseki with us on our end, but I guess he didn't make it in the picture. :P

It was a great lesson. When it started, she said she wasn't sure she wanted to try going to another church. But, in the end, Sister S said she was really excited to go! She went this week, and said it was a really great experience! It was cool to see her desires grow and change in just one lesson!

Then, we had a really cool miracle! Remember this man?


Bro K. Super 素敵 right? He lost contact with us because he accidentally deleted his line app and lost all his contacts. We thought he had Unfriended us and left the conversation. But he went through the trouble to email the goeigo office and try to get into contact with us. So got his new line account and email, and he made the 1 and a half hour journey out to meet us.

He had also gone to English class at a place 8 minutes from his house, but he wanted to meet with us again because he felt like it was destiny that we met. He is very interested in Christianity, and is very open to learn. The missionaries in his area will probably teach him, but it was fantastic to get to meet him again!

It's been a great week! I see the Lord's hand in my work everyday. And more importantly, I can see the Lord's hand and power in the lives of others as they make changes to live His Gospel. Truly, Christ lives, and His hand is always stretched out to each of us individually! He will encircle us in healing wings if we will but let Him. (3 Ne 10:4) All it takes is sincere prayer and repentance. I know that as we make these a daily part of our lives, we will be blessed with greater joy, deeper faith, and a greater sense of confidence, direction, and hope.

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Week 101: Went to the Temple

Hello everyone!

It was a great week! It felt pretty normal, so I'm not really sure what to write about.

Another three Conferences. This time, there was a lot more travel... went all the way up to Niigata! So we left at 6:45 Thursday morning to go to Kiryu Conference and came back 8:50 Friday night after Niigata conference. Tuesday was Matsudo.

Wednesday, we had Eikaiwa. Had some new young students! That is always exciting. We also took a challenge from Elder Yamashita with all the members. Every time we go to a restaurant, dendo (proselyte to) the workers. Two of the people at the restaurant were interested! So we switched contact info. Of course, we always talk to everyone on the streets, but store workers is a new level for me. But I'm always willing to push myself!

Saturday, we got to go to the Temple! I also went today, thus my p-day was on Tuesday. Saturday, we went with Bro O. First time for baptisms! Also got to see lots of Niigata members. It was a good day.

What I definitely can say from this week is that the temple is the house of God. It is operated by His power. It is a place of comfort, peace, and revelation. Certainly, I can say "that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's house may feel [The Lord's] power," for I have felt it there (D&C 109). I recommend it for all who are seeking direction, peace or strength. Which is me everyday. I just wish I could go there more. :)

Love you all!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

With Bro. O at the Temple!

Went to Asakusa today :)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 100: A Friend I Can Rely On

Hello Everyone!

It was a fun week! Three Zone Conferences and an exchange.

The exchange was fun. I went with my District Leader, Elder Wilcox.

This man wants to come to our English Class next Saturday. Unfortunately, I won't be there (but Elder Wilcox will be). I will be in the temple. Bro O is coming down from Niigata, and I get to go with him! And on the way, I will meet with Bro S, since he lives in the area of the Temple. Saturday is going to be a fun day. :) Hopefully, they can both go to the temple.

We taught one of their investigators as well. He has an addiction to gambling, and from my perspective, is hurting his own life in so many ways!!! Obviously, he needs the Gospel. I don't think he sees that yet. However, by sharing some experiences, and testifying together, he committed to at least try reading the Book of Mormon and praying. He just doesn't want to give up too much time. I'm praying for a change of heart... but I guess, in the end, he is in control of that. I hope he opens his heart to the message of the Book of Mormon.

Afterward, we taught Eikaiwa, then Sister S. She is going to Taiwan for the rest of the month! That means the next time I see her will likely be the last week of my mission. She has been progressing well, so seeing her leave at this point is hard, but she plans on going to church while she is there. And she has found a reason to really pray and know if the Book of Mormon is true; she wants to know God better and how He loves her. So I hope she continues to progress well and keep changing.

The next day was a Zone Conference. We trained on Charity. The more I talk and testify of it, the more I am convinced of two things.

