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 very good. General Conference was wonderful (but too short)! I love President Monson, his counselors, the twelve apostles, and our other church leaders so much! I love their examples, insight, and instruction. I learned many things that I can apply to help me become a better missionary and better example of Christ. Prior to Conference I prayed and wrote down various questions that I have been thinking about, and definitely received a lot of inspiration from Conference in answer to those questions. There is much that I can improve on, but I know that as I follow the prophet’s counsel and rely on the Atonement, I can make those improvements.
One of my favorite talks was – of course – Elder Bednar’s. His talks are always so good, and this Conference was no different! Although his thoughts were directed primarily toward those who are not yet members of the Church, I gleaned much from it, especially in improving my efforts as a missionary. I also loved the talk by Elder Wong regarding working together to rescue and bring others to Christ. It was a powerful scriptural application, and definitely applied that particular scripture in a way that I don’t think most people had thought of before – at least I know that I had not. It was superb. Of course, all of the General Conference talks were great; I do not have enough time to review everything I loved from Conference, but I know that each message was inspired, and look forward to reading and studying them over the next six months, and I definitely look forward to next General Conference (which will be just after my one-year-in-Japan mark)! This was my second of four Conferences watched in Japan. How time flies!
As for the typhoon(s), none of them really came. They all died out or turned a different direction before reaching us (much to our dismay ). We were supposed to have a large typhoon yesterday, for which reason all the missionaries were told not to go outside (which is why I am emailing today), so we were in our apartments (working in our Area Books, studying, etc.) all day while the weather outside was generally just a little drizzly and slightly windy, and sometimes even quite fair. Oh, well. We were able to accomplish many great (and needed) things.
This week we had a lesson with our new Vietnamese investigator, Twan. It was short and very difficult, since he does not know any English and very little Japanese, but I know that I felt the Spirit as we testified of Christ using very, very simple words. Elder Gonzalez set a great example of following the Spirit in knowing what to say. Twan does not know many of the basic words that we use, such as "Kamisama" (God), "Iesu Kirisuto" (Jesus Christ), or even "shiawase" (happiness), so as we were talking about those things it was very difficult to deliver our message, ask questions, or even to simply testify. However, we fortunately have some Vietnamese pamphlets (which we brought with us), and Elder Gonzalez was inspired to open the Vietnamese pamphlet, point to God’s name in one of the sections, and ask very simply, "Iru to omoimasu ka?" (Do you think He is there?) to which Twan responded, "Hai." (Yes.) We then asked the same about Christ (pointing to the picture on the front of the pamphlet), to which he also responded, "Hai." And then we testified, very simply, that we also know God and Christ are there, and that they love us. In the same apartment building we met three other Vietnamese, two of whom we were able to set up another appointment with (for today). Their Japanese is also quite lacking, so it will be a lot of fun teaching them! However, I know that as we teach by the Spirit, the Spirit will be able to testify of the truth. "…he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth….Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." (D&C 50:21-22) That blessing in not conditional on understanding each others’ language. The Spirit can cross all barriers – even language barriers. I know that is true.
Just as a bit of a side note:
One additional perk to meeting with other people that do not know Japanese very well is to see how much I have been able to learn over the past few months. There is still a lot that I do not know, and much that I yet need to learn, but I am glad that Heavenly Father has helped me progress in Japanese to where I am now, and will continue to help me become what He knows I can become.
I know that this is the Lord’s work, and I love it!
Have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a fantastic year!