Monday, June 13, 2016

Week 49: Trying Again

Hello Everyone!!

Sorry for the short email last week. We decided to finally clean the apartment (the shelves and closets were SO disorganized when I got to this area. Instead of cleaning them, I went the route of not using them...), and as a result, we were a little short on time. Now the apartment is pretty clean, which feels great!

This past week was a pretty AWESOME week. I'll give you a few of the highlights.

First, on Monday, we had a lesson with Bro Y and Bro T. They are gambling friends. They claim to have interest in our message, but usually can't manage to leave the pachinko (Japanese place for gambling). We have a member that has a similar past to their present, and he was present at the lesson for us. We had had a lesson with them before, but they didn't really see how they could apply it, and weren't sure our message could really help them. But the member testified that simply coming to church, praying, scripture study, meeting with the missionaries - seemingly small things - would have a major impact on their lives. His testimony was strong, and they will probably come to church this week. Hearing the testimony of a member was powerful, and they now actually have some good potential for turning their lives around!

On Wednesday, we had a "Family Home Evening" (it was actually Friends, Church, Mid-day, but FCM just sounds weird) with some converts and singles in the ward. None of them have any members of the church in their families, so they've never done an FHE before. We had a lot of fun - they just loved talking to each other, and I made some French Toast for dessert. We discussed the importance of loving our neighbors for the lesson, and challenged them to use the Area plan to do so. The area plan is super awesome and simple - The vision is "Because we want to live with Heavenly Father again, we Love, Elevate, Simplify, Strive, Strengthen, Invite, and Find Joy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Church leaders in Japan want us to find specific ways we can do at least 3 of the things on this list this year, so we challenged them to do so, and they got excited about it! It was a fun way to get members excited about missionary work.

Then, on Thursday, we went out to contact a referral. Bro K. We biked 10 kilometers out. Then he called and cancelled on us. And we biked 10 kilometers back. Mostly just a great view of rice fields, but occasionally there were some people, and EVERYONE was interested in our message. Like, literally. We talked to one man as he was getting in his truck. We didn't have much time, so I just asked him if he was interested in Jesus Christ. He said, "Of course I am! Aren't all Japanese people?" I'll tell you right now that that isn't the case, but I didn't tell him that. We had a great discussion about Christ and the plan of Salvation, and he has a pamphlet on the plan of Salvation with our number - but the unfortunate part about Thursday was that everyone just made excuses. Like, "I'm busy this week, and don't own a phone." Or "I work all day everyday, if I have time, I'll contact you." Etc. Still a way fun day, though! Hopefully we were a means of helping them for the future.

Then, on Friday, we actually got to meet the referral. And he brought a friend, Also Bro. K, but different last names. Just same first letter.

First off, the way we got the referral is because they ordered a Book of Mormon. Wanting to read the Book of Mormon is a really great place to start. After giving a Book of Mormon, we asked them, "Do you have any questions for us?"

"Do Mormons have a form of baptism?"

Um... Yes. SO, They are gold. They are excited to read from the Book of Mormon, said they will be baptized on the twenty fourth of July if they get a confirmation that it is true, and had awesome questions throughout the lesson. REALLY excited for them!

Saturday was splits, which was way fun, but no major events. Then, yesterday, we were able to meet with two investigators that we haven't met with in a while.

With Bro T, we talked about the Spirit and answers to prayers, and he wants to feel the Spirit now! So it was a good lesson! The other investigator we met with has no desires related to the Gospel at all. Eternal Life? No. Communication with God? No. Eternal family? No. Meet loved ones after they die? No. Peace and help over coming difficulties?   No. Become like God? No. DO YOU HAVE ANY DREAMS OR FEARS AT ALL? No.

Oh. That explains a lot. So... Why did you meet with us? You like meeting new people? Ah... I guess that would make you like missionaries. Not sure if we will be meeting him again. Haha. Really awkward lesson.

But this week was pretty AWESOME! Just packed with miracles!

Now, unrelated, random thing that has been on my mind lately.

I've been thinking about Baptism (bet you never could have guessed I would be thinking about that!). Why is Baptism the way it is? Why does it need to be done perfectly?

Well, I've been thinking of the Master teacher, the one who instituted Baptism - maybe He was trying to teach me something here. Of course, there are lots of symbols with Baptism, but let me suggest this as one.

There is no limit to how many times you can attempt a baptism. "No, you already tried to say the words properly or completely immerse them 100 times. Now they just can't go to Heaven." That doesn't exist. So long as you keep trying, God will accept it so long as the last time is perfect. No ultimate failure, no major problem, we just have to try it again.

I've been thinking that the covenant we make is the same way. We make the covenant at baptism. And we break it. Only Christ kept it perfectly the first time.

Then, we take the Sacrament, and we make the covenant again. And we break it. A lot of times. And you know, God always lets us try again. As long as we take each attempt seriously, and really try, eventually, we make it. Through Christ, through a process of renewing our covenants a million or more times, eventually we can keep it perfectly.

No ultimate failure, no major problem. We just have to try again.

So keep pressing forward this week! Try to fix something; let's keep our covenants just a little better. And eventually we can all make it together!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

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