Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Week 12: Some Good Reminders

Hey Everyone!!!

Hope life is amazing where you are! It is beautiful here in Urawa! :) Weather is just about perfect right now - I'm told that we are between the rainy and the cold season - which means it's not boiling hot any more, just warm enough to feel the sunshine. :)

Now, on to the crowning moments of the week!

By far, my favorite experience this week was bringing four people to the Tokyo Temple for the first time! We did baptisms for the dead, and it was just such an incredible experience! Just looking around at all the people that I've been working with, and seeing them all taking important steps towards Christ!!

One of those that I was most excited to see there was Brother F. He has a heart of gold. He was converted about six months ago, and is now a ward missionary, so we work with him quite a bit. He has a super strong testimony, and shares it openly with just about everybody.

The reason I was excited that he came is because he has been worthy and ready for months - but he was too nervous to enter the temple. We've been working with him for a bit about it, and when we told him a group was coming, he said he would be willing to join us. However, he wasn't sure if he would participate. He still had a few concerns.

As we sat talking about our favorite scriptures in the temple, I shared a few verses out of D&C 109, and testified about the power that doing temple work brings into our lives. As we spoke, we felt the kind of peace that is only felt in the temple. He was calmed, and had an incredible experience at the temple.

This is the reason I love missionary work. You find golden people, you tell them how they can be happy, and then watch their conversion take place. Every time I see someone make a change - whether it be overcoming a concern, a commandment issue, or just finally feeling that peace - it strengthens my own conversion and reminds me of it's importance. Sometimes it feels like common place - something that everyone has, something that I've always had. But it isn't that way. It is something that I had to work hard to gain, that I have to work on every day. I love seeing it constantly take place in others, because it makes me never forget about my own conversion. So that is the joy of missionary work summed up in a nutshell.

The other big thing that happened this week was companion exchanges. We did it twice with the same companionship this week - so I got to go with another trainee and a Japanese Elder this week, both of which
were very exciting. :)

When I went with the trainee, we tapped into two sources of power that I hadn't really considered before. The first is gaijin (Foreigner) power. We stood out pretty well - we were literally the only non-Japanese we saw all day. Pretty exciting stuff. :) We talked to a lot of high school kids (that is the age group our mission is focusing on;
15-25), and one of them even ran off and told his friends about us afterwards! We surprised a lot of people, and that was pretty fun.

The second thing we noticed was the power of being positive. When we approached people with a big smile on our faces, and in a friendly voice, most were a little surprised, but very willing to talk to us. If we ever let ourselves get a little down, it didn't go half as well.

We definitely tried our best to use these two things, but there was an even greater power at play. As we talked with people using our broken Japanese - neither of us spoke all that well - there was clearly someone greater than us at play, or no one would have given phone numbers or showed any interest in what we had to share.

The Spirit definitely directed us as we were searching for new people - there was even a time that we sped past a family on our bikes on the way to an appointment, then looked at each other, and just knew we had to turn around. When we talked to the family, they told us that they had often seen two crazy gaijin, dressed up in white shirt and tie, biking past. We talked to them about why we were there, and how the Gospel had blessed our families - and they seemed fairly interested! It was way cool to see the spirit work on us and on the people we talked to that day. Unfortunately, we weren't in my area, so I probably won't know what will happen to the people we met, but it was
a great day anyways. :) It's always nice to realize again that God has a personal interest in directing our lives, and then to have the opportunity to testify of that to other people!

Go and have an awesome week!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Answering some of Mom's questions:

Japanese? I was able to translate without hesitation the other day (for the trainee I did splits with) - but that was definitely aided a bit by the Spirit. :) It comes day by day, so I understand 50-95% of conversation, depending on who is speaking, and what they are speaking about. Coming up with what I want to say and how to say it at the same time is still a little hard, though. It's just to the point that doing a lesson with the Trainee could come off as a success - understanding and answering questions, etc. So... yeah. that is how it is coming.

Biggest struggle? When people fall through repeatedly - I just feel like sometimes what I am trying to teach them just didn't get through somehow.

Simplest pleasure? Well... the simple ones include doing the dishes to EFY music, biking in the sunshine, and eating sushi. Yep. :)

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