Bronchitis. What fun! Happy Birthday!

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)!

Happy Birthday, Michael Allen! I hope it is wonderful.

This week has been interesting. I spent a few days inside the apartment on splits with Elder Yanagida while both of us had bad colds – actually, I had a cold which developed into bronchitis, but that’s nothing unusual with me. Unfortunately I was sick on my birthday, so I didn’t even get to go to English class that evening. 😦 Oh, well. We went to the clinic on Friday, got some medicine, and are progressively getting better day by day. Elder Stump did a lot of splits last week – a couple times with Elder Oshima, and then also with Elder Parker since the Zone Leaders came to do splits with Elders Oshima and Yanagida, but as Elder Yanagida and I were still unable to go out that day Elders Stump and Parker went out instead. All in all, it was a very peculiar week for us, and not an experience that I would necessarily prefer to repeat. As a missionary, staying inside all day is not much fun, especially when all you can really do is sleep because you’re sick.

Yesterday we were finally able to meet again with our awesome Chinese investigator, Yukimatsu san. It has been a couple weeks since we have been able to meet him; the last time we had scheduled to meet – about two weeks ago – he had caught a cold and had to cancel, and then after that he was very busy preparing for and taking tests, and unfortunately did not have time to meet. However, having finished his tests his schedule is now much more open, so we should be able to meet with him more often again. I am glad, because I love meeting with him! Every time we have a lesson it feels more like a conversation than a conventional "lesson" – it feels more natural, and I feel like we learn much more together as we simply talk openly as opposed to when the missionaries simply pour information upon the investigators; perhaps it feels just a little bit more like I imagine the Savior’s sermons were like – although our discussions are definitely nowhere near as good as the Savior’s were, but I like to think we’re getting there. It is wonderful to know that it does not really matter how much we know or how well we speak; as long as the Spirit is present and we are following its promptings, if the investigator is willing to listen then he will learn from the Spirit exactly what Christ would have taught were He there. Of course that isn’t to say that we don’t need to prepare – we definitely do – but as Elder Holland taught, "If we listen with love, we won’t need to wonder what to say. It will be given to us—by the Spirit and by our friends." That is something that I am currently trying to become better at – listening to those with whom we speak and following the Spirit to identify what they need to hear at that moment, and then saying it. For example, we talked with Yukimatsu san a little bit about the history of the Book of Mormon, answering some of the questions he had about it – most of which were just little questions about things he didn’t understand (the member who jointed with us, Brother Shu, was a huge help there since some of Yukimatsu san’s questions were about the grammar structure in the Chinese edition of the Book of Mormon, which we definitely could not answer, but Brother Shu could) – and then teaching how he could receive answers to some of his questions through continuing to study the Book of Mormon and then praying about it. At the end we had invited him to read the Book of Mormon every day – he has been reading, but not every day; only as he has had time – and pray to know whether it is true. None of what we taught last night had anything to do with the lesson we had planned to teach (the last half of Lesson 2, which we have not yet been able to teach him), but I feel like what we discussed is what he needed to know.

I love this work, and I know that as we listen with love then we can become the missionary that God wants us to become – we can become more like Christ.

I love you all, and hope that you have a great day, a fantastic week, and a wonderful year!

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

p.s. Mom, I should be able to go to the International Center and use a computer there to print off the list (maybe I can send a few pictures, too, while I’m there!). Thank you so much! I also look forward to whatever ancestor stories you are able to find. I love you!

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