Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 82: The Right Roads - at the Right Time

Hello Everyone!

We got to work with a few really cool people this week.

First, Brother F - an investigator that got a baptismal date the Monday before I got here. He is scheduled to be baptized on the 19 of February. Didn't get to meet him, but did some Skype lessons. He doesn't get home until late, and lives far away, but he reads the Book of Mormon, and said he will come to church starting next week! He got really hung up on "no graven images" this week, but I think we got it sorted out.

Next, Brother D - another investigator. He is awesome. He asks golden questions and keeps all the commitments. Except one. Come to church. He is only busy once per week, on Sunday from 10-1. Ugh. He started doing Aikido club right before he met missionaries here and that is when he practices. So... That is a bit of a challenge, but I'm sure it will improve from here.

Then, Brother M. He is WAAAY cool. He is a less active youth, but he really wants to do the right thing, just not too much family support. He is super down to meet with us, and is even considering going on a mission right now. Just waking up for church is hard. But, since he is thinking about becoming a missionary, we might start studying with him to prep, and hopefully he realizes why it is important to come.

So... We had a few cool people we met on the street this week!

First, we were coming back from teaching Brother T (who is the golden, father of a family who just took a Book of Mormon and said he is excited to read it!), and I popped my tire. The first thought that popped into my mind was there is someone you need to meet, and you wouldn't have met him otherwise. So... We got my bike fixed (we were 7 kilometers away from home, and I did not feel like pushing my bike that far. Plus, fixing it would be faster than the alternative), and we started home. We were late (because of my bike), so we weren't talking to everyone. But, I kept alert, and we stopped to talk to one High School Student. We told him who we were, and that we taught English as volunteers at our church.

He told us that that was strange. He was just thinking about how much he wanted to learn English. He said he will come next week.

Yesterday, my companion and I were walking on the way to a members house. We were walking for a bit, stopped a man who had interest in Jesus Christ, exchanged contact info, and then he walked away. We realized we had been walking the wrong direction, so we turned around after talking to him and went back.

Then, on another day, we felt that we should speak with a man on a way back from an appointment. Turns out he was a less active, and we connected well on the street. He told me his concerns right then and there on the street, and then got his number. Looking back on his record, it seems that his father is against missionaries, and it would have been impossible to meet him other wise.

The Lord truly prepared miracles for us this week!

So, perhaps you might take a wrong turn this week, or perhaps you might puncture a tire. But, instead of being frustrated, seek to serve. You never know, perhaps God has put you on the right road at the right time. We can be the Lord's hands on the earth, and nothing is as AWESOME as when we are.

So stay AWESOME this week!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Met this man while visiting the home of a less active. He just wanted to go out to eat
with an American (there are not too many foreigners here), and we said we could if we
shared a message. We did, and shared a bit of a message.
Not too interested in the end, but it was fun anyways.

Had a fun activity night! We played chair soccer. It's supposed to be mutual every week,
though not many youth come yet. We'll work on that.
Any good ideas for mutual? Just need the youth to want to come and have fun.
We've been focusing on the youth, and some have already gone from being less active,
to expressing interest in serving missions and coming to church. The effects were pretty much
immediate - they just need strong friends! Hopefully that can be each other pretty soon. :-)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 81: Kasukabe

Hello Everyone!!

This week has been AWESOME!!! We are ALWAYS teaching someone. And SOOO many people we want to start working with - part member families, less actives, recent converts that just need a boost of faith before they can be sealed in the temple, etc. Our work here focuses TONS on families - strengthening them, helping them become active and baptizing the fathers, kids, etc, and then, of course, helping them become eternal. It is such a great work.

Plus, the Ward is SUPER supportive. The Bishop himself quoted Gordon B Hinckley and said that there is a better way than finding on our own - it's working through the members! He flat out said that finding is a waste of our time, and we should spend less time on that and more time on teaching members. It will definitely be different working in this area, but it's a good different.

We are already going to teach a father of a full non member family with three kids, a referral from the first councilor in the Bishopric (who seems to have dendod all his friends - many have come to Eikaiwa)! I met him this week just for a drop by visit and to set up the appointments, and I got to become friends with him and his three little sons. SOOO much fun. I get to play with kids and call it missionary work. Haha. There is just SOOO much potential in this area!!

