Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 42: Tender Mercies

Hello everyone!!!

So... This week, we got to meet with Bro G again! We met him again on Tuesday and set a baptismal date for the twenty second of May. He is busy, and it is hard to meet, but hopefully we'll be able to help him work towards that goal!

We were also able to meet with the family man, Brother S. He was SUPER open with us for a first meeting, telling us about how he wants to strengthen his family relationships, and how he is looking for the truth. He is a perfect example of those who are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it! We meet with him again tomorrow after Eikaiwa (English Conversation Class). I'm excited! 

I realized that I haven't talked about what I do on a regular basis much. Usually, we go around visiting various less actives and talking to EVERYONE on the way. Someone asked me if our street contacting is natural... Well, if people are few enough, sometimes we cross the street and stop our bikes just to talk to someone. It feels natural to me, but I don't think it feels natural to them. Haha. I'll let you judge.

Then, when we get to the less actives house, we ask for the person, and usually they don't want to meet with us, or a relative answers the door and says that the said person is no longer interested and we leave a note, or some of them have even passed away. Most of the records we are going through are people that were baptized 40-60 years ago, and most do not have the Priesthood (meaning that they became less active pretty quickly)... But the ward wants us to visit everybody on the list and see how they are doing, so we'll do it! It is a long list, so it will take us a while. We found 2 or 3 people that have some chance of coming back that we are working with, so hopefully something comes of it!

After visiting the less active, we house around the area a bit (we don't do too much housing - most people have a camera in front of their house, so they just see that they don't know us, and we don't get to talk to too many people that way, so not my favorite way to find new people),  and head to the next appointment or less active. It's fun to always have a place to work towards, and keeps us moving around our area.

As we were doing that this week, we also found Brother H. - someone that home stayed in America many years ago! He came to church this week, and enjoyed it. We plan on having our first lesson with him next week, as he is going out of town.

Anyways, that was our week! I can see the Lord's hand in our work everyday! I hope that each of you remembers to look for the little tender mercies that God is putting in each of your lives everyday!

Stay Awesome!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Sister Horii is awesome and makes delicious lunches every Sunday.
Gives us more time to Dendo, and look at that double stacked sandwich! Heaven :-)

The family man! :) Brother S.

Bunch of Elders coming to our area for Zone P-Day!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 41: "Coincidences"

Hello Everyone!!!

So... First, I've heard a lot about some earthquake this week... I didn't feel anything. Sorry. Haha. :P I was asked about that, but sorry. Nothing exciting.

But there were some AWESOME miracles this week!!!

First, we had splits on Thursday. Splits always have great miracles. We had just a few hours left at the end of the day to eat dinner and go finding. So... We were talking to people as we looked for a place to eat, and found Suzuki (Super common last name in Japan)! He wanted to learn more about the life of Christ, so we set up an appointment for last Sunday. He just moved into the area, and didn't have a phone yet, so no contact info, but still awesome!

Then, on our way back to the apartment, there was a man randomly doing handstands in front of the station. Of course we talked to him, and he had met missionaries in a different area before! He has never been to church before, but we exchanged phone numbers, and set up a time to talk with him tonight, actually, so I will tell you how that goes next week!

On Sunday, as we went to go meet up with Suzuki, we ran into Brother I - a former investigator that we have actually never met up with before. Elder O'Connor had talked to him on the phone before, but recently, we haven't even been able to do that. We found out that he has a 10 am-10 pm job, which is why we haven't been able to contact him - most of our contacting time ends up between those hours. We "coincidently" met up with him on the same corner that he had originally met the missionaries on. We set up an appointment to meet, and talked with him as we walked because he was going to the same place we were going to meet Suzuki. He seems to love missionaries, and we are excited to help him start progressing in the Gospel!

Then, we waited for Suzuki... He didn't show up, but we started talking to people in the area. Lots of people were passing us on the street, but then we felt we should talk to just one in particular, Bro. F. He is a High School student, and up to learn more, so we exchanged phone numbers, and hopefully he can meet next week (this week is pretty busy).

On the way back from the area, we met up with another new investigator - Brother G. We briefly introduced who we were, the restoration, and asked him if he would let us teach him more at another time. He told us he was pretty busy - but that he had time then and there. Turns out that he had asked for today off in particular to participate in his hobby - some sort of group dance. They were going to dance in the park, but due to the weather, it was cancelled. So, it happened to be his only day off in a long time, and his plans had just been cancelled. When we met him he was wondering what he would do for the next hour or so, and, as he likes talking about religion, he readily accepted our invitation to meet.

As we walked to find a place to sit down, we talked about his background in religion - he had been part of a different religion when he was younger, but never really like it; then he commented that he had almost started studying one religion almost a year ago, but got busy. It took him a minute to find the name, but then he said - "yes, It was the Mormons!" We explained that that was a nickname for our church, and we laughed about the "coincidence."

We found a place to sit, and taught him the Restoration. When we told him about how he could pray and find out for himself, just like Joseph Smith, he said, "Wait. So you're telling me that Joseph Smith wasn't special - that I can ask God, too?!?" He sounded rather surprised and excited - the reaction that I wish everyone had when they learn something so AWESOME! Of course, we explained that he probably wouldn't see God in his answer, but that he certainly could. He was astounded, and readily set up an appointment to meet with us again on Tuesday, before work.

So... Basically, this week, we found more new investigators than we have worked with in the last few weeks... Awesome? YES!!! It seemed like we were just seeing "coincidence" after "coincidence" - or, from a better perspective, miracle after miracle, following the perfect plan of a loving Heavenly Father.

