Thursday, April 27, 2017

Week 94: New Opportunities!

Hello Everyone!!

This week was INCREDIBLE!!! We had a member of the Area Presidency, Elder Choi, visit our mission this past week. The Spirit was strong, and I have a strong desire to improve, with a higher vision of what we can accomplish. So... life is good! :)

Some favorite quotes from the conference:

"If you don't like it... LIKE IT!"

"NO. Thank you for saying, no. N.O. New Opportunity."

I get to talk to someone new, and they get to talk to a missionary later. :)

"When you are sick, don't think you are sick. Go running"

Using this great advice and a higher vision, we have had SOOO many miracles! Like, I don't even remember to contact all the people we found. Haha. Oops. I'll work on it. But, for example, we found a 金人 (Prepared person) just a minute ago. Same street that I found my first recent convert, actually. Similar situation in life and way I found him, actually. Like, almost exactly the same, except this time I got an appointment the first time I met him on the street. Soooo... PUMPED! :) Also, we had two people come to church and the baptismal service last week! They Both seem like they want to be baptized! Sister S and Bro A (a new investigator).

Seeing so many miracles from simply raising my faith and pushing forward with a boundless, happy attitude (yes, that is how I would describe what I feel now), I think of two quotes.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

As we hold high vision, we have life. As we keep the law, we can have high vision, because we know God will bless us. I realize that in Japanese, this says "jigen" (a vision like Lehi saw) and that the foot note says "vision, revelations" but PMG teaches the same principle, so it's still doctrine all the same. :)

Second, this quote:

"You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen."

There is so much power in optimism! And really, there is sooo much to be happy about! We are so blessed! I know the Savior and our Heavenly Father live, and love, us; They have a plan for us. Even if that was all we had, it would be enough!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Met this man on the train. Sooo nice! He helped me when I had some crazy train trouble after just meeting and talking for a few minutes on the train. To even meet with him, we had missed our stop, but I think there was a reason for that. :-)He actually has strong beliefs about family and seeking joy, but thought he was alone in it. He thought our meeting was the direction of God, and it was just a great chance to get to know him! It was great to see him light up as we did!

Man we met today! We took a quick church tour. He believes in God, and is excited to learn more at our FHE next Monday! :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Week 93: Happy Easter!

Hello everyone!!

Not a lot of time... sorry.

My new companion is Elder Miller. Super nice, and has really just jumped into everything. Picking up new missionaries, training them, dropping off old missionaries... etc.

Great week, but I am out of time. It was a busy p-day.

It was a great week, though, testifying of the Savior and His resurrection!

I know He lives, and He can help us individually. He knows us, and our trials. As we rely on Him, we can accomplish all that He expects of us, even when we feel we absolutely can't. This week was one testimony of that - having to take the lead in things this week was tough. However, as I do my best to strive to stay by the Spirit, it works out and miracles occur. I know the Lord supports each of us in our difficulties and weaknesses.

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

Working Hard

Met this guy on the train going to the station with the returning missionaries!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 92: It is JUST for YOU!

Hello Everyone!

I wrote you three days ago? So recently.... but just a favorite miracle to share, and I'll let you go. I promise.

Yesterday was General Conference! I hope you all got to see it. Honestly, just the Spirit that these men speak with is a miracle! I know that they are men of God. Each time I listen to conference, I have full confidence that this is the Lord's church, the Priesthood is restored, and Christ directs these great men and women who lead our church!

As I watched, I had an investigator with me, Bro C (met on the street this week! He wants to come again next week! :) )

He was only going to be there for the first 45 minutes. He was not a native speaker of English, but didn't want to watch it alone, and we didn't have it in his native language for a group. I offered headphones, but he didn't want them. It was the last session on Sunday.

The first talk was WONDERFUL. I loved it. However, it was not the easiest English, and it referenced the Bible, particularly the story of Ezekiel (forgive me if I remember wrong). I prayed fervently towards the end of the talk for something that would be easy to understand, and would connect to Bro C, because he would only be able to see one more talk before he could go.

The next talk was a conversion story. It was simple, and Bro C nodded his head and was engaged. As we talked after for just a moment before he left, it had really struck him!

While the conference was for everyone, I knew that God had answered my prayer. He directed His servants, just for me, and just for Bro C.

While, yes, this is the perfect plan for all of God's children, it is my testimony that God knows YOU. Yes, just you. And His plan is specific to you!

His Gospel is what will help all of us - and yet, it is the solution for you. Just you.

Christ suffered for all of us, and yet, in Gethsemane, He suffered for you. Just you. And so, His mercy, love, and forgiveness; His peace and help are extended to you personally. Yes, just you.

I love each of you! Yes, just you.
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Yay!! He got our package for Easter!

Office staff ice cream party today for p-day!
(with Brother Dibble)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Week 91: Miracles!

Hello everyone!!

I had a FANTASTIC week!

First off, Sister S has been progressing SUPER well! She loved coming to church, and is asking us when she can do lessons now. She even changed appointments with a friend so she could come and meet with us! It is great to see her prioritize the Gospel! She was a little nervous about setting a date to be baptized, and we didn't have too much time to discuss (it was almost 9:30), but we think we will be able to make plans with her this week.

