Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 86: A difference in plans?!

Hello Everyone!!

I honestly had a SUPER miracle filled week, but all that is on my mind is transfer calls from today.

I just got to this area last transfer, and recently, the President has been making younger missionaries leaders, so I figured I was done being Zone Leader, and it was someone else's turn to learn. I thought I could quite comfortably be on my own in Kasukabe, and quietly push forward the work here.

But the Lord has different plans, I suppose.

I was just called to go back to the Mission Office. This time, instead of being a Tech Staff (though they specifically said they also want me to help them), I will be an Assistant to the President.

I was blown away. I had thought of every other possibility. Perhaps even transferring. But this had not crossed my mind. Being a Zone Leader had pushed my limits - but this will be a new chance for learning. I will pray that the Lord can shape me and guide me so I can help the Missionaries I serve. I look forward to the chance I have to learn greater love, patience, diligence - and at the same time, am rather terrified. Not to say that I feel the calling is all that large, but simply to say that I feel oh so small in comparison.

Anyways... That is what is on my mind. I have to be gone by tomorrow morning (as opposed to Wednesday. I get to go pick up new missionaries tomorrow night! I guess we have to decide companionships and such?), so it's been a busy day. But I would like to touch on a few highlights this week:

Brother I came to church for a church tour! He heard the Restoration, and had SOOO many good questions! We found him on the street last week Sunday, and he will come next week to church. Sunday is his break!

Today, I got to meet with a less active and somewhat recent convert that I met when I came to Kasukabe on exchanges when I was in Urawa. He decided for himself he wants to come back to church - just in time to meet him. I feel that meeting with Brother K was a miracle in timing and nature! I had by coincidence met him about 4 times before - once was even in the Temple doing baptisms! Glad the hand of the Lord is in my work!

Had three new students come to Eikaiwa! Seems they will be coming to a lot from now on. And their breaks are on Sundays too! So I think they'll come in the future. :)

Man. So many miracles. I can't write it all.

It's weeks like this that make me humble myself, let me know that God loves us, directs us, and has a great plan for us - even if it is different from ours.

Love you all! Remember this week that I love you, and that God loves you!

And of course, Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Here are some people I teach. Wish I had taken more pictures.

All the youth! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Week 85: Miracles!

Hello Everyone!!!

This week was AWESOME! Here are just a few of the highlights.

Earlier in the week, we visited a former investigator who sells school uniforms. We are pretty good friends with him (simply because he loves to talk, and for some reason, loves missionaries), so he agreed to pass out fliers for our mission school to all the students that come to his shop! All the students are coming right now because the new year starts in April. It was definitely the fastest (and more effective ways - I'm sure he will vouch for us) way I've ever given out that many fliers.

We also started teaching the husband of a recent convert, Bro S! He has been humbled by some life experiences, and feels that he was kept alive for a special purpose. I asked him what purpose. Maybe to find God's power? Maybe it is found in Christianity. Ok. Off to a good start! :) We will meet him twice this week, to help clean up the debris of his house (one of those humbling experiences) and to teach him more about the Gospel.

On Saturday, we went to teach Brother T in the morning. He had read Chapter 11 of 3 Ne for us, and had some great questions. I can see he is opening up more and  more to the Gospel! His wife had taken his son to the Hospital for a regular check up, so we are still just teaching him... Hopefully we can teach the whole family next week!

Afterwords, we went and visited some members in the area, and then went around the block with Sister K, a very active, very awesome member. She just introduced us to some of her favorite neighbors in such a casual way. Some of them had interest in Eikaiwa, so hopefully we can start teaching them that way!

Then, we went to an international party! There were a few foreigners there. But, to be honest, there aren't many foreigners here in Kasukabe. So... there were a good number of people that just liked foreigners and wanted to learn English. In fact, the missionaries were the only native speakers there, so we were pretty popular. 4 people asked me for my contact info, and asked if I could teach them English. Some of them should be coming this week! It was definitely a good place to be! And I just got to eat free dinner and feel like a rock star. So... It was a fun and effective way to work.

