Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 21: I Will Show Unto Them Their Weakness

Hello everyone!

This week was transfer week! SO we had 8 guests (returning missionaries) at our apartment. It made things a little crazy and messy, but they gave us a referral, and helped us teach a lesson to a less active who (kind of) came back to church!! So this week was crazy busy (all tech staff responsibilities are during transfer week), but we saw lots of miracles, too. 

First, we met with Brother R again! He`s the one who ran up to us and asked us to tell him about our church probably 2 weeks ago. We taught him about the restoration, and then committed him to be baptized! He said yes, but because he is busy, he doesn`t want to pick a date yet. However, he is super interested in what we have to teach, particularly the plan of salvation. Obviously, we are pretty excited about him!

Then the (kind of) reactivated member! We have been working with Brother S (different Brother S than our sick investigator) for a while now, but he hasn`t really had any motivation to come back to church. He loves missionaries - he even wants to become one - but he doesn`t like being around large groups of people... so church is kind of hard. We went with a returning missionary to visit him, and the missionary used a new level of boldness. He basically just said, so your coming to church this week, right? and then helped Brother S come up with a plan for how to motivate himself to come to church. The whole time he was only half on board, but apparently it was enough, because he came back to church! Unfortunately, as soon as he saw how many people were coming, he got stressed and left, but that was a huge step, and we are now working with him instead of against him, so that makes a big difference. And I learned that (obviously) I still have a TON to learn as a missionary.

Now, I'll be honest. This week was pretty crazy. There were lots of demands on our time this week, and my normal (pre-missionary) time management techniques don't work at all - that is waking up earlier and staying up later. We kind of have a schedule.... now, on paper, it all still worked, but now when unexpected problems came up, it was a
much larger test of my patience. It reminded me a bit of Ether 12:27...If men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness.

Sometimes, I feel like when I do the right thing, it is supposed to be easier, but what is written here, is not that at all. The blessing for coming unto Christ is seeing my weaknesses. But the follow up blessing is that if we are humble, we will be enough. Is that easy? No. Fun? Not necessarily. But it is the only way to grow and change. Seeing that we are not enough, and then choosing to place ourselves in His hands, so that He can change us and help us.

As I began to see things more this way, not much changed in any immediate way. But things become worth it in the end. There was a goal I was working towards - a better me. No, not a magic fix, but a goal, a change, and suddenly, the difficulties have meaning.

So, when you come unto Christ, and it isn't easy, because there will be those times, choose to give it all up to Him! It is best that way!!

Elder O'Reilly

(I got this picture off facebook)

(Another one off facebook from his mission president's wife)

Christmas display at the mall! Gives us a new dendo technique!
"Do you know the meaning of the Christmas tree?
True meaning of Christmas? "  etc.
Answer is almost always a combination of no and curiosity, which is perfect for us!

My companion wanted to go back to the Pokemon store! So here we are! :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 20: Remember These Things

Hey Everyone!!!

It's been forever since I've written you all!! haha

Actually, it's felt like a total of 2 seconds, and it's only been... 4 days? Ish? Yeah.

Anyways... the last few days have been awesome.

First... Brother H! He was golden as always. We called him Saturday to make sure he could come to church, and he told us he was working in the afternoon, so he couldn't come. He sounded SUPER disappointed, but he told us he would love to meet us in the morning - and when we told him that we had a sacrament meeting in the morning, he got SO excited! He is just so ready to receive the Gospel!

Then, today, we were planning on teaching him the first few commandments. Including the commandment "Pray Often." Before we started, he told us that he had a question - he was wondering if he could pray before he went to bed. After that, we were like, do we even need to teach him?!? And he said he still wants to be baptized. Way excited for him!

Biggest highlight is that we had part of a new family come to church! They are Chinese, so they didn't understand too much, and the wife didn't want to come, because she doesn't speak English or Japanese. However, this week was the Primary program - so they used simple Japanese (even I understood it!), and a lot of good singing. Their daughter, who is enrolled in a Japanese school, understood it I think. The father doesn't speak too much Japanese, but as I talked with the father of the family after church, he told me that while he didn't understand much of what was said, he loved the atmosphere at the church. And after church, he said he wanted to come back next week! Can't wait to see him progress with his family! So that is the F. Family.

