Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 7: Small and Simple Things

Hey Everyone!!!

So... first of all, I didn't write last week. Sorry. We moved into another Elder's apartment last week. SO p-day was spent cleaning and unpacking. :P

Anyways... last week, we had lessons with 4 investigators. At the beginning of last week, we had 2. SO... that pretty much sums up how awesome that week was. Things are pretty much exploding here.

First, we have two part member families that we should start working with this week. In both cases, the wife is the non-member. One of them said that she probably needs to receive baptism and wants to take the five lessons. She is pretty much a golden investigator. Yep. Their family is a little busy, though. We have many other potential investigators, but these are two of the more interested ones.

Second, our four investigators. I feel like I haven't told you much about them, so I will give you a little background and what we have been doing with them.

First, Brother Y. (I don't think I can give you full names, sorry). He has a baptismal date. He is the one that says "I know this Gospel is true." He gets a little distracted sometimes, but loves getting
lessons from the missionaries and learning about the Gospel. He is a little older, and has traveled the world, so he speaks English, which is helpful.

Second, Sister M. She is a young woman, about 13. She came to church once with her less active mother. Her mother doesn't come to church anymore, but she does. She loved hearing about the plan of salvation, and loves hanging out with church members. She's been coming to church for a while, which means she has a pretty good understanding of a lot of things we talk about. She can ask some pretty deep questions, which is cool.

Next, Sister S. She wants to be baptized. In fact, she almost was. Then, during her interview, they found out (they being missionaries a couple transfers ago) that she was previously Muslim. So... she had to do some stuff to take care of that. But that should be taken care of in the next couple weeks, and she is coming to church and wants to be baptized. I'm excited for her!!!

Last, Brother E. He has been an investigator for a while now. He knows the Gospel SUPER well, and has read the Book of Mormon all the way through. He wants to be baptized, but is struggling with some commandments. He is frustrated because he has set many baptismal dates, but hasn't been able to meet them. Elder Abo and I decided to take a different approach. We will be helping him start doing things like daily prayer and scripture study. He recently started reading, which is SUPER exciting! Through these things, we know that he will have power to overcome his difficulties. These things will bless his life in soooo many ways!!

We also work with a lot of less actives. Whenever we ask them if they are doing these things (church, scripture study, prayer), the answer is always that it's been a while since they've done any of them. One of them even commented, yeah, my testimony was stronger when I was doing those things. YEAH IT WAS!!! They may be small and simple, but they are powerful!! Getting personal revelation on a regular basis is essential to your testimony. So go out and get it! Read the Book of
Mormon every day, go to church every week, pray morning and evening - if not more - and attend the temple. If you don't have time for them, make time! It's that important. I can promise you that as you give God a little time each day, He will pour out blessings in return. Those blessings can be seen in our individual work, school or job related, in our individual feelings of peace, our abilities to overcome trials or temptations. I am convinced that it is the small and simple things that contribute most to our happiness and success. So don't forget them!

Well... that sums up my thoughts about the last two weeks!!!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder O'Reilly

One of the youth in a part member family in Kasukabe (I went on splits)

Brother in our ward. He served in Kobe Japan! Says he knows Skeets.
(Skeets says "Hey, it's Elder Kamakura!")

A couple of tidbits from emails to his siblings:

What one thing (physical object) do you miss the most from home?

Hmm.... That's a hard question. Right now, probably fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is worth it's wait in gold in Japan... But
then again, everything is either worth it's weight in gold or free according to my companion. Haha. But fresh fruit really is expensive here.

From his 8 year old brother...
Hi Thomas,
I still miss you,
and I still love You.
I'm scared to go on a mission.
I'm going to cry the whole time and I'll be embarrassed and I'll wish I didn't go because I didn't get anything done.
And I wouldn't get anything done because I'd be crying the whole time.
And I would cry the whole time because I would miss all my family too much.
I'm sure it's hard for  you because you miss your whole family and not just one person.
Thomas, I'm scared, will you tell me a little more of the fun things you did on your mission so I won't be so scared?
HEY JACE!!!!!!!

I still miss you and love you, too!!!

Man, your right! Missions are scary!!! You know, I talk to random people all day, and sometimes, it is a little hard. Especially cause I don't know much Japanese yet. :P

But you know what, Jace? Even though it is hard, and I miss you and love you sooooo much everyday, it is still worth it. I'll tell you why.

First, get it out of your head that you won't get anything done. Cause you will do SOOO much good. You are an AWESOME kid! And I bet you will be the BEST missionary ever! And don't forget, because God loves everyone, He will always bless you to be able to do what He asks you to do. Just look at 1 Nephi 3:7. You can read that whole chapter and the next one too, if you want to. It may not always be easy, but with God's help, it will always be possible, and always SUPER worth it.

So... fun experiences? Well... I've played capture the flag with my zone and I've eaten sushi at LEAST once a week. But even cooler than that, I get to teach people the Gospel! And you are right! Nothing beats the Gospel!!! When you are a missionary, you get to feel the Spirit ALL the time, and then it blesses peoples lives. Which just feels awesome!

Don't worry, Jace!!! You will be a great missionary!! And I promise, it's awesome to be a missionary. You won't be crying all the time. You will probably be happy most the time, even if you do miss your family.

Love you so much, bud!!!
Elder O'Reilly

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Week 6: Moving Apartments

So sorry that I didn't have time to write you this week!!! I'm fine!!! We moved apartments, so I didn't have time on p-day. I don't have much time to write you now. Sorry.

I will try to get better about sending you emails on p-day. See, I write them at the apartment, and sometimes I forget my iPad, or I just forget to send them. I'll get better. :P

Love you!!!
Elder O'Reilly

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week 5: Continually Coming Unto Christ

Hey Everyone!!!

