Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Week 60: Buckets!

Hello Everyone!!!

Well... I went to Sado this week! Basically the dream of everyone in the mission to go. :) Basically partied on an island for a few days. And saw miracles. Of course.

Favorite, by far was when we were streeting on the way back from housing. We prayed often for direction. It was most apparent when we both passed a street. I had the impression to turn down the street. By the time I turned around, my companion, Elder Okada, had just done the same. Without saying a word, we followed the same impression for reasons we didn't yet know.

Sado is a bit of country side, so not a lot of people on the streets. As we walked down the street, there was only one man. He just so happened to be interested in Christianity and was very willing to hear our message, and gladly accepted the challenge to read the Book of Mormon. Such a prepared man! It's experiences like that that confirm to me that God knows and loves His children, and directs us as we strive to serve them!

When we got back from splits to Sado, we had splits with the other Niigata Elders. We followed the Spirit, and in a like manner found several new people to teach. However, coolest miracle was when we went to visit a man found by the Sisters (they went housing).

First words out of his mouth:
"Is there an ordinance to enter your church?"

Awesome. Let's get straight to the point.

"Yes. Baptism"

"That's where you are cleansed from your sins, right?"

Wow. OK.

We proceeded to have a discussion about the importance of baptism, in the which he committed himself to baptism before I could ask, on the condition that he found out it was true.

Yep. I didn't even need to be there. Just there to see the miracles. We meet him again tomorrow to pick a date and do a church tour before he comes this week. :) So that's Brother I.

Subject of my letter comes from my District Leader. Buckets of Miracles. Only way I can describe my life right now. Our other investigator, Brother H, read 1/3 of the Book of Mormon when all we asked him to read was Moroni 10. He committed himself to the challenge, and thinks the Book of Mormon is AWESOME. We have an appointment with a father of a family (I'm guessing from the look of the house that a family lives there) in a bit from now. Less actives are progressing, and the list goes on!!! These are just some of the highlights.

As I see all these miracles in my life, it's surprising to even myself that the miracles aren't actually what make up my faith. It reminds me of this scripture:

"9 But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe."

Certainly, miracles are spiritual experiences. However, none of it compares to my study from 8 to 9 everyday; the impressions I receive while I read the Book of Mormon are far more powerful than anything I could see. In my experience faith comes from those small moments, that cannot be seen - thus Alma says that "if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."

I have a hope in the Atonement. I have a hope in Christ, the Savior of the World. I have a hope in our Heavenly Father, who knows us and loves us perfectly. I know these things are true. I challenge each of you to raise your faith; increase in study and prayer; apply the principles you learn! I know that as you do, you will get buckets of miracles!

Stay Awesome!
 Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Sunset! :) On the way to church for Eikaiwa.

Mexican food from home!! :) Fiesta time!
Also, I have clearly reached angel status. You can tell by the light around my head.  Haha

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Week 59: Walking in the Light

Hello Everyone!!

This week was FANTASTIC. We focused on following the Spirit, and the results were great.

We went from less active's house to less active's house, talking to people along the way, and occasionally doing some housing. As we focused on the impressions of the Spirit, we had a high percentage of people listening to our message, and we found some people at just the right times (running into people on the streets that we had lost contact with; walking up to people's doors just as they came out, making it easy to strike up a conversation - much better than talking through the door speaker - or showing up at a less actives home at just the right time so we could talk to them when they got home, but before they left for work again). The miracles each day were basically countless!

And... We found 4 new investigators this week! A middle schooler, a College freshman, and two fathers. Two of them we found when both of us got the impression to knock on the same door. In fact, one day was busy, we only knocked on two doors after praying, and one was the Middle Schooler! For the first time in my mission, I like housing.

We've met with two of them again already. The College Freshman, Brother H wants to learn about Christianity. He will be baptized if he finds out it's true, and wants to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! We meet him again next Sunday... He's a little busy, but SUPER awesome.

Then, one of the Fathers, Brother S. Has been invited to church by a member before. He took a Book of Mormon after hearing the Restoration. He's busy until some time next month... But he plans on reading the Book of Mormon!

So... That's just a few of the miracles I had this week.

As I've read from D&C 93, and strive to improve myself, I've realized how much progression in the Gospel is really just progress in light and happiness. To the extent that we keep God's commandments, the more we get light, the clearer we can see, the happier we are. Basically the Gospel is awesome. SO make sure you are experiencing it for yourself everyday. Keep progressing in light until the perfect day! :)

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Super fancy desert we got from the Sister's investigator we helped...
She was having some iPad problems. I get asked to fix those a good
amount, actually.

Late at night... after a long day.. But this kind of shows my desk area.
Feeding the seagulls on the ferry.

Going to Sado!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Week 58: This week...

Hello everyone!!!

This week was fantastic! Went on splits to Tokyo then to Sanjo... So I was only in Niigata for 2 days. Haha.

Then, yesterday, we had to do some reporting, had some lessons, and had to prep for Zone Meeting... So... No time to write yesterday. Thus, this will be short, and one day delayed. Sorry. Next week's emails should be considerably better.

We saw some miracles! Found four new investigators in Tokyo and a new one in Sanjo. One of the people we talked to in Tokyo already believes in the First Vision! That was a way cool experience. We just showed him the picture, and he was like, that is exactly what I believe! Awesome. :)

Then, we hung out on the Beach with the youth, and shared a message. They need to be strengthened. A lot. If only families would do the simple things like FHE and family prayer. I talked to all the missionaries in my area, and NONE of the Japanese people have any experience with any of those. Neither do the ward members! Thus, about 75% of boys in the church are currently going less active before they become an Elder... :P That isn't good. The Family is the most important place to preach the Gospel, so let's preach it! Let's act on the direction we receive from prophets, and see the miracles that God is waiting to POUR down on us! :)

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

P.S. Thanks so much or the package! Way delicious! :-) And I got to share it with the youth on the beach. They loved it too. :-) 
(Since Dad was in Japan this week, he was able to send a big package of food from home for a lot less money. We sent things he can't get there ... tortilla chips, salsa, tortillas, swedish fish, chocolates... fun!)

