Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 29: The Savior's View

Hello Everyone!

So... I haven't had a full time to email since I got my new companion... We're just so busy! We'll fix that next week... Haha. Hopefully my emails get less scatterbrained next week.

Alright... So some miracles of the week:

1. Brother S (The less active) came back to church! He had a great experience, and plans on coming back next week! He was able to make great friends with his home teacher by playing some scrabble (I was the only Native English Speaker - some pretty interesting attempted words in that game). We've been working with him since I got to the area! I'm so glad that he is coming! And, on top of that, he wants to go back to the temple for baptisms on the 9th of February!

2. We went out on a ledge to follow some revelation as a district and we did TONS of mogi (practice?) lessons! We had WAY less time to go and find people to teach - but found more people than average. Like 2 or 3 times normal. So TONS of new people to work with as a district. Just shows that God's wisdom is better than man's. We were worried about shortening our finding time, but doing the mogi's put us exactly where we needed to be.

Now... What I learned this week.

I'm still learning to balance everything. Between tech staff and district leader, it really feels like there isn't so much as a moment to breath. Nights were spent laying awake wondering how to help the district's needs, and every spare moment throughout the day was spent going crazy. Needless to say, not very effective.

The part that made it the hardest was my own self criticism. Instead of looking at the problems that I had been able to help with, I looked at the never ending list of tasks and problems that hadn't yet been touched. My head was filled with thoughts like, "I don't measure up to this" or "Well, I messed that one up pretty bad."

My companion, noticed my frustration, and either I was super readable or he followed some pretty great revelation, and asked the question, "Elder O'Reilly, are you seeing yourself the way the Savior sees you?"

Perspective soon changed, frustration and helplessness was exchanged for feelings of love and strength. As I thought of this experience, I thought of Moroni 7:16 . Clear judgement - those things that lead you to Christ, are of Him. If they don't, they are not. Self criticism is never from God. It is of Satan. Any criticism from God, comes with so much love that it feels much less like criticism and much more like inspiration!

Love you all!

Stay Awesome!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Finally a pic of my companion! Well... Sort of...

Me and some penguins!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Week 28: Comfortable People

Hello Everyone!

So... This week was crazy! And today was even crazier! We had dinner with the Mission President to celebrate his birthday, and we also got to teach brother S (the less active, not the golden investigator)! He now has a goal of going to the temple, and should be coming to church! Church is still hard for him, but at least he has the goal. :)

Now... This is going to be short. I need to get in a better habit of writing. Sorry. :P

What I learned this week: God doesn't like comfortable people. Comfortable = not learning. That means that anytime things get comfortable, things are about to change. For instance, brief history of my mission.

Coming into the field -> become tech staff -> become district leader -> help members of district work through problems I never knew existed.

Honestly, on a mission, I am working out of my comfort zone about 100% of the time. However, God always gives me just enough resources to finish the job. Stressful, if I forget that the Lord is actually my support, the one who called me here, and the one who will do the work.

Now, sometimes, I pray for things to be comfortable. And then I wonder why things don't just come that way. But I think of the prophets of old, the scriptures, all the examples I look to. God has never worked that way. Even the faithful, or more accurately, particularly the faithful had difficulties. Thus, Nephi said "having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days;" God gives good experience to those willing to take it, but it was never meant to be easy, it was meant to perfect us.

So... Learning lots.

Now, big things this week:

- we are striving as a district to visit every member of the ward this week. So we have 12 appointments set up this week, and the ward is feeling like it is just about to catch on fire!

- Went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, caught the "Dendo Fire" as we found a new investigator. Came back, and went on splits with those in my district, and we found two new investigators in an hour. Basically open the Book of Mormon (of course, following the Spirit to meet needs), and the man on the street said, "There are great things in this book! Can you teach me about it?" Umm... Yeah. Haha. Wish I had more time to write!

- Zone Meeting training! Talked about Ammon - how people doubted in the place he was going (un-Christian, anti church nation - sounds like Japan) - but how he still baptized THOUSANDS by working with recent converts and creating a church. And God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so I basically just told everyone that we should baptize Tokyo. Yep. We're going to do it.

Well... Those are my thoughts on the week!!! Always behind, but I know that with the Lord's help, my little bit is enough!

Hurrah for Israel!

Stay Awesome! And remember that with the Lord on your side, you cannot fail!

Elder O'Reilly

So... This is not my companion. Just came to the Honbu for a week.
Some shifting around mid transfer around the mission. He's a way cool,
2nd transfer missionary.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 27: A Rough Draft

Hey everyone!!!

