One Year in Japan

こんにちは! How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 日本 (Japan)!

This week has been nice. As the title suggests, this past Wednesday marked my 1-year-anniversary in Japan. I can hardly believe that one year has passed by since I arrived here! The 桜 (cherry blossoms) have bloomed again, and they are beautiful! Whenever I get a chance I will be sure to email some more pictures.

On Tuesday we had a very good lesson with Satoru, during which we discussed some of the questions he had about things he had read in the Book of Mormon. He hasn’t read very far into the Book of Mormon yet, but he is understanding what he reads really well. When we asked if there was anything that stuck out to him, he gave a little exposition on Laman and Lemuel’s attitude vs. Nephi’s attitude, and how he wants to be like Nephi! We also asked him what he has learned as he has prayed over the past few weeks, and he responded that when he first started praying he focused mostly on asking for things that he wanted/needed, but lately he has realized the importance of gratitude in prayer. He also has been keeping every commitment we ask him to keep; so far it has been mainly reading assignments, as we have not yet been able to move much farther in the lessons (we have been focused on helping him find answers to his questions through prayer and scripture study). We are planning on meeting with him today and completing Lesson 1 by watching The Restoration with him, through which we hope to help him focus on and recognize the Spirit more.

On Friday we had 巡回 (splits? exchanges? something like that). Elder Yanagida went with Elder Stump in Tsuboi while I returned to Shimizu with Elder Stanger. It was a great じゅんかい。 I learned a lot, and we saw some great miracles. One in particular that Elders Yanagida and Stump saw was before they visited one of our investigators, Uchida, who had been struggling quite a bit with Word of Wisdom issues lately (he appears to be doing a lot better now – he returned to church the past two Sundays – so hopefully we can resume teaching him this week). Anyway, as Elders Yanagida and Stump were about to pray outside of Uchida’s apartment they noticed a man that seemed to be analyzing them quite intensely. They started a conversation with the man – whose name is Matsumi – and eventually when they offered him a Book of Mormon he told them that he already had received one (who knows when) and had been reading through it. They invited him to church and he said that he would come. On Saturday Matsumi called us twice – once to confirm the time and location for church, and then again to inform us that he had stopped by the church (just to make sure he would know how to get there) and would definitely come on Sunday. And he did! It was wonderful, and he seemed to like it, although he was a bit tired at the end.

On 巡回 Elder Stanger and I visited with Yukimatsu, a Chinese investigator that I had been teaching with both Elders Gonzalez and Stump when I was in Shimizu area. Yukimatsu is not doing very well. He has been very depressed since he had a hard breakup with his girlfriend, and has been smoking and drinking. However, we had a really good conversation with him (along with Brother Shu, who is just a wonderful as always! – even more so, which I didn’t realize was possible! He’s so great!). Yukimatsu wants to get out of his depression, but doesn’t really know what to do, so we helped him determine to make a plan and set goals to overcome his current trial. At the end I shared with him the church’s Easter video. It was actually the first – and so far, the only – time I had seen it. We watched it in Chinese, and even though I couldn’t read the words, I still felt the spirit very powerfully. It is great! By all means, watch it!

We saw a great miracle on Sunday when we had three investigators come to church! At church, after Uchida discovered that Matsumi lives in the same apartment, he sat with him throughout all of church! I think they will become great friends. The third investigator, Okuzawa, was somebody that we had not expected to come to church at all – in fact, we have been considering dropping her because she did not seem very interested in meeting with us. We’re still unsure what exactly her interest level is, but she had decided to come to church all on her own; we hadn’t even been able to contact her to invite her. She just decided to come!

I am grateful that the Lord is doing His work, and I am grateful for the miracles that he allows me to witness. I often feel that the Lord has shown me miracles that I do not feel I deserve. No matter what mistakes I make – and I make a lot – the Lord still blesses me so much! It is incredible how much the Lord loves and wants to bless His children.

I know that the Savior lives. I am so grateful for His Atonement. I need it every day; there is no way that I could be a missionary without the Atonement.

I am so grateful for Elder Yanagida’s patience with me. He is a wonderful missionary, and I am learning so much from him. Sometimes we may not understand each other as well as we desire – much of that is probably my fault; even in English I have not been very open to sharing my thoughts and feelings with other people; but I suppose that can changed (and probably should) – but I know that as we work our hardest to work well together, the Lord will continue to bless us. I have seen so many miracles this transfer; they may have come through many difficult circumstances, but I am grateful for these trials because I know that they will make a me a better missionary and a better person.

I love you all, and hope that you have a superb day, a wonderful week, and a happy year!

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

p.s. Mom, I received my Easter card today. Thank you! I suppose I will wait until Easter to open it.