And, I'm in a two man apartment. This is the second time on my mission being in a two man. Do you know how much easier it is to clean for 2 people than for 8? Maybe you don't (or maybe you do if you're my Mother... I feel a lot more for you now, Mom! Haha), but it is awesome. And my companion is super nice, and super clean. Plus, he is also super happy and energetic all the time. We are pretty unified on that, which makes it fun. And we both talk WAY too fast. I'm pretty sure we have exploded a few peoples heads with information, so we are going to need to work on that one. Haha.

Anyways... In preparation for introducing myself at church (which I didn't end up doing. I'll speak next week). I had a good chance to think about why I love missionary work this week.

First, I love my family. There was always a special Spirit in our home, and I think a large part of that has been from the Gospel. It is apparent whether the Gospel has been in someone's home or not. If a family eats together once a week, they would be doing better than most. Rarely do families seem to have very positive relationships. However, member families stay strong, and have great relationships and a lot of love in the home. I can testify that the Gospel makes a difference for families.

Second, I love my Savior. He suffered for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent. As a missionary, I get a front row seat on the miracle of the Atonement. I see it when it takes away pain from those who have lost a loved one as they hear the plan of Salvation. I see it when those who have guilt can feel clean again. I see it when people who thought they could never change or overcome an addiction, do change, and do overcome an addiction. And of course, I get to feel it strengthen, cleanse, and enable me daily as I do my work.

I love this work. I know it is the Lord's work done for our benefit. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that He suffered for each of us individually. As we follow Him, we can experience true joy through the Gospel. May we experience that joy and share it daily.

Hurrah for Israel!
I love you all!
Elder O'Reilly

My new companion, Elder Nitta! He is SOOO awesome!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 80: The Lord's Direction

Hello Everyone!!!

So... I got transferred. Half expected (most missionaries are Zone Leaders for 3-4 transfers, and this was my fourth), but a good part of me REALLY wanted to stay. But, I'm going to Kasukabe, an area I have gone to on exchanges before, so I am excited. My companion is Elder Nitta, A Japanese Elder, which is also cool. I actually trained when he was trained, so I have met him before! I translated for him and my trainee at that meeting. Seems like it wasn't that long ago...

Anyways, I had a great last week in Shibuya. Just a few miracles I'd like to share.

We were going out to visit the Bishop, drop off a card, and find along the way. However, as we prayed at the doorstep, I had the impression, "you'll see the Bishop later (we would see him that night, but I had forgotten), and there are other people for you to visit." So, we changed plans on the spot. Looked up an investigator and a less active we hadn't seen in a while, and one former investigator that lived in the area. Before we set out, we called the former investigator to see if we could get an appointment.

He picked up immediately, and seemed happy to talk with me. We set up an appointment for this upcoming Saturday. He had been dropped for about a year, and had made it all the way to his interview before he decided that he wasn't ready to give up his own beliefs. I think he has great potential - the fact that he is willing to meet again, and it's been a year give me hope that there was a reason we needed to do that.

Then, we headed out. The Less Active wasn't home, but after we walked out of his house, we talked to a few men at a stoplight. They were somewhat interested in the Gospel, and very interested in English. And they knew me (or possibly some other missionary; lot's of Japanese people think all Americans look the same. One example of this is when they think that my hair color is the same as my older brothers, who both have bright, red hair. Haha) from when we ate ramen at his shop. We switched Facebooks, and my companion should meet him later (though I will be gone now).

Then, on the way to the investigator, we ran into a recent convert, Bro I, who was struggling with something and just needed to talk. Glad we ran into him. :)

At this point, we ran out of time to visit the investigator (Typical of me.... Over planning. Haha and we still had the appointment with the Bishop) but we started heading back... And found another new investigator!

Then, classic me, I forgot to give the note to the Bishop thanking him for dinner last week. Oh well. I'm sure my companion will see him again. :P haha.

That day (and actually a few days this week) I strengthened my testimony that the Lord is willing to direct us if we are willing to listen. He loves us. He hears our prayers. As long as we are careful not to let our prayers become rote, and keep them sincere, I am confident that we will be able to recognize the answers and feel closer to God each time we pray. This has been a source of strength, comfort, and direction for me, and I pray that it will be for each of you.

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week 79: Another Great Week!

Hello Everyone!!!

Bit of a crazy week!!! We had an all day cleaning day on the third, because it's a holiday in Japan through the third. We only left the apartment for a short time for an appointment, and the two people we talked to were WAY drunk. Interesting. Haha.

