Kyle長老、誕生日おめでとう! (Happy Birthday, Elder Kyle!)

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, Elder Kyle!

This week has been very nice. Elder Yanagida and I had a 巡回 (exchanges) with the Zone Leaders. I was with our new Zone Leader, Elder Boyden, and it was lot of fun! That day five people agreed to meet with us again, we set up two new baptismal dates, and I learned a lot about how to improve my でんどう (missionary work). Primarily, I had a reaffirmation that I just need to be bolder, fear not, and make my とつぜん (impromptu) lessons significantly shorter. As I have been thinking about how to improve my でんどう, I realized last night that in contacting people I need to spend a lot less time trying to establish a relationship and place more effort into testifying of simple gospel truths. Certainly getting to know people is important, but it is essential to quickly establish that relationship connect then move on to sharing the gospel (with whatever point will be most pertinent to their interests). As it says in Preach My Gospel, "Whatever your initial approach, refer quickly and simply to the Restoration…".

The two new baptismal dates are with Uchida and Matsumi, who are both about 60 years old and, incidentally, live in the same apartment building. Their lessons were very…interesting. I wasn’t there for Matsumi’s most recent lesson (it was during 巡回), but apparently he fell asleep in the middle of it. However, I guess they were able to wake him up and set a baptismal date for May 15. With Uchida – who recently has generally been fairly drunk, although he was much better this time – Elder Boyden and I were teaching him a mini review of the Plan of Salvation, and then when we mentioned baptism Uchida asked when his previous baptismal date was, and then asked how soon he could be baptized. He wanted to do it this week, but we determined that would probably be a bit too soon. I suggested the end of May, but he still wanted to do it sooner so we settled with May 16.

On Sunday we saw a great miracle when four investigators came to church! Uchida, Okuzawa (who we were considering dropping until she suddenly started coming to church a few weeks ago), Cho (a Chinese college student who lives in the same apartment building as two of our other investigators), and Satoru #2 (we already have an investigator named Satoru; this is a new one that Elder Boyden and I met during 巡回 on Friday). There is certainly opposition in all things, though, as we discovered how difficult it is to keep track of so many investigators and try to make sure they each have a good experience. It was especially difficult since Cho does not know much Japanese and doesn’t know any English; fortunately, one of the sisters in our ward has fairly decent Chinese and Brother Ka (a recent Chinese convert) who is fluent in Japanese were both able to help out.

Well, that’s a fair amount of the good news from this week. I suppose the bad news is that Satoru #1 dropped his baptismal date again, and will probably not continue meeting with us very much. We still have a great relationship and he wants to meet with us in person at least once more, but after we talked with him about coming to church he sent us some emails explaining that he is focusing on his life right now (he is losing his job in a few weeks, after which he will be moving and making a lot of changes), and that his life right now does not seem to allow for baptism, etc. He still wants to keep praying and reading the Book of Mormon – he really is still quite 金人 – but is facing a lot of challenges that I think he does not realize can be helped through the gospel. However, even if he is not baptized soon, he has at least made a great step in coming closer to Christ. If not now, then I definitely believe that he will be baptized in the future. I know that the Lord will lead him the right way if he continues to pray and read the Book of Mormon sincerely.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the Lord’s representative. I am far from perfect; I make many mistakes. But I am improving every day. I know this is the Lord’s work, and that He is leading it. Today I read D&C 84:88. The Lord says, "whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face." As I read that, I realized that not only will the Lord go before us to prepare people to receive the message of the Restoration, but He already has gone and prepared people. He is currently preparing people, but there are many people that He has already prepared. They are ready and waiting. They probably do not know what they are waiting for, and most likely don’t even recognize that they are waiting. But if we are worthy and follow the Lord’s guidance, we will meet those who are prepared and they will receive us.

So, we just need to tell people the message of the Restoration. Those who are prepared will receive it. Those who are not yet prepared will become more prepared by our telling them.

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

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

p.s. Mom, my favorite Japanese food is called 焼肉 ("Yakiniku"). It’s essentially Japanese-style barbecue. I don’t know if the sauce is easily available in America, but you can probably look it up online and find out how to do it.

You could also try doing "Mabodofu", although it has tofu in it which may be difficult to acquire (and probably expensive in America, not to mention that those who haven’t become accustomed to eating it may find it a bit strange). For that you should be able to find a recipe online, as well.

If you aren’t able to do either of those, you should be able to look up a recipe online. In the end, if you make something that seems Japanese/Asian (i.e. stir-fry, etc.) and serve it with white rice, it will probably be fine.

Of course, you could also serve them sushi! I actually have come to really like sushi, which I did not think would happen. It is quite interesting the things that change during a mission.

p.p.s. Grandma, my pockets are fine for now. Thank you.

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