Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 67: A Gospel of Joy!

Hello Everyone!!

Last week's General Conference was AMAZING!!! It inspired me to change, to have more sincere repentance, and know my Savior better through preparation and taking the Sacrament.

Now, let me tell you, repentance is not an easy process. Changing ourselves is an active process, and it takes work! I think in the process I learned a little of what is meant in the scriptures by "sore repentance" (Mosiah 23:9), and "wrestle which I had before God, for a remission of my sins" (Enos 1:2). Certainly, only a love for the Savior, a better understanding of the suffering He went through, and hearing the word of God can trigger such actions to change!

For some reason, as I talk with youth in my ward, and people that I meet, somehow, repentance has such a bad image. I think that Satan works hard to make it that way to eliminate the important process which is essential to our life purpose: to have joy!

As a result of our increased desire to do what is right, repent, and come closer to God, two major things happened. First, we felt great joy as the Spirit came and cleansed us from sin. I never have lived a perfect day in my life, but the Spirit comes powerfully as the cleansing agent when we repent. Daily repentance and striving to keep our covenants is how the Spirit becomes our constant companion.

Second, a greater level of sincerity entered our work. The same Spirit that was working in us, worked through us. People felt that sincerity (and love towards them, which comes from the same Spirit), and they felt the Spirit that we carried.

For the first time in Shibuya, we had people come to church! Three people came, some who we were directed to and talked to on the street! And one other we found also went to church in Hiroo, the English Ward. He has a baptismal date with the Elders there, and already feels like the church is true. Certainly, they had felt that same Spirit we had!

As I sat with my new friend, prayerfully waiting for the Sacrament to be passed to me, I was hit by a wave of the Spirit. Both cleansing and edifying. Powerful and beautiful. I know this church is true, that the Priesthood of God is found in it, and that these ordinances are His way of making promises with us. How merciful and wonderful is a God who will continually make and keep promises with me, though I continually make and break them with Him!

Now, I wish I had some more specific stories to give, or interesting details to give, but the Lord works in small and simple ways, as He always does. For instance, one day, we planned on making several visits to those we felt we should (members and less actives and such)  none were home, but we found new investigators at every location, two of which came to church this week! Taking that path also helped us "find" a less active from Nakano who recently moved closer to Shibuya. We were friends, and we will meet this week for lunch and he said he would like to try the Shibuya Ward out! Miracles happen as we get in tune with the Spirit of the Lord!

I suppose I learned a simple, but great lesson this week - before we share the joy of the Gospel with others, we have to experience it ourselves (1 Ne 8:10-12). So take time to experience joy this week! Come to know the Savior, not just of Him, through prayer, repentance, and partaking of the Sacrament! It's not about being good enough, but rather that we will be good enough in the process of continual repentance and coming to know the Savior better!

As you experience the joy, sharing it will be a natural result; and in doing so, your own joy will be magnified! This truly is a Gospel of Joy!

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

Family we visited! The girl in the front had a fun app... Haha.

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