Three Months! Transfers! (Again? Time really does fly!)

こんにちは!Hello, everybody! How are you doing in your various locations? I am doing quite well here in 都城, 日本 (Miyakonojo, Japan)!

This week has been very good. We had Zone Training Meeting last week, which was wonderful. There is a couple assigned to our zone named the Johnstons, and Elder Johnston told a story about accidentally shooting himself a few months before they came on their mission, and the miracles that occurred for him to live and then still be able to serve a mission just a few months following that incident. It was quite powerful, and is a very interesting story. I also learned many other things from Zone Training Meeting and continually work on applying those things and becoming better every day. I am far from a perfect missionary, and have much that needs work, but I know that through the Lord I will be the missionary that He needs me to be.

Today is transfer calls, so I will soon discover where I will be going (or staying). I know that wherever I go is where the Lord knows that I will be able to best serve His children. My time with Elder Jensen here in Miyakonojo has been wonderful! I love having him as my companion, and have learned so much from him. I know that I have become a better missionary as I have learned from his example. We have worked hard to build the branch in this area, and continue to work very hard to strengthen our investigators’ faith and desire to follow Christ. There is much that I can improve, but looking back on these past three months I believe that I can say that the Lord is pleased with my service thus far.

We already know that Elders Smith and Nara will be leaving, because they received a call on Sunday from one of the Assistants to the President that they will be "white-washing" from their area, which means that they both will be leaving and will be replaced by a completely new pair of missionaries. They will both be missed! They have been a great part of our apartment, and are both wonderful missionaries. Elder Smith has also been a superb District Leader.

We were not able to meet with Kuzuguchi san this past week because she still had a bad zutsu (headache). However, on Friday we dropped off a small box of chocolates and a note inviting her to come to church. She called later thanking us for the chocolates, but was unable to come to church because of a totsu-zen (sudden) schedule change calling her in to work on Sunday. Zannen! (Unfortunate!) However, we continue to work hard to help her come to church; she continues to read the Book of Mormon and is still praying about a baptismal date, but has not yet committed to it. We are praying hard for her!

We met with two other investigators, Taira and Alex, both Daigakusei (college students), on Sunday evening, and the lessons went very well! We taught Alex about the Spirit and invited him to pray about recognizing the Spirit, and then he prayed about that at the end of the lesson! I definitely felt the Spirit during his prayer, and have great hopes for his progression.

I know that this is the Lord’s work. It is wonderful!

I am sad to hear that Grandpa has passed away. He will be missed! But I am so glad for the knowledge that we have of the plan of salvation, through which we can live together forever with our families! I do not believe that there is a day that goes by where we do not testify about eternal families. Japanese culture is very much focused on families, especially ancestors, and we are constantly teaching and testifying of the importance of families and the ability to live with them again after this life. I know that there is life after death. This life is only a small part of our eternal existence! "We are immortal beings on a mortal journey." (Or something like that; I believe one of the prophets said something to that effect). Life may be difficult at times (and sometimes is very difficult). There is both joy and sadness. But through the gospel of Jesus Christ we have the hope and knowledge that we will continue living as immortal beings after we die.

I love the gospel! I love the Lord! I love my Heavenly Father, who has provided such a wonderful plan for us! He truly loves us more than we can possibly comprehend. Even though it is sad for us that Grandpa has finished his mortal journey, I am grateful for the work he is doing on the other side of the veil. I continually pray for our family, and I know that as we turn to the Lord we will find comfort.

I love you all! Thank you for your wonderful examples, prayers, and support! You are all wonderful children of our Heavenly Father.

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

Here are some pictures from the previous week. I don’t have any time left to explain, so I guess you have to try puzzling out what is going on in these pictures. Enjoy! 🙂

First up is the depiction of mine and Elder Jensen’s companionship relationship:

This is junkai (splits) with the Zone Leaders (you cannot see my face, as it is covered with a red balloon):

Balloon chair thing:

Elder Jensen:

Elder Nara:

Well, that’s all, folks!

Advertisements

One thought on “Three Months! Transfers! (Again? Time really does fly!)

  1. Dear Elder Madsen,

    It is always nice to hear from you and see your photos. It sounds like you are doing great. I am not sure if you have heard anything about a recent movement by some women in the church called “Ordain Women”. I thought I would share some thoughts with you and then Elder Ballard spoke at the MTC this week and his remarks were somewhat similar.

    There has been some national news recently regarding an organization called Ordain Now. It is a group of women who have joined together in an attempt to have the church change the position of not allowing women to have the Priesthood. They have been fairly vocal and received some national attention. At our last General Conference, they staged a rally and asked for entrance to the Priesthood session of conference. The Church leaders were aware of their plans and asked them not to be disruptive and if they felt compelled to lobby in public, to stay within the boundaries that were established for other protestors. When it came time for the meeting to start, each woman ignored the request from the church, went up to the ticket office and requested a ticket. When they were denied, they turned around and walked out. Unfortunately, they ignored the council of our church leaders to bring more attention to their cause.

