Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Skype!

Hooray!! We got to talk to Thomas for a few minutes on Christmas day! He is so happy! I mentioned that the time goes way too fast (meaning the call) and his reply was...

"It was great to talk to all of you!! It goes WAAAY too fast. I would love to be a missionary forever. :)"

We loved hearing him testify of Christ and the excitement in his voice.

Merry Christmas!

Our family picture!

Week 77: Light the World!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

I hope you had a great time celebrating the birth of our Savior! It was a great day for us. Nothing went exactly as planned, but in the end, it went pretty awesome!

We went to church and tried to set up for teaching a few of the recent converts, when we got distracted by a less active who has been starting to come back to church. We talked to him for a minute before we went to find our recent converts.

Turns out they were participating in a welcome party by the ward, and were just having a great time. We had to return a random call from an investigator from two years ago before we joined them, so we got there just to see a bit of the party. Brother S hit up all the YSA's in the ward. Haha. And then he walked up to me with two tomatoes and said they eat them like apples in China. Not half bad. Then one of the Ward members was trying to convince us to eat it in chocolate sauce. We conveniently had to go because we were running late.

We went over to the Ward Mission Leaders house for lunch. He made a delicious feast, and we brought Grandma O'Reilly's Peanut Bars (using her recipe) covered in chocolate. Probably one of my most used recipes on my mission. Simple and delicious and American. Which makes it go over great. :) then, we realized that none of the four Elders prepared a message, so my companion just threw it on me, and... It went alright. We read Luke 2:10 and talked about how Christ is a message of great joy.

We were going to go out and talk to everyone about lighting the world in the busy parts of Shibuya, but we had an impression to visit an Elderly man, Bro T instead. We didn't have time to get there and back before our next event, but we went for it.

It was his wife's birthday, and he is a widower. Plus it was Christmas. He was a bit lonely, but he lit up as we spoke with him. And he had a gift sitting on the table to give the missionaries the moment we walked in the door. We had filled a stocking with some candy and a note, so we exchanged presents, and we were so glad we visited, though we didn't have much time. We set up a time to visit again and talk a bit more.

Then we hurried back to a birthday party for Brother S. He's the less active that has been coming back to church. We had some snacks, sang some Christmas songs, Happy Birthday, etc. and he did up his hair fancy. Usually he hides it in a hat, but he showed it off this time. He has been growing out his hair now for ten years. Apparently it's his hobby. :) he felt very loved, and we took 8 MILLION pictures, by request (what do you want to do for your birthday party? Take pictures. What else? ... Take pictures. Haha. Ok. He loves his hair)

Then, we got to do a bit of "paper work" for Zone Leader stuff. Love stats. Haha.

So it was probably one of the crazier Christmas's of my life, but it was a blast!

As I have focused on being a light for those around me, I have noticed a great pattern. In order to reflect the light to all those around us, we have to be close to the source, our Savior, and we ourselves shine brightly as well. There is no greater way to joy then reflecting the light of our Savior to all those around us!

So let's follow His example, and LightTheWorld all year!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

The Birthday Party!

Temple day with Elder Goldsberry

Cool robot we saw today!

Week 76: The Gift of the Spirit

Hello Everyone!!!

This week was CrAzY!!! And instead of sitting here and wondering what to write, I'll just tell you everything. haha

Monday: An insane amount of reporting. :P Also taught brother S, who is a Less active who just started coming back to church! We are excited to start strengthening him. He came back to church and wanted to start meeting with us! He's come the last two weeks now.

Tuesday: Half day splits in Senzokuike (newer thing. Now when missionaries do splits, both come to the leaders' area, so we go to their area for just 5 or so hours). Including travel, we were gone from 7am - 6pm. Talked with tons of people, and found some new investigators (though none are in our area.)!

Wednesday: Checking missionaries area books, iPads, and having interviews. Then, we taught an Eikaiwa student, Brother A, a lesson about how we are children of God. He didn't take it very well... I think he is willing to meet, but not very willing to take even the simplest principles. Then we taught Eikaiwa (English Conversation Class).

Thursday: Piloted a revision to a digital pamphlet entitled "who is God?" to a nonmember kid they found for us to teach. He was a friend of the church leaders running the pilot. His motives were not because he wanted to know who God was, so that was an interesting lesson... ;) But hey, either way, he knows now! Haha. Visited a man who struggles to come to church due to his health. He is also a pretty new member, so he needs to understand the church doctrines a little better. He was breaking the word of wisdom without realizing it! Haha. We'll be working with Brother W more this week as well.