As I've been seeing some of our investigators start to find the joy of the Gospel, I realized that these new investigators have a great excitement in the new light of the Gospel that I don't often see in most members. And as I studied Moroni 10 before offering this challenge to them, I noticed something there that I haven't noticed before. After Moroni "exhorts" us to "ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true," he also "exhort[s] [us] to remember these things."

So, today, my "exhortation" is simple. First, ask God if this is all true, having the intent to act, and a mind willing to receive. And I can promise you that He will answer you. I can promise you that He will answer you - even if you have already asked Him before. I can promise you that because I have asked Him many times, including today, and He has never ignored me. If you want a truly incredible experience, go through all the exhortations in Moroni 10, really go through and ponder them, and then ask God.

And then, don't forget; choose to remember. Remember the answer that God gives you, that the book is true. And then remember what that means! Families are eternal; God is your loving Heavenly Father; He wants to communicate with you, help you; you can receive personal revelation; Jesus Christ suffered for you, and understands you perfectly; God prepared a way for YOU to succeed and return to Him. Life can throw some crazy things at you, and it can be hard to remember - but if you ever forget, you can just get on your knees and ask again. He will ALWAYS answer you!

So remember this week how exciting and beautiful the Gospel is!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

At the temple with Elder Harrison (found on facebook)

Found this on facebook.
Sis. Nagano says "Thank you for your great service in Nakano and Mission Office!"

Went to the Zoo with a member and my companion!
There is a hippo in 
the background.... kind of.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 19: "Yea, I know that I am nothing"

Hey Everyone!!

This week was a week of miracles. So prepare to have your minds exploded with awesomeness.

First, Brother H. So, last week, we set a soft baptismal date - namely, when you get your answer, will you be baptized? And eventually, he said yes. This week, he came to church, and this was the conversation after church:

Me: "So how was Church today?"

Brother H. : "Pretty good. The people are very friendly. There is a warm atmosphere at the church."

"Oh! That is awesome! Any questions or thoughts on the meetings today?"

"I guess I have one. How can I join your church?"

"Umm... (I almost literally asked him to say that again - it caught me a little off guard) that would be through baptism."

"Ah! I remember! We talked about that! So, when can I be baptized?"

And that lead into our lesson topic perfectly - the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since then, I have heard him testify of the good feelings and peace that come from reading the Book of Mormon, and already heard him tell me about his experiences asking God for direction and help in his life. Certainly, this is one of those that was kept from the truth only because he knew not where to find it! It's crazy to me that we stopped this man on the street just a couple of weeks ago, and now he is just so excited about everything that has to do with the church!

Next, we met another investigator with a lot of potential! We were on our way to teach a bible class (we teach that weekly), and we didn't have too much time, so though both of us (I and my companion) felt that we should talk to him, we brushed it off, with the excuse that we were running late. We walked past him quickly on the way to the church, and he ran to catch up with us, and said "Hey! I keep seeing people like you around the streets! Could you tell me a little about your church?" We then gave him a quick church tour, and exchanged information so that we could meet again. I'm excited to see how it goes with Brother R! And if nothing else, it definitely renewed my conviction of talking to everyone!

Now, these two investigators are both looking pretty awesome, but the thing is, it never seems to be something that we do that works the magic. In Brother H.'s case, we weren't even smart enough to get contact information on the first contact. With Brother R., we didn't even open our mouths! As a companionship, we talk to SOO many people - but the contacts that seem to "go well" - when we can understand the Japanese, when we try to get contact information, or set return appointments, when we open our mouths, when we get a conversation going about the Gospel - have not yet been fruitful. Whenever an investigator has had the least bit of potential, our initial contact has always started with some sort of blunder, with my Japanese or otherwise. And it has made something very clear to me here - I am not the one doing the work. The Lord is. Certainly, I have to be trying my best, but without the Lord behind me, I could do nothing. I feel very much like Ammon when he said, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." It is awing to think of the Eternal changes that we are seeing in people's lives, and humbling to realize how it is really done by the Lord!