We also had a great Mission Leadership Council! I felt under prepared, but the Spirit was so present at the meeting! I'm glad that we were able to learn from the true teacher!

Had a Splits on Wednesday (pictured below) where we found 4 new people or so. SOOO glad when I actually get to hit the streets! Mostly meetings and lessons recently, which isn't bad, but I really enjoy "finding." Nothing brings me more joy than this work!

We also had 5 or 6 new students at Eikaiwa who were young! So that was AWESOME! Really improved the atmosphere. Before, we just had older people, so even if young people came, it was hard to retain, but the sudden jump in young students really helped! They all want to come back, and it was more fun for me too!

One thing that has been on my mind recently has been miracles. We all want to see miracles.

But, before we can have miracles, there has to be a challenge.

Moses could not have parted the Red Sea if there was not a sea to part!

Christ would not have changed water to wine if there was not a desperate lack of it!

He could not have calmed the storm if it had already been calm.

Recently, as we've been busy, but we really did our best to find people, we have just been seeing so many miracles! So, it is my testimony that when you have seas to part in your life, you don't need to fear. Sometimes, we have to get our feet wet before it happens (don't know the reference, but crossing the river with the arc? Look
it up! Great story! Sorry... out of time, or I would!), but the Lord will always provide the way!

As the greatest miracle of all, Christ over came death and was resurrected. It is my testimony that He lives, loves us, and not even death is too big of an obstacle for Him!

So this week, rely on Him, trust Him, and let him part the seas and calm the storms in your life!

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

Man we met on the street! He wants to come to General Conference on Sunday!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Week 90: Made Perfect in Weakness

Hello Everyone!!!

I guess it's been a little while! I apologize for that... we've just been all over the place! I guess I'll start at last Wednesday, since I wrote last Tuesday...

Just a warning... this ended up just basically being my journal for this week. Yep. SO I wrote a novel and a half. If you don't want to read it, or just want to read the last 4 paragraphs or so, that's totally chill. Sorry. :P

**************** Journal part... can skip to section 2 or 3 below *******************

Wednesday was a GREAT day! I went on splits with my old companion Elder O'Connor! He's a super great Elder, and it was great to see him again after 7 transfers (42 weeks). We've both changed a bit since then - for instance, we can now speak a bit of Japanese - but it was great to see that he's still a great Elder. Maybe even better than before! Cool miracle of the day was meeting Bro M - We found him on the way to finding a place to eat by a nearby college. We were just waiting at the last light before we went in to eat, and then... he walked with us for about 20 minutes to come and take a church tour! He seemed pretty interested in our church services, and I hope (and rather expect with how many questions he was asking) to see him at church in the next couple of weeks. He said he couldn't come last week, but maybe tomorrow? Can't be sure... he wasn't quite prepared to trade contact info, unfortunately. But I was surprised with his willingness to take his day off to walk to the church and take a tour with us! He seemed like he has great potential.

The next day we headed off to Kiryu early in the morning for a Zone Conference, and then got back pretty late at night. Finally felt like I was getting comfortable with the trainings we were giving, which has made these last few Zone Conferences a lot more fun and a bit less stressful!

Friday was a good day of work with my companion in my area. Any time we have like that is just GREAT! Honestly, I have never realized what a blessing it is just to work with my companion! Guess I took it for granted. We taught Sister S (Sister T now goes by Sister S because she wants us to call her by her "American" name), and she is doing AWESOME! I'll talk about her progress in just a little bit. And we did something called a Free English Challenge. Bring a little quiz on the street, have youth take the test, give them a chocolate, invite them to English Class, and if they are interested, exchange Lines (the Japanese version of Facebook Messenger). Super effective activity! We had 7 new young students as a district (5 companion sets) - which greatly increased our previous number of regular young students. 0. 7 is a lot better than 0. Of course, we have the regular older students, and we love them, but the youth are learning English for good reasons and have great potential to learn the Gospel. The older students tend to be set in their ways and are learning English because they have free time. Which is all right - and actually one of them, seems to have great potential to become a new investigator right now! We are doing "role play lessons" with a student, Bro Mo (different then the Bro M we found recently), and he has been starting to pray on a regular basis and is starting to show increased interest in the Gospel.

Saturday was filled with events. We taught Toiec prep, Jazz drumming, went to District Meeting, and helped set up for a Japanese Church History Fair! I got to hold the first copy of the Book of Mormon in Japanese! And learned some cool history.

Sunday, we had dinner with a cute, young family!

Monday, I started the process of getting my Japanese license... lots of waiting, but we got it all done within 5 minutes of the closing time. They said that I would probably have to break it into 2 days because it is busy at this time of year, but it was a miracle that I could get it all done in one visit. Now, pretty soon (as in next month) I will have an actual driving test... not excited about that, but excited that I could have a license!

Tuesday was Tokyo Zone Conference. We invited some youth to come from our ward, and we brought them up to the front for the practice lessons. Afterwords, we went out to dendo with the youth, and we found new english students through the English Challenge, and a new investigator, Bro H who said he will come to church tomorrow! The youth that Elder Clark and I went with will be leaving on his mission in a year. We really felt that we got to see great miracles with him to help be excited for his mission!

