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 has been another fabulous week in 都城！We have seen many miracles. On 金曜日 (Friday) I had a じゅんかい (split) with our district leader Kakishita 長老 (while Jensen 長老 was with his companion, Pessoa 長老). During that じゅんかい I learned a lot about how to be a better missionary, especially in just talking with people. Kakishita 長老 is very good at initiating a conversation with anybody about anything; even when they are in the process of closing their door on us he just jumps in with a question or comment – usually about something that they are interested in – that will get them to talk to us. For example, as we were housing along we met a lady that – after we introduced ourselves – immediately said that she did not have any interest and began closing her door. However, Kakishita 長老 commented on how great her vegetable garden was and asked if she took care of it all by herself. She said that gardening is だいすき (favorite), and then picked one of her vegetables (a ごや – I don’t really know what that is) and gave it to us! We were able to chat a bit more with her and share a とつぜん (impromptu) message. I have determined to talk a lot more with people about many different things – not just でんどう (missionary work)！Of course our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, but it is much easier to do that after establishing a connection with them so that they will want to listen. Jensen 長老 and have begun implementing the things we learned from that じゅんかい. The other day while we were housing we met a man who at first did not seem interested. However, we asked him what his hobbies were; at first he could not think of any, so Jensen 長老 mentioned that he likes drawing and I said that I like reading books, watching movies, etc. The man said that he likes American movies, and said that he recently watched one about a train but could not remember the name of it.
"Unsuto…Ansato…何かな？" ("What is it?")
"Unstoppable?" I queried (having seen that movie before).
”はい！そうです！” ("Yes! That’s it!")
And we were able to establish a かんけい (relationship) with him, gradually turned that conversation toward spiritual things, gave him a モルモン書 (Book of Mormon), and have another strong potential investigator! Sometimes we may find opportunities to share the gospel in ways that we did not expect. Prior to my mission I certainly did not think that I would be sharing my testimony by talking about movies, but I have come to realize how important it is to establish a good かんけい in order to more easily share the gospel with everybody. My younger brother (who is also currently serving a mission in Brazil) mentioned in a recent letter the importance of talking to everyone. That is also something I am working on, and people are much more willing to listen when we establish that connection with them. One of the things we measure in our mission is how many contacts we get each day, and of those contacts how many were とつぜん lessons. Before the じゅんかい our とつぜん lesson/contact ratio was somewhere around the mission standard (approximately three in every 20 contacts). However, over the past few days at least half of our contacts have been とつぜん lessons! And during the じゅんかい about 2/3 of our combined contacts were とつぜん lessons. There is great power in establishing かんけい. BRT!!! (Build the Relationship of Trust!!!)
Last night we saw some very good 奇蹟. To preface, Jensen 長老 and I have been praying for a new investigator for a while, but had not yet been able to find one. Last night we went to visit a less-active member, くわはた兄弟, but he was not at home. It was drawing near to the time we had planned for our next activity, which was about a 20 minutes away by 自転車 (bicycle), but we decided to do some housing in the area for a little bit longer. After that – during which we had some great conversations with a few contacts, but no new investigators – I felt that we should try calling one of our Potential Investigators, まいちゃん. I had no idea why, and did not know what to say, but acted in faith and called her anyway. Because of my poor 日本語 (Japanese), the conversation began very…interestingly. However, with Jensen 長老’s help we were able to resuscitate a rapidly-dying conversation, set a concrete date to visit with her, and turned a potential investigator into a new investigator! That was the first奇蹟. After that we began riding to our next planned activity and were waiting at an intersection when a 車 (car) stopped in front of us, the man inside rolled down his window, and who should it be but our less-active member くわはた兄弟！That was definitely a 奇蹟. We have been trying to visit him for a while, but he has never been at home when we stopped by. That particular situation was such that had we not decided to house in that area a little longer, and then had we not felt prompted to call まいちゃん (and talk with her for a couple minutes), we undoubtedly would not have been at that intersection just as くわはた兄弟 was passing by. There are no coincidences; 天のお父様 (Heavenly Father) is guiding us, and He knows where we need to be and when we need to be there.
I know that this is the work of the Lord, and He is guiding it! I am grateful for the opportunity which He has provided for me to be a part of this wonderful work! I love it so much!
I love you all! Have a great day, a wonderful week, and a superb year!
p.s. In answer to a few questions:
Grandma Mooney: No, eating with chopsticks is not a mission rule (as far as I know), but it’s fun to do!
Mom: Yes, I got my recipes. Thank you! I will think about any other recipes I may want and let you know. Also (from last week), I am not yet running out of peanut butter. Yes, I have the little family recipe book. Unfortunately I have not had time to try many of the recipes, but I want to try some of them when I can! This week I think I will try making a cheesecake. They don’t have graham crackers here, but they do have various types of cookie/cracker things that will probably work fine. Thank you! I love you!
Mom and Dad: Get well soon!
Just one picture this week. じゅんかい！
From left to right: Kakishita 長老, Me, Jensen 長老, Pessoa 長老