Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 99:

Hello Everyone!!!

This week was transfer week... so it was a bit crazy...

Tuesday, we went and picked up the new missionaries. Meet Elder O'Reilly. Elder Thomas O'Reilly. No. Not me. Him. He is Elder Thomas James O'Reilly. So.... now everyone knows our middle names. Haha. Super strange to hear my name, and not have them be talking to me.

Elder O'Reilly with Elder O'Reilly

Wednesday we trained the new missionaries, and sent them off. Taught English class, and Sister S! The Nagano's were the members with us, and it was AWESOME! She is reading the Book of Mormon and praying daily. Even without reminders now. :) She came to church this week too! :) Struggling a bit with coffee (her doctor said it causes headaches to stop and stopping is also causing fatigue. So... he told her to drink it.) But she is still trying! Pray for her!

Thursday... driving test... me and my companion passed!!!

My old companion, Elder Nitta is now in the mission office, and he drove us there. So... we took a pic together with our licenses.

Friday, we sent off the old missionaries and had Mission Leader Conference.

Saturday, we had splits, and it was AWESOME! Met some cool people!

Bro. H. wants to learn English! Met him as we ate lunch near a university. 

Sunday, we went to a member's home with Bro. M. They are the M family (different name though). Such cute kids!

On the way home, we proselyted with Bro. M, and found Bro. I!!

He was looking for a church... and we offered to give him a church tour just before 9:00. He got excited, and said, can we? The Spirit was strong as we shared a brief version of the Restoration, and he wants to come to church this week! We have already been messaging back and forth this morning. :) He seems WAY AWESOME!

Yep. So this week was GREAT!!

I love the Lord, and His work! He supports us and strengthens us as we rely on Him through repentance. It is amazing to share those blessings every day! Hope you take time each day for real, worshipful prayer, and real, committed repentance. That is what we talked about with Sister S. It makes ALL the difference. It is really what turns night to day! :)

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mother's Day Skype/Last Transfer!

This is mom/Denise writing!

I just wanted to include a couple pictures from our last Skype with Thomas on Mother's Day! He LOVES his mission! He is so happy and we can just see it in his face! It was fun to hear him speak Japanese to Skeets & Mayu. And it was wonderful to hear his testimony and feel the Spirit.

We are so excited that he is now in his last transfer! He will be returning home on July 7th! And the plan is for him to speak at 1:00pm on July 16th in our old ward, Manila 7th.

It is quite the adventure and wild ride to send your children wherever the Lord calls for 2 years! We have missed him terribly and have anxiously held our breath for each email to arrive. While it is difficult to let them go, we are all greatly blessed for his service! We have had an added measure of the Spirit as we feel his testimony and see his growth. We are grateful to the Lord and to the many people who have helped to support Thomas both in the mission and at home.

Thank you for your love and support! :-)
Hurrah for Israel!!

Waiting for his call...

Yay!! I love Skype!

We're so excited to see him again in less than 7 weeks!

Week 98: A busy 2 days!

Hello Everyone!

I feel like I wrote just a couple days ago. Probably because I did. But looking at our schedule for next transfer, our p-days should be a lot more consistent. This transfer will be a little more free, so I'll be able to focus more on my area. I'm grateful for that. :)

I wrote you Friday night. Since then, Saturday was District Meeting in the morning, followed by a lunch birthday celebration for Elder Dibble (he covers the finances of the mission)! Then, TOEIC in the afternoon. Our goal is to make a younger class. Currently the average age is 60. Makes it difficult to get young students to stick. They feel
uncomfortable with the class sometimes... but we made good friends with two young students that came this week, so I think they will keep coming! :)

In the evening, I "taught" drum. I did teach a few people who are really just beginning. I taught how to hold a stick and stroke properly. But the main student has years of experience on me. But she needs a place to practice, and it gets her to church, so hey, it's all good.

Then, yesterday, Sunday, Sis S, AJ (nick name) and Bro Y came to church!

Sis S is struggling a bit with the word of wisdom, but is keeping it, and is progressing well.

We teach AJ Japanese, and he decided to come to church! Mostly for Japanese practice, but he really liked it, and said he'll bring friends next week! So that is exciting.