So... I have 9 minutes to be in bed. So... this will be a rough draft. Sorry. :P

This week has been CRAZY!!! Running from appointment to appointment! Which makes for a happy, tired, missionary!

As far as meeting with people.... Met with a bunch of people before Elder Harrison left! Crazy seeing him leave, but Elder Ikegami is WAY cool, fluent in Japanese, and is great at working with the ward. People just seem to flock to him. We were focusing on strengthening the ward, so that they can be prepared for baptisms. Retention rate is pretty low right now - like the two people that have been baptized since I got here are still active, but most of the recent converts are not. So that is a problem. Ikegami Chourou is definitely a great blessing! However, he came a day late, and that made things WAY crazy! (All the new missionaries came a day late, and that made things WAY crazy in the office, and made it hard to hit our appointments!)

So... anyways. I made it through my first week as a District Leader!!! Crazy, but fun. Never loved people so much, and never worried so much. It's been great seeing the Lord work through me! He can do great things even with someone simple like me.

We had our first district meeting, which ended up being AWESOME! Especially because everyone went overtime, and I didn't have to speak. :) But I have to speak at zone conference this week, so that will be interesting.

Everything this week has just felt like a rough draft. Just putting things out with just enough time! Been CRAZY! But it is great to see how the Lord can polish things! I was never the one doing the work anyways!

Well... heading to bed!

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

This is my "SHOOT! I forgot to take pictures this week!" face. haha.
I'll send you pics of my companion next week

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 26: A Guarantee of Success

Hello Everyone!!!

This week has been fantastic!! But it is also transfer week. I will definitely be missing my companion, but I am excited to work with Elder Ikegami! He is an American born Japanese, so I think is fluent in both languages. So that is pretty cool!

I'm also becoming district leader... so... that is interesting. I haven't even done a training at district meeting before! So this will definitely be a good learning experience.

First of all, I hope you all had as AWESOME of a new years as I did! I cleaned, watched the sunrise, and drank sparkling cider at Missionary midnight (aka 10:00pm). Way fun day to just listen to some hymns, clean, and ponder. And our apartment is actually clean! So that is a plus. And as a new years resolution, our apartment decided that everyone will clean the apartment together every p-day. Actually, I decided that for everyone, but either way we are cleaning apartment together, so it is pretty much the same thing.

So... coolest miracle of the week:

We went to go buy groceries on Wednesday, because Tuesday was too busy to buy groceries (went to the temple with a recent convert, taught a bible class, and a few other lessons). On our way back, we were trying to talk to people. One of the people we ran into had actually met Elder Harrison on a bus before, and the first thing he did was apologize for never coming to our church! He said he was always planning on coming, but he was just too busy! We asked him if we could meet again, and he showed us his home and said we could stop by anytime!

Then, we were at a ping pong activity on Saturday night, and I had the impression that we needed to go and visit this investigator. I talked to my companion, and we were off! We met with him, and he talked about the recent death of his father, and how grateful he was for our visit. He then invited himself to church (he got lost on the way and couldn't come - but at least he wants to!), and we plan on meeting him again this week! Brother O. shows a lot of interest in our church, and doesn't love anything as much as he loves Jesus Christ! He told us that he wants to be a member of our congregation... so I think he has a good amount of potential. :)

After that, we got back to go to the church when the assistants randomly needed us in the office. As Elder Harrison worked on solving the problem, I started contacting the list of potential investigators we wanted to meet with. I wasn't getting too much luck, until I felt that I should skip everyone on the list and go straight to a potential investigator that we previously had had no luck with. He picked up, and said that he would love to meet up some time! He has a Mormon friend, and would love to learn about our beliefs. He wants to meet us at a McDonalds,
but hey, it's a start!

So I learned something - I have my own methods and plans, but they never compare to God's plans. That is why it so important to listen to the Spirit! In PMG it says that we will be successful as we learn to recognize and follow the promptings of the Spirit (page 89). As I pondered that sentence, I realized that this is not just for a Missionary - this is the path way to success in life! I know from experience that if you will rely on the Lord, He will make so much more of your life than you can!

So seek to recognize the Spirit this week! It may take removing a few obstacles (loud music, sketchy movies), reading some scriptures, prayer, and getting to the Temple, but nothing could be more valuable! What else could guarantee your success?

Stay Awesome!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

This is a crab. It is alive. We boiled it and ate it!

Panarama of the New Year's sunrise

Standing on the roof of my apartment, watching the sunrise on New Year's Day!
First sunrise of the year in the world - well, almost...

Pokemon! My companion wanted to go to the Pokemon center for his last pday here!
So we went a total of 3 times together. haha