It is awesome to get to be a part of this great work! When I left on my mission, I believed in the Restoration, I believed this church to be true. But, being a part of this, seeing the Gospel change lives, and seeing miracles on a daily basis, has changed everything. I don't know exactly when it happened, but belief changed to knowledge - I hope you all know that to me, the Restoration is a fact! As such, nothing could be more important than this Gospel - it changes lives, not just the first time, but everyday that we strive to live it. So take advantage of the most precious knowledge this world has to offer! "Please open your heart to the Book of Mormon, again, for the first time. Please pray with real intent, again, for the first time." (Elder Gong, general conference) Those simple things have the power to change our lives every day, if we will let them!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Splits! Also, that piece of chicken cost like $10. And was super small. Haha

Cooking pancakes for our "PP" (Pancakes & Ping Pong) Party that happens every other week.
There are Oreo chunks in that pancake batter. You should try it. It's delicious! :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 40: Just do it!

Hello everyone!

Hmm... This last week is a blur in my mind right now, but in the next few minutes I have, I will sum up a few of the miracles.

First, we did meet with the Professor this week. He really likes Mormons, and he said that he will try reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, so we're excited about him. I'll keep you posted on his progress. He is busy though, so I don't think we will be able to meet him this week... :P

Second, on the way to meeting with him, we were on a SUPER high. We could feel the Spirit well, and it was easier than ever to talk to EVERYONE. We testified of the living Christ, and how He could bless our lives, and make our families Eternal (definitely the greatest part of the good news!). When we came to a stop light, I was looking around me - it was a busy street corner, but even so, I was pretty certain I had talked to all of the people around me. After a few seconds of silence, someone walked up from behind me, and commented on my message. He asked what I was doing, and wanted to hear more! I had seen him at the beginning of that street, but due to circumstance, hadn't been able to tell him more than "good morning", and ask him how he was doing. Apparently, from there, though he had disappeared from my sight, he had been walking behind me for much of the way, and
probably heard us testify (and get rejected) 8 or 9 times, and basically set up his appointment with us! We will meet with him not this week, but the next... And looking at his Facebook, he Looks like he is a super cool dad, so I am excited for the opportunity to teach a family! I think the first visit will just be him, but hopefully it leads to more than that!

General Conference was awesome! It was like 10 hours of straight revelation! Favorite talk? I liked the one
on Fathers, I LOVED Elder Hollands, and I liked Ryan's favorite, too. My favorite theme from Conference though was pray frequently and sincerely (which made me particularly like the talk about doing it again -for the first time) and for EVERYTHING - especially to repent and to receive revelation. I don't know if that was actually said in
the talks, or just in my thoughts, but it really stood out to me how because the Holy Ghost is the purifier, revelation will come as we repent. Even good men need to strive to be better in order to have the Holy Ghost with them in a powerful, revelatory way.

We saw lots of other miracles, and got to see some pretty beautiful flowers. Unfortunately, I am just about out of time, but I want to join with the church leaders in saying that families can be Eternal! That is the greatest message we have for the world! That is why the Gospel is restored, that is why I go around like crazy talking to EVERYBODY - because I know it, and everyone will be blessed by knowing it. Nothing could be more essential to me than living so that I can be with my family for Eternity. That is why we must make the harder right instead of the easier wrong. So keep the end in mind - and just do it!

Love you all!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly
Sakura! (Cherry Blossoms)

We talked to people as they looked at the beautiful flowers!

Closer to the flowers just so you get how awesome Sakura really is!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 39: Prayer Works!

Hello Everyone!

This week was crazy! To be honest, it was so jam packed that it feels like I was writing home yesterday... The speed at which time flies scares me a bit!

Anyways... Some of the stuff we did this week...

First, we are teaching a man from France! He seems pretty interested, but as a college student learning Japanese, he is pretty busy. It's way crazy to have to practice some of my French again... Sometimes Japanese words come out, and sometimes it comes out in Japanese grammar... Which does not work at all en Fran├žais. Haha.

Aside from that, it was transfer week, so I had a chance to work with younger missionaries, and work with older missionaries as well (we became the companionship for the random odds and ends that did not have a companion while their companions were transferring). In short, got some good feed back, and was able to help a "younger" missionary (he has 5 or so years on me, but recently came to the field) set plans for Japanese study and learn some new teaching skills. Helping other missionaries is probably one of my favorite things to do - and it is a good motivator, because without striving yourself, you really can't help anybody.

Well, aside from that, we started visiting a long list of less actives. Most of them were converts in their teens, and are now in their 70's, so most say something like "what church?" Or "oh. I'm Buddhist now." And then there are some that moved. So we basically just talk to everyone on the way to make it effective.

Most people we talked to weren't interested. However, while we were biking home yesterday, it just struck me - if God wanted to put someone in my path he could. So, I prayed that a prepared person would be put in my path, and, the next person we talked to was a couple that wants to learn about how families can be eternal! Hopefully we can meet with them again soon! So, prayer works! It gives us direction, help, strength, and blessings, so make sure you pray over EVERYTHING you do this week (Alma 37:37). It works. I promise.

Stay Awesome!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

This is my "I don't think I have taken a pic in 2 weeks" face. Haha.
Oops. I'll have to ask the other Elders in the apartment for some good
pics. :P I'll take some today after we email, Mom. Don't worry. I
promise. Haha.