Friday: Splits with Elder Boris! Such a GREAT missionary!! We followed the Spirit together, and ended up being everywhere at just the right times! Got to the church with our bentos, and thought we had lost our dinner time (we had talked to many people on the way). However, the man we were supposed to teach, called us and told us he would be late, and we found that Bro T (a recent convert) was there just about to eat dinner, so we ate with him, and built a great relationship with him, before an investigator came of his own accord and we had an unplanned
member present lesson. Brother K (The other Elder's investigator, not to be confused with our Brother K) came in and started asking about our lives, when we study, what we do, etc. Then, he suddenly brought up baptism, and it gave Brother T a great opportunity to testify about it. Brought in a great Spirit. Brother T had to leave, but, then, our actual appointment came, and we read the Book of Mormon with Brother I (recent convert) and Brother K. Great day!!

Then, on Saturday, we were able to prepare for our Christmas party on Sunday, and teach Bro O and his mother (non members) at an event called Strive. We actually have it every Saturday night, but I don't think I have written about it. Basically FHE for non-members and some recent converts (of course, we would love for some other members to come, though!) We talked about the Restoration. Had two recent converts come as well, and their testimonies were powerful for that family as well as for Bro Y, a less active who came. Their family has done a lot of research on the church and seems to have a lot of potential! We had time to just call a few people, so I called one of our former investigators, and he came to church for the first two hours! We will hopefully meet with him again this week (we will call him tonight to check with his schedule).

Sunday: Spoke in primary about the symbols of Christmas! They all focused for the three seconds when I pulled up a new picture of a symbol of Christmas, and then missed when I talked about all the Spiritual parts. Oh well. I think at least 2 or 3 of them focused. Then had a great Christmas party! Many of the Eikaiwa students came, and one of them even brought me a gift for being their first Eikaiwa teacher. Great opportunity to talk to them about Christmas's true meaning! Had a sudden call from Brother K, telling us he will come to church next week and wanted to meet with us. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and trying to decide which Christian church to join, but hasn't been willing to meet with us. So this was GREAT progress!!! We meet him tomorrow, and I am SOOO excited!

Then today, we had zone p-day. It was pretty fun. Played jeopardy (I read the questions we prepared) and had a gift exchange. And now we are going to see a castle built without nails with a Recently activated member. Should be fun! We are actually running late, but I would love to tell just one story this week before I go.

On Friday, while we were finding on the way to dinner at the church, we had a prompting to go down a street. We did so, prayed, and followed another prompting. We continued this pattern and felt the Spirit strongly. I was as certain as ever that God was there and was guiding us. We had some great contacts, and we came up with a new
approach, talking to people about the symbols behind their Christmas decorations.

However, we found nothing.

As I discussed this with Elder Boris, we were wondering why we felt the Spirit then.

We came to the conclusion that perhaps we don't have to see a miracle to know that this is God's work. We don't have to be wildly successful to know that God is with us. In fact, we can simply do our best, and know that that is sufficient. In doing so, we get the gift of the Spirit and joy. Regardless of whether there are miracles or not, we will experience the joy of the Spirit and know God. I learned for myself that Faith is earned not by miracles or mighty works, but simply by righteous works.

So let us seek the Spirit through righteous actions this week! As we seek it in all we do, we will feel the joy of the Gospel regardless of the result!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Bro. O at the Christmas party

Cleaning up from the Christmas Party!

Zone P-day

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 75: My Week

Thomas didn't have time to write a blog post this week. So, this is from an email to the family. This was his response to "What is your average week like?"

Recently, things have been pretty crazy, and investigators and such are always different. No one super steady right now.

But, Monday, p-day (kind of. I HATE p-days. So Usually, I try to plan some lessons and stuff. Free time kills me. But Sister Nagano told us to have a p-day, so I tried it today. Alright I guess. Just some talking time. Haha.

Tuesday, Meet Brother S.  Nice, recent-ish convert, who is married in the temple, who sometimes struggles to come to church. Study PMG with him.

Wednesday, A few appointments. Great recent convert that just came to the ward! An investigator. :P I teach the beginner class in Eikaiwa to younger kids that have a hard time focusing.

Then, Thursday, Weekly planning.