So here is my challenge for the week. Put the Lord first. Rely on Him. Even if life is busy, or putting Him first is difficult, go to the temple; make time for scripture study; make time for prayer. You will be amazed at the blessings that flow as you strive to make time for Him first! He can do so much more with our lives than we can - I've seen it this week, as I've seen it many times before!


Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

My companion and I by the Christmas display by the temple.

Me, looking snazzy in the park near the temple!

Tokyo Temple!

Some weird fish thing we found today.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 18: Something to Consider

Hey Everyone!!!

This week was way interesting. Just lots of new things and such.

First off, Brother S. entered the hospital! Please pray for him!! We weren't able to contact him this week. :P

Next, I went to MLC this week - Mission Leadership Council. I'm not a mission leader, but I did get to take notes on the meeting. It was interesting to see what happens more "behind the scenes." So I basically just wrote down everything that was said, and now my notes are being sent out to the leaders of the mission... so hopefully I didn't mis-translate anything (good chunks of the meeting were in Japanese).

We starting visiting people in the ward this week as well! The Bishop, some less actives, and some strong members too - we should have started doing it earlier!! So... if you go on a mission, work with the members!! Way more effective than just streeting all day. Plus, you can still talk to people all along the way.

Aside from that, we had some good finding time! Or as I call it in my planner 金人を見つける時間 - or time for finding golden people. And we found some great people!

We met two that were pretty awesome.

First, we met someone that walked up to us on the street and said he was interested! He said he wanted to learn how and why we pray, and we said we could do that. He gave us contact info, and we should meet again soon.

The second went like this:

(me, probably awkwardly staring, trying to figure out why this person looked familiar, feeling like I should talk to them)

"Hey! We met before, didn't we!" (Brother H.)

"Oh, yes, we did!" (me, realizing this is someone we met earlier, but weren't able to get contact info from)

"It is pretty incredible that we met twice in Tokyo, isn't it?"

"yeah. It is."

It then continued, he apologized for not contacting us, saying he was busy. We got his contact info, and he said he wanted to meet!

But so do a lot of people - however, I called him yesterday (Sunday), and!!!! He didn't pick up. Then he called me back and said that he wanted to meet today (Monday)! We met, and he told us that he wanted to start coming to our church activities, particularly on Sunday. We told him that that would be great!

After we gave him a brief tour of the church, taught him the restoration, and committed him to Baptism. He said no.

However, we talked about it some more, and (this is the best part), he said YES! He should be baptized on the 20th of next month.

So... he is pretty golden. :)

Now, I want you to consider the chances - us, out of crowds of millions of people, in the city of Tokyo, meeting the same person twice. Almost zero right? And not to mention, at totally different times in totally different places! We could not have met him again if we had not followed the Spirit!

To me, this is one of many pieces of convincing evidence that this is the true church on the earth! However, I want you to consider a few other things as well:

Could a young man, Joseph Smith, write a book, such as the Book of Mormon, with minimal education? Could he find people who would be willing to tell the world they had seen the plates and become the three and eight witnesses? Could he start this church, and this great work, which now spreads across the entire work? Could he have done these things if it were not true?

Not likely. But would that same young man endure persecutions, and later die, for such things if they were not true?

Almost impossible. And consider this: would I be in Japan declaring it to everyone I can, if I did not KNOW it was true? No.

If none of this is evidence enough that the Gospel is true, I add my testimony that I know that Jesus is the Christ - that He died for you and me. And He restored the Gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God, and this IS God's true church on the earth. Through it, we can live happily with our families now and eternally.

This is the happy and true message that I share! And the best part is that no one has to take my word for it - nor any of the evidences I have given. You can know for yourself!

So this week, consider what the Gospel means to you, consider what it would mean if it were true (and I testify that it is!), and how AWESOME that is!

Have a fantastic week!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

P.S. P day next week is Wednesday. I'm going to the temple. :)

Went to sushi! My comp ate 30 plates!

This is what I made as Tech Staff... there is a Japanese version as well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Week 17: Cloud 12

Hey Everyone!

So first off, not too much time to write this week. We had zone p-day today. I'll write you all next week! I promise! Sorry!

Now, Investigators.

