こんにちは！ How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 清水、日本 (Shimizu, Japan)!
This week has been quite superb. On Tuesday we met with a man named Kudo san. He is an 英会話 (English class) student the missionaries had started teaching just before I arrived here. He is about 60 years old (I think; it’s really difficult to approximate ages here), and his English is fairly good, but he asked the missionaries if he could meet with them outside of 英会話 to practice English more. The missionaries agreed to do so, but only if he would allow them to also teach about our church. So, we have been teaching him mostly in English, which he seems to generally understand well enough. If he does not understand then we repeat in Japanese. In their first lesson with Kudo san the missionaries watched the First Vision video with him, but he did not understand much of what was said, so they gave him the first pamphlet (about the Restoration) in both English and Japanese, and then this past week (after having read those) we watched the video again with him. He seemed to like it a lot. Afterward we discussed the video, and he asked, "Can you really know that God is there?" We testified that you can, and provided him with a copy of The Book of Mormon (in Japanese, so that he would be able to understand). At the end Kudo san made the appointment (before we could even ask) and asked if we could meet again next Tuesday (tomorrow). Unfortunately we have to reschedule because it will conflict with a "special training" from President Gustafson and his assistants that we are having at our church building (which is where we were going to be teaching Kudo san; we just found out about the training on Thursday during Zone Training Meeting).
As I just mentioned, we had Zone Training Meeting on Thursday. It was great! Elder Gonzalez’ previous companion (whom I replaced), Elder Rogers, is one of our Zone Leaders. Much of what they taught about was from Alma 22:1-18, in which Aaron teaches King Lamoni’s father. From these verses the zone leaders taught about how we help people come to know the personal application of the gospel message. It was quite good; apparently the special training tomorrow is also concerning that, and President Gustafson asked us to study that chapter in our personal study as well, to prepare for the special training.
Elder Gonzalez and I were discussing this account of Aaron teaching King Lamoni’s father, and were especially interested in the idea that many people have that King Lamoni’s father was ”金人” ("golden person"; I don’t remember the term we use in English, but it essentially means somebody that is extremely prepared to receive the gospel – essentially somebody that is already prepared to be baptized). When King Lamoni’s father says in verse 11, "I desire that ye should tell me concerning all thesethings, and I will believe thy words", we may think that he is 金人. Which, at that point, he apparently has become very well prepared. However, I don’t imagine that Ammon’s initial thought was "金人” when the king tried to kill him at their first meeting.
Additionally, we as missionaries would probably find it a bit interesting if another missionary were to give us such a referral (which is essentially what King Lamoni’s father was – a referral from Ammon to his missionary brother Aaron). For example, if I were to receive the equivalent of that referral, it would essentially be my younger brother (who is currently serving in Brazil) telling me, "I have a referral for you that I met on the street. He’s the emperor of Japan. Oh, by the way, when we met he tried to kill me", or something to that effect. It would be a very interesting referral to receive. And sometimes we may meet people like that. Sometimes we meet somebody on the street, at their door, receive a referrall – whatever it may be, sometimes we meet somebody and definitely do not initially think ”金人”. However, that person may just need a bit more preparation. We never know who is being prepared, and therefore we do our best to find and talk to as many people as the Lord places in our path.
Elder Gonzalez and I saw some miracles from phone call dendo this week. Yesterday, after having finished our studies (after church), we had about 1/2 an hour before dinner, and decided to spend that time trying to contact Potential Investigators in the Area Book. Neither of us had previously had much success from phone call dendo in our previous areas, so we were not really expecting much out of it, perhaps hoping to contact a few people with the time we had. However, in the five or six people that we actually got a hold of, we were able to set up appointments with (and make new investigators out of) two of them! It was definitely a miracle.
I know that this is the Lord’s work, and that as we prepare ourselves to receive His referrals, He will place those people in our path, or will lead us to them.
I love you all! Have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a spectacular year!