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)!
Today we will receive our transfer calls. Elder Jensen and I have been here in Miyakonojo for quite some time, so either one of us could be leaving! Or we could both be staying! Who knows? (President Gustafson does!) We will see…
As for Sisters Akuta and Kashida: this is Sister Kashida’s last transfer! She has finished her mission (this Thursday), and will be making her final transfer home. She has been a great asset to Miyakonojo, and a wonderful missionary! She will definitely be missed. So, Sister Akuta will likely remain in Miyakonojo.
Anyway, this has been a wonderful week! President Gustafson had set a goal for the mission to have 200 non-members at sacrament meeting this past Sunday, and the final count was 208! It is great to see the blessings and miracles that God will give us as we work our hardest to accomplish what He has asked. As part of that goal, President Gustafson asked that four missionaries in each area bear their testimonies first in fast and testimony meeting on Sunday, so all four of us in Miyakonojo bore our testimonies (unfortunately we were not able to do it first; we were going to, but the members are just too quick!). In our Branch Council meeting after church the members mentioned that it was great to see all four of us bear our testimonies. I am glad of every opportunity to strengthen and help bless the members, and to share the truth.
Recently I have been studying the Atonement more. I have been reading through the scriptures listed in the Topical Guide under "Jesus Christ – Atonement Through", and the primary theme that I have found is that it is through repentance that we are able to access the Atonement. As Christ says in D&C 19:15-19 (paraphrasing): under the Law of Justice all sins must be paid for. If we repent we will have access to the Law of Mercy through the Atonement of Christ, which fulfills the Law of Justice. Also, the Atonement itself is freely accessible to everyone, but we must first come unto Christ through repentance in order to gain access to the Atonement. Christ is the mediator, and has paid the complete price so that if we accept His terms then we will not have to pay the price. However, if we do not accept His terms then we will be bound under the Law of Justice to pay the full price for our sins, because no sin can remain without payment. However, if we repent we will be alright.
After church on Sunday we tried visiting one of our investigators, Sato san, but as we arrived unfortunately she was just heading out the door. 😦 Our backup plan was to do some more housing in that area, but we felt that we should try to visit Daisuke kun, a less-active (whom I have previously mentioned in relation with his girlfriend, Miki chan), even though we have tried many times before and he is usually not at home. We had lunch with Daisuke, his father (Brother Kuroki), and Miki chan the other week, but were not really able to talk much with Daisuke during that lunch. So, on Sunday evening after we were unable to visit with Sato san, we decided to visit Daisuke kun…and he was there! We had a nice conversation with him and shared a brief – but good – message about prayer, scripture study, and church. My brother Kyle mentioned in a recent email (in response to something my father shared with us recently) that "when we are sensitive to the spirit we will be guided in things that seem so small and simple. Things that might not seem important to the rest of the world but are testimonies to us that God cares about our daily lives." I have definitely seen that as well, as in this example with Daisuke kun. It may have been small and simple – we were there for about five minutes, and just shared a simple message – and may appear insignificant, but we never know what the impact may be of such a small and simple thing. It was was definitely a miracle, and I am glad that the Lord is willing to guide us to see and share His miracles!
I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this message with the people of Japan! I know that wherever the Lord sends me is where He needs me most, and I hope, pray, and work every day to be the instrument that He needs where and when He needs me.
I love you all! Have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!
p.s. Sorry to hear that Dad is ill. Get well soon! I also would not want to run into those ants, Isaac! I also pray for Grandma Koetitz every day.