Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Week 73: Made Glorious

Hello Everyone!!

Well... This week flew by. Honestly, I sit down to write these, and it's always "was that really a week? I don't remember anything I did..." Yep. Never know what to write. Haha.

Anyways... We did have a few exchanges this week! Literally every other day. Splits on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Great chance to learn from other missionaries (including the previous Zone Leader here), work with old friends (from Niigata), and learn from the assistants!

On Thursday, I had a particularly great day with Elder Manapori. It was snowing. I was tired. And it was cold. 4 appointments fell through. As I tried to pull out fliers, they stuck to my fingers, and got wet. People didn't want to talk too much. I focused much on myself, and how frustrating people were being for the first bit of the day, and I felt like what I was doing had little effect on the people we talked to.

As I was biking in the snow, I realized how lame I was being. Preaching a Gospel of happiness, and selfless service, and then going around as a grumpy man thinking about himself.

So, I applied some of the things I had been studying. As we had thanksgiving the day before, I had studied to teach the family who had us over for dinner. I had just read the following scripture (D&C 78)

17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have
not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own
hands and prepared for you;

18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer,
for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings
thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.

19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made
glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even
an hundred fold, yea, more.

No, we cannot bear all things now. I'm a child - I can't even handle a little snow. But, those who are grateful are made glorious.

Now, if you will realize that God's Glory has less to do with riches, and more with an Eternal life, joy, and feeling the Spirit, I think it will help in understanding this scripture.

So, I tried giving thanks.

I was on exchanges with a great Elder.
I was in Shibuya.
I have a family that loves me and supports me.
I have the Gospel, and a hope for something far greater than anything this world has to offer.
I have a Savior that suffered far more than I even can, let alone the small things that were in my current circumstance.

The list go on. In fact, I don't think I could count the number.

No, my circumstances didn't really change. From that point on, more cancels due to the snow, and it was still cold. But, I was overwhelmed with gratitude, I was filled with joy, and I wanted to share it.

Now, you probably know this, but people like talking with happy people. Sincere people. So, more people stopped. Not everyone listened for long, but many actually did, even in the snow. We even got a few numbers, and at the very least, everyone that we talked to got a good laugh and left with a smile. While I'm not sure how much we will be able to teach the Gospel to those we found yet, and it may take time before I really see the results, the effect for me was quite immediate and incredible. Turning outwards and upwards in gratitude is certainly the way to be made glorious!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Elder Manapori taking a pic on my iPad during "iPad checks"

Went out to lunch with a return missionary (from Shibuya) and his friend
- someone I knew when I was back in Nakano! (Tech Staff)
We were on our way back from the temple today, so still in suits.

Christmas display at the Temple.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 72: Baptism!!!

Hello Everyone!!!

Ok. SO first, Bro S got baptized. And one of our other investigators came and enjoyed the service. Bro K seems to be looking for a Christian Religion. So... That is awesome. But he always has work in the afternoon, and Sacrament Meeting starts at 12:00 (our church is backwards), so he can never come. :P

Anyways. Bro. S was baptized in Chinese by a member, and it was a fantastic experience. And he was confirmed during Sacrament. He is going to be a great member. He was actually looking over his teaching record, and wanted to know if there was anything he could do better. He saw the square that said "introduce friends to the missionaries" under commitments. :) I like that one. I think we will play basketball with his friends in the near future. Maybe not this week, but soon.

Aside from that, we had a missionary come back to our Ward, and we had dinner at his house with Brother S and a referral, Brother T. He has had some powerful experiences with the Shinto religion, but he likes how Joseph Smith went to a grove to pray, and we will meet him again next Monday. Hopefully it goes well!

So... Things are awesome! I love seeing people come unto Christ, hearing their experiences as they feel the Spirit, seeing them be happy! Nothing is better.

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Tokyo Zone Conference - November

Zone Conference lunch

Went out for Okonomiyaki!! :)

We had a member do the baptism in Chinese for him. Bro S is AWESOME -
said that he felt close to God as a result of his baptism!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week 71: How Great Shall Be Your Joy!

Hello Everyone!!!

Did you know that this Gospel is Awesome? If you don't, I'd love to tell you about it. Probably my favorite hobby right now. :) haha

Anyways... This week was great. We had two investigators come to church this week.

The first was Brother S. He passed his Baptismal Interview!!! WHOOHOO!!!! He's excited, we're excited, and the Ward seems excited, too. When we did our mock interview with him, the Spirit was so strong.

We asked him if he believed that God was his Heavenly Father.

He said yes with confidence and without hesitation (in stark contrast to his not being sure if there was anything out there just 6 or so weeks ago).

We asked him how.

