こんにちは！ How is everybody doing in their various locations? I am doing quite well here in 日本 (Japan)!
Happy Birthday, Grandma Mooney! I got you a card last week, but still need to send it (hopefully today). Sorry it’s late! I hope your birthday is wonderful.
This week has been rather wonderful. We did something with our investigator, Satoru, almost every day. We had a lesson Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, he came to 英会話 (English class) Wednesday, we went to institute together (it was his first time going) on Thursday, and on Friday we had another lesson with him. He has a baptismal date for May 10th. However, even though he is 金人 (golden person), our lessons are still not without difficulties. In our last lesson he said that currently he does not intend on being baptized on the 10th, it is mainly just a goal. At first we were a bit shocked, but then he said why. For various reasons, at this point he does not know whether or not he will be able to come to church every Sunday after baptism, and if he is baptized he wants to do it 100%. So, his decision is either all or nothing – either be baptized and keep all the commandments, or do not be baptized if he cannot keep all the commandments. I certainly think that is a good viewpoint. Certainly we should not be baptized – or enter into any covenant – if we do not intend on keeping the covenant (or at least intend to try). So, we just need to help Satoru desire to keep the covenants more than anything else. In other words, he needs to build a testimony. In that most recent lesson we taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy, which is currently the most pressing commandment since his baptismal date is set for May 10th, and he has not been able to come to church yet. As we talked about the commandment and his current work situation, he mentioned that if he were to find the job that he wants and is required to work on Sundays, then he would accept the job regardless of what anybody says, even God. This statement reminded me that he had actually mentioned in a previous lesson that his current priorities (in order of importance, from greatest to least) are work, family/friends, religion. So, again, we just need to continue to help him build his testimony and realign his priorities. I am certain that he can do it; he can change. Satoru has already said that since the time he started meeting with the missionaries he has seen a change in himself, and we have certainly seen that change as well. As long as he continues studying the scriptures and praying and starts coming to church (which he committed to work his hardest to adjust his schedule accordingly), then his testimony will strengthen, his priorities will adjust, and he will change through the power of Christ’s Atonement. That is one of the great miracles of the Atonement: not only can we be cleansed, but we can also be purified; not only can our sins be washed away, but our very desires can be changed so that "we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually". (Mosiah 5:2) The Atonement is miraculous! I love it!
I also love General Conference! Last week Kimmie mentioned that she remembers that as a missionary General Conference always felt like Christmas. It is definitely true! It is so wonderful! It is nice to have Christmas more than once a year. 🙂
Every General Conference talk was wonderful; they are all my favorites! However, if I were to select my most favorite, I would probably have to choose The Music of the Gospel, by Elder Wilford W. Andersen. I suppose that for each of us, our favorite talks are either the ones that hit us the hardest or the ones with which we relate the most (or both). I love music, so Elder Andersen’s relating of the gospel to music and dance was wonderful! Coming from a family of musicians, I can especially relate to his statement, "…if the basses in your family choir are too loud and overbearing, or if the string section in your family orchestra is a little too shrill or a little bit sharp, or if those impetuous piccolos are out of tune or out of control, be patient. If you’re not hearing the music of the gospel in your home, please remember these two words: keep practicing. With God’s help, the day will come when the music of the gospel will fill your home with unspeakable joy." One of the things that I have learned as a missionary is the importance of practicing, and never giving up. As missionaries we practice all the time! And it certainly is never perfect; every time I practice teaching a lesson or contacting somebody on the street, I realize how much I can improve. The improvement may seem slow, even imperceptible, but it is incredibly important to never give up. As long as we are practicing, there will be improvement and progression.
I learned so many other great things from General Conference! I am always sad when it ends. It always seems to go by too quickly, especially as a missionary. 🙂
I am so grateful to be a missionary! I am very imperfect. I have many things that need to improve. But I know that I can improve, and despite my imperfections the Lord will still utilize me as His instrument.
Well, I am just about out of time. I love you all, and hope that you have a wonderful day, a great week, and a fantastic year!
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