Happy Birthday, Kimball!

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 quite nice. We had three investigators come to church this week – one less than last week (because Matsumi had work), but it was still wonderfully miraculous!

Yesterday after church we had a lesson with one of the investigators, Shin. She is an international student from China. She actually goes to the same college as our recent Chinese convert, Ka, who was able to help in our lessons yesterday and last Sunday. They seem to get along quite well, which is great! Yesterday’s lesson was quite nice. We taught the Restoration, and after sharing Joseph Smith’s vision Elder Yanagida asked whether Shin thought it was true, and she said yes! When asked why she believed it, she responded in her limited Japanese, ”感じ。” (Feeling) She is great! Unfortunately because of school and work we are not able to meet with her very often, but we should be able to meet again next Saturday and Sunday.

This week I also visited with Matsumi during companion exchanges with Elder Stump, and we had a great lesson about the Book of Mormon and prayer. Matsumi is progressing very well. As mentioned earlier, he was unable to get work off to come to church yesterday, but he said he will come next week. Also, when Elder Stump and I arrived at his apartment we were very surprised to discover that he had a large painting (like we have in church buildings) of Moroni burying the gold plates. Apparently at General Conference the Stake Center was giving away some of its old pictures; he also has hanging in his apartment a photograph of the Honolulu temple, just as large as the Moroni picture outside his apartment. Unfortunately he did not have his copy Book of Mormon with him for the lesson because apparently he has been lending it to other people in the apartment. That was alright, though, because we had an extra copy. Maybe we’ll give him some more to hand out. 🙂

We also visited Uchida (who lives in the same apartment building) and had a great lesson with him as well. We reviewed the Restoration with him, and he was very engaged in the lesson – in fact, it was probably the best lesson I have had with him so far (even better than the lessons from before his sudden drinking). He also explained missionary work to us – particularly inviting people to church. He told us that since when he first met the missionaries and they invited him to church, he decided to come and see what it was like, and because he had a great experience he has kept coming. He said that if he invites somebody else to church, they will most likely wonder why, and probably will resist the invitation since they don’t know what it is like. However, if he can get them to come – and if it’s the right time for them – then they will have the same great experience that he has had and will also keep coming. It’s amazing how well our investigators seem to understand how to do missionary work. They’re not even baptized yet! 🙂

I am grateful for the opportunity to be the Lord’s servant here in Japan. It is definitely hard work, but every day I am learning anew how to make it more and more enjoyable. One thing I have definitely realized on my mission is that if you just let life happen, then you probably will not enjoy it. Happiness takes effort, but the reward is definitely worth the price. I have also realized recently – which I think I mentioned last week – that there definitely is opposition in all things. Oftentimes when we see great miracles is when we can also expect great opposition – both because God wants to test us and Satan wants us to fail. If we give in to Satan then we will fail. However, as long as we rely on the Lord then we can always succeed, despite whatever opposition may come.

I love this work! I know it is the Lord’s.

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

Love,

マドセン 長老
Elder Madsen

p.s. Mom, there is ice cream in Japan, although it can be fairly expensive. I ate a fair amount of ice cream last summer; I guess I’ll see what happens this year… 🙂 There is also Baskin-Robbins here, although in Japan it’s just called "31" (which, in Japanese, is pronounced "Sawtee-wahn"). And yes, I have definitely learned to use chopsticks. There aren’t many foods that I eat without them. It is especially quite strange to eat rice with a spoon anymore. The word "chopsticks" is also kind of weird for me to say. In Japanese they’re called お箸 (o-hashi).

p.p.s. Since Mother’s day is in two weeks, I will need to determine a time to Skype. I have the option of doing it on either Sunday the 10th (Mother’s Day here; Saturday the 9th for you) or Monday the 11th (our P-Day, your Sunday/Mother’s Day). Can you email what time works best for you? Thank you!

p.p.p.s. Next week I will have some news about our mission. Tomorrow we are having a special training about a new tool we will be using… (suspense!)

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