1) Most problems are solved by thinking of ourselves less. The more we think of others, what they need, how we can help them, and then put it into action, the natural result is to feel God's love and to be magnified by Him to accomplish great things.

Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed, and frustrated. To be honest, I don't feel like I measure up to most of the tasks. I am a bit disorganized, and I have a lot of weaknesses. However, when I focus on others, pray for them, and work for them, things just work out. I'm certain the Lord's hand is in it, and these are the moments when I am happiest. Just have to work on making those moments expand until it is every moment. That'll take some work. :)

2) Christ loves each of us, and is the only one who understands who we are now, and who we can become. He understands how much it hurts to make mistakes, to go through trials, and go through mortality, and only He understands how joyful it will be when we return to be with Him. When we understand the love and experience that Christ has, the only intelligent thing to do is to strive to become like Him through Him.

I know that Christ lives! He loves us. He suffers with us, and comforts us when we turn to Him through prayer and repentance. How grateful I am that I have a friend I can always rely on!

I hope that each of us remember Him and rely on Him this week!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 99:

Hello Everyone!!!

This week was transfer week... so it was a bit crazy...

Tuesday, we went and picked up the new missionaries. Meet Elder O'Reilly. Elder Thomas O'Reilly. No. Not me. Him. He is Elder Thomas James O'Reilly. So.... now everyone knows our middle names. Haha. Super strange to hear my name, and not have them be talking to me.

Elder O'Reilly with Elder O'Reilly

Wednesday we trained the new missionaries, and sent them off. Taught English class, and Sister S! The Nagano's were the members with us, and it was AWESOME! She is reading the Book of Mormon and praying daily. Even without reminders now. :) She came to church this week too! :) Struggling a bit with coffee (her doctor said it causes headaches to stop and stopping is also causing fatigue. So... he told her to drink it.) But she is still trying! Pray for her!

Thursday... driving test... me and my companion passed!!!

My old companion, Elder Nitta is now in the mission office, and he drove us there. So... we took a pic together with our licenses.

Friday, we sent off the old missionaries and had Mission Leader Conference.

Saturday, we had splits, and it was AWESOME! Met some cool people!

Bro. H. wants to learn English! Met him as we ate lunch near a university. 

Sunday, we went to a member's home with Bro. M. They are the M family (different name though). Such cute kids!

On the way home, we proselyted with Bro. M, and found Bro. I!!

He was looking for a church... and we offered to give him a church tour just before 9:00. He got excited, and said, can we? The Spirit was strong as we shared a brief version of the Restoration, and he wants to come to church this week! We have already been messaging back and forth this morning. :) He seems WAY AWESOME!

Yep. So this week was GREAT!!

I love the Lord, and His work! He supports us and strengthens us as we rely on Him through repentance. It is amazing to share those blessings every day! Hope you take time each day for real, worshipful prayer, and real, committed repentance. That is what we talked about with Sister S. It makes ALL the difference. It is really what turns night to day! :)

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mother's Day Skype/Last Transfer!

This is mom/Denise writing!

I just wanted to include a couple pictures from our last Skype with Thomas on Mother's Day! He LOVES his mission! He is so happy and we can just see it in his face! It was fun to hear him speak Japanese to Skeets & Mayu. And it was wonderful to hear his testimony and feel the Spirit.

We are so excited that he is now in his last transfer! He will be returning home on July 7th! And the plan is for him to speak at 1:00pm on July 16th in our old ward, Manila 7th.

It is quite the adventure and wild ride to send your children wherever the Lord calls for 2 years! We have missed him terribly and have anxiously held our breath for each email to arrive. While it is difficult to let them go, we are all greatly blessed for his service! We have had an added measure of the Spirit as we feel his testimony and see his growth. We are grateful to the Lord and to the many people who have helped to support Thomas both in the mission and at home.

Thank you for your love and support! :-)
Hurrah for Israel!!

Waiting for his call...

Yay!! I love Skype!

We're so excited to see him again in less than 7 weeks!