21 April, 2014 11:34

こんにちわ, みんなさん!How are you all doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in Miyakonojo, Japan!

This week has been quite superb! On Tuesday we did じゅんかい (exchanges) with the Zone Leaders. I was with Elder Bloomfield, who is from Texas. He is great! We found three new investigators that day, which was quite a きせき(miracle). Two of those three we actually found when we were going to an appointment with Wakimoto san, one of our current investigators. Two of his friends were hanging around outside his apartment (apparently they were supposed to do something with Wakimoto san, but he was either not at home or dead asleep). We started talking with them (well, more Elder Bloomfield than myself), and then continued talking with them for at least half an hour. We gave both of them copies of the モルモン書 (The Book of Mormon), and when we left we saw them sitting in their car reading it, which is cool. Hopefully we will be able to meet with them again soon. Neither of them wanted us to visit them at home because they both still live with their parents, so they asked if we could meet again next week (this week now) at the same time in front of Wakimoto san’s apartment. 🙂 The appointment is a little bimio ("sketchy" is probably the best translation), but hopefully that will work out.

I know exactly what Kyle means when he said that the weeks just start blurring together. That has already started happening with me, but that’s kind of what life is like. That is one of the great blessings of attending church each Sunday; it is a great opportunity to "reset" for each week, to have a day of rest from our temporal labors to focus more on our spiritual labors. Of course, we should be focused on our spiritual labors every day, but the Sabbath is a great opportunity to focus ourselves even more and dedicate ourselves more for the coming week. Partaking of the Sacrament is a great opportunity to remember the Savior’s Atonement and reapply ourselves to living as He did.

Speaking of the Atonement, on Friday we had interviews with our mission president, and in those interviews President Gustafson asked us to spend ten minutes in Personal Study each morning studying the Atonement in the scriptures, especially during this Easter Season. As I have begun doing so I have found it very difficult to spend only ten minutes studying the Atonement – it usually stretches into 20 or 30 minutes! But that is okay, because the Atonement is the focus of everything we do, anyway. I have been going through the scriptures listed in the index of the Book of Mormon. One thing I have found myself focusing on is the "infinite and eternal" nature of the Atonement, particularly what aspect of the Atonement makes it infinite and eternal. The complete answer to that question would take a significant amount of study, but I have learned a bit about it in the past few days. Particularly from this morning’s study, I read in Alma 34:10, which states that the Atonement was not a human sacrifice, being infinite and eternal. As I thought about that I realized that the Atonement was not a human sacrifice in both the sense that neither He who made the sacrifice nor He who was sacrificed human: both Heavenly Father (who made the sacrifice of His Beloved Son) and Jesus Christ (who was sacrificed) are Gods, immortal beings; or in other words they are both "infinite and eternal" beings. Jesus Christ was Himself an "infinite and eternal" sacrifice because of His Godliness. Also, the Atonement is infinite and eternal because it stretches far beyond this life, but continues to be effectual throughout eternity.

There is never enough time to type everything I want to write. 😦 But, that is the way of life. Never enough time.

Mom: If you email recipes I should be able to print them off, but I shouldn’t print too much since we use the clerk’s office computer and printer. No, do not have the little cookbook that you put together (that is one of the things I forgot to bring with me); if you are able to send it, that would be fantastic! There are usually onions in/with the food, so it appears that they put onions in many dishes. I am not sure what they usually eat for breakfast; I usually eat cereal and toast (although I have made french toast a couple times, which was wonderful). One of the elders in our apartment sometimes eats tofu for breakfast, but he really likes tofu (it’s alright, but I don’t think I would eat it for breakfast). For the picnic we went to a farm; it’s kind of a touristy spot relatively near Miyakonojo. It was nice. Here are a few pictures:

Entrance (although this was taken as we exited, so it is looking out from the entrance. I just wanted the sign so I could remember the name):

The hill that we picnicked on, with mountains in the background (most or all of which are dormant volcanoes):

Cow 🙂

The girl behind the cow is Miki chan, by the way; and the boy eating the ice cream and "photo-bombing" to the right of the cow is Daiskuei chan, Miki chan’s boyfriend. His mother is Kuroki shimai (in the background eating ice cream, wearing the blue shirt). We ate some ice cream. I had chocolate. It was good. Apparently the other flavor was milk, not vanilla. That is interesting.

Something the farm staff were beginning to erect as we left. I think it’s a dinosaur or dragon. We didn’t get to see the finished product.

The exit sign. Japanese English is fun.

Some more pictures:

A very creepy children’s play area:

Me petting a statue of a starving dog in a park:

The starving dog statue (I have no idea why there is a starving dog statue; there are at least ten of them in that park):

A hamburger that I made to be happy (it was a nice change from the usual Japanese food):

A flower on a bush in front of the church:

Well, that’s all I have time for this week. I love you all! If you had any questions that I did not respond to, sorry! Have a super day, a great week, and a wonder-fabulous year!

Love,

Elder Madsen

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