Bro Y... I was on splits so I could be with AJ (they went to two different wards; Family ward and YSA group) and I honestly haven't met him yet. He's only met my companion, Elder Miller. He seems like a really nice man when I talk to him on the phone, though.

AJ also came back after church to a Recent Convert Fireside. Missionaries and recent converts gathered from the closer zones. It was a great opportunity for AJ to feel the Spirit and see how great the Gospel is. We heard from several recent converts how they met the missionaries, what was difficult about accepting the Gospel, and the
blessings they received from joining the church.

It was a great chance for me to think about how important God's work is as well. The blessings that each mentioned was different, but they tended to come back to one point. God loves us, and we can feel that love. We can let it direct our lives for good. Certainly, there are challenges in accepting the Gospel. However, the blessings are of far greater value. While challenges and trials are ever present in the world, when we choose to follow Christ, we can be of good cheer, for He already overcame all of it. I could see the joy and light beaming from each of the recent converts faces.

I am confident that as we consistently repent, renew our resolution to keep our covenants, and then actually renew our covenants each week at the Sacrament, we can have that joy and light always with us. It is as important for each of us to strive to overcome the difficulties and more fully accept the Gospel each day as it was for each of these recent converts to accept it the first time. And as we overcome our weaknesses and the natural man little by little, that same overwhelming light, Spirit, peace, and joy that comes through the grace of Jesus Christ and His Gospel is available to us each everyday!

I am so grateful for Christ and His Gospel!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

We went to Costco today. My companion was pretty excited about it!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Week 97: The Gospel is Everything!

Hello Everyone!!!

Just have a minute... but it was a great week!

I got to go back to Niigata on Wednesday for an exchange, and Thursday for a conference. It was a BLAST!

Some highlights:

Met with Brother O:

His faith is stronger than ever! :) He studies so deeply. He has read the Gospel Principle book, Most of the Book of Mormon, and has goals to study EVERYTHING! And he studies sooo deeply. So many markings and questions.

Also met with Brother R. He is a youth who is struggling a bit right now. He hadn't been in contact with the missionaries for a while, so I hope that our visit helped him. He said he had quit his job and could come to church this Week! Probably just good timing more than anything. But he had bleached his hair... so he said no pictures. :P

One of my favorite miracles was getting in contact with Brother M for the trip. He is actually moving down to Tokyo. So I didn't get to meet him, but he video called me. Before, it was so difficult to time it right and barge into his apartment with breakfast in the morning and wake him up. He was so sad, and so separated from the Gospel. But now, he has introduced his girlfriend to the Gospel, she is accepting it well, he is coming back to church, and is looking for a good ward in Tokyo to move into when he gets married. And he wants to meet up again. It made me sooo happy to see him happy again!

I knew him when he was going to church, and when he was most separated, and now. It is more than a night and day difference. From bright, to darker than night, to bright again. The Gospel is everything. It is there to make us happy. It is true - and the honest pursuer of truth can know it, and gain that happiness. So let's do that today. :)

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Week 96: "The Lord Thy God Shall Lead Thee"

Hello Everyone!

It's been a packed week! Nearly every day has been either splits or a conference. Really puts me on a Spiritual high, but it's also really exhausting at the same time.

Because of how busy we've been, I only really had one night with my companion to go out and work. We met Bro. N. Our appointment had fallen through on Sunday night. We had biked pretty far, and we prayed to know how we could still use time effectively. It's been my experience that as we pray in faith, and adjust plans to match the impressions we receive (whether or not they are the strongest impressions), we see the Lord's hand perform miracles in our work. This is true regardless of placement, time restraints, etc. There is nothing too hard for the Lord. (Gen 18:14)

As I go to each of the meetings we had this week, we get a moment at the end for closing remarks. I never know what to say at the beginning of the conference, and, it is easy to stress about it. But, as I pray for the missionaries, and observe them throughout the conference, impressions come to my mind, and I know what the Lord wants me to speak to them. Whether it has connection to the conference, or not, it always ends up that my companion and I speak on the same subject. He tends to share a personal experience on the subject, and I add a scripture, testimony, and a few remarks of my own - only we never plan it. But of the 3 or so chances we had to do that this past week, we spoke on the same subject every time.