Sunday was FILLED with miracles. We had an investigator call us up and ask for a church tour right then. We met at the church, and Bro A BROUGHT A FRIEND! Both have interest in Christianity and English. I think I can help with that! :)

Then, we went and visited our new friend, Bro S, to check out some of the  service we will do next week, and headed off to visit some less actives. One was willing to listen to us! We set up an appointment to teach some English for TOIEC, and then he told us that he wants to become an Elder! He is thinking about changing his job to get Sundays off right now, so it seems like we came at just the right time to encourage him. WAY excited.

On Sunday morning, we also got to listen to Elder Holland speak! He came to Japan. Of course, I was only participating through video, but it was still so powerful. I'm certain that he is, and I sustain him as, a prophet, seer, and revelator. I'm certain as ever that the Priesthood has been restored, and this is God's church. Within it the power of Godliness is made manifest daily, changing us to more Christlike people as we do our best to follow our priesthood leaders. And no one has to - or even should - take my word for it. As Elder Holland pointed out, because it is true, the first thing I want everyone I meet to do is pray about it for themselves, and experience it for themselves. As I do so everyday, I know that I "can in nowise deny the power of God" (Moroni 10:32) that is manifest in the ordinances and first principles of the Gospel.

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

A few of the people at the international party

Also got to meet Bro. F this week! He is WAY nice! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Week 84: Loving the Temple!

Hello Everyone!

This week was pretty great!! A few highlights:

Last Tuesday we were just about to start companion study, when we had the impression to change our schedule. Language study, lunch, and then companion study at the church. On paper, this should have made essentially no difference. However, with the new flexibility of the schedule, we tried it. The church is close, so we only passed one young person on the way to the church. We invited him to have a church tour, and he said he had time!! After the church tour, we invited him to hear the lessons on another day. Again, he said he had time right then! We taught the plan of Salvation, and he said that it made him want to learn more, and that he also wanted to learn English. Brother N is a very nice college student, and I hope we can meet him in the upcoming week! He seems pretty busy, so I'm not sure when we can meet him next, but it was certainly a good experience!

I was able to meet with an investigator for the first time! He was out of town to help his Mother for a while. We weren't certain what his needs were, but as we read 3 Ne 14:7-11, we explained that he could get good gifts through prayer if he sought them. We paused, and he asked after a moment if prayer could help him overcome tobacco. That was what he wanted. It's an awesome moment when your investigator wants help keeping the commandments!

Then, on Thursday, I went to Urawa! One of the LA youth I worked with is active and strong now (and his hair is short!), and I was able to meet him! Also met with some families I hadn't seen in a while, and we were able to meet with another LA Brother I had started working with there as well. He is more active than when I left, but still working on full activity.

Then, today, I went back to Shibuya to go to the temple! One of the other Elder's Investigators was recently baptized! I didn't teach him much, but I got to work with him, and always translated church for him, so that was good news! Now he goes to the English ward, so he doesn't need a translation, which is also good. And Brother K, an investigator I had in Shibuya realized he needs to be baptized again, and already has the testimony to do so! Great to go back and hear everyone is doing well!

Of course, going to the temple was also a great experience today. Every time I go, I leave feeling uplifted, with the direction I need, and secure. I am confident that God loves each of us, that He wants to direct us, and that this is His church on the earth! I would encourage you to attend the temple often, as I know God gives this wonderful peace and direction to all who worthily attend.

Have a great week!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

This is Bro. S from Shibuya! Since the temple is in the Shibuya area, we met up for
breakfast and then walked to the temple together.

I got a Valentine's Day present! Yep. I feel special.
Lucy (her American nickname), an Eikawa student, gave chocolate to me and my companion.
Very thoughtful, retired woman who comes every week to church and Eikawa. Not a member.

Thought I would show you what I usually have for breakfast. Miso vegetable soup and Nato-Kimuchi- Mentai.
Absolutely delicious.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Week 83: Justice

Hello Everyone!!!