This week was super awesome!!! I got to see a few people make steps towards Christ this week!

First, there is my investigator with a baptismal date. He is super cool. We taught him two lessons this week. He is in a really interesting position, because he has been talking to the missionaries for a while, but not super formally... so we were teaching him about the Book of Mormon, and I asked him how he felt about it. He said that
he has found lots of answers to his personal problems through reading it, gave us some examples, and then told us that he knows this Gospel is true. SO.... he is pretty much golden. I love talking with him!

We also work with a lot of less actives. One recently came back to church on his own, and so naturally, we decided to give him a visit. We got in contact with him, and though his schedule is pretty tight (working a couple jobs and going to college), we were able to fit in a time to visit him. He was super excited to meet with us! He has a really strong testimony of somethings - like the Godhead and the Book of Mormon - but really struggles with other things - like the church's stance on gay marriage and coffee. We've been talking with him about how he can come to know that Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson are true prophets and have the authority to give God's word on these matters. We talked about acting on the message to see if it is true (using John 7:17), and he seemed super happy to try it.

As we talked with him, one thing came up that concerned me quite a bit. He talked about how he was still imperfect, and how he felt that he was a burden to the church and to us as missionaries. This opened the way for a really great conversation with him - continually coming unto Christ. None of us are perfect, but that's ok! Coming unto Christ is an incredible and beautiful process, that everyone needs - not just less actives or investigators. I still have a long ways to go as well, but it isn't so much the distance, rather the direction we are facing that is important. Come unto Christ a little everyday! Read the scriptures, pray, go to the temple, go to church, serve someone. It will take time, but it will also be worth it!

Well... those are my thoughts for the week!

Love you all!

Hurrah for Israel!!

Elder O'Reilly
Went on splits with a Japanese Elder- Elder Koyama. It was fun to
speak more Japanese!

This is the Bishop, his family, and a less active member.
She's friends with one of our investigators - we hope we can have her help us teach!
A great family we had a dinner appointment with.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 4: There can be miracles, when you believe!

Hey Everyone!!

When you read the subject, you started singing it, right? 'Cause I did. (Prince of Egypt)

Well... this week was INSANE!! I don't think I can even count the miracles I've seen, but I'll try to tell you about a few of them.

First miracle: towards the beginning of this week, we set a baptismal date with an investigator! He's moved around a lot in his life, so while he is Japanese, he also speaks English with an Australian accent. It's been super fun teaching him. He likes to tell us cool stories about his past, and sometimes we have a hard time focusing, but he really is excited to learn the Gospel! He says that he had trouble sleeping last night because he was excited to meet with the missionaries! haha. Super sweet man!

Second miracle: we were talking with people on the train on the way back from a zone conference, and one of them lived really close to us! That is surprising, because we were still pretty far from where we lived. As we talked with him more, we discovered that he knew what Mormons were, because his boss is Mormon. He seemed to know a lot about the Mormons, so we asked him how he knew so much. He said that it's because he was interested. He had to get off the train, but we should be meeting with him this week.

Third miracle: this miracle was a direct result of trying to be exactly obedient. We were at a huge firework show with some members, and due to some miscommunications, we ended up about an hour away from the nearest train station, and on splits with different members. To make a long story short, we ended up sprinting for about 40 minutes through the crowds and the heat to get back to the train station on time. A few times, we almost stopped, but continued so that we could be on time. When we got back to the church to pick up our bikes, it was just in time to bike back to the apartment and get back on time. However, a car drove in to the parking lot, and the people stopped to talk to us. They said that they were looking for a Christian Church Service. We told them that it would be held tomorrow starting at 10. And they came!! We are hoping to meet with them this week as well. Obedience brings miracles!

There were many more, but those are some of the highlights.

Well... the work is going super well here in Urawa! The members are super awesome! We do a lot of "Dorf Drivebys" (the stake president's name is President Dorf, and they were his idea). We basically stop by a member's home, share a message and a treat, and sometimes the member will give a referral, which is always awesome. As we make friends with ward members, it becomes easier to ask them to help out by fellowshipping investigators and coming to activities, both of which are very important.

We are also working with some less actives. There are a lot of those in our area. :P Some of them are hard to contact, but those that we have been able to contact seem to be happy to talk with us. We're hoping to see a few of them at church soon!

We went on splits a few times, so I had the opportunity to try teaching some lessons on my own (with a member listening) in Japanese, which was interesting, but I think they went all right. I also got to give a short intro and testimony in church. It was exciting and nerve racking, but overall, I think it went all right. I can kind of say
what I want to say in Japanese, it's when they start talking back that I really have a problem... haha.

Well... that's all for this week.

Hurrah for Israel!!!

Elder O'Reilly

These things are EVERYWHERE! And they are way bigger than the bugs at home.
They really scare my companion, which is really funny. :-)

Zone Blitz - Guess I didn't remember to talk about this... we got together as a zone, went on splits with
different missionaries, and talked to people on the street. We found one guy that was interested in religion,
one that had met missionaries before, but had English class time (we helped him figure it out, and he said he would go!),
and handed out a Book of Mormon. It was super fun!! Oh, and this is my district leader, and the Elder I went on splits
with -- super cool guy! In the background is a rice field and scarecrow. Yep, pretty exciting stuff.

Some of the fireworks at the show. Probably the coolest fireworks I've seen.
Sorry this isn't a very good picture. I was too busy eating good food, talking with members,
and enjoying the show.

Me and some of the members. They brought a WAY good picnic. I'm on splits with the one on the far right. The member who took this photo is a super cool dude. Unfortunately, he didn't quite make it in the shot. His hair is featured in the bottom left.

This is a family that fed us and an investigator a meal. The person on the far right of the couch is our new investigator - she's been coming to church for a long time and is excited to start the missionary lessons!