こんにちは！ How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 都城、日本 (Miyakonojo, Japan)!
This week has been great! Jensen 長老 and I continue to work very well together here in 都城! We had an "after-baptism" lesson with Kuzuguchi 姉妹 (our recent convert), and it went very well! We taught lesson one, and then at the end she started asking a lot of different questions about the 救いの計画 (Plan of Salvation), which we talked about for a while, but I am sure we will continue to have a great discussion with her during our next lesson! She is great! Unfortunately she has been unable to attend church the past two Sundays because of work, so we will have to work to help her come to church. She really wants to, but her work schedule is very 大変 (tough). We are praying for her!
This week during 主観計画会 (weekly planning) we also determined that many of our current investigators are not progressing very well, and therefore most likely need to be dropped. So, we made some final "drop-or-not" visits to a few of those 微妙 (not-very-good) investigators (most of whom we dropped), and will continue to do those visits with our other investigators this week, with the intent of securing the "good" investigators and pruning out the "bad", hopefully by our next 主観計画会. Of course the non-progressing investigators are not necessarily bad – many of them are wonderful people! (if they were not they probably would not have listened in the first place) – but perhaps they are not yet fully-prepared to make the necessary commitments. "Dropping" investigators can be difficult, but as long as we always strive to work under the Lord’s guidance we will be able to work according to His will and focus on the 準備したの選民 (prepared elect). I have more fully come to realize that choosing to drop an investigator is a great act of faith that makes it possible for the Lord to bless us with finding those who are actually prepared and want to listen. We are cleaning out the "good" to make room for the "better" and "best", and at some future point those good people whom we have dropped will become the 準備したの選民. The Lord is always preparing His people, but we do not know when they will be fully prepared. He has promised that "the field is white already to harvest", and all we have to do is thrust in our sickles with our might.
We saw a simple – but great! – miracle yesterday. We received a referral from a visiting family! The father of the family used to live in 都城. He met the missionaries and was baptized after he moved out, so his father and brother (so still live here) are not members. So, he asked us to visit them and provided us with their names and address.
I know that this is the Lord’s work! I am glad to be a part of it! I know that the 選民 (elect) are out there; we just have to find them! I have also come to realize how true it is that the best way to find the 選民 is through the friends and family of the members – referrals! As missionaries we can (and do) go around knocking on doors and probably find one in 100 (or 200, 300, …) that has a little interest, and of those few that actually begin investigating one of them might actually go through to baptism (and, hopefully, onward to the end). I imagine this is only way to find the 選民 who do not know any members, but there are so many people that do know members and have been prepared! We just need to ask – we as missionaries need to ask the members (and the best way to do that, I believe, is to prayerfully ask the Lord members have friends/family that will receive the Gospel), and then help the members ask their friends/family.
I am grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary at this time in Japan. I can see the effects of the Lord’s hastening of His work. This branch is transforming – it is already much different from when I first arrived here in 三月, and under the direction of our new 伝道主任 ([branch] mission leader) and with our help, I know that the branch can truly 燃える. It is a great time to be doing the Lord’s work!
I love you all! Have a wonderful day, a great week, and a happy year!
p.s. As some of you know, we had another typhoon. We stayed inside while it was blowing, and nothing much happened (yet again). We were able to leave the apartment later that day, which was wonderful!
Some random pictures!
Tacoyaki (octopus – the little round ball). I had not eaten it octopus yet. I know. I’ve been here 4 1/2+ months and haven’t tried it yet!? Well, now I have. It’s interesting. Pretty much just squishy meat.