I know the Lord guides this church, despite the weakness and mistakes it's leaders make. I know that God loves each of His children, and all He does is for their benefit. When we choose to follow the Lord and His leaders, it opens the door for Him to direct us and answer our prayers (D&C 112:10). This is when we can experience miracles, and find the greatest joy in our lives!

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 95: Perfected in Christ

Hello Everyone!

This week was AWESOME! We had a couple of Zone Conferences, and I got to go on splits to Shibuya, so it was a busy week.

Last week on Monday, we finished up prep for Zone Conference. Tuesday was the first conference,  and it went surprisingly well. We trained on obedience, English teaching skills, teaching about Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost from pamphlets (the church produces them and they are super simple, good resources, so we want missionaries to be using them more), and asking questions and testifying and teaching to meet peoples needs in finding. In all, it was about 3 and a half hours of training. Of course, it was interactive, so we weren't talking the whole time, but it is definitely the most time that I have been in front of so many people (the larger of the two had 43 or so missionaries?)! So... doing that on Tuesday and Thursday was a little tiring, but I'm glad it went well and we are off to a good start for the transfer.

On Wednesday, I went on splits with Elder Ikegami in Shibuya. He's actually one of my past companions, so it was a lot of fun! We had lots of cool miracles.

For example, we volunteered at a college and participated in their ESS. Nothing came of it yet, but I feel like as we continue to build relationships, it could go really well. Of course, it isn't my area, but I feel like this could be really good for Shibuya.

We also found a good amount of cool people on the street. Recently, we have been getting contact info from so many people because Line became available for use. This is what most Japanese people use, so people feel a lot more comfortable giving it out. But there is a new problem... we don't remember who they are... :P On a good day, we can get 7 or more... and then it is just hard to tell which account is who. So, I take pictures on the street - the order of the friend requests is the order of the pictures.

Then, on Friday, we got to teach Eikaiwa! We taught the mothers as the Sisters taught the children. At the end, we gave a Spiritual message. This week we spoke about being friendly and respectful. The kids were sooo cute!

Then, on Saturday, I taught English in the Morning to a diligent student at 9:00 am! Bro Y is 16 - and he is performing all our commitments for English and Spiritual Messages - still not quite an investigator, but he is gaining more confidence and light each time he comes. He gave a note to his mother this week with the reasons that he loves her. Just simple commitments like that, but I can tell he is happier, and is enjoying applying some of the simple church messages.

Also helped with some programming this week... this time I taught the Tech Staff, so hopefully they can handle problems in the future. They caught on really fast!

As I worked with the Tech Staff and with Elder Ikegami this past week (my companion when I was Tech Staff), I had a great chance to reflect on things.

When I was companions with Elder Ikegami, it was my first time being senior companion or district leader. I remember feeling overwhelmed at the time - specifically with giving trainings in District Meeting. Standing in front of my district of 9 missionaries made me nervous, especially since I didn't feel like I had too much to contribute.

In fact, for that entire transfer, I put my training at the end of the meeting. I let the first trainings go long... so long that I never actually trained the entire time I was in Nakano! I couldn't actually get myself to stand in front of the group of missionaries!

Well... I don't honestly feel like I have too much more to contribute than I did then, but I have had a little practice, and a lot of prayer as I have done my best to overcome that weakness. I still get nervous the days that I have to give trainings, and it certainly still isn't something that I would choose to do for myself, but I can clearly see how the Lord has strengthened me. While it takes time, I truly know that Christ can help us overcome our weaknesses; He can take us where we are at and make us enough.

While I still don't enjoy some of the tasks I am asked to do, I am confident of one thing: they are certainly for our benefit. As I have learned and grown - though I still certainly have a long way to go - I can say as Moroni did that when we are "perfected in Christ," or even in the process of it, we can no longer deny Him.

He lives! He loves us, and He stands beside us. As we perform His work, He directs us, and helps us feel the true joy that He always had planned for us.

Remember Him this week, and rely on Him to be perfected little by little - I can promise that it is a joyous process.

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder O'Reilly

With Elder Ikegami in Shibuya

 Way nice people interested in a church tour and coming to our English class!
They are musicians, and were really nice college students!

With Elder Miller and the kids after Eikaiwa (English class)

One of the trainings (got this from the mission president's wife)