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One thought on “One Year in Japan

  1. Dear Elder Madsen,

    I have tried to send you numerous emails but they always come back. We will try this method. Happy Easter! “He is risen” what great words that provide us so much hope, faith and anticipation. I testify that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, all of us will be resurrected and receive a portion of the glory that Jesus received from his Father as he accomplished his will.
    Moses1:39: For this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Whenever anyone of us qualifies for eternal life and accepts Jesus Christ and his atonement, glory is added to God. We can share in this glory, as we share in this work –Elder John A. Widstoe explained “ In our preexistent state, in the day of the great council, we made a certain agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan, conceived by him. We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under the plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but measurably, saviors for the whole human family. We went into partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work. The least of us, the humblest, is in a partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purposes of the eternal plan of salvation.
    I thought I would share with you some of the scriptures I have been studying about Glory. The more I study, the more I believe that when the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial Kingdoms are mentioned, it is not necessarily physical locations but a state of being where people are comfortable based on the glory that they have obtained or will obtain through their works and righteous desires of their hearts. We know that Christ is the source of all light and that by him, through him and of him, all things were and are created. Not only is his light within all of us but also in the sun, moon and stars. When it talks about the last days how the sun will be darkened, the moon will be covered in blood and the stars will fall from their places, I believe it is referring to our inability to receive the glory that God offers us through the atonement of his son. Therefore his light can not penetrate or benefit us. It is clear that we can receive a portion of his glory during mortality. In fact, we are born with the Spirit of Christ and are given his light. When we receive the Holy Ghost, we gain additional light and glory and our countenances can and do change. Our ultimate goal is to prepare ourselves to receive the fulness of God’s glory just as Jesus Christ did. We then become sanctified and purified and worthy to dwell in God’s presence. I tried to organize some of the scriptures but I am confident that you will find your personal study interesting as you go through the various scriptures.
    Common elements of descriptions of Jesus Christ:
    · Countenance shown above brightness of the sun

    · Hair of his head white as snow

    · Eyes were as a flame of fire

    · Under feet a paved work of pure gold in color like amber

    · Voice as the sound of rushing waters

    · Clothed with a garment – girt with a golden girdle

    Similar descriptions of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, New Testament and Doctrine and Covenants:
    § D&C 110:2,3

    § Revelation 1:13-16

    § Daniel 10:5,6

    § JSH 1:16,17 (Brightness and glory defy all description)

    Transfiguration:
    o Physical changes that result from being in a glorified state or exposure to glory, light, and truth. Glory reflected through faces.

    § Matthew 17:1-3

    § Acts 16:5

    § Exodus 34:29

    § Helaman 5:36,43,44

    o Pillar of Fire (the glory of God bestowed upon man)

    § 1 Nephi 1:6

    § Exodus 13:21

    § Helaman 5:24

    § Numbers 14:14

    § D&C 29:12

    o Heavenly Messengers (come from the presence of God)

    § Matthew 28:3

    § JSH 1:30-33

    § Hebrews 1:7

    Degrees of glory – likened unto the Sun, Moon, Stars
    1 Cor 15:40,41; 2 Cor 12:2;D&C 76:96-98; D&C 131:1
    D&C 29:14; D&C 45:41,42
    Bodies are quickened through Glory of God
    D&C 88:28
    Alma 5
    Light, truth and glory – In, of and through Jesus Christ. The source of all light
    Hebrews 1:3
    John 1:1-14
    D&C 76:39,43,56,70,92,108
    D&C 45:44,56,57,59
    D&C 88:4-13.18-26,28-33,40,66-68,107,199
    D&C 132:19
    I also think glory can be part of the environment that we help create. There is a story about a man who died and was given the opportunity to decide if he wanted to go to heaven or hell. He was met by an angel who then proceeded to show him the difference between heaven and hell. When they opened the door to hell and he looked in, there was a huge room with a long table that was filled with the best food from all over the world. He was amazed by the abundance, quality, and beauty of the food. As he was admiring the feast, the doors opened and people came in and sat around the table. As they tried to eat, he noticed that each person had a three foot long spoon strapped to their arm. They could easily scoop up their favorite food but it was impossible to bring it to their mouths with the long spoon. The room soon turned to chaos as people were flinging food up in the air to try to catch it with their mouths. The beautiful food was strewn all over the room and the people were not able to partake of the food. The man then asked the angel to show him heaven. The angel took him to another room and opened the door. An identical scene appeared. Once again, he noticed the same long table filled with all of his favorite foods from all over the world. Once again, people entered the room and sat around the table. Just like the people in hell, they had the same three foot spoons strapped to their arms. However, unlike hell, they asked the person across the table what they would like to eat. They then scooped up the food and fed the person across from them. Order ensued, all were fed, and all rejoiced from being invited to the feast.
    I am so glad that you have this opportunity to partner with God and Jesus Christ in bring about his work and his glory. I know that you are assimilating some of that glory into your soul and thus, the metamorphous that takes place as a missionary.
    Love always, Brother Daniels

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