Wednesday was splits again... I got SOOO lost! Haha. This being my 4th transfer in the Mission Office (including my time spent as tech staff) you think I would have it down by now! But nope.

Thursday, our last Zone Conference! We went out to Matsudo, my companions old area, and met with some of the Recent Converts and Youth, which lined us up to get back right before 9. It was nice to see how much the youth had remembered him and to get to go back and strengthen them just a little more.

Friday, we drove an Elder home to the airport. He had to go home for medical reasons... tough stuff. Then, we got back just in time to visit The K family. The Father is not a member, and the children are too young to be. However, C-chan is going to be baptized next year, so we are teaching her pre-baptism lessons. It's also a really GREAT way to get to know Bro K. He actually came to church for just a little bit last week! So we are excited for their family.

Then, We taught Sister S! We taught her last week about repentance, and after she heard the testimonies of the members, she said, "So repentance is why everyone here is so happy!" When, on Wednesday, she was asked, "When do you feel joy?" she responded, "It's only been a little while, but I think I feel joy when I come to the church." And, as we taught her yesterday, I could tell that the Atonement really started to click with her! She is progressing so well, and plans on coming to Sacrament Meeting for the first time tomorrow! Can't wait to see her first experience!

Lastly, today, we started planning for next weeks Mission Leadership Council, New Missionary Follow Up Training, and the next round of Zone Conferences. With the change in the missionary schedule, they occur every transfer now, which will certainly keep us busy. We certainly have our work cut out for us, especially since there are also some mission documents and programs that the mission uses that need to be touched up this week.

******************* Section 2 ... Skip to here for shorter email ********************
As work piles up, nights get late, and p-days get shorter, I often feel unprepared and unable to handle what we need to get done. However, an experience I had on my last exchange sums up how I get through everything.

As I mentioned, last Wednesday, we got a little lost. I was going to places I had only been once before, so I was a little nervous - I know that one of my more annoying weaknesses is that I have no sense of direction, which is particularly difficult if I have to go on exchanges. So, I saved the locations in Google Maps before I went, and did my best to study the routes.

Well, we went to our first place - a college cafeteria where we could get some student friends (who would consequently have a high potential to become English Students; simply an effective way that our mission is focusing on using our lunch time) and cheap good food. I had mistakenly gone to a smaller cafeteria, and it was closed for Spring break.

We found a place to eat, and went on to our next appointment. When we got there, I realized it was actually our evening appointment... I had mixed up the points when I saved them in the map.

I tried to brush it off, and we went where we needed to go.

I got to the second address I had put in - and realized quickly it was not the right address. I called my companion, and discovered that there was more than one family with the same name in our ward. I had biked 30 minutes in the wrong direction, and we were out of time to visit this older Less Active man, who was certainly lonely and expecting a visit sometime throughout the day.

Feeling a little deflated, we went back to the church for the only thing that went as planned that day - a lesson with Bro Mo that went wonderfully.

Due to some unexpected events, our evening appointment with the K family was moved to Friday, and so we decided to try to get back to the man we had wanted to visit earlier. By the time we got out there, however, his lights were out, and we realized he was probably asleep. We left a note of apology, and raced home to get there just before curfew. 

************************* Section 3... Skip to here for shortest email **********************

We accomplished almost nothing that we had planned. During parts of the day, I was embarrassed, frustrated, and feeling pretty down on myself.

However, when the day was over, and I got to look over the day again, I realized that while I could accomplish little of what I wanted to get done, perhaps the Lord had had a better plan.

As we looked for a place to eat, we met 2 College Students who were open to the church and wanted to learn English as well.

The shop we went to seemed popular with college students, and said that we could come back with a poster for our English class and put it up in his shop.

We found a man who wanted to learn about the Book of Mormon on our way up to the man's house at the end of the night and we got contact information. He seemed eager to look into the materials we gave him.

And, we had countless great contacts with people, and little chances to serve throughout the day.

Sometimes, I just want the Savior to take away my weaknesses. I want to be perfect, and I want to be able to get things done my way. But in all reality, for everything in life, there is a better way. It is relying on Him. It is letting him use us in our weakness. It is letting Him perform His work and His miracles through us despite our weakness. As Paul wrote,

"9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Cor 12:9

I'm grateful that through Christ's Atonement each of us can have access to grace. I don't have to worry about if I am "enough," for Christ performed an infinite Atonement. It covers all, even if I bring just about nothing to the table. He can use us in weakness; the Power of Christ can work through all those who let it.

I testify that Jesus is the Christ. He suffered for each of us individually. He loves each of us. He understands, strengthens, and gives each of us exactly what we need to grow and become like Him.

So let's rely on Him this week!

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

With companion, Elder Clark & Mission President Nagano

Mom and Dad in Alpine, UT meeting Elder Clark's family and Etsuko from Tokyo.

2 Free English Challenge Recipients! Should come this week?

The family we visited last Sunday!



C-chan! And Bro K and my companion. She LOVES Toy Story!