He first described how we taught him these basic truths. Then he went home, read the Book of Mormon and prayed. He testified to us that he felt the Spirit tell him it was true.

The rest of the interview proceeded in a manner that continued to blow me away. I LOVE hearing recent converts bear testimony, especially when I know that they just came to know. That in it's self is an incredible miracle. Thus, the Lord says that "this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground." (D&C 8:3). When we first met him, he was super nice - always asking if he could help put up chairs, set up, etc. He just looks for ways to serve people. Now there is an additional light around him, and he just seems a bit happier. No, his life wasn't a wreck before we met him, and he was a great guy, but life with the Spirit just brings it to a new level. He will be baptized Sunday Morning, and then confirmed. I LOVE seeing the joy the Gospel brings!

The other investigator at church was Bro K. He actually came the first week that Bro S came, and shows serious potential. He talked about how awesome it was that Bro S had started coming to church every week, and congratulated him on his baptism. As I continued to talk with him, he told me that his Mother is Catholic, and has been praying that he would read the bible and become Christian for a long time. He has never had interest. Until recently, right around the time we found him six weeks ago. He felt that it was the answer to his Mother's prayer, and now believes in the power of prayer.

As I continued to talk to him, I found that he had read from the Book of Mormon we gave him and liked it. Plus, he feels like his baptism as a baby had no meaning because it wasn't by his will. He seemed to like our doctrine on Baptism, particularly by immersion, and is excited to come to the Baptism this week. He isn't willing to meet with us outside of church, and doesn't let us talk to him much except during Gospel Principles class, which really confuses me. But he is so kind. We think that as a Catholic, he knows the goal of Missionaries is to Baptize, and is therefore a little hesitant. However, he gets a little better each time, and I feel he will start progressing really
well really soon (hopefully when he comes to see the Baptism?).

We had some other investigators, but we referred them. People come from all over to Shibuya. One actually lives not too far North of us, and we already heard that he went to church and liked it! Hopefully Brother E does well, too, though I won't see too much of his progress.

Then, one of my favorite activities this week was "prep-mission." We all got together with youth from another stake in the Shibuya Chapel. We were assigned new companions for the day, and went out finding. I got two companions, a return missionary and a 19 year old who just applied for his mission (still waiting on the call).

As we were finding, we talked to one particular man, and were able to testify of and give out the Book of Mormon. Normal days work. Right?

My companion was ecstatic. It was the first Book of Mormon he had given out in his life. It scared him out of his mind, but the joy and Spirit that came from it was so real. And it made me think how great this work is! As we perform it, we bring peace and joy into the lives of our Brothers and Sisters. And as we do so, we multiply the joy and peace we feel. Oh, How great is that joy!

So... I have a challenge for you. Open your mouth to at least one person this week. Maybe on the elevator (I've done that one before, you have to be fast and prepared. I wish I had been a little more of both), or maybe with a close friend. It will be hard. Maybe awkward. Maybe you won't know what to say. But how great will be your joy! (D&C 18:15)

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Companions at the mini mission! (Featuring Elder Banks)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Week 70: Miracles!

Hello Everyone!!

Had a great week full of miracles!! Yesterday was particularly awesome! We went to a Baptism with our investigator, Bro S. He was surprised by the simplicity of the service. It helped him overcome some of his worries, and he began asking good questions like "who can baptize me in Shibuya." And other specific questions that made us feel like he is moving in a very positive direction. Still have to finish teaching the commandments, but he seems to be accepting everything pretty well.

After the baptism, I had my first baptismal interview (Bro. D, another investigator in their ward, passed with flying colors). It all took a little longer than we expected, so we were running late to our plans. We had wanted to go distribute fliers after an English test that we teach a prep class for, but there wasn't much point in going late, so we prayed and felt we should look for students in the area we were in. Now, first, I want you to understand we have been looking for students for months, and haven't found any non member students yet. But the first student we talked to told us he was taking the test and would love the help! Got his number, and we think we will teach Bro O English and a Gospel message this week! Then, we found another prospective student, and some great contacts, and some prospective investigators as well!! Just shows that following the Spirit always leads to the best

Well... Life is AWESOME in Japan! I know the Gospel is true, and it is the way to happiness, because of what it can help us become. I've been realizing more and more that the less I do for my self, and the more I just work for others, the happier I become and the more the Spirit comes into my life. Selflessness is quite possibly the way to

So go serve somebody this week!
Hurrah for Israel!
Love you all!!
Elder O'Reilly

Mission Leader Conference - November

Mission Leader Conference Lunch

Went out to lunch with Bro. S!

Went out to lunch!!! All you can eat sukiyaki is awesome! :)