    Last week, the Bishop of the leader of the organization sent her a letter and invited her to participate in a disciplinary council for apostasy. A Bishop and Stake President have responsibilities to protect the church and its members from any negative influence or group that is advocating action that is inconsistent with church doctrine (apostasy). As soon as she received it, she sent a copy to the NY Times to generate more attention and publicity to her cause. It captured national and international media attention and became a topic for discussion within and without the church.

    As I have read the various articles, I have had a few impressions that I would like to share with you. First of all, I believe the church has become much more open to listening to and discussing controversial topics with its members. I don’t believe it is a bad thing to discuss the role of women and the Priesthood but it has to be done in the right way and for the right reasons. To illustrate this point, I believe it is helpful to read the account of the Grand Council recorded in the Pearl of Great Price. Heavenly Father had just stated his purpose in Moses 1:39 “For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”. He then asked two of his most trusted confidants for recommendations on how to accomplish his purpose. The first person, Lucifer, said; ” Behold here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it, wherefore give me thine honor.”

    When Jesus was called upon to speak, he simply said;”Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”

    It is interesting to contrast the two proposals. When you read Lucifers’, it is all about him. “I” or “Me” is mentioned six times. It is not mentioned once in Christ’s response. Lucifer guarantees that God’s purpose to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life will be accomplished 100%. However, he was doing it for the wrong reason and in the wrong way. He wanted all the glory and it was all about him. He also intended to deny our free agency which was inconsistent with eternal principles and practices. We learn a very important lesson from this interaction. Even though goals may be accomplished, if it isn’t done for the right reasons and in the right way, the end can’t justify the means.

    In this specific case, I believe that women should be able to ask questions and have dialogue about church practices, principles and doctrine with their leaders. However, it needs to be done in the right way and for the right reasons. When the leader immediately sent the letter for the disciplinary council to the NY Times, it was a pretty good indicator that she was doing this to generate publicity for her and her organization. Her motivation was to create public awareness rather than worrying about her status with the church. When she ignored church requests in how to engage in discussions and limit public disruption, once again, the counsel was ignored and she protested in a way that was inconsistent with the request by the church. Although I do not know the people involved, it is fairly apparent to me that they are doing this for the wrong reason and in the wrong way. I feel sorry for everyone involved but if I were in Mark’s shoes, I would do everything in my power to protect the name of the church and its members from any type of attack.

    My testimony is centered on the fact that Jesus Christ is at the head of our church and that he has called Prophets and Apostles to teach us his will. This is not a committee of men to listen to grievances and to be influenced by public opinion. They are placed on the earth to represent the Savior to protect his doctrine and administer his church. While I believe this is a topic worth discussing, I am disappointed that leaders of Ordain Now would believe that they could influence our church leaders through public pressure and media attention. It is unfortunate that they believe that more media attention will possibly influence our Prophets and Apostles to change doctrine. If there was ever an announcement that women could receive the Priesthood, I would celebrate and sustain my leaders because I have the faith that the change would be a direct revelation from our Savior.

    M. Russell Ballard is 85 years old. On Fathers Day, he attended a sacrament meeting where his son will be departing to be a mission president, one grandson reported on his mission to Ghana, another spoke before entering MTC for his mission to Chile. Also, his son in law will be returning from being a Mission President in California. We live in a noisy world. If we are not careful, the noise can distract us from our missionary purpose. Do not be surprised by uncomplimentary news about the church. It has always been this way and will continue to be so. 45 stakes and six missions in the UK where Elder Ballard served as a young missionary. He couldn’t have imagined this growth at that time. Today’s sensational headlines will be tomorrows footnotes. The fullness of the gospel is reaching more people today than at any other time in the world. Be wise as serpents. snakes are experts at sensing danger. Missionaries need to be prudent to avoid any type of physical or spiritual danger. Be harmless as doves. Strong in testimony, filled with love and willing to share it. When the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 speak unanimously, it is the voice of the Lord. Focus on the plain and simple doctrines of the gospel will help you avoid the distractions of the world. Learn it, know it, live it, love it and share it. Hyrum Smith is Elder Ballard’s great great great grandfather. June 27th in 1844 was the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum. Too many people are worried about being on the wrong side of History. history is not God. history will not judge us. Public opinion is not God either. Public Opinion will not judge us, God will. Focus on being on God’s side. There will be people who will want to tamper with the doctrine. Do not listen to them and stay anchored in the gospel. Never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do not worry about the leadership of the church. There are 15 prophets on the earth. We can not and will not lead you astray.

    Sorry for the long email and My love and prayers are with you,

    Brother Daniels

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s