Me, with random guy I met on the train. He gave me souvenirs from Canada.
I'm confused too.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Week 57: Wait... this isn't Niigata!

Hello everyone!!

I've had an awesome week just topped off by going to Brother O's confirmation yesterday!! :) great experience.

So... This week is interesting. First, I keep walking into the other room, and being like, where did all my stuff go? Haha. Weird transferring  from one room to another.

Second, I'm in the same area, but now all the people I was teaching I get reports on and I teach all the people I got reports on. It's especially weird when I went to church, and Brother O is like, why don't you teach me anymore? Well... We'll do it sometimes. Haha.

Third, I'm currently on a bus ride to Tokyo. We have a leadership meeting... So five hour bus ride! Crazy. At least it's p-day. I would have died giving up a normal day. However, that's going to happen on the way back...

Anyways. So... Some of the people we are teaching.

First, Brother S. He likes the church, and English. However, he also likes sake. So... Currently not willing to commit to baptism. We'll teach him about why these commandment things are important this week.

Next, Brother t. He is a son of a less active. Not super interested, but likes missionaries. Yep.

Then, we teach all the people on the streets. I'm pretty sure that's a lot of investigators. :)

We also met with a few less actives for the first time this week. Brother K was married in the temple, but never came to church since he moved to Niigata. Some one just decided to send his records finally after five years. Really nice, but though he still remembers the powerful temple experiences, his faith is a little low right now. That's what happens when people stop praying, reading and coming to church. :P but he's open for "role playing" the lessons. We hope that will spark something.

Next, we visited Brother J. He served a mission in Japan!!! Then... He got busy being an airline worker. Stopped reading praying and going to church. Interesting talking to him about the miracles he saw on his mission, seeing him light up about a baptism of someone they found by an absolute miracle, and then hearing him say he's not sure he believes anymore. But he likes missionaries (he wouldn't even let me pay for lunch), and I think we can actually meet frequently. He will get his patriarchal blessing this week from LDS.org. He said he was excited to read it again, so I'm hoping that will get things moving again! :)

So... You know? Life gets busy. It gets hard, too. But make sure that your first priority is always God. Because He always wins. And to be honest, I don't win on my own. Being on His team is usually a good thing. Usually? Actually always. It breaks my heart to see people fall away because they can't determine whether or not they felt something a long time ago. Just try it again! God loves you, and will answer your prayer, for the first, second, and thousandth time. So read the Book of Mormon. Pray. Let God answer you. Let Him bless your life.

Stay Awesome
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

On the way to Bro. K's... Farthest I've been!

Haircut! :-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Week 56: What!?!

Hello Everyone!!!

This week was CRAZY!

First, on Monday, we found out that the baptism would have to be postponed for one month because of the surgery. So we cancelled. :(  crazy stuff.

On Tuesday, we had splits. I was with Elder Amado. And there are always splits miracles.

We met with Brother Y randomly on the street. We had a lesson right there - he had free time because of summer break. We taught him about prayer, who God is, what we do as missionaries, etc, and we set up to meet him again tomorrow!

Later that day, we called Brother M, a less active. We tried to set up an appointment... And he wanted to meet right then!! Apparently he wanted to meet someone from Peru, and happened to be in town that day, so we made it work. (He's only in town once a month on a rather random schedule, so it's hard to meet even if he wants to). We talked about the Plan of Salvation. We also reviewed the way to pray. I can't imagine forgetting how to pray!!

Then, on Thursday, we had a call from President Nagano at night. He told us that if the only thing wrong was his eye, we should just use goggles and do it anyways, so that he could participate in the temple dedication (happening in just less than a month from now). So I was like, ok. We can do it next week, after announcing it in church. We just cancelled it, so that would be most natural. Plus, he still has to have his interview, etc. but no! President Nagano said, why not this week? Umm... WHAT!?! Ok. I didn't believe at first, but we started working fast.

So... We pulled things together really fast, did some contacting, and had gotten all the necessary prep and permission on Saturday. So we emailed the members. They were surprised, to say the least, but it was a great service, and lots of people came.

As I thought about, can we really do a baptismal service? It finally crossed my mind, that this wasn't for us or the members. It was for him. He was, in fact making a covenant with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (D&C 20:73). It had nothing to do with us, and he felt strongly that he wanted to do it. As I thought about it deeper, I realized this is one of the few covenants we make directly with our Heavenly Father (not just in Christ's name as our advocate, but also with Him directly). Just think about that. I think it shows something of it's importance.

Stay awesome! :) love you all!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Last district meeting of the transfer. :P
I'll miss some of these people. That sounds really bad, but most will still be here,
thus I will only miss some of them. I love all of them. I promise. haha

The baptism :)

My apartment eating lunch together for the last time...
Elder Amado will transfer out. My current companion (across from me) will still be
in the apartment, but not my companion any more. Weird!
We'll go on splits this transfer though. :-)

This is my new companion! :) Elder Kakegawa
Technically, I transfer to his area. So...I will probably have to move to the other desk.
It's going to be hard to arrange for the travel for transfers. :)
(same apartment, except in the room with the air con :))