Well... We are going to play Basketball soon. Not today, but soon. One of the members is going to rent out a court. Why? Because we met a bunch of Less Actives for the first time this week, and it went really well. But they all want to play basketball. So... We will set up an activity for them to come to. One of those moments when I actually wished I was good at Basketball. But hopefully the strong members will come, too, and everyone will make good friends.

Anyways... We had some miracles this week, and some disappointments.

First, let's get the disappointments done and over with.

Brother F basically just dropped off the map. Except he sent us one message.

Can't come to church. Now I have to work.

Bummer. But he's just super busy with work. There is always another week. 

However, Brother T has been doing GREAT this week! By remembering his kids names and handing out chocolates, we've successfully won the children's AND the parents hearts (kids are definitely key! Just read the story of Lamoni's father). And, when we asked him to read and pray everyday, he said he would without hesitation. I feel like the Douseki, Brother H was a great help on that one. They are neighbors and friends, and both have families, so they are just about in the same place in life. That was exciting! Plus, he read the section we asked him to of the Book of Mormon! :) I can already imagine the blessings the Gospel will bring to this cute family! (The H family is really excited about it, too!) They are receiving the Gospel so well. :) 

We had a mutual activity this week again. This time, we played some Ping pong and King of the Couch. It was a blast! :) On the last round we all used the names of Book of Mormon Prophets instead of our names. And two more youth came than last week! One of which, it was my first time to meet him (he hasn't been at church). The youth and members are doing a great job of reaching out to each other now that the ball has started rolling. We had tried to get in contact and even visit him, but it was unsuccessful. Just goes to show how much better member missionaries are! Now we are friends with R kun (kun is the title for people equal to you in Japanese? I don't know how to explain it, but it is the only title I can put here. Brother just sounds weird). I also hung out with him on Sunday (he became my companion. President Nagano is recommending that we go on splits with youth to the classes so we can become better friends with the youth), and he is excited for next Friday and Sunday! :)

Also, exchanges on Thursday! First one in Kasukabe! Elder Pozernick and I had some great miracles. A man who has done architecture for churches who wants to come and check it out (his only concern was he doesn't want to take too much time from his family - maybe a little TOO golden? Haha) and met with one of the Less Actives, K Kun, who happens to want to play Basketball. My companion met two other less actives that day who also want to play Basketball. So... It was decided. Especially since ALL the youth also want to play. :)

As I studied this week, something really just stuck out to me. I read Alma 42.

To be honest, it had never really clicked in my head why we NEED Justice. Can't it just always be mercy?

This verse really struck me.

20. And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.

Because there is a law, there can be justice. Because there is justice, there is a withdrawal of the Spirit, which brings a remorse of conscience (see Alma 42, and D&C 19). Just like pain can be our "friend," as I recently heard my Mission President say (to keep us from doing things that would cause serious damage to our bodies), spiritual pain can be our friend in keeping us out of serious spiritual damage. Justice helps us know what is wrong and right, and therefore be able to progress.

For example, perhaps when we get angry, jealous, impatient, or feel hatred. Or maybe we are just a little thoughtless. When we feel these things, we clearly see what Alma meant when he said "wickedness never was happiness." (Alma 41:10) The withdrawal of the Spirit, or perhaps the recognition of some guilt, will then help us to progress and be more thoughtful, loving, patient, rejoice in others's joys, and seek to be more understanding. In other words, we become a little more like our Father in Heaven. And Alma also teaches that God's nature is the
nature of Happiness. (Alma 41:11).

So let's progress a little more this week. No, nothing needs to happen all at once. But let's get just a little more of the true happiness this week.

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

We had "American" food, with some stuff we found in the apartment.
White gravy, mashed potatoes (from a powder), etc.
Almost as good as Japanese food. Not really, but it was still fun. haha

Zone Conference - Saitama

Zone lunch

Sweet & Sour chicken. It was way fun to bread, fry, and sauce it up! :)

Exchanges! The one on the far left of the picture was my companion for the day.

Made a great stir fry this week! We make the sauces we use recently. Pretty fun!