Friday, District Meeting.

Saturday, Eikaiwa (English class), Basketball with S (investigator).

Sunday, DCS (ward missionary correlation meeting), church, teach some recent converts (Brother M., and last week, Bro. S.,  a less active, and Bro. S, the man we just baptized), and in so doing, skip lunch. Have some contacting. Eat dinner. Put in some stats.

Then, add two or so splits, zone meetings, half day splits in other areas once or twice, throw out all our regular plans, and reschedule with mad skills (and occasionally skype), and you have my week. :)

Plus lots of new investigators. Like, we just taught person after person last week at church!!! And I translate sometimes for church now. SOOO yeah. That is my week.

Also, Elder O'Reilly got a new companion this past week. Elder Goldsberry. Here's what he said about him:


AWESOME!!! He has as much energy and smiles as I do. We just talk to EVERYONE!!! And they all just get blasted with energy. We've been seeing lots of success. EVEN TAUGHT A FAMILY WITH A TWO YEAR OLD SON!!! FIRST TIME ON MY MISSION!!! :)

He's been out about a year. He is also zone Leader. He is from Farmington.

Elder O'Reilly

My companion, Elder Goldsberry

Bishop took us out to lunch again!
(Side note from Mom: this Bishop's niece lives in my ward now... such a small world!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week 74: "Smile. It invites the Spirit."

Hello Everyone!!!

This week has been GREAT!!!! One quote that has been going through my mind is from Elder Yamashita when he visited our mission a while ago.

"Smile. It invites the Spirit."

I didn't really intentionally apply this principle, but I have noticed as I am happier and smile more, that it really does invite the Spirit. I've still got a long ways to go on following the Spirit, but I've noticed an increased in tune-ness as I have the Joy the Lord intends us all to have. For example, I just barely felt impressed, "go look at your phone". So I did. And it was dead. I'll be leaving in an hour, and I need that phone to be charged tonight. Having the Spirit with us prevents dangers, turns frustrations into small victories, gives us a greater reason to be joyful, and just makes life a lot better. Truly it is a gift! So I'm going to smile this week whether or not things go my way so I can have it with me more fully.

Now, why was I happy this week? Umm.... That would take pages to write, but simply put, missionary life is awesome. Here are a few miracles:

For the first time since I have been here, Bro Y, a less active with TONS of questions, came to church! He seemed to have a good time, and I am happy that he came. We had a particularly good lesson with him, and we feel like we have gotten some good revelation with him. He focuses so much on strange doctrines, and asks questions that demand far out answers. So we are going to focus on some basic principles from Gospel principles that he has been missing. Like God is our loving Heavenly Father. Charity. The Atonement of Christ, etc. Everyone can feel free to study the deep doctrines of the church, but never forget that the most important things are your understanding and testimony of the basic principles of the Gospel! If you know that God loves His children, you don't need to understand the meaning of all things.

Bro K also came for his first Sacrament meeting. I actually fasted THAT DAY that he would come instead of randomly leaving just a little early. And he came. That Sunday. Seemed like a very powerful and immediate answer to prayer. He informed me after church that he had a great experience, wants to come back for more, and wants to read about Alma the Younger (who he had heard about that day), so I showed him where he could read it in the Book of Mormon. He is SO awesome!

Then, a particularly awesome experience was just when my companion and I reviewed the transfer, the people, the progress, and the miracles. Just took a minute to slow down and talk because it was p-day and he is leaving. I didn't realize all the good that had happened!

So... I learned two great things this week. 1) don't ever forget to smile. Men are that they might have joy! There are really only two paths we can take - the Lord prompts us to take the path to joy, and Satan tempts us to the path of misery. Perhaps if we are miserable, we need to listen just a little harder for the voice of the Good Shepherd. (Alma 5). and  2) Never forget to look back on things and enjoy them as they last! Life can be tricky and stressful, but as we strive to follow Christ, we can EXPECT joy, because that is our life's purpose!

So smile this week! And never forget to remember all the great in your life!

Hurrah for Israel!!
Elder O'Reilly

December Mission Leader Conference

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
(He got our package!!)

Everywhere we go!
(Fun fact: this Elder is going to Niigata B, where I came from a while ago)

Birthday party for Brother S and farewell party with my companion!
Member on far left and investigator close to baptism (in Tokyo 1st ward, long story, but I just did his interview!) next to him.