Then, we had a meeting with Bro S, the recent convert, and Bro K, a super awesome investigator. Watched the Restoration, and he LOVES the prophet. We will be going over baptism with him again next time.

Then, we got a new solid investigator!!! Brother M. He is super awesome, and seeking truth! Particularly the purpose of life, and what happens if we die. I feel SOO blessed to know these things from when I was young! Perhaps I take such knowledge for granted. Can't wait to teach him!!!

Also, Bro S introduced us to one of his friends! He doesn't know much English or Japanese, so he had to translate. He realized something was lacking from his life, but the language barrier made it difficult to help him. However, he has been reading the Book of Mormon with Bro S, and hopefully something clicks inside of him.

I hope that each of you know that I know that Christ lives and loves each of us. God also loves us, and that is why He sent His Son. Bro. S did a few joint lessons with us, and is GREAT at testifying of these things! As he did so, I saw his testimony, which has already helped several investigators. As I have seen people feel and come to understand what we teach, and know it is true, it brings great joy to me. As Bro S shares the Gospel, he feels even more of that joy that I feel. I enjoy sharing it, and I love see others enjoy the experience of sharing the Gospel as well.

I love hearing from home all the good things you are all doing. I also love hearing the experiences of my missionary friends. From tying blankets for the Hospital, to setting a good example for friends and family, to opening our mouths and directly sharing the Gospel - it is all a part of God's work!

Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words! - quote from somebody. Probably. It's at least close. But my companion has called me a few times on verbal plagiarism this week. SO I at least had to site it.
(President Uchtdorf quoted Saint Francis of Assisi, April 2011)

Anyways. Let's just be witnesses for God at all times, in all things, and in all places! (Mosiah 18:9)

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly
- 王雷利嶺塔増長老 -
Ourairi Rei Toumasu Chourou

MLC January 2017

Went to lunch with this man. He is the son of the sisters' investigator.
Also, we are standing by the statue of the dog, Hachiko. Cool story. No one knows why there is a cat.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week 78: Happy New Year!!!

Hello everyone!!!

This was a really weird week. It ended really strange. On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, there was just no one on the streets. Except for a few drunk people. So that was fun.

But the beginning was really good!!! For example, we got to teach Bro. K. HE KNOWS THAT JOSEPH SMITH IS A PROPHET OF GOD!!! I told him the story, and then just felt that I should pause for a moment, and he said of his own accord that he felt it was true. WOOOHOOO!!!! Good moment. We were actually planning on teaching the plan of salvation, but that was WAY better than what we had planned. So we just went deep on the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He just took it all in, said he REALLY wants to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. He has some concerns with baptism (i.e. His wife isn't interested, and he was baptized before, but I m sure as he reads the Book of Mormon and his faith grows, all will be well. We meet again tomorrow.).

Then, we were able to meet with a good number of Less Actives and recent converts... Investigators were all out of town and such. Most people go back to their hometowns for New Years, and that isn't Shibuya for most people.

But, being New Years, a lot of people set resolutions. I think that most members set a resolution to work with us more, because I got five dinner appointments this week and didn't ask for any. That is definitely a first. Haha. Usually we get one if we ask to visit someone. Which is always just awkward. Hey, can we come share a message? And then they suddenly feel obliged to have dinner with you. This is definitely an improvement.

As for my goals, we will focus on getting more Mission School students. I haven't written about this before, but we have been doing it for a while. We teach English in a variety of ways, and then share a message. It focuses on youth, unlike our normal Eikaiwa. President Nagano wants us to have fifty students as a companionship by the end of the year. Currently, I have 1-3 depending on the week, so that will be a bit up there. It will take work. But statistically, so far, 1 in 13 or so get baptized, so when we get there, it will be an effective way to do the Lord's work. I prefer a more direct approach, but I will be striving to follow my leaders direction more this year.

I have seen many miracles come from following prophets and priesthood leaders in the past. I know this is the Lord's church, and he directs his leaders. So let's follow them so we can follow Him. I know that doing so will bring us closer to him. I know that from my experience following my leaders, and I know that from my experience as a leader. I know I have been imperfect, and I know I have even offended some missionaries on occasion, but I know that I have also been called of God, because of the love of God I feel for those I serve, and the inspiration I receive for them. Oft times, I get inspiration far beyond my own wisdom, or what I even could have known. I know that God loves each of His children and directs His work! May we always humbly follow Him, more fully giving our will to His!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Had a mini mission with some youth.
This is the famous door size Book of Mormon!

Went to a shrine!