こんにちは！ How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 坪井、日本 (Tsuboi, Japan)!
Sorry, this email is a couple days later than usual. We had Zone Conference on Monday, so P-Day was pushed to Tuesday; however, Elder Yanagida ended up with a cold and fever, so because we were in the apartment all day yesterday we had to come email today. He still has a fever, but we decided to come email anyway.
As the title suggests, this week has been very interesting. Elder Yanagida and I have seen a lot of miracles. We have also seen some very interesting developments with our investigator, Uchida san, who seemed to be progressing very well. We had been teaching him the commandments and he was committing to follow each of them. However, he was still struggling a bit with the Word of Wisdom. We had been meeting with and teaching him every day, and decided to return to the Word of Wisdom and try to help him with it. He has been drinking since he was 16 – he is now 61 – so he is quite addicted. So, over a few days we met with him and helped him set goals to stop drinking and smoking. However, on Thursday when we arrived for our lesson he was quite drunk, and most likely did not remember anything that we said. We hoped that perhaps he would be a bit more sober the following day – especially since we had a planned to have that day’s lesson at a member’s house – but when we arrived he was even less sober than the previous day, which is definitely saying something. However, the member (Brother Kawamura, who is amazing) still agreed to bring Uchida san to his house. We had a very peculiar conversation with him. To be a little shorter in writing: ever since last Thursday we have been unable to have a productive conversation with Uchida san because every time we visit he is not in a very lucid state. Elder Yanagida discovered that Uchida san recently was made aware of a money problem that he has, which we are thinking is directly related to his sudden perpetual drunkenness. At this point we can’t really move forward with him, and for the time being have stopped meeting with him every day; we will continue to call him and judge what kind of state he is in, and thereby hope to be able to visit when he’s a bit more sober. It is quite sad to see what happens when people choose the world’s way of responding to trials rather than choosing Christ’s way. The world would often have us try to escape and hide, even though the problem will always be there; Christ wants us to confront and overcome, and through His Atonement we can overcome anything that we may encounter. I hope that Uchida san is able to realize this. I want him to succeed! Because the alternative is very bleak.
On a a lighter note, we recently began teaching Satoru san, a 21-year-old investigator that the sisters had been trying to teach. They were unable to meet with him very easily, and therefore decided to refer him to us, and I would definitely say he is one of the Lord’s elect! In our first meeting with him, he said that he had been reading various places in in the Book of Mormon and came upon the word "baptism", and asked whether we could explain what baptism was. Yes! We would love to! So, our first lesson with him was about baptism, and we were able to set a date for April 20 (it is a tentative date; we hope that he can be baptized sooner than that). Throughout the week we were not able to have a full lesson with him, but did have dinner twice with him and shared a brief message each time – one of which was on Thursday, during which as we talked with him we discovered that he was having a hard time with somebody at work that was being unnecessarily strict with him. At that time we mentioned that through prayer we can receive help from God to overcome trials, but unfortunately did not have time to teach him how to pray. On Sunday we were able to have a lesson with him again, during which we planned on teaching him how to pray. At the beginning of the lesson, when we asked how work was going, he told us that he prayed the other morning before work, and that he was extremely surprised that day when the person who is usually strict with him was very nice all day! He found out that prayer works! And that was before we had even taught him how to pray – he said that he just tried praying in the same way that he had heard us pray! On Monday we had another lesson with him, during which we planned on teaching the Restoration. At the end of the previous lesson we had asked him to write down and bring with him any questions that he might think of before the next lesson, and he did! He had three questions – which he had thought of while reading the Restoration pamphlet that we had given him after the previous lesson. His questions were: 1. If there is a Heavenly Father, is there also a Heavenly Mother? 2. What kind of a person was Joseph Smith? 3. What is the difference between the Bible and the Book of Mormon? I am very much looking forward to working with Satoru san.
It is amazing how the Lord blesses us in the midst of our trials. When Uchida san unexpected plunged, Satoru san suddenly began progressing very rapidly. Just a couple weeks ago he had mentioned to one of the missionaries that he wasn’t really interested in joining the Church right now. However, the gospel changes hearts. I have experienced that change myself (and continue to every day), and it makes me very happy to see other people also accept that changing influence.
It’s been interesting working in Tsuboi. We have been having so many lessons – of course, most of them were with Uchida san, but that’s alright – that we have hardly had any time for contacting people. However, I like teaching, even though I am still not that great at it. Sometimes I’m a bit envious of Kyle for having a year to learn how to teach in English before going to Brazil. But then I repent of my envy. 🙂
I know that this is the Lord’s work, and I love it!
I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful day, a superb week, and a great year!
p.s. Japan does not do Daylight Savings Time, so our clocks remain the same while those in America change.
p.p.s. Grandma: Yes, I have gotten a bit wet. However, I’m definitely used it, and we have raincoats that keep (most of) the rain out. Actually, it was pouring on Monday morning, and we got to ride our bikes for about 30 minutes to get to the Stake Center for Zone Conference. It was a bit wet. 🙂
p.p.p.s. I meant to mention more about this, but then ran out of time. However, I still have just enough time for this: anybody that has not read The Power of Everyday Missionaries (I believe that’s what it’s called), do it! It is a great book. I just finished it, and learned so much about how to be a better missionary. There is so much that I need to improve! Fortunately I still have time. So do you! If you have previously read it, read it again! I definitely plan on reviewing the concepts listed in it. This book is a great – I would even say indispensable – companion to Preach My Gospel.
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