Brother S. is still doing AWESOME! We asked him to read Alma 7 on Wednesday, and when we met with him again on Saturday, he apologized for "not reading it all." When we asked where he read to, he said 22. We were like, verse 22? that's pretty good, and then he said no, chapter 22. Oh. Is that all? haha. And we come to find out that he had read several other church materials as well (while he is eating breakfast and things, he just reads pamphlets and learns more about the church).

So that pretty much sums up Brother S. He is SO willing to do anything we ask, and he grasps concepts so quickly. He should be baptized on the 22 of this month. He's already keeping all the commandments, he has faith, and he loves EVERYTHING about the church, including the word of wisdom (he proudly tells pretty much every member that he meets that he has been keeping it for the last four years), the Spirit, the missionaries, the members, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He is as golden as they get.

As for Brother M, the other man we met, we haven't met with him again yet. He is, after all, a single father trying to work and take care of his son. He's just been busy. His baptismal date is for the middle of next month, though that might have to change if we aren't able to meet with him. Still excited to see him start progressing, though!

As for other investigators, we taught a few this week with pretty different backgrounds.

The first, Brother J. He is an American that moved to Japan to teach, translate, and finish his book on the Bible, specifically the book of Revelations. So he could ask some pretty deep questions. To get in the door, we had a "pie off," and he can make some pretty incredible pie. So that was definitely a bonus!

The first thing he said when we began to teach was that he would never convert. He had several concerns with our church, and he said that he's just a little too old for that  (he's maybe in his mid 40's? Not that old). However, as we began to talk with him, we were able to resolve every concern that he brought up. We definitely felt the Spirit directing what we say, and we definitely saw the results of the promise, "you shall not be confounded before men." It's not like we know everything, or even very much, but we had the Spirit, and let me tell you, that is enough!

Anyways, he said that he enjoyed the discussion, and that we should do it again sometime, only as a "Christmas Goodies Off." Unfortunately, like all of Japan, he is pretty busy, and he doesn't think he can meet with us again before then. But he does want to meet again, and hopefully from there we can set expectations to teach him!

We taught another man yesterday directly after the second sacrament meeting of the day (did I tell you that I usually attend two wards? We have a YSA ward and a regular ward here in Nakano). It was a last minute referral, and a very interesting lesson. I'm not sure if we told him more about our religion, or if we learned more about his. Every time we brought up a principle, he contradicted it with his version of the principle. In the end, we just testified about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and challenged him to read and find out for himself which was true. That pretty much ended the argument, but I'm not sure whether or not he will be progressing in the future. We'll have to find out the next time we meet with him.

However, one question he asked me really stuck with me. "You're only 19! And you're not paid! What motivates you to be here?" It was an awesome opportunity to share my testimony of Jesus Christ and the blessings of the Gospel.

As I thought about what motivates me, and a talk I had read earlier, Elder Uchtdorf's talk Forget-me-not (AWESOME talk), I thought of the why of missionary work. While the "what" and the "how" of missionary work didn't really change a lot from the experience, I fully agree with Elder Uchtdorf when he said "the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the 'why.'" There are a lot of things we do in the church, and with out the why, they can become just another thing to do on an already never ending list.

But in reality, it doesn't have to be that way. As I thought about this question, as I thought about the why of what I am doing, I thought of how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and these are my brothers and sisters, whether or not they accept it; I thought of how Christ Atoned for each of them, and how each of them is precious to Him; I thought of the ways the Gospel had blessed my life, my family, and changed everything in what I do, and what it could do for others.

Now, what I did from there was not all that different. I still talked to everyone. The majority were still not too interested, but some how, the same activities changed from something that I had to do (granted, I still did them happily), to something I got to do. I felt like I was on cloud 12, and that as long as I was doing my best, that stayed.

So this week, as you make time for studying the scriptures, praying, temple work, family time, school, and many other AWESOME things (maybe even missionary work!), realize what you have! The time that we get to do things is often limited, and life is too short to miss enjoying any of it.

So come and join me on cloud 12 this week!

Hope to see you all there!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

One of the guys we taught!
President Whiting Conference (found on mission blog)
(back row, left side)
Zone Conference (found on facebook)
 (middle row)